"For skillful and godly Wisdom is better than rubies or pearls,
and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared with it." Proverbs 8:11 Amplified

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Air Force Thunderbirds

I am being treated to an incredible display of team work. The Air Force Thunderbirds are practicing for tomorrow’s Cadet Graduation at the Air Force Academy. I am blessed to live right in the flight path. They flew over my house this morning and they are back again. What a beautiful sight! Six planes flying is such close formation that one mistake is disastrous for all of them. The sound, the power, the speed and the beauty of the planes sends me in awe each time I see them and I have watched them for 28 years. It doesn’t get old.

There are no “lone rangers” with this group. They know their position and they keep it.

I wish you could all be here with me. Tomorrow I get to see them again for the graduation ceremony.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Colorado Christian Writers Conference

Sunday afternoon I arrived home from one of the most inspiring times of my life. I spent four days in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Estes Park at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

During those four days I became immersed, along with hundreds of other writers, into the presence of God. Each general session, and many of the workshops, opened with prayer. At the General Sessions we shook off everything as we entered the Throne Room of God during Praise and Worship.

Marlene Bagnull is excellent at what she does, I would recommend this conference to beginning, as well as advanced, writers. The theme was Write His Answer, but I felt a sub theme going on, Encourage One Another. From the workshop leaders, to fellow writers at the tables at meal time, I found nothing but encouragement. I occasionally had the opportunity to be the encourager, one of the giftings God has given me.

I departed the conference tired, but so full, ready to take what I had learned and put it into practice to become an excellent writer, writing for His Glory. I should have been prepared but I wasn’t, for the enemy attack. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

The last day of the conference was topped off with a hayride and cook-out, what a great way to decompress. Following the hayride my throat began to hurt. Sunday morning I awoke and did not feel well at all. I dreaded the three hour drive back to Colorado Springs but with pain relievers in my system and Kristen Heitzmann’s story Secrets playing in my CD player, I made it home. It is now Wednesday and I am still feeling sick, ugh. I haven’t felt like doing any writing, or reading any of the wonderful materials I received at the conference.

One of the women who is in my writing guild, Words For the Journey, also went to the conference and we roomed together. She left the conference on Saturday afternoon and during one of the stops on her drive home she left her wallet on the top of her car. At a stop to get a cup of coffee she realized she did not have her wallet. (The police found her wallet and it is being returned to her. PTL) She told me at our Words for the Journey meeting yesterday, "when I left the conference I was feeling so relaxed" and when she found her wallet missing all her peace went out the window. A light bulb went on in my mind. I recognized the strategy of the enemy. How many other women and men who attended that conference had the enemy come against them?

The thief was trying to steal what was planted in us. I recalled the scripture in Mark 4, the parable of the sower. (Mark 4:15) And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. KJV

Satan had come immediately, even before we got home, to take away the teachings sown in our hearts. But the thief has been found out and he will have to repay seven fold. (Proverbs 6:31)

I don’t know about you but when I wake up and realize that the thief has stolen from me I get fighting mad. He will repay. My heart is good soil for the seeds of the teachings sown into me at the conference and they will produce, thirty, sixty or one hundred fold. (Mark 4:20) I am going for the hundred fold. How about you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Symphony of Praise

I am seated on the glider on my back deck. It is almost 7:30pm and I am enjoying the wonderful, musical evening that God has graced me with.

I hear a woodpecker playing staccato on someone’s house, I am glad it isn’t mine this time.

The birds are giving their good night chorus of praise to God, the sound of the flight of a humming bird heralds its presence.

The neighborhood dogs are adding their voices, some deep, some high, not wanting to miss out on their part in this symphony God is directing.

Children’s voices and shrieks are adding to the medley being orchestrated tonight.

Pikes Peak is before me and the mountains surrounding it are beginning to be covered in a mantel of storm clouds. Thunder is rolling overhead adding a touch of percussion.

Luke 19:40 says: I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

My whole neighborhood is giving praise to God and I join.

Lord, you are mighty, you are awesome, you are the King of Glory and I praise you for my life.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Road Trip Part II

Yesterday I posted about the road trip I am on. I wrote about number one of the two reasons Marietta and I took this trip. Today is about the second reason.

Marietta and I both have children living in Kansas. Marietta’s son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter live in Paola, Kansas. My daughter and son-in-law live in Kansas City.

Our first stop was Paola to Kimberly and Tim’s recently opened coffee shop “The Country Bean.” What a great looking coffee shop. Tim built all the counters, and the furniture. He did such a great job on the furniture that people asked him to build furniture for them so he started a business from it, “The Country Bean Woodworking Co.” The coffee products and food that are served are top notch. The macaroni and cheese is to write home about. Their daughter Ella, who is less than three months old is part of the business, she goes to work daily with her mom and dad. Customers come in looking for her and even give them money for diapers for Ella. Their shop is located close to the high school and the students come in regularly and are very welcomed. The shop holds Wii tournaments on Friday nights to give the young people a place to go. For $5.00 they are entered into the tournament and they receive a small drink. The winner receives half the money taken in. They really have a heart for young people.

The next day my daughter Coleen and son-in-law Erik drove to Paola and all of us went out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We had a great meal and the young folks had a good time sharing business stories. My son-in-law and daughter also own their own successful business. We were having such a nice time together that we didn’t notice that we were the last people there and they were waiting for us to leave so that they could close. I said goodbye to Marietta as she returned to her son’s home and I headed to Kansas City to spend a few days with Coleen and Erik, their three cats and one very large dog, Otis, a black Great Dane.

My daughter gave me a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. We both had facials. Ah, that’s the life. After lunch at Panera Bread we went to their business, “Need More Discs” in Shawnee. I purchased five movies from their vast inventory of DVD’s and looked at the music CD’s but didn’t find any that I wanted this time. If my husband had been with me I know he would have found some, we always go home with a stack to add to our growing collection. I have never gone into their store and not purchased something, it is a good thing I don’t live closer.

My son-in-law is cooking stir-fry for dinner on Saturday and Sunday I am being taken out for Mother’s Day brunch. It has been a great visit with them. They always show me so much love and we have a special time together.

This has been a wonderful trip and Marietta and I talked today about planning another one. We may take a cross country train trip; I have never done that before.

Marietta will be driving back to Illinois on Monday or Tuesday. I catch a plane back to Colorado on Sunday evening from Kansas City. I am sure my husband will be glad to have me back and I will be delighted to see him.

Image: Ryan Kramer

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Road Trip

I have been on a road trip since Satuday May 2, it started out with a plane ride to Illinois. My step-sister-in-law Marietta and I have been traveling through Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. No we are not “Thelma and Louise”, in fact neither of us has seen the movie but we have been hearing about it all week. We assured everyone that we would not end the trip the way they did, yikes!

We had two goals for this trip. 1. Research for Marietta 2. Visiting our children.

Marietta is a writer of mystery stories that take place in small towns with interesting names. She has been talking about taking a trip to What Cheer, Iowa for about two years.
I volunteered to take the trip with her.

We determined that this would be an unstructured trip. If we saw something we wanted to stop and see—we would. Our time in Illinois was spent visiting family. My mother, sister and brother and their families live there and I spent a day with them. We also visited my husband’s family.

On Tuesday we headed the car to Iowa and our ultimate goal, What Cheer.
What Cheer was a prosperous town of 3,000 through the 60’s and because of the coal industry shutting down and a clay pipe company closing, the population has dwindled down to six hundred. We took some pictures of the Opera House and then went to the library/town hall to do research. We met some great people there. One of the women was an 80 year old American Indian who had some great stories about herself and her town. This woman was full of energy and laughter and did not look her age at all. She has been through some pretty rough times, she was a mother and a widow at the age of 13, her husband was killed in WWII. She has eleven children and has been through six husbands. I forget how many grands and great-grands she said she has. She spends her time and resources helping those who are in need. This lady knows no such thing as retirement.

We took lots of pictures of the town and ate lunch at the lone restaurant; it was a double wide across from the park, good hamburgers.

We took side trips to the Amana colonies and the bridges at Madison County. We arrived at the Amana colonies just after 5pm and all but two stores were closed but it was a peaceful walk we took around the town. One of the stores had an Open sign and we could see that lights were on inside so we tried the door and it was locked. As we walked away the woman inside opened the door and asked us if we would like to come in, even though she was closed, she had forgotten to take down the sign. We accepted; it was a delightful shop with a variety of items. Marietta made a purchase and we continued our walk on the deserted sidewalks.

The same day that we visited What Cheer we went to see the bridges of Madison County. There are five covered bridges, we decided to see three of the five since they were scattered about. After finding two, they were identical except for the length, we headed to the third, hoping it might have a different look. I was the navigator. The map we had been given was not the best, it didn’t have many streets marked on it and I sent us the wrong direction. Since it was getting later in the day we gave up on the bridges. We were heading to Kansas and didn’t want to arrive too late. Marietta forgave me because on the wrong road we keep sighting flocks of Turkey Vultures. Marietta is a bird watcher and photographer of birds. We made several sudden stops along the road so that she could jump out and photograph those birds in flight. We also found a pond with a flock of pelicans. Getting lost may have kept us from a bridge but the bonus we got with the bird sightings was worth it.

I found the people of Iowa to be some of the most friendly I have come across in my many travels. They have a love of life. The scenery in Iowa is beautiful too. If you haven’t been there I will recommend it.
Image: Morguefile.com