Saturday, August 31, 2013

READJUST

Which character tells the story? That's a decision a writer must make. The reader will know the  point of view character's thoughts, words, and actions. Everything filters through that character's way of looking at the happenings. Conflict comes into the story due to the fact that other characters have different "points of view."

Is that not true in marriages or friendships? Through many years of marriage, I'm still amazed that my husband and I look at things from opposite angles. If I take one route to church, Charles will take another. If I assume he will do one thing, he instead does something I would've never dreamed. God made no two persons alike, but the old saying is true. "Opposites do attract."

Never was this fact more evident than on our recent vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
Our lunch site looking over the Grand Teton Mountains. Gorgeous.
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By the first day, I suspected a problem. By the second day, we had all-out war. By the third day, we faced a period of readjustment.

We left Wichita Falls, Texas and spent the first night in Raton, New Mexico.

 I believed our trip was open-ended. We would strive to get to Yellowstone the quicker route, taking about three and one half days. We would stay at Yellowstone six days, but then we would go or stay as we pleased. I didn't expect a specified day of return. After all, isn't that the joy of being retired, or in Charles' case, semi-retired?

Upon further discussion, I learned that Charles had given his office a certain day that he would return. That date hurried us back as quickly as we had gone.

The battle was on.

Who would win?

In a relationship, only compromise can keep the peace, so we both needed to readjust our plans. Charles extended the dates and planned a new route home that would take us to new scenery. I gave up my idea of "come back when we're good and ready," and decided what we could see in the length of time we could be gone.

That period where both Charles and I readjusted our plans got me to thinking. That's how it is with us and God sometimes. We plan our day or our lives. God throw a curveball into our set agenda, our scheme, our schedule. The only move we have is whether we'll fight His will, or readjust?


I leave you with my favorite verse in the Bible.

 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
                                       Romans 8:28

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THIRSTY, ANYONE?

Fire reeks havoc, right now, in Yosemite National Park, California. The lake watershed for my city of Wichita Falls, Texas is now at 32% capacity, a mere 3 years of water supply. My husband and I recently traveled across north Texas, northeast New Mexico, and east and west Colorado. All three suffer from drought.

Fields and forests lack sparkle. Borders of lakes retreat. Creeks disappear. Trees looked stressed , colorless, and wilting.  Everything is dry and brittle.

Life requires moisture to live, to flourish, to be strong, whether it's plants or people.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
                                                                                                      John: 4:14

Are you thirsty? Are you dry, parched? Or, are you a well of water?

Every day, we see in the news or out our back door evidence that woods and lawns becoming too dry are vulnerable to destruction.

We, also, when we become dry are then vulnerable to ensnarement, temptation, defeat.

Today, I feel the need to refresh my water supply. Lord, send Holy Spirit rain on me and my family.

Thirsty, anyone?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stop and Smell the Pine Trees

Without fear, my husband drives our Dodge Ram hooked to our Cougar travel trailer around narrow mountain trails and through rain storms, but don't get him talking about going through Denver traffic. On our way to Yellowstone, we hit the 6 lane Highway 25 in the middle afternoon, thinking we wouldn't have too much problem at that time. Good advice from a fellow RVer told us to take the middle lane, so we did.

Cars flew by us like a Nascar racetrack. The traffic lasted ages. The road seemed non-ending. Though we knew staying in the middle lane was the wisest course of action, there comes a time when you must stop. My husband inched over to the right lane. The movement resembled closing our eyes and facing a bull head-on, because no one allowed enough room for about 56 feet of rig to pull to the side.  I feel sure God widened a spot for us. We made it, stopped, got back on the track, and survived Denver to go on to our destination.

Mountains to the west of Denver with my husband and my Aurora, Colorado daughter. Notice the pines.


That race track of Denver traffic, not unlike what we encounter when we go through Dallas, reminds me of the fast pace of our life. I stood at the edge of 6 lanes of hurling vehicles and asked, "Where is everyone going so fast?


Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone National Park


Life is short. Most of us move with more speed than a rocket ship on the way to the moon. Thank God for vacations that slow us so we stop and smell the pine trees. Some never take vacations. Some never pause to enjoy life. Some don't stop and smell the roses in their own backyards.

Denver, Colorado is a beautiful city, nestled at the foot of high mountain peaks. The downtown area offers much history to enjoy. Small lakes dot the landscape of the city. To the west,, the area teams with wildlife, pine trees, and unsurpassable beauty. And, even snow in October as you see in my picture above.

If Denver traffic tell us anything, it's that we need to slow down and appreciate what we have. Standing  beside Highway 25 and watching all those fast-moving people reminds me to enjoy the blessings God gives us and when we find ourselves getting too busy, to find a pine tree and inhale.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

WHO'S GOT YOUR BACK?

On Highway 80 between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, God used a rest stop to minister to me about His protection.

Have you  noticed? Life isn't fair. Bad stuff happens.

In a previous church home, my pastor preached a sermon about, "I have your back." Now, in all honesty, that man couldn't always "have my back," because no human is perfect. When life gets a person down, steps on them, and starts kicking, some individuals will fight until their last drop of strength is expended. Others will lay and allow the kicking. Some turn to drugs or alcohol to lessen the pain. None of these options protect us during the rough times.

What does all that have to do with a rest-stop west of Laramie, Wyoming?

The name of the rest-stop is Wagon Hound Rest Stop. We traveled this lonely stretch of highway with no businesses and very little traffic. When you leave Laramie headed west, you travel a long way in wilderness mountain area, so by the time you reach Wagon Hound, the building is a welcome sight. The first thing you notice when you step outside is the blast of wind. Walking is difficult. Hair-dos are impossible. Holding onto your jacket is hard.

The rest stop perches atop one of the mountains with a miles-wide view. I circled the parking lot where I got a man-against-nature feeling. I noticed fences built down the southeastern slope of the mountain. Every few feet held another fence. I stopped to read the posted sign telling the history of the area (which came from a wagon train that passed that way during that period of America's history). The sign also explained that winds whip through that area at up to 70 mph.

Holding the very hair on my head while I read the sign, I noticed that.

In Wyoming's harsh winters,  wildlife could easily starve. God, in His plan to protect the animals, causes the wind to blow the snow into heaps exposing dry land where the animals can scavenge and find food. Men assisted by building fences to stop the blowing snow.

     Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
     And why take thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin:
     And yet, I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these
                                               Matthew 6: 25, 28,29

If God takes care of the wildlife in the mountains, how much more will He take care of you and me?

Only God cam bring victory out of defeat.

Only God can provide when all seems destroyed?

Only God can always "have our backs."

Who has your back?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ask the True Expert

We can't always trust our GPS. The helpful instrument is only as good as the information entered and the updates added. Sometimes, that can be wrong.

When my husband and I headed off for our trip to Yellowstone, our first stop to spend the night was Raton, New Meixco. A friend recommended a small RV park there by the name of Summerlan. We entered the address into our GPS and followed the directions. We came into the town on Highway 87. The sweet, feminine voice of our GPS advised us to turn right in one quarter mile. After that distance, the right turn entered Highway 25.
      Our guide told us to take that first exit and go over the interstate highway.
      "Ah, I said, it must be on the other side of the interstate."
      But, on the other side was other businesses, and no RVs. We again reached Highway 87 at the corner of the McDonalds Restaurant. Then, we spotted the sign that gave the street name: Cedar St., the street address of Summerlan RV Park.
     Our GPS guide remained silent.
    "I'm taking it," my husband said. After all, there was no street on the other side of 87 and the GPS had told us to turn right.
     So, we turned.
    We drove...and drove...and drove, but found nothing but residential.
    "The numbers are getting smaller," my husband said. "We're lost."
    When all else fails, call the source, so I dialed the number for Summerlan RV Park. A nice lady understood exactly what happened. She tried to explain it, but her directions were contrary to our
GPS.
     "I'll stay on the line," she said with a sensitive, thoughtful voice. Her words guided us to the other side of Highway 87, the other side of Highway 25 and to the left.
     There before us spread a small, but welcoming sight, Summerlan RV Park. Though it was raining, that sweet lady met us with an umbrella and helped my husband inside to sign the papers and get our RV space for the night. She may not have had the tech knowledge wrapped up in a GPS, but she owed the park and knew all about it.


A friend's backyard which makes a wonderful place to talk with God.


Sometimes, it's like that in life. Burdened down with depression or turmoil, we seek help and follow advice from so-called experts. We read books on the topic, we listen to speeches, we counsel with ones who supposedly have the answers. When all else fails, we read our Bible or pray. The true expert (God) created us and knows all about us. His answers, His advise, His directions will always be correct.

This is not to say that psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, preachers, teachers, or authors who are expert in their field don't have a place or a need. Our GPS has been our guide in several cities in the past. Without it, traversing unknown area would've been difficult. My point is that to be sure the help we receive is right, we must go to the source.

To the point above, I add this footnote. I'm one of those so-called expert authors. My book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions for Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness gives advice for losing weight God's way. My own weight loss journey makes me an "expert." However, if you suffer from compulsive overeating, seek out the Bible and talk with God to be sure of getting wisdom for your unique lifestyle.


Are you faced with a problem today that you might need to ask guidance from the true expert?