Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Walk in the Park

Hello, my friends!
I'm sharing today at Tex's Run*A*Round Ranch.
Come on over and check out the Good Fences others are sharing too!
So after a rainy weekend, the weather has been cool and sunny here this week...
...30's to 40's (brrrr) at night, warming to the mid 60's to around 70 during the day.
Absolutely gorgeous, bright blue skies and everything is so greeeeen!

These are photos from my nature hike from last Friday...
...a day exactly like I described above.
This small, local community park is only a few miles from my home.
I used to take my grandsons here when they were little to play on the playground,
but didn't realize that there was such a cool hiking trail!
I found out that where the gravel trail ended,
a dirt trail continued which wound around back into the woods.
A tall chain link fence encircled the whole park, right next to the trail.

Now a chain link is usually not my fence of choice...
...and this one is probably over six feet tall...
...but it didn't bother me much since there were so many wonderful things to look at,
such as this awesome tree.

 I have no idea what kind it is.
I googled "tree with branches that twist and turn" and got many different results.

I thought it looked like a huge grapevine with little fuzzy worms hanging on it.

I was quite mesmerized by it.
A little farther down the trail I got a tiny glimpse of red popping out among the green.
The bloom cluster was about the size of a small apple I'd say...

...and I had never seen them growing around here before.

Google tells me it is coral honeysuckle...quite stunning, wouldn't you agree?
Definitely not like the kind I see in my yard.
Continuing on down the trail...

...some squaw weed..

Google, you're so smart :)

...and a little something or other sprouting out with a lovely pinkish hue.

(I didn't google this one for some reason)

I wish I would have taken a closer look at the vines covering this part of the fence.
It appears to be common honeysuckle which is not yet in bloom.

I will return in a couple of weeks to see if I was right and to take in some of it's loveliness.
If my assumption is correct, the aroma will be absolutely heavenly.

I was mostly impressed by how it did a complete make-over of this chain link fence!
Finally the trail looped back around and I was heading back to the main part of the park.

These little sweeties were growing all over everywhere I looked.
I don't know their name...
...the google search came up with way too many "tiny white bell-shaped wildflower" examples.
Not one of them looked just like these.

So back to the gazebo near the entrance and ready for a little rest...

...water bottle and Jesus Calling devotional book all tucked down in my camera bag.

It had been quite a nice little walk and I was the only one on the trail...
...and it was absolutely it was wonderful!

Did I mention that sky was bright blue and everything was so greeeen?

It truly was a glorious day!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Looking Back: Keeping it in Perspective

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:
 God has made the one as well as the other. 
Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
Ecclesiastes 7:14
This was the view I saw in my rear-view mirror on the way home from church Wednesday evening.
I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it as much if I'd have been driving towards it... it would have either been hidden behind the visor or it would have blinded me.

So I did what any good blogger would do.
I reached in my purse and quickly grabbed my trusty point-n-shoot.
"Have point-n-shoot, will travel"...
...that has been my motto for the past two years :)
So when I got home, I uploaded it to my facebook page with these words...

"We all need to let go of the past but sometimes the best view is behind us" smile emoticon
As what often happens, the photo got me to thinking about my life.
It seems the older I get, the more I miss the good ol' days and what life used to be like.
Or sometimes even about what it could have been like.
Now, just so you know, I don't dwell in the past as part of my normal routine...
...but I think if we are 100% honest with ourselves, we all do this to some degree.

What would my life be like if this (whatever) had or hadn't happened?...
...what would my marriage be like if I would have done (or not done) this or that?
...or maybe what could have I done to prevent such and such?
A while ago I wrote the post If only..., where we visited a place called The City of Regret.
Now, please don't get me wrong...I don't live there by any means,
but I still can stop by there for a visit every now and then...
...more often than I prefer, to be perfectly honest.
I do consider myself to be a positive, joyful person for the most part,
but this is how the enemy works in our lives my life at times... bringing back memories of those things from my past that I'm not so proud of.
Or maybe bringing to mind a time of struggle...
...a time of darkness.
Maybe it's a memory from long ago about some wrong decisions that were made,
resulting in situations and circumstances that you I thought were long forgotten.
I think you know where I'm coming from.
But on the other hand, looking back also can be good thing.
I mean, that's what many of our memories consist of...the good times.
Most of us have been blessed to have had sweet memories of growing up in a loving home,
or maybe it's when we think back to when we were first married and the births of our children...
 ...or maybe that first moment when we became a grandparent.
Such sweet memories!
Our lives are made up of a broad spectrum of events,
and sometimes it can be hard to keep these events in the proper perspective.
As Christians, we serve a Lord who is abundant in grace and mercy.
And I so love it when the Holy Spirit brings this to mind when I get off on the wrong path!
Whether we have lived a life with many or few regrets,
whether we have gone through many trials or maybe not so many,
it is what He has in store for us that we are to look forward to with joy!
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. 
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

So as I think about looking back at this lovely reflection of the sunset in my mirror,
 it is a reminder to me of who I am and where I came from.
It is a reminder to me of those beautiful, happy memories from days gone by.
But more importantly, it reminds me of how God never leaves my side.
Even Especially when the enemy tries to torment by using little reminders of those times...
 ...times when things weren't so good.

And how silly would I be to think that those days are over?!

He was and always will be getting me through them, moment by moment...
...holding me, His amazing grace flowing down all the while...
...regardless if the glorious sunset is before me or in my rear-view mirror :)
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John 1:16

I'm sharing here:

Spiritual Sundays
Sunday Stillness
Roses of Inspiration
Grace at Home

Monday, April 20, 2015

Some Random Springy Stuff

Every April, God rewrites the Book of Genesis.
 ~Author Unknown
It's just popping up everywhere and I can't seem to get enough of it...
but today I'm sharing some of mine with you... spring, that is!
This is what the Saturday morning sun looked like, poking it's face through the woods.

It was just glorious.

There are no days in the whole round year more delicious
than those which often come to us in the latter half of April....

The sun trembles in his own soft rays....

...The grass in the meadow seems all to have grown green since yesterday....
though there is warmth enough for a sense of luxury, there is coolness enough for exertion.

~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861

During a little impromptu hike in the woods I found these lovelies unfurling.

I also found this little thing-a-ma-bob which had landed on this maple tree.
It looks as though it belongs there but I'm pretty sure it doesn't :)

 Isn't it cute?
The dandelions are in full swing too... well as the ants. know how much I love my weeds.

And speaking of weeds...

Do you have Purple Dead Nettle where you live?
It seems that some folks eat this stuff, although I haven't :)
Ah, how wonderful is the advent of the Spring!—the great annual miracle.... 
which no force can stay, no violence restrain, like love, that wins its way 
and cannot be withstood by any human power, because itself is divine power. 
If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, 
or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, 
what wonder and expectation would there be in all hearts 
to behold the miraculous change!... 
We are like children who are astonished and delighted 
only by the second-hand of the clock, not by the hour-hand. 

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh, 1849 

And I believe these tiny beauties are called Wall Speedwell...

...not to be confused with these adorable bluets that literally grow all over my yard.
~But days even earlier than these in April have a charm, 
— even days that seem raw and rainy.... 
There is a fascination in walking through these bare early woods, 
there is such a pause of preparation, winter's work is so cleanly and thoroughly done. 
Everything is taken down and put away.... 
All else is bare, but prophetic: buds everywhere, 
the whole splendor of the coming summer concentrated 
 in those hard little knobs on every bough... 

~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this little taste of spring...
...from my yard to yours :)

Sharing at:
Mosaic Monday
Macro Monday 2
Roses of Inspiration

Monday, April 13, 2015

Things that make me go "ahhhh"

Greetings, my friends...
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that your Monday is off to a great start!
The weather over the weekend has been just glorious...
spring is definitely in full swing and we are expecting some April showers later today.
Although I love flowers of all any season,
there are a few things that just thrill my heart when I lay my eyes on them...
...I mean I could just look at them all day!
Of course the redbud trees are among them...but you already knew that, didn't you?
It seems like this spring they have been especially lovely and they grow all over the countryside...
...but they are now beginning to fade.
It always makes me sad when I see those magenta blooms being replaced by leaves.
And then there are the dogwoods...
 ...I especially love them when they are first popping open.
Spring just wouldn't be spring without them.
But what really takes my breath away are the pink ones.
This one grows outside of the office where I work and I look forward to it's blooms every year.
Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you... 
...and they are especially beautiful from this perspective too, don't you think?
Last but certainly not least in any way are these lovlies... 
...I mean, my heart literally does backflips when I see them...
...well, it least it seems like it does!
I bought these this past weekend for half price...I paid only only $8.00 each!
I have never tried to grow them before...please pray I don't kill them!
So you know that reaction you have when you are watching fireworks on July 4th?
You know the one....oooohhhh!.....aahhhh!

I think you get the message, right?
And for those of you who still have snow, just think of it this way...
When my spring blooms have all but faded away, yours will just be coming on!
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