A Cloudy Day

Okay, so I love clouds!  Where else in Nature can you find so much variety at any given moment that is constantly changing in shape, color, movement and intensity.  On any given day, you might find me grabbing my camera and either running out in my yard or pulling over my car because I HAVE to capture the clouds.

Valentines Day

Valentines Day

It was Valentines day and a friend and I were on a highway coming back home when right in front of us was this amazing heart with what appeared to be an arrow shooting right through it!

 

Right around the corner from where we live is an old dairy cow farm.  We were all saddened to find out that this beautiful spread will soon be developed into a subdivision with many houses on tiny lots.

Dairy Farm sunrise

Dairy Farm sunrise

Sunrises and sunsets are incredibly beautiful when those colors are reflected off of clouds.  This one was taken right in front of the farm soon to be forever just a memory.  There are 48 acres of field, woods, a large pond and a LOT of wildlife.  It is bank-owned and has been for sale for several years.  Now, it has been sold and is to be turned into a subdivision with close to 150 houses!  Makes me very,very sad.

While my daughter and I were away on one of our getaways in Wilmington NC, I grabbed this one while sitting on a wraparound porch one evening as the sun was setting.

Carolina Sunset

Carolina Sunset

I woke up one morning and stepped outside onto my front porch.  The sun was coming up and I had to capture this sunrise below left.

Morning Sunrise

Morning Sunrise

It’s really amazing how clouds can look like so many things!  One’s imagination is unlimited in what can be seen while cloud watching.  I get a kick out of it all.

Sky Mask

Sky Mask

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Storm A’Brewin

 

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Cotton Puffs

Today is another cloudy one as have been the last several.  Tropical storm Julia has been seeing to that.  She is finally starting to move further out into the Atlantic, so her effects will soon become a distant memory.  But she sure delivered on some really interesting cloud formations for us.

Now, back to reality for me.  I have lots to do and not enough time or energy to do it.  It doesn’t bother me though.  I will get to it when I get to it.  And, believe me, I will be back out on my deck or in my yard often, looking up at the sky, with camera ready!

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Are we almost there?

“Are we almost there, Nana?” he asked me with excitement in his voice. I looked in my rear view mirror and into my grandson’s eyes and told him “Almost. We have to pull over into the far right lane so we can take the exit.” Pretty soon I heard an excited voice say once again, “Are we almost there?” I told him, “Look there’s the exit sign!” He said, “The one that says mommy’s office?” I said, “Yes that’s the one!”

My Sweet boy

My Sweet boy

The excitement that bubbled over and out of my grandson was not because he was getting impatient or anxious because it was taking so long. No, after his having to wait several weeks and talking about it and asking about it, I finally was able to take him into the City and drop him off to spend the afternoon at his mommy’s office. I wonder how many times he had probably asked his mommy, “Am I going to your office today?”  Finally, he did not have to wait any longer. As we pulled into the parking lot and I drove around to the back of her building, I parked and we sat and waited and watched the door for her to come out.

I asked him, “Do you see her yet?” He said, “No, Nana, not yet.”  We waited for about 5 minutes. I saw the inner door open and her through the outer door. When I asked him if he saw her yet, he said, “Yes yes, there’s Mommy!” The excitement in his voice and in his eyes and his jumping up and down in his car seat was just so precious to watch. I could tell from the giant smile on her face that she was just as excited if not more excited to see him.

He hopped down out of his car seat, opened the back door of the car and ran into her arms. She scooped him up and they cuddled. Then she gathered up the few items that he had brought with him, told me, “thank you, Mom!” and he marched proudly beside her into her building.  That little man had so much patience while he waited for that day to come.  He knew it would; he just didn’t know when.

When I was quite young, we moved around the world every two – four years.  Usually, we would go back to the US once a year to visit relatives.  Of course, I always looked forward to the long plane rides, the stewardesses that would always have prizes for me, landing at big airports and watching all the people and finally being able to see my beloved grand parents.  The thing about it, though, was sometimes we ended up not being able to go.

When we were told that a trip to the States was coming, all excitement broke loose as I am sure you can imagine.  It was truly an adventure.  When his “tour” ended, Daddy would tell us we were going home soon.  Home ALWAYS meant the good ol’ USA.  We didn’t have an actual home to go to because we never stayed long enough stateside to have the time to buy one.  When the announcement of our going home happened, the wait began.  We had our little preparations to do.  There was our stuff, to either pack or give away.  There were friends, some of whom we had grown quite close to, to tell goodbye. We would probably never seem them again.  All the while, we went about our usual day to day doings.

A date of departure was never carved in stone.  Events would come up that mom or dad had to attend to at the office.  Sometimes, dad would have to fly somewhere and we would be delayed.  We got used to it, but never over the excitement and anticipation of “going home”.

Now I live in my own world, my own home, my own life.  However, some things haven’t changed.  Even though I go about my own day to day doings, I still have excitement and anticipation of “going home”.  And, oh, what a home it will be!  The world as we know it will cease to exist.

Rev 21:1   “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”  Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”

And how delightful and peaceful this new world shall be!  Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  1 Cor 2:9 Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared, for those who love Him.”

And, oh, how wonderful will it be to see our Savior and Lord, Jesus!  He, who has given so much to and for us, will be there with open arms to embrace us.  His smile will radiate deep into our hearts and souls.  We will finally be home, the place he promised us.  John 14:2-3  In My Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.”

I am a true lover of nature, the one unfallen part of Creation.  I am in awe everyday of its beauty, resiliency and peacefulness.  It is in a constant state of change, bursting forth its loving arms to all who commune with it.  But, in our new world, this beauty will be transformed into its original beauty.  The beauty of Eden.  I cannot even imagine what it will be like.  A totally new earth!   I don’t know about you, but I feel just like my grandson.  Not knowing when doesn’t take away the excitement.  Being on the way means being patient because you know where you are going.

So, each time one of the kids ask me, “Nana, are we almost there?”, I can say to them, “Yes, honey, we are almost there!”

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Body Art

It has been incredibly hot these past few weeks.  And since one of my favorite pastimes is being outside, I have felt very very deprived.   Usually I just sit on my deck, overlooking the back yard and all there is to entertain me.  Hmmmm.  Entertain has so many icky connotations, but what other word can I use?  Stick to our new heart reality, self.  Ok, so commune with.  That’s better!    But, I have to go back in time in order to finish this story.

About 20 years ago, when I was in my forties, I noticed little white blotches on my hands and cheeks.  Since I was always an outside girl and I had the usual tan that comes along with that, the whiteness was very noticeable. I probably would not have thought too much about it had it not been for my mother.   She was movie-star beautiful and had that hourglass shape so many women aspired to in those days.  Since we spent a lot of time in equatorial countries, she always had a gorgeous tan.  However,  when she was in her forties, she also noticed the white blotches.   She had the beginnings of vitiligo.   Because hers advanced quickly,  in a few years her whole body was a beautiful milky white.  Even in her advanced years, when most of us have age spots and other discolorations, her skin never changed color from the milky white.  However, she never exposed herself to the sun again without covering up.

Vitiligo is a skin condition where you literally begin to lose the functionality of your pigment producing skin cells.  It is more noticeable on naturally dark skinned people, but even on us lighter skinned folks, it shows up wherever part of your skin tans and part can’t.  It can be quite embarrassing when it first starts.    And, I was and have been quite embarrassed by it in the past.

I have been asked if I had been burned and is the white part the scar left behind?  I had my little nephew jerk his hand away from mine when I reached for his.  He thought I had some kind of crud.  I explained to him what it was and, thankfully, he just said “Oh!” and grabbed my hand.   I have since over the years let it go and accept it as part of who I am.

In these last 20 years  or so, my vitiligo has very slowly crept across my hands, up my forearms, across the tops of my feet and back.  Spatters of tan skin can be seen amongst the white and slivers of white against the tan.  I now refer to it as my native skin art, created by my body.  This is what it looks like right now…..

On my feet

On my feet

On my hands

On my hands

 

Sunburned Chest

Sunburned Chest

So, back to my story.  Part of the challenge of loving and wanting to be in my yard, on my deck, or working in my flower beds is preventing sunburn.  Because without the pigment cells that slowly turn and darken to protect your inner self from the harmful rays of the sun, you can’t tan.  Without that, you burn easily and fast.  So my main dilemma was while I sat on my deck.  Total sun, no shade, most of the day.  This is what I am talking about.  This was not working for me.  It was the only place to spread out the chairs, a little table and lay back.  The front porch? Eh!  No privacy.   The yard?  No good spots with continuous shade . (Our yard runs east/west).

Without Shade

Without Shade

A couple of weeks ago we finally decided perhaps we should look into putting some kind of awning or roof onto the deck. It took a while to find someone we knew who knew somebody that could do that for us. Well, we did and in a few days after all the material arrived, it happened.  This is what our deck looks like now.

So finally after 23 years I have shade on my deck. Hallelujah. It is so totally wonderful to be able to sit outside whether it’s sunshiny or thunder storming out. It’s a whole new experience for me. It’s like I have a whole new world to enjoy and appreciate.

Hooray! I have shade!

Hooray! I have shade!

Yesterday we received over 2 inches of rain in about 5 hours. The lightning was bright and the thunder roared and the rain came down so hard the drops literally bounced off the grass. And I was on my deck taking it all in and enjoying every second of it. How little did I realize how much it would mean to me to be able to do this. I no longer have to worry about getting sunburned while I am enjoying my view and having my communion with my little natural world that greets me as I step outside.

I guess you can tell I’m pretty excited. And yes I am. Very excited. So even though vitiligo is not the most pleasant of things to happen to oneself, I can truly say it can’t hurt me anymore just for wanting to be outside.

-Smile-

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Just a Playin’

Each day a couple of hours before sundown, we put out some hulled corn for the many deer that live in our neck of town.  Of course, other neighbors feed them as well and have been doing so for many years.  We just started this year.

Fortunately, we have a healthy forest corridor all around us with quite a few farm ponds and creeks, so our small herd hangs around still.  Unfortunately, some of that forested land may go up for sale at any time.  What is up with communities that place no value on Nature and all her creatures just to make a dollar?  And, where I live, they espouse to be “very community oriented”.  Uh-huh!  But, this is not a political post or blog, so on with my story……

Young buck

Young buck

He came to feed around 7:00 last night. He was the first one, which was probably his plan.  Once the does and the fawns show up, I am not sure if there would have been anything left for him to snack on.  Ha ha.   He wasn’t too wary, which makes me very joyful.  Our next door neighbor has two dogs and boards up to four others at a time, so needless to say, they were expressing themselves and loudly.  But, he paid them no mind.  I guess he’s used to it.

Then, he started, tail up.  Hmmmm.  What got him all excited?  Aha!  She showed up.  It was hard for me to see her at first because, there are a lot of woods for them to step out of.  But she finally came into my view coming from the woods on the west side of our property

Young doe

Young doe

And, she apparently wasn’t very pleased to see him.  He proceeded to haul butt in the opposite direction towards the pine and poke weed grove on the north side. And, she was chasing him!  FAST!  Once he was well into the grove, she paused. After making sure he had no intention of coming back, she sauntered over to the corn and proceeded to munch.

He had other ideas.  I could see him trying to stealthily head back to where she was.  He first mosied over to the base of some cedars pretending to graze on something.  Yeah, well, she ain’t stupid.  Once again, she took off after him and they ran in circles and all over my backyard, occasionally darting in and out of the woods.  Finally, he went back into the grove she originally chased him into and stayed.

I was enjoying myself so much, I could not take my eyes off of them.  There was no “yelling” or even any appearance of animosity.  I think they were just playing but she still wanted him to bug off.  In a few months, I have no doubt there will be more than just playing involved.  Though they are both young, they are not too young for love.

As if to further stick it to him, she walked over to the corn, sniffed and just walked away without taking even one nibble.  She went back from whence she had come.  She showed him, didn’t she?

I walked over to where the corn was and noticed there was still a bit left.  I guess they believe in sharing and leaving some for the next deer who come along.  Pretty cool, huh?

Lil Fawn

Lil Fawn

This little one was with its mom a few days ago.  It’s not the best picture, but still as cute as can be.  During the last month or so, we have seen two does, each of whom has twin fawns.  For those of you unfamiliar with the habits of white-tailed deer, they mate in October or November around these parts.  They carry their young for around seven months.  So, these fawns that we see now must have been born sometime between May and June.  I’m telling you, it just doesn’t get any better than this.  I could just sit on my deck or anywhere in my yard and have the most thrilling moments of a lifetime. Every day!

Between the deer families, the occasional fox or coyote (yes, we have coyotes!), and all the bird activity that I have told you about on numerous posts, we have our very own slice of Eden right here, right now.  Granted, it’s a small slice and a fallen one at that, but until I reach the end of this earthly journey, I am so grateful and will never take any of it for granted.

I pray you have opportunities as well to enjoy Nature in its natural state as I do.  And, anytime, you would like a video or pictures or even sounds from my yard (which I have a plenty), feel free to ask.  My email address can be found below.

 

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Like a Child

Matthew 18:3  “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Sometimes on this journey I feel like a child, skipping along the path, wide-eyed, giggling, alert, looking at and taking in everything. It’s a very exciting and joyful time when I am like that. I only wish it could be all the time or at least more often.

Unfortunately I get distracted a lot. Yes, I am a victim of the Great Distraction. (See my previous post).  It’s not that I really look at everything that goes by and get distracted, not at all. It’s just that my mind has a tendency to latch onto something and not want to let it go. Whether it’s getting pissed off at somebody for doing something I think stupid or something that I said or did that looking back I feel very annoyed with myself about or stubbing my toe and yelling at whatever it was I stubbed my toe on.

I know it sounds kind of like I might be too hard on myself for over analyzing what I do but it’s not that. It’s just that the little girl who likes to skip along is the one that is dancing with my heart. It’s when my heart and I are having a moment or a bunch of moments, and my communion and connection with Creation and God is real and happening right then.

The good thing for me about all of this is that I am totally aware of those times when I get distracted. Maybe not exactly when it starts or even within the next while. But I do catch myself and the little girl inside laughs at me or gets a little sad depending on the circumstance.

Oh, to be a child again!  But, wait, I can and I am.  His Child!  Breathe that in, fill up your heart and KNOW that!  Being His child does not mean being an immature or clueless person.  It means being innocent and open to all He has to offer.  It means being an empty vessel into which He may pour His Spirit and fill it.  It means His Love overflowing inside of you so that He and all His Glory can spill out onto others.  It means being able to commune at such a deep level that understanding becomes a growing, living thing that is constantly changing and adapting to that level.  It means the creation of an awareness that only you and He have.  But it’s an awareness you can share!

How absolutely marvelous is that?  It is when we start trying to analyze or figure out or logically discern something that we get into trouble.  That’s where the Great Distraction comes into play.  The war of the worlds it is: Our heart in the Spirit world and our mind in this fallen world.  They really can’t mix harmoniously.  One has to give way to the other so we are in sync.  In sync with God, that is.

I am just so very grateful that through the grace of God, He led me to people and to experiences that opened me up and made me heart-aware.  My mind still tries to rule but it only manages for a short period of time. It knows better because my heart knows best.

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Heart-less

0325161401-00 (1)Joy is blatantly absent in many people’s lives. They might be blind and can’t see it. They may be oblivious and simply miss it. They might be heartbroken and unable to feel it. Whatever the reason Joy is absent in one’s life, it wasn’t meant to be that way.

I have been blind and oblivious and heartbroken. I was blind because I was angry. I was oblivious because I was too busy. I was heartbroken because, well, for many many reasons. The real reason?  I was heart-less.

I wasn’t without a heart; my heart was with-out me.  And it wasn’t until recently that I realized that. Until I became aware of my heart and all that it means in my life, I remained heart-less. Nothing external to me has changed much. The world keeps turning, babies are born, people die, and most folks remain blind, oblivious and/or heartbroken.

I was a teenager in the sixties. Full-blown and unadulterated hippie was I. I had become aware/conscious of things completely different from that which my parents were. They were the post World War II generation. Materialism was the name of the game.  The Great American Dream was born. Having a house, a car, and kids and cocktail parties was what defined their lives. I, on the other hand, and those that I hung around with were all for “free love”,  free expression, anti-war and totally anti-establishment.

But that new awareness was still focused on this world ( people and their doings).  I was still heart-less.  God was something seldom spoke about unless you were saying the Pledge of Allegiance, in church (if you went) or cursing him for some reason or another. Yet the fears that we had in those days have all become this world’s reality. Government is in greater control, the environment has been decimated, wars and rumors of wars are everywhere and love of one’s neighbor has become passé.  Though materialism is still the name of the game, there are far fewer “haves” and many many more “have-nots”.  The Great American Dream has died.

With the most recent tragic events here in the United States, it is all the more apparent of just how heart-less our country has become. With respect to the grief and sadness and fear that all of these events have triggered, it is very obvious that someone is trying to lead us there with tactics that are working.  With our minds focused on this world, there can be no awakening of our heart awareness.  To me, it is called the Great Distraction.  And as long as most of the sheep are distracted, the wolves can come and go as they please.

Until we open our hearts to the Love and Guidance of Our Lord and Shepherd, these tactics will continue to succeed.  And without being fully heart-aware, most will continue to remain blind, oblivious and/or heartbroken.  Again, it wasn’t meant to be this way.  (See Heart Matters or Heart-Led / -Less  for more of my ruminations).

To be continued …..

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My Dancing Heart

2 Samuel 6:14   And David danced before the LORD with all his might.

And so do I, right now, with so much joy in my heart that I don’t even have the words to express it. But I’m going to try.

A few weeks ago, I took my husband to the University of North Carolina hospitals Cancer Center.  But first, let me give you a little background.

In 2005, hubby was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer.  It had spread to his liver. They removed his rectum and 14 inches of his colon.  Shortly thereafter they removed half of his liver with his gall bladder. Since then, he has had many many surgeries and treatments. In January of 2014, he was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and had his upper right lobe removed.  This past November, he had a CT scan and a small 4mm nodule was seen in his left lung.  We were told by his doctor that there would be a follow-up scan in 6 months because the nodule was so small it didn’t warrant invasive examination at that time.

After everything that he had been through, having to wait the 6 months had been very difficult. Of course six months does take a while to pass and it was only until these last couple weeks that the fear began to really set in.  Of course we have faith. Of course we know that everything is in God’s hands. But when you’ve been through all that we have been thru and face death on more than one occasion it becomes very difficult when it happens again.

Neither of us slept the night before the upcoming CT scan. And I’m sure it doesn’t take any explaining as to why. On the drive up not much was said other than how frightened we both were and how we had both dreaded this day. We hadn’t really talked too much about it before now. Fortunately it was mid-morning so there wasn’t a lot of traffic even though we were on Interstate 40 most of the way.

He got registered and had the CT scan within 30 minutes. Now that is amazing to say the least. And the wait to see his oncologist was not even worth mentioning. After his vitals were taken and we were shown to the exam room we only had to wait another 5 or 10 minutes and the doctor came in.  He asked the usual questions and then got right down to business and pulled the CT scan up on his computer. He showed us the scan from 6 months ago and where the little nodule was in the left lung. And then we looked at the new scan. He took us through the liver, the intestines and the heart and then he pulled the lung up. When we looked closely at the left lung where the nodule had been, there was nothing there!

Oh my, I started to cry!  How wonderful!   How exciting!  I was in awe of this incredulous blessing!

Hubby too was relieved, though, it seemed at a loss for words.  He’s like that.  Non-vocal when it comes to his feelings. I lifted my gaze to the Lord and whispered ‘thank you’ and then out loud “Praise God”.

Isn’t God amazing, compassionate, loving, merciful and so generous??!!  His blessings rain upon us every single day.   I have to admit, this was one very special one!

When I got home I had to go out in the yard and twirl and twirl and twirl. I was dancing with all my might before the Lord.

 

 

 

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