“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain
In the aftermath of a storm like “Harvey” that my fellow Americans in Texas have recently experienced….the losses, the grief, the pain, one could easily ask, where is the beauty in this? As with all natural disasters, there is beauty to be found in the kindness, courage, and the love of strangers reaching out to help those in need. That kind of beauty takes precedent over any nature photos I may share this week. I hope you are inspired by the images, reminded to pray for the families affected, and continue to spread kindness and love in your own little corner of the world.♥
Love helps the young…
Love helps the elderly, weak and frail….
Love sees no color…
Love sees neither male nor female….
Love rescues the helpless, human or beast….
And sadly, sometimes love gives the ultimate, one’s own life…
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13
“A bird is safe in its nest – but that is not what its wings are made for.”
― Amit Ray
So, today’s post was going to be an update on the wren nest, a Little Flying Thieves sequel, but there are rufflings in my own nest, and that has dominated my thoughts for this day.
For the second time, my nest has experienced stirrings of things to come. Our youngest began his first day of his senior year…and as I watched him getting in his car, the reality of that and all it signals slowly began to sink in.
I finished my cup of coffee, then, too antsy to stay in the house, I was actually glad there were weeds to pull….I needed something to do with my hands and fresh air to linger in with my thoughts.
As with every milestone reached in our children’s lives, we ask ourselves the question, “Where did the time go?” In the words of a popular song when my oldest was graduating middle school, “it happens in a blink.”
I think of the little wren family-the young have flown their own way. Mama and Papa wren gave them all they needed to survive and hopefully thrive, and then it is left in the hands of nature. So too, of course, with our own children. We give our all, we love them as best we humans are capable of, then we leave it in the hands of a very capable and loving Father, Who, after all, loves them way more than we ever could.
They are His Masterpiece .
Psalm 139 reminds me that God knew my children before they were ever born, and He has a plan for their lives beyond what I am able to see….
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
So today, as our journey as parents continues to bring us one step closer to a true “empty nest” I look back over our sons’ lives so far, and I am thankful….thankful that I have been blessed with two sons to call my own; thankful for a husband who supported me in my desire to be a stay-at-home parent; thankful for our homeschooling years and the days they were able to spend in nature doing their lessons; thankful for the teachers who continued those lessons and further impacted their lives; and thankful mostly for knowing they will not walk this road of life alone but will be guided by the One whose “eyes saw their unformed bodies and has all their days written in His book before one of them came to be.”
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10
Younger than the mountains, Blowin’ like the breeze.”
The above lyrics are from the song “Country Roads” by John Denver, and if ever a state deserved to have a song written about it for its beauty, West Virginia is certainly deserving of that honor.
My younger son and I were blessed to have a week to explore some of its beautiful trails, gorgeous in their own right, and leading to breathtaking views at the end. Pictures will never do it justice, but I will attempt to share bits of the beauty we enjoyed.
Although Blackwater Falls (pictured above) is probably the biggest attraction, we preferred the idyllic views of:
Not far into the hike, it felt as if we had stepped onto the set of a magical Disney film or a Lord of the Rings set. From the moss-covered rocks and trees to the abundance of ferns, blooming rhododendrons, mushrooms, and the babbling brook leading to the waterfalls, it was truly like stepping into another world.
Lindy Point was another place we explored. Hiking this trail was like taking a stroll through the jungle….rhododendrons hugged the path as we made our way to the top where we were met with this view:
In the Monogahela National Forest we hiked part of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. It boasts incredible views from the top and has terrain of bog and heath ecotypes more commonly found in southern Canada.
summer before senior year
The rocks are extremely fun to navigate, and the scenery is simply spectacular. While resting on a large rock formation taking in the views, I looked to a nearby evergreen and was delighted with a sighting of one of my favorite birds, the Cedar waxwing.
It was the first time I had ever been on equal altitude with this beauty!
The drive up to Dolly Sods is quite long, but the beauty along the way makes the journey as enjoyable as the destination. A variety of wildflowers, butterflies, and a scenic creek adorn the trek, making a non-stop drive all but impossible to a camera-wielding, nature enthusiast.
Queen Annes Lace
And, of course, what drive in the country would be complete without a good ol’ barn-sighting…or a house that looks like a barn, not sure, but charming, nonetheless.
After a hike at dusk one evening, we saw this adorable woodland creature…
Growing up near the shore I will always be a fan of the ocean, but I am always grateful for a trip to the mountains where I can hike and relish a different kind of beauty…all a part of this glorious gift we have been given called nature.
This post is dedicated to our dear friends Ed and Denise….thank you for introducing us to the beauty of this often overlooked state, but mostly for your gift of friendship!
For your listening pleasure, the song behind the post:
I hope you find your own country road to explore and take in the wonders around!
“We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds tomorrow.”
It’s a mild Sunday morning, beautiful 70 degree temperature with a few clouds promising rain later in the day. My husband and I have recently returned home from church, he enjoyed some banana-oat and I some yummy buckwheat pancakes:) We have now settled into our own little writing nooks….he is busily editing a book, and I have been thinking about today’s sermon, which was on worry. It brings many images from the Bible to my mind….some of which point to how God takes care of nature as our example. I thought I’d add some photos with a few scriptures as my takeaway from a theme that’s good to be reminded of daily.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Mt. 6:26,27
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Mt. 10:29-31
The above picture is of a bird I rescued after it flew into our window. Every time I hear a thump, which is sadly often, I race to the window to see if I can spot the victim and get to it before my cat does. I’m amazed at how much I care for these little birds, which I had nothing to do with bringing into the earth, and then, how much more our heavenly Father cares for us!
” And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Luke:25-27
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you…Mt.6:30
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself…Ps.84:3
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4
A phrase our pastor said that really stuck out to me was…
“To worry is to imagine a time when God will not be with you.”
God has already promised us in Mathew 28:20
“And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6,7
Of all the beauty that our loving, heavenly father created, there is none more precious to Him than us…..
Psalm 8:3-9English Standard Version (ESV)
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[a] and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
At the moment, I am sitting on a deck in West Virginia watching and listening to a thunderstorm roll in and thankful that it waited until after our morning hike. I love a good thunderstorm, especially when they are so conveniently timed. Since our hiking is on hold, I thought it would be a great time to pull out my morning-time memories from July.
I know some people are not very keen on spiders, but they don’t bother me if I know they aren’t poisonous and they don’t get in my way. We even had a beautiful argiope build a nest on the porch at our old home and we liked her so much we named her “Miss Nelly.” When the powerwasher came to clean the house, he thought I was crazy when I gave him strict instructions not to dare harm Miss Nelly!
Back to July….and a web I saw the morning sunlight shining through-they can be a real work of art.
The home-wrecking wrens abandoned the nest they ousted the black-capped chickadees from…apparently the male wren may build several nests before the pair choose the nest to use. Below, mama wren is waiting for me to leave the porch so she can take the moth in her mouth to her waiting babies. She took over my hanging Fuschia plant, and I don’t know how long I was watering the poor eggs before I saw the wren and discovered the nest. All is well, I didn’t drown the fledglings, and I will post pictures of them soon.
I was very pleased this dragonfly stayed perched on a Tiger lily bud long enough for me to get a picture…
The autumn sedum is gearing up for its fall show with emerging buds…
Black-eyed Susans, Russian sage, and hosta blooms really come into their own in July…
Russian Sage with Black-eyed Susan in back
A mourning dove looking rather coy, or regal, not sure which….
One of my favorite little creatures enjoying some greens…
And finally, what would I do without my morning, or anytime, Harold sightings! He really showed me some new stuff this month.
First I caught him looking rather, for lack of a better description, bizarre…
I was actually worried about him when I first observed this strange wing “arrangement.” I watched him for a while until to my great relief, he flew away, allaying my fears that he was somehow hurt. When I googled this spread-wing posture, I learned that this can be done to dry their wings, keep their balance when perching, regulate body temperature and several other reasons.
Next, if I hadn’t known herons build their nest up high, I would have thought he was building a nest on one of his favorite perches during another morning observation of him. I watched him for a while as he grabbed different sticks off the fallen log and put them down into a pile before he finally found one he liked and flew off with it! I don’t know if he was adding it to a nest already in the making or if it was the stick he planned to use to woo a passing female with. Since nesting season is pretty much over, however, and herons stick with the same mate all season, I’m really not sure what Harold was up to… maybe the nest just needed some repair.
So, that wraps up my morning time from July in pictures! The rain stopped here in West Virginia, and my son and I were able to get in an after-dinner hike and take in some more scenery of this beautiful state. I look forward to sharing some of those pictures with you!
Until next time!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8