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An Adventure With Books, but Not Reading

April 11, 2016

The girls are continuing to share their travel adventures. Emily’s post today is about a different view of the St. Louis Library. Please read her blog, COMMENT, and subscribe to their blog. Beyond The Gravel Road, is the creation of Anna, Emily and our bonus daughter for a time, Moriah. Help encourage some young ladies as they share their journeys.

https://teentravelsite.wordpress.com

(If you read this article on their site, you will also get to enjoy the amazing photographs that Anna and Emily took.)

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved books. Thick, thin, long, short, fiction or true she loved them all. She loved the way they smelled, felt, looked, and sounded when you read them aloud. She loved the way books helped you escape, and the way that they helped you succeed. She loved the way they sat on shelves and the way they made you want to read. The adventures she experienced while reading books were tremendous and exciting; sometimes they were sad, but they were often times inviting. From slaying a dragon, and hiding from pirates, and riding in a submarine, she never was too tired because to adventure she didn’t have to leave. But the greatest of her adventures if you ask her what it was, it didn’t take place in a novel, or somewhere on paper with ink, it took place in the world that everyone can see. It took place in a city, in a large stone building labeled library.

Her adventure in the St. Louis Public library took place on a rainy day, the best day for a book. A thick haze lay over the city and along the bank of the Mississippi. She had at first thought the day to be gray and forbidding, but found that this was the best sort of weather for such an excursion.  Down Olive Street she scurried to the entrance on the west side of the building. This entrance was modern, and impressive, but she was not easily awed. She wandered strategically through the building, making sure to see each room, following the map she had acquired at the front desk, so as to not get lost in the halls of the monstrous book haven. Each room was more exquisite than the one before it, in both size and interior. Her jaw began to drop lower with every room she entered; she was dazzled and very emotional about the whole thing.

The first truly grand room she came upon was, as the name inspires, The Grand Hall. This hall was truly grand, and tear-jerking to the max. The celling soared high, and the large arched windows bordered the east and west sides of the room.  The ceiling was delicately designed, giving almost the impression that it was a hankie, softly embroidered for a child. The walls were not lined with shelves, but rather historical displays educating the libraries patrons about photography, old writings, and the lives of the library’s founders’ family. Wooden tables sit in the center of the room so that you can read or study with a cluster, or individually.  She lingered in The Grand Hall only for a short time before the urge of curiosity moved her on.

The ceilings in the rooms following the grand hall impressed her further and further. She felt a love for architecture that she had never known, and sensed a deep admiration for the craftsman that was so talented as to intrigue others to his naturally unappealing sport. Ceilings imported from Florence hung over her head as she closed her eyes, imagining the room was singing her a song of the purest Latin. While the room’s interior was exquisite, it would not feel complete if it were lacking its shelves of specifically arrayed prized documents. What is more glorious than an endless row of books?

The most prized documents in this library were the rare books held in the archives. A visit to the archives can be obtained by a phone call and reservation.  Among the rare books were a first addition, Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”, a Shakespeare folio, and a 15th century Latin illumination. There were many more fantastic volumes but I must not name them all for I might faint in utter delight. The most marvelous of the texts was by far the pieces of clay manuscripts. The clay manuscripts were basically just clay tablets historically used for records. They were inscribed in an ancient dialect that dates back to 374 B.C. in spite of the fact that these tablets were over 2000 years old, they were in impeccable condition. Translated to be business transactions, they were hypnotizing and intricate. Even the literary ignorant, and anti-bookworms, could not object to spending the day reading these gently precise manuscripts.

We know that the girl loved books. But if there was anything that interested her as much, or even more than a good solid literary treat, it was history. History was her deep and fiercest passion. The rare books section had combined these interests, creating delight and awe. Another historical benefit in this specific library was its extensive collection of genealogy. After the state of Utah, this is the largest collection of genealogical manuscripts in the United States. You could spend the whole day, in the company of a librarian, pouring through the history of what your family line was before you. Every county, every year, documented right at your fingertips.  You may know that your family came over from Ireland, but there are two sides to every story, as well as every family.

Whether or not you love books, the St. Louis public library is defiantly a must see. Hundreds of years of memories and words reside within these walls, and even just entering can give you a feeling of deeper appreciation for the Knowledge of the past. Just sitting among all these stories, you can almost feel the energy of hundreds of different tales coming to hundreds of different twists and turns, bringing your imagination to life, love to your heart, and characters to your mind, that will remain with you for the rest of your days. You could know nothing more of this character, except that she is a girl who loves books, and still feel that what she experienced was amazing, and you’ll begin to dream of experiencing her adventures for yourself.

Calling all Bacon Lovers!

March 24, 2016

Anna just finished posting a new article on her blog. Anna Emily and Moriah together have a teen travel blog. Check it out, subscribe and leave her a comment.  If you love bacon, and who doesn’t, you’ll love this post.

https://teentravelsite.wordpress.com/

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Scrumptious confectioneries and succulent sweets fill the dreams of children, and wise adults, worldwide. A place focused on chocolates, toffees and fruity candies seems the object of bedtime stories and legend, but what if I told you that such a place existed, a place where sweets are the main focus and sugar is perfected. This place is called Crown Candy Kitchen. It is located in St. Louis Missouri, the gateway to the west. I find its placement quite suiting considering Crown Candy is the gateway to enhanced consumption of sugary goods. Numerous food-lovers have ventured countless miles to bask in the flavors of this eatery. I traveled almost three-hundred miles to reach its beckoning doors. Yes, this restaurant is worth the travel. This guide will not only make you swoon in utter delight but will also temp you out of your house and on your way to St. Louis.

While Crown Candy has most any candy one could wish for, their chocolates and toffees are truly the most impressive sweets there. A glass case connected to the checkout counter is filled to the brim with mouthwatering caramels, toffees and nuts covered in chocolates and creams. Depending on the season and holiday you could find anything from a smooth, and very large, chocolate bunny to a twenty-four inch chocolate heart. They have chocolates for all different interests. Whether you enjoy Elvis or bowties, they have a high quality treat for you.

Crown candy may be known for its groundbreaking sweets but there is something about this bistro that makes it rise in individuality in not only the confectionary since, but also in the food industry. Crown candy serves food for lunch and dinner that is not only delicious but also comes in hefty good quality quantities. The Reuben is highly favored and the roast beef and cheddar melt is exceptional but there is one that stands out, the Heart Stopping BLT. This sandwich is fresh lettuce, perfectly ripe tomato, miracle whip and fourteen slices of thick crisp Oscar Mayer bacon stuffed between two toasted sour dough slices of bread. It is phenomenal! Crown Candy serves an average of 125 of them each day. Adam Rickman featured the sandwich in his show, Best Sandwich in America. Most people who I tell of this anomaly remark “that would be too much bacon” but I assure you that you can never imagine eating a normal BLT again. The amount of bacon seems so right and as if it was meant, since creation, to be consumed in that quantity and fashion. I do advise, however, that you are cautious. This is a very large amount of pork to consume all at once and it can affect everyone differently. My sister and I only ate one half each and had stomach issues while my uncle ate the whole thing and was fine. I will note that the issues only lasted an hour or so and seemed obsolete compared to the glory of the sandwich.

Another great quality about this eatery is their malts and ice cream. Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry they are always smooth and a perfect balance of milky and sweet. Their flavor options are endless ranging from eggnog to coffee with countless other in between. When you order a malt it comes in a large 24 ounce silver malt shaker! The malts can be expensive but if you have a large appetite you may get them free. Crown Candy has a competition that if you can drink five of their malts in a half hour you get them all free and you get your name and time put on a golden plaque on the wall. I thought it almost impossible, but it seems there are people who have done it and some in the record breaking time of two minutes! It took me two hours to finish one; I received no award.

Crown Candy kitchen has sat at its same location on the corner North 14th street and St Louis Avenue since 1913. The soda fountain in use today is the original from over one-hundred years ago. The white wooden booths and authentic cash register and antique copper candy kettle are only a few others of the original pieces which still fill the restaurant. The man who opened Crown Candy so long ago passed the business down to his sons who still own and operate the restaurant today. Crown Candy Kitchen is one of the oldest soda fountains in the nation which is still in use.

Crown Candy is only one of many hidden gems in St. Louis. St. Louis may be known for the Gateway Arch but without its restaurants, museums and sports teams St. Louis wouldn’t be the thriving city it is today. Cities, like life, are made up of more than just the major landmarks but also the small enjoyments we find along the way. A place where chocolates, toffees and fruity candies are perfected may sound fictional but it truly exists. Visit crown candy and make your dreams come true.

A Rat and a Mole With the Right Idea

March 13, 2016

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“The rat brought the boat alongside the bank, made her fast, helped the Mole ashore and swung out the luncheon basket. The Mole begged to be allowed to unpack it all by himself. The Rat was very pleased to indulge him and to sprawl out on the grass and rest while his excited friend shook out the table cloth and spread it , took the mysterious packets one by one and arranged their contents in due order, still gasping, “Oh my! Oh my!” When all was ready, the Rat said, “pitch in, Old Fellow!” and the Mole was very glad to obey, for he had started his spring cleaning very early that morning, and had not paused for a bite since.”  Wind in the Willows

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Rat and Mole have the right idea. If spring cleaning must be done, do it quickly while there still is a nip in the air, for as soon as the sun and bumblebees  come out, it is time for a picnic. A picnic is a simple thing, food outside. Of course a basket is a handy object to carry your food to your desired destination, and a quilt or blanket are perfect items to host this little party. There are so many options for picnic ideas. Have one with your girlfriends.

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One of my favorite picnics is one with my children and a good book.

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Children and picnics are always a good idea.

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A tea party picnic is the best of two ideas.

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MAMA’S CUPBOARD, my little shop is the perfect place to prepare for your upcoming spring picnic. We carry picnic baskets, great books, (including The Wind in the Willows)  tea sets and tea. This THURSDAY 11;00-4:00, FRIDAY 11:00-4:00 and SATURDAY 11:00-3:00 we will be open for our SPRING CELEBRATION!

721 N. Webster, Kokomo on the corner of Webster and Madison, 2 blocks north of Jefferson.

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On-line shopping available at http://www.mamascupboard.net/

 

 

Spring Celebration

March 12, 2016

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I almost squealed with delight. My eyes were not deceiving me, my daffodils were poking through the soil. Not the way my strawberries were a month ago, way ahead of schedule, which meant cracking the whip at six kids to cover them quickly with straw. No, these beautiful bunches of green are a true sign of spring, and why not; spring begins next week. Even though I am not quite thawed out from the winter, I do believe it is time to celebrate.

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To express my downright giddiness at the thought of flowering trees and Easter eggs, Mama’s Cupboard will be open this week THURSDAY 11:00-4:0, FRIDAY 11:00-4:00 and SATURDAY 11:00-3:00. It is time to get out of the house and out of your winter doldrums and think, “spring!”

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The snow is gone, (let’s hope) and the snow drops will soon greet us instead.

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Soon the trees will burst open with blooms.

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The birds have already begun to sing their spring time songs.

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And it won’t be long until swings and benches begin to call our names.

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Long walks and picnics are right around the corner, so join us for our Spring Celebration and find those special items that will really make your spring sweet.

OPEN – Thursday March 17, 11:00-4:00    Friday March 18, 11:00-4:00  and   Saturday March 19, 11:00-3:00

721 N. Webster, Kokomo  we are one block west of Washington and two blocks north of Jefferson on the north side of the Fire and Flood building.

If you can’t make it, don’t forget shopping is available on our website  http://www.mamascupboard.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a New Blog in Town

March 2, 2016

When asked, “If you could choose any job, right now, what would it be?” little did three teen girls know that the answer, travel writing, would begin this new blog and adventures beyond our own little gravel road. Let me introduce Anna, Emily and Moriah, our adventurers and the contributors to their new travel blog. They are three 15 year old girls thrust together by love and circumstances that call their living room school and the world their classroom. Each post may be an assignment, but already their eyes have been opened to the fascinating places to visit just beyond their gravel road and even beyond this world. Join them as they explore new places and share their journeys. Find them at teentravelsite.worpress.com

Emily’s first blog post is not only beyond our gravel road, but it is also beyond our world. Her travel blog to an imaginary place takes us to the very center of the earth. Her guide is not only entertaining, but it is filled with travel tips that will make your journey a smooth one. (at least as smooth as a journey to the center of the earth can be) Professor Lindenbrock would have enjoyed his journey more if he had read this travel blog before beginning.

Based on the book, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” By: Jules Verne.

“For all you adventurers out there, young and old, never give up on your dreams, no matter how big, or dangerous they may seem.” Emily Spence

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A Journey to the Depths of it All.

I’m going to tell you about my journey to the center of the earth. If this is your desired destination, listen very closely to all the instructions I have to give, because if you don’t, your excursion could end in wasted time and money, or possibly even certain death. Nothing too serious, but the safe side is generally the fun side.

My story begins in Iceland, on the volcano Snafells. This volcano hasn’t been active since its last eruption in 1229, so it is perfectly safe to descend into its cone. The essentials for this journey are: A large supply of food, water, and some form of light. It is absolutely necessary that you purchase a travel pack from “The Duck Hunter’s Grocery,” a two hour drive south-west of the mountain. This pack will include all the provisions, and instruments needed for such an expedition. If you wish to make your own pack, go to: centeroftheearthguide.com. With me on my journey was a kind Icelandic guide (whom spoke no English), myself, and my dear friend’s niece, Alisha.

We ascended the volcano on the 25th of June, due to the fact that the passage’s opening is only visible in the last days of June. The first two days at the peak were cloudy, and the entrance is only visible in sunlight, so we camped at the mouth of the volcano until the 27th. If you happen to be put in this situation by circumstance, note that dried lava on the side of the mountain can be preferable for resting and camping. Finally by the 28th, the sign of Arne Saknussemm (Arne Saknussemm was the first explorer to discover the center of the earth. Upon his first trip, saknussemm left marks and signs along the correct rout, creating a map) was revealed be sunlight, and we could enter into the mouth of the volcano.

How you choose to descend into the volcano is simply your choice, but I might recommend rope ladders, or if you are in good shape, plain rope. This will take patience. But take it from someone with no patience, parachuting into the abyss can result in pain……..very much pain. Note: if you are afraid of heights, (or someone with you is afraid of heights) bring a blind fold. The volcano’s mouth is estimated to be about a mile and a half across, shrinking as it goes down. If you parachute down, it is highly probable that you will be wacked from side to side on the rocky hole.

You will descend 5,000 feet before reaching the bottom; sea level. At the bottom of Snafells is the perfect place to spend your first night. Besides the minor issue of sleeping on solid rock, your first night is sure to be a pleasant one. Utter silence penetrates the darkness as you gaze at a magnificent night sky through a telescope-acting cavern.

Day two, under the crust: we spent the day on foot, exploring caverns and heading down, deeper into the planet. The potential of exportable goods in this area was completely untapped. Crystals of opaque quarts, coal, and limestone, line every cave. Botanists will be pleased to find that over 1,500 different plant specious reside under the crust

If you are the sort who longs for an extraordinary vacation but hates busy tourist destinations, the center of the earth is the perfect place for you. Not only are there no locals, but the tourist flow is almost nonexistent, even in high season. The lack of tourism is just astonishing.

Day five, becoming acclimated: Very experienced travelers understand that different climates have different effects on your body. Going to the center in the earth is a perfect example of this.  Alisha, only being 12, could not physically keep up, so she would often ride on the back of our guide, to which he would comment “gott eg er ao fa greitt”, (check note 1. At the bottom of the artical) (I do so wish I had learned Icelandic). The temperature did not increase too severally, and the pressure did not affect us, as long as we took it slow and easy. The terrain was somewhat difficult and water was becoming scarce. Note: some areas can be quite tight and somewhat confining, so if you are claustrophobic, lose some weight before your journey. You must travel far each day if you plan to reach the center of the earth before the atmosphere begins to take an effect on you.  I recommend that you get into very good shape before you attempt this journey.

We traveled long and hard for three weeks before we truly became restless. Alisha began rebelling and insisting that we go back. Note: probably not a good trip for children. I had hoped that this would be an educational trip for her, but she became board and anxious. I noticed that even our guide was antsy, and somewhat reluctant to move on. Another note: pay your guides per day, otherwise they might give you trouble.

Finally, by the end of July, we began to see signs that we were getting close. A spring replenished our water supply, and a forest of tall mushrooms insured that we would not starve. Note: if you are allergic to mushrooms, this is a literal forest of mushrooms, some stretching up to 30 feet high. Bring your own supply of extra provisions so that you do not starve while your companions are eating mushroom soup.

August 1st: finally we reached the subterranean sea. There are no raft shops in the area, and  if you bring an inflatable raft, your guide is most likely going to throw it off his back exclaiming “heimskur konur sem purfa ao blasa upp bat” (check note 2. at the bottom of the article) when the journey first becomes strenuous. Note: Get a guide you can understand so that you can be sure when he is insulting you. Fortunately, Alisha had been taking wood shop class and was able to instruct our guide on how to make a raft of mushroom stumps. Note: mushroom stumps have the same characteristics as lumber, if the mushroom is large enough.

By August 3rd our raft was safely constructed, and we set off across the sea. If you are the type that enjoys fishing, the subterranean sea is ideal for fishing. I would recommend catch and release, the fish in this sea are not only ugly and eyeless, but taste disgusting. I would liken their taste to that of a fish that has been dead and decaying for thousands of years.

By the 13th of August, we were exhausted. We had been at sea only ten days, but it felt like an eternity. Note: the light in this area is consistent, day and night. This makes it very difficult to sleep. Not only had we not been able to get any sleep, but our food now only consisted of mushrooms, which lack the vitamins you need. I was dreadfully sea sick from the push and pull of the waves on our tiny raft, and often found myself, head flung over the edge of the boat, poisoning the clean water of the earth. Alisha, only being 12, was not an expert raft maker, and therefore we had to always be on our guard of what crack we must patch up with a rag. Water was constantly sloshing over the sides of our “ship”, getting us soaked to the bone. The spray of the water gave an intoxicating smell of salt and putrid fish, which only increased my nauseas state. Note: if you have trouble with sea sickness, take along Dramamine.

By the 25th of August, I was starting to give up hope. Alisha cried twenty-three hours a day (once again this is not a vacation for youngsters) and Mr. Guide sat with his knees to his chest, on the corner of our boat muttering “aldrei aftur, aldrei aftur, aldrei treysta drjalaour American aftur”. (Check note 3. At the bottom of the article) Note: if you fear insanity, this is not the trip for you. I was beginning to worry. To all you travelers who get so set on the destination that you do not enjoy the ride, let this be a lesson to you. We came beneath the crust of the earth in search of the center of it all. Indeed we got there but the destination was three times as horrid as the rest of the trip.

We were sailing along in our usual despair when the wind began to rise and the waves began to throw us to and fro. Our guide jumped to his feet, and Alisha held her whining tongue. The waves pushed and pulled our minuscule raft, like a toy that is fought over between two very selfish children. We flew in rapid circles, as a torrent of hot rain fell from the dense clouds above. Just as I was thinking that we were in the worst possible situation, what should appear before me from the water, but a sea beast? For the sake of any child reading this, I shall not in detail describe the horror this creature displayed, but I shall say that it was ferocious, and we were all in danger. Note: this is not a petting zoo. Keep your hands to yourself. If you do not know how to swim, DO NOT FALL OFF THE BOAT!!! Very important that you remember this. Behold, this was the center of the earth. Now don’t let these things discourage you from journeying to the center of the earth, for really it is a stupendous destination.

I do not wish to prolong this story of our unfortunate encounter with the center of the earth, so I’ll just tell it like it happened. The beast smacked us around a bit, and broke the majority of our raft. Alisha, an attempt to distract him, threw the remainder of our provisions into the sea. When the beast dove for them, we navigated our way out of the storm, and safely to shore (well mostly safely, but that’s another story for another time.)

Once we reached the shore, we followed our map (included in the packet at the Duck Hunter’s Grocery.) through various tunnels, which eventually brought us to an air shaft. The air in this shaft will boost you to the surface, so long as you have some cart like object to sit in on the way up. The momentum of the breeze from this shaft will shoot you all the way to Italy, were you can schedule a flight back home.

Additional notes-

History: The center of the earth has obviously existed since the dawn of time. There are many conspiracies on how the course of time has altered it, some people even believing that time has added layers to the planet. For more information on these go to, thelayersoftime.net. For information on other expeditions to the center of the earth, go to myunclelindebroch.org.

Accommodations: high class travelers will not be at their leisure, but a perfect trip for indulging the inner camper inside all of us. No hotels, motels etc.

Culture/Locals: locals are very few, and those that you find (such as sea beast), keep your distance.

Transportation/Restaurants: None.

If you remember to follow these few simple things, your trip is sure to be a success! Just remember, don’t take children, don’t pet the sea beast, and enjoy your journey to the depths of it all.

 

 

Note 1. Translation: It’s a good thing I’m getting paid.

Note 2. Translation: Stupid woman, bringing a blow up boat.

Note 3. Translation: Never again, never again, never trust crazy American again

 

https://teentravelsite.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/a-journey-to-the-depths-of-it-all/

“The Shift”

January 15, 2016

January 15th, the half way point into January. I never made resolutions, set goals or did much planning at all for this new year, but here we are, two weeks into 2016 and my life is nowhere near what I thought it would be. I got a surprise gift for Christmas. I received a 15 year old young lady. WHAM! different life.

It amazes me how quickly life can change. Sometimes, goals or no goals, God has another plan and we are caught off guard and unaware. The one thing I know I should be aware of, is that life is unexpected. My husband loves the phrase, “Life with Jesus is thrills, romance and adventure.” Well, I have not been too euphoric with the thrills and adventures that have dropped into my lap. Let me be clear, my problem is not with my precious new charge, my problem is with the major life curve that came with it, and my slow adaptability.

We have to laugh a little at ourselves. Our utmost desire (at least we think it is) is to be formed into the image of Christ, to be used fully to make a difference in His Kingdom, and to lay down our lives for the plans and callings he has on our lives. Yet when God sets things in motion for all of the above to happen, we want to slam on the brakes. “WOAH! Who gave YOU permission to hijack my life? Oh yeah, I guess that was me crying out to you day after day and month after month to use me. BUT God, this is not what I had in mind… Oh I see this is what YOU had in mind all along.”

I looked up the definition of adventure – an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. I guess I didn’t realize exactly what an adventure was.

So here we are, I now have three 15 year old girls. Each one unique and each one a delight. There have been challenges, and there are challenges yet to come, but as uncomfortable as it may feel, I know this new year is not a surprise to God.

I share this with you because I want you to know that life curves can turn us into big fat cry babies. It’s okay! There is so much in us still, that is US. We may have grown immensely in our Christian walk, but unfortunately there is always more of US. You know what I’m talking about, that nagging flesh, the self will, the I WANT IT MY WAY! God is not surprised, we may be surprised, (we thought we were so much farther along) but He knew who we were, and guess what, He loved us then and He loves us now. Am I out of my crybaby stage? Most likely, NO, but I am still a work in progress and God is delighted with me in the process. He is delighted with you too. We will always be in process. The important thing is to allow Him to do what it is He wants to do. So much easier to say! The application causes death to our will and that’s not a heck of a lot of fun.

Our dreams, plans, ideas and goals are most likely, OURS. They are ingrained and we hold on to them for dear life, at least I do. 2016, the year of “The Shift.” It is time to allow our dreams, plans, ideas and goals to be the ones God has for us. I’m warning you in advance. The life we hold on to will be challenged. Even our ideas of how life should be, will be challenged. You can be a big fat cry baby, you can struggle, you can kick and scream a while, but eventually it will come down to your will or His. Choose His! I’m pretty sure it won’t come easy and it might not feel great, but do it anyway. Hold on in the midst. He is not expecting you to do this in your own strength. We flat out CAN’T do it, it has to be His strength or a very rough time of it.

So you have it. Life changes all the time. Be prepared for God to be the changer, and be prepared for your answer to prayer and the favor of God in your life not to look like ANYTHING you thought it would. It’s okay, you’ll survive and one day you will thank and praise Him for “The Shift.”

 

Thanksgiving Lessons

November 25, 2015

I’m reblogging a post written  many years ago.  It is kinda like Thanksgiving leftovers.  Enjoy!

Thanksgiving has not always been a day of thankfulness to me.  Busy, overworked and hot; those are my usual Thanksgiving adjectives.  We do not live near our extended family so at Thanksgiving there is no sharing in meal preparation.  I have friends who bring the potatos or just a fruit salad to their Thanksgiving gatherings, but I make it ‘all’ every year.

I’m sure many of you moms fall into the ‘all’ category, especially those with young children.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of help around. So on a day dedicated to the emotion and act of thankfulness you may just feel a little more cranky and a little less thankful.

I was reading the Pilgrim story the other day to my children.  I was amazed at a number of facts.  First, the Pilgrims were setting time aside to be thankful after a year that was filled with death.  Half of all the Pilgrims died that first winter, yet they did not focus on that.  Instead of holding a memorial to remember all that had died, they held a feast to thank God.

Mankind too easily dwells on the negative.  I think our minds more easily gravitate toward what is wrong than what is right.  For many Thanksgivings in my past, I was more aggravated that I had to cook all that food instead of being abundantly grateful that I had food to cook.

Secondly, after a year of starvation; they were willing to feast.  They were not hoarding what they had; fearful of what the next winter might bring them.  Their attitude of thankfulness far outweighed any lack of trust they might have had.  But I don’t believe the Pilgrims struggled with a lack of trust.

And finally, how do you think the Pilgrims felt when 90 guests arrived for dinner?  Not only were they taking a step of faith to feast when needing to store supplies for the winter, but then here comes 90 extra hungry braves.  My guess is that they could probably eat quite a bit.  Were they filled with fear?  Were the women resentful that now they had to cook for a massive crowd?  I do not know what feelings went through the hearts of those faithful Pilgrims.

They were men and women of great character.  They left their country to follow God.  They left Holland to maintain their culture and language.  They headed over a vast ocean at the beginning of winter to a wilderness.  Their loved ones died in great numbers.  I doubt a little extra company threw them.

A lifestyle that focuses on tasks and activities, shortchanges us in the area of character.  Oh that I was like the Pilgrims, so focused on the right things that I live with a heart of thankfulness and an attitude of servant hood.

This Thursday as I start my cooking ritual early in the morning, I am going to attempt a different mindset.  I will focus on nothing except that which I am thankful for.  I admit it will be a challenge but the blessing at the end will be beyond measure.

We are all the result of what the Pilgrims did.  This country exists because of their convictions, faithfulness and perseverance.  What will be a result of YOU 300 years from now?  It is something to ponder this Thanksgiving Day.