Friday, September 30, 2016

The Sabbath Truth

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, we read the story of creation. During the week of creation God created material spaces on the first three days, and then on the next three days He filled those spaces with life.

On day one God formed the heavens and the earth and separated the light from the darkness, and then on day four He filled that space with the sun, the moon and the stars. On day two God formed the spaces of water and sky, and then on day five He filled those spaces with fish and birds. On day three God formed the space of the dry land, and then on day six God filled the land with animals and man. On the seventh day, God created the Sabbath and filled it with Himself. The seventh day is a unique space because it’s not a material space, but rather a space of time, and it is not filled with material things, but with God’s presence.

Genesis 2:1-3 reads, ‘Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

God did not need to rest because of physical exhaustion, but rested in the sense of satisfaction. God wasn’t tired, He was happy, He was pleased, He was fulfilled. He had been giving, giving, giving; pouring out His energy to create. Now He had completed the task and was experiencing the pleasure of His creation.

His plan for us is that we would be “blessed” first by receiving from Him rest and then that we would be energized to give of ourselves back to Him.

So God “sanctified” the seventh day. The word means set apart; that is unique or distinct. God gave us the Sabbath as a unique space in time for the enjoyment of fellowship between Himself and us, as a constant recurring reminder that the nature of our relationship with Him is one of fellowship and reciprocal love.

Human beings were created during the latter half of the sixth day, after all of God’s “work” of creation was already “finished.” Therefore, they did not participate in the work of Creation, nor did they even witness God engaging in the act of creating. Imagine the scene. Adam awakes to life, and the first thing that he sees is the face of his Creator. They make eye contact. What a moment! God says something like, Hello! Welcome to existence! I’m your Creator, and I made all this beauty for you.

Adam senses that he is loved. God then creates Eve. But he doesn’t turn to Adam and say, “Watch this,” and poof, she is created in Adam’s sight. No. He puts Adam to sleep, and then He creates Eve. She, like Adam, awakes to live by faith and Adam opens his eyes a second time to trust His Maker’s word that this most beautiful of all creatures standing before him came forth from God’s creative power.

There they stood, the man and the woman, in a beautiful garden receiving by faith, as a gift, all that surrounded them. And think about this, Sabbath was their first full day of life. They rested first, contemplating the reality of their utter dependence on their Creator, and then, energized by His love, they went to work tending the garden on the first day of the week.

The story of the Creation shows us that we human beings are creatures of rest before we are creatures of work. We are mentally and emotionally designed for receiving from God before we are able to give back to God and others. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.”  That’s the nature of the Creator-creature relationship.

Love is the fundamental principle of the character of God. It is how His kingdom operates. Through the prophet Jeremiah God declared both His heart toward us and His method of saving us: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Because God loves us, He draws us to Himself by the attractive influence of His loving-kindness, rather than to force us by His superior power or manipulate us by His superior wisdom. God’s only goal is to attract and empower us.

You and I are free to say no to God. So He has taken up the delicate task of saving us from sin while leaving our free will unmolested, intact, and operable.

Grace is the form God’s love takes in relating to sinners. The genius of grace is that it simultaneously frees me and captivates me. I realize there is absolutely nothing I can do to earn God’s favor. I am free to say No to Him and yet I want to say Yes. But if I believe, intellectually or even emotionally, any form of the salvation-by-works lie, I am morally crippled, and defeated. I labor toward God under feelings of guilt, and guilt weakens rather than strengthens my will.

There is a wonderful peace and security in knowing that my salvation is His work and not mine. That is the Sabbath rest Jesus offers. But it’s more than just rest He offers, because with rest comes energy! When I rest in Christ alone for my salvation, His grace energizes me and motivates me with the powerful motive of love as the only true basis for obedience.

Religion says: If I obey, then God will love and accept me.
The Gospel of the Sabbath says: I’m loved and accepted. Therefore I wish to obey.

On the seventh day, the day that God set apart as unique at creation, I find myself face-to-face, heart-to-heart with a God who already loves me, already favors me, already accepts me, not because I’ve done anything to deserve it, but simply because He’s good. Knowing this makes me want to please Him. And right here, right now, realizing how much God loves me and wants to save me, I rest. This is what the Sabbath truth is all about.

A few years ago my friend Richie Owens spent a year of his life writing and recording an album. I remember his enthusiasm as he would bring me new songs to listen to. Songs just seemed to pour out of him as he focused on this project. One of my favorite songs that he wrote was titled "Day of Rest." The song talks about the same themes as this blog post.

Day of Rest
Richie Owens

The three of them walked in the garden
Three figures beaming with light
One had created the others
And in His presence there could be no night

He had given them many instructions
He had shown them the things they must do
In my mind I imagined He hugged them
And said I've made one more thing for you

This is My world, and now it's yours too
And your job is taking care of these things
That I've made pure and true
Six days I've labored, the seventh I've blessed
This will always be our day of rest.

A slave driver went before Pharaoh
Fearing he's soon breathe his last
He had been given an order
But he's failed to bring it to task

He said, "Sir I have beaten them senseless
Still I can't make them work on this day
They don't seem to care that I'll kill them"
And then Pharaoh asked, "what do they say"

They say it's God's will
what He's asked them to do
Seems Moses and Aaron have told them things
They say their fathers once knew
Six days they'll labor, the seventh is blessed
They say it's their God's day of rest

Remember the Lord of the Sabbath
Remember the price that He paid
The same God that rested in Eden
Rested that day in the grave

In this world of turmoil and confusion
God has offered a haven but yet
The one day that God says remember
Is the one that the world would forget

But all the redeemed in the garden
All of the beaming with light
In the midst of them is their Creator
And for them there will be no more night

This is their world, God's made it anew
And their job is taking good care of these things
He has made, sin is through
The conflict is over, and all things are blessed
And they still keep the Sabbath
Cause Sabbath is God's day of rest

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Return Fire

My An Arkie's Faith column from the September 28, 2016, issue of The Mena Star

On a recent trip to the Oregon coast, my wife and I visited Fort Stevens State Park. The original fort was completed in 1865. Its purpose was to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from Confederate gunboats and the British Navy during the Civil War. The fort was named after Civil War general and former Washington Territory governor, Isaac Stevens who died in 1862 at the Battle of Chantilly.

Fort Stevens was used for 84 years, closing at the end of World War II. Today, it is a 3,700-acre state park. There is a visitor’s center that tells the history of the fort. We enjoyed the visitors center and the informative film that we saw there.

The fort was Oregon's only coastal defense fort during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. Fort Stevens is the only military fort in the United States to be fired upon by an enemy during a time of war since the War of 1812.

On June 21, 1942, a Japanese submarine used a screen of fishing boats to avoid minefields and slip into position eight miles west of Fort Stevens. The submarines immediate objective was to attack a U.S. Navy submarine and destroyer base, which the Japanese believed was located near the mouth of the Columbia River. The Japanese intelligence was wrong; there was no such base.

At 11:30 P.M., the crew of the submarine fired on Fort Stevens. The first of the 16-inch long, 60-pound shells headed toward the coast. In all, 17 shells were fired. At 11:45 PM, the last shell was on its way, and the submarine headed west, on its way to the open sea. The crew of the submarine had no way of knowing where the shells landed, or what effect they had.

The men of Fort Stevens responded quickly after the first shell hit, with soldiers scrambling to get dressed and to their posts. Within a few minutes, the men had the guns at Battery Russell loaded and ready to fire. While waiting for the order to return fire, Captain Wood and his men considered their options. Eventually, a response was received:  “Do not fire – I repeat do not fire.”

Captain Wood’s men were unhappy. Richard Emery, who was a soldier at Fort Stevens that night, said, “We were frustrated. There was a lot of anger. We felt that we should have been able to fire back.” Major Robert Huston, who was the Senior Duty Officer that night, made the decision. It was a tough call. He knew the effect it would have on troop morale.

Fortunately, the shells from the Japanese submarine caused very little damage. One shell damaged the backstop of a baseball diamond within 100 yards of Battery Russell,  and another landed near a beach house but didn’t damage the house. When asked the next day how close the shells had come to the military post, Colonel Doney told reporters, “Too close.”

Why was the decision made not to return fire? Following the attack, there was a good deal of speculation about the decision. One rumor was that the officers decided not to take action because the U.S. Army would have been required to give combat pay to soldiers who returned fire. An official explanation was given by Major Huston and Colonel Doney. The submarine appeared to be out of range, so why give away defense positions to a target that couldn’t be hit? It wasn't in the best interest of the fort or the men in it to return fire.

When we are attacked, the basic human response is to return fire. When we are mistreated or threatened, we want to return hurtful words or harmful actions. We let our natural human emotions dictate our behavior. We feel anger and want to lash out. We feel fear and want to defend or attack. We feel wronged and want to get revenge. But is that how a Christian should handle conflict?

In Proverbs 15:1 (NET) Solomon wrote these words of wisdom, “A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” And James wrote in James 1:19,20 (ISV) “You must understand this, my dear brothers. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. For human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

I am not suggesting that there is never a time when Christians should defend themselves. But I have noticed that often we as Christians are slow to listen but quick to speak and get angry. My social media feeds are filled with angry Christians. Some answer every perceived attack, or even a difference in opinion by returning fire in an angry way.

Gentle Reader, Ecclesiastes 7:9 (AMP) says, “do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger dwells in the heart of fools.” Are you eager in your heart to be angry? Are you quick to return fire? When you are attacked, and you will be, remember that there is no downside to a gentle response. Don’t be eager to be angry, don’t be eager to return fire.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Run Through the Rain

My An Arkie's Faith column from the September 21, 2016, issue of The Mena Star

My normal routine on a work day is to go to Wal-Mart when I get off of work. I do my banking there and often pick up a few things for supper. A few days ago as I drove to Wal-Mart, it began to sprinkle. As I walked into the store, there was just the occasional drop of rain. After making my bank deposit, I began shopping. I had quite a few things on my shopping list that evening. While I was selecting produce to put in my buggy, a huge clap of thunder resonated throughout the store. A couple of people nearby visibly jumped.

After checking out, I headed toward the doors and saw that it was pouring outside. The rain was coming down in buckets, a real toad strangler. By the time I put the groceries in my little Rambler, I was completely drenched; soaked through to the skin. By the time I had carried the groceries into the house, I looked like a drowned rat.

I felt much better after I took a shower and put on dry clothes. In a bit of irony, that very evening a friend of mine sent me a YouTube video about a heavy rainfall. The description of the short film on YouTube reads as follows. “This film was based on a true story (written by Bob Perks) and the premise of it is very simple. We are reminded of the need to avoid becoming weighed down by the trivial hindrances that soak our paths on a daily basis. There are always people in worse situations with real troubles, and that should put our small daily problems into perspective. Perhaps things aren’t as bad as they first seem.”

In the film, a group of people can be seen standing under a shelter, because of the heavy rain. A young girl asks her mother why they can’t just run through the rain, and her mother tells her that they would get soaked. But that’s when the young girl reminds her mother of something she had said that very morning. Talking about her husband’s battle with cancer she had said, “If we can get through this we can get through anything.” After thinking about her daughter’s question, the mother decides to run through the rain.

The young girl’s attitude reminds us that we can’t let such trivial things as rain hold us back. How we look at the problems we face in life is all a matter of perspective. Things may not be as bad as you think, and we have to remember that there are always people with far greater problems. It’s a simple but important life lesson, told so beautifully in this short film!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a very personal poem titled, “The Rainy Day.” The first lines of the poem read, “The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary.” He personalizes his thoughts in the second stanza, “My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past, But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, And the days are dark and dreary.” But Longfellow doesn’t leave us in his dark place. The final stanza says, “Be still, sad heart! And cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.”

Into every life, a little rain must fall. It’s what we do with the rain that makes the difference. Rain can be a force that destroys our lives and washes away hope, or it can become a tool God uses to bring healing, growth and new life to our hearts.

What are we afraid of when the rains of this life come our way? Are we afraid of getting wet? Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us that we won’t get wet. Pain in all its forms is the common universal human denominator we all share. Your pain and difficulties are different than mine, but we all have them.

We see this concept in Matthew 5:45 (GW) where it says, “He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.” God doesn’t tell us that His children won’t have rainy days. He just says, “run through the rain, anyway. I will be there for you. You may get wet, but it will be OK.”

Gentle Reader, God wants you to trust Him. Don't feel down when the rains come. Instead, we should remember that God only has plans for us that are good. Jeremiah29:11 (NLT) helps us remember, “’For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” When it rains, we do not need to be disappointed and feel alone. We can have hope!

“I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (ICB)


This is the short film that inspired this column.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Shreveport House Concert - Raina Rose - Korby Lenker

On September 11, my wife and I attended the Shreveport House Concert. The House Concert series started with the “house concert” idea (performances hosted in people’s homes) and made it better. The shows are a step up from the in-the-home thing—with more people space, nicer lighting, and better sound. But the small stage has a “living room” look and feel. It is a great place to listen to live music and visit with the artists and with the other attendees.

We have attended several concerts in the Shreveport House Concert series in the past. One of my favorite concerts was the when Three Penny Acre and The Honey Dewdrops performed together in 2013. You can read about that concert here.

The artists for the show on September 11, 2016, were Raina Rose and Korby Lenker. I had heard Raina Rose in concert once before and own and listen to her music, but I had never heard Korby Lenker. I first saw Raina Rose at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I attended the Blue Door show because Smokey and the Mirror, Bryan and Bernice Hembree, were going to be there.  I love their music and have been to concerts of theirs in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas.

The Blue Door concert was part of a live recording project by Goose Creek Music.  The album that was produced was called Three Nights Live. The album was recorded in November 2013 at three classic listening-room venues in Texas and Oklahoma: McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston, The Cactus CafĂ© located on the University of Texas’ Austin campus, and The Blue Door. Three Nights Live featured Raina Rose, Smokey and the Mirror, and Rebecca Loebe, along with studio musicians Daniel Walker and Will Robertson,  We really enjoyed the concert and were instantly new fans of both Rebecca Loebe and Raina Rose.

I purchased CD's from Raina Rose at the concert and have been enjoying her music ever since. I have been particularly enjoying the new music that she has been releasing on Patreon to her subscribers. It seems so personal and heartfelt. When I found out that Raina would be in Shreveport, I made plans to attend even if it meant a 7-hour round trip drive.

One of the songs that Raina Rose has released to her Patreon subscribers is titled, "Sleep Waltzing." It made an impression on me the first time I heard it. She wrote the song during the time that her baby wasn't sleeping a lot. Raina wrote about the song saying, "from last May until a few weeks ago, he would be so restless and wakeful that I felt like a zombie most of the time. Every 45 minutes or so, he would stir and need to make sure his grownup was right there.I wrote this song in September, and it was basically the only song I wrote in this period of sleep deprivation." The lyrics are beautiful.

"I don't sleep anymore
I just pace round the floor
I just knock at the door
And peek in
To your dreams in the clouds
Floating round and round
Raining down to the ground
Jewels and pins."

As I was visiting with Raina before the concert, I asked her if Sleep Waltzing was on the set list. She said that it was if I wanted it to be. The fact that she played the song especially for me was very special. You can listen to Sleep Waltzing here.

Raina Rose had a great set and I really enjoyed listening to her. I was familiar with her music and it really did seem like a friend playing music for me. As much as I enjoyed Raina Rose, the big bonus of the evening was getting acquainted with Korby Lenker and his music.

When I knew that he would be at the concert I checked him out on Spotify and listened to the song that is currently the most popular song on his page, "Forbidden Fruit.' It wasn't really a style of music that I care for, but I wanted to hear Raina Rose so I thought I will listen to "this guy" and it will be OK.

When Korby started playing, I was immediately drawn into his music and his quirky intelligence. The song that I had listened to on Spotify was very pop oriented and produced, but the music that I was hearing was acoustic and just seemed very real. After listening to his set I felt like I actually knew who he was. My favorite song of the evening was a quick, catchy little song that left me with a smile on my face. just a soon as the first chorus of the song came around both my wife and I had the same thought - The song is about my daughter. Lyrics like, "you're like Jean Valjean when you stole my silver candlesticks; Like Elizabeth Bennett telling Mr. Darcy to stick it," made me chuckle and think about my daughter, who just like the song says, is a "Book Nerd."

"She was a book nerd
She had blonde hair
With a paperback in her back pocket
Wherever she was, she was right there
She was a book nerd."

I had a wonderful time at the concert. Shreveport House Concerts is a lovely venue and provides an intimate concert setting. The people there are so friendly. Both Raina Rose and Korby Lenker are amazing artists.If you ever have a chance to see either one of them in concert I recommend it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Peter Iredale

My An Arkie's Faith column from the September 14, 2016, issue of The Mena Star

After attending a wedding in the Portland, Oregon area, my wife and I took a couple of extra days to visit the Oregon Coast. We visited Cannon Beach with its iconic Haystack Rock and then traveled up to Seaside, Oregon where we spent the night.

The next day we made some stops along the way to Astoria. As we visited various sites, I remembered a trip that we took to the same area in 1975. I enjoyed visiting the same places over 40 years later and remembering times long ago.

One place that we revisited was the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. On the beach at Fort Stevens State Park are the remains of the Peter Iredale. At low tide, you can walk out to the shipwreck and climb on it. The beach and the shipwreck are a popular tourist destination.

On September 26, 1906, the Peter Iredale left Salina Cruz, Mexico, for Portland, Oregon, where it was to pick up a cargo of wheat. Despite heavy fog, the crew managed to safely reach the mouth of the Columbia River early in the morning of October 25. The captain of the ship, H. Lawrence, later recalled that, as they waited for a pilot, “a heavy southeast wind blew, and a strong current prevailed. Before the vessel could change course, she was in the breakers, and all efforts to keep her off were unavailing.” The Peter Iredale ran aground at Clatsop Beach, hitting so hard that three of her masts snapped from the impact. Fortunately, none of the crew were seriously injured. Captain Lawrence ordered everyone to abandon ship.

All twenty-seven crewmen made it safely to the shore. Captain Lawrence stood at attention, saluted his ship, and said, “May God bless you and may your bones bleach in these sands.”

The shipwreck became an immediate tourist attraction. The day after the ship ran ashore the Oregon Journal reported that the wreck “proved a strong attraction and in spite of the gale that was raging scores flocked to the scene of the disaster.” They noted that the Astoria & Columbia River Railroad was already planning to run excursion trains to the site. Back home in England, Captain Lawrence had to appear before the British Naval Court because of the loss of the ship.

The ship has been broken up by wind, waves, and sand over the years. It looks significantly different than it did when I first saw it over 40 years ago. Even though the shipwreck happened 110 years ago, the wreck of the Peter Iredale continues to be a popular tourist attraction.

As I walked out to the shipwreck site and took photos, I was thinking that people have been coming here to see the results of the mistakes of Captain Lawrence and the crew of the Peter Iredale for over 100 years. I'm thankful that my mistakes are not on public display as a tourist attraction.

In Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV) God says, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” What a powerful idea. God has promised that when He forgives you of your sin, He will not remember it ever again. The Bible regularly uses language about the depth of God’s forgiveness for our sins. He forgets them; He removes them as far from us as the east is from the west.

Psalms 103:10-13 (NCV) tells us that, “He has not punished us as our sins should be punished; He has not repaid us for the evil we have done. As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who respect him. He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west. The Lord has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children."

Do you worry that there are certain sins you’ll be punished for someday? Are you afraid that God just can't forgive that terrible thing that you did? Listen to the promise that the Bible gives us in 1 John 1:9 (NKJV) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  God is faithful and just to forgive our sins. We just need to confess our sins, and He has promised to forgive. God wants to forgive sinners! But in the minds of many people, this thought seems too good to be true.

Gentle Reader, because Jesus died for all our sins, God promises to forgive us and never bring up our sin again. He says, “I will be merciful when they fail, and I will erase their sins and wicked acts out of My memory as though they had never existed.” Hebrews 8:12 (VOICE) I’m thankful that my mistakes are forgiven and forgotten instead of being on public display like the wreck of the Peter Iredale.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Why, Lord?

Today is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Most Americans can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news that airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was at work when my wife called me to tell me what she saw on TV. I turned my radio on and listened all day as the news reports came in. I think that most people wonder why God allowed something so terrible to happen.

This year the news has been filled with the horrible atrocities carried out by ISIS. The truck killings in Nice, France killed over 80 people. 2016 saw the deadliest mass shooting in American history in carried out in Orlando, Florida. There are many places around the world where terrible things are happening. Yesterday in church we heard from missionaries who had been working in Venezuela for the past 11 years. The situation is currently so bad that they had to leave the country.

The past couple of months have been hard ones for our family. We don't understand why this is happening. Why does God allow these things to happen?  I think that is one of the biggest questions in Christianity.

There are many events that cause people to ask, "why". I don't have the answers as to why so many tragedies happen. I do know that ever since sin came into this world through Satan there have been terrible tragedies. I suppose that Adam and Eve asked "why" when Cain killed his brother Abel.

The only promise that a Christian has in this life is that there will be trouble. Our trouble free existence will be in Heaven where God will wipe away all tears.


When a tragedy happens, God says to ask your questions, but don't stop there. God has given a much greater opportunity. God challenges us to turn to Him for answers. God challenges us to argue with Him. God challenges us to trust Him explicitly.

Bad things happen in this world, to good people, and to bad people, although it seems like the good people get the worst. Why do bad things happen to good people? More specifically, why do bad things happen to me? God rarely answers that question. He would pour out only goodness on us all the time if He could, but because we live in a sinful world, He can't. Men have free will, and God will not override it.

Belizean Girl Plays in the Dump

Why do bad things happen to good people? It is because we live in a sinful world. I know that's not the kind of answer we like, but there is no better answer available.

Once you have learned this and deepened your faith that God has everything under control, then maybe there is a better way to approach the bad things that happen. Don't ask "Why Me, Lord?" when something bad happens. Ask God how He wants you to respond, and then leave the consequences in His hands.

It is all in our response. God can always bring good out of bad, but He needs us to cooperate with Him to bring out the greatest good. This is why Paul can say "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." Rejoice when good things happen, rejoice when bad things happen because we can trust God to do what is for our eternal best.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Oregon Coast Revisited

After attending a wedding in the Portland, Oregon area we took a couple of extra days to visit the Oregon Coast. We visited Cannon Beach with its iconic Haystack Rock and then traveled up to Seaside, Oregon where we spent the night.

The next day we made a number of stops along the way to Astoria. As we visited various sites along the way I was remembering a trip that we took to the same area in 1975. I really enjoyed visiting the same places over 40 years later and remembering times long ago. One of the places that we revisited was Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition stayed near the mouth of the Columbia River during the winter of 1805-1806.

Photos of Fort Clatsop from 1975

Lewis, Clark, and their men had made the difficult trip from the upper Missouri River across the rugged Rockies, and down the Columbia River to the ocean. They wintered in the relatively mild climate of the Pacific Coast while winter raged in the mountain highlands.

The men finished building a small log fortress by Christmas Eve; they named their new home Fort Clatsop, in honor of the local Indian tribe. During the three months they spent at Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark reworked their journals and began preparing the scientific information they had gathered. Clark labored long hours drawing meticulous maps.

Rain fell all but twelve days of the expedition’s three-month stay. The men found it impossible to keep dry, and their damp furs and hides rotted and became infested with vermin. Nearly everyone suffered from persistent colds and rheumatism.

The expedition headed back home, leaving Fort Clatsop on March 23, 1806. The region they explored later became the state of Oregon–Lewis and Clark’s journey strengthened the American claim to the northwest and blazed a trail that was followed by thousands of trappers and settlers.

Photos of Fort Clatsop from 2016

Another place that we revisited was the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. On September 26, 1906, the Iredale left Salina Cruz, Mexico, bound for Portland, where it was to pick up a cargo of wheat for the United Kingdom. Despite encountering heavy fog, they managed to safely reach the mouth of the Columbia River early in the morning of October 25. The captain of the ship, H. Lawrence, later recalled that, as they waited for a pilot, “a heavy southeast wind blew and a strong current prevailed. Before the vessel could be veered around, she was in the breakers and all efforts to keep her off were unavailing.” The Iredale ran aground at Clatsop Beach, hitting so hard that three of her masts snapped from the impact. Fortunately, none of the crew were seriously injured. Captain Lawrence ordered that the ship be abandoned.

All twenty-seven crewmen made it safely to the shore. Captain Lawrence stood at attention, saluted his ship, and said “May God bless you and may your bones bleach in these sands.” The British Naval Court later ruled that the sudden wind shift and the strong current were responsible for the stranding of the ship, and that the captain and his officers were “in no wise to blame.”

The shipwreck became an immediate tourist attraction. The day after the ship ran ashore the Oregon Journal reported that the wreck “proved a strong attraction…and in spite of the gale that was raging scores flocked to the scene of the disaster.” They noted that the Astoria & Columbia River Railroad was already planning to run excursion trains to the site.

Although the ship has been broken up by wave, wind, and sand over the years, the wreck of the Peter Iredale continues to be a popular tourist attraction.

Photos of the Peter Iredale through the years

My photo from 1975

My photos from 2016

Another place that that we revisited was South Jetty. Construction began on the first jetty on the south side of the Columbia River in 1885, and the system was completed by 1917. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the jetty to concentrate the flow of water from the river into the ocean, thereby creating a deeper, more stable channel through which ships could navigate. Railroad tracks were laid on top of the jetty so that trains could bring more material as the jetty was extended. Railroad ties were still there when we visited in 1975 but are no longer there.

Photo from 1975

Photos from 2016

At the end of a lovely day we visited Astoria. I know that we were there in 1975 but I couldn't find any photos from then, Here are photos from Astoria from this year.

I want to say thank you to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for making both the 1975 trip and the 2016 trip so special!