Camino de Santiago

Month: February, 2015

What Lasts?

Here is the week’s panoramic. It is a big departure for you from the past. It was fascinating to see this kind of situation in many of the small villages that we came through. There are many buildings that are very old and are complete ruins and then are right next to buildings that people live in.

What Lasts?

Our Memory Photo Books

Our Family Picture - 2013-2

This past year I have had some discussion with family and friends on what things last over generations. What really gets passed down to our next generation and beyond.  What becomes of those the things we see so much value in now. Will they still be in the family 2 or 3 or 4 generations from now? I realized when I thought about this deeper that this list of “things” that might get passed along from one generation to the next is probably a very small list.

What I concluded is that likely the only “things” that will pass along to the next generations are those “things” that are cherished shared family “things”. If it is something I really value but no one else shares my feelings for it than likely it is going to end up at Value Village at some point.

So with this thinking in mind, I wanted to do something that lasted and that might be cherished and passed along to future generations. I realized that one area I could do a lot better was to make something lasting from all the photos I have taken over the years at our many family gatherings.

A wonderful family tradition that we started up 12 years ago was to rent a beautiful home in Manzanita Beach, Oregon each year and spend a long 3 day weekend with my siblings and their spouses. I decided that having all those wonderful pictures I took sitting on a computer or a website was not the best way to go. This past two weeks I have put together a beautiful coffee table book of some of these most special memories we have created. This I think is the kind of thing that might last. They will likely still be special to our children’s children as much as they are to us now. Who knows they may continue this same tradition in their family when we are gone!

This also got me thinking about our wonderful Camino experience and how special of a shared memory this was for Terri and I. I know that this blog has gone a long way towards recording down some of the memories and pictures from the trip  but I again I don’t think that is enough. I have decided to create a special coffee table type book of our story of the Camino as well. Now I have my work cut out for me on this one!

So my hope is that I may have inspired you as well today to consider what are those “lasting things” that will be cherished family memories. Maybe it is time for that photo book as well for you!

Pano of the Week – Endless Fields and Sky

We climbed a short hill and suddenly came up on this flat, flat endless landscape. It worked best I felt as a Black and White image to bring out the starkness and endless nature of the landscape.

Endless Fields and Sky

You Raise Me Up

20141011-Palas-Melide-27-2During my choir practice this week as we were practicing the song, “You Raise Me Up”, I was remembering how much I loved the words of this song (and it’s haunting melody).

“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up to more than I can be

That last line of the chorus is the one that suddenly hit me and I was thinking about how much I need to thank each and everyone of you for “raising me up to more than I can be”. You see it has been YOUR wonderful words of encouragement that has lifted me up to more than I ever expected. This blog has been a true pleasure to continue on with because of YOU. Every time I have a needed some encouragement to continue or wondering if there is any more I can really say, I have received some personal encouragement of how much you valued my message and pictures. It has made all the difference! It drives me to keep it up and to not lose faith. You have definitely raised me to more than I can be!

You see, Terri and I also experienced this same thing on the Camino! It seemed just when we needed to be “raised up” because we were down and weary, a fellow pilgrim’s timely advice and encouragement or a message of love and support from our family or friends would come to us! We both thank you for those messages of encouragement. They definitely helped us!

That leaves me with my last thought for you today. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our family, co-workers and friends is our personal words of encouragement. Those few little words from the heart. You see, we just don’t always understand how big a deal they can be. They can be just what someone needs!

Thank you all from the “bottom of my heart” for all the wonderful words of encouragement and support!

Morning Praises – Pano of the Week

Morning walks at dawn are so much fun. On this panoramic it was a scene that caught my eye off in the distance. I worked first for quite a while on the original image and then decided it would be really a great image with some Topaz Impressions technique. I love this image!

Morning Praises



Now, I realize for the last two blog entries I have referenced the Seattle Seahawks, but bear with me one more week. You see, one of the reasons I love sports so much is because they teach you about life when you take the time to learn about the players, coaches and the team; (ask me sometime about a key change in my life that occurred as a result of following the early Seahawk team).

So here is what I was thinking this week as I was pondering what impact this most devastating Super Bowl loss might have on the team long term.  I recalled an article I had read in the past regarding the Seahawks and the personality trait called “grit”. You see Pete Carroll and John Schneider, (Seahawks GM), became very intrigued with this personality trait and even invited the recent research scientists in this area to come speak to them about their research.

Grit is defined as “trait-level perseverance and passion for long term goals” and research done to date has “showed that grit predicted achievement in challenging domains over and beyond measures of talent.” (Duckworth, Univ of Pennsylvania, 2007). The Seattle Seahawks have been slowly building a team that is young, talented AND have this special trait called “grit”. I think those of us that have watched this team now for the last several years sure see this played out. I read that the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick when talking about the Seahawks before the Super Bowl, gushed about them (and he is not known for gushing about anything), here is what he said:

“The thing that impresses me the most, and the thing that I guess I would like to do a better job of, is just the way that his teams play for 60 minutes,” Belichick said. “They play from the opening kickoff to the final whistle or the final gun. They play from the snap of the ball until the whistle blows at the end of the play. They play extremely hard down after down after down, week after week, year after year. They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’ve ever observed.”

I believe that one of the key reasons for this is we have a team filled with lots of grit. They have a perseverance and passion that is amazing to behold. I am presently reading a book about the brain and music and one interesting fact I learned this week is that it takes about 10,000 hrs of practice to be an “expert” at anything (that is roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over 10 years!). What that tells me is that anyone that wants to achieve the highest level of expertise needs to have a lot of grit!! I am not worried about the Seahawks overcoming this crushing loss with all of the “true grit” they possess!

20141009-Protom-Palas-232-2Terri and I saw lots of pilgrims walking that had “grit”, that is for sure. Each pilgrim that walked that 500 miles over 5 or 6 weeks had to have it in spades or they likely did not make it!

The last thought I will leave you with is how important this trait is to try and cultivate in our children and grandchildren! I am sure that some of this trait is from our nature but I am also sure that we can nurture it as well. In fact here is an article from the Seattle Times on a book written about this. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Earth and Sky – Pano of the Week

This week’s panoramic of the week comes as we walked out of one of the largest cities on the Camino, Leon. After walking for about 1/2 day we came across this beautiful rich red earth landscape. Walking in the Fall presented far different landscapes than the Spring as most of the crops had been harvested.

Earth and Sky

Growth Through Our Failures

20141006-Traba-O'Cebr-139-2It is a tough day today in “Seahawk Land” after yesterday’s Super Bowl loss. It was a bitter loss, especially when you consider how close we got to winning the Super Bowl. The loss had me remembering a thought provoking article on the subject of human maturity and growth. The article has a great quote from a renowned Polish psychiatrist named Kamir Dabrowski. He postulated that “we grow by breaking down, by being driven to our knees through various crises which forces us to move beyond our mediocre habits and immaturities”. The article goes on to explain that for most of us we grow not through our successes but through our failures. We often grow arrogant in our successes.

I know for Terri and I, walking the Camino, we sure experienced some “breaking down and in some cases literally being driven to our knees” as we faced some of our “Camino crosses”. We both can say it moved us out of our comfort zone and pushed us into new areas of growth in our lives. The Camino has a way of doing that to folks. I know that some folks walk the Camino because they may have recently faced a true crisis or a significant loss at home and are searching for answers. I would dare to say most folks find those answers in the growth they experience in the long slow walk of the Camino. The Camino gives them the time to process their losses and grow.

The Seattle Seahawks have had an unbelievable run of success over the last 2 years in reaching the Super Bowl two years in a row. It is a very special time for all the Seahawk fans. Maybe this heart aching Super Bowl loss is good for us. It will help us all to grow in good ways and not grow arrogant in our success!