Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Funnies II.

I love editorial cartoons! I think they are sooo funny! I will try to put up some of each of the candidates in this 2008 election! Enjoy!





KoolKit Demo.jpg


KoolKit Demo.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

This is me getting to try on the KoolKit - total body cooling system that we are trying out here at Clarian Arnett. Very fashionable. It was quite the sight, but atleast it makes the day more interesting! Brrr....is it cold in here or just me! Hehehehe.

Probably would of came in handy on those hot trail hikes that about did me in!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Things to meditate on....

Wow! What a day!

Well unless you have been hiding under a rock or been off the planet today, you would probably know that the "invest in America" bill did not pass in the house of Congress today. This sent uncertainty and fear throughout the financial markets sending the Dow down 777 points. There is sure a lot of political blame going around, and it will probably get worse before it gets better.

But...

Now is not the time to panic or act hastily. Continue to pray, continue to tithe, stop all needless spending, pay down debt and start saving for some hard times to come. Basically, live within your means, and watch your credit card spending!

Here is a great example in God's word to think upon and meditate on! As we know, God wins in the end!

1. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

-Phil 4: 4-13

Amen! To God be the glory.
Shepherd.

Isn't it time for a few laughs about the Financial Crisis. Enjoy!









Sunday, September 28, 2008

Now we wait....

Well I guess if you have been watching the news, they came up with a proposed bill to "invest" in America and bailout out Wall St. So now we wait to see if they have enough people to pass it or not.

As the days go by, and I continue to read and study the events that are unfolding, the more and more I am against this "investing in America" bailout. I think socialism is a bad idea, and is definetly not what the founding father's had in mind for this great country! I pray that God would have mercy on us, and for all the wastefully spending of our country's resources.

Here is the latest statement by Ron Paul and his thoughts of this upcoming crisis if this bill is passed...

September 27, 2008

Disaster is About to Strike
By Ron Paul

The following letter was sent to Ron Paul supporters 2 days ago. I believe it is very important, and urge you to read it. - Peter

Dear Friend;

Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike.

The events of the past week are no exception.

The bailout package that is about to be rammed down Congress' throat is not just economically foolish. It is downright sinister. It makes a mockery of our Constitution, which our leaders should never again bother pretending is still in effect. It promises the American people a never-ending nightmare of ever-greater debt liabilities they will have to shoulder.

Two weeks ago, financial analyst Jim Rogers said the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made America more communist than China! "This is welfare for the rich," he said. "This is socialism for the rich. It's bailing out the financiers, the banks, the Wall Streeters."

That describes the current bailout package to a T. And we're being told it's unavoidable.

The claim that the market caused all this is so staggeringly foolish that only politicians and the media could pretend to believe it. But that has become the conventional wisdom, with the desired result that those responsible for the credit bubble and its predictable consequences - predictable, that is, to those who understand sound, Austrian economics - are being let off the hook. The Federal Reserve System is actually positioning itself as the savior, rather than the culprit, in this mess!

The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time. That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

Financial institutions are "designated as financial agents of the Government." This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

Then there's this: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

There goes your country.

Even some so-called free-market economists are calling all this "sadly necessary." Sad, yes. Necessary? Don't make me laugh.

Our one-party system is complicit in yet another crime against the American people. The two major party candidates for president themselves initially indicated their strong support for bailouts of this kind - another example of the big choice we're supposedly presented with this November: yes or yes. Now, with a backlash brewing, they're not quite sure what their views are. A sad display, really.

Although the present bailout package is almost certainly not the end of the political atrocities we'll witness in connection with the crisis, time is short. Congress may vote as soon as tomorrow. With a Rasmussen poll finding support for the bailout at an anemic seven percent, some members of Congress are afraid to vote for it. Call them! Let them hear from you! Tell them you will never vote for anyone who supports this atrocity.

The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are about to be looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care?

When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media?

Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.

In liberty,
Ron Paul

Markus vs the pinata.jpg


Markus vs the pinata.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

This is Markus' awesome attempt at the pinata breaking. He did much better at it than Lee, but it was good fun. Unfortunately no lady tried.

Shepherd.

Lee and the Pinata.jpg


Lee and the Pinata.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

This is Lee's feeble attempt at hitting the pinata at the dia del amigo. it was good fun!

Ron Paul for President!

Wow.


Check out this video of Ron Paul on FOX news. Here is a politician who actually believes that we as a govt should live within our means!

Unreal, did I hear that correctly! The government actually spending less than they bring in!

Now, that is a guy who I want as President!

Listen to what he thinks should be done for our country! It is only 10 mins in length, and well worth it!


video

Shepherd.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Discipline of God: Heb. 12:4-13

Hello,

I have been going through a very interesting study of the book of Hebrews by Pastor Broggi, who is a very biblical pastor down in Beaufort, SC. We went to his church when we lived in Beaufort during our travel adventures back in 2004. Thankfully, we can still access his sermons via the internet, cause they are very good! Pastor Broggi's webpage is http://www.searchthescriptures.com/.

Well, I just listened to his exegesis of the passage in Heb's 12 that talks about God's discipline to His children. In order to help me get it to sink into my heart and brain, I am going to put up a series of posts about what I have learned in this sermon. Granted I am no pastor, so I hope I get the gist of his sermon right not only for my benefit, but for whoever is reading this! If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to share.

So in this first post, I just want to put out there the verses that were discussed in the sermon, so people who dont have a bible on hand can read them. Then, Lord willing, I hope to get up a new post daily. That's the plan anyway! So here we go (I am including verses 1-3 in as well)

1. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2. fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5. and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives." 7. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8. But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9. Futhermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10. For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13. and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
-Hebrews 12:1-13

Shepherd.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Entitlement generation!

This is a letter that was posted on ERNursery's blog, and it is sad to see how people try to have everything done for them, and not step up and try to improve their situation with hard work. They just continue to live off the system cause it is easier than trying to find a job and actually work for your money. Very sad....check it out.

Dear Editor,>>

I am a nurse who has just completed volunteer working approximately 120 hours as the clinic director in a Hurricane Gustav evacuation shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana over the last 7 days.

I would love to see someone look at the evacuee situation from a new perspective. Local and national news channels have covered the evacuation and "horrible" conditions the evacuees had to endure during Hurricane Gustav. True - some things were not optimal for the evacuation and the shelters need some modification.

At any point, does anyone address the responsibility (or irresponsibility) of the evacuees?

Does it seem wrong that one would remember their cellphone, charger, cigarettes and lighter but forget their child's insulin?

Is something a miss when an evacuee gets off the bus, walks immediately to the medical area, and requests immediate free refills on all medicines for which they cannot provide a prescription or current bottle (most of which are narcotics)?

Isn't the system flawed when an evacuee says they cannot afford a $3 co pay for a refill that will be delivered to them in the shelter yet they can take a city-provided bus to Wal-mart, buy 5 bottles of Vodka, and return to consume them secretly in the shelter?

Is it fair to stop performing luggage checks on incoming evacuees so as not to delay the registration process but endanger the volunteer staff and other persons with the very realistic truth of drugs, alcohol and weapons being brought into the shelter?

Am I less than compassionate when it frustrates me to scrub emesis from the floor near a nauseated child while his mother lies nearby,watching me work 26 hours straight, not even raising her head from the pillow to comfort her own son?

Why does it insense me to hear a man say "I ain't goin' home 'til I get my FEMA check" when I would love to just go home and see my daughters who I have only seen 3 times this week?

Is the system flawed when the privately insured patient must find a way to get to the pharmacy, fill his prescription and pay his co pay while the FEMA declaration allows the uninsured person to acquire free medications under the disaster rules?

Does it seem odd that the nurse volunteering at the shelter is paying for child care while the evacuee sits on a cot during the day as the shelter provides a "daycare"?

Have government entitlements created this mentality and am I facilitating it with my work?

Will I be a bad person, merciless nurse or poor Christian if I hesitate to work at the next shelter because I have worked for 7 days being called every curse word imaginable, feeling threatened and fearing for my personal safety in the shelter?

Exhausted and battered.
S.H, RN

Sigh....that is why sometimes it is REALLY hard to show Christ-like compassion as a nurse to some people in the hospital...especially when you see it everyday. Though...some days are easier than others. Thankfully we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us each day and God's word to continue to remind us to show Christ's love to everyone, whether they deserve it or not! If not, it would be impossible!

Shepherd.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

End times reference on Glenn Beck??

Hello all,

I hope you read my previous post even though I am putting up this interesting bit of information that I read as I was about to go to bed. Check this statement out by Glenn Beck...

GLENN: Okay. Senator, I have been against every single one of these bailouts. This one I have said that I am for because I believe it is slow down catastrophe. However, there are caveats to that. Congress is taking this thing and I mean, introducing judges to be able to negotiate your renegotiate your interest level and your mortgage payments and everything else. And then the other disturbing thing that I'm starting to hear, I heard a lot of talk about it yesterday in the United Nations and everything else. United Nations is now saying to stem this, we must have one global financial system. You have China saying we need one global currency. You're starting to hear these things, making me believe that there's a lot of people in this that would certainly love to design a global financial system. Is that just talk of a raving madman?
----Glenn Beck: Bailout opposition growing

Hmmm....this is end times talk! One world currency. One world order. Not that we are currently in the end times cause obviously we would need to be Raptured first. But it was interesting to see this mentioned on a secular show, and not them not realizing that the Bible predicts something like that in the future!

Wow, reminds me of Matthew 25 and the parable of the 10 virgins. Are we ready....prudent or foolish! I hope we are all the prudent ones anxiously awaiting Christ's return!

Awaiting the trumpet sound!
Shepherd.

Congress: Between a Rock and a Hard Place! Wall St. and Main St. Crisis!

Hello all,

It seems like these financial posts will still continue for the near future. So much is hinging on the financial bailout, that most American's do not even consider or are un-aware of the consciences. Cause if they did, widespread panic would probably ensue. I think that is why Paulson and Bernanke are having a hard time persuading Congress into this plan. They have to walk a fine line to not cause widespread panic among Americans, but also not to lessen the seriousness of the problem!

I am for the bailout, because if we don't do this we will definelty be in a depression that will rival the Great Depression, and maybe even trump it...if that is possible!

The banks won't be able to loan money for college, small businesses, local farmers, or just about any loan you can think of. Businesses will have to cut jobs due to nobody spending money (cause they aren't getting money or loans). With people not having jobs...people will default on their home loans...become homeless or have to work 2-3 jobs just to stay afloat. The trickle down effect...

But I also see that doing this bailout, we are also just delaying the inevitable. I hate to be so pessimistic, but no ecomony cannot continue to increase indefinetly. It is just not possible. There has to be a correction at somepoint...a downturn. It is just depends on how big a correction you want!

Unfortunetly, taxpayers will be hurt no matter what they decide, cause if they do go ahead with the bailout...the money will have to come from somewhere....the Fed will just print more money...which will increase inflation...hurting the average Joe's purchasing power of the dollar bills they have in their pocket!

Plus if we continue to increase the national debt and continue to print money non-stop, we will enter a financial crisis called hyperinflation...which means the American dollar will be absolutely worthless. YES....WORTHLESS! Can you imagine a scenario where you have 1000% inflation everyday? I have been reading some literature on this...and from what I can see, is that it is inevitable...it will come to pass. We just don't know when, but most people think it will be in our lifetime.

So what can we do to prepare for a depression? Well here are some suggestions..... (I dont know how many people are really reading this though...)

1. Pray (cause God is bigger and more powerful than our economy mess!)
2. Create an emergency savings fund of atleast 6 months (the more the merrier) in case you loose your job in a place that you can access very quickly likes savings or checking account.
3. Pay off any outstanding debt with high interest (especially credit cards!) as soon as possible.
4. Don't take out any big loans (especially if you dont have a savings fund or have a iffy job)
5. Create a budget and live within your means (dont spend more than you earn!)
6. Be as diversified as possible!
7. Continue to pray and don't forget to continue to tithe.

Now, I think they will pass this bailout, and will probably prevent a depression at this point. But, you never know if it will work or be enough or when the next crisis will come....so even if they pass this bill...people need to be working on being good stewards of the money God has entrusted to you (which I am sure most people are doing).

God bless,
Shepherd

Monday, September 22, 2008

Did we almost experience a Financial 9/11?

Wow! What a day. I started my new job with ClarianArnett, and had general orientation. It went well, but I wasn't able to access the computer or watch the news on TV. I finally was able to get caught up on the financial bailout that the gov't is attempting to pass late this night.

The future doesn't look rosy. Check out this picture painted in this conversation with Glenn Beck and Stu. It really opened my eyes, cause he was picturing the events of last Wednesday to the equivalent to a financial 9/11. Where everything in our ecomony was very close to collapse or a bad recession, and it may still be on the verge. Maybe, we are delaying the inevitable, but the thing is...I am looking into how to prepare for a recession.

So right now, I will remain calm, and I will continue to put my trust in God. Knowing that he is soverign over ALL things, and I will continue to go to Him in prayer.

It is good for everyone reading to try to increase or start an emergency savings fund of atleast 6 months worth of expensives. Don't take on any more new debt if possible, and try to pay off as much of debt as possible. These small things will help in the future even if we don't go into a recession.

But at least read this article and let me know what you think about it!

http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/15492/

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are we headed toward Socialism or are we already there?

Sorry about all these finacial posts, but it has spurred my interest recently...and since I am not hiking or cruising...well I decided to start bloging about other things. Check out this article written by Ron Paul, who I have been reading like mad. He has so many interesting things (and scary things) to say about our economy..... please tell me if you agree with him like I do.

Does Government Run the Economy?

President Bush received some criticism last week after holding an economic forum in Waco. The forum was intended to bring business and civic leaders together with the President to discuss America’s economic problems, but the press dismissed the whole affair as nothing more than a photo-op for the President with a hand-picked friendly audience. The message from the pundits was clear: the President is all talk, but we need action by the government to restore prosperity.

So what exactly would critics have the President do to "fix" the economy? Presumably they believe he should propose some new laws and regulations, thereby protecting us from greedy CEOs and the risks of the free market. The belief is that government brings about economic prosperity, and that the current economic malaise represents a failure by government to act. In other words, the government somehow caused the economy to sour through inattention and neglect.

Notice that while our economic problems are always blamed on corporations, greed, capitalism, or a mysterious "business cycle," the solutions are always presumed to come from government. When the economy falters, the public clamors for the government to do something- and when the economy does well, politicians take credit for the good times caused by their sound economic policies. This reflects the pervasive attitude in America that government should "run" the economy.

But should government run the economy in a free society? Remember, there is a simple description for government control of the economy: socialism. America, however, was founded as a capitalist country. The Constitution grants Congress exceedingly limited regulatory and tax powers, because the founders were tired of having their business affairs managed by the Crown. So they created a strictly limited government, which allowed freedom and capitalism to flourish.

In a capitalist economy, the government acts only as a referee by protecting property rights, enforcing contracts, and prohibiting force and fraud. Because our modern federal government has strayed so far from its limited constitutional powers, it controls the economy far more than the founders intended. As a result, our economy is becoming more and more socialist. Federal taxes, regulations, welfare, subsidies, wage controls, and price controls, along with Fed manipulation of interest rates and the money supply, all represent socialist government intervention in the economy. No matter what the Democrats or Republicans want to call it, socialism is socialism. We should have the honesty to identify exactly what is being advocated when some call for even more government control of the economy.

Centralized economic planning is disastrous for every society that employs it. From the former Soviet Union to present day China, planned economies have produced little but hardship and bloodshed. The reason for this is simple human nature, because individuals have little incentive to produce when the fruits of their labors are stripped from them. Both history and economic theory demonstrate conclusively that government-run economies lower the standard of living for everyone except government elites charged with the "planning." By contrast, capitalism raises the standard of living for everyone in a society. More importantly, free market capitalism is the only moral economic system because it is the only free economic system. Socialism, communism, and authoritarianism- variants on the same collectivist theme- all use immoral government force to control the economic lives of individuals.

If we ever hope to enjoy real and lasting prosperity in this country, we must redefine our view of the proper role of government. It is tempting during difficult times to demand that the government "do something," but a free society is defined by what its government does not do.

- Ron Paul Newsletter, August 19, 2002

And this latest bailout sure does strengthen this arguement, and this article was written back in 2002!! Unreal.

Thankfully, we serve an awesome God and seek to put our trust in Him rather than men or government! Resting in God during this time of chaos, it very peaceful! Amen!

Monetary inflation - the fall of the dollar

To be honest, I haven't given our nation's economy to much thought in recent years. Basically, I figure that I have about 35 years till retirement, so we have been contributing heavily in our 403b and seeking to get as debt free as possible, as the Lord wills. We try to live within our means and spend less than we earn. Basic common financial sense.

Well with the recent week on Wall St. and our government's financial bailouts, I have been interested on how we got here. Not to many people are talking out how we got here, but instead how can we fix the problem. The thing is we aren't looking at what may of caused the problem in the first place. So if we don't fix the cause, we are doomed to repeat it in the future. I am sure it is very complicated and we are dealing with sinful fearful people, who act a lot on fears, but we have to face the truth someday.

It seems like only 2 people have been really telling it how it is...Glenn Beck and Ron Paul. I know Ron Paul attempted to run for the presidency, but I didn't really get to know what he believed or stood for. Well he seems very knowledgeable about our economy and has predicted the past events years before. Here are one of his thought on our economy that have struck me.

1. In regards to rising energy, part of the answer lies in understanding bubbles and monetary inflation, but especially the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve is charged with controlling inflation through interest rate manipulation, however, many fail to realize that creating money, and therefore inflation, is really its only tool. When the Federal Reserve inflates the dollar as drastically as it has in the past few decades, the first users of the newly created money go in search of investments for their dollars. They must invest this money quickly and aggressively before it loses value. This causes certain sectors to expand beyond what would naturally occur in the free market. Eventually the sector overheats and the bubble bursts. Overinvestment in dotcoms eventually led to a collapse of the NASDAQ. Next we had the housing bubble, and now we are seeing the price of oil being bid up in the creation of another new bubble. Investors are now looking to commodities like oil, for stability and growth as they pull capital out of real estate. This increased demand for investment vehicles related to oil contributes to driving up the price of the actual product.

- Ron Paul http://www.house.gov/htbin/blog_inc?BLOG,tx14_paul,blog,999,All,Item%20not%20found,ID=080619_2061,TEMPLATE=postingdetail.shtml

I am also very concerned out the fall of the dollar (I really took notice when we went on our Germany vacation, and it cost about 1.5 times more due to the very weak dollar). Here is one cause of the falling dollar...

1. The greatest threat facing America today is the disasterous fiscal policies of our own gov't, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. It is this one-two punch -- Congress spending more than it can tax or borrow, and the Fed printing money to make up the difference -- that threatens to impoverish us by further destroying the value of our money.
The Fed's inflationary policies hurt the older people the most, because they generally rely on fixed incomes from pensions and Social Security. So while Fed policies encourage younger people to overborrow because of interest rates are so low, they also punish thrifty older people who saved for retirement.
-Ron Paul (The Federal Reserve Monopoly over Money; April 9, 2007)


----This doesn't seem fair or right! I am not sure how this really will affect me in the future, but history shows that when the depreciation of money becomes rampant, nearly everyone suffers and the economic and political structure becomes unstable.

Shepherd.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Housing bust and Financial mess explained.

If anyone hasn't seen the news lately regarding the financial mess that has been rippling through Wall Street and has wondered how we got here, please read these 2 following articles by Glen Beck. He explains it in very simple and understandable ways, and it is just amazing how banks started lending to people who didn't have any sound financial means to repay the loan! Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. Read the Bank Bust first and then the Money mess next...it will help in your understanding of the money mess article.


Bank Bust: Who's to blame:
http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/15375/


How we got into this money mess:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/17/beck.wallstreet/index.html

Shepherd.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Metal Detecting

Today on one of my days off, I went metal detecting with Mike (Tracy's fiance)! It was great fun even though we didn't find much except for some trash. I have always wanted to do it, but had never met anyone with a detector. I can't wait to go again. Well here is the funny part of the day though...

My find: 1 dime and 7 pennies with a detector!
Mike's find: 1 dime and 2 pennies with a detector!
Cleanup crew : 3 quarters and a nickel without a detector!

To funny!

So as you can see it wasn't a big find day, but it was beautiful day outside, and I had some great company! Thanks again Mike. I had a blast!

Shepherd

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Final Day - Cruising


Well today is our last day on the cruise, so we were out to sea all day cruising to Vancouver, BC. So that meant we just did activities on the boat today!


One of them that I was looking forward to was the cake demonstration! We were in the front row, and Dave (the cruise director) needed someone from the audience. Well I didn't want to do it and was looking around to see who would be willing to volunteer, but not seeing anyone. Then Dave stood right in front of me and pointed out that I wasn't making eye contact with him, so he picked me! Yeah! We were going to try to make a German Black Forest cake!


The cake was already baked, so Dave (the guy in the middle), and I had to cut our cake into 3 layers. Then we had to whip the heavy cream by hand. I got good peaks with mine, but Dave's (the comedian) cream was still runny, which really made the demonstration hilarious! After layering our cakes with whipped cream, brandy and cherries for all layers. We pipped some rosettes on the top with a pipping bag...except for Dave's whipped cream being runny...it just ran right out of the bag. It was very funny! Then we put on some chocolate shavings and then topped each rosette with a cherry. The final product is on display above. Mine is the one in front of me. Dave's is the pitiful one on the right, and the chef's is the middle one! It was so much fun!


Amee and I also took some swing dance lessons, which were very fun. Then we just layed back and enjoyed the rest of the day's entertainment...oh and of course ate some more food!
All in all, this was a very fun and enjoyable cruise! I would love to some day go back and hike some more in Denali someday, but for cruising...we will be sticking to warmer weather from now on! lol.


Shepherd.

Ketchikan


Welcome to day 6 of our cruise, in which we ported in Ketchikan! This is the famous place of the "bridge to nowhere"! Well the proposed site anyways. This area is land locked, so the only way into this place is by either boat or plane. The thing about this town is that it is also a rain forest and gets over 120 inches of rain a year, so it was no surprise that it was actually raining on our day there!

So it would actually be a good idea for this bridge to come hear, because it is hard for planes to fly in here due to the rainy weather, so the most reliable way in here is by a ferry boat from Juneau...which takes 15 hours! Yeah, not fun, but it could take you 5 days to get here by plane if the weather conditions arent right!

Well anyways, this town was much larger than the icy straight point. So, we decided to do some tourist shopping. We bought Jacob a new book. Jacob is Christine and Greg Wilson's 9 day old baby boy! Congrats!

Ketchikan, I guess, is the the salmon capital of the world. We did see A LOT of salmon swimming up stream to lay their eggs. The main river was so full of them, that all you could see was salmon! There were thousands and thousands of them! It was pretty cool, but also very disturbing, especially to Amee's mom!

We also took a Duck Tour of the town, which goes on land and water. So our driver not only drove us off a pier, but he also ran the boat a ground! lol. It was fun and our guide was very knowledgable! Not our favorite spot though...due to the all day rain, so not to much to say.

Shepherd.

Icy Straight Point




Today on Day 5, we ported in Icy Straight Point, which is very new to cruises. This was the only port, in which we had to anchor the ship away from the port, and be tethered into the dock with a smaller boat. I also found out that only one cruise ship can be here at a time.
Well this port was very small.

There were many activities to do (fishing, wildlife tours, and ziplining), but we decided just to walk around the port of Icy Straight. It was a cloudy day, but pleasant. This area is a tempert rain forest, so we were able to hike through the very massive pine forest and along the beach! It was very beautiful and quiet!


We also looked through some tourist traps, but didn't buy anything. They all seem to have the same junk...er i mean stuff! We then took a shuttle bus into the small town of Hoonah, AK. It is just a fishing village about 2 miles away, and it was extremely small! There wasn't really anything to do in that town other than walk around and look at the locals! They were probably thinking...ah more tourists!


This port did allow us to get the best picture of our boat, since it was anchored just off the shore! Pretty impressive!
Shepherd.

Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve





Well today is Day 4 of the cruise. We rolled into the port of Skagway today, and we took a boat over to Haines, AK. Then after a 30 minute bus ride, we arrived at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, inwhich we planned on taking a 90 minute float down the Chilkat River to look for eagles and wildlife!

God was very gracious to us and gave us a beautiful, sunny day to float along the glacial fed river! It was still chilly, but so much better with the sun shining! The river, since it is fed by a melting glacier, the water is a constant 36-37 degrees...very cold! Plus you couldn't see the bottom of the river due to all the silt...not even if it was an inch deep! Thankfully, no one fell in!

We saw several bald eagles along the river. No bears, but we did get out on a sandbar and saw some fresh bear tracks that were probably from this morning. The salmon were starting to run, so we saw some salmon swimming up stream. One of our guides, CP, even caught two chumb salmons with a bucket, but he let them go. They were huge! His favorite is Sockeye and King salmon, then silver...chumb...and pink.

We all had a wonderful time enjoying God's creation. The scenery was simply amazing. It was definelty Amee's favorite trip on the cruise so far!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Whale Watching




Day 3 of our Alaskan Cruise, we docked at the town of Juneau, which is the capital of Alaska. Also it is the largest capital in regards to land size in the country. You can only get to Juneau by boat or plane, which is amazing.



Well it was a cloudy and misty day, which they said it was a good day for whale watching because the whales come up to feed more often on cloudy days. Yeah! Well I dont know if that fact is true or not, but it worked for us! As we boarded our vessel, we actually saw a pod of Orcas (or Killer Whales) along the shore line! So we followed them for a while and I was able to get some great pics. The one above is actually of a baby orca whale, who surfaced above the water numerous times.



Then we saw this bald eagle perched up on this cool rock formation as we headed out to search for humpback whales. It was pretty awesome site. We also saw some sea lions as well.



Then we got to a spot known for humpback whales, and we were not dissappointed. We actually had 3 humpback whales around our boat doing some feeding dives. Feeding dives are where you get to see it's tail come up and out of the water. It was pretty awesome. The captain said it was very rare to have 3 humpbacks so close together, because unlike the orca's (who travel in pods) the humpbacks like to be by themselves. We even had one humpback whale come within 50-100 ft. from the boat. You didnt even need binoculars to get a good look at it!



Anyways, it was a great day! Two thumbs up! I love watching God's creation!



Shepherd

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hubbard Glacier.jpg


Hubbard Glacier.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well toady on day 2, we woke up at 7 am to go and run 2-3 miles on the treadmill. Then went to breakfast and chilled on board since we were cruising to Hubbard Glacier all day.

We got to the glacier around 2 pm, and it was the best day of the whole season as stated by the staff. Sunny and clear. To God be the glory.

Well Hubbard Glacier is the biggest one we will see. It is 6 miles wide about 400 ft high above the water and about 160 miles long. The picture just doesnt do it justice. We saw alot of calfing of the ice, where huge chunks fall off into the ocean. It sounds like thunder. It was awesome! We also saw about 200 seals laying on the ice near the glacier! It was just an amazing day. So quite and majestic. This day was so beautiful.

Tonight is our first formal night, so time to get all dressed up and get our picture taken.

Shepherd

Overboard.jpg


Overboard.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well it is day 1 our our cruise. We got in around 8:30 into Anchorage the night before. We departed to Seward around 1 pm on friday via tour bus. The bus ride was uneventful except we did see one moose, but I missed it due to reading the newspaper. oh well.

We got to Seward at 4 pm and got processed to get on board the Radiance of the Sea. We ate dinner at 6 pm. I had an onion tart for starters, then shrimp ravolis and salmon for dinner. For dessert I had a blueberry & peach cobbler. Let the gluttony begin. Glad I brought my running gear.

After dinner we had our mandatory overboard drill with our life vests. They even made us go outside, which was different than the carribean cruise. We had a good time though.

Then we played some Rook and watched a comedian for our evening entertainment. He was very funny and clean. A nice day 1.

Shepherd

Denali day 3.jpg


Denali day 3.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well today in Denali, we slept in to 7 am. We had a wake up call for 2 am to go and see the northern lights, cause a couple we met on the tour saw them last night around 2 am. But unfortunatley for us they werent visible tonight, so we went back to bed. Lord willing we will see them on our cruise.

So after waking up we ate our morning poptarts, and we headed off to see the sled dog demonstration.

It was very cool. We got to pet the sled dogs, and the ranger gave a 30 minute presentation of the sled dogs. Then they hooked up 5 dogs and had them pull the sled around a small gravel practice loop. Those dogs have a lot of energy! It is the only NP with a working sled dog team. It is how they patrol and observe the park in the 8 months of winter time. The park is really only opened for normal turists from may to beginning of sept. I only wish I got a picture of the sled dogs with my cell phone, cause I totally forgot to!

Well after the demo, we got back on the train at noon!

Shepherd

Rock Creek Trail.jpg


Rock Creek Trail.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well after getting back from our Tundra Wilderness Tour. we decided to do a little day hiking one some of the trails in Denali. It was nice just having my camera and not my 30 lb hiking pack! Amee & I decided on Rock creek trail, which was about 4 miles round trip. It was simply gorgious hiking it. with all the aspen turning a vivarant yellow mixed in with some green evergreens with huge mountains in the background. The shrubs were a mix of firely reds and yellows near our feet. The trail was well manicured and not difficult at all, which was good for Amee. Plus we just wanted to take our time and soak it all in. It is the best and most amazing national park I have been in. Lakewood...if u ever get the chance to get here, you got to take it!

Shepherd.

Polychome pass part 2.jpg


Polychome pass part 2.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well so much happened on this tour I couldnt get it all in with only 1000 characters.

I wanted to also tell a little about this photo of polychrome pass. In the very back of the picture is a receded glacier between the two mountains. All the ice and snow have melted, so now u only see the rock and dirt left. It looks like a black tonue. It was very cool. Polychrome mans many colors, which was true of this area especially with the fall colors. Down in the glacier river bed where the melted water from the receding glacier was flowing, we saw a momma grizzly & her cub eating on some soapberries.

It is funny that at the park entrance they say that if a moose charges you to run away as quickly as possible, but if a grizzly charges at you you r suppose to stand your ground and wave your hands and shout or sing. Also if all else fails...play dead. I think that would be very tough to do with a 400 lb bear messing with ya! Well we got back from the tour at 2 pm.

Shepherd

Polychome pass.jpg


Polychome pass.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well day 2 in Denali started with a 6 am Tundra Wilderness Tour. We boarded the bus and headed into the park. The sunrise was amazing with some pinks and purples. Then about 10 mins into the tour, we spotted a female moose and her baby next to a small pond. It was very cool. Our first moose sighting, and at the very end of our tour we spotted a bull moose with an impressive rack! Then as we enter farther into the park we spotted our first pair of grizzly bears in a river bed. Awesome! Then later on, we saw some Dall sheep high up on a mountain. They were the least impressive, b/c they we so far away. We also almost ran over a red fox in the road. It was so beautiful. We also saw many caribou, golden eagles, artic tundra squirrels, snowshoe hares, and even more grizzlies including 2 cubs. Wow!

The scenery also was quite amazing since we are at peak fall color, so all the reds, yellows, oranges and greens were amazing. We also go to see Mt. McKinley, which is very rare. cool!

Shepherd

Alaskan Fish and Chips.jpg


Alaskan Fish and Chips.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Our first day in Denali was uneventful, since we got in at 4;30 pm. We were bused to our chalet, and we got checked in. Our room was very quaint and peaceful. Amee was excited that they had Bath & Body shampoo, conditioner, soap & lotions. Cocunut lime verbena was the scent. Our favorite!

We then tool a shuttle bus to the wilderness access center to pick up our tickets for the Tundra Wilderness Tour that we would take tomorrow.

After all this since it was late, we walked around the tourist traps to check out the souveniers. Since it was only 2 weeks till the end of the season, they had 50% sales on all clothing. I ended up buying a heavier fleece. Amee got a scapbooking book for our alaska photos!

Then we found this Alaskan Fish Co. restraunt that was a hole in the wall place. It had great fish. I had halibut & Amee cod. We also had some great sweet potatoe fries. The guy working there was friends with Levi, who I met on the AT on the rollercoaster. Small world.

Shepherd.

View from the train.jpg


View from the train.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well it is 2:50 pm and this is the view from the train. It is simply gorgeous up here in Alaska. So much color everywhere. The trees are turning colors and the redness in the ferny plants coupled with the evergreens and of course the mountains in the background. God's creation is so beautiful.

The food on the train has been surprisingly good. We even had reindeer saugage for breakfast. It was quite tasty. For lunch I had the smoked salmon corn chowder served in a bread bowl. Delicious!

So far we havent seen any wildlife other than a few water fowl, but we just entered Denali NP, which is my 3rd national park I have been to this year. We still have about one hour left before disembarking the train.
There is terrible signal up here, so I dont know when I will be able to post these stories.

Shepherd

The Hilton Hotel.jpg


The Hilton Hotel.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well we officially made it to Anchorage at 10:30 pm or 2:30 in the morning Indy time. We were beat, so we went straight to bed. The hotel is very nice and the beds very comfortable.

We woke up early to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains, and quickly got over to the Alaskan Railroad station to pick up our tickets for our 8:15 departure. But before that I had to take Amee's pic in front of these cool bears in the hotel lobby ....hopefully we will see them in person!

So now we wait, and I may start shooting some photos.

Shepherd.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Meet Dave.jpg


Meet Dave.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well meet Dave everyone. He was our very friendly flight attendant for our flight to Denver. Frontier is nice but they charge u $8 to watch a movie & $6 to watch tv. Ouch! Atleast they still had complinentary drinks, but no free pretzels or peanuts! The flight was uneventful , and we got to see some of the Rockies. To bad I couldnt hike some of the Colorado trail why I was out here! lol.

We r about to board flight 888 to Anchorage. It looks like a full flight. Hopefully we wont be next to another baby on this flight. Thankfully the 18 month old slept most of the last flight!

Shepherd

Frontier Airlines.jpg


Frontier Airlines.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well it is 1:22 pm and we made it safely to the Indy airport thanks to Eric Wright and the nouni (sp?) van!

We have never used Frontier airlines before, but check-in went like a breeze. It literally only took us 2 mins to check in. It would of been quicker but one bag was 2 pounds over the weight limit, which was easily corrected. We will comment on their service once we arrive.

So now we wait for another couple hours, time to break out a new book.. A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards. Good stuff!

Shepherd.

Our Alaskan Adventure!



Well today is September 1st, Happy Labor day! We are finally awake and getting our last bit of clothing packed up as we prepare to head off to the Indianapolis International Airport this morning at 11 am!

We are very excited to be flying up to Alaska to see God's country for the next 12 days! Thankfully we are flying into Denver, instead of anything in the Gulf coast area! Then, We will be staying in Anchorage this evening before boarding a train that will take us to Denali National Park on Tuesday. Then we will spend Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday in Denali before meeting up with Amee's parents back in Anchorage on Thursday evening! Then Friday we will board our cruise ship for a 7 day cruise down to Vancouver. This is just a quick overview, and Lord willing I will be putting up more detailed posts via cell phone each day of our adventures...so stay tuned!

We have been worried about what to take on this cruise, since it is the complete opposite of our Carribean cruise we took last year. On that cruise we tried to take the least amount of clothes possible since we were there for the fun and sun! But, with this cruise, we wont be lounging around the pool to much (well maybe the hot tub). The weather is suppose to be in the mid 50's all 12 days with the lows in the 40's and the chance of rain nearly everyday. :o( So we will see what God has for us!

Also, We are excited to see if we see any wildlife upclose, since I didn't get to see any bears on my AT hike. They say the chances are very good...bears, moose, caribou, mountain sheep, eagles, whales, ect... So we will have our camera ready!

Well that is all for now! Stay tuned for more updates.

Shepherd