My Wife : More Precious than Rubies
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. –Proverbs 31
There is no greater joy in my physical life than to be married to this woman. Hear, in her own words, her thoughts regarding the latest decisions we make for our future… My original post here
Guest Blogging on the iCrucified Blog; Laurie Borden
Experiencing God Oct 9, 2010 (Olympia, WA)
Either God speaks to us and enables us to discern His leading or He doesn’t. That’s where I stand this morning. I think most of you reading this would say you agree with that statement. We are taught from Scripture and we say we believe that God speaks to/leads His people. It makes sense to me that if He’s going to lead us, He will have to enable us to discern His leading. Otherwise, what good does it do to speak to us? However, most of us are afraid to trust what we hear enough to act on it, particularly if that action appears to be unreasonable or irresponsible.
If you know my husband very well, you know he is a person who does things 100% or he doesn’t do them at all. If he believes something to be true, he’s going to act on it or he simply doesn’t believe it. I, along with many other believers in Christ are content to say I believe the above statements, but when it comes down to acting on them, I prefer to wait for God to “open the door” or “give us another sign” or force me to act in some way. Few of us simply act when we sense Him leading us to do so. Early in our life together, Jeff watched this type of response in the lives of other believers, and he chose to spend a lot of years following his own path. However, 9 years ago, he made a commitment to follow God wholeheartedly, wherever he sensed God leading him, without reservation. He has continued to repeat that commitment day after day after day, which leads us to today.
Here we are today in Olympia, WA because Jeff sensed God leading us here. Our plans for being here don’t seem to be materializing. The church plant is not what we imagined it would be. Our fellow church planters have a different vision than we do. Both are great visions that I believe God has placed in our hearts, but they don’t seem to be made to fit together. So, that brings me back to the question at the top. Does God clearly lead us? Does He enable us to discern His leading? If the answer is no, we might as well just live our lives doing what seems right to us, providing for our families, loving our neighbor, honoring God. HOWEVER, if He does speak to us AND He does enable us to discern His leading, how much are we missing out on by sticking with the safe path? What about the good works He created us specifically to do and accomplish with our lives but we don’t because we don’t trust our ability to discern His voice?
So, the question remains, did God lead us here? Perhaps God does lead people, but maybe Jeff and I were confused. Maybe we wanted to move here and we convinced ourselves that’s what God wanted. But, that brings me back to the core belief at the beginning. Either I believe God enables us to discern His will or I don’t. I don’t believe we always get it right. I do believe sincere Christians make poor decisions. However, I also believe if a person is committed to seeking God’s direction in his life, God Will Direct Him. Scripture says that repeatedly and gives examples of men who did that. According to scripture, following God’s leading does not guarantee a smooth road. Obedience to God often leads to challenging circumstances. We cannot determine God’s will by which road is safer, easier, or makes more sense.
So, do I serve a God who would lead us across the country, leaving a secure job as well as friends and family 2700 miles away, to a church plant that we weren’t meant to be a part of? Quite possibly. Suppose God has a different plan for us here, and the concept of the church plant was a vehicle to get us here. Suppose there are things God is shaping and forming in our character that we needed to experience over the past 4 months. Suppose we’ve seen God provide for us through the generosity, love, and support of our Christian family in ways we never would have experienced if we stayed in NY. Suppose God is stretching our faith and giving us this disappointment in order to determine if we will continue to believe He speaks and He enables us to discern His voice. Suppose God is using this situation to make Himself look good rather than us.
If that is the case, I for one am choosing to still believe, not just with my words, but with my actions. I believe He has specifically created each of us to do good works which He has ordained. I believe He speaks to His people today, leading them to accomplish those good works. AND, I believe He enables us to discern His voice so that we can accomplish those good works.
I trust my God to be good and just and righteous. He cannot be anything else. And, I trust my husband to follow His lead. I am in good hands. I couldn’t be in any better position than I am right now.
I am married to a man who has staked his entire life on the belief that God speaks…to us…and that He enables us to discern His voice. I learned in a bible study quite a few years ago that the biggest thing standing in the way of our ability to discern God’s voice is our own will. I can personally testify that Jeff has continuously laid down his will in seeking God’s will. His true and sincere desire is to follow wherever God leads us. Although most of us have parameters when we say that kind of thing to God, Jeff has no parameters on that statement. Before we made the decision for our family to move to WA, we prayed for months, asking God to clearly direct us, to lead us, to show us His good plan. We felt that this move was that good plan. We moved in response to that belief.
One last note, for those of you who think Jeff has lost his mind in quitting his job, you may not understand that he made the same decision last January when we left Valley Chapel. He resigned his position as assistant pastor with no prospect of another position. So, if he lost his mind, it occurred last year, not just now. Actually, God was faithful to provide a prospect here in Olympia, but it didn’t come with any pay. That fact never entered into Jeff’s equation. He was committed to be obedient to God’s call to go even when he had no idea where we were going or how we would get there. And, God has been faithful to provide for our needs here.
Thank you all for your continued support and love for both of us. We are blessed beyond words by it. One response from a friend: “I am thrilled for you. Let’s see where God takes you!”
I say, “Me too!”
I withdrew (resigned; “stepped down;” left) from the church plant yesterday. The day before that, I quit my job as it was eroding my soul and consuming most of my waking hours and not contributing much in the way of completing the mission of God to which I have been called. I am now jobless (Laurie continues with her employment, so we are not completely destitute… yet) and without a local church family. At first glance, this circumstance is a little disconcerting (well, ok…with second and third glances it is disconcerting too), but I have recourse…I trust and believe the Most High God. Because of this trust, my hope is complete and my confidence is renewed. I know that my Father leads me and loves me; I know my Father has prepared good works for me to participate in that will bring glory to Him and lead people into His eternal kingdom. Moments of suffering and seasons of sadness are the preparation of tilled soil for “faith seeds” that will bring a harvest of righteousness and glory for the Savior King. My prayer is this will be true in my life and no moment lived from my life will be in vain for my Lord.
People will ask and legitimately wonder what the reasoning is for my actions asking, “Why are you leaving the church plant?” My response is that I am trusting the leading of my heart which I believe is inhabited by the Spirit of God. For whatever reason, I do not feel “at home in my soul.” When we headed out to Washington, it was with a crystal clear vision that God had inscribed upon my heart. At this juncture, I have not realized the manifestation of that vision… or a solid move in the direction of building that vision. To the credit of my church planting partners, they do not necessarily wholly agree with my assessment. They are wonderful, supportive, godly men and I respect and love them dearly; however, I am unable to communicate my heart and vision to them in such a way that I feel understood. Inasmuch as that is the case, I feel that I am not in the right place and I am answering the call to move on. Maybe I am wrong. I will still trust God. I have had a difficult time in explaining my choices to my partners and my inability to adequately communicate my thoughts has been frustrating and humbling, but I will hold fast to what I believe I must do and trust God in the midst of it all. I realize I haven’t offered a complete explanation for my resignation, but at this juncture it is the best I can do. I shoulder the responsibility for my choices and my actions, ultimately answering to God for them. I believe with everything in me that I am doing what I must… even though I do not know where I am going, I truly believe I am following God.
A second question I anticipate will be; “So, what are you going to do?” My answer is, “I don’t know.” I’m trying to find another job and we’ll probably continue to visit area churches as we did before we started having services with the church plant… but in the big picture, what we will do is unknown for the moment. I’ll trust God for that answer and that direction. I suppose to a lot of people it sounds as though I have lost my ever-loving mind and gone completely off the deep-end of irresponsibility. Maybe that is true. We’ll see. All I know to do is to live the convictions of my heart. I can either trust what I sense is the Spirit of God within me or choose a more sensible and safer route. When I decided to live my life completely for Jesus I decided that I would hold nothing back, that I would learn what it meant to live a life crucified in Christ (Galatians 2:20). I am doing that. If I look like a fool to the world around me, then so be it. If I lose everything materially that I have in this world, so be it. If my dignity, credibility, and status in society is completely erased, so be it. It is not that I don’t care about these things… I do, but I care more about living wholly unto my convictions about what the Word of God is speaking to my soul. So, at the end of the day, I might be crazy. I may have lost my mind. I may not be “interpreting the signs” very well. Ok. Fair enough. We’ll see. I’m in all the way, over my head, crazy in love with Jesus and where He leads me I will follow. No questions. The mission phrase for my Free Methodist Church this year is Live the Story, Tell the Story; my answer is… Ok. I’m in.
Naked, Humbled, and Yelling At Walls
I have consoled myself with reflecting on some of the more prominent examples of absurdity from Scripture and remember that God asked Noah to build an Ark because He was going to destroy mankind (Genesis 6:14), Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice (murder) his own son… the son God Himself had promised him (Genesis 22:2), Moses, a single man, was sent to confront the most powerful nation on earth (Egypt) and lead several million people out of slavery (Exodus 3:10), Joshua was sent to destroy and take over a city by shouting and yelling at its walls (Joshua 6:5). He believed God, shouted, and the walls came down, Gideon was sent to take on an army so great “their camels numbered like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count” with only 300 men (Judges 7:12), Ezekiel was instructed by God to lay on his side(s) for over 14 months to provide a visual aid for a rebellious people (Ezekiel 4:4-6), God instructed Isaiah to walk through the city naked…for three years (Isaiah 20:2), and there are other examples, but these are prominent in my memory. This is to say, perhaps I am crazy…maybe not, time will tell as it did for these prophets and other men of God. At the end of the day, I know that I love the God who has saved my soul, named Jesus, and there is nothing that stands between He and I. My conscience is clear, so I must obey what I feel I am being led to do. I might be following in good company regardless of how absurd it seems now.
I want to assure those of you who have supported us in our decision to move that we still need your prayerful support. Our vision has not changed, our certitude of conviction to do what we believe God has called us to do has not changed. Quite honestly, this is the reason for our latest decision. So, it is with humility we ask for your continued support and prayers. We need them now as much (or more) than we ever have. Additionally, please keep Dan, Matt, and the family of Trinity Community Church in your prayers as they transition through this change.
We’re still getting settled… slowly but surely we’re getting settled in. We are still unpacking boxes, although it has slowed down dramatically. It’s more like; “where is such and such?” “Oh, I think I saw it in the box with blah-blah-blah.” And, then the hunt is on. In the mean time, life has been gearing up and going on. We just got cable-internet yesterday, so our communication has been hindered a bit (thus the slacking updates). Anyway…here is a summary of the past week and a half.
Deals and Details… Jehovah Jireh I
You will remember that we sold our Chevy SUV with the plan to purchase a smaller and more economical car when we arrived. We had asked for prayer that we would be discerning and wise with the direction we went. I am confident that prayer was favorably answered by God with the purchase of our “new-used” 2005 Ford Taurus. We actually ended up with a final (before tax and license) price on the Taurus for just under our selling price of the TrailBlazer! We are all pleased with the vehicle and it will suit our needs perfectly. Thank you all for your prayers and all praise to God for His provision!
We also got a “smokin’” deal (pun intended) on a gas grill. Our old grill had literally burned itself out; we like to grill a lot. We had a very small budget for the grill and I was shopping prices as we were bopping around various stores in our travels this past week. We figured that we weren’t going to get out the door for less than $129.00 for a grill and realized that price point was pretty cheap workmanship (in other words, the grill might only last a season or two at best). Fast-forward:::: We hit a Lowes and found a close-out on a higher quality grill, although the close-out price was still over our $129 budget. I went home and thought it over and decided it was a better move to stretch a little on the budget and get better quality. The next day I arrived at the Lowes and the grill had been sold. I asked if there were more in stock to find a display model still available. The sales mgr made me a deal of $120.00 for the floor model and “BAM” we were sold. But wait! There’s more… Some details on delivery and our not having a truck ensued and we dickered and bartered for a bit to finally land on a price that was over our budget when deliver was included. I thought we still made a decent deal, so went home to wait on our delivery later in the week. The next day, we happened to borrow our friend’s minivan and I thought we’d try to fit the grill in and save the delivery charges. To my surprise, the sales mgr offered to drop the price even more on the grill to a final price of $99.99!!! The original price was $269.99 and our final take home price was $99.99 netting a savings of $170.00 “WooT”
Employment… Jehovah Jireh II
Laurie and I both were able to secure employment before we “officially” landed in Olympia; what a great God of provision we have! Laurie started work this week at the front desk of an Optometrist office and has had a great week as she tells it. Not only is her work going well, but the office staff is full of Christ followers! We (Josh and I) were able to meet them (all of the staff) this week when we were invited to the Lake Fair with them for lunch. Although our time was short and very limited, we enjoyed their company and conversation.
I completed the new hire paperwork for my new job this week. I officially start and begin my eight weeks of training next week. The job will be providing technical support in a call center… déjà vu. Yes, this is where I started out 10 years ago with Adelphia. Hopefully, the old “just like riding a bike” adage will prove true in my case and I’ll be able to pick up where I left off after a brief reorientation time. Please continue to keep both Laurie and I in your prayers as we transition to our new jobs and that as we do, we will continue to reflect Jesus in all that we do.
Church, church, and church…
The pastors (Dan, Matt, Me) of the church we are planting, Trinity Community Church, met for the first time this past week. My impressions were that it was a wonderful visit and conversation. I continue to marvel at the work that God has done to bring us together and how similarly our hearts are intertwined with the vision of creating this special community. We are still waiting for God to provide the fourth pastor in our plurality of leadership, so please continue to pray for this individual (whoever it may be). Also, continue to pray that we would be sensitive to the guiding hand of God’s Holy Spirit as we press on with this wonderful vision.
We have not started to meet formally as a church… just as a leadership; although we are having community dinners with folks we have met since arriving. These meetings/dinners are providing us the opportunity to get to know one another, but we’re not actually teaching and experiencing a corporate worship environment. We are visiting local faith communities to get a feel for what God is doing in the Olympia area. I’ve had the opportunity to worship with two different communities thus far and my partners have been following this model as well. I think this will provide us with information and context for what God may have planned for TCC when we officially launch.
This past week we visited the Free Methodist Church in Olympia (Light & Life Bible Fellowship). We connected with the heart of the pastor (Larry) as he shared the message and Word of God. At the end of the service we introduced ourselves (the Borden family) to Pastor Larry and shared a time of conversation. The L&LBF church is doing some wonderful things in the Olympia community and I am encouraged by the active heart for God’s Kingdom that our Free Methodist Church has from coast to coast.
I know several of you readers have asked for photos. I am still trying to get them processed for displaying on the web and I’m also trying to get fully unpacked and “house-arranged” so we can take some pictures that don’t have boxes in them. I promise to get a faithful representation of our digs once we get all moved in… I might even be able to swing a short video. Until then, here’s a small mix of pics we’ve taken since the last day or two on the road until now.
2,750 Miles in Seven Days: The Final Leg
We’re here. We made it… 2,750 miles in seven days. Coast to Coast with the Holy Ghost. A lot of miles, a lot of driving, a lot of close-quarters family time… and every second of it being grateful to the Great God of Creation for allowing me to experience it. Thank You Jesus. Thank You for my wife and sons; thank You for supportive believers who are friends that pray. Thank You Jesus for the blessing of Yourself in our lives. We are grateful for all that You do, O Lord, to You alone we give our praise and thanksgiving.
All 330 miles were spent traveling the breadth of Washington State yesterday. Starting in Spokane Valley we forged on westward through the high desert plains of Eastern Washington. This was mostly farmland and tundra…very barren and flat. About two-thirds of the way to Olympia we hit one of the most beautiful places of the entire trip; the Snoqualmie Pass, between the Snoqualmie National Forest and the Wanatchee National Forest was breathtakingly spectacular in its beauty. I have had the privilege of traveling quite a bit and have seen some marvelous examples of God’s awesome creation… this ranks up there with the best. I look forward to having the opportunity to go back and spend some time hiking and really spending time in the midst of that beauty.
Nevertheless I am always with you: for you hold me by my right hand… (Psalm 73:23)
We took in a few other awesome views along the way; the Columbia River Valley and Gorge were pretty impressive too. I was able to stop and get a few pics with my Canon DSLR at this stop. I haven’t even had the chance to look at the photos taken with my Canon yet; I can’t wait to see what I got along the way…
We hit I-5 just north of Tacoma around the rush hour. Although I was pretty tired from seven days of taming Ole Yeller, God’s Spirit gave me peace and patience. The ride through Tacoma and into Olympia was a “bumper-to-bumper” breeze. We arrived at our new home around 6:30pm PST and gave it a quick walk-through… everything was ready for move in plus there was an awesome loaf of banana bread just begging to be loved on as well. We ended the evening with dinner at our friend’s (Dan and Cassie) home enjoying an awesome lasagna and great conversation. (Thanks Dan and Cassie for the hospitality to us road-weary travelers).
One act is required — and that is all: for this one act pulls everything together and keeps everything in order… This one act is to stand with attention in your heart. (Theophan the Recluse)
Today we unpack Ole Yeller and make a new home. Your continued prayers for us are cherished. I’ll continue to update you frequently during the next few days of settling in. Blessings and Love to you all!
390 Miles of Mountains, Valleys, Rivers, and Streams… [Day 6]
Wow. Six days (starting the seventh now…) on the road in about 30 square feet of living space shared by three people; this is what we call “quality” family time. For some folks this might seem like a nightmare, but it has been an experience that we will recall fondly for the remainder of our lives… hopefully I’m not just speaking for myself. We have enjoyed breathtaking beauty that could only have been created and sustained by the Hand of God, shared prayers together, made new memories together, and talked excitedly and expectantly of what our new future holds. We are grateful to God who has called us and welcome freely His Hand to work in us and through us. We are thankful for the friends and family who have upheld our journey with prayer and loving communication for the past week. We know that it is the faithful prayers of those wonderful people that has buoyed our spirit and helped us to remain riveted upon the Presence that never leaves or forsakes us. All Praise to God and may He bless those who have been a blessing to us. Amen.
Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way: the love of Christ must come before all else. You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge. Rid your heart of all deceit. Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love. (Rule of St Benedict 4:20-26)
Additional Shout Outs
Gotta give some serious props to a few people…
Truckers; man O man… These guys and gals don’t get enough credit. They provide much of the backbone support for keeping America running and probably don’t get near enough respect for the job they do or the logistical support they provide. So, here’s to you Truckers! You people rock. You are also much more generous and kind over the road than I have given you credit for in the past. Now that I have had the “small” experience of walking a little bit in your shoes, I understand a bit more of what you go through on a daily basis. I have a new found and deep respect for what you do and what you must endure in the course of doing your job. May God Bless you in your work and may He keep you safe as you do it.
Roadside Rest workers; you deserve a pat on the back. Thanks for keeping them clean and a pleasant oasis for us tired and bladder stretched travelers. These little outposts along the way of a long journey are often taken for granted… not by me; never again. Thank you people who work to keep them clean and welcoming.
People who keep the GPS Satellites working; thank you. I love my Garmin GPS, but without the Satellites and the people who keep them running and streaming data back to it… well, it wouldn’t be worth anything… so, you people who invent the technology and keep the stuff running to make my little Garmin so happy, THANK YOU! I’d be lost without you.
“A man who, while remembering God, respects every man, by a hidden movement of God’s hand himself receives help from every man. A man who protects the injured has God as his helper; a man who stretches his hand to aid his brother has God’s arm to support him.” (Issac of Syria)
About our travel yesterday…
On a more solemn note, we were sorrowful to miss another opportunity that we weren’t in the “know” about. As we passed through Clinton, Montana we realized it is the home of the Testicle Festival. This is certainly a grandiose affair that every person should experience at least once in a lifetime. Sadly, we won’t be in the area when the festival convenes this year. Maybe we’ll make it some other time for the delight that is lamb frys and mountain oysters (ewww).
We experienced much more of the same beauty; more majestic mountains, valleys, rivers, and streams. The view and landscape continues to change and provide us with variety for our viewing pleasure. Words do not describe the grandeur and splendor that our eyes have beheld. We have often heard how beautiful this particular area of the country is and we have not been disappointed. I only wish the photos we provide in the slideshow were a better representation of what we have seen with our own eyes.
Today will end our trip across America as we expect to pull into the port of Olympia sometime late this afternoon. We’ll update you again soon… Keep praying for us! God Bless You!
We departed Sundance, Wyoming with a steady drizzling rain pushing us down the road and had in mind to make Belgrade, Montana (just outside of Bozeman, MT) our goal for the day/evening. There was no real agenda or itinerary for stops or sightseeing for this day. Since it was the Fourth of July, we figured we’d make distance our holiday and push as many miles behind us as we could…I was counting on most people doing parties and cookouts and not being on the road with us. My plan worked; the road was rather barren of travelers and there wasn’t much in the way of attractions along our way for this leg of the journey.
Beautiful Panoramic Landscapes
“Lord how glorious are your works…” (Psalm 92:5)
The journey between Sundance and Belgrade was an interesting mix; there were hills, mountains, high desert, and plains. The views were incredible. We also traveled through the Crow Indian Reservation… not so majestic (sad face). We have traveled (over the years) through a number of American Indian Reservations and the ones we have experienced (Northeast, Mid-South, Southwest, and Alaska) have all been a very depressing to me. I don’t want to get all “soapboxy” about the subject, but I personally feel that we have committed atrocities and disservice to the Native Americans more than any other people group on the planet. I was especially keen to this feeling of depression as I observed the figurative juxtaposition of our own 4th of July celebration against the witness of a people without a lot of freedom, liberty, and justice. I was also reminded of some of the horrendous atrocities of the “Indian Wars” as we traveled through Little Big Horn, Custer’s Last Stand, and a few other notable battle sites. (sigh).
“Know that the Lord he is God: it is he who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people.” (Psalm 100:2)
Not much to recall on this day’s journey… One thing I can say is that my upper body and shoulders are getting extremely fatigued. It’s been five days on the road for daylight to dark and my upper body is Ti – red. I need a break or a serious massage. Fortunately, I think we will finish the drive in a couple more outings. Of course, I have to unload and unpack then, but I’m hoping for an adrenaline rush to get me through that (smile).
Ok, so here’s the highlight of the day …and it didn’t come to us until the very end of the trip.
We decided to eat in Bozeman, Montana (the choices were better according to the Garmin). We arrived around 8pm and I’m pretty whipped; my arms and shoulders are in knots and I’m pretty “flat-lined” of the brain. Seeing an Applebees Restaurant and a Famous Dave’s BBQ close together with a huge strip mall parking lot between them, I decided to pull in and park the Big Ole Yeller Truck. I pulled into an open spot in front of a Camero not noticing (at the time) there was a man sitting in the car. I wasn’t close mind you… I pulled into a spot with yellow lines on both sides of me. The Camero was pulled in perpendicular to the “lined spots” actually taking up three parking spots with his car. Fast-forward… I turned off the engine and opened up the door and Camero-man was out of his car and scowling at me. He says; “You have this whole parking lot and you have to pull up right in front of me???” This was said with little veins bulging in his temples and big veins bulging in his neck. I’m like, (calmly)… “I’m sorry, would you like me to move?” He scowled more and said “no” and then complained a bit more about my choice of parking spot… and I apologized again and asked once more if he’d like me to move the truck… this time jumping back into the seat and making motion to start the engine. He declined my offer again and hopped into his car and moved to the other side of Ole Yeller, still parking perpendicular to the lines and pointing to the strip mall.
We decided to eat BBQ and had a delightful meal. We took our time and it was close to 10:00pm when we finished and just getting fully dark outside. Remember this was the 4th of July… and we were in Bozeman, MT. When we stepped outside, heading back to the truck and ready to make Belgrade, MT for the evening and our Holiday Inn Express, we were greeted to fireworks in the sky at every point of the compass. They were being shot in several locations filling the “big night sky” of Bozeman. And… The parking lot, streets, curbs, and sidewalks were FULL of People and I mean FULL. This was Camero Man’s reason for fussing at us. We had parked in an area that would obscure his view of the fireworks. Of course, being interlopers into the land of “Big Sky” and all things Bozeman, we had no clue. We get an “F” in local protocol, but Laurie said I had the attitude of Jesus when I was accosted by “Wanting-to-watch-fireworks-camero-man,” so all in all I think we were able to score a passing grade of C+ as missionaries on this evening.
Chapter Three and Epilogue
It wasn’t easy getting Ole Yeller out from the sea of people and from under the “pyrotechnic big sky of Bozeman” and we got a little twisted around to boot. The Garmin doesn’t like getting turned around in parking lots and starts freaking out like “Rainman” repeating “recalculating, recalculating, turn left then left, then.. recalculating, turn right then left, recalculating…” so, I got kinda lost and had to go about 5 miles into the gunpowder and sulfur smelling crowds of Bozeman before I could find a “recalculated route” around the congregations paying homage to the “technicolor fire gods of the sky.” In the end, we found Belgrade… the Holiday Inn Express… and a great night’s rest. I’m ready to press on to Spokane, Washington today. Pray for us as we take on the Bitterroot and Swan Mountains. God Bless!
A Certain philosopher asked St Anthony: Father, how can you be so happy when you are deprived of the consolation of books? Anthony replied: My book, O philosopher, is the nature of created things, and any time I want to read the words of God, the book is before me. (Desert Fathers: CIII)
Forging West & National Treasures [Day 4]
We had some stops and sightseeing detours planned for this day, so we left Oacoma, South Dakota with excitement and anticipation for what we might experience. On our agenda was Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and hopefully a much awaited change in scenery-landscape-topography (all the flatness was somewhat boring and dreary…especially when you’re trying to stay alert driving).
As we drove through these immense grassy plains I couldn’t help but wonder about the early settlers and cowboys traveling through this area… how tiny they must have felt and how lonesome it must have been; especially when they may have been traveling alone or in very small groups.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it previously, but we started seeing these road signs and billboards telling us of all the great and glorious things that could be found in the Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota. To say the least, we were intrigued considering they were announcing the store’s location to us some 400 miles or more before we would arrive! We determined this MUST be a stop for us. We had to check out the Wall Drug Store (and we did).
A Change in Topography
Just West of Kadoka, South Dakota the landscape began to sprout a mesa and a rolling hill or two… I was encouraged by this little tease from Mother Nature, but it wasn’t until we got closer to Wall, SD that the topography really started to change. The grasslands turned more rocky and hilly as we entered the outer perimeter of the Badlands. I would have loved to travel the more scenic highway routes through the Badlands, but driving megaton Ole Yeller doused those thoughts and wishes putting them to rest. I refocused my attentions on the road ahead and forged on toward Mt. Rushmore. Our detour to the national landmarks of Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial did take us off the interstate and onto a more scenic drive right into the heart of the Black Hills. It was beautiful; although I was a little tight fisted driving through the twists and turns of the mountain roads… Ole Yeller straining its diesel engine to make it to the top of the peaks and then the weight of her momentum pushing us down the other sides. I was alert factor 4 during this drive…
The monuments were very cool to see and I got some (I think) good pictures with my Canon DSLR (pics in the slideshow are from my little Fuji point and shoot cam). As soon as we arrived at the Mt. Rushmore Park we were drenched in a downpour. Not to be deterred, we used the rainstorm for a lunch break and ravenously attacked a few PBJ’s courteously provided for us by our “Johnson-Girl Friends” (Thanks Meg and Nicole). The rain ended almost as quickly as it started and we were able to check out the monument and get our photos. We said our goodbyes to the stoned presidents and headed southwest for Custer, SD and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Sixteen miles later we arrived at Crazy Horse. I was a little bit bummed, because I did not realize how incomplete the work was on the monument. It is a work in progress, but I had not understood that it wasn’t further along than I had thought it might be. Nonetheless, it was cool and there was lots of interesting stuff to see in the museum areas. Our time was short here, so we took our photos…checked out a few displays, and hit the trail once again with Sturgis, SD and Sundance, Wyoming in our sights.
Sturgis was a drive-through as it just happened to be along the way. Sturgis is home of the largest motorcycle rally in North America, or so it boasts. Fortunately, it was not scheduled during our pass through the town. We forged on with Sundance, WY as our final destination. Sundance is the place that the Sundance Kid got his name (the Sundance Kid that hung out with Butch Cassidy…). It’s a pretty little town, but there’s not much here…but it’s pretty. Little. Not much here, but pretty…
Today we’ll try to make it to Bozeman, Montana. I’ve done some mapquesting and figure we’ll be able to make Olympia by Tuesday if everything continues to progress as it has up to this point. Keep on following us and keep on praying for us. I promise your prayers are being felt as we travel. God’s Presence is heavy and we are in great spirits as we continue the journey. God Bless You!
“Continue to keep a warm love for me… I cannot be with you physically but my heart is always with you. Like me make efforts to win friends everywhere… Do not think you will ever have enough. Be bound to all, whether rich or poor, in brotherly sympathy.” (St Anselm)
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We hit the road again traveling west through the remainder of Wisconsin on our way to Minnesota planning to land in South Dakota for the evening; we had another 400+ mile day planned for our travels. The primary topography was flatlands and farmlands (agriculture, dairy, and beef). Although it was pretty, it was for the most part rather boring. There were several highlights though; as we crossed into Minnesota we saw some awesome landscapes of lakes and islands. These views were short-lived as we quickly entered the farmland territories… this would be our world for the majority of the day.
Points of Interest
I thought when we passed the MH/RV Hall of Fame Museum two days ago we might not be able to top that missed opportunity. Oh how sadly mistaken I was… we entered Minnesota and one of the first towns we encountered was Austin. “Austin” you say??? What’s so special about Austin, Minnesota? Only the Spam© capitol of the planet… that’s right, Spamtown, USA baby. And yes, we missed the chance to check out the Spam© museum. My heart is broken, but there is comfort knowing I have at least passed through this Mecca for mystery meat lovers.
Continuing our journey west we started to feel a little hungry, especially after having our taste buds teased by the lingering memories of Spamtown. We thought we’d stop off for a quick sandwich or sub and decided the next populated area would receive our patronage (no small feat in the middle of Farmville MN). We started to see signs announcing Blue Earth, MN was the next outpost of civilization, so we made preparations to exit the interstate and grab a bite to eat. What we encountered was of Giant © proportion… I didn’t know it, but we had slipped through a rift in the space-time continuum and arrived in the land of the Jolly Green Giant… no wonder there are so many farms, a dude that big has to have some kind of appetite (see pics in the slideshow below).
Flat, flat, and more flat…
The rest of the ride was without event… no other delightful points of interest, just flat, flat, and more flat straight, very straight highway. We stopped off in Mitchell, South Dakota for supper and pressed on another hour after our meal to land in Oacoma, SD for our evening layover.
Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse
Today we plan to do a little sightseeing. I want to stop off at Mt. Rushmore and take some pictures, I would also like to check out the Crazy Horse Monument too, but don’t know if I can fit that in. If we were traveling by auto, I wouldn’t hesitate, but “Big Yellow” isn’t the most road happy rider I’ve been in… so, we’ll have to play Crazy Horse by ear. Our goal to end the evening is Sundance, Wyoming. This is a pretty aggressive goal considering our plans to sightsee, but we’ll give it a shot. As always, keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours. God Bless!
Love takes to itself the life of the loved one. The greater the love, the greater the suffering of the soul. The fuller the love, the fuller the knowledge of God. The more ardent the love, the more fervent the prayer. The more perfect the love, the holier the life. (Staretz Silouan)