Sunday, July 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I love gardening. But, I hate weeding.
Yet weeding is necessary, and not just because the unwanted organisms are unsightly. It is necessary because weeds act like parasites, depriving the plants of a garden from the vital water and nutrients in the ground. They are killers. Surely I am not the only one who has had a garden once beautiful with blossoms taken over by an invader like bermuda grass.
I love the idea that God is a gardener caring for me. But I hate weeding. Or to the point, I hate being weeded. It is necessary. It is necessary for me to be a vibrant spiritual being. It is necessary that God should reach into my corrupt heart and dig out the invader: the invader who slowly but ever so surely depletes my sometimes weary soul.
Lord, teach me to love your careful weeding. You are my gardener. I am a branch in Your vine.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
As a person, I have a pretty strong sense of tradition; especially when it comes to family. When I was young, my family twice drove to Joseph, OR (a small, once rural - now resort town in North Eastern Oregon), where my mother's family originally homesteaded as part of the great western expansion. They were travelers on the Oregon trail, and their land claim put them on very fertile land, near a lake and traversed by a stream in this mountainous terrain. It is beautiful and members of my extended family still reside in the community, one family just down the road from the original homestead site. Anyhow, I digress... On both of those drives north, my family travelled via the scenic 101 along the California and Oregon coast. And on our way out of California, we made a stop at an kind of run down little attraction called The Trees of Mystery. It's a privately owned property covered with Coastal Redwoods and displaying some of the wonderfully unique properties of these incredible, enormous trees (3rd largest species on earth, after the Giant Sequoias of the Sierra Nevadas and the Chinese Sequoias - the real name of which I cannot remember...)
This species has incredible survival potential. One fallen tree remains sound without decomposition due to it's ability to be nourished by the root systems of other trees which have grown over and around the fallen trunk. Another tree has 11 additional tress with root systems growing into its branches and feeding from it's root system. The candle abra tree grew nearly horizontally, searching for light to photosynthesize and then it's neighboring trees dropped their cones on its side. These cones put down roots into the sideways trunk and began to grow vertically. (I didn't take many pictures of these, but Rhonda did... They'll be up on her photog soon no doubt.)
Anyhow, even though it added about 5 hours of driving to our 2-day return trip from Seattle, I insisted that we take the 101 home just so we could take our kids... and Ruby... to this attraction. Incidentally, there are several worthy roadside attractions along the northern 101 for a family trip... I recommend it. By doing so, my kids have continued a tradition that first was attended by my parents in their early marriage, before kids.
You'll notice that outside the trail entrance, we were greeted by Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe. These statues were there when I was a kid, and I remember my parents commenting on them too. I remember them with chipped and fading paint, silently and ominously guiding us to the corny but wonderfully educational destination. Well, on this trip, Paul moved his head to look around. He waved, winked and held conversations with on-lookers. Ruby and the kids had a great time climbing on Paul's boot and getting to know this giant Paul Bunyan, who came to rest here after the 1962 World's Fair (which he shared with the Space Needle as their original locations - the Space Needle still being in its original location). He likes the St Louis Cardinals, even though he has an obvious Giants connection. And when asked if there was a real Paul Bunyan, he told Molly, "you're lookin' at him sweety..."
Well, Ruby and the kids loved Paul, but I think he was more of a wonder for me than for them; and I feel satisfied that I have continued yet one more small tradition that connects my children to the generations before them.
Well, it was the biggest day of the family vacation and the whole reason we planned the trip to begin with. Rhonda's family gathered in Port Orchard, WA for a bi-annual reunion gathering. It was great fun and we had a group of 28 together for lunch. Uncle Denny, Uncle Steve and Aunt Kay, and Uncle Roger and Aunt Linda now are the patriarchal figures of the family and all were present. We had 12 cousins and 7 second cousins in the mix. Aunt Linda's Brother and family live in northern WA and joined the party. They were tons of fun!
From Colorado, Idaho, California, and British Columbia, we met at a lakefront park where the teens and kids swam and where Tim, Mike, and Roger vied for mastery of the BBQ... Tim won the fray and provided masterfully cooked burgers and dogs. It was a relaxing afternoon that wound down to a calm supper of left-overs at David's home, motorcycle rides for my boys on new-cousin Mike's bike, and the traditional photographs of the entire group and family groupings. A terrific day with a pretty great family, of which I am honored to be a part.
Ruby however did not feel like attending. She seems to share my mother-in-law's dread of large groups, not to mention that all 19 relatives were strangers to her. So, Ruby hung out at the hotel (this one actually had room service available and in my book that qualifies it as a hotel: 2 stars). Obviously to fill her time, Ruby dug into my vacation reading stack.
One of the great things about vacations is a good excuse to unplug from all of the electronic media that fills so much of our time in this postmodern culture. With all of the extra time, I get to read more: real books, with paper pages and the smell of dust. Pretty early in our marriage, Rhonda and I took up the tradition of choosing a vacation novel and reading to each other. Rhonda does most of the reading while I drive and the continuity of a story helps me stay awake on long treks. "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo," was the title of choice for this trip. (GREAT!) I also read Michael DiMarco's "God Guy." (Great for young men, and enjoyable for me. My Quest Study Bible and guide to prayer are also part of my stack for this vacation.
This is what we caught Ruby doing when we got back to the room... Evidently, reading is a great vacation for dolls too!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
We have been in Northwestern Washington for 4 days without a single offer of Starbucks... And quite frankly, Ruby was getting tired of the wait. Well, at long last at the very end of day 4, we ventured off alone to historic Seattle and found our way to the Pike Place Market and the ORIGINAL STARBUCKS!!!!
Well, the shop is tiny. (I guess the demand wasn't so high in '71, and today there is just no where to sit.) The line was out the door and the place was just a buzz with devotees paying homage. You can see that Ruby is trying to garner some attention here as she has picked out the perfect mug for me to take home as a reminder of a truly perfectly made ToffeeNut Mocha.