Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Path

The preparations began weeks before their arrival.  Gramma and Grampa were very excited about seeing their sweet little grandchildren who were coming to visit next month.  They always planned special things to make the trip memorable and fun for the little tykes that would soon be running about their cozy home.  Each time they went to the store, Gramma would find some little something to surprise them with, extra baking supplies to fill their tummies with something yummy, or a fun little toy to make their eyes sparkle.  Grampa had a surprise that he was planning for this visit.  His project was something special he had in mind for that young man that would soon be bounding across their property. He had been clearing a few paths in the woods recently and thought he would make a special path for his favorite grandson.  He knew they shared that same adventurous spirit, and would have a great time walking that path in the woods.  Now keep in mind - the path really wasn't that long - sort of a horseshoe shape that started near the barn and came out  just a little ways down the field.  It was just long enough for a five year old to create his own little adventure as he walked it, and just deep enough in the woods that we could still almost make him out as he ventured round and round. 
      The day had finally arrived, I think Grampa was just as excited as Little Charles as they talked about the path.  As soon as we got in the driveway and parked, they were headed out back.  Grampa was talking about how important it was to stay on the path as they walked toward the woods.  Little Charles was looking up at Grampa as he talked but also keeping his eye toward that special walkway prepared especially for him. They walked the short route several times together, each time Grampa pointed out the simple markers he placed here and there to help him stay on the little trail.  The lead was progressively being transferred over to the young scout unknowingly, preparing him to venture the way on his own.  Eventually Grampa sent him on his way, waiting for him at the end of the trail - Charles running at a full sprint as he completed a few rounds on his own - shooting into Grampa's arms as he entered the field - both of them smiling from ear to ear.  After a few rounds - on his own, Grampa felt confident that Charles would stick to the boundaries of the trail they studied.  Round and round he went that day mastering his new path with great success. 
     The boys headed to the house, lunch was on the table and they had built up an appetite.  Charles was full of chatter.  "Did you see that squirrel, Grampa?" he said.  Gramma told him he better slow down and chew his food more carefully or he might choke.  The excitement was bouncing off of his little being as he told everyone at the table all about his new path and everything that he saw on it.  Becca, only about a year old at the time, just watched and listened to her big brother, whom she adored.  Quick as could be he finished his plate, and was eagerly asking to head back to the woods.  "Let's wait a little while, Grampa needs to do a few chores, Becca needs to take a nap, your Momma is over at a cousins house, and I need to stay inside for now because I have pies in the oven," Gramma said. "It's ok, Gramma - I know my path and will stay on it - I've gone around it a gazillion times and know which way to go - I won't get lost," said Little Charles.  Grampa talked with Gramma and said - "he has gone around it quite a few times and has followed it each time - I think he will do ok - let's just have him check in with us every few times around."  A little bit nervous, like Gramma's can get, she agreed.  YES! the boy yelled with great excitement!
     Bounding down the stairs and out the back door he tore ahead of Grampa.  You don't need to go with me Grampa - I can do this.  He watched as Chuck flew through the path and came back to him, not once but about five times around in less than five minutes.  "Ok, slow down a little bit, I see you've got it," laughed Grampa as he headed to the barn.  He'd  look out the barn door between his tasks and see his grandson going around the path wondering what type of adventurous thoughts were going on inside his head.  Gramma would come out on the deck between her baking, chores and peeking in on that sweet little dumpling sleeping so sound.  She just smiled as Charles saw her on the deck, grinning and waving as he ventured by.  The pies were finished and on the racks to cool filling the house with the most delicious aroma.  She tiptoed to the bedroom once more, still sleeping she decided to check on her rambunctious little fellow.  He must have just headed into the woods, she thought after standing there expecting the little adventurer to come bounding out into the field.  A few minutes passed, and he still did not appear- hmm, she pondered, I wonder what he is exploring.  Maybe he is kicking some leaves and seeing something on the moist earth underneath, or perhaps he has flipped a log to find some grubs or other creepy crawlies.  Could it be a little critter that has captured his curiosity....more time passing as she thought.  Where is he? she thought.  Now looking nervously at her watch, she realized it has been several minutes since he emerged from the woods.  Charles!  she answer.   CHarles!  yelling again - no answer.  JIM she called to her husband - as he came out of the barn.  What's wrong he asks.  "I've been standing out her for several minutes and I have not seen Little Charles coming or going."  she said trying not to panic.  "I'm sure he is fine, he has stayed on the path each time - I'll go check on him," Grampa said.  Gramma flew into the house to check on her sweet little angel who was beginning to stir.  She grabbed her up out of the crib and hurridely headed out back.  By this time she could see Grampa coming out of the other end of the path.  He was alone!  Her heart sunk!  Where is he? she said with a shaky voice.  CHARLES, WHERE ARE YOU, COME TO THE HOUSE, CHARLES!   They both ran closer to the woods, yelling for their little grandson and then listening desparately for his reply.  Becca just waking up, not really understanding what was happening, was looking at her grandparents who were becoming more and more alarmed.  The neighbors who were outside, heard the shouts and  wondered what on earth was going on.  Of course, they headed over to see if they could help.  Gramma in tears explained the situation, as Grampa headed deeper into the woods.  They all knew too well the dangers that were there.  The creek that he could come to if he headed to far in, the traps that local hunters set to catch local game, not to mention those creatures that were out their to be trapped. 
     It wasn't long before several neighbors were there all heading out to find this missing young man.  Prayers were flying up to Heaven, Please Lord, bring our sweet grandson back to us safe and unharmed.  It felt like an eternity had passed and he still was no where to be found.  Grampa came back to the path with some of the other men to try to find that spot on the path where he may have strayed.  There was no definite sign of where he left the path.  They gathered together and came to the concensus  that they needed to call 911 and get more help on the way.  It wouldn't be long before the sun would be going down.  As they headed to the house a police car pulled in the driveway.  The thoughts that must have run through their heads as they saw that cruiser turn in!  Did they think - someone else must have called them for us...or worse yet is it bad news?!?  They turned to walk toward the car as it approached and guess what?!?!?  There he was sitting in the front seat of that police car right along side the officer! 
    Gramma just let the tears pour, and I bet Grampa did too!  The relief that Little Charles was back safe and sound was overwhelming - God heard their prayers, not only did He hear them but he answered them too!  Praise the Lord - thank you for keeping our favorite grandson safe!  Grampa headed over to the officer to discuss what had happened.  Grampa explained their end of the story and then listened to what the officer reported.  His grandson had made it all the way through the woods, over the creek and out the other side to the street past their little forest.  He had come out on a property where a family happened to be outside.  They thought it was strange that a little five year old suddenly appeared from the woods.  They didn't recognize him, and of course they wouldn't, he was about 1500 miles from his home.  They asked him his name, he said I'm Charles and I need to get back to my Gramma and Grampa's house.  He provided these kind strangers with his grandparents names along with their phone number including area code and address.  They called 911 who sent the officer to deliver this young man back to the home of his grandparents.  They were all amazed that this young man knew not only his grandparents name but also their address and phone number.  He was prepared for that day.  He had been learning his numbers by using a little phone that was something like this one.  One way he was mastering his numbers was by dialing his families phone numbers and one of his favorites to call was Gramma and Grampa!

 That day you had a mighty adventure.  Not only did you have a path of your very own created just for you by Grampa, you also learned a valuable lesson.  You probably didn't have too much fear as you wandered through the woods.  There were so many dangers, of which you were not even aware.  Even though that creek in the woods wasn't that big where you crossed, there are parts of it that are deep, other areas with fast moving water where you could have been seriously hurt.  The animals that roam in the woods to name a few are beavers, woodchucks, raccoons, wolves, snakes and bear.  There are swampy areas, mucky-muddy areas, heavily wooded areas and various, holes and banks.  Traps, barbed wire fences, and who knows what were here and there.  We are so thankful that God protected you that day you lost your way.  As we have taught you - your actions do not solely affect yourself.  Your actions that day affected your grandparents with a fear and worry beyond words.  It affected the neighbors, the kind strangers who discovered you, the police officer who returned you and your parents who learned about this after the fact. 
    God makes many references to paths.  There are so many dangers in this world when we stray from His path.  He wants us to stay on His path and will direct us if we acknowledge him in all of our ways and trust Him.  He tells us to stay straight on the path and when you are not sure which way to go...go to His word.  He tells us it is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path.  Sometimes life gets dark, unclear, it seems like there is no direction - He gives us a clear solution.  He will turn the lamp on which will light it up- making it easier to see - his word will give you the direction you need on which way to go.  Have you ever tried to do something in the dark - it is so difficult?  Picture yourself for a minute in the dark trying to go somewhere  - you can't see where you are going - you may bump into things, trip, fall, get lost or worse.  Now picture yourself trying to do something in the dark - how successful are you going to be?  More than likely you will fail without any light.  What if you add a little light - you may finish your task, but will it be your best - probably not.  OK - try turning the light on - not just a little glow but have the highest watt bulb that your lamp will handle - now you are seeing it all clearly!  You will master every task before you and walk the path He has for you with sure footing.  He tells us in His presence there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.

Proverbs 3:5-7
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 4:25-27
25Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
 26Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
 27Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 There are plenty of warnings in His word about leaving the path.  The evil and wickedness are definitely alive in this world.  There are so many temptations and dangers that will try to pull you away.  Stay strong in the Lord!  He will direct you, guide you and keep your feet from slipping.

1 Peter 5:8
 8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Prepare each day as a soldier would - always wearing your armor!
Ephesians 6:10-20
 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
We love you very much Little Charles
and pray that you stay on His path through your life!
Happy Birthday to the best son in this world!

Grampa & Little Charles burning brush

Grampa and Becca - The path is just beyond the tractor!

Your Dinner Choice - Firehouse!!!
They even had that cool futuristic new cola fountain machine!

Dinner's not complete without Dad's Delicious Homemade Salsa

Per your request - No cake this year - Just Tons of Ice Cream - YUM, YUM!!!

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