Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Unexpected Blessings and Gifts of God

I have received several wonderful gifts from God in the last few days. It has been quite wonderful and I wanted to share at least a little of that with you!

On Tuesday one of the other rangers called in sick. He has actually been sick the last three days, which has greatly complicated things since there are so few of us left, but on Tuesday it did have an unexpected benefit for me and that was that I ended up covering the elk program for him that night. I had thought that I was only going to get to do the program once, but I actually had the opportunity to do it again! The bad part of that was that I had to close the visitor center, which meant I was here until 6:30 and then had to start the program at 7:00 so it gave me basically no time to prepare. That meant I didn't have time to look at my notes or anything at all. But it still came off quite well. I had fun with it and received a lot of very positive comments about it. One in particular came from a lady who said she has been coming to the program and bringing friends for years and mine was by far the best she had ever been to!

We heard the elk some during the program, which is rare because they usually are not right by the campgrounds. So I figured we would hear a lot when we went out. But we didn't. :( We hardly heard anything at all! And of course I had 30 people come out there with me! So I was being very apologetic and several people stopped me and said it was fine, they were glad to be out there anyway. And I ended up staying out there with several people until 9:45 just being outside and enjoying the night and watching as the stars were slowly revealed as a layer of clouds was peeled away. So what appeared to be a disappointment actually turned into a gift. 

Another part of that story is a family of eight, including six kids who I met that evening. I talked to them at length in the Visitor Center earlier that day and again just before closing and then they stayed out with me the entire time. I also made four of the kids junior rangers the next morning and so talked to them even more. They are from New Hampshire but have been on the road traveling in an RV (with six kids ages 4-17) since December of 2007! The mom is homeschooling all six kids and they are just traveling around the country seeing all the parks. They had just spent several weeks in Alaska a couple of months ago. How awesome is that! I want to do that! But at least I got to hear about it and be a part of their experience. :)

Last night I finally got to go hike out into the prairie the way I have been wanting to for quite a while. I put together my pack, which was very strange because in included things like a full size pillow and an extra blanket, which is not usual backpacking fair! I then headed out simply walking from my house into the prairie. I want out a couple of miles and found a lovely ridge overlooking a large section of the rolling prairie and set up camp. It was so amazing! It was an absolutely superb night sky and I heard the elk all around me! A couple of particular gems included seeing an elk approach me in the dusk and bugle less than 40 yards in front of me! Then I just laid out under the stars for quite some time, taking in the majesty around me. I was already feeling peace and love descend upon me, but then I read a letter that I had received yesterday and brought along with me, and those feelings were only increased and abounded. It was a beautiful experience! 

It was quite cold sleeping out there, but I made it through to awake just in time to view a gorgeous sunrise over a nearby ridge. I was going to leave pretty soon after that, but then the elk started moving again and from my vantage point I watched five different groups moving around the prairie. I twice had elk come within 50 yards of me and got to see them bugle and heard the cows from a distance not much further than that. It was a gift. It was a gift that inspires the soul to sing and sour above the heavens.

How glorious is our God in Heaven and his creation here amidst our lives!

And to add one more thing today I also managed to arrange things so that I am going to be able to take an extra day off next Wednesday, which will allow me to go surveying in the cave again! So I will have another opportunity to venture into the unknown frontier!

I am in a very good, healthy, and peaceful place and am feeling very blessed indeed.

On a not as exciting note I did find out today that Tammy (a fellow ranger who also has a history degree and has 1.5 years of experience as opposed to my five months and who had actually had an interview whereas I have yet to receive a phone call) did not get the job at Death Valley, which means it is almost a guarantee that I will not get it. I also now know that Carlsbad is basically not an option for this winter and found out today that there were more than 100 applicants for the two open positions at jewel cave. So in a nutshell, the three places that were my best bets for getting a winter job all look like a no go. Which means that I have a very very low chance at this point of finding a winter job. But I am trusting that whatever happens will be an opportunity for me to grow, advance, and learn!

Resting in His Peace,


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