Tag Archives: Ladd_Marsh

Closing the gap, ever so slowly

Last week I mused on the force of my ego, and my unwillingness to surrender it to God. Paul writes  how Christ has freed us from the need to be self centered on our material needs and desires–that we should serve one another in love. Whether I am reading the Old Testament 
or the New, I realize that indeed my call is to love and to walk humbly with God. 

The call of the prophet Micah, the call of Christ, is so simple, yet so difficult to live daily.  But only in doing so, do I open myself to hear God’s word and feel His presence; only when I let go on my dependency on society’s approval do I create space for God and for others.

Succor Creek, Malheur County
Mt Emily, Ladd Marsh
Mt Harris, Ladd Marsh, Union County

Leslie Gulch, Malheur County

Ladd Marsh Bird Festival

Ladd Marsh provides one of the largest remaining wetlands in Northeast Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has done an exceptional job of conserving and expanding this area to provide respite for migratory birds and repose for nesting species.  Each year, on the third weekend of May, ODFW and the Friends of Ladd Marsh, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, sponsor a Bird Festival on the marsh.  Volunteer birders offer birding assistance at ten sites on the Marsh, and help visitors enjoy the unique viewing opportunities here.

Of special excitement for Meg and me over the weekend was the sighting of a pair of Virginia rails.  Although they are relatively common, they remain elusive in the cattails.  And, male ruddy ducks, with their blue beaks and “bubbling” mating behavior, are always a treat to see.
Avocet by her nest and eggs


Ruddy duck with bubbles


Virginia rail

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

Ladd Marsh

When the Grande Ronde Valley in northeastern Oregon was first settled in the late 1800’s, the valley was a wet land oasis, filled with all species of birds.  As more settlers arrived and farming expanded, the wetlands were drained creating an exceptionally fertile valley. Now, over the last forty years, land acquisitions have allowed the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to create Ladd Marsh, more than 6000 acres of wetlands, five miles from La Grande.  In cooperation with the City of La Grande, treated waste water flows into this area, benefitting both the birds and the citizens of La Grande. Tundra swans, many species of geese and ducks migrate through here in the spring.  Some stay and nest along with sandhill cranes and many species of shore birds. In addition to the open water and wetlands, the property contains scrub shrub, wet meadow, prairie grassland, and conifer habitat which attract a wide range of song birds as well. 

God’s Covenant with us

As I look at the secular law of contracts, and compare it to God’s gift of covenant, I am astounded at the difference.  If we entered a contract, and one party breaks it, the contract ends. Penalties are imposed and the parties go their separate ways, unhealed and unforgiven.  God’s covenant with us is from God alone to us; we  do not, did not, choose to enter into it. God made the decision to enter into this partnership with us, His creation, His people. We still must face His justice if we break the covenant, but God does not revoke it and walk away.  His unconditional love, His forgiveness and grace remain ever present for us when we repent and turn back to Him.  As Paul writes in Romans 8:39. “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s Mercy

“When God’s love touches us in our neediness–the sorrow and suffering inherent in the human condition–we name it mercy. Mercy is perhaps the loveliest of all God’s qualities.” Elaine Prevallet 

Here is the greatest challenge for me.  The Old and New Testament are filled with statements about God’s unfailing love–“the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.” (Lamentations 3: 22-23)  It is easy to be grateful for God’s love, but how do I let His love, Christ’s love, flow through me like living waters to those around me? This three day weekend, a pivot point between summer and fall, a transition from old and to new seasons, is a great time to consider this call.

the God we serve is able to save us

Recently, I read the book of Daniel.  We all recall the fiery furnace that Sadrach, Meshack, and Abednego were tossed into for their refusal to serve the gods of King Nebuchandnezzar. But I love what they tell him first: “we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.  He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.  But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”  Daniel 3: 16-18

“Even if he doesn’t.”  What marvelous faith in God himself, His Presence alone, in the joy of knowing God’s strength can overcome anything, but trusting so deeply in His sovereignty that we accept any outcome in our lives.  I was reminded of these thoughts as I went through a heart catheterization this past Thursday which led to a stent being placed in my heart.  I had faith that the Lord would direct the gifts of the doctors to bring about a successful outcome, but more importantly, Meg and I went into the procedure with the joy that God’s will is perfect, regardless of the whatever human hopes we have in the outcome.
On a brief side note.  I had noticed my symptoms in June as I was training hard on steep trails for backpacking.  However, they would go away when I rested a bit, or go away as I worked through them, so I ignored them–until I talked with a good high school friend whose similar symptoms had led him to a cardiologist and two stents.  So, finally shared with Meg what was happening, saw my internist, did a cardio-vascular stress test, and from there, had the procedure done three days ago.  Drop me an email if you want, but if you are experiencing similar symptoms, tell your spouse and see a doctor!  The procedure is amazing and recovery is easy. Blessings, Eric