Two days after Easter, with Willie Nelson’s “Back on the Road Again” and a newer song by Fernando Ortega, “Lord, Remember the Traveler” to begin our travels, we settled ourselves into Mighty Whitey and started our conference trek for 2008.  It was an odd beginning this year since we were home only for six days before we set out.  SIX DAYS?  Yup.  Less than a week.  We left home December 12th, 2007 for the Enterprise Tiger Cruise (posted earlier this year), then spent many weeks traveling to the Living Book Retreat, mid-winter conferences, BooksBloom seminars, and a retreat in Colorado. 

We got to spend a day sightseeing in the Florida Keys with Gus and Shirley Solis, from Lifetime Books and Gifts, Randy and Renee Miller, from Miller Pads and Paper, and Steve Clark, from Video Text Interactive.    It’s always fun to spend “regular time” with vendor friends.  It makes the conferences even more fun!

We were blessed to be able to spend a weekend with JJ, our son, in Charlotte, NC.  The three Silander kids loved his gift of sailor hats he could no longer use!  JJ is currently in Rhode Island and we shan’t see him for a long time. 

The retreat in Colorado was a blessing.  It was our second year of being challenged by Harry Schaumburg, who gathered alumni from his counseling sessions ( at Lost Valley Ranch ( outside Decker, Colorado.  Harry taught from I Peter 3, emphasizing that though grace is TRUE and VITAL, we still have to be serious about our Christian lives – we must never go back to acting like Jesus did not need to suffer -or thinking I’m okay, aren’t I??!!!!  Nope, we are NOT okay but we can grow in glory as we seek to live by Biblical guidelines.    Harry is always ready to defend his position that sin is a choice not a result of brain chemicals or addictions.  God is GOD.  We are commanded to have NO OTHER GODS before Him.  No addictions, no lifelong sins, NOTHING.  Harry has a new blog, along with his second website  He is an amazing life saver.

Lost Valley Ranch is a family owned lodge way, way back in the mountains.  They have an amazing story of God’s kindness:  when the big fires came five summers ago their place was evacuated with the exception of 3 guys who had a bulldozer and a water truck.  They were going to try to save the main lodge.  As they stood, prayed, and watch the fire come, they saw the fire split, circle around the ranch, and rejoin on the other side.  The entire property was safe!  If I could choose to take a young family anywhere for a vacation, Lost Valley would be at the top of the list.  It is such a splendid place!

After being challenged and refreshed by the couples’ retreat, we did a quick conference in Loveland, Colorado and then galloped home.  We finally got to see our “new” house with the siding.  It looks great!  I forgot to take a photograph – but it wouldn’t have looked like much: white house, white trim, white snow!  I’ll wait until the yard is GREEN and then I’ll shoot a picture. 

It was great to see Jenni, Jason, and our two grandsons, Mikey and Charlie.  Charlie started walking a few days after we left and he is still discovering how captivating motion is.  While we were home he began walking backwards.  Life is good for Charlie!  And he is a twirler.  He plants one foot and spins with the other til he falls down.  He gets up and continues spinning all the while humming and singing.  He is a delight!  Mikey loved helping Grandpa do what needed to be done – shoveling snow, snow-blowing snow, and eating snow.

The first conferences of the season are always delightful. Reconnecting with vendor friends is such a pleasure.  I spoke 3 times in Cincinnnati and 3 times this past weekend in Lincoln.  I love teaching about authors, books, and life.  I gave a new talk in Lincoln, “Creating Capacity”.  I was surprised to read somewhere that 50% of a person’s adult capacity is in place by five years of age.  So – the question is, what can be done to make the capacity L-A-R-G-E?  It is a hard concept to grasp – we are used to static forms like house foundations (make it a big foundation for the later house) or containers (if you are going to claim a prize of “as much as you can carry” wouldn’t you bring a HUGE cart instead of a small basket?) yet we are born PERSONS, which means we GROW.  So is creating capacity planting seeds for growth or tilling a garden for the seeds that will come or is it ALL of these things?  The folks that had to listen to my end-of-laryngitis voice were very positive about what I said. 

When we were in Lincoln, our dear friend, Alex Gage, broke his ankle.  Please pray for Alex.  Pray for his ankle to heal and grow together.  He is a 17 year old gentleman who loves being active.  He is cheerfully trusting the Lord for recovery and using his time abed to learn, grow, and listen to God’s voice.  He is an example to us with his faith and his sweet spirit.

Though it is snowing in Minnesota today it is almost Spring where we are in Kansas City.  Cycles, rhythms, seasons – it is such an incredible world!