A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:34-35
I use every resource at my disposal to identify this heron whose image I captured this weekend as he waded in and out of the water and snatched a blue-tipped damsel fly out of the air.
Every bird identification tool I use confirms he's a tricolored heron - from the white plume on his head to his overall contrasting plumage, but that yellow on his chest and abdomen throws me. Every resource I've referenced indicates that plumage should be white, not yellow, yet, he's clearly a tricolored heron.
Years ago, we entered a church where we were warmly greeted by a gentleman wearing a kilt and whose graying hair was fashioned into two long braids that hung down to his waist. It was an introduction to a church and worship service that was foreign to us in many ways.
We recognized elements in this church that were clearly Christian - from the pastor's bible-based message to the music and order of worship, but other characteristics, though not contrary to Scripture, were simply outside our experiences and the Christian worship service mold we knew.
There are a multitude of differences in the ways we, as those who call ourselves Christians, look and work and live and worship that are outside our individual experiences.
I pray that my distinctions still point clearly to a life in Christ and the truths of Scripture as I endeavor to hold onto the very words of Jesus in my relationships with others.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times,
you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8
It's not quite 7:00 when I stop at the top of the bridge long enough to capture the sun rising over the misty river.
It's not the first time I've done that - foot on the brake, grab the camera and shoot. Five seconds, tops.
My friend insists that there are signs forbidding it - stopping on the bridge, but I've yet to see one. Fishing and swimming? Clearly prohibited, but not one word about stopping, and so far, I've escaped the bridge tender's attention.
* * *
I crossed the bridge and headed west for a full day of appointments in the city. I'm still recovering. A normal day of activity for most people can feel like a marathon for me. There were moments in the day when I wasn't sure I could take one more step.
By my last stop of the day in the late afternoon, when the radiology tech called me out of the waiting room for a thyroid ultrasound and dexa scan, I'd already had x-rays of my knees, seen an orthopedic surgeon and his excellent nurse practitioner Lizzie (who gives the best knee injections and is overall awesome), spent the rest of the morning at church working on the soon-to-be-released church blog, and shopped for clothes and birthday gifts. I was grateful to lie down on the exam table, get off my feet and close my eyes during the tests.
With appointments with my rheumatologist, another knee injection from Lizzie, and the removal of a cyst at the plastic surgeon's office on the calender, next week's schedule appears equally daunting - and, technically, I'll be a whole year older.
I won't tell you how old I was when I woke up this morning, but let you figure it out. Born smack dab in the middle of the last century, on May 18, 1950 and having lived through the turn of the century makes it easy - 50 + the year it is. The older I get, the harder it is to remember or care how old I am and the more I appreciate easy math problems.
God has been good to me these 50 + 13 years, and I know He always will be. Ann Voskamp's God is Always Good and You are Always Loved is written on my blackboard this week as a reminder, and the book Robbi and I have been working on - No Matter What It's a Good Day When - is in the hands of a publisher.
I woke up to fresh coffee and a lovely gift from Louis. A beautiful bouquet of white and dark pink peonies from Emily is on the counter and my daughter-in-love Kristin is cooking dinner for me tonight. The day has just begun and it's already very good.
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Come later this summer, the delicate pale pink blooms of the beautyberry will develop into tight clusters of glossy, iridescent purple berries that give this native beauty its name.
Beautyberry grows wild in the moist thickets along Pollywog Creek - often entangled in grapevines and hidden by rusty lyonia and the heart-shaped leaves of potato vines - except for this one we transplanted to the backyard along the chain-link fence where it doesn't compete for space and nutrients, and we can more fully appreciate its colorful beauty long after spring and the azaleas have stopped blooming.
Delightfully cool mornings have drawn me and my work out to the backyard swing this week - where I can not only enjoy the beautyberry, but the cardinal family that still visits the feeders and a fox squirrel who's been sneaking in to raid those same feeders.
One morning I was comfortable on the swing - with my laptop, basket of cameras, and a fresh cup of coffee - and focused on an assignment when a long black snake slithered right past my feet and raced into the azaleas. I nearly had a heart attack.
Darn snakes - they've been ruining our day from the very beginning.
It was suggested that I put my feet up on the swing, but there was no room, so I concluded I'd just have to remain on alert - and there's a lesson in that, I'm sure.
Snakes. Lions. They're pretty much all the same.Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.I Peter 5.8
Every day I have a choice – to choose despair or delight, grumbling or gratitude, pugnaciousness or peace – despite my circumstances.
I'm at Bible Dude this morning...won't you come on over and tell me what you think?
I'd like to know - when has affliction been grace for you?
I'd like to know - when has affliction been grace for you?