Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Red Rock Canyon Vacation Day 4

April 20, 2011

My entry yesterday made mention of a phone call, of which I was pretty vague. Well, some of today’s happenings will also be vague or “nonexistent.” It relates to something that I’m just not ready to mention yet.

After some walking around the park today, we went into Oklahoma City to get ourselves a portable waste tank. While ours is a Thetford, it is grey in color instead of being blue. So, we have a “Grey Boy” instead of a “Blue Boy.” I just liked the features of the Thetford better than the Barker. The Tote and Store wasn’t even available, so we went with the one 27 gallon Thetford with the built in hose.

I had done some online research and didn’t like hearing of some of the issues that some had experienced with the Barker. The Thetford was almost twice as much, but I think that for us, it will be a better deal. Unfortunately, with what all else was going on today, using the Grey Boy will need to wait until tomorrow.

Not needing to show you all a picture of the “Grey Boy”, to finish out today, I’ll again just post some more pictures. After all, I don’t think I took one photograph myself today, so I’ll have to just give you some from other days.

This first one is taken from our campsite.  If you look closely, you can see two campers in front of us.  Both of those are in pull-through sites with 50 Amp and water.  Also, each of the pull-throughs, while close to the road, are spaced apart pretty well.


This next one is of the California Campground.  It has roughly 8 to 10 different sites, fairly close together and on opposite sides of the road.  The tree on the ground was moved soon after this photo was taken.  The park personnel were cleaning out some trees, which were to be moved further down this road and past a barrier gate.


One of several picnic site areas.  There were about 4 or 5 areas for RV’s and most of these other areas were for tents or day use.


Of the five pull through sites, this one with the concrete pad was designated as a handicapped site, however, when faced with a popular weekend, it is allowed for non handicapped people.  But, I would guess that if someone came in that was handicapped, anyone in the site that wasn’t might would have to move.


The last of the pull through sites.  Just a little further down the road is the area where the “in canyon” dump station is located.  There is also one near the park office up on top.  This one has a close “P” trap, making it look like it is nearly full when used.


Another of the picnic sites with the red rock wall in the background.  When Eric (our youngest son) and I came over here a couple of years ago to take photos, we weren’t too impressed because the trees and grass hadn’t greened up.  It is a really nice place when green.


One of several shelters for group activities.  This one is one of the most isolated ones.  Parking is on one side of the stream and the shelter is on the other side.


Another meadow where tent camping can be done.  In addition, I think the red wall to the left is one of the rappelling areas.  Most of the week we had few people in the park during the day.


Ah, the good old dump station to the left of that circle with the trees.  This is the one with the close “P” trap.  When people went to use it, there would be water visible fairly close to the top, making them think it was full.  This is the one where I pulled the Grey Boy in order to empty it.


Another of the day use group sites.


This RV site area is the only one with sewer hookups.  They also have 50 Amp electric like the pull through sites.  The fifth wheel to the left is one for one of the park workers (I think) and there are 4 or 5 sites at this location.  Out of sight to the left is another area where RV’s can hook up to water and 30 Amp electric.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Red Rock Canyon Vacation Day 3

April 19, 2011

Tuesday was a day with limited time in the canyon. We got up in the morning because we wanted to drive over to Elk City to visit with Alicia and Slade at Rolling Retreats. They are a couple that monitor some online sources for used DRV Suites products that have been repossessed and are being sold at auction.

Once they get the purchased units back to Elk City, they go through them cleaning and checking all the systems built into the coaches. We first saw them a couple of years ago and drove over on that occasion to see their units and see if they really looked as good as their online photos showed the coaches to be. They were definitely good looking units.

So far, in the last year and a half, they have sold about 20 different units. It has been my pleasure to mention them on three different RV forums for those that are looking for quality used DRV’s. While I’ve mentioned them often, I only know of one couple that has definitely purchased a coach from them, but I know of another couple that plan to in the fairly near future.

Should you ever be interested in dealing with a good Christian woman on a used coach, be sure and check them out. Here is their website:


While driving over to Elk City, my phone rang and even though I was driving, I had to answer it. Normally, when I’m driving, I hand the phone to Jo so she can actually do the talking. This time, she was sitting in the back seat with TJ and Lady. Now, at this time, I won’t give any details as to what that phone call was all about. All I can say is to stay tuned as there may be an announcement in the future.

After visiting with Alicia and Slade for a while, we left because they had just had a crew come in to start replacing the room on their home. While I would have loved to stay longer, we felt they would need to be free to deal with contractors and not with “visitors.”

We returned to Red Rock Canyon and did some more walking in the afternoon. Other than that, we didn’t do much on Tuesday. So, to fill in a little, let me share some more photos of the canyon.

Part of the drive through the canyon.


Now, if you are half squirrel, you could climb to the top of the canyon wall.


There were a lot of trees basically growing out of rocks.  Or at least, they appeared to be doing that.


This was another group of campsites.  The furthest set of sites included 50 Amp and sewer as well as water.  The closer ones on the right were 30 Amp and water only.


While we heard critters, and managed to get a glimpse of some wild turkeys, I just didn’t get many photos of wildlife.  This will just about have to do.


Next time, I will take solo walks so as to cut down on the noise, and then perhaps I can get more wildlife pictures.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Red Rock Canyon Vacation Day 2

April 18, 2011

Not a lot was done today. We basically just walked around some and then sat and read or in my case, did a little on the computer. Early morning Jo walked the dogs down a ways to see how many of yesterday evening campers were still in the park. Most had gone with the exception of two just south of us in what is called the California Campground.

Oh, by the way, while she was walking the dogs, I was sleeping in. Once I got up and had my coffee, I got ready and she and I took a walk without the dogs most of the way up the mile and a half park. Jo had an angioplasty done a few years ago on her heart and since then she has been on Plavix and Lipitor. Because of that we have extra precautions that we need to take.

We don’t walk when it is extremely hot, and usually if we are walking, we try to stay in the shade as much as possible. While we are at home, we tend to walk some in the cool of the evening around the neighborhood and usually there is at least a breeze to help keep her cool. While here in the park, we’ll need to be more conscious of conditions.

A second concern we have is that should she cut herself, she has a problem because Plavix is a blood thinner. Some time back, she managed to pinch her finger in amongst the computer equipment in a server rack and started bleeding. Believe it or not, while Band-aid strips helped, she still didn’t really stop bleeding for about three days. And, that was only a small cut.

So, while walking here, we’ll need to either carry an umbrella to help shade her or she buys a hat. She’s not real crazy about the hat idea since they have a tendency to blow off here in the Oklahoma winds. I got out one of our canteens so that we can carry water when we are walking here in the park.

Some time back, while researching online for information and pictures of Red Rock Canyon, I ran across one particular photo of the canyon wall and a very cool tree that was basically growing out more horizontally than vertically. We walked up into a branch canyon to where there are walls for rappelling to see what was up in there. Lo and behold, there was the tree. I took several pictures myself, but I need to go back and get more with morning or noontime sunlight rather than afternoon light.


While we were in there, we came across a rather shabby looking gentleman with a panel truck parked at the area near that tree. He was sitting at one of the picnic tables creating animal art using wire. He had two rabbits on the table, each standing about 1 ½ feet tall. He let me take a few pictures of his work and of him.


After taking that walk together, I drove up to the park office to get a trail map for the canyon area. In talking to the park ranger, I found out that Red Rock Canyon has more of a trail network than I thought. I knew of two or three nature trails, but there are even more. He even drew on a map with colored markers for the trails with each color matching the trail markers that we should find when we are walking.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is another, smaller canyon paralleling the main canyon that has a trail through it. Plus, there are two other trails that run along the tops of the ridges that parallel that second canyon. Then, one of those also continues on past the end of the small canyon to run along the East ridge of the main canyon. I have certainly learned a lesson in being sure to ask park rangers for trail maps and other information.

More than likely, we will walk some of those trails while we are here in the park. After supper, we left the dogs in the coach and walked a short one along the West canyon wall. While on it, we saw some wild turkeys. Sadly, we weren’t close enough for me to get any pictures of them. However, now I know they are in the canyon and I need to watch for an opportunity to bag one of them. (With the camera of course; I quit hunting with other weapons long ago.)


Should anyone read this and at some time decide to visit Red Rock Canyon State Park, it is located right at the south side of Hinton, Oklahoma. As you would be driving through town, just as you run out of trees for the town of Hinton, the park entrance is right there. Keep watching to the east (or left side of the road if you are going south) and you will see a really big sign saying Red Rock Canyon State Park. I tell you this, because I’ve nearly missed the park entrance twice, and I know where it is located.

I will mention that if you are pulling or driving an RV when you come here, on the road going down into the park, it is steep and winding. On the way in, be sure to keep your right front steering tire close to the right side and when you come out, try to arrange to have someone drive to the top and stop traffic from entering while you exit. The reason is because as you drive back out, you need to do just the opposite and keep your front left steering tire to the very left as you go up. The ranger basically said that we needed to follow the same “track” coming out that we used going into the canyon.

Also, as you are driving through the park, be mindful of the trees lining the road.  One large one, complete with reflectors attached, is immediately at the edge of the blacktop, and the blacktop has no shoulders.

Overall, with only one full day in the park, I have to say it is a pretty nice park. While it may not have the “It” factor for some people, it is still a nice park. I’ll give a better review of the park after I have a chance to get home to some imaging software for resizing photos, plus get to where we have more stable internet access for posting.

Another shot of the “horizontal” tree.


Red Rock Canyon Vacation Day 1

April 17, 2011

As usual, our morning consisted of attending worship services in the morning. In our congregation, we participate in what are referred to as “Life Group Meetings” for what would normally be an evening worship service. The Life Groups meet in private homes in smaller groups. Also, they can meet at different times of the day instead of just in the evening.

Our group actually meets immediately after the morning worship service in the home of one of our Elders. Our group consists of 6 couples when the full complement is in attendance. Our group actually has two Elders in it, so we have a real opportunity to learn more about God’s words in the Bible. In addition, our groups are made up or couples who are over 50 years old. (And 50 might be a pretty low number for the group.)

Meeting immediately after morning services is a benefit for us. We live about 7 or 8 miles from the church building right now, but in the future we may very well live farther away, especially after we sell our house and move into the Mobile Suites full time. Then, even if we are 20 miles or more away (a real possibility), we would only have to make one trip to Mustang for worship services.

After our Life Group session, Jo and I immediately went home and finished loading the last of the “necessities” into the Mobile Suites so we could leave out today instead of tomorrow (Monday). That gives us one more day in the park. It was questionable at first because the wind was really whipping it up today. Yesterday was a nice calm day but today made up for it.

However, Jo and I did not want to delay any longer, so we went ahead and hooked up and headed for Red Rock Canyon State Park at Hinton, Oklahoma. Due to construction of a new bridge going into our neighborhood, we have to detour around about 5 miles to get what used to be about a ¾ mile distance. And, due to the condition of one of the roads, we chose to go a little different route, which took us through Tuttle, OK and over to Minco before going up north to El Reno and catching the Interstate to Hinton.

A lot of the road from Tuttle to Minco is two lanes and no paved shoulder, so it made the drive a bit interesting. Being mindful of having a “high profile” vehicle I was watching pretty close to the vertical “tip factor” and also watching the “tail swing” factor. In order to keep from running the curb side coach wheels off the shoulder, I needed to hug pretty close to the center line with the road side wheels. The tail of the trailer was a good foot and a half to the right of the front of the trailer.

Once we turned north towards El Reno, it got just plumb easy to drive it because I had a tail wind. In all of this, Jo followed behind me in the Mercury Mariner. We plan to make at least one little excursion while we are on vacation, so we decided to bring the Mercury to make that less expensive. Had we been going further than we were, I might have very well waited to make the trip. But, since it isn’t that far for us, it wasn’t too bad overall.

Getting down into the canyon is a bit tricky as there is a steep winding road going in and out. At one or two points, one almost needs to be taking two lanes with that long of a trailer. Going in wasn’t so bad, but going back out, Jo will probably need to go to the top of the road and block any traffic wanting to enter the canyon. That way, I can have both lanes of the road on the climb out.

We got in about 3:00pm and picked a 50 Amp site towards the South end of the canyon. That site gave me an easy way in to get parked. One of two of the others that are 50 Amp sites have sharper turns going in and out. Those are fine if one has something shorter than 38 feet. We don’t have sewer hook-ups, but the electric and water connections are “RIGHT THERE,” making it really easy to get hooked up.

This is only our second excursion with the Mobile Suites and the only one in a campground as opposed to an RV park. As soon as we got set up, I took some pictures of our unit in amongst the trees. It is good to be in a campground instead of an RV park. They are just more natural with more trees. While there is a swimming pool in the park, we won’t be taking advantage of that since it won’t open until probably after Memorial Day.

We will get in some walking up and down the roads and there are a couple of nature trails in the canyon. There are also some “branch” canyons off of the main one that offers some other scenic venues. With the red walls and the green trees, I think there is a good possibility of some good pictures to be taken. There is a live stream right next to our campsite, but with the drought we’ve been having, it is pretty slow-flowing and not very deep.

Six nights is costing us about $108 after a “senior discount.” For 50 Amp and water, I don’t think that is too bad. When we came in, there were quite a few people here, but not that many that are campers. There was what looked like a pretty good sized group of people in the Day Use area for something like a family reunion or a church group outing. After today, I doubt that there will be that many people in the canyon. But, we’ll just have to wait and see.

While we pretty well have all the amenities in the coach, we do have the convenience of a very nice set of restrooms right across the road from our campsite. There are even showers, but I’m thinking they might be “timed” showers requiring the insertion of quarters or something, I think that because there is a Change Machine right in the middle of that end of the building.

For the next few days, we’ll have no phones (or very little) down in the canyon, no pool (cause that isn’t open yet), but we will have our pets. So, unlike Roger Miller’s song, “King of the Road,” we aren’t completely without benefits.

Site 50 Red Rock Canyon State Park; Hinton, OK


Why Is America Great?

Last week, leading up to the negotiations over the Continuing Resolution for the last year’s budget, President Obama went out to give a “big speech” with his ideas. From those that are familiar with such things, his speech was more of a campaign speech than a Presidential speech. And, as he did in chastising the members of the Supreme Court in his first State of the Union Speech, he invited Paul Ryan and others to the speech at the university and then chastised them as well.

He went on to talk of the greatness of America, but in his words, it wasn’t until the New Deal of Roosevelt, the War on Poverty of Lyndon Johnson, and their own socialist agenda in his current administration that America became great.

After hearing of those words, and hearing some of the speech itself, I have to take exception to President Obama. There has long been an effort on the part of the left to demonize everyone from the Founding Fathers and up to today that isn’t socialist in nature and to praise those that are “progressives” and socialists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Roosevelt gave us Social Security and the notion that government spending is what leads to economic recovery. However, historians have proven that Roosevelt’s works actually lengthened the Great Depression by seven years. While many want to claim otherwise, it was actually WWII and its increased levels of production and manufacturing that led to additional jobs and an end to the Depression.

Johnson promised a “set” amount of welfare for the poorest of our nation and that that amount would raise those in the poverty levels up to better conditions. In reality, the U.S. government far surpassed that “set” amount but has never decreased the percentage of those in poverty. In fact, that “free” money from the government led to increased poverty because so many decided a free handout was worth being enslaved to the power of government.

Over the years, welfare payments were increased to mothers who had more children and they were told that they could get even more if there was no father in the family. Instead of men stepping up to take care of their responsibilities towards families of their causing, they were encouraged to just “have a fling” and move on, leaving the mother with full responsibility. Then those women were then encouraged by the circumstances to have more children out of wedlock, just to get more money.

There have been a number of black leaders that have come forward and claimed that the action of the government has led to a destruction of a lot of black families. Those same men have also spoken out about the preponderance of abortion facilities being located in black neighborhoods, thus leading to the death of many black babies through abortion.

Oddly enough, it is the liberal women in the country that probably are most likely to have abortions. That of course will lead to the decline of future children being taught values by their liberal mothers. So, are the liberals committing cultural suicide by their insistence on having abortion as a legal method of birth control by other liberals?

Forgotten by many on the left is the greatness of America brought about by the influx of immigrants to our shores. They first came to America seeking religious freedom, and then they came for the promise of a better life, with abundant land and opportunity. Even to this day, they come and improve our country.

While many want to blame those on the right as being racists in regards to illegal immigrants, it is far from the truth. Many blacks from Puerto Rico and other nations come here and many work two or three jobs to put themselves ahead. But, at the same time, we have blacks who were born in this country who would rather have a government handout than a job. So, the fact that many blacks in America are in poverty is more a case of cultural differences than racial differences.

Immigrants and slaves and free men fought a great Civil War to make things better for those that were indentured to slavery. While freedom didn’t mean an end to racism, it did lead to better lives for former slaves.

Johnson’s fight to pass Civil Rights in America could not come about because the Congress at that time was Democratic Party controlled. A larger percentage of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights, even though they were the minority party. Johnson knew that he could not pass the Civil Rights Act without the help of those in the opposing party.

Does anyone remember the names of those unsung heroes? Do we remember those of our nation who have fought in foreign wars just so that other countries can experience freedom? While many want to blame George W. Bush and the Republicans for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was actually those actions that led to another 50 million people being free to vote in their own elections. It was those brave men and women going to “hell-holes” of countries to fight and free those people. And, they have taken great pride in their achievements, as well they should.

For all that they may try to influence it is not Presidents and their “programs” that have led to the greatness of this country. It has been the single minded purpose of individuals who have grown to desire a major change in their own lives, their neighborhoods, and their country that make it great.

It is sad that those on the left wish to discourage others in this country to try to make the best of themselves for themselves. They would prefer that men come to rely on government for their advancement, but sadly, government has never advanced their lives. Instead, progressives and liberals both have done much to enslave people to government.

Instead of freeing people to strive for the opportunity to do better for themselves, they encourage them to be lazy and take a handout. That has led to the idea that many hold that American owes “reparations” to those that are the descendants of slaves. Many black men have spoken out against the idea of reparations, claiming that the blacks in America should be thankful for slavery, as it was the institution of slavery that brought the ancestors of today’s blacks to America, thus giving them the blessing of citizenship in the greatest country of opportunity ever known.

Instead of looking to Presidents and programs for the greatness of America, we only need to look around us at the normal, hard-working, hard-dreaming individuals of America’s neighborhoods and streets. Even children selling lemonade on the corner is the beginning of a dream and a goal and a promise of more greatness to come.

Delayed Blogging - But It Was Worth It

While we were in Red Rock Canyon State Park this last week, I was surprised that we did have internet service with our Verizon MiFi, although according to the phones, we had minimal tower bars showing. Just prior to making the trip, Jo decided to upgrade our older MiFi to the newer one that is 4G as well as 3G. She had helped a friend (whose husband is deploying to Afghanistan) get her new MiFi and laptop configured for internet usage. In doing that, she saw the speed of the 4G and since we will still be in the Oklahoma City area, she decided we needed to upgrade.

Even though we had internet service, I didn’t realize that Jo had installed LiveWriter on her laptop for my benefit. So, I wrote a few posts and just kept them on the computer as Word files. Sorry, but I didn’t write a lot, so now I need to catch up.

Incidentally, as you will later find in my posts about the vacation, Red Rock Canyon State Park is really nice and it is close enough to Interstate 40 to be a good “overnighter” site for RV’ers. We saw overnighters all week long in the park.

So, now on with the nonsense…..

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Preparations for Red Rock Canyon State Park

It has been a few days since I last posted. While there hasn’t been a lot going on to prevent me from posting, there were just enough small things to get in the way. Sunday, the 10th, saw us helping the wife of one of Jo’s co-workers. He is a member of the National Guard and they are preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan for a lengthy time.

Prior to his leaving for pre-deployment training, he purchase two new phones on the Verizon network because that system was the best for getting cell service at their home and around town where each of them work. Then, they set up for a 4G MiFi system for her internet service. So, Jo went to help get the lady’s computer set up for the MiFi and other issues.

At some point, I had noticed that a support strap on the Mobile Suites had broken. At both the front and rear of the kitchen slide, there are these flat straps which are about 5 inches wide that are equipped with “loops” through which wiring and other things are routed. Some time back, the one in the back had broken off right at the frame of the fifth wheel. Rather than cut the strap straight across and drill new holes to re-attach to the frame, I attached a commercial door hinge to the frame and then attached the strap to the other half of the hinge. That way, when the slides are retracting and extending, the strap itself isn’t flexing that much at the frame.

The broken rear strap.


The Re-attached strap to the hinge.


Well, this week I needed to do the same thing to the front strap on the kitchen slide. While it didn’t take as much time this time, due to me now knowing how to do it, I still spent about an hour and a half doing all that was needed to re-attach the strap. All of this was done after work. I certainly wanted it done before we went to Red Rock Canyon State Park because most of the tools and things I would need are here at the house. Oh, and all this lets me know that I need to re-assess what tools will be a part of the full-time RV’ing.

This evening, we went by the church and got the communion trays ready for Sunday’s worship service. Normally, we would do that on Friday evenings, but Jo is going to need to stay late tomorrow at work. After doing the communion preparations, we came home and I hooked up the water hoses and checked the Mobile Suites for water issues and to make sure that the hot water heater works.

While we will be in the canyon next week, we won’t have internet access due to being out of line of cell service. With luck, I hope to come back out on occasion and using a laptop and the MiFi that we have, I may be able to post some things while we are there. It all depends on what we find to do.

So, if you don’t see much activity next week, it will because we are enjoying ourselves at the park. At least when we come back out, I hope to have some nice photos to share.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Akiane Kramarik Revisited

Akiane Kramarik Revisited

It is a pleasure to get back to more pleasing and beautiful subjects than politics. Last night, after posting the two posts for April 8, I received an e-mail from Lori Henshey, the author whose articles on Colton Burpo and mentions of Akiane Kramarik really piqued my interest. While she has still not had an opportunity to interview Akiane, she did go ahead and write her own story, basing its information off of four different sources.

There is a link at the bottom of this posting to her actual online article. At the bottom of her online story are the sources for her story, and each of those source’s names are active links which you can use to get to those source stories. Sadly, one source requires signing up for a “free trial,” which I opted to not do. But, each of those stories gives just a little different perspective.

I have chosen to not post images of any of Akiane’s paintings in my posts, but you can see her paintings at this link. Just go into “Gallery” and enjoy.


Now, Lori Henshey’s story from Examiner.com:

Akiane Kramarik: Visits to Heaven and Visions of Jesus

By Lori Henshey, Religious & Spiritual Mysteries Examiner

April 7th, 2011

Children are so fresh from God it’s no wonder some of them are given visions and signs from heaven. Their innocent and trusting natures allow them to believe what we adults would never accept. This must be part of what Jesus meant when he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven - Matthew 18:3.

So perhaps it would do us well as spiritual beings to listen to a little girl who – she claims – has had visions and visits with Jesus. And whether you believe she has truly walked and talked with Jesus, one cannot deny her artistic and poetic talent.

Her name is Akiane Kramarik and she was born at home underwater, on July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, Illinois, to a stay-at-home Lithuanian homemaker mother and an American father, chef and dietary manager.

Akiane – whose name means ocean in Lithuanian – and her siblings were homeschooled for the most part and they had no television and few books, so when she began telling her family about seeing visions at age four, they were fairly certain what she was experiencing was not a result of outside influences. Her parents chose to support their daughter, which probably played a part in her prolific works.

Akiane began to sketch and write poetry at age four, advanced to painting at six and writing poetry at seven. Her first completed self-portrait sold for $10,000. A large portion of the money generated from art sales is donated by Kramarik to charities. According to Akiane, her art is inspired by her visions of heaven and her personal connection with God. “I am a self-taught painter,” she told Children’s Digest. "God is my teacher."

Akiane explained to her family that God gave her the visions and abilities to create her artwork and poetry, which must have come as quite a shock since both her parents were atheists at the time. They later converted to Christianity on account of Kramarik's paintings and visions. More than art was happening in their home. “Simultaneous with art was a spiritual awakening," Akiane's mother, Forelli Kramarik, told Christianity Today. "It all began to happen when she started to share her dreams and visions.”

Once, according to an article in New Connexion magazine, Akiane was staring off into space, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. Asked what she was doing, she simply answered, "I was with God again, and He told me to pray continually. He showed me where He lived. I was climbing transparent stairs; underneath I saw gushing waterfalls, and as I was approaching Him, His body was pure and intense light.

“What impressed me the most was His hands – they were gigantic! I saw no bones, or veins, no skin or blood, but maps and events. Then He told me to memorize thousands upon thousands of wisdom words on a scroll that did not look like paper, but more like intense light. And, in a few seconds, I got somehow filled up. From now on I will get up early to paint. I hope one day I'd be able to paint what I was shown."

Although she was three at the time, she'll always remember God's first message to her. "He said, 'You have to do this, and I'll help you.' He said, 'Now you can help people.' I said, 'Yes, I will.' But I said it in different words in my mind. I speak through my mind to Him," she told Christianity Today.

When asked how she knows that it's God who is speaking to her she said, "Because I can hear His voice....quiet and beautiful."

Akiane was always consumed with the faces of subjects she painted, and she found that when she prayed the right vision always appeared. When she wanted to paint Jesus, however, she spent a year mulling over her model. Finally, she asked her entire family to pray with her. The next day, a giant of a man came to her door looking for work. He was a carpenter.

Akiane immediately knew this man would be her model for her painting of Jesus. Initially the carpenter agreed, but he changed his mind. "He said that he wasn't worthy to represent his Master," Akiane told Christianity Today. "He's a Christian, and he's a humble person. But I prayed that God would change his mind and that he would call back."

The carpenter – who wishes to remain anonymous – did call Akiane back, saying that God wanted him to pose for the painting, resulting in the Jesus paintings Prince of Peace and Father Forgive Them.

The painting is startling. The eyes are loving and patient, but also piercing and fierce. He is beautiful. In fact, when Colton Burpo, the little boy who says he went to heaven at age three (see articles Part One and Part Two), saw the painting, he declared it to be the only one that ever captured what Jesus looks like. There have been many paintings since that one, though Prince of Peace is probably her most famous.

People may wonder, “Why did Jesus choose to contact Akiane?"

“I have been blessed by God,” she said simply. “And if I'm blessed, there is one reason and one reason only, and that is to help others. I am donating a big portion of money to charity and to combat poverty," she said. "I want to help people. I want people to find hope in my paintings and draw people's attention to God."

Sources: New Connexion, Children's Digest, Christianity Today and Wendy Mag



In addition to Lori Henshey’s story, here are a few more.

The Ventura County Star has an online display of several pictures and paintings. Some can be made larger.  The last two links are also from the Ventura County Star, but give some other perspectives.




Friday, April 8, 2011

Where us the Evil"?

Let’s start with what is going on today. In Washington D.C., they are haggling over methods to keep from “shutting down the government.” One of the sticking points is that the Republicans want to defund numerous entities such as NPR, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Planned Parenthood. While defunding NPR wouldn’t amount to much, and perhaps not much more for NEA, removing federal funding for Planned Parenthood would save roughly 300 million dollars.

Of course, the Democrats are adamantly trying to keep all funding for all those entities, and especially for Planned Parenthood, considering their performance of abortions. They are out there accusing the Republicans of wanting to kill women, take away women’s health benefits, and any number of ills that they can try to come up with, just to deceive the public.

To hear the advocates of Planned Parenthood, one would think that all they ever do is pre-natal care, sex education, and birth control. However, one story I read had a little known tidbit that in one office alone, of roughly 6,000 women seeking assistance with a pregnancy, only three were advised of the option of adopting out their child.

This post will only be about Planned Parenthood. I will try to demonstrate the evil that is this organization and perhaps in a way that many haven’t heard about. Not only are they in the business of aborting babies, there seems to be an advocacy of aborting the babies of minority women.

This story from Human Events newspaper:

Black Leaders Condemn Planned Parenthood’s Racism

by Ericka Andersen

04/25/2008 ET

Human Events

Last year, more than $300 million American tax dollars funded the nation’s leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. Now, Planned Parenthood is under attack by pro-life African-Americans who believe there is a racist undertone in Planned Parenthood’s practices.

Last month, a pro-life student newspaper in California placed phone calls to Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation posing as donors requesting their money be designated for a “black baby” because, he said, “there are too many.” When at least four operators at different locations accepted the money, assuring the donors it would be used for an African-American woman’s abortion, the pro-life paper leaked their recorded calls to the media. Those Planned Parenthood workers who accepted the money on a racist basis remain employed and the organization has yet to apologize.

At a prayer rally and protest yesterday outside a Washington, DC clinic, Students for Life of America hosted pro-life black pastors and leaders to speak out on behalf of those racial minorities targeted by Planned Parenthood.

Amid a crowd of signs with messages such as “Our taxes should not help kill” and about a dozen orange-vested “pro-choice escorts” from within the PP clinic, protestors stood peacefully singing hymns and praying with local pastors.

Quotes from Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger, a noted anti-Semite and racist, were written on signs and repeated throughout the event. Sanger said on more than one occasion that we must “exterminate the Negro population.”

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, said after hearing the phone calls recorded by the pro-life student group, she knew they had to make African Americans aware of the situation.

“Those [recordings] would have made Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger pleased,” she said, noting how the organization now plays out Sanger’s “eugenic legacy.”

The speakers focused heavily on Congressional action as Rep. Trent Franks took the podium to express his “honor” to stand with the leaders to criticize this “incredible tragedy.”

“That Planned Parenthood is willing to take the first civil right away -- life -- it’s easy to step over and take over any other civil right,” Franks said. “I believe America will be the country that will turn the tide of killing the unborn across the world.”

Franks confirmed that Congress should address the federal funding issues and said he would do his best to stop this “dark tragedy.”

All of the speakers mentioned the prevalence of Planned Parenthood’s in low-income, African-American neighborhoods and Rev. Clinard Childress call for a boycott of the clinics by black leaders -- specifically Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Urban League and the NAACP -- until the racist allegations are resolved, at least by the firing of those employees who willingly accepted the racist donations.

“Black America must wake up and stand up to this racist organization that purposefully plants abortion facilities firmly in black and minority neighborhoods and urban communities -- sometimes, right next door to schools,” said Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-Life Union (NBPLU), pointing out a charter school directly connected to that particular clinic.

The NBPLU sent a letter to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama yesterday, asking that he condemn PP’s “racist business practices.” The letter also documents numerous ongoing criminal investigations around the country in PP clinics who failed to report child sexual abuse or falsified records. It was signed by 31 black leaders and pastors, all who call on black America in general to address the issue with more weight.

Statistics show that African-American babies make up 20% of live births, but 36% of abortions. Rev. Jesse Peterson told the crowd, “before you go to bed tonight, more than 1500 babies will be killed in a black woman’s womb.” He encouraged bringing black men back into the picture and said they are “hurting every day because their babies are being murdered.”

Dr. Lily Epps stood boldly in from the 16th St. Planned Parenthood where, she told the crowd, she had two abortions “in this very clinic” where, when she entered there years ago, was told by a counselor they were going to “’take care of that problem.’” Epps said Planned Parenthood consistently lies to women and must be stopped.

Yesterday’s event was put on partly in effort gain support for the Title X Family Planning Act and the Title X Abortion Provider Act, which would prohibit the distribution of Title X family planning funding to abortion providers -- namely, Planned Parenthood.

Ms. Andersen is a news producer and reporter for HUMAN EVENTS. She previously interned for The Washington Examiner newspaper. She has appeared on MSNBC and Fox News. She has also been a guest on the Lars Larson radio show and the Jim Bohannon radio show.


Fuel….for Whom….or What?

There is no way that I will post the text of the full article, but here is the link to a story from the New York Times regarding the creation of fuel from food stocks.


Should it be that you don’t want to read the entire thing, I’ll break it down in a kind of condensed version. The story begins with the information of using a root called Cassava in everything from tapioca pudding and ice cream to paper and animal feed. But, as the story goes on to point out, 98 percent of Cassava chips exported from Thailand, the world’s largest Cassava exporter, went to just one place and almost all for one reason. To China for biofuel

This sort of practice leads to the depletion of food stocks, thus making it much more expensive in just about any kind of market. To me, it has always been a waste to take a product that is a food product with so many other uses as well and convert it to a fuel. (For now, I won’t go into the overwhelming need for the U.S. to begin to tap into its own fuel sources. The price of gasoline and diesel ought to point that out.)

In a sense, mankind is getting to the point of burning our own food and creating shortages that will then increase prices. Just here in the United States we have done the same thing with Ethanol, which is a fuel product that is inefficient to create and also hard on the internal combustion engines. More and more products, especially those with small engines, are warning against using Ethanol in the fuel for those products.

If I remember correctly, the current push to convert corn to Ethanol is not the first time for this country. It didn’t have good results before, and we are seeing a repeat of the same now. Within the last couple of years there have been complaints of the cost of food because of our actions. There were complaints coming up from Mexico about the cost of their corn tortillas. All so we can create a diluted fuel.

If one were to look around, I’d bet that one could find numerous examples of American prices going up as well. Plus, using the corn for fuel is reducing the corn that is available for cattle feeding, thus also increasing the cost both for cereals and beef. The other day, an acquaintance told me that if I was worried about using up corn, the answer was to raise switchgrass for a biofuel or ethanol fuel.

So, I asked him where he would suggest we raise that switchgrass. His response was that we could raise it just about anywhere, that it was not impossible to raise it even in the northern parts of the United States. (He shouldn’t have brought that up, since I am VERY familiar with agriculture.)

I then went on to explain that while we might not be using corn to make the fuel, we would be taking away tillable land for the production of an inefficient fuel. Thus we would again be reducing the amount of food stocks that we would be able to create for man and animal. In addition, we would have to be using trucks and railroads to move the crop (whether corn or wheatgrass) from field to market, thus consuming more fuel. On the other hand, if we were going for more fossil fuels, a lot of that can be transported around the country via pipelines. It wouldn’t be tearing up the roads either.

While I’m not too quick to point out who it is that needs to be blamed for conceiving the idea of Ethanol as a fuel additive, I will say that we are creating a ripple effect that will eventually bite us. I think that with all the other nonsensical things that we are doing, if our grandkids had any clue as to what the adults are doing to their futures, they would probably seek retribution.

Just within the last year President Obama has put a moratorium on drilling in certain areas of the gulf. For the American market and the American companies, that is. He has given American tax dollars to Brazil to help them with their oil drilling so that we can “become their best customer.” How about we become our own best customer? And, WHY should we help another country with funding? If they can’t find investors to fund their ambitions, then it may be because there are limited benefits for an investor or limited resources. At any rate, Americans don’t need to fund Brazil’s oil production.

Besides, doing that is just making the U.S. MORE dependent on foreign oil and is not doing anything to really benefit our citizens. It is time for us as parents and grandparents to be sure that our children and grandchildren get an opportunity to learn the fallacy of Ethanol, funding foreign companies, and refusing to exploit our own resources.

Could we use alternatives? We certainly can, but I caution us against making ourselves dependent upon sources that are limited in natural ways, such as wind energy when the wind isn’t blowing and solar energy when the sun isn’t shining. It should also be time to begin to develop more nuclear energy for electrical generation

Even then, wind, solar, and nuclear won’t do much to drive our vehicles, and we will be dependent upon vehicles for a long time to come. And, most of those vehicles will need to be run on fossil fuels.  Oh, and while I’m at it, we don’t need to subsidize any fuels either.  If they don’t show enough promise for investors to fund or the fuel to create its own profitability, then don’t even try to develop them.

So, as Sarah Palin would say, “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

Hopefully, this won’t be in our future….

2011 GM Obummer Car

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Washington Dithering and the Democrats

The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 established a timetable for the annual budget process, which is kicked off each year by the Presidential budget submission. The Budget Act specifies that the President's budget should be presented to the Congress on or before the first Monday in February.

The Budget Act specifies that Congress should complete action on its budget resolution by April 15 of each year.

Once the budget resolution conference agreement is adopted by both the House and the Senate, its terms govern the remainder of the budget process for that year. The budget resolution does not require Presidential signature, although its terms are binding internally on the actions of the Congress throughout the budget process.

In early 2010, the Democratic Party representatives CONTROLLED a majority of BOTH the House and the Senate, as well as the office of the President. Thus, they should have been able to complete the budget process, which by April 15 would have concluded with a budget for the 2011 federal fiscal year.

However, that process was not done. In fact, in June of 2010, Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader stated that they were “not even going to propose” a budget. Since 2006, with the Democrats regaining control of Congress, they had been on a spending spree which massively accelerated with the election of a radical Democrat as President of the United States.

Late 2009 and early 2010 saw the rise of the “Tea Party” movement, which is not an actual party, but the evolution of the disgust that many Americans had with their government. Even the Democrats, while deriding the Tea Party movement, recognized the strength and thus the likely losing of power if things stayed like they had been doing things.

Thus, in 2010, they decided to not propose and pass a budget because they knew that the citizens of America would plainly see the continued extravagant spending they had embarked upon. Instead, they simply enacted a series of “Continuing Resolutions” designed to fund the government, thus hiding their actual expenditures.

Now early April of 2011, the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives are trying to get a budget approved for the fiscal year of 2012. Instead of having any help, the Democrats in the Senate refuse to pass any budget proposals. In just two days, the latest continuing resolution will expire, thus everyone in the government and the media are clamoring about a “government shutdown.”

But, even though the Democrats in the Senate plus the President are saying that the soldiers won’t be paid, all active duty military personnel will be paid. As well as the Social Security recipients, welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, the Post Office, and a large number of others will be working and being paid. Both the Democrats and the news media want desperately to blame the Republicans for any government shutdown, just as they did back in the ‘90’s.

However, the obvious actions of the Democrats in not even proposing a budget for 2011 has led to the current “crisis.” If anyone is to blame for a shutdown, it should rest squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic controlled Senate and President Barack Obama. It is also to their discredit that they are lying to the public in saying such things as the military personnel not being paid, parks and monuments closing, plus so many other lies.

It pains me greatly to know that the party in which my parents and grandparents were registered has become such a devious political party. To this day, I know a great many Democrats who can’t believe what has happened to their party. They are disheartened and disillusioned that the National leadership of their party is dominated by Socialist leaning individuals instead of those who really love this country.

Here in Oklahoma, a state which I like to say is the “reddest of the red states,” the Democratic Party no longer holds more than 50 percent of the registered voters. They still outnumber the Republicans, but in the last two Presidential elections, EVERY COUNTY in Oklahoma voted for the Republican candidates. In 2004 only Oklahoma and Utah had done that and in 2008, only Oklahoma and Alaska voted completely for Republicans.

In addition to the elections results, the last two years has seen a majority of new voters registering as Republican or Independent, even though there is no Independent party in Oklahoma and those who register that way cannot vote in any of the primaries.

Since Obama’s election, we’ve seen bailouts of the banks, AIG, GM, Chrysler, and who knows what else has been hidden. While the Democrats always speak of working for the working man, have any of those individuals benefited other than perhaps the “Cash for Clunkers” program? In fact, I would propose that the Democrats are pandering to the rich “fat cats” in the aforementioned businesses, and are certainly not helping the individuals.

Even the ongoing labor union issues in Wisconsin are related not to the Democrats wanting good to come to the membership of those unions. In Wisconsin, the public service union member’s dues are automatically deducted from their paychecks and sent to the unions. Then, those unions make overwhelming contributions to the Democratic Party.

So, that brings up another question for you. Don’t you think that the unions ought to spend those member dues on things that truly benefit the members and not the Democrats in Congress? In most of the union’s campaign contributions, over 90 percent of them go to the Democrats. So, again, the Democrats aren’t working for the little guy. They are working for themselves and what power they can achieve.

So, when you read the news in the next few days, weeks and months, keep in mind that the Democratic Party is NOT working for the people.  Nor are they honest about what they have done, are doing, and plan to do to the country in the future.

Looking for honest Democrats…..

Light at End of Tunnel

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Testing, Testing, Testing…..

Jo sat down this afternoon and began to read what I had posted in the past. In reading, she commented that some of the posts have a decent font size and others are smaller. In dealing with Blogger’s editor, if I go to edit a previous posting, the editor automatically defaults to certain formatting. Breaks between paragraphs disappear, and the font size defaults to a size “description” such as “small,” “normal,” “large” or whatever.

The problem has been that “Normal” is the default and it causes the font to be smaller than what I have set the font size in LiveWriter. When working with a post, I first compose in Microsoft Word (so I have more editing tools), then I “copy and paste” that into LiveWriter. When in LiveWriter, the font defaults to “Georgia” as the font name and that is fine with me. However, I do set the font size to “12”. Then when all photos and what are inserted where I want them, I “Publish” to Blogger.

Now, I’ve said all that just to let you know what I’ve been doing, and this posting is a test post to see what happens if I choose “Large” in the Blogger editor instead of “Normal.” When I first went to edit another post, I was afraid that the “Large” would be too big, but this being a shorter post, it won’t take as much space if it is too large.

Sorry if things seem confusing.

Considering my issues with the newer technologies, perhaps I need one of these.

Cell Phone for Seniors

With the font changed to "Large" it definitely comes up larger than the original.  I think it may have also changed the font style, but I don't know.

Testing Complete.....for now.

Final test of the editing…at least for this posting.  I’ve retrieved the posting from the blog into LiveWriter.  So far, it doesn’t look like I can reset the font sizes to “12.”  I am able to type in new text in that size.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Forethought is Extremely Valuable

Today, April 2, there have been a few comments on a thread on RV Dreams which was started by a gentleman that had purchased a class A RV and began to complain that it was a money pit. In his first post, he referred to the person who sold it to him as not being very smart because he had used the wrong material to patch the roof around a skylight or vent or something. Thus, the roof leaked and the wall began to de-laminate.
My first thought was that perhaps he should have got an RV tech to look the unit over before he bought it. Such a mistake in fixing something should have just jumped out at the tech. But, apparently this gentleman didn’t take a tech to see the RV.
As the thread continued, he began to complain about the cost of fixing the brakes after he had a tech inspect them before a long trip. So, he paid $800 to the tech for the inspection and then paid something like $1200 to fix the brakes and a promise of roughly $3000 more to be done. He also complained about the cost for labor for RV repairs.
If you wish to see for sure what was written, the link to that thread is here:
All in all, he has decided that it is cheaper to fly to where he wants to go and then rent a car. Suddenly, it appears to me that this gentleman doesn’t really want the RV lifestyle as much as he thought. Or, perhaps he just thought an RV would be a cheap method to travel to the casinos.
The whole episode brings home the importance of really thinking ahead on what one wants to do with their life and the lifestyle. Jo and I certainly considered things a lot. While we knew that we really wanted to travel and see the country, we also knew that when we retired, we would never be able to afford the home in which we now live.
Thus, we decided that a fifth wheel could be stationary as well as moveable. While one could find a place to rent, we preferred the idea of traveling as much as we could. Renting would have let us fall back on the landlord or property manager to get things in an apartment or a rental home repaired, but I’ve had cases where those entities don’t necessarily respond promptly.
It is too bad that the gentleman in the thread on RV Dreams hadn’t thought it out in advance. If he had spent $800 to have a tech inspect the RV, he could have saved the $1200 that he spent on the brakes and wouldn’t have had the issue of the leak and wall de-lamination.
So, each of us needs to force ourselves to push our “desires” to the side and really think out all the possibilities of our actions, before we make those decisions that we will regret later. We have to consider costs of purchase, maintenance, fuel, and the occasional repair or replacement of items not expected to fail.
Then there is the issue of our family and what will happen to those relationships. If a family still has children, it is really important to know one’s responsibilities to their future. Will home schooling be a good enough method of educating them? Will they be deprived of the company of peers their own age? Does one’s desire for an RV lifestyle override the ever present responsibility to one’s family? Does one’s spouse REALLY want to live that life?
I would imagine that a divorce would be expensive enough that one would have to sell everything RV-related in order to pay all the expenses associated with that. That doesn’t even take into account the destruction of the relationship.
For a long time, I had the dream of traveling the country and taking pictures. At times I even imagined myself writing and photographing experiences for magazines. However, I never felt that it would be possible because of the cost involved, so I never even mentioned it to Jo in all the time we have been married.
Imagine my surprise and delight when she came up with the idea herself. Imagine my further surprise after an outing with the Mobile Suites to Carthage, Missouri for a mini-rally that she popped up and said that if she could find a way to make a living on the road, we would be there.
It may take us more time, since the house isn’t sold yet, but we feel that the RV lifestyle of seeing the country will be great. In one of my comments in that thread, I mentioned that one could fly somewhere and rent a car of an RV, but then one would miss seeing all the beautiful (and some not quite so beautiful) country on the way. There is also the pleasure of seeing the charm of communities and people along the way.
So, if one is a believer in God, and with all the beauty in this world to see, how could one not believe in Him, then do your research and planning, closely look at the costs both in money and relationships, and then follow your dream. But, keep checking with those that will be with you and make sure that their feelings haven’t changed.
I recall a gentleman who has become a friend via the RV Dreams forums that saw a change in his RV dreams. He had owned campers before, but his wife never seemed to enjoy them as much as he did. He finally sold his and just lived the dream through the internet forums.
Then one day, his wife asked if they could rent an RV to go on their church
mission trip to south Texas. It seemed that she didn’t relish the thought of staying in hotel beds where their sanitation methods were unknown. Now, not only do they have another camper, but she is even suggesting some of the places that she would like to go and they have been camping with her enjoying it.
While the gentleman in the RV Dreams thread linked above seemed to prefer casinos to nature, he obviously doesn’t necessarily believe that life is the journey and not just the destination.
May it be that whatever it is that we love in life, that we get to enjoy that to its fullest measure and thank God for every for the life we have, the family we have, and the opportunities before us.
Silver Falls near Pagosa Springs, Colorado in August 2009.  I suspect that the water flow would be a lot greater earlier in the year, but veils of water is just as beautiful as torrents.
Edit: Since the above was written, the forum thread that has been linked to has been “scrubbed” of some of the comments that were posted on it by forum participants, including myself.  So now, if you try to put this posting in context with what I linked to, it may seem disjointed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Are Officially Disappointed Now

We suspected that the lady wanting to buy our house was going to back out of the contingency contract due to a couple of reasons, one of which is a poor market where she is trying to sell her house. At one time, there were possible issues as to whether she was going to have a serious health issue, but that we haven’t confirmed.

Anyway, the realtor helping us with our “Home for Sale by Owner” called and said that she had officially released the contract on our house. So, although we have still been somewhat active in selling even without her contract, we will have to get a little more aggressive now.

Hopefully, her health isn’t as bad as she thought. She was a nice young lady with a teen-age daughter. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be for her to be a single mom and still afford this house.

We still have a couple of options. Devon Energy is building a new 50 story headquarters building in downtown Oklahoma City and an energy company out of Enid, Oklahoma is buying their old headquarters building. That would be roughly 250 people moving from Enid into the Oklahoma City area. Maybe one of those folks would be interested. We are seriously considering putting a classified ad into the Enid paper.

Who knows? I might even get bold enough to send some kind of message with information right to the Enid energy company. But, for now, we get a little more active in trying to sell the house. While the housing market isn’t that bad in the Oklahoma City area, homes in the price range of our house aren’t really moving that fast.

Wish us luck.

Here is a sort of aerial view or out neighborhood.  Our house is the one with the “X” on the roof.

4502 Brayden Court