Midweek Morsel: Glory Surrounds

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May is here and the glory of spring surrounds us, doesn’t it? Green is not just peeking any longer. It’s in full swing, setting the perfect emerald backdrop for the bursts of color the spring flowers are treating us to. Yes, glory surrounds.

Leafy fullness adorns our trees once again. No little buds just teasing us with what’s to come. We listen and hear the leaves swish in the breeze, we are energized by their testimony to life. Yes, glory surrounds.

Spring has brought more of our favorite birds back to us as well. They sing, they dash to and fro, busy with building this season’s homes. They remind us of the wonder of nature, the miracle of creation, and the mighty God who is responsible for it all. The loving God who shares it all with us. Yes, indeed, glory surrounds.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him.” Psalm 8:3a,4

*What’s your favorite part of spring’s glory?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my inspirational quarterly newsletter, came out earlier this week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

In Spite of the Fog

2057431392_f8278c42fbWhat’s the first window you look out of each morning? With the blinds still closed in my bedroom and no windows in the adjoining bath, I usually head over to the next room (my office) before glancing out at the new day. I love to lift the blinds there first to get an early morning view of the birdfeeder. The other morning, however, I had to do a double-take.

Instead of clear skies and the soft morning light I expected to see, thick fog met my early morning check of the day. What’s up with this? The weatherman hadn’t mentioned fog on the late news the night before. But then again, Mother Nature outwitted the forecast last week as well.

I left the fog in all its ghostly glory for a short time to attend to a few little tasks before heading to the kitchen. Since it was still cold outside, I poked my head only out the door to bask in some early morning moments with the world around me — and with the Creator of it all.

The fog certainly obscured my vision, cutting short the distance I could survey, but I couldn’t help but notice that this unexpected weather phenomenon had a beauty all its own. The pure white of the cloudy visitor felt soft and gentle and welcomed me to relish it in a new way. With not being able to see the vibrant images I’m accustomed to, the sounds around me seemed to ring out more clearly. The melodies of the birds quickly captured my attention. As ever, their songs lifted my spirit and made me smile.

And then it dawned on me. In spite of the fog, in spite of obscured vision and the uncertainty of the beyond, the birds still sang. Their voices rang out strong and unhindered. They didn’t let the fog stop them from singing.

How much more should I continue singing the praises of my Creator, the praises of my Savior, when the fogs of life’s situations envelop me? Oh, that my voice will ring out in praise and thanksgiving even when I can’t see clearly, even when I’m confused or uncertain. And maybe, just maybe, my song will lift the spirit of someone else. Let it be so, my Lord!

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1

*When have you sung praises to God in spite of fog in your life?

*I hope this revised encore post from March 2009 was a blessing to you today!

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mysza831, Creative Commons License

Summer Photo Fun: More Caption Fun!

IMG_5408How about a little more caption fun before Summer Photo Fun, comes to an end next week? I always love the caption challenges. Hope you do, too!

What do you think the little fella (or gal!) above might be saying? I posted this photo several weeks ago in the batch where I featured the Gray Catbirds who have been frequenting my backyard this summer, but now it’s time to let you give him/her a voice.

So go ahead and share—what’s the first thing that comes to mind? And hey, thanks for playing my games with me! :)

“A cheerful heart is good medicine . . .” Proverbs 17:22a

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo

Summer Photo Fun: Gray Catbird Beauty

IMG_5498Those of you who know me know that I love to try to capture great photos of birds. You also know that I usually try to work some of my bird photos into Summer Photo Fun at some point. Today is that point this summer.

The past couple of months I’ve really been enjoying a pair of Gray Catbirds that are frequenting my backyard feeder and birdbath. Even though they are not super colorful, their sleek gray forms accented by their black caps make them really quite beautiful. I’ve had them visit my yard in past summers, but this year they must be living close by. They are daily visitors.

So, friends, allow me to share some of the daily Gray Catbird beauty I’ve been treated to the past couple of months. Hope you enjoy the following shots. And be on the lookout—you may have some of these little guys in your own backyard!

IMG_5581Good morning, Beautiful!

IMG_4990That’s right, show us your beautiful back, too!

IMG_5449Now you may have gone a little too far! :)

IMG_5408“Somebody said there would be water here!”

IMG_5385Ahh, here’s the water. “Maybe if I don’t move, she won’t see me. . .”

Hope you enjoyed my beautiful Gray Catbirds!

“‘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?’” Matthew 6:26

*Do you have a favorite backyard visitor this summer?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early August. Sign up is free and to the right!

*My photos

Morning Symphony

Morning Symphony

Much is reborn in spring,
Among them the morning symphony.
Nature’s music long muffled
By cold days and closed windows
Now greets me with gladness again.

The sweetness of the birds’ songs
Sends my spirit soaring,
Those pure, clear notes that nature sings
Point me to the Creator
To the grand Conductor
Of the magnificent morning symphony.

The cheep-cheep-cheep, the caw, the coo
The sliding chords and yodels
Take their turns with who-whoo-whoos
And leave me marveling at the glory.

Other sounds add different layers
Add interludes and accents,
A dog’s frenzied barking, a chattering squirrel
A train whistling in the distance
All keep me guessing what more
The masterpiece holds this morning.

And then soon I hear
The flutter of wings
A bird whooshing by overhead,
Next chiming church bells create a chorus
To which I’m compelled to add my voice.

No two days exactly the same
New music unfolds with each sunrise,
The morning symphony no longer muffled,
The voice of God,
A life-giving melody
Renews and inspires my spirit.
Yes, much is reborn in spring.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3

*What do you like best about spring?

*Flickr photo by Jacob McGinnisCreative Commons License