Monday, December 12, 2011

Pacific Northwest Day 2 - Donner Pass

After driving all day through 115 degree heat across endless Nevada deserts, we reached the turn-off for Reno, which would take us to Lake Tahoe.  Hoping to camp in the pristine pine forests I remembered from my childhood, and wake up to take a dip in the lake, I drove the mountain roads with enthusiasm.  As night fell, the lights around the lake revealed that there was a lot more development here than I remembered.  Every single campground we passed was full.  Finally, we met a ranger at yet another full campground.  He had just come from Donner Pass, 45 minutes away, and informed us that every campground between Lake Tahoe and there was full, this being the last camping weekend before the start of school in California.  He mentioned that there was one site open at the Donner Memorial State Park campground, and if we wanted to chance it, it would be worth a try.  Having few other options, besides pricey motels, we made the drive.

Midnight at Donner Pass can be creepy, if you know the history.  But at least it wasn't snowing...
After setting up the tent and organizing the rest of our camp for morning, we made a camp fire in the fire ring, but decided we were all too tired to eat.  So one by one, we settled into our bedrolls.   When I awoke the next morning, our camp was better than I had even hoped for at Lake Tahoe.  Old pines towered over 100 feet above us.  Donner Creek playfully spilled into Donner Lake, just yards away.  I cooked our breakfast on the campstove while we warmed ourselves by the fire ring.  After cleaning up the breakfast things, we repacked and broke camp.

We drove the short distance to the lake, and made use of one of the park's many hiking trails.  By now, the sun was fully up and the temperatures in the high 70's at our altitude.  Donner Lake was irresistible, so we donned swimsuits and went in.  Though there is really no designated swimming area, we were at a small inlet that was not very busy with boats, and had a very refreshing swim.  The water was clean and cold.  We could see the bottom of the lake up to about six feet.  After drying off in the warm sun, it was with deep regret that I changed back into my clothes, and we left our enchanted campground to continue our journey.  Today we would be visiting an old friend near Vacaville, then travelling through Mount Shasta in hopes of finding another camping spot for the night.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Amazing Love

As a prisoner in a Nazi death camp, Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch watchmaker, saw many of her family and friends die.  A fateful mistake caused her release only one day before all women her age were to be killed.  She had every reason for despair and revenge.  Instead, a few years later, she brought the Gospel of Jesus to the very women who were her guards in that concentration camp.  The same women who had hated and despised her, were now imprisoned, and hungry for hope.  With some difficulty, the grace of God and a box of chocolates, Corrie won these women to Christ.

Amazing Love is the story of Corrie Ten Boom's life of evangelization after surviving the Nazis in World War II.  Originally published in 1953, the audio version is well read by Nadia May, (c) 2010 by Christian Audio.  Ms. May's reading gives a personal quality to the narrative.  I almost believed I was listening to the author herself. Corrie travels all over the world bringing the Gospel to movie stars in Hollywood, communists in Russia, and the poor in developing countries.  Her courage and confidence are inspiring.  She even admits to bouts of arrogance, when relying on her own talent and strength fails her, until she remembers to pray, and turn her will over to Jesus once again.  Time and again, she is called upon to perform the impossible.  Exorcizing demons, healing the sick, flying across the world to spread the gospel, with no money for plane tickets all demonstrate the power of God, manifested in the weakness of this woman.  Relying only on her faith and trust in Jesus, Corrie does all that is asked of her, and many souls are converted to Christianity.

This is a very thought provoking, as well as entertaining account of Ms. Ten Boom's adventures.  As Christians we are called to evangelize.  To spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  Do we really know how to do this?  Can we even spread it around us in our current every day lives?  I am left with much to ponder, and a thirst to learn more about how to do what I can to lead others to the love and peace I find with Jesus.

On sale right now for $7.49 from

Thank you to Christian Audio Reviewers Program for providing me with this free review copy.  No other compensation was reveived for this review.