Sunday, November 4, 2007

Enjoying the Oregon Coast

What a great week it has been as a bunch of folks from the Prairies have experienced the amazing beauty of the Pacific Northwest. God has blessed with amazing sunshine every day, and that has made all the beachcombing, hiking, seal watching, tide pool exploring that much more fun.

The blessings of God extend everywhere, and for us it is a weekly occurrence to pray about where we should be staying and wait to see what God will provide. We are so thankful as he always provides, and not just adequately, but in abundance. For two nights in Lincoln city we had an amazing hotel right on the ocean. The view was breathtaking, and there was even an outdoor hot tub overlooking the beach! We could walk down the steps to the beach and just have a great time.



One of the ways that God used this hotel to bless our kids was that in the miles of beach we walked in Lincoln City, the only tide pools were right near our hotel. Tide pools are found in rocks that are submerged at high tide, but exposed when the tide goes out at low tide, trapping sea life inside. Our kids explored for hours among the different pools, and had a great time. Lorianne collected shells, finding as many different types as she could.


Joseph and Caleb were the big hermit crab hunters, and they collected a whole bucketful on our second day. It was great to see our two oldest boys having fun together as they worked to fill their bucket. They don't often do things together (except watching each other play Game Boy!), and we have been praying that they would become better friends.


All of us had fun touching sea anemones, looking for little fish, avoiding the waves and trying (unsuccessfully in the kids case!) to stay dry. It was very relaxing and encouraging for us as parents to just sit back and watch our kids have so much fun.


After leaving this beautiful hotel, we entered into the world of "yurting." As you can see from the picture, a yurt is a round shaped hut modelled after the type of lodging used in Mongolia. They are large, comfortably sleep 4 kids and two adults, have a table and chair, and most importantly for camping in November, they have a heater! You can't cook in them, and we still need to provide all the bedding. Yurts cost only $27-29 a night, which is more than a tent spot which costs $12, but less than half the cost of a hotel. Oregon is the place that developed yurts at State Parks, and we are looking forward to staying in them for the next week or so. The plan is to get back to tenting when we get to California, which should be in a week or so.

Using our yurts as a home base we went driving and hiking up and down the coast. We went to a place called Strawberry Hill upon a recommendation we received from a transplanted Oregonian NCEM Missionary back in Prince Albert, Sask. He said we would see seals, and we did! They were just hanging out in the sun, enjoying the day like we were, in a great place provided by God for their (and our) enjoyment. Thanks for the tip Jim!

Up and down the Oregon Coast are many lighthouses. Many of them are over a hundred years old, and are still in use today. This is a picture of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and at 93 feet, it is Oregon's tallest. It is over 135 years old and is still using its original Fresnel lens. We went on a tour of the lighthouse at Heceta Head and discovered that the bulbs inside the light are 1000 watt bulbs, and cost $350 to replace. The amazing thing is that the light from these relatively small bulbs (about 7 inches tall) can be seen up to 20 miles away! It is the lens, and the "bullseye" in the center of the lens that refracts the light out so powerfully. The cost of replacing one of the lenses? A mere $25,000.
As parents we couldn't pass up the teachable moment provided by these lighthouses. We talked with our kids how we as followers of Christ are to be lighthouses in our families, neighbourhoods and around the world. We have the gospel message, the truth that we can be forgiven of our sins and freed from the wrath of God through His love, a message that is powerful enough to break through the darkest storms of life. And we pray that our light will continue to shine for many years to come.

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