Life Verse:

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mountain Creek Hike 7/27/2009

Hike: Mountain Creek, Mon. 7/27/2009, 17:25-18:20
Distance: 2.5 miles   Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Muggy.  Temp in mid to upper 80's.  Partly cloudy, a few strato-cumulus clouds in area but no rain yet.  No wind - absolutely still in the forest.
Thoughts/Observations:
Park was deserted this late in the afternoon (at least by humans).  Many gray squirrels scampering about on the forest floor and jumping into the trees.  The ubiquitous passerines were in evidence as I was serenaded with myriad bird-songs throughout the hike.  It was easy to hear the different bird songs due to the stillness -- no wind and little traffic noise to interfere.  Hiked the nature trail and the field areas since I wore short pants - did not want to pick up any ticks in the pine uplands (trails there are more overgrown).  Was a very quiet and peaceful hike - Thank YOU, LORD.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Great Expectations (With apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens...)

Psalm 145 (esp. v.15)

 

How much of our lives do we waste as we blindly pursue some vague idea of success or happiness?  How much time and energy do we expend in pursuit of some misty, shadowy dream or someone else's conception of what true happiness looks like?  Why are we determined to "do it our way" when GOD has already shown us the real way?  Is it that we do not believe HIM?  Is it that we think we truly know a better path?  Are we that na├»ve and foolish?  Are we looking expectantly toward tomorrow because we have a trust in GOD or are we fearing what tomorrow may bring?

 

How much better it would be if we would pursue HIM, if we would pursue those things that lead to joy and peace and love rather than waste our lives aimlessly pursing the fleeting shadow of richness or so-called happiness.  We expend great quantities of our life groping for something to feed our souls when GOD has already provided the spiritual sustenance for our eternal spirit.  It seems we go after the spiritual "junk food" rather than the real meat.

 

Just as physical "junk food" leaves us hungry and sick, so life's junk food will leave us spiritually desperate and unsatiated.  We may capture momentary happiness in our pursuit of the world, but we will discover (unfortunately many times late in life) that happiness is not synonymous with joy or peace or true love.  "Godliness with contentment is great gain" we are told in 1 Tim. 6:6.  How well we would do if we listened and obeyed.



Monday, July 13, 2009

Hiking Paul M. Grist SP Jul-11-2009

Hike: Grist State Park, Selma, AL  Saturday, July 11, 2009, 17:00-18:15CDT
Distance: 3.2 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Conditions: Partly cloudy, mid 80's, light breeze, humid.
Thoughts/Observations:

Kathy, Glenn, and I made a day at Grist.  We grilled burgers, fished, kayaked, and I hiked a little starting at the trailhead by the lower picnic pavilion.

They have added to the trails here!  Section turned roughly eastward in bottom-land and wound across a ridge-line.  Wide trail, largely cleared - much better maintained than last time I hike here.  Trail blaze is a white horizontal band.  I was pressed for time during my hike as the park closes at 7pm and I did not realize they had added more trails.  These trails will require more exploration.  Note to self to always take SPoT with me (even on hikes I think I know well) and a map.  I did have compass and emerg kit.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Great Western Expedition - Epilogue

Friday, July 03,2009 (Epilogue)

 

            Made it to Prattville about 3:00am this morning after logging 892 miles of driving from St. Joseph, MO!  It was so good to see the Alabama the Beautiful sign on US78 and even better to see the Prattville exit off I-65 later.

 

            Diane and the "puppies" were glad to see us.  It was close to 4am by the time any of us got to bed.  Needless to say I slept a little later than usual.  Now we still have to clean out the popup camper and unpack all the clothes and gear.

 

            The trip was certainly worth all of the driving time and effort.  GOD used this time to teach us some important lessons and some things I am still processing.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone Sunday and my family is coming up for a visit as well! 

 

            Listed below are my thoughts about the accomplishments and items left to-do from our Great Western Expedtion-2009:

 

Accomplishments:

o       Very good for my walk of fellowship with GOD. 

o       Learned some important spiritual lessons. (e.g. Demonstration of GOD's goodness and faithful care!)

o       Learned more about myself.

o       Good for Kathy and my relationship.

o       Good for Diane – some important lessons for her on managing a household (which she did very well).

o       Good for Crestview Church (several individuals filled in for me on Wed. nights and did a great job).

o       Good rest for me away from pressing responsibilities.

o       Saw and experienced some wonderful places (places that are on my "Life List").

o       Learned a great deal about use of our popup camper.

o       Learned that I have a lot to learn about fly-fishing.

 

Left-to-do:

o       Yosemite NP

o       Better exploration of Badlands

o       Pacific Northwest

o       Coastal Redwoods NP

o       San Diego Zoo

o       Joshua Tree NP

o       Canyonlands NP

o       Bryce Canyon NP

o       Monument Valley Navajo Nation Park

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

GWE - Day 23 & 24




Tuesday, June 30, 2009 (Day 23)

John 12 is my source for morning devotional this morning. “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” John 12:35 (NKJV) May we not remain blinded in our pursuit of worldliness and self-centeredness, but rather may we truly see the Light. Kathy recounted to me a conversation she heard from a man a couple of weeks ago. The man was bragging to some of his friends that he “saw” the Grand Canyon in 45 minutes. This is absurd. No one can truly take in all that the Grand Canyon has to offer in a mere 45 minutes. This is a perfect example of seeing but not truly seeing. As we walk through life, it is easy to become distracted and not really see what HE has for us. I pray we will turn from this blindness and turn to the ONE who will heal our blindness – who will make us truly see. As I have absorbed all of the wonders of GOD in HIS creation these twenty-three days, I wonder how many people drive by these magnificent testimonies to the power and majesty of GOD and never give HIM a thought. I suspect the numbers are great. May GOD revive HIS church.


Yesterday was a driving day. We traveled through Yellowstone NP exiting the east entrance station and then traversed the Big Horn Basin and Big Horn Mountains to Gillette, WY to spend the night. We plan to see Devil’s Tower and Mt. Rushmore today on our continued travels toward home.


The Big Horn Mountains were awesome! I realize that is an overused word, but it adequately describes the sight. The snow capped peaks of Loaf Mountain filled our windshields on more than one occasion as we crested the pass at over 9600 feet and began our long descent. The sight literally moved Kathy to tears as we stopped at one overlook to soak in the GOD’s majesty reflected just a little in this impressive sight. The white-streaked peaks of Loaf Mountain rose high before us as the verdant green of Lodgepole Pines carpeted the valley before us. We literally drove through the clouds at one point!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009 (Day 24)

"Do you know what I have done to you? John 13:12 (NKJV) JESUS said this to HIS disciples. What if HE asked you and me this same question today? Do we really know what HE has done to us and for us? Do we give it any consideration at all? I pray that I, that we, never loose sight of the depth of sacrifice GOD has made for each of us. The measure of HIS love is boundless. Are we really cognizant of how much GOD loves us and how much HE does for us every day? It almost boggles my mind as I consider HIS love and protection over Kathy and me these last 24 days. We have accumulated almost 6,000 miles on the Explorer and HE has seen us through every minute. We have seen sights that astound, that bring tears to your eyes, that make you consider eternal matters – and HE was in each one. Yes, GOD cares and watches over us just as HE said. How about you? Do you know what JESUS has done to you, for you?


Yesterday was an eventful day. Devil’s Tower National Monument, or as the Sioux would say Mateo Tipila (Grizzly Teepee), is the oldest national monument. How great it was to visit our nation’s oldest national park (Yellowstone) and now its first national monument. Seeing the igneous buttress rise abruptly from the sandstone valley floor is astonishing. It is easy to see how the Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes considered this area special or sacred. The long pillars of stone rising up to the sky do look like claw scratches in the stone. The various Indian tribes ascribed these to a giant grizzly. From the top crags of the obelisk one can see dove, turkey vulture, kestrel, and other birds soar. Patches of yellow-green lichen can be observed up the sides and all the way to the top. Tenacious plants of various kinds dot the tower’s sides. The top is rounded, not flat, and is said to be inhabited by various birds, small mammals, and some reptiles. (That would be a long climb for a little squirrel or snake.) The Tower Trail, which runs around the base of Devil’s Tower, affords an excellent view up to the tower from all angles and provided a hike of about 2 miles.


As we prepared to leave the tower, we had a frustrating revelation – the battery on the Explorer would not crank the truck. Thankfully the National Park Service provided some assistance. A park ranger let me jump off from this (brand new) Ford Expedition. He also gave me directions to the nearest auto parts store. (Thank YOU, LORD, again for YOUR protection.) After getting a new batter and assisting with the economic growth of Sundance, WY, we were on our way to Mt. Rushmore.


Mount Rushmore is stunning. When you look at these granite statues carved out of the Black Hills and consider the length of time required as well as the number of people involved, you cannot help but feel privileged to be an American. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln almost come alive as you gaze at them with binoculars. Even the eyes have depth and shadow that makes them appear more than stone.


The weather did not cooperate with us at Mt. Rushmore as a thundershower rolled over the Black Hills, complete with lightning and cold rain. This prevented me from hiking the Presidential Trail and getting close-up pictures of the monument as well as viewing the local flora and fauna. Kathy and I did get to view some interesting exhibits and a movie on the sculpting of the mountain. After the storm cleared, we took more pictures of the mountain before heading eastward. Unfortunately it was getting late and too dark to drive through the Badlands National Park.


We stopped for the night in Wall, SD. We are looking forward to getting home and seeing everyone. We love and miss you. I have so much I want to share with all of you.