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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Inspired by . . . a month in photos: May

May 2015 will definitely go down in the record books in Texas.  We've had 21 days of rain this month - I can only pray that June is drier. 

Despite the weather, I was actually able to get out quite a bit with my camera. I posted 74 photos on the blog in May, which made choosing seven for my collage a bit of a challenge!

I could have made two collages, I suppose. But more isn't always better. Sometimes it's just more.

My picks from the merry month of May:

My favorite photo of the month:

Quote of the month:

“Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish.
And what a privilege even to be alive.
In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think.
The wonder of it!”
- Tasha Tudor

Sprinklings of God's mercy and grace:

1.  protection from the storms
2. monarch encounter
3. answered prayer from an unexpected source
4. inspiring treasures from the past
5. new life

What about you, when you look back
at May, what do you see?


Monday's the last day to enter the giveaway - won't you come help me celebrate? click here

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Inspired by . . . Nest Watch Update

With all the bad weather we've been having here in Texas, watching the radar has become a constant, hour by hour, sometimes minute to minute past-time. So many have lost their homes, some their lives, and some people are still missing. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.

Animals have an amazing resilience in storms. It never ceases to amaze me how they can survive when the wind bends the trees and the rain slashes to the ground in torrents. 

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher built her nest well. It did it's job in the fearsist of storms this past week, and she has been rewarded.

Hungry little balls of fluff! and mamma was not at all happy about me investigating the nest!

We have several other babies around as well, and their mamas are equally unimpressed with my interest. 

Don't get any closer lady!
Too close - we're out'ta here!

Wait, Mama!
I can't run that fast.
All that running made me hungry!
There-there, sweetie. The lady won't bother us anymore.
I can hardly stand all the cuteness! 

There is another mama with two fawns, but she stays further away from the house and I haven't had my camera with me the couple of times I have seen her. Maybe this weekend, if we get a break in the weather.

This little guy's mama hid him in a patch of grasses in front of my son's house while she went out for the day. He never moved, even through a torrential rain, and me getting quite close with my phone to take this picture. {it's not an iphone}

The only thing that ever moved was his little nose. So sweet!

There's a celebration going on today - click over to my home page to help me celebrate my four year blogoversary by entering to win one of four prizes! You can see the Scissor-tailed babies from last year there, too.

Have a wonder-filled weekend, friends!

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Inspired by . . . something to celebrate

Thank you for stopping by today! I hope you're here to celebrate with me - because today is my four year blogoversary! Whoot! Whoot!

I don't make a habit of looking at the stats, but just for fun I thought I'd check them out today. This is my 541st post! And I thought you might be interested in the top three most viewed posts {although it's likely you've already seen them!} of the last year:

#3 Creations Manifesto

#2 Community 

#1 Nature (babies always win the day, lol!)

Interestingly enough, my least viewed post was one from earlier this week, maybe you missed it?

Thoughts on Faith Vol IV

What I really want to do to celebrate today is to thank all of you - my readers. Whether you're a faithful follower, or this is first time here - THANK YOU - for reading. I pray that you always find something here that inspires you.

No celebration is complete without prizes! I've picked out four, one to celebrate each year of the blog, and we're going to keep the party going for the next four days - so please tell all your friends so they can help celebrate too!

Here's a list of the prizes, to inspire you to enter!

eBook - While I am Waiting by Laura Hodges Poole

Lavender Basmati Soap - from Work of Worth

Vintage Sari Mini Journal - from Work of Worth

Beloved Wrap Bracelet - from Work of Worth

I can't tell you how much Laura's devotional has been comforting, encouraging and inspiring me over the last four months. Work of Worth is "dedicated to utilizing the power of commerce to free the oppressed throughout the world" and I'm excited to be offering some of their products as part of this giveaway.

I hope you win! and thank you for helping me celebrate!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: these prizes are my gift to you. I am not affiliated with the author, or Work of Worth in any way. They have no idea they are a part of my celebration!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Inspired by . . . Bifocal Souls

I was going through some of my dad’s things this week, and found a little book that he had been given by his church just before the Army sent him to help rebuild Germany in 1951.

Strength for Service to God and Country, Daily Devotional Messages for Those in the Services

It is a collection of devotionals written by Pastors from churches from all over the United States.

I’ve been reading it all week. You would think that such a devotional would have little to say to a middle-aged, middle-class woman in 2015.

Sadly, the exact opposite is true. Each devotional speaks to the heart and spirit of this woman who is engaged in battle, in conflict, every day.

Personal grief, family matters, Mother Nature’s groanings, a country in moral decline, and worldly atrocities being carried out at an increasingly alarming rate all weigh heavily on my heart and threaten to steal my JOY and my HOPE.

Bernard C. Clausen, of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio wrote the devotional for February 4th and urges us to:

“Join the ranks of those who live bifocal lives. Look down, frankly and boldly, into all the trouble of the world. Spare yourself no part of the terrible reality. Then look up. Hope, and wait patiently, for the salvation of the Lord.”
When it’s not our reality, it’s easy to distance ourselves from the images on our TV screens. I’d much rather escape into a world of thistles and butterflies than to think about what’s happening in the middle-east, or even my own backyard.

But how can we truly find the JOY in creation {and in our Creator} when our hearts are hardened toward our fellow man? There is a balance, and I think Clausen expresses it well. We are not to spare ourselves the terrible reality. We are to have compassion and empathy.

We are to cry out in prayer, and act by other means as we are led.

But we are not to remain focused on the troubles of the world.

We are always to be looking upward, for salvation comes from the Lord.

The Lord’s compassions fail not. They are new every morning; . . . .
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lam 3:22, 23, 26

This bi-focus is how we balance the troubles of the world with our eternal HOPE. It’s how we are able to be content in all circumstances - - how we are able to know true JOY!

And it is the catalyst that prompts us to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ - the only One Who can SAVE a suffering, hope-less world.

Clausen’s prayer is my prayer, maybe today it will be yours too:
Grant us courage for the conflict,
Patience for the long striving,
Love enough to forgive.   Amen.


ANNOUNCEMENT!!!  Click HERE to help me celebrate my four year blogoversary - I'm giving away prizes!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Inspired by . . . thoughts on faith Vol. IV
God knows I’m a slow learner. I’m so very thankful for His patience. His mercy. His grace.
Ever since my dad passed away, I’ve been having a crisis of faith. Not a crisis of belief, mind you, but a crisis of faith. My faith.
As I shared in a previous post, my dad’s passing has caused me to question how strong my faith in God truly is.  Part of the questioning has been why. Why am I even questioning my faith to begin with? I’ve been through tough, life-changing circumstances before. They never made me question my faith. Why now?


As I’ve wrestled with this, I’ve realized some things. Grief is a complex emotion. It’s a journey, as I’ve shared before, and it has layers . . . it, we change, as we move through the layers. And grief often has a target. Something {or someone} to blame. To release it’s emotions upon. For me, that target has been my faith.
I don’t know if any of this is making sense to anyone, but if it’s making sense to you, even a little bit, then maybe what God is teaching me will help you, too.
Since my crisis began I’ve been reading everything I can find about faith. Starting with the scriptures. {You must always start with the scriptures so that you have a solid basis for hearing Truth from other sources, should God choose to use them to speak to you.} As you might imagine, the bible has a lot to say about faith. Over 229 verses in the New Testament alone speak about faith. About how Jesus saw the faith in people and healed them. About how Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. About how, without faith, it is impossible to please God. About the great faith of Abraham.
The more I read, the more I despaired. Because, right now, my faith is not great. It is weak, broken and hurting.
And then I read this:
“Some people think that I have a great faith, but that is not true. I do not have a great faith - I have faith in a great God! Jesus said that if we have faith no bigger than a mustard seed, it is sufficient to remove mountains. We understand that to mean that not quantity, but quality is important. The joy is that the Holy Spirit is willing to bring faith into our hearts. His faith in us has power, just as a mustard seed is small but has power to bring forth fruit.” ~Corrie ten Boom, Each New Day

Having read The Hiding Place last year, I had great context for this statement. I remembered that Miss Corrie wrote honestly about her lack of faith, especially in contrast to her sister’s seemingly giant, and unwavering faith. I suddenly realized that I had been reading the scriptures on faith from the wrong perspective. I had been focused on the greatness, the quantity of faith, and I was entirely missing the point. Jesus didn’t say we need a mountain of faith for Him to answer prayer. As shown in the gospels, Jesus always came through for those who gave what faith they had to Him.1
It’s okay that my faith is weak, broken and hurting right now. It’s what I do with my faith that matters, not how much of it I possess.

I see now that what I must do is offer my faith, such as it is, to Him. It’s a sacrifice really, because I’ve always used my faith as a shield of sorts. It’s time to peel the rest of it away and offer it up.
And like everything we give to God, He will return it back to us . . .
Greater than it was before.

Going deeper,

1While I’m Waiting, Laura Hodges Poole
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Inspired by . . . designs in nature

I have a bit of a mish-mash to share with you today. Nature is forever revealing the touch of the Master’s hand. Enjoy.

This little dove blends in so well on trees or on the ground that it is easily overlooked.




The tips of the Inca Dove ‘s feathers appear to be dipped in ink, creating the scaling pattern which serves as it’s camouflage. I’ve never witnessed it personally, but my research revealed that this dove engages in an odd behavior known as “pyramid roosting.” Pairs or groups of Inca Doves may huddle together in the sunshine, with some sitting on the back of the others. The pyramid may be three layers high and include up to 12 birds.



This is not the best shot, these critters move so fast, but I’d never captured the Golden-fronted Woodpecker head-on before. What a neat pattern!




This squash bug (some call them stink bugs) is a hefty insect. I actually heard him land on my porch. His body reminds me of a certain flying aircraft that is supposed to be undetectable by radar. The tips of his antenna are bright orange. Insects fascinate me, I always take a  “look, don’t touch” approach, but if you wish to pass completely, just scroll down.




I found this little guy to be quite adorable. Although I suspect I would have received a nasty sting if I’d tried to “pet” him. I think he is a Fall Webworm, but I’m not 100% sure. I just love how he picked his head up to look at the camera {which was being  stuck rudely into his face, lol!}




His little, suction-cup-like, feet were fun to watch.



Nest Watch update:

Sadly, the Eastern Phoebe’s have abandoned their nest. Since they had a successful clutch out of the same nest last year, my best guess is that it is cowbird activity that has scared them off. I’m pretty sure one of the eggs, of the two in the nest, is a cowbird egg. {since the Pheobe’s eggs are not speckled - cowbird’s are}




A pair of brown-headed cowbirds have been hanging around lately. And, while I love their song, they are not a bird I want around during nesting time. In fact, I think the single egg in the Cardinal nest may be a cowbird egg as well. {both species lay speckled eggs} I recently learned that Cardinals do not usually use a nest site more than once. The lady-bird above probably saw the empty nest and took advantage. You can read more about the problems caused by brown-headed cowbirds, if you’re interested, on the Nestwatch.org site.

So, I am down to two active nests. One I shared with you before, the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are nesting here again.  You can just barely make out the top of the mama bird’s head in this picture.




The other active site is a Mockingbird nest. You can see the mamma’s tail sticking out of the nest in the image below. In case you are not familiar with the state bird of Texas, this species has a personality to match it’s home state!




I’m still trying to figure out a way to access these two nests to check for eggs. Since they are at least 10ft off the ground and the branches they are on are not human-weight baring, it’s going to be tricky.  I know what some of you are thinking, “The next time we hear from her, she’ll be in a body-cast.” Let’s hope not.

One final note for the bird lovers out there who also appreciate a good cup of java. I discovered this product source last time I was on the Nest Watch site. {they have no idea I’m mentioning them and I receive no compensation by doing so}


It’s a great way to help support wild bird causes. Just click on the logo to learn more.  I haven’t tried the coffee yet, but I’ll give you my review when I do.

I’ll end with a favorite quote from C.S. Lewis:

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight

harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs

at present. And cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent

egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”


Have a wonder-filled day,



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