As a way to remember and honor the legacy of their father, Chad and Shane reserved Chris' regular seat in church at his funeral. They also opened the hymnal to His Eye is On the Sparrow, which Chris requested be played at his funeral.
|Reserving their dad's regular spot in church|
|His Eye is on the Sparrow|
They wanted to pay a special final tribute to their dad and his fight of "cancer on two wheels." As Chris fought over the years, his body was less able to handle riding his bike, even though he desperately wanted to continue. Eventually, his bike stood in the garage, unused. Their desire was that their dad, though absent in body, would be able to roll out with them for one last ride. So exactly one week after he passed, down to the minute (Saturday at 7 a.m. and his usual ride time), Chad and Shane rolled for a lap around the neighborhood with his bike, each carrying one of his favorite jerseys.
Shane then had the honor of taking Chris’ bike on a proper ride to Lake Lavon, a common route for the three of them. They recognized that though cancer took his body, their dad lives on in spirit and in the legacy he passed on to them. Chris would have really enjoyed the beautiful morning ride with his boys.
|Shane is on Chris' bike|
Shane finished his front pocket wallet/money clip project that I mentioned previously in the “Do Not Worry” blog. He totally scrapped his original design planned. The front has Shane's own initials "CSH." He said, “This was not only a chance for me to try something new, but also a chance to remember my dad. This was the first piece of leather I've tooled since he passed away last month. My dad was the one who got me started with leather work years ago and taught me as much as he could. Over this last year as I began to develop my abilities more and sell work, I always went to him to get his opinion. It will be very difficult moving forward not being able to do that anymore. The design on the front is my homage to the traditional western style he always used. The flower in the bottom right is a small part of the design on last wallet he started, which remains unfinished. The reverse is completely dedicated to his memory, including his favorite passage from the Bible, and his signature. Photo credit goes to Chad Haga, who is now learning my dad's other passion for photography.”
Shane and I drove to Colorado last week to visit with Chad and his fiancée Kate before Chad heads back to Europe for the last 3 months of his race season. Since our favorite family vacation spot was just an hour away, we drove to the Christian family dude ranch in Estes Park, called Wind River Ranch. We visited there 3 different summers when the boys were younger. The boys had rated it a perfect “10” while they rated Disney World only a “7.” We all found this to be a place to seek and find God and enjoy family time in a relaxed Christian atmosphere.
|Wind River Ranch, A Christian Family Guest Ranch|
|"Be Still and Know That I Am God" Psalm 46:10|
|View during daily Bible study|
After visiting with the Director and long-time friend Don McIntyre and his wife over a delicious lunch of grilled hamburgers and all the fixin’s, Don took us on a tour of the ranch to see all the changes and improvements that had taken place since the last time we were there 11 years ago.
|Shane, Don, and Chad - 2001|
|Chad, Don, and Shane - 2016|
|Chad, DeLayne, Shane|
In 2013, there was a big mudslide that hit the area. This was during the time of massive rainfall, and apparently the ground couldn’t handle all the rain, and a natural underground water geyser formed and sent a 22-foot wall of water and mud down the mountain, directly toward the Wind River Ranch cabins, where many church pastors and their wives were staying for a conference. Don pointed out where Gorilla Rock diverted the mudslide around most of the camp on either side, as well as where all the limbs on the trees were broken off up to 22-feet high. The fact that no one was injured at WRR is a miracle in itself. He said that a Taoist Temple had been planned to be built on the other side of the mountain, but that area was destroyed by the mudslide and the temple has never been built. (God meant what He said in the Ten Commandments.)
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
The natural disaster changed the landscape and has helped to provide a natural fire break due to the mudslide. They will now be able to have tiered ponds with the new natural reservoirs formed that will provide additional fire breaks in the event of forest fires. God works His miracles in mysterious ways.
Ranch Foreman Nick Herold took his gun and thought he would have to put down all 54 horses in the corral due to injuries from the mudslide, but when he arrived to the area, every single one was safe, even though many were up to their withers in water. The brand new fence that had been built had been strong enough to stop the debris from inundating the corral. Don explained that they had built a trench for the zip line and the displaced dirt formed a blockade and an island for the horses to stand on until they could be rescued.
After our tour, we had a chance to ride horses, including one very special horse named “Haga,” which was named in honor of Chris in 2010 after his lung cancer diagnosis. Yes, "Haga" survived the mudslide! Shane is pictured riding “Haga” (the black horse).
Then we took a hike to explore the area, and Chad got to experiment with his dad’s camera, taking photos that Chris would have taken, including close-up photos of bear claw marks on the trees and pretty flowers.
|bear claw marks|
To read more about the mudslide and its impact on the Wind River Ranch ministry, go to: