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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 26:52

Summer has wrapped me in her warm embrace and I'm hugging back.

We topped 100 degrees on the solstice, a nod to my previous home state of Arizona. But Texas is never harsh for long and the heat was quickly followed by glorious days where the temps hovered in the 80's and there is enough sky candy to convince you to lay on your back and risk being stung alive.

Today is one of those days. But I'm content to watch the clouds meander by from the safety of my front porch.



I was surprised to see that I've taken over 300 photos this month. I'd have to post a daily blog to be able to share them all!

These first images are from the beautiful River Road Park in Boerne, Texas. I've been trying to get there during the golden hour for months!




These Egyptian Geese are beautiful but not native to Texas (or even North America). They are actually not a goose at all but a Shelduck, which is a cross between a goose and a duck. 



It was challenging to get a clear shot of this Muscovy mama and her four ducklings. They were so fast!



The turtles are pretty fast too, but I managed to catch one or two. I think they look so old and wise, don't you?



I would like some confirmation on this ID, but I believe this is a juvenile yellow-crowned night-heron. The adults look completely different!



Back at home, I had a rare visitor. The Ladder-backed Woodpecker.  I really didn't get a good picture of him, they are small and fast!



He has a bright red cap which you can't see very well in these pictures.



My friends (not) the deer are still coming by to enjoy the bounty of my flower beds. I find their behavior to be downright impertinent.



A funny thing occurred to me as I was looking through these next images; some people turn on their sprinklers for their kids to play in during the summer.  We turn them on for the birds :)





How are you staying cool this summer?

What are you seeing through your lens this week?



Have a wonder-filled week, friends!



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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Inspired by . . . a common need


Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water." (Joh 4:13-15)

I wonder how much the Samaritan woman really understood when she asked Jesus for, "this water." How much do any of us understand at the beginning of a relationship? We have a need, a desire and we seek fulfillment.

Whether it be a husband, wife, friend, casual acquaintance or an addiction. It all begins with a need. Most relationships leave us wanting more. I need my coffee every morning -sometimes even again in the afternoon - we grow tired of our husband or a friend lets us down.

The woman at the well understood all this. Husbands had failed her and she'd failed them. Friends shunned her and there was a constant thirst deep within her soul that water could not quench.

"Sir, give me this water."

In response Jesus addressed her sin. The woman neither denied His words nor ran away from them, so great was her need.


Until we come to the place where we are able to face our sin and own it, we will never accept what Jesus gives. [click to tweet]

The woman received what Jesus offered her.  So changed was she that she left her water jar and sought out the people of her village to tell them the Good News.

She no longer needed water for bathing - His love cleanses us

She no longer felt ashamed - His love clothes us in righteousness

This woman's story is commonly known. A common story, about a common need. But Jesus' approach to this woman was decidedly uncommonFor Him to speak to a woman, and a Samaritan woman at that, shocked His disciples.

Perhaps you think that God wouldn't speak to someone like you. Or maybe you've come to the well so often that you no longer expect to find Him there.

He is there. 

He is waiting.

For each of us.

How will we respond when He says, "Give me a drink."



What do I have to offer Him today?

Only my heart.

Blessings,


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 24:52

Hello, friends!

I'm just barely making it for week 24! This week went by crazy fast. June is slipping through my fingers at an alarming rate.

Our son is getting married today - fun! and tomorrow is Father's Day.

I've been thinking a lot about my dad this week. Silly things, like breadcrumbs in the mayonnaise jar, remind me of him.

As with most of us, Dad's hearing was the first to go. I can remember him saying that as long as he could hear the birds, the rest didn't matter much. He could always hear the birds. 

So this week I'm sharing a series of flycatchers with you. These birds are some of the most entertaining visitors to my yard. And some of the most challenging to ID. 


Eastern Phoebe

Great-crested Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

ID ??? Eastern Wood-Pewee ??

Vermillion Flycatcher
Happy Father's Day!

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, June 11, 2017

Inspired by . . . unprofitable servants



American Lady
We are often too severe with ourselves about the things that matter little and not severe enough about the things that matter most. [click to tweet]

 This was my thought the other night after reading the following scriptures:
So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" (Luk 17:10)
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Rom 3:27)
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1Co 4:7)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1Co 15:10)
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom 11:36)
"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You. (1Ch 29:14)
Enter not into judgment with Your servant, for no one living is righteous before You. (Psa 143:2)
Everything we are, everything we have, comes from His hand. How we must grieve our Father's heart when we look at her hair or her writing, her house, her family and wish that was us. Or when we look at ourselves and think, fat, plain, frumpy, too short, too tall, too skinny, boring. Not good enough.

Why does this line of thinking grieve our Father's heart?  Does God make mistakes? 

He formed you. Down to the very last freckle (or not), the very last curl (or not). Dark, light, blonde, brown, blue-eyed, He created you, perfectly, in His image. No mistakes.

He gave you certain gifts. He chose particular blessings to bestow. All according to His perfect purpose for your life. 


Yes, we are all called to love and serve Him. But there are many ways, and many paths we follow to fulfill the plan and purpose of our life. 

Envy and self-pity are two of the biggest boulders the enemy uses to block our path. [click to tweet] The dynamite that will blow those boulders sky high is our sacrifice of praise.
Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Heb 13:15-16)
When we fill our hearts with His love, by honoring Him with our lips and sharing the gifts we have been given, envy and pity have nowhere to grow. Rather WE grow in the things that really matter.




May we all walk worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:2)

Blessings,




Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 23:52

I do love these early days of summer. 



The air still holds a hint of fragrance. The birds are still nesting and raising their young. The heat has not yet zapped us and made us lazy!

It's the beginning of a new season! The sun shimmers and we look forward with anticipation to all we have planned.  The weddings and parties and backyard BBQ's! Days at the lake or the shore. Early mornings and late evenings on the porch. Trips to places known and unknown. Memories to be made!

Summer usually means more butterflies. Sadly, I haven't seen as many around this year. Which made it all the more exciting to find a pipevine swallowtail sampling the blooms this week. These beauties are difficult to capture because they rarely stop! I think this is the first time I've ever captured their dorsal side!



It was late afternoon so the flower beds were in the shade. Otherwise, you would have seen the iridescence in their wings. My friend, Kim, raises butterflies and you can see her beautiful images here



One of the reasons I'm seeing fewer butterflies may be because the deer have been eating my lantana blossoms this year. The little buggers. I will be happy when we get our fence up! In the meantime, I've started using the deer repellent spray again. It's a good thing, too, because there are plenty of babies around this year. I found another one "hidden" in the grass just the other day.




It's always fun to watch the babies. Here is a shot of the Mockingbird twins I introduced you to last week. They are learning to navigate the suet feeder.



The Woodhouse's Scrub Jay twins are learning, too! They haven't adapted to the swinging basket quite as well as the mockingbirds!



The pretty house finches don't mind the swinging basket and they're happy to share!



Such a pretty bird!



I've been going through so much suet that I buy it in bulk on Amazon! I can't blame the baby birds. The gold-fronted woodpeckers get more than their share.



And I'm currently fighting with four of these rascals!



Don't let that sweet face fool you! These guys can eat a hole in my sock feeder faster than I can get out the door to chase them away! 



We've had a lot of rain but no one seems to mind. The black-chinned hummingbirds continue to feed through all but the fiercest of storms. Small and mighty wins the day!





What are you seeing through
your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled week, friends!


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, June 4, 2017

Inspired by . . . the gold of His love

In her short story, The Two Caves, Elizabeth Goudge says of the man Jesus, "The child grew to be a man of great strength and vaster love and there was no experience known to men, joyous or appalling, peaceful or agonizing, through which he did not in some way pass, leaving the gold of his love at the heart of it to shine upon us as each in our turn we come to the happy or hard things of our life."

I love the thought of Jesus' love shining down on us with a golden light. 



Gold is mentioned over four hundred times in the Bible. The vast majority of those references are in the Old Testament, scriptures pertaining to the tabernacle and the temple. Gold was at the heart of God's dwelling place. 

Jesus is the heart of God. [click to tweet]

Gold is precious and pure. Incorruptible. 

Of course, the love of Jesus is all these things. But what did Goudge mean by the "gold of His love"? I can't know for sure, but here is what I think:

The very essence of His love is grace. [click to tweet]  Grace is what we need in every experience of life, whether joyous or appalling, peaceful or agonizing. 

His grace is sufficient. He is sufficient.

Christ alone.

I wonder, friend, are we allowing the gold of His love to shine on and through us as we face the hard things of life? the happy things?


Blessings,


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Friday, June 2, 2017

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

Hello, friends!

I'm a little late posting this week due to my #ReadUpstream post from yesterday. If you're interested in what I'm reading this month, click through and have a look.

There has been a lot of activity around the cottage this week! Our cottonwood tree is in bloom. Which explains my runny nose and the intoxicating smell in our front yard!



Queen Butterfly


The Mockingbirds have been around with their babies the last few days. It's amazing how quickly they grow! They look just like mommy and daddy except for their speckled chests.

Here they are learning how to navigate the suet by themselves.




There have been a lot of cardinals around, too, with their families. This is a young female.



Items of interest can always be found if you're looking for them.



At least that's what this Carolina Wren tells me as he searches through the flower box for bugs to feed his mate. She is still sitting on a clutch of eggs.


Carolina Wren as taken through my living room window
Summer is here! Whoot-woot!

I hope you're staying cool like this male house finch!




What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled weekend, friends!


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