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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 18:52

I’m calling this the butterfly edition.

It’s been an amazing week out-of-doors! So much going on, as jam-packed as this post is, it’s only a wee part of the whole. In other words, more to come!

These images don’t have the creamy backgrounds that I’m working to achieve with some of my manual camera settings, but in these cases, I’m more interested in sharing the subject matter with you than displaying the perfect image. Of course, there are those out there who can do both, but I’m not there yet {smile}.

These first shots are of our native Antelophorn Milkweed {asclepias asperula}.  We have a lot more if it this year, thankfully, and I’m hopeful to start seeing some Monarchs in the near future.

 

Antelope_horn_milkweed

 

These two darling butterflies are called Gray Hairstreaks {strymon melinus}. You can see how small they are next to the bee in this image. This milkweed attracts all sorts of insects.

Here is the beautiful Gray Hairstreak with it’s wings open.

 

Gray_Hairstreak_milkweed

 

This insect is a striking little fellow. Aptly named the Milkweed Bug {oncopeltus fasciatus}. The blooms on this milkweed and the one in the image above haven’t opened yet. Early diners!

 

Milkweed_bug

 

The giant thistle I shared about in last week’s post has finally opened and I was thrilled to find a Question Mark Butterfly {polygonia interrogationis} happily devouring the thistle’s nectar. These butterflies are not nearly as skittish as the Painted Lady’s and I was able to get some great shots.

 

Question_Mark_Butterfly

 

Why is it called a Question Mark butterfly? I’m glad you asked! Here is a shot of the under-wing. See the two white marks near the center of the lower wing? They resemble a sort of side-ways question mark. Hence the name!

 

QuestionMark_underside

 

If you only ever saw this butterfly with it’s wings closed, you’d never guess the beauty within. I’m including the image below so that you can see how easily they can blend in with leaves and grasses. He looks a lot different from the image above on the thistle, doesn’t he?

 

QuestionMarkButterfly

 

I have blue sage {salvia farinacea} in my front flower beds and I just love it! It comes back every year and produces a lot of blooms. Butterflies of all kinds love it’s nectar. This is a Horace’s Duskywing {erynnis horatius} which is in the Skipper family of butterflies. They are not as showy, but I welcome them just the same.

 

Horaces_Duskywing_Skipper

 

When the lantana is blooming, it’s the nectar of choice for most butterflies, but right now, the coneflower is the big attraction. This is a Painted Lady {vanessa cardui} and they are out in abundance right now!  Did you notice the small praying mantis on the petal below the butterfly?

 

PaintedLady_coneflower_kk_carmel

kk_carmel

 

The real show-stopper this week was the Red Admiral {vanessa atalanta}. This guy just couldn’t get enough of the coneflower’s sweet nectar, and I couldn’t get enough of him!

 

Red_Admiral_Butterfly

 

Even his under-wing is colorful!

 

RedAdmiral_Coneflower

 

When he was done with the coneflower, he moved to the blue sage!

 

RedAdmiral_bluesage

 

It’s a little harder to navigate!  I love this shot {below} because it shows his proboscis curled up! You can call it his tongue if you like!

 

RedAdmiral_curled_proboscis

 

Parting shot . . .

 

RedAdmiral_headon

 

Wow, they take my breath away. You ?

With all the new I’ve experienced this year, mostly sad and unwelcome occurrences, the butterfly reminds me that, “without change, there wouldn’t be butterflies.” Without change, much of the beauty in our world, and in ourselves, would not exist. And the coming of spring reminds me that there are two faces to new.

Although, in life, we must experience both, the face I’m choosing to embrace is the one of new life, and JOY.

 

What does your week look like?

Blessings,

June

 

 

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Inspired by . . . a month in photos: April

It’s been a lovely  month of rain, and sun, and rain, and sun. I can’t believe we’re getting ready to say “hello” to May.

It’s been a month of welcoming old friends back into my life. The scissor-tail flycatchers are back - five of them this year! Milkweed is blooming, my roses are blooming, coneflowers, blue sage, lantana - - all blooming and welcoming a myriad of butterflies {photos I’ll be sharing soon!}, bees and other creatures! For those of you in northern climes, spring is coming, and I promise, she is worth the wait!

Thanks to all the rain {I grumbled about all winter} the Texas wildflowers are blooming in abundance! The sweetest man in the world says he has never seen the land as green as it is this spring.

Light overshadows the darkness and hope springs forth as a new bud. Love reigns down, and redemption rises to slowly, and tenderly encourage each petal to open to the Son-light.

This is April. This is new life.

 

APRL_Collage

 

Favorite photo of the month:

 

TexasPainbrush

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible.

There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible.

Faith begins where man’s power ends.”  ~George Mueller

 

Sprinklings of God’s mercy and grace:

1. The butterflies, oh, the butterflies

2. Birdsong

3. Feeling the warmth of the sun, and the Son again

4. Lunch with a friend

5. God’s perfect provision, just when and where we needed it

 

When you look back at April,

what do you see?

 

Blessings,

June

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Inspired by . . . Thoughts on Faith Vol. II

 

Now it came to pass on a certain day, that He went into a ship with His disciples: and He said unto them,

Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.

But as they sailed He fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake;

and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Master, Master, we perish.

Then He arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water:

and they ceased, and there was a calm.

And He said unto them, Where is your faith?  Luk 8:22-25

 

Ship_Wheel

 

It was a gentle rebuke, I think, that Jesus gave the disciples here, “Where is your faith?”

After all, He had just displayed His power and authority over the wind and the sea. Surely He knew that that would terrify them more than the storm itself.

 

And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another,

What manner of Man is this!

for He commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey Him.  Luk 8:25

 

Ships_Rigging

 

Can you imagine this scene? Many of the disciples were fishermen. They had fished this lake all their lives. For them to say, “we perish!” it must have been quite a storm indeed! Why shouldn’t they have been afraid? What did Jesus expect them to do?

I think He expected them to do the same thing He expects us to do when the storms rage, and the boat fills with water, and we feel like we’re perishing. When we feel like we can’t take one more trial, one more hurtful comment, one more failure, one more mistake.

He expects us to:

 

Believe.

 

In Him.

In His promises.

In His Power.

In His Provision.

How do we do this?

 

Rigging_Stars

 

To begin with, you may want to ask yourself: Is Jesus is even on my boat? Do I believe in Him?

And if He is curled up at the stern, sleeping peacefully as you look around at the chaos of your life, ask yourself, do you trust Him to do what He says He will do? Have you read His word, so that you know what He said He would do? And do you believe He has the power to do it?

If so, how will you act on that belief? Do we wake Jesus, like His disciples did, in a panic. Whining about the circumstances, screaming for Him to do something to fix it? {I confess, I do this often}

Or do we trust that He Himself is our portion. Our Provision.

Instead of panic, what if we curled up beside Him, under the shelter of His wing, and waited for Him to act?

 

Ships_Rope

 

Would He rebuke us then? Or might He say, "My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your trouble." Mark 5:34

Yes, He might say that, but He could also say, "My grace is all you need, for My power is greatest when you are weak." 2Co 12:9

And if that is the case, may we, like Paul respond, “I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ's power over me.”

 

Ships_Rope_Rigging

 

Lord, we pray, increase our faith!

Going deeper,

June

 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 17:52

This past week went by in a flash. Which tells me that I need to slow down, and smell the roses.

So I’ve actually done a bit of that, and have some to share with you. I need your opinion. I’ve been playing with some non-manual modes on my camera. Taking a hint from my friend, Gail, I’ve been playing with different aperture settings. So, which do you like better the one on the right, or the one on the left?  (These are SOOC, all I did was resize them in PS)

 

RoseA          RoseB

These are Knockout roses, which I love, but they do tend to grow like crazy and I did not prune my bushes when I should have. After reading up on proper care, I learned that you really can’t over prune these, so I shaped them up a bit this week. My motivation was, in part, to make room for some other plants. I had some milkweed, specifically butterfly weed, that I wanted to plant in front of them.  I’ve tried in vain to find other varieties of milkweed here, so this weekend I ordered a “kit” from Monarch Watch. {You may or may not know that the Monarch population alone has decreased by 1/2 from what it was a year ago.} I’ll share more when my kit arrives - so excited!

Kitty was helping me arrange the blooms I cut off the bushes. {She’s such a good helper}

RosesVase_Kitty

 

I’m reading the devotional While I’m Waiting by Laura Hodges Poole. God has been using it to speak deeply to me about faith. I found this quote inspiring from my reading this week.

 

Faith_MuellerQuote

 

My “office” is set up in the loft of our cottage. Directly across from the loft is a large window that looks out into the trees. It’s almost like living in a tree-house. Almost. Earlier this week I was “disturbed” by a series of calls and chatter and was delighted to find, although it was a bit difficult at first due to his coloring, this sweet Carolina wren sitting outside the window. If you’re interesting in hearing what I heard, you can listen here.

 

Carolina_Wren

 

I’ve been working on my flower beds a lot this week and am always wary when I see these girls poking around. Time to spray the deer repellent again!

 

Two_Deer

 

Chickadees are one of my favorite birds, and usually one of the most difficult to photograph. They are so fast!  I was delighted to find two {a pair, I think} hanging out in my front yard one evening. I usually only see them in the side yard by the feeders. One had a sprig of cedar in his mouth, but he moved so fast, I didn’t see where he went with it. I’m hoping the pair are building a nest close by.

 

Carolina_Chickadee1

 

These are Carolina Chickadees, which look nearly identical to the northern black-capped chickadees.  The shot below is my favorite, because of the way it shows his “beard” ! The sun had already set when I spotted these two, so the shots are a bit blown, but I’m happy to have them none-the-less.

 

Carolina_Chickadee

 

Finally, I’m waiting for this monster to bloom so I can set up some butterfly shots! This thistle is 5ft high, growing at the edge of our side yard. The sweetest man in the world was kind enough to mow around it for me. Even though he says it’s a week. {smile}

 

Giant_Thistle

 

It was a bit of a mish-mash this week, but I hope you enjoyed

seeing life through my lens.

What does your week look like?

Blessings,

June

 

Sharing inspiration here:

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Inspired by . . . the time of singing

May His word draw you, up and away into the bosom of His love.

 

RoseRaindrop_kk_avery

kk_avery

 

Draw me away! We will run after you.

 

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with a lovingkindness I have drawn you.

 

I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love.

 

I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

 

Behold, the Lamb of God!

 

WaterDroplets2

 

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

 

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

 

WaterDroplets

 

We love Him because He first loved us.

 

WaterDropletsonStem

 

My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!”

 

Shalom,

June

 

Verses referenced: Song of Sol. 1:4; Jer 31:3; Hos 11:4; John 12:32; John 1:36;

John 3:14-15; Ps 73:25; I John 4:19; Song of Sol 2:10-13

 

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