L A Y E R S

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Sunrise, Lenexa, Kansas, USA, at approximately 7:30 am or 0730 hours, January 31st.

Walked to my car from the health club after a workout and this is what I witnessed.

The actual sunrise was much more outstanding than my photograph, especially as it changed colors and shapes by the second.

After downloading this image to the computer, the layering seemed to magnify itself.

So, I thought about layers. We sometimes hear that certain things are only skin deep. At other times we hear that some things are buried so deep they can’t be found.

The reality is that when it comes to life, most everything that lives has layers: whether it be physical, emotional, mental or anywhere outside these realms. Life is complex.

I would like to limit this post to humans. We are fragile, yet flexible. We are strong, yet weak. Courageous, yet cowardly. Compassionate, yet cruel. Kind, yet mean. We are amazing. We are a mystery.

Like an onion which has a layer of silky skin upon juicy layers of zesty fruit, we can peel away and come to the heart of this vegetable without really understanding its uniqueness. We simply take for granted that is how all onions are and so be it. Like them or not. I venture to say that people are similar to onions in that we possess a complexity of layers.

We are not single cell organisms like some bacteria, but complex in every discernible way. This complexity is patterned after the Creator of the universe. Appreciate the commonness as well as the uniqueness.

If you can relate, I am so tired of the charade that is taking place in our world-especially in America. So many are divided. So many are angry and critical. So many are giving up. And, so many feel lost. This doesn’t even cover the majority of our world who don’t have a clue as to what I just stated-they are simply trying to survive. Can you imagine that…existing each day merely to make it to the next?

So, I return to the topic of layers. Explore the diversity, the uniqueness, the amazing in others, and in yourself. This may take some time as you peel away each layer, but discovery awaits. But, please, do not forget to explore the oneness we all have as human beings created in the image of God. May we all experience, and exercise, more peace and patience each day. The world needs it, you need it, and I definitely need it, as well.

Amethyst in Bloom

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Amethyst…a color or a mineral? Both, except the mineral doesn’t bloom, it develops. As soon as I looked at Cheryl’s flower garden awakening to Spring’s thaw, I immediately realized that several of these flowers are a particular shade of purple called amethyst.

 

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Contrasting with the deep greens of late April, the purples certainly stand out…they almost shout out, “Hey, look at me!”. The water droplets are from a rain we received last night. Amazing how a rain can transform a landscape. Years ago I was exposed to deserts and mountain meadows which revealed their buried treasures years apart and for only a short span of time-all because of rain coupled with the right climatic conditions. Imagine seeing what only few will ever see…fields of color which are usually monotone.

 

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No matter how you look at it, the Creator certainly has a flair for the magnificent!

Cardinal Luck

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It is rare (at least for me) to get a long look at a Cardinal staying in one place for more than a few seconds. They are timid and like to hide. So, I was a bit lucky to capture this male, however, it was at a full 300 mm zoom so the image is not as crisp and vibrant as I would have hoped for. However, it beats not having the photograph.

There is a special quality that this particular bird reveals when he stands tall on a branch. Besides his beautiful red coloring and unique beak, there is something more…something intangible. Perhaps I consider him as being regal due to his appearance. Perhaps, I simply notice how handsome he is. As with people, Mr. Red can’t take any credit for this fact. Only his Creator can. But, what if he wasn’t so handsome? Would that lessen his uniqueness…his beauty? As with people, something to ponder. Are we unique and beautiful because that’s how the world sees us or are we all that way simply because that is how we were created? I choose the later explanation, and hope you do, too.

In keeping with my thoughts about winter ending soon and spring turning to summer, I share this song bird with you. Celebrate his (your) uniqueness.

Soar On Wings Like Eagles

4-22-14 020 - CopyHas there been a time lately when you have been discouraged, over-burdened, worn out, despondent or confused? Perhaps, all of the above at a given time? Please say yes, as I don’t like to visit this grubby junkyard alone. It is not a fun place to wallow in the muck, the trash and debris. Rationally thinking, I doubt I am the only soul who has occasionally experienced these feelings (more often than I like to admit), but this realization brings little comfort to me. I know folks often say that misery loves company, but that is a farce because someone elses pain cannot console our own. So, what does this blithering have to do with eagles? Glad you asked for the answer is an upper and not a downer! Just the other day I found myself in the junkyard, and I didn’t want to be there. Recently, I read a devotion which emphasized the renewing power that God offers to each of His children. Most of you are familiar with these verses, but just in case you aren’t or don’t have them memorized, I will recite them from the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 28 through 31 (NIV). God spoke them and Isaiah wrote them.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.

Sometimes we need a sign from God to let us know He cares. I know, we are not supposed to seek after signs, but that warning had more to do with proving that God existed in the person of Christ than signs of hope and comfort. My point is simple. While at a future construction site the day after I read those verses, I witnessed an eagle soaring on the soft currents of air a few hundred feet above my head. What was so unusual is that this beautiful bird was soaring over a busy railroad main line, an auto dealership, an industrial building, near an interstate highway and in an area without a swath of tree-filled land and quiet. In other words, he shouldn’t have been there. But he was, and I noticed, and I snapped away with my digital camera even though I wasn’t prepared for him. To watch hawks glide in the wind is always a treat for me, but to see this eagle appear from nowhere and soar above me and my partner for several minutes was simply astonishing. I’ll take that as a sign that the Father heard one of His children, and cared enough to let him know. It is my hope that you, too, will receive a sign from the One who cares the most for you. This sign may not be in the form of an eagle, but it could manifest itself as a soft word spoken in love at just the right time when you need it most. Or, your sign may be revealed in an anonymous act of kindness when least expected. Possibly, such a sign may simply leap off the page of a great book or Bible verse and impact you like never before. Perhaps from another blogger!

4-22-14 018Whether your sign of everlasting love is revealed on the wings of eagles or from the voice of one of his earthly angels, be encouraged. Recall God’s promises of hope, renewal and strength, and then be alert for He will respond. Sometimes all we have to do is gaze heavenward.