Thanksgiving Gratitude


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Two lives diverged along life’s journey and, in the time we walked together, you made a difference in mine . . . Thank You

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Wherever and with whomever this may find you together with this Thanksgiving, may you experience His richest blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

How Big is Little?


Today our world’s population reached 8 billion . . . Happy Birthday World!

It’s estimated 8 billion grains of sand would fill 8,000 cups and weigh 2 ½ tons. Recently, while I was counting sheep snuggled against my pillow, a group of obviously wide-awake researchers at the University of Hawaii estimated there are seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion (7.5 x 1018 ) grains of sand on earth . . . that’s Big!

but . . .

When you consider that all the grains of sand in the world are dwarfed by the number of stars in the universe . . . that’s astronomically Big!

but . . .

In his book Spectrums, science writer David Blatner states this mind-boggling number of ‘twinkle-twinkles’ in the universe is quickly matched by the number of molecules in just 10 drops of water . . . that’s unfathomably Small! . . . or . . . Big???

Blattner aptly states “…we can’t handle the biggitude…” This minuscule mortal can’t handle either the ‘biggitude’ or ‘smallitude’ of Creation,

but . . . I know who can . . .

The Architect of each grain of sand . . . ‘twinkle-twinkle’ . . . and molecule of water.

Soooooo . . . I contentedly fall asleep each night snuggled against my pillow counting sheep knowing, among the 8 billion people I share this planet with, this littlest one is His biggest favorite . . .

PS – so are you, and each one of the other, 7,999,000,000,000 souls He knows by name.

When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou are mindful of him, and the Son of man, that Thou hast visited him?

Psalm 8:3-4

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Harmony


Way back when I was a ‘wee’ one and dinosaurs roamed the earth😊, America was generally a ‘We’ society. Not perfect for sure, but an ambiance of respectful cooperation, collaborative resolution, and unified patriotism prevailed.

Sadly, today’s American finds itself embroiled in a polarized “I’m right! – You’re wrong!”, violently combative, angrily divided ‘Me’ society. I grieve for this divisive ‘legacy’ we’re passing on to our children to navigate.

Such were my gloomy thoughts this morning before going outside for some ‘forest bathing’ therapy in Nature’s peaceful solitude.

Today’s session was on Harmony, taught by four leaves serenely floating on the pond’s surface . . . they silently sang a refrain from a childhood Sunday School song from long ago . . .

“…red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight…”

I continue to pray America will return to peaceful harmony Nature portrays; the “…one nation, under God, indivisible…” our founding fathers envisioned for us to be; and God has promised . . . If . . .

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Came!

Forest Bathing


For the past several years the Great Smoky Mountains has been America’s most visited National Park. Travelers come from all over the world to enjoy Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg’s endless venue of entertainment attractions, and to explore one of Mother Nature’s premier wonders . . . next to Alaska of course 😊

Living here makes October my most labor-intensive month. Local residents, bedecked in vibrant colors, descend on our digs up here on the mountain > down in the ‘holler’ > over the ‘crick’ . . .

LEAVES! . . . lotsa’ and lotsa’ LEAVES! . . . zillions of billions of LEAVES!

My best Fall friend is only 3 feet tall. Each morning we meet up to remove the leaves that have smothered our 1/10th mile, 40-degree slope driveway since the day before. To neglect this chore would jeopardize us being able to drive up out of the ‘holler’ to the gravel road leading to civilization . . . I love my leaf blower! 😊

After reclaiming our driveway today, I took a  woods wander along the ‘crick’ for some shinrin-yoku . . . ‘forest bathing’. The Japanese coined this term to describe the practice of getting into the woods for body and mind renewal. I’m not Japanese, but it works for this ole ‘Kraut’!

Studies have shown just three days and two nights in a wooded place increase the immune system functions that boost feelings of well-being for up to seven days. This includes increased awe, greater relaxation, restored attention, and boosted vitality. Among the health benefits are enhanced immunity, reduced cardiovascular disease, fewer migraines, and lowered anxiety. The same three days in a built environment has no such effect.

Sooooooo . . . while leaf-blowing is not one of my favorite activities, I always look forward to my ‘forest baths’ from whence they came . . . and I don’t even have to get wet 😊. Here’s a shinrin-yoku ‘modern art’ pic from today.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sin for joy.”

Psalm 22:9

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Lotsa’ Bears


There’s always an adventure pending with our feral friends here in the Smokies up on the mountain . . . down in the ‘holler’ . . . by the ‘crick’.

Two days ago Mr. Smokey came by to check things out. I was ‘bearly’ awake early this morning when Mrs. Smoky and her triplets wandered through for a quick splash in the creek . . . Ellen advised against skipping breakfast to join their pool party at the risk becoming breakfast and giving them food poisoning😊

These bears untroubled, carefree meanderings brought a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote to mind,

   “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

P.S. – Please ignore temperature, date, time shown. I need to hire some young kid to show me how to figure out my game-cam settings 😊

Early Morning Visitors

Great Smoky Mountain Splendor


Earth’s crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who see takes off his shoes.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Today, in the Fall splendor of Great Smoky Mountains, I gazed amazed in barefoot wonder.

“This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought.”

Malbie D. Babcock

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

Smoky the Bear


Been kinda’ dry here lately in the Great Smoky Mountains. Today Smoky came by our cabin to wade in the creek out front and remind us . . . Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!

Always an adventure sharing the forest with our feral friends up here on the mountain > down in the ‘holler’ > by the ‘crick’ 😊

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come !

Creation Miracle Moment


Yesterday I stood mesmerized in the forest, immersed in a golden rain. Like a child jubilantly blowing bubbles, a puff of Divine breath launched a thousand gold flakes into the air on their memorial journey to earth . . . a Creation miracle moment.

Embraced in total peace, my soul rejoiced in freedom knowing . . . I am completely known, and I am completely loved . . . just as I am, not as I should be. Thank you Abba.

“I am not what I ought to be.  I am not what I want to be.  I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be.  And by the grace of God, I am what I am.”

John Newton

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Golden Rain

Hiking and Potato Chips


Fallen aspen leaves kinda’ resemble potato chips, and fall hiking in the Last Frontier is sorta’ like eating potato chips . . . it’s hard to stop at just one more!😊

Here’s a few ‘potato chip’ pics from today’s wilderness wander, sadly my last before snow-birding south in a couple of days  . . . well maybe  . . . there’s still lotsa’ golden potato chips out there😊

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Lotsa’ Potato Chips’

Berries with ‘Potato Chips’

Chugach Range Fall

‘Potato Chip’ Frame

Nature’s Still Art

Final Greatland Wander


Looks like we’ll be on a jet headed south for the winter next week. Rather than spend the day going through another box of Kleenex today, I hiked up Castle Mountain to dry my tears 😊. I built a rock cairn on top with a Good Book pocket edition for other solitude seekers.

Here’s a few pics snapped along the trail, and one of my foraging feral friends who showed up to bid me adieu. Like Arnold, I assured him, “I’ll be back!” 😊

Big Calf
Fall’s Farewell

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Chugach Range Vista
Survivor
Last Blueberries

Rocky Portal

Good Book Cairn