Thursday, February 21, 2013

Traveling through the Mountains of the South

We enjoyed our time traveling down to Florida. We made an overnight stop in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. The drive wasn't bad at all. No storms like the midwest had. We traveled through some backroads just to get a glimpse of backwoods Alabama and Tennessee. It wasn't really bad, not as Cajun as I thought it would be . . other than the sights we saw at small convenience stores we stopped at for gas and a couple other places along the way.

The gas stations were a little different than the ones here in Minnesota in that there was an abundance of liquor and tobacco products readily available for the "traveler on the go." If one needs a quick shot of vodka with juice and doesn't want to take the time to mix their drink while driving, they are in luck in Alabama! Buckets full of tiny mixed drinks were available for purchase while checking out at the counter. And if a case of beer is just too bulky to travel with, grab a single extra large can of beer made for convienence. There were also a number of other unusual attractions while passing through Alabama and Tennessee.

We saw about 28 "gentleman's clubs" along the side of the road. I am not sure how many gentleman would be found somewhere like the Boobie Bungalow spying through a peephole at a some lady dancing with a pole. Maybe I'm wrong. Thank goodness there was a good strip club to church ratio.

We were nearing the coast and the vehicle started to smell. We thought maybe it was Ashton's shoes, but it wasn't. That only left Gracie and Luke. Everyone claimed there was no gas being emitted from their person. Gracie has a history of smelly foot problems, but she was ruled out. Mark thought maybe someone needed to check their pants. I opened another window as a long conversation ensued about whether or not one can tell if they did indeed have an accident in their pants. I stated, "Oh my gosh . . it smells worse when I open more windows!" So we looked around and discovered that we had been driving alongside a river (polluted one? idk) for the last several miles and quickly shut all the windows and pushed the "recycle air button" on the dashboard. The smell went away and it just went back to smelling like corn nuts. Sorry for all the accusations kids.

Overall, it was a good ride down with no misfortune ..  other than not seeing a gator or Squatch in the woods alongside the road. We'll have to wait 'till we return to Pine County to have an actual Sasquatch sighting!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Enjoying God .. Why is that more often not our goal?

Today as I spent the morning relaxing over a cup of coffee and am now about to run out for the day with my daughter, I need to take a minute to thank God. I want to thank him for his goodness toward me, especially when I don't deserve it. The goodness He has given me has come in the form of different things; family, job, friends, peace, love, and joy! I can't say enough about how good God is.

I have come through a darker time of losing loved ones (both my mother and father), loss of a job, and a stressful move. But God brought beauty from the ashes so to speak.

I have come to know what the value of obedience is. Obedience in the things of God. I think I am starting to learn the meaning of putting aside self. It is a slow process, but I am beginning to get glimpses of what blessing comes when we put aside our own desires for God's will. The peace and joy that God gives us, from putting aside those things, is far greater than we can ever achieve from those things alone.

It's probably stupid how my little dog, Butters, always brings about symbolism, but that's what happens. He follows me wherever I go and even sits outside the bathroom (I can see his fur pushing through, underneath the bathroom door) when I am showering or whatever. He sits on the bed and waits as I get ready for the day. I finally take a minute to give him some attention and he is finally content and happy. He rolls over, his eyes close and breathes a big sigh.

I think about how he really lives for that attention. He's right there at our feet begging for attention most of the time. He will sit in my husbands lap and lick his ears just to be close to him . . for like an hour at a time it seems. He curls up with us at night and won't settle until he is physically in contact with an arm, foot, leg, or whatever.

I think about how often I go to God. I think about how I feel when I do. I wish I had the tenacity that Butters has in seeking companionship and "attention" from God. Why don't I seek God more often, especially knowing what joys that companionship, fellowship, or whatever you want to call it, can bring? Butters has that concept figured out. Maybe he is slightly more intelligent than I am in this action. Why don't I put aside all the stupid little things I find my comfort in  . . facebook, internet surfing, Duck Dynasty, HGTV, cake, the list goes on and on .. to have more time with God, to enjoy his attention? John Piper said that the ultimate purpose for man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! I think he nailed it.

I think that is what heaven will be like. Enjoying God's fellowship forever! More enjoyment than any drug, drink, new fitness craze, the latest in pampered chef tools, or any other thing you can think of, can give us. I'm not saying that God doesn't give us things to enjoy in life . . but when they are enjoyment in and of themselves, we are off base. I am feeling thankful that He gives us little glimpses of what heaven is like and the joy and peace that we will have when we get there will be like someday.

Once again, I am wishing I had more dog-like sense.