Saturday, June 18, 2011

Keen Eyesight

            Statuesque and still; an occasional wink of the eye;
            He perches above his query's door;
            An unwanted guest.
                       Beneath the earth scurries the squirrel;
                       Tidying her rooms, rearranging what is left of winter's harvest.
                       She flashes her  nose, then tail, out and in from her porthole to the
                       The tender grass, much needed to cushion one last bare spot.
             At that instant - WHOOSH! comes a flurry of wing and claw,
             but, ah, it was not meant to be.
             He will wait once again; statuesque and still;
                        Uninvited company.

In the late winter this owl perched for days at our house on Darling Hill, just above the stonewall.  Waiting for, possibly, the same elusive squirrel that Ruger has been after this year.

On my way down the hill, this morning's wildlife sightings consisted of two ducks on the little pond at my brother's and a lone turkey picking her way through his yard.   It is a quiet morning.  Through the open window I hear the song of a consistent bird, one I have not yet identified by voice.  Yesterday we were lunching with friends at my mom's and a beautiful indigo bunting came to the feeder, blending its indigo blue with the bright yellow and red of the finches and rose-breasted grosbeak.  What a picture!
Our earthly minds just can't fathom what Heaven will be like; In nature's beauty, the Lord just gives us a taste of it while we are here on earth.

I thank the Lord for my eyesight!  It brings to mind one of the verses from Psalm 119, where I have been reading; "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."  The Lord wants us to be looking into his Word.  A verse in the new testament, from Hebrews 12:2 says, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."  As thankful as I am for the beautiful things around me, outwardly; I am more thankful for the work that the Lord Jesus has done within.  Thankful that He did go to that cross to die for my sin and that He rose again (an historical fact, recorded not only in the Bible, but by historians who wrote during that earthly period).  No other "savior", of any religion, has historically risen from the dead but Jesus Christ!  We have an authentic, living Savior who we are told to look to, focus upon.

Again, thank you, Lord, for eyesight!

I'm heading out into this new day.  I hope you enjoy it and check back with us on the Hill once in a while.  Take care, and keep your eyes open.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fleeing to Safety

Life on the hill has not been very noteworthy lately.  This morning after leaving my Mom's and heading down to our place, I did see a doe cross the road.  I missed studying her because I was looking for the fawn to follow, no fawn.  I'm sorry I didn't watch the doe more closely.  She was so light in color.  Most of the ones we've seen up here have been very dark in the past two or three years.  This must be one of the twins from two years ago.  Even in the quick look I got of her I noticed, not only her coloring, but saw the muscles in her legs.  It is amazing what the Lord brings these deer through during a heavy snow-laden winter.  They are so well exercised and it shows in just a quick, chance meeting like that.  After I saw that she had no fawn, I looked out into the woods by my brother's cabin.  There was not a sign of her.  She was so swift, and or, adaptable, that in those few seconds she either took flight deep into the woods or found a place to settle in where she was safe and unseen by strangers.

Please forgive me if I've already posted this picture from three  years ago.  It seems that I have, but cannot see it when viewing older posts.  This little girl was in the grass at the cabin next door.  It was a rainy evening and we spotted her as we were driving home from church.  I grabbed my camera and got the shot while she eyed me, seeming to say, "My mother told me to stay right here until she returns."  You can see that in her eyes, can't you?

I have been reading through Psalm 119 for the past few days.  Each one of its 176 verses mentions God's Word in some way or another (with the possibility of one or two); thy statutes, thy law, thy commandments, thy testimonies, and many more.   More than the fact of the Bible being mentioned that many times, I notice something else; The majority of verses talks about what the Psalmist is doing or will DO with God's Word.  Examples:  "I have hoped in", "I will meditate in", "yet do I not forget", "I forsook not", "for I have sought", "it is my meditation all the day", "I get understanding", "I have inclined mine heart", "I will have respect"; It has been a joy to see this Psalm in this way and to not only remember that God upholds his holy Word, but that I am responsible to respond to the precepts of the Bible by being obedient to them.

An example from nature was the doe I saw this morning.  She is well exercised; God having taken her through a long, hard winter.  She knows how to get her strength from the Creator and also knows how to  take her shelter in Him and in the things that He provides for her comforts and safety.

I am heading into another day of "adventure".  I hope that yours is a good day and that some unexpected things come your way.  Take care.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Mother's Rock

In the post "The house of my Pilgrimage", I really meant to include a wonderful picture of my neice's husband, Danny, and Mom while they sat talking on her rock.  Pictures like this always make me wonder what they were talking about.  She may have been telling Danny how they "used to hay this whole field", the front face of which is entirely trees now; or she might have been speaking of how she would run down through the lower gate, then through the field toward their farm, jumping over the bushes as she went.   Whatever it was, Danny was no doubt listening, lovingly to Grammy's reflections.
I hope today is filled with good memories for you all.

The House of my Pilgrimage

Lately I've been thinking on my heritage.  I'm only going back three generations but I am remembering how much the Lord has used this "place" during so many years of my life.  My grandfather owned the farm that adjoins Darling Hill, his family property used to include all of the hill, actually.  Anyone who knows my mother knows that it was her job, as a young girl, to come up through the field (which is all forest now) to the top of Darling Hill to retrieve the cows each night.  She was to gather them up and herd them down, over the first brook, "where they'd always wander up and take a long drink, then I'd have to get them all headed down the hill again...only to come to the second brook, where they would walk up through the water to drink some more..." this is a typical rendition of how Mom will tell it.

When I was ten years old my father bought the Darling Hill piece from Grandpa.  Up until then I had spent SO MANY hours and whole weeks at my grandparents home.  Through those years I'd stayed close to the house; only wandering from the brook above the barn, but as far away as three or four houses down from their place, still IN the brook.  Grammy would pack me a lunch that would feed five people and whole days would be spent building dams, washing my hair at the bridge, skipping stones and trying to catch fish with a safety pin tied to a line on my pole.  As I got older though, my long walks would always land me on the top of Darling Hill; sometimes with one of my girlfriends, sometimes by myself.  These memories have an amazing sense of "place" to me and I thank the Lord for the experiences.

As I was reading from Psalm 119 today, I came upon verse 54 which reads, "Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."  The Lord reminded me that He has lead me all the way through these years of my life.  I have the privilege of being lead by God's Word (His statutes) through the years of my pilgrimage, or "wandering", eventually to end up in my heavenly home.  I studied the word "house" from the Hebrew lexicon and it is the word for "place", "daughter" and "family".  I'm glad for His leading through, first my grandfather's life, then my mother's (and father's, of course) and my life.  God used this house of my pilgrimage to make me into the person  I am today.

On Darling Hill there is a rock, a piece of ledge, that my mother refers to as her dreaming rock, or praying rock.  It is here that she would sit for a while when she would come for the cows.  It is directly across from where her new house stands today, and at 82, she still sits on that rock almost daily, to pray and reflect.  The following is a poem that I have written, with her in mind:

My Mother's Rock

I sit on the ledge where sat a young girl long ago.
Dreams swirled around her head as hair did 'round her face.
Her eyes of faith looked out toward the distant ridges;
Prayers were spoken from silent lips
while she perched for long periods on her daily mission of herding the cows home for their rest.

The rock is warm in the late day sun.
An hospitable resting place that spans the years;
Here is where children play.
lovers cuddle, campers picnic and hikers gaze
out over the tops of mountains and into Mill Village, below.

I see the young girl rounding up the herd, heading them down toward the farm.
She is running through the lower gate,
jumping over the bushes now.

While I sit on my mother's rock.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Excerpts from a Future Journal

"...There are some "little red soldiers" growing in the moss on the North side of this rock.  I've been on walks with Mom so many times.  She points out things like partridge berries and wild ginger, with its beautiful bell hanging down close to the ground.  Sometimes we fix little jars with moss and partridge berries, cover them with plastic and give them away to friends.  These last into the winter and remind the recipient that the snow will melt away and the green forest ground will be back soon.   There is so much to see in the woods..."  ~ an excerpt from a children's book, in the making, "A Year in My Woods", A Child's Four-Season Journal.

I am writing this little book with all of my nieces and nephews (most of whom are grown by now) and their children in mind.  I hope that my great nieces and nephews; Tristan, Megan, Beth, Ethan, Lucius, Riley and Jaden, can have the opportunity to experience these little wilderness walks that I enjoyed almost every day of my growing-up life.  The book is written from a child's perspective, which in some ways is hard to do (in other ways, not hard at all).  The memories are so vivid in my mind that putting them down on paper comes easy.  When my mother read some of the draft, she often exclaimed, "oh, I remember that!" which was a joy to me.

We saw fireflies last night ~ i just wanted to say that before I forgot!  That is a sure sign of Summer.  It is in the high 40s today and still rainy, but I have donned my sandals just the same.  The fireflies are out, and it is Summer, after all!  I am a firm believer that Memorial Day is the day for putting on your sandals, and a month after Labor Day (depending on the snow) is time for the cowboy boots to go back on.

My feet are very cold - for some reason, but I plan on spending a good deal of time inside today.    I'm on my way to an 80th birthday gathering of a friend.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weeding Frenzy

It was a wonderful day for weeding!  Yes, I did get to come home from my second job and go up to Mom's (you'll know what I mean if your read this morning's blog).  The part of today's adventure that I didn't know about was that we would weed ALL along the road in front of our house!  It was a nice surprise!  Mom and I spent only two hours doing this while Ruger lounged in the middle of the road, much like he's doing in the driveway here.  He rose for the very-occasional passing car, otherwise he just did alot of heavy looking-on, when he was awake, that is.  See all that bark mulch?  Underneath is a heavy layer of newspaper which I spent much of last Summer laying and spreading.  It did help, but I didn't get quite close enough to the edge of the road.  Syd shoveled LOADS of free mulch into his truck and into a HUGE pile for me last year.  I will do it again this year - that is, if Syd agrees to that "little part" he played...kidding honey, pleeeaase?

"Looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."  Heb. 12:15.

Dandelions and burdock roots run way down there!  The nonchalant tug just doesn't do it.  In fact, unless you get in around the base with a spade and really heave on it, the root just won't come.  It reminds me of those sins that have taken root in my life at times.  A little conviction here and there just doesn't solve the problem.  I may nonchalantly confess it to the Lord, knowing full-well that I am not intending to root it out of my life forever.  When I get serious with the Lord and really want them rooted out,  God's spade digs in around them and my heart is freed from their power.  Like the dandelions, this keeps the sin from going to seed and defiling those all around me.

Well, chicken and potatoes are in the oven; dandelions on the side (just kidding).  Have a good evening all.

Up and at'em!

"Up and at'em"- I heard that often growing up.  Mom would holler it up the stairs, along with "shake a leg".  That's what I'm doing right now, getting up and at'em.  Ruger's munching his food down and Syd just left for work with a lunch that leaves something to be desired.  I had no meat, or anything really substantial to put in it today, so I included a hefty portion of his black bean salsa!

It's my favorite time of the morning, when the house is quiet.  The rain is still falling softly outside and the heater came on!  I suspect it's because we forgot to turn it down, as Syd was sick and chilled yesterday. Yep, it is turned down now. 73 degrees in here!

We go into a week that we know nothing about.  Only the Lord knows what will happen to us, and for that I'm thankful.  Tomorrow I hope to go to work in the morning then take a friend to lunch, driving lessons with my neice in the afternoon - but, I just don't know that these things will happen.  Today, after my second job I plan on taking a walk up on the Hill and a ramble through the woods with Mom.  "My times are in thine hand", Lord.  I step into the unknown with you.

My little oxalis is sitting on the windowsill.  Yes, I brought it in again!  It's rained for days and been dipping down into the high 40s sometimes - "poor little oxalis".  Its 7 tender stems are still waving bravely and look really strong, probably because I did put it outside for several days.  Any suggestions?  I suppose if I just plant it out there I would find out.  The blossoms have completely gone away now.  I'll keep you posted.

Well there are things to do before I get ready for work - "UP and AT'EM" everyone!
Talk to you later.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Refreshing Springs

We had a wonderful day at our little country church today.  There, the Bible is still taught and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still preached.  We are so glad.  My three Sunday School children and I studied about Saul.  He was a religious leader who thought he was doing God service by killing these "christians"; followers of this Jesus, who claimed to be the Son of God.  On his way to Damascus to capture believers and put them into prison, the Lord stopped Saul in his tracks.  He told Saul that "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks".  Saul had been pricked and goaded by the shining testimonies of these godly believers as they were murdered and imprisoned for their faith, at his hand.   He recognized the Lord and fell on his face before Him, and asked, "what wilt thou have me to do?"  After his conversion, Saul (later named Paul) went on to be one of the most used of the Apostles.  I am so thankful that the Lord recorded these historical events and preserved His Word throughout all these years; though man has sought to destroy it many times and in many ways.  The Bible stands forever.

Our pastor reminded us today, from II Corinthians, that believers (by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they stand for) are a sweet savor of Christ.  Just as those persecuted believers were in Saul's day, christians who give the gospel and, in sincerity, live for the gospel today are like a sweet odor; like sweet, burning incense that rises to God's nostrils.

This reminds me of a beautiful little glass bowl that my Mom and I saw in that new thrift store yesterday.  It is like a small, quiet "fountain".  It plugs into an outlet and has a sort of "filter" in the center.  Evidently the filter has some lightly scented fragrance inside.  As the water passes through, it creates a vapor that lingers on the surface of the water then rises up slowly into the air.   The christian who is living in the light of their loving Savior is "a sweet savor of Christ".

Our Sundays are full of what some might think of as "heavy topics", and they are heavy.  In the light of all that is going on in the world today, I'm so glad to know that I have put all my trust in the one true God who has proven Himself for thousands of years.  His Son, Jesus Christ, did a one time work in dying on the cross for my sin.   His Word is full of prophecies that have been fulfilled already; and the future events will unfold just as is laid out in the remainder of the Bible.

These are Refreshing Springs to me.  Though the thoughts were not as light and reflective as most of my blog posts are, they are the realities of what I took in today.  I have asked the Lord that as I "take in" His truths, may I "put them out" and make them helpful for someone else.  Perhaps you're that "someone".

I hope you all have a great evening.

The Mists are Lifting

It's Sunday morning and quiet here in our house.  I stayed with my mother last night and this morning as we looked out over the expanse of trees, the heavy mists were beginning to lift out of the deep valleys.  I think it is one of Mom's favorite sights, as she says,"the fog is beginning to lift", every time we are together viewing it.
Doesn't it look just like a lake?  It's such a heavy blanket of mist, laying down in what was formerly, "Mill Village", here in our town.

I just finished up writing out what I am studying with my Sunday school class of 7-12 year olds.  This leaves little time for blogging, and I doubt that I'll get to writing anything substantial until this afternoon.

This is my favorite time of day.  Even Ruger stayed upstairs this morning while I had my time in God's Word.  This is unusual, as he is usually waiting there on the rug, expectantly, for the minute I lay the Bible down; ready to jump to his feet, favorite pull-toy in his teeth!  It's like when you're shopping (for me, at a Thrift Shop, which is like a treasure hunt!) and you know there's someone outside, like my hubby Syd, waiting in the car.  We experienced this just yesterday.  It was a new shop that Mom and I had never been to.  It was FULL of interesting things, which can't be simply scanned but must be inspected quite carefully.  We enjoyed seeing all the little things, touching them, taking them from the shelf, often to set them back or hang them up again.  We bought a few little things, but left the store a bit hastily, knowing that poor Syd and Ruger were waiting in the car.  Alas, when we opened our doors - they were both asleep!  Our shopping experience cut short because we let our expectations rule!  It's a silly illustration, and not one that I dare "spiritualize" at this time.  Time simply doesn't permit, and perhaps nothing really applies.  It was a funny experience though and probably similar to one you've had yourself.

Coffee has just stopped dripping and I hear the guys stirring upstairs.  I do believe I'll close for now and get ready to leave.  I hope that you all have a wonderful Sunday morning and I'll be back later to check in and chat.