Olallie Lake

Last week on a day trip to view the eclipse, we drove all the way down to Olallie Lake. What a gorgeous vacation spot, but the roads are terrible. I repeat – terrible! Do not attempt to go out any way other than the main entrance to the north. The southern road is only passable by four wheel drive vehicles. They should post a sign warning all other vehicles away. That would have been helpful as we started scraping the underside of my small passenger car on the rocks trying to get out – the roads were that bumpy! Ending up in me thinking I had a leak when we got home because my son noticed something dripping after we’d stopped the car.

So, I drove it straight into the shop even though they didn’t have time to work on it for several days because I was worried whatever was dripping would leak out and I wouldn’t be able to drive it anywhere, then have to pay to get it towed. Come to find out, they looked over my car the next day and couldn’t see anything leaking. So the mechanic asked me if I’d been running the air conditioner for a long length of time. Um, yep. It was a long trip with the a/c going most of the time. The mechanic makes an uh-huh sound. Then inserts a dramatic pause. I’m starting to get the hint that maybe the a/c was dripping by the time he starts talking again… Apparently, if you drive a long ways with the a/c running, condensation builds up, which you may then see dripping off the car when you stop. Gee, do I feel just a wee bit stupid. But better safe than sorry I say, so all’s well that ends well, right?¬† ūüėČ

Here I thought I hurt my poor car going on an adventure off into no mans land in her. The little diva car is still going. She says I can’t kill her yet – sometimes she gets better screen time than me when I’m on set as an extra. I have to keep her going so she can be in more TV shows and movies. She thinks I should rent a 4-wheel drive next time I want to go on an adventure. Little divalicious brat! I swear, one of these days I’m going to buy that bratty car a some of those eyelashes you put on your cars headlights so she can look like the diva she is!

 

Campground at Olallie Lake
Campground at Olallie Lake

 

Looking out to Olallie Bluff
Looking out to Olallie Bluff

 

Cute little dome tent by the lake
Cute little dome tent by the lake

 

Orange berries
Orange berries

 

Pine cone art
Pine cone art

 

Flighty little chipmunk
Flighty little chipmunk

 

So, the eclipse may have been the highlight of that trip, but we also hung around and had a picnic lunch at a campsite someone had already left after the eclipse. We tried to take photos of a cool looking bird who kept flying away from us and an elusive little chipmunk. The lake was beautiful, but there was a narrow strip of land on one side of the lake that looked like it had been on fire sometime in the past few years. When we saw that area up close on the way to and from the peninsula, it was filled with beautiful wildflowers. I just had to stop and take photos!

 

Flowers growing after a fire.
Flowers growing after a fire.

 

Out of the ashes, beauty grows
Out of the ashes, beauty grows

 

Happy 2 year anniversary to my blog today!

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5 ways to embrace darkness in your life

What do you do when you feel like you’re going through a dark time in your life? And it just keeps going. Like you’re in a tunnel with no end in sight. I feel like I’ve been in this stage for over a year now. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m ever coming out of it. Like I’m walking through the fog, only able to see part of the path in front of me – not knowing where it will lead, but blindly proceeding onward anyway.

 

Into the unknown
Into the unknown

 

On Sunday, the pastor at my church was saying he was sensing some of us have been oppressed by the enemy for a long time. Yeah. Sounds about right…

The thing is, at some point last¬†summer, I felt like God was telling me he was going to restore me. But oddly, it was at a point where things looked like they were going in the right direction anyway. It didn’t make sense. Things didn’t keep heading in the right direction for me to recover financially, but they had started. Now, I find myself wondering if he was referring instead to my mother and the cancer we did not yet know about that was about to be revealed. And if not, could I trade my promise and apply it to her? Which lead me to my first¬†point.

Bargaining:¬†My bargaining goes somewhere along these lines.So, God, not sure where that restoring is that you promised me last summer, but could we please take that word and apply it to my mom’s cancer? It’s more important. I’ll live below the poverty level for the rest of my life if you can just restore my mom instead.’¬†

 

Another nut, please.
Another nut, please.

 

Like living below the poverty level for the rest of my days on planet earth sounds fun. So then I bargain some more.¬†‘But you can restore my mom’s health and me as well. Because really I’m not going to feel restored if her cancer gets worse and I’m doing better financially. Taking her cancer away is a part of restoring me, so really, could you restore both me and my mom? Let’s apply that word ‘restore’ to all aspects of my life.’¬†Like, you know, why not go big or not at all?

I keep running into this verse lately: Hebrews 4:16¬†“Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” So I’m approaching the throne of grace with confidence. I’m holding Him to his promises and making sure I bargain for Mamacita’s life as well. Hopefully I don’t look like Mr. Chipmunk here. With his cheeks stuffed full of nuts but still begging for more…

 

Ain't too proud to beg
Ain’t too proud to beg

 

Let Go and Let God:¬†I feel like I keep playing certain songs over and over again. The main one I’m stuck on lately is Thy Will by Hillary Scott and The Scott Family. I’m not sure if it really makes me feel any better as it’s basically saying Thy Will be Done when really what I want is my will to be done. But it helps me to let go and let God. And that’s important. Maybe I feel like on the one hand, God is telling me to approach the throne of grace with confidence, but on the other hand as this song says: Sometimes I’ve gotta stop, remember that You’re God and I am not… Woah. That’s a hard one when you’ve got a loved one fighting cancer. Like, just kick this cancer to the curb already!

 

Letting go...
Letting go…

 

Listen to music that makes you feel good:¬†A couple of days ago, the song What a Feeling by Irene Cara¬†from the movie Flashdance was going through my head. So I played that one over and over. Finally had to stop playing it because it’s a pretty upbeat song and I didn’t want to re-hurt my tailbone which is feeling way better and on the mend right now, but needs more time to be fully healed.

The next day my mom and I were heading down to OHSU to meet with her doctor and then do her chemo. I was worried that the news from her latest cat scan would be be bad. It wasn’t good news last time. Since she started on the new trial through OHSU, they¬†keep having to take her off the new trial drug she’s on because of dangerously high levels of GGT levels in her liver. She’d been off the pills for a week before getting the cat scan. Her weight is down – not a good sign in a cancer patient because it could mean the cancer is winning. And here I am listening to What a Feeling and trying not to dance my tailbone into a setback in the healing process. But, it made me feel better – imagining us getting good news instead of bad at the doctor the next day and dancing our way across the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. (Which is near where her doctors office and the chemo ward are.) Trying to mentally prepare myself for the worst while hoping for the best.

 

Mt St Helens as seen through the Tilikum Crossing Bridge from OHSU
Mt St Helens as seen through the Tilikum Crossing Bridge from OHSU

 

Channel peace and serenity:¬†Just before my mom and I left for OHSU a couple of days ago, I saw a picture I’d forgotten to post from a couple of weeks ago. It looked so peaceful and tranquil and I knew I needed some of that peace for the day. So I thought it fitting that it somehow hadn’t gotten posted and was just sitting there waiting for the perfect time for me to post it. A reminder that whatever was coming, we’re in God’s hands ultimately. And those are good hands to be in.

 

Peace and serenity
Peace and serenity

 

Embrace the darkness:¬†You know¬†that saying, ‘The nights always darkest before the dawn’. Know that you’re dawn is coming. And not all dark things are bad. As my mom and I sat at the doctor’s office, the doctor was showing us the tumors. This time the news was good! The tumors had shrunk down in size – one of the original ones on her lungs was back to it’s original size, and the other one that was a bit bigger was smaller than the second cat scan she’d had but still bigger than the first time. And then he pointed to the middle and said ‘But it’s darker here in the middle. Even darker than the last time.’ That’s actually good news when it comes to looking at a cat scan of cancer tumors! The contrast stuff they give my mom before doing a cat scan makes those things light up like Christmas tree lights, so the darkness in the tumor actually means they’ve gone necrotic. They’re dying out! Whoohoo!!!!!

 

It's always darkest before the dawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

 

*On a side note, another dark thing that isn’t bad is dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate! But not the kind that is so dark it tastes like baking cocoa. Blech. Maybe I’m more of a semi-sweet/dark chocolate lover. I’ve decided Dove Dark Chocolates are the perfect blend of dark chocolate. Not so dark they are bitter, but not yucky milk chocolate as well. And dark chocolate is actually good for you. I’m sure the kind that is really good for you is the really dark bitter kind, but any dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate. So yeah, yum. Dark chocolate rocks! So feel free to buy yourself a nice dark chocolate Easter bunny for Easter. You can thank me later…

 

Dove dark chocolate
Dove dark chocolate

 

Photo credit: Chipmunk photo credit – ankakay Ain’t too proud to beg via photopin (license)

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