This week the letter is C. Recently my wife and I took a trip to the Oregon Coast for a family reunion. We flew out of Tulsa, Oklahoma in an ice storm. Our plane was late taking off and we had to jog through the airport in Denver to make our connecting flight. We just made it on the plane, but our suitcases didn't. The rest of the flight to Portland was uneventful.
It had been more than 10 years since I had visited the Northwest and the Oregon Coast. Although we had one very rainy day while we were there, the weather was lovely and we had one day of absolutely perfect weather with beautiful blue skies. We spent the day visiting Depoe Bay and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
DEPOE BAY, OREGON
YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE
On Friday even though the weather was bad we had a great time. The stormy weather made the ocean very turbulent and it was great watching the waves splash at the spouting horns in Depoe Bay.
SPOUTING HORNS - DEPOE BAY, OREGON
Because of the wet weather we decided that it would be a good day to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. The aquarium is excellent and we had a great time there.
FEEDING THE SHARKS
Every morning I enjoyed walking along the beach as the sun rose. Our condo that was so graciously provided for us by the Boyds had beach access. I love the sights and sounds of the ocean.
FOOTPRINTS ON THE BEACH
WAVES AS THE SUN COMES UP
EARLY MORNING MOON OVER THE OCEAN
The only thing more beautiful than the beach and waves rolling in first thing in the morning is seeing the beautiful sunsets over the ocean as the sun is going down.
THE BEACH AT SUNSET
We had a wonderful time for the four days we were able to spend on the Oregon coast. My wife and I both love the ocean. The family reunion was lovely and we enjoyed visiting with everyone. Everyone we met made us feel welcome; well almost everyone.
How many Bibles do you own? I did a quick inventory at my house and counted over 50. I love to collect Bibles.
There are eight billion Bibles in the world. That's more than one for each person on the earth. This does not include digital versions of the Bible on computers, ebook readers and iPhones. Over 190,000 Bibles are sold or given away every day. But despite all that, according to a Christianity Today survey, less than 10% of professed Christians regularly read their Bible. What that basically means is that we as Christians are biblically illiterate.
In Ephesians 6:11-13 Paul writes, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
If we are in a battle like this armor is important. No soldier would want to go into battle without armor. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the body armor provided to U.S. troops. A January 3, 2011 Inspector General Report is the fourth report in less than three years criticizing the body armor program. It is an important issue because we want our troops to have the best armor available. We as Christians also need to make sure that we have the best armor available when we go into battle against the Devil. What armor is available to us?
Ephesians 6:14-17 tells us, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Notice that there are five defensive items listed, but also listed as armor is an offensive weapon; The Sword of the Spirit. A soldier might rely on his body armor, but he must have a weapon to do battle.
Jesus is our example when it comes to Christian Warfare. I’m sure you remember the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness.
We read the story in Luke 4:3-8 “And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’
Jesus used the sword by saying “It is written”. This is our example of how to use the offensive weapon, the Word of God, in battle. To be able to use this weapon, we must place it in our memory. I can’t use the physical book as a weapon; I can only use the wisdom it contains.
The Bible is the only weapon that a Christian has at his disposal, and yet ninety percent of Christians don’t regularly read it. Can you imagine an army going into battle with only ten percent of the soldiers carrying a weapon? Can you imagine the outcome?
The Bible contains God's living water and we live in a world that is dehydrated. We need to keep ourselves hydrated and you can't get a drink just once a week and stay hydrated.
I hope you will join with me in resolving to spend more time with the Word of God. Don’t go into battle without your weapon.
This week the letter is B. My favorite place to visit is Belize. Belize is a small country in Central America. In February 2004, 17 members of my church raised 20,000 dollars and went to San Pedro, Belize in Central America to build a church. While we were there we made lots of friends. We were only in San Pedro for a short time, but by the time we left the walls of the church were finished. During the following months, the church members in San Pedro finished the church building. Below are photos of the completed church.
NEW HORIZON SDA CHAPEL
BICYCLES AT CHURCH
NEW HORIZON SDA SCHOOLROOM
During our stay in Belize we learned to love the people, the culture, and the natural beauty. We have returned three times since our first trip, and we have had friends from Belize come visit us in Arkansas. We have made so many friends while in San Pedro. You can read the story of our friendship with the Amaya family here.
On our first trip to Belize, my wife and little Jeffery formed a special bond almost immediately. She held him through church. She played with him on the beach. Jeffery's Mom and Dad helped with the construction of the chapel, so we spent time together. Whenever Jeffery was where my wife was, he wanted to be with her. We stay in touch with Jeffery and his family. We recieved a phone call from them just a couple of weeks ago. The story of little Jeffery is here.
JEFFERY AND HIS MOM
During our visits to San Pedro, we have become good friends with Rigoberto Roches and his wife Shirley. They are wonderful friends who have invited us into there home. During the summer of 2008 they came to visit us in Arkansas. The story of their visit was published in our church paper. You can read it here.
MY DEAR FRIEND RIGOBERTO
One of our favorite things to do when we visit Belize is to go snorkeling. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world. Inside the reef, the waters are shallow and calm, and the amount of wildlife is amazing. Besides many kinds of fish and coral, there are stingrays and sharks. One of the tour guides that we made friends with was Eddie. He likes to play with the sharks, and had my wife Gina help him bring this one to the surface for a photo opp.
GINA AND EDDIE HOLD A SHARK
Belize is a beautiful and interesting place to visit. If you are a scuba diver, it is one of the premier diving locations in the world. I loved getting up every morning to photograph the sunrise. There just happened to be some fisherman out on the water as I was taking this shot. It is one of my favorite photos from Belize.
Every morning I was in San Pedro I would walk through the town taking photos. Here is a slideshow of San Pedro coming to life set to the song "Good Mawnin Belize".
I ran across these photos over at the blog A Time To Get. They really grabbed my attention as I had never seen anything like these. They are awesome, I would love to have one. Dream Factory Blow takes the stock micro vans that cram the streets of Japan, and turns them into custom creations styled after iconic American vans of the 1970s.
The creators of these vans get an A+ in my book for originality and gosh darn cuteness
This week starts a brand new round of ABC Wednesday. My post is A is for ADRA. ADRA is the acronym for The Adventist Development and Relief Agency. ADRA is one of the charities that I contribute to. Although they are active in over 120 countries around the world, I have been particularly interested in their work in Haiti this last year.
A little over one year has passed since the devastating earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti on January 12, 2010. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has provided more than $4 million in aid, personnel and assets to assist Haitian survivors in the months since the earthquake.
Throughout the twelve months that have passed since the January earthquake, ADRA has been focused on managing displaced persons camps, water purification, food, the distribution of non-food items, sanitation and hygiene, psychosocial support, education, and semi-permanent shelters.
To date, ADRA has built over 2,500 shelters for displace families, benefiting more than 15,000 displaced persons. These efforts have been focused in the Carrefour district, just outside the city of Port au Prince, close to the epicenter of the quake. The following list of activities briefly summarizes ADRA’s work over the past year:
* ADRA managed a camp of more than 20,000 displaced Haitians in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Carrefour. * Activities included the training of zonal community leaders and counselors, providing security, water, health and psychosocial programs, food, and non-food item distributions.
* ADRA and Canada-based partner GlobalMedic purified more than 130,000 liters of water a day in Carrefour during the initial phase of the response using 64 water purification units, including 62 motorcycle-powered mobile units. * The mobile units were dispatched to approximately 50 sites a day in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and Cap Haitian. * Assistance also included more than 5 million water purification tablets, 110,000 water purification sachets, 55,000 Oral Rehydration Salt units, and 86,000 Aquatabs donated by UNICEF. * Since the earthquake, ADRA has purified more than 18 million liters of water. * A water purification system called Nomad continues to purify and provide nearly 50,000 liters of clean water each day to the ADRA-managed camp in Carrefour.
* ADRA worked with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to distribute 4,802 metric tons of food to more than 776,000 people during three massive food distributions between January and March. * A donation of 16.5 tons of baby food from Germany was distributed in the Carrefour camp.
* ADRA distributed more than 50,000 non-food items to earthquake survivors, including shoes, hygiene kits, jerry cans, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits, solar light kits, tarps, tool kits, medicines, and flashlights. Upcoming distributions include mattress pads, blankets, and mosquito nets.
Sanitation and Hygiene:
* A total of 75 latrines were built in six camps and one permanent latrine was improved benefitting a total of 3,396 families. The project also provided cash-for-work for 86 individuals who dug the latrine holes. * ADRA constructed 95 new bathing places and rehabilitated one previous bathing space in eight camps, assisting 7,241 families. * ADRA secured support from UNICEF to provide 221 mobile latrines and daily servicing of waste removal from mid-March until the end of June. In July, ADRA received 150 mobile latrines from the Clinton Foundation on behalf of UNICEF. * A team of 50 sanitation workers from among the camp population cleaned the sanitation facilities twice a day. * ADRA constructed two solid waste pits and employed a team of 50 from the camp to pick up and collect waste on a daily basis. * Eight cash-for-work projects where completed, benefitting 169 workers with livelihood support. * Some 15 truckloads of trash were removed from one camp in Carrefour. * Seven camps received tools for camp cleaning. * A total of 35 stations were built for laundry washing. * ADRA built a bridge to improve the safety and convenience of camp residents walking to collect filtered water.
* Between January and mid-April, ADRA operated two free primary medical clinics in the Carrefour camp. One was set-up inside a mobile tent and the other in a local primary school in Carrefour. During this period, more than 7,000 people received assistance. After April, the two mobile clinics were consolidated and have so far treated more than 5,500 patients. * ADRA conducted a one-month immunization campaign, which vaccinated more than 12,000 infants, children and adults with vaccine materials provided by the World Health Organization. * ADRA community health nurses were based in each of the 12 designated zones inside the Carrefour camp. They were trained to triage patients, recognize infant and child malnutrition, and to educate mothers in lactation and optimum nutrition. * Cholera prevention education project trained individuals in the community of Carrefour on preventative measures and emergency treatment of the disease.
* ADRA provided 900 large family-size tents throughout Haiti, including 453 in Carrefour. * More than 2,700 semi-permanent shelters have been constructed in Carrefour and Petit-Goave.
ADRA’s focus remains on the long-term reconstruction of Haiti. Operating in Haiti for 30 years, ADRA is committed to the Haitian people and their country’s recovery.
To contribute to ADRA’s life-saving work, call 1.800.424.ADRA (2372) or give online here
ADRA is a global non-governmental organization providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.
This week the letter is Z. I am curious to see what everyone posts. Z is a hard letter. My post is Zephyr. In 1936 Lincoln came out with a new lower priced car called the Zephyr, named and styled after the streamlined Burlington Zephyr express train.
In 1934 the Burlington Railroad had introduced a sleek new streamlined passenger train called the Zephyr. It broke the speed record on the Chicago to Denver route. Two years later Lincoln tried to transfer some of the train’s glamor to its new streamlined Zephyr automobile by picturing the two vehicles side by side.
Several years ago I spent a lot of time manipulating photos to look like paintings. One of the photo/paintings was of a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr that belonged to my Dad.
1939 LINCOLN ZEPHYR
Ford Motor Company reused the name Zephyr several times. In the U.S. Ford produced the Mercury Zephyr from 1978-1983. It was Mercury's version of the Ford Fairmont.
Lincoln resurrected the Zephyr name in 2006 for it's new mid-sized luxury car based on the Ford Fusion. The name lasted only one year as Lincoln renamed the car MKZ for 2007.
2006 LINCOLN ZEPHYR
In the United Kingdom, Ford used the Zephyr name from 1950 until 1972. Zephyrs were the largest passenger cars in the British Ford lineup. The Ford Zephyr was a very popular car in Britain with over a million cars produced.
1960 FORD ZEPHYR
I hope you enjoyed this short automotive history lesson and that this post didn't make you want to zzzzzzzzzzz.
Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me, Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.
What a crazy weekend we had. Sunday was my son's 25th birthday, so we headed to Texas to celebrate. We had a wonderful time visiting and enjoyed spending time with the kids and their new kitten, Polly.
Normally when we visit for the weekend we stay until fairly late on Sunday afternoon. Under normal circumstances it is a five hour trip from Mena to Keene, Texas where my son lives. Because a snow storm was forecast for Arkansas we decided that we should leave early. We went out for a Birthday Dinner at Mi Familia and left for home shortly after noon.
While we were enjoying our meal the waitress came and told us that it had started snowing. We knew that a snowstorm was forecast for Arkansas, but snow hadn't been forecast for the Dallas Fort Worth area. We decided to cut our visit short and leave immediately for home. The snow wasn't sticking to the road as we drove through Dallas, but not long after heavy snow started sticking to the road and I-30 became very bad.
As we slowly made our way along I-30 we saw more and more vehicles in the ditch. We watched as a vehicle in front of us spun around and ended up headed towards us. Fortunately we were far enough back that we could avoid hitting them. They didn't go into the ditch but ended up on the shoulder going the wrong way. Apparently they didn't learn anything from their experience as before long they sped past us. I was more than happy to plod along at a slow steady pace. We saw a number of trucks jackknifed and snapped a photo of this one as we made our way around it.
We stopped to top off the gas tank and go to the bathroom - we wanted to make sure we were prepared. By this time our Kia was covered in ice. It would only get worse as our trip progressed.
By sundown we had reached our exit at New Boston where we turned north to head home on the winding hilly two lane roads of Arkansas. As bad as I-30 had been I was nervous about what I would find on these rural roads. We immediately had to stop as the exit was backed up from an accident on the overpass. In a few minutes the police got things cleared and we were able get over the overpass.
The two lane roads had very little traffic so we were able to make steady time even if it was slow. We did have a half hour wait near Grannis, Arkansas while we waited for tow trucks to get some semi-trucks out of the way who hadn't been able to make it up a steep hill. We were glad that we had filled up with gas and gone to the bathroom not that long ago. The ice had accumulated around our tires leaving almost no room to steer
We finally made it home to Mena after ten hours on the road. It took us just twice as long as it normally does. I prayed a pray of thanks to God for keeping us safe on our trip home. I didn't realize just how fortunate we had been on our trip until I turned the TV on this morning and heard that many people on I-30 in Arkansas had been stranded since 5:30 the night before. Many people had to spend the night in their cars and still were not moving 18 hours later.
Click on the photo above to purchase the paperback version of my latest book, Devotionals from a Small Town, for $8.99
I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled The Little Things - Devotionals from a small town, using articles from the column. I published the second book in the Devotionals from a small town series, titled In the Fog, in December 2017.