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ISU Visits Sequoia National Park

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Had the opportunity to spend the best part of last week with a group from ISU Alternative Spring Break (ASB) in Sequoia National Park in California.  The 10 of us had a great week just taking in the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and sunshine.

To earn our keep we had to do some slave labor in the nursery, repairing fish nets, and cleaning houses, but that was all for a good cause.  In-between time we hiked all over the park.  
Every trip I've been on with ASB has been really rewarding. This one was no different, and probably the closest group to date.  Working with a group of service minded students and chaperones makes for good times.  
On our one evening going out to eat we visited The Habit in Visalia about 50 miles away.  We got some interesting looks from the regular customers when we all showed up in matching t-shirts from Indiana State U.  Questions were like, are you really from Indiana, and what are you doing here? Kind of fun, and the double cheeseburger with fries were…

Quick Things I Learned Teaching on Heaven and Hell

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Quick Things I Learned Teaching on Heaven and Hell
1.Teaching on Heaven is infinitely more popular than teaching on Hell 2.Like it or not, the bible clearly teaches you are going to one or the other: Matthew 25:31-46 3.Most people believe they are going to Heaven, but Jesus says otherwiseMatthew 7:13-14 13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." This is in keeping with St. Faustina’s vision:  "...I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was imp…

Panama City Beach in January

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Spent 4 days in Panama City Beach in early January, and was pleasantly surprised.  My first trip to the panhandle of Florida as we normally go further south.  We visited a couple of days with Sherrie's parents, and then spent 2 days at the Holiday Inn Resort Hotel.  The view from hotel balcony gives one the impression of Hawaii.  Very picturesque place, and one I would visit again for sure.  
While January is certainly their off season it was a very quite time to visit.  The prices of the hotel was also very reasonable.  
Lots of shops, restaurants, movie theater and a variety of things to do.   I'm sure during Spring Beak I wouldn't dare visit, but most times of the year this would be a fun place to vacation.
In the evening the hotel had a pool-side movie playing on a big screen they pull up as soon as it gets dark.  Even had a decent view of it from the balcony.  Waking up and sipping coffee on the balcony overlooking the ocean was also a highlight.
Generally the temperat…

Do the Wise Thing 24 Hour Challenge

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Up for a little challenge?  This may seem a bit simple, but I have a feeling it might be tougher than you think.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.

Pick a 24 hour period of time, and write the date down in advance.Pray once in the morning, noontime, and night.Do something for someone else without compensation of any kind.Speak only the truth, and show compassion in your speech.Choose only healthy things for the mind, body and soul.Be humble all day.Be patient, and peaceful all day.Be productive as possible.Exercise 45 minutes.Encourage someone.Here is a quote from Emanuel Swedenborg that may help you with this:

Some people live good lives and believe that the Lord governs the universe; that he alone is the source of all the good embraced by love and charity and all the truth espoused by faith; that life itself comes from him; and consequently that from him we live, move and have our being.  The condition of these people is such that they can receive the gift of heaven…

A good view from the lowly bunk bed

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One of my good fortunes is the opportunity to travel a lot in my lifetime, and more so in the last few years.  One interesting thing in common in the most important of those travels sounds a bit odd, but I would have to say is the bunk bed.  A bunk bed actually implies group travel, and most often with altruistic intentions.  I’ve visited a number of bunk beds in various places this year, and all of them have been a delight to the soul.
My latest adventure was with a group of students from Indiana State University on a trip called Alternative Fall Break.  We visited the Indiana Dunes National Learning Center to provide some community service.  Staying at a group camp run by a non-profit and working with the National Park Service doing some land reclamation projects.  Day one was simply cutting down weeds in what was once the Good Fellow Youth Camp.  The National Park Service, specifically Ranger Ted is working to restore parts of this camp that was operated by U.S Steel’s Gary Works. …

Why we should get out of Syria Now

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Aleppo Syria is often in the news these days as it well should be.  What’s going on there with the civil war is certainly a catastrophe of the worst order.  If that is the case, why do I believe the United States should get out of there post haste?  Sit tight, the answer starts a few years ago …
As recently as 2005 Aleppo had 2.5 million citizens and was among the oldest cities on record.  It had multi-denominational churches and mosques that coexisted.  In 2012 however it became a chief battleground of the Syrian Civil War.  Massive protests against the government of Bashar al-Assad spilled into Aleppo with rebel fighters from a variety of groups battling the government forces to this day.  If it was only Syrian rebels against the Syrian government it would probably be long over.  However Islamic extremists and foreign fighters joined the battle.  Followed of course by foreign countries who supported one side or the other.  The end result is an ancient city reduced to rubble.  Most i…

Fountain of Youth Found

This past weekend they had the first official opening of the lake jump at the Griffen Bike Park.  It was also just a couple of days before my 58th birthday so I was thinking birthday present to self.  However, the day was one of endless rain showers so I pretty much talked myself out of it.  Just then I got a text from Mike telling me he was getting ready to go.  Well, can’t say no to that so to the park we went.
You would think a group of hard-core mountain bikers would be in line for the jump, but not so much.  It was kids, early twenty somethings, and a couple of middle age types with life jackets on and in line for the jump.  Lots of people there to watch as well.  Mike and I both surveyed the jump, watched a few other brave souls go before we got a life jacket, and got the courage up to join in.  They had bikes strapped with “noodle floats” attached so you just had to fetch the next one out of the lake and get in line.
I walked the bike up the hill and asked the first guy I saw w…