Tag Archives: La_Grande

The intensity of His presence

Like all of us, I enjoy the deep beauty of fall.  Transient though the season is, this burst of life reminds me that I should focus on the intensity of these days, rather than nostalgia for what is passing away.  It is a good lesson for me, now that I have entered my seventies. I know that God’s love never ceases, it is new every morning (and evening). I am with Him eternally, now as I breathe in my body, and someday, as my spirit and soul join with His mystery.


Morgan Lake OR, La Grande

St Peters La Grande OR

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train

In late September, I was invited to present a photo workshop on board the Eagle Cap Excursion Train’s fall excursion train.  About thirty passengers gathered in a designated.  We worked together on techniques to increase their photography skills. I also helped them with the fundamentals of their camera’s operation.  A special treat was enjoying the presence of Grant McOmie, a long time television journalist.  His weekly program, “Grant’s Getaways, visits unique places and excursions throughout the state of Oregon.  I was included in the program.  Here is the link to the program:

http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/grants-getaways/eagle-cap-excursion-train/

The description below, from the train’s website, gives you an idea of what you see.  Enjoy the pictures.

Sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of a train ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train. Journey back in time on a section of the picturesque and historic Joseph Branch rail line in Northeast Oregon. Discover untamed territory as the train follows the Grande Ronde River downstream through rugged cliffs and timbered ridges, then travels up the Wild & Scenic Wallowa River. Whether you are a rail fan, a nature and wildlife enthusiast, a history buff or a vacationer looking for a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the spectacular beauty of region, a ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train is sure to please! The train departs from the new Elgin Depot, 300 North 8th Street, Elgin, Oregon. The depot was built in 2012 in a style reminiscent of the original historic depot. Entire cars can be reserved for groups. Charter the whole train for unforgettable special events.

Eagle Cap Excursion Train

Eagle Cap Excursion Train

Eagle Cap Excursion Train, Grande Ronde River, Rondowa

Eagle Cap Excursion Train, Rondowa, Grande Ronde River

Eagle Cap Excursion Train, Rondowa


Sharing goodness

Certainly, as we read the domestic and international news, life seems to be spiraling into the abyss of chaos. We alone cannot redeem or purify the world. Yet we can pray to the One who can. We can confront our own dark side and adjust our thoughts, words, and actions to be ones of goodness and compassion, whether or not they are accepted by others. I now simply pray that the Lord’s love will fall like rain on all his Creation to quench the fires of hatred and bitterness.

This prayer was found in the clothes of a dead child at the Ravensbruk women’s concentration camp:

“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of goodwill, but also those of ill will.  But do not remember only the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember too the fruits we brought forth thanks to this suffering–our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this.  And when they come to judgement, let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.”


And, as I think of this prayer, I am reminded that the moon has risen and set for millennia, showing us eternal beauty and God’s constancy, regardless of our circumstances and willingness to really appreciate Him.

Morgan Lake OR

Morgan Lake, La Grande

Morgan Lake Fall full Moonrise

Meg and I enjoyed a serene late afternoon and early evening at Morgan Lake here in eastern Oregon.  Morgan Lake is a quiet retreat a fifteen minute drive from town at the top of the west hills above La Grande. Picnic tables and walking trails make it an ideal place to relax, and it is also regularly stocked with rainbow trout.  No motors are allowed on the lake, so paddling, either for recreation or for fishing,  is a soothing way to spend part of a day.

Indian summer produces colorful cottonwood and aspen leaves around the shore, which reflect off the lake as the wind dies down.  And, taking the time to watch a full moon silently rising is an excellent retreat for mind and soul.

Morgan Lake

Morgan Lake

Moon first appearing above Morgan Lake

Morgan Lake

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

Grande_Ronde_Valley

Indian Rock, La Grande

Indian Rock, Grande_Ronde_Valley

Indian_Rock_OR

Grande_Ronde_Valley

Mt Emily

Penstemon, Grande_Ronde_Valley, Indian_Rock_OR

Along the Oregon Trail

When Meg and I arrived in La Grande long ago, we had no idea that the Oregon Trail passed through the west side of the Grande Ronde Valley, under the landmark of Mt Emily. It then rises up into the hills to find a way above the Grande Ronde river.  Although we have hiked it several times, we had not been on it for quite a while.  So, this past Saturday, we headed up into the hills above La Grande to the first trail marker at a saddle where the trail drops down to a spring that provided an oasis for an overnight stay.

As you can see, the wildflowers (mules ear balsam root, yellow lupine, larkspur) are still superb, and in places, the grass nearly waist high. As the wind blew gently, memories also swirled in our minds, of our own travels, and of the remarkable journey of these hard working, enduring/endearing pioneers.

mules ear balsam root, yellow lupine

Mt Emily, La Grande

larkspur

Grande Ronde Valley, Mt Emily, Mt Harris

Oregon Trail, La Grande

Mt Emily

yellow lupine

Psalm 25: His unfailing love–yesterday, today, and tomorrow

As I read Psalm 25, I am taken by its timelessness.  The ancient psalm writer certainly could not have imagined the world, the readers, of the 21st century.  Yet here we are, once again reminded that God is timeless and eternal, breathing deeply the meaning of this Psalm in our everyday lives.

                              Lord, I give my life to you.
                                                                                                 I trust in you, my God!
                 

Grande Ronde Valley

                                Show me the right path, O Lord;
                                                                                          point out the road for me to follow.
                                            Lead me by your truth and teach me,
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                

                                                  you are the God who saves me.
                                               All day long I put my hope in you.

Mt Emily Recreation Area

                             Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
                                                                             which you have shown from long ages past.


MERA, La Grande

Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.


The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.


Mt Emily Recreation Area




God is life

Continuing with thoughts about the nearness and intimacy of God in our lives, I have enjoyed this statement:

“God is life, not a vending machine full of trifles to fit the whims of the human race. God is the beginning of life, the coming of life, the fulfillment of life, the essence of life, the end of life.”
Mt Emily, Union County Oregon

Mt Emily, Gangloff Park, La Grande

Remaining with the One who sends us

From the Old Testament to the New, the Bible is filled with the reassurance that God is present always present, knowing us and our circumstances intimately. During the past two weeks, for a variety of reasons, I have felt uneasy and alienated from this world.  These Scriptures remind me that regardless of where I go, regardless of where I am, I can always choose “to remain with the One who sends me, and there find comfort, companionship, grace, peace, and joy.” (Rueben Job)

La Grande, OR

Key Summit, Routeburn Track, South Island, NZ

Rowena, Columbia Gorge, OR


The Source of our Joy

I often return to this wonderful statement by Henri Nouwen for reassurance when I get frustrated with the state of the world or the state of my life:

“Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world.  It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives.  Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Jesus says it loudly and clearly: ‘In the world you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world.’

“The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected.  No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.”  Henri Nouwen

Romans 8: 31: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Powder River

Ladd Marsh