Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blessings of a Family Vacation in Gresham, Oregon and Surrounding Areas

Stanley, Nathan, Elizabeth and Laura on a bike ride in Gresham, Oregon.
Blessings of a family vacation go much deeper than the list I am about to write. The excitement of visiting my son began in March when I booked the flights to travel with my daughter and husband. Out of curiosity, I rechecked Frontier a week before the trip and found that the prices had tripled! As I write, I enjoy a cup of coffee from a mug which, many years ago, had been a gift from my mom and dad. It features a chalkboard illustration of the ark and a rainbow along with the message: PLAN AHEAD—it wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark! How refreshing to plan and live out a Mothers Day celebration trip to Gresham, Oregon where my son, during his third year through Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne serves as vicar at Redeemer Lutheran Church and Good Samaritan Society—Fairlawn Village. It had been 9 months since I’d seen Nathan. Although the blessings of phones and email allow frequent communication, there is nothing like a tight hug and the ability to warmly look into each other’s eyes. Traveling with Laura and Stan offered bonding through shared experiences. I thank the LORD for keeping us safe and blessing us in so many ways.
  1. car
  2. gas
  3. restaurants
  4. hotel
  5. swimming pool
  6. shuttle service
  7. airplanes
  8. pilots and all people who’s vocations are to serve travelers
  9. a relaxing destination with soft spots to sleep
  10. good walking/hiking shoes 
  11. house boats on the Columbia River
  12. a walk to get ice cream with new friends
  13. a sweet dog named Orbit
  14. Gresham Farmer’s Market
  15. meeting friendly and interesting people:
  16. —farmers
  17. —gardeners
  18. —artists
  19. —craftsmen
  20. —creative designers 
  21. —bakers
  22. —other tourists and shoppers
  23. handmade breads and bagels
  24. fresh sugar snap peas
  25. roasted cashews
  26. fresh asparagus
  27. fresh water cultured pearls (coin and potato), Chinese pearls and fire polished crystals
  28. elephant ears
  29. blueberry sorbet
  30. scents
  31. live band music
  32. fresh pesto
  33. pruning pine trees, house plants
  34. afternoon visit with new friends before their grandson’s baseball game
  35. Mount Hood National Forest
  36. majestic Cascade Mountain Range
  37. wildlife
  38. lush rhododendrons and abundant floral color of many varieties in beautifully designed and manicured landscapes
  39. winding, thrilling road trips through secluded wilderness in the mountains
  40. Astoria-Megler Bridge
  41. Sandy River salmon dinner (expertly grilled in a variety of flavors) at the home of new friends
  42. fun and interesting stories
  43. hiking trails
  44. bon fire (or “bond” fire as Stan calls them) with new friends
  45. meeting an expert snow skier and watching amazing videos
  46. staff and residents of Fairlawn Village
  47. staff and members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
  48. seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in action through so many people
  49. friendships, encouragement, support and genuine Christian love
  50. learning from other Christians
  51. Mothers Day dinner of Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine at Nicolas Restaurant
  52. attending 2 Sunday School classes with Vicar Nathan teaching
  53. listing to my son’s sermons 2 Sundays in a row at church
  54. seeing the faces, smiles and hearing the words of so many people who love and respect Vicar Nathan (my prayers have surely been answered by our loving and gracious God)
  55. getting a re-run sermon as Vicar Nathan shared the gospel of our Saviour at a Lutheran retirement community worship service
  56. my son participated as a guest reader at an Ascension Day service at Ascension Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon
  57. singing hymns among many beautiful voices
  58. awesome organ music
  59. prayers with congregations
  60. family devotions and prayers
  61. numerous waterfalls including Multnomah Falls and the perfect picnic spot at Horsetail Falls
  62. Bonneville Dam
  63. Columbia River Gorge
  64. mini-van rental
  65. beautiful drive and overnight stay in La Pine (Deschutes National Forest) and back through Sisters to spend cherished time with my aunt, uncle, cousin and his wife
  66. GPS devices like TomTom and Garmin
  67. antique store
  68. Columbia River Maritime Museum
  69. Astoria Column
  70. Goonies house 
  71. Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach
  72. exploring, relaxing, grilling and dining on the beach
  73. wind, waves, birds at the beach
  74. above average temperatures and sunny skies (except the day we left when it rained)
  75. gifts of cookies from new friends
  76. gift of lemon cake with lemon frosting sprinkled with coconut from new friend
  77. new friend’s gift of handmade lace art tatted earrings
  78. new friend (ebay seller) gift of cookies for the trip home
  79. meeting a new friend who is a professional fashion designer
  80. home cooked dinner of fried wild caught cod from Fred Meyer coated in seasoned flour from Western Star Flour Mill (Salina, KS), sugar snap peas from the Gresham Farmer’s Market and boiled potatoes with butter 
  81. Clif Bars—delicious satisfying snacks
  82. Oregon wine
  83. gifts of salad, peach and blueberry cobbler leftovers from Redeemer Lutheran youth trip fundraiser Mothers Day dinner
  84. men’s prayer breakfast attended by my husband and son together
  85. getting lost in Powell’s City of Books, Portland—swallowing my pride to ask the info guy to page Stan, Nathan and Laura—and a happy reunion
  86. Amtrak Portland Union Station PDX
  87. TriMet Portland public transportation
  88. Voodoo Doughnuts
  89. art museum
  90. history museum
  91. Chinatown
  92. walking around downtown Portland, seeing ALL sorts of people working, shopping, texting, playing, riding, driving, walking, sleeping, living
  93. sculptures
  94. signage
  95. window displays
  96. complex highway system
  97. Portland State Chamber Choir’s A Drop in the ocean concert at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
  98. Wall Street Pizza with a group of new friends, very special note and gift of beautiful sand dollars and shells
  99. bike ride sampling on paved, scenic 40-mile loop trail in Gresham
  100. time to sketch in my sketch book… and hundreds of digital photo and video files for long-lasting memories… here are just a few:
    We took a steep hike with 11 switchbacks at Multnomah Falls

Quenching thirst, downtown Portland

Happy Mothers Day to me—Elizabeth with children Vicar Nathan and Laura Knaus at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Gresham, Oregon

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach with Nathan, Orbit, Stan and Laura

Nathan, Stan, Liz, Laura and Orbit at Cannon Beach

We followed this logging truck for several miles after taking this photo and saying hello to the driver

Vicar Nathan Knaus teaching an adult Sunday School class with portrait of Martin Luther (painted by a member of the church) behind projector screen at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Gresham, Oregon

Downtown Portland

Stan and seagulls at Cannon Beach, Oregon

Wayside rest in Oregon with family

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