Journalist Maxi McGee connects with The Father's House ministry and goes on adventures. On the way to The Flying Eagle Ranch they encounter a momma bear, get rescued and explore Joshua's ranch.
Chef Brody sat in a cozy leather chair by Joshua's office stone fireplace and watched the horses running inside the corral. "Joshua, when is The Father's House group arriving? I have their lunch ready, pulled brisket sandwiches, cowboy beans, double baked, cheddar cheese potatoes, broccoli salad, and apple crisp."
"Thank you, Brody, can you create some vegan bean burgers for our guests, too?" I know that Chef Linda can assist you if you call her." He flipped through the pages of horses being sold during his SouthWest Horse Sale event. He highlighted the horses with a large yellow circle. Joshua pointed to Jazzy, a Chestnut Gelding at $10,000. "This one says he's a gentle trail horse." He glanced up at the photo above the fireplace of his father, Mr. Charles Eagle, riding a paint gelding named Hero.
Joshua read the words, "May your life flow with the beauty of running horses on your journey to our Creator, Jesus."
"I got this, Joshua," said Brody as he picked up a Flying Eagle Southwest Horse Sale Event brochure from Joshua's black walnut desk. "Are you buying more trail horses for the ranch? I see you have several pages of horse listings. I like this one, Mac n Cheese, a red roan Quarter horse at $8,000. This brochure says they trained this gelding in English, Western, and trail riding."
"I must check out these horses before the horse sale this weekend. Sellers are coming from Oregon to Arizona, Las Vegas, and California. Since I plan on having city slickers come to my ranch, I need to purchase more horses for trail rides and therapy riding." Joshua circled more horses.
"I'll call Linda for her recipe so I'm ready, Joshua." Chef Brody called Linda as he entered his professional stainless steel kitchen with cherry wood cabinets and white shiplap walls.
"Joshua, where did you want us to park?" asked Linda on her cell phone as they approached The Flying Eagle Ranch. "Shall we park by the house or the horse stables?"
"I'm glad that you made it. Please park in front of the house. You'll see the large metal gates with The Flying Eagle sign and the eagle mascot. I look forward in seeing you all."
"Thank you, Arlee rescued us. He's towing the van. We'll be there any minute."
"Oh, I sent Tommy, my ranch manager to help you all. I'll see you outside."
"Tommy, can you head back to the ranch? Did you see Terry in his van and Arlee's truck?" Joshua called on his cell phone. "Can you direct Arlee to the summer kitchen to set up the playground equipment, please?"
"I'll take care of it, Joshua." Tommy turned around and headed back to The Flying Eagle Ranch.
Maxi gazed at Joshua's three-story white and taupe stucco ranch house with a green metal roof that held solar panels. She noticed the large flower bed by the ranch. "Look at that house, or shall I say mansion?"
Arlee parked in front of Joshua's estate and hopped out of his truck. Tommy met him by his semi.
"Hi Arlee," said Tommy. "Thank you for rescuing our guests. Joshua sent me out to find them, but you rescued them first. I'll take you over to the summer kitchen where you can set up your playground after we unhitch the van."
"Thank you, I was being a good Samaritan," said Arlee. "Seems like they were stranded for awhile with that flat tire, and encountered a bear."
"A momma bear with cubs?" Tommy asked as they unhooked the ropes. "They are active this time of year."
"Here grab this rope and I'll unhook them under the vehicles," said Arlee as he handed the rope to Tommy, then knelt next to the van.
Terry and Phoenix brought in the supplies from The Father's House, then went outside to help the guys. They noticed that Arlee's face glowed, maybe sunburnt from the long trips. Arlee crawled under the van to release the ropes from the van's front axle. Terry went over to the truck and unhooked the ropes.
"Joshua will have to buy Pastor Sam a set of new tires for this old van, I like Michelin all weather tires," said Arlee as he rolled the ropes up and placed them inside his large toolbox in the cab. Oscar stood up and looked out of the semi-opened window. The weather was in the sixties with low humidity and clear blue skies.
"I don't know when Pastor Sam had this van serviced," said Terry. "He drove it to Colorado from Minnesota to help me flip the mansion for The Father's House ministry."
"Joshua has bigger plans for Pastor Sam," said Tommy. "Please stay for supper. We're having a small celebration tonight. There are plenty of rooms in the ranch bunkhouse by the horse stables. I'll show you the way."
"Hop in the cab and meet my cat, Oscar, Tommy. Are you good with a hammer? My playground equipment is easy to put together. You can give me input as to where you want the pieces."They stepped into the van. Oscar sat on Arlee's lap. "He's my big boy."
"I packed some of Chef Brody's lunch, and cokes for us," said Tommy. "I'll tell Joshua to stop by for his input on the playground, too." They drove over to the summer kitchen and horse stables.
"We set up this kitchen and gazebo for the riders to enjoy outdoor dining and relax. There are extra bunks inside the bunkhouse for company."
"I would love to eat supper with you all," said Arlee. "After I complete this playground layout, I have to hit the road again to Fort Collins for their city park. My business is growing fast." He watched the horses running around in the fenced-in areas. Several colts ran around like little children chasing each other.
"Arlee, you're blessed. What do you need me to do?" Tommy helped unload the equipment and during the afternoon they built the playground for the handicapped and children of all skills. They stopped to eat the pulled brisket sandwiches, cowboy beans, and potato salad Brody packed for them in a picnic basket.
"This food is delicious," said Arlee. "We'll set up the swings over there if that's good with you all. Did you need some picnic tables?" He finished his sandwich, then licked the plate.
"We'll ask Joshua when he comes over. I know the children will love your playground."
"They will fly on wings of eagles over the broccoli trees." He laughed.
"Our trip exhausted me from the long trip from Denver and the bear encounter," said Linda. "Could I ask you for some green tea, please? I'm sure the others would like to come inside." Linda took Joshua's arm and strolled into the chef's kitchen.
"Brody, this is Chef Linda. Did you call her for your vegan blue bean burger recipe?"
"Yes, I did, pleasure putting a face to your voice since we talked on the phone on the way here," said Linda. "Could you show me where the tea is?"
"Linda, here's our coffee and tea pantry." He opened up the 42 inch cabinet filled with coffees and tea boxes. "Could you taste my beef brisket and let me know if you like the spices?"
"I would love to. Do you need a hand at anything?" Linda took a spoon from Brody's hand. "Tasty, so yummy." She spotted the huge plates of salads, buns, and drinks for lunch on the quartz island.
"Glad you like this family recipe. We could cook up some meals together," Brody said.
"I would like that and we have some ladies desiring to create cookies in your kitchen." Linda tasted the bean salad. You added all the different beans, peppers, and roasted corn in this bowl. It's perfect with the cilantro."
"These cowboy beans are an old-time favorite at the ranch," said Brody. "Tonight, we'll grill pineapple chicken, roast a rice pilaf, and fix some big salads.
"I'll fix up some cauliflower, black bean, quinoa, and tomato tacos for the vegans," stated Linda. "You will love my spices with cumin, turmeric, and chilis."
"We can learn from each other, Linda. Joshua planned a celebration party after supper for you all." Brody stirred the brisket and added more sauce. He wore a chambray shirt, khaki pants with an apron covering his clothes.
"I can't wait," said Linda, spying several large trays of apple crisp. "Please pass that apple crisp, Brody." She took a large serving on a white ceramic plate. "Yummy dessert!"
Maxi and Phoenix toured hand in hand around the ranch, admiring the landscaping and horses running in the corrals.
"I don't think I can model, Maxi. People will look at me. I'm a nobody with no style compared to these wealthy horse clients that will attend this event." Phoenix walked faster ahead of Maxi.
"Phoenix, I've seen your can-do with God spirit at the hospital and at the pool. You can model one step at a time. You're helping the designers who are launching the men's line this weekend. We are all doing this with you." Maxi took his hand and gripped it softly.
"I wanted to prove that I can be something outside of the reservation so I joined the army to please my father. He died when I was overseas and never got to say goodbye. Then my girlfriend met and married someone else. I'm a drifter without a job or a home." He talked slower.
"Phoenix, you have new friends. Together we can move mountains and lift each other up with our dreams. No one knows our histories or that you are a veteran and my hero."
"Ahh, your hero, Maxi? I think you have a big heart." Phoenix leaned against a white corral pole and pulled Maxi close to his muscular chest with his hands. "I don't have a job or anything to offer you but a big kiss."
Maxi closed her eyes and embraced his sweet, moist kisses. She rubbed his back with one hand and placed her other hand on the back of his neck. "Delicious."
"What, Maxi?" Phoenix stopped and looked into her brown eyes and saw her smiling.
"Delicious like a sweet dessert or a hot Italian cream latte. I would like seconds, please." Maxi laughed while Phoenix moved in for extra kisses.
Hands around each other's waists, they strolled back to the ranch, "Did you know that it can rain in one spot in the Rocky Mountains and be sunny in another, Maxi?" They stopped and looked at the Rocky Mountains covered with snow and the sunshine coming through the clouds. "You are my sunshine." He planted a soft kiss on her rosy lips.
Moni, Annie, Destiny, and Zoe strolled over to the horses in the corral. They noticed a beautiful black and white spotted horse watching them. Several horses came up to the fence looking for a treat.
"Here's how you pet them." Destiny scratched a gray mare's face. "They like us."
Zoe shyly approached the horse and touched her. "Horseflesh smells nice."
"Here, I'll help you. Horses love to share affection." She patted the horse on top of Zoe's hand.
Moni and Annie watched. They found some hay in a bucket by the fence and fed it to the horses.
"Have you been at a horse ranch before?" Destiny took a photo of the Moni and Annie standing by the horses.
"No, we're city slickers, and need riding lessons." Annie shook the hay off her hands.
"I'm sure we will all get lessons before we ride, I'll be happy to help you all," said Destiny. "I grew up on a ranch and competed in barrel racing. I needed costumes for the horse events, so I designed them at an early age."
"I was a dancer in Castle Rock. My mom taught me to sew my dance dresses," said Zoe. "I met Destiny at Boulder's School of Design."
"Our active women's line was a hit at the buyer's market last year. This weekend we are showcasing the men's line and creating children's lines. Joshua invited a daycare to help create our line by colorizing the paperfashion design drawings. We'll create with the children through their art."
"Are you selling your necklaces, Zoe?" Moni inquired, holding her fluorite pink crystal with the word love engraved in the stone. She walked with Annie as they headed back to the ranch.
"Yes, we have sportswear, necklaces, and backpacks. Joshua helped us find a local clothing manufacturer, which creates jobs in Boulder."
Brody rang a triangular bell outside of his kitchen. "Lunch is ready, come and get it!"
Joshua looked at everyone as they entered the ranch home. "Please join us for lunch in my formal dining room." He wore a demin jacket, white cotton shirt, blue jeans, and boots.
Linda, Annie, Moni, Destiny, Zoe, Terry, Maxi and Phoenix entered the large wood paneled room. Linda set the table with a large red plaid table cloth and blue bandana napkins. Brody served food family style ontop of the table. Large framed photos of family members riding horses by the cattle herds hung on the walls. An enormous crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling over the formal table, shining little rainbows in the air from the sunlight coming through the window.
"Lord Jesus, be our guest and guide us closer to you. Please show us your presence on this beautiful ranch. Bless the food and the hands that prepared the meals in Jesus' name."
"Amen," said Destiny. "Can everyone join Zoe and me in the sunroom afterward so we can practice our walking techniques for the fashion show?"
"Our fashion shows are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday during the lunch buffets," said Zoe. "The routine is easy since this is an informal modeling style, just walk around the tables. Thank you all for helping us."
"You'll be able to keep the clothes you wear as a gift from us at True Colors," said Destiny.
Maxi passed the brisket to Phoenix who placed a large serving on his plate. He took a large fork full and smiled back at Maxi.
"Thanks for joining us at my ranch where everyone is treated like family," said Joshua, smiling.
"This blue bean burger is delicious," said Moni. "Brody, thanks for making them up for us." She added lettuce on the burger. Then she put the cowboy beans on her plate and passed it to Annie.
"Love these beans and the cilantro." Annie took another serving of the cowboy beans.
Phoenix said. "This brisket is like my mom's recipe, except she used buffalo."
"Where's Pastor Sam, Joshua?" Linda passed the potatoes salad. "I haven't seen him."
"He'll be back for the evening celebration. A friend of mine took him to lunch in Boulder."
"I hope he plays the piano for us," Maxi said. She put some broccoli salad onto her plate.
"Brody and I made plans for a fun evening for us all, just wait and see." Joshua grinned ear to ear. He took a big bite of the blue bean burger. "Delicious, Brody and Linda."
After lunch, Joshua drove over to the summer kitchen with his golf cart. "Arlee, I like the layout," Joshua said as he looked over the playground. "Could you add half a dozen benches and picnic tables for people to sit on? Here's a check for the extra benches, tables, and a bonus for you. Thank you very much. I'll refer you to my friends."
"I'll add six of each for you. My business has grown from word-of-mouth Joshua. Thanks for the bonus."
"Please eat with us before you go. The children are coming this weekend and will love your playground."
"Your ranch is amazing, Joshua." They shook hands. Arlee wiped his sweaty head with a white towel.
"Our ranch is a family legacy ranch from the 1800s days of the gold rush and cattle drives. Tommy will direct you to the dining area for supper." Joshua watched them put together the benches and headed to the ranch house with his golf cart.