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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Eastern European Missions $1,000,000 Sunday

Today, April 29, 2012, was the day chosen by Eastern European Missions to hold their latest $1,000,000 Sunday. Sundays with those designations from EEM are the days when participating Churches of Christ take up a special collection for their ministry of providing Bibles for public schools in Russia and the Ukraine.

While it will be some time before EEM has an actual total for this year’s $1,000,000 Sunday, I can say that our congregation of approximately 300 people managed to contribute over $18,000 for this ministry.

This program is one that is close to the hearts of the folks at our congregation. It is somewhat bewildering that while this country has such limitations of having churches to be able to have prayer, countries in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are allowing Bibles to be placed in their public schools as learning tools.

While the Bible does teach of God and Jesus, those schools have said that the Bibles should be a strong influence on countries that used to have only a moral code dictated by the state. Now, the people of those countries are using Bibles to teach morals with the hope of instilling good morals into their children.

If you would like to see more at EEM’s website, it is at this link:

Eastern European Missions

This next link will take you to the page where there is an archive of EEM’s newsletters; however at the time of this writing, I was having difficulty fully opening any of those pdf files.

Eastern European Missions Newsletters

In the January, 2012 issue of the Christian Chronicle, there was a story about the 50th anniversary of the mission for EEM. I managed to find an online source for that month’s issue at this link:

Christian Chronicle archive issue

What was interesting in that story was the telling of a story of a gentleman from the Soviet Union traveling to Vienna on business. An official on the train found this gentleman’s Bible, and saying something to the effect that “a man of your stature shouldn’t have a book like this”, threw the man’s personal Bible out the train window. Two years later, he received his Bible in the mail from those that found it. In it was a letter of apology that expressed their sorrow that it took two years to send him the Bible. However, they stated that it took that long for them to copy his Bible.

That tells something of the urgent need and desire that former USSR citizens have for Bibles. Now, EEM even has distribution points, and perhaps printing facilities, in those countries.

I wrote about the EEM and its history in a previous post on my blog. If you wish to read that, it can be found at this link:

In Praise of Smugglers; Now Gone Legitimate

Kind of in summary of this whole story of putting Bibles in a former Communist country, the following photo speaks volumes. I found it on one of the newsletters for EEM. What an ironic picture it is.

During the “tenure” of Vladimir Lenin, they constructed “youth camps” throughout the USSR where the young people would be introduced to “camp” activities. However, they main purpose was to serve as indoctrination centers so that they could be taught that the State was the “supreme being” in their lives. Nowhere in their camp activities or studies were there to be any references to God.

Now, in this photo, a line of young people are reading EEM bibles under a bust of Lenin in one of those youth camps. But now, EEM has also begun their own camps for the young people. I wouldn’t be surprised that some of their parents are involved as well. I would imagine that if Lenin’s bust could channel this image to him, he would not be pleased.

God bless the yearning people of the Ukraine and all the rest of the world. May they find their answers, and may caring people use ministries such as EEM to help them in their efforts.

EEM Photo of Youth Camp

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quotation for RVers and Life in General

I ran across great words of wisdom on the website "Pbase," where a LOT of photographers post and share their photos.  It is one of the best photo websites that I've ever found, especially for those that want to see what photos taken with a particular brand/model of camera look like.  The photographers there range from outright amateurs to very professional ones.

Anyway, while I don't remember which photographer had it in his area of Pbase, this quotation certainly applied as great knowledge for the RV'er as well as the photographer, many of us who are actually both.

“Watching the clock is not the same as watching a sunrise.”

While it is a definite reference for those who are REALLY living the RV lifestyle by actually getting to travel, even those of us who are still working or working towards that lifestyle can also appreciate the sentiment.

Think of it, when looking out across a panorama of beautiful landscape, or when necessary, across the skyline of a town or city, a sunrise seems to really give us some beautiful sights.

The very act of stopping and enjoying the beauty of a sunrise seems to give me a sense of peace, and upon further reflection, a sense of gratitude.

Peace, because when I stop to really watch a sunrise, not only do I see the brilliant or subtle hues of color, but there are also the sounds of nature around me. Even the birds seem to revel in the mornings with their songs. Unfortunately, the one sense that escapes me is the sense of smell. I don’t get to have the aroma of flowers and other shrubs and trees to accompany the vision in front of me.

Gratitude, because with my firm belief in God, I know that he has once again granted me a day in which to live and enjoy the wonders of his creation. Even with our current situation of still working, I feel blessed that I’ve had the opportunities of the past and the promises of the future. At least until he decides to call me Home.

As for going Home, with the beauty that we see here on Earth, imagine what beauty will be in store for us in Heaven. It is my sincere hope that my life is spent in helping to influence others with my belief in God and that He allows me more time to enjoy his creation and point it out to others that everything is because of him.

Every breath that I take is not one that I need to worry about making sure I do. My heart pumps life giving blood without me needing to remember to do that multiple times per minute. Our bodies are wondrous things of beauty as well in their complexity and ability.

Just look at the beauty that others can create in art, writing, music, and so many other realms. How is it that any mankind has that ability, but no other creatures do?

Thank you, God. Thanks for the sunrises and sunsets that provide us with a reminder of the beauty that is you.


Purgatoire River Campground; Colorado, 2000


Outside our back door; Tuttle, OK, 2011


Eleven Mile State Park, Colorado, 2008


Eleven Mile State Park, Colorado, 2008


Blue and Bear Lake Campground areas, Colorado 2008


Kansas home of relatives, 2009.  Even silhouettes of cats in trees have beauty, and poles and high line wires don’t distract from the overall beauty.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Soothing and Trimming

There won’t be a lot to write tonight as things today conspired to keep me busy until pretty late.

Oklahoma is in the process of consolidating all the Information Technology branches in all the various state agencies under one “umbrella” agency and director. The IT division director at the agency where we work applied for and was hired for the position of being over all the IT departments of the state agencies that deal with “public safety.”

Since he did that, Jo has been moved into his old position at our agency and is now over all of our IT division. While she hasn’t gotten a raise yet for the extra responsibility, that could be coming in the next few weeks of maybe the next two months. That we’ll just have to wait and see what comes about.

In the meantime, she is faced with other agency directors who are now suddenly hostile towards the IT division here, even though we have been a good “family” of folks in the past. They are resentful, and rightly so, that the state is now going to still make each agency pay the salaries of the IT people who are working with the agencies PLUS an additional 4% “administration fee,”

Not only will that increase the need for more funds from the legislature to cover those additional costs, but I’m not so sure that the state is really going to save any money with this consolidation plan.

Anyway, since Jo’s been treated like the bad sheep of the family lately, I’ve been trying to help sooth her and keep her from getting too uptight about the whole thing. I suspect that those now hostile at work will eventually see the need to temper their attitudes and things will get back to normal.

Jo is hoping that she can hold out during this consolidation thing until October of 2013, which is the date that she could take early retirement. I’ve applied for another position within the agency that would be a management position. Should I get that job, there would be a significant increase in my salary, which would help us get completely out of debt sooner.

However, the quandary I would be in then is that if I were to stay in that position for three years, it would increase my potential retirement benefits significantly. So, if I get the job, which is a very big IF, we will have another decision to make.

After soothing Jo some, I went out and used the electric weed trimmer to “mow” on the off door side of the coach. That area is where the sewer line and our water supply lines are located, making it impossible to mow there with a regular mower. So, a trimmer has to be used to do that job.

Once I finished that, ate supper, took a shower, read blogs and typed this small entry for the blog, it is now 11:30pm. So, I think it is time to call it a day and head for bed. Good night, All.


In the picture above, note the splashes in the water behind each of the birds in take-off mode.  I think it is so cool that those splashes remain even after the birds have gone on past.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Evidences of History

Since I am in a quandary of what to do with my next installment on the Pagosa Springs vacation in 2009, I’ve decided to write of something that came to mind the other day. If I can do this right, perhaps I can create some parallels that may benefit someone.

History has a way of being an account of some fable or perceived event that goes for a long time as an unproven occurrence. That is, until someone comes upon something in the way of evidence to prove the accounts of history. After all, mankind seems to have always wanted to “record” events that they had witnessed.

We can go “way back” and find petroglyphs in both this country and Europe as well. So, we know that some early, early “ancestor” wanted to show on the wall of his cave that he had a hand. Or perhaps, he drew the story of a successful hunt. While some scholars somewhere had the belief that such a group or tribe existed, it isn’t until they find the “writing on the wall” to prove their theories.

People might want to question the existence of a civilization in South and Central America, but the discover of the Mayan and Inca temples and other structures leads to actual evidence that those peoples existed and even that they seemed to thrive pretty well. At least up to a point, and then they disappeared in a mysterious way.

We have long heard the stories of the Anasazi peoples, first as stories told by the earlier tribes speaking of “those that came before,” and then as actual writings. Many times, the actual writings come about because someone discovered a monumental find such as cliff dwellings.

So, not only have we heard the stories of the peoples themselves, we also hear (or read) of the stories of the discoveries of evidence of their existence in the form of their “home structures” and their clay pots and other tools. Even as a child, I used to find arrowheads in the Panhandle of Oklahoma, proving beyond a doubt that Indians once roamed that area in spite of the lack of readily available water.

Following the work of Charles Darwin with his book “The Origin of the Species,” he had been in conversation with or wrote to other individuals, some of whom wrote of Darwin’s statements. In those writings, Darwin himself professed that if evidence could be found that the basic structure of life turned out to be more complex than he envisioned or that no fossil evidence could be found of “transitional creatures,” then his theory could be proclaimed as false.

So far, both of those suppositions have come about. There is evidence found with electron microscopes that the human cell is very complex and is in fact a small manufacturing plant. In addition, no fossil remains of transitional creatures have been found.

Darwin’s early statements were that they had not had enough time since the professing of his theory to find those remains. Now, there has been more than 150 years that have gone by, but no archeologist has ever discovered the necessary evidence. At one time, some folks proclaimed that “The Piltdown Man” was that evidence, but it was later proven that “he” was a hoax.

By contrast, in spite of those that profess that God does not exist and that the story of Jesus Christ is just part of a “good book,” evidences are found by archeologists to give some confirmation to the stories. It does take a discerning individual to ferret out the stories of those evidences.

Use your internet search engines and look for “archeological evidence of the Bible” and you will get numerous internet sources to check out. Rather than try to point out specific websites, I’ll let you readers look and decide for yourselves as to what seems to be evidence. Obviously, those professing belief will be those that are Christian, and those professing disbelief will be non-believers.

The majority of what I have found is that those professing that the Bible is accurate seem to have better arguments for their faith in the evidence than those that argue against it. They tend to find corroborating evidence for their arguments with the writings of early historians.

Those arguing against it seem to be of a notion of trying to prove a negative by simply saying the evidence doesn’t exist. Yet, they cannot produce anything, other than professing doubt, that the Bible is wrong.

So, since we as modern mankind have not seen any Mayas, Inca, and Anasazi peoples, we have to accept that they did exist because of the archeological discoveries that proved the early stories of their existence. Likewise, we should carefully examine the archeological evidences of the “stories” of the Bible to ascertain whether God and his Son, Jesus Christ even existed.

I think that anyone doing a careful enough study will find more evidence of truth in the Bible than will find evidence against it. As for me, I’ve been a believer since a very young child because I was raised in a Christian family. As an adult, I’ve always tended to question things related to faith and Biblical writings.

My early beliefs were, and still are, that for the best information, I would need a Bible that was as close of a translation of the original languages as I could find. Originally, I always thought that the King James Version was that Bible version because it was translated much closer in time to the actual biblical events.

Since then, I’ve learned that the New International Version also incorporates the writings found on the Dead Sea Scrolls. One of our church elders told me that the best version for the closest to “word for word” was the American Standard Version of 1901

I looked high and low for a copy and found that only one publisher still publishes the 1901 ASV, and that publisher is Star Bible. However, one can find the 1901 American Standard Version at Bible Gateway.com and in an Android phone app called MySword.

If you would like to read more about why I prefer the American Standard Version, then you can check out my early post at the following link. Down towards the bottom of that posting, you can find more evidences of why I firmly believe that the ASV is closest to word-for-word.


Now, after all that is said, I am hopeful that I can look at my next vacation topic which was a hike along the Piedra River, and end my quandary. I just have to figure out which of 271 photos I want to show in that posting. The daunting task will stay with me throughout the rest of the vacation posts because I took more than 3200 photos in that two week period.

Pray for me, please.   I need all the help I can get with the posts yet to come, including one day at Mesa Verde and one day on the Durango/Silverton Railroad.

Now, for your enjoyment, a picture of irony.  Check out the sign.

Learn to Fly Here

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Second Piedra River Photoshoot

The Piedra River meanders from northeast of the Sportsman’s Campground and runs near the road south of the campground. Where it is close to the road in that southern part, the river runs through a canyon with some pretty high bluffs. At a point, after the curve turning back north, there is a trail taking one through that canyon. But, that is for a later post.

On this excursion, done the same day as the previous post to Piedra Falls, we simply stopped at a pull-out near that canyon and took some pictures. The following are pictures showing that area.

This first one shows a small stream that flows into the Piedra River from the East. The pull-out we stopped on is before the curve of the road before it goes north. While it is not really visible in this photo, there is a small waterfall there. (Look in the very center of the photo.)


Here is a close-up of that small falls.


Looking now towards the west, we get to see some of the bluffs in that canyon area.


This one is a different part of the bluff, although I don’t recall its exact location in relationship to the first photo. However, it does give a better perspective of the face of the bluff.


Now, a little closer….


Now, to give you a perspective to size/height of that bluff, this photo shows Jo walking away from the bluff. It kind of gives one a sense that one shouldn’t get too close to the edge. However, “one” isn’t me. I am always on the lookout for the good perspectives of photos.


This shot shows the Piedra River on the right and the stream with the small waterfall on the left.


The bluff curves around in this area, so this next photo of the river and canyon is from a spot further west and then north of the previous photo.


This picture is taken from a spot further north and we lose sight of the small stream. However, the Piedra River is shown after a split. Not shown in any of these photos is where the Piedra River flows through an area with high bluffs on both sides. That area is for the aforementioned “later post.”


This next one shows the Piedra River down and to the left and looks out over the valley towards the further mountains.


Finally, this image shows a status that I should be in instead of sitting up at 11:15pm writing this blog. It is reclining.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Another Day in Beautiful Colorado 2009

Actually, this “day” will have to be done in two posts. There are just too many photos that I would want to share from two different outings on that day, both of which were related to the Piedra River.

This first one was a drive and hike up to Piedra Falls, which is northeast of the Sportsman’s Campground. One source that I found stated that it was on “Middle Fork Road,” but Google maps shows Forest Service Road numbers, not names. So, one might have to ask in Pagosa Springs if one wanted to visit the falls.

The drive wasn’t that far from Sportsman’s and the hike wasn’t really all that long either. If I remember right, there might have been one place where one had to watch their footing on the trail. At the falls themselves, it was rocky, so care should also be taken there.

Now, some pictures of the trail to the falls.








Here are some in the vicinity of the falls. Piedra Falls itself wasn’t all that impressive, but we sure enjoyed the trip and hike to it.






One last comment.  Since I have been so long with reading the blogs of others as well as writing my own, I have a suggestion.  Don’t get behind on reading blogs.  I’ve spent at least three days trying to get caught up on what everyone is doing.  I’ll certainly try to not ever do that again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Colorado 2009 - Pagosa Springs Area

On August the 24th of that year, while we had arrived in Colorado and already spent some time driving around and seeing some of the sights, we hadn’t made it back into Pagosa Springs. Since there were some things we needed, we headed off to town.

On the day we had arrived at Sportsman’s Campground, they had extended an invitation to us to be a part of their upcoming potluck supper. Since we had brought absolutely nothing in our store of supplies that could be cooked up or baked for a large group, we definitely had to find something in Pagosa Springs for our contribution.

Jo wasn’t sure of what we could get to fix up, so we elected to get a dessert and take it back. Since I’m not likely to write about this on the day of the potluck supper because it is still coming up in this review of our vacation, suffice it to say that we were embarrassed with our selection. Every one of the other participants had cooked/baked up something by hand. Ours was the only thing that was “store bought.”

Since we were getting little things needed for our new experience of “camping out” with the full hookups, there were also a few things needed in the way of RV accessories.

There was also a photographer in the Pagosa Springs area that I had conversed with online because I had seen a photo of a waterfall he had done. Nowhere else was I able to find information as to where that waterfall was located. In our exchange of e-mails, he had given me both directions and maps of that area. He was very helpful, even though we never made it to that waterfall.

In the exchange of messages, I had told him of our plans for that two weeks and he had told me that he was having a gallery showing at a local Pagosa Springs art gallery. Needless to say, we went by to see more of what subjects he had photographed and meet him face to face.

The photographer’s name is Guy Schmickle, and he lived somewhere in Colorado, although he is now in the Sedona, Arizona area. If you want to see some of his photos, check out the following links:



I probably shouldn’t have posted that link because some of his photos are enough for me to feel jealous, partly because he lives in Colorado and can catch the state in all seasons, while I have to limit myself to our vacations. However, while his photos are beautiful, I do think he has worked with them in imaging software. That is one thing that I very seldom ever do. I prefer my images to be “mirrors” of God’s own handiwork.

While we spent a lot of time in Pagosa Springs, it was probably a good day to do it as it was very overcast and photos would have been less than great. We did get some photos of low-hanging clouds over some of the mountains fringing the valley in which Sportsman’s Campground is located.



Other than the cloud pictures, the only other things I photographed that day was hummingbirds. Nothing spectacular in the way of photographs, but I really enjoy them more for their antics. Perhaps a few of these will be an example of their actions.  Note that in a few of them, particularly the first one, you can see a hummer through the clear part of the feeder.  The one with him looking at me makes me think he was checking me out.





It has been quite some time since I’ve done much writing on the blog, and even longer since I’ve done any writing on my book. Today’s blog entry has been anything but good, and even the pictures aren’t anything to write home about. I must apologize for such a lack of commitment in my postings. Please forgive me for being lazy.

Hopefully, I can get back into some kind of “swing” with my writing. I think I really need to take a trip somewhere and take a bunch of photographs. Maybe that would help.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Back from the Unknown

Good grief!! February was a bad month with only a few posts and March was without any at all. Perhaps I should explain “part” of the reason.

It started with not really having the time to do much in February. It seemed that something kept intruding on my evenings, when I prefer to write. We’ve also been involved with some things with church and doing things with and for our two sons.

Our oldest son and his wife have been trying to buy a house, and that has turned out to be a nightmare in development. The youngest son asked me to help him with the selection of a rifle, so that took a couple of weekends of looking at gun shops, plus some more time on firearms forums asking questions and reading.

The church issue is part of getting ready for what is called “Million Dollar Sunday” when a number of Church of Christ congregations will take up special contributions to help Eastern European Missions to place Bibles in public schools in the Ukraine. More of that story is at the following link:


But, I suppose the worst culprit for taking up some of my evenings was that I bought a multi-pack of John Wayne movies from the ‘30’s with a couple of documentaries. It had something like 25 movies plus the documentaries. As much as I like writing, I like John Wayne movies even better.

With all that explained, hopefully I can get back to a more regular schedule of writing, although I am still viewing a series of video lessons entitled, “The Last Days According to Jesus.” That video is based on a book by the same title written by R. C. Sproul. Once I’ve absorbed more of that series, I may have some comments about “the last days.”

With luck, I can soon return to telling about our vacation in Colorado in 2009 and showing some more pictures.

Wish me luck and better concentration.

Elmer Fudd2

Oh, that was the problem…..I DIDN’T do anything for about a month and a half.  Sorry for wasting your time in looking to see what I might have written.