Monday, September 29, 2014

A Ride in the Clouds

It would be my first ride in the clouds.  Would I be scared, would I be thrilled?
The plain stopped on the runway and the engine got louder and louder.  I sat rigged in my seat.  Would it take off so fast that everything would be a blur?  I watched the flaps of the wings raise up and down as I assumed the pilot was double checking that everything was in working order.  The power with which the plain moved forward, pushed me back against the seat.  The airport whizzed by then, slowly, slowly my body was raised from earth in this metal contraption with stationary wings.    The ground how I had once known it got further and further away as it turned into a patchwork of greens, browns, and yellows dotted with the tiny roofs of houses and barns.  I chewed my gum vigorously as I felt my ears get plugged and my head grow tight from the drastic altitude changes. 

 My friend, Rebekah and I were on our way to Bend, Oregon to the ranch we've always dreamed about: Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.  We flew out of Des Moines a half our later than expected due to a flicker in the airport's electricity from the rain storm.  We landed in Minneapolis, at 8:35a.m. only to anxiously wait 10 more minutes for an exit ramp to be brought to the door of the plain.  By then it was 8:55 a.m. and our plain was to depart at 9:00.  We raced across the airport passing people in our frantic state.  As we were halfway there, Rebekah stopped and said, "Wait, did that sign say it wasn't leaving till 9:30?"  "I don't know.  I'd rather get there sooner than later," I commented knowing that our luggage had already been loaded on that plain.  Sure enough the plain had been delayed (good thing for us).  As we hit the skies for Salt Lake City, we had a sinking feeling as we double checked our tickets.  We were going to barely make our flight to Portland.  As the jet landed, the stewardess listed off the flights that were departing, Portland being one of them.  We were discouraged as this meant we would not get to ride the bus that we had payed for.  Thankfully, Rebekah thought to ask if we could have our alternate flight be Redmond.  This way we could get ahead of the bus and still meet Rachel (the lady we'd be staying with) at the bus stop in Bend.   It was amazing to see how God worked out the details.  Through it all Rebekah had said, "There's no need to get worried about it.  God's worked things out this far, so He can work through this as well. There is nothing we can do about it so I might as well trust Him."  She was so right.  We had no need to be anxious with God on our side! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Trip to Kentucky Part 3

Ryan looked up at me and asked quietly. “Do I have to do it?” “No, you don't have to, but at least try playing with it in your hands. Meranda the other team leader had similar thoughts to mine. Soon she and I had been convinced by the excited squeals of the campers and had our hands in the strange white gooey substance. I could ball it up in my hands just as Michael one of the leader's assistance had showed me, but when I opened my hand it dripped though my fingers. It was time to “walk” on it. Because constant pressure had to be applied, you had to “jump” on it so to speak and “run” on the water. If you hesitated, your feet started to sink and get stuck. Ryan one of the few boys who always managed to stay clean, looked up at me again and said, “I'm going to try it.” “Me too,” I told him and together we took off our boots and socks to join the others. All of us had so much fun, and surprisingly, it wasn't messy. This white water didn't splash.  When pressure was applied it became firm so that we could walk on the water. 

Friday, was a big day—Pony Express. Each of the staff was asigned to a “station” along the trail where a child would get a fresh horse and have a decision to make. They could choose whether to practice the fruit of the spirit or do things their own way.   One spot in the trail there was a road block created by a pile of branches purposely placed in the path.  The child had to choose whether to wait for the branches to be cleared or go around them.  If they were patient, they continued down the right path, if they were impatient they were sent on a rabbit trail.  In another spot they met a lonely, poor hobo who was seeking true friendship and love.  The children were to point her to the cross and tell her of Jesus who would love her unconditionally and be her true friend.    At the end of the trail their self control was tested as they were told they must get off their horse and walk all the way back up the trail.  If they responded with a good attitude, they were allowed to get back on their horse and ride up to the barn, otherwise they had to walk back. 

When Brystol asked me if I wanted to take one of the horses and ride the trail to make sure each station was ready, I was thrilled! I chose one of the Haflinger ponies, she had a smooth gait and I was so glad to have a chance to ride a trot and lope. On my return to the barn I was instructed to ride the trail once more, this time following some of the young pony express riders to make sure everything would go smoothly and none of the activities at the stations would spook the horses. I started out riding a tall brown horse, but switched halfway to a Tennessee Walker. Completing the pony express route, I was then assigned to lead or walk along side young riders. Once everyone completed the Pony Express ride, we all took turns cooling off in the pool and going down the slip n' slide, which was a long white slick piece of plastic tarp extended down the hill from the house.  Someone stood at the top spraying it down with a foam soap to make it slick.

Saturday's grand finale was a rodeo put on by the children for their parents.  I chose which of the four categories my children would compete in.  Two did pole bending, one did barrel racing, one did keyhole, and one did roping.  The rodeo started out with the staff and campers holding up a giant American flag while several of the girl campers sang the national anthem.  It was a hot day, but all the children did their best and had fun. After the campers left, the staff cleaned up the Reckner ranch and make sure everything was in its place.

I didn't go home till Monday as that was when a lady had agreed to take me and another girl to meet our rides home in St Louis.  So Sunday afternoon, the Reckners and some of the remaining staff went horseback riding.  That was a lot of fun.  I rode Spur who is a captivity born mustang.  Cantering him was really enjoyable as he felt so comfortable and balanced. 

I'm so thankful for all that God taught me out there.