Observing Thanksgiving & the Blessings of Another Day

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Sunset of Blessings Lisa A. Wisniewski

Cloudy, gray weekend skies filled with rain and snow flurries gave way to the sun on Monday.  Watching the skies clear before dawn while walking with the dogs outside made me feel thankful for the light and the colors before me.   As the clouds moved off, the fading outlines of the stars could be seen, as if the heavens were being revealed in a magic show.

Blessings of the Son and the Sun

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Sunrise After the Rain Lisa A. Wisniewski

As the first rays of the sun cracked over the horizon, it was as if Jesus himself was slowly emerging to take my hand and walk with me through the day.  The glow of the light reminded me of a quote I read recently:

“We shall find peace.  We shall hear angels.  We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.” – Anton Chekov

It also reminded me of the many aspects of life that rely on the light of the sun, such as:

Photosynthesis, or the process by which green plants and certain organisms convert light energy into chemical energy, which in turn creates oxygen and organic compounds.  Without this process, plants, trees, animals, and even humans would not be able to live.

Solar power, or light energy from the sun converted into thermal energy to heat homes and buildings and electric energy to run appliances and other tools.

Color recognition, used to guide us as symbols and warnings.  Without colors, distinguishing hot and cold or safe and dangerous conditions would be difficult.

Running Toward the Light

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Running Toward the Light Lisa A. Wisniewski

While running and biking later in the day, I found myself seeking answers to questions and problems in life.  Looking up at the sky, the colors reminded me of different people and lessons I had learned from these people.  These lessons in turn allowed me to grow, think on my own, and gain perspective.  The lessons also helped me realize what is important in life and what can be let go.

It is in letting go that we find freedom, and in this freedom that we find thanksgiving, faith, and hope for better days and times ahead.  As I contemplated the places I have been and the problems I have seen in life, I recalled another quote:

“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” – James Thurber

Blessings Seen and Unseen

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Blessings Seen and Unseen Lisa A. Wisniewski

While contemplating what I was running from, and to, and why, I realized that many of my trials in life have led to blessings I would not have seen otherwise.  Some of the problems I have encountered have led to relationships that may not have been formed without the existence of the problem.  The difficult times are what test our faith, hope, strength, and love.  Without these tests, we are simply going through the motions of life on autopilot.

When we do see the benefit of our struggles, it is as if we’ve discovered gold or hidden treasure.  The reality is the hidden treasure is there for us to find every day.  We just have to open our minds, hearts, eyes, and ears a little in order to find it.

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Rearranging Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

We also have to be careful with our thoughts and the thoughts we have regarding our thoughts.  It is easy to deceive ourselves, thinking we are doing the right thing when really we are convincing ourselves our thoughts must be right.  The following quote puts this in perspective:

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” – Edward R. Murrow

Coming Around Again

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Here Comes the Sun Lisa A. Wisniewski

Weaving through my running and biking route this evening, I realized many of the thoughts in my mind this week regarded being thankful—thankful for another day to live and dream, hope and be, love and try, build and grow, give and receive, absorb and reflect the light of life around me.   Each day may be a challenge in its own, but it is in going through the cycles and circles of life that we meet, rise above, and move beyond these challenges.   Being thankful for the good, the bad, and pretty much everything in between is one way to keep the light of life burning inside the soul.

May we all come to realize our blessings in time.  May blessings shared with others lead us to growth and wisdom to guide us upon our journey, and may the journey itself lead us to the blessings of another day.

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Minutes of Early Dawn Lisa A. Wisniewski

Blessings of Another Day

In the minutes of the early dawn
When the soul within feels the awe
If nature’s passion and art
That fashion the horizon as the skies part
To reveal the rising sun,
The heart feel’s God’s love
And gives thanks
For the blessings of another day.

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For the Moon and Stars Lisa A. Wisniewski

For the moon and the stars
Sparkling in the blue of afar,
For the sun and the rain
That run through nature’s ways,
For the trees and the fields
That teem with life revealed
In the moments as the world wakes
To the motions in the blessings of another day.

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Nature’s Music Lisa A. Wisniewski

For the music in nature and on the radio
That move the soul within, allowing it to grow,
For friends and family
And moments spent in their company,
For canine companions and relationships
That allow us to find consideration and forgiveness
In the ocean of life’s waves
Rising in and through the blessings of another day.

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The Journey Through the Miles Lisa A. Wisniewski

For the journey and the miles
That keep us turning ourselves around
So that we may gain perspective and wisdom
In reflections from within,
For those who sacrifice their time and energy
So that we can be free,
For all these things and so many others that make
Us who we are in the blessings of another day,
May God in heaven above know
The thanks within the souls below.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

 

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Thanksgiving Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Color recognition – https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/350524main_Optics_Light_Color_and_Their_Uses.pdf

Photosynthesis – https://www.britannica.com/science/photosynthesis

Solar power – https://www.seia.org/initiatives/about-solar-energy

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Observing Songs & Definitions of November’s Beauty

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Sunday Sunrise Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Despite the continued dominance of cloudy skies in my area, the dogs and I have managed to find some beautiful and enlightening moments in nature this week.  The sights we saw and lessons we learned are all beautiful in their own way, just as nature and God intended.  Though we did not immediately recognize the beauty on several occasions, we did come to find it after some reflection and contemplation.

Morning Has Broken

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Morning Breaking Lisa A. Wisniewski

Our adventures began on Sunday, November 12 at dawn.  We stepped outside to an amazingly colorful sky in the east.  The sun on the rise made a slow, majestic appearance, casting rays of pink, orange, gold, red, crimson, yellow, and purple light across the horizon.  The sight brought to mind the words to one of my favorite hymns, Morning Has Broken:

Morning has broken
Like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing
Up from the Word

The words were written by English writer Eleanor Farjeon to accompany the Gaelic tune BUNESSAN.  The hymn was first published in 1931, but did not become popular until the 1970’s when several covers were done by popular musicians.  My church did not sing the hymn on a regular basis until the late 1990’s, so the song is a rather recent discovery for me.

The hymn is beautiful musically and lyrically, slowly moving through the chords of C, G, F, and A minor.  As I ran and biked that morning, I found myself totally lost in the beauty of the sky and the music in my mind.  The experience was one of those in life that you wish you could hold onto forever, always remembering the feeling, the movement, and the energy brought forth from within by the colors in the sky and the stillness of the air.

You’ll Change Just Like the Weather

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Changing Just Like the Weather Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sadly, the skies clouded up within a few hours, dashing some of the potential from the day.  As I drove home from church watching the skies grow cloudier, I found my mood shifting to a more melancholy state.  Upon realizing this, Suzy Bogguss’ song Just Like the Weather came into my mind:

…You’ll change, just like the weather
But the weather you know will always change
If you stay, it will get better,
Wherever you go, it’s bound to rain…

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Sadie, One of My Sunshines Lisa A. Wisniewski

Entering the house, I found my dogs Sadie and Leo smiling and jumping around, bringing sunshine to the day despite the clouds.  We spent the morning doing inside chores and making a care package for a friend.  Though we would have rather been outside, the feeling of knowing our package would make life a little easier for someone we care about made us feel better.  The quality time together was beautiful because it was simple, just us in the kitchen creating and wrapping and planning what to put in next.

As we did so, I thought of the verses in the Bible that speak of being a cheerful giver:

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

A Thousand Miles From Nowhere

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A Thousand Miles From Nowhere Lisa A. Wisniewski

The clouds moved through the skies rapidly that day, dancing with the blue of heaven and the sun.  The dogs watched while I attempted to clean up leaves and mow the grass.  Given the amount of chores we were crossing off our list, I felt as if I was in a time warp, lost in the past, present, and future all at once.

Being outside in the fresh air watching the sky change above as the moments ticked by made me think of Dwight Yoakam’s A Thousand Miles From Nowhere:

I’m a thousand miles from nowhere,
Time don’t matter to me,
I’m a thousand miles from nowhere
And there’s no place I want to be…

Once again, the simplicity of being able to accomplish tasks while freely moving about at my own pace was a beautiful feeling and experience.  I allowed my mind to wander, my heart to feel, and my spirit to soak up the wonderful blessings of time and life.

Stay a Little Longer

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Stay a Little Longer Lisa A. Wisniewski

Monday and Tuesdays clouds made for some very wet and nasty running and biking conditions.  I found myself wondering why in the world I insist on slugging through the elements.  My answer came both in the skies and in music running through my head.

Though the skies were gray, the clouds did have distinct patterns to them.  My mind wondered why I kept watching the shades of gray rise and ebb like tides in the sea.  My heart told me there was beauty in the shape and movement of the clouds.  After some contemplation, my mind came to the same conclusion.

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Inspiring Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

My body found energy in the notes of Brothers Osborne’s Stay a Little Longer.  The way the song starts out simple and slow and grows more complex reminds me of life itself.  As we learn and grow along the way, the simple lessons learned long ago morph into a majestic symphony of knowledge and wisdom to carry us through our days and all the storms that come along with us.

The guitar solo at the end of the song is an all-time favorite.  Every time I hear the song, I think of seeing Brothers Osborne in concert, watching John Osborne rip through that solo on an acoustic guitar (which is hard enough to do on an electric guitar, let alone on an acoustic instrument), and all the energy he created for the audience.

Though I was cold and wet after my runs and bike rides on those days, I felt invigorated to tackle the evening chores, thanks to the music and the memory of the song running through my mind and veins like a river.  Granted, I also had a sinus issue going on, so my energy peaked quickly each evening and I had resort to listening to the rain on the roof as I lay in bed a little earlier than normal.

Shotgun Rider

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My Shotgun Rider, Leo Lisa A. Wisniewski

Wednesday brought the sun back into full view.  Once again, the dawn was amazingly beautiful both for the view and the experience of watching the sun rise.  Wednesday was also warmer, so my run and bike ride were much more enjoyable.  As I ran and pedaled along, my thoughts drifted to my dog Leo, who we adopted almost a year ago.

Leo came to live with us on November 19, 2016.  We first saw him in pictures emailed to us from a rescue organization.  The minute I saw him, I knew God had sent him to help Sadie and me get past our grief of losing our beloved canine friend, Luke.  The look in Leo’s eyes reminded me of the words and the music to Tim McGraw’s Shotgun Rider:

Roll, won’t you come roll with me
Slow, fast, full speed
Girl, no matter where sweet time takes us
Hang, with me down this old road
Only God knows where we’ll go
Don’t matter long as I’ve got your love…

Sadie and I could not have asked for a more beautiful blessing in Leo.  He is an inquisitive, squirmy little fellow, yet has very sophisticated moments where he displays knowledge beyond his years.

A Most Beautiful Song

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Most Beautiful Song Lisa A. Wisniewski

So, here we are at Thursday in the week, another gray, wet, colder day with some special memories of a most beautiful song running through our minds.  The song is different, just like the spirit who first sang it to us.  It is one of those poignant songs that makes you stop, look, listen, reflect, and feel thankful for where you have been and where you are in life.

Sadie and I first heard this song on August 4, 2016, shortly after our canine buddy Luke passed away.  We stood at his grave, lost in the stillness of the warm night, contemplating all the adventures and misadventures he had taken us through in his years with us.  He was a handful for sure, but in the end, he taught us one of the most beautiful lessons in life.

Trouble With a Capital LukeUnder the stars that night, we heard Luke’s silent song of love echo for miles around.  It was a song I never thought I’d hear from the rebel and rogue, the free spirit that lived life his own way.  However, Luke surprised me, offering up a heartfelt thank you for hanging in there with him, for continuing to love him despite his faults (of course, he loved me despite my faults as well), and for learning along with him how to see God’s blessings in disguise.

(If you wish to read more about Luke’s song, you can do so in his book, Trouble With a Capital L-U-K-E, available now through WestBow Press and Amazon).

Everything is Beautiful in Its Own Way

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Beautiful in its Own Way Lisa A. Wisniewski

As we have discovered this week, beautiful has a number of definitions.  It is simple and complex, one of those paradoxes of life that can send your mind into a tailspin in a heartbeat.  However, it can also make you see life from different perspectives, learn new things, and accept the cards life deals you.

As the song Everything is Beautiful says:

Everything is beautiful
In its own way
Like a starry summer night
On a snow covered winter’s day

And everybody’s beautiful
In their own way
Under God’s heaven
The world’s going to find a way…

May sharing the beauty we find help us to learn and grow along with others, and may we not let our definition of beauty cloud our judgement or create undue stress in life.  May  November’s beauty  lead us to wisdom and peace in time.

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Crescent Moon Smiling Lisa A. Wisniewski

November’s Beauty

Crescent moon smiling over the morn
Above the frost and dew that adorn
The hills, fields, and trees
That fill the valley
With November’s beauty for miles around
In the quiet breeze found
As the day breaks with the light
Of the Lord’s grace and nature’s sights
Creating a new expanse to explore
Beneath the blue skies of the morn.

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Glistening Crystals of Dew Lisa A. Wisniewski

Glistening crystals sparkling all around
Extol November’s beauty found
Within nature’s art that holds
Questions, answers, and mysteries
Suggestions, responses, and inquiries
To the past, present, and future all at once
As the light casts a net over the day begun,
Keeping balance with moments in time
As the creeping hands of the clock wind
Through the minutes and the hours
Allowing knowledge to expand within and empower
The soul watching the scene
To unfold its own creative being.

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Deer on Its Way Lisa A. Wisniewski

Deer on its way to where it is going
Stops to stay clear of the traffic flowing,
Standing attentive to every movement
It extends November’s beauty through its
Color and grace, wisdom and response
Altering the moments of the day within nature’s ponds
Full of life, wonder and imagination
For the soul to find through its paths to its destination
Where connections made and found
Make each day more beautiful all around.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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November’s Beauty Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing Nature’s Post-It Notes

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Nature’s Post-It Notes Lisa A. Wisniewski

This week brought a mix of rain, clouds, and sun to my area.  The lower temperatures that accompanied the mix helped to bring the leaves left on the trees to peak color.  Seeing the landscape dotted with rust, orange, red, yellow, gold, green, and a hint of purple reminded me of people, places, and things past and present.  It was like nature was using the colors as Post-It notes, allowing me to remember both important and trivial things.

Remember Me Always

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Nikki and Me in 2002 Lisa A. Wisniewski

This aspect of remembrance was fitting for the week, for Monday, November 6, would have been my late dog Nikki’s birthday.  Nikki was my rock during some very challenging years of life.  Her rather sudden and unexpected passing in July of 2010 left me quite lost.  However, her spirt remains vibrant in my heart, and I know she is watching over Sadie, Leo, and me from her place in heaven.

Nikki is one of the reasons I try to bike most of the year.  In my early days, I biked until the weather shifted from fair to somewhat uncomfortable.  After Nikki passed, I tried to bike up until her birthday, no matter the weather.  Four years ago, I decided to just bike and not worry about the weather, unless of course, it did not make sense to be out in the elements.  I am happy to report that this year, despite the nasty, rainy, cold weather on Nikki’s birthday, I went both running and biking.  Afterwards, I stood by her grave beneath the apple tree in the side yard and remembered all the good times we shared.

One thing I should mention is the garden Sadie helped me make under the apple tree for Nikki has solar lights.  The two lights closest to Nikki’s grave always come on first each night.  This is my reminder to stop working out in the yard and head inside for the evening.  When Nikki was alive, she always came to me at dusk while I was working in the yard, nudged me, and headed to the house.  She knew when I had had enough work for the day better than I did.

Nikki Jean Book CoverThe solar lights are my nudge from Nikki.  This week, the only solar lights that came on in the garden were hers, usually just one, but always reminding me of her and the many lessons she taught me in life.  On the night of her birthday, just after I had finished my bike ride, Nikki’s light came on, which I felt was her way of saying thanks for braving the elements and for remembering me.

(If you would like to learn more about Nikki and our adventures in life, check out her book, Nikki Jean, available at Westbowpress.com and at amazon.com.)

Another Important Remembrance

As I worked, ran, biked, and walked through the week, I found my thoughts drifting to Veterans Day, which is November 11.  The holiday gets little fanfare in many areas, which saddens me to some extent.  Veterans make a lot of sacrifices serving our country, often without complaint.  In their mind, they are simple doing what they feel is right.

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Honoring Veterans Lisa A. Wisniewski

Stories of veterans and their service dogs always pull at my heart strings, for I know how important the human-canine bond has been in my life, and I have not even been through the conditions they experience on a daily basis.  In my area, stories of veterans and their dogs are quite common and fairly well publicized in local papers.  I feel fortunate to live in an area that does remember those who serve our country and supports veterans and their families.  If you happen to know or meet a veteran, I would ask that you say a prayer or do a small act of kindness toward them as thanks and in remembrance for their service.

What About Me?

This week, the weather turned from rainy and cloudy to sunny with clearer skies on Wednesday.  The sun brightened both the landscape and my mood.  As I ran and biked, I took pictures of the trees, sky, and wildlife I encountered.  Doing so made me feel connected to the world and to God.

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Connnected Lisa A. Wisniewski

The experience made me wonder how many times I fail to see the Post-It notes God gives me in nature to remind me of His love, grace, and forgiveness.  Like all humans, I have a tendency to miss the obvious if distracted or upset.  Though I try to focus, my mind often wanders, sometimes to good places and other times to a worry pit.  I wonder if the Post-It notes I do see are God’s way of bringing my focus back and if my response to them is adequate.

This week, as I watched the leaves turn and the plants in the garden die off, I was reminded of several Bible verses describing how seeds must die in order to create new life.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24

“How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies,” – 1 Corinthians 15:36

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Endless Potential Lisa A. Wisniewski

Though much of the landscape is dying off, under the surface lies the potential of new life to come in due time.  Though we can’t see it, our hope and faith tells us it will happen.

Remembrance Frustrations

This week was one of those weeks where I had Post-It notes on the counter every day, reminding me to make phone calls, look up information, keep or make appointments, pay bills, and finish fall chores.   As I ticked through the to-do list each day, I found myself contemplating the following quote, for I felt as if I was not making much progress:

“The really idle man gets nowhere.  The perpetually busy man does not get much further.” – Sir Heneage Ogilivie

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Hope Amid Life’s Chaos Lisa A. Wisniewski

Granted, each day brought issues that added to the mountain of Post-It notes or scraps of paper on the counter.  Sadie and Leo seemed to sense my frustration at one point.  They both came to me, distracting my thoughts long enough to remind me that while everything in life has its own level of importance in our human minds, what is most important is not often written down or even able to be adequately measured for value.

Communication Frustrations

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Leo and Sadie, My Post-It Notes in Life Lisa A. Wisniewski

As the dogs and I attempted to write our blog post for this week, we found we had no internet access.  Sadie and Leo watched as I unconnected and reconnected the modem several times and tried all the instructions suggested by the computer in an effort to gain access to upload our post.  Each time grew more frustrating and fruitless.  At one point, I asked aloud,” Why won’t you connect?”

Then I laughed, for I wondered if God often thought the same of me.  How often is He right there, in words, pictures, the landscape, or some other form of communication, and I don’t respond or acknowledge Him?

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Nature’s Internet Lisa A. Wisniewski

So, our post is a day late this week, both because of technical issues with the internet service AND because after becoming frustrated with our failed attempts to connect to the Internet, we decided to go spend some time with God instead.  His connection is always available 24/7, 365, with no fees, hidden costs, or unwanted advertisements, and He never needs Post-It notes to remind Him of us.

May the colors of fall and in the skies remind us of what is most important in life.  May the Post-It notes we have around us not overwhelm us to the point of frustration, and may we always find the connection we need when we need it most.

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In Gold, Orange, Rust & Red Lisa A. Wisniewski

Post-It Notes

In gold, orange, rust, and red,
November unfolds nature’s blanket,
Full of colors that change
Beneath the stellar skies’ veins,
Casting leaves like Post-It notes
From the trees to the ground below
Where they sit temporarily
Until they lift in the breeze,
Flying away without a care
To be found another day in a different somewhere
Like a seed planted by the wind
With potential beneath to start the cycle all over again.

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In the Early Morning Frost Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the early morning frost sparkling like glass,
The hand of God stretches past,
Tracing the veins upon the leaves
As the sun strains its reach
To encompass the landscape with its light
Brightening the day as it comes to life
With Post-It notes written by nature’s hand
Reminding the soul to follow as best it can
The path it is on through the miles of the journey
Despites the troubles it has as it keeps on learning.

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In the Quiet Hush of the Leaves Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the quiet hush of the leaves
Rustling in the rush of the breeze,
The whisper of the wind blows
Like an unwritten Post-It note,
Reminding us of where we are,
What we must do, and how we can start
To accomplish the tasks we have
And come to bond in the days that pass
So that time is a friend and not an enemy
In the river that winds its way to the sea.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Sunset of Post-It Notes Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing November’s Nature

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November Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

Clouds and rain continue to dominate the weather in my area, making for some interesting and challenging runs and bike rides.  The experiences are interesting because without fail, I learn something about nature, myself, or the world around me as I dodge raindrops and puddles.   The experiences are challenging because they often test the mental and physical stamina of the body, as well as the spiritual soul within.

Panacea in the Panorama

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Nature’s Medicine Lisa A. Wisniewski

While not every experience is pleasant or even comfortable, the feeling afterward of having tried, endured, and finished is what I consider to be a panacea, or cure-all for life’s ailments and problems.  Panacea is from a Greek word meaning all healing, and Panacea was the goddess of healing in Greek mythology.

Since the beginning of time, society has longed to find a panacea for illnesses and problems of many different varieties.  While the notion has both merit and a hint of foolishness to it, I often wonder if all the research done has focused on the incorrect areas.  For example, scientists often turn to herbs or man-made chemicals in medicines to treat the symptoms of an illness.  What if the focus was instead on the root cause and the body’s reaction to this root cause? Or what if instead of trying to treat the symptoms, the goal was to change one’s mindset or perspective of the symptoms?

Perhaps St. Paul in his letter to Timothy offers a more concise, direct suggestion:

“…be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths…” – 2 Timothy 4:2-5.

Paul goes on to offer a simplistic approach to dealing with life’s many issues:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

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Enduring Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

It is in fighting the good fight that we find strength and encouragement, along with hope, allowing us to finish the race with our faith intact.  It is in doing and experiencing both difficult and easy tasks that we learn and grow in character and wisdom.  It is in finishing each leg of the race that we fully experience life itself, learn to recognize the positive within the negative, and find the hidden blessings met along the way.

Full Moons and Inner Clues

Also dominating the skies this week is the moon, which has managed to slip between the clouds the past few nights, allowing viewers to watch its face grow larger.  The moon will be considered full on November 4.  Indian tribes and the early colonists called the full moon of November the full beaver moon because it acted as an indicator of when to set beaver traps.  November was also called the full frost moon because it historically coincided with the first hard frost of the fall season.

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Almost Full Moon November 2, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

While scientists debate over whether November’s full moon is also a supermoon, one thing that is not being debated is the moon’s diligent path through its phases.  As St. Paul writes, the moon fights the good fight by continuing ahead; it finishes its course by going through each phase; and it keeps the faith by shining brightly when possible and not becoming upset when its light can’t be seen.

In some regards, the moon is a natural example of endurance, offering insight to the inner workings of cycles and the reactions to these cycles.

Lamb’s Ears and Pathways Cleared

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Lamb’s Ears Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I ran and biked through the rain this week, I noticed a number of lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) along the road and covering the hillsides.  While I know the plants are not native or considered wild in my area, I suspect birds, other animals, and the wind transplanted seeds from clumps planted in neighboring gardens.

A careful look at the plants allows one to see the fuzzy, almost velvet-like hairs covering every inch of the leaves.  This covering acts as a natural protector to the plant by deterring animals from eating it.   The covering can also trap water or moisture from the air and facilitate the spread of disease.  In order to survive, the lamb’s ear needs help thinning or splitting itself either by ways of nature or with human intervention.

In some regards, we are like the lamb’s ears, equipped with survival tools, yet in need of help under certain circumstances or conditions.  Our fuzzy covering may be in our faith, physical health, mental perspective, or a combination of characteristics.  While these characteristics often help us survive, they can also cause great distress if we fail to find a balance in our reliance upon them.

Eleven = 1 + 1

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November’s Welcome Committee Lisa A. Wisniewski

This week’s entrance into the month of November marks the passing of October, often viewed as a colorful month full of zest and vigor.  November gets a rather solemn nod for its drearier skies and somber holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Soul’s Day (November 2).

However, if we take a closer look into the origins of November, we find a much different perspective.  November was originally the ninth month on the Roman calendar, taking its name from the Latin novem, meaning nine.  The number nine is often associated with wisdom, heaven, and truth.  St. Paul wrote about nine fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  Looking at November from a number 9 perspective, we see a bit brighter picture.

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Numerous Hues Lisa A. Wisniewski

If we consider the number 11, we find a few conflicting images, which seem to imitate nature’s aspects of the month.  Eleven is a master number, meaning it is a double-digit number which comes from a single number.  (Other examples of master numbers are 22, 33, 44, etc.)  Eleven has also been thought to represent internal conflict or struggle.

Breaking down the number eleven into one and one, we find a bit more positive image.  The number one is a divine number, often used to symbolize the Creator, or God.  It also symbolizes creative spirit and individuality, and has some interesting results when mathematically combined with other numbers.

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Oh, November Lisa A. Wisniewski

Taking the above information into consideration, we find November to be a month of deep conflict, potential resolution, endurance, reflection, and complexity with a simple twist.  In short, November is much like many of us humans—full of both faults and good qualities.

May our views of each day allow us to find positive amongst the negative, joy within sorrow, peace within conflict, and wisdom within the unknown.  May what we see not cloud our judgement or deter us from reaching our goals or destinations, and may we find comfort in nature’s beauty.

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Nature’s Beauty Lisa A. Wisniewski

Nature’s Beauty

In the sunrise of the morning sky and the raindrops of the afternoon,
In the sunset’s light and the clouds grayish blues,
In the heavens and upon the shores,
In the days sent to us as we endure,
May we see the light of life
In nature’s beauty and time.

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In the Orange of the Leaves Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the orange leaves and brown acorns,
In the rain from the eaves and the dew of the morn,
In the blue skies and rainbows found,
In the rabbits that veer to and fro on the ground,
In the deer grazing and the squirrels leaping,
In parts of each day, may we find moments worth keeping
Within the vast seas and varying lights
Of nature’s beauty and time.

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In Different Hues That Color Life Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the full moon and the clear sky,
In the different hues that color life,
In the frost on the grass and the water in the sea,
In the half full glass and the river’s streams,
In the heart and soul,
In the dark that unfolds,
May the reach of hands divine
Lead us to nature’s beauty in time.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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November Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Autumn’s Face Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

All Saint’s Day – http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/

All Soul’s Day – http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsouls/

Full Beaver Moon – https://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-november

Full Frost Moon – http://www.newsweek.com/november-full-moon-beaver-moon-meaning-supermoon-698786

Lamb’s Ears – http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=p980

November – https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/months/november.html

Number Eleven – https://mysticalnumbers.com/number-11/

Number One – https://mysticalnumbers.com/number-1/

Number Nine – https://mysticalnumbers.com/number-9/

Panacea – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/panacea

Observing Stories of Life

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Sunrise, October 23, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

After stellar weekend weather and an amazingly beautiful sunrise on Monday, this week brought with it rain, very gray skies, and a few rainbows.  Though the rain and cooler temperatures made for three very challenging days of running and biking, something about being out there in the elements made me feel alive and even a little peaceful at times.

Today’s weather was sunnier and warmer, a nice change after coming home soaking wet and cold.  As I ran and biked, I reflected on the sights and events of the week.  I realized the week had been full of stories, and that stories are our way of giving and receiving, as well as markers that tell us where we have been, where we are, and where we need or want to be.

Story #1: You Are My Sunshine

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My Sunshine Lisa A. Wisniewski

As previously mentioned, Monday dawned bright and promising.  As I stood in the driveway with the dogs taking pictures, I felt my spirit lifted by the colors and the warmth of the sun’s rays.  A short time later, I left for work.  Driving along, I pulled over several times to take pictures of the sunrise from different locations.

Walking into work, I took a few more pictures and noticed how bold the colors were.  I said a prayer of thanks for such a great start to the day.  Shortly after entering the building, my cell phone buzzed in my pocket.  I could see the caller was a friend, and given the early hour, I answered with the hope nothing was wrong.

“I’ll bet you’re out there taking pictures, aren’t you?” my friend asked.

Laughing, I replied, “You know me too well.  What’s going on?”

“Well, I’m driving along and the sunrise is amazing and it made me think of you.  I just had to check to see if you were seeing the same thing,” my friend replied.

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Everything is Beautiful Lisa A. Wisniewski

We continued to describe what we were seeing, how the colors were changing, and what our vantage points had to offer.  By now, I was outside the building, watching the flood of golden light rise above the treetops.  Oh, how I needed that sight to lift my spirit, and how great it was to talk with my friend, who shares a love of the sun.

After we said goodbye, I heard God ask, “Now wasn’t that nice?”

“Yes, indeed.  Not only am I glad my friend and I got to see the sun, but also that we took the time to stop  and see nature’s beauty and grace, along with your ways of making such little events seem so valuable.”

Needless to say, the experience made the tasks of the day seem much more manageable.  A short time later, the sky turned dark and rain fell in waves from the skies as the temperature plummeted.  Despite the dreary outside, I felt a sense of brightness inside for which no value can be placed.

Story#2: Raindrops and Rainbows

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At the End of the Rainbow Lisa A. Wisniewski

Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s skies were full of clouds and rain.  Part of me really did not look forward to running and biking in the mess, and part of me said why not? (I am a diehard when it comes to being outside doing the activities I love).

Wednesday proved especially challenging given the wind, which was blowing in hard gusts crossways along my running and biking route.  Though I started out dry, I was wet within about half a mile.  The wet rain on my skin and clothes only made the wind feel colder.  Despite my discomfort, I trudged on through the miles, for I saw the sky clearing in the distance and the sun brightly shining.

As I approached an intersection, I saw two cars pull over, one right after the other.  A woman jumped out of the first car, and an older man out of the second car.  At first, I was not sure what was going to transpire, but then they both pulled electronic devices out of their pockets and pointed them  at the sky.  Turning around, I realized why—a HUGE rainbow with bright, wide bands of color was arched across the sky to the northeast.

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Rainbows and Raindrops Lisa A. Wisniewski

My heart pounded as I quickened my pace, trying desperately to run over half a mile back to my house where I had left my camera.  The eight-year old inside screamed, “Hurry, hurry!  Run as fast as you can! You need to get a shot of this for your blog post this week!”

As I ran, I noticed the quickness with which the clouds and sun were moving.  I really had to step on it if I was going to catch any of the rainbow in a picture.  The problem was I was soaking wet, so my clothes were heavier than when I started.  Add to this the fact I was running uphill the entire distance, the now cold wind, and my legs not being as young as they once were, and you don’t get the best odds for success.

However, I persevered and managed to get a shot of one end of the rainbow from my driveway.  Though I was a bit disappointed and now very cold, I put my camera in my pocket and hopped on my bike with the hope the shining sun to the west would warm me.

Story#3: Second Chances and Rewards

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow Lisa A. Wisniewski

Pedaling along, I hit another band of rain showers and gray clouds.  The wind blew harder, so I pedaled faster to get back home.     On the way back, I spotted another rainbow in the distance.  I pedaled hard up the hill to get to a higher vantage point closer to a clearing where I could get a better picture.   There was no way I was going to miss a second shot.  Reaching the top of the hill, I saw this rainbow arched higher than the last.  I snapped  a few pictures and turned to scan the horizon.  As my eyes moved, I spotted a very faint second set of colors.  A double rainbow was forming!

Watching the movement of the clouds and sun in the sky, I realized I needed to be about half a mile further south to get the best picture of the double rainbow.  Once again, the eight-year old inside screamed, “Hurry, hurry! Pedal hard to get the picture!”

Fortunately, this leg of my route was downhill, so it was easier on my legs than my previous running adventure.  Unfortunately, I was now even wetter than before and the wind started to gust against me.  Shivers ran up and down my spine as I diligently pedaled, determined to get a picture (though not sure I’d be able to feel my hands ever again after this adventure).

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Spending Time With God Lisa A. Wisniewski

Reaching the point I had deemed as superior for a picture, I somehow managed to hold the camera with my now frozen hands and get a few shots.  The sun was coming out stronger in the distance once again, so I kept on pedaling around my normal route, making a figure eight back to my house.

As I rode along, I asked myself, “You do realize you have a long list of other things you could and should be doing instead of chasing rainbows, don’t you?”

Both the eight-year old inside and the 43-year old responded in unison, “Yes, but spending time with God is more important, and that is what I am doing now.”

Story #4: Happy Endings

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Rainbow Over the Walnut Tree Lisa A. Wisniewski

After a hot shower and change of clothes, the dogs and I headed outside to do some chores before night fell.  Crossing the driveway to the garage, I looked to the east and saw the highest arching rainbow I have ever seen.  It towered above the old walnut tree in the back yard and the clouds.  I was talking to my mom (who lives next door) on the phone at the time and said, “Look out your kitchen window.  There is a rainbow to the east.  You should be able to see it.”

I ran to get my camera and started taking pictures from different spots in the driveway.

As I moved about, I heard Mom say, “I see one end of it!”

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Can You See It? (Fainter Double Rainbow to the Left) Lisa A. Wisniewski

Moving to the southeast, I saw a second band of color.  Another double rainbow! What are the odds of this? I thought as I dashed about trying to get as much of the rainbow in the pictures I was taking.

“Mom, look again.  There is a second band of colors.  It’s a double rainbow,” I said.

We continued to talk as I snapped pictures and told her of my adventures with the other rainbows.  It was a great ending to what had been a rather dreary day.

Story #5: Blessings Shared

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Blessings Shared Lisa A. Wisniewski

The event s of the week reminded me that we all have stories to share.  In sharing these stories, we become connected to and with each other.  These connections in turn allow us to learn, grow, and gain wisdom and perspective.

Stories are the fabric of our lives woven into a colorful mosaic.  This mosaic is full of science and art, as well as priceless lessons and blessings.  Perhaps the following quote summarizes best:

“Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself.” – Norman Vincent Peale

May our experiences in life lead us to both great stories to tell and to listen to with open hearts.  May the stories we share lead us to quality relationships full of blessings, and may we hold these blessings in our hearts and minds, allowing them to provide strength for the journey.

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Sunrise Lisa A. Wisniewski

Strength for the Journey

Saw a great sunrise today,
Full of awe and God’s grace,
Shared it with a dear friend
Whose care in turn allowed me to move on again,
Keeping in mind the stories that got me to today,
Helping me find a path along the way
Lit by the words of stories known and unknown
As well as the love before thee in God’s rainbows
Providing strength for the journey that remains
As time keeps on turning in the world’s wake.

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Rainbow in the Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Saw a rainbow arching high above the trees,
Saw it come and go as the clouds moved in the breeze,
Saw it and shared it and felt it make a difference
Along with God’s care and nature’s medicine for the aches within.
All the colors, all the glory,
All the stellar details of the story
Wrapped up before my eyes
In the reflection of the sun’s light
Casting a spell upon the heart
Now ready to tell others as it embarks
With strength for the journey that remains
Within the miles and lengths of its days.

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Love is Alive Lisa A. Wisniewski

To see and hear, touch and be,
That is the clear message in each story
Told and listened to by one or all
Through the ages with the sun’s rise and fall,
Past the seasons and society’s changes,
Beyond what one has, had, and constantly rearranges,
Wrapped up and woven within the fabric of us
Allowing love and peace, hope and trust
To filter down through each leg of our days
Filled by nature with strength for the journey that remains.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Sunset October 26, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Dream Chaser Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing Directions and Movements in Nature and Life

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Mars Above the Crescent Moon Lisa A. Wisniewski

This week has been full of stellar skies in my area.  The lack of clouds allowed me to see the first rays of the sunrise, as well as the stars throughout the evening hours.  The sliver of a crescent moon smiling each morning in the east is a welcome sight with hope for positivity each day.  Since the beginning of the week, Venus and Mars have been visible at dawn.  Venus has been sinking lower and Mars rising higher each day.  This morning, Venus was no longer visible, as it has sunk below the horizon line.  Mars is now higher in the sky, well above the crescent moon.  Watching the movement of the planets and the shape of the moon change has been a reminder that nature and life are constantly changing and altering our path upon the journey.

Directions Please

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Wandering Stink Bug Lisa A. Wisniewski

Also this week, I watched a brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) flutter and fuss about in a seemingly aimless path.  This type of bug is considered a true bug because its mouth parts are not designed for biting and chewing, but rather consist of a tube used to pierce plants in order to suck out the juices.  Though the bug is a true bug, it seems to have no sense of true north or any direction.

As I watched the insect crawl, fly, crawl, fly, crawl some more, and repeat this process for random time periods, I wondered aloud, “What are you trying to accomplish?”

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Directions From the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

As the words left my mouth, I realized God must ask the same question of me at times, for there are days when my activities have purpose and meaning, and days when I seem to wander without a sense of direction.  There are also days when I ask God the same question, wondering where we are going and why He is leading me on a particular path.  Sometimes I wonder if maybe I am misinterpreting God’s directions, and that is why I feel so lost.

As with many life questions, we may never learn the answer entirely, but we can do our best to have faith, work diligently despite the lack of direction, and trust that in time we will either find the answer, no longer need the answer, or be content not to know the answer.  Perhaps the following quote says it best:

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m On a Mission

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Woolly Bear Caterpillar Lisa A. Wisniewski

The same day I watched the stink bug, I came across a wooly bear caterpillar (also known as a tiger moth after reaching adult stage) during one of my walks.  The wiggling mass of brown and black hairs slowly but diligently moved in a straight line across the road.  “Well, you certainly are on a mission, aren’t you?” I asked as I stopped to get a picture.

As I turned and headed back along my path, I came across the caterpillar once again.  The little creature had indeed crossed the road and was now up on the curb, diligently plugging along in a fairly straight line, but in a different direction.  I wondered if the caterpillar had changed direction to avoid the rougher terrain past the curb, or if it had other reasons.

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Turn Around Lisa A. Wisniewski

Like the caterpillar, we often change course throughout life.  Sometimes we have reasons, other times we don’t feel we have a choice, and still other times we don’t have a reason, yet feel an internal tug that says, “Turn here.”

Our changes in direction often give us different perspectives and vantage points, opening our eyes and minds to events, options, or ideas we did not realize existed prior to our change in course.  Perhaps this is one reason why nature keeps changing, offering us examples to follow and observe with the hope we notice and act upon what we see or experience.  Though change can be difficult to accept and endure, it is a necessary fact of our lives.  Another way to view this is illustrated in the following quote:

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Look at This!

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Puffball Mushroom Leo Found Lisa A. Wisniewski

The other day while walking the dogs, my dog Leo pulled on his leash, dragging me in a different direction than we normally take around the yard.  He was definitely fixated on something, moving with quick steps, nose to the ground, eyes focused straight ahead.  Suddenly, Leo stopped, opened his mouth, and tried to eat a large round mushroom.  I quickly ordered him to stop, which he did.

Mushrooms can be very toxic to dogs, so I was relieved Leo listened (not that I expected any less, for he is a good dog and not one to rebel).  I reasoned that Leo had thought the mushroom was an apple and did not know the danger of eating it.  Leo is still young, so pretty much everything goes into his mouth, which is his way of exploring the world.  He and my dog Sadie look forward to picking up fallen apples from the apple tree in the side yard, which we pass on our walks each day.  I noticed recently that Leo is attracted to all round objects he comes upon and tries to eat them.

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Flat-topped Mushrooms: More Than Meets the Eye Lisa A. Wisniewski

My experience with Leo made me realize that we often misinterpret what we see in life.  The misinterpretation may be due to lack of experience or knowledge, misguidance, or even jumping to conclusions before we know the facts.  Regardless of the reasons, we need to be careful not only with what we see, but also with what we hear, taste, touch, and encounter.  While we can’t guard ourselves against every evil, we can be cautious and try our best to maintain a good balance of known and unknown, expected and unexpected, and reasonable and unreasonable.

Open Your Eyes

The mushroom adventure with Leo also made me realize that we have a good variety of mushrooms growing in our yard, as well as in the surrounding area.  In my runs, bike rides, and walks, I found the following types:

  • Puffball, aptly named for its size and shape, known for its dense inner core that becomes powdery with age. This is the type Leo found in our yard.
  • Pear-shaped puffball, a white to light brown fungus found living in clusters on rotten logs, mulch beds, and stumps
  • Chanterelle, known for its frilly edges, crevices, and ridges
  • Flat topped, distinguished by its white cap with gray or brown scales
  • Honeycomb bracket fungus, known for its reddish-yellow to brick red colored caps, often found on dead trees, stumps or logs
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Pear Shaped Puffball Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Chanterelle Lisa A. Wisniewski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though I always search for something new during my runs and bike rides, I realized I had become fixated on flower blooms throughout the summer and had fallen into a funk lately without any new blooms for fall.  Looking around with a different focus, I found:

  • The molting process in the pine trees had ceased and new, green needles now cloaked the white pines in my area, creating a vibrant green fringe along the roadsides
  • The recent rain has transformed the dormant grass into a green sea, almost as if spring had arrived
  • Though the lack of rain and warm temperatures are turning most of the leaves on the trees rather drab colors, there are some exceptions of bright red maples and oaks, deep yellow poplars and hickories, rusty cherries, and deep purple plums
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Green Sea Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Pine Needles Green with Youth Lisa A. Wisniewski

My experience reminded me that we often need to open our eyes and see beyond the surface in order to find what we are (or in some cases are not) seeking.  This reminded me of a parable Jesus told regarding cleanliness.  He rebuked the Pharisees for only cleaning the outside of the cups and not the inside of the soul:

But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are full of robbery and wickedness.  Foolish ones! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too?” – Luke 11:39-40

I wondered how many times in life we pass up opportunities to learn, grow, and share because of our blindness.

Finding Our Way

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Leo, Asking Do You See What I See? Lisa A. Wisniewski

Just as when we lack direction in life, if we fail to see either the obvious or the hidden, we can become lost. The good news is in order to be found, we must first be lost.  While this is not the most comforting thought in the world, it is something to contemplate and reflect upon.

Whether we feel lost, found, or stuck somewhere in between the two, we can use our faith as a compass and our trust in God as a light to find our way.  We can also turn to nature, opening our eyes and minds to its examples in order to help prioritize our activities or determine our directions.

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Sadie, Watching Our Dreams in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.” – Louisa May Alcott

May the clear skies of October filled with stellar sights allow us to see along our journey.  May what we see along the way help to open our eyes, give us direction for our path, and provide inspiration and strength for the miles remaining throughout the changes in our lives.   

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Crescent Moon in the Morning Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

Throughout the Changes in Our Lives

Crescent moon in the morning sky
Smiling through the last moments of the night
Spreading hope in the atmosphere
As the sun starts to glow in the horizon made clear
With the whisper of the wind
Blowing hither and fro again
Above the frosty dew upon the grass
Beneath the blue heavens grasp,
Held within the Lord’s hands at all times
Throughout the changes in our lives.

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Mother and Fawns Lisa A. Wisniewski

Mother and fawns in the woods at daybreak
Place their trust upon the Lord’s grace,
Staring intently into the distance at the rising sun
Quietly existing as the moments run
Through time’s river to the sea
Where youth is renewed along with energy
To guide the soul upon the path
As life unfolds and circles back,
Ebbing and flowing with nature’s tides
Throughout the changes in our lives.

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Orange Sunset Lisa A. Wisniewski

Ball of orange setting in the west
As the clouds form and reflect
The light of the sun at the end of the day
Creating shadows that run as the light fades
Through the treetops now with more branches than leaves
Because of autumn’s expanding reach
Taking the daylight from the sky
And transforming it into the night
Where the crickets’ symphony
Rocks the soul within to sleep
After being tossed about under the sun and rain in the skies
Throughout the changes in our lives.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Directions From Afar Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Changing Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources and Related Links

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-marmorated-stink-bug

Woolly Bear Caterpillar – https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Pyrrharctia-isabella

Listening To October’s Music

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Sunrise Song Lisa A. Wisniewski

The skies this past week have been filled with frilly, puffy, wispy, dense, and scattered clouds.  It seems the rain and the sun have been playing leap frog through the days of the week, one day full of bright skies, the next more dreary and gray.  The changes to the colors and the clouds observed during my runs, bike rides, walks, and time spent outside made me feel as if I was riding the notes of a song through the high choruses and low refrains.  As I contemplated this feeling, I was reminded of several songs that seem to fit the season and my feelings perfectly.

Letting Go

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The Old Walnut Tree Shedding its Leaves Lisa A. Wisniewski

The first song that came to mind was Suzy Bogguss’ Letting Go, a personal favorite from years ago that speaks of the struggles one faces through life’s changes.  As I watched the leaves falling from the walnut tree in the back yard, the words echoed in my mind:

…She should be past the tears, she cries some anyway,
Oh, letting go, there’s nothing in her way now,
Oh, letting go, there’s room enough to fly,
And even though she’s spent her whole life waiting,
It’s never easy letting go…

The song fit the week quite well, for the seasons changes and some life events have made me realize that I have to let go of summer’s wake, move on past some personal struggles, and be thankful for the experiences that are not meant to last forever.  Like the old walnut tree, I have to shed some leaves (most likely in the form of tears) and allow autumn to lead me onward through time.

Life’s About Changing

My reflections and revelation led me to another all-time favorite song, one that I turn to for understanding and guidance every time I need reassurance.  The song is Patty Loveless’ How Can I Help You Say Goodbye, and the words that resonate most with me are:

…Mama whispered softly, time will ease your pain,
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same,
Come let me hold you and I will try,
How can I help you say goodbye…

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Come Let Me Hold You Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I watched the colors in the skies change through the week, I felt as if God was offering these words to me, asking me to lean on Him, to trust in His ways, and to allow Him to help me through life’s struggles.  Several of my reflection readings echoed God’s wishes, asking me to recognize and accept the fact I am human and need help through the changes I am facing.  I also found encouragement in the following quote:

“People are like stained glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

To Have You Back Again

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To Have You Back Again Lisa A. Wisniewski

This quote reminded me of my late uncle, whom my sister and I adored.  Actually, I thought he was Jesus, for he always found a way to brighten our skies.  Though he could not walk on water, he could ride a bicycle standing on the seat , always find time for my sister and me no matter what tasks he had to do, and never passed up the opportunity to have a little fun in life.

My uncle passed away in the fall of 1995, very suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving my family and me with a void the size of The Grand Canyon.  For many years I wished I could have more time with him, especially in the fall season, for that was when we raked leaves together and took walks in the woods on Sunday afternoons.

Often when summer changes to fall, I feel a tug at my heart, partly for the loss felt in my uncle’s passing and partly as if he is pulling me forward, asking me to find hope in the skies and nature.  This time of year always brings Patty Loveless’ To Have You Back Again to mind:

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Love’s a Chameleon Lisa A. Wisniewski

Love, love’s a chameleon
Makes one in a million
Feel like too much of the same
But leave, leave it behind you
And love will remind you
It was only you that changed

Oh, I’d give all my dreams
Give up my home and everything
I’ve ever known to have you back again
To have you back again, to have you back again
I’d stand in the rain, no place to hide
Drown in my shame, swallow my pride
To have you back again, to have you back again…

Songs in the Skies

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How Great Thou Art Lisa A. Wisniewski

On Tuesday morning this past week, I looked out at the predawn sky.  To my surprise, the sky was already growing bright, filled with crimson light with indigo and blue veils.  Given the day before had been gray and rainy, as well as filled with life issues, the sight lifted my spirits and gave me hope for the day ahead.  As I watched the sky grow brighter and full of color, a number of hymns came to mind, including: Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Rain Down, City of God, Prayer of St. Francis, and I’ll Fly Away.  Later that evening, the crickets called from over the hill as the stars came out.  The sounds and the sights of the day filled me with much needed energy, life, and hope.

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Fruitful Blessings Lisa A. Wisniewski

Inside, I sensed God was at work, trying to open my eyes, heart, and mind to His blessings.  I felt thankful for recognizing this, for having the experience, and for my faith.  Though I still dreaded some of the season’s changes and several upcoming events in life, I realized that time, faith, hope, love, and nature would pull me, as well as many others struggling with change, through to a better place in due time.  Perhaps the following quote summarizes this best:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

May the changes we both welcome and dread lead us to better perspective and allow the light within to shine through the darkness.   May the songs that move us most give us comfort and strength through the miles of the journey, and may October’s music offer us peace in words both spoken and unspoken.

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Rising Soft and Slow Lisa A. Wisniewski

October’s Music

Echoing in the distance, rising soft and slow,
October’s music hits its rhythm as it flows
Through the valleys and the hills,
Past the creeks and fields tilled,
Dipping and swaying with the breeze
As the sun slips through the trees
Changing color with the tempo
Engaging the heart of the soul as it goes
Onward to time’s beat
Moving the soul toward its destiny.

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Sonnets and Snippets Lisa A. Wisniewski

Crickets in the night fill the air
With sonnets and snippets of praise unaware
Of the audience listening to October’s music
As the glistening dew rises from where it sits
To greet the heavens wide
In the symphony of nature’s tides,
Ebbing and flowing to the notes
Stepping and dosey-doeing as the waves collide
In the seas upon the shore,
Catching the beat once more.

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Leaves and Raindrops Falling From the Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

Leaves and raindrops falling from the sky
Create a rhythmic humming throughout the night,
Allowing the soul to drift off to dream
Of hopes and wishes and faith unseen,
Awakened by the dawn’s sonnet of light,
Spread across the heavens wide
To inspire the soul lost in October’s music,
Thankful to God to feel alive through it,
Through the notes and the melodies,
Through the rhythms that beat,
Through all the music in nature and in life
Leading it to peace in time.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Music For the Soul Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Fire of Autumn Lisa A. Wisniewski