A Taste of India

Road Antics

In January 2017, I (John) had the opportunity to travel to Dehradun, India to facilitate a course on Spiritual Formation as part of the DAI (Development Associates International) Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program. The week of residency was held at the Himalayan Torchbearers India facility near Dehradun. Although the weather was cold I had a fantastic week getting to know and working with the students.

After the week was completed I got to spend a few days being a tourist in the Delhi area. My new driver friend Sarbjeet, took me to various places in Delhi on Sunday.

The following day we drove to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. On our way back to Delhi the car broke down. Finally God answered prayer and we got the car back on the road to conclude an amazing day.

On my final full…

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Flight to Manitoba

Road Antics

“We should fly to Manitoba together to bring some of Mom’s ashes to her place of birth,” we said. Our mom died of cancer in July of 2012, 6 months minus one day after our dad died. Four years later we finally made it happen.

It was a beautiful, clear still morning that Lloyd collected me from the Chilliwack airport and we climbed up past Mt Cheam with Mt Baker in the background. The flight was incredibly smooth and the view breathtaking as we drifted our way east above the peaks and valleys of BC’s southern mountains.

The prairies offered a spectacular view of God’s partnership with man in creating stunning, artistic design as we flew over fields, streams, lakes and forests (at least some).

Flying past Brandon we were instructed to navigate south to avoid Shilo airspace. At one point I checked with google maps on my phone and…

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The Blame Game

It must be someone else’s fault!

I am reading through Psalms in the Bible these days. Over an over again the song writers (mostly David) complain to God. Much of the complaint has to do with “Why are you abandoning us God? I thought you were going to protect us! Why have you left us to the ravages of the enemy?”

Today again, in Psalm 74, Asaph pleads before God, “why have you rejected us forever?” 

As I was reading this morning, I was reminded that God had made a covenant with Israel. If they were to obey God, God would bless them – including protecting them. However, if they were to disobey, then God would hand them over to the enemy. It would seem then, that if they were being defeated by the enemy, they needed to look at their own lives. Why was this happening? Was it God’s fault? Or was it their own fault. Were they being disobedient and the consequence was God withholding protection? If so, they were to blame themselves, not God.

Considering this, I was reminded of how often we do the very same thing. When things go wrong, it must be God’s fault. When evil happens, God must be to blame. How much of the evil we face is possibly actually our own doing – maybe not us personally, but as mankind? And yet, how much may be even because it is our own, personal fault? 

Just something to think about.

Yellowstone National Park

Road Antics

Family Vacation! “Let’s go camping!”

Anticipating hot days and warm nights away from the coast we eventually ended up camping near Moran, WY where it was literally freezing at night – and we encountered snow in the park. Undaunted we spent a couple of days traipsing around Yellowstone National Park. What an adventure! With our eyes on constant lookout for wildlife (and the frequent reminders to carry bear spray) we enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation shaped by nature’s forces over time. Even our “young scientists” were were entertained.

While not as plentiful as we had dreamed, we did spot a variety of wild animals. From bison scattered here and there to elk, many chipmunks and even more Canada geese, we encountered a coyote, saw a grizzly in a stare-down with a bison and even some wolves in the distance (too far to capture on camera). The bison somehow thought…

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Rocky Road to the Dessert

“You’ve got to be kidding!”
About to enter the border crossing into the USA, I pulled out my passport to discover that when I left home I had grabbed my wife’s passport rather than my own. Now what? I could not turn around now. Pulling up to the security gate I handed over my wife’s passport along with my own BC driver’s license and with a chuckle explained what had happened. I expected to be routed back to the Canadian side so I could rush home to get my own passport. To my surprise, they indicated that they were not refusing me entry to the US so what I did next was up to me. But I may as well continue on my journey and explain myself to the Canadian Border Agency upon my return. So, off I went, with my wife’s passport.

Two long days of driving on my own, with an overnight stop in Jerome, ID, brought me to Colorado Springs, CO where I joined 26 other potential facilitators at the DAI Facilitators Orientation. What a pleasure to meet others passionate about modeling and teaching servant leadership around the world. In one small group we had participants from Cameroon, Kenya, the USA and Canada. Two and a half days of interaction and learning were both exhilarating and exhausting.  Of course, a highlight was to reconnect with former Westbank friends who now reside in Colorado Springs.

After the Orientation was completed I had a few days on my own to explore God’s amazing creation. Winding my way along the breathtaking road through the mountains I pulled into Silverton, CO to explore “Old One Hundred” mine. Navigating the Million Dollar Highway through snow, hail, mist and sun brought me to Durango where I met with some more West Kelowna friends over lunch at Serious Texas BBQ. From there I meandered west, stopping briefly at Four Corners on my way to Monument Valley.

After a refreshing rain we got to experience the fantastic beauty of spectacular landscape at Monument Valley – including a timely rainbow. Fortunate to get a camping spot, I enjoyed the sense of a lonely night camping in the dessert.

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Upon leaving Monument Valley I looked in the rear view mirror and thought I saw Forrest Gump for a moment.

IMG_9704From Monument Valley the road took me north toward Arches National Park in Utah. My Canon Rebel T5i was my constant companion as I grabbed many shots out the window and stopped to capture the beauty of nature along the way. Just before entering Moab I came upon Wilson’s Arch which provided a taste of things to come.

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Turning off the hi-way and paying my $25 USD I slowly wound my way through the fascinating display of creative erosion. I managed to find spot at the parking lot and joined the many others in hiking to the various arches that captivated our imagination – and cameras.

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IMG_0182With more to discover and experience I headed up to “The Devil’s Garden” to scramble up the trails and rocks to visit more quaint arches. Not only did I enjoy the beauty of the land, but met wonderful people from other countries. There were other places I wanted to explore but time dictated that I get on the road to get back home. Next time. And the next time my wife will be with me.

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Hanging Out in the Pacific NW

Road Antics

Christmas break is always a special time for our family. Taking a week together after Christmas we discovered a quaint old house built in 1890 in Goldendale, WA which provided a wonderful, antique filled home for a few days. Stories of the house being haunted didn’t deter or disrupt our time together.  A house with 3 floors, 5 bedrooms and one bathroom was the perfect spot for our family.IMG_6806IMG_6852

As the house was “self-catering” we enjoyed spending time making meals together. One night it was pasta made from scratch. On another night we huddled together to make another traditional family favourite – perogies and sausage (even though we could not find the proper Farmer Sausage).

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And then there were times for relaxing by the fire and reading, playing games or watching Netflix in the quaint add-on, cozy den.IMG_6845

We discovered a replica of Stonehenge not far from where we were…

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Hicks Lake

The morning began with the promise of overcast skies, cooler temps and a possibility of rain. Regardless, we decided to venture out to a place we have never been before – Hicks Lake near Harrison Hot Springs. The day turned out quite decent with no rain until we we on our way home.

Sunlight briefly filtered through the trees as we follow the road along the east side of the lake.

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Fall colours began to show in spots as we continued toward the south east corner of the lake.Hicks 3 Hicks 4 Hicks 5 Hicks 6 Hicks 7

At the south east corner of Hicks Lake the trail left the roadway and took on a much more peaceful feeling.Hicks 8 Hicks 9

Back near the campground we took off our hiking boots and were surprised that the lake was not that cold.Hicks 10 HIcks 11 Hicks 12

After hiking the 6.4 km around the lake it was time to head back to Harrison Hot Springs for an early dinner.

Fort to Fort

Following a dentist appointment, mowing the lawn and various others Monday necessities,IMG_5620 it was time for some re-creational time together. Heading to Langley to purchase a new pair of biking shorts we made our way to Fort Langley in search of a place to take a walk in the warm sun. Of course, first we had to stop at cafe for some coffee, muffins and browsing through the book store.

IMG_5625Wandering past the Fort Pub we discovered a trail with the name “Fort To Fort.” Never having seen that trail before we decided to see where it would take us. We soon discovered what appeared to us rowers who were learning their craft.

As it turned out, the trail followed the river for a while, offering lovely views from time to time. To Debbie’s delight, blackberry bushes were abundant even if the berries were sparse and small.IMG_5626IMG_5628.

Small crushed gravel packed into the dirt trail made for easy walking passing through fields, gardens and groves of trees.IMG_5631IMG_5651

IMG_5658Along the banks of the Fraser River we were treated to spectacular views of the North Shore Mountains, providing a backdrop to a variety of creative split-log fences representing the early Fort heritage of the area.

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We finally reached the destination at the end of the trail which, as it turned out, marked the location where the original Fort Langley was located.

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Time tighten the laces on my sandals for the brisk walk back. Along the way we were treated to a view of Mt Baker.

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Back in Fort Langley it was time to stop at the Fort Pub for a burger and a beverage before heading home after a perfect Monday.

Cache Crop

Off at a Snail’s Pace

Monday, a day off for both of us! We began the day at a snail’s pace taking it somewhat easy before take a leisurely 3 hour drive to Cache Creek to visit Horsting’s Farm Market. Snails are in abundance around our home in Chilliwack. Having had a bit of rain, the weather cleared as we headed north and upon arriving at our destination it was a pleasant 25 degrees.

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Horsting’s Farm Market

Without much warning we abruptly stopped and turned in to Horsting’s Farm Market which was our destination. The air was warm and inviting as we pulled in to park next to the apple orchard. Meandering to the coffee shop we ordered pie and coffee and enjoyed a relaxing time outdoors.

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Mark, one of the owners, then took us on a tour of the pie bake shop and the rest of the production buildings. There was certainly more than I had expected. After learning some history we went for a leisurely stroll through the gardens and orchards. The goats were extremely friendly and seemed they would gladly receive a hug – which I declined.

Goat Horstings1Horstings2 Horstings3 Horstings4Debbie Wandering along the pathways the thistles, brush and stream reminded us of our childhood and youth when we both grew up on farms, enjoying much of life outdoors.

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Old Towne Inn

Finally time was up and we said goodbye and headed south towards Boston Bar. Having had a restaurant recommended to us we stopped at the Old Towne Inn which lived up to its name. Music I had not heard since driving tractor on the farm in Manitoba brought back more memories.  The fish n chips were pleasant as was the service.

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Blue Lake Resort

On our way up to Cache Creek we had noted a sign to Blue Lake Resort. We are always looking for great places to stay or camp. So, on our way back home we decided to take the side trip. Turning off the hiway, it soon became apparent that this was no drive for the faint of heart. A rough road with obvious slides from the past on one side and mountain drop-off on the other I enjoyed the drive while Debbie bemoaned the fact we had to come back down the same road – and she would be on the drop-off side of the car. We made it to the resort and were “impressed” to the point that we knew we need not take that drive again in the future. Safely back on the hiway we made our way back home.

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