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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 22:52

I'm calling this the front porch edition. All of these pictures were taken from my front porch.

We had a beautiful full moon earlier this month. I was hoping to share pictures of the moon along with the planet mars with you, but on the prime nights for viewing mars we were shrouded in clouds making viewing impossible.




Birds are a constant source of amazement, and JOY for me. We're all used to seeing them perched on tree branches, but my flycatchers seem to prefer dead stalks instead. It's a keen reminder of just how light our feathered friends really are!


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Western Kingbird

I've been trying to catch these beautiful birds in flight. They are so fast! This is my best shot yet - I've got a long way to go!



It's always a treat to see the rock squirrels, they don't come around very often. Here's one sitting on his namesake.


Rock Squirrel

With the warmer weather that inevitably comes as the calendar approaches mid-year we're seeing a lot more lizards around.


Texas Spiny Lizard

We had quite a bit of hummer traffic last week. I'm also working on capturing these beauties in flight. This was my favorite out of the hundreds of shots I took. Again, I've got a long way to go.



I often have help when I'm out shooting the birds. Technically this shot wasn't taken from my porch, but from atop a large rock in my front yard. Selfie with me and Kitty.



I think Mr. & Mrs. Wren have finally decided to use the nest they built in this birdhouse. I hope so, I can't imagine anything cuter than baby wrens!


Carolina Wren
The mockingbird couple have built a nest in our cottonwood tree. These birds are completely nuts. They stand guard over their nest, and anything within a 100 yard radius, with a fierce tenacity. The poor srub jay can't even come to feed on the suet cake without being attached. Yesterday, they had him pinned down in the cedar tree for ten minutes before he was able to make a fly for it. The poor guy. He will have to learn not to announce his presence so loudly in the future if he wants a chance at a meal.


Mockingbird
Crepe myrtle blooms speak the language of summer. Steamy days, and deep blue skies.



Lazy afternoon naps, and late nights around the campfire. Finding pictures in the clouds, and chasing butterflies. Days at the beach, or skimming the lake. Sun-baked bodies, and salty ocean mists. Cool forests dripping with dew.


What does summer
have in store for you?

Blessings,



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

Monday, May 30, 2016

Inspired by . . . the soldier




It is the Soldier


It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.


~Marine Chaplain Father Dennis Edward O'Brien

In Remembrance,

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Inspired by . . . an anniversary

It's that time of year again. 

Today marks the five-year anniversary of this blog. I've written before about my purpose here, and how much has changed over the years.

Today, I'm celebrating with a new blog header - and a look back on three of the least-viewed posts of 2015.

I know how hard it is to keep up with all my blogging friends, so if you've missed any of these, I hope you'll take the time to click through and read one now.

Day 30: His name is El Olam


Day 22: His Character is Faithful


Grateful Series: Every Blessing Turned to Praise


Above all, this day is a day to celebrate all of you. Your support, your readership, your encouragement and your prayers.

Thank you,


Friday, May 27, 2016

Inspired by . . . Your Love is Loyal

Sadly, loyalty is not something you see a lot of these days. People are more likely to be loyal to a sports team, or their favorite beverage than they are to, say, their spouses or employers. In fact, a recent survey by MetLife found that employee loyalty is at a seven-year low.

My theory about loyalty is two-fold, and not at all based on anything scientific, but rather on life experience.



First, for some, loyalty is a character trait. They didn't learn to be loyal, they were born loyal. It's part of their personality and comes naturally to them. In these cases, the person tends to be fiercely loyal. Even willing to die or take the blame to protect another person.

Second, loyalty, when it is taught, has to be taught by example. You probably wouldn't tell your child to be loyal to this person, or that cause, but by being loyal yourself, to your spouse, your friend, employer, etc. you teach them the virtue of loyalty.

A lack of this virtue often results in betrayal. I'm sure many of you have faced a betrayal of some sort in your life. The hurt that comes from betrayal is complex and deep. It can be difficult to move past.

Jesus understood betrayal at the hands of men. He can relate to our pain. His love can heal us.



God's love is many things: faithful, sure, and steadfast. 

But most of all, His love is loyal.

God pledges Himself to us, 
And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people. Exo 6:7; Lev 26:12; Jer 7:23; Jer 11:4; Jer 30:22; Eze 36:28
and tells us repeatedly in His word that He will never forsake us.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." Deut 31:6; 1Sa 12:22; 1Ki 6:13; Psa 94:14; Isa 42:16; Heb 13:5
He has made a vow of allegiance to us in the form of His covenant.
Therefore {Jesus} is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. Heb 9:4
Have you been hurt, abandoned, betrayed?

Beloved, you can trust God with your pain. You can trust Him with your circumstance.

Flee to Him. Let Him be your refuge. 


So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. (Heb 6:17-18)
You can trust Him with your life.

Blessings,

Listen to the song that inspired this post:






Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Let Us Walk Worthy,
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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 21:52

It's a funny thing about the best laid plans . . . sometimes they just don't work out. We had initially planned this Mother's Day outing to LBJ Ranch last year. But mechanical problems sidelined us in Hye, TX and by the time things were fixed it was too late in the day to continue. Two other attempts had to be rescheduled until, finally, this month we were successful! It was a gray day, and we weren't too sure of the weather, but we were determined to make a go of it!

Our first destination was Wildseed Farms, and to our delight, the poppies were blooming!



The perfect start to our day!






From there we made our way to LBJ Ranch and the Texas Whitehouse. The Johnson's donated 600 acres to the National Parks Service, but the remaining acreage is still a working ranch.



The Dreamer and I had visited the Texas White House last year, but each guide shares something a little bit different, so it was just as interesting the second time around!



Here's my mom in front of the beautiful "cabinet" oak. So called because President Johnson often held cabinet meetings under it's graceful branches.




The Johnson Family cemetery is situated on the banks of the Pedernales river, and a more peaceful scene I cannot imagine.



President Johnson's grandmother's grave has a sweet little lamb on top, adding to the serenity of this solemn place.



Back at the state park, we visited the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, a living history farm dating back to the early 1900s. One of the Sauer children, Augusta Sauer Lindig, served as a midwife at the birth of President Johnson.



The chickens had already been cooped up for the night, but this brown-headed cowbird gave us greeting.



It was late in the day and most of the animals had already been fed and were taking their leisure. We didn't linger long here, the scene was peaceful, but the scent was not.



The scent and beauty of the Mock Orange, however, was the perfect way to end our day! Scratch-and-sniff ?




What are you seeing
through your lens this week?

Blessings,

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Inspired by . . . Psalm 134

I'm wrapping up my Psalms of ascent series and getting back on track with my posting schedule -that's the plan anyway!

As usual, God's word is perfect in timing and substance.
A Song of Ascents. Behold, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth! (Psa 134:1-3)
As this psalm suggests, even those who watch diligently over the house of the Lord day and night need a reminder to lift up their hands and praise His holy name. 

In this, the final psalm of ascents, the pilgrims have finally reached their destination - Jerusalem! They had been singing of His faithfulness during their long journey and they were now ready to worship and praise Him in the temple!

I wonder, did they find the night-watchmen sleeping? Or had the watchmen just grown bored? 

The pilgrims are neither bored nor sleeping. They cry out, filled with joy, "Behold! Raise your hands! Bless the Lord!" and then they pronounce a blessing upon the Lord's servants, "May the Lord bless you."



I wonder if our worship has become a bit mundane? A trifle bored? Are we beginning to see God as ordinary? rather than seeing His wondrous works IN the ordinary?

There's no doubt the cares of this world can weigh us down. Especially when we try to carry them ourselves. We weren't made to do that, friend.

Hand them over, those heavy trials, give them up. 

Surrender. 

Take on the easy yoke. Close your weary eyes and rest in Him. Trusting Him to renew your spirit.

Then, walk forth in the JOY of your salvation. See Him as He really is - in all His wonder and glory - with freshly opened eyes.




Behold! and praise Him!

Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Let Us Walk Worthy,
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

Monday, May 16, 2016

Inspired by . . . Psalm 133


A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. (Psa 133:1-3)

It wasn't difficult, upon reading these words, to see the juxtaposition to the state of things in our world today. It is rare to find unity between brothers in both the literal and figurative sense of the word.

But then I realized that is exactly David's point. Disunity is nothing new. It's been around since Cain killed his brother Abel. It will be around until Jesus returns.



David tells us to Behold! for unity is a rare and wonderful thing. It is sacred, like the precious oil poured over the High Priest's head. 

That's why Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (Joh 13:34-35)

Jesus knew that if love and unity was witnessed among believers, people would take notice. He also knew that we would need this love and unity if we were to endure to the end. 
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25)
I'll be the first to admit that I have not always fulfilled His commandment. I have failed to love. And yes, I believe that my responsibility to love is greater because of Who I confess to represent.

I'm not talking about a namby-pamby love that ignores and tolerates sin. I'm talking about the fierce love of the Father, the love that desires to see the His children made whole, pure and blessed.

This is the love we must have for each other, and for the world. And we can. When we submit to His will and allow Him to empower us to do His will.

Not the love that comes and goes, but the love that abides. Not a spirit that separates and divides, but one of unity and accord. Not minds that seek only to debate, but minds which seek to understand.

Because where love reigns, God reigns. And until He returns in the flesh, we are His ambassadors.




May our words and actions honor
and glorify Him.

Blessings,




Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Let Us Walk Worthy,
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

Friday, May 13, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 19:52

I got myself off schedule last week, posting Friday's post on Monday. Then I missed posting this on Wednesday, so here we are on Friday again. I should be posting on Psalm 133, instead I'll be showing you pretty pictures from last week's jaunt to Lake Buchanan.

I realize that my 'self-imposed' schedule likely goes unnoticed by you dear readers. But I'm one of those who tends toward schedule making, list making, eating the same thing off the menu every time . . . you get the idea. Anyway, I'll get this show back on the track soon, but for now here's a sampling from last week's lens-life . . .


***

Our pup, Sandy, had a tumor removed a couple of weeks ago. She's pretty much back to her old self. Digging holes to China, and then hiding in them. Does anyone else's pup do this???

The hole is deeper now, I can't even see her when she's inside. Crazy girl!

Our spring wildflowers are mostly faded, and we're seeing summer blooms here now. The Dreamer and I ventured north last week and WOW, what a show!

Prickly Pear Cactus, Firewheel (sometimes called Indian Blanket), Purple Horsemint
Prickly Pear Cactus Blossom
The firewheel (Indian Blanket - Gaillardia pulchella) will literally take your breath, but the purple horsemint is a favorite of mine. Such a neat flower.


Purple Horsemint in motion
Did I mention that the entire time I was standing beside the road taking these pictures, the wind was blowing about 18mph+ and my hair was in my face. I must have looked like a stick figure version of Cousin Itt from the Addams Family. {smile}

Further down the road I was pleasantly surprised to find bluebonnets still blooming!


Bitterweed and Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets and bitterweed
 I love it when I download a picture and find friends I didn't know where there.


Bitterweed
This is an odd picture, but I'm including it because it was interesting to me how many different focal points were in focus. It's probably a good example of what not to do in photography! However, when you're doing your Cousin Itt impersonation, it's difficult to see what you're focusing on!


Finally, we found some sweet mallards on the lake shore.



I was hoping to see more shore birds, but where we were was a pretty active place. They probably stick to quieter coves. Our daughter just bought some property near the lake, so we'll be visiting again soon!


What are you seeing through
 your lens this week?




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