Sharing Life’s Blessings and Getting Along With Others

America the Beautiful

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Last Wednesday mylove and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary, and the following Friday we celebrated mylove’s Birthday.  In 2016 we celebrated our 47th with our son Adam, wife April and grandson Aiden at Bass Pro Shop’s Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Missouri.   In 2017, we celebrated our 48th at Big Cedar with Adam, April, and Aiden, and were also joined by our grandson Logan and wife Brooklyn.  We tried to put something together with our family this year but due to conflicting work schedules and previous commitments, we couldn’t get everybody together.  So, this year mylove and I decided to celebrate our 49th in Colorado.  We made reservations for November 7th and 8th at the Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colorado.  We departed South Fork at 11:15 on the morning of the 7th and headed to Noah’s Arf in Monte Vista to drop off our dog Skipper for boarding. Thirty minutes later we were almost in Monte when mylove remembered that the kennel was closed from 12 noon to 3PM.  The kennel was about 5 miles East and South of Monte Vista.  Of course we were on the West side of town.  I made some quick calculations and determined that there was no way we were going to make it by Noon.  As we pulled into town we had 12 minutes to get there.  Mylove called the kennel and it went straight to voice mail.  At this point we knew that we only had one option, “Lord please let us make it to the kennel before everyone leaves”.  I really can’t remember for sure, but I may have exceeded the posted speed limit a time or two as we approached our target.  It’s really kind of a blur or maybe that was the landscape hurtling past.  At any rate, the clock hit 12 Noon and we could see the kennel.  There was a car pulling out onto the highway.  I quickly hit my left turn signal before we passed each other.  As there was only one left turn to be made, I hoped the driver would see my signal and brake lights in the rear view mirror, or possibly had seen the panic on our faces and have mercy on us.  As I pulled (slid) into the driveway, I saw the brake lights and the car turning around.  Hallelujah!  Thank You Lord!  I can’t say enough good about Noah’s Arf.  The staff is great as is the whole facility.  Highly recommended to anyone in the area needing pet boarding.  Skipper was delivered, good byes said and we were off.

Our next stop on the trail was Costello Street Coffee House and Restaurant in Florissant, Colorado.  We had passed the coffee house when mylove said awwww, I’ve always wanted to stop there but never have because of our schedule.  This time we didn’t let the schedule get in the way.  We turned around and went back to the coffee house.  As we were waiting in line to place our order, we struck up a conversation with a lady in front of us.  During the course of the conversation, mylove told her that we were on our way to Manitou Springs to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary.  When it came the lady’s turn to order she told the cashier that she was paying for ours too.  Mylove and I protested and thanked her for her kindness but told the cashier that we would pay for our own.  The lady then said please let her do this for us and please don’t deny her the blessing.  At this point Mylove and I recognized her sincerity, accepted her kind offer, and thanked her for her generosity.  We have to be reminded from time to time that blessings are bestowed on both givers and receivers.  A stranger had blessed us and in return she had received a blessing.  It may seem like a small thing, but to us three strangers it was a spiritual encounter.  We didn’t even know each other’s name but that wasn’t important.  We had shared a Devine appointment.  The lady turned out to be a friend of the new owners of the coffee house, a young couple with the husband in the military being stationed at the Air Force base near Colorado Springs, and the wife was having a baby shower in the adjacent dining room.  We enjoyed everything about Costello Street Coffee House, the service, atmosphere and the coffee.  I would encourage anyone passing through Florissant, Colorado to make time to stop by and have a cup of coffee.  I think that you will be glad you did.

Leaving Florissant, we continued on our way to the Cliff House in Manitou Springs.  Upon arrival a valet met us at our car, secured all of our luggage on a cart, assisted us at check-in, and transported our luggage to our room.  When we arrived at our room everything was perfect except for one small detail.  Mylove had reserved a room with a jacuzzi tub but the room we were given had a shower but no tub.  Our bellman asked mylove if she would like for him to check at the front desk and see if there were any other options, to which she replied that would be truly appreciated.  After a wait of about ten minutes, we received a call from the evening manager at the front desk who was very apologetic and said that the Cliff House wanted our stay with them to be as perfect as possible for our 49th anniversary.  Although they didn’t have any other junior suites available with jacuzzi tubs, they could offer her a complimentary upgrade to a celebrity suite.  The only issue would be having to change to a different suite the following day.  Mylove said that would be great.  The bellman returned shortly and transferred our luggage to the Kathryn Lee Bates suite.  I thought he was talking about Kathy Bates but to my surprise it was Kathryn Lee Bates, the author of America the Beautiful.  Once in the bedroom it became clear who he was talking about.  The words to America the Beautiful were beautifully inscribed below the crown molding and completely encircled the room’s ceiling.  Not only did we have the enjoyment of a jacuzzi tub and steam shower, but also the luxury of heated toilet seats!  We continued our anniversary celebration with a meal at the hotel’s Red Mountain Bar and Grill, and a visit from a great niece and her two children who live a short drive away in Cascade, Colorado.  Following our meal and visit, mylove and I retuned to our suite to a glowing fire, turned down bed, and mints on our pillows.  Mylove was happy and so was I. 

The following day mylove and I enjoyed a great breakfast in the Dining Room and then spent the remainder of the morning and afternoon shopping and dining in Colorado Springs.  We returned to the Cliff House later that day and checked back in at the front desk.  Our luggage had been transferred and we were shown to our new abode, the Thomas Edison penthouse suite.  That evening we enjoyed a great meal and wine at the Cliff House Dining Room.  We finished off our day with another relaxing jacuzzi for mylove and a hot steam and shower for me.  

After a leisurely breakfast, we checked out of the Cliff House on November 9th, mylove’s birthday, and headed toward South Fork.  We decided to take a scenic detour from our normal route and turned South onto Highway 9 in Hartsel, Colorado.  We followed Highway 9 to it’s intersection with Highway 50, West of Canon City, Colorado.  We then followed Highway 50 West along the Arkansas River to Salida.  It’s not uncommon to see Big Horn sheep grazing alongside of the highway, and we were fortunate to see a small flock of ewes and lambs.  We decided to stop in Salida for lunch at Currents, a restaurant in the downtown area, and afterwards do a little shopping at Free The Monkey, a unique consignment shop just up the street.  After lunch and shopping, it was time to head to Noah’s Arf to retrieve Skipper.  We needed to be there between 3PM and 5PM to pick him up and didn’t want to cut it as close as we did when we dropped him off.   We picked Skipper up at 4:30 that afternoon and were back in South Fork an hour later.

My intent for this blog is to share the beauty and some of the activities to be enjoyed in the great Rocky Mountains from my base camp in South Fork, Colorado.  Due to the current level of unrest and turmoil that our Nation is experiencing, I felt led to share some of my thoughts concerning these events in my closing paragraph.  I hope that you will bear with me and it is my prayer that this will be a blessing and an encouragement to those who read it.   

As a Christian I believe that God is not only in control of the final outcome of human history but is also involved in the lives of normal everyday people.  Christ chose people from all walks of life to advance His kingdom.  He chose some who were perceived by the powerful of His day to be common, weak, or lowly, but He also chose some who were well educated and scholarly.  This tells me that it doesn’t matter to Christ who or what a person is.  What matters to Christ is the willingness of the person to be used by Him.  In order to be used by Christ to the fullest, a person must surrender their will to the will of Christ.  Make yourself a living sacrifice so to speak.  I heard an evangelist say one time that the problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off of the alter.  This drew a laugh from the congregation, but in reality this is the way most Christians live.  They surrender all to Christ one day, then take it back the next day in order to get even with someone who they feel has wronged them, or to attack those whos views oppose theirs.  In reality, arguing with someone very seldom changes the other person’s beliefs or worldview.  All that is accomplished is to create more division and anger.  Changing a person’s worldview has to begin with a change of heart.  Surrendering one’s will to Christ is not an easy thing to do.  Staying surrendered to Christ is even harder.  All people are inherently selfish and want their own way.  It goes against human nature to give over control of one’s life to Christ.  We want to do what we want, when we want, and don’t want anyone or anything telling us it is wrong or sinful.  Our nation is in the throes of an ideological civil war that is tearing our republic apart.  No one but God knows what the final outcome of this struggle for America will be, but this I do know, as Christians our highest callings are to love one another and be a light unto a lost and dying world.  If Christians would spend more time sharing positive messages of love and hope, and less time criticizing one another over their political differences, we would have a greater impact on our postmodern society.  The Bible teaches that love will triumph over hate and light will overcome darkness, but before Christians can love the lost and be a light unto the world, they must first learn how to love one another.  We  Christians sometimes forget that our war is not against people with opposing views, but is a spiritual war against the powers of darkness.  The truth is, our country is not being torn apart by opposing ideologies, but by people who are being used by forces in whom most of them don’t even believe.  As Christians we can either choose to join in with those who are spewing hatred and discontent, or choose to show love and compassion and take the light of Christ to a sinful and lost world.  It is time for followers of Christ to act like followers of Christ.  “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another”.  Let it start with me.

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