Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Tree Of Happiness

Right now the Mimosa Trees are in bloom all over town. Also called Silk Trees, they were introduced to the U.S. in 1745. They are originally from China, and there are about 50 different varieties. The pink puff-ball blooms look like something out of a little girl's fairy tale. But I find the fern-like leaves almost as pretty. They are extremly fast growing, but very fragile, and have a short life span. But as feathery and pretty as the flowers are, it's the bark that's special about this tree. It is used in traditional Chinese medine, and called Collective Happiness Bark, because it's used as an anti-depressant. It is said to produce calm and help spiritual unrest. So I guess if we can't find the Fountain Of Youth, the Tree Of Happiness is the next best thing. Herbs and drugs can do amazing things to change our emotions, but true spiritual rest comes from one place.

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1,2

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Temporary Home

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs
And quietly steal away.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from "The Day Is Done"

A few days ago, we pulled into our driveway to find that a tent had been put up in our back yard! We had never seen it before and had no idea where it came from. A mystery! It remained there for a few days, then I happened to talk to our next door neighbor. Her two teenage daughters had put it up for a fun weekend sleepover. She assured me it would be gone in a day or two, and I told her I loved it, and so would our little friend Ella when she came to spend the day. I have tried here to capture the joy of a three year old upon just finding a colorful tent in the yard. It seems that the most wonderful things happen tents. God came to earth to talk to Moses in a tent. Abraham pitched tents in a foreign land because and we are told that "he was looking forward to a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." To me, a tent is a symbol of something transient and temporary. But then again, all our houses are really just temporary, aren't they?

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands." 2 Cor. 5:1

Monday, June 28, 2010

Everlasting Light

This is one of my favorite art sculptures in the nearby city of Charlottesville. This city has lots of beautiful and quirky art on their busy highways. It's a wonder they haven't caused accidents from distracted drivers staring. This is called Continuum, and it's all about energy and light. It's a living work of art, because it changes as the light changes. The wind also blows the extending rods, making lovely sounds. I took these pictures one evening as the sun was setting. A different look each time. Light makes everything different.

"The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end." Isaiah 60: 19,20

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Gentle Giant

Pretty creepy pictures, huh? Did I take them? Yes I did, this afternoon, and I believe my camera lens could have been actually touching this creature. Did I risk life and limb? Well, that would make a good story, but actually I did not. In fact, I suspected this was a Carpenter Bee, and I was right. I didn't learn about Carpenter Bees till this spring, and my knowledge sure came in handy today. It can BEE hard to tell the difference between this bee and a bumblebee, but I found this comparison picture on the web to show you the difference. They are extremly docile and will amost never sting, even if you touch them. If they want to scare you away, they may just bump up against you. They are also very curious. If you throw a small pebble past one, he will try to fly after it and chase it. Another thing I like about them is that they are clumsy, just like me! They frequently crash into the sides of walls, trees, and plants. They are also called Wood Bees, because they bore a perfectly round hole in wood and lay their eggs and live there. They like to live in house walls and barn walls. One of the main ways people get rid of them is to caulk up their holes. I don't like to think of these clumsy, gentle giants inside the wall smothering. They may be ugly looking, but their clumsiness and gentleness is rather endearing to me. In fact, these bees seem to have some of the same qualities that make us endearing to God.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all." Philippians 4:4,5

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Latest Buzz

There's lots of annoying buzz being made by and about the long plastic south African horn, the vuvuzela. Generations of South African children grew up listening to vuvuzelas being played at soccer matches. And if you've watched any of the World Cup, you know that these horns are played constantly throughout the whole game. If you have not heard this annoying instrument yet, you can watch and listen to this thirty second video. They sound like the droning buzz of a million bees. Many have demanded that the instrument be banned. If you listen to just one for under a half minute, you exceed the permitted levels for noise at work. Listening to so many in a sporting event has caused temporary hearing loss among some spectators. Germany wants them banned, while others say that this attitude shows no respect for another country's musical heritage. The tabloids in England accuse the instrument of swollen lips and even windpipe rupture. My goodness, that would be one enthusiastic horn player! And yet, British supermarkets are selling out of them! Here's what I say. South Africa is the host country; be respectful and let them have their traditions. If you don't like it, turn the sound down on the T.V, or wear earplugs in the stadium. So ends my two part series about The World Cup. Oh, and one other thing, when the new shipments hit the stores, I will NOT be buying one for our granddaughter.

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubliant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn - shout for joy before the Lord, the King." Psalm 98:4,6

Friday, June 25, 2010

For Everyman

Do you think I need more pictures here? I've gone completly overboard this time, haven't I? But be very glad of this; I didn't post all the pictures that I wanted to. I actually used restraint. But you know how excited I get about things, so I just had to share these with you! Hubby left one of the sports cannnels on T.V. , and the World Cup was on. So I watched as they showed these stunning images, a feast for the eyes. I was spellbound at the beauty. And this is coming from someone who does not watch sports and does not know how to play football. So what is this World Cup thing, anyway? My son informed me that it's made up of teams from other countries, and it's only every four years. And he told me why soccer is the most popular sports game in the world. Anyone can play soccer. For very poor people, you need no equipment at all. No field, not even a special ball, the ball can be a found object. You can play it anywhere. It is truly the inclusive everyman's sport. So I guess soccer is pretty cool, but I still don't understand a sport where you hit the ball with your head. Here's something else that's for everyman, with no exception.

"Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:11,13

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Muddying The Water

Hi, I'm Ginny's friend, Ella! I am three years old, and I came over to spend the day with Ginny and Phil. Ginny suggested that I help water the flowers, because we're having a heat wave, and I said "Sure". Oh boy, I just love doing things with water! I loved making trips to the spigot and running the water in the sprinkler can to take to the flowers. But there are much better things to do with a watering can. See the bricks around her little garden? They have holes in them and it was fun to pour the water in the holes. Why would anyone put holes in bricks on purpose? I would get in big trouble if I had done that! But there's something much better to put water on than flowers. And that's dirt. If you pour water on dirt, it turns into MUD, one of my very favorite things. So I went in front of the house and made a great little mud puddle, then found a pinecone. By dipping the tip of the pinecone into the mud, I could paint the house!! For some reason, Ginny did not like this idea! In fact, she made me stop! She said this was the end of our plant watering session and we had to go inside now. Can you imagine? If she would have let me continue, I could have made her house beautiful!! It would have been prettier than all those old plants that always need tending to! Sometimes I think that grown-ups don't know a good thing when they see it.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God." Psalm 40:1,3

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Inside

Can you see the glitter inside this beautiful flower? Glitter made from God. The inside of this flower is amazing, if you care to look deeper. But as you can see in the last picture, this little blue flower is considered a common weed. It is chicory, a member of the daisy family. It dates back 5,000 years, and was referred to in the days of Cleopatara because it grew along the Nile River. It was introduced here in about 1785. The roasted root is added to coffee. It is said to add aroma, color, and mellowness. It had been thought that chicory made coffee bitter, but that was disproved by extensive blind taste tests. It actually makes a much smoother drink. Seems that this plant had been maligned in many areas. The leaves of the chicory have been popular salad greens for years. In folklore, chicory flowers are the eyes of a girl crying for her lover's ship, which never returned, so it is also called Blue Sailor Weed. Yes, to the casual passer by, this is just a common weed, unless you care to come closer and really look at the inside. That's when you see the glitter.

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Ask Why - Bad Dog Part II

"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col. 2:2

Yesterday I left unanswered questions about the bumper eating dog, whose name is Winston. So I am postponing today's planned subject to wrap up looose ends. You wanted to know why he would do such a thing out of the blue when he had no previous history. Someone suggested that he might have had a traumatic experience in the past with a similar looking car. So I did some research to find answers. Turns out there are none. No one knows why. The policeman had been giving out tickets, so his siren had been on. That was a suggested reason. This video is only one minute long, and you won't be disapointed if you watch it. It's amazing to watch the car traveling at a good clip, with Winston even seeming to pull it. You will see him actually pulling the bumper off. But in asking WHY, I wonder if Winston perhaps needed a doggie psychologist instead of obedience school. Or maybe both. Winston's owner is very grateful that his dog wasn't shot, which has happened in similar cases. This policeman was very tolerant. So for now, the story of winston will remain, like so many other things in this world, a mystery. And what fun is life without a little mystery?

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens - what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave - what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." Job 11:7,8

Monday, June 21, 2010


My header is the Recycle Dog, he's a GOOD dog! But my story is about a BAD dog.
I used to wonder about dogs who chased cars. What would they do if they ever caught a car? I finally found out.. While watching the T.V. news the other day, the anchorman suddenly announced "DOG ATTACKS POLICE CAR AND RIPS THE BUMPER OFF. STAY TUNED" I stayed tuned, all right, and during the commercial I got my camera. The story was even more wild than promised, and here are the pictures to prove it, because I know I wouldn't have believed it without them. The police car is MOVING, going back and forth ever so slowly, trying to dislodge the dogs teeth from the bumper. The dog had raced up to the police cruiser in a frenzy, and was actually ripping the bumper off in big pieces. He finally tore off almost the entire bumper. I'm thinking he must have been out of bones. Another dog came wandering by and stood barking encouragement for awhile, but would not join in. Good decision on his part. Pictured are the dog and owner shortly after. Owner says his dog is wonderful and has never done anything like this before. He can't understand it. Do you think doggie is looking remorseful, or just thinking of taking a big bite out of the camera? Obedience school for him, and till then I suggest no one ride their bikes in the neighborhood!!

"I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you."
Psalm 119: 166,168

Sunday Sunset

  “They ran to the museums for paintings. I ran to the roof for sunsets.”  – Darnell Lamont Walker