Our backyard wildlife sanctuary

Yesterday morning (Wednesday) provided us some delightful wildlife viewing.  The turkeys are messy, and not particularly welcome, but we nonetheless enjoy seeing the mamas and their many, many offspring sweetly clucking their way through the yard. And these large bucks show how healthy city fed deer can be!

Remaining what God created us to be

“My attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow.”  Oswald Chambers

And for me personally, I need to remain “what God created me to be” when I get frustrated that what “I planned” does not happen.

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Lopez Island

The San Juan Islands lie north of Seattle, WA, a ferry ride away from the town of Anacortes. Each island creates its own personality.  Meg and I have enjoyed five delightful days at the home of family friends on Lopez Island.  Lopez is relatively flat, making it fun to bike along farmlands and  and ocean bays. We have enjoyed kayaking in the bay as well as just sitting and watching the evening light change on the water.

 

“Do we really want God to dwell within us?”

 

“Do we really want God to dwell within us, or are we only willing to ‘rent out’ space for a brief visit?  Our actions, our words, our silence, our fears all show the presence, or absence, of God in our lives.”
 
What kind of question is this?  Of course I do.  BUT, I need to constantly remind myself that life here on earth is not about me, but about God. I need to give Him my burdens; He is the one who is eternal , and within whom I dwell.

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He will wipe away all tears

He will swallow up death forever!
  The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. 
                                                Isaiah 25:8
 
As I read this passage a couple days ago, once again I was awed by the knowledge of God’s love.  Despite the unhappy struggles we all go through during our lifetime, God prevails.  He does give us life after death; He does know  our sufferings, and WILL wipe away our tears.
 
A couple of weeks ago, as Meg and I were camped above the Snake River in Hells Canyon, a hummingbird whizzed back and forth in the early evening light. I clicked quickly, hoping I might come close to capturing the moment on camera.  This hummer is obviously not in focus, but its glow is mystical.  God’s presence is mystical; it is quiet; it is “be still land know I am God.”  And, it is His gift to us that He will “wipe every tear from our eyes!”
Saddle Creek Campground Wallowa County
Saddle Creek Campground Wallowa County

The views from the top

Besides the “birds and the beasts,” Meg and I enjoyed the never ending vistas above Hells Canyon at the Saddle Creek Campground near Hat Point in Wallowa county.  You could not find a five star hotel with any better views than we enjoyed from our campsite. We read and relaxed and enjoyed the changing shadows and highlights as the sun moved across the sky.

Attitude adjustment

Fr. Keating offers some challenging thoughts about God’s goodness. However, the starting point, is the first chapter of Genesis, when God saw that it was “all good.”  I have added the italics below.

“The seventh Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness. Goodness is the affirmation of the creation as good, together with a sense of oneness with the universe and everything God created. It recognizes the beauty of all creation in spite of the damage that human selfishness has imposed upon it. As a result gratitude toward God abounds in our hearts and a positive attitude characterizes our relationship with others and with the wear and tear of daily life.” Fr. Thomas Keating

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Hells Canyon, near the Saddle Creek campground, Oregon

Birds and Beasts above Saddle Creek

Saddle Creek is one of many drainages that flow down steep basalt canyons into the Snake River. Often times, Meg and I stay at a Forest Service campground above Saddle Creek that looks into the majesty  side cliffs and benches that form Hells Canyon.  Bird and mammal life is busy, as these pictures show.  A pair of blue birds were nesting in a dead tree close to our campsite, providing us with fun sightings of their constant search for insects.

Photos by Eric Valentine