I found this sign at the Goodwill thrift store in West Salem on Sunday, and it was exactly what I needed to see this week so I brought it home to remind me. It is from Isaiah 43.
Since our PCT thru-hike attempt and our subsequent Oregon section attempt, I’ve been reflecting on the purpose of it and what I should do now. I spent most of my non-work time for seven years planning for our thru-hike and thinking about it every day, and now I sort of feel like I’m in limbo. I haven’t thought of another BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, as my parents’ pastor puts it) to plan for and right now I’m just not doing much at all.
I like to be productive, and while I get my eight or nine hours of sleep a night (early to bed, early to rise!) when I’m awake I prefer to be accomplishing something. So I keep asking God, “What are you calling me to do? What’s the next thing? What thing should I be planning for now?”
Something I’ve noticed recently is that I’m just tired. I’m not a super high-energy person generally, but I seem to feel more regularly tired than I did before our hiking attempts. After our four-mile beach walk on Saturday I came home much more weary than I should have been. I couldn’t get going on any other projects even though we got home early in the day.
So I’ve been trying to figure out what God wants me to do next, and what I’m sensing is that I should rest, take a sabbatical (a break or change from normal routine) from planning. I really enjoy planning, so I’m constantly running over things in my mind. I’m the one who starts packing a month before the trip, ha. Rest is defined as “peace, ease or refreshment.” My brain has been on one track for so long, I think it really needs that refreshment. I will plan for small things like holidays, and will rest from planning big things like thru-hikes. I will be able to put more energy into serving at church, studying God’s Word, dealing with some health-related issues, and reading more books. I will still do my transcription work, but will more available to others. I will endeavor to learn how to trust and hope in God completely. I will be able to put my heart into all these things more than I did when I had a big event constantly on my mind. I look forward to wisdom gained and strength renewed!
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
These passages have been hard for me to get through my head, and I’ll tell you why. I ran track when I was a sophomore in high school. The Sis and The Sis-In-Law and the rest of our friends were on the track team, and I thought it would be fun to join them. Because I wasn’t fast enough to run sprints and couldn’t run for long enough to do the longer races, I ran the 400 meter race. (I am told now it’s one of the hardest races to run. Thanks for letting me know then, track coach (not).) Turns out I am just a very slow runner, and I lost every single race. I mean, I came in dead last. Every. Single. Race. I went to every practice and every meet, but since I wasn’t one of the winning team members the coaches pretty much ignored me and didn’t give me any pointers. When it was time to give out awards, I really hoped that I could get a letter just because I tried as hard as I could and ran every race regardless of my lack of talent and subsequent embarrassment, but you only got a letter if you received a certain number of points and that meant you had to win events. (Our school didn’t offer letters in choir. If they had, I totally would have gotten all the letters.)
Hebrews 12:1 talks about running with endurance, and Philippians 3:14 talks about winning the prize. Well, I ran but I didn’t have much endurance (hence my not being able to run the longer races), and I never won a prize. The only competition I’ve ever won on my own was a spelling competition in middle school, and then when it came to the bigger contest I didn’t come close to winning that one. Not being a competitive person by nature, I don’t enter contests if I know I will be competing directly against others. I don’t like competition. I mean, I enjoy winning but really don’t have confidence that I will.
So I have always been rather flummoxed when reading these Bible passages about running and winning, since now I can’t even run at all (Well, I can run half a block. Then I have to stop because I can’t breathe. Ow. Running hurts.) and I have never been good enough at anything to win any important competitions. And I am not that great at pressing on toward goals I set for myself, so there’s also that.
I have decided, however, to replace “run” with “hike” in my thinking. I can hike with perseverance and reach the hiking goal, so that speaks to me better then the idea of running. I have reached many summits (though not any 14ers, but then I haven’t tried) and have only had to turn around a couple of times, mostly because of sketchy snow on the trail. This gives me hope that although I will never be like Jesus completely, I can move forward and become more like Him as I hike through life. I’m a slow hiker, but I get places.
Obviously there is so much more to these scriptures, but that is for another post!
Today Marnie and I went to the opening day of the Oregon State Fair. I enjoy the Fair but The Hubs isn’t all that interested, so I asked Marnie to go with me.
The last few times I’ve been to the Fair we’ve gone toward the end of its run of 11 days, and this time I really wanted to go at the beginning when everything is fresh. I think we might have been too early though, because it looked like some of the animals hadn’t arrived yet.
We entered through the blue gate where the livestock barns are (after accidentally pulling into the handicapped parking and having to exit over a curb) and went to see the animals. We were looking especially for alpacas. There were many kinds of sheep, cows, and a couple of Belgian horses. I didn’t get any photos of regular cows, but here are sheep and one of the big horses:
We saw these Longhorns in a pen in a different part of the Fair. Every time we went to take a photo they would turn away, ha. I finally got this one:
But could only get the back end of this one:
We should have asked the people to learn more about them, but we spent too much time trying to photograph them!
We watched a little bit of a horse showing — we missed the announcement but it looked like the horse was being judged on how well it was trained. In the livestock pavilion we saw this pony and a couple of others. This one also didn’t want her photo taken:
Here are some other critters we saw (the bunnies came on a different day, and there were no chickens in the poultry barn either):
This was a fun thing, I’m always fascinated by how Slinkies go down stairs:
We toured some very nice RVs:
Then we went into the Creative Living building and saw a lot of fun exhibits:
There were wood carvers, spinners/weavers, and authors showing off their work. One of the authors was William Sullivan, who has written many books about hiking in Oregon. I resisted the urge to tell him that his hike ratings are inaccurate!
We walked through the vendor building and the outside vendors, but didn’t see anything to buy that we couldn’t live without. We got hungry and decided to get some lunch, and corn dogs were on the menu. I won’t say how much the food cost because it was a painful amount.
A show was starting just as we finished lunch, so we went over to see what it was all about. The “Nerveless Nocks” do a daredevil show. They don’t use any safety devices so had to do a disclaimer by telling the kids in the audience to “not try this at home”. Here is Michaelangelo Nock balancing on four chairs.
Here is Angelina Nock and her aerial act:
Here is Angelina standing in the metal ball while a young Venezuelan man rides a motorcycle around and around. It was hard to get a good photo of this.
Someday I will try one of these deep-fried delicacies. They actually have deep-fried Kool-Aid. That flummoxed us! I got a jumbo bag of cotton candy and we chomped on some of that as we walked. I brought the rest home and was going to take a photo of it, but I forgot and eated it all up instead.
And then there’s always this food booth:
As we were heading back to the car we saw an alpaca go by near the livestock barns, and hurried after it. We missed when it went in though, and never did find the alpacas. We did, however, find llamas.
And I will leave you with this:
The mirror – it startles me. (I wrote this poem 12 years ago today. To say the mirror startles me now is an understatement.)
It is an ancient, common tale,
And we do not like to think
That our lustrous hair and lovely eye
May someday be extinct.
Our big bright eyes were open wide,
And we were cute and thin;
We did not fret, the mirror showed
Pink cheeks and glowy skin.
It held us there in happiness
“Yes, I approve,” it said.
And thoughts of aging gracefully
Were put into our heads.
It holds me now in disbelief,
I gasp when I stand still,
And catch a glimpse of how it shows
Its lack of kind goodwill.
My heart is sinking like a stone,
I cannot choose but hear,
And thus cackles that shiny fiend
“You’re not the same, my dear!”
Then I was cheered, my face had cleared,
Of spots and pimply beasts,
Below though, they were lurking,
To get me while I sleep.
The sun is up now in the east,
Out of my bed I crawl,
And see a face reflected that
Just isn’t me at all!
Higher and higher every day,
My expectations loomed.
I’d diet, I’d fuss, I’d stay for hours
In the exercising room.
Frustrated, I pace back and forth,
Red in the face, I sigh.
The scale, who is not my friend,
Shows me an all-time high!
“I’ve worked so hard, I do not know
What gives, for heaven’s sake?”
And thus goes on the ancient rhyme
From night until I wake.
Now a storm-blast, not a smile,
Assails me when I think,
That I’m NOT aging gracefully,
The opposite, I think!
I’ve sloping masts and dipping prow,
I’ve crow’s feet, lines; I’m pudgy.
These thoughts just make me want to eat
Some pie, or something fudgy.
I should turn back, loud roars the snack,
(I ate it, now it’s quiet!)
And now there is a misty fog,
My vision’s getting blur’y.
The eye doctor said “It’s just age,”
And told me not to worry.
It really seems just yesterday
That I was seventeen.
No shape of what I used to be
The mirror is all between.
The mirrors are here, the mirrors are there,
The mirrors are all around:
They mock and laugh, and roar and howl,
My self-respect is down!
At length did sneak the wrinkles,
Through the years they came;
As they had been a horrid smell,
I curse them, but in vain.
I ate chocolate to comfort me,
Chubby and plump I grew.
My jeans did split with a thunder-fit;
But I would not buy new!
And a good dose of denial came by,
“You’ll be fit again!” did follow,
But every day, I was still plump
In sadness I still wallow.
In mist or cloud, in sun or gray,
Age perched to stare at me;
While overnight, I’d think each morn,
It multiplied times three.
“God save thee, ancient lady,
From your loss of self-esteem! –
Why look’st thou so?” — “I’m old, and lo!
I bought the hundred-dollar cream!”
~Noelle Marier ©2010
In so many of the new kids’ cartoons there are classic culture references that the kids (and probably many adults my age) just don’t get, and when I see these I am compelled to ask my kids, “Do you know why that’s funny?”
Today my son and I are were watching “Courage the Cowardly Dog”. There was a scene where Courage and a Bigfoot got in a food fight, and at the end of the food fight they both had piles of fruit on their heads and skirts made of bananas and were dancing the samba. I said something like “Ha ha, Carmen Miranda!” and Ben said something like “Huh?!” so I made him watch this video because I feel it is my responsibility to teach him everything I can possibly think of.
Ben and I were at the bank drive-up ATM today and I was telling him “Now, when you’re at the ATM be sure to keep your car doors locked, and look around to make sure nobody is sneaking up to take your money, etc. etc.” and he said “Yes, I know, that’s the third time you told me!” I think I’ll make him watch this video a couple more times just so he doesn’t forget who Carmen Miranda is.
Watch the video, then try not to sing and dance. It’s impossible, the samba is irresistible! La la la la la chica chica boom chic!! Boom ch’boom boom boom ch’boom…
First, I would like to apologize for having only one photo of anything from my interesting day. But, I’m writing about it anyway!
Today I went to the Gardner House Bed and Breakfast in Stayton for afternoon tea with my mom and two friends. You can see the Gardner House menu and information here. We sat in a lovely parlor with a fireplace and had the “Light Tea”, which included a fruit cup, savory tarts, tea-size sandwiches and desserts, and the Gardner House Blend Tea (Ceylon black tea with vanilla, spices, and dried fruit).
The 6-inch savory tarts were marvelous. The server brought 2 of the “Oregon Smoked Gouda with Caramelized Onions and Prosciutto”, and 1 each of the “Oven Dried Tomato with Goat and Mozzarella Cheeses and Kalamata Olives” and the “Roasted Bell Peppers with Gruyere Cheese in Brown and Wild Rice Crust”. We each took of quarter of all 3 varieties. The Smoked Gouda tart was my favorite, and is their most popular. The fresh fruit cup included melon, grapes, pears, starfruit, and pomegranate seeds.
For sandwiches, we each had a tiny cheesy puff with a tuna mixture, a cucumber mint, and an egg salad. All of them were absolutely delicious (and I don’t even eat egg salad!)! For sweets, we had a star-shaped chocolate shortbread cookie, a pretty gingerbread apple cake with a dollop of hard sauce, and a chocolate-dipped English toffee chunk. These came to our table on one of those adorable tiered china serving plates, which I just love. I think I love them because they only come out on special occasions and always hold wonderful noms. The china on the table was in different rose patterns, which I also love. Happy!
The spiced tea was very nice and Christmas-y and even better with a little bit of sugar, which came in a glass bowl with a silver lid and a tiny silver spoon decorated with a teapot. We each got our own little teapot full of tea, and mine was pink. Afternoon tea is so cheerful and festive! I highly recommend the Gardner House – wonderful food and nice service, and they have pastries you can buy to take home. I couldn’t resist the Lemon-Glazed Lavender Scone to eat for my breakfast tomorrow, and I got a Pain au Chocolat and a Sugar Bun as well, ostensibly for other members of my family.
So, we have had record rains the last few days and a lot of wind. On the way to Stayton (15-ish miles from my house) we came upon a large tree that had just fallen across the highway. A few non-official looking men were working at cleaning it up and we had to drive around it on the left shoulder of the road. An emergency vehicle was coming towards the area and we assumed the tree had just succumbed to the the wind and rain. We didn’t find out until the middle of our tea-time that a tornado had come through. A TORNADO.
The tornado zipped through a little town called Aumsville, near Stayton, and caused a lot of damage. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. You can see photos here and an article here. The photos of the plumbing company/barber shop building are incredible, the tornado just stole the roof and left the rest. It’s like you’re looking into a doll’s house. Now, to those of you who live in, say, Kansas this may seem like business as usual. But we live in Oregon. We don’t have tornadoes. I think Ms. Melinda Smith said it best, as quoted in the article noted above:
"Suddenly, it got really dark and really quiet," Smith said. "I noticed a lot of stuff in the air across the street. There were a couple trampolines and sheds flying above the roofs. I told myself, ‘That’s not normal.’"
Well, it certainly isn’t!
I thought I’d start a “Monday Memories” series to put down some sort of random memories that pop up in my brain here and there. I’d love to hear some of yours, too!
I heard the name “Heidi” yesterday and it reminded me of a girl who took care of my sister and me during the summer one year when our mom had gone back to work to sell real estate. (This was around 1980 or 1981, when the real estate market had unfortunately bottomed out.)
Heidi was 17 years old and she was a wonderful babysitter. She was very pretty and had an old pickup to drive us places, which we thought was extremely cool.
The clearest memory I have of Heidi is that she had a purse that looked like a rolled up magazine. It was a plastic clutch style to hold under your arm, and you couldn’t tell it was a purse. I had never seen one before and she had gotten it on a trip somewhere, so I couldn’t get one. But, I just found some beautiful models and more info about them online at StyleWithAnna! This site just gave one away, but I missed it. :’-( You can buy them at Clutch For Cures, and I also found a vintage model on eBay. I’ll have to start saving immediately to get one!