We Live in Two Realms

I love the movie Steel Magnolias.  I’ve seen it so many times I believe I can quote most of the memorable lines from it.  For example:  (Clairee Belcher) “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”

Sweet Husband and I have a lot of accessories, “stuff”. Some gifts, some things we inherited, some we purchased at garage/estate sales or because they are stuff we collect. You know, stuff that you like, stuff that makes your heart smile when you look at it and stuff that makes a room feel like, “HOME”.

The tiny condo we live in has 9’ ceilings in the main living area, which gave us a long empty space at the top to install a shelf for some of our stuff. This is realm number one – the natural realm. This is the realm we all live in and are familiar with – so familiar, we often forget there is another realm.

shelf

This week a friend texted to tell us she and her family were going to be in our area and she wanted to visit. I called her immediately and asked if she could be available for a while Tuesday afternoon so that Sweet husband and I, our pastor and a couple of people from our intercessory prayer group could pray with her. You see, she has been in a battle for her health – her life for two years. She is winning, but additional, sincere prayer benefits much. This is realm number two – the Spirit realm.

Five of us met for about an hour, we prayed heaven down, we allowed the love of God to penetrate her every cell and when we finished we took her to a late lunch.

The balance of the afternoon and evening was spend with a small dinner group we have met at church and then a memorial service for one member’s mother. Nice and normal activities; except for one event.

An hour or so after we arrived home from prayer and lunch, a beautiful, five pound, crystal vase took a flying leap from the shelf in our living area. It shattered into a thousand shards and damaged our hardwood floor. This shelf, by the way, has a piece of decorative molding installed the entire length of the shelf to prevent these items from working their way off by “normal” vibration. A heavy piece of crystal doesn’t just tip over or fly.

In retrospect we should have taken a picture of the broken vase, but since the shards had literally flown over most of the living/dining room all we could think of was cleaning it up in the “natural” and in the “Spirit”.

Yes, we prayed Heaven’s healing down for this young woman and some of the residents of realm number two weren’t happy. We knew how to take care of that as well. 

Our Father God is good, He is faithful and He grants authority to His family. Please know, I am not bragging.  I say this in total humility, because I know without Him and the powerful blood of Jesus I would be powerless.

Spiritual-Warfare

The Revenant & Yellowstone National Park

Yesterday sweet husband and I took in an afternoon movie; The Revenant featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass (c. 1780 – 1833). Based on true events, Glass was an American frontiersman, fur trapper, and explorer of the watershed of the Upper Missouri River in present-day Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Platte River area of Nebraska.

Although it was never stated where these events took place, there was one mention that someone was last spotted near the “yellow stone”. Yellowstone is called Yellowstone because the river flows through a yellow stoned canyon.

As you know by now, we spent the summer in Wyoming and Montana, therefore, from the scenery, I believe this part of the story of his life took place in that area; perhaps what is now the Chief Joseph Highway area?

I’m not a movie critic, but the cinematography was academy award quality.

Seeing this movie, which is extremely rough, took me back to Wyoming and Montana; it has haunted me all day.

It started with Glass walking through an overflowing creek in the middle of a forest. The first sounds were of an Elk Stagg trumpet. It is an unmistakable, loud and wonderful sound. One can actually go to YouTube and type in, “Elk Sound”, to hear it, you will never forget it – please do.

There was only one scene involving Bison, but they were stampeding away from a pack of wolves. The Bison’s trumpet or groaning sounds more like a lion. The rocks, cliffs, Lodge Pole Pines, rivers and waterfalls took me “home” to Yellowstone.

This 144 year old national park is located primarily in the state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho and oh how I love it and miss it.

The stats:

  • It spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.
  • Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano on the continent.
  • This lake has MORE thermal features under water than in the entire rest of the park.
  • The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.
  • Half of the WORLD’S geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism.
  • Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone.
  • The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone.
  • If you work in the park, naturally you live in the park. If you need something as simple as a haircut you will need to drive an hour and half, in good traffic (which is rare), one way.
  • They do have general stores and small health clinics in each village within the park.

One clear evening in August we drove up to Hayden Valley to hopefully see the asteroid events and the Milky Way and, of course try to hear the Elk and Bison trumpet and groan. We were successful on all counts.

Milky Way 2Milky WayIMG_0546elk1

We made friends easily with several of our co-workers and hope to see five of them in the next couple of weeks.

I will not be working there again even thought we had probably the best store manager and cafeteria manager in the entire park. We won’t for three good reasons: (1) it is a long, long drive from Tennessee to Wyoming and (2) my body doesn’t do changing shift work very well and (3) Yellowstone had in excess of 4 million visitors this year; a record. Sadly the company we worked for did not or could not supply our general store with enough help. Oh, my heart will miss it, to be sure.

bisonDSC03988DSC03990 - Copyearth quakeFriends at YSgrandswansYS FallsYS Hotel

 

Riches

I want to add something new to my blog post (below) from a couple of days ago.

There are circumstances in our families that we have grieved over (some of us) for years. We pray, but eventually we look at them and JUDGE them as impossible. Am I correct?

Disease, addictions, broken relationships, infertility, poverty, despair, rejection of the Gospel.

So in judging these impossible, do we, “…despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NKJV)

Beloved, judgment does not always have to do with seeing ourselves as righteous in comparison to others, but in rendering the goodness of God powerless in the light of what we see as impossible.

It was, after all, His goodness that brought me to His loving arms. And has kept me, in spite of my many poor life choices.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<*>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I was informed a couple of days ago that the lotteryf Power Ball is (was) 9million and today as I write it is up over a billion (yes, with a “B”). That is a lot of money and yes, we purchased a ticket and will probably get one tomorrow…

The day before I was told about the Powerball I starting reading Paul’s letter to Rome again. It is my current favorite book.

A couple of weeks ago our pastor challenged us to find a personal scripture for the year. I prayed and asked for one.

Chapter one was mostly about the normal activity of the culture of the day (perhaps our current culture). Then it appears Paul starts addressing the Jewish believers in Rome for their judgment of the new Roman gentile believers.

This has basically been my stance with my judgment of my fellow man or my fellow believers. The word of God is the truth and my activities and your activities as related to it is between me and God and you and God.

I am certainly available to discuss His word lovingly when and where necessary with other believers. If I am in need of correction, I am open to it from God (Who is going to correct His children) and from other believers whom I respect.

I do not believe the Word of God should be used as the plumb line for non-believers. The Word of God is not relevant to a non-believer, is it? Is it my place to quote the Word of God unless asked? And if asked, I can only tell them of the riches of His GOODNESS.

So, in the process of reading the first chapter onto the second, one line took my breath away…do you despise the RICHES of His goodness…

. . .And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  (Romans 2:3-4 NKJV)

Despise is a strong word. Do I despise His goodness? It is, after all, the goodness, mercy, acceptance that brought me and daily brings me to repentance.

THIS will be my scripture for the year of 2016. May I not forget it in the daily dealings with the woman in the mirror and the people I meet that so desperately need the riches of His Goodness…

I found 10 more references to His Riches in short order and have listed them below.

Perhaps I won’t win that Powerball, but true riches are mine for now and forever more. Amen

gold

Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had *prepared beforehand for glory, (Romans 9:21-23 NKJV)

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! (Romans 11:33 NLT)

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  (Ephesians 1:7 NLT)

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.   (Ephesians 1:18 NLT)

So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  (Ephesians 2:7 NLT)

Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures (riches) available to them in Christ.  (Ephesians 3:8 NLT)

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  (Ephesians 3:16 NLT)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:19 NLT)

For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.  (Colossians 1:27 NLT)

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.  (Colossians 2:2 NLT)

*all converts to Christianity

goodness

Texas Hill Country – December 2014

On our route through Texas in December, 2014, we stopped and spend a week with Leonard’s Brother and Sister. Ken Long and wife, Tomoko (a transplant from Japan) and Anna Martin. We both wish they lived or we lived closer. They live in the Wimberley/Austin area of the great (country) of Texas.

(L to R) Ken, Anna & Leonard

(L to R) Ken, Anna & Leonard

When we left, I had notes of all we saw and did, but lost them in transit. I had to ask Ken to reconstruct this for me, so I am finally getting it down to share with you all.

From our visit with them we stopped off at Big Bend National Park on our way to meet Leonard’s other Sister, Martha Harriman (w/husband Del) for Christmas in California.

I actually did a couple of blogs, which you can find in the archives dated December, 2014 about our visit in Texas to The Harry Ransom Center in Austin. They have the largest collection of memorabilia from the movie, Gone With The Wind and our visit to Dick’s Classic Car Museum.

 

Dick’s Classic Car Museum in San Marcos, TX is another of those acres and acres, but under roof. He has cars I have never seen before, cars I have never heard of and some that are probably the last in existence. I took pictures of the hood ornaments while Sweet Husband captured digital pictures of the actual cars.

Our days were filled with warm visits, long walks, a gourmet meal prepared by Anna in Austin and a few uniquely Texas activities. I will do my best to do the visit and the area justice with just a few words and pictures.

Leonard and Ken played both Duplicate Bridge and Poker, coming in second in the first event and poorly in the second. Tomoko took me to her Texas Line Dancing Class. I actually used to be able to do that kind of thing – someone stole my balance, coordination and breath in the last few years.

Lind Dancing

Tomoko treated us to a traditional Shabu Sahbu dinner. It is like fondue, only different. It is cooked on the table in a ceramic hibachi. Tomoko is an award winning cook, fun to watch, impossible to compete with.

IMG_0401

We drove to the little town of Fredericksburg, TX to eat at Hondo’s famous, “Boot Skootin’ Bar”. I felt like we were in a John Belushi movie. As it happened it was the same evening as their Christmas Parade.

On our way home we drove through Johnson City, TX to see their famous Christmas Light display – literally every tree and building is covered in lights – millions.

Wimberley has a monthly Market Day where you can buy handmade items, junk, crafts, food, clothing and probably live critters…acres and acres. It would take two full days to see it all. We purchased a piece of needle work from a booth who sells items made by children in an orphanage in Viet Nam. All the proceeds go to support the orphanage.

Then the piece de resistance was our liquor tour. This was an all day, totally unforgettable adventure.

First stop was a small micro-brewery called Real Ale Brewery. One simply drives up, pays one small fee and gets to stand there and “taste” their ale for as long as you like. We tasted one of each they had available, but knowing we had a full day of tasting we limited our time with these kind folks (BTW: everyone, but us, wore cowboy boots and Stetsons.) Their ale was quite good.

To clean our palate, we stopped at Golden Orchards (Peach orchard) and enjoyed some homemade peach ice cream – yum! Somewhere in this route we passed the Lyndon B. Johnson ranch and Presidential Library – we didn’t stop – just saying.

Peach Icecream

Stop three was Garrison Brothers Bourbon Distillery. In theory I understood that one cannot call their product “Bourbon” unless it is actually made in Kentucky. Texas, I believe thinks they can trump Kentucky, so they call it BOURBON. Don’t mess with Texas, as the saying goes.

We took a short and interesting tour of the distillery and were given a “taste” and our very own glass to keep at the end of the tour (I gave mine to my son, Tony, for his shot glass collection).

The distillery is so small that when they are ready to bottle their product (after ageing) they invite locals to come in to “volunteer” to help. They take home a bottle for their trouble. While there Ken signed up for the next event. He thought it would look good on his resume.

Final stop was at a vineyard and winery called Pedernales Cellars for a “tasting”. Here we also walked away with our very own glass to keep for sentimental reasons. The wine was excellent. I was surprised at the number of vineyards in the hill country of Texas, but they all make a fine wine according my Ken.

Pedernales Cellars 1

I highly recommend a tour of this part of true Texas, I wish I could recommend Ken and Tomoko as personal tour guides, but not everyone rates this degree of grace.