Someone or Somebody

Today our nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer. The theme was Unity.

Yesterday I emailed some folks this picture of an itsy-bitsy spider on a web it had spun above a dew-drenched flower. Zooming in diffused the background creating a weird, psychedelic effect.

The National Day of Prayer theme of Unity, and the diametrically opposed spider pic responses got me to a-pondering . . . bear with me . . . I warned you I’m a tad weird😊

Spider pic responses were of two categories. Arachnophobes saw a ‘yucky’ spider, artisans a ‘pretty’ picture. Personally, I’m a weird hybrid . . . a rapid-squash-art enthusiast😊

Truth be known, we all have our ‘yucks’ and ‘prettys’. Here’s a couple of shortlists to a-ponder:

Chevy/Ford…City/Country…Warm/Cold…Mountains/Oceans…Classical/Rock…Steak/Salad… Costco/Sam’s ClubPepsi/Coke…Tennessee/Alaska (couldn’t resist 😊), etc. … not issues worth dying for.

But, what about the other Homosapiens we share this planet with? Have any personal ‘yucks’ and ‘prettys’ on this list?:

Christian/Jew…Mexican/American…White/Black…Democrat/Republican…Alcoholic/Sober…Felon/Free…Welfare/Wealthy…Pro_____/ Pro_____, etc. … sadly these are issues people are dying for . . . needlessly.

Truth be known, I’ve had my ‘yucks’ on this list (remember, it’s my list), and still struggle with them at times. It’s only by God’s amazing grace that this chief of ‘yucks’ has been forgiven and forever loved . . . just as I am, not as I should be.

Knowing that, and privilege eight decades has afforded me to personally get to know each genre of individual on the Homosapiens list above, has gradually transformed my contentious ‘yucks’ into compassionate ‘prettys’, regardless of how they may consider me.  

I’ve learned (and still am) to see the Someone . . . a unique, one-of-a-kind individual created in the image of God  . . . behind each Somebody.

At the risk of appearing Pollyannaish, what if, on our journey through this impersonal, materialistic divisive world, we would strive to truly recognize the unique human being in every Someone behind the Somebody? . . . Difficult? Challenging? You bet! . . . but I can’t help but believe the theme of today’s National Day of Prayer . . . Unity . . . would engulf our nation, and the world.

“…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…”

Matthew 29:39

Thanks for taking time to ruminate my ramblings. Be Blessed, and . . .

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

Little Crumbs

My breakfast this morning was 5*****, slowly savoring my ‘favoritest’ pie . . . Strawberry-Rhubarb !!! Loving prepared by my 5***** ‘chefette’ whom I married a decade ago, I never regret pulling-the-plug on my long-term relationship with Marie Callender and her 1* microwave cuisine😊

However, leaving Marie has not been without consequences . . . comfortably being able to pull up my 34” blue jeans without resembling applying a tourniquet is now a looming threat.  However, it’s been worth every waist-expanding calorie and extra ½ hour added my daily routine of going nowhere on my Nordic-Trac😊

Anyhoo . . . mid-bite I noticed something on the fine breakfast paper china that enhanced the contented smile my dancing taste buds had already stretched across my ole, wrinkled mug . . . sometimes it only takes little crumb that make a big flake happy 😊

Kinda’ hoping Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie is on the menu in Heaven.

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

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

Black and Blue

Rural living precludes urban living’s convenient access to the theater, but Mother Nature featured a free-admission BBB feature . . . Butterflies, Birds and Bears . . . today up here on the mountain – down in the ‘holler’ – over the ‘crick’ 😊

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

Red-spotted Admiral
Great Blue Heron

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

Then and Now

On of my favorite Microsoft tools is the On This Day feature. It pops-up pictures saved over the past two decades on my One Drive that were taken on this day. It significantly assists this ole ragamuffin in remembering fond memories from days-of yore. I’ve affectionately dubbed it my AnDeHeDe . . . Anti-Dementia-Help-Device😊

Today AnDeHeDe displayed On This Day pictures from 2009. On that day Alaska’s winter was reluctantly relinquishing its grip on the landscape. Yet, this 65-year-old youngster heard John Muir’s song, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”

Parking my ragtop Mitshubishi Tracker along the banks of the Matanuska River in Palmer, AK (233 ft. above sea level), I strapped on a pair of snowshoes. Blissfully drenched in balmy 40-degree afternoon sunshine, I happily began trekking upward towards Matanuska Peak’s 6,093 ft. snow blanketed summit . . . O, to be young and foolish again! (I’ve got the foolish part down pat, it’s the young aspect that’s disappeared) 😊

Some six hours later, miserably drenched in sweat, I had trudged to about 4,500 ft. . . . my happy demeanor considerably diminished. Gathering storm clouds had begun to block out the sunshine, and balmy 40-degree temps had now retreated to below freezing . . . time for a reality check . . . two options remained:

  1. Immediately reverse course back down the mountain to avoid having to search for my Tracker in the dark.
  2. Continue upward for friends and relatives to read in the local Frontiersman come summer at what elevation Search and Rescue finally discovered my frozen, now decaying, body at the base of the lone spruce tree in this last picture my camera ever recorded😊

Macho surrendered to Whimpy and, at a considerably ‘enhanced pace’, I retraced my trail back down the mountain.

Arriving back just after nightfall, the temperature now registered in the 20s. As it came into view, my little Tracker resembled the Presidential Limo . . . it’s heater never felt sooooooo good!

Looking at these ‘memorial day’ pics from 15 years ago, two things are obvious:

  1. A snow-machine deems consideration in lieu of snowshoes as a means to transport foolish old duffers up snow-covered mountains.
  2. Aging is brutal! . . . who is that 65-year-old youngster on snowshoes???😊

This April 23rd there’s now snow on the ground here in TN; the temps are in the 60s; and it’s partly cloudy with patches of sunshine. After church today I stepped outside in my flip-flops and took this picture of a colorful pansy, now stashed on my One Drive in in a cyber-space cloud somewhere.

Perhaps my clinically diagnosed ADHD (Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder) is responsible but, reminiscing my ‘memorial day’ of 15 years ago, I envisioned this vibrant pansy shedding tears of laughter, subtly inferring that in my ‘advanced state of maturity’ I’ve now become a ‘pansy’😊

Chances are I’ll no longer be residing on this planet in 15 years with the local Fire Department on stand-by as 95 birthday cake candles illuminate the neighborhood. However, the mountains will still be here, and hopefully many of you younguns’ as well. I’ll be watching from my eternal mountains resort above, wishing you Amy Carmichael’s wisdom to enjoying every day God grants you to the fullest for Him and others . . .

Love to Live, Live to Love

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

Nature’s Monet Art

The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.”

Claude Monet

Today nature treated me to this inspirational scene . . . a blooming azalea and Japanese maple reflected a Claude Monet impressionist painting on the still waters.

Oscar-Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who painted nature as he perceived it. It has been said no painter in history ever used color more precisely than Claude Monet.

After an art exhibition in 1874, an insulting critic labeled Monet’s painting style “Impression” since it was more concerned with form and light than realism, and the term stuck.

At 65 Monet noticed his 20/20 eyesight was getting fuzzy . . . he was developing cataracts. By 1912 his vision had dropped to 20/50. Ignoring the problem, his eyesight continued to deteriorate. Over the next six years his vision declined from 20/50 to 20/100. By 1922 he was legally blind, his vision now at 20/200.

As Monet slowly and painfully began going blind, his painting began deteriorating along his sight. The fine, intricate brushstrokes of his realism paintings used before, now became coarse and thick. There was no more light touch and airiness. Worse, his cherished sense of color started to fade. Colors no longer popped like they once did. He struggled seeing “cool” blues and greens, attempting to compensate by using other colors – fiery reds and brilliant yellows.

Cataract surgery was not yet the routine operation it is today, and it carried considerable risk. After observing another artist go blind from a botched cataract operation, and much deliberation, Monet finally opted for the surgery.

Surprisingly, the operation seemingly changed how Monet’s vision now functioned, instituting a new intensity to his paintings. Already a master of color, it’s thought the cataract surgery may have altered Monet’s vision to be able see color in the realm of the ultraviolet, beyond the normal human spectrum.

Normally, ultraviolet light is invisible to humans. However, many animals can see UV light, especially insects. Butterflies use ultraviolet spots on their wings to distinguish males from females. Some flower species which appear plain to us, actually have a variety of ultraviolet stripes and patterns to attract bees for pollination. There exists a whole world of color in nature that’s completely invisible to us, but evidently, no longer to Monet.

It’s been said, “God never made a mistake.” His awesome mercy and grace gave “…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning…” (Isaiah 61:3), taking a depressed artist’s cataracts to produce an entirely new genre of art for all to experience, an indisputable testimony that . . . “God never made a mistake.”    . . . and He never will!

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

Beauty and the Beast

Spring in the Smokies is in glorious bloom! Today’s woodland wander was a stroll along Beauty Boulevard.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as one of these.”


. . . until going off-trail onto Creepy Cove where Snappy was sunbathing in his pool

(Couldn’t find any Scripture referencing snapping turtles 😊)

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

Midnight Deck Party

I was just about to call it a day and turn in last night when Ellen said,

Quiet . . . I hear something outside on the deck.”

My wife’s hearing exceeds that of the Secret Service’s most technologically sophisticated listening devices. Without my hearing aids I’m borderline deaf, and often don’t wear them. This in enhances my chances of being granted an audio-waiver on those occasions I feel the need to claim one by stating, “Sorry Dear, I didn’t hear you.” . . . this technique no longer works work as well as it once did😊 . . . but I digress.

“It’s probably just the wind”, I assured her. “Turn on the lights and check.”

Ellen walked over and threw the light switch . . . “Bears!”

Filming a video through a window from inside the house of an event happening outside at night when the lights are on in both places results in distracting reflections, and sub-par cinematography. However, I though some of you might find this video clip of Mama and her three yearling juvenile delinquents on our deck last night chowing down on our bird feeders.

Ellen and I watched our own live Nature channel from the other side of the glass in our living room. Some might also enjoy our brief dialog exchange regarding the deck party . . . turn up the volume😊 Always an adventure living in the forest.

Here’s the video link to last night’s entertainment –

PS – The bird feeders have been removed . . . sorry my feathered friends.

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


Easter – Pay It Forward

Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

Kate McGahan.

Easter is this ole ragamuffin’s most beloved holiday. Recently I was both humbled and convicted reading a historical account where Easter’s resurrection message was acknowledged and fearlessly declared in the face of adversity and certain punishment.

Inspired by Marxist doctrine, Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1923) incited the workers of the world (proletariat) to unite and free themselves from capitalist oppression to create a world run by and for the working class. Vladimir Lenin led a Marxist coup which abolished capitalism and established socialism in Russia. Joseph Stalin followed leading the Communist Party until his death in1953.

Karl Marx called religion “the opiate of the masses.” Stalin stated, “The communist Party must have an anti-religious policy.” They opposed God and all forms of religion.

Anatoly Lunacharsky was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and the Bolshevik Commissar for the Ministry of Education. Shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution he was lecturing to some 7,000 people in Moscow’s largest assembly hall. The Commissar spoke profoundly of the irrefutable logic of science, and the senseless myths of Christianity . . . “the opiate of the masses.

Finishing his intellectual, arrogant discourse, the Commissar condescendingly asked if there were any in the audience who had anything to add. A twenty-six-year-old, newly ordained Russian Orthodox priest stepped forward, awkwardly apologizing for his ignorance.

The Commissar addressed him scornfully,

I’ll give you two minutes, no more.”

I won’t take very long.”, the young priest assured him.

Stepping up to the podium, he turned to the audience and declared in a loud voice,

Christ is Risen!

As one, 7,000 people roared in response,

He is risen indeed!

Such bold, courageous faith is often seen among the poor, oppressed, and enslaved in our world, but seldom witnessed among the affluent, comfortable, and free?  Why?  

By the grace of God alone. . .

  • I’m a well-off middle-class American, not a lowest stratum caste, destitute dalit in India
  • I’m in comfortable, safe surroundings, not huddled in a dark Ukrainian bomb shelter
  • I’m free to worship, not confined in a tortuous North Korean prison camp for my faith

The unmerited favor and mercy God has granted me astounds me! I could never begin to offer one iota of recompense for all I’ve been blessed with . . . and I’m not required to . . . my debt was paid-in-full on a blood stained cross 2,000 years ago. The limitless Love of our Abba Father desires only one thing . . . to ‘Pay it Forward’ by “loving Him with all our heart, soul and mind, and loving our neighbor as ourselves” (paraphrased Matthew 22:37-39)

Imagine what our dysfunctional, divided nation and the chaotic world we live in would look like if each of us began to do so. Impossible? Perhaps, but every long journey begins with the first bold, courageous step. This Easter may our gratitude prompt each of us to do so.

Happy Easter!

Christ is Risen!


Today’s 89-degree record temperature woke Snappy from his long winter slumber. I found him wandering across the road . . . without looking both ways . . . and gave him a lift home.

Snapper soup with a dash of sherry is premium cuisine. We’d already ‘shelled out’ for a turkey to serve at Easter dinner, and Snappy is now enjoying his new digs in our pond . . . what’s on your Easter menu? 😊😊😊

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

News vs. Nature

This evening we visited a friend who has a home on Tennessee River. Instead of watching the network evening news, we tuned in the local nature documentary on ABC . . . Abba’s Beauty Channel . . . commercial free😊

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Psalm 119:1

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