Monday, January 19, 2009

Back from Solitude!

[Well, it is time again for that annual post ;-) For those few that have visited before, you'll notice that I've decided to change the format of this site a little bit. I'm hoping that it will motivate me to make more frequent posts as I make it into my own "Fortress of Solitude" (Superman stuff always motivates me) that I know is viewable by the public.]

My focus for this post will be a reflection of 2008:

What a year 2008 was! One of the blessings I’ve received from the past year is the knowledge of how good and comforting it is to have God standing beside us during each and every moment of our lives. It is sometimes easier to notice/lean on Him when we are struggling with situations in our lives, but it is just as important to be aware of Him when things are going well.

2008 began (as you know from the previous post) with Sara and I enjoying our time with our friends in Idaho. It has been wonderful that this seems to be an annual visit that we are able to make. Since my job allows me to have two weeks off from work during this time of the year, this has proved to be a great opportunity to spend some quality time with them that doesn’t feel rushed.

In April, Sara and I were invited to enjoy the weekend at the Oregon Coast with my family. It was one of the rare trips we are able to take altogether because it is sometimes difficulty to find a time and location that we can all get to together. It was a wonderful time, and Sara and I are both looking forward to the next time we get an opportunity to do it again.

Sara and I were also excited to get a chance to visit Disneyland again in June. This time we were able to enjoy our visit with her family. It was our nephew’s and niece’s first visit to Disneyland, and we really enjoyed watching their excitement and sharing the experience with them. Since we drove down with Sara’s parents, we were able to enjoy seeing the Redwoods as we returned home. In all of the times/trips I’ve taken to California, this has not been something I had seen before. It was a truly amazing area where I found myself in awe of the Lord’s majesty.

July was exciting for us since our friends from Idaho came out to visit us. An extra bonus surprise was that they came a day earlier than we had expected. I came home from work and they were hiding in the back room to surprise me. It was a wonderful surprise, and it gave us an extra day with them!

October and November of this last year was probably the hardest time of the year for Sara and I. We had a loss of some family members during this time. It was a blessing to be able to have our friends Scott (in October) and Jessica (in November) out for a weekend. We both enjoyed the time we were able to spend with them during their visits.

December was here before we knew it! The end of December was complicated with some crazy Oregon weather! We had a lot of snow and rather slippery roads. It ended up changing Christmas plans a little bit, but we were still able to enjoy time with family over the holidays before catching a plane to return to Idaho for a week.

Our year ended as it began . . . in Idaho! Sara and I have mentioned to each other how nice it is to be able to do this. We are hoping that as the years continue, we are able to have the time and resources to make this an annual tradition for our family.

Time in Boise allowed us much time to relax and enjoy being with our friends. We enjoyed a gift of a night in Cascade at the Ashley Inn and were also able to visit Bogus Basin. We were able to meet a new member of their family: Sophie. As always, there was much laughter, good times and we hated to see it come to an end. I did discover that I either need to become faster or better at my Disney trivia. I am not quite the Disney expert/nerd that I thought I was! Jessica seems to currently hold that title ;-)

As we are into 2009, I am looking forward to what adventures lie ahead for this year. I will also—hopefully—not have to summarize these adventures for you in a year from now, but will be disciplined enough to share them with you much closer to when they happen. Only time will tell, but it seems to be a job that Superman can handle!

Below is the pictoral summary of 2008:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Castles, Idaho Potatoes and Falling Trees!

Before being removed from a friend's blog, I figure that it is about time to add another entry! Here is another attempt to share my thoughts with the blogging community.

After Christmas, Sara and I flew over to visit our wonderful friends in Boise. We began our visit by staying at a Bed and Breakfast Hotel that has many different themed rooms. On our past visit there in September, we chose to come and stay in the Sleeping Beauty Castle room. We had a wonderfully relaxing time, and it was a great way to start our vacation with our friends. It was a two story room with a waterfall shower and a framed castle that you walk into by crossing a moat. We had so much fun at the motel that we decided to go back and stay in another room before we left to come back to Oregon. Our goal is to go and try to stay in a different room each time we go and visit our friends.

After our stay at the "castle", we went to our friends' house. We had a lot of fun resting, playing, laughing and just enjoying being together with them again. It was a really nice time because our past visits have felt like they've gone by so fast. This one felt just right because we had enough time to just hang out and enjoy being together without worrying about having to rush to get back on the plane to Oregon again. We also got to play with their new addition to the family: a cat named Leia Princess Leia (aka Leia).

Amongst trips to Sonic and the movie theater, we had fun playing with the Nintendo Wii. I decided to bring it with me on our trip because Sara had bought me a new Star Wars game that I just had to play with my little Idaho Potato Jedi. It was fun fighting the bad guys together and unlocking characters and lego sets as Jedi Masters! We also had a lot of fun playing the Carnival game and Wii Sports. In fact, I was able to play some fun rounds of golf with my friend Scott. However, I think we'll have to play another round of 9-hole golf again at another time since the fans that were watching were so loud and distracting that they kept us from having the needed quiet and seriousness it takes for a successful game of golf ;-)

Sara and I happened to come back home on a very stormy day in Oregon. Our plane hit a lot of turbulence and the landing was rather interesting. If it were an amusement park ride, it would have been a hoot. Since it was "off the tracks" so to speak it added a dimension of tension and anxiety to our landing. As we approached the Portland airport, our plane was going side-to-side like it was sliding on ice. I was wondering how our pilot was going to safely land us without crashing or losing a wheel in the process. Sara and I were both amazed at how smooth the landing was once the wheels touched the runway. We both felt that the landing was much smoother and softer than most we've been on when there wasn't a storm going on!

When we got home, we both noticed that another tree by our house had fallen down (probably during the day's storm) and there was a lot of bark where I normally park my car. I commented to Sara that it was probably a good thing that I moved my truck into the driveway before we left since it looks like the tree might have fallen where my car was parked. The following day, my neighbor confirmed my suspicions by telling me that if my car hadn't been moved, it would have been crushed by the tree!

It is amazing how well God looks out for us. I don't normally move my car into the driveway before we leave on a trip. I had only done it this time because I had the thought in my mind that the garbage would be coming while we're gone and I should move my car out of the way so the garbage truck could get to our trash can easily. I could have waited for the trash to be picked up after we came back but something in me said to leave it out for when we're gone. I'm going to give the credit to that idea to God. He knew what was going to happen! I can definitely be thankful to Him for looking out for us!

Well "Oregon Raindrop" is ready to publish . . . and hopefully so much time won't go by again until I make another entry!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Plumluck Gone! :-(

Well, the time had to come sooner or later . . . the family Sara and I have been able to share many wonderful memories with during their 18 months in Oregon has gone back to live in Idaho. It is to Scott and his family that I dedicate my first ever blog entry. In fact, Scott you may be the only person that EVER reads this anyway :-)

A lot can be learned from our friends. Not only can God be seen through His creation, but also through the friendships he brings into our lives. I thank God for friends like the Plumleys. Through them, Sara and I have been able to find companionship, love, acceptance, joy, truth and encouragement. Definitely characteristics of the God that we serve.

Not only have Scott and Jessica been a wonderful display of these Godly characteristics to us, but so have their children. As someone who works with children on a daily basis, it is easy for me to find a special spot in my heart for children. It was not hard at all to make a home in my heart for the Plumley children. Each of them brought joy and happiness to Sara and I through their own unique ways and personalities. Sara and I have commented time and time again how lucky we would be to someday have children half as wonderful as them.

Ever since I've put Scott and Jessica in my cell phone, they've had the ring tone of one of my favorite Michael W. Smith songs, "Friends". As the song says, "Friends are friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them." It is with these words and thoughts that I am encouraged by the distance that has now come between us and the Plumleys. Things will be different for sure since we won't have our weekly visits/get togethers and Sunday nights will be no more. Thanks to technology, we have webcams (better set your's up soon
;-), MySpace, blogs, cell phones and text messaging to stay in touch! We also now have a place to go and visit in Idaho for a vacation (which we intend to do yearly!) and hopefully the Oregon coast will work like an incredibily STRONG magnet to draw the Plumley's out this way at least once a year!

Plumleys, you are missed, but I look forward to the new adventures that await us in our friendship as the miles have been added between us. Whenever you call me, I'll hear the tune of Michael W. Smith's "Friends". Sara and I are also looking forward to "Tranquil Waters"!