It is my hope that today’s column will be a source of hope and encouragement for you, that you will view things differently in the future, and never take your blessings for granted.
Sometime back I received a note from Jean Leffler, who is the director of religious education at St. Joseph Catholic Church here in our community. In her note, among other things, she said, “Being an avid reader of your column in the Log Cabin and an anonymous supporter of your bookcase project, I am gifting you with a copy of my first book. I wrote this ‘Spirituality at Sunrise’ while sitting on our dock on the edge of Lake Conway.” Well, Jean, I have now read your book, all 116 pages, and it’s one of those that I hated to put down.
If you are not familiar with this lake, please allow Jean to tell you about Lake Conway: “It is a large, scruffy body of fresh water that lies in southeastern Faulkner County, Arkansas. At 6,700 acres, Lake Conway is the largest manmade lake in the country paid for by any state-funded agency, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. It began as a creek running through a cypress forest. After a dam was built and closed in 1951, the cypress forest was flooded naturally by the spring-fed creek. In June of 2011, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission renamed the expansive lake, the Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir, to honor Mr. Campbell, a long time commissioner.”
As a further point of reference, if you have ever traveled Interstate 40, the section that runs between Oklahoma City and Little Rock, you have traveled for several miles beside this lake as it lies just a few miles south of Conway. After reading Jean’s book and being inspired by it, the thing that struck me was the fact that thousands of people pass this lake each day on the interstate and never see the true beauty of it. Perhaps her story will give a little creditability to my last statement. It began in the fall of 2005 when she and her husband Dave bought a neglected old fishing cabin directly on Lake Conway.
Their goal was to renovate this old cabin, put it on the market, sell it and use the profit to help finance their retirement. By this time they were veterans, as they had done this six times in the past. However, after getting it renovated, they found themselves spending more and more time there, especially on weekends, even though they had a home in town. Their proverbial sow’s ear had become a silk purse. Dave had also built a dock behind the cabin and it extended for several feet out in the lake. Jean says, “My favorite way to start the day at the cabin is to watch the sunrise over the lake and experience God’s handiwork. Ordinarily, I hate mornings but it is not unusual to find me on the dock at 5:30 in the morning taking photos, drawing pictures and journaling.”
Lake Conway is filled with structures that produce character. Many of the cypress trees have fallen in the lake leaving stumps above and below the water line, with greenery growing out of them; others still stand to produce a silhouette against the coming dawn. The fish breaking water, all the many species of birds that live there and an occasional fisherman that drifts by, all make this an enchanting place. The book is truly inspiring, and Jean has a special gift of being able to share thoughts that produce true spirituality, along with many of life’s lessons that make you glad to be alive. Buy it and read it, you will be blessed. The cost is $11.99 plus S&H and can be purchased at www.tatepublishing.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)