Outdoor School

“Your word I have treasured in my heart,

That I may not sin against You.” ~Psalm 119:11 (NASB)

This verse is a reminder that when we memorize scripture, we are preparing ourselves for when we need to rely on the Word and don’t have access to a physical Bible.  Who is preparing you for that moment you won’t have a Bible, but desperately need scripture?

When I was in the 6th grade, I went to outdoor school.  All Oregonian children go to outdoor school, which is a one-week “camping” experience that is part of the public-school system and a beloved portion of most childhood memories in Oregon.  Essentially the week teaches different aspects of surviving in the woods, as well as the ecological purposes of respecting and assisting nature.

We learned about how to collect morning dew as a water source, as well as how to effectively catch lightning bugs for a homemade flashlight.  I remember finding the North Star as a navigation tool during night hikes.  I distinctly remember each of us “licking” a slug in order to experience a slug’s natural numbing attributes.  Good to know if you are ever injured in the woods and need a numbing agent.  Another useful lesson was that the pollen pods on the back of fern leaves are useful to rub on a rash caused by stinging nettles…both found readily in some of the forests of the Northwest.

In Oregon, the taxpayers feel that it’s an important part of life in the Northwest for children to learn about respecting nature and about surviving in the woods.  They’ve determined that it’s important enough to add to a public-school curriculum.

The question then becomes, is tucking God’s word into your heart, as important to you, as Outdoor School is to Oregonians?

While I’m grateful to know survival techniques, in the awful possibility that I was lost in the woods, I more often than not feel lost in the world.  Therefore, I have a much greater need to have the survival techniques of pulling out God’s scriptures that I’ve memorized.

In an effort to have full disclosure, I have a difficult time memorizing scriptures. However, I know important so I keep trying to add to my arsenal in my heart and mind.

This week I want to encourage the ladies of the Iron Porch to prepare your hearts with scripture…in the event, you become “lost” and need those survival tactics!


Outdoor School





Listening in the Lava Tunnels

The lava bed tunnels of Southern Oregon, formed near Medicine Lake, are an attraction that brings in casual hikers, deep cave explorers, and families looking for educational experiences. These lava bed tunnels are beneath hard, black, rocky surfaces of cooled lava, which are now also sprinkled with scrub-brush.  Visitors walk along the uneven surfaces, which feature openings leading to tunnels and larger caves underground.

As a child, my parents took us to this natural wonder often. I distinctly remember picnic lunches out of the hatchback of an 80’s Subaru and playing hide-and-seek in these tunnels.  I remember hiding in the pitch-black listening intently for my brother’s footsteps crunching across obsidian and lava gravel.

As an adult, there are days that I feel like I’m hiding in the pitch-black listening intently for the voice of God.  Those are the days that I know that I need to focus on how to draw closer to God.  Essentially how to listen more closely to how and when God speaks.

In order to do that, try these two techniques:

  1. Read your Bible…as in daily and with deliberate intent to truly study.
  2. Listen…as in sitting still without distractions of your family or phone.

I’ve found that when I can’t hear God, it’s not because He isn’t speaking. Rather it’s because I’ve become too busy to listen.

Imagine your child-like faith, playing hide-and-seek in the lava tunnels.  Then start practicing your intent listening skills.  You’ll then be poised to hear the voice of God.