Perspective – Restorative Power!

Saint Francis Xavier Church was founded by Father Thomas Mansell, S.J. in 1704. It is one of the earliest Catholic establishments in the English Colonies and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

History of St. Francis Xavier Shrine (Old Bohemia) Years ago, before the age of digital cameras, my husband and I drove around Cecil County, Maryland. We came upon a beautiful church unawares. I was struck by its beauty and took a snapshot with my camera. The photo above is a digital copy of the beautiful moment I captured.

The Old Bohemia Church was built in 1792. The church was established in 1704 to battle the repression of Catholicism in the English Colonies. In 1953, a group formed to renovate and restore the building. To me, the coming together of three such separate denominations is a testament of what Christianity should represent.

In 1953, the Old Bohemia Historical Society was formed by a Catholic, a Quaker and a Methodist who purchased the property’s core 120 acres with the goal to restore and maintain the historic site. Since that time, members have worked to bring the property back to its original state.

The month of October for me was a month without church. Between vacation and a dental surgery I missed every Sunday at my place of worship. This past weekend I was once again worshipping with the members in our church. When we entered we were greeted with the sight of almost every seat taken in the sanctuary. Hallelujah, what a blessed sight. We made our way to the balcony where there was still room, and I said to my husband, ‘It’s a full house today.’ When I left I felt uplifted and full of joy…I had been where I belonged on Sunday morning…in God’s house.

Yesterday I visited the blog ‘Tales From the Mama Duck.’ She perfectly put into words exactly how I felt on Sunday about the restorative power of church attendance. Here’s a quote and a link to her amazing post. ‘I Didn’t Want to Leave Church on Sunday.’

“Church is not a social gathering for me. Sure, it provides fellowship, but more intimate relationships are experienced in small groups. Church service is restorative. After six days in the world, I need a reprieve from the depravity, the images, the diseases, disappointments, and this Babylonian culture.” ~ Tales From Mama Duck

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” ~ Psalm 23:3

Place & Perspective – Negril Lighthouse/Rick’s Cafe/Carpe Diem

The Negril Lighthouse was built in 1894. You will find a perfect view of this landmark in Jamaica from another landmark, Rick’s Cafe.

We arrived at Rick’s Cafe in minutes from the Samsara, a great hotel in between Rick’s Cafe and Seven Mile Beach, just in time to see a diver prepare to jump from the cliffs.

Ten second video of the jump.

My husband has jumped off the moderate sized cliffs the Samsara is built upon numerous times; I have not. I decided this was my year to jump. I contemplated the sea below, the height, and decided to seize the day and finally jump off the cliffs.

There I go, my hair makes me laugh, it looks as if it wants to stay behind and is yelling, “NO!”

My husband jumped with the underwater camera this year. Here’s a quick glimpse of what you see and hear when you jump in from the cliffs.

I’m glad I did seize the day, the next morning the sea was rough, churned up by Hurricane Michael’s path to the left of Jamaica. If I had waited I would have missed my chance.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

This post is part of Skywatch Friday

Plants & Perspective – Cuttings

In August I took about three dozen cuttings of plants I liked. Oh my! They all took to rooting in water and soil and I soon had them growing under lights in the basement. My success surprised me even though I have rooted cuttings for years. The small plants quickly became another demand of my time.

Where are the plants now? You might cringe and ask ‘why,’ when I tell you they are in the compost heap. I am getting wiser. I am cutting back on things that tie up my time and energy. Do I really need to carry over so many plants? I live in an area with many garden nurseries. My flowering perennials grow larger every year. I don’t really need as many plants as I did in the past.

I’ve decided I must cut away successful endeavors that might kill me. Sounds funny, but those of you with too many projects going on know exactly what I mean. Growing older for me means less really does give me more…and by that I mean TIME. By the way, I also have a glorious compost heap to use next year. Hooray!

Perspective – Playing with God

We walked atop old telephone poles laid flat as parking lot barriers, balancing, waving our arms when we wavered, laughing at each other as we struggled to keep from falling off. We were pretending we were explorers walking a high, narrow bridge between two mountains. He is six, I am sixty. He is my grandson, I am his grandmother.

He had just told me he has nightmares. A scary guy from a video game called Freddy is in his dream. I told him I would pray he has good dreams. We both began talking about our ‘exploring’ game and what fun we were having playing together when he said, “Nanny, I want to play with God.”

My heart soared. Whenever one of my children or grandchildren has acknowledged the personhood of God I know they have a belief in God. My grandson’s remark, that he wanted to play with God was, to me, a precious example of seeking God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6

In the evening, after the day spent with family, I remembered my promise and prayed that Dominic would have a good dream, and that God would play with him in his dream. I am so grateful that God gives me these moments with my beloved grandchildren to reinforce my faith in Him and in the coming Eternal Life we will all share together. All praise to our Glorious Father in Heaven. Amen.

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ~ Matthew 19:14

Perspective & Plant – Do What You Do and Do It Well

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

In February 2016, I posted about these amazing anthurium hanging baskets I photographed in the Longwood Gardens Conservatory. When I visited the gift shop on my way out, I found single plants for sale at an amazing price and took one home with me. I’ve grown the anthurium in a terracotta pot as a floor plant since then, and although it has done well, it has never wanted to stand upright. After propping it up for years, I decided to let it do what it seemed to be destined to do well and planted it in a hanging basket.

““Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

The anthurium always looked interesting in its floor pot, but as a hanging basket plant it is unique and will never look common. A good lesson for me to follow too: Always be who I am, and not what others think I should be!

““Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Perspective – Bittersweet

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus

Bittersweet vines grow in hedges and up the trunks of trees in our area. There is a native species of the plant, but it is being taken over by an invasive type that was brought into the country as an ornamental.

Bittersweet is also a perfect description of my emotions in October. Sweet are the birthdays and anniversaries of those I love, sweet are the painted faces of children when they ring my doorbell for goodies, sweet are the colorful leaves falling and gathering in heaps beneath my feet; Autumn is filled with so many joyful occasions and sights. Still, I sigh a bit and know the bitter too, for I dislike coats, hats, scarves and gloves, preferring instead to run into the garden on a whim without stopping to armor myself against the elements.

I think I need to have an Autumn motto, and will look to this terrific quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne for my inspiration.

“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Photograph & Perspective – Skywatch Friday/Falling Leaves

What a wonderful time of the year! Autumn is near and bringing with it colorful falling leaves. They are so lovely, the greens of summer turning into gold, fluttering to the ground amid the swish of the breeze. Sounds pretty, doesn’t it? But it’s not true and a purposeful deception on my part.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” ~ II Timothy 4:3-4

Look a little closer and see the trickery in the photograph.

The leaves aren’t falling at all. I collected several and arranged them on a large spider web to give the appearance of Autumn. In reality not many leaves are changing color yet in my area. The photograph certainly gives the impression of falling leaves. I am strictly an amateur when it comes to photography. Think what a professional could do to fool you into thinking the leaves are actually falling from a tree and not merely suspended on a spider web by someone with the aim to manipulate your thinking and attitudes.

“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
~ Romans 16:18

We live in a time and age when media outlets of all types use lies, deceit, and purposeful manipulation of photographs, video, situations, testimony to depict or twist world events into crafty mind control. Be aware!

“But test everything; hold fast what is good.”
~ I Thessalonians 5:21

This post is part of Skywatch Friday – First Day of Fall 2018 Edition.

Perspective – Heaven

Yesterday, before the start of my grandson’s first soccer game of the season, I walked around the perimeter of the fields and took a few photographs of the horses in the adjoining pastures. When I downloaded the photos today I noticed I had captured four horses in one of the shots. Their contrasting colors immediately reminded me of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I went to Revelation and found the verses describing these horses, and was tempted to write about them, but to be honest, although I’ve been reading Revelation daily in the last few months, I know I am not an expert in interpreting it. Instead of focusing on things I don’t understand I am posting the beautiful descriptions of Heaven written in Revelation 21. I know that through believing on Jesus I will one day see and dwell eternally with Him.

Revelation 21:10-27

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.

The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.

The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia [or 1,400 miles!] in length, and as wide and high as it is long [1,400 miles wide and tall!].

The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits [that is 200 feet!] thick.

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.

The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst [these last two stones are unknown or only exist in heaven today].

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Is your name written in the Book of Life? Are you part of the Whosoever?


John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Perspective and Photo Challenge – The Devil is in the Details

This summer, our family joined together to celebrate a major birthday milestone my mother-in-law reached. All the details were carefully planned for an outdoor picnic at the Lake/Pool. The best plans can’t control the weather though. It rained off and on for most of the day…that is the bad news. The good news is that we had fun anyway and there were no summer crowds to contend with due to the grey skies.

The Devil certainly can be in the details, but sometimes when those details are sent askew heavenly things happen. Do you know what all the great-grandsons will remember about the birthday party? Of course, they will remember forever the amazing mudpit the rain created near the pavilion we picnicked in. All the finely planned details of decoration and food will be long forgotten but the feel of the mud squishing between toes will be a delight forever. The laughter of mud-spattered cousins will always peal in their memories as a reminder of childhood fun. It makes me realize that planning is great, but when things go awry there might be something even better on the horizon.

This post is part of A Photo A Week Challenge/The Devil is in the Details

Photographs & Perspective – Autumn Bound

My family often gathers together for Thursday evening dinner. The conversation last night turned toward summer’s end, and the finish of fun activities, picnics, and warm weather. The swimming season at lake and pool is over, school is starting next week, and coatless weather will soon be replaced with jackets and hats. Since my sons have been working in high heat and humidity outdoors, they aren’t sorry to see temperatures in the 90’s disappear, but we all wish the freedom and fun of summer would never vanish. The calendar might proclaim summer not ending for twenty-two days, but Labor Day weekend in the U.S. always seems to announce Autumn.

Although they bloom all summer, sunflowers are commonly associated with Autumn. I recently found these beauties growing in the front of a neighbor’s home. The day was overcast, the sun still rising, and the grey of the sky created an unearthly backdrop for these beauties. I think they will be perfect to use as the September header image for the blog. Good-bye August…Hello September.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Fandango One Word Challenge (FOWC) – Bound

Perspective – Through My Eyes with Gratitude

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?”
~ Henry David Thoreau

I’m sharing my world and including a note of gratitude to you, all my fellow bloggers, who share your world and lives too. Thank You!

I love these rustic pilings and enjoyed the sight of the cormorants sunning themselves on the tops.

Old docks are stacked upon each other along Fortescue Creek. A good photo for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge/Stacked created by Cee. Thanks Cee, for all the great challenges.

If you spent time with me you would quickly discern that one of my favorite activities is beach combing wherever there is plenty of interesting sea or bay drift. It has been a good weekend. God bless you all on this Sabbath Day. Thanks for stopping by!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26

Perspective, Photograph & Quote – Waiting

The mountain laurel, late in blooming this year, is finally flowering. It blooms in a small woods near our home. I like to photograph the pristine white flowers illuminated by the canopy of trees and sky.

This Spring, everything has been late in coming into leaf or flower, we’ve waited on just about everything, including the warm weather. I found quite a few quotes on waiting and some lauded the ability to wait while others criticized the tendency. I liked this one by Lincoln…

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

                                      ~ Abraham Lincoln

Today I think I will choose to hustle!

Perspective – Remembrance & Reminder

Today, Good Friday, I wanted a reminder from nature of the Cross of Christ Jesus. Venturing into the woods, I fashioned a cross of twigs, fastened it with hardened twirls from thorn plants, and set it within a rustic stump. A good remembrance I thought as I snapped my photo.

I began to make my way out of the woods and felt a pull to turn instead in the opposite direction. As I walked, I glanced down at the trail below my feet and there before me lay a perfect natural cross composed of tree roots.

I was reminded again that all so often God has the perfect moment, word, or circumstance waiting for me if I just heed his spirit and walk in the way he opens to me.

I have found this verse from Isaiah a blessing throughout this past year…perhaps you will too. It’s a good one to memorize as a reminder that God is willing to lead all of us if we will but listen for his voice.

“And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21

Perspective – Rain and Rainbows

Rain or Rainbows – What a terrific subject for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. I went to one of my favorite places over the weekend, Fortescue, New Jersey, on the Delaware Bay, only to find that the weather was contrary to what we had hoped for when we left home.

The sky was cold and grey and the temperature reflected it. The rain pelted those fishing off the beach; we think they were trying to hook some winter flounder, striper or bunker. We saw a fishing rod bend with a possible bite, but whatever nibbled at it got away.

Where there is rain you will find rainbows. Although I didn’t see a rainbow in the sky, the upturned oyster shells scattered by the surf on the beach reflected a brilliant iridescence, the only rainbow I found.

When they dry, the oysters are plain and bluish-gray in appearance.

The last rainbow is a throwback photograph and video of last year’s vacation in Jamaica. In the early morning, on the way to breakfast, my husband spotted this amazing spider web, damp after the gardener’s early morning watering; the web’s moisture captured the sun and reflected it as a shimmering rainbow.

My 30 second YouTube Video will give you a good look at the spiderweb as it danced in the wind and reflected rainbows.

Perspective, Pheathers and Phascination – Hello Friends!

Today I conceded that WordPress Blogs are the most user-friendly, and paid the fee for my blog’s overabundant media library. This will give me another year blogging at WordPress. I suppose I should say…I’m back.

I’m sharing the Cornell Lab Bird Cams as a start-up post. I’ve been especially intrigued with the Hawk, Fruit Feeders, and Savannah Osprey Cams. I’ve included them in my post. The bird cams are one of my favorite places to visit online. Enjoy!

Perspective & Plants & Quote – Seedlings/You Do Too Much? NO!

The coleus seedlings have begun to thrive. After their typical slow start, they have developed roots and are now reaching toward the sun on a kitchen windowsill. I’ll let you in on a secret…this is only a portion of the coleus I have growing, there are dozens more under lights. Yes, it seems like a lot of plants, when you add in the tomatoes, eggplant, zinnias, cardinal flowers, moon flowers, etc., etc., etc., but today I came upon a quote in ‘One Woman Farm,’ by Jenna Woginrich, that perfectly described how I feel about what others might view as an excess of activity and objects in my life.

Jenna writes in a chapter titled, ‘I Do Too Much:’
“I do what I do because it fills my mind, body, and spirit. I live in this frenzy of activity not as a victim but as a celebrant.”
and…
“You know what I think? I think wasted potential is a lot scarier than feeling overwhelmed. There is no monster greater than regret.”

I agree Jenna, and so I say when I spend a good half hour watering all my seedling babies…”Onward!”

One of the ‘mother’ plants of my coleus seeds.

Perspective & Phavorites – Don’t Worry

“Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”~ Bob Marley

As young as they are, my grandchildren already talk about memories they have of ‘Nanny’s house.’ My middle grandchild said to me recently, “When I was a baby, I came here, and I would sing.” It turns out this singing was Bob Marley’s song, ‘Three Little Birds.’ When my grandson was a toddler, I watched him several days throughout the week, we’d play Reggae and when our favorite, ‘Three Little Birds,’ filled the living room with its lilting notes, I’d pick him up and we’d dance together. He remembers these moments.

img_4685-2

I came to love Reggae music later in life. I’d definitely say ‘Three Little Birds’ is one of my favorite songs. I’ve said before in these posts, the wisdom in the song, echoes Jesus’ words in the Bible.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

                                                                  ~ Matthew 6:25-27

Today I read an article with a little more proof that Reggae music will make you smile. Dogs prefer Reggae.

Another Reggae group that fills me with joy is Christafari Band.

The dreariness of winter can put a blight on your happiness…take a few moments to listen to some upbeat music and smile.

Perspective – Wisdom on Wednesday – HALT

halt

“We are wise to be aware of our mental state as we approach decisions. The acronym “H.A.L.T.” stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired—four states in which we will likely make poor choices. When considering options, it is well worth waiting until a better time.” ~ Dr. Charles Stanley – In Touch Ministries

This is wonderful advice to follow all year through, but in the wintertime, when many of us spend every day in close contact with others, it can save us from countless problems and broken relationships. I sometimes add an S to this acronym, and make it HALTS. It reminds me to also be still and silent, and to make no quick decisions when I am stressed or sick.

I enjoy listening to Dr. Stanley’s daily devotionals while I am working on the computer or creating art and pressed flowercraft. His word from God is heartfelt and biblical, and always turns my eyes toward the Lord and away from myself. In Touch Ministries

I used the color brown for the word Halt. Brown seems to me a color of strength and determination. It often is in the background, highlighting the brilliance of the other colors in the box. Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola

Perspective – Let Me Be Resilient

brrr
WordPress Photo Challenge – Resilient

“I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

We often visit our favorite seashore towns the week after Christmas. Winter and summer ocean-scapes couldn’t be more different. You can almost feel the cold and hear the wind blowing when you study this photograph of the beach at Strathmere, New Jersey. In this view we are looking across the water to Corson’s Inlet and Ocean City. It takes a hearty and resilient attitude to walk along the ocean water on a cold, windy December day. It takes even more gumption to attempt kitesurfing in cold weather. I doubt I will ever kitesurf, but I’ve walked on a wintry beach many a time. Here’s to maintaining a resilient attitude toward every worthwhile goal, dream and task in 2017.