Monday, October 16, 2017

Another visit to ... Africa!

I just this week got back from a short visit to Botswana.  It was a 39-hour trip over, and a bit over 35 hours to get back. I flew from BHM to DFW, then to London and then to Johannesburg, before missing my flight to Gaborone, Botswana.

When I got to Planet Lodge, my accommodations when we moved to BW in Jan., 2013, and I was one room closer to the www server this trip.  I recalled that first week in BW, and how scared I was of being robbed and how scared I was to be bringing my sweet wife into such a situation.

As usual my fears were totally unfounded, and this time I had no fear of note. Even more happy was meeting up with a new Christian friend from U of Western Mich, Steve C.  There aren't many Christians in public Higher ed, so it was especially nice to share a week with Dr. Steve.

Both of us worked extremely hard in reviewing the different programs of the Univ. of Botswana.  We both had numerous suggestions as to how the respective programs might be improved.  We shall see what comes of all of this.

My greatest pleasure from this trip, was visiting with many of our friends from Gabs.  The second greatest was going back "home" to Gabs Game Reserve.  Brenda and I made so many visits that, 4 years later, I still recalled the roads and what animals we were likely to spot where.

It struck me a bit odd, that I found the Game Reserve to be the most comfortable and familiar spot in Gabs.  What a Blessing it is, and yet so few locals ever go there.  We only saw ONE other vehicle all Saturday AM!  

Just goes to show... we take SO MUCH, SO Many BLESSINGS, for granted.  What are you taking for granted right now?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Zion Park Desert Bighorn Sheep

We LOVE seeing wildlife.  We particularly enjoy seeing bigger animals NOT inhabiting our normal environments.  We LOVED seeing the African game, and we LOVE seeing the Elk, antelope, and mule deer of the US West.  As we were coming out of Zion National Park, Andrew shouted, “Sheep” and there they were, a small herd clearly exposed on a huge grey rock.  We had NO trouble deciding to pull off and see if we could get some pictures.

After only a very short hike, here is what we saw these Desert Bighorn sheep-

Later, Brenda and I in Rocky Mountain National Park, saw another smaller herd, this time of Rocky Mountain bighorn.

The beauty and wonder of these creations of G^d add so much to life.  Go out and enjoy some nature this week.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A good deal- for a change

When Brenda and I lived within 30 min or so of the Appomattox Court House, we each bought a “senior Pass” which grants our car, and all occupants, admission to any National Park.  Before we left VA, the Appomattox Court House National Park was changed from fee to “no fee”.  Oh well.

But we are just returning from a “Western Tour” of 5 different National Parks, to which we got free admission because of our passes.  The first 4 were $30 each, and the last one was $20.  Plus, we got $9 off our night of camping in the Grand Canyon.

So, we exempted a grand total of $149 for the price of two passes at $10 each plus $10 each shipping and handling.

And… we ain’t dead yet.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Arches National Park

Arches NP was the northern-most of the Utah parks.  It was a considerable drive from Bryce up to Arches, but for us Easterners, every vista was new and delightful.  The scenery is indeed something to behold.  We had a hotel reservation near the park entrance in Moab- or so we thought.  When we got to the hotel, for the only time the whole trip, we found that the reservation we had made…was NOT to be found by the hotel.  Out of 7 nights in hotels and one night of camping, that is really pretty good.  It turned out that the messed-up reservation worked to our benefit, as it allowed us to leave the park on go straight to Grand Junction, saving some time and money.  Thank you, L^rd for a failed reservation.

Arches is a very interesting place.  The composition of the rocks there,  combined with the wind, rain, and ice results in many beautiful rock arches, hence the name.

It was amazing to us the beauty and variety resulting from weather and rocks.  The colors varied from red, to almost white to brown.  The rock formations were likewise different, and with a little imagination, you could see all sorts of animals and even people in the rock shapes.

Andrew and I made a pretty long, hot, dusty hike to the Landscape Arch, then on to the Perspective Arch with its huge “window”.  We visited another arch, up near there, which was smaller, but till with its own beauty.

So, what did we learn in Arches NP?  Well those things that eat away at us, those things which wear us down, may well be producing in us a beauty that we do NOT see right away. The arches didn’t come into being overnight, and neither do we.  Those things bugging you, tiring you, trying your patience, can be destroying you or making you beautiful.

Think about it.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bryce Canyon National Park

Of all the parks we visited, Bryce probably offered the least variety.  But, that is NOT to say that we found it boring, not in the least! The chief entry into Bryce is a long road winding upward from maybe 5000 feet up to 9000+ feet.  Along the way, you can see different views of the long winding Bryce Canyon, there are plenty of places to pull off, and take in, G^d’s creation.

At the far end of the park is a very gentle trail, unlike those of Zion NP, and we enjoyed a very pleasant walk.  The trail was lined not only with Douglass Fir and White Fir, but also with ground squirrels.

Bryce Canyon itself is beautiful… but it doesn’t change all that much from the start to the finish. And life is a lot that way. We have the initial thrill of a new wife (I don’t mean changing wives…), a new job, a new child, a new home. But, after that, things aren’t nearly so exciting.

But we made the long climb to the top, and it was nice to get there and feel the cool air and see the Alpine vegetation and air clarity. Perseverance pays off, in Bryce Canyon Park, and in many aspects of live.

“Let us NOT grow weary in well doing, for we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.”  Gal 6:9.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Great Gatorade Adventure…

Sometimes we can turn simple tasks into great adventures…  And that is not always a bad thing.  Let’s take the simple task of buying a beverage to drink on our trip from Grand junction to Denver Airport.

Using our cell phone app, we easily found a nearby Safeway Grocery.  So far, so easy.  The three of us, Brenda, our son Andrew, and I trooped into the store on the quest for whatever Andrew might need for the arduous 3-hour trip to AL.  Can’t risk starvation on such a venture, understand.
After a good 10 minutes of debating what might be the BEST possible beverage for the expedition, Andrew hastily reached up and grabbed a bottle of Gatorade.  Amazingly decisive, he was.  As we are heading for checkout, someone in our party decided she needed some more Vaseline.  This entailed a trek to the other end of the store, almost requiring the Gatorade we had discovered in our initial quest.

After snagging the Vaseline, no easy task, we then discussed the best way to finance our $5 purchase. This resulted in several minutes of debating the pros and cons of cash vs. credit cards.

SOOO, just what is the point of this blog post, the astute reader (you) might ask?  Well, the point is, that the Bishops can make even the most mundane task an interesting adventure involving a quest, high-level mathematics, leadership, and cooperation.

Think about THAT the next time you had out to buy more oatmeal!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Zion- The Narrows

Zion National Park is one the prettiest natural beauties we have ever seen.  The Park has numerous trails, the most famous of which is probably “The Narrows”. Andrew, Brenda, and I hiked up the approach trail to The Narrows.  As we approached it, I noticed lots of folks with, what appeared to be, wading shoes.  Hmmm.  Yes, The Narrows is a trail that requires several miles of wading.  That may deter some folks, but not me.  What DID deter me was the hordes of people hiking that trail.  I like solitude in nature.  I avoid large crowds as far as possible.

I love nature as much as anyone I know.  My favorite childhood memories are being in the woods.  My Dad taught us the names of most of the North Georgia trees, and a good many shrubs. Probably because of his encouragement I have enjoyed learning about nature to this day.

I have spent a LOT of hours in the woods over the last 40+ years. Most of that time has been deer hunting.  And, deer hunting is a solitary activity. Some of my happiest memories are of those quiet days alone, alone all day.

I am an extrovert, and I thoroughly enjoy people… just NOT in the woods.

G^d made a beautiful world indeed, but some things are best savored alone.
Now, try taking a walk.. alone.  Blessings,