Tomorrow morning starts a very busy period for us. I'm flying to Indianapolis and then driving to Kokomo for a two-day Word of Life leadership conference. I speak once tomorrow night and three times on Saturday. Then on Sunday morning I fly from Indianapolis to Columbus, OH by way of Chicago. At the same time Marlene flies from Tupelo to Columbus by way of Atlanta. That night we meet with some friends of Keep Believing Ministries. On Monday I speak at the chapel services for Worthington Christian Schools and that night I'm speaking to the football team. On Tuesday I'm giving a talk at a banquet. On Wednesday we fly back home to Tupelo.

To make all this happen we've got four sets of plane tickets. Marlene spent the last few days designing a brand-new KBM brochure plus business cards plus material for Sunday night. I'm taking books with me that we will sell at the conference, and Marlene is bringing some other things with her on Sunday. So I'm checking two very full bags tomorrow at the airport. All of this isn't a very big deal, but it's a lot more than we used to do when I did occasional speaking around the country. Little by little we're figuring out how to pack for a trip, and how to remember what we need to take with us.

Meanwhile I'm been plugging away at a book manuscript called "Stealth Attack: Arming Yourself Against Satan's Dirty War that was due at Moody Publishers on August 31. At the moment I am "mostly finished," which is the same thing as being "not finished" because I haven't turned it in yet. This particular book grew out of a sermon I wrote early in the year called Asymmetric Spiritual Warfare. The book starts with the premise that the war on terror offers a good metaphor for understanding the essence of spiritual warfare. We spend billions of dollars to fight against a shadowy foe we can't see. In spiritual terms, this conflict perfectly illustrates our vulnerability to Satan’s attacks. He exploits every advantage to destroy us-­and his advantages are considerable. He’s a lot smarter than we are, he knows our weak points, he’s invisible, and he breaks all rules. Because Satan is the ultimate terrorist, he doen't fight fair, which is why even though we have the power of heaven on our side, he often defeats us through a thousand daily skirmishes. That's enough to give you the idea. Someone said that writing a book is like having a baby. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, I guess I'm in slow labor pains. Really, that image doesn't work too well for me. It's more like being on a hundred-mile bike ride with your odometer broken. You know the end is near, but you're not sure whether it's five miles or fifteen miles. And the last part is uphill. So I'm busy pedaling toward the finish line. I have to wrap up soon because they want to bring the book out sometime in the first half of 2007.

Speaking of biking, I'm at 1415 miles for the year, most of them on the Natchez Trace. Lately Alan has taken up biking, and he and B. J. Lundy and Bert Duncan go riding along the Mt. Vernon Road. I'm off my pace of the last two years, but it's still respectable, I think.

Speaking of blood pressure, which I wasn't, we bought a blood pressure monitor this week, and I've been taking mine for several days. I found a site on the Internet where you can record you blood pressure, and they make a chart for you. Do you think my blood pressure is a) low, b) about right, c) borderline high? I'll bet no one gets that wrong.

So naturally I'm behind on my reading. I have a stack of eight books that I intend to review on the weblog. Most of them are books sent to me by friends, some of whom are reading this and saying, "When are you going to get around to my book?" Soon, but I've got to finish my book manuscript first. I don't think I read as fast I did twenty years ago, or maybe I get distracted a lot easier.

Someone asked if Dudley was at Josh and Leah's wedding. The answer is no, he didn't make the trip to Vermont. But he remains the absolutely perfect dog--a true basset hound. Every morning Marlene and I take a walk along the gravel road out to the cattle gate and back (about a mile). Dudley can't wait for us to go. He jumps and barks and runs around until we get moving. He runs ahead of us, then behind us, then starts sniffing the side of the road, then stops to peer into the trees, then runs away until we call him, and then he runs back and waits for Marlene to give him a treat. In the afternoon, he flops on the gravel and sleeps, or he curls up behind the planter. In the evening, he crawls up on the couch and stretches out across Marlene's lap and my legs. We love him even though lately he's chewed up several of Marlene's shoes and my shoelaces.

I think that brings you up to date on life in our corner of the world. It's about time to go to bed.

You can reach the author at  ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.