Thursday, December 10, 2009

Number 64


He is number 64.

His family is desperate, they need help.

He needs a coat, shoes, clothes, diapers, high chair, and the list goes on.

I kept forgetting to sign up at the bank at the adopt a child program they have set up for Christmas.

Finally, it came to me while I was still at the drive up window.

"I would like to adopt a child."

"What gender would you like?"

"Age?"

"What do you need most?" is my reply.

The teller hands me a sheet of paper with a list of number 64's needs. I look it over. Should I get started now? It is a nasty day ...

I head for a store that carries what little 64 needs. I handle each garment with care, looking for comfort as well as warmth.

I head to another store. Number 64 is heavier on my mind. A momma pushes her shopping cart past me. A tiny one about 64's age is sleeping in the seat of the cart, his body draped over the back of the seat with his head propped up by a box in her basket. Is that number 64 I wonder? No, probably not. I study him just the same. Curls frame is sleeping face. Cheeks are rosy, chapped by the wind. He looks like a cherub.

I am falling in love with number 64 and I don't even know his name.

But I imagine him.

I bring the parcels home and begin to wrap them for him. I pray as I wrap.

I write a note and place it in the package.
"I promise to pray for you, little 64, every day this year. I will pray for your family too. Many happy blessings!"

My husband and I embrace for morning prayer. I ask him to add number 64 to our list. He lists him when he prays for each of our children by name. Number 64 comes last. He calls him little one. He prays for blessings on his life. It is a sweet time. I pray for number 64's salvation.

A few days ago I received a letter in the mail from a missionary in Sri Lanka. They found children who needed prayer warriors. I adopted one. Her name is Jumana. I was praying for her this morning. I just noticed this morning that there is a number on the back of her beautiful picture. You guessed it! Her number is 64.

So I will be praying for two children this year. One is in Sri Lanka, a little girl, age (? 10 maybe), and a little boy from my county, age 1, who wears size 5 shoes, and 18 month size clothing. Both are number 64.

How did the Lord work all this out? His ways are amazing! I believe He just loves to thrill us with these little things that are really quite big!

Merry Christmas!
Cheri

"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.' And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left."
Matthew 19:13-15

ps. Pictured is my little friend Teagan. He is not #64, but he is close to his age and he is a sweetheart! Don't you think?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wasn't Going to Tell

It began with a burden. It seems that everywhere I go I am running into women who are in desperate situations! They are the victims of unfixable problems. I have some who pour out their hearts to me. I listen. I don't have answers. I don't have ten or twelve steps to offer. But I do understand!

I have been there! I have been in seasons where the hurt was more overwhelming than I thought I could bare. It took my breath, it wrenched my gut, it threatened my faith, my hope and my trust. It shook me to the core.

They were seasons.

They have passed. 

Some seasons were long.

Others brief.

All painful.

I am still here to tell about it. 

The Lord was there for me. Sometimes it appeared that He was the only one, but He was faithful. 

Now I want to encourage others who are in a season of pain. I want to stir hope in hearts and minister to inner wounds, applying salve to the soul. 

I want to help my sisters to continue on this marathon of faith so that we can all make it to the finish line. 

I prayed. 

The Lord had an idea, opening  a way that I can possibly help.

I am starting another blog for women who are in pain, or who are praying through a difficult situation, or who need a word of encouragement once in a while. 

It is a work in progress and I wasn't going to tell about it until I had it all complete, so it is under construction, but perhaps someone needs a good word today. 

The name of my new blog is Threadbare ... hope for women who feel they are hanging on by a thread. The url is cherilb.blogspot.com

I will continue writing on my blog Seven Branches. Threadbare will be a very specific blog.

Do you know someone who is hurting that might benefit from some encouragement? Would you send them over to check out by new blog? Perhaps they will find a respite there. 

My love to you sweet ones!

Cheri


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Parting Paths



I was alone when I got the message. 
Alone on Thanksgiving Day.
Have you ever been alone on a major holiday?
We celebrated our Thanksgiving meal on Friday so that Luke could be with us. 
Our New York families couldn't join us this year. 
So I was working in my kitchen Thursday when the news came about Brock. He was gone.
He passed away a few minutes after midnight, Thanksgiving Day. 
My heart broke. Tears began to roll and I thought they would never stop. 

I remember the first time he came to our house. I was carrying a laundry basket, heaping with clean clothing, out of the laundry room. Laundry for a family of seven can be a daunting task. He rose immediately, holding out his arms to take my burden. 

That is how I remember him. Hands outstretched ready to relieve another of their load.
I cannot begin to tell you all the ways this young man was there for us. 

You should have seen Caleb and Brock together. You would think them clowns. They had such
a great time, always happy in heart, always smiling. 

The boys spent a lot of time doing missions work together. Work and pleasure woven together, presenting a powerful message of the Gospel. A message of hope. 

A few months ago Caleb called us to ask us to pray as soon as he heard that Brock had a brain tumor. He had called Brock to ask him to be in his wedding, to stand up with him at the altar, be a groomsman.  Brock was sick. Very sick. Life threatening sick. It was not to be.

Things for Brock seemed to get worse. I called Caleb and asked him to come home for a visit. So glad that he did. It was the last time he saw Brock alive. 

Caleb held his hand without speaking, sitting for the longest time at Brock's side.Brock couldn't speak. Caleb didn't want to cry in front of Brock so he choked back sobs. Sobs prevented words. I could see the tears streaming down the side of his face. 

We returned to the car, Caleb broke, releasing a flood of tears. So did I.

Over the summer improvement in Brock's condition gave way for hope. It seemed that he was going to win the war against cancer! We all cheered him on. He said the words, "I love you" to his sweetheart. If excitement could change a destiny, he would still be with us. 

We can imagine Brock now, dancing all over heaven, his struggle left behind, his future inviting!
We are happy for him. Seriously, so happy for him.

But saying goodbye to a young man at 23 years of age is heart-wrenching regardless of how you try to look at it. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem fair. It leaves a huge question mark in your heart. I have added it to the list of things I want to ask the Lord about someday. Along with the time my cousins wife died in her early thirties, and their son died when he was 18. I am laying down my desire to know now. I fail to put it into a rational perspective every time I try. I just can't comprehend!

Would you join me in praying for Bobbi, Brock's mother; Sam, his dad; Sydney, his sister; and Nicolle, his fiance'; and countless others that this young man loved and was loved by. This will be a very hard weekend for so many. 

The funeral will be tomorrow. Caleb is flying home tonight. It will be a very short trip for him. He will fly back out Monday morning. Thank you for your prayers.

Two young men have parted paths, one will continue to tread the streets of earth, one the streets of heaven, until they meet again.

Many blessings, 
Cheri

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Missionaries Visit

Their little legs dangled over the edge of the pew, little black shoes hanging above the floor unable to reach. I sat between their little boy bodies, Luke snuggling in, resting his dark curly head against my arm. Caleb sitting a bit straighter was more attentive to his friend sitting across the isle than he was to the missionary. 

Immature legs that fail to reach the floor often become restless with a wiggle that seems to rise all the way up the boy. Oh, my! Let the show begin! I am between a lot of bottled energy. My prayer, "Please let this be good so that it will grab their attention." 

The missionary begins to speak, soft and low he tells stories about the African country filled with families he adores. I am not sure when their little boyness settled down and the missionary captured their attention for he had caught mine as well. 

We were caught up in the testimonies about building churches filled with brand new believers, training them, blessing them, feasting with them (with their delicacies, unappealing to us), traveling over the countryside of Eritrea, Africa spreading the gospel while encountering every kind of adventure imaginable. 

The missionary, a fisher of men, caught my son that morning, casting his line into the audience, taking up a net he pulled Caleb into a vision for his future. The missionary was unaware of his catch, oblivious to the mesmerized look on the little boy's face sitting on the second pew from the front. Caleb, at the age of ten, now knew exactly what he would do with his life. He would be a missionary like Mr. Falley.

Lunchtime, Pizza Hut,  reflections of the service were passed all around. It was Caleb's enthusiasm that kept the conversation about the missionary going.

"Did you hear him say ...?"

"I want to go there! I want to help him!" 

"I want to be a missionary someday!"

"Can we write Mr. Falley a letter and send him a picture of me so he'll know what I look like when I get there?" 

Evening shadows fall on our house on the corner of South Plummer Avenue and little man of ten pulls me away from the kitchen sink where dish suds are spilling onto my apron. 

"Momma, lets write to him now! Who, Caleb, who are you talking about?" 

(Five children and a spouse can cause you to forget your own name sometimes.) 

"Mr. Falley, mom! I have to tell him that I want to help him someday. I want to tell him that we will pray for him and his wife. Tell him that I will pray for many to know Jesus!"

I dry my hands, embrace my little man of vision and lead him to the card drawer. He thumbs through all the cards, his little tongue perched at the side of his lips as he carefully considers his choice. He finds the card that suits him. Together we sit fashioning a letter that would encourage the heart of anyone called to spread the gospel.

The letter would be the first of many we would send to Mr. Falley. Our hearts are knit as we continue to lift one another's families in prayer to this day. Caleb has found a very tender spot in the heart of Mr. Falley, the missionary who shared his faith, his testimony, his vision and calling at our church over thirteen years ago. 

Mr. Falley did not know, when he spotted the two little boys sitting on the second pew with their momma that one of them would find his calling through the message he would share. He was only being faithful to bring a word of testimony to the body of Christ. However, it was that day a torch was passed to the next generation and is being carried around the world in the hands of a little man grown tall, my son, Caleb, still to this day!

How great is our God!

Blessings, 
Cheri 


Monday, November 16, 2009

Psalm 40


"Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, 'The Lord be magnified!' But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God." Psalm 40:16-17 NKJV

"I am poor and needy ... Yet the Lord thinks upon me ..."

Pondering ...

imagining His thoughts ... 

imagining His thoughts toward me ...

He has set His mind upon me ...

I am poor and needy ... Yet ...

He is thinking ...

about me ... 

right now as I am writing about Him. 

Scotty read my mind yesterday. He knew I would want to go out to eat after church and where I would want to go. 

After service I said, "I have an idea ..."

Before I finished my sentence he replied, "You want to go ________ for lunch".

(me) "How did you know?" 

(he) "I read your mind." 

(me) "Okay, so when did I have that thought?"

(he) "Mmmmm, about the middle of the sermon."

Scotty was thinking about me.  Thinking about what I might like to do for lunch. And he was right on. 

The Lord is spending some time ... right now ... thinking about me.

And I am thinking about Him. 

Setting my mind on Him. 

Pondering His thoughts ...

Caught up in the wonder of it all. 

The Lord is spending some time ... right now ... thinking about you, too.

Are you thinking about Him?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mixed Feelings

My son is on his honeymoon.

She lingers at her son's side anticipating his final breath. 

Final words whispered, heart to heart, mom to son. 

She draws the cover around him, tucking in feisty edges.

She hovers, wiping his brow, giving through her pain, longing to wake up from the nightmare.

My son's best friend is going ahead. They walked hand and hand, pilgrims in their generation, proclaiming a message of hope. Hope tested. Hope soon confirmed. 

Friend of the bridegroom could not attend the wedding. Wasn't able to stand by his side joining the celebration. His fiance sat among the witnesses. 

My son is on his honeymoon .... Her son awaits his final breath ....







 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Three Thank Yous

What stirs a heart to say 'thank you' ?

She worked at a very upscale salon in Long Island, New York and she offered to do my hair for the wedding. I was supposed to meet her at the salon at 8:00 a.m. the day of. It had been a long night. My feelings had been so hurt the night before. The hurt brought tears ... a lot of tears. Long night, puffy eyes, heavy heart. Memories of my dad came with the dawn and a longing ache for him joined the hurtful pain from the night before.  Buckets  of tears poured from my eyes. I wanted him to be at the wedding. He would be so proud.

I entered the salon wrapped in heaviness, eyes swollen, with a forced smile. She assigned me to a chair and began to do my hair. We didn't talk much. I rested while she pampered me. Two hours passed, I rose to leave and she asked if I wanted my make up done as well. I nodded. 

She directed me to Michelle who began her magic. She rummaged her bag of tricks, swept her brush across her artist palate, began to stroke my face applying a mask hiding sorrow beneath shadows of color.

It was just what I needed. It was a gift. She would not let me pay the price. It was a gift, from her, from the Lord. He knew. He knew. 

I wrote "Thank You" on my whiteboard (magnetically held to my fridge) at home so that I would not forget to thank her. 

I wrote a note to her Sunday, two days ago, complete with photos from the wedding.

Thank you.

What stirs a heart to say 'thank you'?

I wrote about Lydia on my last post. She had written a special note to me to tell me thank you. 

Yesterday a friend called me during her prayer time to thank me for being me. Thankfulness was overflowing her prayers and she decided to call and let me know that she had mentioned my name when listing her reasons for gratefulness.

This morning Scotty rose early. A while later I stumbled into the family room, eyes half open to find him at the computer. He was typing a letter that began, "Cheri, thank you ........" The sweetest words followed, precious words that I will keep in my heart and treasure. 

Three days in a row 'thank yous' have come. 

Their thank yous have stirred my heart to say 'thank you' to the One from whom all blessings flow. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. The Lord has put such good people in my life. He has poured, poured, and poured good things into my life. He has given me above and beyond what I could ever ask or think. Thank you, Lord.

'Thank You' remains scribbled across the top of my whiteboard as if it were the title for my week. Perhaps it should be the title of my life. 

Now I would like to say that I am thankful for you,  you the one who is reading this post. You are on my list of reasons to be grateful this morning. Thank you for being you in my life. Today I will remember to tell the Lord how special you are to me!

"Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamation of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart." Philippians 1:1-2 The Message

Gratefully yours,
Cheri


Monday, November 2, 2009

The Eyes of the Younger

She put the card in my lap as I sat visiting with her big sister. I peered through the envelope's veneer spying tiny little words forming long sentences on the card beneath. I longed to see the message. Had I hurt her feelings? Was she thanking me for something? Or was it just, "I am thinking of you" kind of card?

Sunday lunch had ended and the room was filled with the buzz of cheerful chatter. Everyone was involved in conversation, some listening, some voicing their opinions, others holding their peace until given the floor. It was truly fellowship at its finest! 

Rachel (big sister) had been on a mission trip to India. Her grandma and I looked over the picture book she had made as she shared stories ... life changing stories ... the kind that make you cry. I am still reflecting on it. Her testimony left an imprint on my heart and I am still tracing it's borders with my finger. What if I had been with her? Could I have handled it as well as she? Echos of these thoughts continue to challenge me. 

Afternoon was waning as it beckoned the evening. Time to head for home.

Goodbye kisses were given all around. 

Scotty and I head for the truck, I with unopened card still in my hand. 

I rip the seal before we exit the long driveway. 

Lydia is twelve. Her card tells me that she has been watching my life. She feels that I am one who has been an example. She mentions Proverbs 31 and quotes a verse she feels describes me. I read the words to Scotty. He smiles. 

I am humbled and quiet the rest of the drive home. This sweet, thoughtful card has reawakened my responsibility to be a good example for those who are following. There are those who are learning from my walk with Jesus, making decisions based on my example, for good or for bad.

I will keep the little card that has made a big impact on my heart and refer back to it from time to time. There are seasons when its message will be encouragement to help me persevere. There are seasons, like the one I am in now, when its message will humble me, bringing me to my knees, pleading for grace to walk this life out, light shining, grace speaking, love giving, hope offering, and forgiveness mending life. I will need her words again to remind me.

This morning, I find a place to bow, and wait for the Lord to make her words true in me for today. The eyes of the younger are watching, I pray that they will see Jesus!

Blessings,
Cheri

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Offenses

"I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me for I have paid the price to set you free." Isaiah 44:22 NLT


An old offense was brought to my attention yesterday. 

It came in the form of a telephone call, "Hello, Cheri, I don't know how to say this ... "

The tone was extremely serious. 

My nerves began to quiver.

I braced myself.

Words began to topple from my friend. I had been wounded by misunderstanding ... a long time ago. I had long since put it all to rest. Now I was being reminded.

My memory of details were vague.

"I should have come to you a long time ago and made this right," my friends words brought comfort.

It was so timely. The Lord knew that this was the week to bring up the past. "Offenses" is the word of the moment. The word keeps rising up in various ways from many sources over the past several days.  

After the call, when all concern was quieted on both sides of the misunderstanding, I settled into prayer. Deep prayer. Prayer that begs the Lord to search my heart and reveal my anxious thoughts. 

I began to fill a blank page. 

Offenses come. What do I do with them?

Do I stuff them deep inside hoping they will keep company with all of my other hurts?

Do I wear them on my sleeve sharing them will all who will listen, hoping they too will pick up my offense and side with me?

Or do I take it to the Lord asking Him to help me through the pain of offense so that I can grow through the offense and love the offender ... beyond the offense?

I am sad to say that I have done all three. 

I hope you do the third option when you are offended. 

My first reaction to offense is I just want to quit! I give up! I cry, get angry, and want to throw in the towel. 

I have found that there is strength to be gained when I take offenses to the Lord. He reveals the truth in what has been said by my offender. He settles my heart and I welcome His peace. I wish this was my first response every time. I think my life would be much easier. 

I prayed through the situation my friend brought to my remembrance yesterday. I was unaware that there was residue of hurt still in my heart. I asked for the Lord to heal. The enemy had successfully come in creating division. Because it was brought to my mind the Lord had opportunity to bring healing to my soul, now I am restored and thanking Him.

My friend cared enough to call. They wanted to make things right, making my heart rejoice. But the greatest thing is the Lord brought it up. He dealt with my heart and healed it, which stirs me to praise.

Do you have any thoughts on being offended? I would love to learn from your wisdom.

Blessings,
Cheri
" ... offenses must come ... !" Matthew 18:7 NKJV
"Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses." Proverbs 10:12 NLT


Monday, October 19, 2009

Does Your Face Know You Are Saved?


"Divine joy is the privilege of all consecrated believers ... The world must see the light of heaven in our faces if it would believe in the reality of our religion." A. W. Tozer

I have one of those tell all faces! My countenance has a habit of giving away all of my secrets, good and bad. 

Circumstances can so easily chart the course of my facial expression. 

Just wondering if anyone has ever seen Divine joy on my face? 

Or have I successfully tucked it away?

The world is drawn to joy, genuine joy.

The world hungers for its strength. It wonders if it is available. How can it be obtained?

Joy is reflected when we are full of His Word ... Jesus shines.

Joy is reflected when we are resting ... knowing that He is watching over what concerns us. 

Joy is reflected when we believe ... that He is God and nothing is too difficult for Him. 

Joy is reflected and perfected ... when we suffer and yet we have peace that passes all understanding. 

Joy is reflected when we obey ... forgiving those who hurt us, giving to those who need us, serving those around us, waiting at His feet for instructions. 

Joy is a testimony of His greatness in us, evidence of His presence. 

Praying today for a countenance that is a reflection of my faith in Jesus.

A countenance that will not reflect my circumstances but will reflect my faith ... with JOY!

What a "privilege", as Tozer declares, to have "heaven's light on our faces"!

Let's shine for Him, my friend!

Blessings,
Cheri

Pictured above is my son, Caleb, on his wedding day. The joy of Jesus is consistently evident on Caleb's countenance. 








Friday, September 18, 2009

Bloggy World With-drawl

I have been missing you, my sweet bloggy world friends! I have so much to say, but my world has been revolving way to fast for me to sit in front of my computer for more than moments right now. 
We are having a wedding in our family in a little over two weeks! YAY!!! We are so excited! But I must tell you, that I have been one busy girl with many things! I have a Mary spirit by nature, but I have been acting like I am a Martha to the bone!!! I have a magnet on my fridge that says, "Martha doesn't live here!" but things are looking good enough here these days to invite Ms. Stewart over! 

You see, I have been going through everything! Absolutely everything!!! Not because there is a wedding, but because it just had to be done! My shoulders could not take another day of my piles not being sorted, closets being purged, drawers and cabinets being straightened! 

The wedding and all of our joyous preparations for that are only a part of my busyness. 

I am looking forward to getting to the end of this makeover season and get back to sitting at the feet of Jesus again! It has been too busy and I feel as if I am missing too many wonderful things that He might be wanting to teach me! 

The wedding is October 10th. I left right in the middle of our trip ... perhaps I will just leave it there, or perhaps I will come back with stories about the wedding, or perhaps I will come back with a message that I hear from my sitting position at the Lord's feet. Whatever the case ... I will be coming back as soon as possible! I miss all of you so much! Please remember me!!!!

Blessings to all,
Cheri

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Top Of The World/Double Rainbows

We pack our things, once again preparing to leave the Comfort Inn.  Steam rises from the cup of coffee as I make my way to the car. My chariot awaits. Once again I spy prince charming in the parking lot coercing our trunk to shut.  

We leave the city of West Yellowstone, Montana. The morning air is brisk hinting that fall is on its way. 

We could spend a week here and never tire of the majesty of Yellowstone. We could live a lifetime here and never exhaust its surprises! 

A fly fisherman wades through the creek that weaves its way to the left of us. He gracefully casts his rod expecting a catch. He is not the first we have seen, there have been many, but I am caught up in the beauty of his sport. Wonder if I could do that? I realize my limitations ... I do not have the grace for it. So,  I remain an admirer, a star-struck observer, completely absorbed in the performance. 

Buffalo block our way, more concerned about breakfast than our presence. We stop, Scotty takes pictures. I ease my way back to the car. I know they are not really looking at me, oblivious to my presence, but they are intimidating. I watch from inside the chariot. 

We move on.

Our drive takes us past the boiling puddles, springs, and ponds. Rising steam forms clouds that embrace the ground. We are enchanted by its beauty. Wildflowers lace the edges, smiling while enjoying their morning sauna. 
Animals peep out here and there. A bald eagle swoops down to the creek delighted to find his breakfast. We are like children at the zoo, thrilled with all that we see. 

We leave the park and head to Highway 212 which will take us to The Top Of The World. Scotty begins a new song:

"I'm on the top of the world, looking down on creation, and the only explanation I can find, is the love that I've found, ever since you been around, your love puts me at the top of the world."

Snow remains in the crevices of the mountains. We stop the car, he makes a snowball bringing it to me.

Do you feel closer to God in the mountains? 

Do they make Him seem more believable to you? 

"As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever." Psalm 125:2

I stand on the precipice meditating on that verse. 

The Lord is surrounding me, embracing this moment of time, protecting, fathering, loving, caressing. 

Our hearts reach for more of Him. We have been inspired. We bask in His presence listening in the silence for His whisper. 

Tourists come disturbing our pause. We climb aboard our chariot, prince charming at the wheel and Miss Daisy with my floppy hat blowing in the wind, we continue our ride at the top of the world. 

The Top Of The World connects Yellowstone Park to the city of Red Lodge like a dot to dot color book. We stop. We explore. We eat at an Irish Pub. A grandma with two cherubs sharing her table sits behind us. 

We savor the pub's entrees. Everyone in town seems to favor this place. It overflows with local folk filling up on the noon hour. 

We linger a bit in the village then head on our way. Our next dot to reach is Billings, MT then on to Wyoming. 

We stop at the Battle sight of Custer's Last Stand. The Custer's romance intrigues me. I purchase Mrs. Custers book. He died when he was 34, leaving her behind, a 32 year old widow. She lived a very long life never remarrying. She was loyal to her husband to the end of her days refusing to go on even one date. They had a deep love with staying power. 

Storms in the mountains can be fierce. It compels us to stop and wait for the rain to calm before we continue on our way. The sun begins to shine, a few sprinkles dance in its glow. A double rainbow with vibrant hues like fire pierces the sky. We pull over enjoying the spectacular show. 

Tradition reminds me to ask for a double portion of the Lord's blessing on our lives. Double rainbows have inspired this tradition.  I breathe amen and we head on our way to the Comfort Inn in Buffalo, Wyoming for the night. 

We come upon a terrible wreck. Minivan upside down, burned. Firemen, policemen cleaning the road.  I praise the Lord for the unexpected stops we have made. Stops for rain ... stops for rainbows.  Did they prevent us from being involved in this tragedy? We are sobered by the sight. 

We find the hotel cloaked in a beautiful Wyoming sunset, check in and head to our room. We are quite weary. We turn in calling it a day!


Until tomorrow!
Cheri


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mesa Falls, Idaho/ Yellowstone National Park

I am speechless!

My words will be few! The power and beauty displayed here bring words to mind like, awe, majestic, exquisite, pristine, and turbulent. Yet they pitifully fail to describe it.  The awe of the places we explore literally  stirs the fear of the Lord in my heart. 



Pictured above: Mesa Falls (near Ashton, Idaho) and Snake River that it falls into (above). It is truly one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen! You can feel the spray as the water pours over the falls. Photos fail to portray the glory  of it. It is one of my very favorite places in the world!

 I wish you could hear the sound! It drops over one million gallons of water each day into the Snake  River creating quite a roar! A bald eagle soared over the waters while we gazed. 

A scenic drive will lead you to this incredibly breathtaking location.


Above: I am standing in front of steam rising from the craters in the earth's crust. Below: Yellowstone wonders! The erupting  geyser is called the Beehive Geyser. It is bigger and erupts longer than Old Faithful which we were waiting for. The guide said that the Beehive only goes off every 15 to 22 hours. Old Faithful followed its eruption within about 3 minutes. It goes off about every hour depending on the day. 

The Lord led us to this marvelous sight with impeccable timing. We so easily could have missed the Beehive eruption. It was the blessing of a double portion. I am still celebrating it!

Pictures from Yellowstone below:
Tower Falls, Melting Paint Pots (very, very hot), Beehive Geyser, buffalo (Scotty took this picture. Our car was in the middle of their herd.),  and The Kepler Cascades.

Scripture says that creation speaks of our God so that we are without excuse! His fingerprints are visible here. 

For now~
Cheri

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Searching For Favorites

The sun is slipping away, we are reflecting, "What was your favorite today?" 

We search our thoughts remembering:  

waterfalls, a violin recital in the park (we were uninvited guests), museum featuring Titanic memorabilia, restaurant with alligator tail sandwiches (in Idaho?), jazz band accompanying  a couple dancing resembling The Notebook characters Noah and Allie, serene river walk around the park in Idaho Falls, 

and try to decide on the one event from the day that is our favorite. 

He shares first, "The little cafe in Malad City, 
Idaho was my favorite!" 

"Really?" his answer surprises me. 

Malad City is a little tiny town that boasts of a museum on road signs along the highway. I plead to stop. 

We have a lot of miles to cover. Do I think it will be worth it? 

"I don't know, but I just want to explore ... " I respond to the Practical side of us. 


 I was thrilled when he took the risk,  driving off the highway, onto the ramp, and into the town of Malad!

It took all of five minutes to scope out the town. The museum, small, abandoned for the day, made us question the embellished road signs that caused us to drift into town. We did not feel let down that we missed it. We crept down the main drag looking for something that would make this detour worth our while. 

"Are you hungry?" 

"Is the sky blue? Is the grass green?"

Every time he inquires my stomach growls! He hears and smiles!

 Where to eat? Little cafes, barbecue stands, at least two or three, provide options.

 "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe ... this one or that one?" Hmmmm ...

The Dude Ranch Cafe on Main Street draws us in. 

We step out of our now and back our past as we step over the threshold of the little cafe. Faces stare, stricken with the wonder of where we came from. They are all unfamiliar to us, yet strangely resemble folk we knew in childhood days. 

We are aliens here. A mystery.

We both grew up in Small Town, USA, so we recognize the wonder that we have stirred .  

We discern their thoughts as we smile toward their stares. 

"Wonder where they're from?" 

"Are they new to town?"

"Wonder if they have a church home?"

"Do you know, is that the new couple that bought the Miller's place?"

Beef tenderloin, mashed tators, and green beans are the special for the day tasting like the ones once served in grandma's kitchen. I catch a glimpse of a piece of pie that is delivered to the booth across from me.

"Do you wanta share a piece of pie with me?" he asks.

"Is the sky blue? Is the grass green?"

Intuitively the waitress knows we have a story. She lingers hoping we will share our adventure. Before she is ready, duty calls her away, leaving most of our story untold. 

Our forks tangle as we savor the best coconut cream pie available in the state of Idaho as the cafe echos with chatter.

We leave the little village knowing we are a mystery to this community. They will be talking about us for awhile, until more new faces are lured into town by pretentious museum signs. 


"Why was that your favorite, Babe?"

"Because it felt like home," he speaks gentle words laced in reflection. 

I agree.

"What was your favorite today?" he turns to search my heart with tender eyes.

"Being with you! I just love getting to be with you! That is my favorite!"

We head for the Comfort Inn when the sun sets and ease into another night of slumber.

Tomorrow we will head for Yellowstone National Park. With every mile our love for adventure and our love for each other deepens!

Tonight we sleep in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where the sky is blue, the grass green.  

Nitey, nite!

Cheri



Pictured: The Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah. ( Just passing through and checking it out.) ~ Violin recital in the Park at Idaho Falls, Idaho. (I loved this!)  


Monday, August 31, 2009

Serendipity

Scotty serenades me with love songs from the 70's, with sweet, tender, sometimes quirky words that he confirms by the sincere look in his eye and the tender stroke of his hand. We feel like teenagers on our first date, falling back into first love.  He has learned to be romantic over time, I have learned to bask in these moments.

One of my favorites songs, on his continual loop of oldies is:

"You stepped out of my dreams and into my heart, now your my angel delight. Your sixteen, your beautiful, and your mine....."

I pretend it is true! All true!

We are leaving the majestic state of Colorado. We have explored to our heart's content. We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. I am torn with the leaving. Emotions grip my heart similar to the ones I feel while embracing a loved one, who lives far from us, when we have to part for an extended time. I feel the pull of wanting to stay but needing to go. We say farewell to Colorado and look forward in expectation. 

 Welcome to Utah! My preconceived ideas about this state are put to shame within miles of driving over its border. I had visited part of Utah years ago, leaving without a very good impression. Barren roads, stretching for miles did concern me at times. We were alone, really alone for miles. "What ifs" rolled around in my mind until I commanded them to lie down and be still. Every now and again we would happen upon a beautiful city but there always seemed to be long stretches of barren highway between them. 

We finally reached Park City, our first Utah destination. Mountains groomed for skiing and gorgeous lakes, ideal for boating and fishing, surround this little community like grand villas of a nature. Movie stars are attracted to this oasis in the dessert like bees are to flowers. Scotty anticipated bringing me here, knowing I would love it.  

Quaint, upscale buildings line the twisty, curvy town that is nestled on the side of a steep hill. Up the narrow streets or down the narrow streets were our only options. Literally. Finally we found a place to park and began to wander.

We entered very few shops, though there were many, all beckoning us to stop in for a short visit. As quaint and as cute as this city was, though, something about it was unsettling. The beauty of the lakes and the mountains could have lured me into staying, but this town had not been tamed. Lingering here would be like riding an unbroken stallion. We were a bit uncomfortable and soon ready to leave. 

Psalm 119:110-111 "The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not strayed from Your precepts. Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever. For they are the rejoicing of my heart ... "

Our brisk pace down the sidewalk was halted with a moment of serendipity. Scanlan~Windows to the World was the name of the gallery that was responsible for our abrupt halt. The storefront was plain, the shingle simple, but something about this place said "welcome". Scotty followed me in the open doorway and soon we were caught up with awe over some of the most beautiful photography we had ever seen in our lives. Framed masterpieces lined the walls, massive photos that took us on a world tour. I would have loved to have brought one home, but I would never be able to make a decision, choosing a favorite, a must have. Would I pick a photo taken in England, France, Greece, Italy, Spain ... ? I loved them all! So I left them all behind ...

I had to make a purchase in this amazing place. I wanted to remember this stop. My purchase was small and would easily fit into my car, two boxes of gift cards with some of the photos on them. The cards are breathtakingly beautiful, therefore my heart continues to wrestle with wanting to share and wanting to keep. 

If you enjoy beautiful photography, you should definitely visit their website. It is not the same as being there, but you will not be disappointed either.  Address: www.scanlan.com. Please tell them I sent you! I perused the gallery so long that I am sure they will remember me! Please don't tell me if they respond with, "who?". Please let me know your thoughts!

The sun was beginning to set and we had not finished our journey for the day. Back in the car, we headed on to new highways. I was whispering thank you prayers as we were winding our way through the passes, heading for for Salt Lake City. 

"Lord,

Thank you for a sweet husband that sings love songs to me ...

Thank you for beautiful scenery that seems to bring healing to my soul ...

Thank you for photography that has captured the beauties and wonders of the world ...

Most of all, thank you for making me Your daughter, filling me with Your abundant life!

My heart beats with gratefulness!"

We found the Comfort Inn and  then made a quick run to the biggest Wal-Mart I have ever been to in my life. It was so big that there was a double decker parking lot. We parked on the top level, found the entrance and had to take an escalator down to get to the store. When leaving, you take the escalator and your cart rides beside you on it's own escalator. Okay, I am a country girl and this was all new to me! We did not hang out very long, within minutes we were up the escalator, back in the car, and on our way "home"  for the night at the Comfort Inn. 

We turned in early. It had been a long, wonderful day. Scotty drifted off to sleep first, but his little tune refused to be quieted. It perpetually serenaded my thoughts, gently humming, finally lulling me to sleep. 


Thank you for riding along!

Blessings,
Cheri
Pictures taken in Salt Lake City, Utah. My contribution to Windows to the World!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Family History

 In the wee hours of morning, somewhere between midnight and three a.m. an idea for a poem woke me. Our son Caleb is marrying a beautiful girl in October. Verses about her beauty as a bride kept floating around my head, sonnets dancing a ballet. Graceful arias stirred me with thought, I rose from my nest to capture them. 

Verses so graceful that flitted and floated in my head were quite clumsy as I tried to fasten them to the page. Perhaps they were not meant to be tied down.
Now wide awake I remembered the meteor shower that was supposed to begin in the very early morning hours. I shook Scotty from sleep and he agreed that we should find a place to park in the hills and watch for the heavens to give us a demonstration of its awe-inspiring wonders! 

Winter coats on, top down on the car, faces fixed on the night sky we sat in the stillness and waited. Light would trail from the sky as we exclaimed, "Ohhhh! There was one! Oh, over there! Did you see that one?" When we thought we had seen the finale, lights bursts in the heavens. Quietness followed a spectacular show and we knew it was time to head to the Comfort Inn for a little nap before breakfast. 

Next stop, Meeker, CO. 

We entered Meeker just as it was trying to shake itself from slumber. Have a feeling that most of Meeker missed the meteor shower, or perhaps they saw it and were sleeping in. The hotel was open so we stopped in for a look see. Right away I saw what I wanted to see. My great-great grandmother and her two children's pictures were in the lobby of that hotel. Underneath the picture was the story about her in a framed article from the Greely Tribune that she had written herself. 

My g-g-grandmother was in the White River Massacre in the year 1879. Married at the age of 12 to a man, Mr. Frank Price who was 22, while on a wagon train. She and Mr. Price were living and working  at the indian mission when the massacre occurred. She was 16, and he 26. They had two children.

I have heard varying reasons for the massacre, but my grandmother's account said that the indians were stirred because the government was sending in so many soldiers to the fort. I also heard that my grandmother's husband, Mr. Price was plowing up their horse track so that they could farm the land. His plow is in the museum.

The indians kidnapped the women and children because they feared the women's God. It was noted in one of the newspapers of the museum that the indians knew that the women's God was looking after them. They were afraid that they would anger Him if they brought physical harm to them. Abuse was not mentioned in her article, but the family is aware that there were abuses that she refused to speak of. It would have brought too much shame on her family to mention the atrocities that she and her children endured. She was young, too young to be single or to remain single for her entire life, so she did not tell all.

My grandmother's children May (4) and Johnny (2) were also taken. Here is a quote from her story taken from the book, Meeker-The Story Of The Meeker Massacre And Thornbugh Battle September 29, 1879, by Fred H. Werner (pg. 99) Chapter: Mrs. Prices Story:
 

"When we arrived at the camp that night a squaw came and took my little boy from the horse and cried over him like a child. I dismounted and sat down in Pursune's camp. I wasn't at all hungry, and when they offered me coffee, cold meat and bread, I could not eat. After awhile Pursune's squaw got over her weeping, when they talked and laughed. All I could understand was when they repeated the soldiers' names  and counted the number of men they had killed at the agency. They said they had killed nine. At first they said they had killed ten but I told them different, as I thought that Frank (her husband) had escaped. They asked me how many, and seemed to accept my statement as correct. 

They spread out some blankets for me to lie on, but I could not sleep. The moon shone very bright and everything looked ghostly. In the morning I went to Pursune's tent and sat by the fire. I was cold for I had nothing to wear except a calico dress and shoes. I sat there weeping ... I could not help it ... with my little boy in my arms. The squaws came around and talked and looked at me and laughed and made fun of me. I didn't understand what they said, only occasionally a word. After a time some of the men came and talked to the squaws and looked at me and laughed ..."

Above is an a brief moment of her experience. At the time of her capture she believed her husband, Frank to still be alive. He was actually the first one to be killed.

I was so excited to see the photographs and her framed testimony on the wall of the old hotel, I quickly made it my mission to find the hotel curator. She was in the adjoining coffee shop. She was unaware and unimpressed with the historical account of my grandmother, which was kind of a disappointment. I was hoping that she would say they had met! I know! Not possible, but you know, something significant like that!

Big Elk, Deer, Bison, and Moose shared the lobby with my grandmother's memorabilia. Teddy Roosevelt had hunted the area sojourning here a few years after the massacre and had staying in that very hotel. The sleeping zoo was proof that there were some big animals in the area when my g-g-grandmother was living here

We left the hotel heading straight for the White River Museum looking for anything that might have anything to do with my g-g-grandmother. Scotty was very good at spying articles from different newspapers, photos, etc. that were about her and the other captives. 

It was almost noon by the time we scoured every point of interest we could find in Meeker, so we headed on for several hours of driving making our exit from the beautiful state of Colorado. 


This was very emotional for me. It was very strange. We had visited Meeker 16 years before. Suppose I was distracted by the kids, all five at the time, and don't remember feeling any despair. 

My grandma remembered her. She had heard the story many times through the years. 

My great-great-grandmother was named Saphronia Ellen. Most of the accounts recorded in several books that include her account refer to her as her Mrs. Price. 

Saphronia married again after the massacre. I don't know how she got to Oregon but I do know that she married a lumber jack that lived there. She was pregnant with their first child when a tree fell on him and he was killed. My great-great aunt Rose,  came into the world never knowing her real father. 

Eventually Saphronia married my great-great grandfather who had just came over from Germany. They had two children, the youngest being my great grandmother. 

There is a picture in the museum of Grandma Saphronia with all of her grown children and their children. My grandmother, Donnalee is a baby in the picture. When Scotty and I walked in the museum the curator asked if I was in that picture. Tell me folks, do I look THAT old? 

The White River, pictured above, winds its way through that territory continuously. My grandmother had a book with the story of my g-g-grandmother in it called The White River Massacre that she used to pull out and tell me about when I was little. Saphronia's picture in the book is beautiful. I would love to have known her! I would ask her a bazillion questions. 

Our day began so early, so I am going to pause here as we are leaving Meeker, with us leaving Meeker around lunchtime.

Tomorrow we will be leaving Colorado as we head into the beautiful state of Utah. Salt Lake City, ready or not, here we come! First we will stop at Park City, Utah where I discovered one of my very favorite places. I can hardly wait to tell you about it!

Sorry that I cannot get you to the Comfort Inn today. Soon! Very soon!

Praising the Lord for peace!!!

Blessings,
Cheri

Pictures: 1st Row: Outdoor plaque at the Historic Meeker Hotel, established 1896. 

2nd Row: Inside lobby of hotel, pictures of my great-great-grandmother and her two children at the time of the White River Massacre. The framed article that she wrote and was published in the Greely Tribune hangs below the pictures. ~The Meeker Hotel from a distance~The White River.

3rd Row:Grouping of pictures of my great-great-grandmother, Saphronia Ellen Price, with her children and other captives at the White River Museum in Meeker, CO. ~Marker at the Massacre Site.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Silverton/Ouray

Morning broke with the dawn. Soon we were strapped in, latte in hand, ready to  begin our ascent to Silverton, CO. Beauty oozes from every crack, crevice, peak,  and stream of this narrow trail to the heights. I was so distracted by the aura of this place that I nearly forgot to be afraid.  

You cannot tell from the picture but we are very high up. There is a deep valley below with a babbling spring running through the valley below. 

Fire swept through these mountains sometime in the early 1900's and destroyed all of the trees. The people of the area began to plant the trees back. Can you imagine the courage it took to trek to around and over these peaks to plant trees? We were beholding the fruit of their labor!

All the way there I kept saying, "I want to live here! I love this!" Scotty's practical self kept me grounded.

Silverton is a quiet little town that seems to have lost its bustle! Little country shops, B&B's, coffee shops, etc. line the main street. It is easy to imagine women in long dresses with their parasols, men in their cowboy gettup, and children at the counter of the general store begging for penny candy, with horses and wagons lining the streets in this little village. 

A train from Durango will gladly transport you to Silverton. It takes a whole day to do the round trip. Some friends of ours had experienced the train ride and discouraged us from doing it. The ride in our car was thrilling enough for me without rocking and swaying on the rails of a"rickety" train!

Scotty learned from his in depth research that there is cemetery in Silverton possessing very interesting headstones. We planned on touring through and witnessing this phenomenon for ourselves, but got so caught up with the rest of the town we totally forgot about it. For this reason we must return!

Winters are harsh in this mountain town causing most of the population to migrate somewhere else during the winter months. You have to be tough to stay! But it is easy to catch "the bug" to stay when the weather is as beautiful as it was the day we visited.

Silverton used to be a mining town. They used to say, "There's gold in them thar' hills and silver by the ton." We did not see any silver or gold there and we didn't have the patience to seek it out! There was fools gold for sale in nearly every shop! We left it all behind for the next guy!

After lingering awhile we were on our way to Ouray. What a ride! Even Scotty was woozy on this trail! It was downright eerie! We kept marveling at the pioneers and fortune seekers of the olden days! How did they dare to explore these regions with such crude means of travel and horrible road conditions? 

One of Scotty's patients had son that drove off one of the mountain passes. He told me this while we were driving. I was not comforted!

The waterfall at Bear Creek (pictured) forces its way through the canyon wall and plunges into the depths below. The grandeur of this site is veiled by photography. 

There is something about waterfalls that stir a desire to plunge into the canyon with them. Roaring water is inviting, promising adventure. After imagination wanders awhile, an awe settles over you as the reality of the power of water and gravity brings you to your senses. It is called a healthy fear of the falls!

Can you see the bridge around the corner at the very top of this picture? It used to be wooden. Later, at the museum, we would see a picture of a woman on the bridge with a team of six horses back in the early days. Terrifying! These falls pour into Bear Creek and you cannot see them from the road when you are driving. 

Speaking of bears ... do you know that bears still eat people? A bear had eaten a woman in Ouray the day before we arrived! She had been feeding a bear. He decided to bring some friends and have her for lunch. We did not know this when we were there. Hmmm.

We began our time in this little mountain town at the historical museum. We were educated well in this little haven of history. Every level of the old three story building presented a story. Beautiful quilts were the special exhibition, each one revealing a story of its own. 

We found an outdoor bistro beside a beautifully restored old hotel. The special of the day was a meatball sandwich and tomato soup. Perfect! We should have shared, but we both thought we were hungry enough to tackle it on our own. 

Seeing that hotel would have been worth the drive to Ouray. I would love to stay there someday, but it doesn't have the word "Comfort" in its name. Regardless of that fact, I am positive that I could make myself comfortable there. 

There was a little book shop in the hotel/bistro. Do you believe it? All of my favorite things in one place! I kept hearing Scotty giggle while I was perusing the shop. He was reading some hilarious postcards. I joined him and soon we were both enjoying the ridiculous humor of those photo postcards. We bought several trying to find the perfect one for everyone I could think of.

If you happened to receive one, I had your address with me! I hope you could read it, my mom let me know that the one she received was illegible. I scribbled them out pretty fast because I just didn't have a lot of time. Just know that I said all good things and be blessed! ; ) Sometimes you just have to go with "it's the thought that counts!" 

It was another beautiful day in Colorado! The average temperature on our trip was around 70. We called it perfect!

We thoroughly wandered through the entire town of Ouray. Scotty wanted me to buy raffle tickets to win a jeep promising, that if we won,  he would bring me back so that we could get it and bring it home. Should we return to Ouray soon, you will know that we won! 

Several hours passed and we felt we had exhausted our possibilities at Ouray and headed out for New Castle, CO. 

It was a beautiful three hour drive with the top down and the sun shining on our faces! Simply invigorating!

The Comfort Inn was waiting for our arrival in New Castle. We checked in and took the proprietor's advice and ate at the little diner just a ways up the street. She was right! It was delicious!

We will be leaving Colorado tomorrow with a final stop at Meeker. Have you ever heard of Meeker, Colorado? I have personal reasons for wanting to make this stop. I will share my story tomorrow. 

Until then ... I wish you sweet blessings!

Cheri


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Among The Cliffs ~ To The Corners
















Silverton and Ouray tomorrow! I promise!

Day 3 we went south to Mesa Verde and Four Corners.

Arriving toward the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park, my stomach began to do some uncontrollable dancing. 

"We will be clear up there?" Examining the heights from down below were very intimidating!

The road was extremely narrow, the edge too near, the drop so far! I held my breath much of the way. Squeals and screeches kept escaping my craw! I was terrified!!!! I clung to the hand rest on the passenger side as if holding on would help if we happened to slip over the edge. As our ride took us to higher elevations, the air became thin, and my head became fuzzy. 

This was adventure! 

Once we arrived at the visitors center we explored the museum and learned much about Mesa Verde. From there we chose the path we wanted to explore and headed out to find the remains of the Cliff Dwellers.

My head felt like it was full of helium the whole time! And my stomach refused to take a break from it's fancy footwork!

Have you read Tamera Alexander's brilliant works of fiction? She speaks of Mesa Verde in her amazing novel "From A Distance". This is the kind of fiction you do not want to miss! Check out more about Tamera and her award winning books at Write Perspectives .

We marveled at the cliff dwellers, men,women, families, who carved homes in the mountains. It was fascinating to learn their survival methods, and witness the remains of their handiwork. 

We wound our way through the park, choosing trails that looked the most interesting. 

Hungry for lunch, we stopped at the restaurant perched on one of the peaks. Windows line the walls of the restaurant presenting a most spectacular view. 

 Scotty had read about Navajo Tacos which happened to be the specialty there so that was what we had for lunch. Very different, very good! Warning! Little dabs of green stuff can be VERY hot!!!!

Breathing was easier for me on the downward spiral. There is nothing like a view from the heights! It was exhilarating!!!! It seemed like we could see all the way home! 

Travel time was short and very soon we were arriving at our next destination point, Four Corners. This point of interest is where four states: Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado join and you can stand in all four states at one time. It is run by the Navajo Indians and it was a fun place to stop. 

The Navajos have little booths all around the site where they sell various trinkets and treasures. My favorite, of course, was the jewelry. I am still regretting not buying a beautiful turquoise bracelet. It was amazing and probably worth a ton! I was on the search for a gift for my mom and finally settled on a pair of beautiful earrings for her. (She loved them, btw)

Jewelry was cheap here. Scotty told me that I really, really messed up because I could have bought a lot more and given it away as gifts. Of course he waited to say this the next day or so when we were miles beyond the opportunity! Oh, well! I only wish I knew when he was going to think like this!

I bought two necklaces at $5 each! I wore one of them most of the way home. It is beautiful!  

I bought a sno-cone as we were leaving and we headed on our way east to drive through New Mexico for a ways. I had never been in that state and I found it intriguing.

We reentered the town of Durango just in time for dinner. One of the locals told us about another Mexican restaurant that we should try. We couldn't resist! It took us awhile to recover from having Mexican food three times in 24 hours. I do not recommend it!  

After dinner we just hung out, perusing the town. There was a bit of a chill kneading the evening air making us long for our jackets.  

Our time in Durango was coming to an end. A bit of sorrow, at the thought, crept over me. I really liked this little town. Would I ever be able to return? I would love to hang out a bit longer and learn more about it. 

Soon we were nestled in our cozy bed at the Comfort Inn. 

My eyes refused to close. I kept feeling like I wanted to linger in this quaint little town a while longer. My thoughts refused to be quiet so sleep could settle in. Finally I had the answer. I would ask Scotty to drive me through town come morning. We could stop at Starbucks for a latte and wander a bit through the streets before moving on. I could not leave this place without saying farewell. 

Tomorrow Silverton and Ouray! I promise!!!!

Cheri

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cotopaxi General to Durango, CO

One of the biggest lures of our westward wanderings was the fact that there were several places, states, attractions, etc. that we had never seen or been to. Not so with this little stop on our trek toward westerland. 

Cotopaxi General is a little store at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Many times it has been the final stop before heading to one of my favorite retreat places. Not too far from the general store, hidden in the mountains, is a little cabin that belongs to some friends of ours. I have been to the cabin many times for: women's get aways, Josh's Sr. trip, planning sessions for retreats that my friend and I hosted, etc.

Cotopaxi General hasn't changed over the years. It has the same ambiance that it had the first time I stepped over the threshold. It resembles the old grocery store we used to shop at when I was a little girl. It has a little of this and a little of that but not too much of anything really. A country breakfast is also served there. The aroma of coffee and biscuits and gravy invite you to come in and sit a spell. 

Once there was a bear that visited Cotopaxi General. He was sitting on the counter eating lunch meat when the owner came in to open up. The owner told him to, "Move it on out of here!" and the bear did. Can't remember if he left the meat behind or not. Silly old bear!

Not much to do here but reminisce so we didn't hang out for long. We didn't turn down the road  toward the little mountain cabin, instead we hopped in the car and headed on down the road to Salida, CO. There was a bit of a tug on my heart as we passed the cabin road. It didn't feel right to go by without going up and saying hi. But we had a lot more miles to cover and a lot more sights to see. It was time to move on down the road.

I love the little town of  Salida. It is an artsy little town, with an awesome restaurant that has the best food! Hadn't been there for years, but memories drew me back for another taste of their entrees'.  Their homemade  pie is unforgettable! After lunch, complete with lemon pie with meringue that was nearly reaching the sky, we went across the street to The Aquatic Center for a peek. 

The Aquatic Center has a swimming pool that is heated by natural springs. Part of the pool is cool for serious swimmers and part of it is always like a nice hot-tub. When we home-schooled, a lifetime ago, I brought my kids out to the cabin for a stay. One day we journeyed into Salida and enjoyed the restaurant and the pool. I remember hanging out at the warm end with the kids taking over the place. We had a blast that day!  Scotty and I just dipped our fingers in and enjoyed the atmosphere for a moment and then we were on our way again.

Interesting timing occurred over and over on our journey. It was obvious that we had tapped into the Lord's agenda for us. 

One of our staff member's dad passed away the Monday before we left.  She immediately left Chanute and headed to his home in Buena Vista to be with her mom. The quaint little town of Buena Vista is only 30 minutes from Salida, so we made a little side trip and went to Buena Vista to visit and pray with her and her mom. The timing was amazing. Rhonda is an only child  and is not from that area so she was feeling very alone in her grief. She was so happy to see us. After visiting a while with them, we left, knowing that we had been sent. What a blessing to all of us!

One of our special surprises were three deer with racks that were huge still covered in velvet! They were gorgeous. I am pretty sure it was Dasher, Dancer, and Prancer. Kept looking for Rudolph but he did not show. They did not need that nose in broad daylight!

Colorado is beautiful! With our top down, temperature of 70 degrees, we were on our way to new territory! 

Have you guys ever driven through Wolf Creek Pass? What a ride! Scotty took it faster than I would have. After all our car was made for this kind of driving! There is something about having one's hands on the wheel that makes the driver feel much more confident than their passengers. I was the passenger and I was a bit on the shaky side! I think I might have felt better if no one else would have been on the road. Whew! It was something to live through!!! 

Durango, CO was our final destination that day. We arrived by evening, walked the streets of that little tourist town, and ate at an amazing Mexican Restaurant. 

I LOVED Durango. It was really touristy, but I really enjoyed that little town. In fact it was here, at Durango, that I began to say, "I could live here!" It was also here that Scotty began to reason with me, explaining why it would not be feasible, possible, or sensible to live there. He is always so practical! I just wanted to play the imagination game a little bit.  Even he enjoyed the idea of a new place like Durango, but the reality of  piles of snow in winter were a definite deterrence for him.  

We covered lots of miles that day. The journey was getting more exciting with every mile. The next day we would visit Silverton and Ouray. 

Evening had settled in, giving its way to night, so for now it was time to call it a day at the Comfort Inn!

See you tomorrow!

Cheri


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Planning and Packing

Do you like to pack? I do not like to pack! 
Goodbye! Goodbye!

I never have liked to pack! I try not to get overwhelmed but I usually succumb to anxiety and have a meltdown before everything is loaded up and we are on the way to wherever! Better planning helped me this time around.

Do you like to plan? I do not like to plan! 
Goodbye! Goodbye!!!

(Are you familiar with Dr. Seus book with similar phrases?)

However, I LOVE to travel!!! And I live with a guy who plans everything! So......

Scotty and I hashed and rehashed plans for our trip out west several times before we finalized our destinations.

Our son, Luke, works for Comfort Suites and was able to help us with some lodging. Thank you, Luke and Comfort Suites! We really enjoyed our stays with them!

There were a few things that I purchased for our journey:

~Scotty a new hat! He was pictured in it yesterday. What do you think? Hats for men are really "in". My boys love them! My honey wasn't sure about this one. He thought it made him look old! NEVER!!! I thought he looked great!

~I bought two new straw hats from Wal-Mart for me. It is best to wear a hat when the top is down. We are at the age when hair can disappear and never come back so a good hat is a must!

~I purchased some sundresses. I wore a sundress over the 4th of July and Scotty really liked it, so I bought some on sale to wear on the trip.........just for him. (Modest of course!)

~New sandals for both of us. He always wore his with socks! : )

~Two new pair of khaki shorts for Scotty. He never wears them at home, however they proved to be another great investment!

~A new camera.

We packed one change of winter clothing and our winter coats just in case. We were really glad to have them one night.

The trunk of the Nissan could barely be latched. We prepared well. Scotty smiled as he thought of my limitations for shopping. Don't think he had considered shipping! 

Our first day was spent with the top up as we headed across the very hot Kansas prairie. The temperatures exceeded 100 that entire day. It was beautiful! I have heard a lot of people that they don't like the Kansas prairie, however it has it's own beauty. I absorbed the wonder of it as we passed by on our way to unexplored regions. 

Food, we had decided, would be part of our adventure. We would explore our options choosing spots that were unknown to us. Our first night we had prime rib, complete with soup and salad bar for $9 each! The price sent Scotty into unbelief mode. Suddenly I was gripped with fear that every meal we ate would be compared to this amazing bargain. He didn't mention it every time but a few times he could not resist!!!

We found the welcome mat out as we entered the Comfort Inn in Pueblo, CO for a nights stay. 

Oh, what a day! We were on our way!!! We had really escaped the home-front!

Cheri


Monday, August 24, 2009

For ME????


A journey begins with a crazy idea! 

My husband and I have just returned from a fifteen day road trip. We covered over 5,000 miles of beautiful country while experiencing the splendor of 13 states. 

I am going to share a few photos and snippets of our journey for the next few days. I hope that you will ride along and enjoy it with me.

This journey really began last summer when my husband decided to surprise me with a new car. The car is the one pictured, a Nissan 350Z. 

I wasn't that into cars. I like a nice one that will get me from here to there without hassles but not so big on outer appearances. That is until I met this little beauty. I fell in love at first sight. We weren't really looking for a car for me so I just stood next to it with awe on my face and drooled. 

It was on the showroom floor at a Nissan dealership in Kansas City at the time. We just stopped in without plans for buying. My husband is a shopper without an impulsive bone in his body. He prefers cash to remain in his pocket rather than surrender it to a buyer's hand. I have noticed that he is very consistent with this way of life after living with him for over 30 years. 

So imagine my shock when he bought this car on the spot.......for me!!!!

At the time, I told him that I was pretty sure I was having a dream and please to let me continue sleeping because I was really enjoying it. 

For over a year I have driven this car and have only grown more fond of it. It is fun, oh so much fun to drive! 

Scotty told me that I had driven conversion vans and station wagons with kids in every seat available for so many years while raising our family, he wanted me to get to drive a car with only two seats.

I LOVE to drive this car, but I also LOVE to be driven....(there were a few intimidating moments on the trip when it would have been nice to have my own hands on the wheel. It would have subsided a lot of my queasiness, I am pretty sure.)

So my dear, sweet husband and I began to dream of taking a road trip to the Wild West country of the United States. Dreams morphed into plans. Plans morphed into experience. What a ride!!! It was absolutely wonderful!!!!!! Beyond our wildest imagination!

Come along and enjoy! I am excited to relive the fun with you! See you tomorrow!

Blessings,
Cheri
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (The Message)
"Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Among the Storytellers


Dear Friends~

I have just returned from the most amazing conference! It was my fifth year to attend the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference. I must say that this particular event was my very favorite. 

When I received information that registration was open to sign up for this years event I wanted to sign up immediately. I waited and prayed, asked my husband who gave me the go ahead nod, and continued to wonder if I was making the right decision. It would be my fifth time. There would be a waiting list of people who would not get to attend, perhaps there was someone else that needed to attend more than I. 

However everything seemed to be pointing to a go.
I have always gone by myself, a day early, and stay room by myself so that I can soak in prayer. It has been a precious tradition. 

It didn't take long for the Lord to confirm the fact that I was supposed to be at this years conference. His hand of blessing met me everywhere I turned. The memories are fresh and some of them even feel sacred, too precious to share at this time.

I got to meet the most wonderful people. I was on the look expecting to find lifetime friends. New friends. I was certain that the Lord would provide this for me so my heart was in expectation.  I am in awe of His ways! He knows how to pair us up when even when there are 600 women in attendance. Once again, I was treated with the blessing of meeting sisters with kindred spirits, that I believe, will continue to share my eternal journey. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, thank you!

One of the most special hilights for me was getting the opportunity to hear Jennifer Rothschild speak and meet her. I even got to have my picture taken with her. I won one of her books and she signed it for me! It was a very tender moment. She is a beautiful, beautiful woman! I have just finished leading her study "Me, Myself, and Lies" and think it one of the most powerful studies ever. Hearing her in person and talking to her, only increased my admiration of her. 

At such a conference you have the opportunity to hear many, many stories. Testimonies that bring tremendous glory to the Lord. I wanted to share my very favorite story from the conference, the one that I don't ever want to forget. I began to write it out, but the Lord stopped me. Let me wait on that for a while. 

If you are one of my She Speaks friends that did not get to attend, I missed you. I do not know if I will get the opportunity to attend next year, but I pray so. In the meantime I want to put into practice some of the things that I learned.

I experienced many flight delays both going and returning home. I left Charlotte on Sunday and did not arrive back at home until 2:00 Monday afternoon. Tomorrow, Friday, my husband and I will be leaving on a two week vacation. I have not sorted everything out from my last trip so of course I am not ready.

I don't know if I will have the opportunity to write while I am gone, so I might need to take another little break. However, the Lord has given me so much to write about. So please check back in after August 21st. Being among the storytellers has stirred up some stories in me.

Blessings to all! I shall return soon!

Cheri