we got up to the Steens Mts at 2 pm after leaving at 6 am on Monday. We got camp all set up with 7 tents set up plus 2 little tents that we use for outhouses with porta potties. As soon as we got things set up it started raining and it rained all night until it started snowing at about 3 am. It has been raining off and on all day. We have propane heaters in the biggest tent and all the kids play in there. There are 15 little kids playing in tight quarters but they get along pretty good. Everybody has been seeing game but only one shot so far that was a miss. I got within 50 yards of some big horn sheep and one of them was a nice ram. Can’t shoot them but it was fun getting that close to them. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow. One of our major parenting tools with our kids was camping, because everything that can go wrong does and then you teach your kids to solve problems, to cope, to not get uptight, to enjoy life no matter what, and to trust God always with your problems. It is rewarding to see our kids training their kids in this context to do the same things.
It is midnight Sunday night and we are all packed and ready to head out in the morning at 6 am for the Steens Mountains for some wonderful hunting with our family. We have to put the coolers in the pickups in the morning and then we will be off for a wonderful adventure. The boys, 3 son in laws and two sons are all excited and talking pretty much non stop hunting. I really hope they all are able to get a nice buck or elk on this trip. That would be such a bonus for such a wonderful time with family. One of the major blessings of my life at this stage is that all 6 son in laws and my two boys all get along so well and truly enjoy each other’s company and on an adventure like this all are super excited about hunting, camping, and God’s creation. Thank You Lord for blessing Patty and I with such an amazing family.
Our daughter and husband and 5 kids from Fairbanks got here this morning. Our daughter and husband and 3 kids from Hawaii are here. Both son in laws and both of my sons Sam and Seth and I were out shooting our bows today getting them sighted in. Our bows have 5 pins on them each one for a different distance. Mine are 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards so we go to those distances and shoot until we get it all zeroed in. Then we shoot our broad heads at a broad head target to make sure they fly the same as our target heads. Along with the shooting is a lot of competition and trash talking which is a lot of fun for me. We head for the Steens Mts on Monday and tonight we are sitting around talking about hunting getting all psyched up about shooting a big buck and a monster bull elk. Tomorrow after church is packing time. We will try to get all the coolers and food for 25 people for 10 days, the tents, camping chairs, mlanterns, stoves, sleeping bags, pads, bows, arrows, lanterns, etc etc without forgetting anything, and getting it all in two pickups. It is going to be so much fun!! The Steens Mts are amazingly beautiful with huge canyons and gorges some which are called Kiger, Big Indian, Blitzen, and the East Rim. I sit on the edge of these looking with my binoculars for big bucks and Bulls, and the beauty and majesty of the scenery is mesmerizing. I think of the power of God and His attributes that are amplified by what He has created. Experiencing God by looking at His creation is a wonderful spiritual experience, and I am looking forward to it.
Today I got news of a number of old friends who recently died and also of a number who have cancer, heart conditions, and other serious health issues. My old friends are my age and we are at the age when things start wearing out and stop working all together. It reminded me of the Bible verse Hebrews 9:27 “it is appointed into man to die and then comes the judgement”. We all tend to have this attitude that we are never going to die, and if we do it is going to be tomorrow or next week or next month or….A scripture passage I have memorized and meditate on often is Psalms 39:4-6, “Lord, make me know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am. Behold, You have made my days as hand breadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; surely every man at his best is a mere breath.” My every morning prayer of commitment of myself to live for God includes a piece that says “today I will my life as if it is the last day I have before I stand before You, Lord and give an accounting of my life and am rewarded for the deeds I have done in this body in this life whether good or bad. This morning commitment is the most self motivating thing I do.
4 more days until we leave for the Steens Mts for a week of archery hunting for deer and elk. What will make this a fun hunt is 5 of our kids, their spouses and their kids are all going. I got so excited today I went to Sportmans Warehouse in Albany and bought a portable outhouse and got two toilet seats that snap on top of a commercial size 5 gallon bucket, and I bought a quart of the blue chemical to put onto the bucket. I have been shooting my bow every day, and I am cranking up the poundage a bit everyday to. My brother Matt made me a very nice walking stick to use when I go out in the sage brush and rim rock hunting. I am very unstable on my feet on uneven ground but with the use of this walking stick I should be fine. I have been riding my stationary bike so much I will be in good shape for going down in some of those canyons. The excitement of going on a trip like this pretty much consumes my thinking. With just about every thing I do the plan of the trip is way more exciting than the actual event itself. One major exception to that is when Jesus comes back and takes believers to heaven with Him and we get our new body. I am excited about that, but the reality of it is going to be so far beyond anything we could ever imagine,
Kind of went against some of my personal commitments and guidelines for life yesterday in my blog about my Parkinson’s. I try never to say anything or write anything that will solicit sympathy for me or that will make people think that I am super man. It was nice though to get all the comments from you all that you were praying for me. It is quite amazing to me the power that a friend has in the life of someone going through difficulties. I felt loved and protected by so many prayers by friends being offered ip yo god
My Parkinson’s has gotten worse in the last couple of weeks. Interesting how I refer to Parkinson’s as “as mine”. My greatest trial right now with my Parkinson’s is muscle regidity. I get so rigid and tight that I can barely move. I have increased my exercise considerably in the last couple of days to see if I can control it, but so far I still have been super rigid. When I move when my muscles are all stiff it is very painful, and the desire is to sit in my recliner and not move is very strong, but I know that that will only allow things to get worse rapidly. My biggest challenge is to think positive and thankful thoughts, and not to let bitter thoughts, selfish or self pity thoughts to stay in my head more than a second. Also I need to think about all the fruit I want to bear in the next 10 years in my ministry so I have to stay on top of this and win. I am going to sit in my hot tub now and loosen up a bit and then get some sleep, tomorrow is a very busy day.
Certain routines are absolutely crucial, but often we don’t realize how crucial until we don’t do them for awhile and experience the consequences of not doing them. Then the problem is that we don’t connect the dots very accurately to realize why the consequences are happening and assume it is just because of bad luck or some other silly reason. I have been to busy to exercise much of late. I know exercise is important to keep my Parkinsons under control, but I thought no big deal if I was hit and miss for a couple of weeks, mostly miss. Yesterday and today My muscles in my back and legs have been so rigid I have had great difficulty in moving at all. At first I thought I had done something to my back, but as it got worse and worse I recognized it was all my muscles and not just my back and the reason was because my less than disciplined faithfulness to exercise had allowed the Parkinsons to make some major advances in my body. So I was back at it tonight, riding my stationary bike while I did my Bible reading and other reading as well. As I lay in my bed typing this I already feel better. Other key disciplines like reading the Bible everyday and spending time with God in prayer everyday are so easy to get apathetic about when we get busy. There are significant consequences as we lose blessings from God, but seldom do we recognize the consequences coming as a result of our lack of faithfulness to the spiritual disciplines.
I was going to make a third try tomorrow to go skydiving, but I hurt my back today and can hardly walk so I am going to postpone again. I will have to wait until I get back from our hunting trip at end of September. I hope they are still doing it then. I would guess they would whenever they have clear weather. Went to the first Oregon State football game of the season tonight with Gordon and Barbara Hilton, friends from church. Oregon State won easily, the weather was good, and we went out to dinner afterwards and I had very good meal of fish and chips. Wow, doesn’t get much better than that! Fun and enjoyable times with friends is a great reminder and taste of heaven. Heaven is a real place that I will live in with a new body that won’t get old or sick or tired ever again. The best of times prompts me to think heaven will be better than this, and the worst of times prompts me to think, boy, I am so glad that one of these days soon this will be over for me and I will be in heaven. I ask people occasionally “do you know for sure, without a doubt that when you die that you will go to heaven?” “I know for sure withou a doubt”.
A group of us headed to “Sky Dive Oregon” in Mollala to go sky diving. We went last Saturday and we got canceled because of low visibility caused by smoke from all the forest fires, so we went again today, but we again got cancelled because of low visibility caused by clouds. We rescheduled for this coming Saturday and the weather report is for clear weather so maybe we will make it! If we can’t go this Saturday I probably won’t be able to go this year. Oh well maybe I will go twice next year. Proverbs says, “Man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps”. It seems that about 90% of my plans don’t happen or get changed because of some unforeseen barrier or event. I still plan every detail of tomorrow and the next day and next week and next year anyway. All the dreaming, scheming, goal setting, and planning is what makes the future exciting. Trusting God and being flexible when things change is what makes life secure. If you don’t trust God fully then unforeseen changes will terribly frustrate and cause you to become apathetic and indifferent to goal setting, dreaming and aspiring to doing more with your life.