Stay fearless and faithful

That’s an understatement. As I return yet again from my travels, the stories are flowing, friends are sharing my laughter as I recount my latest adventures. How do I?, where do I?, how do I know?, the questions come quickly.

My answers however are more thought out now. The answer is not to make them feel better about me being on the road, but the truth of what I see. The truth of realizing I’ve driven way too many hours, the truth of America is not always glorious and free.

So I’ll tell you a story. I came out of the Smoky Mountains feeling exhilarated and free. No cell, no GPS just a 6000 foot mountain and me. For two days. It gave me time to think. Time to reflect. Time to really think about what I wanted to do next. As I come around the Cumberland Gap, there’s another two lane highway snaking back through the mountains. I drive in 2 miles. And turn around.

I was on the phone with a dear friend. We lost our connection. I was now in Kentucky and the scenery changed drastically. The poverty was overwhelming. And once again, I lost contact with the world. But this time it was different. I wasn’t ready for the “auto shut off.” I was scared and it was the middle of the day. And it had nothing to do with crime.

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We watched Noah last night. In one scene Russell Crowe said, “We have been entrusted with a task so much greater than our own desires.” As Im packing this time I think, Im going to pack lighter. I don’t need much. Stay light on your feet, be prepared for adventure but mostly, be open. I laughed to myself thinking……what does that mean? I laugh again. Noah finally made sense. Or as Russell Crowe would say, “Follow the temptation of darkness or hold on to the blessing of light.” Amen.

 
 

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Maybe this time

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Here I go again. This may be the last time. Casting Crowns is playing. I’m in the lower level where I feel safe. Protected. I say it softly.

People are asking me, what’s happening? Another news story. Another WTF. Sorry God. I’ve been swearing a lot lately. It makes me feel good. Am I getting caught up in it too?

I’m reading about the poet Rumi. I was taken by his words. His belief. His faith. I told my friend. They reply that he was Muslim. I read that Americans think he was one of the greatest poets ever read in America. Wikipedia.

When he was young, he encountered a persian poet in the desert. Here comes a sea, followed by an ocean, he said. He was referring to a boy following his father. He gave the boy his Asrārnāma, a book about the entanglement of the soul in the material world. This meeting had a deep impact on the eighteen-year-old Rumi and later on became the inspiration for his works.

They’re only words, right?

Now watch the video below. Each time I post a video song, you’re supposed to listen, yet I know that no one does. Not yet. Maybe this time.

 
 

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Who shall I say is calling

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I’m a terrible singer. But I truly believe that song is prayer. Expression of self. A higher calling.

I’m in the Lodge on top of the Mountain. As I walk through the lobby I hear a guitar player. He’s strumming Bye Bye Miss American Pie. Wait a minute! I say as the words he sung were dancing in the gym. As I pass a audience member standing in the back I say, it’s not in the gym it’s chin to chin.

So, for all my fans that have heard me belt it out, thank you. And I’m sorry. But as I’m on the mower deck helping with fall clean up at the ranch, I belt out another lyric. Laugh, shut the tractor down as fast as I can and run inside to the IPad. To write this.

You see, the song is I am yours. A Christian melody that is one of my favorites. The lyrics are “you catch me when Im falling.” I’m on the mower deck thinking. How to get across what I see. What I hear. It was then I belted out………who shall I say is calling. I answered my own question. The bad part is you just have to listen. Closely.

 
 

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I woke up and found myself

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Freezing. Not like Duck Dynasty Louisana 40 degree freezing in the blog Feb 28, 2013 or the worst, Bowling Green in April. Today it’s Auburn, Indiana. A WalMart parking lot. And Im right where I want to be.

I laid there under my toasty warm Saudi blanket. I call it that because my brother brought it back from there 25 years ago after a stint in the Air Force. Everybody knows the Saudi blanket. They fight over it. It’s in my will.

I’m stretching. Thinking of coffee. Listening to the the hustle and bustle of the day. I’m thinking of the last time I wrote. Where I was lost. I prayed. After that I met the 83 year old owner of a 100 acre apple farm. We talked bees, WWII and the seasons. My GPS got me lost. To make a long story short, I end up at the top of a 6000 foot mountain. Where, the next day, I discover the largest Dam east of the Mississippi. And a lodge.

The next day I travel through 318 curves to go 11 miles. There are photographers shooting pictures of the motorcycles. Motorcycles and sports cars come from everywhere to ride this road. I laughed when he took my picture. I banked it as best I could.

I have a map book. In it, I write down cool places I hear about or would like to see. After a long couple days, I sat down to to some good chicken.

So, thank you to Marv Pritchett for talking bees and apples, the cool waitress who chatted back road travel, the bartenders at the lodge, the photographers at the tail of the dragon, and the young lady who served me Starbucks as I took a wrong turn out of Louisville at midnight.

What do you do? You are so cool, she says. So I wake up this morning and think, I need a real camera. More room to sleep. I need a sponsor who could advertise on my vehicle. A little bigger vehicle but not too much. But something that would get me through the mountain snow.

As I literally stood at the highest elevation on the Eastern seaboard, I looked out and said, this is right where I was supposed to be. The night before, as the GPS failed, the cell service dropped, it was raining and I could barely see off the sides of the embankment with the rain, I thought, what have I gotten myself into. It was this morning I realized, it’s the message I always give. If you don’t listen, the Universe will show you. Answered prayers with a little fear, a little faith and a little hope.

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Knowledge is power

I don’t know what happened but I do. The cardinal and the dove appeared. It was time to go.

I ended up in a truck stop in Northern Georgia. Thinking, how did I get so lost? I had spent time in the place I write about where milk and honey flow. Life is about what you have, who you know, how you show yourself to the world. If you look around, you’ll find you’re being looked down upon. So, I keep my head down.

I was headed to Michigan. But I didn’t want to go there. I said I’d come back to Florida, but I didn’t want to go there either. I pass a small church on my way into the mountains. “The greatest message ever written came from an empty tomb.” The message was for me.

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Good Times never felt so good

Tuesdays have been some of the best days of my life. Some extraordinary things have happened on a Tuesday. Every day is a memory but some days it’s about the moments.

I’m watching a commercial. It’s about living your busy life. It ends with wake up tomorrow and do it again. And I shutter. Yesterday, I wrote about being “on the outside” looking in. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes, people let their lives control them. I do not follow, I am led.

There was a Tuesday in Costa Rica, where I stood on the top of a mountain in the rainforest. It was early morning and it was raining. I spread my arms wide, looking up as the rain fell on my face and thanked God for putting me right there. I will always remember that moment.

Sometimes, you’ve got to turn away from the crowd. And listen to the words of the song. Or, as a greater power would say, the words of your soul.

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