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Fall is my favorite time of year! In fact we usually use most, if not all of my vacation time during the fall, camping up north. So many good memories.. However, today I am sharing a not-so-fun memory of a camping trip Kristi and I took very early on in our marriage.
From my family to yours,
Author Michael T. Powers
Do We Take the Dogs?
by Michael T. Powers
It all started with the big decision. Do we take our dogs camping with us? Kristi said, "Yes!" and I said, "Definitely not!" Kristi wanted to take the dogs because I like to disappear for hours on end hiking, fishing and exploring, and she wanted to be able to take the dogs for walks during these times so that she felt safe. I said the dogs would be too much trouble and hassle... We took the dogs.
Our first day in the Nicolet National Forest in Northern Wisconsin went well as we set up camp and got situated. We enjoyed sitting around the campfire until we got tired, and then we went off to sleep in our tent. Around 2:00 a.m. one of our dogs started scratching at the tent door. Kristi let her out, thinking she was heeding the call of nature. About twenty seconds after she went out she came flying back into the tent, whining and rolling around on everything, including us. At the same time this incredibly overpowering smell assaulted us! Not only did we find it hard to breathe, but our eyes turned to water instantly. Those who have smelled a skunk along the highway have no idea what sniffing our wild and odiferous friend is like up close and personal. It was like having ammonia poured over our heads! I am a very, very, sound sleeper, and I slowly came to my senses...my sense of smell first! Kristi said, "I think she got sprayed by a skunk!"
While we discussed if it were indeed a skunk or if some evil entity had taken possession of our beloved pet, our dog was rolling all over us, our clothes, and our sleeping bags in her attempt to get her eyes to stop burning. Needless to say Kristi and I and our other dog went piling out of the tent as fast as we could. Both our dogs are females, and I usually let ladies go first, but this was one time I was glad for my athletic ability, as I was the first to stumble out into the fresh air.
Now, being the incredibly sensitive and mature husband that I was at the age of twenty-two, the first words out of my mouth were, "Kristi! I told you we should have never taken the dogs with us! I knew something like this was going to happen! Why didn't you listen to me!"
After I got over my childish outburst, we decided that the best thing to do was to take the air mattress out of the tent, put it near the campfire and try to salvage what was left of a good night's sleep. There was absolutely no way we were going to go back into the tent...
I finally fell asleep again, but Kristi was having a hard time sleeping, mostly because of the way I made her feel... Just as she was drifting off, she heard a familiar noise, but couldn't place it. She heard what sounded like hundreds of people clapping from a long distance away, but the clapping started getting closer... Finally she realized it was the sound of very heavy rain as it moved its way across the forest. She woke me up and said, "Michael, we are about to get very wet."
I could hear the rain getting closer, and, when we could hear the droplets hit the other side of Bear Lake and start to make their way to our campsite, we had to make a decision. Do we stay put and get soaked to the bone, or do we climb back into the tent of horrors?! Our decision was made for us when we began to be pelted by huge drops of cold, stinging water. We decided to climb back into the tent. In we went, all four of us. Seconds later, out went a very bad smelling dog. It was unbearable to be in an enclosed area with her. Our poor dog was so afraid of being paid another visit from her striped friend that she was frantically trying to get back into the tent, and I had to go back out into the downpour to tie her up to a tree... Hey, call PETA if you want to, but there was no way we were going to be anywhere near that dog. We spent a cold, stinky, miserable night.
The next morning was spent surveying the damage and salvaging what clothes and materials we could. Kristi went to the nearest town, about thirty minutes away, bought some tomato juice and washed all of our clothes at a Laundromat. I spent the day pouring tomato juice over the dog, rubbing it in, and then throwing her into the lake to wash it off. I repeated the process about ten times. Before long, my dog wouldn't even come near me. Tomato juice helped, but in no way took even half the smell away. We spent another smelly night, but this one went by without incident. We were awakened the next morning about 5:30 a.m. to the sound of a person saying, "Whewwww! You guys stink!!!!"
The night before, we had phoned our friends, Steve and Sarah, who were going to be camping with us for the rest of the week, and explained what had happened, but nothing had prepared them for what they smelled.
We went on to enjoy the rest of our camping trip, but I do have to admit that towards the end of the week, (and I'm not proud of this) I wore my wife's underwear. I didn't bring enough to last the week.
There. It's out. Michael wore women's underwear. Deal with it.
I know some of you are sitting there saying, "Why in the world would anybody want to go camping?" Besides the obvious advantages of getting away from it all and enjoying God's creation, there is something about camping that brings people closer together. Yes, things always go wrong, and there is always that moment when we stop and think, "Why are we doing this?" I obviously didn't handle this situation very well, but it is something that we have laughed about for the past eight years. When we talk about the trip, the conversation is like this: "Remember when you did that?…Oh yeah, and then you did..." And the conversation goes on as we laugh and tell our favorite camping stories.
Camping brings a family closer together. I'm convinced of it. In fact one of our favorite authors, Gary Smalley, has done research on families that he has come across that are genuinely close and loving to each other. One of the things they had in common was that they all were camping families! Now obviously, it is not the only way a family can grow closer, and I'm not saying that it is the cure-all, but I am saying that our family has grown closer together because we camp.
As we head north this next month, I look forward to camping equipment flying off the top of our car, flat tires, five hours in the car with our new puppy, insect bites, rain, fishing hooks getting stuck in our ears, raccoons getting into our food, and no running water, toilets or electricty!
Yes, all the ingredients needed to bring a family closer together.
I just have to keep our new puppy away from the skunks!
Write Michael and let him know your thoughts on this story!
He is also an author with stories in 32 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter." To preview his book or to join the thousands of world-wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com
Most importantly, Michael believes that life is not about religion, but about a relationship -- a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Teenagers are like wet cement, waiting for someone to leave a lasting impression. We want to make sure that impression is eternal. This generation is considered the least parented generation, yet the most open and tolerant. Teenagers are seeking meaning for their life, and we want to make sure each one of them has the opportunity to hear the Gospel and get connected with Jesus Christ! You can be a part of this ministry, too. Like many other mission organizations, Cru has no central funds for paying salaries and ministry expenses and depends upon the consistent financial support of concerned individuals and churches. These contributions are used to fund the ministries of staff members. So, I have been gathering a team of partners who can give $100/month or some other amount. As soon as this team is complete, I can report to my assignment. I understand that not everyone is in a position to give financially, so prayer support is appreciated as well! Thank you for your time and support.
Creation Q & A
Is There Really a God?
by Ken Ham and Dr. Jason Lisle
When Christians claim that the God of the Bible created all the basic entities of life and the universe, some will ask what seems to be a logical question: “Who created God?”
God—an Eternal, Uncreated Being?
In our everyday experience, just about everything seems to have a beginning. In fact, the laws of science show that even things which look the same through our lifetime, such as the sun and other stars, are, in reality, running down. The sun is using up its fuel at millions of tons each second—since the sun cannot last forever, it had to have a beginning. The same can be shown to be true for the entire universe.
The very first verse in the Bible declares: “In the beginning God ... .” There is no attempt in these words to prove the existence of God or imply in any way that God had a beginning. In fact, the Bible makes it clear in many places that God is outside time. He is eternal, with no beginning or end. He also knows all things, being infinitely intelligent.
Is it logical, though, to accept the existence of such an eternal being? Can modern science, which has produced our technology of computers, space shuttles, and medical advances, even allow for such a notion?1
What Would We Look For?
What evidence would we expect to find if there really is an infinite God who created all things as the Bible claims? How would we even recognize the hand of such an omnipotent (all-powerful) Creator?
The Bible claims that God knows all things—He is omniscient! Therefore, He is infinitely intelligent. To recognize His handiwork, one would have to know how to recognize the evidence of the works of His intelligence.
How Do We Recognize the Evidence of Intelligence?
Why do scientists become so excited when they discover stone tools together with bones in a cave? The stone tools show signs of intelligence. The scientists recognize that these tools could not have designed themselves but that they are a product of intelligent input. Thus, the researchers rightly conclude that an intelligent creature was responsible for making these tools.
In a similar way, one would never look at the Great Wall of China, the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., or the Sydney Opera House in Australia and conclude that such structures were formed after explosions in a brick factory.
Neither would anyone believe that the presidents’ heads on Mt. Rushmore were the products of millions of years of erosion. We can recognize design, the evidence of the outworkings of intelligence. We see man-made objects all around us—cars, airplanes, computers, stereos, houses, appliances, and so on. And yet, at no time would anyone ever suggest that such objects were just the products of time and chance. Design is everywhere. It would never enter our minds that metal, left to itself, would eventually form into engines, transmissions, wheels, and all the other intricate parts needed to produce an automobile.
This “design argument” is often associated with the name of William Paley, an Anglican clergyman who wrote on this topic in the late eighteenth century. He is particularly remembered for his example of the watch and the watchmaker. In discussing a comparison between a stone and a watch, he concluded that “the watch must have had a maker; that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.”2
Paley thus believed that, just as the watch implied a watchmaker, so too does design in living things imply a Designer. Although he believed in a God who created all things, his God was a Master Designer who is now remote from His Creation, not the personal God of the Bible.3
Today, however, a large proportion of the population, including many leading scientists, believe that all plants and creatures, including the intelligent engineers who make watches, cars, etc., were the product of an evolutionary process— not a Creator God.4 But this is not a defensible position, as we will see.