Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankful for Lena

DSC_0272 by gkhamilton
DSC_0272, a photo by gkhamilton on Flickr.
Above:  Baby Lena’s television debut! Following in Daddy’s footsteps, Lena kickstarts her modest acting and modeling career by gracing the small screen. This is an actual screen shot from FOX12's Good Day Oregon show, the day after I sent it in for Lena's 1st birthday.

Note: This is the “edited for television” version of this photo, cropping out Kathy and me as we hiked the Paradise Hills trail with Lena in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Stay tuned for the full, uncensored picture in an upcoming hiking blog post.

Thanksgiving Day was last week, but why stop giving thanks? We have a long list of blessings to be thankful for this year. Yet it’s all too easy to pick a #1: Lena!

Lena may be a TV star now, but her fame hasn’t been limited to TV appearances. We’ve been showing off our 14 ½ month old daughter everywhere:

DSC_0146_edited-1DSC_0178_edited-2Sitting on the beach with Mommy while watching Daddy goof off while surfing at Short Sands last month

CameraZOOM-20121005190337998And then seeing Haystack Rock for her first time

CameraZOOM-2012082518263890520120825_211518_edited-2Discovering her love of soccer at the Portland Timbers game; We hosted Warner Pacific Alumni Night at the Portland Timbers game in Jen-Weld Stadium. The Timbers ended an 8 game losing streak to beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1!

20120817_192839_edited-2Paying a visit to Daddy’s Delta Airlines workplace at PDX airport

20120729_184640DSC_0871_edited-1Her first visit to the Washington County Fair... What a Daddy’s girl!

CameraZOOM-20121011191825460Heading out regularly with both sets of loving grandparents

And the list goes on and on.  I have many more pictures and memories to share.  We are truly blessed!

Coming in two weeks on BlogSpot…

Last month, I flew to L.A. to film and dance in a Christmas-themed video for Delta Airlines. As soon as it gets released to the public, I’ll post the music video here!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Backpacking Elk Meadows- High School Guys

Claude, Brandon, Garth, and Mike backpacked 13 miles through the Mt Hood Wilderness Area in September to kick off the fall season of student ministry at Aloha ChoG.

Sure, we've organized lots of hiking, trail running (here is a pic of Aloha High grad Derek and me running on some urban trails earlier this year), CameraZOOM-20120626151659596.jpgcamping, swimming, and gaming during the summer months.  However, nothing could prepare us for the up-close views of Mt Hood's east face during our final fall backpacking trip into Elk Meadows.

On the first day, we jumped off from the Sno-Park trailhead into the Mount Hood Wildernesses Area and attacked the first 6-7 miles (including excursions) with all the speed we could muster.  This crew was hardcore!

CameraZOOM-20120903140902499_edited-1Switchbacks and glacial stream crossings posed no problems for us, but a couple things eventually slowed us to a temporary halt: the two biggest blisters I've every observed on the same person's feet (mine). And I've dressed PLENTY of fellow hikers' blisters in my travels.

Brandon's photos of my feet have been mercifully censored from this blog, but the outcome was unexpectedly gruesome.

Pro Tip:  Double checking your backpack for extra moleskin is NOT optional.  Mooching moleskin from random wilderness dwellers can be humiliating.

Hiking through the pain, we pushed forward with an aggressive pace to reach the Elk Meadows Perimeter Trail.  Camping on the meadows is prohibited, so we picked a campsite on the edge of the surrounding forest.


With plenty of daylight to spare, we took our time exploring Elk Meadows before setting up camp.

IMAG2277_edited-1  The tree islands scattered throughout Elk Meadows provided non-marshy resting spots to stare at the formidable face of Mt Hood. The rocky east slope of the mountain loomed right in front of us.

An evening hike up to Gnarl Ridge worked up our appetites enough to gorge on dinner at the campsite.

Stargazing, storytelling, and discussion of a particularly appropriate passage of Scripture preceded a night trek back into the meadows.  We were awed by the image of an Illuminated Mt Hood that reflected moonlight across the darkened meadow.

Being woken up during the pitch black night by an intensely focused, blinding ray of moonlight that shone through the dense forest canopy onto our isolated tent was nearly as memorable.

On the second day, morning devotions together at breakfast were eventually split off into solo encounters of reading, reflection, prayer, and meditation.
CameraZOOM-20120904123753499_edited-1 SST grad Brandon (sitting left in frame) soaks in Scripture on the edge of the meadow.

CameraZOOM-20120903181036419_edited-1After breaking camp, we stopped by the old wooden Elk Meadows Shelter on the edge of the meadows to secure our backpacks.

CameraZOOM-20120904144524801_edited-1aCutting through the grassy expanse one final time, we forged our own variation of the hiking loop that gradually leads back to the Sno-Park trailhead.

This may have been our last student backpacking trip of the fall, but the story doesn't have to end there.  Snow camping, anyone?

Coming this weekend on BlogSpot...

We'll be keeping the spirit of Thanksgiving alive with a collection of recent baby Lena outings that we are particularly thankful for.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twitterfied (Updated 11/29)

Twitter was just begging me to sign up last week to track the final day of the Presidential elections. After years of Twitter mockery, I finally caved in. My shiny new Twitter handle is @garth_hamilton.  Follow me at will.

Curious to read each candidate's tweets to their supporters on election night, I followed both President Obama and Mitt Romney. Incidentally, he with the most tweets won the election.  More power to him.

More interesting to me is the multitude of voices crying out to be heard during each Twitter millisecond. Each tweet, retweet, and reply is trying to find an audience. We have so much to say, but much of it ironically gets set adrift in a sea of selfishness and self-importance.

One of my early tweets about the new James Bond film was "favorited" by a TV personality that I really like but was not even following, and then he retweeted it to all 39,800+ (!) of his followers. Of course, some of those 39,800+ followers favorited my tweet and retweeted it to their followers as well.

As a new Twitterer, my brief but unremarkable flash of fame in the Twitterverse was unexpected and cool. Yet it did not yield a single meaningful human interaction.

Maybe that's not the point of Twitter.  I'm told it's about keeping up with current events. I'm told it's about following people you admire. Best case scenario: it's about conversation.

But in the end, perhaps we each just want to be heard.  With everyone talking, is anyone listening?

Update 11/28/12: 

Since signing up for Twitter, I've had some good times (making friends, posting concert pics from Winter Jam, getting real time score updates from my favorite sports teams) and bad times (having to change my password again after my account was hacked TWICE: on Thanksgiving, and then again yesterday).  I try to not tweet too often.

Update 11/29/12:

After that last update, I've now been hacked a 3rd time in the past week.  Google informed me that hackers attempted to access my Gmail account yesterday morning from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Hungary.  Aside from the mass PlayStation Network hack of 2011, I've never been hacked before.  Are my nonsense passwords really that guessable?

Coming this extended Thanksgiving weekend on BlogSpot...

Baby Lena makes her debut TV appearance,
and the guys go backpacking into the Mt Hood Wilderness!