December 6, 2006

Ohhhhhhhhhh !

Teacher: Do you practice?
Esli: I must practice?
Teacher: Yes.
Esli: Everyday?
Teacher: Yes, everyday.
Esli: Everyday, everyday??
Teacher: Yes, everyday except Sabbath.
Esli: Ohhhhhhhhhhh.........(gasps)....until Jesus comes?

Esli: What is it called?
Teacher: Treble Clef
Esli: I know why.
Teacher: Why?
Esli: Because it's always in trouble.

Teacher: Ohhhhhhhhh !

November 20, 2006

Home on the Range

O give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the sky is not cloudy all day
poem by Dr. Brewster Higley, 1876

In 1888, Pierce Cunningham settled in the valley of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and called his homestead in the new frontier the Flying U Ranch.
His log cabin, constructed of lodgepole pines, was built in the Appalachian"dogtrot" style which consisted of 2 large rooms joined by a covered breezeway or porch. Corners of the cabin were either saddle notched or squared fastened with thick wooden spikes. Cracks between the logs were filled in with dirt mortar. The roof was covered with sod and the floor was dirt packed.

It was here at the 160 acre ranch on Flat Creek that Pierce Cunningham and his wife, Margaret, made their home, raised their family and cultivated hay. Life on the ranch was hard. Harsh severe winters brought heavy snow that piled high on the low sod roof. In 1893 two suspected horse thieves were shot and killed at the cabin by an angry posse....a group of 16 men heavily armed on saddle horses. The cabin was later used as a barn and then a smithy.

I'm but a stranger here, Heaven is my home
Earth is a desert dread, Heaven is my home
Danger and sorrow stand Round me on every hand
Heaven is my fatherland, Heaven is my home
Thomas R. Taylor

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Ps. 127:1

September 8, 2006

New Life

His hair was matted and dirty. His bushy beard badly needed a trim. His scruffy clothes showed signs of total neglect. He was a sorry sight. You see, Ben was homeless. For years, he had been visiting the local Community Services. Here he felt accepted for what he was. Here he knew he could get food and a change of clean clothes.

He always needed a hat. Sometimes, he would bring in his soiled hat to be laundered. Once he showed up drunk and a flow of gruff angry words spilled out. But most of the time he was appreciative of the services for which he came. Those who worked at the Community Services began to look forward to his regular visits. They would worry if he hadn't been in for a couple of weeks or more and wonder how he was doing.

One day I asked Ben if he wouldn't mind having his picture taken. He was happy to oblige. I promised that I would give him the print once I got it developed. When he showed up the following week, I handed him the printed photograph. Ben was pleasantly surprised and said his experience was that people never kept promises. Gratefully, he accepted the photograph and tucked it carefully in his shirt pocket.

Three weeks later, Ben came again to see us. This time I could hardly recognize him. His long unruly hair had been shampooed, cut, and combed. The shaggy straggly beard was gone. His clothes were neat and clean. His deep blue eyes twinkled. And there was not a hint of alcohol in his breath.

"Ben!" I exclaimed in obvious delight. "What happened to you?"

"I cleaned up", he said with a little smile. " I want to start a new life."

June 14, 2006


Here are some photos of the places we've visited these past few months. To do the pictures justice, click on each to maximize your viewing pleasure.

The CIA (Culinary Institute of America) built in 1888, St. Helena, CA Click on the bright yellow Mustards to take a closer look at the 22-inch thick tufa stone building once owned by the Christian Brothers.

Table Mt. , Oroville, CA

Lush rolling hills covered with soft carpets of Goldfield wildflowers along Hwy 58.

Pinnacles National Monument

He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure. Isaiah 33:16 (NIV)

June 8, 2006

Words of Wisdom

I have an adorable little 6 year old student named Esli who opens my eyes and teaches me things I never knew before. Here are some knowledge and wisdom gleaned from her this past month.

Esli: I felled off the jump-rope and the ground scratched me.
Teacher: Did you scratch the ground back?
Esli: No. Hee hee hee.
Teacher: Why not?
Esli: Because it's not alive. You can't tickle the ground because it won't laugh.

May 15, 2006

Pinnacles National Monument

If you like to climb, crawl, duck, squeeze, wade, or walk sideways, this is the place for you! In my last entry, we enjoyed the fresh beauty of spring at the vast open plain of Carrizo. What a contrast it is to this!

Pinnacles National Monument

The granduer of massive monoliths, spires like fat fingers pointing upward to the clear blue sky, and rickety rock rubbles of talus caves were mystifying and adventurous to say the least.

Add a few waterfalls gushing down the rocks and you have a mental picture of what the place is like. Such are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano in Pinnacles National Monument located some miles south of San Jose, CA.

Pinnacles National Monument

Pinnacles National Monument

Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Ps. 61:2

May 1, 2006

Gone Wild

Carrizo Plains, near San Luis Obispo, CA, is hot and desolate during the summer months.
The dry desert plains burst into a riot of colors in the spring.

Birds we identified at Carrizo included Quail, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Road Runner, etc.
Far away in the distance we spotted one lone tree

with a Common Raven sitting on a large nest of sticks and twigs.

In the soft fur lined nest were the most beautiful turquoise colored eggs I had ever seen!

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. How much more valuable you are than birds! Luke 12:24 NIV

Our days are few and brief, like grass, like flowers, blown by the wind and gone forever. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. Psalm 103:15-17 TLB

April 26, 2006

He Loves Me Too

The Colusa National Wildlife Refuge in Sacramento Valley is a little oasis which serves as a haven for the thousands of migratory waterfowls that flock in from Alaska and the Canadian arctic every winter. Spring had sprung and most of the migratory birds had returned to their northern breeding grounds.

Upon entering the wildlife refuge, beautiful Ring-necked Pheasants with their mates in the sagebrush nearby greeted us. American Coots shared their fresh water pond with White Pelicans, Cinnamon Teals and Mallards. Dark Glossy Ibises with long curved-down beaks, Sandpipers, and the black and white American Avocets with curved-up beaks dug into the shallow marsh for delectable tidbits . We saw Red-tailed Hawks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Sparrows, Marsh Wrens, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Swallows building mud nests under the bridge , a Northern Mockingbird, Turkey Vultures, Great Egrets and Blue Herons. A black River Otter crossed the path from one creek to the other. Large Black-tailed Jackrabbits chased through the grassland and cute little Desert Cottontail rabbits nibbled fresh greens. A brown furry Muskrat swam across the stream.

It had been a pleasant and peaceful day and now it was time to leave. Our car moved slowly along the dirt road. We did not want to frighten any of God's creatures. Would He have more delightful surprises in store for us? Suddenly we heard a loud commotion! Two very agitated Killdeers were fluttering and screeching wildly. Each feigning broken wings and heart-breaking cries, they hoped we would take pity and follow them as they dragged and limped in obvious agony.

While Jim patiently obliged them to lure him away, he paused long enough for me to sneak quietly out of the car. I ran back about 20 feet beyond the area where we had first heard the commotion and crept forward little by little on my hands and knees as I scouted the road. Nothing on the ground looked particularly unusual. But Mother and Dad Killdeer seemed to be mortally wounded and cried incessantly. Why? I wanted to find out. After a few minutes of careful search, I spotted 2 little speckled eggs camouflaged among the rocks and pebbles by the side of the road.

I motioned for Jim to join me. When I looked back down again, my eyes began to blur. The eggs had vanished! For a moment I thought I had been fooled. Was it just a figment of my imagination? Examining the ground closely once more, the eggs materialized.

As I think back of the Killdeers and their precious little nest of mottled eggs, I am reminded of how God cares for them and how much more He loves and cares for each one of us.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

"God sees the little sparrow fall
It meets His tender view
If God so loves the little bird
I know He loves me too."
-- Straub

Poor mama Killdeer's wings are badly hurt. Who will give her TLC?

Click on the gravel for a closer look at her precious little spotted eggs.

March 1, 2006

Number 14

The day started off with a bang. From the moment the door opened at 10 a.m. Monday morning, the waiting room was full. I began to process the clients as quickly as I could. There was no time to waste.

“Number 14,” I called. A man shuffled his way onto the seat in front of my desk. He looked tired, disheveled and forlorn.

“How are you?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he mumbled.

“Is something wrong, Dennis?”

“Well, yeah. I fell and hurt this foot eight months ago, and it just won’t heal,” he replied.

“Do you believe in God?”

“I know there is a higher power out there, but I don’t believe that He cares about us humans,” he said. As we chatted, I sensed a sadness in his voice. Although there were more clients waiting to be processed, I felt an urgency to continue our conversation.

Someone in the waiting room began to murmur, “What is taking so long?”

A man answered him, “This is where you can get spiritual counseling too.”

Back at my desk, I turned to Dennis and asked him if he had a Bible. He did. He knew the story of the flood and who Jesus was. But he couldn’t believe that it was true. How could it be? How could a loving God allow such suffering? He was homeless. Where could he go? There was nothing for him to look forward to but pain and misery.

I opened my Bible and began to read. “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God. Believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you -- Dennis -- and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you -- Dennis -- unto Myself, that where I am, there ye -- Dennis -- may be also.” *

Dennis began to cry. Tears flowed freely down his parched cheeks. Was Jesus really preparing a place for him in heaven? It seemed too good to be true. We prayed together. Then he took his seat at the waiting room.

“Number 15,” I called. A middle-aged lady sauntered over to my desk.

“It was beautiful,” she said to me.

“I beg your pardon?”

“What you said to that man. I heard every word,” the lady said. “The Holy Spirit was with you."

*John 14:1-3

January 17, 2006

The Deserted Ski Resort

The weather was gorgeous. Jim and I decided to drive up to South Lake Tahoe for a much needed break. Friday we walked along the shores and embraced the beauty of one of the world’s largest, clearest, and deepest alpine lakes.

Early the next morning, we drove past the shimmering Aspens to the green forested mountains. Memories of bygone days tugged at our hearts as we entered the vacant Sierra Tahoe parking lot. Here at this very spot we had brought our children to play in the snow and ski on the Bunny Slopes. And now, it was quiet and peaceful. Surrounding us were tall pines gracefully swaying in the gentle autumn breeze and twittering birds hopping amongst the brush hunting for grubs. It was a perfect setting to spend time with God.

We enjoyed our leisure picnic lunch and while Jim read his book, I tromped into the thick woods to look around. Before long it was time to go. As we headed back down the narrow winding road we came across an iron gate. Jim hopped out of the van to open it. The sign at the gate said the park would close at 5:30PM. We checked our watch. It was 4:00PM. They had closed early for the Labor Day weekend. Jim tried unsuccessfully to lift the iron bar from the latch. The 2 padlocks were securely fastened and the chain link would not budge. With a look of utter dismay he announced, "We're locked in.”

He spun the car around and drove back to the deserted ski resort. We climbed up the hill to the empty lodge. Peering through the dark windows and knocking on every door, I called, “Hello! Hello, hello!” No answer. It was a ghost town. No one knew where we were.

Mountain elevation was close to 8000 feet. Wind was picking up and temperature was steadily dropping. It could get a bit chilly at night. Once we had spotted a wild coyote in the woods. I wonder if there are cougars up here, Jim thought out loud.

The sun was setting. There was nothing more to do now but wait. As we slowly walked back to the direction of our car, I prayed silently. “Dear God, if You want us to stay here for the next 3 days in this cold mountain with the coyotes and cougars, umm…that’s OK. But I’d rather not because……..” Suddenly we heard a loud SLAM. A security officer walked out of the building. PRAISE GOD!!

For before they call, I will answer and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

January 7, 2006

Happy Sabbath!!

We just returned a few days ago from the Dec. 28,2005-Jan.1, 2006 General Youth Conference held at the Chattanooga Convention Center, TN. Over 3500 young people from the United States, England, Romania, South Africa, Sudan, Iceland, Norway, and the Philippines attended. What a blessing it was to see them on fire for the Lord. Seminars were filled and overflowing. Many resorted to standing or sitting on the floor. Doors were kept open so others in the hallway could strain their ears to hear. 2000 young people knocked on 9,117 doors Sabbath afternoon preparing the city of Chattanooga for the forthcoming evangelistic meetings by Mark Finley. As a result of this outreach, 852 people requested for Bible studies. Praise the Lord!

GYC is an organization led by young people who want to prepare an army for the cause of God. Let us pray for them as they stand up for truth and witness for their faith

For more information, visit their website: