Monday, December 28, 2009

Life of a Tree -Torah Life!


These pictures were taken in Seguin. They reminded me of many beautiful Scriptures about trees. Torah is likened to a tree of life in Proverbs 3:18 -" 'She' is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her;" The subject "she" refers to wisdom (see verse 15) and Wisdom can also be translated as Torah. Torah is the teachings, commandments and precepts of YHWH that HE has provided to us to teach us how to walk in HIS ways and to know HIS Will. When you make Torah a part of your life, your life becomes a part of HIM and HIS plans. If you have no Torah, you are part of those that are "lawless" or Torah-less and you have no place in Him.

"Most blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on Elohim, and whose hope and confidence Elohim is for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding its fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Making Like a Squirrel!

This was the highlight of Seguin for us - the trees! There are beautiful OLD trees everywhere in this town and none are more beautiful than the ones we found in the Max Starke Park. The trees were even more incredible because so many of them are pecan trees and this park is literally covered with them.

People come out daily during the harvest season to "make like squirrels" and pick up pecans. We spent a few days ourselves out with the squirrels enjoying the warm sunshine and the thrill of "the hunt". Our first time out we didn't know just how much fun it would be to pick up nuts and soon we filled DannyLee's pockets on his jacket. The second time out we filled his jacket pockets and his jeans. This was a little bit too "squirrelly" for him so on our third adventure we took along a plastic bag and saved his pockets for other things.

At first, I was feeling a little guilty about the cute little squirrels and taking their nuts, but there are so many that I'm sure the squirrels have far more than they could ever eat squirreled away. I don't know who Max Starke is and the website for the park doesn't share that information, but he's a hero in my sight! He's created a beautiful place for the people of Seguin to get away from it all. DannyLee even managed to "squirrel away" a few golf balls on their beautiful 18-hole golf course and that's always a winning proposition for him. Bless you Max Starke!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut........

In our winter travels, we have been blessed with a lovely stay in the quaint little town of Seguin. I can't say that we ever figured out how to pronounce the name of this place, but we did find lots of reasons to fall in love with the town. The Guadeloupe River passes right through town and pecan trees are everywhere!

This "nut" (uh, the one on the left) is NOT the biggest nut in town. There is one that's much bigger. Find that nut and you'll find yourself at a place with some very tasty treats. We managed to eat quite a few pecans while hanging out in Seguin. We have this place on our "come again" list.

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Let Your Light So Shine...."

One of my long time favorite Scriptures is Matthew 5:16. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven". This verse has followed me throughout my life and comes to mind every now and then.

Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights and is believed to be the time of Yeshua's conception with His birth occurring at the time of Feast of Sukkoth (Tabernacles). Understanding the meaning of His feasts and festivals helps us to see YHWH's timetable for the world in its correct order. This picture captures for me a few of the most beautiful elements of the person of Yeshua. HE is the Light of the world (Luke 2:32), the true Bread of life (John 6:33) and the Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18) (with the understanding here that the subject "she" refers to wisdom which is also known as Torah which is also known as the Living Torah which is Yeshua Messiah).

Those who truly know Him as their Saviour and Messiah are blessed indeed. For the promises that HE has made to us can only become more precious as time goes forward. We believe that we are moving into times of darkness that will far exceed all that has been before. Only His Light will be enough to overcome the things that we must face in these end times. May the Light of His countenance be a blessing to you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Weathering the "Weather"

Weather is an unavoidable part of life and eventually we all must face the storms that come our way. Some storms are easier than others, but the one storm that has the power to rock our "world" the most involves wind. This is when we really relate to being in a "Nest" and in a "blow" it feels like we're sitting at the very top of a tree.

If your house has ever rocked on it's foundation as much as ours was last night, you just might live in an earthquake zone. Throughout the night we were rocked left and right, forward and back and up and down. I was joking with DannyLee that this would be a good time to have an anchor lest we find ourselves flying off somewhere into the unknown. We are grateful however, that our only problem is the wind. We're not envious of all those that are out there shoveling snow or chipping at ice today. While it's not all that warm after the last couple of days in the 70's, it's really not that cold either considering.

We'll weather this storm and look ahead to better days for as the Scriptures promise,

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:" Eccl. 3:1

As everything around us appears to be changing faster than ever, one thing remains a constant throughout all of our generations - the love of our Father YHVH. HE will see us through this storm and every storm that comes our way. Our faith is sure in this. Blessings!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Celebrating the Festival of Lights - Hanukah

The final holiday of the Hebrew year is Hanukah or the Festival of Lights. This holiday falls during the month of December every year and has become for many messianic believers somewhat of a substitute for the pagan holidays inherited from our fathers. (1 Peter 1:18) It's hard not to fall into that especially in a household with children.

We will be celebrating this Hanukah in our new home with limited space for burning lots of candles. Our first challenge was in finding the candles that we needed for our menorah. Ordering such things from the internet requires a bit more forethought and planning than we seem to be capable of so we found ourselves on a hunt for them.

Last year we found the T.J.Maxx carries a limited supply, but a search of four stores in driving range of our current space turned up nothing. Fortunately, a World Market in the area of the T.J.Maxx store had a variety of candles on display at the front door completing this task.

We then turned our thoughts to latke's or potato pancakes, a traditional Hanukah food. Our local Wal-mart had run out of hash brown potatoes last week so I faced the prospect of making them from fresh potatoes which is not all that fun. Again, our prayers were answered and Wal-mart came through with a supply of hash browns. It looks like our plans for this holiday are well in hand and we look forward to celebrating the miracle of the oil and the time of the conception of our Saviour, Yeshua the Messiah. Hag Chanukah sameah!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Defining "Family"

Life on the road presents some interesting questions particularly at this time of the year. The "call" to get together with "family" is strong even within people that find being with their families is far from being all that great. Sibling rivalries, old hurts and past haunts all serve to make holiday gatherings a minefield of potential conflicts and yet, people still find themselves hoping for that one perfect holiday where everything comes together in that "Hallmark" moment.

Unfortunately for most, such things are only found in Hollywood and in today's world, our view of family in terms of Grandma's, Grandpa's, Mom's, Dad's, Aunt's, Uncle's, cousins and all other such family ties has fallen short of our reality. For DannyLee and I, our families have long been scattered here and there about the face of the earth and any gathering is limited by the sheer distances involved. Add to that the complexities of life on the road and the challenges of bad weather driving with a large rig and the lure of a "family table" pales in comparison. After years in Thailand, I've long since learned to define "family" in terms of that old song, "Love the One You're With". It sure can make life a lot simpler.

That said, we were blessed this Thanksgiving with an invitation to a lovely dinner at the campground where we await parts for our rig repairs. We were surprised and delighted to find ourselves seated at a very long table with enough food for everyone to walk away groaning. While many at the table could claim "family ties" to one another, as we sat together sharing a meal, there was only the camaraderie of people coming together for one purpose - to eat and enjoy each others company. How simple it is to lay aside all the issues that tend to divide us in the face of sharing a good meal!

After the meal was eaten and the table was cleared, DannyLee entertained us all with some of his favorite songs and the children got in a few of their own. We waddled back to our Nest with sighs of contentment knowing that once again YHVH had HIS way and made a way for us to be a part of this family time. HIS kindness and consideration for us as always touches our hearts. HE truly is the "tie that binds us"! It is our prayer that your table was equally blessed no matter where you found yourself on this day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Standing out from the "crowd"

Here we have a visual clue as to why we call our home "The Nest". The name came from a "graphic" attempt to stand out from the crowd.

Originally, we thought to call our rig "The Cashmobile", but everyone kept associating that with the wrong kind of cash (the spendable kind) instead of Johnny "Cash" so that name fell by the wayside.

The name "Tsiyon Bound" is the title of our first messianic music CD and the inspiration that got us out on the road. It was on our way back to Texas from recording our first CD together (DannyLee's second) that the idea came for the "rambling band" to encourage anyone with "ears to hear" and "a heart to listen".

This wonderful team of people are from Chuck's Graphics (512)925-7047 in Manor, TX. Chuck came our way through the recommendation of a friend and he prevailed through my many graphic's mutations to come up with a final product. His girlfriend pitched in on my idea for our door art and added the little nest. Although the job remained challenging until the final sticky moments, Chuck stuck it out (literally!) and we have something we feel is very special to us.

Graphics don't come cheap, but the value added for advertising is priceless. People often come with questions that allow us to share our stories, our music and most importantly, our testimony of what YHVH has done in our lives. A few people have even figured out the secret message in our graphic's display and that always brings a smile to the miles!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're BACK!!!!

........on the road again!! YEEE-HAW!!

While this picture ain't nothin' like Texas, (I think I took this in Montana) that view of the open road spread out before our hood is one that stirs my heart with absolute joy. We headed out this morning for warmer parts and as we hit the road shouts of celebration reverberated throughout the truck. DannyLee just smiled quietly in tolerance of my extreme exuberance. I tried to explain to him that somehow, somewhere "gypsy blood" has become a part of me and there's nothing better than going somewhere/anywhere. It just stirs something in me deep inside.

Having a "home on wheels" means to me that we're a "traveling band" and we're just not meant to be sitting in some fancy parking lot somewhere for all that long. I'm not sure that I'll feel this way forever as we often meet people who tell us that they were once full-timers themselves but not anymore, but I confess that I've been this way for as long as I can remember. Whether my family traveled when I was a child or I was on a business trip during my career days or during my world travels, my heart still leaps with excitement at the airport, train station or at the beginning of long trip.

So there are lots more places out here to be explored and sights to see and many other things that we may just have to stop and take a good long look at along our way. We've also been making lots of new friends on the Heartland and Escapee's forums to keep an eye out for as we travel along "roads less traveled". Oh! Happy day!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Hitch Itch"

I learned a new phrase this week. While "touring" various RV forums and travel blogs, I came across the phrase "hitch itch". It was defined as that feeling that starts to grow on one while sitting in some RV parking spot for a little bit too long.

As I read the definition, I suddenly realized that I knew exactly how that felt and that was exactly what I've been feeling these last few days. We'd parked the rig for a month hoping to get some business and repairs done before heading out further south. Our business is done, but the repairs are on hold for now. I definately feel that our rig looks much better heading down the road on the way to somewhere then it does sitting in a parking space anywhere. It's been far too long since we've headed out singing "On the Road Again!". Time to get out the maps and park guides and get a destination fixed in our minds!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Cycles of Hebrew Living

One of the first mental transistions that has to be faced for many people in learning to think and live Hebraically is cyclic vs. linear thinking. The Scriptures are written from a Hebraic perspective and reading and trying to understand it from a Greek perspective causes many misunderstandings and failures in our walk before YHVH.

In Greek thinking, we try to learn all about something and then we do it. After we've studied something "long enough" (in our own minds), we often feel that we've somehow become experts in that subject and eventually we try to convince others of our "expertise". Our studies soon become less about gaining knowledge to pursue wisdom, but become more about the defense of "being right". Then we go about trying to share our "rightness" with others in order to broaden our base with the support of other people's opinions. This thinking can be loosely defined as "linear thinking" as it leads to an end of sorts.

In Hebraic thinking, the process is turned upside down in a way. YHVH tells us that first we must learn to "hear AND obey". Our obedience to HIM brings understanding and wisdom. This message is repeated often throughout the Scriptures and yet, to this day people sit and do nothing as they wait for understanding to come through their own mind. Learning to live and walk Hebraically is challenging, but the rewards come through our obedience because the Scriptures also teach us that obedience brings blessing. Hebraic thinking doesn't ever really lead us to any kind of definative "end". The best summary of it that I know of is summed up in this quote: "The more I think I know, the less I know and the more there is to be learned". (paraphrase according to me)

I was led to meditate on this idea of cycles this Shabbat as we're now back at the beginning (well, two weeks in at this time) of a new Torah cycle. We study Torah on a one year cycle that takes us through the Tanach (the first five Books written by Moses) and includes the writings of the Prophets and the Brit Chadeshah (Matthew-Revelation). Some people have completed many, many cycles of Torah while others are just beginning. This should not be a stumbling block for anyone as each new Torah cycle brings fresh revelation and new understandings for each person engaged in this cycle and there is no specific number of cycles that guarantees wisdom for anyone. We're all just "works in progress".

In Greek thinking, repeating the cycles of Torah may seem boring or pointless and people with that mindset soon find themselves considering another way. Those people move on to some other kind of study or leave the Scriptures in search of new ideas. In Hebraic thinking, the beginning of the new cycle is exciting as there are new discoveries ahead of us as YHVH longs to reveal more and more of HIMSELF to HIS people. It's my prayer that my heart and mind will stay in one accord throughout my life and I will always feel this excitement.

During our travels, I found myself thinking back to the days when the first day of school was before me. I remembered the smell of new pencils, notebooks and school bags with longing to experience that once again. I saw children across the country heading back to school. Some were perhaps sad and others were excited about this new beginning. I was one of the excited ones.

Once again, HIS grace is before me as HE has brought us through to another "first day of school" experience with this new Torah cycle. I can't wait to see what will come this time. Blessings!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Full Circle

In four and a half months, after nearly 15,000 miles, we have come full circle on the Encourage the Remnant Tour 2009. This map represents a rough overview of our route that took us from coast to coast starting from Texas and ending in Texas. We began by heading west and then east until we ran out of land and turned back to the west.

This trip was an incredible adventure for both of us and an overwhelming learning experience. Our loose plan and the changes and adaptations that we made as our circumstances dictated kept us on our toes from day to day. The overall expense of this undertaking was mainly affected by the cost of diesel fuel that varied from state to state and from month to month.

To share all that we have learned and to remember all the people that we met and were touched by on this journey will take lots of stories, far more than this blog can hold. To say that our lives have been changed is an understatement that is hardly worth noting. We can only imagine what the consequences of all that we've done will be in HIS Kingdom purposes for sending us on this journey. Some day all things will be made clear. Until then, we will keep our faces turned to HIM.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's a "sukka"?

In modern terms, a sukka (loosely pronounced: sue-ka) is a temporary dwelling place. The first thing that should come to mind is a tent or lean-to type structure that can easily be set-up or taken down. There are other kinds of dwellings that can also be stretched into that definition such as pop-ups, and other kinds of RV's as the primary function is to be mobile. The word "sukka" comes from the Hebrew language.

We felt a little bit like "cheaters" as our "Nest" is also our main or only dwelling place, but we're thinking after our experience that we just might need a little more practice at this than those that live in "sticks and bricks" (houses) for all the rest of the year. While the Nest is far more comfortable then a tent at first glance, the elements of wind, rain and cold are still factors in our ability to survive. (We're not going to even think about snow at this point!) We ran out of propane twice in the two week period. The propane tanks have a wonderful timing mechanism that makes this happen only in the middle of the night when no one wants to go outside and mess with switching around tanks! We learned a lot about the cold inside the "sukka".

Remember the "cloud by day" and "fire by night" of the Book of Exodus that led the children of Israel through the wilderness for 40 years (Exodus 40:36-38). When the cloud moved, the people moved and when the cloud stayed, the people stayed. The practice of building and living in sukkas during the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot is to prepare YHVH's people for the greater Exodus or in-gathering that is prophesied in the Books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah that will occur at the time of the Great Tribulation (Book of Revelation). We basically learned that we have a lot to learn!

Friday, October 2, 2009

What is "Sukkot" or Feast of Tabernacles?

The Feast of Tabernacles or "Sukkot" (loosely pronounced: sue-coat) is the last of the Fall feasts commanded by YHVH in the Scriptures. This is an 8-day feast that celebrates the end of the harvest season. It is a time of great joy and celebration.

The first feast of the Hebrew year is Passover or Pesach and it reminds us of the time that preceded the Exodus from Egypt by the children of Israel. The Feast of Tabernacles is the last feast of the Hebrew year and it teaches us to prepare for an even greater exodus when YHVH will gather all of HIS people from the nations of the world where they have been scattered for many, many generations. They've been scattered for so long that they've forgotten completely who they are and how they fit into YHVH's plan for HIS Kingdom, but the time has come for us to remember and many people have been led to become a part of HIS feasts.

This year has been an incredible blessing for us as we were able to join with those that gather in Chandler, OK for Sukkot. It has long been my dream to be able to participate in this annual event and when the door opened for us to go, we rejoiced in this special blessing. Our FATHER in Heaven is so good to us and HE's always looking for ways to bless us with HIS presence. We had no idea going into this feast just how blessed we would be by the end. We love HIS surprises!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oklahoma in October???

Destination: Oklahoma
Purpose: Sukkot Celebration 2009
Timing: Hmmmm...............

Now one fact that may have escaped everyone's attention as they've been following our travels around the U.S. is just how much DannyLee and I are NOT good at being "cold". We loved our time in Montana, but found it a challenge in the "warmth" of their "summer". We actually saw some scattered snowflakes while we were visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park and retreated hastily. That leaves one to wonder at the wisdom of heading to Oklahoma in October with it's unpredictable weather patterns.

However, we had a reason, a very good reason to be in Oklahoma in October ---- Sukkot!! or the Feast of Tabernacles. It has long been my dream to be able to attend a Sukkot celebration with Lion and Lamb Ministry headed up by Monte Judah, and our circumstances made this possible for the first time ever. It was an incredible feeling just to drive up to the gate on our first day and be welcomed "home" as family. I was reduced to tears at the sight of the gate and it only got better as we got our "little sukka" set up. This weeklong event portends to be a very special time for us and we're very excited to see what HE has in store for us. PRAISE YHVH!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kudzu Campground

Our "kudzu" theme continued to choosing the RV park that we stayed in while visiting AL. While the grounds were clear of the vine, the presence of it reached all the way around the park threatening to take over. "Kudzu monsters" are a common sight in the southern states and made our travels there fun.

This is Patty, DannyLee's
cousin. We enjoyed a brief
visit hoping to have time again
in the future. We went through
pictures from the past as we
tried to share all that had come
to pass in a lifetime.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Family Ties

We left South Carolina and turned our sights on Alabama to spend some time with family members both old and new. Our time was short, but we'd waited since early spring for the chance to welcome the newest member - William, our first great-grandson! Our family has been expanded to six living generations with the addition of this special blessing. What joy a baby brings!

Here we have pictures of William with his mother, my granddaughter Pamela, and of William's grandfather, my son Christopher. William has an abundance of grandparents extending all the way to my grandmother who is his great-great-great grandmother. While the distances between all of us will probably never allow us to all get together to record this matter, it's still exciting to be able to see our family continuing to grow.

Chris wowed all of us with his extensive culinary skills and cooked two excellent dinners with dessert. Debbie wanted to have a chance at cooking for us too, but time ran out and the option of having gyros for DannyLee's first time was too hard to pass up. The gyros were good, but nothing compared to the hummus that came alongside them. We finished up a dish of that on the road to Mobile wishing all along that there was just a little more. YUM!!

William's grandmother, my daughter-in-law Debbie, has taught herself how to knit as her way of embracing being a grandparent and in a month has developed some impressive skills. I'll have to settle for taking pictures as such things as knitting are beyond me. Maybe being his great-grandmother excuses me from having to learn any special skills.......... Robert and John, my grandsons seemed to have taken to the role of being uncles quite well. Growing up with his father, John, and all the other men of this family taking an active role in his life, William just might be a very "rough and tumble" kind of guy. He's a very blessed child to have such a loving family to welcome him.

DannyLee was equally blessed in Alabama, not only by having the chance to meet my family, but we were able to spend an afternoon with a cousin that he hadn't seen for nearly 50 years. We spent Tuesday driving nearly to Mobile, AL to have dinner with Patty. She blessed us with a wonderful southern style supper and we were able to share our music and testimony with her. It's not too much of a stretch to say that she lives somewhat "off the beaten path". We ran out of "pavement" still quite a ways from her abode. We hope to be able to make the trip to Alabama again some time soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Lies Ahead Will Soon Be Behind Us

Leaving North Carolina, we had two missions before us that would be as milestones in this long journey. Our destination was Myrtle Beach, SC where DannyLee had high hopes of making his mark on golfing history on one of the many golf courses that literally dominate the landscape of the Grand Strand.

While his ultimate dream is to one day play at Augusta in Georgia, Myrtle Beach came close to being a good second choice. We found a lovely RV park right on the coastline with a golf option at Prestwick C.C. I wasn't feeling all that well so he opted to hit the links alone on Wednesday. He had a good time, but golfing history will have to wait.

We topped off the day with a bit of rollicking fun in the surf. We put on our swimsuits and acted like a couple of kids as the waves tossed us to and fro with a surprising amount of force. The Atlantic Ocean is no place to let your guard down while playing in the surf. One wave can change things from fun to frightening in an instant. DannyLee's "security-self" was at the forefront as he watched over me in the thundering waves.

On Thursday morning, our neighbor came over with a need for a fourth on another golf course. Feeling the 18-holes of the previous day and attempting to be considerate of me, DannyLee almost turned down the chance to play another 18-holes at Indigo Creek for free, but I urged him to receive this special blessing that had come to him on his birthday weekend. This turned out to be a bit more challenging as there had been a lot of rain and golf carts were restricted to the cart paths. He was one tired guy that day - tired, but happy. I spent the day doing some necessary shopping in the Myrtle Beach tourist shops.

Our second mission here in Myrtle Beach was more simple, but no less important in our thinking. While in Oregon, on the Pacific coast, we'd searched long and hard for the perfect stone for this particular task. We'd found a small round stone and we'd placed it in the snack tray to carry it from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. We'd talked many times about this stone and what it meant to us to complete this little thing. It had no real outstanding meaning, but somehow it was symbolic of making the complete trip from one side of the U.S. to the other.

On our first evening in Myrtle Beach, we walked to the sea only a couple of hundred yards away to "do the deed". DannyLee launched that little Oregon beach stone as far out in the Atlanta as he was able and we waved good-bye as it splashed down somewhere out there closer to Israel. We found it funny that we'd missed Washington State and to balance things out, we ended up missing Florida too as our schedule seemed to compress on us. On Friday, we turned our backs to the Atlantic and started heading west to complete our circle.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Conference Confirmations/Questions

"If you love Me, keep My commandments......"

I made a lame attempt to make a count of how many times the Scriptures (from beginning to the very end of the Bible) make mention of how we, HIS people are to keep HIS commandments. This means that from Genesis to Revelation, it has always been HIS expectation and teaching that we (those that love and revere HIM as our Elohim), are to live and walk according to the ways that HE has clearly taught and defined for us in HIS Word. I failed to come up with a meaningful number as HE repeats this often and clearly from the speakings of YHVH to the teachings of Yeshua.

Having escaped from the false teachings of "the church" that HIS commandments are no longer valid or important for us has dramatically changed our lives as we strive daily to understand and walk out things that don't always make sense to us as we first read them. The beauty of Torah is that understanding and "revelation" of HIS commandments come to us as we first attempt to make them a part of our daily lives and learn to walk them out by HIS Spirit. In fact, it is a primary teaching of Torah that we are to "hear and obey", not "understand and implement". When we try to live by our own understanding, we find ourselves stumbling from one ditch to the other for the "way is narrow".

It has been our experience that many people believe that to keep HIS commandments is "legalism" or a form of "works". Thus they reject the real joy that comes from being able to grow in knowledge and understanding, but more importantly, in an intimate family relationship with our Heavenly Father. Most people have the understanding that it is necessary for children to obey their father and mother. I would think (or hope) that most people have the testimony of growing up in a household where the parents made the rules and the children were expected to obey. Those that don't have this testimony often have a testimony of a very different sort of family life, not generally, a good testimony. Why people think that their relationship within their Heavenly Family would be different and YHVH, their Heavenly Father would have a household without rules or expectations is a mystery of "the church"? "Grace" at our house came to those that fell short of expectation, but clearly ran out for those that weren't even trying.

Other people think that to keep HIS commandments is a harsh burden or even impossible. In the years that I've been studying Torah and learning step by step to keep HIS commandments, nothing could be further from the truth. One important point that was mentioned time and again during the conference is that we are NOT required to learn and do all 613 of HIS commandments. We learn them one at a time. It is a life's work to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12). HE doesn't expect us to get it all right, nor can we as we're not in the Land. That's what grace is all about. Also, 613 commandments don't apply to everyone. Some commandments are for men, others for women and children and many of them are for the kings and priests. As Yeshua said, "HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light" (Mat. 11:30) Anyone that teaches otherwise is a fool and a liar as HIS Words on this are clear and easy to understand. We are to "delight in keeping HIS commandments" (Psalm 119).

During the conference, it was a joy to stand and worship with people that have embraced a Torah-based lifestyle. Some were only in the very beginnings of their "toddler years" and others had the testimony of witnessing the birth of the messianic movement from the very beginning. None of this mattered to anyone as we joined together and attempted to "worship HIM in SPIRIT and in TRUTH". We're all babies in some ways or another. We're struggling to embrace the teachings of Moses as foretold in the Book of Revelation for those that will stand before HIS throne one day will have "the testimony of Yeshua and the witness of keeping HIS Torah". (Rev. 12:11).

During the conference, it was an absolute pleasure for DannyLee and I to receive multiple confirmations on various issues that we've discussed and dissected on our long drives from one place to the next. We'd considered and settled for ourselves the sad issues that the enemy is using to divide and destroy HIS people such as the pronunciation and spelling of the sacred Names, the timing of Shabbat and the festivals, etc. These issues are really non-issues in light of the real issue of how we're going to survive together what's coming soon with the greater exodus and the time of tribulation. We're going to need to be able to come together. Fighting amongst ourselves on issues that have no clear answers leaves us vulnerable to destruction.

Repeatedly, during the conference, the many teachers/leaders in the group called on the people to lay aside such arguments and allow HIM to be the final Word on such things. We don't need to agree on minor issues in order to live together in HIS Love. We only need to agree that YHVH Elohim and Yeshua are in charge. Attempting to be an "expert" on any of these issues forces us to expend our time and energy into proving to everyone around us that we're "right" and that's just plain childish and silly. We need to "grow up" and seek HIS Will, HIS Word and HIS ways with all that is within us. Nothing else will satisfy................. (to be continued)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yom Teruah or "Feast of Trumpets"

Yom Teruah or "Feast of Trumpets" marks the beginning of the Fall feasts according to the Biblical appointed festivals. Our forward focus has been on Sukkot or "Feast of Tabernacles" as that's the biggest event of the Fall feasts and requires the most planning and preparation. We're constantly mindful that we have to be in Oklahoma for this event the first week of October.

Yom Teruah had completely slipped from our thoughts and consideration. Fortunately, YHVH has our schedule and plans well in HIS hands and HE made provision for us to join a conference in North Carolina hosted by Shofar of Ephraim. The funny thing about this conference for us was that we had to turn neither to the left nor to the right. It popped up right in front of us.

This was an incredible blessing for us as we finally had a chance to meet Mike Clayton of Joined to Hashem. Mike has been one of my favorite Torah commentators for many years starting way back to my time in Thailand. Over the years, we've exchanged a few e-mails here and there, and we've both looked forward to being able to stand face to face one day. This issue had come up several times on our Tsiyon Bound tour as Mike kept turning up for conferences and such in places just outside our path or behind us. It was a delight to finally come together.

Our paths collided in North Carolina and we enjoyed three days of praise and worship with lots of shofar blowing and Torah exploration from other Torah lovers such as Brad Scott, Bill Cloud and Rico Cortes. I hope to be able to share some of the things that came out of the various teachings for us in the coming days. The best part was being able to join with people that share our love for Torah and our heartfelt need to draw ever closer to the Author and Creator of our faith. We were deeply touched by several people that we had a chance to share a bit of ourselves with during the busy conference schedule. We look forward to being able to hook up with them again some time in the future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Big Mama's Karaoke Cafe" - Seymour, TN

DannyLee couldn't pass up one last chance to sing on the stage at "Big Mama's Karaoke Cafe". On our last night in Tennessee, we got in the truck with a new friend, Diane and headed south to Seymour. It was a long drive, but DannyLee never minds a drive when he's at the wheel. Wednesday nights are family nights and the crowd was pretty small. No matter! That just meant that DannyLee and Diane got to sing all of their favorite songs.

For a fun experience, the Karaoke Cafe is a highlight of any trip through the little town of Seymour with a great big stage. The food's not too bad either!

Our evening in Seymour concluded with an unplanned and unwelcome little venture onto the backroads due to a serious accident on the highway. We were forced to take a strange detour on roads meant for light residential traffic along with hundreds of other motorists on a dark and rainy night. The road was so narrow with deep ditches, overhanging trees and no markings of any kind that it would be a challenge at any time of the day for my cowboy and his big pickup truck. In order to get through some of the areas, we were forced to pull in both side mirrors and drive very slowly.

On a funny note, after we'd received driving directions from the man that turned us off the main highway for this little diversion, we heard him tell the guy behind us to "Follow him!" We had to laugh at those words as we didn't have any confidence either in his directions or our ability to follow them through the darkness. Fortunately, the heavy oncoming traffic was a sure clue that we were headed in the right direction and we eventually found our way back to the highway and headed home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kudzu - Menace or "Hidden Manna"?

Kudzu, also known as "the vine that ate the South" and a few other descriptive names, is one of my fascinations. As we've driven through Tennessee and other parts of the South, "kudzu sculpture" is a common sight along the highways. This picture barely captures the wonder of this massive hillside with full-growth trees buried in a mantle of kudzu vines.

There are many websites devoted to the history of how this Japanese native became a part of the landscape. Some websites feature incredible pictures and others have recipes for this voracious vine. Kudzu has made it's own place in history by being far more tenacious than any of the local plants. The cost of this plant's destructive tendencies is amazing. The battle to keep electric, phone, and cable lines free of this weighty invader is a full-time job for utility companies and the locals.

On the other hand, this vine is edible and useful for food both for people and animals. The young leaves can be used like grape leaves or cooked like spinach or collard greens. The nutritional value is considered to be higher than spinach. The roots are tubers and can be eaten like potatoes or dried and pounded into a flour that works as a thickener like cornstarch. It makes a very good fodder for grazing animals like sheep, goats, and cattle. I'm hoping that I will have a chance while we're here in the South to gather some and try a couple of dishes just for fun. Who knows! This plant may be more than a menace. It may actually be "hidden manna"!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Singing for "Fleas"

On Saturday and Sunday, the Sweetwater Flea Market is a popular place or at least it used to be according to many of the "regulars" we met. This weekend would turn out to be one of the worst ever due to the various other events that were taking place in the area such as the State Fair, a big football game and more. Attendance was so low that it was nearly possible at times to see from one end of the huge building to the other.

We chose this weekend to make our first attempt at being "Fleas" or in other words, to make some money doing our karaoke and selling our CD's. All I can say about this venture is that we learned a lot! We will be making future forays into the Flea Markets that abound along the highways and byways of this country. We hope that our next engagement will have a much bigger turnout.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Entertaining the Masses - a Few at a time!

This weekend promised to be a VERY busy time of setting up and tearing down equipment with long bouts of singing in between. Our scheduling of "events" isn't all that polished yet and we found ourselves facing three consecutive days of gigs. Our attitude at this point is to be excited about having any gigs at all as scheduling is tricky as we move around the country.

Our first gig was an evening at Raccoon Valley RV Park here in TN. We'd been watching rigs pull out of the park all week and as the spaces between us all grew larger, our hopes for a "crowd" quickly shrank. No matter! DannyLee's happy to sing for his fans whether there's just one - me! or a whole bunch. This little group had lots of requests and a couple of karaoke volunteers that were willing to step up to the mike so it was a fun evening for all.

We now have Saturday and Sunday's event at the Sweetwater Flea Market to look forward to - more on that in the next post!

Addendum: I realized after I posted this post, that I probably haven't ever explained anywhere in this blog just what it is that we're doing to "make a living" as we make this journey that we're on. While this journey itself was began as a kind of ministry trip to encourage believers, but most especially those that have received the revelation of being "the remnant" of Scripture, as our contacts have been cut off or fizzled out, this trip has morphed into being more about discovering HIM and our place in HIS end-time plans.

The "work" that we do is showcasing DannyLee's talent as a "Johnny Cash Tribute Artist" and our karaoke business. As we travel about, we try to set up "gigs" to do karaoke while DannyLee "fills in the quiet spots" with beautiful renditions of Johnny Cash and various other country and gospel favorites. His singing is always a crowd-pleaser as we find country music fans everywhere we go. "Johnny Cash" fans come in all ages and denominations and we're never surprised when some teenager comes up to us raving about Johnny's songs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"On Holy Ground"

This is our final CD project of this month and it was the most exciting one for me. My two favorite songs were finally going to be recorded and available to be shared with anyone interested in hearing YHVH's heart songs that HE had shared with us. The few people that have been blessed with an opportunity to hear these songs have been touched by HIS love, HIS mercy, and HIS grace.

These two songs are "Yeshua", a re-write from Dolly Parton's original song "Jolene" and "The Carpenter", a re-write from the song "The Highwayman" originally sung by Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and of course, Johnny Cash. Both of these messianic gospel songs have shown forth HIS power as we've sung them during times of ministry. I often ask DannyLee to sing them for me when I feel myself struggling to stay uplifted in discouraging moments. They never fail to remind me of how much greater HE is then all that is in this world.

Another song, the title song of this CD "On Holy Ground" has waited even longer to be released due to licensing issues that DannyLee struggled to resolve with the owners of the original song. The original song, "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by the Eagles hasn't been released on very many karaoke labels so it was difficult to find a background that we could get a license to record. As always YHVH went before us and made a way for this song to be on this CD also.

This song held an even deeper place in our hearts as it is the "fleece" that YHVH answered to convince me that DannyLee and I were a part of HIS plan in bringing us together as one. It was a joy to be able to record it on this CD as a part of our testimony of HIS greatness. This enables HIS gift of music to us to be able to go forth far beyond the reach of our "Nest" and we can share it with those that have a "heart to listen" and "an ear to hear".

DannyLee worked long and hard to make sure that he would be able to sing every song to the very best of his ability. This was complicated by changing the backgrounds on "Yeshua" and "The Carpenter" just after we arrived here in TN, and forced him to have to relearn the songs anew. Although it was a challenge, we both agreed that the new backgrounds took both songs to a whole new level of intensity.

The cover artwork for the CD came from our trip to Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park where DannyLee stood in the cold at nearly 12,000 feet with little bits of snow flitting about us. Needless to say, we raced back to the truck after the pictures were done. One young lady attempted to capture the moment on her own camera as we were shooting, but missed her chance by a couple of seconds and ran away before we could offer her another.

This CD, as are all the others is available for $10 plus postage by sending an e-mail to DannyLee has a Paypal account and he could hook you up there.

As always our recording experience with Tennessee Productions, Inc. and Big Mama Recording Studios, part of Chartbuster's Karaoke, was excellent. Gretchen Foister worked hard to ensure that our scheduling, artwork and overall experience was up to their high standards. While Jamie Townsend, our Recording/Mastering Engineer worked equally as hard to make sure that each song was recorded, mixed and presented with the best possible sound. We were very grateful to have their professionalism and expertise to make this CD another success.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"To Everything There is a Season"

Today we had to get up VERY early to drive VERY far - not one of my favorite things as DannyLee can tell you. I've just never been a "morning person". We woke up and entered into a fairyland of fog and mist that softened every curve of the mountain view.

As we drove, we were quiet as we contemplated the task that lay before us. Our plan was to record our most important CD project of the three we were here to do. This CD involved songs that had been in our hearts for several months, even before we began our "RV-life", and we were anxious for them to be the best we could make them.

The fog, however, had an even more ominous message to distract us from the day's events. While fog is common to these mountainous areas, this fog signified something more to come - the change in seasons. It was clearly, to my eyes, a "Fall fog" and it means that the heat of the summer will be gone soon and winter will be upon us.

While we've been aware of the increasing coolness of the nights and early mornings, neither of us are all that enthused about facing real cold weather. It brings up the topic of where we are to "winter" which is something that we've not yet received a clear instruction on from YHVH. Our first thoughts are of Texas as that comes closest for both of us as being our "home". There are clearly some decisions in this regard that won't be put off for long.

Full-time RV life is one learning experience after another and as we face this next "lesson", our prayer is that we will be led by HIM to the place where we can make a difference for others. We hope to be able to share our music and improve our Torah understanding as we do the repairs and improvements that will make our next road trip easier. We're blessed to know that HE has gone before us to prepare a place for us and we look forward to our next "season". Who knows where HIS leading will take us - only HE knows.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"The Ties That Bind"

Our second CD recording of the month is a family-oriented collection of country gospel favorites. There are songs originally recorded by artists - Randy Travis, Don Williams, George Strait and others. DannyLee's silky baritone voice renders these tunes in a pleasing arrangement of gently uplifting songs.

The first two songs of the CD are dedicated to the memories of DannyLee's father and mother. "Go Rest High On The Mountain", originally sung by Vince Gill, is a combined narration and song for fathers. The song, "Angels", originally sung by Randy Travis, reveals the heart of mothers everywhere.

Many of the songs celebrate the special place that children have in our lives. A couple of songs, "Watching You" originally sung by Rodney Adkins, and "Love Without End, Amen" originally sung by George Strait, have long brought tears to DannyLee's eyes when he sings them. Every song on the CD has a special meaning in terms of family and the importance of family relationships. Hence, the title and the cover design for "The Ties That Bind".

More information on the songs and the stories behind the songs will eventually be available at DannyLee's blogsite - As before, all CD's are available by e-mail request until I figure out how to put a Paypal link on this blog.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Love Like A River

This month's focus has been on recording three new CD's by DannyLee Whittle. The first CD we recorded was a collection of love songs that have special meaning for both of us. As a tribute to the love between us, two songs on the CD are duets with DannyLee singing harmony to my inexperienced efforts.

Several of the songs are also a tribute to the special love relationship that Johnny Cash had with his wife, June Carter Cash. Cash fans can enjoy old favorites like "Ring of Fire", "I Walk the Line" and "Flesh and Blood", for example, done in DannyLee's own artistic tribute to Johnny Cash.

The partnership of "Johnny and June" has long been an inspiration and hope in DannyLee's life. More of this story is available at his blogsite - There are other background stories relating to the other songs selected for the CD that will eventually be shared at his blogsite. All of his CD's are currently available by e-mail request until I figure out how to add a Paypal option to our blogs.

The cover artwork for this CD is an artistic rendering of a picture we took of the beautiful Yaak River in Montana. The pristine beauty of Montana and the majesty of that river inspired us. Our love pales in comparison to the perfect love that comes from our FATHER in Heaven. It is our hope that this little CD will find it's way to those that hunger for love.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our "Ark" in troubled times

As we draw nearer to the east coast, our hearts
are drawn to just keep driving until we find our
way to the Land of HIS Promise - Israel. The problem with this, however, lies with the water-worthiness of our little "Nest". It's clear from our encounters with water on the inside that we're far from waterproof.

We tested this matter out for a second time simply by running a couple of loads of laundry "thinking" that both gray water tanks were open. We found that our thinking was wrong as a kind neighbor knocked on the door to inform us that a flood of water was pouring out of the underneath.

As I went to see what was wrong, I found the rugs in the bathroom/bedroom area were afloat on the water from the washing machine that was backfilling The Nest through the shower stall. It took pretty much the whole day to recover from this unexpected bath. The next day was a day of recording that went well enough considering the challenges of the day before.

One thing for sure, we have a VERY CLEAN Nest! I'm sure this isn't the recommended way to clean an RV, but it does force one to clean thoroughly. We're so grateful for products like baking soda and Fabreeze. This can be a very small space if odors are allowed to flourish unchecked!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saving "grace"

There’s so much grace that comes to us unnoticed and unappreciated as we go through our lives. Some day in eternity, we may well be shocked at how many times “Divine intervention” has been all that has stood between us and an untimely end.

That grace was more than apparent to us today as we stood outside Camper’s Corner in Nashville, TN with two of their techs. We had driven (without incident) from the tire shop in IL to Nashville, TN. Facing a mountainous drive east, and concerned about possible hidden damage and the brake’s wiring, we made an appointment to have “The Nest” checked out.

The prognosis was not good. We found that we had absolutely no brakes on the trailer at all. The guys at the tire shop had tried to help us with the wiring, but little did they know, the wires had been literally ripped from their source.

There’s lots of good news in all this. The experts at Camper’s Corner were able to resolve the wiring problems and get us back on the road in a little under an hour. We were overjoyed to find that the brakes were back to normal and especially so as we faced some steep climbs and descents heading east. We rejoiced in HIS covering and protection and HIS provision in this another day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tripping down "Memory Lane"

After our little tour of my "roots", we headed south to Washington, IL to seek out DannyLee's "Humble Beginnings". Despite the many years that have passed since his family moved from IL to TX, he was able to find the earliest home he can remember in Creve Couer. It took him a little longer to determine the whereabouts of their later home in Washington. Lots of things change in 46 years.

To commemorate this visit to his past, he played a round of golf on the first golf course that whetted his appetite for the sport. Back in those early days, he had an 8-stroke handicap. Despite all the intervening years of practice, he was unable to best his record there. I dare not tell you his score lest I find myself walking. (Just kidding!) The highlight of his game was the little fawn that decided the presence of golfers was not enough to deter him from enjoying an afternoon snack of clover in the middle of the driving range. Very cute!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When trouble comes........

I heard this story that was an illustration of how people react when things go wrong. It likened people to being "full buckets". When something in life goes wrong, and these "full buckets" get 'bumped', what splashes out of those buckets reveals what has been kept hidden inside of our hearts.

If we are filled with HIS peace, HIS love and HIS grace, the "splashes" are painless and don't cause anyone any hurt or discomfort. If we're filled with anger or fear or anything negative, what's going to splash out is going to harm anyone within range as they lash out. With that thought, I try to pay attention in my life to what "splashes" out of my "bucket" when a crisis comes. Our little adventure here seems determined to provide lots of "bumps" in order to test my resolve in this.

One of those "bumps" came in a big way on Tuesday as we left Rose's house and resumed our journey southward to visit DannyLee's home town in central Illinois. As we came to a little town called Albany on a "glorified highway" that consisted of two lanes and not much more, one of the tires on the passenger side of "The Nest" literally exploded into pieces. I heard a strange noise and started looking around for the source only to see chunks of black and white "stuff" flying off of the side of the trailer.

I shouted to DannyLee that he had to STOP RIGHT NOW! as parts continued to fly. He managed to pull off the road as much as he was able as I leaped out to assess the damage. It was far more than we could have imagined from such an event and we focused on how to stay safe and get help. People appeared from different directions with offers of help and suggestions and within minutes we actually had a large service truck on site. He quickly changed the tire for the spare which was critical as there wasn't any shoulder on the road we were on and led us the two miles down the road to the tire repair shop.

There we were able to determine a little better how much damage "The Nest" had sustained. The blow-out took out lots of electrical wiring for lights and the brakes and ripped all of the plastic molding from around the wheel well. Fortunately, DannyLee was able to stop quickly and I stood and watched as all the air slowly leaked out of the tire lowering the trailer down onto the rim. This act of Providence saved us from damaging the rim or even worse blowing out the second tire and possibly losing the trailer completely. Our "provision" wasn't to end there however.

This blow-out made us realize that the tires on "The Nest" were not adequate. We'd asked the dealer three times about the tires and had been reassured that all was well with them. In the end, my best advice from this experience is always trust "your gut". We do wish that we had done that and replaced these tires at the get-go. Some things are better not learned from experience. We told the shop to replace all four tires on "The Nest" in the hope of preventing any future repeats of this event.

After we'd paid for the repairs and new tires, and we prepared to get back on the road, we learned another lesson about how YHWH goes before us to prepare the way. The owner of the shop, HARRY's FARM TIRE told us that 15-20 minutes prior to our arrival, the tire delivery truck had come. He delivered two of the four tires that we needed just as we needed them. The shop only had two trailer tires that morning, but as our FATHER promises, HE met our needs. We drove out of Albany on four new tires.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Blessed Reunion!

As our cup of blessing "runneth over", we found that HE wasn't done with us yet. We had planned this stop in IL with the intention of meeting up with my family, my friends, Holly & Edgar, and another very special family and friends that meant a great deal to me. Our schedule has been pretty tight and our planning has been very short-term so far. We hope that as time goes on, we'll get better at this.

Fortunately, HIS timing is always perfect and when HE's in charge of things, it always seems to work out. This was the case with our friends who were in Colorado when we called to check their schedule. They got back in town just in time to spend a very special evening with us as it was our hope to be able to bless them with a mini-concert in their home. HE made it all work out.

The beautiful young lady in this picture here is a testimony all unto herself. I met her and her family through Holly as I was preparing to leave for Thailand. Lily was in the second grade at that time. As I spent 11 years as a missionary in Thailand, most of my friends and family stopped writing letters to me within a couple of years. E-mails continued a bit longer, but letters took far too much time and effort for most people to fit into their busy lives and Thailand is far away.

Lily, however, made it her "mission" to write to me letters that shared with me her thoughts, her life and her "growing up" concerns". Her letters were always a welcome touch as she often reminded me of things that really matter in life. Her letters continued to the time that I moved back to the States where we briefly lost contact as we both had moved. It was a special joy to spend time with this family that had made it their business to pray for me and to do what they could to meet my needs with their limited resources. It's humbling to be in the presence of people that don't just talk about doing things for others, but get things done.

For a special treat, Rose and Ted and Lily took us out for a boat ride on the Mississippi River. It was a "first" for both of us and we thoroughly enjoyed our little tour of this mighty river. Afterwards, we headed back to their house where DannyLee entertained us with his "Johnny Cash" repetoire until Lily could be persuaded to sing us a song too. It was a wonderful time of food, fun and fellowship that we all enjoyed wholeheartedly. We look forward to the time when we can all be together again!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

May the "Circle" be unbroken!

There's something very special about reconnecting with old friends and family in your life and Sunday proved to be a day just for that. Finding Pastor Oracio and his family opened the door for DannyLee to sing a couple of his songs during the church service in the morning.

This was a very special blessing for us as this church and church family played a very important role in my life. I learned a lot here about acceptance and it was wonderful to come full circle and to once again have that feeling of acceptance as I brought my new husband to meet my old friends and they welcomed us "home". Our joy was made even greater as my Mom, my Grandma and my Aunt and Uncle came to share in the music and the celebration of HIS mercy and HIS grace in bringing us to this place.

Our day was not to end there, however, as we had a special dinner meeting planned with another very special person in my life. My dear friend, Holly joined us for a cookout at "The Nest" and we spent a wonderful evening catching up on our stories as DannyLee serenaded us and the neighbors with a selection of his favorites. What an incredibly blessed day we had!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How the "other half" lives.

Boating is one of those hobbies that never took hold in my life in a big way. I can handle a canoe or a rowboat on a nice quiet lake or a lazy river, but sailing out into the ocean or braving the "high seas" just didn't fit. That hasn't kept me from appreciating the excitement of such ventures of sailing around the world in however many days. I just never saw myself in that scenario.

On Saturday, we went to Lake Michigan to see the "nests" of the "boating crowd" as we took a walk along the shore. The range of boats from the smallest to the biggest is very wide and every turn brought another boat name to ponder. The most memorable for all the wrong reasons was the boat named "FISHFOOD" and we all agreed that this boat would not be the one for us. We can only wonder at the owner's intent on that one.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Home is where????

Thoughts of "home" are the subjects of songs, stories, and many "sappy" holiday movies. When I lived in Thailand, many people asked me if I was "homesick" or thinking of "home". I found these questions confusing as I thought of Thailand as my home when I lived there and never longed to be somewhere else. I did have the strange feeling of being homesick for Thailand during my brief travels away from Thailand while I lived there, but this was unusual for me and it ended when I came back to the States in 2008.

One thing that I did long for quite often were the foods that can only be found in the Chicago area. At the top of my list were things like deep dish pizza, gyros, and Italian beef sandwiches. I could easily remember where the "best" of all these foods were to be found. So naturally when we found ourselves driving to Waukegan to visit my family, I planned out the route to take in one of my old favorites. I tried to tease and tempt DannyLee as we drove with details on the bread, cheese and red sauce that made these sandwiches more than memorable. They're an experience not to be missed! It helped a little to distract him from the horrible traffic and road construction that hindered us at every turn.

Finally, we found ourselves at this little spot on the northside of Libertyville on Rt. 21, Slot's Hots. This has always been one of my favorite places to grab an Italian beef with cheese and red sauce and I could only hope and pray as we drove that it was still there and still good. My hopes were not disappointed as we feasted on sandwiches that were just as wonderful as I remembered them. DannyLee forgave me for torturing him and enjoyed this special treat with me.

Afterwards, we headed north to Gurnee to take a short trip down "Memory Lane" and visit my house and church from my pre-Thailand life. This proved to be a bit more of a challenge than getting to Libertyville had been. The main roads were all under construction and my memory blurred with every detour. I couldn't find my old house! We drove around and around and around and slowly it started to come back to me. Finally we found it and the owner was sitting out front having a garage sale. We greeted him and his family and I told him my little part of his house's history. He told me all that had transpired since I left and we once again headed north to see the little church that held a special place in my life.

As we neared the church, we saw a "church sale" sign on the corner. That helped me to know I was on the right street. As we drove past the church, I noted with great surprise the name that was hanging in the front window of the house - Oracio's. I wondered why my old pastor's name was hanging there as he and his family had moved to Ohio while I was in Thailand. We pulled into the parking lot and I was staring at the people outside trying to puzzle this out when I saw the Pastor's wife, Ruth. I leapt out of the truck yelling like a crazy person. There was excitement all around as their story unfolded for I never expected to find them back in IL. I didn't even dare hope that I would get to see them again and yet here we all were back together in this little place. As we filled in the blanks in our stories, our hearts were lifted with joy at this special turn of events that only HE could have orchestrated in this place.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crossing the "Great Divide" aka the Mississippi River!

For whatever HIS reasons, crossing the Mississippi River somehow presented itself as a hurdle to be faced. Our resolve to walk forward with HIM had been clearly tested in the weeks before and we felt strengthened in our commitment to go ahead with HIM leading our way. Crossing the bridge would show far more than we could know or understand on this day.

As we left Minneapolis and headed south, we found ourselves eagerly looking ahead to what lay before us, east of the Great River. As we reached the bridge at La Crosse, WI, I started to cry with a mixture of relief and joy that we had made it through all that had gone before and were entering into a new chapter of this journey. Little did we know the surprises that were already lined up for us in the next few days. What an awesome and loving FATHER we have in YHWH!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs!

Y'shua's disciples asked HIM what would be the signs that they should look for concerning HIS return. HIS answer is found in Matthew chapter 24 and many have attempted to fit HIS Words into some sort of historical time frame. I've heard it said that there are more people alive today that believe that this generation we're in now is the last generation prophesied before HIS return as KING of KINGS. We are people that believe that this is the last generation and we live our lives with the hope that we can help people to prepare for what lies between us and HIS glorious return as outlined in the Book of Revelation.

This is no easy task as the enemy has spent the time since Y'shua's death and resurrection creating enough lies, confusion and basic misinformation to keep most people in the dark. Y'shua rebuked HIS disciples saying that they were able to read the signs of weather, planting, harvesting and other such things, but they were ignorant of the signs of the times they lived in. That ignorance persists today with the majority of believers having accepted the lie that we can't know anything about the timing of HIS return. The Scriptures tell a different story and as we try to share them with the people that we love, we find that most aren't interested in having this event as a part of their lifetime. How grieved our Messiah must be as HE longs to be rejoined with HIS Bride.

We found this little "Jackson" sign in Garden City, MN. Good luck finding that little blip on a map! It seems that our "Jackson" theme is more interested in following us than we are. We drove past Jackson, S.D. and Jackson, MN on our way here with little more than passing interest.