Author Archives: Brendan Scott

About Brendan Scott

I am an educator, writer, and photographer.

Field of Dreams: My All Star Moment

Dreaming is a tricky thing.

I’m not just talking about the kind where you place your head on a pillow and close your eyes, although night time dreams can inspire our waking dreams or desires.  When I was twenty I had a dream I married a girl name Sarah.  When I woke up I believed it was actually going to happen, so for two years I didn’t talk to girls, unless her name was Sarah.  This is a slight exaggeration, but I let that dream hinder how I lived.  Fortunately, that dream died, later than it should have, but only after I made myself awkward around a few too many Sarah’s.

The other night I dreamt that I was back in Guatemala.  Dreaming I’m back in Guatemala is pretty typical.  Most mornings when I wake up I tell myself, “well, guess I didn’t dream about Guatemala last night, must be over it now,” but then ten minutes later my dreams come drifting back through my mind and yep, I was in Guatemala again.  I feel like I dream about Guatemala so consistently because the country and the people there mean so much to me.  I am very grateful for all of my dreams, but unfortunately another aspect of my dreams is most of the time they turn out unresolved.

In my last dream, I was in Guatemala for the graduation of some of my students.  It felt so right to be back.  In my dreams it’s raining, as it is always raining in Guatemala.  I am teaching again, but IAS looks different.  It is more like a castle, which is odd, but not odd enough to tip me to the fact I’m in a dream.  My students are listening to my every word, and who can blame them, my lecture is flawless.  Bam, I know it’s a dream.  Then, in a flash, it’s time for graduation and I want to celebrate each kid, tell them how special they are.  But before I have a chance to tell anyone how great they are I have a light saber battle with Lord Voldemort.  But before I strike the killing blow, I wake up.  Always.  I never see it to the end.  It’s horrible.

Crazy, right?

Waking up from an unresolved dream is annoying, but living life in a dream world is a tragedy, because you never actually live. Like when I was dreaming about a girl named Sarah.  Yet, I would be lost if I didn’t drop off at night and let my mind create.  Sadly, if all I did was sleep, living in my dream world, I would be even more lost.  I believe we must dream in the real world and go after those dreams, because  “If we are afraid to dream grand dreams, then we live empty lives.”

I have many dreams or desires in my life.  I want to write professionally, have a family, become more like the man Jesus created me to be, and maybe go back to Guatemala to teach again, and it would be a shame if I didn’t go after those dreams.  If I live my life just dreaming I’ll never reach my potential.  I must take action.

In Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone Harry comes across a strange mirror.  It’s a mirror that can tell the dreams of a man’s heart.  The mirror is aptly named the Mirror of Erised (desire backwards).  In the mirror Harry sees his parents, who have died.  He spends hours just staring at them, settling for the unreal fulfillment of having his parents with him, instead of living his life and creating actual relationships.  In the book, Dumbledore, Harry’s headmaster, warns Harry away from spending too much time in front of the mirror.  Dumbledore tell’s Harry, “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Living is part of taking action.  I can spend all day dreaming about life in Guatemala or becoming a writer, but if I never write, I will have never lived.  I will have never reached out and taken a risk.

And so as I have grown up my dreams have changed.  I have let go of my dream to be a rock star (can’t sing), being president (not corrupt enough), or Robin Hood (Don’t like Wearing Tights).  However, it is important to remember our childhood dreams and remember that God can redeem our past hopes and their innocence, but that is a blog that will come later.

When I was little I dreamed of playing in the major league  Unfortunately I didn’t even make it as far as Moonlight Graham, who played one game in the bigs, but didn’t even get to bat.  I retired after the 5th grade.  I’d had a great year at third base, but my team was downright awful.  Most of the kids didn’t have a passion for the game, they were just playing because their moms and dads wanted to watch them pick dandelions out in center field.

I played hard, but struggled with migraines the entire year.  When my school didn’t have baseball in the 6th grade I decided it best not to play, mostly because of my migraines.  My dream ended quietly, but I had school to distract me from the void not playing baseball.

I didn’t let myself stand in front of the mirror, but I moved on, and I’m glad I did.

In fact, I’d completely forgotten how passionately I dreamed of playing in the majors until I had my Field of Dreams moment.  Fortunately, unlike Adam Greenberg who was beaned in the head by the first pitch he faced in the majors, which ended his career, all I did was ride the pine in the Colorado Rockies’ dugout four hours before a game.

I was on a tour of the Coors Field for my job.  I’ve been working as a summer camp councilor with Ken-Caryl here in Littleton, Colorado.  I have a feeling none of the kids at my camp actually grasped how cool it was to sit where the likes of Todd Helton or Troy Tulowitzki have sat.  But as I sat down, as my butt touched the wooden bench, I felt transformed.  It was as if God was saying, “you might not have made it to the majors, but here’s a little taste of what it is like.”  It was awesome.

I didn’t think I would feel such a rush as I sat on the bench, but I did, guess that’s what dreams do to you.  I have been on the bench of a major league baseball team.  And even though I only sat for a couple minutes it was enough for me, I knew I couldn’t sit there for my entire life, holding onto the greatness of that moment.  Life had to move on, nor could I sit their dwelling on what could’ve been.  God has more for me than that.  And so, I stood up feeling fulfilled.

Adam Greenberg knows that life must move on.  After being hit by a pitch to the head, he was plagued by bad eyesight and dizzy spells, which negatively impacted his game.  Sadly he has never made it back to the majors, but he did get to face the pitcher again in a minor league game.  He came away with a hit in the at bat and he knows that’s good enough.  He can move on with his life.

I will never reach my dreams if I keep my head on my pillow.  I left Guatemala because, while I loved living there, God was giving me new dreams, like going back to school and being a part of a healthy church community.  Those things couldn’t happen if I stayed in Guatemala.  And right now, even as I dream about the country every night, my real life dreams can’t happen if I go back at this point of my life.  I have to let go a little, and live my life and trust that God wont let my true dreams end unresolved.

What are you dreaming of?  Are you living your life or are you stuck looking at the Mirror of Erised?

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4th of July: What Does Independence And The Flag Mean To You?

I love taking pictures of the American flag.  The flag’s outward beauty is evident, but I think what it represents is even more beautiful; Independence.  Freedom to worship without the government telling me how I need to pray or not to pray.

Personally, I have never known religious oppression, but I know it still exists.  Growing up in the United States, I thought everyone had those same freedoms.  When I moved to Guatemala I found out that I was wrong.  Now, Guatemala is a much different place than it was even twenty years ago, and most people are very free to go to whatever church they like, but throughout Guatemala’s history the country struggled to find the right balance between secularism and religiosity.  Mainly the Catholic and Protestant populations fought for control of the government.

Each group tried to impose it’s will onto the rest of Guatemala.  This is a very simplified view of the centuries long struggle in the country.  To go deeper we would have to consider racism, classism, and greed.  Needless to say, Guatemala struggled because it wasn’t founded on independence and the freedom of religion like we were in the United States.

Maybe the reason why I love taking pictures of the flag is because America allows me to love my God.  America lets me place God first in my life.  I can abstain from saluting the flag if I feel like it is overtaking my allegiance to God.  Just think back to the 1930s, in prewar Germany, people had to give the “Hitler Salute” or face severe punishment.  And Germany was supposed to be a “Christian Nation.”  But then again, that’s the same Nazi Germany that murdered millions of Jews just because they didn’t believe in Christ, which doesn’t sound like religious freedom to me, or very Christlike.  I think it was Christ who said love your neighbor like yourself.

I know America has its flaws, but when I look at that flag, I see some of the things we’ve done right.  I thank God for my country, and I pray that some day everyone will experience true independence, true adventure; a free life with God.

I hope you get a chance to take a look at your flag and think about what it means to you.  Happy Fourth Of July!

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The Mountains Win Again

Call me a mountain man, well a mountain man who lives in the city, likes to shower every day, and keep a clean shaven face.  But call me a mountain man anyway.  My heart swells at the sight of the Rocky Mountains.  Maybe it’s because I lived in Vail, Colorado for seven years, or maybe it’s because I’m a Colorado native who grew up in hot, flat, Oklahoma.  My love for the mountains just must be in my blood.

My family has always held the mountains in a special place.  Back in the 90’s when we were still living in flatlander Tulsa, Oklahoma, my family went on a mission trip to Costa Rica.  As we were driving through the cloud forest in the mountains someone mentioned  Psalm 121, you know, the one about mountains and how awesome they are and how our help comes from them.  Ever since then I’ve had a strong connection between God and the mountains.

I came home from Costa Rica with a love for the mountains in my heart and a passion for God in my soul.  That short week is why I eventually moved to Guatemala.  Heck, I even lived in the mountains while in Guatemala.  There’s just something about the mountains.

A couple of weeks ago something major happened for my family in the mountains.  My sister, Emmy, decided to have my dad baptize her in Piny Lake.

Emmy led our family over to Piney Lake as the sun crept over the majestic Gore Range.  The morning was warm, but the water was cold.  My dad spoke confidently, saying:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm —
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Emmy turned her eyes to the mountains and made a statement that she would always look to the Lord for help.  The Gore Range and Piney Lake will never be the same for me.  When I think of them I will think of how great my God is and how He saves us.

What do you see when you look up to the mountains?  I’m always reminded of how much God loves me.  That is why the mountains always win.

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What To Do In The Happiest Place On Earth

Fulford, Colorado is the happiest place on Earth.  At least that’s what my friends call it, and I tend to agree with them.  And I am lucky enough to have friends who own a cabin in the happiest place on Earth.

This little mountain community is ten miles up into the White River National Forest just below New York mountain, away from any type of civilization.  No cellphones, no tv’s, and no computers.   You couldn’t even read my blog if you wanted to.  Well, I guess some cabins up there have satalite dishes, but I sure don’t go up to the cabin to stay connected to the world.

Yes, Fulford is great for hiking, fishing, and star gazing, all great things to do in the mountains, but I love Fulford because it is a great place to relax.  Whenever my family is able to stay at the cabin, we set aside any agenda.  If we want to wake up early and go for a walk, we do it.  If we sleep in and then relax on the couches drinking coffee or hot chocolate, we do that.

Fulford is not a place for the busy lifestyle.  Last week in my blog, I wrote about how we need to slow down as we experience life.   Fulford is a place that forces you to slow down.  While I was up there this weekend, I finished the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes (of which I had been reading on and off for three years) took a hike, and napped.

If you really want to know what to do in the mountains, follow my advice.  Find a quite spot, in a cabin, or in a tent, and read.  Read until your eyes are too heavy and then take a nap.  God wants us to relax.  If we are always on the go we wont have enough concentration and energy to notice him.

I’ve been trying to live spiritually this year, and sometimes I forget that God just wants me.  He doesn’t want me to do anything special, yes it was fun hiking Mt. Elbert, but he would rather have me.  And that takes some quiet time.  That is why Fulford is the happiest place on Earth.  It takes you away from every modern comfort and forces you slow down.  And I find when I am living slowly I feel more complete.

I hope everyone is able to go on a vacation this summer, short or long, heck Fulford was just a weekend trip, and is able to relax.  If you haven’t found time to get up into the mountains or some other quiet spot, then turn off your computer and power down all of your other distractions, ’cause God wants you to have some time with just Him.

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Rams, Super Chivos, and Waterton Canyon

Colorado is a pretty amazing place to live, and like Ferris Bueller said, “life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This year I’ve been trying to live spiritually, which means slowing down so I don’t miss anything.  Especially anything God has for me here in Colorado (Because that’s where I live so it’s best to open my eyes to what God has for me in my home state).

The other week, during the first week in June something out of the ordinary happened and I was blessed enough to see witness it.

On June first, I went biking up Waterton Canyon in South West Denver.  Waterton Canyon had been closed for the last two years, so I was pretty excited to be able go for a ride up the road next to the Platt River.  On my way up the trail I came across a heard of Rams.  It was amazing, but a couple came a too little close for comfort.

As I stood by my bike taking pictures, a couple of bikers slowed down to look, but then sped off.  It was as if they had seen such puny wildlife before.  Maybe this was special to me because I hadn’t been biking in Colorado in almost two years, but maybe it meant more to me because I went on the ride with my eyes open.  I wanted to see what God had for me.

I could’ve stayed home and not gone on the ride.  My bike was broken and I knew I would have to borrow a girl’s cruiser bike to be able to even go on the ride.  I was tired and would have enjoyed a nap.  But living spiritually means getting out on the trail even when it means a difficult ride.

Living spiritually means stopping and watching God’s wildlife, trusting that He’s in control.  Those rams were wild and I’m lucky they didn’t decide to fight my bike.  Or maybe I’m blessed to live in Colorado where I can see God’s wild creation if I just open my eyes.

What have you seen lately?  Are you biking right past the rams or are you living a little more like Ferris Bueller?

Don’t miss the life God’s given you.  Join my dad, Eugene Scott, and me as we look for the amazing in our daily lives.  Start living spiritually with us.

Some of you might be wondering what a Super Chivo is.  Well in English, it is a Super Ram, which is the mascot for Xela’s soccer team.  And it so happens that I was wearing my Xelaju soccer jersey on the ride and so maybe the ram didn’t ram me because I am a Super Chivo!

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My Adventure up Mt. Elbert

The Wakeup Call

“Good morning, Sally.  I’ll be right out.  I just woke up and I need to shower.”  It was 3:44am and my brain was having a hard time registering the voice at the other end of the phone.  The caller ID said, “Sally,” but it sure sounded like a man.  “We’ll wait for you outside,” replied Cliff Hutchison.

Fortunately, I had packed all of my gear the night before, which made waking up five minutes before the estimated departure time a little easier.  It’s still not a great idea to wake up minutes before driving three hours into the mountains for a hike, especially Mt. Elbert.

The Mountain

Located in Lake County about 10 miles southwest of Leadville, Colorado in the Sawatch Range, Mt. Elbert climbs all the way up to 14,433 feet tall, but I’ve heard unofficially that it is 14,440.  Either way, it’s the tallest mountain in Colorado, and the second tallest in all of the continental United States, making it a formable hiking foe.

The Trailhead

My alarm’s little stunt didn’t slow us down.  We made it all the way from Denver to the Half Moon trailhead in two hours.  Showered in golden sunlight, our feet hit the trail at 6:30am.  We’d been warned not to start later than 5:30 if we wanted to summit before 12.  It’s always a good idea to summit before noon, because after noon the weather can get really crappy.  However, being young and strong and athletic and confident and amazing, we didn’t listen to that advice.

The Trail

The Northeast Ridge trail of Mt. Elbert is listed on 14ers.com as an easy hike.  I think what they mean by easy is at no point do you have to scale the cliffs of insanity, swim through eel infested waters, or battle R.O.U.S’s.  

The hike might be easy to the avid hiker, but if you haven’t hiked a 14er before, or if you don’t hike much, I would suggest not starting out with Mt. Elbert.  He’s a beast of a mountain.  We took the standard rout, which starts you out on the Colorado Trail.  Taking this rout will only give you a 4,700 feet of elevation gain.  Easy.

The Wind

The only bad part about the day, other than my alarm trying to keep me from breathing the thinnest air in Colorado, was the wind.  Zane, the only one on our team who had hiked Mt. Elbert before had said something like, “you can’t even feel the wind up at the top because the air was is so thin.”  However, on our way up the trail, through the pine trees that dot their way along the Colorado Trail, the wind bit at our noises.  Even though the first part of the trail was steep, we all trekked on together.  Hiking is more fun when you have a group to traverse and converse with.

We split up a little once we made it past tree-line, which is where the wind got really nasty.  AJ, our youngest hiker, and his dad made it a little more than half way, but decided not to summit.  I’m guessing because the wind was too much.

“That Zane Gordon is full of . . .” The wind blew Andrew’s words away.  Andrew is a giant of a man, and as we climbed past the first false summit even his six foot seven inch frame bowed to the power of the wind.  With the wind pushing against us, we kept trudging further up and further in.

The False Summits

As bad as the wind was, the worst part of the hike were the false summits, which were demoralizing.  My body had geared up for the finish, I’d even started to push a little harder because I knew I was almost done.  But then I came to the crest of the peak and the mountain had grown, we’d reached the first false summit.  Mt. Elbert is the tallest peak in Colorado for a reason.

As the rest of our team pushed for the summit I noticed Andrew and Tim slowing down.  I’ve climbed a couple big peaks and know that there’s no shame in slowing down, not sprinting up to the top (the word sprint used here to mean walked uphill at a steady gate).

Sticking with Andrew and Tim was the best part of hiking.  I came on the trip to hike with my friends, rather than coming to take off and reach the summit all by myself.  As we slowed down I kept track of time so we have enough time to reach the summit before the wind blew in the bad weather.

What I didn’t realize was that the mountain was playing tricks on us.  As we crested the second false summit, I could tell my estimated time of arrive was way off.  At the speed we were going we had another hour at least.

Undeterred, I picked out rocks a good distance ahead of us, setting that as our goal to reach before we took our next break.  At each rock I encouraged Tim and Andrew, reminding them that they were doing a great job. Rock by rock we inched closer to the summit.  Or the third false summit.

I was annoyed.  I wanted to reach the top, be able to take pictures as a group, but I also wanted to take a break.  My legs were burning almost as much as my lungs.

I was also sick of criss-crossing with other hikers.  Passing them only to be re-passed.  As we stood at the top of the third false summit, looking up at the real peak, I looked at Andrew and Tim and said “lets go!”  I wanted this hike done.

The Summit

When I thought I couldn’t climb any higher, I was there.  Summiting was a glorious experience.  I reached the top of Colorado and quickly found shelter from the wind.  Not long after, Tim set foot on the summit, with Andrew just behind.  As the two topped off Colorado’s highest peak I jumped up from my spot tucked away from the wind to give them high fives.  Both guys shouted with joy, which wasn’t very loud because it takes having air in your lungs to shout.  Andrew was nearly in tears.  He said this about his experience of summiting, “I felt like I was a zombie.  My legs were moving mindlessly as if something were pulling me, compelling me to reach the summit.”  I guess zombiemode is more than when someone becomes a brain eater.

I really enjoyed my own summit, but I felt true joy watching Andrew and Tim make it to the top of Mt. Elbert.  I was filled with joy because Andrew had worked so hard to climb to the top.  Hiking with friends should feel like that.

On our way down we talked about how hard the climb was.  None of us liked the false summits or the wind, but we agreed that those hardships just made the actual summit that much sweeter.  The whole hike was sweet, because it was hard and we achieved a difficult goal with friends.

I hiked Mt. Elbert on Memorial day with several members of The Neighborhood Church.  This hike is just one of the many great things going on at TNC.  This blog was first posted on my blog, I hope you all enjoyed!

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Who Served You?

Memorial Day is a day to say thank you to those who died in the service of our nation in the U.S. armed forces.  My two grandpas, both pictured above, fought in World War Two.  My grandpa Chuck (on the left) served in the Army Air Corps. and my grandpa Jim (on the right) was in the Army and served in the Pacific Theater.  Neither of them died while fighting, but the sacrificed non-theless.

My grandpa Jim died ten years ago.  When he died I was too young to realize all that he gave up to protect my freedoms and my grandpa Chuck died before I was born.  I can’t go and tell them thank you for their sacrifice, which allows me to live freely in the United States.  I am very grateful that I even got to meet my grandpa Jim.  I know there are thousands of Americans who never got to meet their fathers, as they died while serving.

To all the men and women who died while serving my country, I thank you.  I am blessed to live in the United States of America.  I hope as we celebrate Memorial Day we remember who served us.

Happy Memorial Day!

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