Contemplating Mortality


Youth’s active exuberance struggles to comprehend the laid-back contentment of many senior citizens who have Been there – Seen it – Done it,  particularly when it concerns mortality. Why is it those in the latter chapters of their life’s story are often those most at peace with reaching The End?

Mother Nature highlighted mortality on yesterday’s woods wander . . . bracket fungi decaying a once mighty oak and an empty mud dabber wasp dwelling clinging to a rock face found me . . . in mystical, peaceful, grateful contemplation . . . pondering the former joys youth and  homes enjoyed.

Why? . . .  while this life steadily decays and dwellings eventually become abandoned, each page turned in my life’s story authenticates that –  in spite of myself – not one of the calamitous, grim, insidious segments I wrote negated God’s unending . . . Forgiveness . . . Mercy . . . and Love towards me.

Looking closer at the abandoned mud dauber dwelling, I perceived an image symbolizing  this . . . in His-story The End is just The Beginning of my forever’s finest story.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have to you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ – John 14:2 . . . there’s an immortality promise you can take to heaven.

I realize I’m a little weird . . . but honestly, aren’t we all in some way? That’s the one-of-a-kind, individual uniqueness He placed in our DNA to spice up each others’ lives . . . thanks for sharing yours 😊

Pity Party Perspective


I’m definitely a sunshine fan. The recent stretch of rainy, cloudy weather has me yearning for the sun to pop back out and dispel the damp, gloomy overcast. Such were my thoughts up on the mountain, on the verge of having a little pity party.

Gazing out over the gray shrouded Smokies, a lone pine cone caught my attention. If anything rates a pity party, it’s that solitary pine cone clinging to a branch on the edge of a cliff . . . “Hang in there buddy!” 😊 

A quote from The Prince of the Tides came to mind . . . I would like to have the seen the whole world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder, and with a tongue fluent only in praise.” . . . rain or shine, my pity party perspective needs revising.                                 
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Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Giving Trees


Oak Tree

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite children’s books. It’s a story about a tree that keeps on giving, and a boy who keeps on taking. Finally, upon becoming an old, the man cuts down the tree to sit on its stump “… and the tree was happy”. Such where were my thoughts traveled today as this ‘old’ man roamed the forest.

Trees have always invoked a sense of reverence in me. Who cannot stand in awe at the base of a thousand-year-old, 300 ft. massive redwood? Imagine the stories these towering, silent witnesses to history could tell of what has passed beneath their limbs over centuries.

Trees are Nature’s quintessential givers. Providing a hodgepodge of lumber, firewood, food, paper, rubber, medicine, etc., and the O2 we inhale, they filter the CO2 we exhale along with that released by environmental and the fossil fuel emissions. In return they require only H2O and nutrients from the soil, both of which they replenish through transpiration and decomposition in death.

Besides giving, trees are role models of strength and adaptation. Rooted  in the harsh alkaline soils eastern California’s White Mountains, confirmed to be 4,854 years old, stands Methuselah. An ancient bristlecone pine tree, it’s the world’s second oldest known tree. Nearby, unnamed at protected secret location, is Methuselah’s 5,069-year-old grandfather, the world’s oldest tree . . . imagine the stories this gnarled, ‘elderly’ pair could tell!

Trees epitomize the Scripture “… to have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” – Philippians 4:11. Sprouting wherever their seeds fall to earth, they are surrounded by generations of progeny, conversing with each other in rustles and whispers on the wind. Perhaps trees’ ultimate source of strength, adaptation and ability to give lies in their unchangeable behavior to ever grow towards the sun.

Legend has it there once was a Great Oak tree from which the beams of Christ’s Cross were hewn. Consequently, the Great Oak was paradoxically both cursed and blessed.

Cursed to forever become a Dogwood tree, small with crooked branches, unsuitable for building anything. Blessed with white, cross shaped, four petaled flowers having a cluster resembling a “crown of thorns” at their centers, each petal tipped with a ‘nail dent’ tinged in red, reminiscent of drops of blood spilled at Calvary.

Throughout this Lenten season, this Easter, and beyond may we enjoy the folklore of the Dogwood legend; rejoice in the Resurrection’s ultimate sacrifice; and claim the certainty of the Cross’s gift of Salvation offered . . . and, like the trees that fill our forests . . . may we live each new day giving back, ever growing towards the Son.

Dogwood Flower

Creation’s Wonders


Water dripping from rocky outcrop spawns a ‘leafcicle’ on the forest floor . . . an oak tree rises from hostile soil where it’s acorn once fell . . . Creation’s ingenuity and resiliency never ceases to amaze me!

        “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted”. – Job 9:10                                   
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

‘Leafcicle’
Grow where you’re planted

Creation Declarations


Rising Mists
Tumbling Flows
Frozen Branches
Sunset Glows

 Jesus loves me
                                                   this I know,
                                                                                                        His creation
                                                                                                                                                               tells me so

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities –  His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God”. – Romans 1:20

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

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Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Younger Than Ever


This picture reminded me of a life-nugget I once gleaned reading Tuesdays with Morrie where Mitch Albom shares the wisdom garnered from his Tuesday talks with Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor.

Morrie tells Mitch, “I embrace aging”. His positive insight on aging reminds this ever-aging work -in-progress that today I younger than I’m ever gonna’ be again, and to delight in acting accordingly.

Morrie tells Mitch, “The truth is part of me is every age. I’m a three year old, I’m a five year old, I’m a 37 year old, I’m a fifty year old. I’ve been through all of them and I know what it’s like. I delight in being a child when it’s appropriate to be a child. I delight in being a wise old man when it’s appropriate to be a wise old man. Think of all I can be! I’m every age up to my own.”

Some may accuse me of often being stuck in an inappropriate juvenile age bracket, but hey . . . it’s a lot ‘funner’ acting 8 than 78 lotsa’ times 😊

Soooooo . . . how old are you today? Laugh . . . Love . . . and enjoy excavating the childhood joy nugget shrouded in today’s somber ‘adultness’.

Together


Fact or fiction? Truth or theory?  Proof or perception? Reasoning or rebellion? Compromise or chaos? Such are the bi-polar temperaments that sadly characterize and divide our nation today.

It’s not about me . . . it’s not about you . . . it’s not about red . . . it’s not about blue . . .

It is about US . . . the red . . . the white. . . the black . . . and the blue of our United States of America.

The individual uniqueness of human nature dictates that we will never see ‘eye-to-eye’ on many issues this side of Creation . . but . . . may we each strive to see ‘heart-to-heart’, peacefully agreeing to disagree where necessary as we  examine thoroughly; contemplate objectively; choose wisely; and act appropriately facing the contentious issues confronting our nation and world today.

Over two millennia ago, a man who had weathered and led his nation through war and peace wisely scribed,

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1

May King David’s words come to describe the nation our children will raise their children and their children’s children in someday.

Together we stand, divided we fall”

Falling Waters


He leads me besides still waters, He refreshes my soul” . . . the 23rd Psalm is an oft quoted, soul soothing passage. Yesterday found Him leading me along roaring waters the Great Smoky Mountains. I returned home ‘soul-soothed’ and refreshed.

Reportedly, the Great Smoky Mountains boast more waterfalls per square mile than anywhere in the United States. While none may rival Niagara’s colossal, thundering descent, the primal power sound and sight of falling waters always instill a sense of my own infinitesimal smallness, spiritually calming my and cleansing my soul.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once scribed, “You never step in the same river twice”.   Whatever the never the same waters we step into today . . . be they still or roaring . . . may they calm, cleanse and refresh our souls.
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Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Peace


Smoky Mountains Sunset

Each new original from Creation’s infinite sketchbook is an incomparable masterpiece.

Sacred calm my only companion, I sat transfixed in wonder, my soul overwhelmed by majesty as He brushed another magnum opus masterpiece across the heavens  . . . an omnipotent, kaleidoscopic portrait of peace, signing off another day with a streaming sunburst.

Tomorrow our troubled One nation under God will inaugurate a new leader. Wrapped in celestial silence, a prayer whispered on the cool mountain breezes . . .

If my people, which are called by may name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land 2 Chronicles 7:14
                            
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

May it be so.

God’s Facebook


Morning Mist

Snuggled under the covers this morning, the bedroom window framed this Smoky Mountain scene . . . God’s Facebook post to start my day.

Migrating to my Lazy-Boy, a steaming cup of coffee in hand to kick-start my day, I read His scene’s caption of assurance,

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.” – Isaiah 44:22 

Ask me if I enjoy retirement 😊                                  +
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Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!