Tag Archives: Alvord_desert

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

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

The prophet Isaiah gives us hope

There is so much joy to come; we live in this world, but we are not bound to it!

From Isaiah 35….

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
    The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
    and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
    as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
    the splendor of our God.


With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
    and encourage those who have weak knees.
 Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, and do not fear,
He is coming to save you.”

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
    and unplug the ears of the deaf.
 The lame will leap like a deer,
    and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!

Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
    and streams will water the wasteland.
The parched ground will become a pool,
    and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.

Lake_Owyhee, Leslie_Gulch_OR

Midway_Geyser_Basin, Yellowstone
And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.

 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

Alvord_Desert, Steens_Mt_OR

“Lights, camera…” my action or God’s

I was raised in an era where the phrase “lights,  camera, action” was popular. It was a catch word for what we as individuals, the “directors” of our lives,  could accomplish on our own.  I find I continue to be influenced by that concept.  I can choose “my” words, “my” thoughts, “my” actions. Yet my plans frequently result in an obvious, sometimes a subtle, dissatisfaction or mild depression.  Only when I align my way with God’s love, mercy, and justice do find lasting hope and fullness. 

The paradox of possessions: If I try to keep my things, I lose them; it I give them to God, they are preserved and purified in Heaven.
“The principle runs through all life from top to bottom.  Give up yourself, and you will find your real self….Keep back nothing.  Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.  Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.  Look for your self, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay.  But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”  C.S. Lewis

Pueblo Mts, Alvord Desert, eastern Oregon

Patient waiting

This week was filled with unexpected encounters–meaningful meetings that interrupted “my” schedule, but were part of “His” plan. I will not go into details, but those unplanned conversations caused me to slow down, to let go of my needs, and to enjoy the opportunity to listen and to counsel.

Henri Nouwen writes, “That is the great conversion of our life: to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions of our projects, but the way in which God molds our hearts and prepares us for his return.  Our great temptations are boredom and bitterness.  When our good plans are interrupted by poor weather, our peace of mind by inner turmoil, our hope for peace by a new war, our desire for a stable government by a constant changing of the guards, and our desire for immortality by real death, we are tempted to give in to a paralyzing boredom or to strike back in destructive bitterness.  
“But when we believe that patience can make our expectations grow, then fate can be converted into a vocation, wounds into a call for deeper understanding, and sadness into a birthplace of joy.”