My dream of traveling on a dime, fishing, writing, exploring, bike riding, connecting with my Grand kids to leave a legacy, and all from the back of an old Dodge Ram, 1990. When the dream came, I had no extra money, no fly fishing set, no bike, and no real strategy. All I had was an old truck with at least 250,000 miles on it, and likely more than that, and a Dream to do something I could not currently do. So how do you get from where you are, to something you want to be?

Now if you’re someone with a lot of money you can just throw at something, this site, and the Black RAM Adventure is not for you. This site is about all the rest of us, the most of us, who never chased after money as a goal, but just wanted to enjoy life. I’ve worked hard, but I chose jobs for personal satisfaction, not the pay. As a result, I’ve learned to be creative, think outside the box, and find ways more fulfilling than spending lots of money. I’ve never been drawn to the fancy, I love simplicity. So…

How do you “morph” on a small budget, perhaps even a tiny budget, even a micro budget? Yes, a “morph” is what is required, a metamorphosis. A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into something different, by natural or supernatural means. Dreams usually are about some kind of a transformation. The Dream is a Dream because you do not currently possess it, but you want to, you want to “become” it, and live it. The caterpillar becomes the butterfly.

A journey of transformation is required, a “morph”. Definition> “To change smoothly from one image to another by small gradual steps. This usually refers to computer animation techniques.” If you’ve ever seen the individual drawings that make up the life-like actions of animated figures, you get the picture, lots of micro steps adding up to a “macro” result, or transformation.

Of course, “micro” means very small, as in baby steps, or eating an elephant one bite at a time. “Macro” is only different in spelling by one letter, but is complete opposite in meaning. Macro is large. Macro is the elephant. A “morph” requires a lot of micro to smoothly add up to a macro, which eventually gets you to the meta (something after or beyond), you’re trying to get to, the total transformation and you are finally living the Dream, you have become that Dream. What you were not, you now are. What people said you were not, they now will admit you are.

As for me, having taken early retirement, I knew I had to find a source for extra money, but it did not have to be a lot. I did not have to become the slave of something to pursue simplicity. That is one of the beauties of simplicity and what Jesus did and taught. So I became a professional dish washer part time. Roughly 16 hours a week. So were not talking big bucks here. We’re talking micro, but it’s adding up, and momentum is beginning to build. Momentum is another force you are creating in the Micro-Macro process.

I remember when I finally had the money, and I took the macro step to buy my Fly Fishing set and waders. All in all I spent a good $300.00 that day, and it all came by washing one dish at a time. I wonder how many thousand dishes I washed, how many micro steps I performed, before a brand new Fly Fishing Rod and Reel was actually in my hands and I was out at my Teepee trying my first casts? This seemed like a huge step to me. A piece of the Dream had now manifested. And now, in just 5 more days I head out on my “first” Black RAM Adventure! Even as temperatures are dropping! Even as brother Wind is the forerunner of old man Winter! But it is real, and it is happening! Micro-Macro-Meta-Morpho! Ala-kazam! Presto! It may sound like magic, but it is not. It’s the age old wisdom of planting micro seeds in the ground to finally reap a macro harvest.

Yesterday, as I was testing my truck bed set-up, with tarps in place blocking the wind and preparing for coming rain, I had a Grandchild just happen to show up. The son of our 4th born son. They just happen to come pulling into the drive. Now Luca is only like 3 years old, and he looked at Grandpa White Feather up in his Dog House, sipping on coffee and eating chocolate chip cookies. He never seen the Dog House before. I invited him up. Whamo! The beginning of a legacy being created right then and there! It was not even planned. Complete coincidence, but this is who I am now becoming, and so these coincidences will happen even more and more! Momentum! And a momentous moment! Now a memory; a mental impression that might last a lifetime.

So how about you? What’s your DREAM? Do you have one? If not, why? Have you already achieved it, become it, and living it? If so, good for you! Enjoy! But if not, then don’t forget about the Bible wisdom of sowing and reaping. Micro-Macro-Meta-Morpho. It’s not magic. It doesn’t happen in an instant. But it’s also not an empty illusion. It’s REAL! And once the metamorphosis is complete, you have something REAL. You have become that. Transformation complete! Journey done and destination reached! ENJOY! Let the butterfly fly! Even soar.

Today my goal is to create a wood burning stove out of a steel 55 gallon drum. Here is where the drum will set when finished. You can see it in the back right hand corner of the truck bed. Wish me luck!

I hope to do some writing soon, about the history of the RAM truck, and other trucks too. I think old trucks are special, and I want that to be a part of this Blog site. I’ve been doing some studying of old trucks, and it’s pretty interesting. So coming soon…actual reports and pictures of how my first Black RAM Adventure goes, and perhaps some truck history, along with recommending walking with Jesus to one and all!

The Speed of a Dream

Don’t you wish there was a gas peddle attached to that next big thing you’re reaching towards? Inch by inch life is a cinch, but it sure is slow! Fortunately, we believe in the beauty of slow, here under the Willow Tree.

It’s been a while since I did an update on my “Dream to travel America on a dime”. From the back of my pick-up, while Fly Fishing (something I’ve never done), camping, and riding my bicycle. You might recall I took a part time job as a dishwasher to earn extra money to prepare all things needed for the dream, but have I made any progress?

The thing about dreams is, it don’t take long before they smack right into a huge wall called REALITY! Then what are you going to do? Give up? Buckle? Cry? Get angry? Depressed? Settle? Or get creative and build that Dream one brick at a time. That’s how most Dreams are built. (One brick at a time, and on a limited budget. And I do highly suggest paying CASH, not credit.)

It didn’t take long before I realized my income was too low to even travel America on the cheap, so I became a PDW. (Professional Dish Washer.) Actually, I became a PDWpt. (Professional Dish Washer part time. lol.)

Dreams have a way of evolving as you make the journey. I also decided to attempt this journey with the truck I already have. I couldn’t stand the thought of selling my 1990 Dodge Ram, even if it does only get like 16 mpg. So I went to work on creating my truck camper with a “short bed”, and I realized I could extend the floor and make it work. Here’s a few pictures.

Everything collapses down into the bed of truck and rolls down the road looking very normal, except for being almost 30 years old. In the first picture, if you look close, you can see bricks laid in a square, in the front right corner of the bed. I have a metal drum wood stove I’m creating for that spot. I picked it up just yesterday. I’ve also purchased my Fly Fishing set and just tried some practice casting yesterday. All I can say is, I’ve got a lot to learn. But I am enjoying the challenge.

I crashed on my bike the other day. Red Pony and Grandpa White Feather did heap big whoop’n crash. Pony had to be repaired. Minor damages mostly.

I tried to design my own cheap, raised handle bar. First of all, it did not turn out to be cheap, as I kept adding more, trying to make it more sturdy. I finally thought I had it good enough for a test “flight”. I did not know it was going to be a “flight”. But as the red-neck raised handle bar suddenly twisted with the wheel going one way, the bar another, and me another, it became a flight! Fortunately, I somehow managed to leap over the raised wheel and barely got my feet under me before doing a hard dive and roll on pavement. Not something you want to do at age 64! But Red Pony did not fare as well.

So yes, much progress is being steadily made. And because winter is rushing in, I have set a trial “outing” in the truck for October 21-25. The Black Ram, Grandpa White Feather, and Red Pony (now recovered), will be headed south, staying within Indiana, and I have the Wabash River, Blue River, and the Ohio River all as possible goals. Lord only knows for sure which places I will go first, and exactly how far I get before time to return to washing dishes. lol. There’s that REALITY thing again. (But next summer’s adventure is going to be huge! Even epic! Wait and see!)

Well, as they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. Micro steps add up to macro progress eventually, creating the “meta” we desire, the “metamorpho”. Which I hope to write about maybe next article: Micro-Macro-Meta-Morpho. But in any case, I hope in less than 2 weeks to be actually out on my first Black Ram Adventure. I’m working hard to progress towards that goal, even as I also work on my wife’s “Do List” on the house, and you don’t even want to hear the reality of that list. ha, ha. But drainage pipes are buried in the ground along house foundation, and now I’m running gas lines to install wall mount gas heaters to supplement our house heating system, which is very old.

Okay…until the next time…keeping it REAL and SIMPLE here at the Willow Tree. I hope you will want to follow the adventures of Grandpa White Feather as he heads out in the Black Ram for parts unknown in Act III of his life, the Golden Years. My hope is my story of pursuing a simple Dream can delight others as they pursue theirs. My perspective of being a Dream Chaser always includes the question: “What does my ‘soul’ NEED today?” And there are not enough articles written in this money hungry, pleasure driven world that shines that particular light. There can never be too much of that light. I pray this site be such a place.

Creating Simple Church

What did Jesus do? He kept it simple. What have we done? We’ve complicated everything. Created a lot of expense and work. And now we have to keep that big machine running. Is that the church Jesus started? Is that the way he lived? When Martha came to Jesus complaining of her sister, Mary, did he praise Martha and correct Mary? Martha was creating a lot of work while Mary simply enjoyed the Lord. Can it really be that simple?

What is this big money materialistic machine we call church? And how many of those people in your congregation do you really know? And I’m not talking about those you may be blood related to, as in family that happen to attend your church. Of course you know them, but what about all the others? Those you call brothers and sisters, and yet you’ve never shared a meal in their house?

The church Jesus started is born in the book of Acts. Before that book is over we see a scattered church people meeting in homes and having close fellowship. This is what the early church was for about 300 years! It wasn’t the very large church in Jerusalem, before the scattering, that turned the world upside down, but it was all those small groups scattering to the wind and speaking of Jesus everywhere they went! And how much did it cost? What was their monthly budget and pastor’s salary? How much did a concern for money influence their church service?

Jesus sent his disciples out, even the 72, and told them to take nothing with them. I send you out as lambs among wolves. Good luck! But know, God is with you. (My interpretation added.)

Even the first church of Jerusalem, before God scattered them, and yes, I believe it was God who scattered them. It was part of God’s plan and His will. But what was the emphasis of that church, as the details are given in Acts chapter two? Do you even know? The thing mentioned “first” is devotion to the teaching of God’s Word. But the thing mentioned “MOST” is fellowship, meals, and the Lord’s Supper!

The next items would be prayer, worship, and giving. They showed their love by no one lacking. They knew how to share. They showed real Christian love, which is another form of fellowship. They did not live separated little lives that only rubbed elbows when they were doing a “church thing”. And please study all this yourself, least you think these are “my” ideas. No sir, this is what Jesus did! This is what is described and written in His Book, not any book of mine. I’m just a simple teacher who has studied this word all his life, and wants to be true.

So how simple can it get, teacher? Well… so far… our fellowship has needed no money whatsoever, other than the cost of food, whether we decide to eat out, or share food in a house. We do both. And I would even dare to say, money spent eating out, in order to have “fellowship” with the brothers and sisters, God would view as money given to “ministry’. (Just my opinion. I can’t prove that. But if your only church expenses is a meal out once in a while, that’s a whole lot less than supporting a big building and all the expenses that goes with it. We could say a meal out supporting a business and a waitress somewhere, is more “frugal” than supporting a huge building, leaving more money to actually help the poor and spread the Gospel.) That is one argument that could be made.

This week our Fellowship decided to eat out. Saturday was the best option for us, this week. We chose a China Buffet. Afterwards we went to a very nice shopping area which has outdoor seating and courtyard, where people gather and walk about. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors. The spot we chose had a metal table and metal rocking chairs. It was awesome! And completely free!

I opened my Bible on the metal table, we had prayer and then got into God’s Word. We didn’t pray loud and try to impress people, but anyone could tell what we were doing. People walked about. Cars slowly passed by. A group of young people were doing some kind of photo shoot using different colored umbrellas. Other people sat about enjoying a coffee, and lovers walked about holding hands. But our little group was just there enjoying a beautiful day, a great atmosphere, God’s presence, God’s word, and fellowship!

A bonus to all that was, people saw an open Bible on a table, someone obviously teaching, a group not acting weird in any way, or locked away in a building like they don’t want to socialize. And how much did all that cost? ZERO. Go help someone in need with that money, in the name of Jesus! The New Testament does teach “love offerings”, which can include giving to your pastor, but there is no law! (Just trying to be honest here, folks. Please study and confirm for yourself. Now if you’re a Pharisee, Jesus did expect them to tithe, as still under the law.)

Another benefit not spoken of much, our simple way also adds “variety”. For 60 years I went to box churches and did the same thing over and over again. Get greeted at the door by a friendly face who really did not know me, talk to a few people before service and ask how their week was, then the singing starts and all the shish boom bah, then pass a plate, give 10% or you’re robbing God, then a prayer, then a message, then an alter call and a chance to be prayed for, then out the door, and do it again Wednesday night or next Sunday. Over and over again. Where is creativity? Where is variety? What is this rut? Do we serve a God who lacks imagination? Our Fellowship never knows for sure what I may have us doing. (Granted, that does require taking a risk. LOL.)

However, the point is, this modern church program we been doing has lost this country. Many of the unbelievers also know that what we’re doing, simply is not what Jesus did! We preach Jesus but copy the world! We have a system, a program, a box. And we ask the world to get saved and come give at least 10% to our box. We promise to do good things with it, but what percentage goes to support fancy buildings, mansions for pastors, and just plain entertainment?

And where is the fellowship? How many homes have you shared meals within? How well do you really know them? Your brother, your sister?

Yes, a proper gathering of the Lord should have God’s presence, God’s word, worship and prayer, giving, fellowship, and a man proven and called of God as a leader. But the book of Acts seems to describe a heavy emphasis of true fellowship, not some shallow performance saying we care, when we really do very little to prove it. This is what the early church emphasized, put great importance upon, which included a real Lord’s Supper, not a tiny white thing and a thimble of grape juice. That’s not much of a supper. That’s not even an appetizer.

Jesus was always good at pointing out REALITY. He had a way of forcing people to come out of living in denial, such as: Ye who are without sin cast the first stone. Every religious person there was suddenly faced with the reality of their words and actions. They slowly, one by one walked away under conviction. But did they change? Did they try to make things right?

It’s my desire for this blog site to be a place of God’s word, truth, and reality, shared with love and fellowship. I desire the same thing for our little group. I’m just a simple man trying to be true to what I have seen in God’s word, as best I can. Wouldn’t you do the same? This week, at this shopping area, I shared a word from Matthew 3:1-3, where it says: “In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was…

We talked about the message God gave John in his day, for his time. I stated we still have that same message today, but then I asked the group to add what might also be our particular message, because of the time we live in, and the particular challenges we see in our day? God expects us to be faithful to the spiritual needs “of our time”. What is our message?

As followers of Christ, God’s word challenges us to not be “entangled” in the things of this world, to not be materialistic, and show moderation in all things. How well are we doing with these challenges? And is our chosen church motivating us in these directions? If our life doesn’t match God’s word, is it because the preacher is not an example of it himself, or we’re just not listening? Whatever the reason might be, I pray God enables all of us to see more clearly, and grow into the true image of Christ. May this message be a word of truth to all who read, Amen.

God’s Covering

“So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” (I Samuel 28:14)

What is life really? God chose the Jewish people to write a book that says God made our body from the dirt of the earth, and it lay there hollow, empty, and lifeless, until… God breathed into the lifeless body and it became a living soul. Can it really be that SIMPLE?

That’s what we believe here at “Sitting Under the Willow Tree”. This simple belief caused me to leave the complicated business-like modern church system, after being a part of it for 60 years. I realized what I felt under that willow tree that day was closer to the real Jesus than what I found at church, inside the big expensive box. In the third act of my life, I wanted to follow the real Jesus and see what would happen? I have discovered a richness the rich man does not know.

The old prophet, Samuel, had a covering from God the Bible calls a “mantle”. I wonder what a mantle like that might be worth in heaven one day? This is not just any old cloak or fancy man-made garment. We’re talking a mantle from God. A covering from God. A “supernatural” covering that God imparted to a young boy named Samuel, who grew up to be a faithful prophet to his people.

What does it mean to walk in the presence of God? Mary was in God’s presence as she sat at Jesus feet listening to his every word, while Martha was stewing in the kitchen. Can it really be that simple? I wonder what kind of mantle Mary had? And did Martha have one?

If you have read much of this site, you probably know I took early retirement and recently entered a part time job as a dishwasher, to earn money to travel America on a dime, (as I call it), living VERY simple as I do. I hope to Fly Fish, Bow Hunt, ride my bicycle, camp, and snorkle as I travel. I also hope to visit “Salt Churches”, a new movement that seems to fit the very same vision I have from God. A vision of getting back to the simplicity of Christ and a simplicity of life!

So I was washing a thousand dishes as fast as I could the other day…

And I was working with a young lady who boldly declares she is an agnostic, and plays some of the most ungodly music you could possible find. I mean, like, it seems like MF is screamed at you almost every other word. (Among other choice verbal declarations.) But this music actually opened a door for me with this young lady to talk to her about the Kingdom of God. And it did not start by me telling her she was going to hell because of her music. The music is not the issue. It’s the heart.

The conversation started like this: “I didn’t know you were such an angry person.” She looked a little surprised at my comment and acted as if she didn’t know what I meant. “The music you like. It’s very angry. Filled with a lot of hate. A lot can be known about a person by the music they choose.”

Then she began attempting to justify her choice of music. “I’ve just learned not to take any crap from anybody. When I first started here I was the only girl, and people tried to push me around. I learned I had to push back. Not take crap. So I play this kind of music.”

“I see,” I said. “But I got to change my nickname for you. I can’t call you ‘Happy’ any more. I got to call you ‘Angry’.”

She knew I’m a Christian, so then she asked me a loaded question, “Do you like Joel Osteen?”

I answered truthfully, “A lot of people do, but me personally, I don’t care for any of those big church and TV guys. It’s not what I see Jesus do. He was simple and very non-materialistic. It’s part of the reason I left the modern church system.”

Now I figured she probably thought he was one of the better ones, since he is always preaching a bunch of “positive thinking” kind of stuff and how to have your best life ever, blah blah blah. Which is also what Jesus was saying while they were driving the nails in, right?

But she surprised me. “Yeah, me neither. Did you hear how he wouldn’t open his church to help people during that hurricane?”

“Yes, I sure did. The REAL Jesus is not like that,” And I began talking to her about the real, the simple, the unmaterialistic, life loving, Jesus, and the SIMPLE church he taught his disciples to start. “As a matter of fact, we’re having church right now, as we wash these dishes,” I suddenly declared.

Again she looked surprised, before she finally said, “Yeah, I guess we are.” And then she said, “If more Christians were like you say, I’d probably be one.”

We have plans to sit at a StarBucks and talk more. Please pray for her.

She also asked another very loaded question, “So how do you feel about homosexuality?”

“I immediately said, “That’s a very touchy subject.” (She agreed.) I said, “If they don’t claim to follow Jesus, then it really doesn’t matter. It’s none of my business and they can do whatever they want, whether it’s right or not, in the eyes of God. But if they claim to follow Jesus…then we would need to have a conversation.” And we left it at that.

So… what about us? Are we covered? Do we, like Samuel, have a covering from God which ushers in His presence wherever we go? Do we have church with people wherever we go? Jesus did. Can it really be that simple?

We’ve got to get back to the simplicity of Christ and the simplicity of His church. It’s all really very simple. It was meant to be kept simple. If I claim to be a Christian, do I follow Christ? Am I a disciple of his simple ways? Am I a disciple? Have I earned a disciple’s mantle? It is not bought with any amount of money. It’s simply the result of being truly in love with God, and his simple ways.

Right now, as an inhabitant of this mortal life, I’m sure you think about your present earthly comfort zone every day. But…what does your soul need today? Your spirit man longs to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. Our spirit knows what the future holds and does not want to end up naked, blind, and homeless, without covering.

What did Jesus actually do? He taught us God’s Word, and he said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.

How did he always manage to make everything so simple? Both the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, are forms of coverings. Jesus taught us about an eternal shelter, an eternal comfort zone that we do not want to miss. Our desire to follow the “simple” and “real” Jesus, shows whether we are his children, his bride, or not. It’s all really very simple.

We will continue teaching about simple church, simple fellowship, simple life at this site. It’s the reason I created it. I hope we are a place you can catch your breath and realize church should not be more stress, rat race, and complexity. Church is to be different than the world, not a copy. A place where a fresh breeze from heaven flows, and we learn His ways. Peace be unto you. Hope you come back soon.

At our other site, we are currently teaching about the “Covenant of Darkness”, if you like to check it out at https://pathwithoutend.com

The “Covering”.

So we never stop to think about how much we seek “coverings” in our daily life. We want a nice house to live in. That’s a covering, and we spend hundreds of thousands to have it. (Some do anyway.) The car we are so grateful to climb into and turn on the AC, drive down the road in comfort, with our favorite music playing. That’s a covering; and again, we spend thousands to have it.

If we want to travel, we seek coverings. Perhaps an RV, pop-up tent, hotel rooms, sleep in our car if we have to, but we seek a covering and will spend money to have it. Think about why we so naturally do this? And why we’re so willing to spend hard earned money to have it. How long would be the list of “whys” here?

On a battlefield, in the old days they wore armor, to be covered in metal! Protection against steel blades and fast arrows. Today we have our own versions of battlefield equipment, but we still need those coverings. On a football field the athletes wear coverings, and to be without it would be suicide.

On a hot day we seek a shady tree with a breeze, and on a freezing cold day we seek something to block the wind, and perhaps a sunny spot if we can find it. The point is our days are filled with seeking “coverings”, even the clothes we wear, and some are very particular even about that. They will go deep in debt to buy “name brand” if they have to, no common coverings for them.

The homeless are usually struggling for a “covering”; that’s why we call them “homeless”, but even they seek coverings. It may be under a bridge, in a box, or abandoned building, but we all seek coverings! We put a very high priority on this one thing! And what do you think you are going to desire above all else in the next life to come? You’re going to desire a new “COVERING from GOD”. Because your soul just lost the old covering, and now you need a different sort. You WILL need it, and you WILL want it. That’s the simple truth. Think about it.

As we began this subject in previous article: “Poor, Blind, and Naked”; our first scripture was Psalms 105:39a > “The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering…”. Wasn’t that nice of God? Doesn’t that show how much he cared for them? They would not have even survived without that covering. And what about us? Are we surviving? This physical body is a temporary covering for our soul. God has warned us it is temporary. All of us have an expiration date. We are living in our time to seek that next covering if we expect our survival to continue. God is meant to be our only true Covering. I will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. That’s a promise from God if you are his child.

Truth is, we will continue to exist, our soul is eternal, but we will wish we could die. If we are homeless in the next life, we will wish we could die, but won’t be able to. This is how serious what we do, and the choices we make now, are. I write things such as these because as a teacher of God’s Word I find most people are asleep, not awake. They do not think beyond this life, and that is such a huge mistake. I attempt to wake people up. Most ignore me. Some love me for it. And some hate me for it. Jesus had the same problem and said we would too.

I warned a young man the other day, as we were washing dishes, he said he didn’t know what to believe about God, he was just looking forward to going to college and having parties. I warned him not to think to deeply about that, or you might wake-up. He probably didn’t like me ruining the fun he was so looking forward to, even as a moth will fly into a flame.

I told him there are paths you can go down in life, that lead to a place where life has no meaning, value, or purpose. And you wake up one day with no desire to even get out of bed. All you want to do is put a bullet in your head. The promises of a wasted life full of earthly pleasures is a siren’s call to certain death. Many are dead on the inside long before their earthly covering finally expires. Don’t think too deep about all this, or you might wake up.

However, if you do seek actual “wisdom”, if you are such a person, then life now, and life eternal has much to offer in God. I still remember that day in the back bed of my truck, with my anti-grav chair, good coffee, good book, scenic view, and “shade”. It was awesome. It was great! Until the shade slowly slipped away. The sun and heat gradually moving in. And then…black flies! And all peace and enjoyment was gone. I was motivated to find a new covering, and get back what I was enjoying before!

Eternity will be no different. We will desire a comfort zone. But how is that “Covering” attained? God tells us we either attain it now, before our current covering expires, or we lose it forever. We may not like that fact, but it is what it is, and the wise will heed the call. Many people fail to survive because they fail to adapt. They fail to adapt to the “reality” of their circumstances. They don’t like the facts, so they go into denial rather than deal with what they don’t like, and then when it can be denied no longer, it’s too late. Very sad. But who’s to blame?

This young college bound kid. He knows enough to know better. And I even warned him further. God opened that door for me to speak to him and remind him of the facts. But what will he likely do? Only God knows. I know he still seemed to love his plans more than the eventual outcome they could lead to. I pray he wakes up. After all words are spoken, usually prayer is all we can still do. Prayer, and show God’s love any way we can. Don’t judge. Just be that steady, caring, Word of God. A source of love and truth.

Again, we have barely scratched the surface of this subject. Let me leave you, for now, with this thought and these scriptures. Back in the days of Cowboys and Indians. (Or at least this is what I have seen on TV.) When the Indians attacked, the wagon master would yell, “Circle the wagons! Take cover!”

Every person who has ever been on a battlefield knows what it means to “take cover”, and how grateful you are for that cover, no matter how simple it may be. It could be the stump of a tree, our a ditch in the ground, but you’re thanking God for it at the time.

So I end with this. Israel was being chased by Pharaoh and his army when God did this: “Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night.” (Ex. 14:19-20) God’s Covering.

Poor, Blind, and Naked.

I experienced something very profound the other day, in the most simplest of ways, and I will never forget.

If you’ve read this site you know I have a dream to travel this country on a dime, visiting special places, bike riding, and Fly Fishing recently added, but most of all simply enjoying God, nature, beauty, simplicity, and all from the back of a simple pickup truck. I’m currently washing dishes to earn the money to buy all things necessary to the dream, and I have a long ways to go. ($160.00 currently saved.)

So… I decided to take the truck I already have and do sort of a trial run in a local area. I new some high ground overlooking Eagle Creek Reservoir. A beautiful scenic view of sparkling water and sailboats dancing, while I relaxed from the back of my pickup with a good book, my journal, simple foods, coffee, and my anti-grav chair.

All was going well until the shade I was under slowly moved away and the sun crept in! (As shown above.) What had been a perfect comfort zone very quickly became miserable! And I do mean miserable! For some reason, black flies evidently do not like shade, because I was “bug free” the whole time until I lost my shady covering! And then, black flies! No peace! Miserable! And also sweat! I had to either find another “covering” or this potential Garden of Eden was about to be ruined. Abandon ship!

I did find another spot; a perfect spot that was shaded and covered the whole day, and still had a beautiful soul inspiring view of sailboats dancing on water. I spent my whole day there, went for a hike on trails, and rode my bike. I was never bored at all. I didn’t even want to leave when I finally had to, because they close the area at dusk. Here’s some pictures of the new spot, and even one from out of the tree I climbed into.

Ahhhh, such a day it was. But what is the lesson here?

That day could have been ruined for me. And what was the one difference? A “Covering”. That covering made all the difference between something I was immensely enjoying and wanted to continue, and something I would have just as soon been shot in the head and put out of my misery! (Well, maybe not that drastic. But you know what I mean.)

So that led to me thinking about the “Covering of God”. Do I need it? Do I think about it? Do I maintain a proper relationship with God to even have one? The church of Laodicea thought they needed nothing, but Jesus said they were actually uncovered! Poor, wretched, blind, and NAKED!

Just how important is a covering? They say if you ever find yourself lost in a wilderness, one of the first things you want to do is build a shelter. One of the first! It’s that important to your survival. But what about spiritual survival? Laodicea was about to be spit out of the Lord’s mouth! Spiritual suicide!

When I started this site I named it “Sitting Under the Willow Tree”. I was so swept away that day when I discovered this special place, and a shady covering to enjoy. Understanding “Covering” is a very important topic in God’s Word. Evidently, in the life to come, if we show up uncovered, we will end up miserable! Consider this verse of God’s Word:

“The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering…” (Pslams 105:39a)

I had another experience a few days later. I was in a different place, but this time I ended up under an Evergreen tree. It was the same message and same result. I was transformed from misery to comfort zone. The above scripture has to do with the Children of Israel while they were crossing the hot desert to the Promised Land. God provided them shade! A covering! As long as they moved with the cloud and stayed under its covering.

I wonder how important that covering was to them and their survival? I wonder if they paid attention to the moving of the cloud? I wonder if God had any trouble getting them to move with Him, as he does us today? They were a rebellious people who made many mistakes, but we love our comfort, don’t we? And do not think God does not still do the same today, only now “we” are Israel.

Maybe your miserable and don’t know why? Maybe you’re comfortable on the outside, but not on the inside. Caught in the rat race, burning out, no peace, life complicated and chaotic, juggling too many balls. Chasing too many illusions that never fulfill. God has a cloud. God has a covering. It moves with Him. Under the shadow of the Almighty, a secret place.

After God hit me the second time with this, at the evergreen, I began to realize how many trees were involved at important places of my life. My house sits under a huge sycamore tree that provides delicious relief from the heat all summer long. My teepee sits under a huge tree, too! And recently God added this blog site to me, all because of a willow tree. And then there is the Evergreen tree. I will end this article with a few pictures showing what I mean, but this subject is not done. As I said, God’s Word has a lot to say about God’s Covering, and we don’t want to live, or die, without it! This message is to be continued. Sitting under the willow tree is a metaphor for so much more than just a shady spot on a hot day.

Red Pony throws a shoe.

The flat tires of life.

Red Pony not well. Grandpa White Feather headed out on faithful horse for a pleasant ride to rent movie. 35 minutes later we arrive at Family Video and all is well, I thought. Red Pony is not one to complain.

However, I’m less than half way home when I notice faithful horse riding odd. The rear end felt unsteady. I glance down and the tire is obviously half flat, and on way to full flat!

I stop Red Pony and check the hoof. It’s bad. Horse throwing shoe. But to make matters worse, if I walk the rest of the trip, it will take a good hour, and then that puts me way late on starting the movie and late getting to bed. Not something I really wanted. So I decided to hop on and ride fast!

“Ride like the wind, Red Pony!”

At almost 64 I really enjoy riding the bike in an easy going manner. I simply don’t push it anymore. But now I was standing on the peddles and completely avoiding the seat, because it put more weight on rear tire. I was leaning forward and throwing as much weight on the front as possible. I would peddle very hard and fast and then coast a bit, then peddle hard and fast again. Repeat, repeat. Before long my upper legs felt like wet spaghetti, my heart was pounding hard, and my lungs stretching as I gasped for air. Oh how the flat tires of life challenge us.

It turned out to be a great workout. I made it home and enjoyed the movie, but my legs felt lifeless the next day and my energy level was low. I blamed Red Pony and told him never do that again.

But we are enjoying our local bike rides as we dream about riding in places I never been. My Adventure Savings was up to $135.00, but Red Pony needed a few things and $65 later, it had shrunk to $70. But my dish washing check comes in soon and we hope to climb again. We have a long ways to go. It’s all part of the fun.

Every dream has its challenges or it wouldn’t be a dream, because you likely would have already done it. I hear people speak of the benefits of the “Attitude of Gratitude”, and that is so true. And I like my gratitude to have a direction. Perhaps it is a person I need to appreciate, but in every case there is also GOD.

As I got home that day, I had to thank God I could still ride like the wind and enjoy it. I recovered quickly and felt fine after a day of rest. Some people don’t believe in God. Others simply forget to thank Him for all his blessings. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. We take Him granted as we rush through our hectic days of pursuing our goals. Perhaps taking a moment right now, to appreciate the Giver of Life might be a good practice of gratitude.

I hope all our goals have true meaning. In my simple ways, I feel I live in a world full of people who have a lot of passion and purpose, but many times their passion and purpose is directed towards meaningless things. This is very sad. They are destined to realize one day, they have poured so much time, energy, desire, and money into things that leave them empty. I encourage one and all to consult God for advice in the choosing of your treasures. Believe you are more than flesh and blood, but also spirit and soul, and there is a God in heaven who longs to know and spend time with His children. Amen.

“Grandpa White Feather and Red Pony”

I took early retirement at 62 because I had a dream. I had a dream in me that was not yet defined, but I knew it was there and it could not be pursued while working 40-60 hours a week. One step at a time the dream has taken shape in my heart and I am now in full pursuit.

It started with wanting to find the “simplicity of Christ” and his church. I was no longer satisfied with what I call modern church, nor the form of Jesus they preach. But now the dream has led to an “old age” adventure of truck camping across our country and riding my bike in many places while visiting Salt churches. All this financed by washing dishes.

I know that may sound a bit confusing when listed in such basic form, but believe me, it’s all connected and all makes sense when you know the details.

I got the name “Grandpa White Feather” because the first thing I did was make a trip to the Black Hills to seek God about leaving the modern church. I was raised in church and had been a part of it for over 60 years! Even ordained! And now I was disgusted with its modern worldly ways, and just wanted out! But to what?

After our 9 days in the Black Hills, in which God spoke to my wife and I in incredible ways, we came back to Indiana and I started building a huge teepee out at my mom and dad’s small farm. I built it mostly by myself. Ages 61-62. And I have 8 grandchildren who all came to the teepee. One thing led to another and we started giving names, myself included, that sounded like Indian names. I became Grandpa White Feather to my grandkids.

My early journey is given in much more detail on my first blog site, pathwithoutend.com. I consider my two blogs like two books. They are volumes one and two. The first blog will remain my site for the “deeper teachings” of what I have learned. We go into great detail on that site. This site, “Sitting Under the Willow Tree”, is meant to be kept more light-hearted, and the pursuit of a dream.

We are in full pursuit. As mentioned in previous article, I am now a professional dishwasher. Finding a source of income to finance the dream was a big step towards the ultimate goal. I’m only working 18-20 hours per week, but it is high speed and high intensity! My wife, who has worked there for years, tells me the next closest in age, in the dish room, is in his 40’s. That also makes me Grandpa of the dish room. LOL.

So this story will unfold little by little like a good theatrical play. Will the old man succeed in chasing his dream? Will he find an old truck he can afford, fix it up for camping, take off across this country, ride his bike in many places, and visit Salt churches before old age catches him and he can no longer do such things? Will an unknown health problem suddenly pop up, as it did with my younger sister just recently, leading to double by-pass surgery. So many things could go wrong, but what will happen? Will God grant this prayer, this dream, to this old man?

These are all part of the drama, mystery, and challenge; but today I want to officially introduce you to my bike, the one I hope to ride many places. I call my bike “Red Pony”. So for the sake of these articles I have given it the title of “Grandpa White Feather and Red Pony”.

Now there is also a black dog who will go with me, too. Her name is “Shadow”. She is 100 pounds of black Lab, and very little fat on her. She’s the most loyal dog I ever had. So let me show you some pictures of my bike, which of course I refer to as my pony. It just makes more interesting reading for the grandkids, you know. (And honestly, for me too.) And also my house and dog are in these pictures, and the willow tree!

Our house is very basic. 1400 sq. ft., one bathroom, and in need of much remodeling, but its been a great home and successfully raised five children. In the third picture you can actually see my wife’s little white pomeranian. She is a little too “yappy” for me, and will only go with us when my wife also goes.

Red Pony is a Murray Mountain Bike my wife found at Goodwill and bought for $11.00! Can you believe it? I have no idea how old it might be, but it’s in great shape! So far God has given me very strong green lights on this path I have been pursuing. I mentioned to my wife I was going to go looking at pawn shops for a bike. I figured 40 dollars or so. Like within that same week she stumbled onto Red Pony! It was on sale! She surprised me and I loved it from the moment I climbed on and rolled down the road!

Also, when I mentioned to her I wanted to pick up a part time job as a dishwasher… BAM!!! I had one so quick my head was spinning! So if God has a purpose in this as I believe he does, then this is going to be a great show! Especially for people of faith who wonder where the simplicity of Christ has gone? How do I find it again? How has church become such big business while preaching about the very unmaterialistic Jesus? These are questions we should all be asking, because an anti-Christ is coming, and indeed, his spirit has always been here, and warped disciples are ill-equipped for his devices.

So this article is simply a beginning introduction to “The Dream”. Much more details will be coming as to the teepee, the truck, Shadow, Red Pony, dishwashing and financing a dream. All of it unfolding stories to come.

In the meantime, the wind still blows under the willow tree. As always, thanks for visiting. And if you’re curious about Volume One of this site, simply click on this link: pathwithoutend.com There is a lot there!

“Traveling America on a Dime”

Traveling America on a dime is not for the faint of heart, but it is in my heart to do. I spoke of my Master Plan in the August 12 article. As you might recall, becoming a professional dishwasher was part of the plan. I have succeeded! Here is a picture of me just getting started and already about to get in trouble because I forgot the hairnet.

Dish washing is a chaotic world of clacking plates, splashing hot water, steamy room, left over food, and a fast pace maintained for hours. I just had my first 6 hour day today, and I am tired, but already my piggy bank for cheap travel has begun to grow! Little by little this part time income is going to finance my adventure. But the Master Plan has several steps involved. In the August 13 article we showed the junk minivan being towed away for scrap. Collect $150.00.

Along with washing lots of dishes, the next step is a 1996 Honda Civic that needs a new radiator. I fix the car with some of the scrap van money and sell. The goal is to eventually buy a basic truck, no frills, full size bed, and 6 cylinder for better gas millage. I’m afraid as much as I love my old 1990 Dodge Ram, the gas millage would be a killer for travel. This truck also will need to be sold. Meanwhile the dish washing money continues adding up.

When I get my new “old” truck, I have a creative out-of-the-box idea for how I want to fix up the back for travel and camping. All these things are part of my Master Plan. I look forward to riding my bicycle in many places of this great country I have not seen. But as for today, I’m afraid my visions of travel and bike riding was just a distant dream as I was stuck in the chaotic reality of mountains of dirty dishes, pots, and pans. My hands looked like prunes!

I remember the sound of concern in the manager’s voice when after a couple days of training, he came up to me all serious, and inquired how I was feeling? “Is this too much for you?” he asked. “How you feeling?” For a second I thought he might take my temperature and check my pulse. But I’m only doing three 6 hour days, during their busiest hours of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have 4 days to recover every week. So I assured him I was doing fine. He then told me they were very happy with my work and I had the job!

As to the manager’s concern. At almost 64, I’m the oldest guy in there by a long shot. The young person training me, vouched for my ability to do the job after two days of observation. I began to realize there had been real concern if I might be too slow, or simply drop dead. But I have surprised them all, even my wife who told me flat out, I wouldn’t last two weeks! My, my. So little confidence. I must admit she had me plenty scared going in.

So this article is simply a progress report on my Master Plan to travel America on a dime. I now have $135.00 in the piggy, to be used as needed for all preparations, but at some point the money has to not be spent, but be saved for the actual traveling.

Our previous 2 articles about funeral expenses on the cheap, should give you some idea that I’m very serious when I say that money has never been a motivating factor for me. I love finding simple ways of enjoying life without it costing me my arm and leg. I still have all four.

Needless to say, I’d rather be sitting under the willow tree than hashing it out with hot dishes. Hash browns are a popular item. But I have a dream! And that dream motivates me to work my Master Plan in my simple way, and hopefully, eventually, this site will contain stories and pictures of places more scenic than a dish washing room. Until then, dream on fellow dreamers! And good luck with your Master Plans.

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