A not-terribly-useful photo journal of a morning in my life…

Bear 6Some days I approach the writing of my blog post wondering what I can say that will be meaningful, or interesting, or useful. What bit of wit or wisdom will make you feel it was worth your while to stop here? My tidbits about the craft of writing are gleaned from personal experience and can’t be counted on as professional expertise. My life isn’t full of extraordinariness that makes it much different from anyone else’s. My efforts at photography are hit and miss at best. I take oodles of shots, and discard most, but I present you with the few that suitably illustrate my topic du jour.

My problem today? No ‘topic du jour’ will come to mind! I have no brilliant writing analogies, and my days recently have been pretty ordinary. However, I DO have some photos I can share, not because they’re particularly great photography, but because the subject matter is pretty spectacular… at least, it is to me, given it was shot in my own backyard.

I’ve mentioned before that we live more-or-less rurally, in a cul-de-sac, but one where the few homes are surrounded by woods and marshland. All manner of wildlife wander through en route to wherever. Wednesday the biggest bear yet came through… but she stayed. And stayed.

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My hubby yelled at her when she started up the stairs to the deck, so she backed off. Instead, she wandered around the lawn and through the gardens. She climbed high into one of the very tall (200′) evergreens and then backed her way down again. She laid down and grazed on the grass, got up and wandered some more, repeatedly… for eighty minutes! (I know that because I checked the time stamps on the first and last of my 100+ photos.)

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She didn’t DO anything, but neither did she seem inclined to leave.

Then, after keeping us entertained for eighty minutes, she took one last stroll through the garden shrubs, turned and headed with determination across the yard towards the trail to our marsh… this time followed by a little cub who materialized from behind a rhododendron and scrambled to keep up!

 

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Our best guess for the prolonged visit is that, en route to wherever, it must have been time for the cub’s morning nap. Mama Bear had deposited him there, out of sight just above the creek, and left him to snooze while she put in the time munching and mowing our unkempt lawn, and posing for her extensive photo opp.

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(If you’d like a closer look, click on the photos to enlarge)

I’m left with an abundance of photos and memories of this close-up wildlife encounter, but I still don’t have a useful Friday post for you. Nothing brilliant has emerged from my boggled brain, so I hope you’ll be satisfied with this photo journal and feel your visit here hasn’t been entirely in vain.

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“Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth,
and makes us wiser than the fowls of heaven?”

[Job 35:11]

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Still Saturday: A Weekend Blessing

Thanks to Ann Voskamp for pointing me to this moving song of personal offering by Paul Baloche. I’m passing it along as a Still Saturday  blessing this Christmastime weekend…

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Linking with Sandra Heska King for Still Saturday

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Transitioning from Thanksgiving into Advent

 

 

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Sunlight filtered through the trees last weekend as we neared the spot where we would see the eagles. It was more of a stroll than a hike to get there, as the trail meandered through the woods toward the Chehalis River.

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Later we crossed over a stream via a log bridge and wandered back along an easier path that paralleled a golf course. It was a gorgeous day — a day that filled us with thankfulness for the beauty of our surroundings.

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But thankfulness is more than expressing appreciation for what we have. It involves a response to Him who is the giver of all we have and are.

This weekend many will be transferring attention from Thanksgiving to Advent. We begin the annual time of preparation, readying ourselves to receive again the Gift beyond imagining… God among us, the Creator and Saviour of the world. But truly, there shouldn’t be a transitioning from one celebration to another. We need to carry our thanksgiving on through and into Christmas.

What traditions are a part of your Thanksgiving-into-Christmas preparations?

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“Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift.”

2 Corinthians 9:15

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Journeying II

The start of our vacation journey was not entirely uneventful. We had barely entered the town next to ours, when our brakes began smoking — never a good thing when you’re towing a 27′ trailer! Fortunately the services we needed were close at hand and, a few hours later and $900 poorer, we were back on the highway again.

Not long after, however, we came upon an accident scene involving a large transport truck. As the traffic control person eased us past the scene we saw what was left of the truck being readied for removal, and it was evident that someone else’s journey had begun with a  much more serious incident.

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Because of the delays, we didn’t cover much mileage our first day, but ended up spending the night in a small municipal campground along the Similkameen River. Instead of dwelling on the day’s unpleasant aspects, we said a prayer for the safety of the driver, gave thanks for our own, and opened our eyes to the view from our trailer’s window.

We were reminded that whatever life brings, there are still joys to be discovered in the blessings that surround us if we turn our eyes towards the Creator.

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“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:2

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“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

Words & Music: Hel­en H. Lem­mel, 1922

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A new day dawning…

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Sun Glow

I’m not usually up early. Dawn isn’t my time to shine. But from my sleeplessness the stillness of a dewy Monday morning draws me, and I quietly slide open the patio door and slip outside. The deck boards are cool under my bare feet and I tug my robe closer in the early chill. Birds are just beginning their morningsong, greeting the sun with birdy chirps from hidden perches deep in the trees. A hummingbird buzzes past for his first guzzle of the day.

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Mixed with the happiness of visiting family, there is a wistfulness to this new day… a stray reminder that tugs from the darkness. A praise song from yesterday’s worship service bubbles to mind and soothes in the silence:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name *

Whether it’s another new week, a brand new day, a fresh new moment — or all three — the newness allows for starting over. Today’s beginning is not like yesterday’s or tomorrow’s but is a now opportunity for which to be thankful.

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

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In the glow of this Monday morning I find a sturdy beauty. The day will burst open whether the world is ready for it or not, and there is blessing in that continuity.

FushiaI will settle into more writing later today, but not now. I tiptoe back inside and slide the door closed. The warmth of my bed beckons and I’m going to cuddle down for another two hours. When the rest of the household awakens I will join them, refreshed and ready to welcome the joy of today.

But first I’ll need to withstand the temptation to warm my chilly feet on my sleeping hubby’s backside!

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*10,000 Reasons

(Matt Redman)

 

On the beach… renewing the writer’s spirit

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Beach View 1

There are few places I’d rather be than at the ocean. Mesmerized by the constant movement of waves, I can stay lost in the experience indefinitely. Whether the blustery onshore breeze is wild or gentle, chilling or warm, I don’t care. I am enthralled by God’s majestic display.

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Photo by Shari Green

This was my view one afternoon recently while visiting family on northeastern Vancouver Island. I sat above the shoreline, watching eagles soar in the air currents while my daughter and grandson wandered the intertidal area below, checking for interesting marine critters and finding shells and bits of colourful sea glass. It was my idea of a perfect “artist’s date”… one of those opportunities Julia Cameron suggests we all need for creative refreshment.

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Beach View 2

Whatever our task at hand, we really do require a little uplifting occasionally. Inertia can be devastating to the spirit. We need to catch the updraft, get a boost of energy, whether we’re trying to find words to finish a novel, make it through the mundane moments of everyday existence, or gain strength to tackle something major.

My family knows an hour on the beach is the perfect getaway for me. Your boost might come from a walk in the rain, an overnight camping trip, an inspirational read while the baby is napping, perhaps just a few minutes of birdwatching or wandering in the garden. The secret is to snatch the opportunities and not let time steal them away, as it will if we don’t take the initiative to act.

Wishing you time this weekend to empty the mind of everything else and focus totally on the experience of being renewed, however long or short the opportunity might be.

What’s your plan for renewal this weekend?

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Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 NIV

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Bits of joy on the journey

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Teresa

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Bunchberries are native wildflowers that grow in our woods. Related to Dogwoods, they have a similar cluster of tiny individual flowers in the centre, surrounded by four white bracts. Once the bracts die and fall away, the centre flowers develop into a cluster of red berries which are enjoyed by our birds. In the fall the overlapping whorl of six leaves turn a bronzy red.

Bunchberries are popular as a slow-growing ground cover, but I like them because they survive on their own in the acidic mulch and moist shade under our evergreen trees. I like them because they delight me and inspire joy every time I come across their beauty en route to the marsh. When I’m focused on the destination they remind me to appreciate the journey.

Do you have a favourite wildflower? Do your characters encounter wildflowers in any of your stories?

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Take Joy

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