Tag Archives: Bay_of_Plenty

First days with family in New Zealand

Meg and I arrived on Friday, December 7, New Zealand time.  We enjoyed an easy flight from Portland to Vancouver, BC to Auckland to Whakatane, on the Bay of Plenty, southeast of Auckland.  Ambien makes sleeping the plane very easy, particularly after a glass a great New Zealand pinot ๐Ÿ™‚ As always, Meg and I are amazed not at the miles we have come to get here, but at the complete change of geography and seasons.  Instead of snow in La Grande, we are enjoying surf, sand, and sun in Ohope.

Landing at Whakatane.  Whale Island

Norfolk Pines

Ohope Beach

The spark of God

After loving God wholly and completely, how then do we answer the call of the second great commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves?

“When we recognize the spark of God in others, we blow on it with our attention and strengthen it, no matter how deeply it has been buried or for how long. When we bless someone, we touch the unborn goodness in them and wish it well.”

Dr.Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. “My Grandfather’s Blessings”

How do we nourish our souls?

An elder told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The boy thought about it and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”  The old man quietly replied, “the one you feed.”
This story speaks to the core of our being. It does not matter who actually spoke this story.  It raises a question that has resounded through the ages.  Do we feed evil or do we feed good?  And where do we find our nourishment?  I believe only God can fill us.  The two Scripture verses for this week are just a brief selection of the deep wisdom that comes to us through God’s Word, as written in the Bible and as lived in Jesus Christ.

Remaining with God

My brother Greg is slowly recovering.  The abscesses are gradually getting smaller and his coumadin/blood thinner level creeps toward a therapeutic level.  Hopefully, he will be able to go to the hospital’s rehab center sometime next week.


In the weekly devotional Meg and I read, Reuben Job has an insightful comment about where God leads us on our life’s journey? “While we may not choose the place to go, we can choose to remain with the One who sends us and there find comfort, companionship, grace, peace and joy.”  This week’s Scripture images reflect that theme.

Forgiveness and Joy



A sunrise and sunset shot from Ohope Beach, overlooking the Bay of Plenty, create the theme for this week’s spiritual themes. I never cease to be awed by the Psalmists statements about God’s forgiveness toward those who seek him humbly, completely, repentantly. There is such joy in that realization of eternal love. With that we can, as St. Seraphim says, share and kindle joy in others. In that way, we become a spiritual presence to others, a companion on the way.