Monday, July 31, 2017

THE STORY

Yes--I am moving back home--back to Ruston, Louisiana after four plus years here in Fort Worth.  Why? you might ask.  As simply as I can state it, Ruston is home--and I have missed it greatly.  It is time--to go back.



Moving here four years ago, I was convinced it was God's intent and direction that I move.  I still stand by those words.  Pardon my slight detour but I have seen quite the discussion lately about God speaking to us.  I have never heard God's audible voice, BUT have known God to speak to me in other ways quite often.  Perhaps if we couched our comments with a more appropriate "nudging of the Holy Spirit", it would not create so much controversy.  I fail to see the difference--for after all is not the Holy Spirit part of the divine Triune Godhead?  Sorry--I will leave this pig trail and get back to the subject.




The move here has allowed me time to lick my wounds--deal with my grief--and come to peace with the place I found myself in life.  I have spent a great deal of time mulling--contemplating--learning who I am and have also been rewarded with a deeper understanding of the more important--Who God is.  I have not been disappointed with my findings.    It has been a rewarding time of great personal growth and a deeper understanding of how I fit in to the grand scheme of the universe.  God has richly used this time away.




As an added bonus, I have been close--physically and emotionally to my family.  I have a bond with the four littlest grands that has come from being involved in their day to day lives.  Having moved just after the third was born, I have had the joy of assisting in getting them through those busy baby years.   The baby is now 2 1/2---the brothers are 8, 6, and 4.  They do not need me in the intense manner they did when they were infants and toddlers.  Well on their way to independence, their mom and dad have it all under control.




The road back to Ruston has been paved with the renewal of life long friendships in the past few months.  In June, I purposefully went back to Ruston for an extended month long visit with the express purpose of deciding where I needed to spend the remaining years.  I was not there a week before it was crystal clear what had been missing in my life.  The fellowship and community I had experienced most of my life in Ruston was quickly re-established.  I love my family--but they all have lives of their own and are not responsible for my happiness.  It is up to me--to determine where my life will be the fullest and I will be most effective in ministry opportunities.  Ruston is the clear choice.




There is not one disparaging thing I can say about Fort Worth.  I have met some really lovely friends here.  It is a grand city and I have loved having the opportunity to experience living in the city.  Perhaps you cannot teach an old dog new tricks--but I am obviously a small town girl homesick for the small town life enjoyed for 64 years.  The decision was made and the wheels put into motion to move back to Louisiana by the mid point of my June stay.  

The story of the buying and selling of homes will come tomorrow.  Let me give you a little tease---it has God written all over it!   For now--I am down to a less than a month and I will once again officially be a Louisianian.  I am looking forward with great anticipation to what God has in store for me in Ruston!


By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.
Proverbs 24:3-4

Sunday, July 30, 2017

GREATNESS

WE CANNOT

BEGIN

TO 

DESCRIBE

HIS

GREATNESS



SABBATH BLESSINGS,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Friday, July 28, 2017

ALL GOOD THINGS



All good things must come to an end and this year's adventure is no exception.  We begin our day early retracing our steps back to the Spokane airport.

We stopped in Coeur d'Alene for breakfast--anything covered in huckleberries was the order for the day.  Then a little retail therapy for those who were suffering from withdrawal.  Some of the group LOVE to shop!


 

One more trip to the cherry orchard so freshly picked cherries could be taken home.



A stop for lunch/dinner BBQ--NO it is NOT as good as in the South!

We finally arrive at my house after 2 AM---let NO MAN ever accuse us of not making every minute of every day count!  I left my house a week ago at 3:45 AM!

The beauty of traveling with a group of women--is certainly their good company--but ALSO it is MUCH less expensive to travel in a group.  We share accommodations, car rental, and gasoline.  We have all traveled together for a long time now--and have all the kinks worked out!  What a blessing to see the sights with this great group of friends!

A friend loves at all times
Proverbs 17:7

Thursday, July 27, 2017

HEROES




The grands are all caught up in fictional heroes.  We have so glamorized super heroes and cartoon world that we miss telling them the stories of true heroes.  Men and women all around who have done heroic deeds--all in a day's work.

The last hike commemorates such a hero.  When researching Ed Pulaski, I found one account calling him a reluctant hero.  I prefer to think of him as a man doing his job--and supervising his men---both with his best efforts.  In the GREAT FIRE of 1910, Pulaski managed to lead his team of men to an abandoned mine--known only to him because of his great familiarity with the area.  A huge area was destroyed by wildfires during this two day firestorm with many lives lost.  The entire town of Wallace was ashes when it was all over.  The brave, and yet humble, man saved the life of his men--without regard to the danger he was facing.  He had the stuff that true heroes are made from.

It would seem fitting that our last day to hike would be spent hiking the trail he and his men must have run up--surrounded by deadly fires and with smoke as thick as a pea soup.  A beautiful trail that winds up the mountains to the hidden cave where Pulaski and his men sought refuge.


The skeleton of this towering cypress stands by the trail in silent testimony to the destruction that was wrought.  As I looked at the towering trees and lush green surrounding it, I was reminded of God's work of redemption in the world.



Only the bats live in the cave today and the timbers are but a recreation of what once was there.  Fire leaves little to remember the day of great destruction.

We were unusually quiet on the trail this day.  One could almost hear the cries of panic and the licking of the flames as we trod were those brave men fled for their very lives.  Many survived the seemingly unsurvivable that day---all due to the bravery of one hero.


On a lighter note---we wound through our own mountain trails and braved the hair pin switch backs getting to this place.  Sandra has wonderful memories of eating here while growing up.  My question was HOW IN THE WORLD did anyone ever find this place??  There is NO WAY to describe just how rural this is!  And yet--somehow the locals and the tourists find their way to this watering hole!  I never cease to be amazed!

His disciples answered,
 "But where in this remote place
 can anyone get enough bread to feed them?"


Mark 8:4

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

SHOCK--A DAY OFF!

I still have to stop and think about how to spell- Coeur d'Alene.  

WHERE did this name come from?

The first white people to encounter the Coeur d'Alene's were French trappers and traders. It was one of these Frenchmen who found the tribe to be vastly experienced and skilled at trading, thus the name "Coeur d'Alene,"meaning "heart of the awl." The nickname stuck.

Still have to think-even after writing it over and over!

You will be surprised--perhaps shocked to found out these people I travel with CAN relax!


Babs has family living in Coeur d'Alene.  She had no problem emailing and asking for a lake outing.  It is wonderful to have an obliging family!




Note--the small island in the picture
This is a floating tee for the golf resort.

We were given the royal treatment and grand tour by sister in law- Sue and nephew- Brent and Ginny.  Who would believe this beautiful sun bathed lake freezes over and is surrounded by snow in the winter!



The wind was up and the lake was choppy--so we headed to one of the connecting rivers.  Thank goodness for wind protection-- my stomach does NOT like to rock and roll!



















We spent an enjoyable and relaxing day---and OH YES---we might have eaten at the beautiful Coeur d'Alene resort.


AND--we needed the rest and nourishment to prepare to hit the hiking trail AGAIN tomorrow!





Psalms 65:8

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

SOMETIMES BETTER SENSE PREVAILS!


A couple of days of the trip were taken with riding the Coeur d'Alene biking trail.  Although I HATE missing out--better sense occasionally prevails!  For once I listened to my head and not my "Want To".  This trek was almost 90 miles---NO WAY would I survive that unscathed.  I wanted to be able to walk the remainder of the trip and that much sitting on a bicycle seat would NOT have been wise.


I DID get up and make the official "Trip Photo" and wave Bye-Bye!  NOW--look closely at these bikes.  They are cruisers---NO gears--NO hand brakes---old fashioned HEAVY bicycles.  The first day of the ride was almost 60 miles--on these babies.  MAYBE I WAS SMART!


The entire first day was at a slight down grade and all on a paved trail.  The girls did tell me--the bikes were so heavy they had to peddle every step of the way---NO COASTING like you would on a lighter bike.  



They spent the night in Harrison and rode to the end of the trail-Plummer and back to Harrison the next day.  The shuttle only picks you up in Harrison.  This added another 16 miles to the trek.  This day there was an upgrade coming back--NOT SO EASY.  The good news, they found better bikes to rent for the last section of the journey--GEARS-HANDBRAKES--the real deal!


Three of the group made it all the way to the end.  Susan went back early to get a shower before riding back in the shuttle---my kind of girl!

SO sometimes---when you are not in tip top shape--you miss out!  HEY SOMEBODY had to hold the home fort down!

For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
Proverbs 2:6

Monday, July 24, 2017

CHERRY PICKING

The phrase, "Cherry Picking" denotes culling through items to select the best for oneself.  In the case of our Idaho trip, it can be interpreted literally--we went cherry picking the first day upon arrival and the last day upon leaving.



We hit cherry season perfectly!  I am not much of a cherry eater, but picked with the girls and added to their buckets.  We walked away the first trip with each of the four having in excess of 5 pounds.  They might could be accused of being cherry gluttons before the trip was over.



I might have been persuaded to take a bite of this fresh cherry pie a la mode after our trip to the orchard.





While on the hiking trail, we noticed the huckleberries were just beginning to ripen.  These are a favorite of the local bears.  These berries do not grow in clusters, but individually--it's beyond me how a bear makes a meal off this slim pickings!



BUT there is definite evidence of their love affair with this tart berry.



YES--this is bear scat--FULL of undigested berries.



Personally I prefer mine in a piping hot cobbler covered with ice cream



I missed the treat of picking raspberries along the bike trail.  The story of that ride is coming.



Then there was the last day and picking cherries to carry home.  They all ended up with close to 10 pounds before that session ended!  There might have been an almost "Incident" when someone was crushing the cherries in the overhead on the airplane.  I've seen babies not get as careful treatment as these girls gave their cherries on the L O N G trek home.



When we returned home, Sandra discovered cherries were $4.50 per pound here---as opposed to the just over a dollar in the orchard.  Perhaps their efforts were NOT in vain.

We had a Berry Good time while in Idaho!


 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.
 And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.
Genesis 9:3

Sunday, July 23, 2017

IT ALL MATTERS

EVERYTHING MATTERS

THANKING GOD

FOR GRACE

AND USING IT ALL

TO SHOW ME 

WHO

HE 

IS



SABBATH BLESSINGS,

DEAR FRIENDS

Saturday, July 22, 2017

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

THE STACK

OF BOXES



IS

GROWING


AND THE

LIST

LENGTHENS


I'VE SEEN

GOD

ALL OVER IT

ALREADY!


LIVING OUT OF BOXES
HERE IN THE HOOD

Friday, July 21, 2017

THE PATH IS NOT EASY


 Looking at the beautiful pictures of our hikes, you probably get the idea the way up the trail is a leisurely stroll through God's greatest grandeur.


His beautiful creation can give you a false sense of serenity and calm marking the path to the top of the mountain.


Not unlike our trek through life, the path can be steep, treacherous, and filled with danger.  Though the trail occasionally evens out--most of the trek is a long way from easy.  A picture can never do justice to how steep the climb can often be.



Nor can you tell how hard and fast our hearts are pounding nor hear the gasping for more oxygen as we trek up and up.



A stroll through an avalanche field is no walk in the park.  It requires slowly picking your next step and always having your eyes peeled on the trail.




Yes that is snow on the opposite side of the lake.

The reward is always at the end of the trail and as we stopped to view the beautiful Stevens Lake, we were once again rewarded for the struggle.  

AND there is the one brave person among us, who meets the challenge of the ice cold lake in order to experience the full adventure.



For you see--the easy path is not always the best path.  Those who are brave enough and wise enough to chose the right path are rewarded with the great blessing of God's perfect path, when they dare to travel the harder road.


Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deutronomy 31:6



Thursday, July 20, 2017

GROPING AROUND IN THE DARK

One of our days spent in Northern Idaho consisted of riding bicycles on the Hiawatha trail.  The fact I have only been on a bicycle a couple of times in four years and have not put my rear on a saddle in a year would not deter me from saddling up with the posse.  Don't they say once you know how to ride a bicycle you never forget?



What they failed to tell me was immediately following the start is the first of many tunnels.  It is two miles long.  Now I certainly remembered how to ride a bicycle, BUT riding in a dark and wet tunnel with only a small beam of light MIGHT have pushed my "Nearing Panic" button.  WHAT WAS I THINKING???



This picture from the WWW would have you to believe you could actually see in the tunnel.  THAT WOULD NOT BE THE CASE.  It was pitch black and you could only see the lights pedaling toward you and the dim circle of light created by your LED flashlight.  In this--the longest of all the tunnels, it closely resembled a Broadway Parody of "Three Blind Mice"  --PLUS TWO.  The others quickly pulled ahead of me and I was in the back with only my twilight haze of light to try and avoid all the puddles of water and the the deep troughs of run off on each side.  I was truly groping in the dark and watching for the first glimmer of light that announced I might get out of this dark dungeon alive.  Sadly I determined my Claustrophobia is alive and well.



When we finally emerged in the daylight, I knew I would survive.  We then rode mile upon mile of trestles, switchbacks, and beautiful trails built on an old railroad track bed.  The scenery was breathtaking and the slight downgrade made the entire ride an exhilarating experience.

We began the ride in Montana and rode back to Idaho changing time zones on the way.  There was some confusion about the time for our pick up by the shuttle for the ride back to our car.  We somehow managed to make it with minutes to spare--quite by "blind luck"--pun intended.



We then load our bicycles and ourselves on a bright yellow school bus for the thirty minute ride back to the start.  The most frightening part of the entire adventure was the school bus ride up the hair pin switchbacks getting us back up the mountain.

SURPRISE---YOU HAVE TO RIDE YOUR BICYCLE BACK THROUGH THE TWO MILES OF DARK TUNNEL TO GET TO YOUR VEHICLE AND TURN IN  THE BICYCLES.  Since there is NO Plan B---you must get back on the bicycle and ride back through the pitch black tunnel.  Only thing is the tunnel is now FILLED with a large number of riders, making it even more treacherous.  



SOME of us needed to have to have our rears cleaned up after sloshing through the water and mud filled tunnel.



OH--BUT THE FUN WE HAD!



AND THE SIGHTS WE SAW!



When we relaxed after stumbling through the dark beginning!  Sometimes you have to take the plunge into the unknown and conquer the fear factor, to experience the biggest blessings!


"I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone."
Isaiah 42:16