“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #2

“He did not make it to the Willow Tree.”

I recently had the loss of a friend. He passed away rather suddenly at age 49, much younger than I, much younger than his teacher, but I am the teacher he rejected.

There is more to tell about this Willow Tree, and one who made it and one who did not. We were a trio. Three friends who did things together. And one of us did not have a lot of friends because he had issues, emotional issues that required a lot of patience at times, to remain friends. But we did. The three of us did, until we did not. Because he made it very plain, he cut us off. “I will have nothing to do with your Fellowship!” he loudly proclaimed in a Subway restaurant.

Yes, it was rather embarrassing, but people will embarrass you at times, when you follow Jesus. He made his choice that night and cut us off. The “3” became “2”. And our Fellowship went on. (There are actually four of us in the Fellowship.) But when a tree fell on his roof, who did he call? Did he call the big church he chose to be a part of? No.

It just happened to happen on a Sunday morning. Every one would be rising to go to Church. He called me. I came immediately and helped with the emergency, but he still chose the big Church. I hope it did not have to do with money. The Church has helped them with money since he left us. My little group does not have much money to give, even though we did give to his wife after he suddenly passed away. We gave what we had, and the Pastor preached his funeral and put him in the ground.

I worry about Christians today, and what they follow. Who is this materialistic Jesus the modern preachers preach? It should be “impossible” to create a materialistic Jesus, and yet somehow they have, and people love it. So… I did not know I would be sharing this story in my life…but I go where the Spirit leads me…and this is where I find myself today…in my quiet time. So here is a story you can decide what it means to you.

When we were “3”, we did things together, and of course, me being the way I am, I led my 2 friends to special places. One of them being a place I had named “Warrior Hill”. This place required a hike through nature and a rugged climb up a big hill. Once you reached the top, it was another hike to a scenic cliff overlooking a large body of water and beautiful view. It was a place to relax, enjoy food, fellowship, beauty of nature, and of course…Spirit.

The “3” of us enjoyed that place. It is a great memory now, before everything was spoiled by what now feels like betrayal. I happen to know he never found the kind of fellowship at that Church that he had with us. He never got the “closeness” he had with us. Who did he call in the emergency? Me. Who did he call when he was dying? He did call his Church Pastor, but he also called me.

And somehow… he passed away before any of us could see him. None of us knew he was actually dying, until a few hours before he did. He called me on Friday to let me know he was in hospital. I was planning on seeing him Sunday, but we got a call early Sunday morning. I was in the hospital trying to find his room when his soul left his body. The Pastor never made it.

The big Church sent 2 people who stood before us and said a few words before they turned and left. They spent a short time in the hospital room with the wife, but did not socialize with the family at all. Who was there that day? Not the Pastor, but me.

I do not have a popular message, but there have been many times in history where “truth” was not popular, such as in the days of Noah. Jesus plainly stated you cannot serve God and money! And yet my “gut” keeps telling me the Church has sold out to money. Therefore, a Sword comes out of this warrior’s mouth and people don’t like it.

My friend cut us off before I was led to the discovery of the Willow Tree. I would have taken him there. It is a place God speaks to me. I have taken 2 other people there, so far. The other member of our one time trio has made it both to “Warrior Hill”, and also the “Willow Tree”. The other friend never made it to the Willow Tree.

People today, like to blame God for all the bad things that happen on earth, because they think if God is all powerful, why doesn’t he stop all the unfair things in this earth. They like to ignore that God promised not to fix things until an appointed time. He is a God who keeps his word, and they ignore that God gave man the governing of this earth in Genesis chapter one. He has not taken back that dominion. If anyone should be mad and casting blame, it should be God! We messed up his perfect creation because we could not pass one simple test, and chose to believe a snake over God. There is no one else to blame but ourselves. The buck stops here! With us! You and I! Stop blaming God! For mercy’s sake, wise up, get honest, and stop blaming God.

However, God did promise an appointed time where he takes back over and rules with a rod of iron, just like these people seem to want him to, and there will be 1000 years of peace and no death. But why does he wait? Why not do it now?

Well, besides the point he gave his word, there is also the little matter of people who will still get saved, but have not yet, would be cut off. Now one might ask, won’t that still be true when the appointed time comes? Maybe not.

Remember… as in the days of Noah. Noah preached righteousness to the people for like 100 years, and not one person got saved!!! Could mankind repeat such a history. Will there come a time when no one else will get saved anyway? So then the Lord returns after all who will get saved have gotten saved.

Revelation reveals the 1000 year reign begins after the Mark of the Beast. Anyone taking that mark has doomed their soul. After giving it some thought, I realized people will be forced to make a decision. After a little while, most likely those who are willing to die before taking that mark, have already made that decision and are barely surviving some where, if they have not already been executed. Perhaps mankind will be at such a place again, where no one else will believe? When Jesus returns to the earth, will he find faith?

How many modern materialistic Christians will be able to say “No” to the mark, when it means they must give up everything they have pursued and enjoyed, possibly even their life? How many Christians will betray Christ for the sake of money?

My friend never got to share the Willow Tree with me, but 2 of us have, and will again. The doctors said he developed mono, of all things, and it damaged his liver, and for some other reason his kidneys were also shutting down. It was strange and swift. And even as I tried, God did not allow me to see him one last time before he passed.

I mentioned in previous article, I went to the Willow after seeing Star Wars episode 9. I had thought I would share those thoughts in this article, but the Wind took me this way, so perhaps next time. But I leave this true event with you to ponder and decide for yourself. Yes, there are many possibilities of why it all happened. But for some reason the “fellowship” was broken. and even though I kept my door open, we were never a trio again and now he is gone, and at such a young age. We never know the time we have. These bodies are houses built upon sand.

Thanks for visiting the Willow Tree with me, where the Sword of the Lord does shine. I hope the Lord’s Sword is a beautiful thing to you, drawing you back time and time again. I hope it does not cause you to flee, but to embrace.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree.” #1

Who will answer the Willow Tree?

I have so much in my heart I hope to share. For the past three months I’ve been very involved in remodeling our old house so it can continue its development into a House Church. Much progress has been made, but also much to go. And then there is the Teepee and spiritual retreat at the farm. So much to do, and so little help. I can’t believe I get to enjoy all this developing of a vision to myself. Building it with my own hands one day at a time, and at my age. Is there enough time? Only God knows. My assignment is to proceed in faith.

There is a lot of “ugly” in this world, and the job of all spiritual warriors is to find the “beauty”. Most of the time, God’s assignment to us involves bringing some beauty out of a lot of ugly and pain. This can take many shapes and forms. For example, here is a before and after picture of a beam in our old house.

We transformed that ugly into beauty with our own hands. But I have missed writing while I’ve been building, and God has given me so much to say. This is the beginning of a series. Perhaps a long series. “A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree”. (W.-W.T.)

Where do I even begin with this subject? One of the goals of this series is to discuss special movies I have collected over the years. Movies I believe send a very spiritual and true message when viewed from the right perspective, even though they were made by Hollywood. But before I can get into any of those, I must explain what this perspective I have is, and I have found most people struggle with this image.

For some odd reason I have always loved this spiritual analogy, even from childhood, and have spent at least 50 years developing ways of sharing it. The particular movies I have collected are some of the “tools” I use.

What does it mean to be more than a “civilian” citizen of heaven, but a spiritual warrior? Did Jesus even teach such things? And why does my Bible call itself a Sword? And why is Jesus described in the book of Revelation as coming back on a white horse with a Sword coming out of his mouth? Does the life you’re living fit any of that? And what does that kind of life look like, because again, it takes many shapes and forms.

I’m not considered the “normal” Bible teacher, so let me start with this. I happened upon a comic book the other day, just by chance, and in this graphic novel was a character called “Katana”. She is very deadly with Samurai swords, especially her own, which in this fiction story is not a mere sword, but also contains the soul of her husband! Yes, there would be a supernatural element here, but so is your Sword!

We will speak of this more, but we only begin cracking open the door of this subject, and I hope some will want to know more, but if the Bible says it is a Sword, and John Chapter One says the Word (Jesus) became flesh. Note: Jesus was the Word “first”, and then took on flesh and blood. Whereas we come at this from the other direction. We were flesh and blood “first”, and now we are becoming the Word? A Sword? (That’s the assignment.)

So… do your spiritual algebra… if the Word of God is a Sword…and Jesus was the Word made flesh… then he is also a Sword… and he has become our husband? Hhmmm. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

Here’s the bottom line, if you accepted Christ, you have been supernaturally born again into a supernatural existence. God birthed us into a supernatural plain AND gave us a Sword? And tells us that Sword is to be our husband. We are the bride of Christ. Follow me so far? Hhmmm.

I challenge you to not take this lightly, but truly attempt wrapping your brain around what we have been called to be. We’re not mere humans anymore, but a new race of people in Christ, birthed in the supernatural, and given a spiritual Sword. How else can we describe being “born-again” except it be a supernatural work, applied to us? Wow. Is that the picture in your head when you wake up every morning? Is that the fire burning within that gets you out of bed every day? It could be. The Christian life is supernatural from beginning to end. It is actually supernatural, or it is nothing at all!

I’m still working part time as a dishwasher to earn “me” money. I just ordered a beautiful $350 Samurai sword the other day. (Pictures will come.) It has the theme of an eagle. But I work with a guy who is very verbal about being an atheist, and he doesn’t like anyone trying to talk otherwise. As a matter of fact, he’s pretty vocal about everything. And he does not believe in God. Period!

However, I am a spiritual warrior. A Sword comes out of my mouth. So you can imagine. But as I said, I don’t teach the Bible in the normal way, and I started with him by saying, ” I very much believe in the supernatural.”

It’s funny how people who don’t want to talk about God, will still enjoy talking about the supernatural. So when I said that, he did not get mad or turn me off. He was interested. And then I said, “I very much believe in the supernatural, both the good and bad side of it, and I want to be on the good side, so I start everyday in prayer.” Hhmmm. I just kind of let that hang there. He got a little quiet. It just happens he’s got a lot of bad things happening in his life right now. So… if there is the supernatural, why be on the bad side of it? Next time I may tell him that God is the most supernatural of all.

I’ve spent 64 years learning about a way of life Jesus promoted. I’ve depended on prayer and faith as powerful weapons to my advantage for 64 years. Over those many years, when I look back, I see a mountain of evidence that the Word of God is TRUE, and also a Spirit Sword against the enemy of our soul.

I will likely write much over the next few weeks, making up for lost time. We had an unusual day on December 26th this year, in Indiana. It was 54 degrees out and sunny! It just happened my wife and I planned to see episode 9 of Star Wars that day. The theater is located within walking distance of the Willow Tree! And I went there after the movie to think, and hear God. I have so much more to say. This is barely a beginning.

It was interesting seeing a Willow without its’ leaves. It was so warm, but the sun was getting low. Time, daylight, running out. I sat there in the silent beauty. Listening. (I will write more, soon.)

Thank you for visiting the Willow Tree with me. Please come back. There is much more to say.

“I’m too simple.”

There are many things I could share about this first Black RAM Adventure, but it was a learning experience revealing to me just what an oddball I am. I headed to southern Indiana. I was on way to O’Bannon Woods State Park. My 1990 Black Ram Truck was fully loaded and prepared to be my micro home for next 5 days. My truck bed becomes my campsite, complete with wood burning stove, and shelter. However…

I camp primitive. I expect to camp CHEAP. Back to nature. I don’t need electricity, showers, bathroom, etc! I want to back my pickup into a spot with just a little privacy and feel like I’m in some woods! I’m not there to socialize with my neighbor. I get that at home in the big city. I left the big city to get away! But I discover, at least in Indiana, not many people want primitive anymore!

Campers today want their electricity. They want to hook up their rolling 5 star hotel to all the conveniences of home, or the big city! On way to O’Bannon Woods Park I happened to find a public access point which had a simple boat ramp into Blue River, and a nice cleared area to park vehicles. There was a winding gravel path off the road to get there, surrounded by woods the whole way. But the access point also had a large sign saying no camping or camp fires!

Okay. I’m not one to break the rules unless the rules need to be broken. I really liked the area. Blue River was the first river I was trying to find. It was peaceful, slow moving, and beautiful. No one was there! I noticed it would be so easy to back my Ram to the edge of the parking spot and let down my tailgate hanging right over woods and a scenic view of the river! Perfect!!! However…

Okay. No camping. O’Bannon State Park was just a little more driving and they had camping. I put the Ram in gear, drove back up the gravel path, headed to the park. When I arrived I find what they called primitive camping was $20.00/ night! Wow! Camping sure went up since I last went!

I drove back to check the sites and they were mainly for people with horses! Very little privacy. Right next to each other. No scenic view. No Blue River. I left. I went back to the public access point, backed into that spot, and enjoyed 2 beautiful days of woods and solitude. On the 2nd day a couple people launched canoe or fishing boats. They paddled away, didn’t bother me and I didn’t bother them. They finally came back and left.

During the day I enjoyed fixing my foods, relaxing in anti-grav chair, reading, writing, praying, listening to the woods, small walks, the Blue River, and tried my first Fly Fishing. I’m terrible at it, and it was not a good spot because the water went deep so quickly that I could not wade out without being drenched. And mornings were so cold my hands froze! Painful! But we endured, pressed through, lost a lure and learned a few things, like find a better spot.

Those first two days were a complete success as I camped bandit style in the Black Ram. My wood stove worked great, and felt so good when the nights got cold.

After two days I headed along the Ohio River, to Tell City, and on to Evansville where I visited an incredible “Used Books Warehouse”! And road my bike, Red Pony, on a path with view of the Ohio River. It was awesome. But my goal was to get to a park called “Harmonie State Park” on the Wabash River. I finally got there, rather exhausted, maybe one hour daylight left. I pulled up to the gate and asked for primitive camping. They no longer had primitive!

It was going to be $32.10/ night! And three big RVs were already lined up behind me to get in! And don’t ask me why they needed that extra ten cents! When the man at the gate noticed my sticker shock, he said it’s getting hard to find primitive camping in these parts now days. And then stood there smiling. I told the man next summer I’m going north! I’m going into Michigan and clear to the top, cross that bridge and end up in Wisconsin! Indiana has gotten too civilized for me! (And expensive!)

I drove that night. I drove away. I slept in the cab of truck that night. I found a park called Patoka Park and it was awesome. It was my last day and I couldn’t spend the night, but I did find a place to come back to. Nice primitive spots for $12.00/night. Trails, scenic views, archery range, bike path, it is a park I can enjoy when I can’t go long and north.

But I guess I’m just too simple. I don’t want electricity when I go to woods. I’m there to get away from TV and such things. Modern campers don’t get the true benefits of the woods. Their souls are just as cluttered when they leave as when they came. I see the same thing in many modern churches. I believe in simple church. But again, I’m too simple. The simplicity of Christ.

I remember my wife’s family used to have a cottage on a big lake. When I would get up of the morning, the surface of that water was smooth like glass! Peaceful like a lily pond. Beautiful as liquid silver. But a couple hours later that water was so choppy, muddy, and noisy from speed boats and skiers that it didn’t seem like it could be the same lake. Well…people’s souls are like that. When the speed boats stopped for the night, and the water got the chance to settle, smooth out, be peaceful; it got rid of all that choppiness of the day. When morning came it was all smooth, peaceful, and beautiful again.

Going to the woods is a chance for our soul to get rid of the clutter, hear God, get peaceful and beautiful again, but not if we bring all the clutter with us. Church is the same. We soup it up. Church on steroids. Theater. All we do is pollute the beauty of what is otherwise a place to slow down and detox.

At that public access point, on the second night the sky was so clear it was filled with an abundance of stars everywhere! My view of them as I lay on my bedroll, fire burning in the stove, was through the gaps of the leaves overhanging my truck. I loved it. I only put the tarp on at night, but it’s pulled back where I can see straight up into those stars.

When I finally pulled away the next day, not a trace could be seen that anyone camped there. No burnt ring on ground. No trash, etc. Everything happened in the back of my truck. Leave no trace.

I may be too simple for our modern day, but there is a real hunger building in people for simplicity. I believe a lot of disease has roots that actually go deep into the soul. The soul is toxic, and out of that comes sickness, depression, and every form of evil. But we no longer turn to God’s Word to learn God’s ways and the detoxing of our soul. We love the complex and shallow. We don’t sit still long enough for the simple and deep. But we preach those seats under the Willow Tree. I hope that’s why you come here. Thanks for stopping in.

God’s “Super” in our “Natural”.

So we begin the story of my first official Black RAM Adventure, as has been the vision for a couple months now and there is so much more yet to come. This is only the beginning of not only connecting with my 8 Grandkids about the simple ways of Christ, but also the world. And God already showed up confirming all, as only he can.

The first stage of this journey involved me leaving early retirement to work part-time as a dishwasher! Only about 18 hours a week. It is a very chaotic job that my wife never thought I would last even 2 weeks at, but its been over 2 months now. That job has also given me the chance to speak into a few young people’s lives whom I have met on this job, as we are knee deep in garbage, dirty dishes, and spraying hot water.

But what is supernatural about all that? How does God put the “super” in our “natural”? First of all, what is your personal assignment from God? The Presence of God mostly inhabits where we are “supposed” to be. If we’re not concerned about God’s “Call” on our life, it’s not likely we are walking with Him, because he is there waiting on us to collaborate with God in his will. If God leads me to wash dishes, then that is where I need to be, and the “super” will begin happening in my “natural”. (But not necessarily while dish washing. It can be any part of your life.) Here’ an example.

Just before leaving on my 5 day adventure, I made arrangements to pick up my oldest Grandson, Gabriel, to show him what Grandpa White Feather had done to his truck. He had not seen how I had built walls that fold up from the floor to create a private area. He had not seen how the floor would extend out, creating a front porch. He had not seen how a large tarp could become like a tent over the truck when weather was bad. He had not seen the 55 gallon steel drum that was now a functioning wood stove! Nor had he seen the beauty of how I can back the bed of that truck into any scenic spot, and set up high with a grand view, enjoying my anti-grav chair, coffee, and food. It is truly awesome. So I had a plan to show him all this at the Eagle Creek Reservoir lookout. A place near our home.

So… the plan was set…the day arrived…I went out to start the RAM and pick him up when… “CLICK”! One solid click. It seemed the starter had chosen that moment to go out. It was not the sound of a bad battery. It was one solid click I could hear coming from the starter. There had been no previous indications of any kind that I had a starter going bad. But I also knew starters sometimes don’t go out immediately, if you keep hitting the key they might still start, and so I did. Roughly 5 clicks or so, and the RAM roared to life with its usual low rumble.

I was very happy. So was the RAM. I had a date to keep with Grandson! But now I had to consider if we might get stranded? What if truck failed to start? And he had to be home by a set time because he had a “Driver’s Ed” to be at that day. Hhmmm, what to do what to do? I felt led to put the RAM in drive and headed out in faith. Grandpa White Feather on a mission to rescue Grandson from more video fantasy and inject some mother nature reality into his day! It is my mission!

So I did not shut the truck off as I picked him up, nor when we stopped for junk food, nor the first spot we tried, but when we had just the right spot, I shut the RAM down and prayed under my breath, Lord please let this old starter start one more time.

So we had a great time in our spot. He told me about video games, about his friends, the girlfriend he is no longer with, we talked about old trucks, we ate junk food and enjoyed a beautiful view of sparkling water in sun shine from my Eagle’s Nest. (Which is what I have decided to call it.)

He rode my bike, Red Pony, on a bike path, and we played with my new waders and Fly Fishing set. (Which is new for me and I’m trying to learn.) Here’s a few pictures.

Now God is working on some magic I know nothing of. It’s coming. But before you can appreciate it, I must tell you something that happened a couple years previous with this Grandson, and I, and the RAM.

Gabriel just happened to accompany me once, to a salvage yard, to dump some junk and collect a little cash. The day just happened to be very wet and muddy from earlier rain. I backed the RAM carefully into a spot, we got out and carefully maneuvered through all the puddles of water and mud, climbed into back of truck and began carefully unloading. You had to be careful where you threw the stuff. If you hit a puddle, it could be bad. You know where this is going.

We successfully unloaded everything without getting sprayed once! We did great! Gabriel climbed down from the truck bed and I was about to when I spotted that we missed one item. An old car battery, black, same color of truck bed, almost got missed! I quickly grabbed it, stepped onto the tail gate and let it go! (Unfortunately, I didn’t look first.) Gabriel was now standing by the tail gate, and Grandpa White Feather was on tail gate, looking down, and realizing this could be bad!!!???)

That crazy battery, and you know how heavy and sharply square they are. That crazy battery landed perfectly flat, right into a wet mud hole. The mud and water flew everywhere! Even into my face as I stood on the tail gate! In one moment, Gabriel and I both got spayed good, after being so careful that whole time!

As the splash settled, we were both silent for a moment, and then as I looked at him wiping mud off, and he looked up at me doing the same, we both broke into laughter we could not stop. We talked about that the rest of day. Told Grandma all about it, and have never forgotten it. If my assignment is to connect with my Grandkids, then God was at work with some of his “super” in my “natural” and I did not even know. And it was about to happen again!

It was time to leave. I had told Gabriel about the starter, and with him just learning to drive, he’s very interested in all things vehicle. He even wanted to drive the truck. And after I folded everything down, we climbed into truck. I gave him a look and confidently turned the key. We both were totally focused on the key, the starter, a sound we were hoping for, and one we were not. The one we got was… CLICK!

I must have clicked that thing 30-40 times with no luck. I couldn’t believe the starter had quit on me so quickly. Although it was very old. So I decided to get under truck, bang on the starter with a big wrench, while Grandson kept hitting the key. Now he was in the drivers seat behind the wheel, like he had wanted to be, but we got a dead truck going nowhere. Not what he had in mind.

I banged on starter but to no avail. Nothing was working. I crawled back out from under and climbed into the passenger side. Might as well let Gabriel stay where he is while I call Grandma for a rescue run. But guess what? I found out later, that Grandma’s phone had gone on the blitz for no good reason! Right at that very same time! And she didn’t know it! None of my calls were getting through. It wasn’t till later, when she tried to use her phone, she discovered a problem. She had to shut the phone completely down and restart, before it worked again! And there was all my calls! (Too late now.)

So there we were. Truck dead. Grandpa in passenger seat hopelessly calling Grandma, and Grandson in drivers seat still playing with the key. I told him I didn’t know why Grandma was not answering? And his time to be home was drawing closer. His parents were at work. We were stuck! And then God did his “super”. All of a sudden the RAM cranked and sprang to life with that low roar! We were elated! Gabriel looked at me like he just did the impossible! He was so proud! We were in shock! I finally said, we just created another Black RAM memory! I began to mention the salvage yard, but he said it before I even started! And that was 2 years prior!

So…I had 3 days left before I was supposed to leave on my 5 day venture. It was also dish washing days. I removed the starter one day, and put new one in the next. Did my packing on third day. On day 4 I fired up the Black RAM and headed out into a rain, and the great unknown.

Thanks for setting with me for a spell, under the Willow Tree. Our previous article on “Momentum”, what is the quality of your motion? Do you live in a godly momentum, in which God’s will is being accomplished in supernatural ways? Or is it a stressful chaotic lustful worldly momentum? Jesus spoke of a man who when he found a pearl of great value, hidden in a common dirt field, he sold all he had and bought that simple field. I like to picture him just sitting there in the field, perhaps on a blanket, on the dirt, simply enjoying the treasure he has found, while everyone else may think him crazy, but this is what Jesus taught and the Apostles followed. This is what we teach here, under God’s Willow Tree. More of the 5 day Black RAM Adventure coming soon.

There is no way I have the power to have made things happen just the way it did, that day. That was God adding his special touch to my obedience. It’s all very simple, really. Perhaps too simple for most. Modern church has done a good job of complicating everything, and adding stress where there is supposed to be REST. Jesus said his yoke was easy, his burden light.

Momentum

Welcome to another episode of “Sitting Under the Willow Tree” where we learn that patience, like a slow flowing peaceful river, will achieve great things. You do not have to rush. You do not have to be stressed out and anxious. You CAN enjoy the journey! If you have patience, maintain peace, joy, and faith, HEAR GOD, and flow in a forward motion like a peaceful river. I just spent 5 days at three different peaceful rivers. The Black RAM Adventures have officially begun and already a success.

Everyone feared for my life! They said I might blow myself up! They warned the first Black RAM Adventure would be blowing the 1990 Dodge sky high with me in it! And that would be the first, and also last! But wisdom and peace has prevailed over all those who live in too much fear.

I know, people should be careful. Tell that to those who have wrecks everyday on the highways because they were in too much of a hurry, or distracted. Jesus said we strain at gnats and swallow camels. He was sooo right in every single word he ever spoke. Only God can do that. We need the mind of Christ.

The mind of Christ? First of all, the mind of Christ would be very aware of what his personal assignment from God is, and that mission would be the North Star guiding his daily life. The mind of Christ would also know that Jesus flows like a peaceful river, and that assignment would not be a source of stress and anxiety, but peace, joy, and fulfillment. The things of God should not be accomplished in the same way as the world functions. God’s Kingdom is upside down to the world.

Here at the Willow Tree we challenge people to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and look at what you’re doing. Is that really what Jesus did, and how he would do it?

This site is about my assignment from God to remind people of the SIMPLE ways Christ established for the original church. The same SIMPLE ways all the Apostles obeyed, and the early church fathers, clear up to around the time of Constantine. How far the church has strayed from those simple ways as they copy the world.

As part of my obedience to that vision, we began a simple Fellowship as our way of having church. But another very important part of my assignment from God is to reach into the future…by like 50 years or so…and affect it with this simple message…for a time I believe it will be greatly needed…but the seeds of that MOMENTUM must be planted today!

Oh how we have lost the “super” in God’s supernatural, and we live by so many natural ways. We no longer understand the supernatural power of a peaceful flowing river. We live anxious all the time. We want we want we want and we chase. Run, run, run. But Jesus said he came to give us REST.

It’s not the blazing fire that burns everything up in an hour that gets you through a cold night. It is the slow burning fire, steadily radiating heat over the long haul.

Why am I reaching 50 years into the future? Most Christians believe we are in the last days and Jesus could come any second. And true, he could. But most likely not. God seems to run on the Jewish calendar, not the one we’re familiar with, and that calendar says we could easily have 50-60 years left, or even more before Christ would be late. Google it to study for yourself. I have another site for such things, but here at the Willow Tree it’s more about keeping it simple.

How do we put the “super” into our natural? Only God. God puts the super into our natural when we slow down and let God. When we have a healthy prayer life, and close walk with Him. When we stop racing ahead of him, and simply enjoy His Presence. So how did God tell me to reach 50 years into the future, a time I will likely be long gone? This is the second part of my assignment, MY GRANDCHILDREN. I have 8 of them, and there will likely be 9 or 10 eventually.

Yes, Grandpa White Feather is using his old truck and what I’m calling Black RAM Adventures to reach his grandchildren. To get them out into nature where everything is REAL. And teach them great lessons of God, reality, and eternity, i.e. FUTURE. The PRESENT, and the FUTURE.

So… much has happened in the last couple weeks and I will need to blog perhaps a few days in a row to catch up. My first Black RAM Adventure is actually history now.

But let me stretch just a little more to at least give you this…why was everyone afraid this old man was going to blow himself sky high in his old Dodge Ram? Because I took a steel 55 gallon drum, cut a door in it, filled bottom with rocks, cut a hole in top, stuck a pipe in it, and lit it up! I mean a nice wood burning stove right in the back of my 1990 Dodge Ram and it worked great! And thus, Grandpa White Feather got everyone’s attention, including his grandkids. Here’s a couple of pictures.

But before I get into the fantastic 5 days I had, there was a day of connection with my oldest grandson, with the truck, just before I left. That will be next article, likely shot out tomorrow.

In the previous article called: “Micro-Macro-Meta-Morpho”, we spoke of the Biblical principal of sowing all the tiny steps of a journey that leads to the Macro accomplishment. This is also faith. It is also a state of REST that still accomplishes, because God puts the SUPER into it. He blesses it. As we are faithful in our daily walk to our CALL, our assignment, our fulfillment, a force called MOMENTUM begins building, and it is a powerful force! Momentum is a physics term that refers to the QUALITY of MOTION an object has. And once enough momentum is achieved, it is a very hard force to stop! But I like that description of “quality” of “motion”.

Jesus moved with quality of motion. As his followers, do we? Is the SUPER in our natural? The momentum Jesus built had quality of motion. Have we built a godly momentum, or worldly? We have much to speak about here under the Willow Tree. Too much for any one article. So we will slow down, eat this part of the elephant today, and enjoy some more tomorrow. I hope we’re offering something here you won’t want to miss. We need to get back to what Jesus actually did, and the kind of church he actually started. And the family unit was a top priority with God. It should be no surprise God might give grandchildren as an assignment to grand parents. In fact, it happens all the time. There is a REST reserved for the people of God.

Micro-Macro-Meta-Morpho.

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

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