Recycled

Question; “What is the most recycled element in our world (besides air)” ?

Since the conception of planet Earth and the introduction of water, not a single drop of this precious commodity has been added…it has simply been recycled. There may be elements in the periodic chart that are recycled more, but from an average human perspective, water is it. Without it, we perish. As I watched a Spring thunderstorm pour down bucketfuls of rain I thought this to be so.

440

I thought about the monsoons of SW Asia and the deserts of many countries, the high mountains throughout the world and steepes and plains which are manifold…each receiving this precious gift we call water. Some get way too much of it while others not near enough to exist. Yet, to mankind’s chagrin, life does exist in the most extreme of places.

I have watched fascinating BBC videos named Planet Earth, and I am reminded how unbelievably intricate the balance of all life is in terms of resources, ingenuity, adaptation and even reasoning. God did a great thing when He created the Heavens and the Earth, and chose to populate them with such a variety of life that simply exceeds all imagination.

But, the basis of survival is simply water. Recycled. Joyful. Water.

Treat it with dignity !

Water Bowl

 

This guy performs the kind act of pouring water from a bowl which gives life to this bird and other wildlife. He stops watering in the winter due to freezing, but he’s back at it when warmer weather returns.

Brawn, bowl and bird would have also been an appropriate title for this sculpture, except the word “water” would not have been included. Water is such a critical element to all that has life so I chose to include it.

Granite muscles and chiseled features delicately embrace the watering bowl that the creator had in mind when he or she sculpted this piece of art. I like the fact that it is not only an art piece placed in a flower garden, but has purpose beyond visual enjoyment. Water flowing from within this rock brings relief to soft creatures on the outside. There is no fear-only satisfaction.

I can easily see the correlation between God and this granite man, and people as the bird. We are welcomed into the garden. We are offered the satisfaction that our greatest needs will be met. And, we are told not to be fearful. It appears the bird understands this dynamic very well. I hope we all do, too.

 

TORN

IMG_0138

All week we have had Monarchs gathering nectar in preparation for their long flight to Mexico. I can’t fathom that such a small creature as a butterfly can fly up to 3,000 miles (4,800 KM) from Canada to Mexico to escape winter temperatures. From my home the distance is about half of that.

This Monarch has a torn wing…damaged goods is what some would call him; not much good for anything now that he is broken. Typically a tear such as this would keep the insect from flying, but he seems to do just fine. I hope he makes it safely. Butterflies can’t self-repair torn wings like a lizard can grow a new tail, but I read where some people actually do this for them!

I realized many years ago that all (not most) humans have some form of tear or tears. Sometimes these tears are physical and quite obvious, but for most they are hidden from others or they are revealed through words and actions at specific moments. With all of the self-help books published, it is clear that people are striving to repair their brokenness. We may have some success, but we will never completely heal without the aid of our God.

So, the next time you look in a mirror, stop long enough to acknowledge your torn body or ego or mind…maybe even a crushed spirit. Upon doing so resolve to accept what can’t be changed and seek help with what can. I’ve looked into a mirror enough times to know that I need assistance quite regularly. I also know that I, and you, are wonderfully made creatures in God’s image. So, be hopeful and joyful. And, please look above for the ultimate healing.

PINWHEEL

IMG_9654 (2)

 

A pinwheel by definition is “a child’s toy consisting of a stick with colored vanes that twirl in the wind”. They can be found across the globe. Parades and birthday parties are among the most popular places to find them. They are whimsical, fascinating to watch, and just plain fun. Their simplicity is partly what makes them so enjoyable…they can be made from paper and plastic or we can buy one for a small amount of money. A simple rush of wind is all it takes to make them spin. Yet, they are still popular after centuries of playful use!

This is nature’s pinwheel. Actually, one of many such flowers with this type of configuration. This is a Vinca flower which grows from a vine and is actually a ground covering. Simple, but lovely. I am always amazed as I witness something from nature which has been copied or imitated by man. Think of planes and birds, for instance. One cannot escape the resemblance nor the actual physics of both.

We, as humans, strive to become more intelligent and better than the generation before. We are on a constant quest to develop technologies which advance whatever field they may be in. This is natural, I suppose, however, let us not forget who is the Original Designer of all that is beautiful…God. To imitate Him is the supreme compliment.

Let us not forget this fact in our hast to rush ahead to the next ‘discovery’ or ‘cure’. Man is always a step behind. This is better than not being in line at all, though. I certainly am grateful that He allows us to explore His creation for the betterment of mankind. Enjoy the simplicity as well as the complexity of this world we have been given to protect and magnify. And, guard against those who would manipulate His creation for evil intent.

S A P

 

img_9472-2

When I think of the term ‘bleeding heart’, I simply look at one of our Ponderosa pines we planted over 25 years ago in an environment which they weren’t meant to thrive in. The prolonged drought which ended about three years ago almost killed all of them. Today, many bleed sap. Sap covering trunk bark is usually a sign of a tree defending itself against invasive insects and fungus’s. Pruning also causes sap to occur to cover the wounded trunk and branches. Since these pines are mature and were weakened by the lack of water and extremely hot summer temperatures, they are unhealthy. At this stage in their lives, there is little that can be done to make them thrive again. They have already exceeded their life expectancy for our temperate zone. They are not native to Kansas and are more vibrant when located in cooler and higher altitude climates. Yet, they have survived. Speaking of survival, pine tree sap is an excellent wound salve and has other beneficial medicinal uses.

IMG_9468 (2).JPG

It is wonderful how nature protects herself. From a strictly vision perspective, the bleeding sap looks like an abstract painting of sorts. All of this gooey, slowly dripping sap gives the pine a fighting chance to survive another year. Although their branches aren’t as full as when younger, and the ability to withstand drought and pestilence aren’t as good as they used to be, these out-of-place trees know a thing or two about life and stress. They adapt. The sap is like liquid artwork to me-gradually changing color and shape as time marches on. Although I know something is wrong, I can’t help but admire the ever changing covering of bark. Strange, perhaps, but also encouraging.

img_9474-2

So, why talk about sap? Because it reminds me of people…of me. The bark of a tree provides an outer protective shield much like people do with their words and actions. Get too close and the bark may scratch. If one could peel off or bore into the bark then the tree (person) becomes vulnerable to a host of problems. Since sap is created to protect the tree when the bark has been damaged (much like people respond to pain and injury as they reveal their emotions in a myriad of ways)  a protective balm is produced. People  will do almost anything to protect their souls from being injured further.

Often, we lash out against those who have injured us-and in the process create more harm to ourselves by striving to keep them away. Sometimes we curl-up emotionally and drive away those who care for us by simply closing them out. If we understand our condition and desire healing we are usually clueless as to where to find it. So, rather than produce sap, we humans look to other methods to bring about wholeness. Occasionally, we get it right and bounce back, but this is not easy and usually requires the aid from others.

There is something magnificent about the human spirit…each unique spirit God has given to mankind. We so much desire to be vibrant. We desperately want to be noticed. We vie for attention and when we don’t get it from where it should come from we do all sorts of silly things. We want to be understood, and appreciated simply for who we are. It doesn’t matter if we are fifteen, twenty-two, forty something, sixty or eighty-eight. We all crave the same thing-to be acknowledged…to be appreciated…to be recognized (with or without fanfare). Validation. We simply want to be acknowledged and valued.

So, we instinctively protect ourselves when our egos have been walked on or our ambition has been perceived as arrogance. Whether we are hurt, belittled, misunderstood, have been treated unjustly or are ignored we struggle to deal positively with what has been done to us (or perceived to have been done to us). Hence, sap. Just like these pine trees striving to live-we humans go through all sorts of mental, emotional and physical exercises to survive, as well. Being very complex beings, most of the time our self-protective actions are misunderstood or self-destructive. Quite often, our defense mechanisms return to a default position that only ourselves or a few others are even aware of. How sad. How true.

So, rather than end this post on a negative note, I choose to flip the record over and play a happier song. Sap is a good thing. Period. If God didn’t give each human the ability to produce ‘sap’ then we would be doomed to a life of pity…often self-pity. This statement is not to imply that some injuries are beyond our control to heal. However, each of us experiences a suppository of defensive mechanisms to deal with the pain; whether they be crushed egos, betrayals, personal attacks, mockery, physical deformities or a myriad of other conditions. We are resilient.

My God has stated that we are the Apple of His eye. In other words, the most vulnerable place in the human body is valued by the Creator in such a way that He loves us and desires to protect us. I admit that I am not an expert in this area. I know His love, yet fight to make things better by my  own will. The result is usually not so good. However, when I release all to Him, the result is one of inner healing which, in turn, results in outer blessings for others. To be human means to be a family. It doesn’t matter what one’s philosophy is, nor what religion, nor what influence one may have achieved. I wish there was equality among all people everywhere, but such is not the case. We all know this.

Let us become the Sap for the sake of others. Practice applying the balm of forgiveness, of understanding, of empathy, and sacrifice when it is called for. Go the extra mile as Jesus preached and surrender yourselves to the greater good…mankind. I speak to myself most of all. Do not despair, my friends, for there is a power far greater than our own which governs all things. In particular, this Power loves humans more than trees or sap. He loves each one of us simply because He chose to. You are wonderful.

 

L A Y E R S

img_9419

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.

To Everything There is a Season

To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, and a time to reap

A time to kill, and a time to heal

A time to laugh, and a time to weep

To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn

img_9259

Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons; amongst the greatest is the change in tree and shrub foliage. I love greens all summer long, and hate to see them turn to browns and greys in the winter, but before this occurs we are treated with a spectacle of color painted by nature herself. Consider the variety of vegetation coupled with an inexhaustible array of colors that man can mimic, but never duplicate in such exquisite beauty.

The words above are from a song made famous by a rock group called The Byrds in 1965. The lyrics are from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Pete Seeger, a singer-songwriter took these words and crafted this song which became an anti-Vietnam War song. The last verse says that peace is never too late.

It becomes obvious to me that these words are timeless in their meaning and interpretations according to the era they are read and pondered. We know not what is in store for any of us…only One has such knowledge. We can plan and prepare, discuss and implement, but we never really control most of the outcomes of our lives. Some will disagree, of course, and that’s okay. Each of us views life from different lenses. My perspective comes from several sources: my own experiences and seeing those of others, plus my reference point concerning all things-God.

img_9271

Change starts one leaf at a time, and before you know it, the whole tree is ablaze in color! May this season of your life be full of growth, peace and an abundance of blessings.