Saturday, July 26, 2014

In quietness and trust is our strength

In repentance and rest is your salvation;
  in quietness and trust is your strength.

                                      Isaiah 30:15
I love the juxtaposition of the words "quietness and trust." Isaiah wrote this passage over 2600 years ago.  Generally, his people ignored him.  Do we do any better today? And if so, how then do we live in the Lord's Presence?

Alvord Desert, Steens Mt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Out of my comfort zone

My mid July trip consisted four wheel driving from high in the Steens Mt through Juntura and other back pockets of eastern Oregon, finishing in the high, remote gold mining mining sites in the Elkhorn Mts if Baker County.  It was led by David Zartman, a friend of Matt's who graduated from La Grande High School a couple of years before Matt .  David received his degree from the University of Oregon and then went to LA.   While working for Land Rover magazine, he recognized that nothing existed for Toyota 4 Wheel Owners, and so, without borrowing money from either parents or bank, he pre sold subscriptions and started the magazine from his desktop.  

The circulation is now 31,000 and he still produces it from his desktop, now in Gig Harbor Washington state where he lives close to his parents.  He receives many offers to use and review products.  He recently imported a 1983 Toyota Trooper from Australia, which was part of this venture.  He and his friends are not happy unless they have to repair cars along the way, pull them out of tight situations, and use maps, not GPS.  Charlie's Dad drove the Trooper; I was just along for the ride. We were on the road for five days, starting high in the Steens Mt of Oregon and ultimately visiting the high, remote gold mining sites of the Elkhorn Mts in Baker County. It was a great opportunity for me to move beyond my comfort zone!   

Map reading near Juntura


Someplace beyond Juntura

a budding mechanic under David's supervision

Campsite at Fish Lake, Steens Mt

David outside of Malheur Cave

Kiger_Gorge, Steens_Mt

Eastern Oregon back road

Fish Lake

Steens Mt Indian paintbrush

Moon Hill Rd, Steens Mt

Alvord Desert overlook

Fish_Lake, Steens Mt

Great Pyranees watchdog


Fish_Lake, Steens Mt

The Trooper from Australia that Charlie drove

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The space where we find freedom

Viktor Frankl, psychologist and Auschwitz survivor, writes in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

From my own journey with God, I would write that God did not create us as puppets to force us to love Him and glorify Him. He does not compel us to love and forgive each other with patience and kindness and mercy.  Instead, between the actions of others and our response to them, we have the choice, the freedom to love or to reject, to accept or to deny. Or as Richard Rohr would say, in any situation we have the power “to transform the pain or to transmit it.”

Steens_Mt, Kiger_Gorge

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Early summer in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Wallowa County

Meg and I enjoyed two exceptional day hikes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness before and after the Fourth. On Thursday, the third, we hiked six miles into McCully basin and back. The hike itself is through rather dry, scraggly forest.  However, after crossing McCully creek at the five and half mile point, the forest deepens and then opens up into an immense basin surrounded by mountains. Filled with buttercups that are the first flowers to appear after the snow melt, this basin spoke of the eternal seasons that once again, for a short time, present this palette of intense green and yellow.

Then on Saturday, we hiked high into the Eagle Cap basin, following the East Fork of the Lostine river. The trail began normally, moving through tall, stately, dense forest. As we climbed higher, we met some snow patches on the trail. Ultimately, for the last mile and half, the trail was all snow, with just a few patches of trail showing.

The trail opens up into one of the prettiest glacial valleys you will find anywhere in the world. Eagle Cap peak dominates the skyline, with boggy meadows of melting snow, filling up with buttercups. We hiked about twelve miles round trip. Yet the mileage and effort was completely dwarfed by the reviving beauty of this valley.

Entering the Eagle Cap basin

Eagle Cap

McCully basin and Aneroid Peak

Meg enjoying the serenity of McCully basin

waterfall before entering the Eagle Cap basin

East Lostine River and Eagle Cap

Meg hiking into Eagle Cap basin. Eagle Cap in background

Meg hiking past Lost Lake

Meg crossing McCully creek

Sunday, July 6, 2014

In His time: Reflections on McCully Basin

Meg and I hiked into McCully basin this July 3rd.  McCully basin is part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Wallowa County in the NE corner of Oregon.  It is off the  beaten path even for most backpackers in the Eagle Caps. Very few feet have hiked, very few yes have seen, this basin. It lies underneath the snow for most of the year.  But just after the snow clears, this beautiful meadow is filled with buttercups stretching far off into the distance.

"In His time, in His time.  He makes all things beautiful in His time.  Lord, please show me eery day, as you're teaching me Your way, that You do just what you say, in Your time."  Diane Bell

I am always deeply humbled and awed by God's infinity,  God's eternity.  McCully Basin is just a tiny, tiny slice of the infinite meadows that are blooming now.  I see only one, but God sees, God knows, each one of them.  Just as He sees, just as He knows, each one of us.

Eagle Cap Wilderness

McCully Basin, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Grande Ronde Valley from above and from below

The Grande Ronde Valley of La Grande, Union County is vast and verdant.  Whether view from above at Indian Rock, or from below, the fields spread out in the colors of early summer farmland.

Cove OR, canola

Canola, Cove OR


Indian Rock, La Grande

Indian Rock, Grande_Ronde_Valley



Mt Emily

Penstemon, Grande_Ronde_Valley, Indian_Rock_OR