7/9/16

A Lesson in Trust

"Go with us", they said. "It will be fun. It's not hard. You'll be glad you did it." So I paid the money, signed the waiver, and strapped on the harnesses and clips and ropes and caution-light yellow helmet. Then granddaughter gave her short bit of eleven year old advice: "It's all about trust."

Great. Just great. Trust.

The back of my t-shirt is emblazoned boldly with Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Surely Paul the prisoner did not mean zip lining through tree tops at 30 miles an hour. The scripture I carried on my back and in my heart may have been bold, but I was trembling.

What was I thinking.

Up three flights of narrow steps. Take a picture. Stand on the mini platform.  Hold the rope here. Yell as loud as you can "Scared silly grandmother zipping."  Lift your feet and do all things through Christ's strength. 

I hung on to that rope with all the strength I could find in my flabby granny arms, because when you come to the end of your rope, you tie a knot in it and hang on. Then my grip slipped and my double harness and pair of ropes held me. Do it in His strength and not mine for when I am weak He is strong.

It's all about trust.

We zip through life and hang on with our own weak strength going from one shaky platform to another when all we really need to do is lift our feet and relax.

And trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understandings.  Proverbs 3:5

6/13/16

Almost There

This wagon train has been on the road for two days heading for Montana. As we listen and sing to Alan Jackson's Mama's favorite hymns, I keep my trusty iPad close to research campgrounds, places to eat, AND occasionally sneak a few pages of my digital book. We wonder about the buffalo and the Indians and the pioneers. The Wagon master has never in 45 years stopped at one of those brown historical markers, a National Historic Site, or a National Monument. Well, maybe twice. I read them all but never get to see them. But now I have this magical little device that tells me what happened at all those places. I read them to the wagon master and we are both happy.

My book was a freebie on Amazon.  The author is Lauraine Snelling,  a Christian historical ficton writer and a native daughter of North Dakota.  And, yes, thank you very much for asking, (drumroll), I have met her. Her books are full of Scripture and faith, which I love.

Today her characters are on their way to Oregon in covered wagons, amid all kinds of challenges and hardships. They have just left Fort Laramie, where they picked up supplies for the long trek over the mountains. You'll have to read it yourself for the rest of the story! 
Driving through rain clouds and green grassy prairies today, I looked up from my device just in time to see one of those sweet little brown signs announcing 

"Fort Laramie National Historical Site" 

and then another about

 "The Oregon Trail "

What?
WHAT?

"Surely Wagon Master will take his eyes off the goal for these important pieces of history", I thought. I think too much, because while I was thinking and being amazed , I missed the exit.

But just to think, I was there.

Almost.

In the mid 1800's, 400,000 people traveled this route in the greatest migration our country has every experienced. They came until the railroad from the west joined the railroad from the east - somewhere in Utah - where there is another brown sign. I am sure.

An incredible piece of history and we are right there.  Almost.

I borrowed a few pictures from Mr. Google and wrote this entire post on my little magic device, which doesn't always spell or format correctly. But isn't it a fun story?. 

5/6/16

THE Car

It's car show time here in Hometown, Texas, USA and we are around for the first time in something like eight years to participate. The car show brings out vintage cars, and memories, and stories. Here's our story:

My man has been looking online for the car of his high school days. A few months ago, he found a close likeness for the right price and we drove to Hilton Head, South Carolina to seal the deal and bring it home.

One of our jobs for the upcoming car show was to photograph some of the business sponsors with the employees wearing their show shirts. We took the car to use as a prop. There were stories everywhere, from the guys mostly of the one that got away - that is code for the hot rod he had to sell when kids came along. Of course he sold it for pennies and it's worth millions now.


While we were at a construction company, lining everybody up and taking names - I had my own flashback. 


My boyfriend worked all summer walking pipeline right of ways and painting fences with the goal of a new car (one that didn't break down on every date) by the time school started.  He got paid every Friday and gave his check to his girlfriend. I deposited the check into a passbook savings account, keeping out a twenty for a weeks worth of gas and a pizza date on Friday night. Would twenty dollars even buy pizza and cokes for two now? We did that all summer and he bought the car before the first day of school. Yep, this is where he worked and they loved his story. And here is his girlfriend:


Then at another stop - I spotted, standing in the back row, one of the little kids (now a grandma) that got crammed into the back street of the car when my groom's crazy cousins helped us into the car we tried to hide. With painted windows, empty pork & beans cans, streamers, and squealing tires we tore out onto the streets of our quiet little town with cousins in their muscle cars in hot pursuit. The mamas of our backseat babies were left with fear in their eyes and prayers on their lips, standing and watching in horror. Somewhere along the way, we ditched the car and jumped into my parents brand spanking new Oldsmobile for our honeymoon trip. We left the babies in the car and my Daddy to drive the just married car to the car wash.  We still don't know how those mamas found their little darlings. Maybe they were running along behind us!!


Our little backseat passenger doesn't remember the ride, but has heard the story over and over in the years since. We are so glad she hasn't had any lasting trauma from that event!

The Snyder Wheels 25th Annual Car Show starts tomorrow in the park. Come on out for more great cars and lots of stories! You just might see - the car!

3/21/16

Season of Singing

A picture may be worth a thousand words, 
but being there in person is worth ten thousand. 


The annual wildflower pilgrimage on the first day of spring was our first in years and it did not disappoint. Forty miles of blooming carpet along Hwy.16 was jaw droppingly beautiful.


 Cars, trucks, and motorcycles were stopped all along the the two lane for drivers to snap up the beauty with cameras and smart phones. 



Bluebonnets, longhorns, and the Texas flag fulfilled longings of the the years spent in other states.
 Us Texicans are passionate about those things...and bar-b-q...and tacos. 


Spring flowers and green grass and budding mesquite trees bring freshness to the soul
 and hope for days of warmth and sunshine.

 And you get your "awe" back. As in, "Awesome" or "AWEsome"
 or "aweSOME" or "AWESOME".  
And sometimes, "Awe. Ain't that purdy." 


My flicks don't hold a flickering candle to the professionals.
 But they are mine. 
I am the one who was awed that I could get get down there, 
then get up off my knees and elbows 
after bending double for that close-up shot. 


 Flowers appear on the earth;
The season of singing has come.
(Song of Songs 2:12)

 "Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?"
(Luke 12:27-28 The Message)

2/1/16

Rooted and Grounded


Us native-born "Texians" have a love-hate relationship with this scrubby, scrappy, throny tree called - The Mesquite. We love it in barbeque pits for the smoky flavor it gives our ribs and briskets. We love it for the knarly rustic furniture, bowls and even dominoes that craftsmen create with it.


We love that it is the last tree to sprout leaves in the spring, and a sure sign that winter is over.


Folks who are firmly rooted in this great state, but have to  move out of state have been known to carry seeds to their new homes in an effort to have a little Texas in their new landscape. It is not our officail state tree, but it covers over one third of the state - mostly in West and South Texas.


Ranchers battle the long roots that tap as far as needed ( some resources say as far as 25 feet) to find water and keep the tree drought resistant. Water needed for grass that feeds cattle. Longtime farmer friend Max, says that we may win the battle, but we will never win the war.  We burn it, spray it, cut it down, and pull it up. And it grows back with a vengence. It's thorny armor grows longer and stronger. Its roots grow deeper.


Now that we are back in Texas, my Inspector Handyman Hubby is wearing his Farmboy hat and has waged war with the mighty mesquite. The mesquites that have had a mostly peaceful life without us for the past eight or ten years while we followed the job.


He says he can tell the trees that have been shredded, or plowed over, or chopped down, by the size of their roots. The more they have been cut down, the longer and stronger and deeper the roots. And I said, "Oh, Papa. That'll PREACH!"  He kind of rolls his eyes when I say that!



But think about it. Sometimes, we feel like life has burned us out, chopped us down, and dug us up. We feel discarded and useless. BUT - if our roots are firmly established in His Word, in His Truth, in HIM - we will be like the trees spoken of in Psalm 1:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:7-8. We will be like trees whose leaves do not wither, who do not fear the heat, have no worries in years of drought, trees that bear fruit and prosper. PROSPER.

2 Corinthians 4:9, written by Paul (who as a former persecutor of Christians, was himself persecuted and imprisioned) says that we are "hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." Let's be those kind of believers. Let's put our roots down deep so that nothing can destroy us. Let's bear fruit and prosper.

With so much worldwide attention on persecuted Christians, we can only pray that those sitting in prison for preaching Jesus, have roots that keep growing deeper and stronger. Some experts believe that persecution actually makes the church (as in the body of Christ) grow stronger.

"You're blessed when your committment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom." (Matthew 5:10 The Message)

"Let your roots grow down into HIM, and let your lives be built on HIM. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7 The Message)


"No one is established by wickedness,
 but the root of the righteous will never be moved."
(Proverbs 12:3)


11/19/15

Transitions

Transition

Transition is the word of the day, the week, the month, the last three months. 

Dictionary.com defines "transition" as:

1. change or passage from one state or stage to another

2. the period of time during which something changes from one state or stage to another

3. (music) a movement from one key to another: modulation by linking passage between two divisions in a composition; bridge



Some change comes almost instantly, as when hubby says, "I got a call. The company is over budget, out of money, and sending the contractor home. The next inspection job starts next year. Can I retire?" Forrest Gump was tired and ready to go home. And just like that, without transition or that musical bridge, the music of our lives changed.  

Some transition is relatively short, like driving from one state (North Dakota) to another state (Texas) with two loaded trucks and a trailer. It was a three day transition on two lane state highways driving across our great United States, almost border to border. It was our sixth and final bittersweet drive on those roads. Then we were Texicans again.

Other transitions go on and on and on. And on. For example, when people have not really lived in a house for eight or nine years, and those same people bring in  boxes of treasures from the northland, only to find that every closet, cupboard, and corner in the south is already occupied over the maximum allowed limit.



Now, three months later, we have had a few side trips, gone to a premier vintage junk market, had our own non-premier vintage market (aka garage sale), and packed the dumpster weekly. We have donated a pickup load to the local thrift store and given another to a neighbor who will meet her sister on the Rio Grande River bridge to hand off a couple of suitcases of clothes for her Mexico family.


Change (or cleaning out a closet) can cause momentary chaos. You drag all that junk out, organize it on the bedroom floor, and make those three recommended piles - throw away, give away, keep. And put it back with a little new junk from a land faraway. Then....repeat.


Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit in me". Someone has said that repentance creates room for Jesus. Repentance cleans out what is hidden in our closed heart's closets and drawers. But, as much as my kitchen utensil drawer wanted to be clean, organized, untangled, and easy to open, she had to give up some stuff. She had to be emptied, laid out, and counted. Purged. It was all good stuff, but after a good cleaning, her heart held only the best stuff. 






Then, if you, my friend, visit me, you will likely think, "she needs to clean up this messy house." But you can't see my orderly linen closet or the coffee cups I purged, because this house in is transition. You can't see that I started with the inside and someday, you can see the change on the outside. You might think that about me and my temple, too. Sometimes it takes a while for my temple to reflect the cleanliness of my heart.


We are reconnecting, and transitioning into whatever our lives will look like back here in the sometimes harsh land of things that of sting, prick, and bite. We are dining with people friends and critter-friends while we ponder who we are back in Texas. We are missing our northern friends, too.





If you are reading this from North Dakota, you need to know that all these photographs, except the cotton field, are from my inheritance - the family farm/ranch. You have seen my daddy's junk yard, prickly pear cactus, ripe mesquite beans, my happy place - the pasture, my back yard, a jack rabbit, quail, dove, and a scissor tail with her scissors closed.


Most evenings will find us in front row sunset theater seats in our back yard. This transition hasn't been easy or smooth, but it all dims in the evening light show.


"It is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance."
Romans 2:4

11/3/15

Travel Update and Wait


We sit and wait at an Alabama tire store, because there's a flat on the trailer.  My phone is full of pictures of the south. I have time and a blogger app. The pictures will not be formatted exactly right, but I'm sharing anyway. And the fantastic video doesn't want to be here on this blog post.

Our destination with a purpose was north of Savannah, Georgia to finalize someone's Ebay purchase of a vintage car like the one he drove in high school. Guess who? More on that later.

Then we heard that the Concourse d'Elegance (a classy motoring festival of vintage cars) was happening on Hilton Head Island,  and of course, decided to stay a few days. We found off season rates at a lovely beach side resort. The car show was great, but the ocean was therapy for the soul.

Here's some therapy for your day too. Pull up a chair, a rocker, or a porch swing and sit awhile, my friend.











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