Thursday, June 30, 2016

Leaving Budapest

 We had a wonderful time in Budapest!  The cruise on the Danube last night was so beautiful with all the buildings and bridges lighted. Today we are headed for the Plitvice National Park in Croatia for one night.  It appears on the agenda as a long bus ride, but Rick Steves Tours always breaks that up with interesting stops. We have been told that bus drivers in Europe are required by law to take a break every 2 hours so we know each leg of the trip will be no longer than that.

It was so good to spend time with Laslo Bozsoky yesterday and hear about his ministry in this part of the world. He told us some fascinating stories of answered prayer.  We went with him to see the second largest synagogue in the world--only the one in New York is larger.  It was very beautiful!  The Tree of Life sculpture that commemorated those lost in the Holocaust and the surrounding memorial to them and the 'righteous gentiles' who helped save many Jews, was touching. We then had one of the best dinners of our trip in a restaurant in the Jewish Quarter.

It has been a great trip so far and we are doubly blessed because our friend, Michel, from Omaha and our grandson, Parker, are also traveling with us so we love being able to share it with them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Eastern Europe

If you have been wondering what has happened to my posts I thought I would let you know we are in Budapest right now on a Rick Steves Best of Eastern Europe trip. We left on June 18 and have so far stayed in Prague and Kraków in addition to a couple of villages. Internet has been spotty at some of the hotels and we have been so busy sightseeing that I have had no time to post.

The trip has been fascinating so far.  We particularly loved Prague!  It is so beautiful.  We arrived a day early so had extra time to explore.  We had such fun climbing the little Eiffel Tower for a spectacular view of the city.  Yesterday we visited an elementary school near Eger, Hungary.  That was very interesting. We also explored the castle in Eger and went down in the dungeon. Today we are headed for an exploratory walk of Buda and Pest.  Until this trip I had no idea they were separate cities. We are scheduled for a tour of the opera house and a Danube river cruise later this afternoon and evening. Tomorrow we are excited to meet up with our friend Laszlo who lives near here.

If I can figure out how, I will post a few photos.

Views of Prague at night from the St. Charles Bridge:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

We must vote!

This is from Bill Perkins of Compass International.  PLEASE VOTE in November. It's the only chance we Christians have of "ending well" when Jesus comes! 

Trump Meets With Evangelical Leaders

This was a fascinating day in New York City as over 1000 Christian leaders from all over the U.S. gathered to ask Donald Trump tough specific questions about his policy and intentions should he be elected POTUS.

The event organizers originally requested Dallas, Texas as a middle-of-the-nation location to hold a private, get some private time with Trump event, hoping to attract some 200-300 national Christian leaders. But the only opening on Trump’s schedule was in NYC for 20 minutes, 30 days out. So they took it.

A screening committee, scouring the Internet, sent out invitations to about 1000 Christian leaders. Because the high expense of flying into and staying in NYC, and the date less than 30 days away, they reserved a room for only 100 people at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Each person who accepted the invitation then had to be vetted, and ultimately ok’ed by the Secret Service. Once cleared, you were notified by phone. I got two sets of phone questions about my work with Compass and when finally approved, had 10 days to make plans. (I’m sure I was at the end of the list!!)

But despite receiving the late notices, the response to attend  was off-the-charts. Almost everyone who they invited accepted the invitation. And some who were left off the original list apparently lobbied for inclusion. Ultimately there were over 1000 who hastily changed their schedules to attended.

The security was tight for the 7 AM opening for registrants. I stood in long lines for an hour, passing through three check points before finally getting through Secret Service security.

Once I finally got to my seat at my table I was astonished to be sitting next to a sharp-as-a tack Auburn grad who is married to another Auburn grad and lives in Vestavia, Alabama where I grew up. She’s a registered lobbyist who worked for George Bush (2) when she first got out of Auburn. War Eagle to that one!

Also at my table was a Congressional candidate from North Carolina, a Christian TV station owner from Florida and the Chairman of the Board of the Washington Times. There were about four past Steeling conference speakers in the room, that I noticed. Probably more I didn’t see.

After opening remarks by the conference organizers, Jerry Falwell Jr. spoke, then Franklin Graham. Both attested to the authenticity of Donald Trump.

George Barna, the polling guy, spoke. Using several charts he showed that Trump has a genuine path to victory if Christians vote. But in the last Presidential election, some 40 million evangelicals stayed home and that was literally the difference in the election.

Then Ben Carson spoke for about 20 minutes. His easy and soft-spoken style easily warmed the crowd. He referred to the fact that Trump had a bad three weeks, and Clinton had a good three weeks and yet the race is still close, virtually tied. But his main point was that Trump is a proven leader. He’s certainly not a politician who’s always worried about offending someone. And that’s what we need, a leader, not a politician.

Next came Huckabee, who moderated the discussion between the crowd and Trump. Before introducing Trump, he made the point that we’re not voting on a pastor, or a Pope, but rather a leader. A leader who is quite different from the past to change things from the status quo.

So the day was set that this was not about Trump’s Christian knowledge or virtues, but rather where Trump wanted to take the country. And where we’re headed if Trump’s not elected.

The biggest concern centered around the Supreme Court. The next President would appoint anywhere from one to five members. The Second Amendment, public bathroom policies, prayer in public places, etc. would likely be settled by the next President’s appointees.

When Trump was introduced, he didn’t speak from the podium but rather sat next to Huckabee on the stage fielding questions from the crowd for about 90 minutes. So much for the 20 minutes originally allotted. There was no press allowed inside, so it was just Trump and the Christian leaders talking back and forth.

The really big Christian leader names got to directly ask Trump questions from the floor— i.e. people like James Dobson, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, etc. Most felt religious liberty was at stake with this election saying that if the policies of Obama has set in place were allowed to continue, Christians would eventually have no liberty. Harassment of Christian organizations would continue.

Through it all, Trump answered each of their questions with solid answers, both acknowledging the problem cited and how he would take care of the problem. He seemed to be genuinely concerned about changing the direction of the nation.

He addressed many subjects including the Supreme Court, national defense, border problems, Christian persecution, his pro-life stance, Israel, healthcare, education and energy.

I would say that most of those who attended who were not sure if they would vote for him, left convinced of how much is at stake in this election if Trump is not elected.

After Trump left, to a standing ovation, more questions were taken from the audience addressed to a panel of Christian leaders. Things like the dismantling of the military, Christian business rights, etc. were discussed in length.

I have to say, we pretty much all came away thinking that if Clinton, or any Democrat is elected, the path this nation’s on currently will continue and WILL lead to disaster. If we don’t turn the ship now, we’re headed to be like socialized Europe—a disaster getting worse by the month. Even reaching problems like what’s going on in Argentina, where they are currently literally fighting for food, is not out of the realm of possibilities. It’s that bad. Don’t think it can’t happen here.

Our hope is in Christ, and our prayer is for one last chance so when the Lord takes out the Church at the Rapture, He will take us out in a revival, not bailing us out of a spiritual disaster. We want to finish well.

At the end of the day was prayer. With few exceptions, the entire room knelt on the floor in corporate prayer for our nation. I took the opportunity to take a quick picture of that sight, some 1000 people in their Sunday clothes on the ground praying together. Who knows where this will lead. Maybe….

So, the bottom line for me is that I love the constitution more than I dislike Trumps antics and ego. He will attempt to change the direction of this nation. With Trump we have a chance. With Clinton we have no chance. Be thankful we still have a chance and VOTE your conscience this fall. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Heritage Days is over for 2016

      Was it ever hot!!  Heritage Days was a success even though the temp was in the 90's and the heat index said it felt like 100 degrees.  The Horse Show was a success!  John Hobbs preached 2 excellent sermons yesterday with two local church worship teams leading us in worship.  There were many artist vendors selling handmade creations.  We had lots of good music provided by Central & Southern Illinois bands.  There were 10 teams of 2 each in our first ever Corn Hole tournament. The horse farming demonstration was very interesting with several horse & mule teams participating.  Everyone who attended seemed to be having a wonderful time.  The only disappointing part was that the attendance was down because of the heat but there's nothing we can do about the weather.

 I had never seen six horses hitched in two rows of 3.

As always, the barrel train ride was very popular with the kids.  I saw one little girl, in particular, who didn't want to get off--even after several trips! 

There were horses of all sizes represented.  These little guys displayed the flag for the national anthem and brought in the Horse Show judge.

Zorro entered the Horse Show Costume Class

Six Horse Hitches are so impressive!  This is a well-matched team of Haflingers.

Very intimidating when they are coming right at you!

This was my favorite draft horse team.  They won the National Classic 6 Hitch class.

We were very impressed with the agility and maneuverability of the mules!

Our friend, John Hobbs, who was the speaker for the Community Church Service is from Wilmington, NC.  He had never seen a goat milked so he decided to try his hand at it.  We could think of several hilarious captions for this photo!

Aren't these beautiful?

Notice that 3 feet are not touching the ground.  Amazing, isn't it?

The Draft Classic Cart Class is a new class this year.  There were 9 entrants.

I took this photo of one of the contestants in the Horse Under Saddle Class.  I couldn't believe it when I saw all four feet were off the ground! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

We Finished!

     A few of us have spent the last two days working on the Linn Park Gardens.  Not only did we need to weed, prune & mulch the existing gardens but we needed to design, plant & mulch the area around "the world's largest cast anvil."   It has been fun but lots of work!  We could never have finsihed if it hadn't been for our grandson, his college roommate and a high schooler who helped with the heavy work such as placing stepping stones, moving the mulch and carrying buckets of water.  We also had some help from Country Guy and his tiller and skid loader which he used to move the large rocks we purchased and smooth some of the ground.
      We are delighted with the end result!  And we finished just in time for the Heritage Days Festival!

Adding the finishing touches.  Grass will be planted and strawed this week in the areas outside the garden.

The engraved path garden that was planted last year.

These gardens were begun the year before with daylilies given us by the 5 Acre Daylily Farm.  Roses and other plants were added last year.  The daylilies got so big this year that I dug up several and divided them to add to the Anvil garden.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Heritage Days Festival and Horse Show Schedules

I'm attaching the schedules for Heritage Days in case any of you are interested in coming:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy

      Can you tell from the lack of postings that I have been busy?  We are trying to get the Linn Park Anvil Garden completed by this weekend since we expect lots of people to be in town for the Heritage Days Festival and the Martinsville Ag Fair which follows next week.    
      It has rained so much here this spring-- fortunately not like in Texas with flooding, but lots of  mud!!
     We needed several loads of topsoil to be brought in and smoothed out for the Anvil Garden.  Joe Esker volunteered to do the excavating several months ago but then with the rain and his job he couldn't get to it until a couple of weeks ago.  As he was working on the area a large rain came forcing him to quit.  He hoped he had it done enough that we could work with it, but it was obvious after the rain that we needed a couple more loads of dirt.  I finally discovered a local man who was happy to work on it for us.  He smoothed it and tilled it and got it ready for us to plant, so a friend and I spent all of Friday and part of Saturday accummulating plants, huge rocks, stepping stones and grass seed.  Here is the area ready to be planted.

       We scheduled a volunteer workday for tomorrow to get all the Linn Park gardens in shape and to plant the new one, but then yesterday came another inch of rain!  The rocks are being delivered tomorrow at 7:30 but it's too muddy to set them or the stepping stones, or to plant so of course, we can't mulch the area.   It is so frustrating when there is so little time!  I'm sure it will all work out, but in the meantime I'm feeling a little stressed with the Festival starting on Friday and our committee working to get ready.
     It's always good to have deadlines, isn't it?  I get much done in a very short time if need be.  I just hope I'm not so tired I can't enjoy the Festival and our out of town guests who are coming to stay with us, because I've been looking forward to this for a long time.