Monday, September 21

GO AHEAD AND TRY IT

If you have read my Alaskan Tour journal this will seem a familiar description. I just kept thinking about this analogy and finally wrote a short article for my devotion for the column I write for the local paper. If you remember this, that's good I guess :-) if you don't that's good too. The spiritual comparison is what I truly wanted my readers to think about. Comments are always welcome. Blessings Clella

We pushed off, floated quite peacefully for a bit and just as I began to relax I saw it-white swirling waves jumping high over rocks. We hit them (the waves not the rocks). And the 32 degree water hit me full in the face.

During our train trip to Denali we had been given information about optional excursions which would be available once we reached the McKinley village. An 11 mile canyon white water excursion was one of the choices, and at my dear husband’s suggestion I agreed to sign up for this trip although we did not make the reservations before our arrival. (I thought perhaps he would change his mind, or it would be too late, or God would send a snow storm. It was getting colder all the time.)

After our arrival at the Lodge, it was time to buythe tickets for the white-water rafting. Of course they were still available (why would I have doubted). My stomach had this familiar knot that I get each time I attempt something I have never done before, but the bus arrived at the river’s edge and we joined about thirty other people, removed our shoes and donned wet suits.(or dry suits ). Now, a sight to behold is me in a suit of rubber that fits skin tight, a stocking cap that keeps falling in my eyes and an orange life jacket strapped around my middle section. We had no room for cameras for which I will be eternally grateful. After a very serious lecture about what to do if we fell out of the raft, how to stay afloat and how they would attempt to get a person back into the raft, I knew I had made a terrible decision. Too late. We were ready to board.

Another couple joined us at the front of the rubber boat. Four in front (us) and four in back- with a young man (very young I thought) who supposedly was capable of getting this group through the rapids of the river. He talked constantly to the women in the back, and I was sure he wasn’t paying a bit of attention to what was happening. And then the water hit us.

I loved it! After the first cold shock, I loved every minute of the three hour trip down through the canyon. Many people in our group went to a local dinner theater. Think what they missed.

I have thought since then, how comparable to our spiritual journey. Some of us stay on the bank and wish we had the courage to go out into rough water. What may appear as spiritual white water rapids to one person may be calm water to another. Some find it difficult to face a crowd and others view personal one-on-one witnessing with absolute terror. (Rather like me when I got into the rubber raft). So often we stand on the banks of life afraid to step out of our safety zone. As we attempt to live more like Christ, we realize many opportunities for service and spiritual growth surround us, but they appear quite frightening.

Daily Bible study is hard and to share our knowledge with others is even more difficult. For a long time I just did the Bible study and stood on the bank afraid to share. What a wonderful trip I had when I finally decided to go into the rougher waters of leading a Bible study group. I have talked with people who dreaded visiting the nursing home and yet once they did found great rewards from the visit. Time and again the things we thought we could not do become a source of pride and joy once we attempt them. My challenge as you walk this week is to step off the bank. Try one exciting, fearful small deed. You may enjoy it once you start. Go ahead-Try it.

Thursday, September 10

LAST WEEK OF TOUR

SUNDAY: August 23,2009: Disembarkation is nothing but boring! I had forgotten how long it takes to get a group of people off a cruise ship. Makes me wonder what would happen if one really needed to get the people off in a hurry. Of course everyone goes down one gang plank and they are taken off in the order needed to meet planes, trains etc. We were required to be out of our room by 9:30 in order for the crew to clean for the return trip. I had talked to people earlier who were traveling both ways on the ship. To me that would be a little much, but then I truly am not a cruise person. I do enjoy it for a while, but would not want another week going back the way we came. Of course, if a person played Bridge or something that might be fun. So we sat around the lounging places, walked around the ship a bit, then we went back to eat lunch on the Lido deck. Buffet is always available on this deck. We were scheduled for 1:30 departure so didn’t have to wait too long after lunch. At that point we boarded the bus (I should say coach for it was quite a few steps above most buses) for Anchorage. Three hours later we arrived in the beautiful capital city of Alaska. Flowers here are every place and very beautiful. Hanging baskets along the streets and planned flower beds on many corners. Our accommodations at the Westmark were lovely. A balcony overlooking the city was fun. Rather cool to sit out, but I did go out and take a few deep breaths. Good feeling after cruise ship and bus…I am somewhat claustrophobic at times. We walked for awhile and then ate at Humphy’s which had been recommended by the the Holland American rep in the hotel. She had indicated that many of the locals enjoyed Humphy’s so we wanted to catch the local flavor. Humphy’s(so named for the humpback whales I presume) is a local sports bar. We sat on high stools among groups of very loud and very young people who were enjoying each other and the TV. Not to say that there were not others there, but the place was packed and booths were at a high premium. We chose to sit amongst the younger crowd for our hamburger and fries. Salmon of course is on every menu, but we were ready for real food. (a tongue in cheek remark if ever there was one ) We walked a bit longer, returned to the hotel and then called it a day as we were to go out early on Monday. MONDAY: August 24, 2009 We had been directed to pack an overnight bag for Denali and were assured that our larger luggage would meet us in Fairbanks on Tuesday’s arrival. Needless to say, I was somewhat apprehensive about this after the experience with Holland’s handling of our luggage in Vancouver. Buses were to leave for the train depot by 7:00 a.m. and the departure was scheduled for 8:15 a.m. I can’t say enough about the train trip. I enjoyed every minute and highly recommend it. We ate breakfast and lunch on the train and though it was quite expensive, the food and service were excellent and I felt very “pampered” as I enjoyed my French toast while the scenery of Alaska flowed by my window-figuratively and literally. Much of our route followed a river as we climbed to the Denali forest lodge. Most of our train ride was spent on the glass-domed second level of the train. On the entire trip, a personable young tour guide narrated as we passed by small stations, waterfalls, mountains and valleys. During the trip we were given information about optional excursions which would be available once we reached the McKinley village. An 11 mile canyon white water excursion was one of the choices, and at Jr.’s suggestion I agreed to sign up for this trip although we did not make the reservations before our arrival. (I thought perhaps he would change his mind, or it would be too late, or God would send a snow storm. It was getting colder all the time.) Eight hours of pure luxury travel (in my opinion) ended as we arrived at the Denali depot about 4: 30 p.m. Again we boarded our coach to the McKinley Village. Our tour was 11B and Holland America makes everything so simple that never once during our entire trip did I feel lost or not advised about our next move; however, when we arrived at the Lodge someone? had messed up and our greeting packets were not available, but our rooms had been assigned in a rustic, but modern lodge overlooking the Nenana river. It was now that the tickets for the white-water rafting excursion needed to be purchased. Of course they were still available (why would I have doubted) and we purchased two tickets. We would board the bus, go to the point of departure and float? on the Nenana river for approximately three hours. My stomach had this familiar knot that I get each time I attempt something I have never done before, but we arrived at the river’s edge, joined about thirty other people, removed our shoes and donned wet suits.(or dry suits ) Now, a sight to behold is me in a suit of rubber that fits skin tight, a stocking cap that keeps falling in my eyes and an orange life jacket strapped around my middle section. We had no room for cameras for which I will be eternally grateful. After a very serious lecture about what to do if we fell out of the raft, how to stay afloat and how they would attempt to get a person back into the raft, I knew I had made a terrible decision. Too late. We were ready to board. Another couple (younger but not too young) from Indiana(I found out later) joined us at the front of the rubber boat. Four in front (us) and four in back- with a young man who supposedly was capable of getting this group through the rapids of the river. He talked constantly to the women in the back and I was sure he wasn’t paying a bit of attention to what was happening. We pushed off, floated quite peacefully for a bit and just as I began to relax I saw it-white swirling waves jumping high over rocks. And we hit them (the waves not the rocks). And the 32 degree water hit me full in the face. I loved it! I loved every minute of the three hour trip down through the canyon. I did not get very cold at all, but Jr.’s glove did not fit and after the first water hit us his hand got very cold. Other than that, it was so exciting. We both agreed that 85 degree weather in shorts and t-shirt might make for even a better trip, but I am so glad I agreed to this excursion. Many people went to a local dinner theater. I have some thoughts about this for a future devotion. Some people stay where it is safe and some go where they have never gone before. We arrived safely back at the Lodge about 9:30 p.m. (still not dark) and only the restaurant was open. Ate a welcome bowl of steamy hot soup and sandwich and off to bed as we were to go out early next morning for a four hour tour of Denali. What a great day! I am so blessed. TUESDAY:August 25, 2009 No breakfast as our journey was to start very early. 6:00a.m.! Jr. brought me a muffin and off we went again, to board the coach for the beauty that is Alaska. Our tour was labeled National History Tour. Binoculars were definitely a plus on this ride. We climbed into the mountains, past the lower valley and into the area that they refer to as perma-frost. In these areas the ground does not thaw but a few inches and the result is short trees with no root system. Very interesting. We stopped and walked a bit two different times during the four hour trip. Once to view historic Savage Cabin for a pioneer interpretation and then on to listen to a lecture from an Indian of the area whose family live what is referred to today as a subsistence lifestyle. These people live only from the game and fish and the vegetation of the land. His people are given subsistence license to hunt and fish all year. He was quite entertaining as well as informative. A section of this trip was to have been a “view” of Mt. McKinley, (weather permitting). Weather did not cooperate. Rainy and foggy. We wore our plastic ponchos when we were out of the bus and I was colder on the hill than I had been any time of our rafting experience. On our return McKinley village we grabbed a quick bite to eat and traveled to the train depot to board the train again for Fairbanks. The scenery and the food were even better than the journey on Monday. We had a delicious Prime Rib dinner on board and arrived in Fairbanks about 8:00 p.m. where we were again met and transferred to the Regency Fairbanks Hotel. Again the flowers are so beautiful. Our room was the best we have had with kitchen facilities, whirl-pool tub and large living space. I did not try the tub, but Jr. felt it was very difficult to operate. At one time he had water all over the floor in the bathroom. Don’t ask, I don’t know! Again an early bed time as we were to have a busy day on Wednesday. WEDNESDAY: August 26,2009 We boarded one more coach for a trip to view the Alaskan pipe line and the Eldorado gold mine. Jr. was quite interested in the pipe line as he worked on a pipe line for awhile after he graduated from high school. To me it was long pieces of pipe, but we took several pictures and read all the signs. Our next stop was the gold mine. We did the usual trip through the tunnel to the mine and heard an explanation and demonstration of gold mining. The Eldorado is still a working mine, but I think the “gold mine” is in the tourist shop at the end of the visit. We panned for gold and Jr. got $37.00 in gold flakes which is really quite a bit as some around us found none. We purchases a necklace for me with the flakes in a clear medallion and had enough left to buy Anneke a small necklace also. The necklace is around my neck. The piece I am holding was priced at $40,000 that day. Moved on to the Dredging area where we ate a great stew and biscuits. After lunch we arrived at the river boat dock and began our river trip. An excellent adventure. Along the way we stopped at Susan Butcher’s kennels which are located right at the river’s edge and her husband came down and spoke to the group about the dogs and about how they are trained. Again we saw a demonstration of the powerful sled dogs. I found Susan’s story about Granite(her lead dog)really touching. Susan won three Iditarod races with Granite. When we went into the village on down the river, her husband was there signing a children’s book that he and Susan had written before her death in 2006(leukemia). I purchased a signed copy and will give it to Pailynne Jo when she gets older. (Palynne Jo is my great granddaughter who is yet to be born).
Salmon was for sale on the boat and they served a salmon dip with crackers to everyone. I just can’t like it very well. Another good tour. Holland does a good job with the tours and I have been more than satisfied with everything. Arriving bank in Fairbanks we began to look at our tickets and realized we were not flying out at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday the 27 but on 1:00 a.m. on Friday the 28 of August. This meant we had another day in Fairbanks. So on Thursday morning we checked out of our room, stored our luggage in the hotel and went out for a day of sightseeing. Hired a shuttle to the University of Alaska and visited the Museum of the North. a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_QCY_w-cyVFE/Sqqy14EzMKI/AAAAAAAAFnM/T-SIC8cH0cg/s1600-h/P1000539.JPG"> An excellent display of the history of Alaska. We spent two or three hours there and then walked about a mile down hill to the Botanical gardens where we wandered through the floral and vegetable gardens of quite awhile.
Called the shuttle about five and returned to hotel. Walked several blocks(a long way) to up town Fairbanks and ate at Soapy’s. A neat Alaskan d├ęcor with an extra-friendly waiter, but all in all a good place to eat. After we got back to hotel, Jr. slept on couch and I visited for a long time with the Holland America representative. A really neat lady from the lower 48 (as they refer to the rest of the states) who was there helping her son who had been injured in Iraq. I intend to keep in touch with her. She has written a children’s book about Abraham Lincoln and I hope to encourage her more to have it published. About 11:00 p.m. the bus for airport showed up and we were on our way. We spent time at the airport and at 12:20 a.m. on the 28th of August began our flight back. From Fairbanks to Seattle, Seattle to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Indianapolis at approximately 3:00 p.m. E.D.T. Rainy and cloudy when we landed. Stopped in Plainfield at Steak and Shake for a hamburger and chocolate milk shake.(why break tradition? we always stop at Steak and Shake in Plainfield on the way home from the airport.) Arrived home in Paris about 6:30 p.m. Turned back the bed, donned my gown and went off to sleep. A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE AND I THANK GOD WE WERE ABLE TO DO THIS TOGETHER.

Sunday, August 23

WALK WITH ME ON ALASKA TOUR

It is SUNDAY and I am posting from the 14th floor of the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage Alaska. We are now into the land part of our tour. All is going well. I will pick up Sat. and Sunday later tonight. JUST USING INTERNET WHEN I HAVE THE CHANCE

TUESDAY AFTERNOON A great day! The luggage arrived in Ketchican and so did we. Docked before daylight and we went out to walk the streets about 9:00a.m. Steward assured us our luggage would be in our room when we returned. as with all docks where cruise ships land, the dock at Ketchican was filled with “shops”. Too many diamond and jewelery shops, many Alaskan mementoes. I purchased a cap. We walked along the pier, took a few pictures and then returned to ship. Hung up our clothes! Yeah! and then went for lunch on the Lido deck. I ate some stir fry cashew chicken, wonderful brown bread, a part of a vegetable panini sandwich(did not care for this) some bread pudding with a wonderful vanilla sauce and raisins. We walked the promenade deck around the ship to “walk off our lunch and then back to cabin for nap. Sun is shining a bit although it is overcast and the gray clouds cling to the tops of the tree-covered mountains along the shore and the shops and cottages of the town. Ketchican is labeled as the salmon capital of the world.? Beautiful area, but much too dreary for me.

Wonderful dinner: New York Strip, (excellent) Jr. had short ribs that he thought were very good. Also seafood chowder in a bread bowl, Caesar salad, and for dessert a Denali Fudge Brownie with ice cream.(double dark chocolate and nuts) Dinner partners were interesting. One couple from Australia( a definite Crocodile Dundee accent) Nice people who agreed with my viewpoints about society and the home and “politics” )so that made them nice) and then a creative(I use the term rather loosely) graphics designer and his wife (a former elementary teacher) Did not agree with the man about anything and he was quite vocal about our economy and our insurance plans and our health plans etc. etc. We have chosen open seating for our dining this cruise and so our dinner partners change each evening. Advantage is meeting new people all the time-disadvantage is not always having the same waiter and sometimes seated with people we have nothing in common with, but open seating allows you to go to dinner any time between 5:30 and 9:00 which is a definite advantage. Show in the evening was ventriloquist comedian. Very funny. We did stop as we walked through the casino on our way back to our room. They have penny slot machines. A penny slot machine will take $5.00 very quickly for your education and information. I received no return on my $5.00. May try again though. Do you think I am a true gambler?

WEDNESDAY : Juneau,Alaska Perhaps I haven’t mentioned that Jr. still gets up at usual early morning time. Goes out, walks the decks, greets the people and drinks his coffee. I meet about 8:00 a.m. for breakfast on the Lido deck. The Lido deck is supreme breakfast buffet. I have had eggs Benedict two days in a row now. (I love the white sauce they make with a touch of mustard I think) a chocolate chip croissant has also become a breakfast favorite. After breakfast we visited the streets of Juneau. Shops again of course. Bought a pair of lovely square,tiered, copper earrings in an artists’ gallery. Some beautiful things on display by Alaskan artists. I really enjoy the true artists’ shops, but the tourist’s trinkets become quite boring to me even though I am a shopper!!

And perhaps the best day of the trip so far! We had booked an expedition entitled “The Best of Juneau”. Left the dock by bus and traveled out of city, stopped for our first picture shot of the Mendenhall Glacier. (an amazing sight as I was not prepared for the glowing blue color of much of the layers of ice.) It was here our bus malfunctioned; however, we soon loaded another bus (it was full so must have been 50 people.) An expensive tour so we think these people have a good thing going.:-) We traveled next to the docks and boarded a catamaran for a small privately owned island where we were served grilled salmon, cole slaw, sweet corn, and wonderful carrot cake. Neither of us is very fond of salmon, but we found this very tasty. Quite firm and well cooked. After the lodge, we went whale spotting….and the fun began. Enthusiastic, young woman for naturalist guide and narrator. After perhaps 30 minutes, the boat slowed, made a u-turn and someone on the top deck shouted “Behind us.” A pod (this is not a term I was familiar with previous to this trip) of orcas were swimming and surfacing just off the left(starboard?) side of the boat. The guide indicated that it was very unusual to see the Orcas…the entire crew was quite excited. The Orcas are the killer whales with the white markings on their side. Beautiful in the natural environment. We remained in the area for some time watching these creatures of the sea and then moved on across the water to search for hump back whales. Again we were fortunate to come upon a group of them feeding off shore. Our young guide told us that she had not seen this many together for some time. We could see them spouting from quite a distance and then the huge tails would hit the water. All of this was very exciting as we floated on this body of water surrounded by the snow covered mountain peaks, and rocky, pine tree shores. One of the women in the group and I discussed how easy to believe in a Creator in this setting.

Arriving back at the dock, I felt we had been blessed by a wonderful tour, but my first glimpse of the glacier only added to my wonder of God’s creativity. A beautiful ancient layer of blue ice stretches across the expanse between two mountain peaks to greet our eyes as we climb the hill to the Mendenhall Glacier. Another awesome sight and only reinforces my belief in a God who creates the minute and the monstrous in the same place. Jr. took a couple of really nice pictures here. And then we were back at the MS. STATENDAM, ate a quick supper on the Lido deck and fell exhausted into bed at 9:30 p.m. ANOTHER FUN DAY.

THURSDAY:Today we docked at Skagway.(Now isn’t that a beautiful name?) Skagway has the look of an old western town even yet today) We did walk the streets as before and stopped at the Red Dog Saloon to enjoy a coke and the atmosphere of the gold miners. Skagway was the starting point for many of the miners going into the gold fields. The museum and the railway station were both interesting. Jr. thinks this was the train station that he left from on his way to Anchorage in 1956. In the afternoon, we rested awhile and I played a game of Bingo for a cruise for two to the Caribbean. I will not be taking that cruise, but I did put down a $20.00 deposit That evening I ate a good New York Strip steak and had cheesecake(with some fancy name) I love cheese cake no matter what they call it. A young ventriloquist, comedian was the show for the evening and he was excellent. I love ventriloquist when they are good. We sat in piano bar for awhile with a couple from Minnesota,. The young woman playing the piano also played the flute, two different types of saxophones and an oboe. I bought one of her CD’s to play when I’m driving. Piano music is my favorite and these are Oscar winning songs.and by 10:00 p.m. were headed to our cabin. Skagway is the last top until we reach Seward. On Friday we will cruise in Glacier Bay and on Saturday we will cruise College Fjord. I am looking forward to seeing the glaciers up close.

FRIDAY: We will not be getting off the ship for the next two days. I do not mind this, but I think Jr. is ready for land. We went to a meeting this morning about our land tour and found the movie theater. Isn’t it interesting that we can be on the ship from Sunday until Friday and just now find the theater. Many turns and side “roads” on the Statendam. Beautiful pink, maroon and gold line much of the hallways, but it is difficult at time to find a way to the next attraction. Cruis ships are so beautifully designed. A passenger sees none of the “working parts’ such as cleaning closets, kitchens areas or laundry rooms, but they must be huge. All we see is the beauty of the shiny brass, the just swept carpets and the clear glass dividers in the Atrium. Young men and women (possibly of Filipino background) constantly shine and scrub, but one hardly notices them. We did go to hot tub and pool area this afternoon. Nice area and of course they have a taco bar, nachos and cheese and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs available for anyone who might possibly be hungry.

Monday, August 17

WALK WITH ME ON ALASKA TOUR

SUNDAY-August 16…FIRST DAY . Spent the night at the Comfort Inn in Indianapolis. Mitch and Kaatje came over with us. Their flight does not leave until 11:30 so they got to sleep in. I was glad for them. We got up early about 5:45 and left the motel to arrive at airport much too early! Now we are waiting. We are seated by the “MOVING WALKWAY” and the monotone of “Please, watch your step” will no doubt remain in our sub conscious for the rest of the day. If you have not heard this lovely tone, it is a caution for those riding the rubber belt to the next destination; however, many people cannot just ride, they must walk so they are doing double time. Says something about the people of our society today. We are in such a hurry. Much the same thing as walking up an escalator!. The sun was a bright orange ball over Indy as we drove to the airport. A beautiful morning to start our trip. We will fly to Minneapolis and then to Vancouver. 12 people sitting around me at this point. Two talking on cell phones, three on computers, 2 reading, 1 sleeping and almost all of them are drinking a Starbucks which is just across the way. I have tried to pray a bit and remember that it is the LORD’S day but it is difficult in the airport setting. Perhaps later today I will be able to do that. 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning now. When we arrived in airport at Vancouver we waited at luggage carousel for a long period of time and no luggage. We greeted the Holland America lady and she assured us that they (the cruiseline) had picked up our luggage. We climbed aboard the bus for the dock, had a nice ride through the streets of Vancouver. Lovely, but I think might be an expensive city to live in if the bus drive is to be believed. After going through the showing passport, getting signed on to ship etc. we found our stateroom. Now get this…our number is 666. I am not a superstitious woman, but I wasn’t highly impressed with number. Our room is one of the nicest we have had on a cruise-we have a nice large couch and an extra chair so we could have guests (if we knew anyone). Now comes the fun part-we ate our first bit of soup and salad just to tide us over until going to the main dining room. At this point the announcement for the life boat check came through loud and clear. Such a fun drill, but we always meet nice people and think they would be fun in lifeboat. You can see who needs help with jacket.
When we came back to the room for a brief rest(by now I am beginning to wear down physically) we had no luggage. It seemed that everyone else had their luggage as no luggage was blocking any of the doorways.(this is usually the case on first evening of cruise.) I began to be concerned-checked with steward, checked with front office,-no luggage. At this point, I have filed a claim for lost luggage-who knows where. We do have insurance and they have assured me that clean underwear and formal attire for tomorrow evening will be provided if our luggage is not found on the ship. So the important things are covered. If it is an airline problem, the luggage might meet us in Ketchikan on Tuesday. Notice I use the term “MIGHT”. I refuse to let this spoil my evening. Going to apply fresh make-up (which I have) take a Bufferin (which I also have) and go to the main dining room for what I know will be a lovely meal. We have set sail and are now moving slowly out of the Vancouver harbor. Early Monday morning. Luggage DID NOT show up. Ship office gave us shirts and disposable underwear and free formal wear. Anxious to see what that is.:-) today is on board ship. Had a great omelet on the Lido deck. Out to discover how to get around on the ship. Monday afternoon: The evening wear is definitely NOT us, but will suffice. Jr. will be in full tux and I will wear long black velvet skirt and rather glitzy black top with cowl neckline.l (I did not spell it cow, but I feel a bit like that.) Nevertheless we will have formal wear! As we were napping after lunch the front office did call to say they had found our luggage in Vancouver! Perhaps we will be able to get it after we dock in Ketchican tomorrow. We have not planned an excursion for tomorrow but may do an underwater “experience” with a couple we have met up with from Minnesota. On Wednesday we will reach Juneau and there we have signed up to go to Whale watching and then to glacier walk and on to salmon bake. Sounds fun doesn’t it? I hope to post some pictures tomorrow or the enxt day. Today we have on-line service for ½ price after 2:00 P.M. It costs .75 a minute…yes a minute. So you know I won’t be on long. Weather is partly sunny, the ship is beautiful and Holland staff is exceptionally nice.

Sunday, August 16

ALASKA HERE WE COME

Walk with me on our trip to Alaska. Will try to keep a brief daily post of what is happening. As I write, I am listening to the monotone of the moving walkway repeating "Please watch your step". We got to airport early (of course) and now we are waiting, and waiting. Airport is a fun place to watch people. No one dresses up to fly now. Families of three and four children, grandmas and grandpas, two older women who told me they were taking their mother to Vegas. Of course she is almost blind, but she goes every year. They rode with us on the transport to the airport. We left our van at the Park and Fly. Sun is a big red ball (ratherlike the big exercise ball I bought last year). Looks to be a beautiful day to fly. Elderly lady beside me is talking to her suitcase. It has fallen over twice, but I think she has it now. She has positioned it between her legs. A funny sight. Ok enough for now . More after we arrive in Vancouver and board the ship. It is Sunday and I find I miss worship, but I am so thankful to God for the way He blesses our family. Just must mention that Paige (our grandson's wife0 is due to have baby girl (Probably while we are gone :-) Come walk with me as we cruise and tour. Will try to keep you posted and send a few pictures.

Thursday, June 4

EARLY MORNING THOUGHTS

Scrolling through my "thoughts" folder this morning and I found this. I may have used it before on the blog, but if so I can't find it and it seems worth repeating. I feel this way so often and pray each day that I can be a witness for Christ. We have had RAIN in Illinois and this morning's bright sky is such a blessing. May each of you stop for just a minute and think how God has blessed you. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME LORD. Amen

I put sheets in the washer before my walk this morning, and as I reach for the clothespins to hang them on the line I glance up at the early morning sky. Little white puffy cotton clouds float easily and white ribbon jet streams make curly bows in the clear blue of the sky.

Before my walk this morning, the sky was a dull pewter gray, but as I walked it began to clear, and now the day has come forth in all its glory. Another of God’s gifts to His creation. For a moment here by the clothes line I stand and reflect on how good God is to me. And my question as always is “Why me, Lord?” Why should I be so blessed?

I praise you for all my blessings...specifically for a husband who loves and understands me (most of the time), for the ability to walk without pain, for children and grandchildren who call us often, for friends who are healing from sickness, for this country where we can worship you openly, for the freedom to choose our leaders (even though I don’t always agree with any of them), and always for the gift of your Son for my salvation. I pray I can be worthy today of his sacrifice.

Thursday, March 12

WALKING WITH CHURCH FAMILY

MY FAMILY WHO ARE ALL A PART OF GOD'S FAMILY

I almost feel as though this is a new beginning. It has been some time since I have posted and longer still since I have been able to write about my personal walking with any regularity. Perhaps a bit of explanation about the physical is necessary. I am certainly still able to walk a mile or so a day, but do not do it as consistently as I once did. I do try to protect the hip as it has not been a year since it dislocated and I feel it may not be totally healed. I will return to surgeon in May when we go back to Illinois.However, I am still walking spiritually and it is this walk I intend to write about in this blog.

One of the areas of spiritual growth that has been on my mind recently is the area of relationships with other people-our spouse, our family, our church family and our extended family. Several years ago I wrote a series of lessons for the Altamont Christian Church to use as a study guide with my book JUST WALKING. The workbook was never published and I had almost forgotten about it. However, many of the points that we covered in that study have been on my heart and it is those things that I will be writing about in the next few weeks.

WALKING WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY

"Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." I Thessalonians 5:11

If we are to grow spiritually, we must love one another. We need to remember that we are a family. My own family is filled with adopted children. I have a niece, a nephew and two grandchildren who are a part of our immediate family. They are our children and are treated no differently than birth children. We love each child in our family differently, but we love them all the same. To God, we are just like that. We are his adopted children and we belong to the same family. Think about your church family. I encourage you to list at least five people who you feel truly are your brothers and sisters. Thank God for them and pray for them as you do your physical family.

So often in our church family as in our physical family people are hurt by careless or thoughtless actions and words. If we are to grow spiritually we need to be careful with our words and actions toward our church family. This week I encourage you to list three things you can do personally to keep members of your church family from being hurt either physically or spiritually.

Have you hurt someone in your church family unintentionally? Today is the day for forgiveness. Ask for forgiveness from the person and from God. Pray for the person. And then leave it there at the foot of the cross. Burdens are not meant to be carried forever. Grudges, hurt feelings and unforgiving attitudes are not meant to be a part of the family of God. When our relationship with God's children increases and becomes more loving so then does our love for God.

Pray that God will present you with the opportunity to encourage someone this week. Pray for your church family that you might walk with them on the road to spiritual growth that the world may see Christ and the you may walk in the abundant life Christ wants you to have.

Praying and making my lists too.

WALKING WITH HIM Clella

Tuesday, March 10

WHAT'S AGE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

I had received this book before Christmas and was supposed to review it. Thomas Nelson offers this program of free books to those who will read and review them. Of course it is to be done rather soon after the book is released. Because of so many life "things" I am only now fulfilling that obligation, but it is a worthwhile and fun book and I do want to recommend it. I will be posting again next week. Thank you to all my readers who have been praying for me. I have felt your love. Clella Age Doesn't Matter, March 10, 2009 By Clella Camp "Clella" - See all my reviews "Gran, this is a good book. You will like it." from my 22 year old granddaughter who had picked Robin's book from my stack. And I did. Sections that truly spoke to me as an "older" woman were her comments and suggestions about skin care. Her little personal prescriptions entitled "Robins' RX" are fun and some actually work as she says they might. Robin writes, "I had to accept the fact that my body is going to continue to age every day of my life-and it's going to happen whether I like it or not (and whether I wear shorts or not), so there's no reason to let it control me." This was her concept throughout each separate chapter. What she is saying to her reader is Take care of yourself and be the best that you can be. She does it in such an entertaining but informative manner that even we who are in our 70's begin to ask her question..."What does age have to do with it?" Good answers are found in Robin's book.

Monday, January 26

GRIEF

Using the modern method again to report the family news. My mother, Betty Martin, went home to be with our Lord on December 28, 2008. She had not been sick before that Saturday and we felt she had developed congestion from a cold. I will write to share with my readers before too long. Right now I am working through the legal and mental processes of losing a parent. Very few people are blessed to have their mother with them for so long. She was a true Christian lady and a blessing to all who knew here. My family and I appreciate your prayers. Praising God for His blessings during this time.