Monday, August 15, 2011

A Monday Morning Daybook. . .

A picture thought I am sharing with you. . .

 Taken Saturday evening from the edge of our campsite—
Literally just a few steps from my tent--at South Matthieu Lake.
As the sun fell, the scenery glowed warmly.
(Today, I insist that you must click on scenery photos!)

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty;
the whole earth is full of His glory.”
~Isaiah 6:3

Outside My Window. . . 

I awoke at 5:00 a.m. and reluctantly acknowledged that days are growing shorter as the sun had not yet begun to brighten the sky. I puttered around the house and watched out the window for the sun to reveal the day’s weather. The sky first turned white, then deepening shades of blue, and I could see that there were some clouds, but not many. We’re running short on summer days, so I’m glad for every day we have sunshine!

The view out my window this morning was strikingly different than the one I enjoyed yesterday morning from my tent at our mountain campsite. It’s certainly pleasant here in town, with trees and plants out every window, but oh how I love the mountains!

I am Thankful. . . 

 That God made me physically strong so that I can do things like carry a 30-pound pack into the mountains and then spend the next two days hiking and scrambling all over the beautiful terrain in the vicinity of our campsite. There is nothing I love more than hiking in the mountains, and to live there for two days and soak it in was like living in a corner of heaven.

I want to stay fit and active so that I can, hopefully, continue to do this kind of thing into older age.  We certainly see a lot of older people hiking and backpacking in the mountains; they have not let age slow them down or limit them. And why not keep going?! In fact, it seems God-honoring (and grateful) to take care of one’s physical health by eating right, staying active, and continuing to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of His creation.

I am immensely thankful for my sister and her family, who have made the tough times of the past two years so much more bearable. They welcomed me (and Aaron) to join them on their backpacking trip, outfitted me (us) with equipment, and made our time in the Sisters Wilderness Area so much fun!

I am thankful for this morning’s steaming cup of extra-tasty coffee. The many-years-long routine of sipping it while I read my Bible and write in my journal is pleasant.

And I have to mention that, walking back into my house last night, and looking around these pleasant surroundings this morning, I am deeply thankful to God for the gift of this home!

I am Wearing. . . 

Do I have to answer this? I’m wearing my usual crazy-messy morning hair, a steel-blue t-shirt, my favorite really soft, blue polar fleece jacket (which is on the verge of becoming too warm as the day heats up), and a pair of hiking shorts from the 1980’s. These white shorts with a dark blue and yellow plaid design are so old they’re almost cool again! I wear them for pajama bottoms because they are made of stretchy cotton and have an elastic waistband (yes, people used to hike in this kind of thing).  My feet are bare.

In the Kitchen. . .


See what it says on the book in the photo? Vegetables Galore. That’s what’s going to be happening in my kitchen this week. On our two-day backpacking trip, I don’t think I ate one single vegetable (though I did drink green lemonade early Saturday morning before leaving). I ate plenty of dried fruit and nuts! On our drive to the mountain trailhead, we stopped by our blueberry-picking farm and bought some berries to eat in the car. But right now I am craving vegetables.

We did have a pretty tasty backpacking dinner Saturday night. If you go backpacking, you know that these meals are different than car-camping meals because everything you need has to be carried to your campsite in the backpack—pans, stove, dishes, food, etc. In the Sisters Wilderness Area, where we camped, no fires are allowed, so cooking over the fire is not an option out there. But my sister and her husband brought the makings of a great, really quick meal. The only cooking involved was heating water (my brother-in-law brought his little backpacking burner), which was poured over couscous (the water, not the backpacking burner), along with some curry powder and powdered coconut milk. Once the couscous had absorbed the water, canned chicken, cashews, dried cranberries, and raisins were stirred into it. I don’t know for sure if this meal tasted delicious because it really was delicious or if it was especially tasty because we had been hiking all day in the fresh air. It was a combination of both, I think, because everything really does taste better in the great outdoors.

I Went (changing this heading from “I am Going”). . .

If you click on the above photo, you can see the yellow tent
on the right side, just off the lake
and nestled back a ways. That's our campsite. 

 And if you click on this one, you can see Aaron (partway down the hill)
headed back to our camp (which is to the left of the lake in the
upper right corner) after we explored the top of a ridge.

To a really beautiful place. The South Matthieu Lake vicinity of the Sisters Wilderness Area in the Cascade Mountains of central Oregon. Two days of hiking, relaxing, visiting, and just being. No electricity. No cell phone service. No campfires allowed. No entertainment. No clocks needed. Quick and easy food. Lots of hiking and exploring done purely for the sake of taking in the beauty around us. We lived on natural time, and let me tell you it goes way, way slower and sweeter than busy-world time. When we left today, we said that it seemed we had been gone for days. And that is such a blessing because the time in the mountains was rejuvenating and restorative. Remind me to do this often.

I’ll be putting up a post full of pictures on this. It was so awe-inspiring out there in the wilderness that I won’t be able to help myself. I really don’t understand how anyone can spend time in a place like this and not have their heart turned toward their Creator because, unless your eyes are closed, the beauty and quiet inspire wonder, awe, and worship.

I am Thinking and Pondering All at Once. . . 

About that natural time vs. busy-world time thing. There really was quite a difference in how quickly time seemed to pass on the backpacking trip, and I realize that I can’t go off into the wild and unplug forever, but I’m wondering if I should slow down and unplug even more than I already have (I supposed it’s ironic that I’m tapping out these thoughts on my computer and am going to sign on to the internet to post this on my blog!). I do have duties and responsibilities that require my time and attention, and this, of course is necessary and good. I live in the real world, after all, and I am called (as we all are) to do my work well and engage with people in various ways. My margins are already fairly wide, and my use of electronics is minimal, so perhaps I just need to be sure I am really paying attention to the moments of the day—to notice, to think, to listen, to pray through them better. And I definitely want to make sure I hike and get out into nature frequently because these literal retreats from the world help restore proper perspective on many things. (I’ve been invited to go on another of these trips over Labor Day weekend!)

I am Reading. . .

Not much right now. I read the book of Zephaniah this morning. I’m reading From Brokenness to Community, recommended by wonderful Andrea. The author of this book ran a community for the mentally challenged, and he beautifully describes what he has learned and gained from the ones he serves.

I am Pondering. . . 

I already pondered above, so I am done pondering for this morning!

Around the House. . . 

Today is clean-up and scrub day. I need to put away the rest of things I took with me on my weekend adventure. The bathroom needs a good scrubbing. I need to water the grass. And wash my car. I need to run to the store to resupply—I’m out of a lot of my kitchen staples. Mostly, I’ll stick around home, regroup, and, little by little this week, see if I can finish sorting and organizing everything that came here from the storage unit in Klamath Falls. I’m almost there!

Have a beautiful Monday!


  1. This post is a lovely respite from poor drought-stricken Texas. It is so HOT Susan! Once I get back from our morning walk, I only poke my head out the door when absolutely necessary!
    I'm so glad you had such a lovely time. It all looks just perfect to me!

  2. Oh, that landscape! And so especially nice in the late afternoon light. Unless, perhaps, some of it is morning light.

    Laura, who is somehow signed in as CZ

  3. Love the photos and look forward to seeing more of that beautiful landscape!

  4. I always enjoy your daybook entires. I've been awake super early this morning seeing someone off to NY so it's been pleasant sitting quietly here until it's time for my coffee. What a great campsite.

  5. Thank you, Linda! I'm sorry it's so miserably hot there. I almost feel guilty about our mild, pleasant summer days! :-) But, instead, I'll be thankful. Stay cool. (Ha. "Stay cool." That can mean more than one thing, and I'll go ahead and mean it both ways for you! It sounds like I'm writing in your high school year book, doesn't it?)

    Laura/Gary, yes some of that is morning light. And it is pretty at both ends of the day! And, hey, your hiking poles went on this trip--used by Conner. :-) You would have loved it!

    Silvana, I love knowing you appreciate this kind of outdoor beauty and the physical exertion of hiking. It really was beautiful and exhilarating! :-)

    Lucille, thank you. I love early morning, but so early that you're waiting for coffee time? That sounds *really* early! But I'm glad you came by here. You feel like an old friend, and it's so nice to have old friends reading your blog (I have a number of real life "old" friends who read).

  6. Gee, I'm glad someone is using those poles! Is Conner taller than me yet? I'm trying to get as far as Riverside Park this morning, and I'm thinking that's ambitious.

    Loved the wild hair photo! I bet Aaron was pretty pleased with himself about that one.

    Laura, whose computer has apparently been taken over by CZ, and still hasn't learned to sign back in *before* commenting.

  7. Hi Laura! Conner is not yet as tall as you, but those poles telescope down to a couple of feet high. . . I hope you made it all the way to the park this morning! :-) And I hope everything is coming together. Praying for you all.

  8. Dear Susan,
    Let me know how you like the little book. it wasn't exactly what I expected, but I enjoyed it all the same. Very humbling. :) Would love to hear your thoughts on it...