Autumn Trek Pt.5: The Audubon Loop

     My son saved me hundreds of dollars in hotel costs by letting me sleep in his dorm room. He let me have the bed while he took the floor, because I’m old (according to him) and he’s going to be a missionary; So he needs to practice. I, of course, was entirely compliant not wanting to rob him of his missionary training. 🙂

     We slept well and by next morning we were both ready for action. After donuts and coffee we decided to head out to Mill Grove to walk the trails before Joe had to be back to work at 1 P.M. 

       When the kids were little Tina and I went camping at Lamb City in Phillipston MA. They had a loop trail there too! It was a beautiful trail around the lake, but poorly marked.

    Tina had gone shopping in town. Joe and Amanda were really needing something to do. So leaving Melanie with my brother and sister-in-law I headed out with my three and four-year olds for what was supposed to be a short jaunt around the lake. I knew we were in trouble when I wandered into an apple orchard an hour or so later some two miles from the camp ground. By the time a van loaded with strangers offered us a ride, two hours further into our walk, I really didn’t care if they were axe-murderers the kids and I needed rescuing.

      I share that little story because history has a way of repeating itself. At first Joe and I were only going to walk half the trail and turn back the way we came. Half way in we changed the plan and decided to do the whole loop which was a four and a half mile walk. I thought “I can do this. Let’s impress the whippersnapper!”

The forest trail was beautiful. We found the remnants of an old lead mine and stopped for pictures.

     Of course, being part of the Audubon estate the trail was dotted with bird houses and duck blinds like this one.

      It was all going so well until about here. Then we lost the trail. Oh, we were on a trail all right. We just didn’t know it was the wrong one until we came to a dog park where we asked some friendly dog owners where the Audubon Loop picked back up.

    To which they replied “You walked here from the Audubon loop? Bummer!”

    So…Yeah…Four miles turned into more like eight or ten. The biggest difference between getting lost with my son at four and getting lost with my son at twenty-two is that this time I didn’t have to carry him. Oh, and this time I had a camera. 

Long story short. We lived. We made it back. Joe was only a half hour late for work. But, I’m thinking  maybe that look he gave me when I first arrived was prophetic.

Autumn Trek Pt. 4: Let’s Get There Already!

Yesterday I left you all at the border of Pennsylvania.

I may have mentioned it took me ten hours to get there. Still, I am sure you are wondering how come I could make it in ten hours and it has taken you three days. Well you can only do so much in four hundred words. Besides we have to take some time for the sycamores.

I had to ask an artist on the street what kind of trees they were because I really liked them. He gave me an “Are you entirely stupid?” look. Followed by a “How dare you disturb the heir of Van Gough!” look.  Then an eye roll… a loud sigh…Then he shrugged and turned his back on me like I had disturbed his nap! I think I broke Mr. Crankypants’ concentration.

He was standing right outside of this shop painting the trees. So honestly I thought he would be the best one to ask! How wroooong I was. Still I liked the trees. I finally found out what they were from a shop keeper who didn’t have anger issues.

I shook it off and bought myself a pumpkin coffee at Dunkin Donuts for comfort and went back to the road.

 In a little over an hour I was close to finishing my drive. I still had plenty of daylight so I opted to stop at Mill Grove, the John J. Audubon estate, just ten minutes from my son’s home in Phoenixville.

It was a great little road trip, and only a tank away! I learned that when you are living the slow, constant, and intentional life it’s your moment. Most people aren’t living the experience with you. So when an artist (or a non-artist) gets cranky with you don’t sweat it. He’s just having a moment among the sycamores. So just keep slow. Keep constant. Keep intentional. Maybe someday the rest of the world will join your joy! 

Oh by the way here’s the reason for my trip!

I know, I know he kind of looks like he’s been hanging out with my tree-artist friend. But I was embarrassing him in front of his boss, going all paparazzi on him…sorry Joe! 🙂 

Autumn Trek Pt. 3: The Drive Continues

      If you remember this vacation was supposed to be about me learning a certain lesson more deeply for the purpose of bringing that lesson to the wider body of Christ. If I had to boil the weekend down into a catch phrase I would have to say, “Be slow, constant, and intentional”.  I really practiced the slow part on Friday. I left Muddy’s at 6 A.M.  Now,Valley Forge can be reached in six hours; But I knew in advance I wouldn’t make it by noon. I sincerely had my doubts I would make it by the time my son was scheduled to work late in the afternoon. I just didn’t have it in me to drive solely for the destination. The journey itself was important; So when I got stuck in traffic outside of Hartford I just settled myself in to talk to God as my van alternated between spurts of 5 MPH and 45 MPH.

     I stopped for lunch in New York before I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge. I opted for route 202 instead of the Garden State Parkway and pulled off the road at about three so I could grab some shots of the Delaware River Water Gap.

     In that place the river runs between Lambertsville NJ and New Hope PA. This old bridge is the border crossing between two towns that have given themselves to the purpose of promoting the arts. Just up my alley!

    From the bridge the waterway looks like a liquid highway running between the states ready to deliver passengers to the eclectic neighborhoods that join the two towns.

     The river was swollen in its banks from the recent passage of Hurricane Irene and the rains which have dogged the east coast since. Still the barricades were open so that the few brave kayakers on the water could boat along the swift current unhampered.

     Both towns were crammed with tourists making parking tricky. I finally found a spot behind a gallery in Lambertsville that promised if I wasn’t quickly inside viewing and buying art my van would be just a quickly towed. I’m not sure exactly how the gallery staff would know…but since I wasn’t willing to be stuck overnight in New Jersey I made a quick tour of Lambertsville and headed cross-river to New Hope.

    So ten hours in I finally hit the border of my destination state! How’s that for slow?!

Autumn Trek Pt. 2: The Sabbath Drive

“There is a joy in the journey. There’s a light we can love on the way. There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for those who obey!” (From “Joy In the Journey”, Michael Card)

     I pulled out of the drive at Muddy’s house at 6 A.M. on Friday morning. The sky was still dark. Even as the sun rose, purply mists hung all over the rolling hills as I pushed up the Mohawk trail into Western MA.

    I felt the Spirit pushing me to take the day slow… to see the road…to enjoy the ride. I worried that sight would be socked in by the clouds; But by the time I reached the French King Bridge God had pulled back the veil to feed my soul on His glory.

     One of the lessons I learned more deeply this week is that we humans are made to follow a rhythm. Life is supposed to be a regular pattern of music and rests. Life         

can’t be just sound and fury. Somewhere along the pathway there has to be some stillness, some silence. In fact really good living like really good music is a balance between sound and silence, loud and soft, work and sabbath.

     Now sabbath is a tricky thing. At it’s root it is unplugging, stepping back from the work of your hands and breathing. I’m coming to understand, though, that sabbath is not just about giving ourselves time for  rest and recreation. Sabbath is an absolutely essential part of our work.

    Sometimes labor becomes like a cloud on the mountains, a curtain that covers the forest of our purpose for existence. We get going, start working and before we know it we don’t even remember why we’re doing half the stuff on our plate.  

     Sabbath gives us a chance to pull back the covers so we can see what our work is really producing. By it we are giving the ability to evaluate where we are going, why we are going there, and how effective we’re being on the journey. 

      Joy in the journey depends on being able to see the road. Sabbath gives us the ability to stop and take a look!

Have you given yourself a real break lately?

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 22

       Our Pentateuch class is a little ahead of us now. We finished through Exodus chapter 19 tonight. Our first question of the night was review: “What are eleven things you learned about the book of Genesis?”  Can you, dear reader, come up with eleven things you think are important from the book of Genesis?

     On to the chapter charts for the day!

Genesis chapter 43 sermon topics/titles:

1.” Praise” calls for self-sacrifice Ge. 43: 1-8

2.  Gifts In the Famine Ge. 43: 11-15

3. When Weeping Causes Waiting Ge.43: 29-31

Genesis 44 sermon topics/titles:

1. Tricking Into Reconciliation Ge. 44:1-33

2. “Praise” Humbles Ge. 44: 16-33

3. Judah the Changed Ge. 44:33

What can you come up with? 🙂

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 21

 

     Tonight we resume Pentateuch class here at Cornerstone. About 25 students have been coming out weekly to hear me wax eloquent about Moses. But tonight shall be a big surprise because we are going to be “teaching to learn!” I can’t wait!

     In the mean time my blogger friends join me in trying out today’s chapter charts:

Genesis chapter 41 sermon topics/ titles:

1. Responding To God’s Timing: Ge. 41: 1-14

2. When To Look For Wisdom Ge. 41:28-33

3. Fruitful Forgetfulness Ge. 41:51,52

Genesis chapter 42 sermon topics/titles:

1. What the Dream Really Looked Like! Ge. 42:1-9

2. The Day of Reaping Ge. 42: 1-38

3. Reuben the never-changing Ge. 42:37

What can you come up with? 🙂

Autumn Trek Pt. 1: Muddy’s Birthday

     So I am on a journey of discovery this week-end. I started planning this autumn trek in August. A prophetess, named Julie, told me I would receive a deeper revelation this trip, about something I already knew and practiced;  But it would be reinforced and strengthened so that I could teach it to others; Maybe you can help me come up with revelation knowledge out of this hodge-podge. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses let a thing be established!”

It all started with a party

     Thursday was Muddy’s 75th birthday! She asked that we not have a party. She wanted to order in Chinese, and asked us to buy a Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Layer Cake along with Neapolitan ice cream. Of course my sister and I tried to convince her to go out to a fancy restaurant (you only turn 75 once after all) but she would have none of it. So we bought the rice and the Rangoon and the boxed cake and made a party of it! I did tell you Muddy didn’t want a party didn’t I?

   

    

I bought hats and  made everyone wear them!

And we invited a few guests. This is Muddy looking annoyed at the unwanted visitors. Before you pass judgment hear me out. They were very special guests:

We invited a gnome

 a dwarf

Princess Leia

(She’s saying “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. This party is really dull!”)

There was a unicorn

a parrot

Hercule Poirot

And an alien bug

Muddy was a little upset with the guest list until we brought out the cake. Then it was all good.

     So that’s how the autumn trek started. Anyone getting any deep spiritual lessons for me yet?

Pray! Give! Go! Pt. 3

      

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,  baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Ma. 28:18-20 NLT

      I have no idea how anyone can be bored with life. Frustrated…sad…stressed…these I can understand, but bored? The world is too wacky a place, just now, for anyone to be bored.

     As part of our Missions Convention this year Pastor Risto asked every member of our congregation to ask God how He would have us to go into the world and preach the gospel. This is a novel idea for many of our parishioners. Prayer is one thing. Giving is even esteemed as something every true believer should do. BUT GO!? That’s really scary!

    Well Christianity is nothing if not an adventure; So yes every Christian should find a mission and go! Nothing changes a person like a mission. I have had the privilege to counsel summer camp and to travel on missions trips to the U.K. and Mexico.  At home I have been involved in street outreach, Youth Alive in the school system, and FamJam. Every experience has drawn me closer to Christ and has definitely  kept me from being bored! And with all that there is to do in the world every one of us can find some mission that will fit our talents, health, and agility. My father-in-law’s ninety year old mother makes cookies for her church’s van outreach. If that ain’t mission I don’t know what is!

     This year I think I am heading back to summer camp. I asked one of our missionaries if I could help him with music next August. I’m already warming my voice up!

Where would God have you go?

Pray! Give! Go! Pt. 2

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,  baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Ma. 28:18-20 NLT

     Each of the flags along the back wall of our church represents a missionary we support somewhere in the world.

     My sister is a missionary associate heading to the Netherlands. I have watched her walk the road of raising her funds. It is most definitely a faith walk. How beautiful that the church of Jesus Christ gets the opportunity to invest in the lives of men and women called of God to bring the last days harvest.

     A wise man once said to me “show me your spending and I will tell you what you value.”

    Honestly at the time if I had shown him my spending habits he would have said I valued restaurants and Wal-Mart more than the last days harvest.

    God has been asking me to simplify my life over the last year. It’s a work in progress, but I do know that I am on track to meeting the giving goals God has spoken into my heart.

Tell me, what is God doing with your giving?

Post a Day For NaNoWriMo

    I am almost to the place where I am posting everyday now anyway; So I thought I would take WordPress up on their new challenge and start posting every single day no skipsees for the next month in honor of National Novel Writing Month. Some days I might even use their writing prompts!

   Hey see you tomorrow!

JE