Saturday, July 31, 2010

Angela's Epic Adventures at Crater Lake...

Of all the places in the world to be stranded, Crater Lake is probably one of the best I can think of. And no that is not a hypothetical statement. That is exactly where my dear friend Maria Imig and I found ourselves stranded yesterday; sitting in wooden rocking chairs, overlooking one of the most nationally recognized scenes of beauty in the United States.

It all started when Papa told us we could take the Taurus up there and he though it would be just fine. I wasn't so sure, but with no other real options we decided to go for it. The drive was gorgeous and car was just fine...until 5 miles before the lake. It suddenly lost all power and white smoke began pouring out from underneath the hood. Just my luck, and just what I feared might happen. We pulled over, as did the people behind us. Of all the people in the world who could have stopped, it just happened to be a young, extremely good looking, wonderfully friendly man from New Zealand, who is a teacher on holidays. Unfortunately his girlfriend was with him, but nonetheless I was happy. He asked me to pop the "bonnet" and grab some water from the "boot." I obliged. We couldn't do much until the car cooled off, so our NZ friends gave us their phone number and headed off, while Maria and I laid a blanket out in the woods and settled in. She read Psalms out loud to me, while we munched on carrot sticks and imagined what our course of action would be if we saw a bear (jump up and run for the car or jump up, grab the blanket, and run for the car?).

Several other nice folks stopped, but we just waved them on. When the bugs forced us out of the trees we got back in the car and pondered our fate. After 45 min of letting the car rest, we put water in, but it still wouldn't budge. A family from Alabama stopped and two kind brothers checked it out (well one brother checked it out while the other told terrible jokes-what note do you get when you throw a piano down a mine shaft? A flat minor!). We discovered the transmission fluid was gone, but even after putting in a half quart the gears still would not budge. So we grabbed our stuff and piled in the suburban of our new Alabaman friends, and listened to their corny jokes the rest of the way to the lake. After calling my Dad and my brother's friend, Russ, who is living with us, Maria and I spent the rest of the day waiting to be rescued from one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Papa thinks the car is toast. That would make three cars in one week that have pretty much bitten the dust. O dear God what are you doing?! He must have something up his sleeve. While we waited for Russ to bring transmission fluid and a trailer, Maria and I read and soaked up the view (Well, I actually chronicled the day's adventures so I can record them in my memoir someday, which Maria assures me she will buy many copies of to give her friends for Christmas!)

After getting some dinner at the Rim Village we sat outside on the veranda watching the sun disappear behind the mountains. As it slipped away, the mosquitoes came out in full force. It was nearly impossible to keep from being attacked. So with our hooded sweatshirts on we twirled, and swatted, and walked trying to keep from being eaten alive. Around 8pm we knew Russ couldn't be far so we stood by the road on some boulders, in a field of wildflowers, singing all the praise songs we could remember the words to and watching for our knight in shining armor.

Meanwhile, 5 miles down the road our rescuer had found our car. Not knowing if we were by the car or at the lake (or he thought, maybe looking for wild berries in the woods?), he parked his truck and shouted my name over his PA system several times so that "An-ge-la!" echoed through the woods for miles. Eventually through a text message and some broken up phone calls he found us. We were elated to see our knight in shining armor come around the corner on his white steed (okay-a giant white Ford pickup). We snapped some pictures of the lake at sunset and headed off to find our poor Ford Taurus.
Even in the pitch black we could see the fading hazard lights (of course I left them on and killed the battery). The three of us took turns holding a flashlight and pushing the car uphill, trying to get it on the trailer.

After 15 minutes or so with no success, we saw headlights in the distance and flagged down the poor unsuspecting couple. They were enthusiastic to help to be sure-but they turned out to be completely drunk. So even with a drunk girl in a skirt and stocking feet, with a cigarette in one hand..and a drunk guy with a rope and a shovel we were getting nowhere. Long story short we finally rolled the car so it was facing downhill and got it on the trailer. After thanking our enthusiastic/creepy helpers and telling them for the 14th time that we didn't have any beer (like they needed more!), we were off. Happy, tired, and covered in mosquito bites and transmission fluid, we crammed in the cab of Russ' truck. After a long day, we munched on skittles, like little kids, guessing which colors we were holding, and sharing stories about our lives. Falling into bed at midnight, I thanked God for His protection, our knight in shining armor, good friends, and this always adventurous life!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventures in Bend with Jenny

Last week my friend Jenny asked if I would like to meet her in Bend (Central Oregon) for a mini vacation. After a very hectic, emotionally draining month I jumped at the idea. God, in his infinite goodness provided a free place for us to stay with some wonderful people, and a rental car for me to take (so I didn't get stuck on the side of the road in one of our beater cars ;). Wednesday I left Medford and Jenny left Portland at exactly the same time. We drove the beautiful mountainous roads to Bend and miraculously arrived at exactly the same time.

Thanks to some wonderful new friends, and Bend locals, we found some of the best places around to enjoy the scenery...

Around every bend in the road (no pun intended!) we found ourselves gasping at the beauty of God's creation and stopping to take pictures...

After missing the turnoff to our original destination we found ourselves at Elk Lake where we rented a canoe for the afternoon and paddled around basking in the sunlight, with a view of the rugged snow capped mountains...

From Elk Lake we drove back to Todd Lake (our original destination) and hiked around the lake through meadows of purple, pink, and yellow wildflowers, with snow covered mountains on either side...
It reminded me of Switzerland or some other exotic place...

Thursday evening we headed to the Old Mill District for dinner. I had butternut squash, gorgonzola, hazelnut ravioli and tiramisu on a patio overlooking the Deschutes River, with Mt. Bachelor in the distance. What a glorious day.

Friday we headed downtown to peruse the shops and walk along the river, through Drake Park.

For lunch we found ourselves at 'The Crepe Place.'

While I was eating the most delicious crepes of my life (one with chicken, mozzerella, and pesto; the other with marionberries, and vanilla frozen yogurt) we got quite a show from a local cross dresser. Please note the person sitting behind me in this picture...

This tall man, who'd obviously had breast implants, was wearing jean shorts, and a colorful bikini top, along with 4 inch bright red platform shoes. In his hand he had a leash with a cat on it. The whole town apparently knows him/her because as they walked by they would say "Hi Frank," to which he would reply "It's Monica. I'm going by Monica now." They would ask about his fake pet cat (and his real pet cat) and he would ask where they were going and where they were coming from. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing as he sat two feet behind me and had these conversations. Life is always interesting.

Thank you Jesus, Jenny, and Bend for a lovely, much needed vacation :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Brand New Princess

VBS has started off better than I could have ever hoped for! We are praising God for his hand upon us and the 170 kids who have been in attendance...

Yesterday we welcomed into God's family little Rachel (a second grader)! After story time she approached our photographer and started asking questions. Amber was able to pray with her to accept Christ and she was very excited. Today I ran into Rachel at game time and told her how excited I was that she is now a part of the family of God. "Did you know that you are a real princess now?" I asked. "No" she replied. "Well the Bible says that Jesus is the King of Kings and when you asked him to be your savior He adopted you as His daughter. So that makes you a REAL princess!" At this she beamed and the girls around her became very excited. That is when I got the idea to make Rachel, the new princess, a crown. With the help of one of my creative staff assistant we made Rachel a pink, glittery princess crown that said "I am Jesus' princess." She wore that crown with pride and a great big smile.

During the end assembly I had Rachel stand up and I announced to the whole crowd that she was now a part of God's family and the newest princess. When I looked at her and across the room my skin began to crawl with goosebumps. At that moment I realized that all the time and effort we have put in, all the planning and thinking that I have done...has all been worth it. That one little girl made it all worth it. God is faithful and his love is MIGHTY. Thank you for your continued prayers this week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Let the High Seas Adventure Begin!

Hi Ho Hi Ho... It's off to sea we go! After months of planning and organizing our High Seas Expedition Vacation Bible School sets sail tomorrow. As Director I got myself a nice tricorn hat with a white feather and I am ready to man the helm and direct the crew. We don't know exactly what to expect, but we anticipate at least 250-300 kids. God is at work and we are excited. Please pray for me and my team this week and for the children that will be on board with us.

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Convenient Destruction of Vows

While Browsing at Staples Office Store today I found something that made me a bit sick...

So I took a picture of it...

Is it really this easy to renig on "till death do us part?" I realize that there is more to it and the process can be long and is always painful and ongoing. But I saw this today and thought to myself..So one day I decide I don't want to be married anymore so I jump in my car and drive on down to the local office supply store where I pick up a "how to" to DVD (as if it were Pilates instructions), a packet of forms to fill out, and voila! Wow.

Lifelong marriage relationships are becoming more and more rare to the detriment of our society. The list of problems caused by failing marriages could go on forever. I will spare you. When the going gets tough it's easier to quit than to stick it out. The root problem of many marriages today is that people aren't as careful in who they choose or in taking the time to build a solid friendship from the beginning.

With that in mind, I am excited about a new group that my friend, Michelle and I have started at church. When I was high school I was very involved with the youth group and I was a leader for several years in the junior high group. In fact, I was Michelle's leader. Now, many years later Michelle is older, wiser, and married. I am older, wiser, and experienced world traveler I guess you could say. Michelle and I decided to start up a girls small group at church to give girls an outlet to talk and to give us an opportunity to mentor them as they grow into young women.

Proverbs 31 is our jump off point and we've begun to go through and look at the characteristics of a godly woman. the girls made notebooks...

In these they take notes, glue in handouts, journal, and doodle. Next to the Bible, it is becoming somewhat of a life manual on what it means to follow Christ, make hard decisions, stay pure, and choose Mr. Right. We hope to see these girls making good decisions and someday loving, respecting, and honoring their husbands as they do Christ. I don't know half of what there is to know out there, but I do so love being able to share what I have learned and experienced with others! This is my challenge to you...don't horde all your knowledge, experiences, and wisdom - share it with the people God has placed in your life. You have much to offer I am sure.