Sunday, March 29, 2015

a lesson I am still trying to master

“But life is also a struggle and choosing to live the struggle gratefully and humbly as a child of God makes all the difference between a fulfilled life and an empty life.”  Henri Nouwen

Iwetemlaykin, Wallowa County OR

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sing for Joy

I am reminded—once again and again—now that my health has improved, that I need to sing for joy, not only when life is so easy, but when I am down and/or downcast.

Okanogan National Forest, Grasshopper Pass, Pacific Crest Trail

Sunday, March 15, 2015

a choice we make every day

“Joy is not the same as happiness.  We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there because it comes from the kmowledge of God’s love for us.  We are inclined to think that when we are sad, we cannot be glad, but in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together….Joy does not simple happen to us.  We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.  It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.”  Henri Nouwen

I selected this reading to challenge myself as I struggle through the throes of a nasty cold—seven days and I am still in a continuing low fever, an off and on cough, a sore throat.  The doctor has seen me and I have an antibiotic, I am drinking lots of liquids, resting/sleeping/staying home, praying. So far, nothing has suddenly changed, and I really do not expect to.  I know I must wait patiently upon the Lord. Yet I realize I am still so wrapped up in myself, not God.  I want to be well and have my “old” life back. Exactly what God will never give me. Nouwen’s prayer is so appropriate:  “let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero, but a servant who loves you.”

Milford_Track, Clinton_river_NZ

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A moment of awe and blessing

March, 2014. Napier, NZ. While enjoying the art deco buildings of this delightful downtown, I noticed a dragonfly traveling up and down the pedestrian walkway. I snapped several pictures, hopping one or two would be in focus.

I reached the end of the block.  Much to my amazement, the dragonfly came back and landed on my camera case.  Did this finely tuned, exquisitely beautiful  creature know I was observing it, and wanted to find out who/what I was? 

It remained quietly with me for close to five minutes.  Obviously, the meaning, if any, of this encounter is totally speculative.  I just enjoy this remarkable memory as one of the awesome blessings  that randomly occur in our lives.

The dragonfly is center far left, below the green sign of the Body Shop

Here it is to the left of the black pole

And now it is to the far left, against the black marble. Meg is in blue, in the upper right, close to where I enjoyed my dragonfly moments shown below.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pressing forward towards Him

Here are two images, of dawn and of rain, that illustrate the intensity of the prophet Hosea’s desire to know God. I am reminded how easily I am distracted from this call.
McKinnon Pass, Milford Track

Mitres_Peak, Milford_Sound

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The call of Anthony Lake, OR

When Meg and I arrived in La Grande in 1970. we had no idea we were coming to an area with alpine scenery within an hour's drive.  We had imagined eastern Oregon as sage brush country.  Instead, we have lived in a beautiful river valley for forty five years, enjoying a wide range of outdoor activities that we can reach in less than a couple hours.

Anthony Lake, here in NE Oregon, spans Union and Baker Counties.  Our sons learned to ski here, and we have enjoyed the hiking and rock climbing these alpine mountains offer.  On Sunday, after church, we left for a wonderful afternoon of cross country skiing in sunshine after a fresh snow fall. Silence and awe surrounded us.



Gunsight_Peak_Anthony_Lake, Van_Patten_Butte_OR

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Quiet space

Although I do not do it often enough, I enjoy the quiet times I create to be in contemplative prayer—not praying for specifics, but simply being with God in praise and thanksgiving. It is good to uncluttered my mind.

“Prayer is the breath of the soul, the life energy of the spirit. It is the story of the interplay between God and us. It is the link between the inner and the outer life. It has its own rhythm.  It is its own reality. There is no formula for it beyond the need to nourish it with both words and silence.”  Joan Chittister

Mt Ruapehua, Tongariro National Park, North Island, NZ