Tag Archives: Union_County_Oregon

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

Wrap around sunset: a Fourth of July preview

Sunday evening, Meg and I were blessed to be in a location where we could observe the best sunset we have seen, outside of the Bay of Plenty, North Island, N  (how is that for name dropping 🙂 The sky surrounding the Grande Ronde Valley was a wrap around of developing color in full 360 degree grandeur.  Frankly, it surpassed anything we can expect on the Fourth of July.

Mt Emily Recreation Area

Mt Harris, Grande Ronde Valley

Come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, let me feel you inside me and follow you out of joy, not out of memory or habit.
“When we speak about the Holy Spirit, we speak about the breath of God, breathing in us.  The Greek word for ‘spirit’ is pneuma, which means breath.  We are seldom aware of our breathing.  It is so essential for life that we only think about it when something is wrong with it.
The Spirit of God is like our breath.  God’s spirit is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves.  We might not often be aware of it, but without it we cannot live a ‘spiritual life.’ It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace and joy.  It is the Holy Spirit who offers us the life that death cannot destroy.  Let us always pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, come.”  Henri Nouwen

Smith Rocks, OR

Wallowa River Canyon, OR

Hearing the Word

If we believe God spoke our universe, our world, our selves into existence, then how do we listen to Him?  Here is what Henri Nouwen says:
“The Word of God is not a word to apply in our daily lives at some later date; it is a word to heal us through and in, our listening here and now.

The questions therefore are: How does God come to me as I listen to the word? Where do I discern God’s healing hand touching me through his word? How are my sadness, my grief, my mourning being transformed at this very moment?  Do I sense the fire of God’s love purifying my heart and giving me new life? These questions lead me to the sacrament of the word, the sacred place of God’s real presence.”  Henri Nouwen

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.”

Peace and Quietude

Long ago, in the fifteenth century,  a German monk, Thomas á Kempis, wrote, “if we would cut off all vain worrying, thinking only of  things that are profitable to the soul, and placing our hope in God, what great peace and quietness we would then possess.”  

In our world today, the quantity and the quality of noise has changed, but the path to relief is the same á Kempis wrote long ago. The challenge–and the advice–never changes.

Traveling with God across the country

On Tuesday,my cardiologist cleared me for travel.  Meg and I are leaving this afternoon (Friday) to drive back to New Hampshire to visit Michael and Sara.  In addition, I will be the featured artist at the Great Falls Discovery Center in western Mass for the month of October.  My New England fall pictures were discovered on my web site in January, 2010, and this US Fish and Wildlife Refuge facility asked me to show them.  We are taking the northern tier through Montana, North Dakota, northern Michigan and Canada to Niagara Falls, upstate New York, visiting friends along the way.

Our MBA Chinese student, Marshal, will house sit for us, although for this driving trip we are taking our golden retriever, Dakota, with us.  Jasmine, our other Chinese student, is now in Eugene.  A week and half ago, three years to the date she arrived at SeaTac, we drove her and her possessions to Eugene, where she will begin her studies for a Masters in Accounting.   We have deeply appreciated the opportunity to watch her growth, and to grow ourselves as we expanded our family.
Meg and I are looking forward to this total time together. We have no idea what lies ahead during the next twelve days.  We do know God travels with us and ahead of us. His love surrounds us, as we enjoy His Creation, knowing that our time on earth is exciting, but only temporary. We sing His praises here, and someday we will get to sing His praises in eternity.

Ladd Marsh, Oregon

When early pioneers reached the Grande Ronde valley in the 1860’s, they found the valley was as much a marsh as it was dry land.  Over the decades, Ladd Marsh was drained to make room for a thriving farm community.  Farming is still the major activity in the valley, but over the last four decades, Ladd Marsh has been restored and expanded.  The Oregon Fish and Wildlife department and the City of La Grande entered into a unique inter governmental agreement to allow the City’s treated waste water to flow into the marsh, providing a stable source of water. Funding was acquired to purchase adjoining farm and range land, and new ponds were dug.

Now, Ladd Marsh is one of the outstanding birding areas for all kinds of waterfowl and small birds, including cranes, ibis, and egrets.  The ODFW has dedicated staff who have made the area family friendly with birding trails and roads that allow excellent viewing.  A long pier extends into one pond to allow birders to set up with binoculars and spotting scopes.  The area is located on either side of Interstate 84, so access is convenient when you are in the La Grande area.

The Safety of God

Love, forgiveness, hope, mercy, grace.  All these attributes come together when we move ever more deeply into truly trusting God.  My brother is now in the New England Rehab Center.  It is a good place, with dedicated staff, and Greg is moving more strongly toward trust.  His doctor has strongly urged him to cease his worrying, so Greg is receiving good advice s well as physical care.