Tag Archives: Ohope_Beach

Reflections on Psalm 139

Psalm 139 reminds me again and again that nothing separates from God’s loving Presence. He is always with us, regardless of where we are–physically, mentally, spiritually.

Lord, you have examined my heart

    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

“God loves us because this kind of affection is unique to the Creator and the created.  God’s knowing us this deeply does not pose a threat to our independence as individuals with free will, but comes as  a gift of good news.

“Have you consider the feelings that accompany being loved in this fashion—loved inside and out for all that you do, think, and feel?  When you feel absent from God’s presence, deep in stress and suffering, reread these verses to remind you of the unbreakable connection with your omniscient God, the one who ‘knows’ you—inside and out.” J. Dana Trent

“Nothing is real without deriving its reality from God.”  Henri Nouwen

Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Letting go of old hurts

“One of the hardest things in life is to let go of old hurts.  We often say, or at least think:  ‘What you did to me and my family, my ancestors, or my friends I cannot forget or forgive. … One day you will have to pay for it.’  Sometimes our memories are decades, even centuries, old and keep asking for revenge.

Holding people’s faults against them often creates an impenetrable wall.   Indeed, we cannot let go of old hurts, but God can.    It is God’s work, but we are God’s ministers, because the God who reconciled the world to God entrusted to us “the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  This message calls us to let go of old hurts in the Name of God.  It is the message our world most needs to hear.” Henri Nouwen

As we move forward into this new year,  seeking to keep the “Christmas spirit,” Nouwen provides us excellent advice. Old hurts, once acknowledged, need to be surrendered, so we can heal, move forward, and let God’s “tender mercies” guide, support, and free us.

Ohope, Bay of Plenty, NZ

Rainbows of Ohope

Once in while, a showery set of clouds comes across the Bay of Plenty, and as the afternoon sun shines through the rain, beautiful rainbows rise above the ocean of Ohope Beach.  If the tide is low, and if the rains persist, the rainbows reflect off the wet sand, as they remain for many minutes above sand dune, shore, and sea.

Ohope Beach, lilies

Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty, Ohope Beach

New Zealand rainbow, taken with my iPhone

Ohope Beach

His steadfast love never ceases

On this most special day, I am reminded of what I should remember each day with each breath: God is with us at all times, in all places. He is the God of Life, and His steadfast love and mercy never cease, whatever the circumstances or conditions.

Shot at sunrise while walking to the beach at Ohope on our second morning there.



Traveling with the eyes of GodT

Meg and I arrived home Thursday evening.  The return trip was long but easy. We are blessed to have each other to as our memories flow back and forth between us.  And, we are blessed to have family and good friends to share time with. Henri Nouwen, as he does so often, summarizes our feelings:

“Traveling – seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people – is exciting and exhilarating.  But when we have no home to return to where someone will ask us, “How was your trip?” we might be less eager to go.  Travelling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us, who want to see our slides and hear our stories.

This is what life is about.  It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made.   When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home.” 

Ohope Beach

Sunrise, Sunset, Ohope Bach, North Island, New Zealand

Ohope Beach lies on the Bay of Plenty, a long crescent shaped bay four hours east of Auckland.  It recently was rated as the top beach in New Zealand.  The beach here runs for miles, offering great waves for surfing and boogie boarding.  Excellent fishing is found both in the ocean and Ohope Harbor, or Ohiwa as it is also called.  Morning and evening light is never the same, never boring, sometimes subtle, sometimes shocking, but always alluring and enduring.

Ohiwa, Ohope_harbour

lilies and Ohope sunrise

Norfolk pine, Bay of Plenty

Ohope Harbor, Ohiwa

Bay of Plenty, Ohope Beach

Ohope Beach

Ohope Harbor, Ohiwa

West End Ohope

West End Ohope

West End Ohope

God is at the heart of the answer

“I am certain of one thing: the love that is God is at the heart  of the answer, just as it is at the heart of each moment–past, present, and future…Faith chooses to embrace hope and to be embraced by hope, even when overwhelmed by despair; it seeks life even in the face of death….God’s grace embraces our questions as well as our answers and our blindness as well as our vision,  just as the sun shines steadily through the night, waiting to illumine the sky at dawn.”  Jean M. Blomquist

Whale Island NZ, Ohope Beach

Ohope Beach

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 🙂 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

New Zealand arrival

Meg and I arrived in Auckland on April 11.  The overnight flight was easy as usual.  We took a self portrait shot, enjoyed coffee/tea and a muffin at the domestic terminal before we flew to Whakatane.  Teresa, Sebastian, and Emma met us.  Impressively, they immediately picked up our luggage and carried it the car–and to the house when we arrived.  Then Sebastian opened his birthday present–a radio controlled helicopter.  He is well on his way to mastering its flight maneuvers.  We have enjoyed the beach and surf.  And the weather has provided some beautiful scenes and colors. So, many good days with family lie ahead is this great country!