Sometimes I just want to sell everything, give to the poor, and go follow Christ. Other times I want to stay home and live a quiet, peaceful life before the Lord. Not my will, but yours. Amen.
*Photo via http://dreamstime.com
*Photo via http://dreamstime.com
This is the second article in my Day Away summer series. Click here to read the first post.
Leave your purse at home, but pack your driver’s license, credit/debit card, health insurance card, and vehicle registration/insurance. Gas up before you go. There may not be a gas station for miles and those that are close to parks and attractions tend to have higher prices. For more information on what to keep in your car when traveling, click here.
The following is a list of essential items for your hiking daypack, some of which can be stored in the pack and a few items to add at the last minute. Use it as a checklist.
It’s a sunny summer day and you’ve had enough of the daily routine. Those blue skies and flowery meadows are calling and you are longing to hop in the car and drive off on a spontaneous adventure of exploration. A little preparation ahead of time will help you get out and about within minutes. The less time spent gathering stuff together at the last minute, the more time to enjoy your day away. Preparation is the key to a summer of carefree road trips:
Prepare your vehicle: Get your oil changed, your vehicle inspected and cleaned, inside and out, at the start of the season. Gas up before leaving. Put together the following three kits and keep them in your car. Replenish as needed.
*P-Jar: Tuck a wide-mouth mason jar with lid in your car, add toilet paper and a beach towel for privacy, and voila! Anyone who has been stuck in traffic with a child who has “gotta go” knows the value of a P-Jar. It certainly isn’t glamorous, but it sure saves the day!
Prepare your essentials: These are personal items you would not care to keep in your car on a daily basis. I use a daypack for this purpose. That way all I have to do is grab it and go.
Dress for comfort over style. Since I burn easily, I find it helpful to wear an oversized linen shirt while driving to prevent sunburn. Lastly, bring an adventurous attitude and common sense. Have fun!
EIGHT HOURS OF FREEDOM! Eight blessed hours all to myself to do anything I wanted. No need to rush. No need to worry. I had a caregiver for my Alzheimama; an all-day, eight-hour sweet-tempered, Christian caregiver who read to my mom, listened to her, sang with her, and chatted all day long. Ma had a great time and I, I had a day off like Ferris Bueller’s. Well, maybe not so dramatic, but a good time nonetheless.
It’s been a few years since I had that length of free time away from caring for my mom, so to warm up, I ran a few errands and bought a latte. I’ve been in desperate need of a battery for my lawnmower since the weather turned fine – the grass is up to my knees in places – so that was the first place I went after gassing up. Unfortunately, the particular battery I needed won’t be in for a couple of days yet, but no matter. This was my day off and I certainly wasn’t going to spend it mowing the lawn, thank you very much!
A haircut, a trip to Wal-Mart, and a happy tummy later, I was off to the mountains to hike for a couple of hours. It was an easy path, a good choice for the first hike of the season. I took my time, shooting photos of anything that caught my eye. That’s the beauty of digital photography; you never have to worry about wasting film.
What a perfect day to walk! Sunny and warm, but not hot. A cool breeze to refresh my skin. Blue skies and green grass – my favorite combination. Peace and quiet: only a couple of men with their dogs and the young couple who gave me directions to the parking lot. Birds and chipmunks; a cat on a railing. The sound of a frog jumping into water and the smell of air skipping through fields of grass. Finally, a few Canada geese resting their wings on the shore of a grassy marsh.
I raised my arms wide, feeling a little like I could fly. Best of all, I didn’t think even once about the cares and concerns of my world. This was a day to enjoy, a day of freedom, sweet and simple.
Rambling homeward after a few hours, I thanked God for the beauty of our county. He is in the small things, the details of life such as a day off. One day isn’t very long in the context of eternity, but as a gift from God, it meant the world to me.
I hope you will take my tale to heart and create your own day off to walk in a garden with the Lord. You need refreshing as well. Set aside the cares of your life for a day to simply breathe.
From time to time I like to include a guest post in my blog. This one was written by my eldest brother, John C. Yuhas, who fishes, hunts, and preaches in Big Sky Country and is Pastor of New Life Foursquare Church (Darby, Montana). It first appeared in the Ravalli Republic newspaper on April 17, 2008. Enjoy!
Montana is of course beautiful, but there are times and places when the glory that is Montana can take your breath away.
For me, the time was many years ago and the place was Glacier National Park. I stood upon a high mountain on a clear spring day looking at mile after mile of rugged mountains. Their high peaks were still crowned with the pure white of a departing winter but from their knees downward splashed the vibrant green of a sudden spring.
Running down from white to green were what appeared to be glistening silver lines. Even as I looked, I knew the lines to be far away streams filled with the energy of the snow melt and sparkling in the sun. My heart was filled with wonder and thankfulness as my eyes and indeed my soul feasted on this spectacular view.
More recently, I had another perhaps not as majestic but no less soul-refreshing time as I stood knee deep in one of my favorite pools in the East Fork of the Bitterroot River.
I was happily holding on to a throbbing fly rod bent with the weight of a solid trout. The trout made one lovely, completely out-of-the-water jump, before landing back into the cold dark waters of the Bitterroot with a splash. It was brown and bigger than what clumsy me usually manages to catch. So I was especially happy not only to hook it, but to actually land it.
As I was undoing the fly to release it, I was struck by its stunning beauty. A mature male brown trout in the flaming colors of the spawn – a thing of wild beauty – and indeed very special gift from the Creator. As I watched it swim away, I took time to gratefully thank the Creator for allowing me to catch such a treasure.
Such experiences and more are why so many call Montana home. Montana is indeed a very special place. But did you know that the Bible teaches that this wonderful creation is a gift from God who not only created it but gave it to us for our enjoyment.
Yes, the deer, elk, trout, the land and the waters are all gifts given by the hand of God to be a blessing to all of us who walk this good earth. I, for one, am very glad for these precious gifts.
Yet, creation is not only a gift, but a form of revelation from God. Looking up into a clear night sky into the vastness that is this universe, we can get a glimpse of His power, His glory and consequently our own smallness.
Looking into the face of our child, or better yet, a grandchild, we can almost see the eternal. The mountains, the streams, the oceans, and why yes, even a single flower all have a testimony if we would but listen to it.
As great as this revelation is, the Bible teaches that there is an even more clear revelation of what God is like. The better, or should I say, the best revelation of what God is like is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is said, he is the express image of God.
Just as a painting will reveal to some extent, the artist who painted it, only by getting to meet the artist do you get to know what the artist is truly like. It is the same with God.
One can learn much about Him through the artwork that is his creations, but it is only in the face of the Son of God, that we clearly see God’s face, God’s love, God’s grace and God’s will for us.
May your heart be filled with wonder and revelation as you enjoy this great place we call Montana, but even more importantly may your heart be drawn to Him who created it and unto His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.