Friday, October 6, 2017

Labor Day Conference Pt. 2: Where Were You All My Life? And Equally Important; Lunch

I did not want to get up.

It was Friday morning. I had received little sleep, and it was 6:30 am.

I finally sprang up 'n out and began to ready myself for a good early morning run.

I brushed my teeth, combed my hair, selected my shoes and grabbed a pullover in the event it was chilly outside.

I was greeted by the start of what looked like was going to be a perfect day.

Let me stop for a moment and give you a peek into the emotions running through my head. 

Doth thou wot how I felt?

Yond existence whence thou shouldst hast known something but thou didn't.

And 't wast right in front of thou the whole time.

The closest way I can think to explain my frame of mind is to take you to a hypothetical church conference.


After church, at the youth event, you lean over to one of your confidants and ask, "Charlie, who is that particularly stunning young lady standing over by the volleyball net surrounded by five rather poor examples of the male species?

He leans towards you and explains, "You certainly know her! Quit pulling my lower limb."

Jacob: "Not so, my good man! I regretfully have yet to make her acquaintance. Honest!"

Charlie: "She's from that one church! You know. I think she's 21."

Jacob: "Nay nay, let it not be the truth! That church is a mere stone's throw from where I live. How have I never met her? I must introduce myself!"

Turning on the charm and popping a breath mint, the way is made over to the heavenly visage, but not without some inward kicking for time lost.

It can be made up, of course, but how much better if you had looked right under your nose first. Might have saved a few crusades for fair maidens in far lands.


The beginning of enlightenment is what I felt as I turned off the paved road and entered the gravel path, past the five mph sign that no one pays attention to, and over the homemade speed bumps fashioned out of gravel.

Crouching in my backyard, the subject of this morning's interest had been hidden not 5 minutes from my house during my entire life in McMinnville. I had never heard of it, much less visited it.

I wasn't sure whether to blame my peers for failing to mention this gem to me or blame myself for not paying attention whenever it had been brought in the conversation.

I went with the latter.

Let me present it to you, just as it was given to me.

Miller Woods. 

The 130 acres of forest and grassland that makes up Miller Woods, was given to Yamhill County in 2004, by K.T and Frieda Miller, both military contractor retirees from Alaska, and the county developed it into miles of walking and running trails.

From streams to ponds, to fields of grass and savannah timber, Miller Woods has it all. 

It is one of the few areas that I can run without the need for audio entertainment, for the entire 4.5-mile outer loop run. 

It is gorgeous. 

And it's mine. 

I haven't seen a bear yet, but one can always hope. 

An overactive imagination is a dangerous thing to have along on an excursion through the woods. 

We're pretty close to sea level. Don't laugh at the summit height. 

Some nefarious group of individuals was trying to assassinate me by toppling over trees to squash me as I ran past. But they had terrible timing and the tree was always flat out on the trail by the time I reached it. 

Crime Scene Photo #1.

Crime Scene Photo #2.

Crime Scene Photo #3. 

They tipped that one the wrong way. 

Truly laughable skillz. 

I went back with a group of friends a couple of weeks ago. 


Becuase when you have people in front of you, there are targets to throw pinecones at. 

Perfect climbing tree. 

I saw something rustling in the low brush, and instinctively I grabbed for it. 


Holding a snake as it slips effortlessly through your grip is one of the simple pleasures of life. 

Working on our Jungle Cruise Audition. 


Shooting back to time present of the beginning of this post, somehow in the rush of getting back to my house and getting ready for the morning service, I found this picture that I must share. 

(There was flooding going on in certain parts of the US at the time)

Haters gonna hate. Potatoes going to....potate. 

After a fantastic  service, and MUCH convincing on my part, we took advantage of it being a Friday, by going to a restaurant that is never open around normal church times. 



And the only place I get raisin bread and apple slices on my sandwich.  

Idealy situated across from one of McMinnville's illustrious attractions. 

Good times are right up our alley. 

The purse-holder's reward is large in Heaven.

And who would you guess was working at my brother's phone repair shop not but a few blocks away?

And who needed a whole passel of us to stop by and run amuck for a few minutes?


Notice Caleb's goggles. 

Don't ask. 

We turned the charm on when a customer walked in. 

(I know this is a long post already, but if you'd still reading I want to give some recognician to Jedidah J., who failthfully proofs reeds my blog after I post and passes along the grammer recommandations immmeditaley. 
Without her, I'd have the grammar Nazis beating me to a pulp.
Thank you.)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Labor Day Conference 2017 Pt. 1

Anyone who goes to a church that hosts a conference will identify with me when I say that the conference doesn't start the night the first speaker is scheduled to preach. 

The conference starts days, even weeks before with preparation, setup, and execution of plans. 

There are chairs to set up,

songs to practice,

cars to wash, 

and many behind the scenes items. 

Preparing food and cleaning the grounds doesn't even start the list. 

But it's ok. 

The work is almost enjoyable. 

Cause it's our work. 

Our church, and our conference. 


I showed early Thursday night to help with the arriving ministers and guests. 

The top was about ready to get blown off this place.

The previous Wednesday night, after witnessing to a guy we found playing the guitar outside of Excell Fitness, Tylor and I made our way to Bridgeport mall. 

Our mission? To find Tylor some new church shoes and maybe a suit if the price was right.

The price was right, and Tylor walked into prayer that first night looking sharp in his new suit. 

We started off with Psalm 150, and had a great worship service. 

Bro. Looper Preaching

The banquet in the chapel the first night is always a vision of Canaan land. 

Overflowing with milk, honey, and Elder Morton.

I made a quick dash to Mikey's Pizza to hang out with everyone, before going home to change and get back to the church to help with the cleanup crew.

I am most fortunate to be a part of the Thursday night clean up crew. 

Not only do I get to rub shoulders with the most entertaining people at midnight, we get to enjoy the leftovers of the before described feast. 

I only eat dessert on special occasions. 

And I deemed Labor Day weekend to be special enough. 

I mean, how can you resist stuff like that?

I ate so much that I stumbled into the commons and had to lay down in the corner, so I could quietly moan and hold my enlarged stomach. 

View from the floor. 

 Max always keeps it interesting. 

What is one of the few things that can get me out of bed at 6am in the morning, after an extremely late night?

Next post, Miller Woods.

Monday, September 4, 2017

PCC 2017 Pt. 3: It Happens Daily

By the time Caleb and I got to our Airbnb house that first night, everyone was in bed. 

But my mother hadn't retired before she finished round 1 of stocking up the place with food. 

We slept just like people who had spent the entire previous day flying, driving and eating Chipotle and MOD pizza. 

 In the morning, Maggy was up first thing and started breaking in the board games.

I went for a run on the beach before the AM service but didn't think to take any pictures until I was all through.

Elder Morton preached the morning service. 

And Bro. Saylor got a new pocket knife.

 Because Elder Morton asked to see his and when he saw it, he proclaimed that it was a woman's knife and gave Bro. Saylor his knife. 

And I was happy. 

Because you can't help but be happy when Elder Morton is preaching and handing out pocket knives.

Bernie's team received an award for cleanliness in the dorms. Hence the trophy.

We built messy creations at lunch, 

and watched a little basketball.

My scintillating Scrubs.

The guy's basketball game was pretty cool.....

And it was very entertaining listening to Sis. Huemenes yell at the guys whenever she thought they fouled her grandson during the game.

But when the GIRLS got out to play...

That was SOME playing. 

I'd never seen anything like it. 

Those girls gave it their all and what they lacked in skill they made up for it in pure determination. 

I seem to remember at a certain point in the game they let Slamdunk Sofia on the court and she took the ball away and as the Gospel of Mark would say, went straightway to the hoop. 

The facts elude me as to whether she made a backward hook shot from the 3-point line or an upside-down anti-vertical full body dunk, but whatever she did it went clean in. 

I was quite impressed. 

In the afternoon, we went to visit my Grandma and Auntie. 

We showed up to church early that night and had an amazing time with the saints of God. 

I don't remember many specific details about that night, but I do remember visiting the Marchbanks' trailer with Caleb after church was over.

It's a little unnerving when the people that are staying in the trailer aren't around, and neither are any immediate family......and someone knocks on the door. 


Just a weak whispered prayer. 

When the girls showed up, we talked for awhile, then Stephanie and Sofia commenced to show us the right way to dip someone, should a waltz start to play at an inopportune moment and we were forced to be required to have such knowledge and technique already in our muscle memory.

They, of course, pulled it off with style. 

So I had to try it. 

My partner took hold of me and, with my body limp, I allowed myself to be hurled back, with the promise of being likewise hurled upright again. 

It never happened. 

Caleb and I, our backs slammed to the floor and the vacuum fell on my face.

It was less than a graceful moment.

We need more practice, ladies.

Just a little bit.

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