Not sure what I was thinking Gresham Butte was like when I decided to head up there with my son after church a couple of Sundays ago. I guess I was thinking it was just an overlook of the city and mountains nearby. Ha! There was an overlook area where you could look out across the Columbia River towards Washington and see Mt. St. Helens in the distance, but really, there is a big wilderness area you can hike through as well.
So here I was dressed in cutesy little patent leather loafers rather than hiking boots or tennis shoes as pictured in my last post, totally unprepared for a small city hike. I found myself walking slightly on my tip toes part of the way up the path when my shoes started rubbing on my heels. …At least I was wearing flats.
I had my good camera with me, but no additional lenses and was quite disappointed I couldn’t capture the woodpeckers we saw along the way in my photos because I didn’t have a telephoto lens with me.
At the top, there were just some funny tree stumps and a water tower. I was feeling disappointed at that, too. But, my son had been on this hike before and told me that if you took the path to the left, you’d run into an old bus. So, off we went. And, the old bus was not a disappointment! It looked like an old food cart with a side open window. I thought it could have been a fine craft services cart back in it’s hey day. (For those of you not familiar with that term. On a set, they always have a craft services area set up somewhere. Sadly, there are never any crafts at these carts. But – there are always snacks and drinks for the extras and crew!)
I would definitely do this hike again. In tennis shoes. Just for the awesome old bus on the path out in the middle of nowhere. I’m surprised I live so close to it and have never hiked on this trail before. Yeah to adventures close to home!
Where in the world is Mosier, Oregon, you’re probably asking right about now… Some of you who live in Oregon may remember the oil train derailment out there last June. Sixteen tank cars hauling crude oil from North Dakota derailed on a curve on the tracks in Mosier, Oregon which sparked a massive fire that burned for fourteen hours. The cleanup continued on for much longer.
Mosier, Oregon is 5-10 minutes down the road from Hood River and 15-20 from The Dalles. It’s a tiny little – population 435. Yep. That small. I went out there last week because my friend was taking a driving test in The Dalles and needed a car to drive for the test.
The question is: What is there to do out in Mosier, Oregon? The answer: not much. This is the sort of town where you have to invent your own fun. Not long after arriving, I took a walk down to Rock Creek Park with my friends step-daughter. Then we meandered through the tiny town looking at giant chickens, totem poles, flowers, a really old church and the super tiny City Hall. This did not take us very long to walk down to the park and then all around town.
You may find yourself hanging out at the Rack & Cloth in the evening. Or jumping on trampolines. Then there’s always giant chickens to ride on, or breakers on the path to jump over. Not saying we did any of those things, but, if you’re inventing your own fun, you may find those things interesting to do to while away the time in a small town setting. You could always end your day in a hot tub or watching random TV series you’ve never heard about on Netflix because the thunderstorm knocked out your cable.
Since Mosier isn’t far from Hood River and The Dalles, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do in the area around Mosier. We didn’t get to all of the other fun stuff because a thunderstorm rolled in, but maybe another day I’ll explore the area further…
I was so happy to make it out to the Columbia River Gorge this past weekend – mostly to Latourelle Falls, due to there being so many people trying to get out and enjoy the nice weather the day we went.
First stop was the Portland Women’s Forum. We had a great view of Crown Point and Vista House. Next, we tried to stop at Crown Point, but there was only enough parking for one of our cars to stop. (We had three vehicles going out there with all the relatives in town.)
So, off we went to Latourelle Falls. I happily walked around there for a bit taking photos all the while, not realizing I was going to pay for it later as I’d had an injury to my tailbone that was starting to feel better, but wasn’t all the way healed up yet, and this trip triggered me to go right back to that first day of pain and start the healing process all over again. Wah.
Next, we tried to go to Multnomah Falls – apparently a landslide a week or so earlier had dumped 30 cubic yards, or three truckloads, of debris on the road so the road was shut down and still had not been cleared for through traffic the next week on the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway between Angels Rest and Multnomah Falls. So all the cars trying to get through were turning around and heading down to the freeway to try and get to Multnomah Falls that way. But, the parking lot off the freeway was full, so we had to keep going. We could see a pile up of cars trying to get in from the other direction, so we decided not to try and go there after all. For me, this was probably a blessing in disguise because at that time, little did I know I was making my tailbone injury worse until the pain started creeping back in later that day. I’m sure I would have at least tried to hike up to the upper bridge and I’d probably be in a lot worse shape now if I had.
Instead, it was on to Horsetail Falls. Again, the Oregonians seemed to be out in droves trying to enjoy one of the first days of nice weather we’ve had since winter began. There was no parking to be found. That waterfall is pretty close to the road, so we just did a drive by of that one without getting out of the car.
And, without having done much hiking to earn our treat at the end of our day trip, we ended up at East Wind restaurant up at Cascade Locks where we like to finish the day when we go out to the Columbia River Gorge.
We thought we’d go back the next day and try to make it to Multnomah Falls, but we were probably too sorry of a lot by then – me with my tailbone injury, my cousin with MS, my dad with his neuropathy and my mom had chemo all morning. So we didn’t attempt another trip. Sadly, I’m probably not going to make it back out there for another month or so while trying to heal up, but it sure was nice to get out there again.
I’ve been taking a bit of a break from the blog this past week as I started comparing myself to others and finding I didn’t measure up. I honestly felt like I just had nothing to give and nothing to say. I tend to do things with the tenacity of a bulldog sometimes. I just keep going at something without taking good breaks until I feel totally burnt out and then wonder how I got to that point. I’m trying to recognize those moments when they start to happen and allow myself to take a break when needed.
Comparison is something that most of us do at some point or another in our lives, but need to stop doing. I started comparing my blog to other peoples. Or people who should make a blog because they have a talent the world would love to see.
I’d recently been telling my friend, Silke, that she should make a public blog of for her cake decorating (you can view her Facebook page here: Silks’n’Sweets. I can totally see those wonderfully decorated cakes being repinned all over Pinterest. Then I started thinking about how I didn’t have any wonderful talent like that I could showcase in a blog. I started thinking about others I know that blog who have a specific area they are good in and concentrate on that in their blog.
My friend, Alison, has a food blog – Redhotcenter. And she can take good photos of the food she is making. Unlike your normal cell phone snapped photos people take of the food they are eating for every single meal and posting it on social media – driving the rest of us batty with having to look at yet another shot of your dinner, lunch, breakfast, snack, ect, Alison is a professional food blogger and knows how to take an artsy creative photo of food. She’s earned her right to showcase her food photos on all her social media. (In my opinion, only the food bloggers have earned the right to showcase all the food they are making because they are so good at it!) The rest of you all with your dark, blurry casually snapped cell phone photos of every meal you eat – please just stop already. Once in a blue moon is enough for those kind of photos.
Another friend, Amy, has a wonderful blog, Amy Lynn Andrews on how to get started blogging, and all sorts of social media and blogging tips. She’s good at sussing out all the helpful, pertinent, new up and coming social media tips and tricks. In fact, I turned to her blog for help getting started on my blog. She rocks the blogging, social media world with her tips!
I have another friend, Elissa, who doesn’t blog but is totally crafty and should blog about all the crafts she makes. Again, Pinterest would eat that stuff up! She would need to invest in a good camera, because cell phone photos just leave much to be desired when it comes to professional blogging. But, seriously, that girls got crafting talent!
Another friend, Michelle, writes about autism and neurodiversity on her blog, Michelle Sutton Writes, and even has a book out about it. I have an adult child with autism and I couldn’t write a book or blog post about it for the life of me!
And then I took a good look at me. Hmmm. I like books, cats, photography, fashion and acting. I started my blog because I wanted somewhere to showcase my photos. I don’t have any particular cool talent. I’ve got nothing compared to all these gals!
So this past week I’ve been taking a break from the blog and trying to find my way again in the blogging world. I took a walk earlier this week looking for signs of spring. Signs of new life and a new beginning. New hope. And in this time of transition between winter and spring, I can see spring trying to come forth – even though we are still getting cold weather and bits of snow coming down now and then. This season will change. Spring will prevail. New life and new hope will come forth. And I will carry on!
As I’ve been telling God my woes about not having any particular area of talent to blog about. This is what I am hearing:
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if is is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Know that you are enough. You are uniquely you. No one else could be you-er than you.
Hats off to the wonderfully talented ladies in my life that had me comparing myself to them this week, but I refuse wallow in comparison any longer. I’m not you, I am me. Made in His image. For what purpose or plan, I have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out as I go along.
So, it’s official, after years of thinking about doing something like this, I am excited to announce that I am now officially selling photos on Fine Art America. You can view my profile here.
To anyone who has encouraged me to do this, a big thank you! …Thank you for believing in me and therefore instilling confidence in me that I could do this. Whether I fail or succeed in this endeavor remains to be seen, but at least when it comes down to it, I’ll know that I gave it a shot. And sometimes, when it comes to following your dreams, in the end you only regret the chances you never took; the dreams you never followed. So you may as well just get out there and give it a try, because you just never know where that may lead you.
I’ll be adding more images as I go have time to go back through all of my photos from the past year or so. I hope you enjoy them and take time to stop by and check out my gallery of photos!
I came across an album of forgotten photos I took back in November – before the mid-winter dreariness set in and the snow and ice killed them all. I probably took way too many photos around that time and unloaded them on my computer just to forget they were there.
But now, in the midst of the winter bleakness I’m so thankful for the bright cheeriness of those flowers. I needed to find this album now. With the dark, cold days of winter setting in, the low income from my job this time of year, and my mom’s cancer, the flower photos were just the pick-me-up I needed to get me out of a winter funk.
We all have dark seasons in our lives, but you’ll notice, even in the dark times, there is always a little bit of light to hold on to. Little bits of loveliness to perk us up again. The light shines darkest before the dawn, the stars can’t shine without the darkness – and all that jazz.
Today, I remind you all to hold on to hope. I know mine’s just about gone right now. But I’m holding on to that tiny bit remaining anyway. As if my life depends upon it. Or as if my mom’s life does, in my case.
If you find rays of sunshine during the darkness, hold on to them. Or, if you find a forgotten album of flower photos from warmer days, enjoy them! Just know this: Winter doesn’t last forever. Spring is Coming!!!
So, here’s to a mid-winter break from ice and snow. A moments pause to remember warmer, sunnier days are coming.
A time to remember this too will pass. This season will move on.
To a time of hope and rebirth and new life.
*This week, send out prayers for the specialist involved in my mom’s cancer treatment as he is making a decision to introduce another new medicine into her chemo routine.
So, Snowmageddon 2017 has hit the Pacific NW. Usually in the Portland metro area we get these little wimpy snow storms followed by ice, then it warms up and is gone for a while. We may get a few of these a winter, but they usually don’t last long. This time, the snow is not going away. I feel like I moved back to Michigan where there’s snow all winter long.
Portlandians just aren’t prepared for this. I have no studded tires or chains for my car – or even all weather tires. The city doesn’t have enough snow plows or manpower lined up to deal with it all. They refuse to salt the roads and have only sparingly put down any gravel. Seattle sent snow plows down to help us deal with our Snowmageddon. Because I’m sure they get a tad bit more snow than us and are therefore more prepared to deal with it. You’d think we lived in Texas or Florida where they hardly ever get snow – the way we act when it snows. The kids up here have had so many snow days for less than a foot of snow in most areas that now they’ll probably be going to school all summer to make up for it. Their parents are probably going crazy in the meantime!
I was excited about it the first couple of days, but by day three, I was content to soak up the sunshine coming through my windows and just look at it from the warmth of my own home.
But then, eventually, the need for kitty litter got me out of the house. Next, groceries in general, so I slipped and slid on in to the neighborhood Fred Meyer. Closest store I can make it to.
The weathermen keep lying to us and telling us temps will get above freezing, then, the day before we’re supposed to break out of the freezing temps, they change their minds. Off with their heads, I say! (JK. Well, pretty much…) So, Snowmageddon continues.
I should write a motivational post on how to deal with the winter blahs or something, but instead, I’m just happily sitting in the sunshine coming through my big picture window with my kitties, soaking up the sun rays and warmth while it lasts… Plus, that would take motivation to do that.
Not feeling very motivated right now…
See you all when the spring thaw comes. I’m hibernating for the rest of winter. I think those bears just might have the right idea on how to deal with winter!
I was walking around through the ice a couple of days after the ice storm because I’d seen the sunshine come out when I was driving about that morning and I was bowled over seeing the beauty of the sun shining through the trees in all it’s glory.
But, I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I thought I’d go home, eat, and then go out and take photos. In the meantime, the clouds came out and the sun was hidden. By the time I was ready to go, there was no sun shining down in all it’s glory through the ice. I was so bummed. So I waited a bit. Finally, I could see an edge to the clouds covering the sun and decided to just go out and walk around in the ice in hopes that the sun was going to return.
Just when I was beginning to think it wouldn’t come out of the clouds, I’d get a brief moment of sunshine. It elusively kept peeking out of the clouds, playing a game of peek-a-boo with me.
I walked over to a school nearby and it was cloudy when I got there. But I could tell the school grounds would be a magical winter wonderland if only the sun would come back out and play.
I found myself making my way slowly towards the back of the school grounds, all the while looking up at the sky and telling God to ‘Show me Your glory.’ I knew the sun was up there hiding behind the clouds. I knew it wanted to come out. It just needed a little nudge…
Then, finally, that moment where it came out from the clouds for longer chunks of time so I could see what a wonderful glistening wonderland the world was – all covered in ice.
Sometimes, we have moments like that in life ~ I’m having a year like that right now ~ where you know there are good things coming for you and you are just waiting for God to show you His glory. Do you stop to look up towards God and ask him: ‘Show me Your glory’? I may have been tromping around demanding it like a little kid in this instance. I could see the sun right near the edges of the clouds, just waiting to come light up the ice and snow all around me. I wanted the world to sparkle and shine all around me. I was impatient. I was demanding. I was persistent in my silly little request for the sun to come out as I traipsed around in the ice and snow.
But then I think, am I that persistent when it comes to the big things? My mom’s cancer? My low income this whole year? My worries about the future? Hmmm. Am I that demanding? Like a little kid knowing there are good things coming and demanding that they just hurry on up and get here? Or am I just politely asking, well, mostly begging when it comes to my mom and the cancer. Not really asking about the other stuff much. If you know there are good things in store, why not just look up towards heaven and tell God to show His glory in your life?
Because it seems childish? But doesn’t the Bible tell us “Let the little children come unto me. Do not stop them. For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
In a moment of childlike wonder out in the ice and snow – while anticipating the beauty I would see when the sun shone through all the ice making the world glimmer and shine – I found myself demanding God move those clouds the rest of the way out of the way and show me His glory. And eventually he chose to answer my request. Probably to shut me up. He didn’t need to. I could have walked all the way around the school grounds without the sun lighting up the winter wonderland before me. But he knew my repeated request was coming from that childlike sense of awe, wonder and anticipation for good things to come. As adults, I think there are very few times we come to God in that state.
This Christmas season, I hope that you are able to find that childlike wonder and that God responds by showing you His glory.
In true Portland area style, we had our first winter snow last week – ending with ice. Yeah. Cause that’s how we roll in winter. Ha. And, of course, I was out in it the next day – tromping around in my 20+ year old Merrell hiking boots that are finally on their last leg. The sole started coming off in chunks this year out on the trail when I was hiking. So, of course, the one that is really losing it’s sole is leaking. Meaning I had cold toes on one foot. Bleh. And I only walked around the block!
The weather was warming up and it was spitting rain, then started raining harder by the end of my slow walk around the block. I kept wiping my camera lens off with a little soft cleaning cloth until next thing I knew, even that was too wet to do much, so I then had to wipe the lens on my pants leg or shirt in dry spots under my winter coat.
But that wasn’t all. It was still pretty cold out, so the macro lens started fogging over. Arrrgh. I finally took it off when I could see I was getting interesting but rather foggy pictures through it. The regular lens was still fine. All in all, I would say the walk around the block in the ice was worth it. And I didn’t fall once!
Here are a few of my favorite photos from that day. Enjoy!
I managed to get back to Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, Oregon one more time before all the fall colors were gone last month. And once in the evening, but my night pictures are bad, so let’s just not mention those ones…
Edgefield McMenamins used to be a poor farm. When it opened in November of 1911, 211 residents moved in. It’s population peaked at 614 in 1935. Eventually, the name changed from Multnomah County Home and Farm, to Edgefield Manor where it became a nursing home. The former tuberculosis hospital became Edgefield Lodge for emotionally disturbed children.
In 1985, the county wanted to remove all of the buildings except the county jail. Troutdale Historic Society challenged the decision to destroy all of the buildings, stating that they had historical importance and needed to be preserved. In 1990, Edgefield was named in the National Register of Historical Places and that same year was purchased by McMenamins.
The grounds feature a hotel, restaurants, many tiny pubs, a golf course, a winery and tasting room, a theater, a spa, a Glashaus (I love that this is spelled out in a Pidgen English version of the English words!), a gift shop, and a wonderful clay artworks shop called the Halfway House run by my Instafriend Am: earthartam~ In the summer they even hold concerts in the outdoor amphitheater.
I usually make it down there a several times each year, and am still finding new unexplored areas on the grounds. This place has so many little hidden gems. It never ceases to delight me when I stumble upon one more new area I’ve never seen before when I go to visit.
I kept managing to get down to Edgefield Mcmenamins down in Troutdale, Oregon to do photo shoots for my fashion Friday, but not having the time to go explore and get my fill of the fall colors at Edgefield. I’m not liking taking fashion photos when they are taking me away from what I truly love to take photos of – nature. But, I manage to sneak a few nature ones in when I’m out and about doing fashion photos. Not quite the same as just wandering around to my hearts desire – although I did finally managed to do that last week, catching the end of the fall colors. Sometimes you just need to prioritize doing things that make you happy.
The photos this week are nature shots I took while out doing fashion photo shoots.
*A new development regarding my mother’s health. She was supposed to start chemo this week, but it was delayed because her doctor discovered there was a new treatment out for soft tissue sarcomas – the first new one in the last four decades! It has just been FDA approved last month. He read about it in a medical journal or magazine – stopped her current treatment plan and had her come in for an appointment regarding this new one instead. The new drug Olaratumab (Latruvo) with Doxorubicin will give her all the benefits of chemo without the regular side effects of chemo and is slightly more effective (around 16-18 percent) than the other chemo treatments out there for her type of cancer. However, she needs to have a healthy heart to be on this medication, so she is getting her heart checked before beginning treatment. No guarantees that the outcome will be any different, but I feel like there is a small ray of hope with this new treatment, whereas we had none with the old ones. Mostly, it may buy her time. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
I’ve been wanting to go see the Witch’s Castle for a while now and finally got to go see it – right in time for Halloween!
While the Witch’s Castle has never had any witch’s actually living in it, it is near the spot of a love story gone wrong. Back in the 1800’s, a man named Danford Balch owned the property the stone cabin was on. He hired a man named Mortimer Stump to help take care of the land. Mortimer Stump fell in love with Balch’s daughter Anna and asked for her hand in marriage. After Balch refused to give Anna’s hand in marriage to Stump, the two eloped.
They came back to the stone cabin a few week later. Danford Balch was furious and shot Mortimer Stump in the head. Balch claimed that his wife, Mary Jane, bewitched him. Balch was arrested, then escaped. Eventually he was caught again about six months later, was tried, found guilty and eventually hung in October of 1859, becoming the first legal execution held in Oregon. Mary Jane Balch, the ‘witch’ in our story, continued to reside on their property.
Although the stone house was not the original site of the Balch’s home, it was built on their old property in the 1950’s as a ranger station.
In the 1980’s, high school and college students started using it to hold parties on Friday nights and named it the Witch’s Castle because of it’s rundown appearance and remote location in the Upper Macleay Park. (Which explains the two busloads of college age students being dropped off as we reached the top of the trail while rushing to get to our car during the sudden deluge of rain that started pouring down on us while out at the Witch’s Castle.)
The Witch’s Castle is located on the Wildwood trail near the junction for the Lower Macleay Park trail in Forest Park, a huge wooded area in NW Portland.
* To any of my praying friends out there, please keep my mother – also a Mary Jane, who oftentimes dresses up as a witch for Halloween – in your prayers. The doctors have discovered her cancer traveled to her lungs. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she is preparing to start chemo soon.
Cascade Locks often times is the end of a long days adventure in the Columbia River Gorge. We usually like to get ice cream at East Wind Drive In, and my son and I like to go over to Marine Park next door and walk around. The Sternwheeler, a large paddle wheel boat, is located there near the Locks Waterfront Grill. There’s a wonderful bronze sculpture that I love of Sacagawea and Seaman, the dog, in Sacagawea Circle to the side of the Grill, and a funny Sasquatch carving out behind the Grill that is just too cute in all of his glorious grumpiness.
There are even a few love locks started on the fence facing the Sternwheeler. They started the love locks several years ago, but it hasn’t really taken off as well as it would if it was in a more urban area. If you ever make it out that way, remember to bring your love locks to attach to the fence and throw away the key, locking in your love forever. Blah, blah, blah… And all that other romantic BS. But yes, bring them anyway, whether you’re romantic or not, so I can take photos of them somewhere down the road on a future trip. After all, what better place to lock in your love than in Cascade Locks?
It’s usually a breezy walk along the path on the waterfront, but even more so once you head on over to Thunder Island. Sometimes you catch fishermen on the fishing platforms along the water, but other days there’s not a single one in sight. We didn’t see any this time around. I believe they refer to these as the Indian Fishing Platforms. You’ll even notice they have no trespassing signs them as well.
There are mysterious looking stairs leading right down into the water with nowhere to go. Perhaps a tiny boat docking area? These are in the canal between Thunder Island and the mainland. Which is also where the fishing platforms are.
The view looking towards the Bridge of the Gods off of the boat docking area is amazing! Just wow. I love the Pacific Northwest. When it’s not raining.
It looks like you can have a wedding or party out on Thunder Island. There is a wooden arch out near the river with a view of a tiny island right behind it. What a gorgeous place to have a wedding!
I was on my way somewhere a couple of weeks ago and drove right by the parking lot for the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. I always see it from the freeway, and fully intend to stop by and explore some day, but then never do. So, I swung into the parking lot of an antique store nearby and decided to get out for a quick explore of the place. I didn’t go inside the center because, like I said, I was on my way somewhere else, but did a quick tour of the grounds outside.
To be standing there, at the place where the trail ended, you can’t help but wonder how good that must have felt to finally be at the end of a long journey. They still had yet to establish their homesteads and get settled, but now knowing that the hard journey was over.
Sometimes in life we are on a long journey – I seem to be on one myself – not sure where the trail ends, trudging along waiting for the end to be in sight. Knowing there’s a lot of work to get myself settled back down again, but also knowing one day I’ll get to the end of my journey, and what a relief it will be.
My mom is on her own journey right now. She just had a scheduled surgery at the hospital this week, after a couple of months of being in pain and discomfort. Her journey to get the surgery is done and over. Now starts the recovery process, with the knowledge that at the end of it, she will finally feel better. How wonderful to know that if you can just get past the next couple of months of recovery, at the end you’ll feel so much better than when you went in!
Here’s to a speedy recovery for my mom, and an end in sight to long journey’s any of us are going through right now!
As a missionary kid, we used to meet all sorts of people growing up – from all over the world, and my parents were always having people over for dinner. I find I don’t do this myself, but sometimes, when they have people from out of town come visit, they invite me to come over as well, since I live near them.
This past Sunday was one of those days. I got to meet a wonderful mother and daughter who stopped by on their way to visit friends in Eugene. We met over spaghetti dinner at my parents and then had a fun trip touring the Columbia River Gorge along the historic highway and eating one gigantic chocolate chip cookie at Multnomah Falls. I’d never met either of them before, but the daughter had actually helped on workshops at the SIL Center in Alotau, Papua New Guinea, and helped my dad work on the song book for our village language, Buhutu, and even went out to our village and slept in my very own room while she was there!
This random connectedness to people you’ve never met is something I run into once in a while in life. Maybe in another missionary kid. Or someone who just grew up in another country and knows what it’s like not to have lived your whole life in the States. That feeling of having shared similar experiences either in the same place at different times, or different places in third world countries far away from all the conveniences of modern day life. That random bond that brings you together. Over gigantic cookies and waterfalls…
While others are out there playing the popular game Pokemon Go and catching Pokemon, I’d much rather go out there and hike in nature. While it seems half the world is out catching Pikachu, I’m trying to catch photos of Pikas in the wild. (My only photo of one was blurry.) I’m chasing the view, the flora & the fauna in the great outdoors. Nothing is more glorious than hiking to a wonderful destination and finding that inner peace that comes from being far removed from your bustling, busy everyday lives. My most recent hike was to Angel’s Rest in the Columbia River Gorge.
On this hike, you will see two waterfalls. There’s a side trail to an overlook of Coopey falls, with a bit of an overview from above. There is not a good way to get closer to this one, but, further up the trail, you will hear rushing water and see another side trail for Upper Coopey Falls, this one is just a short trail right up to the base of the falls. It’s worth the short detour to go see.
Last week I was finding magical things on the trail to the top. This week I’ll share more of the views, because, believe me – they were incredible. A must-do hike in the Gorge!
Allow peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. ~ John Muir
Do you ever find yourself out in the middle of nowhere letting your imagination go wild? I often times find my mind wandering to various stories I’ve read and seeing the magic of them coming to life as I go out on a nature walk.
Last week, I hiked to Angels Rest with my son, and found myself imaging seeing remnants of giants on the path before me, the trail to Mordor, an Elvin Fairies throne, the rabbit hole to Wonderland, the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, and tiny fairy clothes in the flowers on the side of the path.
I once had someone tell me they didn’t like Alice in Wonderland because it was too weird and none of it made any sense. I told her it was an imaginary world and it wasn’t supposed to make sense. She didn’t agree. She just didn’t get the story line. I didn’t argue with her, I just thought: How sad it is when someone can’t see the wonder and fun in a made up world. I hope I never become that person. I have a whole board dedicated to imaginary things titled Mystical and Magicalon Pinterest. It’s just too fun to imagine a world different than our own to live in.
Maybe that’s why I enjoy acting so much. For a while, you get to be someone other than yourself. Jump into a different world, then bring that world to life for others to see.
Next time you’re out in nature, open you mind to the magic of the world around you, let your thoughts wander to imaginary things. After all, this world is what we make of it. Why not let it be fun?
I tend to be a detail oriented person. I find that when I’m taking pictures, I’m always looking up close trying to show the person looking at my photos the amazing little details I’m seeing in real life. When I go off to take photos with my son, I notice he is more likely to look at the bigger picture. The overall view. Not that that means either of us doesn’t occasionally do the opposite, just that, in general, I’m looking at the details and he’s looking at the whole picture.
If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself amazed at the close up view of a flower or bug, or even a wall. Sometimes, I find myself thinking how different life would look if I was a tiny person sitting in the middle of a flower. Yeah, I’m that crazy. I used to love Thumbelina and The Borrowers books when I was growing up. Imagining what life would be like if I was a little tiny person in a world of bigger people…
Come, follow me through a world of amazing details!
Do you have any traditions you do every summer? For my family, we always go blueberry picking every year. The last two years, though, I’ve noticed it’s just my parents and I going off to pick blueberries as soon as the blueberry field is open for picking each season. My sons used to come along, but both of them have dropped off now that they are getting older. My dad tends to go back many times throughout the season to gather more berries which will then be frozen so they have blueberries all year round.
Here are some things to remember when out picking blueberries:
1. Always taste the berries in the area you are picking in to make sure you like them.
2. On the same note, though, don’t overeat them or you’ll pay for it the next day. (Believe me, I know!)
3. Reach for the berries in the middle of the bush – most people won’t bother, and that’s where all the nice juicy plump ones are hiding.
4. Watch out for creepy crawlies!
5. Try to get there at the beginning of the day to avoid the heat and the crowds.
6. If you like rinsing your berries off before freezing the extra ones, make sure you lay them out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry the water off before freezing or you’ll have huge frozen clumps of berries bunched together when you go to use them throughout the year. (I also put the whole tray in the freezer and freeze the berries in a single layer before transferring them to large freezer bags.)
Mostly, enjoy being outside with delicious fresh berries to gobble down!
Fathers are there for us when we get stung by a pack of angry wasps that your sister decided to pour Elmer’s wood glue on to glue them into their nest in the garage door frame. They board it up again and make it safe to step over the door frame into the garage again.
They find you amusing and encourage your entrepreneuring side when you decide to set up a stand to sell lemonade, or stuff like your Halloween candy, to gullible college students passing by.
If you want to wear special clown make-up with your pajamas for Halloween, a father will help you put your face on so you’re ready to go.
Father’s are there to record embarrassing moments on camera when you be minding yo own business, playing in your little kiddy pool and your diaper’s hanging half off yo bottom lookin’ all ganster style. Long before it was in.
Fathers take you on nature walk – telling you what all the plants are and letting you taste all the ones that are edible.
When you come back from your own nature walk with your sister using your Golden Nature Guide tree book and star book and tell your dad you found lots of leaves, but you didn’t find any stars, father’s let you know that some day, you could actually find your stars, too.
How much can you see in a day in the Gorge? Recently, my aunt and uncle were visiting from California and we decided to take them on a day trip to the Columbia River Gorge. We managed to make quite a few stops while not staying long at any. I told my son later that we took the old folks tour of the Gorge. Stop, get out, look. Get back in the car and do it all again at the next stop. The furthest we went from the car was when my uncle and I headed up the path to the bridge by Multnomah Falls, a short hike, but the others didn’t feel up to it. They all stayed down at the lower viewing platform. We waved at them from the bridge.
All in all, we hit up quite a few spots for a short day trip. The Portland Women’s Forum view point, Crown Point, Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam and the Fish Hatchery. Also a drive by of Horsetail Falls without even getting out of the car because by then, my aunt’s asthma was acting up pretty bad. Then ending the day at Eastwind Drive-in with ice cream for all!
The end of April I took a trip with my friends church group of ladies up to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, WA. We apparently went too late this year. With bursts of warm 80 degree weather off and on this spring, the lilacs bloomed early and were mostly dead by the time we got there. In fact, one of the ladies commented, after we got out to the back yard behind the house, ‘Where are all the lilacs?’ Yes. Where indeed? They were mostly dead and brown and dying. But, if you looked closely, you could find a few nice ones here and there. With bits of brown thrown in for good measure, because they, too, were dying. So sad…
There were all sorts of other lovely flowers, and overall it was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest and a wonderful day spent with my friend. Plus, new friendships were made with the ladies we spent the day with. Next year, I would suggest going sooner in the season. Although I have gone on Mother’s Day weekend before and still seen blooms, so perhaps checking to see if the lilacs are still blooming before going would be a better idea.
Of course, we’ve all heard about the tradition of the Maypole, though many of us haven’t seen it. But, when I was a child, for May Day, we used to go gather wild flowers, make a tiny, usually sad looking bouquet, leave it on our front doorstep, knock on the door and then Run as fast as we could out of sight so our mom wouldn’t see us when she opened the door. She could probably hear us out of breath and laughing around the corner though.
This tradition seems to have gone to the wayside, but it was such a fun one for us as kids, it really should be brought back. Growing up in Michigan, we didn’t have a lot of spring flowers blooming yet, but we just gathered what we could find, tied a bow around it and called it our May Day bouquet.
In France, the lily of the valley became a symbol of May Day after Charles IX received one as a good luck charm on May 1rst. The lily of the valley is one of my favorite flowers, and always brings back memories of my grandma’s house – sitting beside the lily of the valley overflowing around the big trees in her yard, imagining they were tiny little fairy bells. Perhaps a tiny sprig of Lily of the Valley would be a nice gesture this year…
Sometimes there are moments when, despite what’s going on in our lives, we can choose joy. Sometimes, those same moments of joy only last for the few moments we are in them, but hopefully they are enough to get us through tough days ahead.
A couple of weeks ago, I was jumping for joy at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fields in Woodburn, Oregon. We also did this two years ago when we went there, so we’ll call it a tradition to jump in the tulip fields now that we’ve done it more than once. The next day, however, I was feeling rather bummed out, but looking at all the photos of us jumping in the tulip fields made me smile and carry that memory of joy into another day.
Just before that trip, I’d been jumping for joy up by the Rock of Ages as noted in my last post. I’m honestly not jumping around every day of my life, nor am I saying you need to jump for joy every time your life isn’t going well, but there are other ways you can choose joy each day.
Here are 10 ways you can choose joy instead of despair in your life:
1. Watch a sunset.Enough said.
2. Turn on music that lifts you up and start dancing or singing to it.Yeah baby!
3. Go to a comedy club.I just finished taking an improv class that lifted my spirits every time I went.
4. Find three things you’re thankful for.No, they don’t have to be anything specific. Any three will do.
5. Take time to smell the flowers.Or photograph them. I like to do both.
6. Exercise – I know, it doesn’t seem like it will cheer you up, but it will get those endorphin’s flowing, believe me.
7. Take a walk.I like to bring my camera along on walks to take photos – unless I think I’m going to run, then just the phone will suffice.
8. Eat a special treat.Dark chocolate is always a plus in my book!
9. Take time to read a book and have a cup of tea or coffee.Transport yourself to another world. Try and jump in an stay there if it’s a good one.
10. Take time to talk to kids.Do you ever notice how uninhibited kids are? If you have some kids in your life you can talk to, do it. They’ll cheer you up in no time! I like to FaceTime with my nieces and nephew.
Or you can try jumping for joy. It’s quite fun. Unless you have a headache. 😥
The week before last, my son and I took a hike off the beaten trails near Ponytail Falls up to the Rock of Ages. The trail isn’t maintained, so at times it seems to disappear and reappear. Luckily, we ran into someone coming down at one of those times it was disappearing and were able to get ourselves going in the right direction again. Mostly, though, there aren’t too many people who wander off the main path to come see this all natural wonder up at the top. It is worth the climb! I was so excited to come around the corner and see this, I believe I may have been shouting down the trail to my son: ‘Oh my gosh. I see it! I see it! I see it!’. Yeah. I get a little excited about cool stuff I see in nature.
While we were up there, two more people came up, looked around and then left, leaving us to this wonderful photographers dream all by ourselves. We took photos of the amazing scenery, photos of each other, photos of us jumping for joy in front of the Rock of Ages, then we went across to the Mounds where I climbed up for a better view of the Gorge. After that, it was on to the Devil’s Backbone, where we did not jump for joy or we may have plummeted off the side of the ridge down into the canyon below. We walked a bit past that, then turned around and headed back down the trail again. There is technically a 10 mile trail loop you could continue on if you so chose, but again, it’s not maintained and also involves crossing through the Oneonta Gorge, which is probably pretty high and cold in the spring time.
Due to many fallen trees, the path going down disappeared, but we could kind of see across to a fallen tree we had climbed over on the way up, so onward we went, blazing our own trail until we hit the faint trail on the other side. Where we promptly lost the trail, found it again, and eventually made our way down to the side trail overlooking the top of Ponytail Falls (officially known as Upper Horsetail Falls, but referred to most as Ponytail Falls).
What an amazing adventure! I’m so excited the weather is turning and I can start going on fun adventures outdoors again. What are some of the beautiful places in the world you want to see this year?
I get really excited this time of year when the weather is constantly changing back and forth from rain to shine because that means it’s rainbow weather! One minute it’s raining, the next minute the sun is out, and I’ll go running to the windows to see if there’s a rainbow outside. Easter Sunday I saw not one, but two, or technically three rainbows. First a double rainbow which disappeared, the clouds came out and the rain started again – then a beautiful brilliant single rainbow. And it got me thinking about the promise of the rainbow. God promised it would never rain for 40 days and 40 nights and flooding the whole earth like that again. So I started telling Him that, you know, it’s been raining in my life for longer than 40 days and 40 nights. I’m not talking actual rain which, believe me, we’ve had a lot of here in the Pacific Northwest as well. I’m talking metaphorically. So I told God I was holding on to the promise of the rainbow in my life – not about the real rain, but about all the bad stuff that is happening. My husband and I split up, my job is a sinking ship and I’m going down with it. Things are not good. And yet here I am on my blog trying to sound positive and upbeat, when really, maybe I’m just trying to encourage myself along through a tough time. So this week, I’ve been holding on to the promise of the rainbow, and I’m starting to see little whispers of hope coming into my life…
God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us – in the dreariest and most dreaded moments – can see a possibility of hope. ~ Maya Angelou
Spring is a time of new life, new beginnings. I am waiting for my new life to begin… Perhaps it already has and I’m waiting for the really amazing stuff to start happening. In the meantime, I’m trying to live in the now. Not looking back at the bad stuff behind me, not looking forward at things that could be. Just being here. Right now. In this moment. If I can just keep living in today, then mostly what I realize is that things are good. Not great. Not terrible, but really okay. And I can live with that.
Happy Easter to all.
Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is. Jessica Harrelson
That moment the weather starts turning, and everybody collectively swarms outside on the first nice spring days… Today was one of those days. Sure, the flowers have been blooming for weeks now, but it’s been way too cold to want to go out and really enjoy them. And then, nice weather hits and you find yourself outdoors with the whole rest of the world, or so it seems – all escaping the confines of four walls to enjoy sunshine & gentle breezes on our now pasty white skin. Sure, in Oregon, it’s still like walking through a swamp if you can’t find any high ground, but we don’t care. We need to get out, and out we all go. Spring fever is upon us!
I’m blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest where it’s very green. While I love how green it is around here, in order to get all that greenness there’s also a lot of rain. Like, Way Too Much rain! I find myself noticing and drawn to green things even when I’m not in Oregon, and perhaps because there are different green things than what I see in Oregon, I take lots of photos of green plants. In honor of St. Patrick’s day, I thought I’d share a few.
I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a cliff – a precipice. I can see the cracks on the ground I stand on and know it’s only a matter of time before the ground beneath me crumbles away. I’m about to step off into the unknown. Will a bridge form in front of me, or will I free fall forward and spread my wings and fly? Or stand there staring into the great abyss below me, too afraid to move forward in case I end up a mangled mess at the bottom?
This not knowing is scary, but I know I need to move forward no matter what the outcome. I’ll try to do so boldly and bravely, but even if I do so with quaking and trepidation, I must still go forward. I hope the world will be kind, but really, what does the world owe me? I must go anyway. It’s exhilarating and frightening, this not knowing. Full of hopefulness and terror. Who knows what the future will hold once you step away form the security of knowing into the world of the unknown?
I may have only an ounce of bravery in me right now, a faith as small as a mustard seed. But I’ve heard that’s all you need to move mountains.
I keep getting the song ‘Hello’ by Adele stuck in my head. I keep playing it on YouTube over and over again. Do you ever do that with a song you like? Just keep replaying it until you’re finally sick of it, or move on to another one and then start listening to the new song over and over again? The phrase ‘I’m in California dreaming’ keeps getting stuck in my mind. I recently went down there just to get away. It was wonderful to be warm again and see sunshine and flowers and ocean beaches. I realize I’m on the train to Brokeville, so it may be my last trip on a plane for a long while – but it was so good to just escape my life that is falling apart around me, and just be free! It’s raining here in Oregon, things aren’t any better at home. In fact, they may even be worse, but somehow despite the fact that my soul feels heavy from the weight of all the things going wrong in my life right now, my heart feels light, as I’m still in California dreaming in my head…
In the middle of winter, it’s nice to run away somewhere warm and see flowers blooming and the sun shining again. Sometimes a mid-winter getaway is just what you need to escape the harsh cold reality of winter or deal with all of the bad things life throws your way. If you’re unable to get away, enjoying some photos of beautiful flowers in bloom with the sun shining can be the next best thing. I think flowers are the biggest thing I miss in the middle of winter. So, enjoy!
There’s nothing like finding hearts in nature to make me smile. I just love finding natural heart! I have a board dedicated to hearts on Pinterest. Some of the natural, some of them not. I love them all. Check it out here: Hearts Here’s a photo collection of nature’s hearts for you to enjoy. Half of them mine, half of them not. Because, it’s not everyday you find all natural hearts when wandering outdoors! And some of them are created by man, but out in the great outdoors, so I think they still count.
After a scare with breast cancer a couple of weeks ago where I ended up needing to go get a biopsy – only to sit worrying or trying not to worry until the Dr. called and said the results were negative – I found myself down in Portland at Fubon Marketplace trying to find a place where I could buy soursop fruit. Apparently the soursop fruit has an active ingredient that is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy. So I figured why not try and find the fruit and incorporate it into my diet as a preventative measure? Sadly, I have yet to find it. And I’m sure if I went back to Papua New Guinea, where I grew up as a missionary kid, I could find it quite easily as I remember eating soursop fruit while there. But, alas, it is hard to find in the States…
So, after driving all the way down to this Asian Marketplace which I was hoping would have my miracle cure for cancer, I headed over to Mt Tabor reservoir in Portland on a rare warm, sunny winter day. I’ve been wanting to go take pictures of all the medieval looking architecture on the buildings around there. They look like they belong on ancient castle grounds. The only thing missing is an ancient castle to go with the outlying buildings. They drained the upper reservoir and it is no longer used as a water source for Portland. The lower reservoir still has water in it, which made for some wonderful photo opportunities with water and reflections. Ah, bliss! However, they were doing construction on one side of the lower reservoir, so some of my photos looking in that direction ended up with the bright blue honeybucket in the background. I turned some of those into black & white or sepia toned photos so the construction area wouldn’t stand out so much, and have not chosen to put them on my blog. You can find them on my Instagram. Ha. I may have to go back some day when the construction is done just to get better photos looking toward the construction zone. Here are a few of my photos from that day:
Have you ever taken a walk in the winter time and noticed all of the lovely dead crap out there? Yep. You heard me right. Lovely. Dead. Crap. On first glance, it looks brown and ugly, and some of it really is, but if you stop to look, some of it is actually quite beautiful. And I’m one of those people who stops to take photos of it. You may think I’m the only one, but there is actually a lovelydeadcrap hashtag on Instagram, and a hub that reposts photos people tag of their lovely dead crap. I’m not kidding you. Check it out: lovelydeadcrap You can also check out my Instagram gallery: 1murtle where I not only post photos of lovely dead crap, but also post lots of nature photos and cat photos. Beauty can be found even in the bleakest days of winter. You’d be amazed by the beauty you can find when nothing is blooming – if only you take time to look.
Last week I found an iced over rose when I was out walking after the ice storm. I miss roses in the wintertime. It made me think about how hard it is to find roses in winter, which then reminded me of a really old song: Bring me a Rose. That’s where I’m at right now. Wanting roses in wintertime…
Bring me a rose in the wintertime,
When they’re hard to find.
Bring me a rose in the wintertime,
I’ve got, roses on my mind.
For a rose is sweet,
Most anytime and yet.
Bring me a rose in the wintertime,
How easily we forget.
We had a bit of an ice storm last night. Makes for treacherous driving, but it sure is beautiful. Despite the fact that I’m getting over an awful cold & cough, I had to go out in it to take pictures. After all, this is Oregon, and who knows how long the winter weather will last or if we’ll even get anymore snow or ice to take photos of. Which is a good and bad thing. Mostly, the snow stays up in the mountains, where it belongs, but occasionally we get some to enjoy briefly, too. Here are some of my favorite photos from my walk around the neighborhood.
As the year ends, tradition dictates we all reflect on the past year. I really don’t feel like it. My wonderful job as an Influencer ended, my marriage is failing, a friend committed suicide. Somehow I look back on the end of the year and still don’t know where my future is, so I really don’t want to keep reflecting on the past year and the way it’s ending. Instead, I bolster my spirits finding new sayings to pin on Pinterest onto my Words of Wisdom board that encourage me to go forth boldly into the great unknown of a new year. Does anyone else do that? I’m sure I’m not the only one who pins things to encourage myself, whether it’s sayings or food I think I’m going to make, projects I think I’m going to do, things that make me laugh, things I want, places I want to go… That’s the draw of Pinterest. An online pin board to pin all of our hopes, ideas and dreams on. Because in the end, our hopes & dreams are what keep us going. For me, I’m ready to throw 2015 into the trash and step forth into the new year and whatever it has to offer me!
We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately here in Oregon, making the rivers flood and spill over into the surrounding areas – creating havoc all around the state. There was a sinkhole near Mt. Hood Community College this week where the river running under the roadway flooded, saturating the ground and causing the road to sink in – completely shutting down that section of the road while repairs are underway. I went by there the other day and was thinking about all the damage water can cause when there’s a vast amount of it. And how repairs are underway and they are re-building the road where it collapsed. I feel like I’m in a similar place right now. My job and source of income collapsed and I’m in the process of rebuilding it. It’s scary when things fall apart around you, but what you build up in their stead can be good, if not better than what you had. It just takes time to rebuild again. I’m not sure if things are better for me yet, but good things are starting to happen and I’m hopeful that the best is still yet to come…
As the colder weather comes on I start thinking of snow coming and creating a beautiful white snowy wonderland outside, and start pinning more in my Pinterest board: Winter Wonderland. Instead, in true Oregon style, we got some ice out east in the Gorge and that’s it so far. But, I remember winter’s growing up in Michigan with lots of snow and all the beauty that goes with it. Not that I want to be out driving in it, mind you, but it is beautiful to look at and play in if you don’t have to go anywhere in it. I’m still dreaming of a white Christmas. Winter is coming… even if all I get is ice!
I find myself drawn to interesting bird houses when I’m out walking around. I was doing a bird house search at my friends house earlier this month because there were so many of them hanging from trees, nestled inside the branches. I don’t often find birds actually using these cute little homes we make for them, perhaps they are more for us to enjoy than the birds, whatever the case, I love the whimsy of them.
I am enjoying all the beautiful fall colors out there and keep taking tons of photos of them all. We’ve had such glorious fall weather this year! Usually it is much cooler and rainier by now and I’m having a hard time enjoying fall because it’s already way too cold out and feels like winter is coming. But not this year. We are gradually getting cold rainy days mixed into the warm ones, so I’ve been out taking lots of photos, catching all the fall colors before they are gone. Here are some of my favorite fall photos.
We all have times where we feel overwhelmed with what life throws at us and need to take time to do something that makes us feel at peace with the world. I’ve been having one of those weeks. A couple of days ago I found myself walking around Edgefield Mcmenamins in Troutdale just enjoying the fall colors and taking photos. Taking time to appreciate the beauty around me. We are having an Indian summer and it seems the fall colors are only halfway here right now. Which means we may get to enjoy them for a bit longer this year. For me, taking a photo walk or hiking out into nature speaks to my soul. I stop concentrating on daily life and start looking for beautiful things to take photos of. I especially love benches & chairs with wonderful views. A beautiful and quiet place to rest, reminding me to stop and appreciate the beauty around me.
There is no vacation better than a beach vacation. Tranquility washes over you as you explore the beach. There’s nothing like the fresh sea air, sand between your toes, and tiny treasures to be found along the way. The Oregon Coast is full of wonderful caves, rock formations and waterfalls and amazing view points. It’s a magical place to visit, but make sure you dress warm enough because it’s usually quite cool from the brisk ocean breezes.
I love flowers! I love them so much I’m surprised my first post on here wasn’t all about flowers. In the middle of winter, I miss the flowers, but right now the sun is still shining and there’s still tons of flowers all around. You can oftentimes find me stopping to take photos of all the lovely flowers I see out in the great outdoors. These are some of my favorites in a rainbow of colors.
One of my favorite pastimes is hiking in the Columbia River Gorge because of all the amazing waterfalls you see along the way. There are so many wonderful waterfalls in Oregon. I’ve been to many. I haven’t seen all of them yet, but it’s on my list! Who says you can’t go chasing waterfalls? Here are a few I have had the opportunity to go hike to.
I’ve been obsessed with catching sunsets lately. I was trying to catch a good one from Crown Point off the Columbia River Highway and mostly just got some golden glow in the sky. Sometimes you can catch a good one, sometimes not, and sometimes you just have to go chasing sunsets! It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. From the golden glows to the brightest of pinks, here are a few of my favorites. How absolutely beautiful when God paints the skies in glorious colors for us to enjoy at the beginning and end of our days!