Sunday, September 22, 2013

#50: Blog post number 50!

How exciting, this is blog post number 50! 

I am once again on the road, but before I left my summertime parking space in Southwestern New York State I had another flight with cousin Clair, this one finished by overflying Chautauqua Lake; I also had an interesting conversation with him about The Urantia Book.  My first stop on the road was at Bath, NY; I parked my “house on wheels” there and drove to Waverly, NY for the NY-PENN mini-conference.  After the conference I moved to Carlisle, PA where I will be parked for a week.  While here I drove to Kennet Square, which is a bit southwest of Philadelphia, where I explored Longwood Gardens and visited a nearby study group.  The Appalachian Trail is near the campground I am parked in, so twice I walked a bit of the trail.  It is not every day I can powerwalk the Appalachian Trail, well the flat parts anyway!

The focus of this blog’s quotations is friendship, the theme of the mini-conference in Waverly.

“These five months of work with Jesus led these apostles, each one of them, to regard him as the best friend he had in all the world. And it was this human sentiment, and not his superb teachings or marvelous doings, that held them together until after the resurrection and the renewal of the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom.” The Urantia Book (1546.3) (138:9.1)
Long Point State Park on Lake Chautauqua

Most of the flight with cousin Clair covered familiar territory as we again flew to Bradford, PA for lunch at their excellent airport restaurant.  On the way back I asked him to fly over Chautauqua Lake where I took a number of pictures.  A few weeks ago I walked with my niece in Long Point State Park; this aerial photograph shows how it got its name.  And yes we did walk all the way to the very tippy toe of the peninsula.  Anyway, after the flight I gave him a copy of an introductory booklet I have produced about The Urantia Book.  The title of the booklet is “The Pronouncement;” the subtitle is “A fresh statement of the Gospel of Jesus for the start of the Third Millennium.”  A couple of weeks later, the day before I pulled out of the campground, we had a long talk about the revelation; he is an ordained minister and preached for many years in the small church that was not far from the campground.  Perhaps I was able to give him something to think about.

I do not have pictures from the mini-conference in Waverly, but it was a moving experience.  The theme was “Friendships, Human and Devine.”  Saturday there were presentations about Thought Adjusters, Guardian Angels and the Spirit of Truth.  These small mini-conferences are meaningful ways to share our views about the revelation and to interact with others who are seeking Truth.  They are truly a joy to attend.  Sunday we shared and discussed quotations about friendship from The Urantia Book, there was also a simple communion service that was moving; I needed to dry my eyes afterwards.  To cap it all off there was an excellent dinner before we parted.  As part of the communion service we sang the old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”  All the way back to my “house on wheels” I could not stop singing it.
Bird of Paradise at Longwood Gardens

From Bath, NY I drove to a campground near Carlisle, PA, which is a bit south of Harrisburg.  From there it was about a two-hour drive to Kennet Square, where I wanted to explore before the study group meeting.  Near there is the Brandywine River Museum, which has works by Andrew Wyeth.  Instead of that I chose to visit Longwood Gardens.  The public portion of these gardens cover 40 acres with another 46 acres under development, scheduled to open next year, while the total property covers many hundreds of acres.  The gardens have an annual budget of nearly $50 million and have a staff of 1,300 employees, students and volunteers. There is even a 10-acre solar farm.  There are fountains, manicured lawns and flowers of all kinds.  Their collection of water lilies was particularly impressive.  It is impossible to properly describe everything, but there was peace, beauty and serenity even though there were many others also enjoying this lovely space.
Appalachian Trail near Carlisle, PA

At the study group I gave my presentation and it was well received.  There was one lady in the group who had recently found The Urantia Book and it was challenging and interesting to address her questions and concerns.  Once again I neglected to get a picture, perhaps next time as I intend to return next year; there is a lot to see in this area in addition to these Truth seekers.

Not far from this campground is the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield, but I decided not to go there this time.  I visited Vicksburg earlier this year and one such reminder of that devastating conflict is enough for one year.

The Appalachian Trail runs very close to the campground so I was able to walk a bit of the trail.  The above picture actually shows the trail going between two large rocks; nearby the trail winds between rocks and in the middle of this passage there is a sign pointing one way toward Maine and the other toward Georgia.  However I didn’t quite feel like going that far in either direction just then.

Saddleback Caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) on Trail

This darling little critter (about an inch long) was marching across a large rock on the trail. As soon as I saw it I thought of a saddle; it turns out that is the actual name, fancy that.  Reading about it disclosed that these spines could be painful; it is a good thing I had no intention of disturbing such a cutie.

Next will be a brief stop in Virginia followed by some time in the Smokey Mountains.  Life is good!

Nathaniel and Thomas talking about Jesus:  His life association with us exemplifies the ideal of human friendship; only a divine being could possibly be such a human friend. He is the most truly unselfish person we have ever known. He is the friend even of sinners; he dares to love his enemies. He is very loyal to us. While he does not hesitate to reprove us, it is plain to all that he truly loves us. The better you know him, the more you will love him.”  The Urantia Book (1785.3) (161:2.3)

All photographs used in blog postings were taken by the Wandering Urantian, Doug Cable.