A Good Lesson On Our Journey

To live with less, so that the truly important things in life may rise to the surface. To enjoy the freedom of travel and America’s liberty. To live minimally, but meaningfully. To live simply, but fully with God.” — Jack and Dodie Dennis family creed

Dodie and I enjoyed a spectacular day of serendipity and blessings. Our plans were to visit a Titanic Museum and possibly a Hollywood Wax Museum here in Pigeon Forge, but we decided to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg instead.

Traffic was horrendous in the busy town nestled in between the mountains and I needed to go to the restroom bad. There were no parking spots are restrooms so I quickly turned into a lot of the next place I could find. It was the Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens. What a blessing! Absolutely beautiful and uplifting.

Afterwards we walked over to the Gatlinburg Skylift for a trip to the top of Mt. Crockett and a walk across a 700 foot bridge spanning above the town with breathtaking views of Rocky Top and other mountains.

We’re just old enough to be tired of the proverbial “rat race.” When we married last December, we decided not to “just exist” or waste time, but to enjoy life more. The spring-early summer pandemic crisis was the catalyst to move into action with serious changes.

We moved to a modest home far out in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, between Bandera and Kerrville. This helped cut our living expenses in half.

It’s a tranquil environment. No rushing traffic or hurried surroundings. We’re purging ourselves from ‘things’ (ownership items we could be slaves to) and placing more emphasis on experiences.

“We’re just making up for lost time,” Dodie smiles. “Less drama and possessions means more fun.”

This is an experiment, but so far so good. What have we learned so far?

I’ve lived the hectic life of a millionaire with a large home (5 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 living areas, 3 fireplaces) on hilltop acreage overlooking the vast Hill Country just two miles due north of Tapatio Springs near Boerne.

My four children were raised and grew up in that beautiful area. But unfortunately, life events and losses came and I lost much. Very much.

Suddenly I went from a life as an executive to cleaning balls, carts and taking out trash at a golf resort. I was flying in private jets one year and living out of my pickup and surviving on tips the next.

But I learned that just being still, and knowing God is in control would make me far more happy than I’ve ever been. Blessings were all around, especially the people in my community of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas.

While writing this message, Dodie stopped me for a moment to read aloud a devotional (a gift from Pat Griffith, a friend from Fair Oaks Ranch).

Pat Griffith inscribed the devotional book, “Jesus Always” by Sarah Young, he gave me in 2017.

The message for this date was WRITTEN FOR 2016. We had no idea how the world would be, or that Dodie and I would even be together, in 2016. Here’s what she read:

“TRUST ME AND DON’T BE AFRAID. Do not be frightened by world events or news reports. These reports are biased–presented as if I do not exist. 

News clips show tiny bits of world events from which the most important factor has been carefully removed: MY PRESENCE IN THE WORLD. As journalists sift through massive amounts of information they strain out everything there is about ME and what I am accomplishing on the earth…

Rejoice that you are on an adventurous journey with ME and your ultimate destination is heaven. As you keep focusing on ME and enjoying the rich relationship I offer you, fear will subside and JOY will rise up within you.”

Dodie at the “Mellow Mushroom” pizzeria in Pigeon Forge.

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