My wild little friends

Ahhh…. the beautiful Swallowtail butterfly!  In my front flower bed, the yellow and black varieties dance endlessly all over my Lantana.  Are they not breathtaking?

Yellow Swallowtail on Lantana

Black and Yellow sharing

 

 

 

 

Throughout the day, the different families of geese arrive.  They strip seeds off of the stalks of grass and forage amongst the scattered deer corn for leftovers the deer leave from the previous night.  From the two ponds in our neighborhood, we have four families.  Each pair returns every year and has between five to eight goslings.  With four adult pairs of adults, we can end up with up to forty geese in the neighborhood flock!!!  By the way, that is a LOT of goose poop!

One of the families of Canada Geese foraging

Odd bedfellows of the geese are these ducks.  On two different occasions, I have seen these two species in and amongst the flock.  I have never seen either before, so was surprised when there they were!  The Ancona was grazing with the geese.

Ancona duck hanging out with Canada geese

 

 

 

 

 

The  Muscovy on the other hand, was just under the bird feeders in front of my office window.  It was filling up on sunflower seeds.  That was interesting!  Its red warty face took me aback for a moment as I initially thought I was looking at a very small turkey vulture.  Nope.  I had to look it up to find out what sort of duck I was seeing!

Muscovy Duck grabbing a snack of sunflower seeds

I had to laugh the other day at this unlikely pair pecking around in that leftover deer corn.  Yes, that is a Bluejay with a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Ha ha

Blue-Jay and Red-Bellied

And then, there are my little fawns.  I have only seen them three times this season and was excited when they darted into the field in the way back of the yard.  They were chasing each other and kicking their back legs into the air.  Such joy they were feeling!  And even more excited was I that I had my camera out on the deck with me!  Their spots are still quite visible, but I would imagine once they have shed their “baby” coats, the spots will be gone.

Young fawns

Later on two young bucks appeared looking for corn as well, but “too early my young ones” I hollered to them.  They decided to lick on my mineral/salt block and munch on some poke leaves.

Young bucks at the tree line

Enjoying the salt block

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to laugh at this squirrel gnawing on and enjoying a large mushroom that popped up by the steps to my deck.  He devoured the stem then trotted off over to the woods.

Chowing on a mushroom

 

At night, there are other nocturnal critters that come to feed, visit or hangout.  These two green tree frogs are always on my deck, usually near the windows through which my inside lights shine. No doubt that light attracts bugs and the frogs sure do seem to know that.  One is on the window and the other to the upper right on the wall.

My little tree frogs out on my deck.

This opossum was pillaging the fallen sunflower seed under my bird feeders the other night.  I heard a noise and when I turned on the yard light, there it was.  I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures.  Odd looking, though cute at the same time.

Hungry Possum

And there you have it.  The latest snapshots of the little sanctuary in my back yard.

I have to admit that I (like most of us) have been having some difficult times.  Darkness can descend without a hint of warning and envelop me.  Thankfully, it is lifted before it weighs me down and carries me into a deep abyss.  (I know that abyss quite well).

He who loves me and cares so deeply for me lifts me up.  He gives me constant reminders of how blessed I am.  He showers me (sometimes literally) from Above with endless streams of joyful moments that lift and swell my heart beyond fullness.

Oh, let us all rejoice in the God who loves us SO deeply.  He who became one of us and suffered as we all may or do.  He who died a horrible death to save us from ourselves.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, we glorify YOU.

AMEN

 

PS.  For a more enjoyable experience, I always set my photos to open a large version in a new tab whenever you click on one.  (:^)

 

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And still they come

It has been an exciting adventure this last month for me in my yard.  Ha ha.  As if that will ever change.  Well, anything can change in this world of ours, I know.  Father knows that more than any of us since He is the Creator and Author of change.

Pileated woodpecker in my woodyard

I have had many a visitor over the past weeks, some old friends and some never seen before.  This male pileated woodpecker was so vibrant and busy trying to find however many tasty morsels he could on one of my pines in the woodyard.  They are quite boisterous not only in their calls but their drumming echoes quite a distance.  They are always a welcome sight whenever they come back to visit me.  They average 18 inches long with a wingspan of up to 29 inches.  They do make quite an impression when they fly.

Sharing

I always feed my birds and one tasty treat is suet.  I love watching the various species come to get a bite.  Here is a Carolina Wren and Carolina Chickadee sharing a meal.

A female Downy Woodpecker and her clan frequent all of my feeders but sure do love the suet.  They are so cute, about 6 inches or so long.  They are very similar in appearance to the Hairy Woodpecker which is larger – as long as 10 inches.

Lil Downy getting its turn

Nuthatch

And then, a sweet White Breasted Nuthatch mom came to feed her little ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While a Red-bellied Woodpecker was having a snack, a little Chickadee tried  to grab a morsel.

 

 

Of course, I have to mention my hawks.  The fledglings only stayed around here for a week or so.  Then they slowly made their way to the woods behind the pond across the street.

I can hear them every day and once in a while, one of them comes here and fusses, looking for a handout from one of its parents or flying down to the ground to grab an earthworm or grub it spied.  Here is one of the parents who is no doubt trying to find something to feed one of its kids.

It was here the other day, scurrying about in the grass, finding all kinds of worms and bugs.

Yesterday a young hawk landed in the yard not too far from my deck.  It still has its young plumage  and it’s just so stunning .  Look how regal it stands .

I watched as it searched the ground for goodies and here it is chowing down on a worm.

Today, I watched several crows land by where I had put out some scraps left from cooking veggies this week.  As they were strutting around and digging through the “scrap pile”, that young hawk swooped with talons outstretched and scared them off. 

They scattered. As you can see, not too far off.  Here are two in a pine branch in the woodyard.  They look like they are very attached to each other.  So sweet.

Then the hawk dive-bombed them and took the branch for himself.  This continued for over a half an hour.  Then, I went back inside.

This is MY branch, MY tree!

A very unusual visitor came a week or so ago.  Instead of soaring the thermals, a Turkey Vulture was walking around out by the barn.  I saw it from my kitchen window and ran to get my camera and out onto the deck.  I wasn’t sure what it was until it turned its head towards me.  They are a lot bigger up close and in person.  They can be 2.5 feet long with a wingspan of almost six feet!  He walked all over my back yard as I followed him with my camera. I wondered if it was injured or if something very dead was in my yard.  Then as I walked around the woodshed, I saw him flying over the barn and the house and up into the sky. 

Never a dull moment around here.  I don’t have to leave my house or turn on the TV to find something to watch or do.

Every day when I wake up, I am grateful.  It all humbles me that Father gifted me this yard, these sweet creatures, these beautiful moments.  It is bringing tears to my eyes as I am typing this.

So as long as I am alive and able to live here, I will look and watch and wait for my little friends to visit.  And still they come.  Every day.

Heavenly Father, how kind and loving and compassionate You are!  May all who reads these words be blessed by You right now.

 

 

 

 

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Ravenous Raptors

For a few days, I could only find one of the young hawks in the nest. Here it is all by its lonesome near the nest.  And then a few days later, it had ventured onto a nearby branch.  I still was unable to hear or see the other one.

On a branch near the nest

Wow! It sure has grown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wandered all over the woodline, looking up into the pines to see if I could spot the other one.  I was a little concerned since I had photographed two in the nest only two weeks before.  Here is the woodline now as compared to how it looked when I first found the nest a few months ago.

Woodline area where nest is

Three months ago

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, I happened to be out on my deck and heard one of the parent hawks come flying and calling. Suddenly one, then TWO fledglings landed on the forest floor at the edge of my yard to be fed. I quietly (ha!) ran inside and grabbed my camera and Praise the Lord they were still there for some quick shots.  (Now I wonder if the two photos at the top of this post were of only one or both?)

Sharing is NOT an option!

I noticed one of them kind of covered the prize with its body and spread its wings out over the ground.  The one in the background does not appear to be pleased.  As I watched, the two squabbled for a while and then one flew off and the other got down to eating.

Yesterday while I was outside on my deck, the whole drama played out again.  One won; the other lost and flew away.  There is no way to know which won over the other, but they definitely look well-fed.  With both alive and well, I can breathe a sigh of relief.  As you can tell, I am definitely heart-invested in this family!

I am grateful as always for what Father sets before me, especially when I am feeling like I have been for the last week or so.  This coming Friday will mark 104 weeks since my husband passed away. Since he died on a Friday, they can sometimes be difficult for me. Although the actual date and two year mark will be a few days later, this Friday will probably hit me pretty hard.

Now can you see how the Lord blessed me so many years ago and set me here in this yard? 

Though gloomy may I be at times, I cannot help but smile when I walk outside.  He lifts me up, He brings me Joy, He helps me through it all.  My heart is one with Him even when I am side-tracked and don’t even realize it!

Thank you, Lord!

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Night Visions

Isn’t it interesting how different things are and look at night?  It is a whole other world in my yard and sky. I love to just walk outside and sometimes turn on my yard lights and see who or what is wandering around.   It never gets “old” and often takes my breath away.

Last month with my backyard light on, I looked over at the Paulownia tree in the wood yard.  WOW!  It was heavily laden with blossoms that almost looked like they were fluorescent.  In the background, the sky was full of stars.  Obviously I needed to do my best to capture its beauty.

Truly a beautiful tree!

I had never noticed before the blossoms at night.  They are lovely during the day and their perfume fills the air.  But this?  I could not stop looking at it.

I was looking at the wood yard because that is where I feed my deer.  There are usually at least two deer there but there have been as many as seven at one time!  It’s interesting that sometimes they share or take turns.  Other times, one will just hog it all to herself and literally chase or beat off anyone else who gets too close to the food.  There is an occasional opossum and though rarely, a fox may be trotting through.  One time while the deer were feeding, an opossum walked by in front of me heading for the corn pan.  It walked right up to where the deer were and stuck its head into the pan.  I have no idea exactly what transpired at that moment in time, but the opossum took off and ran rapidly over and into the woods.  I didn’t know they could move that fast!

Several weeks ago, we had a super moon event.  I knew I wanted to get outside that night.  The moon  comes up in the eastern sky, which the front of my house faces.  As I saw the moon coming up, I hurried outside so I could start taking pictures.  My camera doesn’t do “night photos” that well, but I have learned how to trick it by zooming in and out and grabbing shots almost continuously.  I was in luck that night and some of the pictures came out pretty impressive considering all of that.

I then moved around and started capturing the moon behind some of the branches of my redbud tree.  These are some of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

And then there is the frog/toad symphony that plays for me every night.  They astonish me with all the variety of sounds they make.  Here’s a little piece for your enjoyment. 

Well, there’s a taste of what it’s like to visit my yard at night.  I hope you enjoyed it.  I do.  Every night.

And that’s one more reason for me to be thankful.  Nature is a reflection of the Glory and Love of its Creator.  How incredible must Eden have been?  Through the lens of my heart, I can, in my wildest imaginings, envision it.  Granted lowly me could never come close to “seeing” the real thing.  For now.  But here, I can at least appreciate what I do have and breathe in the wonder of the promise to come.

Living your life with Jesus in your heart with Him leading and guiding you truly is the only way to get through this life.  The heart-led way is the only way to truly be able to see and know what is real in this world.  It is a connectedness with His world that enables a true communion with Him.  It requires a commitment on our part and that can be quite the struggle because we humans naturally lack that ability to let go of our own reason and wants.  But, He has been committed to us since Creation and will always provide us the means and the faith to overcome that.  See my post here for a deeper look at Heart-Led living

In my heart, I know this to be true:     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.”

Until that day, I will have my night visions to dwell upon and enjoy.  I do so hope you find joy in what is around you as well.  Way too much fun to miss out on that!

 

Side note:  A lot has occurred with my hawk family.  Until enough time has passed to adequately update you, the continuing story will be on hold for now……

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Tears and Joy

It was a busy Friday. Both of my granddaughters needed to get to different places at the same time while their Mom was working. That was accomplished by mid-morning. Then my grandson and I wanted to run some errands and get myself a new television. We got back to my house in the middle of the afternoon. I went out on the deck just to relax before we came up with more stuff to do.

While I was sitting outside, I looked over to the woods and to my horror I watched one of the baby hawks fall to the ground beneath the nest. I kind of panicked at first. I quietly and slowly walked over to see if it had survived the fall. It definitely did.

Definitely perky.

Alive and maybe well?

Immediately I got onto my computer and began searching for anybody in our state that I could call for advice or help. Most of the Raptor rescue organizations I called had no one available and was told to leave a message. I really wanted to talk to a human being. I finally found somebody who answered their phone and they gave me a number of an organization near me that I could call.

I called and there was a long voicemail message explaining to me what all they can help with and what particular Raptors they can respond to. After a while I was routed to a person with whom I talked about my situation. During my looking around on the web I saw repeated advice about what to do with a baby should someone find one and the person with whom I spoke concurred.

You should try to return the bird to the nest if possible. Obviously I can’t climb a tree 40 or 50 feet up. The next suggestion was to find a suitable box or an old laundry basket and fill it with nesting material as fast as possible. Then to try to get it up a tree at least eight feet and secure it. I told the gentleman that I was speaking with that I really had no way to do it myself. He told me he would reach out to anyone who might be nearby to help. In the meantime I told him I would check with some of my friends and neighbors and see if they could help me.

In the meantime, I was keeping a watchful eye on the baby.  One of its parents was nearby and flew down to the ground a distance away.  It slowly moved towards its baby who was very vocal toward its parent.

One of my neighbors whose office is nearby told me he would come as soon as he could. So I got busy finding an adequate box in which to place branches and pine boughs to form a nest inside. I did and made a nest as best as I could inside.  And, my neighbor showed up to help!

Not quite to spec I am sure!

We got my ladder and put it up on a pine that is right next to the nesting tree. We rounded up pieces of 1×4’s that I found around and in the barn and he built a platform. He then screwed the box into the platform so it wouldn’t fall off. Up in the tree he secured the platform and the nest box with screws into the tree.

With leather gloves on I picked the little baby up and handed it to him on the ladder. And the baby was gently placed into the box.

Now to put it in its “nest box”

At first I didn’t see the baby doing anything and then pretty soon you could see its little head sticking up inside the box. Mom and dad were flying around and one of them landed just above the baby but did not approach it. It was getting late in the day so all we could do is see if it made it through the night.

There’s that little head!

 

 

I was worried about the ladder staying by the tree because it had been strapped in so it wouldn’t fall over while it was being used.  Raccoons surely can climb and might get the baby. My son-in-law and grandkids came over and helped get the ladder away from the tree and back by the barn.

The next morning when I woke up I didn’t hear or see anything from the nest box. The ladder was no longer there of course.  I really didn’t think hauling it over there and then climbing up it would be a good idea for me anyway;  I would have to wait for somebody to come over and check on the baby for me.

That afternoon the kids came over again and checked on the baby with the ladder. The little baby had died in the night. Part of me wishes there was something else we could have done but I don’t know what that would have been. We had followed the only advice that I could find from reading or talking to the folks that know what they’re doing.

Baby was given a little burial ceremony by the guys deep in the woods. I know that it probably didn’t remain there very long but at least our hearts were in the right place and we did our best to try to save the little precious baby.  I was saddened and cried once I was alone again.

Today I heard the other baby hawk in the nest calling and I am sure I will see one or both of the parents taking care of it soon. And hopefully it will grow up and fledge and I will get to watch it as it matures into an adult here in my yard just as I did the two from last year.

However, I did want to take a picture of it for this post, so I just now grabbed my camera and walked out to the woodline.  It is cloudy out, but there’s enough light to grab as many pictures as I could.

Oh my gosh!  At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me since even with my readers, I can’t see all that well.  But no, they weren’t.  My heart leapt with joy!

Check this out:

What joy filled my heart!

As you can see, these two are much larger than the little one that fell out and died.  It must have hatched considerably later than the older ones.  And three mouths are a lot harder to feed for the parents and the smallest mouth seldom wins in the battle for food.

Death is a part of life for us all.  Thankfully it is simply the portal to our new life in Eternity with Our Lord Jesus.  For now, life in this world is what we make of it; how we deal with it; and most importantly, how grateful we are for the many blessings Father gives us while we are still here.

1 Cor 2:9  “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

John 14:2 ” In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Wow!

(I will keep you updated)

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We have babies!!

In my last post (Rear View Mirror), I told about my red-shouldered hawk pair and their nest.  Today, I have some good news!

I was outside (as usual) this weekend and heard a sound that I was unfamiliar with.  It was coming from the treeline just about where the hawk nest is.  I smiled.  Deep inside I knew what it was.  I ran inside and grabbed my camera.  Y’all know the drill, so I needn’t go through all the wordy description of what all I did to use it.  He he

The little sound continued and I aimed the camera at the nest.  Once I was done, I headed back to the deck where I started scrolling through the pictures and zooming in.  I am not certain how old this little one is but I am fairly sure it is very young.  It’s hard to find images of newly hatched hawks anywhere to be able to figure that out.

Awww…. How sweet is this?

Just way too cute

 

Today, I thought I would see what the little  bird was up to.  And of course I had my camera hanging around my neck.  Mom and Dad were both around so I figured I would try to be quick about it.

Well, lookie here!

Wonder if we have boys, girls or both?

Twins for sure in any case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the yellow at the top of the beak?  I can’t wait to watch them grow and fledge.  Last year I only noticed them once they had left the nest.  This year I get to watch the whole process unfold right before me each day.  And I will be sure to keep you updated.

Now I am wondering if there is another egg or two yet to hatch?  It is not that unusual for red-shouldered hawks to lay three or four eggs.  That might be to ensure that at least one or two hatch and survive.  Last year I don’t how many eggs were laid, but we did have the two fledglings.  Their antics and pictures are covered in a previous post.

Sigh.  I am in love.  I am in love with Our Creator, Our Savior, Our LORD.  Saying that I am humbled by all that He showers me with would barely express how I feel.

I will tell you one thing.  I am so so grateful that in this crazy and mixed up world I have so very much to be thankful for.  My heart, filled with his Joy, overflows.

As I have said before, look around you.  See all there is to see that He has waiting for you.  And don’t forget to look up, down and all around you!

Father, thank You for Your Love and Gifts.  Thank You for filling my heart and showing me Your heart-led Way.  My mind will lure me into places that may not be where I need/want to be, but my heart, lead by You, will never stray.

 

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Rear View Mirror

Every day is a beautiful day and some days are especially so.  A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I had not seen either of my hawks in the yard.  Since they had already built a nest this February, I thought it odd.  When I woke up the other Saturday morning, I went out on my deck with my cup of coffee.  It was a sunny day, with a slight breeze and it felt good.  I thought again how strange it has been without seeing a hawk in any of my trees.  Hmmmm……

I felt the urge to investigate. I went inside, grabbed my Canon and headed off to the edge of the yard where the pine grove stands.  I stood off about 50 feet or so from the “nest tree” and pointed then zoomed the camera in towards the nest.  As I did so, she (I assume) flew up and landed!  I guess my concerns were unfounded.

I believe she was tidying up;  all I could really see was her tail facing me but she was definitely fussing around.  Here is what I saw….

Well, talk about a butt shot!

Mom fussin’ and tidying up

 

All the while, I was snapping pictures as fast as my finger could press AFTER the camera focused that is.  (This Canon does take its time about that).  Soon she turned around and looked right at me.

Wow! How beautiful. And those eyes !!!

If you look/zoom in closely at her beak, it appears she has a feather in there.  Well, who wants loose feathers in your house?  Ha ha  Or maybe there is more to it than that but I sure couldn’t venture a guess on what it would be.  I guess she got tired of my nosiness or that feather needed to be gone so she flew off.

Once I was done taking pictures, I ran up to the deck and started scrolling through them all.  And me oh my, what did I find!!!  Talk about live motion capture at the exact right moment in time.

Off she goes with that feather in her beak!!

Do tell, what prompted me to grab the camera at that particular moment on that sunny day?  I hadn’t even had two sips of my coffee yet.  I am in awe of how amazingly blessed I am.

This June, it will be 28 years since I moved here.   I was dropping off my daughter to spend the night with a friend back then who lived across the street from here.  As I was backing out of their driveway and looked in the rear view mirror, I saw a “For Sale” sign in this front yard of mine.

The Lord knew how very much I would need this peaceful sanctuary of mine when I entered my later years.  I am so very grateful that I looked in that rear view mirror!

My entire backyard is like the middle of a beautiful meadow with trees and surrounded by forest.  Mighty pines, oaks, and cedar with scattered sweet gum, wild cherry, sycamore, wax myrtles and maples are here.  A sweet little creek runs in the back and a gazillion critters make their homes all around me.

How many times do we look in the rear view mirror of our lives and actually realize the fruits and blessings of the past events?  I know I have and do.  Every day, every beautiful day.

Yes it is, everyday, a beautiful day.  No one and nothing can change that for me.  And believe me, the evil one tries.  Often.  Everyday.

Thank you Father for blessing me as you do.  For showing me Your Love, Your Grace, Your Peace.  For giving me Your Strength against the powers of evil and those who do his will.  For filling my heart with Your Love to give and show to others.  For dying for me and all the world so one day, this gift I have in this world will become the New World, the New Creation.  Thank you!

God bless all of you!  Search for Him everywhere for He is there.  Wherever there is beauty, He is there.  He is here for you, for me, for all of the world.  Do find Him if you haven’t.  Get to know Him.  He is Truth and Love and all that is Good.

And don’t forget to look in the rear view mirror!

To read more about these beautiful creatures – My resident hawks  and a post about the fledglings here from last year – Young hawks

 

 

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Inasmuch as you did it unto Me

Waking up with the sun!

This past year has been quite challenging, but full of opportunities!  And, with the coming of Spring, I was really excited.  Not in a very long time has its arrival brought so much to my yard.  I am happy.

During these times of difficulties for so many, I have counted my blessings every day.  And I prayed and asked Father what can I do to help?  For He has blessed me over the years with so much – an ability to learn/grasp new things, an inherent love for people and nature, and the wisdom to get out of debt.  Deep inside of my little heart, He has filled me with His Love.

So I have been sharing in every way I can, mostly with my time.  Being retired and on my own, I have a lot of time.  I have helped quite a few folks with medical problems, working as a patient advocate.  I have learned about anatomy, disease, diagnostics, pathology, treatment protocols, etc. over the years.  With that knowledge, I can help folks talk to their doctors (with me the go-between), understand what the doctor is saying and recommending, thus enabling them to make wise decisions for themselves.  I visit in the hospital and pray with them, comfort them and just be there for them.

Father has also blessed me with the ability to recognize in plants (to a very limited degree mind you) the many healing powers they have to address so many of our ailments of whatever type.  Over the years, I have learned how to treat my own ailments and slowly to “know” what and how to treat others.

I also like to help people find their way through the maze of medicare or medicaid as well as applying for disability.  I have learned who and how one is qualified, how to apply properly and who to call specifically for assistance.  Some folks simply need someone to help them with their finances: how to reduce their debt, create an actual budget, or how to start saving for something.

I have donated to what I consider to be worthwhile charities, both local and international and to individuals who need help with supplies, transportation or food.

I am not telling you all of this for accolades from anyone.  I don’t care about all that.  Helping someone is its own reward.  Most importantly, I am doing my best to follow the Word of my Lord.

Matthew 25:35-36 “…for I was hungry and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me…. 40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it unto these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.”

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”

Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”  13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”

A beautiful inspiration for giving is wonderfully expressed in the song “Thank you for giving to the Lord” by Raymond Bolz.  I heard a compilation of that song in this YouTube video : Thank you for Giving

I am so grateful and I pray that one day, His Glory will shine on me.  May I be found worthy!

 

 

 

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How Blessed Am I !!

Oh me and oh my!  I have posted many times about my beautiful red-shouldered hawk pair and once again, I shall once more.

My beautiful pair

It has been almost non-stop rain here; and it soon will be again today.  By the end of this month, we may shatter our meteorological winter precipitation record from ’83-’84.   My yard is very mushy.

Anyway, the hawks have been mating daily right in the trees in my wood yard which lead me to believe that they have GOT to have a nest nearby in the pines.  I grabbed my Canon and started walking over there.  I saw the male watching me.  Pretty sure I must be getting close.

Pine grove at edge of yard

I walked over to the maple in the center of this photo and started looking up among the tops of the larger pines that you can see.  I had to kind of take my time and stay in and amongst the lower maple branches just in case he decided to thwart my objective.  Hee hee.  He has been bringing her delicacies often while she perches in one of the branches of my trees.  At the moment, however, he was still eyeballing me.

As I was gazing at the treetops, I saw what looked like a pretty decent sized nest made of branches and sticks and who knows what all else.  I started taking pictures.  Once I was done, I came back up on the deck and started looking at what I had taken.   WHOA!  I zoomed in on the nest and saw her.  Oh man!  I was so excited, I could hardly control myself!   Woo hoo.  I had found their nest.

Zoom in; she is to the right of the nest

Last year, their fledglings spent most of their “growing up” weeks being fed by their parents here.  Man, can they get L O U D!   See this previous post to find more….  Fledglings mentioned

I have no doubt their young will be raised here again this year.  Here are some interesting tidbits on timing:

Average incubation period: 33 days

They fledge after hatching: 35 – 49 days later

Parents feed them after fledging for: 56 – 70 days

From egg to “freedom” from parents: 124 – 152 days or 18 – 23 weeks

That’s quite a bit of time.  It is possible for them to have another brood, but golly the parents would be worn out after all that, don’t you think?  Hopefully, I will be posting more on this family as time goes by.

Words cannot even begin to describe how full my heart is.  I am in awe and feeling so blessed to have this amazing story to experience and to tell.  All of creation reaches out to us.  To have this yard where Father’s creatures are alive and speaking to me is surely one of His greatest gifts.  Oh, that all of us knew this.  Oh, that all of us could see and hear His Loving Gift to us ALL.

So, in spite of all the challenges and craziness of the world around us, Father gives us many ways to step out and away from this world and bring us into His.  Every moment, every day.  How blessed am I?

 

 

 

Posted in Bird Watching, Creation, Faith, God, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wash Me!

Let there be light!

It was a really hot day and I had a lot to do in the yard.  Winter would be here soon and I really wanted to clean up what I could in the yard before it got too cold.  My “to do” list had gotten way too long with very few things crossed off, so I needed to get busy.

I worked a good five hours, taking breaks often since this little old body can’t go like it used to.  When I finally stopped for the day, I realized just how good it felt with what I had accomplished and how really tired I was.

I had to lay down, dirty and sweaty though I was; so I did.  As I was resting, thoughts started coming into my head that were not pleasant.  Feelings of grief from my husband’s death, feelings of anger because he had left me alone with so much to do and no one to help me, the manner of his death and the guilt of all the “woulda, coulda and shouldas” as if I could actually have stopped or changed anything enveloped me.  This deep and dark gloom settled onto and inside of me.  I went into a deep despair and started thinking things that no one should ever think.

As I laid there feeling so discouraged and sad, I started to sob.  I couldn’t stop.  And the crying didn’t help.  It made me feel worse.  I knew I needed to get up and shower.  I just could not stop crying or even will myself up out of the bed.

Something pushed me hard to do it anyway.  Not a voice, but something and it was pushing me hard.  What am I doing?  Why am I even bothering?  I didn’t even want be here anymore!

I forced myself up and dragged myself into the shower.  As I began to wash, I started praying from the depths of my heart. “Father, please!  As I cleanse this body, won’t you please take all this sadness, anxiety and grief and wash it off and out of me?  Rinse all this darkness and despair right down the drain?!”

I finally finished and grabbed the towel, tears still welling up in my eyes.  As I was drying off, I looked around inside of myself.  Then I noticed.  “It’s gone!” I shouted aloud.   “The sadness – it’s all gone”.  WOW!

I praised Father and thanked Him and literally shouted “Hallelujah”!  I was awestruck by His wonderful Love, Compassion and Grace.  How humbled I was that in His amazing kindness, He did that for me!  I felt so renewed and full of peace.   Now, those tears were tears of JOY!

How is it possible that He noticed my sadness?  That He was so aware of me and my pitiful heart?

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted  and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”    Psalm 34:18

How grateful am I.  He dwells inside of my heart!  And had my heart not been aware of Him and my mind submissive to my heart, I know there is no way I could ever KNOW Him and receive these many blessings.

Friend, shut off your mind to the world and to the many thoughts that race through it.  Father doesn’t work with and through us when we are focused on this world.  Satan rules this world and gains great pleasure when our hearts are not in sync with God.

Give your heart to Jesus.  You will be so glad you did!

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