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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 34:52

Life's feeling a bit more out-of-control this week as we're realizing that {gulp} this Sunday is the date we've set for moving out of the cottage. The rain this past week, though much needed here in south Texas, set us back a bit.

However, it didn't seem to stop the locals any, as this week's images will attest.

Not sure of the id, maybe a Nicippe

Juvenile Scrub Jay

Raindrops on Roses

More raindrops on roses and a surprise

White-tailed doe and fawn

Eastern Phoebe shot through the crepe myrtle tree

Female Hummingbird - we've had both black-chinned and ruby-throats around so not sure which - they are nearly identical

A very wet Mockingbird

Queen Butterfly laying eggs

Taking the time to capture moments like these will be less likely in the days ahead. 
But I'll have my camera close at hand . . . just in case.

What are you seeing through 
your lens this week?


Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Inspired by . . . {un} answered prayer

The snow-on-the-mountain bobbed in the late summer breeze, beckoning me to come over and savor their glory. 

Looking down, I was surprised to see that they were growing out of the dry, cracked earth. Large 2-inch fissures wound their way beneath the sparse grasses. The side yard lay in stark contrast to the lush St Augustine grass adorning the front yard. Grass we had faithfully watered through the last two months of drought.

Blessed and prospering. Scorned and dying.

My friend's son was recently in ICU for eighteen days. When he first went into the hospital she asked for prayer. 

We prayed. 

God answered. 

He's not out of the woods yet, but yesterday they moved him out of ICU. Prayers for healing, strength, patience, comfort and a myriad of other things for him and my friend - answered. PTL!

But we all know that God does not always answer our prayers the way we would wish. Sometimes He says, not yet. Sometimes just plain, no. And sometimes, like Jonah, God asks us to do things we simply do not want to do. To go places and into situations, we don't want to face.

These answers and challenges can test our faith and our trust in God. 

It's important to remember that, as Believers, our transformation is not yet complete.

When we receive Christ as our Savior we are immediately justified. And, too, we have a change of identity. We are now in Christ Jesus. But the process of sanctification has only just begun. And it is a life-long process. Every trial and experience that comes into our life are used by God to shape us into His image. 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Co 5:17)
When I'm tempted to feel cynical, hurt or self-pity over my unanswered prayer, I remember another prayer that wasn't answered and fall to my knees in humility and praise.
And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luk 22:41-42)
Who am I to say how my situation should end? It may be happening to me, but what if it's not really about me at all? Only God knows the truth of all things. He promises our good. Do we believe Him?
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Php 1:6)
I've learned to pray as Jesus did; stating my need and requesting that His will be done. But it's not enough to say the words. My heart needs to be in line with my spoken request. 

Honestly, I'm not always ready to accept His will.  So what do I do then? I keep praying, asking Him to change my heart until I am.

Remember, He is in the process of transforming us. Day by day, He making us more like His Son.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2Co 3:18)
When we pray, asking for His will, the Holy Spirit works within us to bring our desires in line with the will of God. 

We've had a week of much-needed rain. The snow-on-the-mountain is bowing low, heavy with thanks. The fissures are gone, reduced to mere squiggle lines running along the ground.

Prayers answered for some, prayers denied for others.
A constant example of God's sovereign will.

How have you witnessed God's sovereignty
in your prayer life?


Sharing inspiration here:
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Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 33:52

Around here, bright yellow buses coincide with tall stalks of Snow-on-the-mountain to herald the end of the dog days of summer.

Euphorbia (Snow-on-the-mountain) 

August has been a blaze of sunshine but the recent rain and cooler temperatures have helped to set our minds toward Fall. This month, tucked in the middle of the year's third quarter, has always felt more like an ending than a middle. This year, as we pack our belongings with dreams of where we might be when we unearth them again, the ending is sharper - more pronounced. September holds hope. August is a frail goodbye.

In the midst of all of this, God gently reminds me what He is all about and what He wants for my life.

Mockingbird babies with their mother.
He is about Life.

New beginnings.

Normally, when you think about babies you think Spring. But God has orchestrated these late bloomers just for me. Maybe for you, too?

Mockingbird babies

To remind us that every ending births a new beginning. The baby birds leave their nest behind . . . and learn to fly. It can be scary. Especially when you're the last one in the nest.

Mockingbird baby - the last one to fledge!
But like the mamma Cardinal, who continues to care for her young long after they've flown, God doesn't abandon us when we spread our wings.

Female Northern Cardinal (left) and first year male Cardinal (right)

Female Northern Cardinal
Rather, He is the wind beneath our wings as we fly.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:30-31)

What are you seeing
through your lens this week?