Sunday, October 12, 2008

Love's Last Test

The following was written by a friend or ours, Steve Klein. I hope it touches you as it did me!

I miss my Dad. He set my young feet on a straight path. In my adult life, he was a strong fellow-worker in the Kingdom. I miss my dad even though he is still here. My dad has Alzheimer's disease. My mom cares for him; an on going struggle which both tests and strengthens her love for him day by day.
Mom shared this poem with me the other day; it was written by Dorothy Gast on honor of O.J. Gast and is entitled:

"Will you Still Love Me?"
Will you still love me if I don't know your name,
When my eyes have failed and nothing is the same?
When I don't know the date or even my age,
Or what is this book and where is the page?
Will you take time to remember and cherish our past,
And make our shared moments gold as long as they last?
Will you hold me and touch me and wrap me in care,
And whisper reminders of the history we share?
Will you hold on to me when myself fades away,
And you are a face from a dim yesterday?
When I want to go home and home is where I stand,
Will you gently remind me and hold to my hand?
When I call you Mama and forget you're my wife,
Will you tease me and kiss me and rejoice in my life?
Will you hold on to my world when I cannot see,
Will you keep a sweet thought for our used-to-be?
Will you keep our familiy together and memories bright,
Reminding our children to seek for the right?
And when I can no longer hold up my share,
Will you still take time to show me you care?
Will you hold on to my worlds for me?
Love is truely the greatest of all abiding things. It "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:7,8a) And love, real love, between a husband and a wife, bravely faces even its final test. As my Dad would say, "in the final analysis", love really is "as strong as death" (Song of Solomon 8:6) ---Steve Klien
Steves father died from complications of Alzheimers a few years back. Steve's mother, who introduced him to this poem, now suffers from it as well. Steve and his wife Sandi are now caring for her.
Be watching for the "Honor Your Husbands" Challenge!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Smokey Mtn. Vacation 08 Part 2

A few miles past DollyWood, on a curving back road outside of Pigeon Forge you will find Parrot Mountain. I actually missed seeing the sign to turn into it and drove on past for a mile or so. The country side was beautiful. Parrot Mountain is a tropical bird sanctuary that is open in warm weather only. The property is decorated in what I would call Mediterranian style. A kind lady took a picture of the girls and I on the entrance steps.

Emily is pretty afraid of almost all God's creatures so I wasn't able to take a lot a pictures. I had to hold her hand most of the time. She did get have the courage to feed the birds you see above. These were the only ones she fed, but I was proud of her for doing it.

There was another area where visitors could feed Lori's some sugar water. Jordan and I did this. I ended up with two on my head, one or two on each shoulder and seveal on my arm that help the sugar water. Jordan had several on her as well. I wish I could have gotten a picture. One of the Lori's bit my arm for no reason... ha!

The colorful bird you see above is a type of pheasant. I believe it was called a Golden Pheasant. It along with a peacock and two or three other species were in an area called The Secret Garden. Beautiful stone walls were around this part of the tour. This area was magical to me. You passed through a lovely wooden door into a garden foyer of sorts. Along the pathways were plaques that quoted scripture from the creation story in Genesis.

If I remember correctly this beautiful bird is a type of McCaw. There were all kinds of colorful birds like this one there. Some you could feed and some were off limites and were only for veiwing. The Parrot Mountain nursery was a place Jordan really enjoyed. She came away begging for a Pocket Parrot (Parrotett? I think the are also called)! Do a seach on them. They are really very neat little birds.

Not only were the birds wonderful to see, but the grounds were landscaped with impatients, river rock, hemlock, ferns, and other beautiful plants. The waterfall here was at the summit of the sanctuary. To the right of the waterfall a path led to a prayer garden where a stone tomb had been biult to mimic Christ's tomb.

If you are ever in the Smokey's (except for winter) be sure to visit Parrot Mountain!

Smokey Mtn. Vacation 08 Part 1

Last week our family took a vacation to the Great Smokey Mountains. We left early Sunday morning and traveled to Chatanooga to worship with the North Terrace Church of Christ for morning services. After services and a quick lunch we were on the road again. We arrived in Gatlinburg mid afternoon and went straigth to our Townhouse...of course that was right after we picked up a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts! YUM! We relaxed until time for church that night. We visited the Chapman Highway congregation Sunday night. It was the first time we had been there in several years. I am not sure what happened there, but the congregations size was much smaller than it used to be. The kids enjoyed a whilrpool bath Sunday night before bed! HA!

Monday we drove a motor trail called "Roaring Fork". I took the picture above at an overlook. I though it was awesome. We also stopped along the way to explore the "Ogle Homestead" and the surrounding nature tails. I will blog a separate post for that. I think it was my favorite part of the trip. After lunch we headed for DollyWood. Did you know that it you enter after 3:00 the next day ia FREE? That is what we did. I didn't take my cmaera so I didn't get pictures for it, but we had a lot of fun. DollyWood is very family oriented. This week was Harvest and Gospel week too. I really enjoyed watching craftman spin, weave, do tatting, carve wook, and make molasses! Jake and Jordan stunted the growth when the rode the Thunderhead roller coaster. We really enjoyed all the rides. Emily was tall enough for a few things too. She had never experienced anything quiet like that before.

It rained the whole day on Wednesday so we slept late and did a lot of relaxing. We did get out for lunch and spent some time a books store before going to church for Bible study. We actually saw a family there we know! Isn't it a small world?

Thursday the Shane and Jake left the townhouse early. They took the Jeep we rented and went to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The girls and I got all our things packed into the car and went shopping and to a bird sanctuary. I will blog about that separetly too.

Here is Jake hiking his way up to Charlies Bunion. Shane had to take most of the pictures so you won't see him in these. Shane did get in one picture that Jake took of him at the summit. It ended up being to dark to post. Below is Jake a the top of Charlies Bunion. Shane said the view was amazing! At the summit there was a rocky area, where Shane and Jake ate their lunch. Jake was pretty scared because of the shear drop down the side of the mountain there!
The leaves were just beginning to turn while we were there. This is one of the pictures from the top of Charlies Bunion. You can imagine how breathtaking it would have been to be up that high and see such a beautiful landscape.
They really did enjoy the hike. Our family loves to get out into nature and enjoy God's country side. Shane and Jake are hoping someday to hike all of the Appalachian Trial from Georgia to Maine!