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September 2011

Promises and Choices

Or should this title be Choices and Promises?

Hebrews 3 recounts psalm 95 “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in rebellion.” It goes on to say the Israelites wandered in the wilderness because of their hard hearts, they did not have rest for 40 years. 

Hebrews 3:12-14 Message  So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.

We’re in this for the long haul. Today, hear Him, listen to someone else you know who grips on to Jesus. The promise here is REST (ch 4:1).

The writer of Hebrews call unbelief evil. Whoa!

See, I wanna walk with friends that sharpen my iron. I want to live a life of rest, peace, joy. Even in my darkest trials, when I’ve kept my eyes focused on Jesus I find rest in His arms. The other night I was reading Hebrews 10 (thank you brother!). There is some strong language about our promises and what we can do! We can have confidence, boldness to enter in and be close to God if we keep our grip on Jesus.

Our promises: More than we can ask for or imagine, exceedingly, abundantly, provision, health, rest, victory! And on and on.

Heb 10:23 hold fast to our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful! 

Today, we have a choice. Don’t harden your heart. Harden your heart, you wander like those in the desert. Gripping Jesus, you have rest, victory and God’s promises fulfilled!

Today, choose LIFE!

Holding on to promises ~Susie

The Hunt through pink and blue glasses

Dennis and I hunted last week for five days. Elk hunting, gun or bow is like summer practice for a fall sport; two-a-days. You awake at 4:00 am so you can have coffee before you set out at 5:00 am. For me I splash on a little make-up, this could be the morning of the kill and I will have pictures taken 🙂 You stalk, look through binoculars, walk and not talk. The first morning we were so excited. Hopped up got dressed and off we went. It was a beautiful morning and as we pulled the Jeep to park in a field we were going to hunt the field was filled with mule deer and four elk.

Dennis and Ryan "glassing"

We didn’t know this was the closest we would ever get all 5 days. We walked, looked until about 9:30 am then off to the house (usually a cabin or lodge) for breakfast. Eat, chat about everyones’ adventures of the morning then nap, shower and off to the mountains for more hunting about 3:30 pm. Return from hunt about 8:00 pm, eat, talk about your evening adventure and then off to bed to start again in the morning.

Rainbows are a bonus

Day two was not beautiful. It rained, it was cold, we saw no elk in the morning. We walked, climbed, walked, climbed. Here is where the difference comes in. I am thinking to myself, “There is warm coffee and breakfast on the other side of this hunt, lets just call it a morning.”

Ryan, our guide says, “So do you want to walk to the Jeep and drive to the other side of this valley to go look over there?” “NO!” goes off in my mind. “Sure.” comes out of D’s mouth. “What? Why did he say that? Ugh!” It’s all about the hunt, we won’t be out here long. But see, they are men. It’s cold, rainy and they haven’t seen elk. They won’t stop until they do! Women (like me for instance) figure, we haven’t seen any elk, we have all week, lets go drink COFFEE! We hunted, I smiled.

This is the mountain we hunted

All of day two was YUCK. Day three we set out fresh it was a damp fragrant morning, the air was filled with the scent of pine. We walked a bit then Ryan stopped and whispered his strategy to us. He spent quite a bit of time telling us how the elk will move from this watering hole to high in the forest, etc. While he’s speaking, I thought, “The habitat of these amazing creatures is so intricate; they move with the sun, they are bothered by high barometric pressure, it is mating season so they loose their senses.”

Ryan finished speaking and he and Dennis both thought, “Ok the goal of this plan is the KILL.”

We walked and stalked and sat and waited, all the while I am in awe of what a privilege it is to be in these beautiful surroundings. So I snapped pictures 🙂

Wild flowers in bloom
Shaded by imposing Aspen

As we were walking to the Jeep ready to call it a morning Dennis walks up, slides his arm around me and said, “While Ryan was explaining his strategy you were thinking, ‘This is so lovely! I love being a part of their habitat!’ weren’t you?” Haha, he knows me well. We giggled at how we can be doing the exact same thing and yet come away with a completely different story.

Hunting, like summer camp is social, hard work and oh what a fun adventure! It’s just an added bonus that someone else does all the cooking and cleaning!

Awed by God and His creation ~ Susie






Oh a hunting we will go……..

Last week Dennis and I set off to our second hunting trip together. Last years adventure to Utah was a terrific experience. I shot an elk with my rifle and Dennis shot with a bow and arrow but the bull got away. This year we waffled back and forth whether to fly or drive. If we flew our plane and we both got an elk we would be over weight with all the meat. So the Dunning’s love a road trip so off we went. We left three days early for a 14 hour ride, we had an adventure planned. We spent one night in Page, AZ near lake Powell. On Saturday we drove through AZ, UT and CO. We saw God’s amazing imagination with color and texture.


We also saw a mountain lion and goats (not in the same location). We spent hours in the car talking. I love that man.

We spent two nights at the Strater Hotel in Durango, CO. We really loved it there.


Self Portraits monument valley, Navajo Nation, AZ



We arrived in Walsenburg, CO on Sunday night. The whole Outfitter/hunting accommodation is a blog in itself, we’ll just stick with the husband loving wife adventure for now.

I discovered last year the thing I love most about hunting with Dennis is that he takes care of me. Mind you he takes care of me in real life too. This is different. He makes sure I have all my stuff and there is plenty of stuff involved in hunting! He explains the tactics and why you do it.

On the way to Silverton, CO. 10,000 ft

The other part is when Dennis had come home from his previous hunts, he talked of the adventure in the landscape, the beautiful animals and the drive out west. If I didn’t hunt with Dennis I would miss the adventure of getting there, the shared beauty of it all. The three days of travel were incredible. We had no idea the creation that lay ahead of us on this ramble.


In this one spot Dennis is standing on Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona

The poverty of the people on the reservations the United States has set aside for the Native Americans is heart wrenching. They are surrounded by grandeur yet live impoverished.

Durango, CO was one of the cutest towns we’ve seen, it surrounded by mountains with roads that wind in and out of the small piece of old west. We drove from Durango to Silverton, CO which is a little valley walled in with steep walls of multi-colored sandstone.

Durango to Siverton train

Oh this was supposed to be a blog about our hunting expedition! Here I am so caught up in the time we spent anticipating the hunt and incredible time we had pursuing the Old West frontier. Can you blame me? Look at the wonder of God’s Splendor! How majestic is His name!! We definitely found joy in the journey.

Stay tuned for the fun of hunting from a Man vs Woman perspective!

In the meantime check this out! Seriously looks like sand art! Artist ~God!


Lily Durinda Bontrager

I want to tell you a story about a one in a million woman. My friend and confidante.

Prov 31:22-24  For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

This woman, Durinda Bontrager came into my life in 2002. Dennis and I just moved into a new home, a large new home and I whined because it was too big to clean myself. I had people to see, home schooling to do and with an acre of beautiful gardens, a pool and a teenager :-p the house was not getting cleaned. Dennis said yes to hiring a cleaning lady. I called church for a recommendation and they quickly responded with Durinda Bontrager.

When I called Durinda she immediately took over. She was sure and she knew what she was talking about. I will never forget my comment, when I tried to control the conversation, “I am weird about the floors, I like them cleaned on hand and knees so they get really clean.” Durinda’s response, “Most people just want them clean, they don’t care how I get them that way.” I loved her right away without even knowing what was to come.

Every other week for 9 years Durinda and her team graced my house with her bold, fresh zeal. Durinda’s team changed here and there but her command of taking care of my house never changed.

Durinda saw me through some of my worst and darkest days. She anointed beds with oil, prayed in agreement for breakthroughs, cried with me over so much pain. She prayed and sang over my ashes. She celebrated, danced and sang with victories, weddings, adult children coming home and miracles only God to achieve. She held me, sat with me, cleaned around me, she was always there for me!

Durinda, the cleaning lady. When God gave out gifts, He blessed her with the gift of helping people clean their souls, hearts and minds. She is a true exhorter, her ministry happens every day when she crosses the threshold of the unsuspecting household she is about to endow with God’s love.

I love you Lily Durinda! I miss you so. Your wisdom and courage will stay with me until I die. Thank you for pouring into my life, I live in your overflow.

I feel your prayers ~ Susie