Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Escaping Denver

Today we hit the road again for a brief journey to get us out of Denver and away from the crush of the city. The frustrations of the traffic, the noise and the challenges we've faced there have worn us out and we welcome a Shabbat rest in a quiet location away from all of that.

We've turned our faces north again as we intend to head mainly east from Colorado as YHWH leads us to our next appointment. HE has given us a brief respite from our journey and some time to work on the songs for DannyLee's next CD. We hope to spend a quiet Shabbat snuggled down in "The Nest" at the foot of the Colorado Rockies. The quiet sound of rain falling on the roof from the leaves of the giant cottonwoods that surround us adds to the peace. Prior to getting back on the road, we hope to be able to attend one more Torah service at 3J's with Voice of Many Waters on Saturday. This should put the finishing touch on our restoration.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blogged "down" in Denver


This past week has been busy with various activities, but nothing has really seemed to warrant a blog entry. We took a road trip up into the mountains to see some yaks and have lunch with an old friend one day. The yaks were less than interested in seeing us and we dared not get any closer as we were told they are less than friendly.

DannyLee has been working on some new songs for his next CD and I learned how to tie tzit tzit (tassles or fringes) on our Shabbat. That was quite fun as I've never been good at knots, but the process of slowing down and working through the various steps drew me into a spiritual quiet that gave HIM time to talk to me about our next step. It's always good to have HIS direction and peace.

We've been focusing more time on our Torah studies with Mike Clayton at joinedtohashem.org and Monte Judah at www.lionlamb.net. These men have long been my favorite Torah teachers and I credit them with their dedication to bring Torah to as many as are willing to listen and to obey. YHWH has given me a deep love of Torah that came actually came through praying Psalm 119 over myself. Torah study with Mike C. helps us to focus on how to prepare for what's ahead. Monte's teaching also helps to prepare us for the greater Exodus and has taught me a lot about how to live and walk according to the ways of Y'shua, the Living Word. We look forward to the day when we will all be able to come together in fellowship.

On Saturday, we were blessed to have a chance to go to Johnstown to join with a Torah service sponsored by Voice of Many Waters. Their website is voiceofmanywaters.org and I became familiar with this ministry through their radio program "Ahava Torah" while living in Thailand. It was a special joy to enter into corporate worship with this group of Torah lovers and our hearts were filled when we headed back to "The Nest".

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Mile-high" blessings!


One of DannyLee's favorite forms of relaxation is the fun of a baseball game. As YHWH's timing is always perfect and oft-times holds unexpected moments of simple pleasures, I should not have been surprised to find myself wearing an AZ Diamondbacks baseball shirt sitting in a "sea of CO Rockies" fans.

Baseball (or any other sports, for that matter) are not high on my list of entertainment choices, but eating hot dogs and cheering for others is always fun for me. Having the annointing of an encourager, I sometimes forget that my loyalties are supposed to lie with one team. It's not surprising to find me cheering for anyone and everyone that is doing well in the game. This often earns me "looks" like the one that DannyLee is wearing here. I was getting equally funny looks from the Rockies fans that were all around us.

I had been "coached" about cheering for the Diamondbacks to show "our" loyalty, but my "coach" often sat there quietly as I found myself the lone voice in the crowd to the amusement of those around us. Fortunately, Rockies fans are good-natured and fun-loving and they quietly endured my cheering. They could afford to be indulgent. The Rockies enjoyed the victory!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Mile-high" Reflections

As I mentioned in my previous post, CO had many surprises in store for us as we were soon to find out. Somehow I was unprepared for the things we found ourselves facing at this juncture in our journey.

From the beginning, we've been challenged by the enemy as he has tried to derail us and detour us from continuing. As we've tuned our prayer life to face these challenges head on with some help from friends, we've experienced several breakthroughs and have rejoiced many times to see ourselves as "overcomers". The Scriptures encourage us to be "overcomers" in our daily lives and to set our hearts to finish "the race that is before us". Those who "overcome" will find their place in HIS Kingdom. (Revelation 21:7)

It's always one's hope that victory can somehow be extended or maintained by keeping on with what's working, but our enemy never relents for long. There are always other ways to bring problems, challenges and difficulties and he's quick to find them. Blind-sided by this new direction of attack, DannyLee and I found ourselves cut to the heart and on our faces crying out to HIM. This should not have been a surprise to us as the Scriptures are clear that in these last days, the people that will turn their hearts from us are the ones that we least expect, but sometimes, the "Words" aren't always enough to prepare us for the wounds that come.

After searching through HIS Word and a lot of prayer, we find our hearts resolved to continue on with our journey to the very end - as we're "Tsiyon Bound"!!! All glory and honor and praise to YHWH!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The "Mile High" city of Denver


The mental picture of Denver that has long been mine from the description "mile high city" was of a city spread across the tops of mountain peaks. I expected roads that would rival the thrills of San Francisco and sights that would cause one to gasp at each new turn. As we drove within sight of the real Denver, I was shocked to see how wrong I was about this place. However high our elevation is above sea level, there's nothing in the view that reveals this. As we were soon to find out, this was only the first of many surprises that this city holds for us.

Our first night in Denver found us without a reservation anywhere and some very limited options. In a state of near exhaustion, we finally decided to seek out a "Wally World" as our groceries were very low and we needed a place to rest.

RV'ers can often find a warm welcome and a quiet night's rest in a Wal-mart parking lot when necessary. This turned out to be more challenging then we expected. Stopping at "Wally World" in Aurora, CO, we found ourselves face to face with a sign banning trucks and RV's. DannyLee went in to check with the management only to find that city-wide, this was the policy and we weren't even allowed to park there long enough to buy groceries. We were, however, directed to head south to Parker, about 9 miles away, where we were warmly welcomed to shop and spend a very quiet night recovering from our day's travels.

The next day we continued our efforts to find a space to spend a few days here in Denver, but all of our efforts were coming up empty. As DannyLee has family in this area, and we had some things that we were hoping to take care of here, we needed to find something. Finally, we found a large parking lot with hook-ups behind a trailer park to give "our Nest" a little rest from the pounding of the roads here in CO. There's not much of a view, but at least it's quiet at night and that's enough for us.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wyoming is for cowboys!


DannyLee assures me that there are much more scenic parts of Wyoming than the route we took to get to Denver. I sure hope so. The area we passed through was void of greenery for the most part and trees were scarce. After the lush green scenery of Montana, Wyoming seemed almost barren. It continues to amaze us how each state seems to have it's own distinctive look and feel. I think back to the pioneers traveling across this vast landscape and marveling at the changes that unrolled with the miles. Of course, they were traveling at a much slower pace so the tedium of some of these landscapes must have seemed discouraging at times. We're moving so fast that it's not uncommon to move from mountains to valleys to vast plains all in one day.

At one point along the highway, we were treated to the sight of a lone cowboy on his horse silhouetted against the sky high up on a ridge. It was a unique moment that highlighted for us the special character of Wyoming. We spent a windy night in Rawlings, WY with a pizza and a quick visit to the downtown area. Trains have played an important role in the development of America and this little town has a beautiful train station. We were happy that we took the time to take a look. Tomorrow we're back on the road heading south to Denver.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I D A H O Again!




As no one has requested a visit in many of the states that we must pass through in order to reach those that have asked us to come, there are several states that we simply "pass through". Some of these "passing through" states are little more than gas stops and nights spent in Flying "J" parking areas. Idaho was going to be a state that got passed through twice and that made me feel sad as this was a state that neither DannyLee or I had ever "passed through" before. I've long been a fan of Idaho potatoes, but knew little else of the state to catch my attention.

This changed yesterday on our way south from Missoula. It was my turn to drive as DannyLee attempted to catch a little catnap. As I drove along, the unique lay of the land caught my attention and suddenly I found myself in a "Moses moment" as I felt strongly compelled to turn aside to see this "sight". NO! It was not a burning bush, but at some point in time it would have made quite a spectacle. I pulled off at the viewing place, waking DannyLee for a walk among some very interesting lava formations. He agreed with me that this was definately a sight worth turning aside to see and we vowed to give in a little more often to such urges. It's far too easy to get focused on the next gas stop or destination and miss those chances to stop and SEE!

The "Majesty" of Montana



"I wonder, wonder" what happened to DannyLee and SueJean????
That may well have been the song that has been playing in a few minds over the last few days. It may be hard to believe, but there are still places in the U.S. of A. that are beyond cell phone range.

WHAT??? I know. I know. That's hard to believe, but it's true and we were "there"!

We managed to get ourselves so far north that we needed to use our furnace to keep our noses from freezing at night. The good news is that it worked just like it was supposed to and our noses are right where they're supposed to be. I was a little concerned with the furnace at first as there is a 10-step process outlined in the manual to turn the thing on, but after a little prayer, I just flipped on one switch and Voila! heat!

Alas, our time in Montana, however, is at an end and we got ourselves "back on the road again" today with a rousing send-off from our hosts as they joined us in singing our little version of Willie Nelson's song. The five days we spent buried deep in the wooded mountains of Montana will not soon be forgotten as our hosts blessed us with a lot of food, fun and fellowship. They even joined us in singing their favorite songs on our karaoke set-up and we all had a great time!

All of our initial concerns about pulling "The Nest" through heavily wooded, mountainous roads turned out to be groundless and all went well as we found ourselves "oohing" and "ahhing" over the incredible displays of YHWH's handiwork at each turn in the road. We mainly drove on secondary roads that wound through valleys and over and across beautiful waterways. There were some small challenges in a few construction zones, but for the most part, the drive was peaceful.

As we head south again, we count ourselves incredibly blessed to have been able to take this "little" detour up into the far north. Montana and our new found friends were well worth the drive! We were sorry to have to leave, but the "road" calls and we must get on with HIS business as time continues to move forward ever more quickly. As we drove away, I commented to DannyLee on how seductive the peace and tranquility of Montana could be if we were not careful to stay focused on the task that lies before us. I think it's human nature to want to be in such a place, but that place is not yet for us and so we go on......................

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Preparation Day







Staying with the White family in Montana during Shabbat gave us a chance to do our part on preparation day. Preparation Day is the day before Shabbat when everyone pitches in to prepare for the upcoming Sabbath. At the "White"house, everyone does their part to make sure the house is spic and span and ready to receive the presence of YHWH. It was fun sneaking up on everyone to catch them hard at work. (Don't worry! I did my part too!)

Here we have pictures of DannyLee washing windows, Jed grinding oats for the next day's breakfast, Lavanah cooking up lots of scrumptious treats for all of us and Charis acting as "supervisor" for all of the day's activities.

There are special blessings that come when sharing Shabbat with Torah observant brethren. The peace and joy of the day are magnified in many ways. As a special treat, music found a place in our Shabbat activities and everyone found a way to join in on the fun. Jed & Lavanah welcomed Shabbat with an inspirational chorus of trumpeting and DannyLee entertained all of us with his old and new favorites, as well as a special song for Charis, "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" that left her with the giggles. We're so blessed to be able to spend such times with YHWH's special people!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I D A H O - Just passing through.

This morning, we both woke up with the conviction that our time in Utah was finished. It was clearly time to get back "on the road again". As before, our response to HIS leading to get going lifted our spirits and the preparation and hook-up process was once again a blessing. We were a bit concerned when we had unhooked the truck upon arrival that we would be challenged to get it hooked back up again do to the angle of the road, but prayer once again smoothed the way. We managed to do all of the tasks associated with leaving in less than an hour.

Today was a long day of driving through the mountains, valleys, and the many farm fields of Utah, Idaho and Montana. We managed to drive almost 400 miles without any real traffic challenges along the way. The magnificent scenery captivated us as the mountain vistas of Utah gave way to the beauty of Idaho and eventually Montana.

For a few miles I was faced with a major test of my ability to drive in a very narrow "traffic lane" that barely qualified for the term "lane". The cones (posts) on the right were at times quite often nearly a foot inside the line and the drop-off of the pavement on the left kept trying to pull me over into the center median (DITCH!). I expended a lot of nervous energy focusing on my driving through this construction zone. NOT FUN!! I was happy to get through all that unscathed.

Once again we will be spending a "quiet" night in a Flying "J" parking lot as we still have many miles to go before we reach our next "divine appointment". Praise YHWH that HE is going before us to prepare the way. We were rewarded after dinner with a glimpse of a small rainbow. This always lifts my spirits as HIS promises are good.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Meet "Jackson" and other new animal friends




This tour was originally billed as the "Tsiyon/Jackson Bound Tour" because of it's dual purpose. The Tsiyon part of the tour is focused on visiting believers throughout the country and using our music to encourage, edify and uplift them.

The Jackson part of the tour is mainly for "us" as "Johnny Cash" and "June Carter". DannyLee had found 24 states with a town or city named Jackson and it was our intent on this tour to make a stop/visit in each of them in honor of Johnny and June. Our intent has gotten a little sidetracked in the busyness of the Tsiyon side of things and we actually drove right past Jackson, CA feeling too overwhelmed to try to do anything to mark the occasion.

We were reminded of our little plan in Colorado by a cat. DannyLee's son has a cat that has this incredibly loving personality and his name is Jackson. He got his name from DannyLee's granddaughter and her parents cannot account for where this name came from or why she chose it. When we came to their house, Jackson leapt from the floor into DannyLee's arms and wrapped his paws around him and just started right out loving on him. Thanks for the reminder Jackson!

This morning I was able to catch a pretty good shot of our "neighbor" here in the Salt Lake City area. He (?) has spent the morning checking us out and watching our every move. I'm glad for the fence between us. He doesn't look like he's all that friendly!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Water, water...............anywhere??

After a long night in the Flying "J" parking lot in Nephi, we got back on the road heading to Salt Lake City. We had located an RV dealer on the Route 66 network that we hoped would be able to resolve our latest challenge. We'd gotten an early start as the truckers that were parked around us were compelled by their own schedules to get up and get going, rousing us from our fitful slumber.

Access RV in Salt Lake City was the only dealer listed in our network and we were a bit taken aback by their "access". Their driveway consisted of a very short, very steep turn that had both of us gasping. It would not have been our willing choice to make that turn, but we'd already called them and we definately needed help. As has been the case all along, YHWH's preparations in bringing us to Josh and the rest of the staff there were just what we needed. Josh literally took apart the undercarriage of The "Nest"and searched through every water connection in the rig.

He didn't find any leaks or other problems and the end determination was made that the high water pressure at the Colorado park had forced water out of one or more of the connections and it had accumulated over the week's time underneath. They recommended that we buy a pressure regulator for the water connection as this is known to be a common problem for RV'ers. About an hour later and $10 lighter, we got back on the road in search of our next campsite feeling relieved and grateful for the staff at Access RV.

After lunch and a nap, I sit here in The "Nest" nestled among trees that look to be hundreds of years old. Some of the branches that tower over us are bigger around than most trees you see elsewhere. As I look out the back window, I find myself in a staredown contest with a very large ostrich. I'm guessing it's an ostrich as it's much bigger than the other birds that appear to be emus though I'm not an expert on such things in any way. It's enough to be faced with such a thing in the middle of this incredible display of nature. A very green mountain rises up behind us and literally towers over everything.

A hummingbird is searching for his supper outside the window next to me. I wish I had something to offer him just for a chance at a closer look, but he seems quite content with YAH's provision. The sounds of other birds fill the area and this promises to be a much more restful night tonight. We're not sure what tomorrow will bring as we plan to only stay in this area for one day to visit an old friend of DannyLee's and do some business.

Our one directive from here so far is to head north. We'll see what tomorrow brings when tomorrow comes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

On the road again!

Yay!! We're on the road again and no sooner had we pulled out of our space in Colorado, we found ourselves with a new challenge to face. I was watching as DannyLee pulled The "Nest" out of our slot (mainly for the benefit of the trees in the area and their relationship with our solar panels), when I noticed a flood of water pouring out of the bottom of the RV.

I had been aware of a constant drip, drip, drip coming off the bottom rails of the RV, but passed it off as condensation as we had to run the air conditioner during the hottest part of the day to keep from frying our electronics inside, BUT this was no longer drip, drip, drip! There was literally a flood of water coming out of the bottom and we have no idea as to where it's coming from or why. I had drained all of the the gray and black water tanks prior to unhooking everything and we don't fill our fresh water tank preferring not to carry the extra weight.

It looks like we'll be visiting another RV dealer tomorrow in Salt Lake City................

Colorado Dreaming

Leaving Las Vegas brought a special joy to our hearts. Not being interested in any of the so-called "thrills" of casinos or other related activities and finding that the days of "cheap food" have gone by the wayside of our sliding economy, we found little to get excited about. We found that our opinion wasn't shared by the masses however, as the streets remained crowded with people day and night leaving us to wonder at the draw of such things.

Our hearts turned with joy towards Colorado and a planned visit with DannyLee's youngest son. We were able to spend nearly a week there due to the timing of our visit. We didn't want to get back on the road again until after the fourth of July holiday was over. Our days were quiet for the most part as the full campground that we had pulled into, receiving the last available space slowly emptied out each day leaving a nearly empty campground by the time of the holiday. We were left to wonder where everyone had gone.

On the fourth of July, we were invited to join DannyLee's son's family to view the fireworks display in Grand Junction. We didn't have a clear plan for this adventure, but in the end things worked out in such a way that we had a front row seat for the fireworks that couldn't have been any better and it was FREE! We felt incredibly blessed to have shared this adventure with Michael and his family and their friends.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why study "Torah"?

After my previous post, I was meditating on the thoughts that I had shared and in my spirit, I heard someone ask the question, "Why study "Torah"? Isn't "Torah" just some ancient history that doesn't mean all that much to us today? Aren't you just wasting your time in Torah study?" I realized that these are excellent questions and they deserve an answer.

Before I share my thoughts on "why", I'd like to ask one question of my own. This question comes from my Torah studies and straight from the Scriptures.

During the "greater Exodus", what is the one thing that you MUST carry in your pack with you at all times?

NOTE: This item is extremely critical to your survival during the "greater Exodus"!

If you've studied Torah, you know the answer and you have an excellent chance of making it all the way to the Kingdom without suffering physical death. If you haven't, this is the perfect illustration of "Why study Torah?" Torah teaches us how we are to live following in the ways and commandments that YHWH has given us as HIS people. These teachings cover every aspect of our lives from the very practical aspects of food to the spiritual guidelines of worship and beyond.

During the first Exodus, the people faced ten tests in the wilderness. If you know your Bible history, you know that only two people passed these tests and made it all the way to the Promised Land from Egypt. The others died in the wilderness and only their children and grandchildren entered into the Land. Paul teaches us that all Scripture is useful for teaching. Torah is the foundation. All Scripture is based on understanding the foundation. Studying Torah gives us a solid foundation to understand that the Bible is one book from beginning to end with one purpose - to instruct us in HIS ways.

As believers, we are faced with the "end-time" events that lead to the "greater Exodus". Many still cling to the hope that I am wrong in saying this and I wish them well. We have laid down our lives to serve HIS purposes in these last days believing that all that the Scriptures say are true and the "end-times" are now. It's our prayer that HIS people will wake up to the truth and start to act on their beliefs. Our prayers are with you all!

P.S. The first person to respond to this post with the correct answer to my question citing Scripture and verse will receive a free autographed copy of DannyLee's first CD "Humble Beginnings". Let the "games" begin!