Every Which Way But Home

I’m a week shy of  being away from blogging for three months.  So many times during the last weeks and months I nearly delved into addressing my blog audience.  But the time just has not been right.  I’m here, at present, and I’d like to share some brief snapshots of the time that’s spanned between now and my last blog.

Thanksgiving, 2006 –  Almost-always-frigid Craig, Colorado.  Although the temperatures were less than inviting, I enjoyed the warmth of family.  My family is spread between Colorado, Iowa, Texas, and Pennsylvania, but a decent chunk of my family was able to eat together and enjoy plenty of cards and dominoes.  Enjoyed getting some exercise by walking the high school track in the company of my oldest sister, Jan.  Since I  took work with me, I became very familiar with the only wifi hotspot in Craig, Serendipity Coffee Shop.  The only coffee shop that I’ve been able to enjoy a peanut butter mocha!  The best coffee drink on the planet!

Pre-Christmas December, 2006Beautiful-and-slightly-warmer Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Got to spend some quality and quantity time with my brother, his wife, and their 3 1/2 year old son.  It was sure fun getting to know my nephew, really for the first time!  Shortly after arriving, my brother and I went up into the national forest nearby to find THE Christmas tree!  What a fun memory that will stick with me for a long, long, time!  Plenty of snow adorned the roads, trails, and forest, but the sun was shining as we walked from knoll to grove.  We had a “system,” where we’d try to remember our top three possible tree candidates.  Most of the time, we couldn’t recall exactly where the other choices were, so we’d let them fall by the mental wayside.  But finally we encountered a beautiful pine, exceptionally tall, with plenty of room for ornaments!  Now, some people may label this tree as a “Charlie Brown” tree, but my brother and I agreed that it had lots of character.  Although its branches were not as full as other trees, this one had the height and look that thought everyone would enjoy. Once we got this into my brother’s home, we had to cut a couple of feet off to make it fit in their vaulted-ceilinged living room!  What a tree!

Also, my brother and I made a quick trip back to the Craig area to go hunting with one of my brother’s friends, who is a guide and outfitter.  Although Steve didn’t really have any luck (well, he nicked an elk, but it never went down!), we had a great time hanging out!

That same hunting weekend, my sister, Jan, asked me if I’d be willing to sing with her at church that weekend on a Christmas song she had prepared.  I always enjoy sharing music with her, so I accepted, although I was a bit nervous about learning “Ring the Bells” in the span on 12 hours.  But it turned out very well, and that will always be a special memory, tucked away in my Christmas file!

Christmas 2006Colorado Springs.  What a fun Christmas!  I had so much fun helping Santa behind the scenes this year!  My brother has been wanting a Harley Davidson, and he and his wife were aiming at getting it sometime in March or April. Well, my brother’s wife thought it would be the ideal surprise Christmas gift, instead!  I was witness to the incredible ups and downs of the roller coaster of emotion – one day my sister-in-law would be exstatic because of progress made, only to be crestfallen the next because of some impossible hoop that couldn’t be jumped through.  After it was all said and done, though, it worked out beautifully!  Two days before Christmas, my brother and his wife went for a “morning date” together, where Rachel pursuaded Steve to pull himself out of bed and go for a ride.  They then pulled into one of the Harley dealers in town. Steve still didn’t have any idea what was to come.  He just thought they were going to do some more window shopping for their upcoming spring purchase!  Once inside, the truth quickly came to the surface!  Almost the entire staff of the dealership was in on this Christmas deal, plus a local radio station that was there for the day for a promo.  After some wandering around, Rachel eventually got Steve to walk up to the cycle he wanted.  He noticed there was a bow on it.  And a card.  Rachel urged him to open the card, and -voila!-  it was from her to him.  My brother was nearly speachless! He said something to the effect of, “This is like those Lexus commercials!”  So, long story short, my brother got a great bike this year, and I got to watch it all happen! 

New Years Eve 2006Getting-Colder Craig, Colorado. Spent a quiet and reflective New Year’s Eve with my parents.  No bubbly, no party, just a few chocolates, my folks, and the book of James to bring in the New Year. 

First week of 2007Chilly-but-bearable Ames, Iowa. Got to spend a good chunk of time with the youngest of my two older sisters, Patti, and her family.  Became familiar with another coffee shop, Teraccino Coffee Shop, as work continued to roll.  We played games, watched tv, ate out, and had some good conversation. 

3rd week of January 07Nice ‘n’ warm Los Angeles, California.  While the west and midwest enjoyed highs in the teens, twenties, or maybe forties, this business trip allowed me to enjoy 60s during the majority of my 4-day trip.  The last time I had been to L.A. was in 9th grade, so it was fun being back at the beach, seeing palm trees, and being surrounded by tons of crazy traffic! Enjoyed dinner with our team at a place called Rock n Fish, a popular seafood place.  First time I’ve had sweet potato fries, but hopefully not the last!  Those plus my crab cakes and clam chowder were top notch!  There are two menu items that I like to compare from restaurant to restaurant – eggrolls and clam chowder.  Well, so far, no one has been able to top my wife’s homemade eggrolls.  But this bowl of chowder ranks #2 (the first being from a small ma & pa place in Ketchikan, Alaska).  This had a great smokey flavor, and was very creamy.  Anyway. . .fun dinner, good food.

Now 2007Ottawa, Illinois.  Now that I’ve gotten most of the traveling out of my system, I’m happy to be back at home.  A familiar place, familiar smells, familiar sounds.

Looking to the future requires looking to the Lord, and that’s my heart’s desire.  God and God alone knows the steps ahead of me, but He’s promised to never leave nor forsake me.  As I grow in my walk with Him, I have nothing to fear.  While I walk in obedience, I can walk in peace, knowing that I’m in God’s keeping.

As He brings each of you to mind, this will be my prayer for you, that each of my friends and family members will seek God’s face in 2007, that we all may find fulfillment in Christ and the deep satisfaction that comes from “keeping in step with the Spirit.”

I have no idea when I’ll write next, but may God bless you between now and the time I blog again!

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