Don’t Usually

Felipe trying to hit something with bow and arrow.

I don’t usually mention people last names on the blog but I do want to copy something that Steve Watkins put up on FaceBook. Steve just came out with a new book called Pilgrim Strong and he had his first book signing over last weekend. Let me see if I can pull this off, it is all quite good:

After a very long weekend and a four-hour drive home yesterday I went to bed with a book I found in a great little used book store. Its author is Eugene Peterson who wrote The Message bible translation. Peterson’s introduction to this little book includes three of the best pages of text I’ve read in a lifetime. I hope you’ll take a moment to read through it.

The Introduction from Eugene Peterson’s, Stories of Jesus.

“When Jesus opened his mouth and spoke, what came out, more often than not, was a story. He spoke in other ways also: he prayed, preached, taught, denounced, conversed, mourned. But stick around long enough and you are sure to hear a story.

Story is an act of verbal hospitality. Good storytellers invite us into a world that is “other” and larger than the one we ordinarily live in. All of a sudden we see things and people we had never noticed before. We hear words and sentences that make sense of what we’ve had intimations of, but couldn’t quite “place.”

Jesus was a good storyteller His stories draw us into a reality where we find ourselves in touch with the very stuff of our humanity. We discover that there is something MORE to life, something that we didn’t quite see or understand before.

The stories of Jesus are large and with a sense of God. Interestingly, though, Jesus rarely mentions God in his storytelling. What he does is bring us into a world suffused with God, a world permeated with God’s unspoken and unseen presence, and he does so in such a way that we know this is the world we were made for, the world where we most truly belong.

Jesus’ stories are brief. They range from a simple metaphor embedded in a sentence to a broadly sketched portrayal of a personal quest, dilemma, or situation. None of these is blatantly religious. Jesus employs ordinary things and persons as subject matter: salt and light, farmers and merchants, travelers and banqueters, money and seeds, parents and children.

Jesus throws these simple little stories into our ordinary lives and we think, “What is this doing here?” They appear so commonplace, so insignificant. We expect big things from a teacher the stature of Jesus — bold headlines, eternal truths, religious thunder. But these Jesus-stories are so unpretentious. More often than not, one or another of them lodges unnoticed in our consciousness and then, unexpectedly, begins to release insights, create new perspectives, shift the very ground beneath us so that we find ourselves reeling, reaching out for support.

When the story is allowed to complete its work, the sole support we find ourselves grabbing onto is God.

Jesus was once asked by one of his friends why he told stories. He responded that he told stories ‘to create readiness, to nudge people toward receptive insight.” His stories, besides inviting us into a larger world than we presently inhabit, pull us into it as participants. These are not stories that entertain, that let us sit back on a bench watching the action. We BECOME the action. These stories don’t tell us something new. they involve us in what has been sitting right in front of us for years but that we hadn’t noticed, hadn’t thought was important, hadn’t considered to be connected to us and our lives.

And then suddenly, we do notice. The story wakes us up to what is there, and has always been there. Without leaving the world we work and sleep and play in daily, we find ourselves in a far larger world. We embrace connections and meanings and significance in our lives far beyond what our employers and teachers, our parents and children, our friends and neighbors, and all the so-called experts and celebrities have told us for so long.

But Jesus not only told stories. He IS the story. The stories he told are trailheads into the story he lived and lives. Any one of the stories he told can bring any one of us into the story itself. Consider yourself invited.”

Eugene Peterson

Well that was a lot. I am going to make sure to read that a time or two more to make sure that it sinks in. Eugene is a very insightful guy. The translation of the Bible that I use most these days is his Message. It is a paraphrase and not a word for word translation. It holds the story important over the literal meaning of individual words in the text. Does that make sense?

OK, off to walk in a moment. Have to fill the bird feeders as I walk. They cleaned me out while we were gone on our junket. Junket away from the juncos.

Also very exciting, Cris from Buenos Aires is coming in on Wednesday and will be here through Saturday. Coincidentally I am reading the Pilgrimage by Mark Schriver, a bio of Pope Francis and the early part is full of info about that city which I know little about. Tell you more soon. Love, Felipe.

OK, So I Forgot The Tent

That is what we came up with, the Elk Motel.

Us guys: Felipe, Wiley and James.

Felipe hammering out the daily blog post.

Hey, good morning. We are back at home. Got a good night’s sleep and am ready to tackle the day. Mostly have to clean up storm damage as we had some wind here and put away gear from the trip. James will be here to help.

So yea, I admit I forgot to pack the tent on our trip. That was the first time I have done that one but I always seem to forget something important. Here is a list from past adventures: gun, ammo, knives and forks, boots, coat, stovepipe. I seem to have a knack of leaving out one key component. But hey, that’s what keeps it exciting.

The guys took it pretty well and tackled the problem with aplomb. “OK, we don’t have the tent but what do we have?” So, we had the poles and the bag with the ground tarp, stakes and ropes. So in the dark we constructed something quite elegant I must say. The guys nicknamed it the Elk Motel as it was a little less monumental than the Elk Hotel which is the proper tent we are used to. The Elk Hotel has one window while the Elk Motel is mostly windows. But hey, this is largely why guys go camping so they can problem solve with primitive stuff like shovels, axes and duct tape. So, it’s all good.

Well off I go. I will wait till I get pic of the Motel before I publish this but you have three posts to read in the meantime. Love, Felipe.

The Last Morning

South along Tekison Creek.

The last morning here in the desert. Overcast sky overhead looking for the sun to break through maybe. The guys and Kaya, the Belgian Shepard, are up the hill back of camp chasing the tricky Chukar Partridge. I haven’t heard any shots yet.

I feel great about the whole thing now. Everyone has had some success. James has just been starting up the last few years bird hunting and he is finally starting to hit them. Wiley who has been doing great for years had a slow start this time. I felt bad because I had talked him into taking a different shotgun than the one he was used to and he was not hitting anything with it. Then yesterday on a whim I said why don’t you try mine and he went right out and got one straight away. And the cool part is that gun is a really old classic that Wiley inherited from his great grandfather Ollie and he had never used it. So, now he went with it again this morning, good deal.

So that’s the hunt. We are packing up to get back to Vashon today. So, this is the last chance to get a few more birds. I didn’t shoot anything except some tin cans and they aren’t very good eating.

I didn’t see the Big Dipper all night, too cloudy so I don’t know if it is still there. Had a dream that was interesting and thought provoking. I am still trying to figure it out as it is not as transparent as the last.

I will publish these posts from the trip tonight or tomorrow morning when I get home. So, take care, miss you, love, Felipe.

A New Day Dawns

My truck Aldo, after Aldo Leopoldo.

A new day dawns and I want to tell you that the Big Dipper was there again last night. It was a little overcast so I didn’t get as good of view of it but it was there. Nothing like making sure.

I had a goosebump moment yesterday afternoon. Remember how we were talking about the North Star and how it is the way to orientate ourselves. And how I was saying that to me Christ is the Big Dipper showing me the Way. Well, have been reading Mathew Kelly’s book Rediscovering Catholicism and pretty near finished when I ran into this about the saints on page 301.

“They were not timid, whimpering or noncommittal. They were brave and bold. Why? They knew their essential purpose. They moved always in the direction of the great spiritual North Star.”

Yea, no joke, “the great spiritual North Star”! How do we do it here at Caminoheads?!? Right on track.

Well, James, got two nice Chukar Partridge this morning. So he can take those home to show off and make a gourmet meal. Just as I am writing this a flock is calling up on the hillside. “chukar, chukar, chukar”, yea that’s what they sound like. Wiley and James are gearing up to run up there. There are quite a few birds around, you just have to get to them which is no small problem.

I’m going to stay here and drink coffee and talk to you. Oh, I hear some wing beats and some shots. Felipe reporting from the front. So, we are going to have a archery shoot this afternoon. We all have forty to forty five pound bows and it is very open here. I will be fun to do some long range shooting.

Well, maybe that is it for today. It is fun for me to do this away from home stuff, feel like a real reporter. Speaking of real reporters, Steve Watkins has a new book out or almost out called Pilgrim Strong. Let’s check that out.

Love, Felipe.





A Little After Ten

Wiley’s new truck getting a workout.

Man, all of a sudden this feels like Spain, the Meseta, boarderline desert here where we are. I was up at six before the sun and made breakfast, went for a little hunt and back to do the dishes. I signed on as cook on this trip.

I was awake before dawn and spent a couple hours looking at the sky. I was toasty in my sleeping bag and had a good angle on the moon and the Big Dipper. All was quiet except for maybe a mountain sheep kicking some rocks loose.

The moon is in the final crescent so we see it early. There it was hanging above the horizon. And below it, as if it wasn’t pretty enough was another bright body, a planet maybe.

I just drew that on the IPad, all kind of by accident. Sometimes I just luck out.

But it was the Big Dipper that stole the show. When looking at this constellation you have to be impressed by its usefulness. The two stars that form the sidewall of the cup away from the handle point to the North Star. This being the most important star in the night sky. This is the same as True North. It saved my butt more than once.

The slaves escaping from the South on the Underground Railroad were told to follow the Drinking Gourd, their words for the Big Dipper. But beside its usefulness there is the beauty of the darn thing. There it is setting there like it has for millions years now.
What a treasure.

I was looking at the structure of it, the seven stars. It looks so perfect if not slight worn. So many have used it, yes it’s bound to be a little battered. The cup is in pretty good shape but the once elegant handle has a little bit of a crook in it. Well not anything to worry about really, just reporting. It still all points to the North Star, which is the important part.

And what if that was the really really important part. What if Christ, the Living Water, is pointing the way for all of us. What if that has been hanging there all this time to show us. Well I am not saying I made some important discovery but it will never be the same for me from now on.

Who knew science could be so fun. And who said the sky is science anyway. OK, time to figure out lunch I see the boys half a mile away and they are looking hungry.

Felipe with reports from the field, Me.x



Just A Little Irish Whiskey

This is a pic from out there a few years ago.


Just got on the red leather couch with my IPad and a little glass of spirits.  Finally, it’s 8 PM.  Was extremely busy today and just now I get a chance to write to you.  Was working on our tractor for half the time, getting it ready for autumn tilling.  Then the rest of the time I was scurrying around helping to get Wiley’s new truck street legal so he can take it on our trip tomorrow.

I have Mass in the morning then I am free to go.  James is going to bring a good camera so we will have pics for you.  Here I am going to make a list of ten things to photograph, like a scavenger hunt:

1. something interesting in the sagebrush

2. someone snoozing

3. sunrise/sunset

4. find a turkey

5. the Columbia river in the distance.

6. Phil cooking

7. mammal, rabbit, coyote or cougar

8. birds, partridge, quail

9. raptor

10. pic of camp from higher elevation

We are taking the Elk Hotel which is our 12 ft by 12 ft wall tent.  It has been years since we have had it out.  Wiley and I spent all kinds of nights in it in all seasons in the past.  It has provision for a wood stove so it can get toasty if there is wood handy.

Well, have to go.  But wait, what about the blog for the next few days.  I may just come up with something interesting out there.  Will type it up when I get back for you.  Thanks for your loyalty.  We are in this together, love, Felipe.

Felipe’s Fantastic Walking Schedule, October, Friday The Thirteenth.

Keeping it alive!


Visitors ~ I try and put this schedule up once a week so here we are.  This is our regular schedule:

Monday 0900-1000

Tuesday 1600-1700

Thursday 0900-1000

Sunday 1600-1700

But I am going to list a few exceptions as I will be out of town:

Sunday October 15

Monday October 16

Tuesday October 17

and Thursday October 19.

Hope to see you soon after that, Felipe.x

The Day After

We are persistent little buggers, that’s us.


Wow, what a dream yesterday, right?  Still high on that and will be for months.   We could still talk about that a little.  It is sort of strange to me that the action took place at a prison but it makes sense the more I think about it.  One, we are all sinners and fall short continually.  There is that.  But in spite of that we don’t live in a prison in our earthly existence unless we want to.  This would be to live in a mental and spiritual world where this is the reality.   This would all be in our head so to speak.   But that would be a world where God would be spiteful and unforgiving.  Clearly the dream points to God as being the opposite.

Yea, it would be a dream to have a dream like that every six, eight months.  It would be a real help to buoy me or anyone up.  Maybe we should all sign up.

Well, Wiley and I are trying to leave on Sunday for a five day hunt over in eastern Washington.  James, Wiley’s buddy is going with us.  Ideally I will go to early Mass with Catherine and then leave shortly after that.  It pretty much takes all day to get in there and get camp set up.  The last part of the drive is really rough taking two and a half hours to go the last sixteen miles.  We call these kind of places MON or Middle of Nowhere.

So we will be gone through Thursday.  I will put up another blogpost with the right info for visitors.  I missed going last year although we had the same crew two years ago but we were there in November which was pretty harsh.  September can still be hot but this October trip should be perfect.

Thanks for following along.  It is always fun to have you here.  Love, Felipe.


The Warden Comes Out For A Smoke

Sometimes beauty works.


Was up very early this morning.  Got the dishes washed, the woodstove cleaned out, the garbage and recycling headed out the door.  All before breakfast and all before writing to you.  I was like the White Tornado or a squirrel on steroids which I was.

I had a load of steriods yesterday at my treatment.  I keep requesting that they cut them back a little but they keep sneaking them in.  I am getting the picture that the steriods are largely related to my sleeplessness during the early part of my chemo cycle.  But really some great realizations have come out of that sleeplessness.  I was able to put it to good use at times, remembering the sessions where I talked with my tumors for instance.

So I think that the steriods are influencing my dream life also.  Had a doozy this morning.  Maybe that is why I jumped up early as I didn’t want to forget it, you know how that is.  And we all know how dreams work in that so much of the message is transmitted between the lines and we just absorb it without much action or words being spoken.  Least that how it seems to me, a lot can happen in a very short time.

This dream is on par with my dream of the beautiful woman with the disfigured face that I had at the retreat in February.  If you want to look that up in the archives it is February 13th of this year.  OK, Felipe let’s have it dude, you have 250 words racked up already and you haven’t even started.

Yup.  So, I am playing this prisoner at a penitentiary, sort of a Jack Nicholson character that is a little too smart for his own good sometimes.  So he is out in the sunshine next to a little porch hung on a old brick building.  He is soaking up some rays being outside on his own which is probably rare and highly against regulations.   He has a phone and the warden’s phone directory and he is busy making calls to a sorts of places on the list.  He is scamming different things to better the situation for himself and his buddies.  So maybe he is trying to get pizza delivered every Thursday night or trying to influence the outcome of a jail baseball game.  It all little rinkydink stuff, sort of innocent.

So right in the middle of this the warden comes out on the porch for a smoke.  I gulp, saying, “busted”to myself.  Only he just says in this casual way, “I see you are trying to find out where the Big Band sound went to.”  It was seemly a totally off the wall comment that had nothing to do with anything especially the rules and regs that you would expect.  There was no “you’re busted.”. The conversation continued although I don’t remember it but it was just two guys talking.  And they BOTH appreciated it, like it was a relief from the usual, the expected.  There was no warden and prisoner anymore.

That’s it but it sort of fits in so well to my situation is the beauty.  Before going to bed I was reading a big book of bios about the saints that Padre Tomas gave me.  It is leaving a big impression on me especially the ones who I can relate to.  Some had such gruesome ends to their lives; it’s all very moving as you know.  And I remember praying as I fell asleep about how badly I was doing on all fronts, like my religious life is sophomoric.  But I see the parallel between this and my dream.  The phone calls are prayers to different saints me trying to better my situation or that of my friends or my world the penitentiary.  Not that praying to saints is bad but it is more about the quality of my hopes and wishes.  This is largely the quality of my prayer life and right in the middle of that the Warden or God saunders out for a smoke.  And what does he start talking about,  not the rules and regs that are a large part of the norm of my/our existence but the Big Band sound and where did it go.  The Big Band (Big Bang perhaps) sound I take as his dream.  “Where did My Dream go? “, right?

What a reminder that prayer is a conversation simply put.   Just two guys on the porch.  No rules and regs, no positions are needed or wanted.  How beautiful, how simple really.  It speaks to me, I’m weeping.

Take care in these turbulent times.  There is solid ground to stand on but we have to find it.  With you always, love, Felipe.