Friday, February 23, 2018

Welcome home

The snow did not disappoint! We got a solid 4-5 inches last night, which is far better than what we've had all winter. There were some snowy adrenalized moments -- I meet with a group of guys almost every Thursday night and on the way home after the group broke up last night, we found a young man whose car had turned sideways on the road due to the slope and the slippery conditions. So we helped him get straightened out and out of traffic. Had a friend who needed a little help shoveling out this morning. Talked to one of the neighbors who was snowshoeing through Decision Hills with her dogs this morning. (Personally I'm waiting until Sunday afternoon to try my snowshoes, as we're supposed to get another 5-6 inches Saturday night.) And as you can see in the pics below, the sun came out and it is just exquisite here at Decision Hills. So I thought I'd share a few of the shots Kenai and I took as we were out walking around. 

The Youth Center near the north end of the campus is one of my favorite buildings onsite, partly because it was severely vandalized in the spring of 2014 and when we moved in last summer, it was in really rough shape. I was amazed to see it rehabilitated so completely by some very dedicated people -- now it's one of the most beautiful meeting spaces we have. This view is from the northwest, looking down the slope -- the building is built into the hillside, so it looks like it's a little more buried from this angle than it actually is. 

Just above the Youth Center on the hilltop, these three crosses provide a beautiful spot to sit and contemplate. 

From the hilltop next to the crosses, turn around and you can see the north half of the property -- it's largely open prairie with a few trees. This view looks south toward the main worship center. It's delightful to have such an expansive backyard!

The trail curving around the northern end of the property along the top of the bluff near the lake. There's a beautiful stand of pines along this part of the trail, and the deer love to bed under them. 

Bittersweet grows along the bluff top in the north end, and these berries in the snow splash a little color into the landscape. 

This view of the lake struck me humorous -- the snow that drifted in around a fish house, long since removed, now looks a little like the ruins of an old castle sitting in the middle of the frozen lake. 

Clusters of sumac aren't quite as vivid as the bittersweet above, but against the cedars they make a pretty contrast. 

Lots of shots like this today -- sun on the snow on the different evergreens looks like a postcard. 

You don't quite get the idea from this shot, but I thought when I first saw this branch with the long needles sticking out of the snow that it looked like some kind of marine creature -- an urchin or sponge or a sea cucumber of some sort. Guess I'm missing my days on Puget Sound!

Had to get at least one shot of Kenai. He was having so much fun!

I've often thought how following Jesus is like tracking an animal. One of the things I love about new snow is the chance to get a clear idea of what the deer, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes are up to. When I'm confused or impatient or afraid, I often pray to be able to see God's prints clearly, like these deer trails crossing the field below my cabin.

After a long walk, it's delightful to come back to this little haven in the woods. I've come to love this place -- it really has become home in the last six months. My friend Guy was here throughout the morning, plowing snow off the roads and parking lots and taking good care of me as well. 

These guys love to hang out under my bird feeder. Most days there's a group of six that provide endless entertainment.

And the birds themselves are fantastic. This chickadee and a dozen or so others are the most common visitors, but there are quite a few different species that come and go. 

When Kenai's sleeping over, I move one of my chairs so he can sit by the window. This shot is taken from my recliner, which is my favorite perch in the house, looking out the west-facing living room window past the bird feeder and the squirrels and the towering oaks to George Lake, about 35 yards downhill. Sunsets here, might I add, are spectacular. 

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