Tag: Nature

When was the last time…

When was the last time you laid in the grass looking up through the branches and leaves of a tree? Or watched puffy white clouds float across the sky?

To be honest, I didn’t set out to ponder the universe. But after making it up the street to the high school and around the newly reconditioned track encompassing the football field I was beat.

Spotting a bench in the park on my way back to the house my intention was to sit down for just a minute to catch my breath. But the grassy hillside in the shade was so inviting that just moments after I sat down, I leaned back to take in the soft coolness of the grass and gaze up between the branches and the leafy-ness.

I found my thoughts drifting…the branches in the trees with the leaves at the end look so much like the structure of our lungs.  And as a lightning strike in the distance grabbed my attention, I noticed how much it looks like a neuron – a nervous system cell.

I marveled at how much of biology is repetitious with structure and function – like the leaves of the tree help it take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, and our lungs do the same for our bodies – take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

But also how no 2 fingerprints are alike and no two snowflakes either.  So much simplicity in repetition, yet so much complexity in individuality.

Made me realize how long it’s been since I laid down under a tree and just watched the clouds go by and pondered the universe.

And how little time kids have to do just that these days…with the minutes that aren’t structured with school and teams and clubs being filled with technology and video games.

Anyway – had a little communing with God about creation and wrote a short poem – dictated into my cell phone, and then came on home.

Here’s the start of the poem I wrote – You’re invited to sit under a tree and finish it – or write your own!

Thank You, God, for the sun
For making trees
For sending the breeze
Thank You for making the mountains so tall
And the sky so blue
It all points us to You

The beauty of the world
The puffy clouds
The gorgeous flowers
The highest peaks
The tiny bee
Amazes me for hours

The complexity eludes me

The simplicity astounds
The repetitiveness amazes me
and the diversity abounds

How about you?  When was the last time you just looked around and marveled – thinking about everything…and nothing?

Get outside this week if you can. Take in God’s Creation. And listen to what it says to you. 

 

Will you Squat or Soar?

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It may be warming up where you are, but in Colorado, we are having what may be the snowiest March on record!

And there are still lots of birds wintering here from Canada.  They’re fun to watch as I walk around the nearby lake.

Picture a cold snowy day. There is a white, icy bed of snow on the ground; ice creeping slowly across the lake.

Your eye moves from the white of the ground, to the gray of the freezing water, to the haze of the sky, hemming in the horizon with a veil of frosty air. The sun is only a bright spot in the gray blanket of low, snow clouds tucked in around the lake. Not much is moving as you gaze out across the expanse of grayness.

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There are groups of ducks and geese, tightly tucked and asleep on the ice. Another group of nondescript white birds is clumped together near the water. But there is none of the clucking and chatter that usually accompanies their presence. Not a sound is heard. The frigid air threatens to stop any communication cold, as it freezes every breath taken.

Then, above the lake, a bird appears: silently soaring, in seemingly slow motion. Its graceful wings, stretched to its farthest reach, give it a look of majesty as it hangs upon the air. It is joined by another. They turn twice, together, and are joined by a third.

The mid-air ballet continues for several moments before they separate and go in three different directions. As one flies towards you, you can see the graceful curve of its pure white, broad wings, and the delicate black tips that reach out to capture the air that lifts it higher.

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You recognize this bird. It’s the same kind that you noticed before, squatting, clumped together with others like it in a huddle on the ground. This same little nondescript bird that blended in so plainly with the frozen background displays a Godly majesty when flying. But of course! Flying is exactly what God created it for!

Soaring, is what God created you for. What is keeping you squatting in the snow?

It’s so easy to stay on the ground with our friends, huddled against the circumstances of our lives, fearing the cold, the wind.

But the air is warmer higher up. And the wind lifts you. And God has prepared you to enjoy using the gift of soaring He has given you! And His glory and majesty that you reflect, will inspire others and honor Him.

But, the choice is yours. Will you squat? Or soar?

Take the leap!  See you up there  smiley-1635449_640

What a season!

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What a season we are in! And I don’t mean winter.

question-mark-5470199_640human-5480043_640We are in a season of media frenzy and we have been for some time. Stories pop up on my phone constantly, and call for me to read them. Many inflame and upset my heart and my mind and bring confusion to my thoughts. So many issues seem unjust, unfair, just plain wrong. And they offer no solution.

My solution, is to be still to listen for God’s voice. I take a walk and lift my eyes to the mountains or to the sky. I watch the clouds, or the pine trees bending in the gentle wind. I watch the geese wintering here from Canada.

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I sit quietly and read scripture. Some I read out loud, looking for the truth of who I am, created by God; and who He is and His love for me and every individual He created in the world. And I let the truth wash over me.

praying-5406270_640From within the truth I look out onto the world with compassion and I pray for it: its leaders, its people, the issues that so perplex and confuse us because of the false news and misinformation being propagated.

I pray for the hearts of men and women and children to be turned to the Lord. And for God to speak to those in power who control governments, the media, the militaries, the corporations, the churches, synagogues and mosques, and the field of entertainment – and for those people to listen.

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For me, it has become a season of prayer.  And of listening more intently for God’s Voice.  He does speak.

And especially now, I’m listening.

I want to be an Olive Tree

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What a blessing it was to travel to Israel, to see the city of Jerusalem, and to walk and meditate and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I am forever changed by that experience.

 

 

115America is a fairly young country, so even our old buildings are not that old. Historically and intellectually it was amazing to see ruins and structures there that had stood for hundreds, even thousands of years. And to walk among those remains of buildings and walls that were there when Jesus walked among them was even more meaningful and resonated with me in a way that added to my faith.

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Seeing stones is one thing.  But to see trees, actual living things that were alive when Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane was mind-blowing!

To know that two trees I stood near, sat near, were the same trees that Jesus sat next to 2000 years ago created in me a connection that was so intimate, it seemed surreal.

Our guide taught us things about olive trees I did not know.   And when I read this Psalm, it added a whole new level of understanding and meaning to all that an olive tree actually is.  And it becomes my prayer:

Psalm 52:8-9  NIV

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
 for ever and ever.

For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

Lord, make me like a green olive tree in Your house –

– one that is alive, and vibrant and growing,

one that produces fruit in season

and has long deep roots that penetrate deep into spiritual soil

– one that is protected because I am in Your house O Lord

one that You care for individually

and tend to personally

making sure I have everything I need to grow strong

– one that is surrounded by others in a community, the way olive trees grow

so that I can persevere and remain strong even when winds come

– one that will stand, in the midst of the others for years and years and years to come

even as the olive trees that have remained in the Garden of Gethsemane are still living, for two thousand and four hundred years,

and are the same ones Your precious Son knelt by on that fateful night He purposed for Your will to be done in His life on earth

 

Let me be like the olive tree that is both beautiful and amazing to look at

May others see me, and see Your care, and be drawn to You through me

As the olive tree produces food to eat,

and oil for lamps,

and ointments for anointing and healing,

Let me be nourishment, and light and blessing and healing to those around me.

May I draw on the strength of the community of other trees You have placed around me,

leaning into them,

drawing restful shade from them, without comparing myself to them

knowing that there are times when we take, and times we give back

 

May I trust in Your lovingkindness for ever and ever –

olivetreegogmeeven when I am confused

even when I can’t see Your will at work

even when I don’t feel You present

even when the world denies it

even through tears and pain and sorrow

O Lord, May You continue to guide and guard, heal and bless my life with Your Holy Word.  And I will give You thanks forever for what You have done; and will hope in Your name, for it is good; and will give You praise in the presence of Your saints.  Amen

Through Nature – God Speaks

The air was still, and cold enough to make your breath visible. There was a crispness in the crunch heard underfoot. The panorama of clear blue sky, bright shining sun, frigid lake and majestic mountains lay ahead like a still life watercolor. The one newly added element of beauty: a crystal, sparkling cover of frost on everything close to the ground.

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Just yesterday, each individual blade of grass stood erect at attention, solid in its color, shape and form. Broad leaves on the grapevine fanned out, completely concealing clusters of heavy, ripe fruit. Tiny blossoms on the ground cover delicately looked up to form a carpet of color.

Beautiful? Yes. But this morning, the frost gives a fantastic surreal quality to the whole scene.

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The cold has caused everything to bow down.

The tall blades of grass, still firm at their bases, are bent low in their length, all in a similar posture. The grape leaves droop from the stem, revealing bountiful clusters beneath. The small flowers, already low to the ground bend in humble submission. And yet, in this portrait of prostration, this vista of genuflecting humbleness, there is an exalting of each individual entity.

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The frost has covered and completely encased each blossom, each leaf, each blade of grass, redefining its shape and form in glittering beauty. The special uniqueness of each stands out and is magnified in glistening profile by the sun! What a picture of being humbled, but exalted, of bowing low, yet being lifted up!

Scripture tells us that one day every knee will bow, and for those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift them up. This very scene is played out in nature for us to see and appreciate.

frosted bent flower

It’s as if the plants represent us: bowing in the presence of our Lord. The frost is like the Holy Spirit on those who are believers. His light will shine on us and define us with a beauty that surpasses our own and exalts us in His presence.

 

This magnificent scene, so uplifting in its beauty, was short-lived; lasting only a few minutes before the heat from the bright shining sun took its toll on the icy beauty..

The image it created in my mind of what is to come will be with me always.

I remain grateful that through nature…God speaks.