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Lou Dean on Growing Closer to God in the Great Outdoors

After moving from Oklahoma to Colorado, she experienced spiritual growth while spending time alone in the high desert.

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Hi Guideposts. My name is Lou Dean. I’m an author. I live in Northwest Colorado on an acre.

I came to Colorado from Oklahoma. That’s why the accent; I haven’t lost that. My son had asthma and we ended up coming here because of the high, dry climate. When I first got here, it looked so barren. There was sage brush and pinion pine. And Oklahoma’s green and it has wheat fields and crops. And at first I thought, I’m just not going to like it here. It was a bad attitude.

The attitude changed when my son got better. His asthma improved greatly within six months, so we were home. I began to explore, little at a time. In between working and raising Scott, I would get out in the hills. It’s such a beautiful, peaceful place and thousands of acres of public lands.

Almost every day, I come and I walk and I pray. I count my blessings. And so I begin to experiment, I guess you would say, with getting close to God out here. And it has become my life. I find all kinds of beautiful things like Indian overhangs, pictographs, dinosaur bones. In the trees, oftentimes the dead pinion, there are branches that actually are like natural sculptures.

I’ve learned to appreciate everything about this country. I often quote a scripture when I begin to hike. One of my favorites is Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will open.” I visualize myself just opening up to God.

I’m sure that people in the city, if they love the city as much as I love this country, can find ways to connect outside with God. Once you strive to be close to God and find that peace, there are so many ways to connect. But I do think that God is very pleased when we’re trying to communicate. It doesn’t matter whether it’s out here. This is my style but your style is probably in a cathedral.

There are beautiful churches. Church is a wonderful family of people that give support. So wherever you are, I think God is pleased when you are putting an effort into just connecting. I have a line from a song I wrote. “Lord, help me to reach down deep within and find the peace that only you can give.”

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