Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Troop 514 spring camping in Hells Canyon, Snake River

BSA Troop 514 set off in the rain this past Friday afternoon and headed to Hells Canyon in the Snake River country of NE Oregon.  We camped at the end of the road, setting up our tents in a light drizzle just before dark.  The next day, after breakfast and a flag ceremony, we headed downriver, into verdant green hillsides, carpeted with yellow balsam root, pink phlox, and purple lupine.  Five new scouts enjoyed their first outing, enthusiastically learning new skills of cooking and fire building, identifying plants and animals, pitching tents, packing backpacks, as well as playing games, all under the excellent, caring leadership of the older Scouts.  

I have enjoyed my return to the troop.  Without this outing, I would have stayed indoors, at home, in the rain, not creating anything memorable. Instead, memories of youthful enthusiasm and brilliant colors resonate in my mind!

Balsam root, Hells Canyon

Troop 514 fire starting

Troop 514 flag ceremony, Snake River

Snake River, Hells Canyon

phlox, Hells Canyon, Snake River

Troop 514

Troop 514, Hells Canyon, Snake River

Troop 514

Troop 514, Snake river

Troop 514, crossing McGraw creek

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Am I empty enough?

In my life filled with busy activities that mostly satisfy me, I find I must ask myself regularly:  am I empty enough, am I hungry enough, am I thirsty enough to receive God and let God fill me?

Rowena, Columbia Gorge, White Salmon

Ladd Marsh, Union County, Grande Ronde Valley

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rainbows of Ohope

Once in while, a showery set of clouds comes across the Bay of Plenty, and as the afternoon sun shines through the rain, beautiful rainbows rise above the ocean of Ohope Beach.  If the tide is low, and if the rains persist, the rainbows reflect off the wet sand, as they remain for many minutes above sand dune, shore, and sea.

Ohope Beach, lilies

Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty, Ohope Beach

New Zealand rainbow, taken with my iPhone

Ohope Beach

Saturday, April 19, 2014

His steadfast love never ceases

On this most special day, I am reminded of what I should remember each day with each breath: God is with us at all times, in all places. He is the God of Life, and His steadfast love and mercy never cease, whatever the circumstances or conditions.

Shot at sunrise while walking to the beach at Ohope on our second morning there.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Freedom comes when you know with your heart that you are loved."

"Freedom comes when you know with your heart that you are loved.  If you could accept and believe that you are unconditionally love and embraced,  you could go all over the world and never be lonely…In our personal relationships a moral life is not enough. We must also live the mystical life, a life which is embraced by the God who says, "I love you fully and unconditionally."  Henri Nouwen

Mt_Harris_OR, Union_County_OR

Ohope, Bay_of_Pleanty

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wairaka and the Whakatane Harbour

Meg and I enjoyed a family dinner on the Whakatane Harbour before we left for home.  The Harbour is on the Whakatane river in the wide calm water before the river forms the bar with the ocean.  A lovely statue stands on large boulder inside the bar.  It remembers a wonderful Maori legend, as described on the city's website:
"The bravery of Wairaka and the daughter of Toroa, captain-navigator of the Mataatua waka is commemorated by a statue in the Whakatane Harbour.. When the Mataatua waka (Maori) first arrive at Whakatane after making a perilous voyage from Ngati Awa’s ancestral homeland of Hawaiiki 600 years ago, the men left the women alone in the canoe while they went ashore.  When the canoe started to drift back to sea, Wairaka (defying the tapu that forbade women to handle a canoe) seized the paddle and brought the waka back to shore crying ‘Kia Whakatane au i ahau’ – I will act the part of a man.  This cry is said to the origin of the towns’ name."
Besides watching the sun set behind Wairaka, we also enjoyed watching both a powered para glider and a paraglider drift back and forth about us, the river, and the cliffs, and then land gently as the light was leaving the sky.

Whakatane_Harbour, Whale_Island_NZ

Wairaka, Whakatane_Harbour

Powered_paragliding, Whale_Island_NZ

Wairakaka, Whakatane_Harbour

Whakatane_Harbour, Whakatane_River

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Traveling with the eyes of GodT

Meg and I arrived home Thursday evening.  The return trip was long but easy. We are blessed to have each other to as our memories flow back and forth between us.  And, we are blessed to have family and good friends to share time with. Henri Nouwen, as he does so often, summarizes our feelings:

"Traveling - seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people - is exciting and exhilarating.  But when we have no home to return to where someone will ask us, "How was your trip?" we might be less eager to go.  Travelling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us, who want to see our slides and hear our stories.

This is what life is about.  It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made.   When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home." 

Ohope Beach