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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 13:52

We've had some beautiful, sunny days this past week. But a strong north wind, 30mph gusts at times, has made it uncomfortable to be out-of-doors. Early mornings and early evenings, when the wind is calmer, have been best.

We have more bluebonnets on the property this year - and I'm thrilled to see that they are reseeding and spreading out! I'm doing a wildflower series on my instagram, if you want to follow me there.

The black-chinned hummingbirds are back. So far I have two males and a female. If anyone has an angry bird meme, this little guy would win the prize!

Defending "his" territory, no doubt! Of course, the female is as sweet as can be.

The neighbor's horses were back this week. Looking longingly at our green pastures.

I planted some geraniums, very early, Easter morning. And then played with the camera for a bit as the sun was breaking through the clouds.

It was a beautiful, blessed morning.

I like to play with light and focus, and just see how the camera responds - - what it captures. These are new leaves on one of my rose bushes.

As I mentioned, it's been very windy. A few days ago I noticed two large birds soaring high over the property. They were quite far away, but I could tell they weren't vultures. It's unusual to see hawks together, so I think they might be a breeding pair. By zooming in on a couple of the other shots, I think they are red-tailed hawks. I can't be 100% sure, but that is a likely bet.

I've really been enjoying the female gold-fronted woodpecker. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is the first year the female has been around. So my little male has finally found a mate! I'm hoping they nest nearby and I can report baby bird sightings soon!

I like this picture because you can see  how she uses her beak to forage down under the bark for bugs.

The wildflowers are peaking early this year and there are tons of butterflies around!  No complaints here! These common buckeye butterflies are especially fun to stalk and capture. With my camera, of course!

So, what are you seeing
through your lens
this week?

Have a wonder-filled day,

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

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Inspired by . . . He Is Risen!

Blessings on your Easter.

He Lives!

I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

 In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

 Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Inspired by . . . pastel fun

Just having some fun with these hummingbird silhouettes. 

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Inspired by . . . Psalm 126

What's your story?

We all have one. What we tell, and how we tell our stories is as unique as the stories themselves. All stories have a beginning and an end. But some have more than one beginning.

Although Jesus had me in mind from the beginning of time, for me, my story began the day I was born. Thus the story of my life began to unfold. Over time, I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)
Then, one day, Jesus opened my eyes to His truth. I became aware of my sin, confessed it, turned away from it, and asked Him to forgive me. He did. He already had.
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
A new beginning.

Jesus created in me a new heart. He put His Spirit in me and made me, is making me, the person I am today.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new had come. (2 Cor 5:17)
Still flawed, yet new, being transformed, bit-by-bit, into His likeness.
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Php 1:6)
Maybe this is true of you, too. If so, you can relate to the JOY of Psalm 126.

A Song of Ascents. When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psa 126:1-6)
The psalmist sings Israel's story. But it is a story we, as believers, can share.

Don't let the term "turn{ed} again" confuse you. It's the Hebrew word shûb, and it means to restore, to bring back home. Isn't that a wonderful picture? The Israelis thought so. They had been long years in captivity. The very idea of being free was like a dream to them.
“Is this a dream? O, if it be a dream,
Let me sleep on, and do not wake me yet.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Psalm 126 praises God for His deliverance from captivity. God's people had been taken from their homes and held captive in a foreign land. Our captivity is not a physical, but a spiritual one. We were once held captive by sin.

We can't defeat sin on our own. It took the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to conquer sin, once, for all.
"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 15:55-57)
We can all sing this song of mercy's sweetness.

Have you tasted it?

Oh, how sweet it is to be freed from the bonds of sin! To be restored - - made new!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 12:52

It's officially Spring! {in the northern hemisphere anyway}

You may have noticed a change in animal behavior around your house. No, I'm not talking about your human-animals. Although spring break does tend to produce some strange behavior.

Around my house the birds, more than anything else, announce the change of season. There is a lot of chattering, singing and chasing going on!

It's nesting season!

The black-crested titmice have been the most active so far this year - - I have several pairs flitting about. 

One couple decided to build a nest in one of the new fence posts we recently set up in the front yard. {new fence coming soon!}

He and his mate were enjoyable to watch, but I knew after last year's chickadee nest fail, I couldn't let the building continue. The pipes are just too narrow inside, and the babies can't get out when it's time to fledge.

After first making sure there were no eggs in the nest, I placed a cup over the top of the pipe. Imagine the little guy's surprise when he returned! There was quite a lot of chatter between he and his mate, to be sure!

Talking about birds and their nests always brings to mind the passage from Luke 9:
And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." (Luk 9:58)
Here, Jesus is speaking of His poverty and lack of dignity in the world's eyes. He is warning those who follow Him to expect the same. As believers, we must be prepared to follow Him, no matter where the path leads.

The titmouse's nesting attempt reminds me of something else too: God's sovereignty. These sweet little birds were doing exactly what they were suppose to be doing, building a home in which to start a new family. But something stopped them. They don't understand what, who or why. 

It's like that for us sometimes, too. We're moving through life, doing good things, with good intentions. Then, suddenly, our life is thrown off track, and we don't understand why. Understanding may come eventually or, like the titmice, we may never understand. 

Either way, we have a choice.

We can choose to believe the truth, that God is good - all.the.time. or we can doubt His goodness, and believe Him to be a liar. It's really quiet simple, we either trust God, or we don't.

What about you? What are some of the things that might derail your faith? Or perhaps your life has already been derailed. I encourage you to decide now to trust in Him, no matter what may happen or how your current situation may unfold.

Take time to dive into the scriptures this week. Meet Jesus right where He is, on the streets of Jerusalem, preparing to die for your sins. Any one of the four gospels will give an account, but if you want to follow Jesus day by day you may start in Mark 11.

Or, if you prefer, there are several online sources that will walk you through. 

Bible Gateway - Journey to Easter

Meet with Jesus this week. You will discover that He is a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Can you relate? 

You'll find that Jesus can relate to you.


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, March 18, 2016

Inspired by . . . Psalm 125

Are you noticing a theme, as we walk this path of ascent toward Jerusalem with our Lord? 

These psalms ascribe to Him the glory and praise He is most worthy of, but they also remind us of His intimate care and concern for us; His beloved children.

A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore. For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel! (Psa 125:1-5)

In this psalm we have three promises:

1. Those who trust in God, their hearts shall be firmly established by faith. Psalm 112:7

2.Those who trust in God, shall be safe, under His protection. v. 2 and Job 1:10 They shall be safe forevermore, for God's covenant with His people cannot be broken. Isa 54:10

3. God will not allow more than we can bear. Some debate this promise, but consider this, the troubles we endure here in this world cannot reach our souls. I can only speak from personal experiences, but mine have led me to concur with Matthew Henry's belief that, 
"God considers the frame of His people, and will proportion their trials to their strength by the care of His providence, as well as their strength to their trials by the power of His grace."
As we move into Passion Week, let us consider the steps of our Lord as He made His way to Calvary. At Calvary we see the full and final proof of God's great love for us. Proof that He truly does not give us more than we can bear, for we could never bear our sin before a Holy and Righteous God.

And so, Christ bore our sin for us, freeing us to live with Him, surrounded by His love and protection, forevermore.

Let us lift our voices in prayer and praise to Him Who is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,
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,

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Inspired by . . . a blessing

To all of you . . . 

May the road rise up
to meet you,

May the wind always be
at your back.

May the sun shine warm 
upon your face,
and rains fall soft
upon your fields,

And until we meet again,
may God hold you
in the palm of His hand.

~Irish blessing


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 11:52

Sunday was one of those rare days when time seems to stand still, and JOY overflows. After five days of {much} needed rain, the sun emerged triumphant, wrapping me in it's warm embrace. It shone almost too brightly. Like a dream where you keep rubbing your eyes, trying to focus.

The breeze, which has been largely unwelcome all winter, came leaping and bounding from the south, bringing with it promises of warmer nights and just a hint of the sea.

Besides getting the second flower bed cleaned out, I'm unashamed to admit that I accomplished very little. 

Nature is wholly captivating to me. I can sit or wander for hours in complete wonder at her performance. I may or may not have sat, slack-jawed, as a giant swallowtail fluttered by. Already? It's only March! I grabbed the camera and went chasing after it, but alas it was gone, leaving only a vague impression of it's radiance.

My Dreamer has completed the first stage of the fence that we're putting up around our yard, and the Phoebes are taking advantage of the extra perches.

Rain or shine.

The rain also brought one of our occasional visitors, the Killdeer. They are such neat birds. This one wasn't at all camera shy, but I was shooting from inside the car, so it's not the best capture.

I spent a rainy day at my mom's place last week and her bird feeders were especially active. We counted seven male Northern Cardinals. Although I can only locate six in this picture.

What a treat it was to watch them!

Hopefully you haven't tired of all the birds . . .

Carolina Chickadee

. . . and butterflies.

American Lady

Because my big news this week is - - the hummers are back!

Black-chinned Hummingbird

I'm thinking about relocating my feeders, so my pictures don't look all the same as last year's.

What are you seeing
through your lens
this week?

Have a wonder-filled day,

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, March 11, 2016

Inspired by . . .  Psalm 124

Who's your champion?

That one person who always cheers you on, lifts you up, and puts the silver lining in your cloudy day.

Psalm 124 reminds us that our true champion is God. The psalmist, David, reminds us to give credit where credit is due.
 A Song of Ascents. Of David. If it had not been the LORD Who was on our side— let Israel now say—if it had not been the LORD Who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. (Psa 124:1-8)
If you know anything about David's story, you know that he had people come against him most of his life. Being God's chosen one didn't equal easy times for David. At times, he was his own worst enemy. But God redeemed him from his sin, and out of the hands of those who sought to hurt him. Even his own children.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. (Psa 118:6-7)

We are God's chosen people, His royal priesthood. We can claim the same promise of scripture: God is on our side!

Enemies come in all shapes and sizes. I don't know what enemy you're facing today. Maybe it's the face in the mirror. Whoever, or whatever it is, God can help. He can redeem you, and your circumstances. We may yet lose our worldly possessions, but our soul, our courage, our hope, these are the things that God protects.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Heb 13:5-6)
Let us pause and give adoration and praise to the One Who has preserved our life. The One Who has taken us out of darkness, and put our feet upon the rock. Where would we be without our God? The very thought should swell our hearts with gratitude for all He has done.

Do you, like David, have a psalm of thanksgiving to bring before the Lord? Sing to Him today. Bring a witness before man of His wonderful deeds, and the redeeming power of His glorious Son!


Looking for more? You can find Kimberlee's Lent offerings here.

Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,
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,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 10:52

Waking up to the rain this morning was truly a blessing. We need it so badly here in south Texas. It should also help clear some of this pollen out of the air, saving me from death-by-sneezing.

The rain comes in perfect timing after the gorgeous weather we had last week. My back tolerated an hour or so cleaning out the flower beds, making room for the new growth that has already begun to sprout.

Butterfly Weed
All the discomfort of being on my knees was worth it to have a visit from this sweet lady.

American Lady Butterfly
My Dreamer was just as busy, mowing and clearing out old growth from around the trees.

I thought this was a neat picture of the old Tico 2 engine my Dreamer rescued from the Randau Oil Lease in Web-county, Texas. Everybody thinks it's a canon.

It was lovely to take a rest after working in the soil, and be serenaded by this sweet voice.

I do love to listen to my house finches!  All is peaceful, until the clowns of the bird-world swoop in and make their presence known.

I took my walk a little later than normal one day, and was able to sneak up on the last few winter hold-outs. It's so much easier to spot them in the green grass. 

Soon, all the Western Meadowlarks will be returning north. You can see an animated map of their annual migration here, if you're interested.

I like this shot because it shows their markings, both back, and a hint of the front, so well. Such a contrast! From the back, you'd never guess the front of this bird was so lovely!

I'll miss the meadowlarks when they go. But their departure means that the hummingbirds and scissor-tail flycatchers will be arriving soon. I wonder how many babies we'll have this year?!

The seasons change, the birds come and go, but I can always count on Kitty to be waiting for me when I get back from my walk.

What are you seeing
through your lens this week?