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Tag: History

Painted Wonder of Oregon

Photo by Adrian N on Unsplash

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.
Psalms 9:1-2 The Message


Several years ago, I drove through the Painted Hills on my way to visit Montana. Though I did not stop to walk the trails, I looked in awe through my windshield at the warm pastel and bold hues against the blue sky.

The Painted Hills are one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

John Day was a vague, interesting man — what is documented about him. And some of the biographical information that exists about him is conflicting. He had four death dates, and his birth date is estimated. Even though he spent only eight years in Oregon country (he predated Oregon as a territory), cities, dams, and geographical formations are named after him.

Born in Virginia, he also lived in Kentucky and Missouri. From Missouri, he joined the Pacific Fur Company’s passage to Astoria in 1812. Astoria was founded in 1811 and became a monopoly on the fur trade. His hunting and trapping skills were sustenance during the expedition to the Northwest.

The Painted Hills contains an abundance of fossils from the remains of horses, camels, and rhinoceroses covering over 3,132 total acres. The hills began as a floodplain. The layered red, yellow, brown, and black colored soils originate from different climate eras, ranging from drier and cooler to warmer and humid.

The Painted Hills are one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon.

When I am stressed, one of my activities to breathe deeply is to walk along the Pacific. I instantly feel awe and wonder. To see the limitless horizon of ocean and sky reminds me of my Creator. It never gets old.

It may be a walk in a forest trail for you, brown sandy wide open spaces of the desert, the mountain vistas, or plains of wind-swept grass. It may be a park in a cityscape or the square of your backyard.

God’s nature reminds us of our Creator, keeps us humble before him. It reminds us of Who is in charge.

Tart Fruits of the Spirit

Photo by A on Unsplash

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message


Cranberries have grown in Oregon since the 1880s or 1890s, depending on what region of the state. W.C. King, the “cranberry king,” grew his crop in Tillamook county. Further south in the 1880s, Charles McFarlin planted the cuttings he brought from Massachusetts in Coos county.

The Oregon coast has ideal conditions for the cranberry crop. The sandy, peaty soil combined with the humid and foggy atmospheric conditions and the long winter rainy season give the Oregon cranberries their rich red color and stoutness. These conditions also increase the sugar content, increasing the sugar levels of the fruit, decreasing the amount of added sugar. It is not perfect – the wind coming off the Pacific disperses weeds into the beds.

Cranberry farmers maintain natural pest control by flooding or sanding the beds. Harmful insects are eaten by beneficial flying creatures, keeping insecticide usage low.

In bogs, cranberry fruit grows on vines. During harvesting, water floods the bogs so reels, tractor-like machines, can beat the vines to cut the berries loose. Harvest time in Coos county occurs from mid-October to early December.

Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving Dinner – though Oregon produces green beans and potatoes to go with that dinner. They are juiced, freeze-dried, powdered for supplements, and locally brewed for cranberry wine.

Learning the fruits of the Spirit is not usually a sweet experience. It usually comes through trials and tribulations, sharp and sometimes bitter experiences.

Pruned fruit removes damaged pests and inferiorly positioned branches, increasing the light and air penetration.

The pruned fruit brings us forth to be holy lights. We will need to be compassionate for those who see, peace for those in turmoil, and life to the spirit of death.

Naming Oregon

north-america-ga2b38139d_640
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

So out of the same ground the man was made from, the Eternal God sculpted every sort of animal and every kind of bird that flies up in the sky. Then He brought them to the man and gave him the authority to name each creature as he saw fit: whatever he decided to call it, that became its name.
Genesis 2:19 THE VOICE


Visions of swash-buckling explorers, storm-tossed sea navigators, and hard-tack pioneers are among the theories behind the naming of the state of Oregon.

Romance aside, many theories arise, but there is no one definite answer. With its diversified geography, it would be apropos that there would not be any one answer.

Some theories are much more convincing than others. That Oregon was named after the culinary herb oregano stretches the imagination.

Several theories put a European influence on her naming. A Portuguese navigator who heard the poetry of the waters of the Columbia River. A kingdom of Spanish Catalonia. The French word for hurricane Ouragan.

Theories made in America also abound. One includes an 18th-century error made by a mapmaker regarding the Wisconsin River. Or another from history: the Shoshone word that means River of the West.

One poetic theory encompasses the poem “Thanatopsis”, written by William Cullen Bryant. Published in 1817, the poem refers to Oregon as a river: “Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound.” Jonathan Carver, who wrote the book Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, used the name Oregon in his book to refer to the Great River of the West. From this passage, Bryant wrote this idea for his poem.

Oregon also has a plethora of nicknames. Oregon became a state in 1859. Oregon then became the westernmost state of the United States and earned the nickname The Sunset State.

Other nicknames refer to her natural history: Hard-case refers to the hard life of the pioneers moving westward in their covered wagons. Webfoot refers to the rain total amounts west of the Cascades. The most well-known now, The Beaver State, is pictured on the backside of the state flag.

No matter the origin of the name, it was named, plausibly a conglomeration of the different and abundant theories.

God giving Adam the authority to name the creatures in the garden speaks more of just naming the birds and animals. He gave him authority to name, to create, and to rule over his surroundings with humility and wisdom.

We have a chance to speak life into our state – to name it Oregon again, a state of trailblazers, pioneers, and rebuilders.

Oregon’s Bio Light

Lightening and Bioluminescence
Photo by Trevor McKinnon on Unsplash

Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7 NIV
The desert and the parched land will be glad;the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.


Sailors call the bioluminescence on the surface of the waters “sea fire.” Astronaut Jim Lovell, while a Navy pilot, landed safely on the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La. He used bioluminescence as a navigation system when the mechanical one failed.

Noctiluca scintillans is a Latin term. Noctiluca means shine by night and scintillans means sparkling.

On the Oregon coast (and other places around the world but primarily on coastal areas), Noctiluca scintillans are the organisms that illuminate the waters. Since they can’t swim, they move through waves action.

Between prolific reproduction and water movement, a bloom may form. They reproduce through either binary or multiple fission. In multiple fission, the cells divide from the parent cells as buds.

Their molecules die at sunrise and rebirth at sunset. Their light is inherent; it comes from within them and does not rely on an outside source. But it is a cold light, meaning that less than 20% of it generates heat. The bioluminescence in healthy cells appears as a flash, and it appears in the dying cells over minutes.

We have the light of the Holy Spirit within us, and it can spread into a blooming light to spread His love and righteousness in our state. Sometimes He speaks in a flash, sometimes over time. As we accept the calling on our lives, sometimes it takes some dying to ourselves to answer the call, but the light flashes even during this process.

Bloom, as a verb defined, means to mature or glow with a healthy color. Though the light of Oregon maybe a cold one now, it is still a light that can mature into a God-given heat of health.

Rebuilding Temples and Rehabilitating Bridges

Photo Credit: Public Domain

I decree that any Jew in my realm, including the priests and Levites, may return to Jerusalem with you. I and my Council of Seven hereby instruct you to take a copy of God’s laws to Judah and Jerusalem and to send back a report of the religious progress being made there. We also commission you to take with you to Jerusalem the silver and gold, which we are presenting as an offering to the God of Israel.
Ezra 7:13-15 TLB


The Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge was commissioned and largely paid for by a Public Works Administration project in the 1930s. The purpose of the commission brought to fruition the Oregon Coast Highway, which replaced the ferries. It was known as the North Bend – or Coos Bay – Bridge. Mr. McCullough designed several more, but the North Bend bridge was the longest and most costly Oregon bridge at the time: a magnitude of 5,305 feet long and $2.14 million. The North Bend bridge was his favorite.

The North Bend Bridge wasn’t just a functional bridge. It trailblazed in artistic design. He used 48,000 cubic yards of concrete, twelve million pounds of steel, and five million board feet of lumber. The thirteen arches made a functional public work into a work of beauty, complementing the beautiful Oregon coast.

Its current name of the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge changed in 1947, shortly after the engineer’s death.

In 2005, the National Register of Historic Places added the bridge to their list of historical places. In 2007, the Oregon Department of Transportation started rehabilitating the bridge.

After the time of exile, Ezra the priest traveled back to Jerusalem to teach God’s laws and beautify the temple. The Babylonians were no longer in power. The Persian king, Cyprus, commissioned him to go back and rebuild the temple. And king Cyrus feared God: “and whatever else the God of heaven demands for his Temple; for why should we risk God’s wrath against the king and his sons?”

Prayers are the foundational form of restoring Oregon to what she was and can be again. There are varied ways of rebuilding, and they are all a part of His plan. What are you called to do?