Shabbat Shalom—Mount Hood Hike

Shabbat shalom everyone wherever you are around the world!

Yesterday (Friday) I went for a ten mile day hike up onto the NW side of Oregon’s Mount Hood with some of my kids. Please enjoy some of the snapshots I took from that alpine adventure.

I invite you in joining me in praise and worship of Yehovah Elohim for giving us eyes to feast on such visual delicacies to be discovered in his glorious creation!

Mount Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak, from Lolo Pass Rd.

The Vista Ridge Trail. A few years ago, a forest fire devastated this side of the mountain. Now look at the beauty that has sprung out of the fire’s destruction as the earth is healing itself. This is our wonderful Elohim at work in his creation who gives us beauty out of the ashes (Isa 61:3)!

A blooming carpet of avalanche lilies in the midst of the burnt out trees standing like silent sentinels keeping watch over the forest. Yeshua said, “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Luke 12:27).

There is even a stark beauty to be found in the pattern of the skeletal remains of the forest fire and the trees that the wind storms have subsequently laid down. There is a beautiful blessing to be found in every adversity of life. All we need is the right mindset of a thankful heart to search for and to find that blessing in the midsts of life’s difficulties and then, once found,  to rejoice in it.

Even the holes in these ghoulish burned out tree snags are a blessing not only for their beauty, but for the wildlife habitat they create. We saw mountain blue birds nesting in some of these tree cavities.

We finally got above the forest fire area and were blessed with this specular view of Mount Hood!

Enjoying a high alpine lunch with my kids. In the front is Lucy, our oldest child and her husband Spencer. In the back are Kaleb and Jared. Hiking ten miles and gaining about 1,600 foot in elevation leaves one with a healthy appetite.

Kaleb beware! One should never drink untreated water in the mountains unless you know where it comes from…

In this case, Kaleb made a wise choice. This water is as pure as you can get on planet earth!

Tiny Dollar Lake was our final destination at just under 6,000 foot elevation. It is the highest alpine lake on Mount Hood. Kaleb stripped down to his shorts and ran down the snow bank and dove in for a quick plunge into the icy waters. It was a very quick dip! He jumped out almost as fast as he got in. It happened so fast that none of us had a chance to snap a photo of him. I’m proud of Kaleb for his adventuresome spirit.

Dollar Lake against the backdrop of majestic Mount Hood. Would have been a great spot to spend Shabbat had we been camping there.


The Healing Power of Nature

Yesterday, on Shabbat, Sandi I went for a walk in our local nature park. We just sat together listening to the sounds of nature, watching the birds, and watching the varying sunlight patterns highlight the trees in different ways. Through this, Sandi and I connected with each other, with the creation and with the Creator.

The healing and restorative value of these quiet times in nature can’t be overstated. Like taking an energizing vitamin B 12 shot, our need for spending time in nature increases as the world around us gets more frantic and crazy!

Here’s a video I did a couple of years ago on the healing power of nature. May it bless you!


Sabbath Walk in the Forest With My Bride—Reflections

My wife, Sandi, and I took a walk down by the river this Shabbat afternoon. It was a beautiful day—mild for this time of the year, and after spending most of the day indoors  reading the Bible, writing, studying and praying, I needed to get out for some fresh air and to connect with the Creator through his creation. This is part Elohim’s the river of life I need to get into regularly. It’s part of my personal “God bubble” in which I live. Please enjoy.  Natan

I like photography and I love my iPhone because I can snap quality pictures wherever I go. Every day in our haste, we simply walk by beautiful pictures. One has to have an eye and a love for  beauty as one is walking down the path of life. All around us are beautiful scenes waiting to be seen and appreciated. They are opportunities to stop and pray, to reflect and to worship Elohim. Let’s work hard not to miss these opportunities.  We must learn to extract the precious from the mundane, and sometimes even from the vile. May YHVH, give us the eyes and heart to find the beauty and blessing in everything and everyone around us, and use it as a trigger to move into praise and worship of him for it.

Even a rotton log has its own beauty with the peeling bark, moss and vines growing on it and the  dead leaves. This log has value. In its death, it provides life-giving nutrition for the next generation of plants and animals. It will eventually become precious topsoil out of which everything grows. Life comes out of death. Death of loved ones, death of dreams, death of innocence,  death of hopes, death of finances, death of health or death of relationships. When one door closes, another door opens taking us into new vistas, experiences, opportunities and possibilities. May Yah, help us to wrap our brain around this reality and to embrace life-giving death with these things in mind.

There is a river of life out there. We have to find it. When we do, the light of YHVH’s Presence will shine on it encouraging us and guiding us into his perfect will for our lives.

Follow the path of life that leads to the light of truth. Yeshua is the Light of the world and the Sun of righteousness. Yah, help us to follow the Lamb of Elohim wherever he goes.

YHVH has not called the great and mighty people of this world, but the ordinary, foolish ones that he will use  to confound the wise for his glory. May we be such a people that he can use.

Like these trees that are wading out into the river, we too must get into YHVH’s river of life. The psalmist says that a wise man plants himself next to the river like a tree from which it gains nourishment. But sometimes, like Ezekiel, we have to actually get into that river—even get in over our heads. That’s called passion and zeal.

It’s good to feel small. It keeps life in perspective—that we’re not as great or as big as we think we are. Maybe then YHVH can actually use us for big things—for his divine plans and purposes.