Whatever is Lovely… Dwell on These Things – watercolor

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In light of recent abhorrent events in the United States, one can find themselves in a state of disbelief, sorrow, confusion, and have a slew of unanswered questions. The answer to the question why, may never come. Violence never solved a thing and it never will.

When current events get me down, I hear the words of Paul in my mind…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.      Phil 4:8

Sitting in my backyard, I stare at potted flowers. I notice them waggle in the wind. Sunlight dapples in between leaves. The makeshift plant pedestal has evidence of tiny holes and I know my woodpecker friend was here. This beauty is simple but lovely. It is good and it is pure. It uplifts my spirits for a time, but it is not the answer. No, dwelling on lovely is not the answer.

Love is the answer.

Just this morning, I came upon these statements:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.      1 John 4:10-12

It makes complete sense. Nobody has seen God, but when we love one another He is actually dwelling in us. And what better example of love than our Father who sacrificed His Son for us? Not to receive anything back, not to have fame, but out of total self sacrifice to pay for our sins and make a way for us, even while we still rejected Him. That’s love.

There is no room for hate and violence in this kind of love. Let’s serve one another in love, let God dwell in the midst of this love, for underneath skin we all have the same color blood.

Summer Vitality Watercolor

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I’m having a difficult time feeling as alive as summer does. That’s as honest as the sun is hot. I sit in amazement watching bright yellow American Goldfinches flit from purple thistle to purple thistle, always singing a cheery tune. I notice insects scampering with excitement. Butterflies flutter in a swirling dance. I see fish jump and flip above the water surface as if playing just for the fun of it.

The energy of summer escapes me. I feel more like winter, wanting to retreat more and more. But being in the middle of nature, drenched in all of its energy is good. An ounce of it sticks with me without even realizing it. It is good. It is uplifting and I must do more of it.

Shooting Star Wildflower Watercolor

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Did you ever just happen to be staring at the night sky and be pleasantly surprised by a shooting star? That moment of being caught off guard and suddenly delighted is exhilarating. It is something you really cannot plan.

Recently while hiking, I too was caught off guard by shooting stars…not in the night sky but on the ground. These shooting stars will last a bit longer than the ones they are named after, but not much longer; As so do all spring wildflowers, here today and gone tomorrow.

You can imagine my merriment when staring at the ground I came upon an entire field of them.

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Astounding.

Jesus contemplated the flowers being beautiful and related them to our care. Look what He states:

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more cloth you, O you of little faith?”
Matt 6:28-30

I think of these things while hiking.

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We are loved more than the beauties in the field.
Amen.

Fern Moss and Shelf Mushroom Watercolor

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45°F cold rain

I am wearing my rain gear with layers of clothing bundled underneath as I walk on a grassy trail laced with mud. I don’t mind the mud nor do I mind the cold drizzle on my face. In a lifetime of Monday thru Friday, 9-5 numbness, the cold drizzle is a welcome. It makes me feel alive.

On a particular section of trail, I find a banditry of chickadee. Their chatter is loud and overwhelming. I do not know what they are saying for I do not speak chickadian. Perhaps I am the subject of their banter, disrupting them on a day where they do not expect many humans?

They unwittingly halt me in my tracks. As I stand there looking up, something tells me to look down….

At my feet, I discover another world…. a glowing white shelf mushroom carpeted by brilliant green moss, set contrast to a dark saturated tree stump. I no longer hear the clatter of the chickadees, because I am lost in the contour of the moss. My eyes follow every fern-like curve. I observe its green gradient from dark green- to medium- to light- to white tips.

The chickadees are not amused by my fern moss and mushroom rapture, so they maintain their scold.  I know when I’m not welcome. I’m leaving. I’m leaving.

I walk away knowing the secret of where my beauties live…..under the chant of the chickadees.

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String of Diamonds Watercolor

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Did you ever hear someone groan when it started to rain?
“Oh MAN!” They might sigh, “Why does it have to rain? It messes up my day. I hate rain.”

Oh, but the beauty! So gentle, so rare…..if you look for it.

See past the sunless gray sky. See past the soggy ground. See past not having to escape the house without a coat. Look deeper and be amazed, for little blessings are in all places waiting to be uncovered.

The rain lasted for hours, but something magical happened. The raindrops held on to every branch on this paper birch and became illuminated with light from behind. Suddenly, the tree was adorned with stings of diamonds everywhere.

It stole my breath.

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I bet it would have stolen yours as well had you witnessed this gift in person. Well, I’m happy to offer it here…to send you a sparkle of joy. But oh how cameras cannot do justice!

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We are blessed with the sunset. We are blessed with the smallest of flowers, and yes, we too are blessed with the rain.
Enjoy the gifts.