Ah, splurge. The word itself is an indulgence to the tongue. Say it with gusto. But this is your conscience speaking: I am here to tell you to strive not to acquire more junk and in the process not spend beyond your means this holiday season. As parents we have an urge to give our children the best or the most or the seemingly one thing in the world that would make them happy (at least until the next toy comes along). But—and here is my rant—we in the United States of America possess too much stuff! Let us not train our children in a likewise manner. Our kids will have a big enough chore cleaning out our garages, attics and storage units when we downsize or leave this earthly realm anyway. Hint: start purging now! Continue reading
When I quit smoking cigarettes decades ago, I made a solemn vow not to become one of those obnoxious, smug ex-smokers who try to make life miserable for all the other smokers in the world.
Not for me the pious lectures on the evils and dangers of inhaling all those noxious gases, and tars, and nicotine. I promised to keep my mouth shut for three years, barely responding even when asked whether and how I had quit. Continue reading
It was early Sunday morning and I was listening to the radio as I was making my breakfast. On KXL they were doing an interview of Bill Russell, selected by Portland Metro Area Realtors to be Portland’s First Citizen. The name I recognized immediately because Bill and I were in the Gresham Rotary. What I didn’t know since many years have passed is that Bill is the executive director of the Union Gospel Mission. He has a background as a prosecuting attorney in Lewiston, Idaho. He witnessed many of those he was prosecuting go through the turnstile of prison and addiction to drugs, alcohol, and homelessness.
In 1982 Bill met Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship and he became the regional director overseeing programs in four western states. Upon leaving this ministry to join Union Gospel Mission he helped create LifeChange. This program requires responsibility to those seeking a better life.
At their downtown location 3 N.W. Third Avenue, they house 50 men in a residential live-in program and 38 women and children at their Continue reading
My dear, sweet, loving and devoted parents Frank and Helen Maguire, will celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary this month. I’m continually amazed by all that they overcame! Somehow, not only do they still LOVE one another, but they LIKE one another as well! How is this possible?
My parents met in the year 1956 during the period in time where the United States was in the midst of a religious revival which created a very wholesome environment to grow up in. Both of my parents were raised to be devout Catholics and were taught to place God above all else. They had high hopes when they married in 1957, and although they knew it wasn’t going to be “easy,” they never expected these innocent times to be so short-lived, ending only a few years after they were wed. To make matters worse, they were living in California – – smack dab in the middle of a cultural revolution. Scary times were on their way! Continue reading
This year’s three-day Heart of the Country art show and sale features artists known for their expertly crafted works. Most have exhibited widely; and each is known for creating unique pieces that bring Northwest character to life.
Seven-time national award winning nature photographer and Pacific Northwest wall calendar creator, Nancy J. Smith, has been capturing her stunning images for 27 years. Known for her ability to bring waterfalls, landscapes, flora and fauna to life in large format prints, she is now transferring those images onto metal so that the frame-less pieces transform surfaces on which they are mounted.
Artist and retired educator Sharon Jones commented on the genesis of her work “My love of art goes back to 1974 when I Continue reading
Born in the 1930s and early 40s, we exist as a very special age cohort. We are the Silent Generation.
We are the smallest number of children born since the early 1900s. We are the “last ones.”
We are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years. Continue reading
Most of us don’t like the term “surrender”. It reminds us of our younger days when the playground bully had us in a headlock and taunted us to give up. On a much larger scale, wars rage between countries until one of them finally capitulates to the other. Surrender is always an admission of defeat. And no one likes to admit defeat.
But surrendering isn’t always a bad thing. It all depends on to whom I’m surrendering. It’s not a bad thing if it’s to God that I give in and stop fighting. Every Christ-follower experiences an internal battle between two opposing sides, his old nature and the Spirit of God. Notice what Galatians 5:17 says, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” There is a conflict, a battle, because my old nature is still proud and selfish and wants my will to be done more than it wants God’s will. Like it or not, life seems to be a series of lessons to teach me to surrender my plans and my will over to God so that He can accomplish His plans through me. Continue reading
What a year! So little rain – so many little pond “people.” I have spent the entire late Spring and all Summer in a state of Pond Hysteria. This is a rare condition. I seem to be the only not–so–innocent victim of this weirdness! We have a 40’ x 70’ natural pond on our property. It is a grave, grave responsibility! In fact, those should be capital “G’s!”
When I say, “we” have a pond, I should really just fess up and say, “I” have this pond that I am frankly bananas about! All my life I have loved little creatures. Countless are the wooly bear caterpillars I have saved from being squished on Bluff road! Then there are Continue reading
Have you ever been sitting at an outdoor cafe watching people walk by, or walking down a crowded sidewalk, when the thought suddenly flashes in your mind, “None of these people know you. How significant are you, anyway?” I know that it’s happened to me many times. The thought may be fleeting, but it’s an important question for each of us. The way in which a person answers it is critical. In my opinion, most people don’t have an adequate answer. They try to convince themselves of their significance, or value, by quickly reviewing their accomplishments and how many people they have helped. They may also look for their significance in their job or education or bank account or social standing. Continue reading
A friend of mine enjoys camping in the middle of the woods, alone and far away from people. It doesn’t matter to him if it’s clear, raining, or snowing. He loves to wake up to a cool morning, smell the fresh air, build a campfire and cook his breakfast. Myself, I prefer waking up in my own bed, building a fire in the woodstove, having a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and cooking breakfast in the microwave.
Though I’m not much for camping, I have observed the New Testament uses the imagery of a tent to describe the physical body. This is an appropriate euphemism since tent-life is temporary for most of us. I’m sure you’ve noticed that as we age, the condition of our tent changes. Mine sure has. Once strong and flexible, it now sags and is much weaker and fragile. But, regardless the current age or condition of our tent, there is coming a day when it will be packed up and we will go home. Continue reading