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Monday, June 29, 2015

Inspired by . . . a month in photos: June

I wrote about the passing of June here. It was a hurried month. My favorite month of the year, it was not at all the slow inhale into summer that I’d hoped it to be. I’m not sure it was any one thing that made it this way, it just was.

But looking back, there were definitely moments.

Moments of wonder . . . moments of JOY.




Favorite photo of the month:



I’ve had this quote on my desktop inspiring me all month, thank you, Lisa:

I don’t want to be the one who says life is beautiful,

I want to be the one who feels it. ~Marty Rubin


Sprinklings of God’s mercy and grace:

1. A royal encounter

2. Gems of JOY

3. Sunshine

4. Celebration

5. Evidence of His work in the life of a loved-one


What about you, when you look

back at June, what do you see?





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Mona’s Picturesque

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Inspired by . . . golden

Was it just me, or did June seem to go by at an unusually warped speed? {pun intended}

If my understanding of Chapter IV of Laura’s book, Playdates with God, is correct then this feeling of time passing by at warp speed means that I’ve allowed things to become too familiar. I haven’t been out playing, seeking adventure, opening my eyes to God’s beauty and blessings as I should. A quick review of my calendar shows this to be true. My notes reveal that I haven’t been out adventuring for nearly a month. Not since I visited the thistle forest on the hill in late May.





The speed at which I devour life is not going to get me any farther ahead or hasten the day of His return. But it may, in fact, get me to That Day less prepared than I ought to be. I know this, and yet I don't act on it.

I let life dictate. There are some things out of our control, certainly. But there are many more things that we allow to have control, that we should not allow to have control.

I know this.

Allowing life to dictate - - being re-active, instead of pro-active - - leads to disappointment and disillusionment. It causes time to pass us by and leave us looking back longingly and, often, with regret.

I know this.

I also know what it feels like to get it right.

On days when I succeed, time seems to stand still. It's a euphoric feeling, similar to waking up and realizing it's first day of summer vacation - only better. It’s the feeling we get, I believe, when we’re in the center of God’s will. That golden moment.

I had one of these days in June.


I ache for more.

More is possible. But it involves being intentional {my #oneword365 for last year} and obedient. And let’s face it, when life wants to pull you in the opposite direction of obedient, it’s oh-so-very-easy to give in.




So what’s the answer?

New. {my #oneword365 for this year}

To begin anew.

Every day, seek the blessing. Seek a new perspective, endeavor to see through a gratitude shaped lens. Open your eyes to the possibility and promise.



Every moment is sacred when we pay attention to it.

~Laura Boggess, Playdates with God


And when we fail, there is grace, and another opportunity to begin anew.





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PlayDatesGod     Thought-Provoking-Thursday-Button

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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

We Texans are beginning to wonder if we were all kidnapped and relocated to Seattle. After ten {glorious} days of sunshine, we’re now back to 10+ days of rain. We have pretty much decided to give up on fixing our roads until November.

The cloudy days aren’t the best for photographing out-of-doors, but I’ve been playing {mostly} from the shelter of my porch.

The scissor-tailed flycatcher babies survived the storms of May, so a little June rain hasn’t deterred them in the least. Their parents have been chasing them from tree to tree, feeding them and teaching them to feed and preen. They’re quite vocal, but even when you can hear a bird, it’s not always easy to find them.

This first shot was taken the day after they fledged.




I was able to find three of the babies that day with the binoculars, but could only locate two with my camera lens. I could hear the fourth fledgling calling from another tree, and watched the parent fly to it with food, but never could put eyes on it.

A few days later, I was blessed to spot the family cavorting in the cedar tree in my front yard! It was raining, but I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass by.






You can always tell when one of the parents is around, lol!






I could only find two of the fledglings, but the parents kept going to other parts of the tree with food, so I believe the other two there, I just couldn’t find them.


I love this shot of one of the parents because you can see just how long their tails really are!




All-in-all a successful nesting attempt! These two will have their hands full for the rest of the summer! I’m interested to see how quickly the little one’s tails will grow. Hopefully the next shots I share of the fledglings will be under sunny skies.


The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow






Sharing inspiration here:

Life Thru the Lens at Lisa Kerner-Simply Living Photography     Wild Bird Wednesday

NatureNotes    Our_World_Tuesday

Monday, June 22, 2015

Inspired by . . . stay salty

I use a salt-substitute called Mural of Flavor. It’s a unique blend of seasonings, put together by the folks at Penzey’s Spices, and it’s great on a variety of foods. I use it on my fried chicken, grilled vegetables, even my sandwiches.

While using substitutes works well in cooking, it doesn’t work so well in our Christian life.


"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste,

how shall its saltiness be restored?

It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out

and trampled under people's feet.  Mat 5:13


Being trampled doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? But that’s exactly what can happen when we don’t preach the truth. Our integrity, our witness and our faith can easily get trampled underfoot.




We live in the information age. Almost everything you’ve ever wanted to know, and a lot of stuff you never wanted to know, is available with just a few clicks. But just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean it’s true. Some of this misinformation is unintentional and harmless. Like the lady at the market the other day who was telling people not to kill the Tomato Hornworm, because it turns into the Hummingbird Moth. It doesn’t. It turns into the five-spotted hawk moth {Manduca quinquemaculata}. The Hummingbird Clearwing {Hemaris thysbe} comes from a similar looking, but different caterpillar, which, incidentally does not feed on tomato plants. I was able to find one website that showed a picture of the hawk moth and claimed it was both the hummingbird moth and a sphinx moth, so I’m not at all surprised at her confusion.

But I digress.

The point is, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Sadly, when it comes to our faith the same can be said for what is preached from some pulpits on Sunday morning, expounded upon in Christian literature and shared in Bible study groups.

While which moth comes from which caterpillar may not matter one wit in the grand scheme of things, our view of God and a right understanding of His word matters a great deal. Not only for eternity, but for living in the here and now.

Jesus is our Lord and Savior, yes. He is our Master, yes. But He is also our friend and brother, fellow heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and help. It is the Holy Spirit Who reveals and teaches us the truths about Jesus.




Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

You are My friends if you do what I command you.

No longer do I call you servants,

for the servant does not know what his master is doing;

but I have called you friends,

for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Joh 15:13-15


But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,

He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Joh 14:26

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,

provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
Rom 8:16-17


So staying salty means being seasoned with the Truth. But how do we know what is Truth? how do we guard against false teachers?


"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Mat 7:15


The apostle Paul said: “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you,

not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things,

to draw away the disciples after them.”
Act 20:29-30


The best way that I know of to know the truth about someone is to get to know them personally. Don’t just take someone else's word for Who God is and what He said. Meet with God yourself, read His Word. Talk to Him. Listen. He longs to be in a personal relationship with you.

After you listen to a sermon, go home and look up the scripture references for yourself. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding. He will do it!




Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,

I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.
Rev 3:20


If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,

who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Jas 1:5


Going Deeper,



Sharing inspiration here:


PlayDatesGod Holly Barrett

Thought-Provoking-Thursday-Button     GraceTruth_Friday

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Inspired by . . . Nest Watch Update Vol. III

Although we’re pushing well into mid-June there is still a lot of nesting excitement going on around here!

I’m thrilled to report that we have four scissor-tailed babies - that’s two more than last year’s clutch!

This year’s nest is not as exposed as last year’s, so it’s been challenging to get good pictures.

Ready for some cuteness ?






I’ve been trying to take pictures every couple of days without upsetting mama bird too much. These guys will be fledging soon!




The other exciting news is that I have a new nest to watch! The mockingbirds are rebuilding. You may remember they had another nest site which, I believe, was destroyed in one of our storms last month. This time they chose the oak tree in my front yard!




It’s very well hidden, in a large clump of leaves, which you’ll see in the next picture. I put a purple circle around the bird where she is just entering the nest.




I have no idea how I’m going to count eggs, etc. I certainly can’t climb the tree! And this mockingbird pair are quite adversarial! I’ve twice caught them running off the cuckoo. Although you really can’t blame them for not wanting to raise someone else’s kids, lol.

Whenever one bird is in the nest, the other keeps a close watch.




As an added bonus, while I was photographing the scissor-tailed flycatcher babies, I notice a little bird perched higher up in the tree above the nest.




A sweet little lark sparrow! Aren’t his markings lovely?

Well, that’s this week’s excitement!

I hope to be back next with with some fledgling photos!

Have a wonder-filled week,



Are you on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter? Every day in June I’m posting a #sightsofsummer image, won’t you join me?

Sharing inspiration here:

Wild Bird Wednesday


Monday, June 15, 2015

Inspired by . . . a more excellent way

Jesus called us the light of the world.

Just like the light of EƤrendil, given to Frodo by Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring, we are to be a light in dark places.


"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket,

but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Mat 5:14-15




Our world has some very dark places. The darkness is spreading.

But it will not overcome the Light.

Mankind needs to see the Light now more than ever before. A light on a hill can be seen, it’s rays can be felt.

It’s also an easy target.

So what should our response be to the injustices, the immorality and evils of this world?


The effect of the cross is salvation,

sanctification, healing, etc.,

but we are not to preach any of these,

we are to preach Jesus Christ

and Him crucified.

The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work.

~Oswald Chambers

Preaching against specific evils often results in hardened hearts. The Bible does {and is often condemned for} not speak out against specific evils, like slavery for instance. But even a casual examination of the scriptures will prove that God created all men equal and He condemns injustice against all.




We so often fall to one extreme or the other. We preach “God loves you” as a complete theology, or “those actions will send you to hell” as a complete theology. Rarely do we put them together and season them with His grace and mercy.

The message of Christ crucified, a heart transformation through forgiveness of sin, is what changes people. Evil institutions will fall when people with the heart of the Father beating in their chests stand against them.

Two glowing examples of this truth are the Apostle Paul and Billy Graham.

As Christians, we are ALL called to preach the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, but it’s important to remember that the HOW may be different for each of us. God has given us each a unique platform and place from which to preach, and a unique audience. What is important is that we obey God’s specific call on our life.




So how do we obey God’s call?

By staying salty, my friend, staying salty.


Going Deeper,



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Holly Barrett

Thought-Provoking-Thursday-Button     GraceTruth_Friday