Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A New Focus for Me

Thanks to all the wonderful readers who helped make this blog take off. I'm sorry for the lack of posting for so long. However, this will be my last post on this site. I now have a new focus, and a new site.

In January, my 17-year-old daughter was shot and killed. My life changed forever. I am tossed about in this tempest that still roars daily in my new reality. However, I feel I have been called to honor her memory and work to glorify God through a new ministry with a new site, Running with Amanda.

Sorry to disappoint anyone who was looking forward to reading more here, but you're welcome to join me at the new site and follow my new ministry there.

May God bless and keep you all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Now is the time to put politics aside and celebrate the greatest gift mankind ever received.

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas is, was, and always will be a holiday established to celebrate His birth. The following is the story of Jesus' birth from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2:

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Thank you God for sending your Son to live and die so that we may have eternal life.

May peace and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, bless everyone in this joyous season.

Happy birthday Jesus!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Another in the inspirational music series...

Bing Crosby offers some great advice in this song, reminding us to count our blessings when we're feeling low. That's a lesson we should all learn.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.--1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, December 6, 2010

Down in the river to pray--Alison Krauss

I can't seem to find the time lately to take to the trails and visit the parks. The demands of work have kept me from the outdoors of late. So, in this joyous Christmas season I thought I'd replace the typical posts you find on my blog with some inspirational music that will hopefully help lift your spirits during the month we celebrate Christ's birth.

Here's Alison Krauss, singing a capella, a beautiful tune that reminds us of the path to true happiness and satisfaction. Prayer. Remember to call on God the Father, who promises to supply your needs.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this day we give thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us and we wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and pray that you too are blessed by Him!

Also, we wish to remind all of the origins of this joyous holiday with the following, General George Washington's declaration to celebrate the first Thanksgiving holiday of the newly established United States of America in 1789.

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wife, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

May God bless and keep you on this Thanksgiving day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beauty all around us...

Sometimes we tend to think we have to get away, travel to exotic places, and spend a lot of money to find the beauty in nature. Then...God reminds us that ALL of his creation is beautiful. The beauty of His creation surrounds us, even in our everyday environment.

It's been several months since I had the opportunity to get back to nature. But, as I left work this afternoon, I was struck with the beauty of the sunset in the pictures below.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Driving Arkansas' "Pig Trail"

Last weekend I had the opportunity to enjoy a drive I hadn't experienced in more than two decades. A narrow, twisting, two-lane asphalt path stretching sixty or so miles through the Ozark Mountains from Fayetteville to Ozark, Arkansas provides drivers with beautiful vistas and serenity never found on the four-lane, divided interstate system.

At eighteen, I was a regular traveler on the route, but not because of the scenery. During my one year attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, I returned to North Little Rock several times on weekends. The relatively new I-540 from Alma to the home of Arkansas' flagship university wasn't yet built, leaving two possible paths to reach the college.

Then, most made the trip via US 71, the truck route for points north of Fort Smith. Well known for its switchback turns and steep grades, travelers considered it a treacherous trek the far northwestern reaches of the Natural State. But its hairpin turns didn't hold a candle to "The Pig Trail." And at the thrill-seeking age of 18, I chose to make the more dangerous journey on a regular basis.

Then, it wasn't for the scenery, but the thrill and the challenge of speeding up the twisting mountain road. But that was then...and this is now. Twenty some odd years later, I chose to take the slower route from Fayetteville to I-40 for no other reason than to enjoy the scenic beauty.

We had traveled to Siloam Springs, AR on Friday night to watch the Vilonia Eagles trounce the Panthers 48-28 and stayed the night in nearby Springdale. Early the next morning we headed south on I-540 and took the US-71 Business exit heading south through Fayetteville. On the south end of town, we turned left (east) on Arkansas Highway 16. A short time later, we found ourselves enveloped in the serene setting of the Ozark Mountains.

Though "The Pig Trail" doesn't actually start until one reaches Highway 23 just past the tiny town of Brashears, the beauty of the journey begins not long out of Fayetteville on Highway 16. The road parallels the upper reaches of the White River, offering glimpses of the winding waterway through the thick foliage of the prominent hardwood forest.

Blink and you'll miss the tiny village of Brashears, but just past it you'll find the junction of Highways 16 and 23. Turning south on 23 begins the journey on the well-known "Pig Trail."

Though we'd hoped the season was late enough to enjoy the full effect of the fall colors, the leaves remained mostly green. Still, even without the bright colors we were expecting, the drive rewarded us with spectacular scenery that one normally doesn't spot through the windshield of a car.

Most of the drive carries the motorist through the thick of the hardwood forests, sometimes almost forming a tunnel of overhanging trees that almost blocks out the sun. But a few places along the path provide beautiful overlooks offering expansive views of the Ozark Mountains.

After that drive, the interstate stretch from Ozark to the house promised to be far less enjoyable. But we stopped for a pit stop at the interstate rest area just east of the Highway 23 exit and enjoyed another spectacular look at the mountains to our north.

One of these days, we'll catch the leaves in the full of the fall color change. But even in their late autumn green state, the drive offers travelers plenty of enjoyment. God's artwork is certainly evident crossing the western Arkansas hills.