Monday, December 1, 2008


Friends that actually read this, thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers. I heard from my ENT doctor at 7 pm the day before Thanksgiving (talk about a committed ENT doc!) and he said that after looking over the CT, it doesn't look very worrisome. (Again, we can't know for sure what's happening...but chances are it's just benign adenopathy that never went away after getting mono two years ago.) He said we could either 1) remove the nodes, or, 2) monitor them periodically to see if they get bigger or cause more pain. He said he's removed dozens of nodes that are similar and they've almost always turned out to be benign. So, I opted for the latter, and he assured me that that was a good decision.
It's amazing, how much better I feel now, having had the CT. And while a scan like a CT cannot show everything, it does show a lot. And knowing that they're not a size that I should worry about and that there are no other signs/symptoms of something serious, gives me soooo much relief. This may be something I monitor for the rest of my life, or maybe they'll go down in 20 years' time. Regardless, the fact that there was no bad news made for a very, very enjoyable and ecstatic Thanksgiving with Ben and his family. I felt this enormous pressure lifted from me. I am very, very thankful... for friends, for doctors, technology, and the blessings of being in the presence of loved ones that make it all so special around the holidays.
Peace and love until next post. :O)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lymph update

Thank you for your prayers, everyone. I've heard from my primary care doctor and she said that the scans look good! She said the neck scan shows some enlarged lymph nodes (obviously) but that they're "not that worrisome". The inguinal one does not exceed one cm in the short axis, which is the worrisome cut off for swollen lymph, good news all around. I am still waiting to hear from my ENT doctor to give a more thorough examination of the neck CT. When I hear back from him I'll write again.

I'm so excited for spending Thanksgiving in California with Ben! Hope everyone's Thanksgiving is joyful. I know I have a LOT to be thankful for this year. Blessings and joy~

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prayers for healing

Ever since I contracted the Epstein-Barr virus (and therefore got mononucleosis) in December of 2006, the lymph nodes in my neck have been swollen. About a year ago I noticed enlarged inguinal (located in that lovely crease between your legs and your abdomen) nodes. About a month and a half ago I got an ultrasound of my neck, which showed a 1.9 cm node and others that weren't quite as big. Doctors start to worry at 2 cm. I went on Prednisone (an oral steroid) for a week and a half, to see if that would reduce the adenopathy. Nothing happened. So my ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor suggested I get a CT. After two years of worrying about this and talking to doctors about it, I am finally going in tomorrow for a CT of my neck and abdomen. This is both scary and reassuring. It will (hopefully) provide some answers about what is happening inside my body. My appointment is at 10:45 am. Hopefully I won't pee my pants on the way to the imaging place, or, even worse, pee inside the scanner. (I have the pleasure of drinking a half gallon of water an hour beforehand :) I'm thankful that i have a 'buddy' to accompany me on this grand adventure - my friend Melissa from Westminster will be sitting in as the buddy. Thank God for buddies. More info in a few days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alex MacLean

Gorgeous, haunting aerial photography. With my past obsession with urban sprawl art I'm surprised I'm not more familiar with his work. A sight to behold.

Friday, November 7, 2008

From euphoria to reality to hope

Unlike most Americans who sat glued to their television on Tuesday night, I was installing concrete pavers for my landscape construction class. I guess there was a part of me that thought our instructors would let us out of class early so that we could witness an occasion so precious, so momentous, so of the most significant moments in our nation's history...but noooooooooo, instead we excavated the subgrade for our next landscape project and then watched a freaking video on how to install a brick patio that was made in the mid-90s. That last detail is of no relevance or consequence, I realize, but still.

At 9:50 pm I rushed out to my car to listen to NPR - my classmates seemed to be walking rather slowly all things considering, and then I heard one of them saying they'd been receiving text messages from NPR and already knew that Obama won. WHAT!!???? OMG! A sound of elation exited my mouth. I could hardly contain myself and ran to my car to hear for myself the good news. I wept in the parking lot of Portland Community College. On my way home I felt euphoric...tears of joy ran down my cheeks. I can't remember the last time I cried over something good that was happening. The last several months I've wept...but they were far from tears of joy. This was something new and different. All of the hopes, prayers, and tremendous organizing across the country actually WORKED.
Yes, we did.

My friend Eritrea called me that night and we cheered and shouted for joy over the phone. She said, "God is good! Halleluia!" I could not be more happy and proud and satisfied at that moment. The tears welling up in my eyes continued through the following morning. Everyone at the office came in with a thumbs-up sign and unshakable grin. It was a good day.
. . .
The euphoria has worn off now, reality is settling back in. We now as a nation are poised to confront and tackle the world's most pressing problems. Global climate change. Devastating poverty and disease. A crippling economy. A national deficit unlike anything we've seen before. The mess in Iraq. The quagmire in Afghanistan, Pakistan and surrounding nations. The uncertainty in Iran. The violence in Darfur, which, continues despite numerous peace accords, naming it a genocide by world leaders, and a massive public outcry. Species extinction. Depletion from our ever-more-polluted oceans. Water pollution and scarcity. Deforestation. All of the above spurring on more global conflict. This world is a crazy mess. What shall we do now?

Take life one step at a time. This has been my mantra of choice in recent days, mostly for personal reasons, but it applies here as well. I am so hopeful that things are going to change. I am proud that our country chose well, and extraordinarily glad we had the opportunity to elect a man of Barack Obama's caliber and character to lead and direct us. It's going to be an exciting next four years.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Barack the vote!

Today I completed my last civic duty before the elections are over on Tuesday: 2 hours of canvassing in north Portland, talking to a few people, dropping off a lot of literature, and walking through the neighborhood with a really neat lady named Terri. It's hard to believe that all of my thoughts and passions the past several months surrounding this election will soon be put to rest. It felt weird marking "Barack Obama" on my ballot and then dropping it off in an 'official' ballot drop off location - located in the parking lot of my neighborhood McDonalds. The official act of voting - a privilege - was a bit anticlimactic. The Obama office today was SWARMING with volunteers. It was a humbling experience to be a part of such a well-orchestrated local campaigning effort. Campaigning is quite the science, and at the same time, depends on ordinary people to just come and offer up what little time and energy they have for a cause much greater than themselves. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to get involved in this small way. I'm thankful that we live in a country where we can organize and not get killed. I'm grateful for the millions who've given of their time, talents and resources to this campaign and the thousands of others who are working for positive social change. And I'm hopeful as we get closer to Tuesday.
(photo credit:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October Garden

School has started again, and...that means less time to think/blog/wax ineloquent, etc. I don't know how others that have such full schedules can maintain an interesting blog day in and day out. Nonetheless, on Wednesdays I'll have a little bit of time in the evening to that's what I'm attempting to do right now.

Garden update:
This picture is of some of the produce from my garden this year. This was my very first garden, and although it was a lot of work in the beginning, now I feel like my vegetable cup is overflowing :) I worried about a month and a half ago whether or not my tomato and bell pepper plants were going to do anything...if only I knew what was in store! Two of the tomato plants I bought were an orange/yellow variety...some of these here I pulled off the plant so that they could ripen in the sunshine on our kitchen counter while we eat the already-ripe ones. There are probably easily another 30 or so good-sized tomatoes outside in the garden that will hopefully ripen within the next few weeks (weather permitting). The bell peppers look like they may have gotten a little bit frozen...they're a little black on some edges...but I'll give those some more time.

School update:
This term I am taking Basic Horticulture and Landscape Construction Practices. Last night I helped build and pour a small concrete pad. This was done up until about 9:45 at night, without much direction, experience or know-how. I was amazed my group actually pulled through. So, I now know how to build a concrete slab, should any of you need any assistance with that :) In the weeks ahead we'll be building fences, retaining walls, working with pavers, and doing a bunch of other cool things (all outside, between the hours of 6 and 10 pm in Portland weather...). I also know how to drive and operate a tractor and I could (at least somewhat) explain the intricacies of a chainsaw (I'm still scared to operate the damn thing, although I have cut off a few pieces of log with one so far :) My horticulture class is reminding me of my AP Biology course I took my senior year in high school. Mitochondria...cytoplasm...lateral meristem...chlorophyll....sound familiar?

The first few weeks of school were frustrating - we plunged into tractor parts and were left to our own devices in figuring out how to use the microscope and prepare's not that any of these things are hard in an of themselves...they're just hard when they seem so foreign. I wanted guidance. I wanted the instructor to explain everything before we plunged into it. But that's not always the best way to learn, I suppose. The best way to learn many of these things, unfortunately for me, is to just do them. Do them, look like an idiot, struggle, fail, and then do them again. I don't even understand how cars work, let alone tractors. I spent almost two hours last weekend trying to figure out what the hell hydrostatic transmission is and what difference that makes in operating a tractor that has that kind of gear system. This is so totally different than my experience at Whitworth as an undergraduate student. I'm hanging out with hard-core gardeners and construction buffs. And I like it, for the most part :)

Life update: I have decided to continue taking classes at PCC in the landscape technology program. Reason: It is relatively cheap and is the only way to gain experience and knowledge in the field without actually having a job in it. And hopefully...soon...I actually will get a job in this field. This weekend is Portland Nursery's annual Apple Tasting Event. I came last year by myself and was in heaven, walking through all the aisles of cool plants, listening to live Cuban music, eating apples, popcorn, cider, strudel and ice cream, and, best of all, being in one of the happiest places in Portland on one of the happiest days of the year (Portland is beautiful in the fall). The place is swarming with joyful, playful people. This year I'll be working at the event both weekends, starting this Friday. I'll be weighing and cutting apples, as well as serving popcorn. It's going to be the best thing EVER. A combination of almost everything I LOVE in life.

The bad news is that in order to work at this fantastic event, I will be missing out on my dear, dear friend Elizabeth's wedding in Albuquerque. I am sooo sooo sad about this. But Elizabeth, if you are reading this, I promise I will make it down there sometime! I am dying for a New Mexico sunset, and I'm only 25 - that means there are many years (Lord willing) ahead to take vacations into the heart of all things Southwest: succulent plants, Spanish-style architecture, exquisite sunsets, and sunshine!!!
I'm excited about this fall: the weather, my new classes, working at the nursery for a few days, and, something else to look forward to: for Thanksgiving, I'll be visiting the Benhameen in California, which will be awesome. And THEN, a few weeks after that, we will be living in the SAME CITY!!! Mid-December, after a year and a half of dating long-distance, we will both be Portland-dwellers. I can't wait. :oD

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

praying for healing

Today I feel weighed down. Broken relationships...especially ones you feel absolutely powerless to do anything about...these are hard.

I move on and forgive. I don't ask for forgiveness enough. I am weary of abuse and confusion of truth. I long for reconciliation but I also know that 'boundaries' are actually helpful in the healing process...for a time...or maybe forever? I don't know. All I know is that this is hard...and even after 'moving on' the process continues...over and over again.
Lord Jesus, have mercy.

I am taking a class on the Psalms, and the prayers and songs I've read are both disconcerting and encouraging at the same time. The prayers of the people of God are not clean and full of pious musings. They are full of a lot of things...praising, pleading, hoping, (dare i say) whining, desire for vengeance, desire for justice. They are messy and cover the full range of human emotion and experience. They can pray for us when we feel we have nothing to say. I'm grateful for this class, and, even more, the prayers of the people of God translated into English and meeting me where I am at, and teaching me about prayer.
(photo credit: "Glory" -

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What matters?

As I remember the 2000 election...the closest call, I believe, in US Presidential election history, I try and prepare my heart and mind for what may happen this November. Even if Obama wins the popular vote, there are huge electoral counts in several key battleground states which could give McCain victory. I have another phone banking session scheduled tonight at the Obama HQs in NE Portland. I am not convinced that what I am doing matters (it matters in the sense that it is contributing to more people getting involved in the political process, which is important, but not necessarily in helping Obama win this election). I believe that Oregon will vote for Obama. Obama will probably get the whopping 7 electoral college votes from this state to contribute to the necessary majority of 270 nationwide.

I'm a visual person, and these maps help illustrate what's happening. The picture on the left shows where our country is leaning right now. The one on the right shows how many electoral college votes each state will get.
As of right now, it seems the following are considered 'Battleground States' (Electoral College votes in parentheses). (I got this info from Wikipedia). This info more or less matches the results from the polls compiled on RealClearPolitics here:
  • Colorado: (9) Recent polls show Colorado as a toss-up.
  • Florida: (27) Polls show McCain with a sizeable lead in Florida.
  • Indiana: (11) McCain with a moderate lead in Indiana.
  • Michigan: (17) Current polls show Michigan with a slight Obama lead.
  • Minnesota: (10) Recent polls show Minnesota as a pure toss up.
  • Missouri: (11) Polls show McCain with a sizeable lead in Missouri.
  • Nevada: (5) A current poll shows McCain with a slight lead in Nevada.
  • New Hampshire: (4) Current polls show New Hampshire with a moderate Obama lead.
  • New Jersey: (15) Current polls show Obama with a lead in the state.
  • New Mexico: (5) Recent polls have been somewhat contradictory and have shown both McCain and Obama leading by slight margins.
  • Ohio: (20) Current polls show McCain with a moderate lead in Ohio.
  • Pennsylvania: (21) Current polls show Obama with a lead in Pennsylvania.
  • Virginia: (13) Current polls show John McCain with a moderate lead in Virginia.
  • Wisconsin: (10) Current polls show Obama with a sizeable lead in Wisconsin.
Friends, if you feel passionately about this election, I encourage you to get involved in whatever way you feel comfortable, especially if you are in a battleground state. Maybe this means researching the candidates more and knowing where they both stand on the issues...and trying to get your information from independent media sources (if that's possible). (This is something I myself feel particularly challenged to do.) Or maybe this means talking to friends and family. Or perhaps this means visiting your local campaign office and doing some phone calling, canvassing, or registering new voters. I've been tossing around the idea of doing phone calls to some of these states instead of mobilizing voters in Oregon - as I believe that's where we need the help the most. But, like my friend David commented on my last post, I, too, lose all eloquent or persuasive speaking ability when confronted with people who do not share my views. I've recently put out an invite on my facebook page to my more conservative-leaning friends, because I truly want to know why they are supporting McCain/Palin this election. From my standpoint, it is a no-brainer and obviously I'm very passionately pro-Obama. But I want to hear the other side. I want to know why half of this country is so fervently supporting a ticket I could not bring myself to support in virtually any circumstance I could possibly think of. To this point, I've come to believe that McCain and Palin's intentions are good, and that they truly and deeply want what is best for this country. I have to believe that they are inherently good people and are also human and therefore prone to serious error. I am not necessarily questioning their character (many of my liberal friends would strongly object to this!), but I am adamantly in opposition to their underlying philosophies which dictate the policies they support (for example, the philosophy of trickle-down economics).

It's getting close. We're six and a half weeks away from the election. I know from being in a long-distance relationship how fast this goes by (I mean that in all love, Ben :)

God is sovereign, yes. God is holy, too. And we are his creatures, who've been entrusted to take care of this flailing planet to the best of our ability and with our God-given wisdom, if we so desire it. May we all seek God's wisdom and Spirit through this process, and engage thoughtfully in the ways we feel led.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

phone calling for Obama

This past Wednesday I had my very FIRST phone banking experience at the Obama headquarters in NE Portland. Yes, I was a political studies major. And although I've lobbied in Olympia one time before (again, in college), I have no experience working directly in a political campaign, go figure. I'd much rather think about doing things, rather than actually doing them :) I walked in a little timid, but ready for some phone-bank kicking ass. I was given a list of names to call, with a script. "Hello, is ____ there? Hi, my name is Richelle, and I'm a local volunteer for Senator Obama's Campaign for Change. How are you?" Then I proceeded to ask them if they were still planning on supporting Barack in the election. (Everyone who answered said yes - I was calling the choir, apparently.) Then, I asked them a series of "will you volunteer for such and such" questions. At the end of two hours, I managed to secure 8 volunteers for more phone calling, canvassing, or registering new voters. Approximately 70% of the people I called did not pick up their phone or were not home. About 50-70% of the people I actually did get to talk to were willing to volunteer. I'd say those odds are a pretty damn good reflection of what's going on in people's hearts and minds right now. We want to do something...anything. We are so fed up with the McCain/Palin campaign and the way the media has dealt with covering it. I don't mean to spread hate language, I am simply saying I think that they're misleading the American people. And I think there will be extraordinarily dire consequences if we let them lead us...if we go another four years under a leadership that doesn't understand the severity of what climate change is doing around the globe, that has virtually no sensitivity to global public opinion, that thinks (really, truly believes) that drilling will actually help solve America's energy crisis, that believes they are sent from God, that doesn't believe Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle or the editors of Webster's dictionary should have a voice in our public sphere, and that capitalizes on people's fears in order to justify more violence, both at home and particularly in the Middle East. This is not leadership. I shudder to think of what may happen in this world if McCain is elected President, has a heart attack, and we are taking orders from Sarah Palin, commander-in-chief. I shudder.

I signed up for another phone banking session, next Wednesday. And while part of me feels like I am not doing anything (because it feels like everyone in Portland is already supporting Obama) - I have to believe that every little bit counts. Each new registered voter counts. And you never know how their opinion will possibly influence their families, friends, etc.

I would love to have the gusto to do the 'persuasive' calls. Maybe in the next few weeks, if I believe I can handle fielding questions about where Obama stands on all the issues, I will consider it. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Profound Button

Love, Suffering, Christ

Frederic Buechner said that to suffer in love for another's suffering is to live life not only at its fullest, but at its holiest. It is in these places and times in my life that I have felt the most alive...where I've been in the midst of something truly sacred.

I realize that to question whether or not Christianity would exist without suffering is like questioning what life would be like without seems to be an unproductive proposition...because we have suffering in this world, and life would not be life without molecules. We have incredible unrest, pain, and discontent. There is no point in imagining what life would be like without pain and suffering - because we have those things, and we always have had those things.
It seems that these things either draw us nearer to God or lead us to withdraw in confusion, despair, anger, or isolation. Yet, in Christ, we do imagine a world without pain - where all of our tears will be wiped away from our eyes. Where all will be made new and whole. Where the city will rejoice. The very thing that draws us nearer to God seems to be the very thing that all of Christianity hinges upon. Without suffering and unrest, would we even care to look to God? Would we ever experience a holy moment? In a world without pain and suffering, who needs God?

The Kingdom I hope for is not a world in which there never was pain. It is not a utopia. It is a completely different paradigm of reality. It is Redemption. And redemption only comes about through something being turned over, redirected, and made right and whole - which means that in some weird way, suffering is actually a necessary predecessor for Redemption to ever happen. And like all forms of art, it is the contrast of light and dark which portrays the most intense kind of beauty. Christianity makes sense in a world of suffering. The Kingdom of God...the one Jesus talks about...involves an including of the outcasts, a healing of the sick, a turning over of the unjust systems that govern our lives - of corruption and greed, an empowerment of the powerless, a holy love for those who've been forgotten, mistreated, or ignored. The upside-down Kingdom needs all of these broken, ugly, painful things in order to work.

I would like to believe that if the world actually did run off of the principles that Jesus taught - if people actually did love each other, and we had peace between nations and families and within our very selves - that this way of doing things would still draw us nearer to God. I would like to believe that without suffering, we would actually be able to see God more clearly. I would like to believe that the very thing that draws us to God now...suffering...will one day not be the very thing any more. Maybe the thing that draws us nearer to God, in a peaceful world, will not be our suffering, but God's. Maybe that's the thing that, for ages since the death and Resurrection of Christ, has drawn all of humanity to the heart of God...into a deep and intimate embrace. Not our suffering, but God's.

Again I reflect on Frederic Buechner's words: To suffer in love for another's suffering is to live life not only at its fullest, but at its holiest.

My thoughts today are expressions of a faith I am trying to make sense of in light of this crazy world we live in. Sometimes I don't understand my faith. Sometimes I wonder if I have any faith at all. In my relationship with Ben, in my thoughts on the future, in my hopes for our world and particularly my hopes for this country and this upcoming election - I wrestle with God and with what my relationship to God even means. From who I know God to be, I think God likes us to wrestle with Him/Her. It is this very act of wrestling which shows our faith. So if you are reading this I encourage you to wrestle with God - and to remember that in every bit of pain and frustration and suffering we are in, God has been there. Thanks be to God.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Favs from Art in the Pearl

Yesterday I saw some spectacular artwork downtown. Kimmy and I walked slowly, almost to the point of falling over, for about an hour and a half, looking at all the stunning pieces of creativity. My favorite painter, if I had to choose one from our brief walk past them, would probably be Marla Baggetta. Her landscapes are where I want to spend my days. I also really liked Wendy Dunder's sculpted lamps. Here are a few of the pieces I saw, which I retrieved from linking to their websites via the Art in the Pearl website:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Garden update

It's been neat to watch my first veggie garden grow. Neat, but not without its frustrations. The tomato plants have all outgrown their cages...and although the plants themselves look very healthy, none of the tomatoes are turning red. At the farmer's market today, I overheard a few ladies saying they had the same problem this year w/ their tomatoes. And while at Powell's this afternoon, the checker lady said the same thing was happening with her plants - lots of green tomatoes and no red ones. I assume it is weather-related...but it's disappointing nonetheless. If I lived in a warmer, sunnier climate they may change, but I'm doubtful in Portland. I've learned a few other things too: fennel is better to grow from seed. Basil doesn't really expand much from starts - it's almost worth it to just buy bunches of it at the store or market and not bother w/ planting it in the yard. Next year I will plant cherry tomatoes - I've heard those do better here and have a much better chance of ripening than the big ones. The pepper is growing, but not developing into fruit yet...we'll see if that does well here in the next month or two. The seeds I planted about a month ago for winter veggies are starting to come up - but they are still TINY little things. I don't know if I sowed them too early or too late, but those will probably not develop into mature plants before the frost hits...we'll see. If we're lucky we'll get a few carrots, some little lettuce and kale leaves, and perhaps a few little radishes. I'm happy to see the acorn squash doing so well - and those I didn't plant - the seeds were simply left over from Nancy and Andy, as well as the pretty nasturtiums. The oregano, sage, and flat-leaf parsley are doing wonderfully - as expected. Nearby we have rosemary, peppermint, lemon balm, and dahlias. It's a happy little place, even with dandelions popping up every day, Bermuda grass growing out of control in some areas, and an eyesore of a lawn that's gone a whole summer with no water. Last weekend I planted a bunch of things on the two parking strip areas on both sides of the driveway. Tomorrow I plan on picking up some mulch and laying newspaper down to discourage weeds, especially the grass, from competing with the newly establishing plants, as well as weeding the south and west embankments. Always something to do!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

What this election means to me

Last night as I watched Barack Obama's speech, I felt moved to tears several times. For the first time in a long, long time, I was truly proud to be a citizen of this country. Not because we are better than any other country. Not because God has 'blessed' us any more than any other country, or because we are entitled to anything. But because I've been proud of the values guiding this movement, and I am inspired as I see people, young and old, of all backgrounds, mobilized, taking a stand, to be a part of making this country better. It has been inspiring and humbling to watch.

Throughout these past few months, as Barack got closer and closer to winning candidacy of the Democratic Party, I have found in myself something I'm not really sure what to do with. Part of me is sort of embarrassed by how much hope and inspiration I have drawn from this election - from Barack himself. I am embarrassed because I hear the 'naysayers' criticize him for being a 'celebrity' and not offering any specifics as to how he plans on fleshing out in hard terms the theme of his campaign: CHANGE across this nation. As a person of faith, I could never put all of my hope in any one human being - knowing that in God alone, through the resurrected Christ, is there any hope for a future whose foundation is love, reconciliation, healing and wholeness. I remember stories in Scripture where the Israelites simply wanted a political figure to save them - to bring about peace and prosperity in their time, in their day, in real, hard terms. Thru this process, it seems, they put their faith in those leaders, rather than in the God of history - who embodies justice, mercy, grace, love, kindness. And thru this process, eventually, they came to see that their leaders could not live up to their expectations. It seems it is thru this lens that people of faith, many for the first time, are engaging in this country's political process this year.

Before now, I would have argued that my generation feels hardened by the political process - hardened because for about as long as we've been able to vote, George Bush has been in office and people like him have been running our country. Many of us are apathetic toward the process, too, because we are not aware of or are not experiencing directly the negative impact of the Bush Administration's poor policy decisions. Many who've been hit hardest by Bush's policies are the people without a voice in the current system - because they have no money.

Barack's campaign has addressed nearly all of these concerns and more. His entire platform is based not on him bringing us out of this mess we're in, but in us doing it together. He has stated repeatedly that this is not about him, but about us, collectively - the American people. He realizes that his political support has come about primarily through an incredible mobilization of ordinary people - and not primarily through 'big money'. He has empowered people to speak up and tell their stories, and fight for the world as it could be. This of course is nothing new - Jesus told his followers to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." As one who yearns for the Kingdom of God to be here on earth as it is in heaven - a.k.a. for peace, justice, environmental restoration, etc... what could be more inspiring than a political leader saying, "Yeah, I want those things too, will you help us get there?"

My friend Norene, a 76-year old woman who I see a few times each week in the church office, talked to me today about her feelings throughout this election. She told me that she's been voting faithfully for as long as she's been able to - which is a long time. She said she has never been this emotionally involved in a presidential campaign. She was moved to tears, as well, as she heard Barack speak last night, and she's been following the DNC from the beginning. She is hoping with all her heart that my generation will listen to our hearts and our minds - and get involved in the political process - in the very least by voting...because if we do - we will see a change in Washington and in this country. It will not be over-night and it will be baby step by baby step - but it will happen.

I'm considering volunteering for Barack's campaign here in Portland (not that he necessarily needs my help here...) I'm realizing what a monumental moment in history we are in - and that we cannot go back in time and wish we'd done more. I don't want another four years in this country with a President who gives in to interests guided by money, greed and military power. Our people, our oceans, our air, our land - cannot afford it.

I, like Norene, am very emotionally involved in this campaign - almost to an embarrassing level. I've hidden it pretty well, though, up until this point. But what does that say about me if I care more about appearing calm and collected, politically neutral and safe - or - critical, showing no allegiance to any candidate - and focusing on the areas where a certain candidate does not measure up - than about doing whatever I possibly can to bringing about positive change in this world? This election has humbled me. No, Barack is not perfect. Neither am I. But he's the best I've seen in a long, long time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Autumn in the City of Roses

I've discovered a new favorite website: You specify what dates you are interested in, and it lists all of the wonderful events taking place here, from Art Festivals to Moon Viewing at the Chinese Garden and everything in between. This weekend, I am looking forward to "Art in the Pearl" - where over 125 regional art vendors come to the North Park Blocks to sell their art. My buddy Kimmy and I may meander on over sometime during Labor Day weekend :)

Another cool thing happening around here is the late summer FREE DAY at the Portland Japanese Garden. This takes place September 2nd, and I plan on going there after work. Wanna come?

I'm looking for a friend who wants to go to the Portland Corn MAiZE sometime during the month of October. The maze is on Sauvie Island, Portland's version of Spokane's Greenbluff (and probably a bit larger) where Beth and I picked berries a few months ago. From the picture, it looks like quite the challenge maneuvering thru it! The fall is spectacular here - I love EVERYTHING about it- the warm colors blanketing all the deciduous trees, the smell of fresh, cool, rainy air, cozy sweaters, making hearty, soothing batches of soup, making and drinking creamy chai, the feeling of newness - as the season is always associated w/ new beginnings, the smell of apples and pears cooking w/ brown sugar and oats in the oven, visiting any one of the Northwest's farming communities - who welcome the public into their storefronts, porches, and pasture land to share in reaping the harvest they've worked so hard for all year...and doing all of the above with close friends nearby. Strange that a season marked by dying and freezing can muster up such feelings of warmth, excitement, newness, and joy. It is the glimmer of wonder before the craziness of a consumer-driven holiday season falls upon us. I am happy to be living in this corner of our amazing planet this year, and especially, this glorious season.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Rhizome Collective

Ben bought me a book while we were in Seattle called "Sustainable City Living - A Do-It-Ourselves Guide". As I began reading it yesterday, I learned that the book was written by two people who are part of a group in Austin, TX, called 'The Rhizome Collective'. My revelation gardening last week (when I thought of the metaphor of the Bermuda grass rhizome being like grassroots organizing and social change) was apparently not as original as I'd thought! These people have been practicing radical sustainability for over 8 years together, using the metaphor of the rhizome to describe their work. On their website they define Rhizome as: "An expanding underground root system, sending up above ground shoots to form a vast network. Difficult to uproot." Just what I was thinking!!!
The book breaks down into subjects of Food, Energy and Water production, as well as dealing with waste and bioremediation. I'm excited.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The things we do with our lives

There are days I like my job - days where the people I cross paths with bring me joy. And then there are days like today. Days like today are the bane of my existence. I spend countless hours standing in front of a folding machine. The work itself doesn't actually bother me that much. Monotonous labor is a wonderful opportunity for deep, rich thinking. Rarely, however, do I pull my brain in that direction while folding the church newsletter. I feel like I relate more to Karl Marx' assessment of the human condition during the Industrial Revolution - that I am becoming one with the machine and alienated from my humanity. Ok, so that's a slight exaggeration.

I am considering full-time school again. I am considering quitting my job so that I can spend time going after the things I actually want . The practical side of me says, "No, Richelle, you can't quit your job! You need that money to pay for rent, food and other necessities! You might as well be making money while you're still figuring out what you want to do with your life" And the dreamer in me says, "Just quit. It will all work out. You have to be willing to take risks in this life. Do it now or never!!!"

Reality is somewhere in between. I have absolutely ZERO desire to move back in with either one of my parents in order to save money or to move back to Spokane - and I LOVE Portland. It is, I think, one of the most exciting, wonderful, beautiful, and quirky places in the world. It is a fantastic place to be at this point in my life.

What do I want to do? So far these are the options I've considered:

1. Go to grad school for Landscape Architecture in order to be either an a) licensed landscape architect, b) urban/green space planner. This would mean I would eventually join a landscape architecture firm, work for a public agency, or start my own business.
2. Work in a nursery
3. Go through the landscape technology program at PCC (approx. 1/10 the cost of graduate school), become a licensed landscape contractor and then move in the direction of doing more design work and less construction installation - and focus on smaller-scale, residential landscape design

What do I still need to figure out?
1. What kind of landscape architecture do I want to do? (i.e. small or large scale/residential or commercial/industrial/public projects)
2. Do I really want to be a landscape architect, or do I want to be a landscape designer?
3. Do I want to work closely with plants or with drawing utensils and construction documents?
4. If I go to grad school, what do I want to focus on/specialize in? (Healing/Therapeutic gardens, designing for the aging population, historic preservation, environmental remediation?)
5. Do I want to work primarily alone, or as part of a team (if so, what kind of team?)
6. Do I want to be part of a high-stress, exciting, entrepreneurial team or a governmental bureaucratic system? (it seems we end up in one or another)

7. Do I want to be in the position of selling my services? (And is there an way to avoid this in any profession?)

Where can I go from here?
1. Start taking more classes at night at PCC, and say goodbye to my social life. Figure out more as I take more classes.
2. Start putting together graduate school applications for UC Berkeley, U of Ore., U of NM, Harvard
3. Volunteer at a nursery on the weekends
4. Try to get a job at a nursery
5. Try to get an admin. job at a landscape construction/architecture company
6. Do all of the above while still working at the church
7. Quit my job and go full force in seeking the above on a full-time basis

Ideas from friends:
1. Don't get stuck in the administrative assistant trap - i.e. work at an administrative job just because you need the money - don't let that delay you in making steps toward what you really want to do
2. Talk to grad school professors/advisors and ask them about their programs - ask them about where graduates are working, what kind of jobs they are finding, etc.
3. Talk to PCC instructors
4. Try volunteering on the weekends at a nursery or garden shop

This is not the end. I am excited about things to come. Help me, Lord, in being faithful wherever I am, whatever I am doing. To remember that it really is about the journey.
(Photo credit: and


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dorothy Day

A few days ago I watched a movie called Entertaining Angels, about Dorothy Day. I don't know what else to say other than it is worth watching. I remember learning about Dorothy Day and the movement she founded - the Catholic Worker Movement - in high school - but only very briefly - and I remember wanting to learn more about her in college.

The movie caused me to examine myself and the world in which I live - and caused me to reflect, again, on what it is Jesus wants for our world and for us. Not all are called to be Dorothy Day's or Mother Teresa's. But we are called to be faithful. Lord, help me, and help our world, in being faithful to who and where you've called us to be. Amen.
(The photo above is of Moira Kelly, the actress who played Dorothy Day in the movie. Photo credit:

Monday, August 11, 2008

The meaning behind mustard

My last post was written w/ a pretty poor memory and no references. Not wanting to get caught in my own BS, I became curious as to what Jesus' parable about the mustard seed might actually mean - and to see if my comparison to Bermuda grass is at all relevant. The relevance of my reflections on social change being compared to these two 'weeds' depends on one's view of what Jesus was talking about when he used the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven." For some this is all about life after death, and for others this is very much about the here and now. And for the rest, it is a complex mixture of both. Here are some things I came across that may help stir up more useful questions re: the mustard seed and the possible weed-like nature of the Kingdom of God: The first is from a chapter in a book written by Fr. Thomas Keating, titled "The Kingdom of God is Like...". I found it here. It is well written and very thought-provoking. He talks about what the Jewish people may have been thinking when they heard Jesus choose the mustard seed to illustrate his point about the Kingdom of God. I am tempted to paraphrase his article for brevity's sake, but I'm afraid I would ruin the context of what he is saying. It is definitely worth looking at if you are at all interested in the topic. Near the end of the article he writes,

"If we are looking for a great expansion of our particular religion, nation, ethnic group, social movement, or whatever, into some great visible organization that fills the earth, we are on the wrong track. This is not God's idea of success. Where are the mightiest works of the kingdom accomplished? in our attitudes and hence in secret. Where there is charity, there is God. Opportunities to work for the homeless, the starving, the aging, are all readily available. No one may notice our good deeds, including ourselves. The kingdom of God manifests itself in the modest changes in our attitudes and in the little improvements in our behavior that no one may notice, including ourselves. These are the mighty works of God, not great external accomplishments." (boldness added).

I agree w/ Keating on many levels - but I wonder how to practice this sort of mustard-seed revolution - if we are not actually pouring into the social movements of our day. I understand the value of small-scale actions and believe they are very true to what Jesus taught us to do. I also realize that not one social movement will solve all the world's problems. I realize that individually they represent a fraction of the big picture. But does that mean they are not worth us pouring our time and energies into? A perfect example would be campaigning for Barack Obama. If there is any ounce of us that believes one candidate over another will bring more blessing and peace to our world, why would we hesitate in doing whatever we are able to help elect that candidate? And we do this knowing that they are imperfect people like the rest of us, and that they need us to hold them accountable, just like any of us would if we were in their shoes.

Another interesting anecdote re: the history of mustard I found here. This article talks about the understanding held throughout history that mustard represents something that is potent. This has very little (if any) connection with the previous article - but I still thought it added some interesting things to think about re: Jesus' choice of plant in talking about the Kingdom of God.

The pictures I've seen of the mustard plant are not necessarily unsightly or unruly, as I previously thought. But they are also not stately or glorious. I suppose it is very much a matter of perspective, similar to the way dandelions are regarded as a source of great nutrition and even beauty (picture a child blowing on a seemingly magical, fluffy seed puff) - and to others (like myself), who are battling the proliferation of them in my yard, regard them as little more than an annoying, uncontrollable weed. As Keating's article explains, the mustard plant was regarded as an unclean thing to be kept away from the vegetable garden in Jewish law, because of its weed-like tendencies to take over and rob nutrients and space from the other plants. It does not resemble anything like a
tree, but rather, depending on the variety, a modest bush.
Once again this brings up more questions than answers. Jesus used parables to teach the people a concept that they could understand, right? He used stories w/ images and objects they were familiar with. Why then, does it seem so difficult to understand what he really meant by these stories? Perhaps I am over-analyzing. Perhaps it is just all about love. Isn't that the easy Christian answer? Love God, love people, and love God's world. If only that satisfied me...
(photo credit:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gleaning more from the word 'Grassroots'

This afternoon I spent about an hour and a half pulling grass out of about a three-foot square corner of our already small veggie garden. It was no small task. After a visit to the Portland Nursery yesterday w/ sprigs of grass in my hand, I learned that there are basically two types of grass: the kind that have short root systems (which are most common on residential yards) and the kind that have long, extensive roots systems and that are spread via rhizomes. There is a particular variety of the latter type called 'Bermuda Grass' that I believe is making headway in our yard. It is a nasty weed that is virtually impossible to get rid of w/o an herbicide of some kind. And it is popping up all over our otherwise dead, yellow turf - and showing up all over the perimeter areas, inside the veggie garden as I mentioned, and also down in the rock/dry beds/parking strips. I HATE it. I'm sure this is a very useful kind of grass in the prairie where some type of animal could eat it for sustenance and therefore keep it under control...but it is a weed in a residential yard like ours. Did I mention that I hate it? Because I do. God only knows if I actually succeeded in removing the grass for that area - there were millions of tiny roots down there, and I have no idea if they were offshoots of the larger grass roots, or if they were roots of some other plant. I will probably find out in a few weeks.
Anyway, I thought I would update my readers (so, like, maybe three people) w/ the progress of our veggie garden. So far one of our tomato plants is beginning ot bear fruit. Also, the squash is doing well (and that one I didn't even plant!). The bare corner of the veggie garden is where I dug up all the grass - I planted what I hope will become some winter veggies - lettuce, kale, carrots and radishes.

I have no idea what I am doing. Most of the time if I think about what I am doing I get overwhelmed w/ possiblities and further questions of what to do next, how to do it, what would be best, etc. But then I start doing whatever it is that I'm thinking about and after many hours I feel better.
Once again I thought of an analogy while outside today pulling the grass. It reminded me of what I heard about the mustard plant while listening to Shane Claiborne's Another World Is Possible: Creation CD. The word 'grassroots' has had mostly positive connotations throughout my lifetime - for me the word stirs up images of brave people in our history who have fought the status quo and banded together to bring about positive change. Economic justice. Racial and sexual equality. Freedom of thought, speech and religion. Worker rights. Environmental protection. Nearly all progressive social change comes about throughout grassroots activism - it usually does not come about through a person in a powerful position deciding to make the change - usually because they themselves believe they are benefitting from keeping things the way they are. The mustard plant, if I remember correctly, is a burly, unsightly thing. Although it comes from a tiny, tiny seed, it produces a hefty plant that eventually nobody really wants to mess with. I think Bermuda grass is similiar. With each tear in the root system, it produces a stronger, larger strain of the grass. It multiplies underground and you have to dig deep and wide to pull out the entire strand. Meanwhile there are little roots underground that are happy you made room for them. As one dies, several more grow in its place.
Now, you may be wondering what the hell I'm talking about. Well, I suppose what I am trying to say here is that social change can be, and often is, unsightly and, quite frankly, annoying to deal with for the rest of us who aren't necessarily on the front lines of any particular social or environmental cause today. I'm sure that I'm not alone in feeling a bit frustrated over the overwhelming influx of emails and mail correspondence from dozens of organizations who are working tirelessly for the one issue they want so badly to change. Our generation, being so connected through the internet and generally in-the-know about what is going on in the world, have an unprecedented amount of pressure to do something about all of the suffering, unrest, and environmental degradation our world is currently facing. We have an unprecedented amount of pressure because, to our knowledge, we have inherited a world w/ an unprecedented amount of problems that will only worsen if we do not step up and do something about it.
I hope my generation and the one that follows are more like mustard seeds and Bermuda grass rhizomes - I hope and pray that we are so unsightly and annoying that positive social and environmental change actually comes into fruition. Jesus had a much more eloquent way of saying this - the parable of the seed. Perhaps being sown on good soil is more important than being an unrelenting plant. But what does that mean? Ok, I'm done for today. Time to go make dinner!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Watercolor inspirers

Some watercolor painters I've drawn inspiration from recently:
Painting at the End of the Earth -
David McEown travels, literally, to the ends of the earth - Antarctica to Greenland to the Arctic- to paint watercolors. I grumble inwardly as I paint upstairs in our attic, complaining of the heat. Well, at least my paintbrushes aren't freezing on me. Gorgeous artwork that glistens the way you'd expect w/ such majestic subject matter. I love the penguins hanging out near his easel/painting spot. Too precious.

Victor Martinez -

Beautiful paintings inspired by his earlier life in Peru and his current home in New Mexico - portraits, architecture, and landscapes. Images like these create a gentle longing in my heart to one day make my home in New Mexico - plus I'd be closer to my dear friend Elizabeth :)

Jennifer Wu - I love the quality about these paintings. I just happened by them by googling 'watercolor'. The one to the right is titled "HuQiu".

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fruits of the season

Part of my intention this summer in taking a break from evening classes was to 1) work in the yard and tend the veggie garden and 2) break out my paints and do some art. So far I've done a good bit of the former, but man, it is really tough to get back into something you used to do regularly, and sort of pride yourself in being somewhat decent in. Of course art is both a joy and a discipline. I look at the "Painting a Day" movement artists and I am in awe by their dedication and perseverence. One painting a day. So, after taking some nice shots of the fruit Beth and I picked last weekend on Sauvie Island, I decided I would paint a little postcard-sized watercolor of the blueberries. I decided to go small, and I will probably continue to do smaller paintings because they give me a sense of accomplishment and I can keep going w/o feeling overwhelmed. (It's amazing how I can turn doing artwork 'for fun' into something I worry friend Scott gave me a new perspective on the ordeal yesterday. He said worrying was a sign of advanced intelligence. I like that perspective, it makes me feel better about myself. But didn't I just write a blog entry like a month ago about Jesus' teaching on the matter? Maybe if I can be okay w/ the fact that I'm worrying, as it is apparently a sign of advanced intelligence, I won't worry so much about the fact that I'm worrying. Good grief. Bobby McFerrin, you gotta help me here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Garden

<---Before - This is the eastside yard - with veggie garden in center. you can see how everything is overgrown and the grass and weeds are taking over. Everything was a bit greener then, mind you, because the hot spell had not occured yet. Now, the grass is gettin' pretty brown. I'm slowly getting over it. This picture does not show the many holes in the turf where I've dug deep and pulled out dandelions (some with roots nearly a foot long!!!). Notice the beautiful apple tree on the right. It's now producing lots of green apples. And on the left are raspberries!!! They are just now starting to turn red. If posting pictures wasn't such a bear I'd post more of them showcasing all parts of the yard I've "worked" on, and the many more parts of yard that I'm simply enjoying from Nancy and Andy's (the owners of the house who are living in Zambia currently) hard work.

After - With the grass trimmed and the veggie garden weeded and planted with tomato plants, fennel, peppers, basil, cilantro, dill, sage, and oregano, it's looking pretty good. Now, let's see if it grows! In the meantime, I think Beth (my roommate) and I will enjoy the activity alluded to below as much as possible while weather permits. :)
Yes, life is good at the particular moment. That tree w/ the hammock is a giant magnolia. For some odd reason it didn't bloom this year - most likely because of the stretched out period of cold we had this spring - I guess it wasn't warm or sunny enough to burst those beautiful flowers out of their buds. I learn so much about life, even human life, from plants. Our Creator has made this world, with all of its rhythms and diversity and quirks...that I've come to realize can teach us volumes about ourselves.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Healing Gardens

My interest in pursuing landscape architecture coincides with my interest in addressing the needs of and caring for the baby boomer population as it ages. I have since begun looking into what role a garden can play in the well-being of a person - how it can both subtly and powerfully facilitate healing and wholeness in a person who is experiencing pain, loss, or uncertainty, particularly people suffering from chronic illness.

I came across a website that exists to pool information addressing those very concerns - featuring healing gardens that are found here in the US as well as internationally, resources for people working to create therapeutic gardens, and links to several other websites, publications, etc. that have to do with using landscape as a means of healing. The website is called the "Therapeutic Landscapes Database" and can be found here.

I am hoping to get in touch with some landscape architects in Portland who have some experience in this field, and maybe get their advice on grad schools/education/experience to help me along the journey.

P. S. I've begun work on the yard at our new house! So far I've spent about 8 hours - mostly just weeding. It is tiring work - but it feels really good to have a place to get my hands in the dirt. Hopefully if I get my act together I can still plant some veggie starts...and not freak out about all the dandelions taking over the lawn. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

the good and the bad

The Good News is that I will be moving into a house in approximately 2 weeks with my current roommate, Beth. I will be the house gardener/landscape maintenance person. Granted, it will be much weeding, but, I think overall it will be a very positive experience. I'm looking forward to having my hands in the dirt...and seeing (however small) the fruits of my labor.

The other part of my good news is that we will have an extra bedroom for anyone to stay in! The upstairs will be used as office and/or art studio space, and as other miscellaneous things, including an extra bedroom should any friends decide to visit. It is a tremendous blessing, as Beth or I could never afford to live in this neighborhood, in this kind of a place, without the wonderful and kind people who are moving to Africa and letting us rent their place. I hope to steward the house well by providing hospitality to any sojourners passing through the land of Portland :) And by that I mean a comfy place to lay your head and some good home-cooked meals, as well as nourishing conversation. That is my hope and prayer for our house.

Ok, now the bad news: I am overwhelmed with what is next. Sure, I am a little bit emotionally and physically compromised right now...I've spent the last two days home from work sick with some sort of flu bug. For some reason my mind likes to give me emotional whip-lash and torment when I have too much free time on my hands. Grad school? More community college? Landscape Architecture? Urban Planning? With about a 9.5% chance of even getting accepted into graduate school for LA and the prospect of being $100K in debt after completion of said grad school, I am torn between feelings of possiblity and very real feelings of fear. My beloved boyfriend, Ben, kindly reminded me that decisions made out of fear are usually not very good ones. He also said things are going to be okay. They're going to suck, and they're going to be hard, but they're going to be okay.

What does Jesus say in this situation? He tells me not to worry. He says to seek first the Kingdom of God, and all of these little details will work themselves out.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and th body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ... But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt. 6:25-27, 33

Lord Jesus, have mercy. I pray for your peace in my heart. Peace that allows me to seek Your Kingdom and not my own security. Lord, hear my prayer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grad school apprehension...

As I contemplate graduate school, this website and this website has me reconsidering. For a graduate degree in landscape architecture, it will take 10 quarters, at roughly $25K/year, which will amount to approximately $97,000 for the duration of the degree, after adjusting for inflation. This means that I will need to make $821 monthly payments for 20 years to pay back the loan. Now, mind you, this is in addition to the loans I am already paying back for my undergraduate degree at Whitworth College, which has me paying about $150/month right now. So, that means that I will need to make $1000 extra each month, for 20 years, just to pay off freaking college loans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
how do people do it?
i need to win the lottery.

"Where I come from, the meal is the result of reflection and study."

-or so says Hugh Jackman's character in one of my favorite (i'm sorry for all of you who cringe at this movie, but i love it!) movies of all time Kate and Leopold.

For Dinner: The Farm Cafe - Awesome, locally sourced food, delicious, great ambiance, and versatile (i.e. you can bring your date or your parents here). Ben and I had a lovely New Year's Eve date at this locale :) Highly recommended.

For Breakfast: The Tin Shed - while waiting for a seat inside or out, pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit/stand outside for a nice view of the Alberta district and some of the funky people that walk by. ( i love them, i just hope they don't mind me staring at them and their vintage bicycles, scrapped-together clothing ensembles and quirky hair styles.) Not to mention there's a hair studio across the street called "Spank" with two silhouettes engaged in that very action. I love this town.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Where to go for recycled parts in Pdx

As I slowly make my way around Portland, getting to know my favorite spots, I'd like to put them in writing so I don't easily forget about them. In this great city there are at least three places that I know of that carry old parts for re-sale:

1. The ReBuilding Center is "...a popular destination for homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, contractors, artists, and enthusiasts interested in building with affordable, environmentally low-impact materials...It is the largest non-profit used building materials source in North America." They also carry classes in gardening, potting bench construction, plumbing and carpentry!
They are located at
3625 N. Mississippi Ave.

2. Habitat ReStore is
"...a recycled building materials re-sale center. We recycle overstock materials, seconds, and used or discontinued or salvaged building materials. The ReStore is a collaborative recycling and fund-raising effort of four area Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization dedicating to eliminating poverty housing worldwide, by partnering with families in need, and our local communities."
Habitat ReStore is located at
66 SE Morrison St.

3. Rejuvenation.
"Rejuvenation began in 1977 as an architectural salvage shop in a derelict North Portland saloon. Today, Rejuvenation is America's largest manufacturer and leading direct marketer of authentic reproduction lighting and house parts. Rejuvenation is committed to manufacturing high-quality, authentic products that help our customers enhance the beauty of older homes, buildings and neighborhoods." I especially appreciate Rejuvenation's commitment to environmental sustainability and community development.
Rejuvenation is located at
1100 SE Grand Avenue.