Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Promise of Christmas

"Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and who comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory.  God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right.  Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all these powers, that the Father's love is so expansive that no evil could possibly resist it."  Brennan Manning, Reflections for Ragamuffins

Iwetemlaykin_State_Park, Iwetemlaykin, Wallowa_Lake, Wallowa_County, Wallowa_Mts

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!  Isaiah 52:7

Friday, December 13, 2013

The prophet Isaiah gives us hope

There is so much joy to come; we live in this world, but we are not bound to it!

From Isaiah 35....

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
    The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
    and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
    as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
    the splendor of our God.


With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
    and encourage those who have weak knees.
 Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, and do not fear,
He is coming to save you.”

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
    and unplug the ears of the deaf.
 The lame will leap like a deer,
    and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!


Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
    and streams will water the wasteland.

The parched ground will become a pool,
    and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.

Lake_Owyhee, Leslie_Gulch_OR

Midway_Geyser_Basin, Yellowstone

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.

 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
Alvord_Desert, Steens_Mt_OR

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Thrill of Hope

Each Christmas season I am deeply reminded that despite the weary repetitiveness of conflict--personal, political, economic, terror--hope renews me. God has so much more to teach me, to teach each of us, as we wait for Him, seek Him, follow Him.

Spray_Park, Mt_Rainer_NP

Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Beginnings

As we begin the Christmas season, I remind myself that with God, nothing is lost, nothing is irredeemable.  In His Son, I am a new creation.

"There is always the opportunity for a new beginning in our relationship with God.  Because God is infinite, unlimited possibility for growth and starting new exists." Rueben Job

"I do not belong to the powers and principalities that rule the world but to the Good Shepherd who knows his own and is known by his own.  In the presence of my Lord and Shepherd there truly is nothing I shall want.  He will, indeed, give me the rest my heart desires and pull me out of the dark pits of my depression."  Henri Nouwen


Sewell_Rd_Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro, New_Hampshire

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BSA Troop 541, Bird Track Springs

 I am thankful for the enthusiastic spirit the Scouts in Troop 514, La Grande, show on outings, and I am thankful I still have both the health and the joy in joining them on many of their outings.

This past weekend, we camped at Bird Track Springs, a USFS campground about a thirty minutes from here.  The weather was quite cold, fourteen degrees overnight, but the boys did not flinch or complain. They pitched their tents, lashed several projects, including a flag pole, cooked dinner dutch oven and stove meals from scratch, and pancakes and sausages over the fire for breakfast.

The boys respectfully retired a flag after our flag ceremony Sunday morning. They like each other, support each other, young and old. Scouting continues to instill practical skills and leadership opportunities. The boys are as fun and exciting to work with as they were thirty years ago.

BSA_Troop_514, Bird_Track_Springs, Union_County

BSA_Troop_514, Bird_Track_Springs, Union_County



BSA_Troop_514, Bird_Track_Springs, Union_County


BSA_Troop_514, Bird_Track_Springs, Union_County


BSA_Troop_514, Bird_Track_Springs, Union_County

BSA_Troop_514, Bird_Track_Springs, Union_County

Saturday, November 23, 2013

His Creation

"The creation is not a study, a roughed-in sketch; it is supremely, meticulously created….Even on the perfectly ordinary and clearly visible level, creation carries on with an intimacy unfathomable and apparently uncalled for."  Annie Dillard,  Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek   

I love that phrase, "uncalled for."  How can we doubt that a loving, purposeful God indeed created us for Himself?
Mt_Emily, La_Grande, Union_County


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Last days in New Hampshire

Our first weekend in New Hampshire featured a lovely Sunday morning in North Conway where we all drove to watch and cheer Sara as she ran a half marathon. 

As our time drew to a close in New Hampshire, Meg and I enjoyed several new experiences.  First, we had the opportunity to attend a jury trial that Michael, as a deputy prosecutor in Manchester, was presenting.  He handles major felony cases, and has an excellent grasp of facts, law, technology, and technique.

On Saturday, Meg and I accompanied him and Kenai, his golden retriever, on a pheasant hunt along the Contoocook river.  Fall colors lingered, the walk was refreshing, and the two of them got a pheasant.  The pheasant medallions made an excellent dinner. We also went to an apple orchard on Gould Hill where over two dozen varieties of apples were for sale in a large barn that had been converted into a sales facility. Sampling such a range of apples truly stimulated the taste buds and reminded us how much we miss at the major supermarkets.









Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Through faith, hope, and charity we hear the ultimate message of the universe."

"Through faith, hope, and charity we hear the ultimate message of the universe. The result of that awakening is shown in what the blind man did on receiving his sight; he followed Jesus. Jesus emphasizes what healed him.  Faith! This was not just the faith that works through reason but the faith that is a direct intuition. 'Go in peace,' he says to this man, 'your faith has saved you.' 

"Your faith, that is your consent  to God calling you, touching you, transforming you. Transformation in Christ is the ultimate healing."  Father Thomas Keating

Mt_Joseph, Wallowa_Mts


Saturday, November 9, 2013


On a regular basis, I need to ask myself--do I have faith because I am comfortable or because I am challenged; because I lean on my self created, self satisfied props, or because I allow and trust the Holy Spirit to work within me?

"Faith always re-creates the good world. Without faith, 
we will inevitably sink into various kinds of despair. Faith is a matter 
of having new eyes, seeing everything, even our most painful suffering, 
through and with the eyes of God. It is the only way to keep on the path 
toward love."  Richard Rohr

Contoocook, Gould Hill NH, New England Fall

Warner River  NH

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Water settings of a New Hampshire fall

Nothing gives more dynamism to fall colors than seeing them with, in, and around water.  Here are a very few scenes of the many we have enjoyed.

New England fall

Pleasant Pond, Contoocook, New Hampshire

North Sandwich, New Hampshire fall

Pleasant Pond, Contoocook, New Hampshire

Pleasant Pond, Contoocook, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee, Wolfeboro

New Hampshire fall: trees and leaves

Meg and I are nearing the end of our annual New Hampshire fall trip to visit our younger son, Michael, and his wife.  As always, the days have been full of enjoyment of family and the nature that surrounds them here. Although the colors were technically past their "prime," unique patches of yellows, reds, and oranges stand out amidst the otherwise bare forest--maybe like our own uniqueness stands out from the crowd when we allow the Light to radiate from us!

Contoocook, New Hampshire

Contoocook, New Hampshire

Contoocook, New Hampshire

Interstate 93, Contoocook, New Hampshire

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

Sewell road, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire