When Little Man (our cat) and I were walking this morning, one of the park employees came up to us to start a friendly conversation. Little Man became frightened, slipped his collar and ran off. Only a few minutes later he came to me from under our truck just like nothing had happened. Linda called to him and he ran into our camper happy be home with her.

In the camper, he came right to me to have his collar put back on (after I had tightened it to prevent another escape). Now he is sleeping on the bed with Linda as though nothing ever happened, the incident forgotten and his world repaired as though there had never been this issue of fear and escape and return.

We, too, often ‘slip our collars’ and escape into sin. Whether out of fear, temptation or just plain ignorance, we all fall away from the Lord in our lives. We need to come back to Him quickly repenting of our sin and joyfully reunite with Him. As He cleans our heart, restores our soul and repairs our lives we, too, just like Little Man, need to put the episode behind us and move forward in Truth and Love.

Yesterday we rested and today we are going to Appomattox Courthouse to see where the Civil War officially ended with the surrender of Lee to Grant and the United States was preserved. We shall see how this site impacts us and what is spoken into our hearts. This war was an ending to conflict for the North and South but only the beginning of a long and bitter time of turmoil for the South. Even now, over 150 years later, the scars remain. This should be a lesson to all that war and violence do not bring lasting solutions, only victory for one side and defeat for the other.

Peaceful dialogue and orderly, non-disruptive demonstrations will produce change that does not harden hearts. Speaking and acting with love towards each other avails much. Forgiving each other for real or perceived wrongs allows for understanding to begin. Today’s world is in desperate need of soothing words, calm discourse and forgiving hearts and this must begin somewhere. Why not here? Why not right now with you and me?

Now is the time to change your attitude. A difficult thing to do, but eminently doable. If you can’t do alone (most of us can’t) then seek a help from a higher power. God can change your heart and bring you peace. Just ask.

We spoke with Mom last Sunday afternoon and a long and very enjoyable conversation. One of the topics of conversation was the lifestyle that Linda and I are currently living. You see, Mom and Dad lived this lifestyle for many, many years and Mom still lives in an RV resort in Yuma, Arizona at 96 years young.

I was telling her about parts of our journey and she was reminiscing about her and Dad’s adventures. She was very content with their lifestyle and wondered why more people don’t retire to travel trailers and I wondered the same thing. Fear I guessed, fear of losing their possessions and the need to be around a strong support group of family and friends. Any number of things can root us to a location or a lifestyle.

Linda and I decided that we could put our trust in the Lord, giving away our possessions and forsaking all others. When we did this, He not only gave us the strength to let go of our things and our relationships, He gave us better things. He renewed and strengthened our important relationships and provided us with new friends. New friends who help in our spiritual journey, who encourage us.

We have a long drive from Kentucky to Virginia today. To celebrate this seven-hour journey, we got up at five AM, started the coffee and are now sitting bleary-eyed wondering why. Oh yes, we would rather start in the dark than end in the dark. Setting up is difficult when you are tired. It would be way tougher tired and in the dark.

Plus, Linda’s health dictates at least being awake for two hours before starting our day. Hence, up at five to leave around seven and, with our needed stops, arriving between three and four. We move slowly when we travel out of necessity but would probably do so anyway. When you speed through to your destination so much is missed. No time for friends, no time to see new things, hear new stories and share your faith in the little places along the way.

We sacrifice a little sleep to see more and share our faith more… not much when others sacrifice their lives for their faith. Our testimony seems insignificant in the face of all the great saints of this world, but it is not. Lives are changed one at a time. God moves most effectively when we share one on one.

Late last night some young campers pulled into the site next to us. It became evident that they are inexperienced campers when they sat around talking evidently with some adult beverages until after 10:30 before they started to set up their brand-new tent. They came in two cars and one car left around midnight and came back so they could have a pit fire. At 2 AM they were quietly sitting around the fire enjoying each other’s company.

It is now late morning and they are still sleeping. Apparently, their night went well and met their expectations. I can remember camping with friends and family and enjoying the learning moments full of failures as well as the great times of companionship that resulted. It is in our learning experiences that we develop patience and a sense of humor. While some become angry and frustrated others have learned to enjoy each moment, good or bad, elevating or humbling.

If we take ourselves too seriously we miss many opportunities to shine the light of God’s love on others. If we fail to take anything seriously we trivialize the lessons learned and miss the opportunities to teach God’s love. There is a fine line that can only be walked with the help of the Holy Spirit. So, pray for guidance.

It seems like I am always writing about how blessed we are, about the good times we have and about how loved we feel.  Well, the truth is that all the above is true.  It is not that we don’t have doubts, aches and pains and bad moods, rather, we have, within our hearts, a Comforter, Healer and Protector named the Holy Spirit.

When troubles are all around us, when we hurt, when our hearts are troubled we reach out to Jesus, we pray to the Lord and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.  Getting to this relationship with God was not a trip that we took, it was not by our intellect that we came to believe.  In Fact, all our attempts to seek fulfillment from others, from our work, from the world always ended in bitter disappointment.  It was only when we reached the point of desperation and abject failure that our eyes turned to the Lord.  When we accepted the truth that we are helpless without Him He set us free from the bondage of this world, free from the grip of satan.

Are you angry with the world, unable to be free to be you, unable to love others?  Turn to God, ask Him to cleanse your heart and open your soul to His Presence.  Peace and Joy await.

Well, here we are, at Jenny Wiley State Park all set up in the campground.  We arrived yesterday, needed a few things from the store and stopped by the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) headquarters.  The feeling of being family once you have been in service here never goes away.  We have been blessed to be a part of this group of Christians and their mission here in Eastern Kentucky.  We saw several of those who impacted our lives here and hope to see more during our stay.

Today Linda rests while I take care of some housekeeping details that we have let slide as we travel.  Tomorrow (if Linda is sufficiently rested) we hope to be able to reconnect with more people at the CAP camp (Camp Shawnee) where they will be readying for a retreat.  To complete the day Linda has an appointment with the hairdresser she used when we lived here to catch up and get her hair done.  And the last day here we will be attending church in Paintsville at the Methodist church we attended when we volunteered here.

If you will carry the Lord’s love with you everywhere you go and freely give it away you will never be without good friends.  You will always have at least one place to call home, and maybe more.

In 1967, after dropping out of college, I joined the US Army. So, on June 30th, 1967, I gave three years of my life to my country… only three years all of which were spent stateside when there was a violent war waging in the Far East. Over 58,000 of my comrades in arms gave, not their enlistment commitment time, but their lives in service to this country.

That is why we have a day of remembrance. Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who either willingly or unwillingly agreed to serve this nation and died in this service. We all knew the potential consequences of this pledge and those fortunate enough to be able to watch the parades and eat the hotdogs today still remember those who did not come back mourn their loss.

Take a moment to remember those who died, not for a cause or political agenda, but because of a duty to serve others. Remember that they did not choose the field of battle, they did not create the political agenda, they did their duty.

We do not know the reasons why some were spared and some died, we only know that all things happen according to God’s grand design. He is sovereign.

Breakfast done, devotions read, prayers spoken… when we are settled or in a familiar venue, church would be next. However, we are not. Instead, we will focus on the Lord and His presence for a time this morning and then visit the Ark Encounter this afternoon. He allows us to worship Him in our own way, sometimes corporately with a part of the body of believers, sometimes as couples and sometimes alone.

We serve an awesome God. Serve… this is a word I hesitate to use when speaking about what we do, for this service is in no way coerced. Rather this service is freely given just as the Lord’s mercy is freely given to all who ask. Jesus left perfection to come to imperfection and show us what salvation is and how to be reconciled with God.

When life is given, when we have been saved from eternal death, and when this gift is given freely, we need to pass this opportunity on to others. We need to… no, we must pass this eternal blessing on to those in need of salvation. So, we serve. Yes, we serve, not out of duty, rather out of love for He loved us when we were unlovable.

We are safely tucked into our campsite at Whispering Hills RV Resort in Georgetown, KY. As we drove here, Google maps took us off of the interstate and through some of the most gorgeous horse country imaginable. Of course, along with the beauty came some hair-raising county roads that looked like small country lanes. After arriving, we were escorted to our site, and along with a few other normal folks took our place amongst the rolling mansions that some call their vacation homes.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the lifestyles of the rich but have no desire to be like them. We have seen and experienced the pain of trying to keep up with the world. We have realized the futility of accumulating things and prestige for personal gain. We have made idols of money and people and watched both fail us in our time of need.

So, now we keep our eyes on Jesus while watching and enjoying the splendor around us. There is no jealousy for what others have, only gratitude for what we have and for what the Lord has given us especially for what He has seen fit to not burden us with. Wealth and status and possessions can own you and tie your to the world, keeping you from a personal and eternal relationship with the Lord.

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