This photo was taken on a recent hike at Morris Reserve in Bellbrook. It is a newer park and though we have been there many times, we had never seen it with all of these purple flowers blooming. It was an unexpectedly splendid view walking along this section of the trail.
Often, the best experience is to encounter something new when there was no reason to expect something new.
I don’t think I had ever seen steam coming off a tree before. It’s dramatic to see steam rising from a lake or river; this was less dramatic but more fascinating. Fascinating because I’m not sure I would believe it if I didn’t see it.
How often in our lives do we need to see something firsthand before we believe it?
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
This was photo was taken at Guadalupe Mountains NP, on the McKitrick Canyon Trail. There are so many interesting details in this image – a patch of red leaves, the tree with white bark. I’m drawn to the white stone trail disappearing into the distance. Maybe it represents an ongoing adventure, sort of like the yellow brick road.
It brings to mind a reflection from “The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God” by Becky Eldredge. Notice what you are noticing. Discernment is about noticing. Noticing the promises of God at work in our life. Noticing the deep desires in our hearts to respond to the love given to us. Noticing the longings of other people. Noticing our gifts. We discover the unique call upon our lives when we notice the needs of the world around us and the gifts we have to respond to the needs. When we notice both the needs of the world and our gifts that give us joy and meet those needs, we have found our promised unique call.
This a photo looking out from the Rock House, which is the only true cave in the Hocking Hills area. Other “caves” in the area are really a gorge with an overhang. The Rock House is 25 feet high, 200 feet long and has several openings resembling gothic arches. I was amazed by this large star-shaped opening. Not to mention the colors in and on the rock.
The variety in God’s creation is amazing. Different shapes, colors, sizes, and even textures. Contrast is a wonderful thing!
This photo was taken in mid-winter at Sweet Arrow Reserve. You can see a little snow on the ground and ice on the water. The trees are without any signs of life. But the sun is shining, brightening the day. It’s cloudy but there is blue sky above.
What do you see in the world around you? There is always good and bad; it’s important not to be too focused on either.
This is a photo of Great Sand Dunes NP in Colorado (seen in the distance). It is an amazing landscape with a fascinating geologic history. This valley was once covered by a lake. Sediment from the surrounding mountains filled the valley and the lake receded. Exposed sand was blown by the predominant southwest winds toward the Sangre de Cristos mountains, but during storms the winds blow back toward the valley. These opposing winds cause the dunes to grow higher and higher. Small dunes continue to form in the surrounding sand and migrate across grasslands, joining the main dunefield. Some of these migrating dunes become covered by grasses and shrubs and stop migrating.
There are multiple terms we could use for the stabilizing influences in our lives: rock (on which we stand) and anchor (for our boat in a storm) come immediately to mind. I guess we can add the grass and shrubs (for our sand dune).
I have been taking a break from running recently due to a health issue. Last Saturday morning, my wife and I went hiking at Sweet Arrow Reserve which is very close to our home. We were greeted with this beautiful sunrise.
This photo was taken in June at Congaree National Park. If you look at the far edge of the water, you see that the water is a dark brown color. At first we assumed it was muddy, but when you approached the edge of the river you could see through the water very easily. We were told that the brown color was due to tannins from leaves and tree bark. It could be thought of as a River of tea!
Those around us have a profound effect upon us (and vice versa).
This is a photo taken at Congaree National Park in June. These are cypress tree knees; their exact function is not certain but it is thought they add stability to the tree in soft muddy soil. A sort of support system.
As a think about these trees, I can’t help but reflect on my support system. Friends and family that I know I can rely on. I pray that I provide similar support for others.