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Alaska

Alaska Roadtrip Days 4 – 6

Thursday, April 26, DAY 4

We left Louisiana early heading for Waco, Texas, hoping to visit Magnolia Farms, of Chip and Joanna Gaines fame. Our drive through Texas was spectacular, thanks to Ladybird Johnson and her wildflower program. The highways are still filled with these pink flowers, and yellow, coral, red and blue. The rolling landscape in southern Texas is our favorite so far.

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We finally arrived at Magnolia Farms. Big mistake! The place was over-run with busloads of tourists and end-of-school trips. So, we gave it a pass and found a campsite nearby in a state park on Waco Lake, our prettiest spot to date. State parks and Federal parks are proving to be the cleanest, most picturesque of all the campgrounds.

20180428_065528.jpgFriday, the 27th, Day 5: We slept well, got up early, made and drank coffee, broke camp, and drove north through a lot of Texas into Oklahoma, the landscape becoming drier and flatter as we went on.   The roadside wildflowers disappeared in Oklahoma, and huge tracts of farm land replaced them… wheat, cotton, cattle, goats, llamas, bison.

We camped in northern Oklahoma in Great Plains State Park. A lake was surrounded by rocky hills of rust colored stones, looking much more like “the West.” The above photo was sunrise this morning.

Saturday, the 28th, Day 6: An educational day. We saw more and more windmills covering the plains, providing electricity and looking sort of spooky… like huge white giants waving their arms. We saw two turkeys that we at first thought were road runners, but then we saw a REAL roadrunner. Pretty!

We saw thousands of cattle — some on pastureland, some jammed in feed lots being fattened for the slaughter. Pee-yew! No stink can compare. Many, may feed lots over hundreds of miles as we traveled west… dozens of grain elevators holding the feed for the thousands of cattle. We were told that one of the houses slaughtered 500 cattle/ hour!!! That’s a quarter of a million pounds of beef in one hour… a lot of Big Mac’s!

We drove through the historic district of Dodge City and saw the Long Branch Saloon. Kitty, Chester, Festus, and Mr. Dillon could not be found. However, we remembered from Gunsmoke episodes that Dodge City was a major cattle drive destination even back then, so it is still a major beef processing town. The rail lines run westward, carrying beef to Denver and beyond.

Late this afternoon Tom had a stroke of genius! He said, “Why don’t we sleep in a hotel tonight. We could get a really good shower, do laundry, clean up the car a bit, eat out.” What a jewel he is. I think we’ll do this again after 5-6 days camping. Great idea.

So, here I sit in a Comfort Inn, in Garden City, Kansas just west of Dodge City. I also have wi-fi to catch up here.

 

 

 

 

Alaska

Alaska Trip – April 25, Day 3

 

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All the best laid plans of mice and women sometimes don’t come to pass. I had hoped to be able to write here each evening after setting up camp, but tonight is the first time I’ve had wi-fi, and a phone signal.

MONDAY, Day 1, we drove from Pinellas County, Florida to camp at St. George’s State Park, on a long barrier island off the coast of  Apalachicola, Florida. The park is pretty, set in a pine hammock surrounded by sand dunes and sea oats. It is a birder’s paradise, and we saw many of them with their huge cameras and tripods seeking out the perfect photo. I was disappointed that I could not get a signal to be able to write. The stars were spectacular away from city lights. We could easily make out the Milky Way. Outside of the State park area, the island was crowded with houses and condos, but the park was totally unadulterated.

TUESDAY, Day 2, we drove on through Panama City, Pensacola, and Mobile, Alabama to camp near there at Escatawpa Hollow Campground which had come recommended by a lady at a hardware store where we stopped to buy some nuts and bolts. We were greeted by a most cordial campground manager who escorted us to our choice of campsites in a dense forest beside a lovely river. We were the ONLY people in the park. The area had endured a severe flood recently, and the whole place had been under three feet of water. Yesterday, however, it was perfect. I do wish I had the ability to post photos today. Perhaps when we get closer to a big city (which I don’t want to do) I will have the technology to share. At this campground we had neither phone nor any internet signal at all.

TODAY, WEDNESDAY, April  25th, we drove on through Hattiesburg, Columbia, McComb, and Natachez, Mississippi on US 98. We crossed the Mississippi River at Natchez. They were working on one side of an old huge metal bridge.

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Tom took photos. Right now we are camped at a private campground near Natchitoches, Louisiana. Adequate, but nothing more.

So far, we enjoyed Mississippi the most. It is a very beautiful state when seen off the interstates… long rolling hills covered covered with pines and sweet gum trees.

Our goal in driving this trip was to travel OFF the Interstates, and, for the most part we have succeeded. We input our next destination into our Garmin navigator, and she directed us perfectly along good highways which passed through picturesque towns.

Well, Tom and Jack are already sacked out, so I’d better stop here before I lose all I’ve written. The nights are cool, so we have sleeping bags at the ready, just in case. Good night!

Alaska

Alaska Trip Eve, April 22, 2018

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Well, the camper is loaded, lowered, and buttoned up. Tom is outside now scrubbing the pollen and city grime from the exterior. Time is short! We plan to leave tomorrow morning early to beat rush hour traffic on US 19 to Apalachicola.

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We have been packing what clothes we need for our trip into fish boxes. The clothes  will stay in Alaska, but we will fill these same boxes with salmon, halibut, and ling cod, and the well-used boxes will make yet another trip to Florida in the belly of an Alaska plane. (Alaska Airlines understands like no other how precious our fish cargo is to us!)

Jack knows something’s up. He has been sniffing all the boxes and bags, whining for attention, not wanting me to ignore him to write this. 20180422_143340.jpg

We plan to camp tomorrow night in Apalachicola, so I’m not too worried about snow…yet. We have to cross the Rockies eventually though, so please pray with me that it will have melted by the time we do that. Alaska has been warmer and less snowy than the lower 48 this year. That’s good.

In fact, God is good…all the time!

 

 

Alaska

April 18, 2018 Alaska Drive Prep

Four days and counting…. then it’s goodbye, Florida. Alaska, here we come. We’re watching the frigid weather carefully. All that snow up north makes me nervous, but if it snows, we’ll stop until it melts.

[For earlier posts about the Alaska Adventure go to March 23, 2018 Alaska Plans and March 27, 2018 Alaska Adventure.]

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A couple of weeks ago, we set up our little Flagstaff pop-up camper in the front yard and started getting ready for our 5500 miles trip to Alaska. We cleaned it, painted what needed painting, bought a new battery, new propane tank, and new tires.

  • 20180418_144838.jpg Here is our little camper.  Folded down it’s teeny, and tracks like there’s nothing behind the car. Inside, it’s pretty roomy. It has heat, AC, heated mattress (wired like electric blankets) two big wing beds, a dining table, great for cards on a rainy day, little fridge, microwave, the outside stove that we can take inside if the weather’s bad. We removed the water tank to make more storage space under a settee. There’s a tiny kitchen sink, but no bathroom or shower facilities. Nowadays, pretty much all campgrounds have bathhouses.

To prepare our Jeep, we put on new tires, new brakes, pads, and changed all the belts20180418_144854.jpg and hoses. There are very long desolate stretches of highway  British Columbia or the Yukon. The car is a 2009, but only has around  69,000 miles on it, so it should be fine.

Plans are great, but I want to remember, “The horse is armed against the day of battle, but safety is of the LORD.”

So, we covet your prayers as we undertake this adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

Journey to Publication

The Journey Continues #2

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

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Why do I want to publish my book? I have dealt with that question more than a few times in the last few years. It’s a novel, but it presents the gospel, in what I hope is a compelling way. In answering this question, I ask myself, “What occupies your mind more than sharing God’s redemption story as you experienced it?”

God pressured me constantly. He said something like, “Everybody has a story. My story in you is unique because you are unique, as are all my children.  I created you to be born before I laid the foundations of the world. I knew you would reject Me for a while, and I pursued you anyway. I plucked you from the abyss, gave you abundant life and the promise of an eternity with Me. Now, I am asking you to write about how I revealed Myself to you, an avowed atheist. You know that was a miracle, don’t you? In the whole scheme of this world, is there anything more important for you to do, than to share what I did in your life?”

“No Sir.”

“Well, get to it!”

So, I have a mission.

***

This morning I attended my first regular meeting of Word Weavers. This international organization of Christian writers have local groups that meet once a month to critique one another’s work, encourage one another, and to discover opportunities for growth in our writing skills, networking, and fellowship. I was encouraged by hearing that I am not alone in my disdain for having to learn all the intricacies of the world of social media. After all, I don’t want to be a part of the world, do I?

I learned that, not only do I need this website, I also need to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, to name a few. I was encouraged to stick to it (even in the midst of Facebook’s horror headlines of late), because as Christian writers working together as the Body of Christ, we can help one other along our respective journeys to publication of God’s Message to a lost and dying world.

Today’s Word Weavers meeting in Tampa was a 45 minute drive from my home in Gulfport, across Tampa Bay. I learned there is a new Word Weavers group in Homer, Alaska, about an hour and a half away from our summer home in Soldotna. How about that! In Alaska!!

God has convicted me that striving to publishing His Message by my writing is merely obedience to His command to “Go!” God is in control of when and if my book is published. It is only my duty to obey and do those things He has set before me.

Like Abraham, I feel a bit apprehensive because I’m stepping out in faith, not knowing where I’m going. What God is asking me to do is not grievous, and I certainly don’t think I have all the answers. I just know I have the answer God gave me, and He has commanded me to share my story of His good news with others.

I covet your prayers that I see the road signs, follow where He leads, wait on Him to renew my strength, obey, and never, ever give up.

Thank you for reading.

Devotionals

April 3, 2018 “Count It All Joy!”

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  James 1:1-4 KJV

 

Let all the earth rejoice!
Let all the earth rejoice!

 

I have heard people say, “Never pray for patience, or God will send you trials.”

Perhaps people say such things as just a joke, or maybe they have believed a false doctrine that God works that way. Trials come because you and I live in a fallen world with sin, sickness, war, and ignorance, a world under temporary dominion of the prince of this world, Satan. The earth itself is groaning, awaiting our full redemption.

So, just why does James encourage me to “count it all joy?” I believe it’s because the trials that the devil sends for evil, God works together for my good, having predestined me to be conformed to the image of His  dear Son. I can “count it all joy” because I am given the amazing opportunity to demonstrate that in Christ I am already counted victorious over any trials the world, the flesh or the devil can throw at me.

But… if  I’m not firmly grounded in God’s Word and I’m walking in the flesh, I can sometimes forget that, and listen to Satan’s lies and temptations — “You don’t deserve these trials. It’s just not fair. You should be terribly afraid of what’s happening. You should complain a lot about the pain you are having to endure.”

When I listen to Satan, I murmur and complain like the children of Israel did in the wilderness, and I miss the blessing of following God’s path to victory.

Conversely, joy comes when I recognize the lies of Satan and declare, “You are wrong, Satan! I deserve so much more than these trials. I deserve hell. So, Satan, I no longer fear the trials you send because my greatest fear has been removed by Jesus. Because I’m forgiven of my sin, hell and death hold no torment for me. Satan, I am so consumed with gratitude for what Christ has done for me, I refuse to let you steal my joy today.”

My pastor Jeff says, “Once you have an answer for death, anything else becomes bearable.” I think he’s right. All other trials provide an opportunity to praise God for his mercy and his grace.

This morning the sun came up again, and it was beautiful. Mockingbirds sang in the trees, and I watched a baby dove learn to fly.

God is good all the time, and today I rejoice that all is well with my soul.

Maranatha!

 

 

Journey to Publication

Journey to Publication #1

On my homepage, I mentioned that I wrote a novel ten years ago. Lately, I have felt the urging to dig it out again and try to relearn the publishing business which has changed so dramatically in ten years… not to mention since the 70’s.

Publishing is not new to me. In the 1970’s, my husband and I wrote and illustrated books and magazine articles as a way to make money when we lived on our sailboat, but publishing was so different then — portable typewriters, carbon paper, and snail mail.

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Nowadays, the market is so glutted with self-published books that standard publishers need a guaranteed return on their investment.

Nowadays, unless you’re Stephen King or Annie Dillard, a publishing house will not give you the time of day without an agent.

Nowadays, an agent will not give you the time of day without an “on-line presence,” and a “following.”

So, the website.

In February I attended my first Florida Christian Writers Conference at Lake Yale Conference center. Fabulous! Hundreds of professional and aspiring writers who love Jesus in one room! I was very encouraged by the response to my novel from a NY Times bestselling author. Also, a poem I wrote won inclusion in a soon-to-be-released book. So, that was encouraging.

However, from all sides I learned that my manuscript of St. Anne’s is about twice as long as it should be for consideration by a standard publisher. I also learned that belly-aching about how much harder it is to publish in today’s marketplace is sort of stupid really. It is what it is. So, no more belly-aching. Promise!

Nowadays, I spend a couple of hours a day mercilessly editing St. Anne’s, and I spend more than a couple of hours a day trying to learn about how to use domain names, servers, hosting services, et al. Then I study even more to learn how to use this software to prepare these web pages without accidentally pushing the wrong button and erasing everything I wrote for the past hour. AAGH ! It has happened a few times. Oops, that was belly-aching, wasn’t it. Sorry.

Please pray for me that I continue along the path God has set before me, that Satan, that old discourager, is kept at bay, and that I finally succeed in entering the 21st Century, technologically speaking.

So, the website.

Thank you for reading!

Jane