Monday, February 28, 2011

Wooden You Know It

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
Henry David Thoreau

We don't live in the woods, and yet there are woods everywhere here. This is because everywhere we go, there is firewood for sale, and trees cut down and in pieces. Really, on just about every block. A lot of people here have wood burning stoves, even our next door neighbor. I have never seen so much wood in any year I have been alive, and that's plenty of years! My header is a photo I snapped from a book. It is a section of recently living mahogany, magnified 400 times with a light microscope. What you see are the bundles of tubular cells that carry the nutrients from the soil to the tree. It is the trees vascular system. Did you know that not all wood floats? Many of the heavier kinds do not. There are over thirty different kinds of trees mentioned in the bible, and God talks about seven at once in Isaiah. The tree with the worlds greatest recorded root depth? A fig tree in South Africa. One of it's roots goes down over 390 feet. Somehow, this doesn't surprise me.

"I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, and fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it." Isaiah 41:19,20

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Rainbow Connection

What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Paul Williams

This post is about the rainbow maker. But this time I am not talking about God, I am talking about Michael Jones McKean. You see, he has invented a way to make rainbows. He is an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and he uses a large scale sprinkler system with solar powered pumps to spray water into the air in arcs. He has been working on The Rainbow Project for about eight years. Test runs are producing rainbows nearly four football fields long. A gentle breeze can spread a 200 foot wide rainbow to nearly 1,000 feet wide. He is going to start showing free rainbows twice a day for fifteen minutes at a time. The header is a real rainbow photographed by me. The first picture I snapped of the article in the newspaper, showing Mr. McKean's rainbow. And the second picture is also his rainbow, taken from the web. But my question to you is this. Knowing that Mr. McKean's rainbows are man made, does it somehow take away from the experience for you, are you less affected by it? Does it take away the magic? Because after all, how much does magic depend on our minds?

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.."
Genesis 9:13

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rush Hour And Beyond

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exhalted among the nations,
I will be exhalted in the earth."

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:10,11

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Winds Of War

Today the winds were upon us, at 60 miles an hour. The wind blew shingles off many houses, overturned dumpsters, cracked telephone poles in half, and blew street signs and trees down. We were out in all of it, just trying to navigate. I watched tall light poles and flag poles waving back and forth in the wind, and was hoping they wouldn't fall on our car. I felt the car sway back and forth and even wondered if it might overturn. Power lines were down and many lost electricity. On the way home we came to a road that was closed, and my pictures show why. The wind had cracked a huge pine tree over at the base of the trunk, and the men were cutting it up and getting rid of it. The tree on my header is yet another one that had fallen in a field. Fallen like they were nothing.

"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and evermore! Amen.
Jude 1:24,25

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dollars And Sense

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed.
George Carlin

I bet you're wondering what the deal is with my header. It is the newest Dollar Store that just opened in town. We live in a very small city, and at one time, there were at least six dollar stores all within about two miles. This one makes six again. Dollar stores are a very big deal now. I just read a large article in the paper saying that they are going upscale, with lawyers and such shopping there now. More than a third of our population now shop in dollar stores. I guess they are kind of the replacement for the old five and dimes back in the 50's. This is Ella with our toy cash register, she loves to play with it. Her mom asked her one day if she knew where mommy and daddy got their money. She said yes, they get it at the Dollar Store! And in a way, she's right. It only makes sense.

"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."

1 Peter 5:2,4

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fishing In The Rain

"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet." Roger Miller

Since I showed you the blue heron yesterday, I now want to show you the first time we ever saw one in 2009. This heron was taken on two days in one weekend. Notice he is not blue like yesterday's heron. This is because it was raining and his feathers are all drenched. Yes, those pictures are not black and white, it was just a dreary rainy day. See the raindrops on the pond? He was fishing in the rain, stretching out his long neck to look in the water. In my one picture, he actually caught a fish and has it in his beak, though it is behind grass and not clear. As the rain poured down, I got drenched, the inside of the car got soaked, I didn't care. I was in a separate world with my camera and the heron. If you've ever watched one walk, you see their knees bend backwards from the way that ours do, so cool to watch. My brother-in-law David says God designed herons this way because when they wade, their knees will not stir up the water in front of them and obscure their vision. I don't know how he came up with that, but he's pretty smart. Unlike us, herons could never really get on their knees.

" the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 2:10,11

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blue Heron

Last week we happened upon this great blue heron. The pictures are not better because he was so far away; I spotted him clear across a pond. Blue herons are the largest of America's herons, and they can live up to 24 years. They are expert fishers, and it's amazing to watch them fish. They walk slowly or stand still for a long time. When a fish comes near, they jab their long sharp bill at it and swallow it whole. I've seen this. They've been known to choke to death by trying to swallow fish too big. Thankfully, I haven't seen that. One other thing. In the 19th century they were hunted for their beautiful feathers, for women to wear them. A law was finally passed to protect them. The wingspan is about six feet, and as I watched him majestically fly away, I was glad of that law.

"What matters is not your outer appearance-the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes-but your inner disposition. culitvate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in." 1 Peter 3-The Message
Just a little footnote here. Some of my followers thought that yesterday's post was the moon, but it was actually the sunset. I realize it was the way I worded it when I called it prelude to a moon. I should have explained that the prelude was the sun setting right before the moon rose. Sorry I forgot to add that.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Prelude To A Moon

O radiant dark! O darkly fostered ray!
Thou hast a joy too deep for shallow Day. George Eliot

The night I took the pictures of the Hunger Moon, I saw an even more spectacular prelude. Sometimes you can only hold your breath and look.

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Fire

The fire you kindle for your enemy often burns yourself more than them-Chinese Proverb
How is it that one match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to start a campfire? Christy Whitehead

If you have warm dry weather and lots of wind, fires are inevitable. So today I go from the wind to the fire. There are over 100 wildfires in our state, 13 of them in our area. Firefighters are calling today the worst day in their history. One massive fire has already burned 2,100 acres, and firemen have been called in from three other states to help. They say it will take at least a week to put it out. I snapped these pictures from my T.V. screen. Do you know what the main characteristic of God is? I know some would say love, but it is really fire. Dt.4:24 and Hebrews 12:29 both say so. God is associated with fire so many times in the bible that it would make your head spin. He killed people with fire, He protected the Israelites as a pillar of fire, He speaks of being a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, He gave the holy Spirit with tongues of flame. There was the chariot of fire, and his throne is described as being on fire behind a river of fire. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. Beside burning, fire refines and cleanses. Could we even live without fire? I'm actually having a hot flash right now, so if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and stick my head in the freezer.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Wind

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails-Unknown

Adversity is like a strong wind. It takes away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are-Arthur Golden

Why is Anne Marie looking up and laughing? Well, Anne and grandpa are flying a kite! It's been windy here. How windy? The wind gusts were supposed to reach 60 MPH today. Off duty linesman were being called on standby for downed power lines. We were warned to be prepared for power outages and downed trees. It actually started yesterday, and since Anne was with us, we thought we'd take advantage of it with a little kite flying. But it was so windy that the string kept getting tangled around their legs! It was so windy that I feared that both Anne and Phil would get blown away, both flying high overhead, still giggling and laughing. Fortunately nothing bad happened except a few broken limbs and overturned dumpsters. Not so in the nation's capitol. In other late breaking wind news, the National Christmas tree was blown over, as shown in the pictures I snapped from the T.V. news tonight. It had been in the same place since 1978!! It might take a wind even stronger than that to blow me off this couch! The wind woke me up this morning, but not Phil. Some people can sleep through anything.

"Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied,"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completly calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Matthew 8:24,27

In General

 Our Dollar General store moved into a new building this year, and it is larger and has a fancy layout. Here are a few of the spring things ...