Yachats, Oregon–A Gem Tucked Beside a Big Sea

 

To savor the last gasp of summer, my family traveled to a favorite destination spot last weekend—Yachats, Oregon,  a tiny little town on the Oregon coast.

Pronounced Yaw-hots, this gem of a berg tucked along the Pacific boasts fewer than seven hundred residents. From beginning to end, its horseshoe shape wraps around an inlet of water the natives call a bay.

 Controversy exists over the meaning of the name. According to Wikipedia, some attribute  the name Yachats to the Siletz language meaning “dark water at the foot of the mountain.” Others maintain it is a place name of another Native American tribe—the  Alsea.

Whatever its origin, Yachats is a sleepy little town where everything closes by nine and night life is listening to the roar of the ocean outside your balcony window.

My family didn’t care. We came to rest, cool off from the sizzling valley heat where we live, and enjoy each other’s company before schedule changes and fall commitments demanded more. 

My daughter challenged us to a game of Monopoly, then proceeded to skunk her opponents as she bought up more than half of the available properties.  My son brought movies, one for each evening, and we enjoyed them without popcorn, since I’d forgotten to pack any. My husband took us sightseeing along the water, through the sprinkling of shops along the main thoroughfare, and drove us to dinner in a nearby community which offered a little more variety.

Saturday, during one excursion along a rocky precipice circling the bay, I watched fishermen casting lines into the surf. I worried they were no match for the height of the waves crashing against the rocks, mere feet from where they stood.  The huge expanse of the ocean was mind-boggling—we humans mere bits of sand against the size of the sea. I paused, thinking how much greater our heavenly Father must be.

In Psalm 46:1,3 the psalmist writes: (NKJV) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear. . .Though earth’s waters roar. . .” In Psalm 46:10 we are told “Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Standing beside the force of the ocean, I sensed God’s creation proclaims how great He is. Can I do any less?

Seeeking Water To Quench Our Thirst

The cherub served as usher

My husband loves water features in our backyard. We have a cherub that pours from an urn, a Roman maiden who tilts a pitcher, and a trio of cherubs who support a tulip-shaped waterfall on their shoulders. The burbling of the water is a peaceful caress against the backdrop of busy streets and noisy cars.

With the hot summer days we’ve recently experienced, the water draws creatures from around the neighborhood—cats, birds, raccoons, and squirrels.  Each one has its favorite drinking spot.

One recent afternoon, I was working in my kitchen when I noticed a flock of finches, about eight in all, flutter into the nook where the cherub resides. Their golden bodies perched on fronds of ferns and bleeding hearts while each finch, in succession, partook of the water. I watched, fascinated, as the tiny birds waited for each other to take a turn resting on the urn, or landing on the rock below where the bird could bathe in the fountain’s splash.  The cherub served as usher, and the tiny voices of the finches performed like a choir, the gentle tinkling of sound a heavenly symphony in the quiet afternoon.

Then, as if summoned by an unseen voice from above, they lifted in unison, flying up over the masonry wall and disappearing from sight, their mission accomplished, their thirst satisfied. I marveled at the precision of their flight—their journey calculated, their quest certain—hoping they might visit again.

In the book of John, Jesus said to the Samaritan woman that whoever drank of the water she drew from the well would thirst again. But he declared he had something better.  John 4:14 (NKJV) “But whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The woman answered Jesus, saying she wished for the water he offered. May you also find the water that will satisfy your soul, and not just your thirst.

See you next week, Pat

Celebrating 100 Years of Life

After a lifetime of service and devotion to those around her, Mary Simon Douglass is 100 years old today—August 17, 2013. One can only imagine all she has witnessed in her lifetime—World Wars I and II, The Great Depression, washing machines, cell phones, television, air and space travel, computers—the list is endless.

Growing up in California, Mary met her future husband, Robert Owen Douglass, while they attended the University of Redlands. They shared a birthday—both were born August 17, only he was three years older. She graduated from the college in 1934  and sought employment through social services until she married Owen the following year—April 13, 1935. In 1936 their first son, Bob, was born. David came four years later.

While Mary raised their boys, Owen worked for Standard Oil. After eight years with the company, he was promoted to a managerial position at a major service station when he sensed God’s call upon his life. He attended Talbot Theological Seminary, a part of Biola University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) and was ordained at First Baptist Church of El Cajon, California. From seminary, Owen began ministry at Trinity Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

Now a pastor’s wife, with all the responsibilities that title entailed, Mary also taught piano lessons to private students. Carol Fisher, of Pendleton, OR who took lessons from Mary, remembers her as a special teacher.

Kathy Stubbert of Eugene, OR received a baby blanket Mary made for Kathy’s firstborn, an item she still has. Kathy writes, “I think I never really used it because it was just so pretty and I didn’t want spit-up on it. How impractical is that, when I remember Mary as such a practical woman—a sweet, endearing friend to a young mom.”

Over thirty-plus years, the Douglass family served in Conservative Baptist churches in Globe and Yuma, Arizona; Bell, California; and Gresham, Springfield, Pendleton, and Eugene, Oregon—seven congregations in all. At the age of 65, when most men are retiring, Owen formed Nursing Home Ministries (NHM). With Mary at his side, they remained with NHM twenty-five years. Owen died in 2006. Son Bob died in 1974.

In Proverbs 31: 10-12 and 30, God’s word tells us: (NKJV) “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. . . .

(30) Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she will be praised.”

Happy Birthday, Mary, and thanks for being the godly woman you are.

 

 

Writer or Artist–Searching for the “Well Done”

The Koi Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week I was invited to participate in an art show held in the garden of a  private residence. I knew the hostess as an accomplished artist and advancing writer, but when I entered her garden, her imagination literally flowed from the flowers, trees and water features of the enchanted forest she’d created. 

An ornamental koi pond occupied center stage, filled with red and yellow carp, pond lilies and glass balls. From there the water flowed to a simulated rock wall cropping, complete with waterfall. The splash led to a small bog where lush greenery thrived in the wet sand along a rocky berm. From there it trickled on to a narrow man-made creek bubbling under an arched wooden bridge and back into the pond. Within the perimeter of the water waited a gathering area of grass and trees where tables, chairs and easels displayed the visitors’ artwork.   

Seeing the many abilities of the hostess, I was reminded of the passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus taught the parable of the talents. Though talent is another word for money in the Bible, this passage is often used as an example of how each of us should develop the skills God gives us. In the story,  the master gives one man five talents, another, two  and yet another, one. The first two men took their treasures, went out, and did their best to develop what they had. The third man, afraid of failing his master, buried his talent in the ground. When the master returned, the first two men received applause and the third man scorn.

Each of us has been given aptitudes God expects us to develop. Whether it be writing a story, painting a picture, or baking a loaf of bread, we should develop the gift to the best of our ability. My friend, mentioned above, let her passion for creativity flow into everything she did.  When we stand before God, the author of creativity, we want to hear his applause and the promised words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Matthew 25:29: (NKJV)  “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

Imagine a Waterfall in Your Backyard!

Book Pick–The Amish Bride by Harvest House Publishers

 

 

All the elements of a good mystery—a missing painting, a coded journal and a father’s unexplained  return—lie within the pages of  The Amish Bride written by Leslie Gould and Mindy Stearns Clark. 

Ella Baker desires two things—to run her own bakery and someday marry her Amish boyfriend, Ezra Gundy. But his family frowns on the match because Ella was raised Mennonite. To cool their relationship, Ezra is sent to a farm in Indiana to learn the business of managing a dairy. 

When Ella’s estranged father returns, she flees Lancaster to Indiana and winds up on a farm linked to her great-grandmother’s coded journal. With the help of an Amish farm hand, Luke Kline, Ella discovers the code and clues to her own history. The information forces her to look at her past, her present, and the future God may have for her.

The Amish Bride is a refreshing twist on a genre I consider overwritten. This Amish story captured my attention, drawing me into a modern-day novel with different conflicts than the conventional buggies and bonnets tale. Whether or not you read stories about the Amish, this one is worth your time, its intricate twists and turns drawing you deeper into the book.

Leslie Gould and Mindy Stearns Clark are both best-selling authors who teamed up for this work. Gould lives with her family in Oregon  and Clark and her family reside in Pennsylvania.

The Amish Bride is available online or wherever great books are sold.