Sunday Thoughts…Daily Inspiration

“We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds tomorrow.”

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Northern flicker

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.

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Atop an Alpine in Colorado

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

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Wood thrush

 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!

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Butterfly finding nourishment from the daylilies
” 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
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Wild grasses by the bay
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
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Mother cardinal checking on nest
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
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Female Eastern towhee
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.”
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Bleeding Heart

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

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Eastern Phoebe enjoying a moth

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)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[a]
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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 Happy Sunday!
∼ Jen

Kayaking at Dusk… Carpe Diem!

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The part of the creek I refer to as “Rivendell”… no elf sightings yet though:)

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!”
― Jane Austen, Emma

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Finding pathways through the lily pads…

It was 7:30 at night, the after-dinner mess was mostly cleaned up, and I was joining my younger son on the porch for conversation and relaxation.  After that, my big plans for the night were pajamas and maybe an HGTV recording.  Then, out of the blue he asks, “Want to go for a kayak ride?”

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My son with his river companion “creekdog”

That was the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth, and truthfully one of the last things I wanted to do.  It had been a busy day, and my pajamas were calling my name!  I could think of other reasons as well….like dusk was smorgasbord time for mosquitos and, well, I had just downed about 10 ounces of vegetable juice, enough said.

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It took me all of about three seconds, though, to dismiss those thoughts and head for the paddles!  Many of my fondest memories have been spur-of-the-moment ideas with those I love…so many memories I would have missed had I reacted “logically” or dismissed because of not wanting to leave my momentary comfort.

With that in mind, I rounded up Princess-who does love a good paddleboard ride-grabbed the camera, fortified the mosquito spray with extra cedarwood and lavender, and off we went!

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Pure Bliss.

As someone once said, “Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure,” and I, for one, wholeheartedly agree!

∼ Jen

Confessions from the Garden

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Russian sage in front of Black-eyed Susan

It’s said that confession is good for the soul, so here goes…

I am guilty of a crime, and I committed this crime/sin with the full knowledge that what I was about to do could quite possibly kill, or at the very least, temporarily wound the innocent and unsuspecting.  I, however, could not help myself-much like a man armed with a chainsaw can’t stop until every last branch within eyesight is maimed “pruned,” I, too, was on a mission.

My crime? Transplanting a very happy plant in the dead of summer….in fact, in the middle of the worst heat wave so far this year.  What was I thinking….well, that’s just it, I wasn’t.  Much like a spoiled, rebellious, impatient child, I didn’t care about the rules-I simply defied all authority in the transplanting laws of nature. That plant simply was not where it needed to be and I wanted it elsewhere, heat wave or not. Waiting for fall was not an option.

The innocent? The one and only, beautiful beyond words, Russian Sage.

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Russian Sage

This gorgeous plant has been my favorite perennial since I planted my first flower garden way back when.  In my previous garden, I had abundant sunshine and it thrived and returned yearly like a faithful friend.  Because I am still trying to find the right spot for these to thrive at our new home, they lack the abundance of stems seen in the above picture. Mine boasts only several per plant as seen in the first picture.  For that reason, the victimized plant was moved to a much sunnier location where it will hopefully flourish and return next year to let me know all is forgiven and it is loving its new abode.

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My favorite garden picture…my then 3 year-old son, Daniel, chasing butterflies amidst the flowers- Russian Sage in the back.

In spite of the heat, or maybe even because of it, my little Russian Sage looks like it may make it after all:) In the first hour after it was transported away from its buddies, it looked very sad and wilted indeed. I watered it, of course, but then because of the intense heat, upper 90’s to be exact, I watered it two more times that day and three times a day since.

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Little sage is much perkier now with all the extra, tender-loving care, and its bounce back, despite my initial offense, reminds me of a particular verse…love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Happy Gardening!

∼ Jen

PS….I have a new temptation in the form of a wayward Autumn Sedum. I am desperately trying to resist, but the promise of rain in the coming days may lure me towards my shovel yet!  😉

 

Wedding by the Bay

Few things in life rival the beauty of a bride on her wedding day.

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That beauty combined with all the laughter, love and joy-set amid the landscape of the Chesapeake Bay, made for a very memorable “all things beautiful” kind of day.

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After several, unseasonably hot days on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Saturday was a mild 70 degrees-a perfect temperature for an outdoor wedding.

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The scenery was spectacular…sailboats, ducks, seabirds, sand, even the infamous…

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…Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Dwarfed only by the bay itself, it rose in the distance, a rock-solid symbol of strength and support-a very fitting backdrop to the culmination of a relationship that had already stood the test of time.

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The very handsome groom is my nephew, Joe.  He was the first grandson, first nephew. Needless to say, I think we drove his very patient parents a little crazy in the beginning with our baby-loving frenzy!  He is named after my brother, Joseph III, so that would, of course, make him Joseph IV.  That information, however, was not relayed till after a few pranks had been played on my dad, allowing him to believe his first grandson’s name was actually… “Henry!”

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My family remembers well, I’m sure, the t-shirt my ever-comical brother, Steve, bought for him with the phrase “Don’t call me Henry” printed across the front! I don’t recall if the t-shirt was given before or after the real name was revealed….I only remember the huge relief that shone on my dad’s face after finding out his first grandson would indeed bear his name and not some guy named Henry!

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Thirty  years and many out-grown t-shirts later, my first nephew said “I Do” to his gorgeous high-school sweetheart. They are an absolutely perfect couple and we are so thrilled to welcome his beautiful bride, Valerie, into our family!

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Here’s wishing them a long, happy life together…and maybe, some day, a little  “Henry” of their own!

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Modeling the famous “Henry” t-shirt

 

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And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

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♥ Jen

Words of Beauty…

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Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

As the day winds to a close, I am thinking back on all the sweet moments and also the reminder I had today of a something I take for granted.

It was a beautiful day weather-wise, sunny, mild temperatures as we headed out to church.  I had my entire family with me, which is a joy I don’t take for granted.  My older son used to call it “all together time” when he was young….and now that they are older and more independent, I really treasure our “all together time” even more. Indeed, it is one of the things I don’t take for granted or forget to give thanks for.

The music was beautiful, as always . We sang the song “Because He Lives,” which brings back special memories of my grandmother.  The sermon was meaningful, as always….but what I have gone back to in my mind all day was not the sermon, or the music, but something said off-stage.  

A dear widow sits in front of us and we have gotten to know her over the past two years just because of sitting near her.  Like most church-goers, we all like our ‘assigned seats’ and get to know those in close proximity.  She is usually chatty, and today was no exception, but in her greetings she paused and said “my son came over today, and he told me I looked pretty.”  The way she said it,  I could tell this small compliment meant more to her than her words portrayed.  I affirmed that she did indeed look pretty, and I realized being a widow, living alone, compliments were not something she heard often.  It was so obvious those words of beauty brought her immeasurable joy and reminded me of just how important words of beauty are, to all of us.

How often I take compliments or encouraging words for granted from the ones I love.  I am surrounded by an affectionate family and words of love on a daily basis.  It has reminded me to treasure even the smallest words of affirmation, realizing that some hear it much, much less than their hearts desire or need. Hopefully, because of today, I’ll be more mindful of those around, who, for whatever reason, desperately need to hear beautiful words spoken into their lives.  God Bless.

∼Jen

The Aloe Plant

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13
† HAVE YOU HEARD the tale of the aloe plant,

Away in the sunny clime?

By humble growth of a hundred years

It reaches its blooming time;

And then a wondrous bud at its crown

Breaks into a thousand flowers;

This floral queen in its blooming seen

Is the pride of the tropical bowers;

But the plant to the flower is a sacrifice,

For it blooms but once, and in blooming dies.

† Have you heard the tale of the pelican,

The Arab’s Gomel el Bahr,

That dwells in the African solitudes

Where the birds that live lonely are?

Have you heard how it loves its tender young,

And cares and toils for their good?

It brings them water from fountains afar

And fishes the seas for their food.

In famine it feeds them what love can devise —

The blood of its bosom — and, feeding them, dies.

           †Have you heard the tale they tell of the swan,

The snow-white bird of the lake?

It noiselessly floats on the silvery wave,

It silently sits in the brake;

For it saves its song till the end of life,

And then, in the soft, still even,

‘Mid the golden light of the setting sun

It sings as it soars into heaven,

And the blessed notes fall back from the skies —

‘Tis its only song, for in singing it dies.

† You have heard the tales. Shall I tell you one,

A greater and better than all?

Have you heard of Him whom the Heavens adore,

Before whom the hosts of them fall?

How He left the choirs and anthems above

For earth in its wailings and woes,

And suffered the shame and pain of the cross

To die for the life of His foes.

His death is our life, His loss is our gain —

The joy for the tear — the peace for the pain.

 Dr. Henry Harbaugh