Thursday, May 31, 2007


Fort St. John, British Columbia

We're 2 days behind schedule so far. There's something wrong with the van-- we don't know what. We've been up the road a piece but with the van unwilling to climb hills, it's not worth the risk to go on. Today is Thursday.

The wedding's next Saturday.

Oh God, please don't let it take that long to get there.

Would you all pray with me that the car gets fixed in the morning and that we can get back on the road. We'll already be late to Juneau, but we've got to get to the wedding.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

For Better or for Worse

What could be better than a week on the road with parents and children? Or what could be worse?

What could be better than sharing a cozy camper? Of course, depending on how many of us snore, what could be worse?

What could be better than trying out our new hand-crank flashlights? Unless we go north and the sun never sets.

What could be better than witnessing the marriage of my baby brother (35)?


Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I love the trend of having a coffee shop in a book store. Powells has its cafe. Barnes and Noble has Starbucks. And Branches, our Christian book store, has Cafe Divine.
The writing life can be a lonely existence. Sitting in front of a computer screen, blocking out the world, writing down thoughts that may never be seen by anyone else... sometimes it seems a writer is alone in the universe.

One of the most invigorating things I know to do is to talk shop with another writer. When two creators rub thoughts together, inspiration can be rekindled. Iron on iron, sparks on wood shavings, water on seeds, ideas are born and formed and take on a life of their own.

Do you have a friend who brings out your best ideas? Do you have a place where inspiration is born? I have several of each, but Cafe Divine is a special favorite.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Outdoor School is for sixth graders. During this week-long adventure, the kids get a chance to learn about what properties of water are optimal for salmon, how to test forest soils, how to build a campfire and pack a backpack. They participate in challenge course activities and learn about local wildlife.

We had an extra little person along this week and, I've got to say,
I think she
learned the most.

My little girl,
who is deathly afraid of flies,
adopted a pet bug
after hearing
The Bug Lady
give a talk.

My little girl,
who hates slimey things,
reeled in more trout than anyone.

My little girl,
who clings to my leg
when there are strangers around,
sat and visited with
over sixty strangers
over meals this week.

My little girl,
who gets nervous on a playground swing,
swung in the tops of the trees.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

See you next week

The kids and I are off to Outdoor School for a week. We'll be slogging through mud, learning about animal first aid and soil pH and how to pack a day pack. I hope your Mother's Day was as good as mine was. We had this picture taken at church this morning. We spent the afternoon hiking to the top of Beacon Rock and the evening cheering on the final five on Survivor. That's the news from around here.

See you next week.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Blasphemy Challenge

Did you catch Nightline the other night? The one where Kurt Cameron debated The "Rational Response Squad" over the existence of God?

I've heard about this Rational Response Squad before. They are calling on people, but especially teens, to take the blasphemy challenge and denounce the existence of God via YouTube.

I watched the debate, or as much as they showed of it on Nightline, and I've got to say... I was embarrassed. To have God's existence reduced to circular arguments and ridiculous paintings, I felt, insulted the intelligence of those who came to hear a rational debate.

I don't doubt that God IS. And I think it's good to be able to point to evidence of his existence. But I don't believe in him because someone showed me a picture of a crociduck. I believe because of my own experiences with him. He leaves footprints and clues throughout my life that can only point to him.

Monday, May 07, 2007







And to the people of Kansas, tornado.

All destructive forces. All beyond our control.

I live in the shadow of a volcano, on the edge of a tectonic plate. I've lived in other earthquake zones and in a tornado alley.

The only place I've lived that isn't prone to any of these natural disasters is West Africa. They've go no major fault lines, no monsoons, no hurricanes or blizzards. Yet they live in a poverty so deep it seems impossible to dig them out.

I heard a bit of hope yesterday on, of all places, The Splendid Table. Nature writer Sharman Apt Russell shared the story of Ireland, a country that, 100+ years ago, epitomized famine with 1 million dead of hunger, 1 million dead of disease and another million fleeing the country for other lands. Now Ireland has the 2nd highest standard of living in the world.

We can't do anything about the disasters beyond our control, but perhaps we can learn some lessons from Ireland and find a way to free Africa of its hunger.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Side Trip

If any of you live in an area where Amtrak offers its Schools on Trains program-- use it! It's a great way to spend a day out with the kids (and grandparents) in a different city. We've taken Schools on Trains to Seattle 3 times and took it from Olympia to Portland once. Each time we see something different, but we always have fun!

This trip's highlights:
  • Pike Place Market - it's always fun to wander the market, sampling and tasting our way among the stalls. We bought beef jerky, watched the fish throwers, and came home with sparkly stuffed dragons and snakes.
  • Seattle Aquarium - this was our first time to visit this aquarium which specializes on the critters in Puget Sound. We had fun watching the otters and seals. Standing under the 400,000 gallon aquadome filled with salmon, wolf eels and rock fish was a unique experience.
  • Amtrak - the train trip is always fun, watching the scenery go by, visiting with friends while the kids visit with their friends.
  • Market Spice Tea Company - part of Pike Place market, this store is a treasure trove of spices and teas from around the world. It's always worth stopping by for a sample of their signature market spice tea.
  • Uwajimaya - this was my first time to visit the monstrous Japanese supermarket and its food court. I could have used a few hours there, not just the 20 minutes we had.