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Tag: Oregon

Tart Fruits of the Spirit

a-sssg0qk5tNY-unsplash Cranberries
Photo by A on Unsplash

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message


Cranberries have grown in Oregon since the 1880s or 1890s, depending on what region of the state. W.C. King, the “cranberry king,” grew his crop in Tillamook county. Further south in the 1880s, Charles McFarlin planted the cuttings he brought from Massachusetts in Coos county.

The Oregon coast has ideal conditions for the cranberry crop. The sandy, peaty soil combined with the humid and foggy atmospheric conditions and the long winter rainy season give the Oregon cranberries their rich red color and stoutness. These conditions also increase the sugar content, increasing the sugar levels of the fruit, decreasing the amount of added sugar. It is not perfect – the wind coming off the Pacific disperses weeds into the beds.

Cranberry farmers maintain natural pest control by flooding or sanding the beds. Harmful insects are eaten by beneficial flying creatures, keeping insecticide usage low.

In bogs, cranberry fruit grows on vines. During harvesting, water floods the bogs so reels, tractor-like machines, can beat the vines to cut the berries loose. Harvest time in Coos county occurs from mid-October to early December.

Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving Dinner – though Oregon produces green beans and potatoes to go with that dinner. They are juiced, freeze-dried, powdered for supplements, and locally brewed for cranberry wine.

Learning the fruits of the Spirit is not usually a sweet experience. It usually comes through trials and tribulations, sharp and sometimes bitter experiences.

Pruned fruit removes damaged pests and inferiorly positioned branches, increasing the light and air penetration.

The pruned fruit brings us forth to be holy lights. We will need to be compassionate for those who see, peace for those in turmoil, and life to the spirit of death.

Oregon's Beacons

Naming Oregon

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So out of the same ground the man was made from, the Eternal God sculpted every sort of animal and every kind of bird that flies up in the sky. Then He brought them to the man and gave him the authority to name each creature as he saw fit: whatever he decided to call it, that became its name.
Genesis 2:19 THE VOICE


Visions of swash-buckling explorers, storm-tossed sea navigators, and hard-tack pioneers are among the theories behind the naming of the state of Oregon.

Romance aside, many theories arise, but there is no one definite answer. With its diversified geography, it would be apropos that there would not be any one answer.

Some theories are much more convincing than others. That Oregon was named after the culinary herb oregano stretches the imagination.

Several theories put a European influence on her naming. A Portuguese navigator who heard the poetry of the waters of the Columbia River. A kingdom of Spanish Catalonia. The French word for hurricane Ouragan.

Theories made in America also abound. One includes an 18th-century error made by a mapmaker regarding the Wisconsin River. Or another from history: the Shoshone word that means River of the West.

One poetic theory encompasses the poem “Thanatopsis”, written by William Cullen Bryant. Published in 1817, the poem refers to Oregon as a river: “Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound.” Jonathan Carver, who wrote the book Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, used the name Oregon in his book to refer to the Great River of the West. From this passage, Bryant wrote this idea for his poem.

Oregon also has a plethora of nicknames. Oregon became a state in 1859. Oregon then became the westernmost state of the United States and earned the nickname The Sunset State.

Other nicknames refer to her natural history: Hard-case refers to the hard life of the pioneers moving westward in their covered wagons. Webfoot refers to the rain total amounts west of the Cascades. The most well-known now, The Beaver State, is pictured on the backside of the state flag.

No matter the origin of the name, it was named, plausibly a conglomeration of the different and abundant theories.

God giving Adam the authority to name the creatures in the garden speaks more of just naming the birds and animals. He gave him authority to name, to create, and to rule over his surroundings with humility and wisdom.

We have a chance to speak life into our state – to name it Oregon again, a state of trailblazers, pioneers, and rebuilders.


MP3 version

Oregon's Beacons

Rebuilding Temples and Rehabilitating Bridges

I decree that any Jew in my realm, including the priests and Levites, may return to Jerusalem with you. I and my Council of Seven hereby instruct you to take a copy of God’s laws to Judah and Jerusalem and to send back a report of the religious progress being made there. We also commission you to take with you to Jerusalem the silver and gold, which we are presenting as an offering to the God of Israel.
Ezra 7:13-15 TLB


The Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge was commissioned and largely paid for by a Public Works Administration project in the 1930s. The purpose of the commission brought to fruition the Oregon Coast Highway, which replaced the ferries. It was known as the North Bend – or Coos Bay – Bridge. Mr. McCullough designed several more, but the North Bend bridge was the longest and most costly Oregon bridge at the time: a magnitude of 5,305 feet long and $2.14 million. The North Bend bridge was his favorite.

The North Bend Bridge wasn’t just a functional bridge. It trailblazed in artistic design. He used 48,000 cubic yards of concrete, twelve million pounds of steel, and five million board feet of lumber. The thirteen arches made a functional public work into a work of beauty, complementing the beautiful Oregon coast.

Its current name of the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge changed in 1947, shortly after the engineer’s death.

In 2005, the National Register of Historic Places added the bridge to their list of historical places. In 2007, the Oregon Department of Transportation started rehabilitating the bridge.

After the time of exile, Ezra the priest traveled back to Jerusalem to teach God’s laws and beautify the temple. The Babylonians were no longer in power. The Persian king, Cyprus, commissioned him to go back and rebuild the temple. And king Cyrus feared God: “and whatever else the God of heaven demands for his Temple; for why should we risk God’s wrath against the king and his sons?”

Prayers are the foundational form of restoring Oregon to what she was and can be again. There are varied ways of rebuilding, and they are all a part of His plan. What are you called to do?

Audio Version

Oregon's Beacons

The Burns of Oregon

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Photo by Brian Hackworth from Pexels

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 ESV


Benjamin and Nancy Simpson added to their family a son, Samuel, born on November 10, 1845, in Missouri. While still an infant, they moved to Oregon. Benjamin was a builder of roads and a politician of Oregon, shaping the state of Oregon. He also, by moving, made a lasting impact on Samuel, who grew to love the beautiful geography of the state.

Samuel primarily wrote poems but also wrote stories rich with character descriptions based on officers and Native Americans at Fort Yamhill. He published stories and poems in magazines and newspapers.

The poem he is known for, “Beautiful Willamette”, is a tribute to the beauty of the Willamette Valley. You can envision it just by listening to the first stanza.

From the Cascades’ frozen gorges,
Leaping like a child at play,
Winding, widening through the valley,
Bright Willamette glides away;
Onward ever,
Lovely river,
Softly calling to the sea,
Time, that scars us,
Maims and mars us,
Leaves no track or trench of thee.

He left a poetic void in Oregon after his death. Harvey Scott, an editor of The Oregonian, said his death “leaves Oregon with no poet of merit or reputation.”

Posthumously published in 1910, The Gold-Gated West contained a collection of his poems and songs.

The people and geography inspired his prolific writing. All writing has a setting, whether stated overtly or not. Oregon inspired him to write and his writing well never ran dry, it constantly replenished.

The Holy Spirit will replenish our sea of ideas if we call on Him.


On a side note, as I was researching ideas for this last Poets’ Pavilion, I noticed a few items of interest:

  • Samuel Simpson’s family moved from Missouri to Oregon.
  • He was born on the Marine Corps birthday and spent time on a military base.
  • His love of the Oregon landscape brought words to the page.

I am retiring Poets’ Pavilion and will segue into Oregon’s Beacons, same devotional format with a new subject.


The MP3 version

Poets' Pavilion

Flatten the Curve, Metaphorically

When the lockdowns started, and Oregon residents were given a choice to wear masks or not to wear masks, I chose to not wear masks. I was in the minority, but every business (except one customer who gave me the evil eye and got a look of disdain back, needless to say, she did not look at me again) I entered, the employees greeted me with a smile with their eyes as before the lockdowns. Shortly, and I mean days after the evil-eyed customer, the governor decided that not enough people were following her advice and made them mandatory.

I stocked up as much as I could without resorting to hoarding, though one employee disagreed and said to another, “I told you she would be in again.”

But after a few weeks, it dawned on me that this was going to last far longer than I had anticipated.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, the Christian cliché goes. I had watched a movie: the storyline was touching, beautiful, clean, and not to be forgotten (except for the title, which escapes me). Later, an idea hit me – the main character had to have a job at night because he was allergic to the sun. He was a courier.

So I did my internet research. I also found other ways of purchasing what I needed. The Lord provided in ways that never gets old.

Fast Forward a Year and a Quarter Later

The masks are starting to come off. But not in the way I would have dreamed, though the Lord warned me 20 years ago of “Hitler’s Germany looking like candy compared to what is coming.” I never would have lived my life if I could have seen what was coming.

I never was afraid of the virus, after praying for the Lord to take the fear away. It was the people around me who did not research and caved to fear that I was afraid. I did not want to be on the receiving end of an irate masked person, or worse, the police. And I did not want to get the local businesses in trouble, for they were forced to become mask police.

But every chance I had to not wear a mask “legally,” I ran with it.

I went for a walk today in the rain. First one since the lockdown started. I used to walk with my portable radio & headphones along the beach. Then the devil interfered. Soaking wet, but feeling soul-satisfied, I took a hot shower and sat down to write this post.

By no means is this over. Devastating revelations are fixing to fly. Research. Start with recent events and don’t use mainstream media for answers. Mainstream media is a piece of the revelation puzzle.

On my about page, I mention that not all art needs to directly point to the Lord. This movie was an answer I did not know I needed at the time. The fact that it was so beautifully done and remained in my memory, is God’s work of art, whether the people involved in the film knew it or not.

Some details in this post will remain a mystery. But good writing co-creates with the reader and allows them to use their native intelligence. And some details just need to remain private, if that is even possible anymore. I personally don’ t believe it is, but I have to at least try.

Shout Outs & Thank Yous

  • The local police. They made protesters follow the law recently and protected us.
  • My town. They did not cave to cancel culture regarding community and private events.
  • My courier.
  • A few local businesses.
  • Friends and family. For being there.
  • And mostly, the Lord, who gave me creative ways and the fortitude to deal.

FaithWriting

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