Framed Picture Perfect

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Originally blogged October 18, 2014…

I stood on the side of Black Rock Mountain, overlooking the valley, and I took this picture through the trees.

It was as if God had let the trees grow up in such a way that He left a “frame” just for my picture.

It was beautiful.

I could have stood there all day and gazed through my little “window.”

The fall colors were just beginning to change;

so, you could see bits of red, yellow and orange shining through all the green.

The temperature was perfect with a little breeze blowing through.

It made my heart long for the day

when the earth will be healed and the land will be made whole.

I love the fall.

I love nature.

I love the mountains, and I love that He created such a land for us to behold.

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“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17

 

Wednesday’s Ode #22

  I love trees!! I am enthralled by trees. I find myself even mesmerized by trees sometimes. They are big, breath-giving and beautiful! I love them in all colors of green in the spring and all shades of golden, orange and red in the fall. I love trees that lose their leaves in the fall, and I love great big evergreens that seem to hold down the forest through the winter. Trees are simply breathtaking.   

Notice above, I said they are life-giving? I love trees, because they breathe in the toxic gases I breathe out, and they give off the oxygen I need to live. They seem to sing their own song with the winds of spring, and they bristle and pop in the storms of summer. They are the musical instruments of the woodlands.   

I love the tall, quick-growing pines, and I love the thick, slow-growing oaks. I love the fruit trees which yield delicious delicacies, and I love hearty and wholesome hemlocks. Some of the favorites, though, would have to be the big, beautiful live oaks of the South. I am probably partial to these, because I grew up around them, but I think these are simply some of the most majestic trees around!   

I even love twisted, gnarled and old trees. Broken and dead trees make me a little sad, but I think the images they create can be quite amazing.    

 I like to think of trees kind of like people…there’s never two exactly alike! 😉

Wednesday’s Ode #6

Today, I would like to give my tribute to America. Yes, the land of the free and the home of the brave. I love my home, America.

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There are many in this world who would scoff at those words, many who would sneer at my homeland, believing they would be better off without it. Yet, for those who long for freedom, those held under tight regimental control, where do their hearts long to go? Where do their dreams take them when they think of freedom? Yes, it is AMERICA! This land was chosen to be a place where “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”* This is the land of the free and the brave. This country was founded on freedom, on liberty and on the pursuit of happiness. For those who live in this land and get angry at these words, I truly wonder why they still live here! Why stay in a country that you so clearly hate? However, I digress. This post today is not meant to be a rant. It is meant to be a tribute; so, let me pay honor where honor is due! 😉

I LOVE this land of freedom! I can worship freely. I can go where I please. I can do as I please (within the laws of reason). I can choose to pursue whatever course in life I’d like. I can be whomever I choose to be. If I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a construction worker, a CEO, a fireman, a retail salesperson, or even a fast food worker, I can be any of these. If I want to pursue a life long dream of singing or a momentary whim of sailing across the ocean, I can do it. The only things that will stop me is my own limitations of dreaming and my own will power to pursue those dreams. This is the beauty of freedom.

Yes, I know we’ve got our problems. I’m not blind. I know there’s people who don’t appreciate this land nor the people who work hard to make it what it is, but that’s not my point today. Sometimes, you’ve got to step out of the darkness to truly see the light again. Often, we must re-shift our focus when there’s so much turmoil and remember the reason we got in this to begin with. This country was founded for freedom. This country was founded on hard work and pride in a nation of diversity and respect for the pursuit of a dream. These are the things upon which this country was built. Let’s get back to the main thing! Sometimes, I wonder if we’ve forgotten the goodness and wonder in the dream of a better future, because we’ve gotten so entangled in the futuristic dream someone else said we should have… (another thought for another day!)

I LOVE this land of beauty! There is an “old” song, sung by Lee Greenwood, that perfectly sums up my love for the beautiful land called America. He says, “From the lakes of Minnesota, To the hills of Tennessee, Across the plains of Texas, From sea to shining  sea, From Detroit down to Houston, And New York to L.A., Where’s pride in every American heart, And it’s time we stand and say, God Bless the USA!” The beauty of this land is as diverse as the people who live here. If you long for snow, just travel north long enough, and you’ll find it. If the beach is more your style, just travel South, you’ll find it. Maybe green rolling “hills” (this term is relative to what you call a hill or a mountain) and Shenandoah Valleys are more your speed, or maybe you prefer peaks as high as the clouds, and tree as big as a house or maybe it’s beautiful plains that stretch for as far as the eye can see. Well, we’ve got it all, just find a map and start your travels! America is where it’s at! No matter, if you’re looking for the city and the night life or the ranch and the country life. It’s all here in this great big land of opportunity!

So, today, I call myself BLESSED to be an American, and I consider myself blessed to be living here in this wonderful land of the free! These are just a few reasons I love this wonderful place! There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Who’s with me?? 🙂

*Declaration of Independence (found here)

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The Old Gnarled Tree

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What caused those knots?
Blistering winds, relenting storms, sickness that threatened death? A tiny animal who burrowed its way in, stunting growth and nourishment?
Maybe it was just simply the challenge of growing upward that proved to be too hard, maybe the weight of growing older was just too heavy, and that pressure tried to bend and hinder the life of the tree.
Yet, somehow, it kept thriving, kept pushing forward, kept pressing on. Even past the knot. Even past the “pain,” always striving for greater heights, always moving beyond the simple expectations.
It kept reaching upward regardless of the hardships that came. The hindrance may have made it pause, resulting in the knots, but the tree strained and pushed beyond the limitations to continue on the path up toward the heavens.
Isn’t that how our lives should be? We will face turmoil. We will face strife. We may even face death a time or two, but where is our resolve? Where is our tenacity to carry on through the trial? Where is our strength to push back against this adversary called life and reach toward our destiny?
Don’t let the pressures of this life pull you down! Don’t let the winds of defeat threaten you and cause you to quit! You can make it through! You can do this! You can reach the end with dignity and grace. You can choose to win.
It may not be easy. It may not even be fun! Just remember there are those coming behind you who need your courage. There are those coming behind you who need your faith. Show them the way by shining in the darkness. Clear the path so that they may cross over as well.
We all have a purpose. We all have a place. Even when you feel battered and bruised, hindered and held back by the limits of this life, you have a destiny to reach.
So, keep fighting the cold; keep pushing back against the winds. Even when the twists and turns leave knots and gnarled bark in your way, Stay the course. Remain vigilant to the path. You can do this. You can win.
Just remain. Just have faith. Just believe.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14