Monday, July 17, 2017

Daily Delights

The miracles of God in nature never cease to amaze me.  Daily, there is a fresh find to inspire and to delight.   As an example, this critter was discovered in a nearby field just waiting to have his picture taken.  Upon closer inspection, found out it was a marmot... a fancy name for a woodchuck also labeled as a land beaver.   Oh, what big teeth you have.....

 Or, how about this profile....

Or, better yet, how about full front with these great digging claws that make huge ground tunnels.... 


So that was my marmot adventure.  First time we've seen one on our property during the many years lived here.  He wasn't a bit afraid and made a type of chirping noise at us.  Our dog, being curious, tried to get a closer look but the marmot stood his or her ground and wasn't going to be run off by a giant four legged canine.

From critters to storms, I close this post today by a picture I took the other evening of storm clouds splashed with early sunset colors.  Another daily delight....  How great is our God!  Scripture in Revelation 22:13 says it best... "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."



You are invited to the next post at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, July 31....



 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Independence Day - Celebration in Freedom!

Independence Day - July 4th - Celebration in freedom!   Behind this National holiday in the United States are pivotal events that climaxed into the framework of the Declaration of Independence.  At that time, 13 colonies broke from English rule to become "a republic for which it stands", as reaffirmed in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Pivotal events occurred through bloodshed and personal sacrifice in order to secure the vision of freedom.  Four years ago I wrote a piece on the Identity of the American Flag and would like to share with you again the significance of this message...
 
Identity of the American Flag  (posted on July 1, 2013)

On July 4, 1776, two hundred thirty-seven years ago, the Declaration of Independence of the original thirteen colonies was signed. Independence was claimed from Britain and Democracy was born. Today's message honors Independence Day and the American flag, one of the most significant symbols of Independence.  

The flag of the United States is displayed in all possible ways on July 4th.  Here in the John Day Valley, we are treated to a skyward "fly-by flag" carried by an ultra-light plane over our area, which is always a thrill to view.  Of course, there are buildings, homes and streets in the local towns, which are generously decorated with the red, white and blue.  There are flag representations in parades, rodeos and community gatherings.  Friends and family alike take a day out in celebration and salutation of a defining moment which proclaimed the formation of the United States of America.  (Click on photos to enlarge)   


Parade Flag carried by horse & rider
Ultra-Light Plane flying American Flag























“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."    This declaration is powerful when one fully realizes the hallowed significance in its verbal portraiture.  The following 'History of the Flag' information was obtained at this link:  http://www.usacitylink.com/usa/history-of-the-flag/



- Colors of the Flag:  Red is for valor, zeal and fervency;  White is for hope, purity, cleanliness of life, rectitude of conduct;  Blue is for the color of heaven, for reverence to God, loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth.
-  The Star symbolized dominion and sovereignty, as well as lofty aspirations.  The constellation of the stars within the union, one star for each state, is emblematic of our Federal Constitution, which reserves to the States their individual sovereignty except to as rights delegated by them to the Federal Government.
-  The thirteen Stripes represent the original thirteen colonies.

The symbolism of the Flag was thus interpreted by George Washington:  "We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country separating it by the white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty."

The flag first rose over thirteen states along the Atlantic seaboard, with a population of some three million people. Today it flies over fifty states, extending across the continent, and over great islands of the two oceans; and two hundred and five million owe it allegiance. It has been brought to this proud position by love and sacrifice. Citizens have advanced it and heroes have died for it. It is the sign made visible of the strong spirit that has brought liberty and prosperity to the people of America. It is the flag of all us alike. Let us accord it honor and loyalty.  (Excerpt from History of the Flag)


Hall of Flags, Chicago O'Hare International Airport
The first time I had ever been to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, this impressive Hall of Flags greeted me.  At the end of the hall, is a large display of the American flag.  I felt humbled when I first saw this huge flag as a welcoming greeter to all travelers, visiting from abroad and those returning home.  There was a sense of pride in viewing this flag as it impressed me of the nobility and heroism that lies behind it in the patriots of yesterday and today.  It is imprinted with the ultimate sacrifice by many; a message of hope for new beginnings; and a sentinel of freedom for its people. Throughout the years, there have been wrongs to right, including times of triumphs and tragedies, glory and shame, indicative of growing pains of a Republic with stars and stripes.

God is embedded in this flag.  He is the integral part of the surrounding whole, which is the definition of embed. The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the U.S. Constitution are referred to as founding fathers or forefathers. They recognized and acknowledged the Creator's Presence and paid Him homage as the Author of freedom.... "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."  Let us always remember to place our Creator where He rightfully belongs, the One from whom freedom flows.  If we begin to worship freedom in abandonment of its Author, the opposite effect of eventual decline is a consequence.



Their is a video presentation of God Bless America (sung by Celine Dione) is by Anthony Cortese.  He published this clip on July 4, 2012 and he wrote the below statement along with the video.  
You can  view at:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPWqY1nSkig   
I have included Anthony's tribute, since his words say it best.....


"I still believe in American Exceptionalism; that in all of history there has never been a country like the United States. I believe in our founding documents; that the United States Constitution is the single greatest document crafted from the minds of men for the promotion of individual liberty and freedom. Happy Fourth of July to all my friends and fellow countrymen. There is much for which we should celebrate and be grateful."  - Anthony Cortese


Let us reflect on the God-given freedoms that we enjoy in these United States of America.  Join me for my next post at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, July 17...

 





Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunset between the storms

Last week we had storms that brought in rain accompanied with thunder and lightning.  Great to have the rain but not so great for lightning.  It is a harsh reminder of the wildfires that were experienced in the John Day Valley in 2015.  Our beloved Canyon Mountain shows the effect of burned timber that scars the landscape.  Many homes were destroyed by fire forcing owners to either rebuild or relocate in the aftermath.  Lightning in its beauty and power can devastate by a random strike.  It still makes a community feel nervous as a reminder of what was and what can be if dry weather conditions exist in our forests and terrain towards fall.

For the time being, we are enjoying the advent of summer and all the pleasures that it brings after the winter freeze and commencement of spring.  People are busy with gardens, summer projects and vacations, enjoying the sun and outdoor activities.  Once in awhile, we are privileged to experience a delight in nature,  if we take time out from our busyness to stop and become aware of what is before us.  I don't know how anyone could have missed this piece of art from the hand of God...



A beautiful sunset graced our skies between the storms of the early evening hour.  I grabbed my camera to capture such a stunning view as it quickly changed color and cloud formation.  The golden hues changed to orange and pink as the sun dipped behind the hills.  In the third photo, if you look close enough, you can see the sun's fractured rays breaking through the clouds in resemblance of golden geese.



The thought came to me that as we experience personal storms in life, God gives us breakthroughs in His sunset colors of hope, encouragement, strength and perseverance to experience calm in the midst of storms.  Psalm 4:8 says, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety".  


I hope you will join me at The Turn-Up Patch for another visit on Monday, July 3 ....  I leave you with a beautiful quote that is so true... "PEACE is seeing a sunset, and knowing who to thank."


Monday, June 5, 2017

Hummingbirds & Humboldt

We began our journey from the high desert country of eastern Oregon into the redwoods of northern California.  As usual, this particular drive inspires renewed appreciation for the diverse country that exists in each place.   From sagebrush, pine and juniper trees in the Blue Mountain Range of eastern Oregon to the majestic redwoods and countryside scenes of fern, wild poppies and rugged hills that hug the coastline of the Pacific.

Steamboat Rock
We traveled through Crescent City, the Redwood Highway and into Eureka in Humboldt County.  From there, we made our way to the town of Ferndale and into the hamlet of Petrolia, a short 30 miles away.  However this 30 miles takes an hour to drive because of a windy road with many twists and turns, often one lane to maneuver. This is a familiar drive for my husband, who was raised in this country and ranched in his later years.  It is a photographer's dream if you can find room enough to pull over to take a picture or two.  If that is not possible, I take a camera shot from a moving truck window hoping that my hand is steady enough not to cause a blurred picture.  Sometimes there is success...


At the home of our Petrolia friends, word must be out among the hummingbirds to enjoy a good nectar meal provided by several feeders set out on their porch.  Before I noticed the birds, I heard their sound - much like buzzing bees.  I was startled to see so many of these tiny birds darting from one feeder to the next creating this humming noise with their wings.  I read that they flap their wings about 80 times per second.  This is how and why they were named, the hummingbird...


 Other facts about the hummingbird are:  
                 - they can fly right, left, up, down, backwards and upside down
                 - hover - it looks like the bird is stationary but their little wings are moving so fast, you
                   cannot see them
                 - their bill is long and tapered to obtain nectar from the center of a long, tubular flower
                 - their feet used for perching only 
                 - symbolic of love and joy 


I  mentioned just a few facts about the hummingbird.  I hope you will watch this video that actually shows a hummingbird in slow motion in flight and gives you more information about this fascinating bird.  It makes a person realize how amazing this little creature of God is.  Click on this link at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPRswRWZ23Q


My next post will be in two weeks on Monday, June 19th.  Come!  Visit me at The Turn-Up Patch.... 




Monday, May 22, 2017

Spring's new foal

Since my last post, we have a new addition to the family.  A husky filly with long legs and an attitude was born several weeks ago.  It took a little while to begin the bonding process as this mare was particularly protective and wanted no one near her baby.  As the photos show below, in time and with patience, the mare reverts back to trust and allows a friendly hand to pet her and maybe, just maybe, her colt.

Interactions occur every day in our lives - whether it is on a human level or with animals.  But there is another interaction that is around us as a constant 24 hour, seven day a week experience.... and it is with God.  There are some who are aware of His Presence and others who have not yet awakened to His reality, but the interactions are there nonetheless.  His diversity in creation is all around us in the world we live in and into the universe itself.  He is beyond the human explanation of "God" and words seem to get lost in trying to describe His power and glory that is so evident in surroundings of nature that speak loudly of His existence.  Many scripture verses reference this fact throughout the Psalms and in various chapters of the Bible.  Job 12:7-10 says "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?  In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."


My next post will be on Monday, June 5.  See you then at The Turn-Up Patch....






Monday, May 8, 2017

What does it matter?

What if we could live our days abiding in the principle of "what does it matter?"  For those of us who have experienced the death of a loved one, it is part of the dynamic to not only let them go but that it is alright for them to let go of living.  In other words, permission is given to die.  I have been at the bedside of my mother, my aunt and my mother-in-law as they were laboring in this last part of their journey moving from this world into the next.  It is a time where we meet self and we meet God. 

There may be regrets, grudges, guilt of something done or not done, unforgiveness, unresolved issues, past emotional wounds -  these are just a few of the negatives that can arise to one's consciousness in the review of life lived and now in the throws of letting go.  Just as the birth process brings forth life from within the womb for physical existence, so does the death process release the spirit into the divine spark of eternal existence.


I tend to think that as a person is in the closure of his or her life, there is a question and an answer that comes simultaneously... "what does it matter?"  What does it matter to hold on to a regret in re-living mistakes made.  What does it matter to nurture a grudge until it balloons and metastasizes the offense.  What does it matter to agonize in guilt for something done or not done, becoming a victim of condemning self-worth.  What does it matter to hold on to unforgiveness that creates a toxin of blame and distortion.  What does it matter to worry over unresolved issues that bury perspective.  What does it matter to keep emotional wounds open and raw and cripples the soul.  Isn't it better to let go rather then to store and accumulate burdens in life because in the end - what does it really matter??

Wouldn't it be great to practice the power of "what does it matter" on a daily basis.  Letting go and letting God puts a smile in our day and gives freedom to soar.  


Join me for another visit at The Turn-Up Patch in two weeks on Monday, May 22...
  

 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rainbow Chaser

We certainly have had April showers this month, although it could be described as downpours driven by high winds rather than a simple shower.  The weather, however, created some beautiful rainbows and this work of God's art never ceases to amaze me.  Several days ago after a heavy rain, the sun broke out through the clouds to prism a beautiful rainbow arc stretching over highway 26.  I was thankful to have my camera with me when the rainbow appeared.  I drove my car to the side of the road to capture this scene of rainbow colors falling upon the hills.  It was exciting to me to be able to take this photo in a setting with Canyon Mountain and grazing cattle, creating this scene of country peace. These pictures give you an idea of the scenic beauty we have, particularly in the spring when the fields and hills are so green.  A rainbow only compliments the rural setting.


The photo below shows the other side of the rainbow, which splashed it's color on open fields on the opposite side of the highway.  The rainbow was too close for me to take a photo of it's perfect arc over the countryside.  Again, I managed to find a turnout where I could park my car and take photos of this sight that can all too quickly disappear due to atmosphere changes and cloud movements. 


Continuing on to my friend's house, I was happy to see the still visible rainbow extending to the area where she lives, dropping its color on nearby ground.  Instead of a storm chaser, I felt like a rainbow chaser as it remained until I reached my destination only to fade from view.


It is interesting to note that the arc or curve of a rainbow is actually a full circle - only the horizon cuts it off.  I was able to find the below photo on the internet to use as an illustration of what a full circle rainbow looks like...


In astronomy, the earth, moon and planets are all in sphere or circle shape in our ever increasing knowledge of the universe.  Whenever I see a circle, I think of the Almighty God who states that He is the "I AM" - the Beginning and the End; the Alpha and Omega; the First and the Last; Everlasting to Everlasting.  He is COMPLETE.  An interesting definition of complete is UNBROKEN.  Here are a few other meanings of complete... entire, absolute - whole or perfect - without defect or blemish - faultless, unimpaired; lacking nothing. 

Pretty Amazing!  He loves us, faulty in our humanity, with a faultless love in His Divinity.



Join me at The Turn-Up Patch where we'll meet again on Monday, May 8...  I leave you with a rainbow quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which simply says:  "God's illumined promise".