21st Annual Salute to American Veterans Rally- Cripple Creek

7 Sep

This weekend, actually- a couple weekends ago, we had the honor of attending Cripple Creek’s Veteran Rally.  This being my first Motorcycle Rally, I was not sure what to expect.  (I had been at Daytona Beach for a portion of Bike Week, but I was only passing through.)  Seeing all the Veterans of our Armed Forces, and witnessing their steadfast pride in their country was an experience I will never forget.

I apologize for the poor quality of some of these snapshots.  In my rush to get packed, I forgot my camera, so I had to use my cell phone. 

If you would like to learn more about this annual event, please click HERE.


 I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures.. they were taken with my cell phone as I forgot my camera in the rush.   I also regret the wacky picture sizes, but after trying to post these for two weeks, I have given up.  Blogger has been a complete pain where pics are concerned. 


Predator and Prey

7 Sep
Where we are living in limbo, we get to see an abundance of rabbits, prairie dogs, and squirrels dashing around here and there.  Recently, I noted a couple hawks hanging around.  I was finally able to catch one with my camera, and one of the prey he was scoping out.
I believe this is a Swainson’s Hawk
This tree where the hawk was perched is a mere ten yards from where this rabbit sat still.   I was only standing about ten feet from the rabbit, and my presence finally deterred the hawk in his hunt.  (I was not intentionally disturbing his hunt- lol- I was just so thrilled to get as close as I did to him without him flying away.)
A desert cottontail, I believe

Fear Not: The Reluctant Recruit

6 Sep

I never dreamt I would end up in the Military, let alone the Air Force.  When the Lord opened that door and shoved me through it, kicking and screaming I might add, I still thought at the back of my mind that after all those trips to the recruiter’s office, the two trips to MEPS, and the final weigh-in before I went to MEPS to ship off to Basic that He would throw something into the mix letting me off the hook.

He did not.

I will never forget the night before I left for MEPS- my last night at the only home I had ever known.  I realized I would never return and find it the same.  I realized the step I was about to take was going to send me over a cliff, and I either had to learn real fast how to trust in Him, or I was going to drown for six years.  I slept very little that night.

Then the short night at MEPS where I was loaded onto a bus, taken to the airport, and flown to San Antonio.  The longest short night of my life.  I was so riddled with fear.  I knew I was not cut out for Military life.  I knew that I was going to fail.  I was not in shape, despite my skinny frame.  I could barely run up a flight of stairs without feeling like I would collapse from shortness of breath and weak muscles.  I knew I was not up to being yelled at.  After years of being yelled at, I had never gotten used to it, and it always reduced me to tears- to know that for six and a half weeks, someone was paid to yell at my every mistake had me quaking inside.

When we got off the plane in San Antonio and waited for the buses that were to take us to Lackland AFB, I remember sitting in a darkened hallway in the airport surrounded by other recuits.  Few of us spoke.  Whether or not they shared my fears and insecurities or were simply exhausted, I will never know.  I remember being too wound up and anxious, the fear a tight not in the pit of my stomach that threatened to reveal itself physically.  I swallowed hard every couple of minutes to keep down the bile.

Suddenly, the TI send to fetch us stood at the end of the hallway.  All I could see was his silhouette.  A tall, stocky man with the recognizable TI hat.  As he yelled at us to gather our gear and prepare to follow him, my fear threatened to overwhelm me.  I looked at him and I looked behind me at the empty hallway stretching back to the airport.  I stared long and hard behind me.  How bad would it be to simply step out of line and return to the life I knew?  How severe would the consequences be really for walking away from my “signed contract.”  I knew I didn’t belong there.  Soon enough they would know too.  So why stay?  Why put myself through hell?

“Because,” the still small voice spoke.  As the TI moved down the line taking roll, I battled with my God.

“Why?” I pleaded as I noticed the TI getting closer.  Somehow, I knew once he got my name and verified it on his list, there would be no escape.

“Trust me,” the still small voice spoke again deep in my heart.

“It’s too much, too hard… Oh, God!  WHY?”   Panic hit me hard as the TI was only a couple people away from me.

“FEAR NOT!” said the voice sternly in such a way I was sure the girl in line in front of me heard it too, though maybe she just turned to look at me as I caught my breath and fought the urge to throw up.

“Fear not,” the voice said again more gently as the TI was suddenly standing in front of me.

“Fear not,” the voice whispered as I stared at the ground and gave the TI my name and waited for him to find my name on his list.

“Fear not,” the voice repeated to me over and over during the first week of Basic Training.  But that moment in the hallway, in the darkness, in the midst of my fear and anxiety, that still small voice somehow kept me rooted and helped me jump off that terrifying cliff into a whole new world, new life, new adventure- all things that changed my life in ways I never dreamed.

I look back now and realize His Hand at work.  I look at my Military family, the lessons I have learned, the people I have met, the friends who have become more like family, the DH who I met while serving, our resulting family, and most of all the closer relationship I have with my Lord (imperfect as it is), and I see a piece of the tapestry He has spun for me.

I will never forget that fearful period, or that terrifying moment in San Antonio.  It was life changing- it should not be forgotten.

This post has been part of the Blogtember Challenge started by Jenni.
If you liked this post, or any others you read while visiting A God-Blessed Life, please let me know by clicking on the “Top Mommy Blogs” button in the right column.
As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment sharing your thoughts or sharing your blog!


Book Review: Redeeming Love- 20th Anniversary Edition

5 Sep
Redeeming Love- 20th Anniversary Editionis a Christian fiction novel written by esteemed author Francine Rivers.  This edition includes a group study at the end to delve deeper into the Biblical applications shared in the story.
The story begins with a young girl, a mere child, who is yearning for love and acceptance.  Seeing the world’s perspective of love in shocking realization and through the shocking circumstances, the young girl grows into a young woman who is hardened and bitter.  Understandably scarred, Angel has grown into a beautiful woman and has become a sought out prostitute.  When a Godly man discovers she is part of God’s will for his future, and sets about to not just marry her, but to teach her the truth of love, of God’s love, both of them find themselves caught in a whirlwind of emotions and struggles neither expected.
Paralleling the Biblical account of Gomer and Hosea, the story of Angel in Redeeming Love catches the reader from page one.  Just as Gomer continually left Hosea for the life she was more comfortable in, and just as Hosea continually and steadfastly loved her, this incredible story of love despite past sins, recurring sins, and other struggles clearly reflects the love God has for his children.  This book is a beautiful account of God’s redeeming grace, mercy, and love. 
As an avid reader, I am often wary of Christian fiction because it is often hokey and unrealistic.  However, Redeeming Love was brutally realistic and honest to its storyline and character development.  While in real life I cannot relate to Angel’s experiences, I can certainly relate to the struggles of her heart as she learns to love, to trust, and to view God as loving instead of damning.  Moved to tears from the very beginning, and moved to tears again as Angel grows through the book, I find that Redeeming Love will be a favorite among my books and worthy of reading repeatedly.  I recommend this novel for men and women alike.
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher from Multnomah book review program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed in this review are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment sharing your thoughts or sharing your blog!

Words of Wisdom

5 Sep
Words of wisdom…  Everybody has some these days, right?  We see snippets, quotes, blurbs, verses, lyrics, etc plastered on our Facebook walls, on Pinterest, and shared via Twitter.
What’s the big deal?  Why do we cling to words of wisdom from others?  Why do we store away advice given sometimes, and completely dismiss it other times?  Where do we seek our advice?  Why do we seek advice from those people or sources?
Have you ever wondered?
I am always seeking advice from others.  Partly due to my own insecurities, I seek advice regarding issues that I feel I do not know enough about to do well on my own.  This means I ask for advice A LOT!  Oh, yes…  (Though its typically via FB because I have developed a love-hate relationship with my phone… LOL)   Anyway, today’s challenge for Blogtember is to share some advice or words of wisdom that I have been given that has actually been useful and that I still follow today.
When I think about all the advice I have been given over the years, both asked for and unasked for, I have a whole lot to choose from.  However, there was some advice, not given to me directly, but given by way of lyrics in a song.  I heard it for the first time in high school.  Back when my faith was an easy thing.  Reading the Bible was easy cause I had so little else that I was responsible for.  I had all the time in the world.  Being a “good” Christian was easy because I was too afraid of being “bad.”  Still, as I was staring my future as an adult in the face, preparing to put my school days behind me, this song stuck out to me, became a mantra when peer pressure sought to overwhelm me, and carried me through when I could not seem to call my favorite Bible verses to mind.
The song is called “Dare To Be Different” by a Christian group called DeGarmo and Key.  The entire song is beautifully written, but while I cannot remember the lyrics from the entire song, I can remember the chorus:

 We dare to be different,  Dare to be called strange, Dare to be different, and the Cross you wear should mean you’ve truly changed.

I have lived that chorus.  I strive to keep living that chorus.  Just because I am a member of this world, does not mean I have to be caught up in the pressures of the world.  Striving to be different, to be Christlike, to be a better person, I think I have been more aware of glitches in mainstream thinking that others just accept.  I think striving to be different has helped me stay motivated in my faith…. cause when all else fails, that chorus starts playing in my mind, even though I have not heard to song in years… 
What words of wisdom or advice have you been given that you have kept in mind in your life?
This post has been part of the Blogtember Challenge started by Jenni.
If you liked this post, or any others you read while visiting A God-Blessed Life, please let me know by clicking on the “Top Mommy Blogs” button in the right column.
As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment sharing your thoughts or sharing your blog!
A God-blessed Life

His blessings abound, no matter where He sends us.