Oregon Coast

We have been thankful to find some available grills for cooking our own food a couple of evenings. Cooking on the beach was great.

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The only down side was the hungry sea gull that came along and snatched my uncooked lobster tail right off of the table while I was tending to the carrots. Jeff, not willing to let him get away with it, chased him down and rescued our little delicacy, washed it in the salt water and brought it back to me!

After our tasty meal, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

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The Wicked are not So

Psalm 1
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

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One of the delights of our trip has been seeing the way that life flourishes near a fresh water source. Portland, as we all know, gets a lot of rain. The landscape is all dripping with green from there, all the way along the Columbia River Gorge. As we drive for miles and miles each day, we encounter many changes in the scenery, and it becomes very obvious whether or not we are close to a river or stream.

Rather than be disappointed to have overcast and rainy days, we are learning to appreciate God’s great mercy in pouring out rain upon the earth. Without it, these beautiful trees could not flourish.

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(Jared, that picture was posted especially for your enjoyment.)

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May we be faithful to delight in God’s law so that we don’t shrivel up.

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Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood

Our first item of the day was the acquisition of our rental car in Vancouver, Washington. Hertz sent a car to our hotel to pick us up and take us to their office. Imagine our delight when the driver, Carol, began to tell us about her eight children! Jeff asked if she was a believer, and she answered with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” She told us about God’s great kindness to her in giving her a family. She had spent her early childhood in Korea, where her mother had been a prostitute and her father some unknown man. Her grandmother cared for her for awhile, but then gave her over to an orphanage. An American family adopted her when she was eight years old. We had not anticipated having such an encouraging ride to the rental center!

It was great to have our own wheels, and we headed to the Columbia River Gorge. It is difficult to convey the immense scale of the place.

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Everything was so lush and green. The weather was perfect – a little rainy, but nice for hiking.

We passed through Hood River

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And then headed south, hoping to get a good view of Mount Hood. The clouds didn’t allow us to see the peak, but seeing them rest on the mountain was breath-taking.

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The scenery changed drastically as we drove south. We had not anticipated seeing desert features.

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Or reindeer!

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Finding an available grill at the hotel in Redmond, we prepared dinner and called it a night.

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Authority: It’s Everywhere (at least it should be)

After our check-in at the hotel on Sunday, Jeff and I were anxious to start moving and desperate to find something to eat. We hopped aboard a train and headed downtown. The closer we got to City Center, the more interesting the people watching became. Spotting what looked like a good place to eat, we got off the train, and what a world we stepped into! The streets were full of shouting people, many wearing garish costumes. We even saw a sign outside one restaurant indicating that Rick Santorum was not welcome to sit and take a meal there. Can you guess what the worship event of the day was? It was Portland’s gay pride festival. No celebration of Father’s Day for this progressive city. Instead, they chose to celebrate the casting-off of the God-given function of a man to raise children. The call to worship was provided by Nike with their rainbowy signs and balloons declaring, “Be True”. No more “Just do it!” encouraging athletes to move beyond the weakness of their bodies to achieve greatness. Just soft assurances that it’s A-OK to do whatever you want to do.

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We enjoyed a delicious meal at Kell’s Irish Tavern

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and reboarded the train.

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We disembarked at what we thought was the entrance to the Japanese Gardens, only to find that we had to hoof it a couple of miles to get there. It was well worth the hike though! Everything about this beautiful place practically shouted, “Authority is good!” Every footpath, every stream of water, every tree and plant, had been precisely placed to provide a stunning feast for the eyes.

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Trees that would have been thirty feet tall if they had been left to themselves had been carefully pruned and trained so that their proportions would be just right. Enjoying their beauty, I thought of my little Japanese maple tree at home. I need to learn to use my pruners! Failing to discipline my tree prevents it from displaying its potential beauty. Even their “Natural Gardens”, designed to make you feel like you’re wandering in the forest, were designed very intentionally and everything was pruned. There are lots of things that occur naturally in the world of plants that would have made these gorgeous gardens less than spectacular. Things like weeds and suckers and disease. We were very thankful for the gardeners’ care and discipline for their responsibility.

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Japanese Gardens of Portland

Amanda and I have spent the afternoon in the Japanese gardens of Portland. Quite amazing, really. The beauty of gardening is really something to behold. I first realized that gardening was more than (and entirely different from) farming when I met Amanda’s parents. Dad and Mom had ‘gardens’. They planted things in the dirt and then weeded and sculpted and purposed to bring about plants. They knew the names of the plants; sometimes (most times) they knew the Latin names also, and they weren’t afraid to tell me about the plant.This is planted here and that is planted there. This one is named William, and that one will bring on a gorgeous pink flower, etc. I had no idea.

I have learned so much about plants from the Dugdale family. I claim the deutzia as my favorite. I know where it is planted in our garden and that its little white flowers are the first to bloom in the spring time. The green plant part always stretches itself to reach the sunlight so we have to scratch through its greenery in order to get from the car to the house when we park in the driveway.

I know what a Rose bush is. And the Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina). And the different Iris along the front wall. And the Columbine (Grandpasays Concubinus). The true gardener knows the names of the plants and why they were planted. The true gardener weeds and cultivates and brings life to his plants. Proper watering and sunlight. Proper pH of the soil and fertilizer that will bring the brightest flower and healthiest foliage. We thank God for his creation and are amazed at His diversity in so many things. Who would have thought of all the different plants? Really? Who could have imagined both the fern and the lily and the redwood? There’s not a chance in Vegas that the cosmic diversity we see in one garden could have come from self-selection.

No religion on earth believes that the same idea gave rise to both the whale and the crabgrass. Eastern religions at least purposefully build meaning into their gardens. They compose and balance and portray and build and identify and idealize and capture reality and reflect and craft and segregate and diversify and distinguish and blend. They feel and accentuate. They breathe and respond. They submit and dominate. They fashion and worship.

But they do not acknowledge the God who made all things.

How does one love the craft of unbelief when it highlights the beauty of the creation of God to the exclusion of the Creator? The Japanese gardens highlighted below are stunning. They were well thought out and genuinely are second to none. The forms are in their balance and place. Even the asymmetry is poetically and artfully highlighting the tension and resolution in every arch and line. And emptiness is built into the mix. Without nothing, you cannot have something.

God made it all and holds it all together with his powerful Word. Every molecule and cell. Every blade of grass and silicone bead is hand-crafted to point to the creator and to give Him glory and praise. We so often worship the created thing instead of the Creator.

I have copied below directly from the website.

The Five Gardens

The 5.5 acre Japanese Garden is composed of five distinct garden styles. When we enter a Japanese garden, the desired effect is to realize a sense of peace, harmony, and tranquility and to experience the feeling of being a part of nature. In a deep sense, the Japanese garden is a living reflection of the long history and traditional culture of Japan. Influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies, there is always “something more” in these compositions of stone, water, and plants than meets the eye.

Three of the essential elements used to create a Japanese garden are stone, the “bones” of the landscape; water, the life-giving force; and plants, the tapestry of the four seasons. Japanese garden designers feel that good stone composition is one of the most important elements in creating a well-designed garden. Secondary elements include pagodas, stone lanterns, water basins, arbors, and bridges. Japanese gardens are asymmetrical in design and reflect nature in idealized form. Traditionally, human scale is maintained throughout so that one always feels part of the environment, not overpowered by it. As Professor Tono wanted to incorporate native trees in our Garden so that it would blend naturally with its environment, some of the plantings here are on a larger scale.

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Share in our enjoyment …

Amanda and I have been given a wonderful gift by my Mother for our 15th anniversary. We are going to spend nine days without our children traveling by car from Portland, OR to San Francisco, CA.

In addition to the fun of planning our adventure, other highlights of the trip include the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Crater Lake, the Redwoods of northern California, the Oregon Coast, RT 1 in California, Mount Tam, The Advanced Light Source at Berkeley, San Francisco Bay Bridge, good food and refreshment.

Instead of post cards, we will chronicle our trip using 21st Century publishing technology. Our audience is our children at home and other friends or family members who want to keep track of our progress. Use the RSS feed at the right to get the latest. Our goal is to tell you what we are doing so that you can enjoy the trip with us and so that we will remember what we did when we get back home.

Thanks for sharing in our trip!

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