Spring

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Soon, we will see the vibrant colors of Spring.

Soon, we will smell the fragrance of lilacs and all other blooming flowers.

Soon, we will feel the texture of lush leaves and delicate petals.

Soon, we will witness bees and butterflies pollinating, and birds propagating.

Soon, we will experience the full wonder of this season.

And, if we keep our eyes, ears and noses open to her transforming beauty, Spring offers treasures we cannot make nor buy, but simply enjoy for free.

Spring also offers her greatest gift…Resurrection.

May our hearts be open to all that is Spring.

 

Abstract

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My father-in-law for forty-two years died Wednesday after a seven year battle with Alzheimer’s; that dreaded disease of the brain which also kills the body. Ugly.

Cheryl and I remarked that we are now the oldest generation within our immediate families…all of our parents and grand parents are gone. Strange feeling.

So many memories and situations. Not all were terrific, but the majority were good. Charlie always treated me with respect and with generosity. I am grateful.

Life goes on, but I feel like this abstract painting I photographed-it is full of mystic and interpretation, but leaves one wondering. I wonder about so many things.

Rest in peace, Charlie. Rest in peace. This is your time of reunion.

 

Emergence

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This Iris represents emergence…new life about to unfurl. Yes, this photo was taken in cooler days before the shadow of the sun reached its Solstice. Obviously, I live in the northern hemisphere and summer is well on her way.

I like nature…a lot. The beauty which surrounds me often overwhelms me. And, when I gaze upon my fellow bloggers sites and view wonderful posts, and look at photos my family or friends have taken at places I have yet to venture to, I am amazed. I find beauty whether I am in my backyard, at a city park, in the desert, among wheat fields, and especially near mountainous regions with crystal clear streams and glistening lakes.

Funny thing, but this post isn’t so much about nature. Actually, it is more about how it makes me feel. I would have enjoyed meeting John Muir and Ansel Adams. Oh, how they drank in their surroundings as they completely immersed themselves in their chosen environments. They were driven by a force I appreciate, and which continues to develop within me. Although I have not physically uprooted myself and journeyed to the wilderness for lengthy periods of time, my soul has.

When I step out onto my deck in the early morning hours-before the sun has risen-I feel a sense of wonder that can only be satisfied by absorbing my surroundings through all of my senses. Then, when the first rays of sunlight filter through the trees, I marvel at the sparkling dew-laden grass, and feel the warmth of the rays touching my skin. I hear the song of robins and watch squirrels chase one another. I feel the breeze wisp through leaf laden branches and witness ants traversing the deck railings down to their home. Carson sniffs where a rabbit had laid and a hawk circles above looking for him.

I return inside to prepare for what awaits me at work or whatever I need to do this particular morning. I am not the same, though. Inhaling nature’s grandeur-even in my backyard-fills me with appreciation and gladness, and a sense of peace comes over me. Then, I thank God.

 

 

 

Where Did The Wonder Go?

I wish I could take credit for the title and idea, but that honor goes to my pastor Nathan Miller who preached a superb message about losing the wonder, the awe about God as we age. For those who are interested, he referenced Mathew 13: 53-58   which is a short excerpt in the Bible where Jesus is preaching in his hometown. All who heard marveled at Jesus’ command of scripture, but they rejected him because he grew up among them and was familiar to them, therefore not accepting his message or ministry. In the end, Jesus said that a prophet is not honored in his home town. Of course, he was much more than a prophet which increased their rejection of the message, and ultimately him. I felt a tinge of remorse as I realized I often regard Christ through too familiar eyes.

Please hang with me as I share some thoughts about life using this theme. As much as this message applied to people’s relationship to God, it also applies to so many other critical aspects about our daily lives. Wonder can be defined as “a feeling of surprise mingled with  admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable“. The photos I will be sharing are of Elliot, my grandson, who is full of wonder. These images are cell phone shots taken impromptu, but I believe they get the point across as you watch Elliot in fullness of wonder. And yes, I don’t mind sharing him with you!

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It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. I know that is harsh and not always the case, but there is a ring of truth to this statement. Familiarity also results in boredom and a withdrawal from what we once cherished. This is probably the most common result and occurs over time. It is seldom intentional. In fact, we don’t usually know we have reached this stage until we are either confronted by someone who remarks about our adjusted position about something or someone, or we have an epiphany of sorts and realize that what used to excite and engage us does so no longer. However, there is hope!

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Wonder is a beautiful thing! Whether we are experiencing something for the fist time or the hundredth, when we capture the essence of what it is that thrills us we become filled with awe and joy. The key in keeping ourselves from falling out of this mindset is rather simple, yet in reality so difficult to maintain.

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To view life through the eyes of a child is one such key to maintaining wonder for the sublime which surrounds us each day. I am not speaking of what some consider to be a foolish Pollyanna who blindly sees life through rose colored glasses. I am speaking of the Pollyanna who believes that good things will happen rather than bad, and remains optimistic even during adversity. To wake up each day with the expectation to simply enjoy each encounter and experience is a good start. Elliot is quite adept at this. I didn’t say perfect, though!

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Ah, but there is a battle raging all around us, as well as inside of us. There are so many enemies which seek to rob us of our joy and the wonder of life which God has so graciously given us. We fight pain and fatigue, money worries and relationship hassles, poor health and fear of death. Negativity and chaos bombards us from every outlet possible: social media, politics, war news, seeing poor sportsmanship, experiencing greed and corruption, and on and on. It seems for every positive there are three negatives. However, that is not reality, but what we are lead to believe is our reality. We must change our perspective and rise above the debris which has caused us to become bored and afraid. Circumstances may not change, but our mind and hearts can.

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We must strive to rid ourselves of cynicism, malice, bigotry, inflated egos, fear, exaggerated regrets, unrealistic expectations, and all that is unhealthy to our souls (it’s not the same for all of us-only you know what stirs your soul). Perspective is borne from hope and appreciation for what is rather than what we want. There is nothing wrong with desiring more or better things in our lives as long as we are balanced in seeking such. Wonder is not easy to maintain because life can be cruel and very hard at times. But, anything worthwhile takes effort. Personally, I want to expend my efforts as Elliot does. I want to train my mind to view each day as a gift just waiting to be opened! Yes, I am an adult and have adult responsibilities which I take seriously, but that shouldn’t prevent me from having the heart of a child. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these“.

 

 

Hawk Thoughts

3-12-15 014I wonder how many hours and days it has taken this hawk to learn the art of graceful flight. To land atop a pole which provides the best vantage point for searching out prey is instinctive behavior. But, to land correctly, balance in the wind, and turn this way and that takes practice. And, practice takes time.3-12-15 015I wonder what the reason was for this bird of prey to suddenly stand erect, then tilt forward in preparation for flight? Did he see something he wanted or did he not see the prize and decided to move to another location which offered a better view? Or, did he simply become bored? Do birds get bored, anyway? Do they think or merely act as a result of their genetic code? One fact we know is they have great eyesight and lightning fast reflexes.3-12-15 016I wonder if the hawk’s decision to vault off the pole arose purely from instinct or was it a conscious decision? Like a sprinter leaving the starting blocks in a race so this predator leaped from his perch-wings fully outstretched-to swoop down and then rise up again to his next destination. Is there something going on besides the obvious? Nature moves in rhythm: the moon waxes and wanes, the tides go in and out, the sun rises and sets…constantly repeating the same cycles over and over again. I have noticed most, if not all, created life has cyclical aspects to it. Animals do. Birds and fish and insects do. Plants and trees do. And, people do. In many ways we are no different than the rest of God’s creation. However, there is something that sets us apart-something wonderful. It is more than just our souls, because all of God’s creatures must have some sort of soul (at least animals!), although they differ from mans’. We were created in God’s image while the animal kingdom was a created entity which was to be cared for by people. To me, the wondrous difference is that we have been given the ability to enjoy a personal relationship with our Creator! Shaky theology, you say? Perhaps. One day I will know for sure, and hopefully you will, too. In the meantime, I will try to keep my spirit flying as high as I possibly can. I do admit there are times when this can be very difficult. I think wings would help…a lot.3-12-15 017