A Tiger by the Tail

Hello Everyone!!!!

It feels good to be blogging once again. I’ve been very excited to share this adventure with you. First off, I really didn’t have a tiger by the tail…but, at one point, we could have easily touched noses. Seriously!!

It all started at Christmas. We had finished opening up our gifts and as usual we like to save a “BIG” gift to open last.  I had no idea just how big this was going to be.  I opened up my package to find a Manila envelope.  I felt around a little but for the life of me I had no idea what was inside.

I peeled open the flap and reached in. I pulled out something akin to a brochure of the Columbus Zoo. I thought ‘Oh my goodness! A membership to the zoo!’ Wrong.

I looked a little closer. My hands started to shake so bad. Tears filled my eyes and quickly spilled over.

“Is this what it says it is?”      “Yep.”

I was in total disbelief.

See, everyone who knows me, knows that I am an animal lover.  If you know me really well, then you know I especially love Big Cats. My favorite being the Siberian Tiger, also known as the Amur Tiger.

So, as my hands shook and just before my vision blurred from all the tears, I was able to realize I was being gifted a Private Tour and Tiger Training Session at the Columbus Zoo. Oh, and not just any tiger….you guessed it….an Amur Tiger! I really thought I would hyperventilate.

It would be February 7th before we would go. I counted down the minutes and every night I dreamt of tigers and what the day would hold for us. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

Finally, it rolled around. I was so nervous I chose not to drive the 45 minutes it takes to get to the zoo. I love to drive but I was in no shape to be behind the wheel on this day. I had to get ready to train a tiger.

As we parked and made our way to the entrance gate, it was all I could do not to cry. This was a dream come true for me. A real ‘bucket list’ dream. Coming true with every step. We checked in and were escorted to the guest services area. Then our tour guide arrived.

Wayland!

He was super sweet. He drove us all through the North American exhibit and told us all about the wonderful conservation programs in which the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are involved. The list is amazing.

We received a little gift bag that was hand made from ladies in Sudan. The money they raise helps pay for education and food for a year.

She was a beauty.

Finally, after what felt like forever and not long enough we rolled over to the Zoo Keeper’s office.  It was at the Tiger exhibit that we met the trainer and Zoo Keeper.  There were four female tigers in the yard entertaining the bystanders.

We began chit chatting and they were telling me tons of facts about the Siberian Tiger. Most I knew…some I didn’t. After we stood by the glass for a while watching them we walked over to where another female tiger was housed by herself. She was the oldest.  And she was beautiful.

They said she likes to stalk all the keepers as they come to feed her and do her daily training. She was so gorgeous and I stood about 5 feet from her. I wanted to reach out and touch her so bad… BUT, I resisted.

We stayed there a good 30 minutes and then went inside to see Foley!  Foley is the only male and if I thought the females were huge, well…he put them to shame. He could easily stand 9ft on his back legs. He knew all his commands and I watched in awe as our trainer worked with him. My heart was pounding.

Smiling she looked at me said, “Are you ready for a treat?”

She motioned me closer to his cage. I was now inches from this gorgeous creature. This Tiger that I never thought I would be this close to. If I would have just leaned forward, we could have touched noses. No joke!!!

There I stood in the most surreal moment.  I almost felt like I was outside myself. I wanted desperately to burn every detail into my brain. Much, much too soon we had to leave. But I have memories, feelings and pictures that will stay with me forever.

Thank you P. for giving me a dream come true.

God bless~

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Chapped Cheeks and Tingling Fingers

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Wow!  How I love this time of year.

I just came in from putting up some garland around the patio. Haven’t made it to the lights yet. We’ll probably wait until tomorrow to get those up. It’s quite chilly outside and I love it. Even though my cheeks feel chapped and I have tingling fingers I can’t help but gulp down a good ice-cold bottle of water! Yummy.

I have my tv tuned into “Sounds of The Seasons” and my frosty toes are tapping to Suzy Snowflake. I feel like I have a handle on shopping. In fact, I am very close to being finished. And yes, you guessed, I love to wrap.

I always think back over my life and recall so many happy, Christmas memories. One year my papaw and me took a walk up behind the little cabin where we lived (Mamaw, Papaw, Mom and Me). I was probably 17. We were very poor that year and things were really tight. So, we walked up behind the cabin looking for a tree to cut down to be used as this years Tannenbaum. We quickly spotted the little tree that would be perched in the living room. Much to our surprise we also spotted two beautiful deer standing just beyond the tree. Now I had a perfect illustration of the phrase “like a deer caught in the headlights.” They just stood there staring at us as we stood motionless staring back at them. Soon, the moment was gone and the white tail deer were on their way. It was such a special moment that I will never forget. I know that my life has seen its share of ups and downs, but praise God above He never took His hand off me.il_570xN.650364854_45hj

Looking back I see so many places where He protected me and kept me from harm. I see where He guided my footsteps away from danger and touched the hearts of those who could have hurt me. My Heavenly Father is awesome. I hope you know Him the way I do.

I know that there is much debate about the correct time that Jesus was born. Was it winter? Was is spring? For me, it simply does not matter. I celebrate His birth everyday. I’m just thankful that God sent His one and only Son to earth to save our souls. What a love! What a gift! There has never been any better. This reminds me of song….I’ll post a link to it.

Well, I’ve shared my evening with you. It is now dark outside. I can’t wait to get the lights up tomorrow…but for now, I think I’m gonna have some hot chocolate!


Give Thanks
        God bless,  Rachel

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Drifting back

It’s almost 1 a.m. I’m working the night shift and reflecting on the day. I’m listening to my “most played” songs on my ipad. I can’t help but smile as Bob Marley starts playing…

“Don’t worry about a thing…cause every little thing’s gonna be alright.”

Such simple words carry such truth and depth. I remind myself that, in fact, everything is going to be alright as long as Jesus is first in all I do.

I was talking with a friend the other day and we were discussing how difficult it is to stay focused. There is so much noise and junk filling our minds. Television, radio, computers…you name it. Such tragedy, devastation, and sorrow. So much stuff to make you worry. It’s almost impossible to keep a leash on your thoughts. ALMOST!

I know that my Heavenly Father is watching over me.

He knows my thoughts. He knows my deepest thoughts.

He sees me when I stumble, when the worries of this life start to take hold. When I drift far from the shore. He is there; just waiting on me to look up and realize I’ve swam beyond the rope and need help getting back to level ground.

I am humbled by His grace and I feel like such a selfish child. A stubborn child. Praise God, He is the author of my life and my story is still being written. I have so much to learn and understand and change.

Not my will…but His will be done.

Precious Father,
Take my life and mold me into the vessel you want me to be. Guide my steps, my thoughts, my words. Be my thoughts. Be my words. I surrender to your word and your authority. In Jesus most precious name. Amen.

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Still serving…

Where do I go? To find myself. To lose myself. To surrender. To find strength for the battle. Where else can I go but to The Lord?

My ways are not enough. They lack in every area. I am precisely imperfect. My abilities will fail…they will falter and crumble. I am weak and afraid. I can not rely on my courage. I am but a handful of dust so easily scattered and lost on the winds of change.

However, yes, however, my Savior is my strength. He is my compass, my defender. My champion. He searches for me and keeps me in his care. He lifts me high above the danger and carries my feeble frame.

I surrender to His might. I surrender to His very name at which even the powers of darkness run from the slightest utterance. Jesus.

I will serve Him night and day for all the days of my life. I will sing His praises and tell of His mercies.

My Lord, my God may your voice be ever present in my soul, guiding me and leading me on my way home to you.

Humbled and Feeling Blessed

 

I was listening to the radio the other day and heard this song. It stopped me in my tracks. I felt so small and unworthy. I felt  ashamed and guilty. I try…or do I? I believe that I try. I know I will never be  good enough…so I need to accept the fact that Jesus loves me anyway!

  If you get a chance go listen to this song.

I pray that it touches you as deeply as it did me.  I am so blessed!!  Praise God!  I am so very blessed!

 

 

 

Jesus….thank you for loving me even though…..

I am the thorn in your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
See now I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still call out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
Oh God, how You love me
Yes You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life
That I’ve ever known
Yes You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

I found these lyrics on elyrics.net  The group is Sidewalk Prophets.

My staycation to The Holy Land

The Holy Land!

A place I have always wanted to see.  The Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Sea of Galilee…oh to see what my Jesus saw.  I have felt myself walking the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth…all those wonderful places where my Savior walked.

I know that in these turbulent times a trip to the Holy Land is very dangerous.  Especially for a Christian.  So, as I thought about that today I decided if I can’t go to Jerusalem…I’ll bring Jerusalem to me!!!

Google Maps is incredible!
 
 
I have walked the streets of Israel today.  I saw the Temple Mount.  I visited Petra.  Have you seen Petra?  It is gorgeous!  I meandered the shores surrounding the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus walked on that water!!  Did you know that?  Think about that!  Jesus…walked…on…the…water!!!   The only time I have walked on water is when it was frozen!!  And if you saw me, you wouldn’t call it walking…it’s more like a balancing act.  Not graceful…but covered in Grace!!

Tonight, I’ll be visiting with family.  We will have Bible study and laugh and cry and talk about Jesus and how close we are to His return.  We are so close.  Sometimes, I just sit and look at the sky thinking I’ll catch Him coming…hoping this will be the day He comes back.  This evening I think I’ll share my journeys and take my family on a trip of a life time.
 
If you get the chance you should bring it home.  Talk about a staycation.  I am so blessed.

Have a great weekend! 

Love and Prayers ~