North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement

You have heard of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It allowed import and export between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, without tariffs. The problem with trade is when a country imports more than it exports.

I am part of the NALFTA. You may wonder what this is. It is the North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement. I don’t remember signing up but apparently I’m a member. It must be a local agreement between neighbors, providing for the free exchange of leaves from our trees. Today I spent hours dealing with leaves, my neighbors doing the same in their yards.

As I was gathering leaves into bags, I tried to examine them for the tree of origin. They are not labeled, made by the neighbor’s tree, but I can tell that some of them are not mine. We don’t grow that kind of tree or bush in our yard. So upon close examination, I wonder if there is a trade imbalance. Are more leaves being imported into my yard than I am export to the neighbors?

So far, no one has said anything about the leaves I have exported nor have I said anything about the leaves being imported to my yard. A wind could fill my yard again with the neighbor’s leaves, or maybe it could blow the rest of mine to the neighbors. Upon closer examination, I see most of the leaves in my yard are from my trees. I did watch some leaves from our trees cross property lines in accordance to the North American LEAF Free Trade Agreement, NALFTA.

I think I am exporting more than I am importing. It works well when you do. I like being a member of the NALFTA. I do feel sorry for the neighbors who have to rake my leaves from their yard but then again, they are members too.

So as the neighbors rake my leaves, I think of it as the windfall of the NALFTA and am thankful we’re all a part of the agreement. But I still don’t remember signing up.
– Monte LeavellFall Leaves

Misplaced Confidence

Did you ever have a person tell you something and you were unable to determine if they were teasing, joking, or stating a fact? When I was a small boy, my dad would tease me by telling me something silly. One thing he said was that my brains were in my feet. As a six year old, I had no idea my dad was telling me something untrue. I had confidence in him. I even went to school, being in first grade and argued that my brains were in my feet. My dad said so! I soon found that my confidence was misplaced. I learned my lesson; my dad enjoyed teasing people. That certainly made my childhood interesting and fun.

Confidence is a good trait for individuals. The problem comes when we place our trust in someone or something not reliable. Confidence in the Lord is never wrong. If God says He will do something, you can be sure He will. If He tells us about ourselves, our family life, our church, our world, or of the conflicts within each, you can trust what He says. When He speaks of the forgiveness of sin, freedom from condemnation, joy in the midst of trials, and of peace that this world cannot experience apart from Him, you can believe Him.

Confidence has much value in our lives. When it is in the right place or person, the worth is beyond compare. The Bible gives many statements about confidence or persuasion. Some demonstrate misplaced confidences while others show properly placed faith in the Lord and His working. I will list a few examples of the right object of confidence. I encourage you to read and study them:

• Philippians 1:6
• 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8
• 1 John 2:28
• 1 John 3:21
• Romans 8:38
• 2 Timothy 1:12

There are others to add but this is a good start. We all have confidence in something or someone. Your confidence, faith, trust, or belief in Lord and His Word is never misplaced.

7.1 Earthquake, Not So Steadfast and Stable

I received a call from Pastor Aron Schrepfer the day after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in their area of Alaska. They had received damage from things falling off walls, out of cupboards, and off shelves. As far as they could tell, there was no structural damage to their home or the church. Praise the Lord.

Pastor Aron did mention that He walked into his study and found a copy of my book, Steadfast and Stable, on the floor, having fallen off the shelf. He thought it ironic that a book about stability should fall during an earthquake. We came up with some humorous thoughts during our conversation.

One way we could look at it is: the book, Steadfast and Stable, isn’t really steadfast and stable itself, it just teaches about being stable. Of all the things in his study, this book came off the shelf. Or another way is: you had better get your copy of Steadfast and Stable soon because they are flying off the shelves. We had a good laugh.

It is like Alaskans to put a humorous spin on tough situations. They have lots of clean-up and will be feeling the effects of the quake for months ahead. One person from Alaska wrote, if you have family or friends in Alaska, buy them dishes for Christmas. Humor can sometimes help in a difficult situation. Please pray for the people affected by the earthquake.

When the ground which we call “terra-firma” is shaking, it is good to remember our stability comes from a life based upon the solid rock, Jesus Christ. He gives security to the believer in a constantly changing and sometimes shaking world. Are you rooted and grounded in love, on the Solid Rock?

Dropped book

NALFTA

You have heard of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It allowed imports and export between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, without tariffs. The problem with trade is when a country imports more than it exports.

I am part of the NALFTA. You may wonder what that is. It is the North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement. I do not remember signing up but apparently I am a member. It must be a local agreement between neighbors. It provides for the free exchange of leaves from our trees. Today I spent hours dealing with leaves, my neighbors doing the same in their yards.

As I was gathering leaves into bags, I tried to examine them for the tree of origin. They are not marked, made in Mexico or made by the neighbor’s tree but I can tell that some of them are not mine by the kind of leaf. We do not grow that tree or bush in our yard. So, as I examined them, I was wondering if there was a trade imbalance. Are more leaves being imported into my yard than I am export to the neighbors?

So far, no one has said anything about the leaves I have exported nor have I said anything about the leaves imported to my yard. A wind could fill my yard again with the neighbor’s leaves, or maybe it could blow the rest of mine to the neighbors. Upon closer examination, I see most of the leaves in my yard are from my trees. I have watched some of the leaves from our trees cross property lines in accordance to the NALFTA.

I believe I am exporting more than I am importing. It sure works well when you do. I like being a member of the NALFTA. Sometimes I do feel sorry for the neighbors who have to rake my leaves from their yard but they are members too.

So as they rake my leaves, I think of it as the windfall of the NALFTA.Day I came home from AK 001

It’s Just a Shovel

While backpacking deep into the wilderness of central Idaho, our little plastic shovel broke. No big deal, right? We used the trowel for digging what is called a “cat hole.” This is how we use the restroom in the mountains. The tool was inexpensive and lightweight, even though broken we were able to use it but not without difficulty.

“There is something in the lake.” The water in the high country lakes is often crystal clear allowing a person to see deep into the water. I noticed, along with fellow backpackers from the men’s backpacking camp, that there was a shiny object in about 7 feet of water. We guessed what it might be. I thought a knife or maybe a plastic wrapper of some kind that had blown into the water, the people not able to retrieve it. I tried to cast a spinner and let it sink to where it would catch whatever was there. After many failed attempts, I gave up, being able to move but not getting ahold of it. The next day I would go swimming in the chilly waters.

After preparing to enter the lake, I stood on a rock looking into the cold water that would take away my breath. You just have to do it! I jumped headfirst into the clear lake. Once you are in a while, your body adjusts to the temperature. I swam around a bit before focusing on the spot where the shiny object was located. A couple of the men were standing on the shore watching this escapade.

I was able to get an idea the identity of the object having a better view directly above it. I looked at the guys. “You’re not going to believe this. It is just like the Lord. He has a sense of humor.” I could see the object but needed to be sure before I told the guys. I was laughing while treading water. Taking some deep breathes, I went headfirst, diving to retrieve the object. Sure enough, when I touched it, it was metal, having a handle and a blade. I brought to the surface a small foldable trowel. I was laughing while saying, “It is just like the Lord. He knew we would break ours and would need one.”

Someone lost it or threw it into the water, not wanting to carry the weight. We have no idea how the shovel came to be in the lake but what an incredible series of events. Our shovel had broken and the Lord provided one in the middle of the wilderness. We used it the rest of the trip. It was so much better than the plastic trowel. God provided.

Now, if you are reading this article and you lost a small collapsible trowel in the central mountains of Idaho, I will gladly give it back to you if you can tell me which lake and where in that lake we found it. If you do not want it back, I want to thank you for it. God put together an interesting series of events to supply our need. It is just like the Lord.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not Faster Than a Bear

We have lots of unique stories and sayings in the West. One has to do with bears. When hiking in grizzly country, you always want to go in a group. The larger the group, the more noise you make going through the forest. This warns bears of approaching people and they move out of the area. People are even told to wear little bells to help make noise. Bear encounters can be dangerous.

It used to be that I was a fairly fast hiker. The older I get, the slower I go. Or maybe, everything else is speeding up and I am still the same. Not sure, but these days I am usually near the back of the pack. This is not a good place to be in bear country.

When going to mountains, you want someone in the group who walks slower than you. At least, you want someone along that you can outrun. A person new to hiking in the mountains may wonder how it will help to run if a bear comes after you. “Don’t you know that you cannot outrun a bear?” That is very true. We cannot. But in a group, we don’t have to outrun a bear, just one person. As long as you are ahead of that one person, you are safe.

When this explanation is given before we start a hike, everyone looks at me and they feel safe. They have confidence they can outrun the old man. Well, I have news for them. They have never seen me run from a bear.

Stay safe and always remember to bring someone slower than you when hiking in bear country. It could save your life. Hmmm. This might explain why I keep getting asked to go hiking?

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