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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 16:52

Hello, friends!

It's been a busy week but I did manage to capture a few delights to share with you! I know many of you are still under snow and ice. Perhaps a bit of spring gardening will encourage you!


The knockout roses are doing wonderful this year. All my lantana came back and most of my milkweed has sprouted. The Mexican Bush Sage which bloomed through the snow we had in December hasn't shown any signs of green yet and I'm afraid I might have lost it.
     

Ready to plant is more Mexican Bush Sage, butterfly weed and two "pow-pow" coneflower plants - excited for these to bloom! I also planted a few pentas for instant color.


The creeping jenny I planted a couple of weeks ago is doing well despite the high winds we've been having. With gusts up to 30mph here lately, you've got to wonder if the experience inside the birdhouse is a bit wilder than being out on a limb!

Carolina Wren

This Woodhouse's Scrub Jay posed nicely for me the other day.  


I haven't spotted any ruby-throated hummingbirds yet. I wonder if they got a memo about the weather y'all have been having up north?  I'll close with this week's shots of the current Yard Boss.




It's easy to see why they call them black-chinned hummingbirdsOne of these days I'll catch him with the sun on his chin and you'll see his pretty purple throat. 

What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Blessings,

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018



1 My times are in thy hand;
my God, I wish them there;
my life, my friends, my soul, I leave
entirely to thy care.


2 My times are in thy hand,
whatever they may be;
pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
as best may seem to thee.


3 My times are in thy hand;
why should I doubt or fear?
My Father's hand will never cause
his child a needless tear.


4 My times are in thy hand,
Jesus the Crucified;
those hands my cruel sins had pierced
are now my guard and guide.

***

I don't know when it was, the last time I sang or heard these words from the 19th century hymn writer, William Freeman Lloyd but it is no surprise that the refrain has been playing itself in my mind these last few days.

In the midst of the current political and world climate, it is easy to become fearful, even afraid of what the future may hold.

Lately, I've been finding great comfort in the life of Daniel.

As a young man, Daniel was taken from his life in Jerusalem and carted off to Babylon to serve in the King's household. The book of Daniel, in the Old Testament, spans the next 60 or so years. Daniel was exiled, away from all that he held dear for the rest of his life.

Daniel saw many atrocities against man and endured countless attacks on his faith during his lifetime. He faced death many times, including one night in the lion's den.

Interestingly enough, the only time Daniel expresses fear is when he is in the presence of angelic beings. Daniel 10:7 is one example:
And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. (Dan 10:7-8)
So what does Daniel's life in Babylon have to do with us today?

Daniel was able to live his life in exile, not only live but thrive (Daniel 2 tells us that the King promoted Daniel to a high position and bestowed on him many rich gifts) because he believed, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is sovereign over all things.

Daniel's ability to face his accusers, to be compassionate to an evil king, and to write the book of Daniel as an encouragement to the Israelites was only possible because of his humble response to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

Daniel had peace because he understood that nothing happens outside of God's ultimate control. This Truth can be difficult to grasp. Firmly believing it, even when we don't understand, comes down to faith.

Faith is born when we bow our heads to Jesus as Lord but it takes flight when we begin believing God's word as Truth. [click to tweet]
The holy God of Israel, the LORD Who saves you, says: "I am the LORD your God, the One who wants to teach you for your own good and direct you in the way you should go. (Isa 48:17)
Spending time with Him and in His word will give us the assurance and peace we need to overcome the fears cultivated by a God-less view of world circumstances. [click to tweet]

Daniel believed having only visions of a victorious end. How much more should we, having experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit given by the risen Savior, believe in the hope that is set before us!

What will it take in your life for you to know that God reigns?

Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 15:52

Time keeps marching on. Spring has tarried long this year for many of you. I wonder, do you wake up and feel like you've tumbled backward through a wardrobe into Narnia?

Fear not. Aslan IS come and spring will, too.

I'm excited to report that I've seen more monarchs already this year than all of last year put together!




This antelope horn milkweed hadn't even opened yet but this guy was doing his best!



There are more wildflowers blooming every day and the butterflies are everywhere!


American Lady and Gray Hairstreak on wild garlic
We had another new visitor to the front yard this week!



The Spotted Towhee!  My pictures are a little fuzzy as he was quite a distance away, hiding in the grass!



I was watching the Cardinals when I spotted his black head and said, "What's that!"



They are native to our area but are not usually seen at the feeders. I suspect this guy was just looking for something different for dinner!

There has been a lot of singing and chasing going on, which is typical for this time of year.



I have more than one pair of Cardinals. Although it is difficult to distinguish at times, the older male has more black feathers on his face. I'm trying to get good pics of all of them so I can get a real count. Is it two or three pair? I'm not sure.




While I was taking pictures of the monarch butterfly (above) the Eastern Bluebird swooped in to say hello. A little while later, a flock of cedar waxwings flew in, hiding in behind the new leaves of the tallow tree. They were gone before I could get a decent photo.

Never a dull moment!

The oak tree blossoms make for an interesting backdrop for our little "yard boss."




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, April 6, 2018

Inspired by . . . Winter's Blessing

The long wait of winter. The patience of spring.

Why endure? and not just endure but find JOY and contentment in the waiting?

What is the blessing of winter? Of any dark, long season of waiting?



New Life.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor 5:17 NKJV)
*** 
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3 NKJV)
Just as when we are born from our mother's womb, we continue to grow and mature after our spiritual birth as well.

Saved. Redeemed. Sanctified. Justified. Love. Faith.

These are all active verbs, working in the life of a believer.

God does not save us and then leave us alone. Beyond the amazing and incomprehensible saving grace of Christ's redemption is a relationship with the God of all creation. [click to tweet] A relationship that deepens as we pursue Him, even as He is pursuing us.

These seasons of waiting on God, often without understanding and sometimes with much pruning, are typically viewed as unfavorable trials.

Our culture has taught us that restfulness and waiting are negative and unproductive activities.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,So are My ways higher than your ways,And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
However, in God's economy, rest is actually a command and waiting increases our faith and reaps a blessing.

While it's true that this world is not our home, God has so much more for us than just stoic endurance here on earth. [click to tweet]

Faith is forged in the silence of our spiritually dry seasons. When we walk as those who are blind and cling fiercely to the hand of the only One Who knows the way.

Our dependence on Him is no crutch. Rather, like the lost puzzle piece, it completes that part of our souls that hunger and yearn for something more.

And in His perfect timing, we emerge like diamonds reflecting His love in the summer sun.




Blessings,


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Inspired by . . .  Life thru My Lens 14:52

I hope you all had a wonderful, holy week last week. I was blessed to follow Christ's footsteps through His week. If you're interested in reading my thoughts you can find a link to each day's post on the right side-bar.

My front yard has been as entertaining as ever this week! 

For some reason, the Cardinals prefer our dog's water bowl over my beautiful new fountain. Once the repairs on my ancient birdbath are finished I will have a better option for them.





The hummer count is increasing daily! Once the ruby-throats start passing through things will get really interesting. 



Current "yard-boss"



This time of year, you never know what might be passing through. I spotted an unusual bird last week and was able to get enough pictures to make an ID.



It can be a bit challenging this time of year since so many birds are first-year or immature males.


I'm pretty sure this beauty is an immature yellow-rumped warbler (Audobon's).



The map shows them as a winter visitor. So this guy is likely heading north to the breeding grounds in Canada - maybe even as far north as Alaska! 

It's always fun to see a new bird! Think of all the fun I miss when I'm inside working at my desk!

My perennials are coming along nicely in the garden. And I finally got some annuals planted in the porch pots. Geraniums were my dad's favorite, so I always like to have some around. 




This year, I added creeping jenny to the pots on the railing.




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, April 1, 2018





20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. (John 20:1-8NKJV)
***
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:29-31NKJV)
That you may believe.

Shalom,