Monday, December 4, 2017

Beauty in Blessings

We had some unexpected visitors on Thanksgiving Day.  A beautiful family of swans stopped by to rest in our field.  I walked up to them as close as I could and was able to get a few shots using the zoom on my camera.  Since I didn't want to scare them off, I quietly retreated once they became alert to my presence.  I was hoping they would stay for several weeks as they did several years ago. However, frightened by the noise of shotguns by nearby duck hunters, they flew away.  Needless to say, I was upset with the duck hunters!

I did write a message on the swan that will give you some background information on this beautiful bird.  I encourage you to check it out for further knowledge on the swan.  Your will find this particular post entitled "Of Swans and Sunsets"....
I wrote this in February 2015.  The swans did return the following year in 2016 but it wasn't until Thanksgiving Day of this year that this little family showed up to grace our property for a brief time.

We still have resident geese that stay throughout the winter in our area and you see them frequently in the fields scavenging for food and shelter.  They must like living in Grant County since they prefer being here than flying south for the winter.  The swans in the past would be mingling with the geese and it was quite a sight to see.  These birds made it a migratory stop before it was time to continue on with their journey.  Thankfully, there were no duck hunters close by to disturb the geese and swans, so we were able to enjoy them all for a short period of time.

I discovered this beautiful poster with a wonderful message to it.  It contains a quote worth reflecting on.  See you at the Turn-Up Patch next time on Monday, December 18th...  Until then, look for the unexpected blessings that our dear Lord sends your way to encourage and to say, "I AM here with you".  It is up to us to perceive and see.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Living in Thankfulness

Thanksgiving!  A time to count your blessings; a time to reflect and to be grateful for the little and the big things that are in our lives.  Here in eastern Oregon, there are so many ways to be thankful - from fresh, clean air to surrounding scenic beauty.  Caring communities that offer a more simplistic way of life than the hustle and bustle of city living.  The years have passed quickly since we first arrived in Grant County.  The pace was slower then and still slow today.  We still have a two lane highway without hectic freeway traffic.  The populations of the towns that line the John Day Valley remain close to the same as it was some 40 years ago.  I wasn't sure I could adjust to small town living since I was a city girl and used to the excitement and variety of interests that city life offered.  As time went on, I discovered the richness of country life that offered challenges and growth in unexpected ways.

I came to appreciate the spectacular skies that offer a kaleidoscope of color that range in storm clouds to sunrise and sunsets.  As a photographer,  you need your camera on hand at any given moment to capture the sheer immense of glory that exists in the panorama of heavenly movement changing from moment to moment.  

Every day contains elements in one form or another to be thankful, no matter how big or small in blessings.  It can be viewing an incredible sunset or hearing children's laughter.  It is appreciation in knowing that we can still experience freedom to live, to worship, to pursue dreams... that we can gather to enjoy family and friends.  Most of all, that we can take time out to pause and express thankfulness to the One who is beyond our humanity, our blessed Creator.  It is in these precious still moments, that thankfulness lifts us into the presence of God.  

We celebrate Thanksgiving Day on Thursday of this week in the United States.  Since 1863, it has been declared a federal holiday when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens".  The entire proclamation shows one man's acknowledgement and unwavering belief in God Almighty. You can read this moving Proclamation of Thanksgiving  that Lincoln wrote on October 3, 1863 at this link...

Please return to the Turn-Up Patch in two weeks for another post.  See you again on Monday, December 4th....

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Dynamic of Rescue

I have written before about the importance of friends in our lives.  They can exist within our own family unit or they can enter our life as a stranger and become an anchor in friendship.  Our friends come in all shapes and sizes - they can be of the two legged variety or the four legged critters that come along and become a part of us.   A bond of love develops that shines in faithfulness and withstands the test of time.

My focus today is of the four-legged kind.  Of course, that can range from big to small, from horses to hedgehogs and all that lies in between.  Our family has had many animals throughout the years that have been near and dear to our hearts.  Each one brought their individual presence in personality and devotion.  Some are there for cuddle comfort but more often than not, some are there to assist in daily living.  This can range from a working ranch horse to a livestock dog to one who helps as a guide in many different realms as the need dictates.

The photo below is of a Chihuahua mix who became a rescue dog to one of our daughters.  Now she's not exactly a Border Collie or a German Shepherd but she has her own style of cuteness.  This abandoned critter seemed to know where to find a heart that would give safety, affection and much needed attention.  Frightened and hungry, she timidly entered a new life with a human who gave her a sheltered home and the name Cedar.

And of course, there is the cat!
The above photo is one of many that I have taken of Turnup who just happens to be my blog's namesake. She comes by that name rather appropriately since she just "turned up" at our house.  Poor thing was so skinny and  hungry for food.  As you can tell from the picture, she has put on a little weight!  She became our rescue cat and has been a firm fixture in our household ever since.

How about Lizzy?  A rather different kind of cat with great big eyes.  She also had an instinct to find someone who would feed and care for her.   Starving and in poor shape, this feline was nursed back to health by our other daughter and gave her a safe place to live.  Most of the rescue animals that we have had throughout the years have something in common - they chose us, we don't chose them.  They come uninvited and yet win us over because they are vulnerable and in need.    

I wonder about the rescue animals that our family has taken in over time... what their previous experience has been with humans - what their 'before' life was like.  They seem to adapt very quickly and respond to the hand that feeds, pets and gives them a safe haven in love and kindness.  

In retrospect, the human spirit has been damaged if you believe about the fall of humankind that began with Adam and Eve.  God saw the need to rescue.  The definition of rescue is to free from danger, imprisonment or difficulty - to save, to deliver.  Our God changed the cosmos in spiritual realm with Christ on the Cross.  He changed the dynamics for His beloved creation.  His Eternal Love will receive anyone who looks for rescue, providing a home where belonging finally is realized.

Join me at The Turn-Up Patch for my next post on Monday, November 20th.  "See you then!"


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Message re-post on "There is No Risk"

I decided to re-post a message entitled "There is No Risk" that I wrote about four years ago.  As it is with Love, the message written in yesterday is pertinent to today, particularly in the climate of unrest and ill will that we live in.  I begin the post with this beautiful song "Just Come In" by Margaret Becker.   
You can view this video in message and song at


There is No Risk
LOVE breathed life into Adam and LOVE breathed its last on the Cross.  A breath so powerful that LOVE tore the temple veil, eclipsed the sun and the earth quaked.  A powerful breath that even in the grip of death, came the explosion of Life. 

LOVE left the Cross and breathed new Life upon His fallen mankind in the resurrected power of  Jesus Christ.  A new dimension of abundant Life in God's oxygen, became available for us to breathe and intake for restoration, intimacy and well being.  It feels good to inhale a deep breath of God!  And what a wonderful beginning in the dawn of each new day in our lives.

Mt. Vernon Daybreak
I wrote, 'There us no Risk' in honor of ABBA, our heavenly Father,  revealed to us through Jesus.  As it was in the beginning, LOVE desires no less than to gather His own unto Himself.  And to breathe the breath of abundant Life within you and me, becoming one in essence, throughout our earthly journey and eternal destiny. 

There is no Risk

There is no risk to stand before You.... vulnerable,

     for You take my open heart with no reproof.

There is no risk to stand before You.... just as I am,

     for You take my being in total acceptance.

There is no risk to stand before You.... shackled,

for You take my chains and set me free.

There is no risk to stand before You.... in transgression,

for You take my sins and wash me with forgiveness and peace.

There is no sin to stand before You..."in ego rights",

for You take my selfishness and give me selflessness.

There is no risk to stand before you... broken,

for you take the pieces and give me healing restoration.
 There is no risk to stand before you... in personal guilt,
for You dissolve it with Your judgement of mercy and grace.

 There is no risk to stand before You... in spiritual blindness,

for You take my darkness and give me light to see.

There is no risk to stand before you.... in depression,

for You take my cave of despair and inspire me to hope.
  There is no risk to stand before You.... in adoration and praise,

for You take and we mesh in sweet communion.

There is no risk to stand before You.... as Your own,

for You take my life and anoint it with your Presence.

There is no risk in allowing You to take..

for I am being made whole.

Be blessed and we'll meet again at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, November 6th...

Monday, October 9, 2017

What about God's Kingdom?

The Kingdom of God!  Is it a place or is it a state of being or is it both?  What a rich experience it would be to actually live in the Kingdom of God here and now.  I believe that is God's intent - to draw us into an existence of internal serenity while the outside world screams in disquiet and upset.

Personally, to believe that I am one with God - that His Spirit and my own are joined in union, then I do not need to wait until death to encounter His Kingdom.  The more that I become aware of who He is and what His provisions are, the more I want to live in that Presence of the I AM.  Who would not want to live in His Kingdom, where one can experience....
                                                   -  peace instead of discord
                                                   -  love instead of detest
                                                   -  forgiveness instead of blame
                                                   -  grace instead of dishonor
                                                   -  mercy instead of condemnation
                                                   -  hope instead of despair
                                                   -  respect instead of contempt 
                                                   -  faith instead of fear

Imagine that all these Godly forces reigned within hearts - what a different world we would live in.   A fairy-tale world you say??  It can happen in my world, my personal universe, if I want God bad enough in my life to make a difference.  It is possible to wrap yourself within the Spirit of God and enjoy His Kingdom, while the world rages around you in its turmoil.  Every morning of every day is a fresh beginning - a fresh footing to begin anew in a force of life that the Kingdom of God offers.

Come, join me again at the Turn-Up Patch on Monday, October 23.   I leave you with a reminder out of 1 Corinthians 4:20..."For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power"....

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Awesome Tetons!

I recently had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Teton Mountains in Wyoming several weeks ago.  We left eastern Oregon under the haze of smoke from wildfires throughout the state and was dismayed to find that the drive through Idaho and into Wyoming was the same in the encounter of smoke!  Wildfires have played havoc throughout many states obscuring the skies and the smell of smoke in the air - one of the consequences of damaging fire upon our once beautiful forests.  I took the photo below to illustrate this disheartening fact...

Thankfully, the smoke cleared the day before we left and I was able to capture a little of these majestic mountains and surrounding scenery.  I was overjoyed to see that the smoke and clouds had cleared enough to take some photos and gaze upon commanding views....

While at the campsite, we were treated in seeing a few moose wander through the grounds.  Since they are used to humans, they didn't cause any harm although humans could get a little excited at seeing such wildlife.   Buffalo were in abundance just a short drive from where we staying and that was a thrill.  They cross the highway just as we have deer and elk who do the same thing in eastern Oregon.

These are just a few of the many pictures that I took on the Jackson Hole Wyoming adventure.  It was difficult to choose which photos to post since there is limited blog space and the ones you see here are just a sampling.  As it is with most photographers, many shots are taken but few are chosen to publish.

Come back and visit me at The Turn-Up Patch in two weeks, on Monday, October 9th.  Let us all be mindful of the sights and sounds that make up God's exquisite handiwork in His creation in this universe.   It is comforting to note what our dear God has in His mind in His glory for us... "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him....1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Photographing God through the camera of David LaBelle

I would like to share an article with you written by David LaBelle entitled "A Visual Love Letter".  His words echoed my own heart regarding the God we see in His boundless creativity that exists all around us.  I contacted Mr. LaBelle and it is with his permission, that I share his article with you.  Please read his column in its entirety for an insightful perspective in his words of photographing God....

       "For 50 years, I have dreamed about photographing God.  In the past, I even kidded that when I died, I wanted my family to place a Nikon F camera loaded with 100 ASA film in the casket with me.  I figure I won't need a fast film with a high ISO because there will be plenty of light, and I'd sure like to be the first to photograph heaven.

       Indirectly, from the first days I picked up a camera, I have tried to photograph God by photographing His creation - be it the natural wonders of the world or the wonders of human creations.  Just as we photograph stunning rock formations in Utah, Arizona, Colorado or South Dakota - whose majestic cliffs have been shaped by countless years of breathing winds - we photograph an invisible God by photographing the influence of His Spirit on His creation.  

       Each of us carries the genetics - the DNA of our father.  I realize I must walk softly and carefully with this subject, and do so with sensitivity, recognizing there are many who do not share my beliefs.  Please accept that this column is not meant to be a sermon, but a personal observation and ambition.

       I do not mind admitting that when I witness humbling acts of altruism and love, my throat tightens and my eyes fill.  In these quiet acts of compassion, I see my God every bit as much as when I behold a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  I have always been drawn to these genuine, not performed, moments.  In them I see the goodness of mankind and the loving influence of God.  In these mini stories, I feel the greatest joy and hope for humanity. 

       While some are drawn to photographing action sports, portraits or nature, I am drawn to quiet relationship scenes of love and compassion - things I often lack in my own life, but continually aspire to own.  My wife and I try to make pictures that reinforce the beauty and love of God on His creation, and try to avoid promoting the opposite.

       For me, life looks very different at 65 than it did at 25  I'm confident it is a natural thing as we age to grow more introspective and more deliberate with what time we have left.  In my youth, life was a smorgasbord and, like most, I wanted to sample everything.

       I have loved many types of photography - from sports to nature, breaking news, celebrities and even some fashion - but lately, more than ever, my heart seeks to capture and share positive pictures that reinforce love and goodness and encourage hope, while glorifying our Creator.  It isn't that I have not always tried to do this from the time I picked up a camera, but now with the acute recognition of the limited time I have left on this earth, there is an urgency not present 25 years ago.  I am forever reminded and keep this passage from Psalm 90 on the sleeve of my heart:  "Teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom."

       I photograph God when I record the golden morning light raking across the red earth or prairie grass of Oklahoma, or when evening clouds turn from white to yellow to crimson.  I photograph God when I see birds drink the dew of the leaves or eat the crumbs left by man.  Mostly, I photograph God when I see His Spirit working in the lives of His children.  I don't always love as I should, but often what I see through my lens challenges me to love more purely.  I wish every photograph I make to be a visual love letter to my God." - David LaBelle

photo by David LaBelle
David LaBelle had a caption written under the above photo which states..."I watch for small, quiet moments that speak to the goodness of man and individual character rather than loud, decorated "religious" acts often performed to be seen.  This tender scene of a young man walking two elderly women to their cars from a restaurant is such a moment."

Thank you David LaBelle for allowing me to share your wonderful thoughts on "A Visual Love Letter".  You can learn more about this international photographer, teacher, author and lecturer at his website at

Please join me in two weeks at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, September 25....