I Will Rise Up

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This, Uncategorized | 0 comments

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America, we gather with loved ones with whom we share the recognition of the many blessings in our lives.  We express our gratitude. For many,  this is one day in the year that we set aside our challenges and burdens to enjoy a special meal often including our best family recipes and remembering those who shared them and prepared them for us.  Lots of hugs and even some heartfelt tears of remembrance of those we miss. Around the world, in poor neighborhoods in our own towns, even in our own homes, it is a very difficult time for families estranged, experiencing financial crises, serious illness, broken hearts and those who feel very alone. While the majority of our nation & our world have been rocked by the barbaric senseless killings expanding around the world by Issis and other terrorist groups, many of us feel even more committed to maintaining our hope, denying these evil-doers their hope to destroy our SPIRIT! As Christians, we have serious work to do in reaching out to those who suffer and sharing the love and promises of Christ the King.  Whatever your faith is, we, as humankind have the opportunity to be both to our suffering…human and kind. ❤️ I dedicate this post to all in our world that suffer today, feeling hopeless and I challenge those of us strong and capable to take the joy and hope in this celebration of Thanksgiving Day to stand, raise your hand and commit to others who suffer that they are not alone and we all can “Rise Up” as Andra Day sings so beautifully sharing our...

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Precious Black Necked Stilt

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Precious Black Necked Stilt

One of my favorite little waders is the Black Necked Stilt. We see them in our South Florida wetlands on the east coast during the breeding season in late spring and early summer. They have the longest red legs on any bird in relation to their the body size, second only to the flamingo.  These dainty-looking birds like to build their nests in a clump of soil and vegetation right in the wetlands water which makes we admiring fans quite nervous because of alligators.  But alligators, beware, because these lightweight parents carry heavyweight courage and vigor in protecting their clutch. I’ve seen them fly out to harass a gator moving too close to another bird’s nest. These pretty and tall parents alternate turns at rolling the eggs to assure each egg has full exposure to their body heat.  Once the chicks are hatched, both parents feed and teach the chicks up through the time they fledge the nest.  They are seen hanging out at their empty nests for a while just to make certain the  fledglings are succeeding on their own. The Black Necked Stilts are quite territorial and in non-breeding times seem to enjoy associating with other stilts....

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Forgiveness…The Gift

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in My Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Forgiveness…The Gift

Whenever you feel that you just can’t possibly get over & recover from what someone has done to you, perhaps a broken trust, damaging words, or, perhaps, what someone took from you…how can you possibly go on , move forward? You might be thinking of revenge, but then you would have to deal with the guilt. So you mark that off your list. Perhaps, you think “I’ll just stuff it down way deep inside and maybe it will just disappear.” Then, you think of the pain that all the other things you’ve stuffed down that still make your heart ache and your gut hurt and the river of tears that even today still flow. Then, you realize that’s not really an option. What can you do???? NOTHING is too big, too bad, too painful, to unspeakable for God to help you with. Nothing! Even if you have never turned to Him before, He’s there, waiting and He wants your biggest and smallest hurts. His Holy Spirit is our Holy Comforter and His desire is to dwell within you, always. So, what do you do? Think of yourself as an earthen vessel. Then ask for His help… Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me. Mold me, fill me. He will do this as you trust Him.  He will take your brokenness and fill you with His healing Spirit. He will have instilled in you the Gift of Forgiveness. Are you thinking, “I can’t forgive him/her for devastating me!!” When we realize that we CAN forgive that someone who has caused us such pain, we will realize that the GIFT is really one that we give to ourselves. Living our life journeys with a forgiving heart, nurtured by our Living God, is a blessing received from the Most High. Accept it and heal. Thanks be to...

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“I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart…”

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in My Blog | 2 comments

“I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart…”

How does someone get through a catastrophic situation , especially one that lasts for such a long time?  I’m thinking of Prisoners of War, Jews that survived the Holocaust, miners trapped below the earth and people with long-term debilitating illness…sometimes alone?  How do they rise above their circumstances and maintain their sanity? I recall reading about the POWs in Vietnam…for years isolated in a pit underground with bamboo stakes woven to keep them enclosed.  How horrible that must have been for them.  From whence cometh their strength?  What keeps them sane in horrific confinement? I recall being in South Dakota in a cave that went down, down and further down into the earth.  We had our daughters with us at ages 6 & 8, I believe. It was a wonderful, educational tour…until the lights went out.  We didn’t know that there was a strong electrical storm that came through and knocked the power out.  The guide calmy said there were candles and matches on the ledges near where we were standing.  Everyone found a candle…no one found matches.  TOTAL darkness!  Then one person said they had a cigarette lighter and soon everyone’s candle was shining brightly.  It really was beautiful.  We waited a good while for the power to come back on so that we could ride the elevator back up.  We sang, I guess as many stranded groups do, and that was enjoyable. Soon, the guide said we needed to start back up while we still had the light of our candles.  Then, a bit of panic struck in our older daughter’s fear that someone would catch her long blond hair on fire.  She really was fearful that that could happen so I promised I would be the one right behind her and that I would blow my candle out.  Everyone made it out fine without any fires. 😉 Now that I am claustrophobic, what seems to work for me when I have to be in the MRI tube or have oral surgery for which I could not be sedated or getting through any tough or debilitating moments is to return to the Holy scriptures I have safely hidden in my mind and heart.  Hidden there safely and for all time, I am never without them.  God’s Word is a sanctuary or safe haven from all worries.  Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”   Psalm 63:8 “My soul clings to You;Your right hand upholds me.” Now, spending some time in the MRI-like tube yesterday, I was relaxing with my eyes closed completely at peace in my sanctuary, and a funny thought I’ve never experienced in those super-tight quarters before crept in and it was all I could do to not laugh right out loud.  That thought was “how amazing it is that Christ actually can fit inside here WITH me since I take up just about every cubic inch myself!”  But, thankfully, Christ goes before me everywhere, constantly with me, loving me, assuring me, strengthening me and giving me peace.  Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”...

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What is Today’s Date?

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

What is Today’s Date?

Anytime I have something to mail, I drive up to the Jupiter Post Office having been significantly burned by the one here in Palm Beach Gardens.  The peace of mind is worth the travel time & gas.  Standing in line today to mail a letter with a little booklet I was sending a friend, an elderly gentleman…more elderly than I…approached me and asked, “What is today’s date?”  I guess I stared back at him like I would like to help this gentleman, but I don’t have any idea what the date is.  So, we both stood silent facing one another. Then, it hit me that I could just look at my phone and it would tell me.  So, I said, “Sir, today is the 22nd of May.”  He smiled and walked away repeating it to himself…” the 22nd, the 22nd, the 22nd.” I used to always wear a watch…was never without one.  Now, that I am retired and my time REALLY is my own, I never wear one.  And most days I get where I need to be on time…that is IF there is anywhere I need to be at a specific time.  I mean the ocean is always ready to accept me for a visit, the herons and egrets and anhingas are always near their nest and caring for their young.  I walk a wonderful old, arthritic yellow lab for a client and my phone sounds an alarm one hour before I shoud be there followed by another alarm in 30 minutes.  Works well.  I wouldn’t want to miss a single day without seeing sweet Stanford.  He’s such a sweetheart. So later today I was thinking, “OK, is this Friday or is it Saturday?”  I was prepared to bet on it being Friday, but just in case, I pulled my phone out and checked my calendar.  I was right that today is Friday.  I am amazed at all the ways my phone can assist me.  It’s really so much more than a phone. The big thing it cannot help me with is finding my glasses…the no rim glasses that are hardly visible anywhere.   C’est la vie in the fast...

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Wood Stork

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Portfolio, Slider | 1 comment

Wood Stork

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Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

What a gift God’s creation is to each of us.  In our busy lives, we move about in our own “little worlds” accomplishing our objectives or at least aspiring to them.  That’s a good thing!  But, often, I think we get so caught up in our busyness that we fail to notice and appreciate the great beauty in which we live.  Kids are great to point out some of the simple beauties of nature that we, otherwise, might overlook. Today, the world celebrates Earth Day.  Eskimos, desert-dwellers, urban citizens, slum inhabitants, those wh0 till the land and folks spending their days on the lovely oceans of our world…we live and appreciate in different ways.  Maybe we don’t celebrate as such, but our earth feeds us, houses us and inspires us.  It’s worth protecting and caring for so that the generations of our future can reap the benefits. Living now in South Florida, every day I am fortunate to live in which many of us refer to as “paradise.”  Our natural communities are inhabited by magnificent wildlife…many endangered and protected.  Our “paradise” is their home and we are privileged to walk among them and see the glory of God’s creation in great awe.  I have found myself wondering at times that I sense stress on the wildlife, “what if it all just went away?”  That thought gives me the opportunity to refocus my appreciation and respect for our earth and the way it all works together…or not. God tucks glorious surprises into His creation for us to enjoy like this lovely Swamp Hibiscus in the midst of a swampy wetland. Often, it takes my breath away when I discover. I like this quote from Albert Einstein – “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Join me, please, in recommitting your advocacy for protecting our earth…the great gift that it is!!!...

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Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Coach John Wooden, the historic & successful men’s basketball coach at UCLA, spoke one of my favorite life quotations, “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.”  Quite a tall order, but certainly one to aspire to accomplish.  It has served as a guiding principle for me for the last 16 years following my breast cancer diagnosis in 1999. We experience days in our lives where we are changed forever by tragedy, loss, disappointment and the thought of making that day…those days a masterpiece seem impossible to do anything but grieve and try to survive.  That is being human and those pains and anguish are very real.  And yet, we see over and over people getting beyond their great losses and living life in joy.  What we don’t see is the way God’s Holy Spirit, the Holy Comforter, is at work in their lives giving them a “peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7 KJV) So, thinking about creating masterpieces with our daily lives, there are plenty of days when I think, “OK, this is where I am today, this is what I’ve got,” and I wonder “how on earth am I to make today a masterpiece?” The real truth is that what may seem very mundane or even worthless to us, just may seem to be a masterpiece to someone else in their circumstances.  When a smile or showing kindness comes so naturally to us, sometimes it is seen by someone who needed so badly to receive it that a masterpiece was created without our knowing it.  A street performer or salesperson who obviously needs every coin or dollar they earn, offers you their “creation” which you don’t need but, out of kindness and appreciation, you give them your money and suggest they give their “creation” to a child who comes along later. In my love and appreciation of God’s creation, as I am in the lovely wetlands of South Florida observing and photographing our wildlife, I try to capture the essence of the beautiful herons and egrets and spoonbills as they court, breed and build their nests in which to raise their families.  I look for their beauty, uniqueness and displays of God’s masterpiece to share with others.  To inner city middle-school students, some with behavioral issues, they need to know there is beauty and love and respect and hope for a better future out there.  When I substitute teach, I usually share three 8 x 10 photos I’ve taken to demonstrate to them that there is another life out in our world and they can live among it.  I realize from their reactions they are seeing a masterpiece when looking at my photos.  I am humbled. I know it gives them hope to see new things and to realize  that finishing school, getting a job and earning the money for a decent camera (not the expensive best) that they too can create a masterpiece with their lives. When I see the joy and hope in their eyes, they, in turn, have shown me their masterpiece moment for that day. Well, I’m sure you can think of all sorts of masterpieces you can create in your days of life.  How you interact with people during your day, the reports you write at work, the cookies you bake at home & share, etc.   The important thing is to give it some thought and with your awareness, CREATE!!!...

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Great Egret

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in Portfolio, Slider | 0 comments

Great Egret

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How Firm A Foundation

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

How Firm A Foundation

Funny how something so seemingly unconnected will cause us to reflect on something in our past.  On a recent birding outing with a couple of friends, we stood in awe watching a lovely Great Egret working diligently to position and reposition the first tree branch for her nest.  Here in South Florida, love is surely in the air as our avian neighbors are adorned in their oh so beautiful breeding plumage, courting one another and selecting their mates. The first duty at hand is for the male to obtain the “perfect” tree branches, twigs, etc. and fly to the awaiting female to present his nest construction materials.  What a joy and privilege it is to observe. This one particular egret would carefully, with her bill, place the glorified stick in one place, then remove it to position in what she thinks would be the perfect place to start the nest.  I watched her for more that 15 minutes work with that stick searching for the place it belonged.  Several times, I felt like she had located the perfect place, but she wasn’t satisfied.  Another person remarked “Wonder why she’s not happy with it?”  I thought about it and then offered my thought which was “I suppose she is searching for the best possible place because it will truly be the foundation of the nest they will raise their family in…” Egrets are BIG birds and two adults and several chicks can be a load for a nest to bare.  On my drive home I got to thinking about a foundation of a home and to myself thought, “Of course, that’s why she was taking such care.”  That led me to pondering on how God, Our Creator programs each living thing with the knowledge or instincts needed for it’s entire life…just like He does for us humans.  That’s one of the most special things about birding that I love and it keeps me coming back for more.   My soul is nourished each time I go. One of my favorite older hymns is “How Firm A Foundation” and I have such affirming memories of singing this hymn in church with my parents, grandmother as a child and with my own family later on. “Fear not, I am with thee, Oh be not dismayed, For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, Help thee, And cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.” What firmer foundation could there possibly be other than that “righteous, omnipotent hand?” Praise God from Whom ALL blessings...

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A Wrist Alarm to Be Imposed??

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

A Wrist Alarm to Be Imposed??

I suppose that to get to the blessings of the Lenten season, we must actively do penance.  I mean, we know we sin, I know there are things that stand between God and me and our closeness, so I must go through the process of identifying my shortcomings, truly contemplate them and ask for God’s forgiveness.  And I will get that.  But, then, the really hard work follows. I must work diligently to correct my wrong doings or the things of which I am guilty by omission.  The things I could do, I should do that would really make a difference and, yet, somehow they just don’t get done. Now, instead of thinking of things I do that are not good for ME…like OK, from now on I am going to wear a wrist alarm that will blast out alarms when I open the ICE CREAM case at Publix or pick up a pack of my favorite cookies from the bakery.  You know, if I actually shopped that way I could lose a lot more weight and get better blood work reports.  But, I don’t have that wrist alarm that probably would go straight to 911 and Publix might even go into lockdown!!!  No, I just have a conscience or inner voice guiding me to make the right choices.  And even though every time I hear my conscience telling me not to buy the ice cream, I buy the ice cream.  I’m better on somethings, but that is one I must work on!   But, this year in Lent, I am working to identify my behaviors or lack of that are not good/helpful to other people.  My behaviors that offend God.  Really, offend God?  That right there was hard for me to even type, yet, I know God wants and needs more from me. God, the Creator of the Universe and the lover of my soul, breathe into me the fullness of your love so that I may live life more fully within Your commandment of love.  Inspire me, Father, to more actively reach out and stretch really hard to seek where I am needed.  I lay at the foot of the cross of our Christ Jesus, all my shortcomings, and trust that you will nourish me with you Word and fill me with your grace and  gentle mercy as we celebrate the feast of the Resurrection of Christ. Lent, a time of reflection, decisions, renewal through the journey of our Lord Jesus Christ  ...

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Contemplating Lent

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in My Blog | 1 comment

Contemplating Lent

For Christians around the world the season of lent is upon us.  How shall we approach the cross?  With Lent being the 40 days leading up to Easter, this is a season of discovery or, perhaps,  rediscovery of who God is and who each of us is to Him.  It is a season of sadness and sorrow that in the end becomes a “bright sadness.”  For me, Holy Week, itself, has a somber tone with the awareness of Christ praying in the garden, the disciples gathering in a private room for their final meal together….the Last Supper. The Holy Communion they shared.  The bread…His body broken for us; the wine, His blood shed for each of us.  The parting words, so carefully chosen as the New Commandment…”love one another as I have loved you.” Christ knew he was to be killed and would be leaving His disciples so when I contemplate His choice of message to leave them with for all Christians on earth, it is just so divinely ordained.  It was the New Commandment and it is for all times.  Just as important, just as critical now as then…”love one another as I have loved you.” So how are we doing down here on this earth that grows more crowded every minute…more hostile and more secular as we breathe the day’s breaths in and out?  So how are we doing with the New Commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” Palm Sunday starts off our Christian Holy Week.  Our custom has been to attend our Maundy Thursday service and leave in silence reflecting on the crucifixion and suffering of Christ for us and our salvation.  Then, Good Friday services arrive setting the tone of the act of the crucifixion and beginning the three days until Christ rises from the dead in all glory. He is Risen…He is Risen, indeed!!  The “Bright Sadness” has arrived! Glory, hallelujah! Easter has...

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Glossy Ibis on Nest

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Portfolio, Slider | 0 comments

Glossy Ibis on Nest

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Be The Reason

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Be The Reason

Being kind to someone is one of the easiest things to do that has the greatest impact on the life of another person.  Kindness is an extension of a loving heart.  Charles Dickens said ” A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” A word of encouragement, the gift of a smile, acknowledgement of worth and value all speak acceptance to others and we all have a need to belong.  Each of our days is filled with one opportunity after another to extend an act of kindness to others, to live in harmony as opposed to discord, to be an enabler instead of an obstacle, to make good things happen as opposed to creating conflict and to make hearts feel good, tummies to be satisfied and faces to smile. Sometimes we may not think that we have anything to “give” to another person.  But we should think about the people at work, customers, suppliers, family members, our friends, the people we meet in traffic or out shopping…they all have their own needs, problems and joys.  Its amazing what a spoken or written word of appreciation to a co-worker can do to help heal a heart that perhaps was wounded prior to arriving at work. We have the opportunity to influence others with just being ourselves and sharing a smile. Be the reason someone smiles...

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How Things Change

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

How Things Change

When I was younger with little ones running around barefoot with a high level of noise and excitement near the arrival of the Baby Jesus AND Santa Claus, I used to answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?”  with the half-giggled response  “Peace and Joy!”  Oh, brother, did I want Peace and Joy!!!!  As years passed, I realized soon enough, Peace, was far off in the distance and, besides, I had always been a glass half-full kind of gal and one who, thankfully, realized Joy often presented itself right in the MIDST of chaos.  I had some chaos!! Now, the bare feet are those of grand children adored whether 25, 21,11 or 8 years of age…its just the sound their bare feet create has changed…some pitter patter while others boom-boom actually like the reindeer on the roof.  And when I am asked that same question, “What do you want for Christmas?” my response is the same but without the giggle, though; “Peace and Joy!” Now, that desire for Peace and Joy is more like a very sincere prayer.  I really do hope for Peace and Joy…not just for my life or my home or my family and friends but for our WORLD.  I’m still that glass half-full gal, and I still affirm that there has to be darkness for the Light to shine, I just don’t like to feel that I am seeing more darkness…and its not cataracts because I’ve been there and done that with removal and new lenses. When I watch the evening news, I am totally silent, mostly in dismay over the criminal acts, the expressed strife that so many riots and rebelling represent, the horrific beheading of innocent people by evil doers who claim to be acting in the name of Allah, the never-ending anti-semitic warfare Israel must experience, the countless school, workplace, large public places shootings, bombings, etc. etc.  I feel our world is in a state of morph…and not in a good way.  So, as NBC has started when closing out the nightly news, they offer a final report that makes the soul smile a bit…I find myself doing my own version of perspective adjustment by  adding to my prayer list those identified throughout the newscast in need of prayer.  My problem now being a septuagenarian (even though I cannot pronounce it)is, I seem to drift off into another train of thought or fall asleep before I cover the entire prayer list.  I do firmly feel that God knows what is in our hearts so I do believe He has received all my prayers whether I was awake or not going down my list.  Isn’t God just so amazing!!! Yes, things…even we change.  I’m 70 years old.  My doctor says I’m shorter.  My doctor also says I don’t NEED ice cream.  I like her anyway.   I don’t stand quite as straight  now.  I don’t have as much energy.  I live alone but don’t feel alone.  I love more people.  For some reason, I think more people love me.  I see God EVERY day and talk to Him off and on all day long. God puts up with me.  God orders my steps.  I am so thankful. So what about Peace and Joy?  If I have Peace in my heart there will always be Joy in my life.  The way we deal with the darkness in our world is to shine our Light.  Light overcomes darkness…there is NO PUTTING IT OUT!  Can you imagine how bright our world would be if EVERYONE would shine his/her light!! Let’s go light our world!!!...

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