Observing an Everlasting Love

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Everlasting Love Lisa A. Wisniewski

The theme this week in nature and life seems to be that of an everlasting love. Despite the lingering below average temperatures, cold winds, and gray skies, the plants, bushes, and trees are doing their best to make it appear as if spring has sprung.  Seeing the little shoots, buds, and patches of color emerge has been a reminder that God and nature are always at work doing their best to keep us humans hoping and moving along upon the journey called life.

For some reason, a church hymn has been stuck in my mind all week.  The hymn is called I Have Loved You and was written by Michael Joncas (who may be best known for his song On Eagles Wings).  The lyrics are paraphrased from Jeremiah 31:3 and Psalm 24:3.

I Have Loved You

Refrain:
I have loved you with an everlasting love,
I have called you and you are mine;
I have loved you with an everlasting love,
I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him:
he will bring you his light and his peace. (Refrain)

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him:
he will bring you his joy and his hope. (Refrain)

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him:
he will bring you his care and his love. (Refrain)

(Composed by Michael Joncas, 1979)

Enduring Everlasting Changes

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Gill-over-the-ground in Bloom Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I ran, walked, biked, and worked in the yard this week, I found little hints of nature’s endurance and everlasting love in the landscape.  Among these were:

  • Gill-over-the-ground starting to bloom with little purple flowers above deep green leaves that look like bubbles
  • Myrte popping up along the runners through remnants of fall leaves
  • Coltsfoot with its tiny yellow flowers peeking out from the brown scaly stalks
  • Lamb’s ears rejuvenated to green life with white hairy leaves along the roadside
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    Coltsfoot Lisa A. Wisniewski

    Red maple trees budding in rows along the farmer’s fences and park edges

  • Miniature green leaves opening up along the red stems of the red raspberry bushes in the garden and the briar patches in the woods
  • White and yellow tufts of hair popping open at the tips of the pussy willow bushes
  • Vibrant green leaves of wild radishes emerging along my biking root (no flowers yet)
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    Violas Lisa A. Wisniewski

    Purple violas standing tall amid the rocks in a neighbors’ garden

All the sights provided good examples of enduring through the hardships of the weather’s and life’s elements.  Each sighting brought the words to I Have Loved You to mind, making me wonder why God felt I needed this reminder so often this week.

After some thought, I realized it probably had to do with circumstances regarding uncertainty in several areas of life and the fact that April is the month in which my first dog and first

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Lamb’s Ears Lisa A. Wisniewski

best friend, Old Ralph, passed away and the month in which my late dog, Bo, was born.  Both dogs played important roles in shaping my character and teaching me life lessons.  Both also left me with a broken heart from their passing, yet an enduring and everlasting love through memories of them and time spent with them.

Everlasting Legacies

Old Ralph and Bo are two of many legacies with which I have been blessed to have known in my life.  Reading the newspaper this week, I found former first lady Barbara Bush and Pittsburgh professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino passed away.  Both of these people played a major role in the environments in which I grew up and left their marks upon me though I did not know either of them personally.

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Pussy Willows Lisa A. Wisniewski

Barabara Bush was admired by many people around me, including my grandmother.  Gram always put her faith in what certain celebrities and well known people had to say.  Barbara Bush was among these people.  Maybe it was her no nonsense, down-to-earth attitude and outlook on life, or the fact that Gram’s first name was also Barbara.  Whatever the reason, Gram made sure all of us grandkids knew who Barbara Bush was, what Barbara Bush thought, and how Barbara Bush had an impact upon our lives.  Even after Barbara Bush’s time as first lady had ended, Gram could be found combing the newspaper, magazines, and television shows looking for stories about Barbara Bush.  When Gram did find something of interest on the former first lady, it was indeed shared over and over with family, friends, and anyone who would listen.

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Legacies in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

Similarly, Bruno Sammartino was admired by many family members.  Growing up, we often watched wresting on television, cheering on Bruno in his matches and trying to emulate his moves in the ring.  Later in life, we watched and listened to him as a commentator for wrestling matches.  Given he lived in the Pittsburgh area, we followed his life into retirement through articles in the newspaper and stories of sightings and conversations with him from friends and neighbors.  The general consensus was Bruno was indeed a legend, not only in sports, but also in humanity, being a champion of the underdog and supporter of the less advantaged.  Everyone knew who he was and how he portrayed himself was not an act, but rather a genuine, humble

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Everlasting Hope Lisa A. Wisniewski

person who admitted his faults and failings in life openly.

Reading the obituaries and tribute articles written about Barbara Bush and Bruno Sammartino made me wonder where all the good character, down-to-earth people have gone in the world.  The media’s and society’s fascination with the bad, worse, and worst seems to have made the good folks disappear, along with the integrity, honesty, and good examples such people offered.  This was a sad thought to me at first, but upon reflection, I realized it is just one more reason to focus more on nature and God, two everlasting good examples whose legacies live on as long as we are open to seeing and seeking them.

Everlasting Hope and Faith

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Skies Above the Woods Where Buster Brown Lived Lisa A. Wisniewski

Though I have spent much time in nature throughout my life, I did not realize all of its benefits or the connection to God it offered right away.  It took many walks, sunrises, sunsets, trees climbed, paths explored, and observations of the skies above to get me to this point in life’s journey.  It also took a lot of hope and faith, prayer, strength, and dedication.  I consider myself fortunate to have discovered nature early in life, most likely due to the influence of my late uncle, who was a nature lover, outdoors person, and legacy in his own right.

It was my uncle’s common-sense, no nonsense, get-out-there-and-do-something attitude and example that led me to nature.  My fondest memories of him are walks in the woods, stories he told about being in the woods, and the legacy he created with a character he called Buster Brown.  My uncle’s stories about Buster provided Mr. Roger’s like examples of compassion and understanding.  Given my uncle told the stories, I thought Buster was a real person.  It never dawned on me until I was a teenager that Buster was a fictitious character my uncle had created.

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Freedom For the Soul Lisa A. Wisniewski

When my uncle passed away suddenly in September of 1995, I remember feeling lost and hurt for not having something tangible by which to remember him.  As I grew older, I realized he left me with the greatest gift a person could ever receive: a love of and for nature that no person or life circumstance can ever take away.  This love has helped shape the life I live, as well as my work ethic, character, determined spirit, and faith.

This love has also led me to realize the truth and validity of the following quote:

“Self is the only prison that can bind the soul.” – Henry van Dyke

Everlasting Life

Whether we are young or old, we all face times of certainty and uncertainty, finding and losing, wealth and hardship, joy and sorrow, and light and dark.  Though we may not feel as if we are doing well dealing with all of the former aspects of living, we are indeed enduring them with each passing second, minute, hour, day, week, month, and year of life.   What we do each day is a sentence, paragraph, or chapter in our own legacies.

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Endless Potential Lisa A. Wisniewski

What we do not know and may never know is how our legacies will affect others.  We have the potential to leave both positive and negative marks upon the world.  Sometimes we may feel as if we don’t have a choice in what type of mark we leave behind.  The truth is we do have a choice, and that choice is only visible if we are open to seeking and finding it. That choice is also due to an everlasting love, which we may or may not recognize as being with us each day through God’s amazing grace.

May the people we know and experiences we have lead us onward, providing hope and strength for our journey.  May the legacies we carry with us help us to form our own legacies for others to carry with them when the time arrives.  May who we become be the best gift we can give in return for the life God has granted to us.

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Blue Skies Full of White Puffy Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

The Best Gift

Blue skies full of white puffy clouds
Moving through the light as time turns around
In the days of spring where the geese play
And the crickets bring their symphony to night’s parade
Where the stars and the moon
Create their own art in the blue
Expanse of the universe way out there
By God’s grace and care
To offer the best gift of all time
To the soul within watching the skies.

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Killdeer Running Lisa A. Wisniewski

Killdeer running in the green grass
As the rays of the sun draw past
Creating shadows upon the ground through the trees
Popping out with buds soon to be leaves
In the hush of the morning and bustle of the afternoon
Making the brush come to life with green hues
Along the red and brown stalks and reeds
Touched by the wind caught between the seas
Offering the best gift to have and to hold
As the light gives youth to the old.

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Walnut Tree in Morning Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

Walnut tree towering high in the morning sky
As the clouds and the light pass along with time
Creating art only nature can draw
To start the day and the dawn
With an inspiring scene
Above the plants flowering in the breeze
Keeping rhythm with the seasons
In mysteries hidden and blessings beyond reason
Within the best gift ever granted to anyone
Through the Holy Spirit and God’s only begotten son.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Wild Radish Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks to everyone taking a few minutes to peruse our post this week.  We appreciate your time and interest in our work and hope you found something to carry with you upon the journey.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Everlasting Loves, Sadie and Leo Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

I Have Loved You Catholic Hymn – https://www.topcatholicsongs.com/i-have-loved-you-joncas

Michael Joncas – https://www.ocp.org/en-us/artists/413/michael-joncas#bio

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Observing Sprouts of Life

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Sprouts of Life Lisa A. Wisniewski

Spring weather is still trying to make its way to our area.  We continue to have cold winds and snow showers though, so the landscape is still a bit barren looking.  The few hours of sunshine Tuesday and Wednesday were enough to coax the peonies, running myrtle, and a few more hyacinth shoots from their slumber beneath the earth.  The earthworms also started moving after the rain the other day, a sure sign spring is slowly, but diligently making its way to the surrounding area.

Today’s afternoon sunshine combined with warm winds allowed a few buckeye and forsythia buds to pop open the slightest bit, adding more color to the landscape.  Being able to run and bike in a t-shirt for the first time in months while listening to the symphony of spring peepers and crickets echoing in the wind was refreshing to the soul.

Hope in Growth

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Tiny Maple Tree Shoot Lisa A. Wisniewski

Seeing the little shoots, which are also called sprouts, reminded me of the promise of hope given during the Easter season.  While Easter Sunday is behind us, the Easter season is still being celebrated in our church, and will continue to be celebrated until Pentecost Sunday.  The actual season is 50 days long.  According to tradition, Easter stands for east, the direction of the sun’s rising whose light is the symbol of hope.

This hope is also a sign of new beginnings and growth.  The growth may be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or in some other category.  Growth in nature is a reminder of the continual changes we must encounter in order to grow as individuals and communities.  Sometimes growth is easy to see, as in the spring when so many green and red sprouts emerge.  Other times, as is the case this year, the growth is not as evident since only small patches of sprouts are slowly becoming visible.

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Red Peony Sprouts Lisa A. Wisniewski

The peony sprouts the dogs and I found during our walk earlier in the week were a surprise given the amount of snow we had over the weekend.  The sprouts we found are close to the porch by our house, so they are somewhat protected from the open winds.  Though they have not grown much over the past few days, they are indeed on their way to becoming beautiful pink and white flowers with green leaves that will last well into fall.

The transformation will take time, as well as sun, rain, and ants to help pollinate the flowers.  Growth will quicken once the temperatures turn warmer and the sun has more prominence in the sky.  The less than inch tall shoots will end up being close to two feet tall before the flowers emerge.  For now, we have to just be satisfied with the tiny shoots, which indeed offer hope for a promising and beautiful spring season.

Other Sprouts

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Eastern Red Buds Lisa A. Wisniewski

In addition to the peonies, we found the eastern redbud and plum trees in our yard are beginning to sprout.  The almost miniscule red and pink buds have opened up to pea size in the past few days.  The willow trees in the area are now showing long trails of yellow and green shoots, creating a very thin veil over the weeping tree branches.  I also found some running myrtie along my biking route last night.  The leaves of the myrtle are quite small, making the deep purple and blue flowers

appear more prominent.

The rhubarb in the garden and the bleeding heart in the landscape beds appear to be growing at a normal rate despite the colder temperatures.  Seeing both are reminders to me of family history and traditions.  Rhubarb was always a favorite and prized entity of my grandmother and great aunts, who made pies from the red stalks.  The past few years, I have made rhubarb jam to try to carry on the tradition of using the root to create sweet treats to share.  Everyone loved Gam’s and my great aunts’ pies years ago, and most of my friends and relatives really like the jam.

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Bleeding Heart Lisa A. Wisniewski

One patch of the bleeding heart on the property was planted over 40 years ago by my grandmother.  As time went by, she and I split the plant several times and I bought additional varieties to add color and texture to the landscaped areas around the garage and shed.   Every year the bleeding heart emerge, I think back to the times working in the yard with Gram when life was simpler and communication was more personal.  The memories are a good reminder of my own growth in life and the many changes I have yet to endure.

 

Special Sprout

Seeing the new sprouts and growth this week reminded me of a very special sprout memory.  When my sister was born, she was very small.  My uncle (my mom’s brother) likened my sister to a tiny bean sprout because of her small and delicate features.  My uncle’s comment spurred several beloved nicknames for my sister.  Older cousins called her Beanie, younger cousins called her Beans, but my uncle always called her Sprout.

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Myrtle Lisa A. Wisniewski

The nickname gave the two of them a special connection.  Given how much we adored our uncle (we thought he was Jesus) and the fact it was an original thought from him, the sprout nickname was a prized moniker.

Recalling this reminded me of how certain people in our lives act as sprouts, fostering our growth and development through relationships, actions, kind words, or simply their presence.  Given that we are all seeds sown by God, we each have the potential to become sprouts, then plants, making for a variegated landscape of humanity.

Organized Sprouts

This week in the newspaper, an article appeared about a nonprofit organization called the Sprout Fund.  This organization started seventeen years ago in Pittsburgh with the idea of giving small grants of money to support creative ideas and initiatives covering a myriad of topics.  The article explained how the organizers of the fund have decided to sunset the organization.  It also listed a number of successful programs that have grown throughout the region because of the initial sprout or seed money granted by the organization.

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Simple Thoughts Lisa A. Wisniewski

While I do not know the organizers personally, nor am I very familiar with many of the nonprofit organizations in the area, I was moved by the article and intrigued by the simple thoughts behind the organization.

The next day in the newspaper, the organizers of the Sprout Fund published an article about what they had learned in their years of giving small grants to so many different initiatives.  They admitted to mistakes and failures, but most of all to lessons learned in humanity and fostering growth.  In summary, the offered the following words of wisdom along with best wishes for others to carry on the concepts of giving in the region:

  • Be inclusive
  • Be human
  • Be authentic
  • Be open
  • Think big

Looking at this list and contemplating the concepts, I found parallels between the organization and sprouts in nature.  Being inclusive opens up possibilities for thoughts and networking that may not be considered otherwise.  Sprouts in nature do not judge or hold grudges.  They simply emerge and do their best to survive.

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Fleabane Leaves Popping Up Lisa A. Wisniewski

Being human can be interpreted as being humble and recognizing the need for help in life.  Sprouts in nature need the sun, rain, and elements in the atmosphere and soil to help them grow and survive, as well as leave behind

seeds for new growth.

Being authentic alludes to giving the best we can to offer hope for others.  The tiny sprouts in nature push through the soil or open up on tree branches through diligent effort despite conditions.  They have a beauty all their own, being unique in character, yet united in nature.

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Open & Authentic Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

Being open includes sharing and caring, hoping and dreaming, admitting faults and failures, as well as celebrating successes, joys, and progress.  Sprouts in nature are pure and true, offering up all they have through the transparency of life itself.

Thinking big opens the way to allowing faith to be our guide regardless of circumstances or history.  Sprouts must think big in order to fulfill their life cycle and keep nature in balance.

Sprouts Everywhere

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Daffodils Ready to Open Lisa A. Wisniewski

We are all sprouts, tiny offshoots with a purpose and value in life.  Our contributions may be large or small, simple or complex, tangible or intangible.  Regardless of our abilities or skillsets, we each have a place in life, along with opportunities to foster growth, ideas, and communication to help convey hope to others.

May the sprouts of spring offer us renewed hope and promise in our lives and in the lives of others around us.  May we find ways to overcome circumstances and rise above in order to succeed for the better of all humanity.  May we also recognize and value the many different sprouts of life we encounter upon the journey.

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Tiny Shoots of Green (Day Lilies) Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sprouts of Life

Tiny shoots of green emerging from the ground
As well as in the trees when spring comes around
Offering hope for the rising of the sun
Allowing one to go through another day begun
With the promise of nature acting as a guide
For the heart and soul, body and mind
Making its way upon the routes of the ride
Taking place within the sprouts of life.

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Little Flower Lisa A. Wisniewski

Little flowers yet to be
Watered by the rain showers and dried by the breeze
Holding on through the cycle of the days
In the miracle of the light and nature’s ways
To beautify the landscape and comfort the soul
Watching the colors in the mosaic nature unfolds
As the seasons come about within time
To help create more sprouts of life.

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Sunset in the Distance (4/12/2018) Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sunset in the distance at the end of day
Marking the consistent love of God’s ways
Spreading colors near and far
Before the stellar existence of the moon and stars
Come out to play in the heavens above
Where mysteries are made and discoveries are done
To make things come about with and without rhyme
In the beauty of the sprouts of life.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Spring Promise Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks to our readers and those visiting our blog.  We appreciate your time and hope you found something interesting or enjoyable.  It is our hope that in sharing our pictures and stories we can help spread a bit of hope and light within the world.
-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Little Sprouts Fostering My Growth Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Leo (l) and Sadie (r) on Sprout Duty Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Easter season – https://www.catholic.org/lent/easter.php

Sprout Fund – https://www.sproutfund.org/

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Spreading the Hope of Spring Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing Spring’s Seesaw

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Seesaw in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

April has started out as a bit of a seesaw with fluctuating temperatures and periods of sun and precipitation.  Though the dominant winds have been cold, we did have a day of warm air and sunshine to bolster our hope that spring weather is indeed on the way, but taking its time moving through the motions of gaining control over winter’s

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Diligence Reward Lisa A. Wisniewski

characteristics.  The past few days have been a real seesaw temperature-wise with cold day, warmer day, cold day, very warm day, and a downright frigid day complete with snow blowing sideways and winds gusting above 20 miles per hour.

Running, walking, and biking through it all has been quite a test of mental and physical fortitude.  However, our efforts have been rewarded with some beautiful sights and unique experiences full of life lessons that only nature can offer, so we are not complaining.

Enduring the Ride

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Mother Goose on Nest Lisa A. Wisniewski

Despite all the ups and downs in the weather, a pair of Canada geese managed to build a nest next to one of the neighboring ponds.  For several evenings, I watched the female walk along the pond’s edge, carefully surveying the area for the best spot to build the nest.  The female will lay four to seven eggs.  Incubation of the eggs will take 25-28 days.  Once the young goslings hatch, both the male and female will care for them.

The female has been sitting on the nest for three days now, enduring the weather.  Last night, she was hunkered down, head turned in toward her chest, doing her best to endure the frigid westerly winds.  Her mate swam nearby watching the water ripple in the wind and keeping an eye on the nest.

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Watchful Mate Lisa A. Wisniewski

The sight reminded me that as we endure life’s hardships, we have others watching out for us.  Sometimes we know they are present and other times we have no idea.  Through faith and hope, we endure, often pulled in many directions or back and forth as we try to reach our destination or move forward another mile in the journey.

The seesaw feelings that come along with these experiences can be overwhelming.  Sometimes we make mistakes in our efforts to overcome the situation or circumstances.  Other times, we find a way to maintain calm and keep our heads clear.  Every time, we have choices and influences that play a part in the outcome.  The important thing to remember is to keep moving in some way and not grow stagnant.   Perhaps the following quote says it best:

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Doing Something

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Common Housefly Lisa A. Wisniewski

In addition to the geese on the pond, the dogs and I have noticed several insects moving about despite the cold.  Though the insects prefer to move more during the warmer hours of the day, they are examples of keeping with the rhythm of life.  The common house flies, stink bugs, and Asian lady beetles have been on the move, mostly through our house, which neither the dogs nor I am very happy about.  We don’t mind them living, but really don’t want them living with us.

The common house flies seem to be the most active, buzzing about and spinning in circles near light fixtures and windows heated by the sun’s light.  These little creatures appear to have no rhyme or reason to their activities and often stumble about before spinning in a dizzying frenzy.

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Stink Bug Lisa A. Wisniewski

The stink bugs are a bit more stable in there movement and appear to have a destination in mind as they crawl diligently along.  Occasionally, they fly in a buzzing frenzy of loops, only to fall to the ground and find themselves stuck upside down with their legs flailing in the air.  Ever since my dog, Sadie, was a puppy, she has been my little stink bug detector.  I’ll never forget the first time she walked up and smelled a stink bug on the ground.  She sniffed, crinkled up her face, and barked as if she was alerting me to an intruder in the house.  Every time she finds a stink bug, she comes to get me and leads me to the little creature.  She then turns her head upwards as if to say, “Here it is, Mom! Now can you please get rid of it?”

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Asian Lady Beetle Lisa A. Wisniewski

The Asian lady beetles are the most straightforward and least crazed of the group.  Crawling steadily along over anything in their path, they appear intent on reaching their destination no matter what is put in their way.  Though they look like a lady bug, they can be distinguished by an M-like marking behind their heads.  They also tend to be paler in color and have the potential to bite.

Cycle of Life

Watching the insects move about and noting their increased activity during the warmer hours reminded me of how influential the environment is upon our activities. Though the dogs and I tend to stick to a routine no matter the conditions, we do find times when our activities are affected by the weather or other circumstances.  While at times we wish we could keep an even keel like machines, we are living creatures, and as such, must vary what we do in order to maintain our overall health and well-being.

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Changing Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

Perhaps it is the same with the weather and the seasons.  Conditions are always changing in the atmosphere, and the earth and the sun have their own cycles of orbiting in space.  While the cycles themselves are consistent through the course of a year, each day of these cycles is different depending upon time, temperature, atmospheric conditions, and location.  Every event has its own time frame, most of which are out of our control.

While the events may or may not coincide with what we know to be normal or are able to understand, they happen nonetheless.  Their existence in turn affects our learning process, activity levels, and interactions with others.  From a distance, it may not appear we are all connected, but if we start breaking down the details, we are all part of the cycle of life, which contains many literal and figurative ups and downs.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.” –George Bernard Shaw

Coming Around Again

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Blue Snow Drops Lisa A. Wisniewski

Unlike the active geese and insects, I noticed the flower and tree buds have been hesitant to open up and bloom.  Exceptions have been a few blue snowdrops and a patch or two or daffodils in areas protected from the harsh wind.  The cold morning and evening hours, along with the dominant cloud cover has keep the buds at the same stage they were a week ago.  While it would be nice to see more color in the landscape, the plants and trees know rushing to bloom will only lead to a shortened life span.

Perhaps we could use this as a lesson in our own lives.  How often do we rush through a process or activity just to reach two seconds of end satisfaction instead of taking our time to learn from and enjoy every moment of the experience? (Granted, not very aspect or experience in life is pleasant, so it is understandable to want to fast forward through these parts of life).

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Brave Daffodils Lisa A. Wisniewski

Life experience tells me that the flowers and trees will bloom in their own time, when conditions are right for their growth and survival.  A few days with more sun and a few hours of warmer temperatures should be able to convince the buds out of their closed state.   Whether the conditions happen next week or not remains to be seen.  However, the process has indeed started, and nature always finds a way to finish what it starts.  (Another lesson some of us might want to take notes on and try to copy in our own lives).

“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. “ – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Never Ending Cycles in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

As with every cycle within life, what goes around comes back around, and what rises up comes back down.  It is the nature of equilibrium on the whole.  Though our lives may be full of ups and downs, arounds and backs, inside outs and upside downs, in the grand scheme, order is maintained.  The seesaw temperatures of spring will continue until the aspects influencing them even out or find a balance.  In the interim, we can follow nature’s examples of enduring, doing the best we can with what we have, and keep our hope and faith alive in the fact life is a continuous set of cycles.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

May the changing seasons open our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to opportunities for growth and reflection.  May our efforts to do something amount to more than we ever dreamed possible, and may riding spring’s seesaw help build endurance and strength for the journey.

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Cool Air in the Dawn Lisa A. Wisniewski

Spring’s Seesaw

Cool air in the dawn
Before the sun’s flare rises on
The eastern front at day’s break
As another moment in time makes
What is meant to be
Within the extents of its sea
Rising and falling and rising again
In nature’s calling of elements
Within spring’s seesaw upon life’s playground
As the season hems and haws on its way back around.

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Sun Breaking the Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sun breaking the clouds playing hide and seek
As the earthworms move about and the call of the geese
Keep nature moving through the motions
Ebbing and flowing in time’s oceans
Where faith prevails and grace is personified
In the winds that sail and the frost that makes the ground white
Only to melt and then form again
Depending on the temperature felt and how the light bends
Within spring’s seesaw going up and down
Like the rise and fall of the crickets and peepers shouts.

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Half a Moon Slipping Through the Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Half a moon slipping through the clouds
On its way to become full and round
Then back again through twenty eight days
Each one spent in a different phase
Waxing and waning, quarter, and half
Above the landscape awakening from slumbers past
Creating a sea of green amid the hills
Beyond the pond’s reach and the birds’ bills
Within spring’s seesaw of life’s ways
Blessed by God’s power and grace.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Canadian Geese on Pond Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks to all of our readers for taking some time to view our posts.  We appreciate your time, comments, and interest in our writings and pictures.  Our topics are usually based on what pictures and experiences we have each week, so every post is original and somewhat creative.   Special thanks to God for giving us so much to share and the insight to take a myriad of topics and turn them into life lessons.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Investigative Reporters Leo and Sadie Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Asian lady beetles – https://www.orkin.com/other/beetles/ladybugs-asian-lady-beetles/

Canada geese – http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/canada-goose

Common house flies – https://www.jcehrlich.com/flies/species/

Stink bugs – https://www.orkin.com/other/stink-bugs/do-stink-bugs-bite/

Observing Easter

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Early As the Sun Begins To Rise Lisa A. Wisniewski

Easter 2018

Early as the sun begins to rise
Along the eastern sky
Spreading the light near and far
To make another today start
Encompassing all that God has made,
Risen is the Lord today.

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Encompassing All That God Has Made Lisa A. Wisniewski

Entering the hours of the morn
As the birds and deer explore
Silence in the dawn
To the edge of the pond
Echoing all around
Rejoicing in the sound.

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A Song To Sing Is Revealed Lisa A. Wisniewski

Everlasting in the hills and the fields
A song to sing is revealed
Sent through the atmosphere
To hold in the heart so dear
Embracing the truth and the light
Risen, risen is the Lord on high.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Risen Is The Lord On High Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing Spring’s Freedom

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Freedom in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

The theme this week in nature seems to be that of spring and freedom.  The rains this week along with some warmer temperatures have melted last week’s heavy snowfall, allowing the shoots of the bulbs and buds on the trees to continue their emergence.  Morning and evening skies have remained cloudy, but that has not deterred the birds from singing their own distinct songs of the season.  Add to this more daylight with sunrise at 7:10 AM and sunset at 7:42 PM, and you have the perfect storm for spring’s surge and increased activities for nature and humans alike.

Free, Free, Set Them Free

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Leo Enjoying His Freedom Lisa A. Wisniewski

Along with watching nature enjoy the gifts of spring and Lent, we are working in our house to allow our little Leo to have more freedom.  He did well with converting from a crate to a larger confined space a while back, so at the beginning of Lent, we decided to try allowing him to have the run of the house.  We started with an hour or so at a time, and worked our way up to 4 hours, then 8 hours, and now he is free to do as he pleases all day long.

Sadie has been instrumental in teaching him how to behave and adhere to the rules without getting into trouble.  Leo is both eager and easy to please by nature, so that helps.  He also has his own unique dog perspective on what is most important in life.  Seeing him learn and grow in such a short time has been moving and inspirational.

As a dog owner, there are crossroads we come to with our beloved four-legged friend, along with decisions to make.  One of the decisions is to trust each other.  Leo is by nature a trusting little fellow, which makes it easy to trust him in return.  He is also a rather neat little boy, not one to be messy or feel the need to rearrange the entire house.  (Though he does like to move my shoes around, often putting a sneaker in the living room, a boot in my bedroom, and a slipper in the kitchen).

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Sadie Teaching Leo Lisa A. Wisniewski

Other decisions include loving one another despite our faults, having faith in each other through good and bad times, and finding hope in each other’s eyes.  Leo is doing his best to comply with all of these aspects of our relationship, so we are more than happy to offer him more freedom.

This week, we started allowing him to be loose in the yard for short trips to and from the garage.  He seems to love this little adventure, for he makes a bee line to the garage each time, happily trots around inside examining all the contents, and sticks his head out the door looking to Sadie and me for guidance as to what to do next.  He is right on my heels as I lead him around in small circles in the driveway, which is a promising sign that he will not dash off for a romp through the neighborhood as his predecessor Luke often did with glee.

The experiences with Leo this week reminded me of the lyrics to a song made popular by Sting and the Police:

If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

Free, free, set them free.
Free, free, set them free.
Free, free, set them free.

Free, free, set them free.
If you need somebody, call my name.
If you want someone, you can do the same.
If you want to keep something precious,
Got to lock it up and throw away the key.
You want to hold on to your possessions, don’t even think about me…

(Words by Sting)

Learning Through Lent

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Daffodils, Little Lessons in Hope Lisa A. Wisniewski

Teaching Leo has been a learning experience for me as well. Every dog I have had in my life has had their good and bad points, along with different mechanisms and methods that worked or did not work so well.  I have tried to glean from my experiences, as well as try new things with Leo to offer him the best possible chances of success and freedom.

Doing this exercise during Lent has offered much perspective for my own life and faith.  At one point, I realized that our experience with God is much the same as mine with Leo.  God gives us little lessons and offers us opportunities to trust, love, hope, and have faith.  All of these steps take time and patience, for we may not get things right on the first attempt, and we may not understand the intent of the lesson right away.

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Many Opportunities in the Light Lisa A. Wisniewski

Fortunately for us, God gives us many chances, a variety of opportunities, and choices to make.  Sometimes, we take this aspect of our relationship with God for granted, which leads us to trouble.  As humans, we are bound to make mistakes, but we also have the capacity to learn from these mistakes if we choose to do so.  It is in our best interest to keep trying, opening our hearts and minds to possibilities that may come disguised as frustrations, setbacks, roadblocks, or downright horrible experiences.  It is in looking beyond the surface of the events in our lives that we find freedom.

Contemplating this reminded me of a favorite Patty Loveless song:

When the Fallen Angels Fly

I’ve climbed so many mountains just to reach the other side
I’ve near drowned myself in freedom just to please my foolish price
In my journey through the darkness, I have finally seen the light
I know no one’s ever loved me like your loving me tonight.

There’s something I must tell you, I wonder if you’ll understand
How I found such worldly pleasures in the arms of other men…

God will save his fallen angels, their broken wings he’ll mend
When he draws their hearts together and they learn to love again
All their sins will be forgiven in the twinkle of an eye
All the saints rejoice in heaven when the fallen angels fly…

(Written by Billy Joe Shaveer)

Liberation in the Light

As the song suggests, it is in recognizing our faults and trying our best to correct our ways that we see the light.  This light leads us to freedom, not only for and from ourselves, but also from the aspects of life that can weigh us down, cause us problems, or blur our vision.

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Half a Moon, More to See and Do Lisa A. Wisniewski

The light of spring gives us the opportunity to see better for longer time spans each day.  The light puts a spotlight on changes that have occurred in and around us, giving us both baselines of comparison and lists of things to do to better ourselves and our environments.

In our house, we love to do spring cleaning, for the exercise not only rewards us with a clean house, but also a clearer perspective and a long list of possibilities and projects to help us explore life itself.  We always start this chore early so that when the weather breaks, we can be outside enjoying the sunshine and spring’s blessings.

Meeting Mates in Free Space

The longer daylight hours have brought a variety of wildlife to our area, exploring in their own way.  Every bird, duck, goose, deer, squirrel, deer, rabbit, groundhog, and chipmunk seems to awakening to spring, hopping or scampering about in the light as if doing a dance of joy.  It is as if they are all truly grateful to be set free by the light and time’s grace.

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Spring Mates Lisa A. Wisniewski

All the activity in nature has made for some interesting walks, runs, and bike rides.  One thing I noticed is the ducks and geese have found their mates on the ponds in the area.  They gather together to swim or waddle along by the water’s edge.  Soon, they will be building nests and having ducklings and goslings running around in tow.

Also of note this week was the return of the killdeer to the area.  It seems early for them, as these birds historically did not appear until late May, but the light and spring has apparently drawn them out.

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Killdeer on the Rocks Lisa A. Wisniewski

At lunchtime, I watched two killdeer running around the rocky areas of the fields.  They are most likely looking for a spot to build the shallow nest that will hold two to four eggs.  Both the male and female will take turns sitting on the eggs until they hatch.  Shortly after hatching, the young birds will be whisked into the brush by the mother and father where they will learn how to survive and enjoy their freedom in the wild.

Free to Grow

In addition to seeing all the birds and animals this week, I found two patches of daffodils and a clump of crocus in bloom.  The buds on the plum tree popped out overnight last night, and the miniscule leaves on the lilac opened up to double in size over the past two days.  Higher nighttime temperatures combined with rain showers made the daffodils and hyacinth jump up two to three inches in less than twelve hours.

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Crocus in Bloom Lisa A. Wisniewski

Seeing the growth in such a short time is a sure sign spring has arrived.  It is also a reminder of the many wonders and mysteries in life that move us forward each day. Sometimes we recognize these wonders and mysteries, but other times we do not. However, as we go through life, we learn to look for signs and have faith to move us past what we may not understand or be able to control.

Though Lent is often viewed as a time for giving up something, it is really a time of receiving life’s blessings, no matter how small or large, recognized or disguised, easy or difficult, simple or ornate.  It is a time of freedom to discover, explore, learn, and grow.  In doing these things, we come to know ourselves and our faith in a different light.  Sometimes what we discover pleases us, and other times we may be surprised at how far we have come and how far we still have to go upon the journey.

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Never Ending Journey Lisa A. Wisniewski

And it is indeed a journey, one whose destination may seem so far away in our earthly lives that we feel we may never arrive.  The reality is the experiences along the way prepare us for the miles remaining and give us strength to endure.  This endurance ultimately leads to freedom for the mind, body, heart, and soul.

May the events of spring and Lent lead us to the truth of the light.  May this light in turn allow us to share God’s love with one another and recognize the extents and depths of spring’s freedom.

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Light All Around Lisa A. Wisniewski

Spring’s Freedom

Light all around at the break of dawn
As the skies resound with the love of God
Echoing through the hills and valleys,
Across the fields and trees,
Past the ponds and the fence lines
Taking what cannot be denied
Into nature’s hands with care
So that time’s sands can repair
What was once broken in the dark
With unspoken heart
And lead it to spring’s freedom
Where all can see the Son.

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Pond Where the Crickets and Peepers Call Lisa A. Wisniewski

Crickets and peepers calling in the wind
Their sonnets rising and falling with reckless abandon
Declaring the joy of the season
To be shared and carried on with good reason
Extoling the grace of the skies
Where heaven embraces the light
In spring’s freedom so deep and true
Spreading the seeds of God’s love through and through.

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Green in the Hills Lisa A. Wisniewski

Green in the hills and purple in the night
Show God’s promise fulfilled throughout time
Started and completed in each step along the way
As the stars beam through the night’s escape
Yielding to the sun’s beams at morning’s call
Where the birds’ symphonies rise and fall
To create the next leg of the journey
By God’s grace and time’s turning
In and through and back again
Above and in the hues that send
Spring’s freedom running ‘round
To gather us in and lead us out.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Lilac Buds Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks for taking time to view our work this week.  We hope you found something of interest in our post and that you have a blessed Easter.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Happy Easter from Leo and Sadie Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing Spring’s Start & Life’s Art

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Promise of Spring Lisa A. Wisniewski

The skies earlier this week offered great promise for the start of spring with sun and bright colors at both dawn and dusk.  However, the spring season started with snow in our area, much to the chagrin of many people.  The colder temperatures, ice, and snowflakes after an early tease of warm air and bulbs poking up out of the ground has been difficult for some to accept.  In our house, we have learned that though spring arrives according to the calendar on March 20 or 21, we are not out of the woods from winter-like weather until at least March 30.  It is hard for us at times, for we are always eager to get our paws and hands into the dirt to start gardening and enjoying the sunshine.

Snow in Spring? Yep.

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Spring Snow Lisa A. Wisniewski

The eight inches of snow that fell yesterday seemed to emphasize that nature is not yet done with winter-like weather.  Though the white flakes were not as colorful as spring flowers, they were pretty, falling from the sky from 4:30 AM until around 4:30 PM.  The flakes were heavy and wet, not powdery and light, so shoveling the driveway after work was a bit of a challenge.  Sadie and Leo supervised while I cleared one section at a time, often having to carry the snow a few feet to the edge of the driveway due to the depth of the flakes.

In my mind, I wondered how such small crystalline structures could add up to such a huge amount of white stuff.  The answer lies in the atmosphere and amount of flakes falling over time.  The accumulation on the ground depends upon the crystal structure of the snow, amount of wind, and air and ground temperatures.

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Flakes Piled High Along the Drive Lisa A. Wisniewski

During snowfalls accompanied by heavy wind, the wind breaks up the crystalline structure.  This results in a densely packed snowfall.  If the air temperature remains cold, the flakes are typically more powdery.  If the air temperature rises as the snow is falling, the flakes are larger and wetter.  When ground temperatures are below 41°F, the snow sticks to the ground and keeps its crystalline structure, though it may be slightly rearranged upon hitting the ground.  At ground temperatures higher than 41°, the snow melts upon or shortly after impact, unable to keep its form due to melting of the crystalline structure.

That’s Nature

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Every Crack and Crevice Filled Lisa A. Wisniewski

Looking out across the fields, every crack and crevice was filled to overflowing, making for a very smooth blanket.  All the flakes piled up hid any ugliness underneath.  The sight was most beautiful, especially right before sunset when a faint pink glow to the south east reflecting the last of the sun’s rays made such a contrast with the white landscape.

I wondered how many other people viewed the snow in this way.  Everyone I had talked to during the day was irritated by the snow, so caught up in how it inconvenienced them, seeming to overlook the beauty and the opportunity the snow offered.  By opportunity, I mean the chance to experience nature outside, either shoveling snow, playing with kids or pets in the all the flakes, or simply watching the birds and other wildlife that ventured out into the cold of the day to see what God had created.

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Opportunity Knocking Lisa A. Wisniewski

The thoughts reminded me of my late grandmother, who often complained about the weather.  I distinctly remember a conversation between Gram and my uncle (Gram’s son) about the weather.  Gram was bemoaning the elements to no end when my uncle said, “It is nature.  You can’t stop it.  Just accept it and move on.”

My uncle’s words ring true all these years later.  He and Gram are both in heaven now, most likely laughing at the dogs and me and our adventures in the snow.  They have a front row seat on God’s porch, taking in all that nature has to offer without a care in the world about the weather.

“The first step toward change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance.” – Nathaniel Branden

 Porches and Perspectives

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Our Porches on Earth Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I shoveled snow off the back porch, many memories of family members came flooding back.  The porch was THE place to be in spring, summer, and fall.  Gram always had a jug of lemonade or iced tea for us kids on the table to refresh ourselves after playing or riding our bikes.  The grownups sat and talked for hours on end about every subject imaginable.  The porch swing swayed back and forth to someone’s delight, and Gram always had the prized seat at the corner of the porch, which offered her the best vantage point for viewing the road, driveway, and property.

Though not everyone got along, they somehow managed to find a way together through good and bad times, happiness and sorrow, joy and grief, fortune and loss.  Times were simpler, technology was still kind of a far off fuzz in the background, and everyone respected each other.  These thoughts also reminded me a great song made popular by Tracy Lawrence back in 1994:

If the World Had a Front Porch

It was where my mama sat on that old swing with her crochet
It was where granddaddy taught me how to cuss and how to pray
It was where we made our own ice cream those sultry summer nights
Where the bulldog had her puppies, and us brothers had our fights

There were many nights I’d sit right there and look out at the stars
To the sound of a distant whippoorwill or the hum of a passing car
It was where I first got up the nerve to steal me my first kiss
And it was where I learned to play guitar and pray I had the gift

If the world had a front porch like we did back then
We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends
Treating your neighbor like he’s your next of kin
Wouldn’t be gone with the wind
If the world had a front porch, like we did back then

Purple hulls and pintos, I’ve shelled more than my share
As lightening bugs and crickets danced in the evening air
And like a beacon that old yellow bulb, it always led me home
Somehow mama always knew just when to leave it on

If the world had a front porch like we did back then
We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends
Treating your neighbor like he’s your next of kin
Wouldn’t be gone with the wind
If the world had a front porch, like we did back then

-Written by Paul Nelson, Tracey Lawrence, and Kenny Beard

Remembering Springtime Friends

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Kelly, circa 1980 Lisa A. Wisniewski

The memories continued to flow through my mind as I shoveled into the evening hours.  I thought about three very special friends who are now also up in heaven with Gram and my uncle.  The first friend came to us in the spring of 1979 as a five year old German shepherd named Kelly.  Kelly loved Frisbee and being outdoors.  We spent eight wonderful years together romping through winter snow, spring rain, summer sun, and autumn leaves.  Kelly passed away March 13, 1987 from complications from hip dysplasia.  I remember feeling so lost without her in the March winds and spring rains.  The transition from winter to spring was a long and difficult one that year, but as

with anything in life, time moved forward with me in tow.

The second friend came to us in March of 1991 as a tiny black and tan German shepherd

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Princess Lisa A. Wisniewski

puppy named Princess.  Princes and I had many a romp through our 14 years together.  We spent our spring seasons in rain, snow, sun, and whatever conditions nature set before us.  We also sat on the porch for hours watching the birds, sun, moon, stars, and anything else that caught our attention.  Princess left us on March 10, 2005 after complications from a lung tumor led to other health issues. Once again, I was lost in life, reeling from her passing and wondering where to turn.  By God’s grace, I turned to nature, running, and the outdoors to see me through.

The third friend that came to mind was Bo, my German shepherd lesson in life’s limitations.  Bo’s bright starry eyes made him appear as a teenage boy lost in wanderlust.  Our time together was very short, and his passing on

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Bo in January of 2012 Lisa A. Wisniewski

March 25, 2013 was definitely not expected.  Actually, it hurt really bad and took some time to accept.  As with many other difficult times in life, nature and running were my escape and coping mechanisms.

Perhaps this is why I did not mind shoveling  all the snow that fell. Inside, I had many thoughts and emotions running wild, looking for an escape route.  The physical activity helped me deal with life’s issues, as well as my strengths and weaknesses.  The activity is an outlet, a chance to clear my head, talk to God, and see the blessings hidden among all the messiness of time and life.

Distinct Lines

While shoveling, I also thought about how we humans expect distinct lines between seasons.  Though we don’t complain when the weather is fair or suits our needs, we do have a tendency to expect the weather to comply with the season.  However, is this really a fair expectation? After all, we can’t always flip a switch within us to adapt from one season to another, so why should we expect nature to do so?

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Spring Wonderland Lisa A. Wisniewski

Maybe all the snowfall yesterday was nature’s way of adjusting from winter to spring.  Maybe all the precipitation was intended to be rain, but the communication between temperature and precipitation in the atmosphere got lost, making for snow instead.  Maybe all the calculations done by astronomers and scientists years ago regarding the days of each season are not exact and every few years nature and the calendar are out of sync.  Maybe it’s just God’s way of making us pay attention to Him.

The list of reasons could go on forever, and we may never know the reasons in our lifetime.  If we take my uncle’s (and God’s) advice to accept instead of criticize, we might save ourselves a bit of stress and inner angst.  However, we are human, and accepting comes with its own set of trials and tribulations, so we sometimes pick the lesser of two evils.  Contemplating this made me think of a passage I read recently:

From Mount Hor they set out on the Red Sea road, to bypass the land of Edom.  But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment, the Lord sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died.  Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you.  Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.”  Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten looked at the bronze serpent, her recovered.–Numbers 21:4-9

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Endurance Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

Like the people in the passage above, we often grumble when situations or circumstances go from bad to worse and wish we had the bad back instead of the worse.  In actuality, we are even more unpredictable than the weather at times, so it is no wonder God puts us through a wide variety of experiences in our lifetimes.  He does this to help us build character, strength, and faith, along with wisdom and perspective so that we can endure.

It is in enduring that we find the lines of distinction we so desire get blurry.  If we examine the blurriness, we find additional details we did not previously know or consider.  While it is nice to have clarity, it is in digging through the murky of the unknown that we really discover, learn, and grow.

“Endurance is patience concentrated.” – Thomas Carlyle

But It is Indeed Spring

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Lilies Emerging Once Again Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sunny skies and high winds helped melt the snow of yesterday quite quickly today.  Rivers of melting snow started running before noon, allowing the green grass and emerging shoots from bulbs underground to reappear.  Though the shoots were limp from the cold, they appeared healthy and eager to thaw in the sunshine.

All the snow and subsequent melting did not deter the birds from singing their praises of the season.  Ducks quacked, geese honked, crows cawed, and blue jays and robins screeched throughout my lunchtime walk and evening run and bike ride.  Clearing skies made for a beautiful sunset that made the cold winds seem less daunting.

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Return of the Sun Lisa A. Wisniewski

Spring is indeed on the way despite the events of the past few days.  With it will come flowers, buds, green seas of new growth in the hills, and some of nature’s finest art.  As the days grow longer and the growth continues to emerge, the snow will be just water under the bridge of time left to run freely and move on to the sea.  In the interim, there is much life to be lived and to be thankful for, including porches, memories, life lessons, and yes, maybe even

some late snow flakes.

May the seasons we experience provide what we need to survive throughout our lives.  May we learn as we go how to accept and endure the circumstances so that we see the beauty of both nature and life’s art.

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Blue Expanses of Afar Lisa A. Wisniewski

Life’s Art

Early in the spring or late in the fall,
Time continues to bring learning to us all,
In the birds, trees, moon, sun and stars,
In the curves of the clouds and blue expanses afar,
In the snowflakes and the raindrops,
In the each day and every dawn,
In the colors, shades, and hues
That provide stellar views,
In all that comes and goes
As we reap what we sow,
Through the expanses of time’s parts
In the nature of life’s art.

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Time Evaporating Lisa A. Wisniewski

Like the precipitation cycle, time evaporates into itself
Through trials and tribulations and the good Lord’s help,
Moving and flowing on and on
Through the glowing of the dawn
And setting of the sun
Above the western horizon
Where the colors ebb and fade
Into the web of each today
Woven by the sea and along the shores,
Among the trees and mountains unexplored,
In the call of the hawk and whippoorwill
That rise and fall in the wind’s tilt
Recreating nature’s art
In the light and in the dark.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Geese on Pond Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks to everyone for taking time to read our stories and view our pictures.  We try to keep things fresh each week and use what God gives us to the best of our abilities and creativity.  Many thanks for your interest and encouragement through the years.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Sadie and Leo on Spring Patrol Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Snow Accumulation – https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/snow/science/formation.html

Observing March & the Winter Wind

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Clouds in the March Wind Lisa A. Wisniewski

The dominant feature of the weather this week in our area has been the wind.  Whether blowing from the north, south, east, or west, the gusts have been quite forceful, knocking down tree branches and blowing debris across large areas.  Combined with the colder temperatures, the week has been quite the challenge physically and mentally for many.  Though I did not miss any running or biking along my routes, there were a few days I questioned my sanity for trying to brave the elements.

Inspired by the Light

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Inspiring Light Lisa A. Wisniewski

One aspect of nature that has been most beneficial in my quest to survive the elements is the extended daylight in the evening hours.  While the sunrise moved back an hour to 7:33 AM, sunset is now at 7:27 PM.  Being able to ride my bike before sunset without having to use head or tail lamps has made for some enjoyable rides despite the cold wind blowing past me.

Next week, the spring equinox (also known as the vernal equinox) on March 20 will allow for approximately twelve full hours of daylight.  This occurs due to the position of the earth as it orbits the sun.  The earth’s northern hemisphere will start to tilt more toward the sun, resulting in more daylight.  Just before this tilt starts, the equinox (Latin for equal night) will occur, marking the start of the spring season.

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Signs of Spring Frozen Lisa A. Wisniewski

Interestingly, the weather does not always correspond to the celestial seasons.  However, evidence of the added daylight still exists.  So, we may still see snow and ice in the early days of spring, just as we have this past week.

Ice Type Hype

The winds brought a number of snow flurries this week, along with ice pellets and other forms of precipitation.  The winds cooled any water on the surface of the ground rather quickly, creating patches of crystals or ice.  Typically, the oxygen atoms of ice water molecules arrange themselves in a hexagonal shape.  This type of ice is called ice-I.  Adding pressure to ice-I changes the arrangement

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Ice on the Pond Lisa A. Wisniewski

of the atoms into a rhombohedral structure.  This is called ice-II.

There are a total of seven different ice types numbered from I to VII.  An article in the newspaper this week reported that scientists have found ice-VII inside diamonds.  Prior to the discovery, this type of ice was not known to exist on earth, but was thought to exist in the solar system.

Reading the article, it struck me that science and humans always have a way to categorize what we discover.  It is this categorization that allows us to process information in smaller pieces, leading to knowledge and discovery.

Wind Categories

Like the types of ice, wind can be categorized using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale. The categories range from 1 to 5 and are based on sustained wind speed.

  • Category 1 74-95 mph
  • Category 2 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 111-129 mph
  • Category 4 130-156 mph
  • Category 5 157 mph or higher
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Only the Wind Blowing Through the Trees Lisa A. Wisniewski

While the winds this week were far weaker than any of these categories, their strength was indeed felt in nature and evident to anyone attempting to work or do activities outdoors.

It’s Only the Wind

As the dogs and I tried our best to go about our normal routines despite the wind blowing in our faces, the lyrics to a song made popular by Billy Dean came into my mind:

I remember as a child on a dark stormy night
I heard the screen door slam and I was overcome with fright
So afraid that someone bad was trying to get in
And momma came to comfort me and said
“It’s only the wind, and nothing more
Not the end of the world knocking at the door
So close your eyes and dream again
Believe me, It’s only the wind”

Every time I’ve had to face a bitter storm of life
Those words of comfort were my shelter in the night…

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Whisper in the Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

Contemplating those words left me wondering about the many storms we all face in life.  So many times, it takes such a storm to wake us up to reality, and even then we don’t always pay attention.  If you read the headlines each day in the newspaper or on the Internet, we have more stormy winds blowing throughout the world than we have solutions.

But perhaps we are looking in all the wrong places for the answers.  Maybe the solutions are so simple they elude us or we brush them off as insignificant answers.  Reflecting on this made me recall a passage in the Bible:

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. – 1 Kings 19:11-12

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Answers Abound Lisa A. Wisniewski

Maybe it is the gentle whisper we need to listen to more, or seek first, or make time to listen.  Maybe it is in the most miniscule details that we find the answers.  Maybe we are not meant to find the answers in this lifetime.  Whatever the case may be, may the winds we encounter keep us moving in the right direction, along with nature’s elements and time.

May the winter winds yield to spring’s renewal, allowing for additional growth and knowledge.  May we learn to recognize the voices in the wind and not discount the whispers of the way, the truth, and the light encountered upon the journey.

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Winter Wind Blowing Hard Lisa A. Wisniewski

Winter Wind

Winter wind blowing cold and hard,
Through the folds in the yard,
The woods and the trees,
The fields where the clover once stood in the summer breeze,
The hills up high and valleys way down low
As Jack Frost fills the land with snow
Making patterns that bob and weave
In the early dawn and the nights’ blue deep.

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Hemlock Blowing To and Fro Lisa A. Wisniewski

Winter wind whisking the air to and fro
In and around everywhere one goes,
Blowing, blowing hard
As if trying to overthrow nature’s art,
Toppling trees and branches and hitting the eaves
Trying to withstand the force as it leaves
Its mark upon everything it touches
Like and artist wielding brushes
Painting the scene before the eyes
As March deems its path through life.

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Robin Hopping Lisa A. Wisniewski

Winter wind circling around and around
The robins hopping up and down
Dancing in the cold with ruffled feathers
Orange and bold and blue that is weathered
Eyes bright and beaks calling
To the skies as the snow keeps falling
All around like a mini blizzard in a glass ball
Soon to yield hither to spring’s thaw.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Sun After the Snow Lisa A. Wisniewski

Thanks to Our Readers

Once again, we thank our readers and viewers for taking time to view our work. We would also like to thank anyone who has bought and read our books, Nikki Jean, and Trouble with a Captial L-U-K-E.  We appreciate your support.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

Nikki Jean Book Cover Trouble With a Capital Luke

Resources and Related Links

Equinox – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equinox

Ice-VII- http://www.post-gazette.com/news/science/2018/03/12/Scientists-found-trapped-in-a-diamond-a-type-of-ice-not-known-on-Earth/stories/201803110190

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale – https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php

Spring equinox – https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox