On Friday, May 19, we had scheduled to hike at Champoeg State Park. We had been there a little while ago and I thought it would be a great place to do a hike with the ladies from church, because it is easy to walk, has convenient bathrooms, and has ice cream in the middle! The Women’s Ministries team had asked me to plan another hike after the one last October was a success. I scheduled this day’s hike to Champoeg to sort of scope it out and see the best route, and check out the historic Butteville Store to try its lunch and ice cream.
The week before we were going to Champoeg I found out that The Girl’s baby shower has been scheduled on the same day I was supposed to lead the hike with the church ladies. Since the baby is coming in July we couldn’t find another date for me to do the church hike, so the ladies are going without me on the original day. I printed out a map and gave them all the info.
We decided to hike at Champoeg anyway because we really wanted to try out the food at the historic Butteville Store, since it was closed the last time we were there. The store is the longest running retail establishment in Oregon! It is about a 3-mile hike from the visitor’s center parking to the store, on a paved bike path. There isn’t much elevation except as you’re coming back up from the store. Somehow we ended up doing about 7 miles, but an extra mile is always OK! We didn’t go to the visitor’s center this time, but check out my last post about Champoeg to see what the visitor’s center and the area have to offer!
The bike path follows the river some of the way and we could get glimpses of it, although I didn’t get any photos this time as the trees have leafed out and obscure most of the views. It is rather a “green tunnel” of a hike, but nice and cool in the shade. The campground at about 1.5 miles has a nice restroom and a fun play area for kids that we tried out on our last trip. Kangaroo and her Hubs had camped there a couple of months back with their new travel trailer.
Toward the beginning of the path we saw some deer in the distance.
There were a few flowers blooming, which is always nice to see. At the visitor’s center we saw some camas blooming. Here is the sign that tells about the history and use of camas. Doesn’t it make you want to plant some and prepare it as food?
To get to the store, you follow the bike path to a short road and then follow a main road downhill to Butteville. Butteville is not too far from the fun little historic town of Aurora, which has many antique stores that we like to explore. We got to the store just before it opened, so we thought we’d relax on the deck until it was time. Unfortunately, the store lady was blowing leaves and blossoms off the deck so we had to wait a bit! We noticed the blossoms on the tree above the deck and asked the lady what kind of tree it was. She didn’t know, but reminded me of Google Lens, which is the neat app that identifies things when you take a photo of them. Google Lens found that the tree is a European Horse Chestnut, and we were happy to know that as we had never seen a horse chestnut tree before!
Even though the store wasn’t quite open, the store lady invited us to go in and take a look at the store. There we found a quaint room with tables and chairs, and nods to the history of the place all around. Butteville used to be a steamship stop on the river, and there was a big boat launch area. You can read more about the history on the Friends of Butteville website.
When the restaurant opened, we went to order our food. Sweet Pea and I ordered sandwiches and ice cream, while Kangaroo opted just for dessert. Here is the food menu. Since we were there on Friday, we could choose from a few sandwiches. Sweet Pea chose the Joe Wolf sandwich, and I chose the Josie Ryan. We were both impressed by the deliciousness of the sandwiches!
For dessert, we each had some ice cream, of course! Kangaroo got the “Cup of Dirt” ice cream in a bowl, I chose to have a scoop of “Luna’s Lavender” in a waffle cone, and Sweet Pea chose the “Hello Sunshine” sundae. Can you believe I didn’t get photos of anyone’s ice cream?😮
During and after our meal we had a conversation with an elderly couple who had three German Shepherd dogs. The man noticed Sweet Pea’s shirt that had a Guide Dogs for the Blind logo on it, and the couple said that their kids had raised guide dogs for 4H. They talked about their dogs’ history and where they had come from, a couple of them were guide dog “dropouts”, which are wonderful dogs who just can’t quite get the whole guide dog thing. Sweet Pea’s senior yellow lab, Angel, is an example of this kind of dog. She is a very good girl!
After our big lunch we were happy for the opportunity to walk the three miles back to the truck. The weather was very nice and it was a very fun day!
Last Friday we hiked again at the Miller Woods Conservation Area in McMinnville. The sun was out and it was so nice to finally feel warm outdoors again! We had hiked at Miller Woods on February 3rd and were hoping to go back and see some wildflowers. There weren’t as many as we’d hoped, but some lovelies were blooming.
We started with the loop around the pond like we did last time. This time we actually saw a big froggie friend on his raft (in the rather blurry photo below).
We were sorry that we chased the geese away, but maybe it was just as well. I’m not sure how nicely-tempered they are.
Around the pond and throughout the woods are these wildlife cover boards. They have handles so you can lift them up to see if anyone is hiding underneath. Unfortunately once you do that, the little friends are disturbed and go find somewhere else to rest.
We followed the trail up and around the picnic area. The Miller Woods trail builders placed benches along the trails in very convenient places.
After walking up and around, we walked down to the meadow looking for the woods trail. We found a service road and walked up that until we came to the red trail. Once you get into the woods the trails are pretty well marked at junctions, but from the meadow it was hard to find the trails. We looked at the map and decided to take the red trail to the yellow trail, and take the yellow trail back to the pond. In the end we took a shortcut down to the pond on a service road instead of doing the whole yellow loop.
On the way down on the shortcut road we did come upon these, which we hadn’t seen last time.
It was nice and cool walking in the woods. Kangaroo made sure to take a photo of this sign because she too was born in 1971! Sweet Pea had decided not to take too many photos and just to enjoy herself during the hike.
We made it to the “K.T.” Summit and rested there on a very nice large bench while we had a snack. I had something new to eat, pumpkin seed butter. It was with the peanut butter packets at the Natural Grocers so I decided to try it. It was pretty tasty, very mild and sweet. It does have sugar in it, but also lots of protein and fat for sustained energy. Win! During our rest time we were noticing bugs on the ground. Sweet Pea found a neon green spider, and I found this weird inchworm that looks like a stick.
Look here at my little dogwood tree blooming already!!
A few other flowers have been blooming too, now that the sun is out.
The succulent plants have also taken off, and I noticed this one falling out of its hole in the strawberry pot. Since the one above has crowded over that hole, I decided to repot the one that had fallen out. I got out the Miracle Gro Succulent and Cactus mix and filled the little green pot. I had the pots on the plant stand waiting to get other succulents to put in them, so this worked out fine.
Lots of stuff happening in the yard now that the summery weather has arrived! We got all the yard decor set out, just have to get the yard mowed before I take photos to show you. More updates forthcoming!
Yesterday we planted our new magnolia trees in the front yard. I was wondering if we should plant one in the front and one in the side yard, but I finally decided that I wanted two matching trees in the front yard. We picked our spots and The Hubs began digging.
After digging the hole for the tree, he carted off some of the dirt from the hole back to the garden area.
After digging the hole the correct size for the tree, The Hubs mixed some of this planting compost mixture with some of the dirt from the hole.
Once a good amount of dirt and compost were mixed, The Hubs put some of the compost mixture and a couple of handfuls of this transplanting fertilizer at the bottom of the hole, as directed by the nursery worker he had spoken to.
Then he plopped the tree in and he filled the hole with the compost mixture, tamping it down good and solid. I supervised during the planting process.
After doing that twice and watering them well, here is the finished result.
After planting the magnolias, The Hubs suggested I might like a tree to plant in “my” yard, the side yard, and I said, “Why not?” So we made the drive back up to Al’s, this time in the minivan. We had driven the big truck to get the magnolias and they would have fit easily in the van, so we thought we’d just take the van since the big truck uses a lot more gas. When we got the Al’s I was able to find a worker to help us find the “Venus” dogwood that I had chosen from their website. You can see from the tag that it has “exceptionally large white flowers” and also has nice fall color and attractive (though inedible) fall fruit!
The lady said, “Oh, those are BEAUTIFUL,” and I was glad to hear it since I hadn’t seen one bloom in person. She talked to a man called Gustavo on her radio and he came and led us the long way down to the fruit and flowering trees. I chose a tree I thought looked good and The Hubs dragged the pot to the cart. Once we got it up onto the cart The Hubs went in to pay while I stayed with the tree and the three Marzinera tomato plants he had picked out. When we got to the van we realized that the dogwood tree was a bit taller than the magnolias and it reached clear up into the front seat!
Oops! I had a couple of plastic bins in the way back of the van, so we put the tree’s pot in one of those ostensibly so the van floor wouldn’t get wet and dirty. It kept the floor from getting wet, but a whole lot of dirt came out of that pot when The Hubs was taking it out of the van! He did (bless him) vacuum out the dirt and also the driver’s side floor with the mini ShopVac.
We stopped for lunch at Route 99 in Brooks on the way home, and then started in planting the dogwood outside my office bay window. The Hubs dug the hole and put the fertilizer in, and we took the tree out of the pot.
The bottom of the tree was wrapped in burlap, with some rather hard clay-type dirt around the roots. The Hubs cut off the burlap before planting the tree but we left the dirt around the roots to protect them.
It was the goal on Saturday to get all my yard decorations put up and around the yard but that didn’t happen again, so I’m shooting for this coming weekend when it is supposed to be sunny and warm.
Well, not many interesting things have happened here in the last few weeks. I have bought more things for The Grandbaby for when he arrives in July, we haven’t gone on many hikes for various reasons, and I haven’t been doing much around the house. We are, however, definitely wanting to get ready for summer!
So on Sunday we went to Al’s Fruit and Shrub Garden Center in Woodburn and bought two magnolia trees for the yard. I was thinking we would put both of them in the front yard but now The Hubs has suggested putting one in the side yard, so now I’m not sure what we’ll do, but he definitely wants to plant one today. They are the “Vulcan” variety, with dark pink blossoms. I think they will add a lot of beauty to our yard!
Also, I have received many yard decorations from my friend Linda, who with her husband is selling their house and downsizing into their R.V. I had planned to have The Hubs help me with the decorations last week when the weather was nice but he was busy, so now that will have to wait because it’s going to rain again for awhile. As soon as the sun comes back we will get out there and put up all the decorations and bird feeders. I may paint some of the stars and other decorations. Right now they are a sort of chartreuse color.
Here are some updates on my little patio garden. Most of the succulents are doing quite well and making all sorts of little baby succulents:
But I’m really not sure what this one is doing. Is it still alive? I think so, but it’s hard to tell.
The rosebush seems to be going great guns and enjoying the very wet feet it got throughout the winter.
This little plant has bounced right back:
I thought this pink lavender plant with the bee waterer had died, but it is coming back. I will clean the bee waterer and add some fresh water.
This lavender plant seems to have died, but I think it seeded some new little plants in the pot.
The rosemary and silver lavender plants seem to be doing well, although I do think this lavender plant needs to be in the ground or at least a bigger pot. I’d like to set up a little bed with the rosemary and lavender plants at some point.
These pretty little flowers just grew here all by themselves.
We will have to get after the blackberries coming over from the neighbor’s yard. He refuses to cut them back for some reason. We did have a very large blackberry patch in our yard due to the neighbor’s blackberries and it was nice to have the berries, but they were out of control and we don’t want them back again!
That’s about it for this update, will do another update when we’ve gotten the yard all spruced up!
The first Saturday of April Marnie and I went to the monthly flea market in Rickreall. We had a fun experience and I brought home a ton of neat stuff! First, I decided we should attend the “early bird” time on Saturday – the regular admission time is Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. The Saturday opening time is 10:00 a.m., so we got there about 9:40 to be sure we were close to the beginning of the line. We soon realized that they don’t even let the vendors in to set up until 10:00, so we walked into mostly empty rooms, haha! We made a beeline to the booth of the first guy that was quickly getting his things out on tables, and I immediately discovered bundles of Dr. Seuss books for a very reasonable price! I paid the man and gleefully stuffed all of the (heavy!) books into my very large bag. I had brought a large bag and a smaller bag just in case.
We walked around the market and looked at the items for sale as they came out of the vendors’ tubs and boxes. I saw one box and zeroed in on a Sue Grafton book in it and asked the man how much it was. He said, “You can have it, I don’t do books!” so I looked again into the box and found three more Sue Grafton books, and he let me have them all for free! I discovered when I got home that I already had a couple of them but I couldn’t remember all of the ones I have. I just grab them when I see them and sort them out later, like I do with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books!
Happily, I found TWO booths selling vintage Fisher Price Little People toys and bought them up. The furniture is hard to find and usually very expensive!
I found many old Look and Saturday Evening Post magazines, all in plastic with cardboard backing.
And this not-so-old magazine I wanted because two of our kids were born in 1994 and I thought they might like to read something that was made close to the time of their birth…
I got this little nightstand/end table that I will redo somehow, it’s a great size!
One of my favorite things seen at the flea market. The little old lady who was selling him said, “Isn’t he handsome?” I thought he was a bit scary myself, wouldn’t want to run into his kind on a dark country road!
After we made a few more rounds to make sure we hadn’t missed anything, we got in the car and started back up the road from the fairgrounds where the flea market was held. We noticed that the Rickreall Grange was having a “bazaar”, so we decided to check that out too. There were a few tables with handmade items and vintage things, but the jackpot came when we went into another room and a lady was selling all sorts of clothes for $1.00 apiece! I rummaged through her boxes and found quite a few nice things, including a Columbia fleece in new condition and some great quality things for The Grandbaby when he gets older. I think we might go back there, I’d like to go through the boxes again!
Over the past few weeks I have been to a couple of flea markets and came home with a lot of cool stuff. We attended a market in Albany that was supposed to be Linn County’s largest flea market, and I found some great buys. We got to the market early so needed to stand in line in the cold. I was proud of myself in that I had bought a long, warm Banana Republic sweater at the consignment store for $8 and it works great to go to events like this. It is warm enough to stand in line outside, but cool enough to not get overheated inside!
At every flea market, estate sale, or antique mall we go to we always find some item that is the “theme” of the day. At the Albany flea market, we saw quite a few of these old safety razors. They were everywhere!
Here are photos of the things I bought at the Albany flea market. I got this lamp , which Marnie very nicely carried out to the car for me. I also got a vintage Fisher Price Little People village and a bag of cars and people to go with it, a large number of Hardy Boys books for just $8.00, a big bag of letter magnets for when the grandbaby is old enough to put words together (there are enough magnets to have some at Baby’s house and some at Nana and Grandpa’s house!), some Tupperware from a booth that had so much vintage Tupperware I didn’t know what to do with myself, a beautiful hand-tied necklace made of rose quartz beads, and other things!
After we were done at the Albany flea market, we decided to go downtown for lunch. We chose to eat at the Brick and Mortar restaurant, since we had eaten there before and I wanted breakfast for lunch. The restaurant was full and they have the technology to text you when your table is ready, so we went next door to Sniffany’s Pet Boutique to check it out. It’s a lot bigger inside than you can tell from the outside, and oh, what a selection of pet things they have! More for doggos than kitties, but we enjoyed looking at all the fun things and petting the shop cat.
But then we saw these:
We tried to have some fun with them, but we really got quite a case of the heebie-jeebies, and while I’m sure these chewies are great for dogs we both decided that we wouldn’t have them in the house! Ewwwwww…
The restaurant texted shortly and we went in and sat down to get ready for our brunch. Thankfully looking at the doggo “treats” hadn’t ruined our appetite, and we both ordered our breakfast foods. I had my hashbrowns “mortar style”, with cheese and all sorts of other things, and they were delicious.
After our meal we walked around downtown Albany for a little while. We searched for and finally found a clothing consignment store we were interested in and looked around in there. Then we walked back to the car (at least we got some steps in!) and came on home. All in all a profitable day! I’m so thankful that my bestie likes to come with me to these events!
My Epic Fail at Taking Thoughts Captive (and my learnings)
I don’t know how to improve. Is God’s grace really for me – such a mess up? How could God ever save me when I’m acting like this? Will He really change me, or the situation I’ve found myself in?
Friends, yesterday I was so deep in a pit of stinking thinking, I could no longer see God’s faithfulness. It was bad. God seemed far. Self-condemnation was near. I was getting everything all wrong. I was thinking all wrong and I knew it. I’m a bad wife. I’m not loving my kids well. I haven’t made good decisions. I am letting people down. A heavy weight of sadness was trying to creep up on me. I could feel it calling my name. It wanted me to give up, ball up, and cry out in bed.
Ever been there?
I can’t say I handled everything right yesterday. In fact, I did horrible. And, for me, as an author of the book, “Take Every Thought Captive: Exchange Lies of the Enemy for the Mind of Christ,” it made me feel like a hyper-hypocrite.
Here I am presenting a book on how to stand firm in truth, and to be like Jesus and I am in a pit of despair. Ain’t one of us perfect. There by the grace of God, go I. All I know is – I stand hand-in-hand with you, as a fellow sinner, without Jesus.
This I know about me: Without God, there’s not much good to report.
Frankly, not one of us is going to think perfectly. Not one of us will be positive all the time. Not one of us will always believe the best about others, hope the best about our future, and love like a perfect little angel. What do we do in this place when, like Paul said, what we don’t want to do, we do?
Do we scream and give up? Do we fight like a wild woman? Do we numb ourselves?
Frankly, seeing the weight of our own mistake feels crushing – like French-pressed coffee – under the weight of everything being forced down on it.
There is only thing that gets us out; it is a key to taking thoughts captive. It is something we can’t just know cerebrally, but we must receive wholeheartedly. It must go past just being mental to being heart-transformational; then, we break prison bars open!
Do you know what I am talking about? It is a little 5-letter word that changes everything: grace (God’s equipping, empowering, and enabling free gift of help and restoration).
Not one, not ever, has saved themselves.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV)
It is God’s undeserved, unwarranted, and unearned grace that is still working, still saving, still transforming, still making a way for us, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Yes, we are saved for eternity, but grace still has earthly application.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16 KJV)
When we receive God’s grace, we receive gain prison-bar-breaking freedom.
A mind receiving grace goes about thinking:
My mess is big but God’s empowering grace – that sets me free – is bigger.
I can’t change me, but His power to sanctify me and to change me is radical and working.
Jesus saved me and, by grace, He still saves and helps those who come to Him in prayer.
God’s grace is enough; His power is made perfect even in my weakness.
God knows me, right where I am today. He still loves me and helps me.
I am not lost or abandoned; I am wanted.
All of God + none of me = a complete work of what He wants to do.
The pressure is off.
Friends, I can’t say that I was the picture-perfect image of a biblical woman taking thoughts captive yesterday. Hardly! But I can say God’s grace is enough. It is working for me. It is helping me, even when I don’t feel worthy. It is teaching me, even when I feel like a lost cause. His grace is more powerful than my natural mind. And, in receiving, I trust in that!
Prayer: Father God, frankly, I don’t feel that great about me. I feel like I have let you down. I am sorry. Will you forgive me? Will you also give me all the grace and mercy I so desperately need? I don’t want to be just a hearer of your Word. I want to be a doer of it. I want to show love to others and myself. I want to be kind towards myself even when I falter. I want to see myself as holy and blameless because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. God, help me to receive your grace and not to mark myself out because of what I see in the natural. I trust you. I ask for your grace and I receive it now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Get all of Kelly’s blog posts by email! Kelly Balarie, author (Battle Ready, Rest Now, Take Every Thought Captive), speaker, and blogger, delights in joining hands with women as they go through life’s ups and downs. To see God move to revive hearts, to restore relationships, and to bring hope to weary souls are highlight moments for Kelly. Beyond this, Kelly has led spiritual growth Bible study groups and has been seen on TODAY, The 700 Club, Crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com, and (in)courage. Her work has also been featured by Relevant and Today’s Christian Woman. She lives with her husband and two kiddos on the East Coast.