Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Snowman's Story

Everything looks magical when it snows.-Lorelai Gilmore

I've met Will Hillenbrand at several book festivals and rode on the same plane with him to a library conference, years ago. On the plane, as I witnessed him sketching illustrations, I realized how privileged I was to experience one of the great talents in the field of children's books creating his art. 

One of my favorite Hillenbrand books is Snowman's Story. There are no words, but the illustrations depict a beautiful tale. As you share this book with your children, let them tell you the story of this delightful snowman and the rabbit family.




Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Shout for Joy!

When I'm in the country, I'm reminded of the beauty God has blessed us with.
I can almost hear the fields and trees praising God.

If these amazing creations can bring glory to God, surely I can too.

Shout for joy to the Lord!


 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Appreciate and Imagine

Every day I see the work of God's hands--
When I pause by my flowers and watch the bees collect pollen--
Then I see butterflies float on air and hear birds sing glorious melodies.

God has gifted us an incredible place to dwell.
The natural world and amazing creation leave me in awe.

If this world is this beautiful, imagine how awesome heaven will be.


 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Take Heart!

John 16:32-33
A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I'm never alone. 

Tim and I took Rosie for a walk at the local park. We hiked into an area where we could hear the river water rushing alongside us. As I walked, I spied the three-leafed trillium that sprouts in the spring in Ohio and enjoyed the greening foliage on the trees. For a moment I closed my eyes and listened. No cars revved their engines, no washer or dryer rumbled, no furnace kicked off and on. All I heard was the water, the burble of the river flowing over rocks, the tranquility of the woods. The peace reminded me of the One who is always with me.

The last three months have been hard. At times the burden too much to bear, but the beautiful, most wonderful thing I experienced in my time of grief and stress was the presence of the Holy Spirit. I'm never alone. Yes, my family and I were surrounded by the amazing blessing of friends. For that I'm so thankful, but in those times when I sat by myself in my home while Tim worked, I felt the presence of God. Through scripture and the Spirit, He reminded it would be alright.

Jesus spoke to his disciples before his final days on earth and reminded them that even as they needed to scatter and leave Him on His own, God was with Him. I absolutely love what He tells them. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

As a believer, the Holy Spirit lives inside me, beside me, and gives me peace in this troubled world.

Take heart! Jesus has overcome the world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Simple Things

The older I get, the more I appreciate the simple things.

I was watching the bees land on 

this "obedient" or sometimes called "dragon" plant. 

They buzzed around and gathered pollen, paying no mind to me.

Observing nature colors my soul with joy.


What simple things do you enjoy?




Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Historical Fiction Book Review: The Nature of a Lady (The Secrets of the Isles Book #1) by Roseanna M. White

Book Description:

1906

Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished. 

Oliver Tremayne--gentleman and clergyman--is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady, he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.

My Thoughts:
I found the Isles of Scilly in The Nature of a Lady an interesting setting. When Libby escapes the rule laden society she lives in and takes her lady’s maid with her to the islands to explore the flora and fauna, she’s awakened to a life where she can be herself. This book is full of mystery, adventure and romance. With many layers and fascinating characters, Roseanna White has created a tale to savor. The descriptions gave me a feel for the islands, creating an image of life on the sea. The characters, from Oliver’s Mamm-wynn to Libby’s bossy brother, Bram, interlace to make a lovely story of family, faith, and love. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Fiction Book Review: All That We Carried: A Novel by Erin Bartels

Book Description:
Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a backcountry hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. Over the years, they grew apart, each coping with the loss in her own way. Olivia plunged herself into law school, work, and a materialist view of the world--what you see is what you get, and that's all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life-coaching business around her cafeteria-style spirituality--a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy.

Now, at Melanie's insistence (and against Olivia's better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness they'll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered.

Michigan Notable Book Award winner Erin Bartels draws from personal experience hiking backcountry trails with her sister to bring you a story about the complexities of grief, faith, and sisterhood.

My Thoughts:
Erin Bartels created a brilliant and moving story of two sisters searching for hope. She beautifully balances total disbelief with belief in whatever gets you by, while telling a heartrending tale of love and loss. The sisters, as most are, come across very different from one another with a link that joins them forever. Through all of the ups and downs of the camping trip, I felt like I was hiking along the path with Melanie and Olivia. Bartels reveals a spiritual thread throughout the story that left me seeking more. And there is a twist or two. I won't give that away, but I will say it was the perfect way to integrate grace into a tragic story. If you enjoy heartfelt, family stories that delve deep, you'll want to read All That We Carried. I've read all of Bartels' books and this one is my favorite. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Non-fiction Book Review: Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship by Ruth Chou Simons


Book Description:
Become What You Behold

You are in the process of becoming. Every day is an opportunity to be shaped and formed by what moves your heart…drives your thoughts…captures your gaze. Is it any wonder that where you direct your eyes and your heart matter in your day-to-day?
 
We become what we behold when we set our hearts and minds on Christ and His redemption story here in the details of our daily lives. Not just on Sunday, not just on holidays, not just when extraordinarily hard or wonderful things happen…but today.  

Bestselling author and artist Ruth Chou Simons invites you on a new journey to Beholding and Becoming.  With more than 850 pieces of intricate, original artwork, Ruth encourages you to elevate your gaze to the One who created all things.

Today is an opportunity for God to demonstrate His love and His faithfulness in the midst of your mundane. No circumstance is too ordinary or too forgotten for Him to meet you there in worship. His transforming grace turns your “everyday ordinary” into a holy place of becoming.

My Review:
I absolutely love this book. From the gorgeous watercolor paintings to the heartfelt words, Ruth Chou Simons speaks to the heart. There are so many reminders of how we can live a better life in Jesus. Beautiful quotes are encased in Ruth's artwork. That alone is worth the read. I read a section a day and delighted in each one. If you are looking for a book to read that will encourage and enlighten, buy Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

And God Created Egrets

On one of our trips to Lake Erie, we stopped by the Port Clinton Lighthouse. 
We walked along the beach and searched for lake glass,
 then sat on a bench and watched the waves.
We were preparing to leave when I turned and 
looked toward the two ponds that sit in front of the lighthouse. 

A speck of white caught my attention. 
As I moved closer to the water, an egret stood. 
What a beauty. I am partial to these remarkable birds, with their graceful movements. 
As with any of God's creation, I love to watch them and learn their ways. 

Fun fact: they build their stick nests near the water, but high in the trees. 

Fortunately, this bird was photogenic!  


Friday, November 15, 2019

Fall Findings Friday: Bittersweet

My mom gathered bittersweet every autumn. 
She'd arrange a beautiful bouquet of this colorful berry in 
a pitcher and bowl and place it on our dining room table

That's when I knew Thanksgiving was around the corner.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

So Will I

Psalm 96:11-13
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Autumn, like spring, reminds me that nature calls to those who enjoy the beauty of the earth. This week I was privileged to hang out with grandkids on two different field trips. Two of my grandsons, both in fourth grade, went to a nature center in southwest Ohio. The instructors led them through activities focused on fossils. We hiked to a creek and searched for rocks with impressions left, from years ago. The kids learned about erosion and discovered crawdads and plant life in the water. We went home dirty, tired and happy to have been outside all day. The next day I joined my granddaughter, along with her mommy and daddy, on the preschool trip to the pumpkin farm. She played on the straw castle, we rode on a hayride and picked out pumpkins.
All this outdoor time speaks to my heart about the joy I find in God's creation.
When I am out tromping in the woods or walking in a pumpkin patch, I am amazed once again at all that God gifted us with. I stroll out my door to be greeted by zinnias and maple trees. We ambled by a field yesterday, and heard the killdeer's call and the cardinal's song. In the woods, a deer might peek out or a squirrel scamper. Even as I write these words, I feel excited about not just the beauty of the earth, but the resources. Our Father provides for us and all he asks is for us to be faithful. He hopes his children will join him in taking care of the gifts he's given and use them to his glory.

I've been called a tree-hugger before. That's not really accurate. I'm just somebody who appreciates the natural gifts God supplies. I'm thankful for all he provides and want to do what I can in my little corner of the world, to show appreciation. I thank God for all He gives.

This song says what I feel!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Flower Friday: Sunflower

I am fascinated by the sunflower. This beauty grows anywhere from ten inches to ten feet tall. Several years ago, I planted seeds along the back wall of our home. Over the summer the seeds germinated and pushed through the soil. A huge sunflower head bloomed as the stem stretched taller than our one-story house. I'd not seen a sunflower so tall. 

My grandsons love to chomp on sunflower seeds during their baseball games, 
and I enjoy the seeds baked into bread. 

I love seeing sunflowers blooming along the highway and in the fields. 
Do you grow sunflowers?



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Unfurl Your Wings


Olive and I were walking outside, 
and this lovely monarch landed on a zinnia in my garden. 
I love when God sends me a sign of beauty in my every day life. 

Click to Tweet #unfurlyourwings! 

Friday, September 1, 2017

The One Who Created Science

Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

A magazine came across my desk this week. The front cover posed this question, "Where did we really come from?" Curious, I opened to the page of the article. I thought maybe there was a tiny chance that someone was writing about the creation story. Instead I found another argument for a different theory.


Understand this about me—I love nature, and I respect science. In biology class, I was fascinated with photosynthesis, the life stream of plants. I enjoyed learning about flowers and found animal habitats interesting. I still enjoy being outdoors watching birds and wildlife. I was excited in Maine when we learned about the lobsters and puffins. So when I read the question, "Where did we really come from?" I already knew my answer. I've prayed and studied over this for a long time.


I believe with all my heart that God created me. He held me in his heart before I was even born. God made me to reflect his image. I may not always do that because we live in a sinful world, and I confess, I sin. But I know, without doubt, that God put me on this earth with purpose. He knew me and he knows my life. Some might wonder how I can embrace God and science. My answer—because I believe God invented science. The galaxies? God tossed every star into place. The butterflies? God painted every delicate wing. My grandbabies? God formed them before we knew them. God gave us the gift of science to help us cope with this crazy world. He has his hand in medicine, technology, astronomy (remember the recent eclipse) agriculture (he did plant the first garden) and every other science we know. My faith in the truth of the Bible leads me to believe that God is the giver of life. He is the one who understands everything because he created everything. I praise God, because his works are amazing! 
Psalm 139:13-14For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Incredible Beauty

My friend, Wendy, posed a question on Facebook last week. "What part of nature reminds you that you're cared for [by God]?" I sent back my reply after a few minutes.

Truth be told, most everything about nature reminds me of how much God loves me.  I sit on my back porch and see how he takes care of the birds, such amazing, aerodynamic, little creatures. In the woods, I see the trees that tower over me. I admire their photosynthetic system that guides them through the seasons. At the beach I watch the tide roll in and out due to the gravitational pull from the sun and moon. I could go on because so much of our amazing earth, the place God created for us to live, reminds me how much God cares.

So what part of nature reminds me how much God is concerned about me? 

Flowers and butterflies. 

I could watch butterflies all day, as they flit from lavender to roses to daisies. When flowers spring from the ground, I can't wait to see them grow and bloom. 

Both have an incredible beauty for which only God could be responsible. Both depend on each other. Both rely on other parts of creation, like rain and sun. Both bring me peace. When I see a butterfly in the flowers, I feel like I've found a treasure.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." -Matthew 6:27-29
How about you? What part of nature reminds you that you are cared for? 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Lord of Heaven and Earth

Jeremiah 10:12-13
But God made the earth by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom
    and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Last week Tim and I stopped by Kroger to pick up groceries. As we drove around the parking lot to find a space, I looked into the field in front of the store. I was appalled. Litter tugged against the green sprouts of spring. Pop cans, food wrappers, and water bottles rolled around in the wind. Why on earth did anyone let that happen? I understand that sometimes a piece of paper might fall out of a cart or car. But good grief, it looked like someone dumped their trash out and let it fly.

God created an incredible place for us to live. The oceans, plains, mountains and the changing seasons. Spring should bring the beauty of the daffodils and forsythia, not garbage in the field. I appreciate God's creation and love being out in the woods or by the water. But mind you, I don't worship nature, instead I worship the Creator of all the wonders of the earth. The people in Jeremiah's time struggled with idols in nature. They bowed down to the sun and the moon. If any weather seemed like a threat, they thought they were being punished and shut down all their work to tremble in fear. But they had it all wrong. God gave us the earth and all the natural resources to use and appreciate. In turn, he expects us to take care of all creation. I thank God for this earth and pray we teach the next generation to take care of our world. Praise God for his creation!

Here is God of Wonder by Chris Tomlin. Love this song!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

God's Ditch Garden

Music sings~

God's ditch garden stages shows
blue-orange-white.

Chicory's sax runs up and down.
Jazzed scales fill the air
with melodies.

Orange tiger lily trumpets
sharps and flats.

Queen Anne
takes center stage
to bang out~
the piano's notes.

Nodding her head
tapping toes.

An audience?

Orange and black
flutter between green leaves.

Butterfly wings and stems sway.

Tiny finch
golden like day~
black as night
twitters in tune.

Remembering yesterday's
concert in the ditch.

Looking forward to
tomorrow's.

Penny Frost McGinnis~2006

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let the Trees Sing!

1 Chronicles 16:33-34
Let the trees of the forest sing,
    let them sing for joy before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Several times this week I've notice how beautiful the autumn skies are. One afternoon white wispy clouds floated against an azure blue sky. Walking into work I've been greeted by majestic pinks, reds, and dark blues painted behind the shadow of trees as morning wakes. Yesterday evening orange streaked across navy blue as the sun went to sleep for the day.

God is the most amazing artist. Just looking at his creation brings joy to my soul. I'm thankful for the natural world around me. Not a day goes by without me noticing something God has created. Walking out of work yesterday, I spotted holly bushes, with the crimson berries hiding among the waxy green leaves. Beautiful!

As Thanksgiving approaches I want to share some of my thankful moments. I would be remiss if I didn't include the wonder of nature and the artistry of the Creator.

I'm thankful for the changing seasons, the woods, the lakes and ponds, the ocean, the incredible array of flowers, the trees, the animals; all of the amazing life that exists around me. Praise God for all he's made.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Are You a Nature Nut?

Does anyone else see the cushion used to lean on and study?
I've decided to find at least one moment of beauty in every day. I'm convinced I'll find more. But I won't find any if I don't look. Tim and I took a walk in our neighborhood and I saw several things I consider beautiful. 

I've always been a bit of a nature nut. Dragging (not literally) my kids into the woods, through parks and fields and teaching them names of flowers and trees. So it's no surprise to me to find the lovely even in the unlovely at times. 


Love the bird nest.
I hope you enjoy a few of my nature shots.



Share the beautiful you found in today.