Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Third World Country Perspective

This morning we were in church at Madison Church of Christ in Madison, Tennessee.  The singing and fellowship was awesome.  Jason preached an outstanding sermon from Luke 15, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.  Compared to our American thinking, God is not logical.  If one sheep was lost out of one hundred, we would consider it the cost of doing business.  We would not risk the harm of the other 99 to go look for one.  God loves every lost soul enough to do the illogical.  If we had 10 coins and lost one, we would not flip the house looking for it.  It is only a quarter or it is only a dollar.  Those were the amounts Jason used.  To many of us, it is we could say it is only $5.00 or it is only $20.00.  To some, it would be it is only $100.00, I am not going  to tear the whole house up looking for only $5.00, $20.00 or $100.00.  To us, that does not make sense.  But to God it does.  Every person has value.  I agree with all of this.  And, like I said, Jason did an outstanding job.

But.  I could not help but think what if this lady lived in a third world country and the coins were valued at five cents a piece.  And the ten coins had to feed her children for week.  Knowing it would be hard to make those few coins stretch as it was, to lose one would be disastrous.  Of course, she would tear the whole house up looking for it.  And, she would rejoice when she found it. 

I often find myself making first world and third world comparisons.  But, the moral of this is no matter if the coin was lost in the first world and it seems very illogical to look for it or the third world and it seems very illogical not to look for it, every person is valuable to God. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Laurel Falls

The hike to Laurel Falls is an easy one on a paved trail.  It is 1.3 miles up and 1.3 miles down.  We have hiked this trail a couple of times before.

It is in the forest, surrounded by trees, meaning it is a shaded trail.  There is not much to see except the trees.  Once is a while is a view of the mountains.
The falls take a plunge of 80 feet, in two sections.  There is a pool at the bottom of the upper section.  This pool has a bridge across it.  The trail continues.  We chose not to do that today.  Then from that pool the water forms a lower section of the pool.
This is the pool formed at the bottom of the lower falls.  This was taken from the bridge separating the two sections.

This is the upper section of the falls.

I crossed the bridge and walked up the trail a ways so that I could get a picture of the lower falls.
From the paved trail, this time of year with the leaves still on the trees, there is no way to get a picture of the entire falls.

But, to get off the trail and go down toward the lower falls, a good picture can be taken.  Since there was a well-worn path down, it was obvious we were not the first to think of this.  I was concentrating on foot placement and making sure my camera did not crash into a rock or a tree.  Therefore, there are no pictures of the climb down or up.  It was a lot of work, but, oh so worth it.

This is the pool at the bottom of the lower section, up close and personal.

While a picture does not do it justice, this is the entire falls.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cade's Cove

Today we decided to visit Cades's Cove, the most visited place in the Smoky Mountains.  If a Tuesday in the middle of September was any indication, I would not want to be there in the summer.  Cade's Cove is a historic pioneer settlement with many old  houses and churches and other buildings.  Since I like history, I thought we could see all the buildings and do the hike we had planned.  I quickly realized we could not do both.  We saw a few of the buildings and went to the trailhead for our hike.

Early morning views, before the fog lifted

Entering the park

 Some of the best views are from the back.

I love the old churches and those were among the buildings in the settlement we chose to see.

The flower-filled meadows were as pretty as the mountains.

We were hiking to the falls.  Five miles round trip.  The estimated time was 3-4 hours.  We made it to the falls and back in three hours.

The river was beside us the entire way.  The flowing river, in perfect harmony, sang a melodious song to me the entire three hours.  Sometimes pianissimo and other times fortissimo.  Of course, as we neared the falls, the music crescendoed to an all out fortississimo.

Most of the time I could only hear the river singing to me.  But at times, there was a clearing where I could see the river, beside me or below me.

There were many bridges to cross on the way to the falls.
 This one was easy.

This one and three more just like it were not quite so easy.  Yes, I crossed them all.
Then at times, the trail looked like this

At last,  Abram's Falls.  These falls only fall twenty feet, but the volume of water more than makes up for the shorter height.


Even though I had decided we did not have time to do the hike and see all of the settlement, I still wanted to see the mill.

And, I wanted to see it quickly.  After a five mile, three hour hike, I really wanted to see some food.  And, I didn't care what kind.
Another great day in the Smoky Mountains.

Monday, September 16, 2013

East Tennessee

Yesterday was a beautiful day of praise and worship. We were in a little church that is 170 years old.  The church is, not the building.  There was just the perfect mix of hymns and praise and worship music.  Marc preached an outstanding sermon.  After a fellowship meal of good home cooking, we went with our friends to one of the beauty spots, near the Tennessee/North Carolina state line.  And a beauty spot it was.  Last night we ate Mexican food with friends.  It was beautiful fellowship in a beautiful part of this country.

This week is vacation week.  We arrived in Pigeon Forge early.  After lunch, I slept all afternoon.  We then took a nice walk by the river. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be 85, a perfect day for hiking.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


This trip to the States, we are visiting more churches in which we have never been.  Sunday morning we were in Lakehoma in Mustang, Oklahoma.  We have several friends there.  Sunday night we were in a beautiful old church in downtown Altus.  Our good friends, the Stegalls, drove over from Hollis to see us. 

We were back in Borger for a couple of days.  There is just never enough time when you are with friends and family. 

We were in Childress last night and this morning.  Tonight, we are in a hotel in Van Buren, Arkansas as we make our way to East Tennessee. 

I am frantically getting as much work as possible done.  Next week, we are on vacation in the Smoky Mountains.  I intend to enjoy every minute of that vacation.  No work for this girl.  Two books already in my backpack. And, there may be more before Monday.  I am checking out the hiking trails. 

In Honduras, a new and better retaining wall behind Matt and Nicole's house is being built  There was no structural damage done to the house and the damage inside was minimal.  All of Haley's shoes except her school shoes were ruined and a few toys.  If you ask Haley, the damage was not minimal.  That girl loves her shoes.  So, in her eyes, the damage was pretty severe.

Many people in Honduras need to be prayed for daily.  We would appreciate prayers for safe travels as well.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Heavy Flooding

We are in Oklahoma City.  We will be in two church in which we have never been.  We are excited about this.  It will be a great day in Oklahoma as we worship with friends.  We had a lovely meal with Kent and Lee Ann.  We visited and watched football.

As I was getting ready for bed, I realized that I left my phone downstairs.  But no one ever calls me.  The fact that I even thought of the phone means I should have gone to get it.  That was 11:30.   At 12:30, Lee Ann rushed into our room and said your daughter needs to talk to you.  Nicole had called 17 times.  That is never a good sign.

The retaining wall behind their house (the soon-to-be new campus) came crashing down and into the house due to heavy rains.  Nicole and Matt got the kids out and safely to our house.  Matt and Dorian went back to move furniture and other things.  I do not know the extent of the damage at this point.  But Luis said that Timoteo was out all night helping displaced people.  We do know the rains were so heavy that mountains washed away and with them, people's homes.  According to what we can find in the paper, the damage is every where is great.

Please pray for everyone that lost their and those temporarily or permanently displaced.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Thank You

I knew Tuesday was going to be a long, hard day.  I just did not know how long.

I was up quite late Monday night and up early on Tuesday morning.  We left Jackson at 6:30, and I cried hard.  It is a long way from Jackson, Mississippi to Borger, Texas.  And, even with a working air conditioner, it was hot.  I used the power inverter to keep the computer going and worked several hours.  I drove a couple of hours.

If that was not enough to make me tired, Marc began to feel bad.  Actually, he felt bad the whole and just did not tell me.  But, the closer we got to Borger, the more he said he felt bad and said he had stomach pain, up high under his sternum, like he had never had before.

Marc is never sick and would never think of seeing a doctor even if he was.  When we drove into Borger and he said "I think I need to go to the emergency room,"  I knew this was very serious.

It was a long grueling night in the emergency room.  The ER was extremely busy.  We were told that was not usual for a week night.  Arriving at the ER before 7:30 p.m., it was a long wait until we saw the doctor after midnight.  And around 2:00 a.m. before we were finally able to call it a day.

I was thankful for my computer.  I posted it on facebook and instantly we had people everywhere praying for us.  I updated a couple of times.  Several messaged me and kept my mind occupied.  My sister and Nicole kept chatting with me the whole time.  I was for thankful and appreciative for those that sent messages asking about Marc and chatted with me.  But, more than that I was thankful that we could get that many people praying that quickly.

Each day Marc has felt better and today he feels good again.  Your prayers, once again, have sustained us.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

And tomorrow, we hit the road again.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mississippi Memories

I love what I do.  The absolute hardest thing about living in Honduras is not getting to see Camille more often than I do.  And, the absolute hardest thing I do when I am in the States is having to tell that sweet girl good-bye.  I have spent the last four days trying to make enough memories and give enough hugs to last until January.

I hate that I did not get to see Camille at swim practice, but I took her swimming once.

We played Wii bowling and yahtzee.  We worked puzzles.  Camille and I like to work puzzles.
Julia, Camille, and I went shopping.  Camille should be the best dressed girl in school this week.

We ate pizza and chinese and Julia's good cooking.  Camille and I made guacamole.  Not just once, but twice.  And two trips to Sonic.

This afternoon we bowled.

It has been a wonderful four days and I will be eager for January to arrive.