Friday, July 29, 2005

Wallowa Lake

Today is Friday and we are nearly at the end of our Wallowa Lake camping trip. What fun to have hi-tech equipment to journal our week here as I sit under our dining fly with our laptop. We were able to get internet access at Embers Brew House in Joseph last night. We were their first internet customers. It was fun to check our email and look at some of our favorite blogs. It was hard to use the computer the entire hour because they brought us a delicious dinner while we were typing! We highly recommend the Veggie Calzone & Salad for two. It’s an annual tradition to eat there before the rodeo but with the internet access we will be spending more time there during our annual trip here.
We started camping here in 1980 as a family. Walt camped here in the late 60’s – early 70’s. Over the last 25 years we have had many different groups join us – friends, family, church family. We only missed a few years when Matt was born or we had soccer tournaments & family vacations to other destinations. But all in all – Wallowa is still on the top of our vacation list. We have had many disasters, car troubles, sickness etc but amidst all this – Wallowa is like coming home. I love rounding the bend to the lake and seeing the mountains, inhaling the smell of trees and campfire….. we have had so many wonderful memories & family bonding time here!
As last year, Tim and Matt were not able to join us. We miss having them here but our newest addition was having 8-month old Colin join us. He is a 4th generation camper in our family. He has been such a trooper! He has adapted well while not having his schedule or the conveniences of home. I believe I’ve even heard him say “Gma”…. but then Walt is convinced he can say “hot dog” hahaha!
The weather has been unbelievably hot. Tuesday was the only cool day that we did not go down to the lake. But it is always nice to have a day of rest! We did have a windblast hit our site at 6am Thursday. Walt ran out half dressed to save our dining fly from “lift off.” It was an extremely warm wind but caused some damage to our equipment. I don’t think we have ever escaped some kind of extreme weather situation during the week we are here. Last year we had a near “flash flood” during a thundershower. I have never seen it rain so hard. We couldn’t even see our neighbors through our dining fly. Well, it’s always good to have some good stories to hand down to the next generation.
Our newest campers to join us this year – the Fox family and Melissa. It has been fun to have them here. Bryce and Macy have filled the void of the past few years w/o kids here. We have had fun playing games and cards, go-cart rides etc. It has been a good trip for all of us to get better acquainted. It was very nice to have a hiking buddy. Lynn joined Walt & I on a short hike up to the waterfall on the Mt. Joseph trail. Maybe next time we’ll cross the “homemade” log bridge and continue on the trail. The bridge was washed out several years ago when a flash flood ripped through the Boy Scout camp and knocked the bridge out making it impossible to get across the trail. Someone put pieces of wood across to access the other side.
Our week has also included a “girls” shopping trip to Joseph, the rodeo, “guys” dam building, and floating on the lake on our “floaties.” So many great memories! It’s always fun to shop at Mad Mary’s” and “Simply Sandy’s.” I found the alarm clock I have been looking for in the last year for our guest bedroom. Yeah! I love the shopping up here. Good thing I can only shop once a year. Good thing I don’t work there – I would be broke!
I have had some great times of spiritual renewal. I can sit on my “floatie” and pray while looking at the beautiful scenery. So many things to pray about, especially for Bob as he faces many appts. for a lung tumor. Our biggest request right now is that it has not spread to the chest wall. I have also had some good devotional times. I read Psalm 103 and felt like I read it for the first time…even tho’ I have read it many times over the years.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits –
Who forgives all your sins
And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

That was the theme for my week – to be reminded of how he has provided during unemployment, that he is continually working on areas of sin in my life, how he has healed me after surgery and during Lupus flares & anemia. Having spent time up here I feel renewed and even tho’ I celebrated a birthday here … I still feel young at heart – even physically, as I have kept up with the activities of this camping trip!
I am taking mental pictures of all that I love here. I have come to realize that I never know when my last trip here will be. I am thankful for another year to experience this!

A Praise!!!!! Walt found our AWOL digital camera....couldn't find it before we left for vacation. It was under the truck seat. Whew....we have been lost without it.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Now that we are empty-nesters things are a little more orderly, we're not as busy keeping up with schedules, appointments, sports events etc. but some days it's just a little too quiet around here. I remember listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio each day when the kids were little and found this to be one of his most touching messages. I found this book out in the garage while we were going through storage boxes. I pass this on to new moms and dads as a reminder to savor each day. I know how there are crazy, frustrating days but looking back on this side of it....they were the best! As Chuck suggested at the end ... “Maybe we can baby-sit the grandkids and get some life back in this place for a change!” We finally did that and last weekend was our first babysitting experience with Colin. What sheer joy it was to have him here...definitely brought life to our place!

Copied from -- "Home: Where Life Makes Up It’s Mind" … by Charles R. Swindoll, 1979

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, things are going to be a lot different. The garage won’t be full of bikes, electric train tracks on plywood, sawhorses surrounded by chunks of two-by-fours, nails, a hammer and saw, unfinished “experimental projects,” and the rabbit cage. I’ll be able to park both cars neatly in just the right places, and never again stumble over skateboards, a pile of papers (saved for the school fund drive), or the bag of rabbit food – now split and spilled. Ugh!

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, the kitchen will be incredibly neat. The sink will stay free of sticky dishes, the garbage disposal won’t get choked on rubber bands or paper cups, the refrigerator won’t be clogged with nine bottles of milk, and we won’t lose the tops to jelly jars, catsup bottles, the peanut butter, the margarine, or the mustard. The water jar won’t be put back empty, the ice trays won’t be left out overnight, the blender won’t stand for six hours coated with the remains of a midnight malt, and the honey will stay inside the container.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, my lovely wife will actually have time to get dressed leisurely. A long hot bath (without three panic interruptions), time to do her nails (even toenails if she pleases!) without answering a dozen questions and reviewing spelling words, having had her hair done that afternoon without trying to squeeze it in between racing a sick dog to the vet and a trip to the orthodontist with a kid in a bad mood because she lost her headgear.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, the instrument called a “telephone” will actually be available. It won’t look like it’s growing from a teenager’s ear. It will simply hang there….silently and amazingly available! It will be free of lipstick, human saliva, mayonnaise, corn chip crumbs, and toothpicks stuck in those little holes.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, I’ll be able to see through the car windows. Fingerprints, tongue licks, sneaker footprints, and dog tracks (nobody knows how) will be conspicuous by their absence. The back seat won’t be a disaster area, we won’t sit on jacks or crayons any more, the tank will not always be somewhere between empty and fumes and (glory to God!) I won’t have to clean up dog messes another time.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, we will return to normal conversations. You know, just plain American talk. “Gross” won’t punctuate every sentence seven times. “Yuk!” will not be heard. “Hurry up, I gotta go!” will not accompany the banging of fists on the bathroom door. “It’s my turn” won’t call for a referee. And a magazine article will be read in full without interruption, then discussed at length without mom and dad having to hide in the attic to finish the conversation.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, we won’t run out of toilet tissue. My wife won’t lose her keys. We won’t forget to shut the refrigerator door. I won’t have to dream up new ways of diverting attention from the gumball machine…or have to answer “Daddy, is it a sin to kiss the rabbit goodnight? …or wait up forever until they get home from dates…or have to take a number to get a word in a the supper table…or endure the pious pounding of one Keith Green just below the level of acute pain.

YES, SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, things are going to be a lot different. One by one they’ll leave our nest, and the place will begin to resemble order and maybe even a touch of elegance. The clink of china and silver will be heard on occasion. The crackling of the fireplace will echo through the hallway. The phone will be strangely silent. The house will be
and calm…
and always clean…
and empty…
and filled with memories
and lonely…
and we won’t like that at all. And we’ll spend our time not looking forward to Someday but looking back to Yesterday. And thinking, “Maybe we can baby-sit the grandkids and get some life back in this place for a change!”
Could it be that the apostle Paul had some of this in mind when he wrote:
…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Philippians 4:11).
Maybe so. But then again, chances are good Paul never had to clean up many dog messes.