Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Experiencing Autumn

Autumn is here with cooler temperatures and some needed moisture. The wood shed is nearly full which will supply us with warmth all winter. I have several projects to do yet outside before the snow flies, like building Spud a larger shelter and dividing the winter pen so the llamas don’t have to be with him. They do not like the horse. I also need to get two ton of hay to carry them through the winter; hopefully it is not as long as last year.

This year the freezer is full of elk meat which Ardella harvested last week. We haven’t had elk for thirteen years so we are very thankful for the great organic meat. The game we harvest is processed at home so we know the meat in the freezer is ours. It took us two days to cut and wrap the elk with the help of the family. The grand daughters helped by labeling each package so they realize where the meat came from. Hunting is criticized by some people but I believe it ties us back to the land and some basics of life.

Fall is a season of preparation for the long winters of north Idaho. It is my favorite time to be in the woods learning what the animals doing. The white tail bucks are starting to rub trees and paw ground scrapes so the rut is probably about two weeks away. I have located two nice bucks by their tracks that are using creek bottoms grown thick with brush. That’s why they are big and I will spend some time trying to figure them out.

Many people are preparing for winter knowing it is creeping closer and will pounce on them before they know it. Unfortunately, few people prepare their spiritual life by knowing Jesus as their personal savoir. Jesus waits to give them eternal life; it’s a free gift. He bought it on the cross.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frosty Mountain Morning

An arctic freeze plunged northern Idaho to record low temperatures over the weekend. Saturday started the rifle elk and deer season and Ardella has an elk tag so we got up at five o’clock to find a bull elk. We slept in the cabin on Friday night and kept the wood stove full so the cabin was quite toasty. The thermometer registered 14 degrees as we walked away from the warm cabin and the stars were brilliant in the predawn night. A half moon bathed the forest in light so I knew the elk had taken advantage of the moon to feed all night.

We tried to walk silently but the frozen ground was like walking on popcorn. Ardella and I trekked into the north wind as we made our way up an old road in heavy timber then out into a grassy clear cut. We sat down to watch an area where elk have been feeding recently but there was no sign of the tan bodies we hoped to see. The cold penetrated through our clothing and soon our feet were tingling. Some coyotes yapped to the north and later I heard wolves howling about a mile above us. The forest usually gets very silent once wolves announce their presence.

The sun was rising way too slowly on this cold morning. First, the Selkirk Mountains thirty miles west were bathed in light and the sun crept its way across the valley. It was nearly eight thirty before we felt the sun hit our backs and immediately the heat penetrate the cold clothing. As the sun hit the grass in the clear cut, millions of ice crystals danced like diamonds creating a beautiful sight. I thanked God for the glory of the morning.

As the sun warms our bodies, the Son of God warms us too. Jesus is the light of the world and illuminates warmth and hope into this cold dark world. Unlike the sun, His light is permanent and available for anyone that seeks Him. Unfortunately, too many people don’t believe in Jesus and miss out on the peace He has to offer. If you have never accepted Christ into your life, take time right now to ask Him in. You won’t regret it. Jesus is ready to forgive and forget anything you have done if you ask Him. Do it now! It will chase away the cold from your soul.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making a Difference

Too many people live a long life but not a full life of helping others. Today’s world calls us to focus on ourselves first. Rick Warren wrote in The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” I have to admit it took me a while to understand that sentence. I find myself most blessed when I focus on other people as God intended us to do. I read an incredible story of a young man in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho whose life involved helping those in our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Josh Wright was born with an illness that took his life recently at age 31. When the war in Iraq broke out Josh tried to enlist in the Marines but was turned down because of his illness. I’m sure Josh was mad that he couldn’t go but found another way to serve. He started gathering and sending personal items to Marines. Over time this grew into an enormous task. He talked corporations to send white socks to our military and wasn’t shy to get other people involved to help his cause. Josh would also spend hours on the internet encouraging those Marines and soon he had a band of brothers half way around the world looking forward to his packages and correspondence. When Josh found out that some wives back home were having a hard time buying diapers he got a diaper company to donate a whole truck load.

Josh got to meet with the Marine general that took Baghdad and during the meeting the general presented Josh the stars he wore on that campaign. Other Marines sent Josh the Stars and Stripes from various parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other items they acquired. Several Marines looked him up to thank him personally. In their eyes Josh was a warrior and fellow patriot.

After reading this story and wiping the tears away I took inventory on how I’m doing helping other people. I found myself falling very short compared to Josh. I feel ashamed that I have only sent one box to Iraq. Then there are people right here in my community that are in desperate need for help. Many are unemployed and there are single moms that need things repaired.

We need more Josh’s in this world. Josh did not expect anything in return; his reward was knowing that he was helping the moral of our troops carrying out a difficult and dangerous assignment. Let’s be more like Josh and make the world a better place.