Dark Paths


There is incredible beauty in this world and yet, laced all through the blazing sunlight, delicate blooms, and joyful people, are many dark paths. Sometimes people choose a dark path. They seem to do everything in their power to find the struggle and the pain in life and to live that pain to the fullest. At camp we work with children and so much of the time with kids, someone else has chosen that dark path for them. Someone they love has stumbled or wandered or rushed down a hopeless path and dragged their family with them.

Where is God?

Where is God when the way is dark and all seems grim and full of shadows?

Sometimes a path takes a dark turn in a natural twist of life. People get sick, cars crash, and everybody dies eventually. I have walked such twists and turns. Scruffy is 44 this year, the same age my dad was when he died in a simple accident.

Where is God?

Where is God when life and death and love and loss get all mixed up around you?

I took the picture above on an incredible misty morning. I had just dropped our three boys off at the school bus and our 50+ pound puppy was snuffling around in the car looking for crumbs. Three healthy boys, a happy pup who was the answer to a year’s worth of prayers, a beautiful drive home. Yet, this photograph made me pause and remember. Dark paths twist through even such a lovely world as this and my feet will surely come upon one sooner or later and so will yours.

Where is God, then?

That is the question, isn’t it? The campers who drive under the archway of the Camas Meadows sign and toss their sleeping bags onto a bunk and rush down to chapel to sing “I’ll Fly Away” with all the motions and join in a Jell-O eating contest… Many of those same laughing kids are walking dark paths. What do you say? What do you do?

Where is God, when the path is dark?

I do not have wisdom and answers and perfect golden words. I do know this, when my path was dark, God walked beside me. He was still there, even then. A smile, an understanding glance, an arm draped around the shoulder of someone in pain. These things we can give, even though we do not have answers. These are the things that matter when your heart is broken and the way lies black and misty before you.

Hold on, for God walks in such places as well. I know this, because I have lived it before. Walk with Him when your path twists into darkness before you, and you will find Him faithful even in such a time. I am not the only one. Talk to Scruffy or Choco or Del or Autumn… Open up God’s word and see, the Bible is chock full of people on dark paths who found that God was there, even then, even in such a place.

Psalm 22:24–“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

Job 36:15–“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”

2 Samuel 22:5-7, 17-20–“The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears…He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

Isaiah 50:10b–“Let him who walks in the dark, who has not light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”

Know this my friend. Whether God will reach down from on high and pull you out of that place of darkness, or simply place His foot beside yours and walk the path beside you, I do not know. But He is there, that much I can say for certain, and He is good, even when the path is laced with shadow.


Boo Boo


Hidden Treasure


There are hidden wonders in this world.

Did you know that?

You did once, I’m sure. When you were a little girl or a little boy and first held a dusty moth in your palm, chased a gliding snake through the grass, or got up early to catch a glimpse of Venus through a pair of battered binoculars. But it is easy to forget.

One of our missions at camp is to make sure that children don’t lose their sense of wonder. To give them a chance to see some of the hidden treasures that fairly shout out the glory of God if we will only seek them out. Pictured above is The Stone Face. Some people call it Indian Head, but I like the name one of our older board members always uses. The Stone Face. Not carved or shaped and yet everyone who takes the time to hike across the meadow and then up a narrow forest trail to the sandstone cliffs above Inspiration point can clearly see the face of a stern Native American warrior. It is baffling and yet plain to see, for anyone willing to walk a half mile out of their ordinary world.


If you hike down the narrow sandstone ridge just past The Stone Face, you will come upon this old snag. Long dead, and covered with lichen, it still stands guard upon the ridge. A home for woodpeckers and other forest creatures, this lovely old tree makes me wonder about the many years that have come and gone beneath its snarled branches. This world contains so much more than just ourselves. The old snag standing sentinel on a barren ridge reminds me of that. God is larger than we thought, working in ways that we cannot begin to imagine. Much has come and gone during the lifetime of this tree, fabulous things and gentle miracles, things that only God knows. I catch a glimpse of the vast wideness of the world when I crouch upon the ridge with my camera, attempting to capture the beauty of this dead giant.


This is what I would wish for you. Perhaps you are not able to take a midnight hike to inspiration point, gaze down at The Stone Face, or pausing on the trail up to Chipmunk Cabin to smell a pine lily, but God has still provided wonders all around you. Gentle reminders of His power and love. Seek them out my friend. Do not rush on by, wrapped up in your own worries and cares, His world is bigger and grander than you realized. Open up your eyes. Hidden treasure is everywhere.


Boo Boo



One of our founders, Autumn Griffith, turned 92 yesterday. She and Del, her husband, started the camp when they retired in 1973. Forty-two years later, the camp is still here, bringing the power and beauty of God’s creation and love into our lives.


So is Autumn. She is the epitome of the word hostess, always offering a cup of tea or a cookie to anyone who stops by. Our three boys and even our pets are given the special Grandma Autumn treatment. Autumn shines the love of God upon all who come close. She is gentle and gracious, caring and always kind.


I’ve heard this grand-parenting time of life referred to as “The Golden Years”. Looking around at the splendid fall color washing across the Camas, I cannot help but think of my own Grandmother, Autumn. And so I post these beautiful pictures of the autumn color in honor of Autumn’s 92nd birthday. Over ninety years lived well, shining bright and bold with the love of God behind her smile. Thank you Autumn for continuing to show us how to love long and well in the strength and power of God.



Boo Boo


Art and God


Music, art, dance, theater, story…does your soul ever just burst into song within you when you listen to Handel’s Messiah on a crisp winter evening or look at a sketch of robins singing outside a country kitchen window?

I was sitting in a little brick coffee shop, sipping a caramel toasted marshmallow something-or-other and a song came on the radio. It pulled me from my chair in an instant. I was there with the artist feeling what he felt, pulse pounding, tears behind my eyes, ready to fight and laugh and fall in love. The song inexplicably moved me.

I think art is the greatest argument for the existence of God.

Of what evolutionary value is the stirring of the soul, what of beauty, why do we seek out these things? They have nothing to do with food, shelter, or procreation. Why are they precious?

This summer I asked my boys if they wanted to go over to camp for worship. It is usually past their bedtime and I often go a whole summer without listening to my absolute favorite kind of worship in the world. Acoustic guitar in a log lodge with the wind stirring in the pines outside. But they are getting older and I asked if they wanted to go. “Yes,” they said. So we crept past the campers, up the stairs, and onto the balcony. I stood quietly against the wooden railing next to one of my sons. We did all the motions to the songs while his brothers snuggled up on the couches behind us. We looked down on Choco and Shinobi and Hatu as they played guitar and drums. The evening light warmed the log building and gleamed on the rough wood pulpit. When they switched to slow songs, my son raised his hands to heaven, closed his eyes, and sang. I wept, and yes, I sang too.

Art is from God. Not all of us see that, but art is no less a miracle for that. There is beauty here, even in this bleak and terrible world. God has stepped into our darkness and stirred our souls. We are His art and He is the reason we can even dream of song and story and picture and dance and love.


Boo Boo