October 26, 2018

White River Valley's Dacey Reservoir

The flotsam of dead weeds appeared daunting upon launching the Water Master Grizzly, but it skimmed
through fairly easily. The summer and early fall weeds can be quite bothersome on Wayne Kirch reservoirs.  
The cooling temperatures of our early fall season were stirring my angling desires, which is a common malaise for me (somewhat more strident in the early spring, if I were pressed to confess). As is my tendency, I was attempting to balance home, work, and hobby while seeking to remedy my fly fishing affliction. Attempting to be patient, everything eventually seemed to align. The Nevada Day school holiday and a light work load aligned with a practically windless weather forecast for Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) on this Friday. Unfortunately, the accompanying high-pressure weather system also keeps out the clouds and usually brings with it higher temperatures. Nonetheless, the weather would be nice even if it wasn’t perfect for angling success.


A lovely late-season rainbow. Dacey continues to produce nice trout, like this one of about 16 inches.

The mid-length Fishpond Nomad composite landing net makes it much easier to net large or difficult fish,
especially when reaching over the Water Master bladder tubes.


As part of the life-balance compromise, I opted to make this a day-trip. I fired up the Fish Taco (i.e., the Toyota Tacoma) at about 5:30 AM and began floating on the reservoir around 8:30 AM. Although the temperature was in the 50s around then, I knew it was going to warm into the low 70s by noon. I fished straight through until about 2:30 PM when I could feel the strong UV rays begin to burn my ears and the back of my hands. I would like to have fished longer, especially with the frequency of fish-strikes picking up both for trout and bass, but there was that pesky commitment to balance “home, work, and hobby”

While it was a slow start, I was able to bring twelve fish to the net. There were but a handful that never saw the net; they were long-distance-releases (LDRs) as the angling vernacular likes to call it when the once hooked fish successfully throws, rubs off, or otherwise pulls out the hook so that your line, rod, and angling excitement all go slack at the very same moment. LDRs are especially annoying when they occur after 15 seconds or longer of fighting to land a yet unseen fish that is presumed to be of larger proportions based on the struggle. Of course, a LDR coupled with an unseen fish always results in an embellishment.


I caught three small bass; this was the first and
smallest. Even these youngsters tug surprisingly
hard. Late in the day I hooked a nice one that
danced on its tail for me before throwing the
hook. The late afternoon temperature reached
over 70 and that seemed to energize bass
feeding in preparation for the cold winter water.
While the subsurface weeds as well as those floating on the water were bothersome, there was some good open water. On this day the trout and bass were usually found down deep or along the edges of the weeds. When completing Nevada Department of Wildlife's Volunteer Angler Survey form at the end of the day, I reported the following results without unreasonable embellishment:

Length
Rainbow
Bass
Total
< 10”
0
3
3
10” - 11.9”
2
0
2
12” - 13.9”
4
0
4
14” - 15.9”
3
0
3
Total
9
3
12

Partly because of the weather forecast and partly because expectations are that advancing cooler fall temperatures help to reduce the weed nuisance, I expected to see other anglers. While getting into the reservoir at 8:30 AM I noted two anglers in one boat (with an outboard motor) and two other anglers in float tubes that looked like Fish Cats. By about 10:00 AM the two anglers in float tubes departed, and they were replaced with another two anglers in a boat (also with an outboard motor). We were then joined by two guys in kayaks around 11:30 AM. The two boats eventually left me with the two anglers in kayaks, who were still fishing when I got out of the water at 2:30 PM. When you’re fishing on big reservoirs it’s darn near impossible to keep track of what everyone else is catching while you’re minding your own business at hand, but my impression was that everyone was catching something, although nothing close to 20-inches due to the lack of obvious “whooping and hollering.” Counting me, there were nine of us who fished Dacey between 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM, but it never felt crowded.


I never grow tired of seeing the herons prowling the shoreline, although I wish they'd leave
more trout for anglers.

I will mention that one of the kayak anglers paddled over to me and asked, “Are you FisherDad?” I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “I thought so. I read your blog, in fact I was reading it before we made this trip. I enjoy reading it, keep it up.” It’s a very rare occurrence when another angler recognizes me when I’m fishing. Maybe it’s happened four of five times over the 10 years I’ve been writing this blog. I don’t advertise my blog, although if one searched the Internet for a fishable water I’ve blogged about they will find me. After that, I suppose word-of-mouth is the next most common way anglers find my website. Recently, my daughter told me “You need to get on it!” when I told her I had but 6 followers, 200-thousand page-views, and 200 to 250 comments (excluding my views and commentaries). So, you can see how rare it would be for someone to mention they read my blog… it’s a very exclusive club (…can you hear the laughter?).

For you angler-holics, I fished all day with my 9-foot, 7-weight rod using a full fast-sink line and a 4x tippet (I was prepared to fight anything I hooked right through the weeds with this heavy outfit). I used a variety of flies, from damsel and beaded nymphs to fancy wooly-buggers and streamers. No one fly pattern seemed to work much better than the next; it was mostly about finding where the fish were, not the fly they were most interested in
.
I landed three trout in the 15 to 16 inch range. All of them were very acrobatic, which has always been a
trademark of Kirch's rainbows.

The angler in the kayak asked me how long I was camping in Kirch (he and his partner arrived Thursday and were staying through Sunday). When I told him it was a day-trip, he looked at me like I was crazy. He joked that when he was my age he used to make those day-trips, but now he’s too old for them (if you saw him as I did you’d peg him to be at least 10 years younger than me… which is why I laughed at his comment).

Our exchange made me ponder my expectations when planning outdoor adventures. I tend to romanticize my thoughts of these journeys. My memory selectively remembers the good stuff, suppresses the bad stuff. So much so that when planning a trip my mind creates a mosaic of all my best memories of the place I’m revisiting which can often lead to unrealistic expectations. Today’s Dacey trip illustrates this hopeful defect. In my very first Dacey fishing trips (September and October of 2013), I landed 12 trout in total that ranged from 18 inches to 22 inches. You read that right, none of the 12 trout was shorter than 18 inches. We could argue the 2013 fish count was low, but when their size is factored into the equation the anticipation of a repeat would make anyone crazy with desire… which is likely what my kayak blog reader was thinking. Surely you can imagine how a day like today (9 total trout between 10 and 16 inches) fails to measure up to the excitement and pleasure I recall from those first visits in the fall of 2013
.

One of the smaller rainbow trout of about 13 or 14 inches.
By way of another example, every time I fish Illipah Reservoir, which resides on US Highway 50 between Eureka and Ely, my brain’s Limbic System locates images and feelings from my first earnest angling visit there in the spring of 2004. That trip produced 27 trout in 8 hours over two days, including a 17-inch brown trout… and many of the rainbows were around 14 to 15 inches. The Illipah angling on that day was a Nevada fly-angling pinnacle for me. Since then I’ve had trips to other Nevada destinations that I consider "more successful," but the excitement and pleasure of that day remains, and it conjures up feelings that make me return to Illipah despite its inability to provide a new pinnacle for me. The odd thing is, despite recent Illipah trips that failed to generate the level of feelings I experienced 14 years ago, it remains a very good fishery that routinely gives up trout similar in size caught on the 2004 trip. In fact, I’m not sure I can say that the fishing has deteriorated, but rather my expectations have been elevated.

I suspect that many of you reading this post can relate to what I’m saying. Every year it becomes more obvious to me that my historical experiences continue to build. It should be obvious to everyone that the experiential adulthood memories of a 60-year-old are four-times as many as a 30-year-old (when arbitrarily using age 20 as the adult threshold). The emotions and excitement of those “first experiences” seem hard to top, and we can feel disappointed when the “new pinnacles” are fewer and farther between. But it doesn’t have to be that way.


There was only a slight breeze, which is unusual for the waters of the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area.
I saw two sets of anglers on boats with outboard motors. Two guys in kayaks, and two on Fish Cat type float
tubes. That totaled 9 anglers including myself. It did not feel crowded, and I think we all were catching fish
as far as I noticed.
Solomon, son of David, wrote in Ecclesiastes that there is “a time for everything.” In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV) was the inspiration for one of the most popular songs of the 1960s: “Turn, Turn, Turn,” written by Pete Seeger and performed by The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins, and others. The book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon to make us question the meaning of life. King Solomon lacked nothing, and yet he searched for meaning in his life (very much like the richest and most famous of our current day). He proposed that the natural actions of mankind are inherently vain or futile (“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity,” Ecclesiastes 1:2). No matter what Solomon tried or pursued with all his wealth and wisdom, he felt lost and meaningless.

I admit to occasionally feeling the same. Keeping within the angling context, what meaning is there in pursuit of the most and largest fish? What is gained in that endeavor, and is that vanity the reason I feel dissatisfied on occasion? Non-anglers would likely state their belief that fishing is indeed a vain and futile action... but then, they've never tried fly fishing.

You can see Solomon’s point, that continued pursuit of an earthly goal can never satisfy us. Without God in our lives, we become self-centered creatures living to attain our own man-made goals that, much like fishing destinations, grow old and unsatisfying with time. Eventually, time runs out, we die, and the world turns, turns, turns.

But there is hope. What is a worthy pursuit in our lives? I submit being reunited and reconciled with God, through Jesus Christ, is the ultimate purpose in our lives. In Ecclesiastes 3:9-22 (ESV), Solomon goes on to write:


What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

Our first step must be belief in God the creator. Our lives are destined to remain unsatisfying apart from our recognition of God’s intervention, His divine plan. It only remains to be seen whether we will place our trust in Him, rather than our vain and futile hands. Once we do that, we are freed to enjoy all the pleasures He has created for us to experience in this temporary world. That’s what enables me to enjoy any day in nature, soaking in His creation, regardless of my earthly human perception of the quality of the fishing.
A tired FisherDad at the end of a pleasant angling day on Dacey Reservoir, which is the first in a
series of four fishable reservoirs that total over 1,400 acres.
FisherDad believes that "for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."

August 27, 2018

Comins Reservoir in White Pine County

Not much of a blog for this trip.  Mostly a pictorial essay.
Hope you enjoy the pictures and accompanying notes.


The moon over Ely, NV.  This photo looks west down E. Aultman Street, aka U.S. Highway 50 and Lincoln
Highway. The Silver State Restaurant has been an Ely landmark for me since the 1970s, but is under new
ownership who will be changing the sign to read Nardi's Family Restaurant. The Magnuson Hotel (yes, they
named it a hotel) is down and across the street where you see the red sign sporting a white star. This is where
I rest my body when it desires a bed over a sleeping bag, mostly because it was across the street from the
Silver State Restaurant. 

My first trout of Monday's late afternoon session. It was a handsome specimen of 13+ inches and a great start.

This rainbow was caught four minutes after the first, and was an inch or two longer than the first.

A pretty rainbow trout of almost 17 inches. I caught many juvenile largemouth bass, the largest being maybe
10 or 11 inches. In fact, I suspect I caught nearly as many bass as trout over the two days of fishing.

This perspective is from the northern end of Comins looking towards the Schell Creek mountain range.
The highest peaks are 7 to 10 miles away.  Starting from the left, the humpback-looking mountain ridge

is unnamed in Google Earth, but its highest point is about 10,190 feet as it separates the Steptoe Valley from
Duck Creek basin. The obvious peak in the middle is Camel Peak slightly lower at 10,078 feet (it's actually
closer to the camera than the humpback ridge). It's hard to tell from this distance and angle, but I
believe the highest point on the right side of the horizon is Cave Peak at 10,744 feel.  

Another rainbow close to 17 inches. I noted its darker coloring, which
always makes me wonder about the brood stock used in northern
Nevada reservoirs. I've written many times before that Nevada
seems to favor brood stock from Tasmania in the southern
hemisphere, which seems to produce rainbows that still want to
spawn in the fall rather than their indigenous springtime in the
northern hemisphere. Note the very dark trout below as additional

evidence of fall-spawning attire.  

Around 6:15 PM on Monday a noticeable hatch of mayflies occurred. The larger trout, in slightly deeper
water than I was presently fishing, began rolling with the hatch in what I describe as pods. I had been
casting larger versions of woolly buggers with my new 5-weight using a sinking line. I didn't want to change
lines, so I snipped off my fly and tied on a size 14 gray/yellow nymph that had some mottled grizzly hackle.
That did the trick; keeping up with the pod movement I caught 4 large trout in the span of 15 minutes.
I would cast the fly into the pod and was getting strikes before it sank but a few inches.  That was as close
to dry fly fishing as I've come for several years.     

Here's a fine "pod" trout with the grizzly-hackled fly in the corner of his jaw. I can attest to the sharp set
of teeth in his mouth. Note the thick 4x tippet (i.e., 6 lbs. test) I was using. This time of late summer the
aquatic weeds can be thick. These fish know how to use them to rub off flies and break tippets. I can't do
much about the thrown flies because with catch & release comes barbless hooks, but I'll be damned if I
was going to lose a fish in the weeds with a 6x tippet  (i.e., 3 lbs. test). Seems most of the trout weren't
spooked by the 4x size.

Another good trout that was rolling on the hatching mayflies.  He had a dark golden-green color that in
my mind somewhat resembled pictures that I had seen of 
South America's golden dorado. 

My June 1st blog told about how I lost my 8-foot, 5-weight rod at Wayne Kirch.  Earlier this month I built its
replacement, and I used it exclusively on this trip. I enjoyed its moderate-fast action. It had a little trouble
with the larger flies, but I believe it cast slightly better than its predecessor... or maybe that's just
what I want to believe. 

Getting prepared for Tuesday morning's session.  I do like the Water Master Grizzly. I suppose many would say
it's overdoing it for stillwater fishing.  But at age 62 I feel very comfortable with the water craft, maybe even
safer than the small and nimbler Fish Cats, but it's not that bulky that I have any trouble handling it in
or out of the water. My only complaint is that netting 20-inch or larger trout over the side of the bladders with
my 
5-foot, 5-inch frame is a little cumbersome for me verses the open design of a Fish Cat or NFO Escape
(... nothing is ever perfect). The folding stool with my name embroidered on it was a gift from my previous
executive assistant. It works well for me when getting in/out of waders and boots. I take it everywhere I fish.

A sleek rainbow of 15 inches, perhaps longer.

I didn't fish-count, but there was plenty of action both on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. It would
not be an exaggeration to say I landed close to 40 fish (plus/minus 5 fish for memory nuances).  As
mentioned above, it seemed like half of the fish caught were young largemouth bass.  As I was packing up
to head home later Tuesday morning, I spoke with a man from Oregon who was visiting his brother who
lives in Ely.  He said they had caught many larger trout in the upper, marshier end of the reservoir, and that
one measured 23 inches. I also chatted with another angler who mentioned that someone recently caught and
killed two small pike, which means that it might be a matter of time before the Comins trout fishery is ruined
once again. Maybe the Nevada Wildlife folks will continue killing the pike discovered during routine

electrofishing. Time will tell. 

Yet another slender rainbow trout.  This one was at least 17 inches. It was a good looking fish.

This was my last fish of the trip. It may have been 14 inches. I was happy to let it go so that l could get
back on the road home. Truthfully, my arm was getting a little tired.

August 3, 2018

Cave Lake State Park, outside the City of Ely, White Pine County, Nevada

A hawk (I believe a red-tailed hawk) perches on rabbitbrush to survey his domain. This picture was taken
near Cave Creek, the southeastern inlet of Cave Lake that gives Cave Lake State Park its name. 
My daughter was promised a camping trip before she returned for her school's fall semester. As the Dog Days of summer began to sap everyone's energy, I was reminded that "back to school" was but two weeks away. I quickly began planning a short, overnight camping trip.

Since it was to be her first camping trip I wanted to keep it simple, but interesting. A short-as-possible drive would be best, especially if she awoke in the middle of the night frightened and crying to go home immediately. You never know for sure about a child's first time, and in the back on my mind I was recalling the "Skunk Camp" event with my two middle sons back in 2000 (you'll find those details in the 2003 post about Cave Lake).

The weather forecast was reflective of the southwest "monsoon season" when the hot land masses create upward thermal air flow which then produce low-pressure areas that in turn suck in moisture from the south. This mostly results in southwest humidity triple the normal levels, but in the higher mountains of the southwest it brings thunderstorms.

My preferred destination was Pine Valley, UT, but camp sites were already reserved. Other nearby destinations in southern Utah and Nevada also forecast thundershowers, but Cave Lake State Park was going to have scattered thundershowers in the early evening with 35-40 percent probability. Thus, although the drive would be at least one hour longer, Cave Lake was selected.



The southwest view, from Cave Lake State Park campsite number 25, displaying Ward Mountain
in the Egan Range far across the Steptoe Valley. 
Upon arrival at campsite #25 we set up the tent and unloaded the truck. My daughter wanted to see the lake and watch if I could catch a fish. She remembered that there were two types of trout in the lake: rainbows and browns. Before heading to the lake I asked her again, "Do you prefer sleeping in the tent or the truck shell?" Se said she wanted to sleep in the shell so that's where I left the sleeping bags.

Down at the inlet we flushed a red-tailed hawk from the aspen grove but its flight was short and it alighted on a rabbitbrush near the trail we were walking on. We were able to get remarkably close which enabled me to take a few photos.



Cave Lake State Park campsite #25 in the middle of the 132-mile-long Schell Creek Range.
The northern section of this mountain range is breathtaking. 
When we arrived at the shoreline I had targeted, after two casts the winds came, skies darkened, and it began to sprinkle with a smattering of large droplets. We hustled back to the Fish Taco and drove up to our campsite. Since the sleeping bags were in the shell, that's where we took shelter. That's when the volume increased, trapping us in the shell. That was about 6:00 PM. It didn't stop until 9:05 PM which was a blessing since she had to use the restroom since 8:30 PM. 

The dilemma then became whether to walk through the mud to the tent wherein the porta-potty awaited (what to do about the muddy boots entering the tent, do we leave sleeping bags in the shell or just wholesale move into the tent, etc.???), or do I drive her down to the full service toilets and park right outside the bathroom door? One of the creature comforts of this Nevada state park is that it has a bathroom facility with four separate flushing toilets with hot/cold sinks plus two full service showers. Because of her urgency I opted to drive the truck down to the bathrooms with her nestled in the shell. Once relieved we drove back up to the camp to sleep. But she still had a hard time sleeping. I know that because I had a hard time sleeping. A shortcoming of the Fish Taco is the 41 x 60 inch bed dimension. I'm short, but even I had to sleep with my knees bent all night which created all types of new pressure points and joint pains. That was a lesson that wont be repeated.


One of the gravel beaches on Comins Reservoir in Steptoe Valley. My daughter said she wanted to see
me "catch a fish," and this was the most likely spot to accomplish that from shore. In the distance are
the northern peaks of the Schell Creek Range that approach 12,000 feet. 
We awoke to a clear sky and a rising sun. After a light breakfast we broke camp, packed up the truck, and headed to Comins Reservoir down in Steptoe Valley to try a few minutes of fishing. Fortunately we arrived as a car filled with children was leaving the very beach I had in mind. I brought my 9-foot 5-weight fly rod, some rubber boots, and one small box of flies that were tied by my good friend Bill Bergan. I wanted my daughter to experience fishing first hand. Although I have actually started her practicing fly casting in our backyard, she wasn't ready for fly fishing. But I reasoned that if I hooked something from shore I could get the fish on the reel and hand it over to her to reel in herself (you fisherman know of the electrifying experience of a decent fish head shaking underwater or the leaping of a rainbow trout). Anyway, I just couldn't resist a few casts (could you have resisted?).

On about my fifth cast I hooked an eleven-inch rainbow. My daughter expressed her excitement with an "Oh my gosh. oh my gosh, he's got a fish!" The cast after that I caught a small black bass. A few minutes later I hooked what I suspect was a decent sized rainbow, but as I started collecting the slack line on the reel so I could hand her the rod with the trout "on the reel" the hook came out (I use barbless hooks because I release all fish I catch, so this is a common result). I hooked and landed two more trout and two more bass. The thirteen-inch trout fought nicely, and and once more I tried to hand
 the rod to my daughter after I got the fish on the reel, but she didn't want it.  She said she was too busy filming a video of my fishing exploits with the iPad as she has aspirations of being a vlogger... like her mom and dad will let that happen anytime soon. Although she didn't experience the thrill of reeling in a fish, she very much enjoyed it vicariously through me. Of course I was pleased to have hooked seven fish over the 40 minutes, achieving hook-up about every six minutes or so. The seed is planted.


A fine rainbow trout of about 13 inches. Even I was surprised that a late morning in August gave up three
trout and three black bass (i.e., largemouth bass), and one LDR that fought like a 14-inch rainbow before it
spit the hook as I frantically reeled the slack line in to let my daughter "real in" her inaugural fish.
Six fish landed in about 40 minutes was a nice closing to our first-ever camping trip. 

All seven fish (including the one LDR) were hooked by this fine fly tied by my friend and supreme pescador,
Bill Bergan. 
As mentioned, one beneficial aspect of Cave Lake is its proximity to one of Nevada's larger rural cities and the amenities it offers. In the case of Ely, there are two museums that will peak the interest of children and adults.

The White Pine Public Museum, started in August 1959, is much larger than the small storefront on Ely's main road would imply. My daughter particularly enjoyed the doll artifacts, the Cherry Creek train depot, and the one-room school house from Baker, NV. A family could easily spend most of the day exploring this wonderful museum.

Back in August of 2006 I had fished Cave Lake and Comins Reservoir with my son Brian. We visited the Nevada Northern Railway Museum gift shop on that trip, but we failed to explore the rail yard to appreciate what it offered. If you or someone you love has an itch for trains, you need to check out the link embedded above. This is a significant opportunity to immerse yourself into the world of trains, both steam and diesel. Here's a quote from that website:
We have heard the question many times. People come to the ticket desk and ask "Where's the museum?" The truth is, this is a very large museum. It's the original Nevada Northern Railway, complete with its original depot, engine house, freight house, and administrative building, all built in the 1910's. It's the original Nevada Northern mainline track. We still own all 147 miles of it. It's several of the original Nevada Northern Railway locomotives, still in operation today. Come, explore history with us!
Travelling down E. 11th Street to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, which is more than a museum but
rather a working train depot that is also a National Historic Landmark. This is a "must see" for train aficionados. 

For about $800 you can be an engineer and actually drive a steam or diesel locomotive on a 14-mile trip.
For a few hundred more you can work in the rail yard as part of the crew. It's called 
Railroad Reality Week. 

A view of the Engine House and Restoration buildings in the photo's center, and
other buildings on the periphery. 

So, my daughter was reluctant to leave Ely, trying all sorts of ploys to stall our departure. One that I succumbed to was a playground visit. I knew where a public playground was in the residential area on the way out to Highway 6, so there we went. When we got out of the truck I noticed a preponderance of slow flying yellow-black bugs. At first I thought they were small bees, but in fact they turned out to be beetles, and they were all over the playground equipment, picnic tables, and awnings. They didn't bite, but they were a nuisance, especially the three that hitched a ride in the truck cab all the way to Alamo.


Up close and personal with one of the thousands of 7mm beetles that were all over an Ely, NV playground,
three of which hitched a ride to Alamo, NV in the cab of the Fish Taco. 

But of course, more than the camping, fishing or museum visits, spending time alone with my daughter was the best part of all. I endured the KidsBop music channel on SiriusXM and the l-o-n-g game of "Name your three Favorites" because it made her happy. But there were also meaningful talks about God, the significance of Jesus' death on the cross, and why a little nine-year-old girl doesn't have to worry that she'll not get to heaven because she "can't be good" all the time. I was most pleased to see the relief on her face as she realized we all try to be good because it's pleasing to Him and good for us and our friends, but when we fail there is always His grace to forgive us.  We don't need to be good to get to heaven, but because of Jesus we want to be good.  With that I leave you to meditate on these verses, because even adults wonder at times how they can get to heaven with so much sin on their hands:
Ephesians 2:4-5    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.
Romans 3:22-24    Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19    But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
John 3:16    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
My daughter's iPad contribution to the blog post: