Showing posts with label Off-rails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Off-rails. Show all posts

Friday, December 25, 2015

For Unto Us...

For unto us a child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)

My father passed away this month. A time that is reserved for joy and peace between everyone, has for me become a time of grief and turmoil. Yet my father's love for me is a great comfort for me. Even as I mourn his passing, I know that his faith, and mine, tells me he has not really died. His spirit lives on and is right now in the presence of the Holy God of Israel. The promise of his faith, and mine, tells me that I will see him again because in a little town of Bethlehem, a little baby was born, who was the savior of mankind. The child brought us peace between God and man by completing his mission, sent to die on a desolate hilltop outside Jerusalem. His death brought an end to the enmity of God with man, whose sin had separated us from Him. God wanted everyone to come back to him, and so He sent his one and only Child. That child would be blameless, sinless until the moment on the cross when He became sin's horrible separation and died there for us, dying in our place, so that we could know Him again.

It was this substitution, this Great Exchange,* that completely amazed my father. He could not "get over" this wonderful turn of events that now allowed him to know God again. It's this relationship that is continued, even now, this first Christmas since I've seen him with these eyes for the last time. He is alive, more alive than I could ever be in this earthly body, because of a tiny baby's birth in some podunk byway in a barn among smelly animals and sheep whose shepherds had just been scared nearly to death by a heavenly burst of praise out in the fields nearby. This birth fulfilled by time and location the many seemingly impossible prophecies that had been set forth by prophets hundreds of years before.

These prophecies were read by my dad to supplement the Christmas story on Christmas morning. His voice is today silent, but his heart and mine echo the words like never before. This peace is possible for you to have just like my dad and I have. All that's necessary is for you to accept it in you heart and choose Him as your savior and lord. You can know God personally and meet me and my dad, Jesus and His Dad, and many more people all waiting to join you in heaven. That's the destination of the train I'm on. I don't know when the train will arrive, but I know that I'm making great time!

My dad and I on board the 2005 iteration of Rio Grande Scenic Railroad's La Veta Pass train, where we met Ed Ellis and enjoyed a great day together. He's a Grande fan, like me.
* This song was put together and performed by my dad's good friend, Bruce Carroll.

If you have questions about me, my dad, or our faith, I welcome all three at!◊

Saturday, July 11, 2015

OT: Walking In My Shoes

I don't go off-topic very often on this blog. You should get what you came here for. However, today is my birthday, and my wish is for you to take a few minutes and watch this video. I live this video every day, every week, every year since 2002. Please take a moment to walk in my shoes.

Companion article in Palo Alto Online

Please feel free to contact me at for my story.◊

Friday, January 16, 2015

Slow Order - Rough Track

Note: This post is entirely personal. If you are interested in seeing life on the other side of this screen and site, read on.

Photo: Parker_2
And, we're back. I took some 6 weeks off of writing here on Colorado Railroads mostly because of the intensity of this past year. Losing a loved one is always hard, and as my close friends know, losing my mother-in-law is particularly difficult considering she birthed and raised the woman who is my most treasured gift and my crowning glory. Only a few short years ago, I lost the last of my grandparents and now, for my children to lose one of theirs, it has been very hard to grieve this loss.

I don't usually crack the pages of this site apart to let folks in. I'm very private and I don't volunteer information to just anyone. Nonetheless, I am forced to admit that these last few months have been hard, even without considering the grief.

Photo: SDRandCo
My condition is very difficult to predict. One of the few telltale signs that I've been able to understand as an indicator of my future condition is the weather. Because my condition is in part arthritis-related, any weather system that approaches my location will have an adverse affect on my condition. Likewise, eating certain foods seems to produce an adverse response in my body. This response aggravates the symptoms of my condition. For example, a rare departure from my diet would be to eat pizza, which I did on Sunday. Eating three pieces of the standard, hand-tossed, two topping pizza has produced widespread pain, inflammation, and fatigue. Not my favorite aperitif!

What are the holidays known for? We sing, in part, about the weather, and we talk about the food. Can you imagine what a minefield Christmas it is to me and my family? Therefore, it shouldn't come as any surprise why I might take off the month of December. I hope you can forgive me my absence, and let's do everything we can to have a great 2015!◊

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blue Flags Save Lives

Photo: HemiAdda2d
Thanks for your patience. There is a reason CR has sat idle for the last few weeks. In railroading, a locomotive or track that is blue flagged may not be moved or moved upon for any reason for the protection of workmen who are often under or between cars. In other words, blue flags mean that someone may be injured or killed if the equipment or connected cars are moved. Violation of a blue flag will often result in a suspension or a Trump-like dismissal. It may sound draconian, but rules are often written after someone has died for want of a common sense protection found in such rules. A clear, layman's explanation can be found in Blue Flags, an article by Charles H. Bogart, published by Trains magazine.

Ed: Regular readers of CR may wish to read further.

In May, I found myself in the position where I decided to blue flag Colorado Railroads. If I hadn't relieved myself of this responsibility (yes, it's not just a joy), I would have had a hard time balancing needs. The consequences wouldn't have been life and limb, but since I tend to sacrifice the important for the sake of the urgent on occasion, I wanted to avoid the hazard altogether because it was one of those situations where those kinds of mistakes are amplified.

Photo: Roger Durfee
At that time, someone in my extended family learned they had a terminal illness. Days ago, that person took their last breath. This person was a great encouragement to me and always showed support and kindness in everything they've said or done for me and my wife and kids. The last 5 weeks in particular have been tough because nature of the illness robbed us of communication with each other.

Now that this person has crossed into eternal life with Jesus, the wounding is complete and the healing can begin in me and mine. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my family as we set about finding "the new normal" for us and resume what we can when we can. For now, the blue flag is about to come off the blog and we can resume the wonder that is Colorado Railroads together!◊

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Denver: The Garden With No Gate

For Mother's Day 2014, a poem by Susie Kerin, Colorado writer from the early 20th century.

The Garden

Near the mountains is a lovely garden,
Denver beauteous, haven of the West ;
Through her welcome arch the tired tourist
Finds an oasis of peace and rest.

In this garden there is always sunshine,
Happiness, good will, and blessings rare ;
Rising in a cloud of benediction
To descend in fragrance through the air.

May all those who wander through this garden
Breathe this air from yonder snow capped crest,
And enjoy each happy, restful hour
As the sun sinks in the golden west.

Susie Kerin
1870 - 1952

The Welcome Arch as portrayed in Susie Kerin's book on the page opposite the poem above. The Welcome Arch stood at 17th & Wynkoop streets in front of Denver Union Station greeting tourist and traveler upon their arrival.

Editor's Note: Typeset as appears in the original publication Poems of Sunny Colorado published in 1922. Special thanks to Larry Lootsteen and Lisa Flynn for doing the research and performance with Bono during U2's 360 Tour stop in Denver in 2011, which inspired this post.◊

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Off-Rails: You Can Work Satellite Search And Rescue For Missing Airliner

Longmont, Colorado-based Digital Globe is using "crowd sourcing" to aid in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 by putting digital satellite photographs taken after the flight online. The site then allows any pair of eyes, any at all, to search the images and tag items that look like what a search and rescue team looks for, including wreckage, life rafts, oil slicks or anything "unusual" that could point to what happened to the aircraft lost last weekend. Those who can look with their eyes and click with their fingers are encouraged to help with this effort. Even if nothing comes of it, it's more productive for our hearts than clicking our tongues and shaking our heads at the tragedy. Numbered among the missing is Texan Phillip Wood and two American children, ages 4 and 2.
Tomnod logo -

The instructions there are simple:
  1. Use the map to explore the area
  2. Look for the objects listed on the left
  3. When you find something, select the icon, then click the map to drop a tag

Screenshot of site

Give it a shot. It's not hard. The worst that you can do is point out a whale or a refraction of water to someone else. At best, you can point something out that leads to survivors making it home. Concerned companies like Digital Globe are among the reasons I'm proud to live in Colorado.
cr - Colorado Railroads

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Could I-25's Woes Be Improved By 2014?

Yes, says a Colorado Springs' Independent article about CDOT's desire to improve the I-25 corridor with a multimodal approach.

According to the article, since the demise of FREX last year under Colorado Springs' Mayor Steve Bach, the traffic on I-25 has gone from so-so to so-not-moving. Could CDOT assist with a regional solution? Under 2009's FASTER legislation, yes it can, but only if funding and state supporters jump on board.

Lest we believe CDOT's rail proponents exclusively, a northern Colorado CDOT official's gripe about fixing roads before rail can be heard clear from Fort Collins. Nevermind the subject's withering truck traffic load.

Thanks to the Colorado Rail Passenger Association for these links.◊

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saving Your Life

As someone who lives with his chronic illnesses and the disabilities that come with them, I can safely say that I've had my own experiences with depression. I have at least once in my adult life seriously contemplated taking a shortcut to heaven. Thank God, I never acted on those thoughts, and my children and wife are glad to have a father and husband.

I won't bang anyone over the head with it, but I know it's worth stating that suicide is a spiritual as well as psychological struggle. My own grandfather struggled with his father's suicide, and both he and my father also had their moments. If you're having yours, wait!

I won't blow bubbles and unicorns on your reality, but I can honestly say that if I had acted on my own impulse to die, I would have missed some awesome moments that I could never have anticipated. It's worth sticking around, because it will get better. Things will change and some will change for the better. But don't just take my word for it. There are others who will need you. All it takes is the courage to hold on one more minute, one more hour, one more day. Hang on!

In memory of Alex Frye.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You, Veterans

Today is 11/11/11. At the 11th hour on November 11th, 1918 hostilities were concluded in the Great War, World War I. In March 1917, the United States committed itself to the war when the Zimmerman Note was intercepted and made public. As many as 9 Million combatants died. Today, it's almost a footnote, which troubles this historian.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Skitching In Silverton

So, it's the day after Christmas. The presents are all open and you're getting through the annual post-Christmas hangover. Depending on your weather, it could be 70 degrees and gorgeous or 20 below, gray and ugly! If that's your lot this Sunday, what to do? If you've got a model layout to work on and materials to use, you're all set. If modeling's not your thing, there's always DVDs and YouTube.