Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Just Never Know What's Going on Underneath...

A good friend of mine forwarded this to me today... GOD sent me encouragement via e-mail (and it was just what I needed today!). Take a moment to consider the truth here:

The Fern & the Bamboo

One day I decided to quit....I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality.....I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me.... "Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo". He said. "In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit."
He said. "Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle."
He said to me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. Don't compare yourself to others." He said. "The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern, yet, they both make the
forest beautiful."
"Your time will come, "God said to me." You will rise high!"
"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.
"As high as it can?" I questioned.
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."

Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you Happiness.
Bad days give you Experiences.
Both are essential to life.

Keep going...
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going!

GOD is too wise to be mistaken..
GOD is too good to be unkind...
So when you don't understand..
When you don't see HIS plan...
When you can't trace HIS hand...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Deadening Trail with My Brother!

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail - Deadening Trail, Lake Martin, AL 08/25/2007 late afternoon
Conditions: Clear, hot, muggy, T-storm came up
Distance: 2.5 miles
Rating: 4.5/5.0
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult. Some steep sections, pine straw made footing precarious in some areas.
Thoughts: Hiked with Glenn! Did trail in reverse direction. Glenn's first hike since childhood, I guess. I believe he enjoyed it - I know I enjoyed hiking with him. Hope to do more together. Cut the hike a little short due to lightening storm that came up quickly. We got wet before getting back to Jeep. Great views of lake, stone outcroppings, Eye of the Needle, and a fawn that almost ran into us on the trail! Thank YOU, LORD for all this wonder.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dreamy Draw Trails

Hike: Trail #220 (Nature Trail), Dreamy Draw Recreation Area, Phoenix AZ
Date: 08/16/2007 18:00-19:00
Conditions: Hot, stiff breeze helped cool things off a bit.
Distance: 2 miles
Rating: 4.5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: Greatly enjoyed this mostly easy hike in the Dreamy Draw area. Impressive views of the west side of Piestewa Peak and the plains on this side of the mountain. Saw huge Jack Rabbit near halfway point of the hike. Took many pics of the vistas and a few closeups of cacti. GOD, YOU got me off the trail just in time for darkness. Sunset comes quickly here!

Papago Park

Hike: Papago Park, Elliot Trail, Phoenix, AZ
Date: 08/16/2007 11:00-12:00
Conditions: Very hot ~ 110F
Distance: 2 miles
Rating: 4.5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: First 0.5 miles on paved (black asphalt). Rest of trail is natural surface. Well marked for this area and easily found. Very nice park. Red buttes offer a unique experience. They are pock-marked with small indentions - like little caves (shallow). Area is quite open - one can see for great distances. Would be impossible to get lost. Also went to the zoo ($14). Well maintained. Lots of animals were in the shade - don't blame them. Stopped by Desert Botanical Gardens on way out ($10). Well organized. Impressive collection of desert flora from around the world. Enjoyed the walk through the gardens as best I could. It was blazing hot and I was out of water. I bought a can of Fresca in the vending area and downed it in just a couple of minutes. Last time I remember drinking a Fresca was when I almost overheated at Summer band camp (that was just a few years ago).

Superstition Wilderness

Hike: Nature Walk, Lost Dutchman State Park, Superstition Wilderness, Apache Junction, AZ
Date: 8/15/2007 19:00-19:30
Conditions: Trail/Nature display area is at entrance to Park. Very well maintained, wide, level trail through desert flora. Major flora identified by pylons and plaques.
Distance: 0.5 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Very easy; difficulty was getting there in the evening rush hour traffic of Phoenix!
Thoughts: Took a lot longer to get here than I thought. Traffic was horrible. Trip was worth it! Didn't have time to hike the trail I had planned, but YOU had something better in mind, LORD. The experience of the sunset over the Superstition ridgeline and the wide open Sonoran landscape really touched my spirit. At the same time, I was calmed and excited. Doesn't make sense - but it is an accurate description. Praise YOUR name, O GOD.

South Mountain Park Phoenix, AZ

Hike: Holbert Trail, South Mountain Park, Phoenix, AZ
Date: 8/14/2007
Conditions: Hi today of 105F. 18:00-19:00
Distance: 2
Rating: 4
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: Great views, trail markers much better here than at Piestewa Peak but still lacks. Some steep and rocky sections. met 4 people on this trail into a box canyon. Wonderful vistas of Phoenix and Piewstewa Peak in the distance. O LORD, my GOD, how great THOU art. Help me to hear and learn all that YOU have for me. What truths are hidden here?

Piestewa Peak Freedom Trail

Hike: Freedom Trail, Piestewa Peak, Phoenix Mountain Preserve
Date: 8/13/2007
Conditions: Blistering hot during the day. Highs up to 112F or more. Had to hike much later than I would normally due to heat.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Rating: 4
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Thoughts: Darkness caught me on the mountain side (which I expected). Flashlights worked well. Problem was the trails are not clearly marked (especially for night hiking) and many gravel washes look like the trail at night. Near the end of the trail, I took a wrong turn on an unsigned trail. Came out on 23rd Street in a residential area instead of the Preserve parking area. (Was not expecting that and had no neighborhood or roadmap with me.) I inquired at a home about directions back to park and the owner, Herbert Weisman, insisted on driving me back. Was about a mile away from park. LORD GOD, I love and worship YOU. This country is harsh and hot, but YOU provide in the midst of difficulty! YOU have always proven YOURSELF loving, protecting, and providing for me. I praise YOUR name.

Grand Canyon

Hike: Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Trail and Rim Trail
Date: 8/12/2007
Conditions: Cool in morning. Sunny and warm until after lunch, then hot. T-storms in late afternoon on east end of canyon.
Distance: Bright Angel Trail - 4 miles // Rim Trail - 3 miles
Rating: 5/5 (What else could it be?)
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous (Bright Angel Trail) / Easy to Moderate (Rim Trail)
Thoughts: One of my Life To Do List items! This was an indescribable experience. It is very difficult to put in writing what one experiences when looking at the Grand Canyon. I am impressed with the beauty, power, and timelessness of the canyon. One is overpowered by the magnificence of it all. My thoughts go the the CREATOR of this masterpiece - to praise and glorify YOU, LORD GOD. And to thank YOU for making such as this for me! I am also thankful that YOU turned me around at the 2 mile point of Bright Angel Trail - it was difficult enough from that point! Even carrying lots of water, I think I was not drinking enough.
The views from all areas of the canyon are simply awe-inspiring. I was also impressed and pleased to see the variety and number of wildlife on the rim and inner canyon. Birds (some gorgeous song birds), squirrels, chipmunks, and small lizards wee in great abundance.
"O GOD, YOU are more awesome than YOUR holy places. The GOD of Israel is HE who gives strength and power to HIS people. Blessed be GOD!" (Psalm 68:35)

Nature Trail #304 Hike

Hike: Phoenix Mountain Preserve Nature Trail #304
Date: 8/11/2007
Conditions: Very hot - even in the shadow of the mountains. 18:00-19:00
Distance: 1.5 miles
Rating: 4
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: Trails everywhere in this park. Not as well marked as they could be. Many birds (flying as well as ground birds) and lots of small lizards present. Park offers some impressive views. A warm up hike on my arrival day in Phoenix. This peak is not far from my Hilton. Found that the dry desert heat is still hot! Hydration is extremely important.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Arizona Trip!

I am excited about my Arizona trip this coming week. My plans are to pack just as much hiking and getting outdoors in this Honeywell Training week as is possible. I am especially excited about spending the day at the Grand Canyon on Sunday, one of my "Life To Do List" items. After talking to people who have been there and looking at countless pictures and maps, I am anticipating the event even more. Intellectually, I know what to expect; but I am sure my mind is not prepared for the sights I will see. There is no substitute for personal experience.

I pray that GOD will work in my heart and spirit in a special way during this week. Some time away from the daily stresses and grind of work will be a welcomed relief. Hopefully, my mind, body, and spirit will be refreshed and energized by this coming week.

I will miss my family and my faith family very much, but I will carry everyone in my heart into the Grand Canyon, the Superstition Wilderness, and other areas I plan to visit! Wish everyone could go with me.

About through with all my packing... picked up an additional SD Card and batteries for the digital camera this morning. Plan to attend Crystal's Radiology School Graduation tonight and then recheck everything for an early Delta flight tomorrow from Dannelly International Airport!