Friday, July 31, 2009

Beautiful Bison

The bison of Yellowstone now number in the thousands because of effective herd management programs. This is amazing considering the population was on fifty at the turn of the century. The calves were everywhere, as were the bison. In fact, they were often right outside our cabin at Canyon Village, or blocking the entrance or exit to the parking lots. It gave a false sense of security about how approachable they seemed.

At one point we had to laugh because we had just passed a car jam and people standing at the side of the road to get a glimpse and picture of a bison way across a huge meadow. If they had only gone around the bend they would have been stopped as the bison crossed the road and stopped traffic in both directions. It was not uncommon to see these huge beautiful animals lumber peacefully across the path or be resting, as one giant beast, right outside the toilet at the parking lot for the Lower Falls. People were leaning down close to the animal's face to get pictures and who knows what. I did not want to stay around to see.

I think lots of folks don't take them seriously as wild animals because they seem to saunter along like cows. But the truth is that bison kill more folks than moose or bear. The other time we visited the area our hot air balloon pilot told us a story about how a father put his toddler on the back of a bison to get a picture. Fortunately, the child was not hurt. But then the man mounted and the bison threw him off and injured him.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh, this beauty!

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone demands as much respect as the 'other' Grand Canyon. It is more than twenty miles long and one thousand to fifteen hundred feet deep. It is revealed in changing baths of light as the sun finds and fades on its brilliant colored walls and waters.

When I have been fortunate to be in a place of such heights and depths of breathtaking canyons I am reminded of the words in Isaiah about God weighing the mountains in a balance and the hills in scales. That vision is beyond understanding when actually looking at some of His mountains and canyons. It brings me to my knees to worship and honor Him, to boast of Him if I would boast of anything.


copyright 2003

You weighed the mountains in a balance;
And the hills in a pair of scales.
You made the clouds that float above their peaks
With the hands that took the nails.

You made the tree that made the cross
You hung upon for all of us.

Oh, this beauty!
Let me draw it in;
So that You may draw it out again
In song,
That I may boast of You!

You made each 'blue' that paints the sky,
The wild aster, and the lake.
Your canyon walls and waterfalls
Have made my spirit quake.

You made the tree that made the cross
You hung upon for all of us.

Oh, this beauty!
Let me draw it in;
So that You may draw it out again
In song,
That I may boast of You!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I read some statistics today that during high water in June, 64,000 gallons of water PER SECOND tumble over the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Doesn't that boggle your mind? That is some drink of water.


Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 4:13

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free Falling

It is hard to photograph any waterfalls and get a true interpretation of the power, sound, enormity, and awesomeness of the tons of water falling down into the canyon and splashing back up into sprays of often rainbowed showers. These shots of the South Rim, Artist Point, and different perspectives of the falls gives a good feeling of the broad, steep and long action of the falls.

There was a time not too long ago that I never would have been in these positions leaning over railing to get these shots. But I have been delivered of much of my fear of heights. I don't stand in stupid or dangerous places, but am able to get much closer to deep drops than I used to be able to tolerate.

There is much joy in taking a risk and jumping into the arms of my Heavenly Father. It gives me the prize of freedom from fear. I have found lately that I need that deliverance again from my fear of the future in some situations. Future events are appearing real and pretty darn scary. So I am jumping again this morning into the secure embrace of Jesus. I feel safe there. My earthly father was not a safe person, so when others threaten my safety I need to engage my leap of faith that God is in control. He is my safe passage through whatever happens.

Keeping his eyes on Jesus instead of the storm is what enabled Peter to walk on water. I am stepping out of the boat. I have gone under a few times lately with a few swipes from the storm, but I know looking into his face will help me look past circumstances and walk in freedom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wild About Wyoming

I am WILD about Jesus, WILD about wildflowers, and think there is a connection. When I look at the faces of these wildflowers, some of which I do not know the names, I know that Jesus knows each of their names and each of ours.


If you look for me in earnest you will find me when you seek me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Signal Mountain Singles

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy...
1 Peter 1:8


When I get to visit beautiful places like this and bring pictures home to share with all of you it is about the hope that they will build your faith and encourage you. I see so much of God's love and God himself in creation. Each single expression of creative intelligence, be it a flower, deer standing in wildflowers, or a boat on the beautiful lake surrounded by mountains, is a stitch in the tapestry of love given to us by our Heavenly Father.

Signal Mountain Summit Road

The first time we visited Jackson Hole we couldn't get up this road because of closure due to still heavy snow. I had no idea what we had missed. The other thing that came to mind was what you see on the way back down the mountain that you didn't see on the way up. The perspective, light, and revelation change with each turn in each direction. Every panorama is magnificent. I found each of these views of Jackson Lake on the way down the mountain from Jackson Point Overlook. It seemed like every few seconds, as with a sunset, another image was revealed that called for another photograph.

The Snake River sliced its way through the verdant valleys. I just know there were moose hiding down there, but cannot complain as the count was 19 without seeing any from the overlook. Just a slightly different time of year, one month later than the previous trip to Jackson, we had a bountiful experience of new roads, new flowers, new tastes, and many treasures in our hearts and minds to recall of God's beautiful creation.

These are some 'big' pictures from Signal Mountain. I will show you some equally awesome 'little' pictures of the area in the next post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Petite Pretties

We came upon what seemed to be a motorcycle trailhead while we were driving through the red hills. It was closed to motorcycles at the time so we walked it instead. It provided some of the most memorable and peaceful hours of the trip. We walked through what seemed to have been burned sagebrush. It gave a stunning contrast to the wildflowers growing around it. I also saw butterflies and wildflowers along the path and stream that I had not seen before. The elk thistle caught my eye, and I was able to identify it later from a field guide of wildflowers. I fell in love with the little woodlandstar. The tiny little blue butterflies as well as others were everywhere along the path. As I looked at these photos of small things along this path and remembered the colors and smells I went again to that grateful place that can turn a day around because of focusing on things for which to be grateful.

I think when we are open to being grateful and praising God for the petite, little things, we are perhaps given more, even if it is only a change of attitude. Don't you just want to pour out and be generous to a humble and thankful person? I have a hunch God can't resist grateful kids!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Along Gros Ventre

Leaving the sharp massive peaks of the Tetons and entering the massive rolling red hills of Gros Ventre was like entering another world. The big valleys, huge Gros Ventre River, and swells of red and grey hills afforded a different perspective of the Jackson Hole area. The pictures of small things in the blog to follow were equally enchanting. Whether the eyes were on the skies or the butterflies, it was a great way to spend the afternoon. It brought in the spirit the need for praise and thanksgiving to a God of great works and blessings.

Gros Ventre

This 'face' drew us onto a long highway heading east on Gros Ventre Road the first time we visited Jackson several years ago. We were there a month earlier in the year, and the 'slide' had more snow in it. Up close it looks like the face on the Campbell's Soup can. The trees that remain in the crater left by the slide of 1925 look like eyelashes.

This time when we took the road we went past where we turned around last time. The wonderful secrets of the red hills and arid yet flowery trails were quite the contrast to the dark grey-blue Grand Tetons sharply pointing in the distance. Such sharply contrasting geology has always been intriguing to me. But following a 'face' on the side of a mountain...who could resist?


At this point in my life there are 'roads' I want to pursue and roads I will not continue to travel. I pursue relationships that are uplifting and nurturing. I back out of those that are abusive or manipulative. Even verbal abuse from an organization, albeit a church, is a sign to get off that road. Abusers don't like it when you get and hold boundaries about treatment. Beating down a person, whether it be with words or body parts, still leaves wounds. Jealous accusation or possession by another kills affection. Abuse kills respect, kills love, kills relationship, kills bodies.

I have seen the effects as a massage therapist that even verbal abuses have on a mind and body. Sometimes verbal abuse in the forms of name-calling, shaming, manipulations, in its insidiousness, is hard to identify. But when you are the receiver or target of it, it is like your body and mind boundaries being raped. Verbal abuse is a life-stealer. Tough words, but the experiences and results of injury are undeniable.

I believe that God has made me a warrior woman in being able as a teenager to draw a line in the sand and stand up to my father's abuse. I threatened to tell, and did. He continued the pattern on other siblings and future wives and children. I discovered the inner strength to stand up to him and consequently stand up for and minister to other women that are trying to leave a cycle of abuse.

Seeking His face leads you into the battlefield. The sword is raised. His right hand goes before us. He is worthy to be praised and we are worthy to be saved. Jesus came for that very thing. He is awesome, and believes we are, too.


My heart says of you, " Seek his face!"

Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path, because of my oppressors....

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27 8-14

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Cascade Lake

We kept walking just a little further on the path circling the lake. As we turned the corner we were surprised with a glorious hillside of breathtaking wildflowers. We sat in them for awhile as we watched the reflections on the lake and enjoyed the quite woodlands. There were so many new flowers I had not seen before along this path. The pink geranium was everywhere, but the pink prairie smoke was subtle and soft. It drew you in to its beauty.

Our Bridegroom delighted in us and sang over us as our souls were satisfied and delighted with the gift of this gorgeous refuge.


My lover spoke and said to me,
"Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, and come with me.
See! The winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth,
the season of singing has come."
Song of Songs 2:10-12