Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heart Friends at the Cabin

Welcome to the Cabin! Earlier this month the Heart Friends gathered in St. Louis for yet another long weekend of laughter and sharing, eating and playing. In St. Louis we enjoying meeting little Ellie, Paulette's granddaughter who lives just around the corner....and what a doll baby she is. We also explored the quaint old town of St. Charles. Somehow we ALL found places to sleep at Paulette's and then on Saturday morning we packed up two vans and a car

and headed to THE CABIN (definitely, not THE SHACK).

We knew there was some SURPRISE along the way but didn't know what it was until we arrived at the ANIMAL SAFARI.What fun...Danny and Jack went ahead of us and lined up this tram for our drive thru the park. The animals are friendly and love to eat out of your hand, or or pocket or bag. The camel was simply hilarious. There were smiles all around for the entire trip.

One day we spent in Branson ~ some enjoyed shopping while most went to see Yakov Smirnoff. Dinner at Lambert's Cafe, home of the throwed rolls, capped off the day. Time in the hot tub, a picnic lunch on a pontoon boat ride, chatting in the sun on the porch over looking the lake doesn't get any better than that!

The blondes in the group tried to convince the rest that they truly have more fun.

In the end, we know that we all enjoyed the weekend and want to go back to the cabin again some time. Plans are already in the making for a gathering in Lancaster County in the spring.

Wyoming Discovered

We did some hiking in Big Horn Canyon which is a National Recreation Area on the northern border of Wyoming and southern border of Montana.

Somehow we managed to find a man with a boat who was willing to take us on a tour up the canyon. It was a glorious day with deep blue skies and unbelievable rock formations. This park is a hidden jewel...entrance is $5.00 a day and you camp for free. Check it out on the National Park Service website. I will warn you tho, the town nearby does not have much to offer ~ we couldn't use a credit card at the restaurant or find a place to use a debit card but the people we friendly and helpful!

Right along side Big Horn Canyon is Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Refuge where we saw a dozen or so of the 125 mustangs that live in the refuge.

When you are in the northeast corner of Wyoming coming from South Dakota, a side trip to Devil's Tower National Monument is worth the drive...the Tower comes up out of now where and is just amazing. There is a beautiful one and a half mile hike around the base of the tower.

A drive thru Ten Sleep Canyon just west of Buffalo is also worth the time (it's on the way to Yellowstone and Big Horn Canyon).

Cheyenne was our last stop. We stayed at Warren AFB and enjoyed some of the rich history of the old Army Post, built in 1867 to protect the Union Pacific workers as they built the transcontinental railroad. The parade field on the base has to be half a mile long ~ we saw a picture of the cavalry unit in formation on the parade field and they needed the entire length. The old downtown area of Cheyenne is interesting and beautiful. The colorful boots are found all over the city.

By this time in our journey we had seen so many magnificent sights we could hardly take in any more. God is so creative and generous! We were happy to head south so spend time with Sarah and Joel ~ and wait for the arrival of little Anders.

South Dakota Wonders

Yikes, I just discovered I never wrote anything about the South Dakota Wonders we experienced this summer. What a beautiful adventure. The Needles Highway winds its way thru the Black Hills National Forest and takes you to Sylvan Lake. Near the lake is the trailhead to hike to the top of Harney Peak, which we did one day. It is in Custer State Park and is the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains and west of Pyrenees Mountains. It was a beautiful day for a hike and the view from the top (7242 feet) was amazing.

Of course we could not miss the incredible Crazy Horse Memorial or the historic Mount Rushmore.
Actually, Mount Rushmore would fit into the fore head of Crazy Horse but the Memorial will not likely be finished in our life time!
The Badlands were our first glimpse of the beauty and wonder of South Dakota...

Ten Chimneys

The slide show on our blog right now gives a glimpse of the wonderful estate Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt shared for many years. Ten Chimneys is just a few miles from Cedarly in Genesee Depot, WI, open to the public as a world-class house museum and natural resource for theater, arts and arts education. The past two summers I have done most of my volunteer hours working in the gardens on the estate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Riding and Reading

On our trip west thru MN, SD, WY, and CO, I did a lot of reading on the road, so I have a few recommendations for you today. One of them is Jerry B. Jenkins new novel, RIVEN. He says, "This is the novel I've always wanted to write and it is unlike anything I've ever written. My hope is that is stays with you long after the final page....If a novelist has a life's work, this is mine." A condemned man with nothing to lose encounters a weary chaplain with nothing to gain. Death and despair are overcome with rebirth and forgiveness...take a look.

Maybe you have read Gary Chapman's book THE FOUR SEASONS OF MARRIAGE. It is a very heplful book in understanding how marriage moves from season to season with the cycle repeating itself many times through the life of a marriage. Gary has joined with Catherine Palmer to write 4 novels set near Camdenton, MO ~ small town America. The couples in this community go through these various seasons, bringing to life the principles of the marriage book. They could be very helpful if you are working with young couples struggling to understand how marriage works.

I rediscovered one of my favorite insightful and creative authors, Ann Tatlock. I'LL WATCH THE MOON and THINGS WE ONCE HELD DEAR are the two I read this go around.

A while back I mentioned a trio of challenging books by Jean Sasson about a princess in Saudi Arabia. This time I read about two more women ~ Mayada in Iraq and Joanna in Kurdistan and their life of hardship and survival under Suddam Hussein. MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ and LOVE IN A TORN LAND are both worth your time. Mayada grew up with wealth and royalty but ended up in prison, a target of Saddam's secret police. Joanna helps one understand the chemical attacks, bombings, and hardships in the fight for Kurdish independence.

Andy and I read to one another along the road for the first time. We have heard so much about THE SHACK by William P. Young from guests at Cedarly. So, we bought the book for the library and took it along. There has been a lot of controversey about the book, but we found it intreging and challenging. The book wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" There are a few chapters I would to go back to and wrestle thru again.

We also both read John Eldredge's new book, WALKING WITH GOD. More great insights on my struggle for intimacy with God each day. I have a bit more work to do as I interact with John's story and insights in learning to hear God day by day, finding joy and transformation along the journey.

Welcome, Anders Eric

Anders Eric joined Sarah and Joel early in the morning on 08/28/08 at 1:42 a.m. He was 7 lbs 14 oz and 21".
Oma and Opa loved being in Denver to welcome Anders! What a guy!

See more pictures and get more info on Sarah's blog