Observing Summers Solstice & Nature’s Pulpit

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Summer Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Wild Raspberries Lisa A. Wisniewski

The summer solstice arrived at 6:07 AM this morning in our area, cloaked in humidity and cloudy skies with a hint of rain in the air.  The balmy morning temperature of 69°F along with the humidity made for one sweaty run, but it was one of those runs where the sweat was like rain washing everything clean, so I did not mind.  As I ran, I contemplated the events and sights of the week thus far.  It seemed as if nature had a response to each event, helping us to deal with the chaos of the day at hand.  From the crescent moon in the sky to the flowers coming into bloom an berries ripening in the fields and garden, each sight provided reassurance and support.

Moving Monday

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Tropical Sulphur on Clover Flower Lisa A. Wisniewski

While walking at lunchtime on Monday, I noticed a number of whites and tropical sulphurs, small butterflies with distinct male and female markings.  They were flitting and fluttering about under the locust trees and in the wildflowers and weeds along the roadway.  Watching them was mesmerizing, for they seemed so agile and graceful, yet changed direction rather rapidly.

I pulled out my camera, but had a hard time catching their image without a blurry spot.  One or two landed for a few seconds, but my digital camera could not focus in time to get a picture.   Darn it, stand still so I can get your picture!

After several attempts, I did manage to get a good shot of a tropical sulphur perched on a clover flower.  Thank you, Jesus! Finally one stood still for the right time.  Gosh, that was a bit frustrating and exhausting chasing them around.

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Praise the Lord! Lisa A. Wisniewski

Then I laughed out loud.  How often am I like the whites and sulphurs, too busy trying to keep up, fix, plan, or cross off something on my to-do list to notice that God needs me to stand still so He can help me?  How many times a day does God mutter, “Darn it, stop moving for just a second to see I am with you and am trying to

help you?”

Talk about a reality check personified, not to mention one that I needed to have in order to get past an issue in life.

Solace in the Sunrise

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Feathered Wispy Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Monday evening, I learned a friend’s husband needs to have a pretty major surgery.  The news came as somewhat of a surprise to me.  Of course, I felt concern and compassion for both my friend and her husband, for I have known them since I was a teenager.  My friend had asked for prayers, which I immediately started saying.

As I tossed and turned that night in bed thinking about my friend, her husband, other friends and issues we all have in life at this time, I wondered how to help them manage through the coming days, what to do, what to think, and where the storylines of our lives were going.

Tuesday morning, I went for a run before sunrise.  It was cloudy at first, but toward the middle part of my run, the skies started to clear.  I could see the sun amidst the feathering, wispy clouds curled up in intricate patterns.  The clarity of the images, colors, and light was amazing.  This was my sign.  This was God’s way of saying, “It will be okay.”

 Treat of the Week

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Sundogs Before Sunset Sunset Lisa A. Wisniewski

The most amazing sight came as I was riding my bike Tuesday night (June 19).  Looking up at the setting sun in the west, I noticed a rainbow colored arch to the right of the sun.  My eyes scanned the horizon and found a similar arching column to the left of the sun.  The cirrus clouds were reflecting the sun’s light, creating the rainbow colored sundogs.  Sundogs are areas of light to the left or right of the sun at 22 degrees distant and at the same distance above the horizon of the sun.

Though sundogs are not uncommon, they are more typical in colder climates as they are formed from hexagonal ice crystals, which act as prisms to bend the light rays and create the colored bands.  Sundogs were observed by the Greeks to be predictors of rain.  The ice crystals producing sundogs form cirroform clouds, a typical cloud formation foretelling a precipitating warm front.

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Sundog One Side Lisa A. Wisniewski

Though I have seen sundogs before, I never saw one with such an array of colors so distinct.  I took pictures with my camera as I rode along, trying to see if different angles and vantage points made a difference in the colors.  One thing I observed was the colors in the sundogs changed as the sun sank lower and the clouds moved from the west to the east in patterns.

The eight-year-old inside me was so excited.  Surely this must mean everything is going to be just fine. This HAS to be God’s way of reassuring us it will be okay.

 Given the beauty of the sight and its timing, the 44-year-old in me had to agree.  There is no way this was a coincidence or chance sighting.  It must mean something, and I sure hope I’m interpreting it and the sunrise this morning correctly.

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Last Shot of Sundogs Lisa A. Wisniewski

Truth Be Told

As the sundogs correctly predicted, we had rain very late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.  While doing my devotional readings for the day, I felt troubled by the truth of life and its many changes in events.  We all face a plethora of good and bad, joyful and sorrowful, helpful and obstructive moments and events in our lives.   Some of us do just fine, others need help, and still others fall somewhere in between having good and bad days.

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Beauty in the Truth Lisa A. Wisniewski

It is a fact of life that life is just this way.  We can’t change what we can’t control, and we most certainly need help along the way in dealing with our issues.  How open we are, how actively we seek, and whom we turn to for help varies from person to person.  It’s a catch-22 no matter how you view it, and it is often how we view any given situation that determines our success or failure in dealing with the situation at hand.

A favorite song by Patty Loveless came to mind, one very fitting for the week and its events.  The song laments and applauds the trouble with the truth and its many complexities.  It is not a hymn, but it does have a spiritual undertone that comes out in the words and musical arrangement.

The Trouble With the Truth

Oh the trouble with the truth

Is it’s always the same old thing

So hard to forget, so impossible for me to change

Every time I try to fight it

I know I’ll be left to blame

Oh the trouble with the truth

Is it’s always the same old thing

And the trouble with the truth

Is it’s just what I need to hear

Ringing so right, deep down inside my ear

And it’s everything I want

And it’s everything I fear

Oh the trouble with the truth

Is it’s just what I need to hear

It had ruined the taste of the sweetest lies

Burned through my best alibis

Every sin that I deny

Keeps hanging round my door

Oh the trouble with the truthIs it always begs for more

That’s the trouble, trouble with the truth

That’s the trouble, trouble with the truth

And the trouble with the truthIs it just won’t let me rest

I run and hide, but there’s always another test

And I know that it won’t let me be

‘Till I’ve given it my best

The trouble with the truth

Is it just won’t let me rest

That’s the trouble, trouble with the truth…

(Written by Gary Nicholson)

Faith Formation

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Blueberries, Part of Nature’s Beauty Lisa A. Wisniewski

The song and nature’s beauty got me through Wednesday and today.  Today’s constantly changing cloud formations seemed to move to the beat of the song and my heart.  Watching the clouds as  I ran in the morning, walked at lunchtime, and biked before sunset made me realize we are under constant change within and around us, whether we want to be or not.

It is this constant flux that both causes and negates inner angst, feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions, and reactions.  It is in the stress of stretching ourselves that we discover who we really are or need to become.  It is in going through this process that we face the truth and its troubles, as well as faith and its answers.  If we take but a moment to stop once in a while, open our eyes, and really look, we see all we need and have is right before us.  And it is more than enough to get us through, mistakes, faults, and all.

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Portals of Discovery Lisa A. Wisniewski

“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” – James Joyce

May summer and nature’s beauty lead us to our destination.  May the events and experiences encountered along the way strengthen us and allow us to find compassion for others, and may the sermons from nature’s pulpit help move us in the right direction.

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White Clouds in the Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

Nature’s Pulpit

White clouds in the sky at dawn
Making circles wide above the pond
And over the valleys and the fields
Where the trees conceal
The shadows of day and night
That glow and refrain as the truth comes to light
In lessons learned and life’s fulfillment
Made possible by the sermon from nature’s pulpit.

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Wildflowers Wispy in the Wind Lisa A. Wisniewski

Wildflowers wispy in the wind
That sway through the hours to and fro again
Dancing to the beat of the song
Made complete by time moving along
In the seconds, minutes, and hours of the day
Leading through the seasons to summer’s solstice
Made beautiful beyond reason from nature’s pulpit.

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Half a Moon Lisa A. Wisniewski

Half a moon in the sky above
Making the fruit on the vine ripen
Through the still of the night
Where the whippoorwill call with delight
In their hymn of praise
For the light within summer’s days
Spent in moments of fulfillment
Made wonderful in the growth of nature’s pulpit.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Teasels Upon Nature’s Pulpit Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

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Sadie on Duty Lisa A. Wisniewski

Thanks to our readers this week and to those who expressed concern for Sadie’s recovery from surgery as mentioned in last week’s post.  We are happy to report she is doing well and back to her normal editor-in-chief duties.  She also has resumed her spot as landscaping supervisor and assistant berry picker.  Leo is happy to have his playmate back to normal as shown in his dance of joy pictured below.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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One Dancing Leo Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Summer solstice – https://www.space.com/40926-summer-solstice-2018-explained-by-astronomer.html

Sundogs – https://www.livescience.com/26402-sundogs.html

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Observing June’s Reign

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June Sunrise Lisa A. Wisniewski

The past week has provided a multitude of examples in the variety June offers.  From sunny, blue skies to cloudy storms of rain, the past week has been full of nature’s best and worst of the elements.   While the times of heavy rain were less than fun, the intervals of sun, clearing skies, and new blooms found during my runs, bike rides, and walks with the dogs offered much hope and encouragement for better days to come.  The theme of the week seemed to focus on the various reigns of nature and life and how our perspective of these reigns can change over time.

Rain of All Reigns

The word reign can be defined according to Merriam Webster as:

  • the dominion, sway, or influence of someone resembling a monarch
  • the time during which someone (such as a sovereign) reigns
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Listen to the Rain Lisa A. Wisniewski

Both definitions imply control over or during circumstances.  This past Sunday, heavy rains dominated the morning hours.  Listening to the drops hit the roof before dawn was soothing even though it meant our original plans for the day would need altered due to all the water coming from the skies.  It was as if God was saying, “Listen.  Listen to the rain and to me.  Stop.  Stop for a few moments and just listen.  The answers you are seeking are in the water and in Me.”

So, we spent the morning doing something we typically do not do.  We simply listened instead of prayed, stayed home instead of going to church, and had our own form of retreat from the rest of the world.  No television (not that we ever watch it because we don’t own one), no phone, no radio, no other people except God, Sadie, Leo, and me.

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Let it Rain Lisa A. Wisniewski

It was GREAT.  Better than great actually, especially since I work two jobs, never have the luxury of staying home unless I am sick, and very much needed time to reflect, regroup, and reconnect with good old-fashioned methods of communication that don’t require electronic devices, special fees or charges, or any kind of network service.

“The best thing one can do when it is raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rain Song

During this time of reflection, the rain on the roof definitely had my attention.  Though I could control whether I wanted to listen to it or not, the rain was the personification of nature’s and God’s hold upon us in life.  It was also a symbol of cleansing the mind, body, heart, and spirit.  It was in this rain that I sensed the reign of God to its fullest extent.  And it was indeed great.

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Surely the Presence Lisa A. Wisniewski

The experience reminded me of a song I learned way back in fourth grade Sunday school class called Surely the Presence.  I remember my teacher, Mrs. Kernick, an older woman who also played organ at church and was a substitute teacher at my public grade school, singing the song along with her husband, who was also a cantor and Sunday school teacher.  Together, their voices sounded almost angelic.  Both Mrs. Kernick and her husband passed away years ago, yet their memory remains as a marker in my faith formation, along with the words to what I always refer to as their song:

Surely the Presence

Refrain:

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Grace at Sunset Lisa A. Wisniewski

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
I can feel His mighty power and His grace.
I can hear the brush of angels wings.
I see glory on each face.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

In the midst of His children the Lord said He would be.
It doesn’t take very many, it can be just two or three.
And I feel that same sweet spirit that I felt often times before.
Surely I can say I’ve been with the Lord.

Refrain

There’s a holy hush around us as God’s glory feels this place.
I’ve touched the hem of His garment, I can almost see His face.
And my heart is overflowing with the fullness of His joy.
I know without a doubt that I’ve been with the Lord.

Refrain

(Written by Lanny Wolfe)

Reigning Blooms

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Prairie Rose Lisa A. Wisniewski

After the rain on Sunday, we had quite the adventure negotiating through the days of the week.  Between rain storms, sunny patches, gray skies, clearing skies, and times of wind and calm, we found our share of nature’s finest blooms.  Among our discoveries:

  • Prairie rose, distinct with its tiny pink petals sitting above oval toothed leaves
  • The first orange daylily bloom of the season, bright with its orange trumpet shaped bloom above its green stalk along the roadside
  • Teasels getting ready to bud in the lower lying areas along my running and biking route
  • A small patch of delphinium, pale pink with cut leaves along its tall stalks
  • Elderberry blooms, white like lace in plumes above their reedy bushes
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Orange Day Lily Lisa A. Wisniewski

Other findings of the week included a ripe strawberry in our garden patch, blueberries starting to turn pale pink and blue on our bushes, and a handful of ripe red raspberries from the patch by our garden.  The berries are a sure sign summer is just around the corner.   We have just seven days until the calendar arrival of the season, and are well on our way to the longest day with current sunrise at 5:50 AM and sunset at 8:53 PM.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” –Charles Bowden

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Red Raspberries Lisa A. Wisniewski

Another Song, Another Rain in Life

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Elderberry Blooms Lisa A. Wisniewski

The events and sights of the week also reminded me of another song I discovered in my childhood years called From the Word Go.  The version I remember is by Michael Martin Murphy, one of my favorite voices.

 

From the Word Go

My kind of walking the line
Was down the side of a highway
I thought I’d never get caught
In the kind of love where I’d stay
Then I ran into you
And my running was through

From the word go
I knew I’d found
Where the road ends
And love begins
From the word go
I knew I’d never go again…

From the word go, this week was set to be one of challenges and tests of faith, endurance, and strength.  From the minute we woke up Sunday morning to the rain, I knew it would be the love of God and others that would get us through.  From the second I sensed this, I wanted to run and not stop, for that is my natural reaction to life’s stresses.

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Teasels Starting to Bud Lisa A. Wisniewski

Similar to what the lyrics of the song say, I felt I could not get caught if I kept on moving and that my feelings would never catch up to me.  Of course, this is an eight-year-old mentality, but for many years of my life, it worked (at least in my mind), and it is always my first desire to run when I sense trouble or chaos ahead.  And we did indeed run an awful lot this week, both literally and figuratively.

While we won’t bore you with the details of what each day held, we can say without a doubt that God was indeed with us, providing what we needed when we needed it most.  We can also say with confidence that we survived mostly in tact, save for the fact Sadie now has six less teeth in her mouth after a somewhat unplanned, yet necessary surgery to correct an abscessed tooth issue.

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Surviving in June’s Reign Lisa A. Wisniewski

We can also attest that the variety of June’s rains and reigns are what make life what it is:  moving, being, hoping, dreaming, laughing, crying, living, dying, all rolled into the expanse of time to be unfolded and experienced by the mind, body, and soul.

May the variety of the months and the seasons provide us with the strength, faith, and mindset to rise above and overcome the challenges along the way.  May these experiences open our minds and hearts so that we are able to see and be grateful for the blessings hidden within June’s reign.

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Early Morning Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

June’s Reign

Early morning sky bright with the glory of the sun’s light
Cascading down from the space between the clouds
Melting the dew drops and evaporating the misty spots
So the water can stop the chaos we cannot
Allowing a sense of peace in the extents of the breeze
Found in June’s reign as it comes to be part of time’s sea.

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Delphinium and Potato Vine Lisa A. Wisniewski

 

In the delphinium and potato vine growing within the roadsides,
In the berries forming bright as day comes from night,
In the puffy clouds and blue deep spread throughout the valleys
In the seeds underground and the leaves blowing on the trees,
In everything found in June’s reign as it comes back through the train
Of nature’s ways sent by heaven above to hold and to save.

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Tall Grass Blowing in the Wind Lisa A. Wisniewski

Tall grass in the field blowing in the wind
As day comes to yield to night once again
Beneath the moonlight and the stars’ shine
Where the soul finds its solace time
Amid all the activities within June’s reign as it spins
Round and round in life’s losses and wins.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Privet in Bloom Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Word of Thanks

Thanks for taking time to read our post this week.   We hope you found something interesting to keep in mind or to share with others upon the journey.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Sadie and Leo Dancing in June’s Reign Lisa A. Wisniewski

 

Resources and Related Links

Meaning of reign – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reign

Observing June’s Watch

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June Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

June has started out rather wet and cooler than normal in our area, making for some challenging obstacles to overcome while trying to mow grass, edge, mulch, and do our normal activities.  Each day’s difficulties have been tempered with little observations to help us find the courage, strength, and determination to continue upon the journey.  With sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:49 pm, we have much daylight to guide us to a better perspective.  This alone is a huge deal in our house where we tend to burn the candle at both ends with all of our activities nestled between two work schedules and what we call normal life stuff.

Weekly Song of Inspiration

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View On Eagle’s Wings Lisa A. Wisniewski

The song stuck in our heads this week has been most instrumental in carrying us forward.  Not surprisingly, it is a church hymn called On Eagle’s Wings that I first heard many years ago at a cousin’s funeral.  My cousin was only a few years older than me at the time and passed away unexpectedly after complications from a surgery.  The song definitely moved my teenage soul to the point that I often turn to it for strength and understanding as the words so aptly fit life itself.

On Eagle’s Wings

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
Who abide in His shadow for life,
Say to the Lord, “My Refuge,
My Rock in Whom I trust.”

Refrain:

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Make You to Shine Like the Sun Lisa A. Wisniewski

And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.

The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
And famine will bring you no fear;
Under His Wings your refuge,
His faithfulness your shield.

Refrain

You need not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Though thousands fall about you,
Near you it shall not come.

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Lest You Cast Your Foot Against a Stone Lisa A. Wisniewski

Refrain

For to His angels He’s given a command,
To guard you in all of your ways,
Upon their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Refrain

Weekly Sights of Hope

I found a number of parallels to the lyrics to the song in the landscape this week while running and biking.  The many flowers and trees in bloom made me feel as if I was indeed dwelling in the shelter of the Lord.  The gentle breezes and rains encountered along the way made me sense God’s shadow in a good way.

At one point while running, what had been a gentle rain turned into a downpour.  I was miles away from home, so all I could do was keep running and let the water wash away the stress of life.  Looking up at one point, I said aloud, “Just wash it all away, God.  Just wash it all away, please.”

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In the Palm of His Hand Lisa A. Wisniewski

When the sun reappeared in the sky later that morning, it was as if the breath of the dawn had indeed revived my soul, making me aware of God’s holding me in the palm of His hands.  The clearing skies allowed me to realize that darkness can never capture me as long as I keep looking for the light and hold my faith as my shield.

Gift of Time

Our experiences this week also made me realize that though June is one of those months with more tasks to do than hours in the day seem to allow, it is also a month where the impossible is made possible.  On several occasions this week, I wondered if all the items on the to-do list would get done.  Amazingly, we came close every day to completely the list, and what was left over somehow fit into the next day even better than we had planned.

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June’s Time Lisa A. Wisniewski

Isn’t it amazing how the mind deems certain situations as impossible, yet the heart and soul see the potential within the challenge and find a way to make it all happen?

Granted, God is indeed at work in these situations, and even knows the outcome before us.  It is in recognizing who is really in control that we find our greatest strength amidst our weakest moments.  It is one of those paradoxes of life that remains a mystery in reality, yet is very obvious when viewed in the eyes of faith.

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No Shadows Here Lisa A. Wisniewski

“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Gift of Life

While riding my bike this week, I discovered a number of new blooms and sights in the landscape.  Each one reminded me of life’s many gifts and simple pleasures that so often get lost in today’s technologically driven world.

Some of the most notable and interesting blooms included:

  • Red clover with its green lobed leaves and hairy pinkish purple buds reaching up as if trying to climb to the sky.
  • Cow and milk vetch with their tiny purple and yellow flowers hanging from their drooping, leafy stalks.
  • Yarrow, so delicate like white lace blowing in the wind while standing tall above the ground.
  • Hedge bindweed with its trumpet-like white flowers sitting prim and proper above its vines.
  • Multiflora rose seemingly cascading from tree branches like rivers of white flowers with a sweet, almost intoxicating aroma floating through the air.
  • Catalpa trees with their heart shaped leaves and white flower clusters towering high above.
  • Thistle blooming deep pink and purple above its prickly stalks.
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Red Clover Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Hedge Bindweed Lisa A. Wisniewski

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” –Theodore Roethke

Gift of Grace

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Thistle Lisa A. Wisniewski

While running this morning, a young buck in velvet crossed my path.  The buck startled me, for I was looking the opposite way and did not see him from a distance.  His antlers were about four inches long, just starting to grow with very thick velvet covering them.  He did not appear startled, but rather seemed on a mission, diligent in his steps, yet taking his time to pick his way through the landscape.  His coat was rust red, gleaming in the sun.

Watching his movements took my breath away, for he was nimble, able to redirect without jerking or stumbling.  Basically, he was grace personified from my viewpoint.

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Graceful Doe Lisa A. Wisniewski

Later in the morning, while driving to work, I saw a doe walking along the road.  She, too, was graceful in her movement, very beautiful in her rust-tan coat and white tail.  She did not appear to be on a mission like the buck, but rather appeared to be exploring what the dawn had to offer.

Seeing both the buck and the doe reminded me that my approach to the day need not be one of tunnel vision, but rather open minded potential.  Though things may seem to go wrong in the short term, they may actually be for the better in the long term.  Getting

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Vetches Beauty of Form Lisa A. Wisniewski

upset over lack of time does no good.  However, acknowledging that some things are out of our control and not best suited for the time frame we have in mind are the first steps in moving forward and meeting the demands of the day.

“Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.” – Friedrich Schiller

May we come to understand and accept time’s constraints and potential for overcoming the obstacles we face.  May our experiences lead us to moments of peace, grace, and gratitude, and may we find what we need most under June’s watch.

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Neath the Heavens Wide Lisa A. Wisniewski

June’s Watch

Neath the heavens wide under June’s watch
The clouds of white and the sun’s dogs
Play in time’s sea
Above the vines and the trees
Catching the hush of the wind’s whisper
As their boughs touch and leaves shimmer
Creating a peaceful symphony
Amid the days made full with activities.

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Catalpa Untying Life’s Knots Lisa A. Wisniewski

Neath the heavens wide under June’s watch
The hands of time untangle the knots
Within life’s shoelaces and strings
By God’s graces and nature’s wings
Found within the flowers’ petals and the frog’s croak
As well as the rain showers that settle into rainbows
Offering wonder to the soul
Louder than thunder and more precious than gold.

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Glory of the Day Made Known Lisa A. Wisniewski

Neath the heavens wide under June’s watch
The forces of nature collide as the dew’s drops
Form in the morning mist then evaporate into the air
As the glory of the day lifts the soul made aware
By the clover and vetches, yarrow and thistle,
Growing over the landscape so graceful and nimble
Undeterred and full of hope
In the whispered words of the sun’s glow.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Whispered Words Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks to our readers for taking time to view our work.  We hope in sharing our stories and experiences that we can help others see light in the darkness and find hope for the coming days.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Junior Editor Leo & Editor-in-Chief Sadie Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing May’s Full Moon and Life’s Blooms

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Life’s Blooms Lisa A. Wisniewski

The theme in life and nature this week seems to be one of flexibility and shuffling of what is known to be normal order.  The high humidity and above normal temperatures have made the last week of May feel more like June or July, making for some challenges in my running and biking routines.  The increased intensity of the sun also drew the daisies into bloom and allowed the jewel weed to emerge earlier than normal.  The higher levels of rainfall earlier in the month caused the grasses in the fields to grow at a much quicker rate, which in turn allowed the local farmers to start mowing hay before Memorial Day.

Mixed Up Does Not Mean Messed Up

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First Daisies of the Year Lisa A. Wisniewski

While none of the above are earth shattering, they are different than what we know as normal.  These observations led me to contemplate a number of other circumstances in life that have emerged over the past week in forms or orders that are different.  In going through the exercise of dealing with each circumstance, I was reminded of the following key points of life and faith:

  • Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong. Sometimes things happen in an unexpected manner, and there is usually a reason, which may or may not be made known to us right away.
  • Order is important, but sometimes mixing things up leads to more desirable outcomes. While certain activities are best done in a given order, sometimes we need to shuffle this order to reach the goal and overcome circumstances at hand.
  • Putting faith first is important, but God does not hold it against us if we unintentionally lose sight of Him. He simply waits patiently while sending us messages indicating He is still there until we respond. Whether our response is in the next minute, hour, day, week, month, or year, He does not condemn us for it.
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    New Normal Lisa A. Wisniewski

    Normal may not last forever. What we come to know in our lifetimes often shifts due to changes in relationships, technology, finances, economics, resources, and faith.  What is normal one day or month will eventually change, sometimes slowly, other times at an alarming rate.  The key is in recognizing, accepting, and analyzing how best to respond to the “new normal” in order to keep moving upon the journey.

  • Mistakes, oversights, and missteps do not have to equal failure. We are human, and as such, are prone to them either by nature or habit.  Sometimes we simply have no way of knowing what to expect or anticipate.  It is in these times that our faith is important and often trumps the chaos around us.

Constants Still Exist

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Constant in the Light Lisa A. Wisniewski

Despite all the mixed up order of the week, the dogs and I found some constants to keep us focused and give us strength to endure.  The sunrise each day has moved  back in time and shifted more to the northeast, but it is still a given.  Granted, the cloud cover at times blocks the sun’s rays, but we know it is there.

Similarly, sunset has moved a little later each day and shifted more to the northwestern part of the sky.  While several rain showers have blocked our view this week, we have been fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of neon pink, crimson, or orange in the sun’s last rays, reminding us of God’s love and protection over us.

The blooms of the season may be emerging in a different order than we are used to, but they are still there.  Seeing them emerge has been a reminder of nature’s flexibility and grace.  Contemplating the blooms order made me wonder if the flowers have had any of the following thoughts:

  • Well, if all I have is rain to work with, then I’ll simply grow more leaves, or taller than normal, or spread roots further. Whatever I have will not stop me from growing in some way.
  • Now that the sun has brought light to me, I can bloom. Maybe I’m early, maybe I’m late, but in either case, I am using what I have to make the best of the situation.
  • It is too hot for me to keep blooming. I will now go to seed and hope my seeds fall on good ground, allowing me to re-emerge stronger and better than before.
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Beauty to Be Found Lisa A. Wisniewski

There is still beauty to be found each day.  If the sunrise or sunset is covered in clouds, then maybe God wants us to enjoy the symphony of the hush in the rain falling or the wind blowing through the trees.  If we can’t do our walks at our normal time since it is too hot or humid, then maybe doing them at another time will allow us to learn something new, discover an aspect of life we previously did not know existed, allow us time together to do other activities, or simply make us have more appreciation for what we do have.

It is in these constants that we both see and store our spiritual reserves, which sustain us in times of uncertainty.

“The one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him…will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Discoveries Amid Disorder

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Full Flower Moon on the Rise Lisa A. Wisniewski

While doing things a bit out of order this week, we got to see the Full Flower Moon in all its splendor.  Other names for May’s full moon include the hare moon, corn planting moon, and milk moon.  This year’s moon emerged large to the naked eye and with a pinkish orange glow which faded as it rose higher in the southeastern sky.

In taking runs and bike rides later in the evening hours or early in the morning hours, I found:

  • Two deer at different locations in their rust colored coats, beautiful and graceful in movement and stature
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    Wild Blackberries Lisa A. Wisniewski

    Wild blackberry blooms brightening the roadside with their white flowers

  • The first daisies of the year, whimsical with their yellow centers and white petals
  • Rattlesnake weed and orange hawk week growing tall with hairy stalks and bright small flower clusters
  • Poison hemlock with its white flower clusters atop green stems with red specks and streaks
  • Cloud formation wispy and clustered, seemingly creating their own galaxies across the sky

 

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Deer in the Woods Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Rattlesnake Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski

I also learned in doing my reflection readings at different times of the day than normal that my perspective is different in the morning than in the evening and that I am more likely to welcome God into my life at midday, possibly because by then I have enough issues to overwhelm me.

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Poison Hemlock Lisa A. Wisniewski

My experience this week also made me realize that the time of the day does not matter so much as taking the time to do the readings.  Nothing bad will happen if I miss a reading in the morning and have to do it at noon or later in the day.  The day itself is predetermined by God, so if I have faith in Him and allow Him to control the hours, I have nothing to fear.

Perhaps the following verse states what I discovered best:

“Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

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With You Wherever You Go Lisa A. Wisniewski

May the struggles of each day bring us closer to our destination and provide perspective and wisdom for the journey.  May the flexibility we develop along the way strengthen our minds and bodies so that we can enjoy nature’s shuffling of full moons and life’s blooms.

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Clouds Wispy and White Lisa A. Wisniewski

Life’s Blooms

In clouds wispy and white spread across the May sky,
I found the love of God’s power and might,
With no boundaries or limitations
Despite my floundering amid expectations,
My missteps and misdeeds
Were set out to sea,
Lost in life’s blooms majestic and bright
Under the full moon and May’s light.

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Wildflowers Along the Road Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the wild flowers along the road
And the trees that tower above the loam
In the fields where the deer graze
And the farmers yield their grain
In the heat of the sun and by the water of the clouds
In time’s sea as the earth turns around
Creating life’s blooms so delicate and fine
Rising from the roots beneath the vine.

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In the Moon’s Rising Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the moon’s rising and the sun’s setting
Full of colors bright and motions netting
A sum of worth whose value can’t be compared
For it is first, last, and everywhere
No matter the chaos of the world around,
It exists in lots without a sound
Adding to life’s blooms all the more
Thanks to the amazing grace of the Lord.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Life’s Blooms So Delicate and Fine Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

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Sadie and Leo, Constants in Life’s Chaos Lisa A. Wisniewski

Thank you to everyone for taking time to view our post this week.  We hope you found a picture, word, or thought to carry with and maybe even share with someone.  While we sometimes wonder why we continue to do these posts, we also feel it is part of our calling and way of sharing our faith with others who we otherwise would never meet or come to know.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

Resources and Related Links

May Full Flower Moon- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/full-moon/

Observing May’s Beautiful Potential

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Beautiful Potential Lisa A. Wisniewski

Busy has been the theme for the past week in our house and area.  From ants working diligently as they crawl across the peony buds and bees buzzing through the air in search of blooming blossoms to every person in the neighborhood mowing grass and weeding, the activity level has soared.  It is a favorite time of year for the dogs and me, for the sun is rising at 5:57 AM and not setting until 8:38 PM, allowing us time to do our exercises and yard work and still have some fun.  It is also a time of year to be most thankful for all nature has to offer.

Bouquet of Blessings

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Rhododendron Lisa A. Wisniewski

Mother Nature certainly has created a most beautiful bouquet of blooms this week.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Locust tree blossoms, delicate white with a mesmerizing sweet fragrance hanging in the warm air
  • Rhododendron blooming in a variety of pink and white clusters sitting atop shiny leaves
  • Cow vetch with little yellow curled flowers dangling from the curved lobed clumps of leaves
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    Water Iris Lisa A. Wisniewski

    Water iris blooming deep yellow with curved edges flowing like veils around the top of the bloom

  • Iris, very delicate and proper in colors of yellow, white, purple, and deep red, and a few mixed blooms in white and purple and red and orange
  • Daisy fleabane with yellow centers and white and pink rayed flowers popping up
  • White clover with its dense heads and heart shaped leaves spreading through the fields
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    Columbine Lisa A. Wisniewski

    Columbine standing tall with white, purple, and blue flowers hanging upside down from the green leafy stalks

  • Strawberry blossoms, white with yellow centers that will bear fruit next month
  • Miss Kim lilac emerging in pale purple elongated lobes from beneath spade shaped leaves and having a very sweet aroma

The beauty of the blooms, along with the colors they add to the landscape make for a great blessing, especially after the dealing with the difficulties of everyday life.  Watching the blooms open, some slowly, others at a faster pace is a reminder of how God works diligently in each of our lives to give us what we need when we need it most.  We don’t always see His work in this way, for we often get impatient or have tunnel vision, both of which blind us from seeing the true beauty of life itself.

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Strawberry Blossoms Lisa A. Wisniewski

The sights of the week reminded me of a quote I read some time ago:

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The flowers also reminded me of how precious and delicate life can be.  The blooms made me think back to years past, the many people who have touched my life, and how the relationships with others have led me to where I am today.  I also recalled some special people who made sacrifices so that others can enjoy the beauty of the season and all life has to offer.  Memorial Day, a special day to remember this group of people, is Monday, May 28 this year.  Perhaps the following quote offers some good reflection to have on this special day:

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Remembering Others Lisa A. Wisniewski

“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Anderson

You Call That Beautiful?

While pulling weeds from the driveway this week, I thought about what is considered beautiful in life these days.  So many times we are bombarded with media about beauty and its definition according to mankind.  But what about true beauty found in nature or given to us by God? Perhaps in our struggle to find beauty we have lost sight of the simple beauty in time, the seasons, sunshine, and fresh air.

As I pulled some dandelions from the middle of the driveway, I felt a little remorse for them.  Their flowers are actually quite pretty and they can be used for a variety of home remedies.  Yet these poor flowers are labeled as weeds and given a bad reputation.  I personally don’t mind them, but I really don’t want them growing in the middle of the driveway because they drive the anal engineering side of my brain into a tailspin.

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White Clover, Sometimes Considered a Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski

My thoughts led me to wonder where the term weed came from and how the activity of weeding came to be.  After some research, I found the word weed comes from Middle English and Old English and was first used in the 12th century.  It is defined as a plant not valued where it is growing, often preventing the growth of more desirable plants by taking up space.

I also learned that weeds have negative and positive characteristics.  The negative list includes:

  • Reduction of crop quality due to contamination
  • Interfering with harvests
  • Acting as hosts for crop diseases and shelters for insects
  • Producing chemical substances that are toxic to crop plants, animals, and humans
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Daisy Fleabane Lisa A. Wisniewski

Benefits of weeds include:

  • Habitat and feed for wildlife
  • Providing nectar for bees
  • Contributing to soil stabilization, helping to prevent erosion
  • Adding organic matter to soil

In contemplating the above characteristics, I realized like many things in life, weeds have their share of good and bad qualities, giving them their own persona and soul.  Perhaps the following quote states this more eloquently:

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval

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Souls Blossoming in Nature Lisa A. Wisniewski

The activity of weeding dates back to when crops began to be grown for food.  Farmers learned that removing the weeds from among the crops made for better harvests.  Tilling or cultivating the soil on a regular basis does not allow weed seeds to take root.  The activity also keeps the soil aerated, which aids in building the root systems of established plants, trees, and grasses.

Real Quick Fix

The fast pace of today’s world has turned the activity of weeding into a dreaded chore.  Too often, weeding and tilling the soil are viewed as work that takes too much time and energy.  Most people think spraying weed killer is easier and faster.  Of course, the negative side to spraying is the potential harmful aspect to the environment and humans.

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Looking Deep Lisa A. Wisniewski

From personal experience, I can attest that the “hard work” of weeding and tilling the soil is more effective and less costly than the easy way out.  The results are also instant, for pulling the weed out roots and all removes it immediately.  No waiting for the spray to take effect, no unsightly slow drying and browning of the undesired weed to contend with, and less chance of reemerging growth are additional benefits to the “old fashioned” weeding practice.

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Finding Understanding Lisa A. Wisniewski

The exercise of weeding also allows one to learn more about nature, life, and oneself.  Nothing like an hour of weeding to make you forget your problems, find answers to questions, clear the mind, exercise the body, and renew the spirit within.  There is also a sense of accomplishment and the added aesthetic value of turning an overgrown mess into a neater life contribution.

Perhaps the following quote says it best:

“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

Roots Running Deep

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Driveway Before Weeding Lisa A. Wisniewski

In essence, weeding not only cultivates the soil, but also the soul.  The practice allows one to spread roots and find the required nutrients to grow.  Granted, the task can be daunting or seem endless at times.  This is where faith comes into play and gives us the push we need to endure.

While weeding the driveway the other night, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed.  There were other chores to do, it was getting late, and it had already been a long day.  However, looking at the remaining section to be weeded, something inside said, “Just do it.  Just start at an end and see where it takes you.”

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Driveway After Weeding–Determined Spirit Prevails Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I worked, I thought about a number of topics and had many memories surface.  I looked up every so often to measure my progress and was pleasantly surprised at the pace and effectiveness of my activity.  Most people I know would say I was crazy for doing so much tedious work.  Personally, I prefer an analogy that a former college professor who later became a friend in life once said.  He said, “Lisa, you have a determined spirit.”

In hindsight, his comment was probably a polite way of saying I am nuts.  However, the comment was also beautiful in its simplicity and thoughtful in acknowledging my activity level and desire to improve myself and my environment.

May we find a variety of beauty in life each day, along with God’s blessings.  May our activities lead us through time, allowing us to learn, grow, and recognize our true potential within ourselves and in each other. 

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Early Dawn Breaking Lisa A. Wisniewski

Potential

Early dawn breaking above the trees and fields
Where the sun’s waking comes to reveal
The beauty of life in the shadows and the light
Where all that grows is led through time
Creating all along the way
Answering the call of each day
With the potential of nature’s hand
Leading us on to fulfill the depths of time’s sands.

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Locust Trees Swaying in the Breeze Lisa A. Wisniewski

Locust trees swaying in the breeze
As the days come to be
In time’s river flowing near and far
Beneath the skies clear and the night stars
Where in the silence the symphony plays
The most beautiful highlight music ever made
Calling the potential from all around
To come and unfold itself with its own sound.

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Iris Lisa A. Wisniewski

Iris and columbine in bloom
Reach to the skies as they consume
The light of the sun and water of the rain
Lifting them up in faith
To inspire the mind, body, and soul
Walking through time’s folds
Discovering potential unheard of
Within the hold of God’s love.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Busy Ants on Peony Bud Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

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Sadie and Leo Looking for Potential Lisa A. Wisniewski

Thanks to our viewers for taking time to read or skim through our pictures and words.  We try to keep things fresh and original, yet somewhat informative and enjoyable.  It is our hope that in sharing our experiences, we can help others learn and grow upon the journey.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

Resources and Related Links

Characteristics of Weeds – https://extension.psu.edu/introduction-to-weeds-what-are-weeds-and-why-do-we-care

Definition & Etymology of Weed – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weeding

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Beautiful Blessing Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing Growth All Around

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Growth All Around Lisa A. Wisniewski

The past week has been one of great growth in nature.  The hills and fields have come alive with a variety of green shades along with blooming flowers and trees.  Everything seems to be growing at a rapid rate after a slow start to spring.  The continued higher levels of rainfall, along with humidity and warmer temperatures, have turned the outdoors into a greenhouse and set the plants into a growing frenzy.  The iris in the landscape beds around our yard grew six inches overnight, the maple tree leaves that were quarter size one day turned into baseball size in less than 24 hours, and the Mayapples look more like little trees this year with thick stalks and huge leaves.

Exponential Growth

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Yellow Buckeye Lisa A. Wisniewski

Seeing all this growth during my runs, bike rides, and walks with the dogs made me contemplate how every entity in life has its own growth rate, season, and mechanism for changing.  While the concept of mixing ingredients (light, water, time, nutrients) to create a desired outcome (growth of some sort) is the same for all of these entities, the ingredients, time required, and end product vary greatly.

My thoughts also led me back in time to when I first learned about exponential functions in math classes.  These functions are often used to describe or predict growth and decay.  Exponential implies very fast or increasingly rapid change of some sort.  Exponential functions when graphed typically look like a sharply increasing or decreasing curve.  For example, if you graph the function y = 2x, where x is an integer, the points on the y axis of the graph are 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc., and the curve looks like this:

y2x

Along for the Ride

In observing the growth this week, I found some new blooms and plants, including:

  • Buttercups, made distinct with their small, deep yellow flowers standing out amid the green grass
  • Lily of the valley, recognized by the delicate, small white flowers above the tulip like leaves
  • Clover, identified by the three lobed formation of the leaves
  • Poison ivy, standing out with its shiny three leaf formation, now reddish green in color
  • Virginia creeper, recognized with its vining leaf formation and runners climbing over surrounding plants
  • Rhododendron, very distinct with its smooth, green leaves and vibrant flower clusters
  • Tall phlox, standing high above the other plants along the road with its purple wedgelike flower petals
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Buttercups Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Tall Phlox Lisa A. Wisniewski

I also found pine trees with pine cones forming.  Watching the changes made me wonder what was actually happening during this process.  After doing some research, I learned that pine trees have male and female cones.  The male cones release pollen in the spring, which the wind carries to the female cones.  The female cones become brown and wood-like as the seeds ripen.  The cones open and release their seeds once reaching maturity, which usually occurs in the fall of the second year.

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Pine Cones Forming Lisa A. Wisniewski

Take Me On

Along with the new blooms and plants, the weeds have joined in the growing frenzy.  Thus, we began our annual weeding activities and wondering why the weeds have to grow in the gravel and in the driveway instead of someplace else.  I mean, really, there are acres and acres of land for the weeds to grow upon, so why do they have to put their roots down in our driveway?

The thought made me wonder if God asks Himself similar questions about us:  I give them all they need when they need it in the grand space of time, yet they still insist on relying upon their limited resources.  Why do they do this?

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Clover Lisa A. Wisniewski

While we don’t particularly care for what has become an annual turf war, we have found that the activity of removing the weeds from the driveway allows for much growth potential.

It has taken us years to accept that the weeding process not only removes the physical weeds it the driveway, but also the intangible weeds in the heart, mind, and body.  The process is tedious, time consuming, and even frustrating.  However, it does indeed have its rewards in not only a better looking driveway, but also a more open and cleaner soul, mind, and being.

Weeds and Seeds

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Lily of the Valley Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I was riding my bike tonight and contemplating how I was going to accomplish the things on my current to-do list and still find time to do some weeding, I wondered if God places the weeds in our lives to see what kind of seeds we really are.  Do we have roots deep enough to allow us to grow, or are they shallow, leaving us vulnerable to decay? Do we allow the weeds to choke us out and take over our minds and bodies? Are we planted in good soil so that in times of distress and uncertainty, we find the nutrients we need, allowing us to continue to grow and mature?

 

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Light for the Seeds Lisa A. Wisniewski

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – Matthew 13: 18-23

Take Me Back

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Bo, My Weeding Helper Lisa A. Wisniewski

While weeding earlier tonight, I recalled a fond memory of my late dog, Bo.  Back in 2012, I was weeding the driveway one day with him, Sadie, and my late dog Luke supervising.  Bo was always one to want to help and often tried to mimic what others were doing.  He literally followed Sadie like the big puppy he was, doing his best to imitate her every move.  On this particular day, Bo watched intently as I dug with my trowel with one hand and pulled weeds with the other before tossing the weeds into a bucket.

At one point, I looked over to find Bo pawing at the gravel, dipping his head down, and pulling the weeds with his teeth.  It was comical yet heartwarming to watch him work.  The only issue was instead of tossing the weeds into a bucket or the wheelbarrow, Bo was trying to eat everything he pulled.

Running over to him, I said, “Oh, buddy, thanks for helping, but please don’t eat the weeds.  You’ll get sick.”

He seemed crestfallen at first, so I stopped working long enough to pet and talk to him, explaining I sincerely appreciated his help and diligence.  The conversation gave me a much needed break and Bo a chance to learn more about what we were trying to accomplish.

One Moment, Please

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Just Weeds, or Points of Reflection? Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sometimes I wonder if God places the weeds in our lives to make us stop, think, analyze, and reflect.  In today’s fast-paced society clamoring for attention and stressed over how much work is to be done, stopping is considered a luxury at best.  However, in reality, stopping is wise, prudent, and necessary.  It is in taking a moment to step back that we discover who we are, what is most important,  when to ask for help, where our strength lies, how we can move forward, and why we need to allow God into our lives.

Taking a moment to reflect also tests our faith and trust in God.  It opens up the lines of communication between us and Him, breaking down the barriers we inadvertently build as the weeds in life take over the garden of our souls.  In opening ourselves up, we find the strength we need to remove the weeds, the courage to change to help prevent the weeds from taking root, and the faith required to sustain the process of living life to its fullest.

May the growth we see in nature allow us to learn and reflect upon our journey.  May taking a few moments to acknowledge God’s presence and blessings in our lives give us the strength we need along the way, and may time allow us to find growth all around.

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Dawn Breaking May 15, 2018 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Growth All Around

In the clouds of the sky in the early dawn breaking
Where the light leads the soul to waking,
In the mustard in the fields growing with the rye
Together to yield their harvest in due time,
In the flowers that bloom and leaves that sway
On the way through another day,
In everything we come to know through sight and sound,
May we find growth all around.

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Cow’s Vetch Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the cow’s vetch and red clover
The crowd the stretch of the roads traveled over,
In the pollen and the rain
The follow the season’s days,
In the sun’s rising and setting hues
Providing what we need to get through,
In every aspect as time flows without sound
May we find growth all around.

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Old Walnut Tree at Dawn Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the old walnut tree and the young spring shoots
The grow together differently from their roots,
In the yellow, gold, orange, red, blue, and green
Colors that hold their own majesty,
In the space of the clouds and hum of the wind
That travel around and through and back again,
In all that the light shows us as we become found,
May we find growth all around.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Mustard and Rye in the Fields Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Word of Thanks

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Leo and Sadie on the Job Lisa A. Wisniewski

Thanks to everyone taking time to view this week’s post.  We kind of threw this together this week due to time constraints, so hopefully no one is disappointed with the content.  We do the best we can with what we have and leave the rest to God.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

Resources and Related Links

Exponential – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exponential

Exponential functions – http://www.purplemath.com/modules/expofcns.htm

Observing May’s Light & Greatest Gifts

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May’s Light Lisa A. Wisniewski

This week has been one of major growth and beauty in nature.  From the morning sunrise to the new blooms and green growth, and the warm sunsets to the moon and stars in the sky a night, it appears everything has come alive with color and texture.  With the sun now peeking over the horizon shortly after 6:00 AM and not setting until just before 8:30 PM, there is much light to help bring out the colors and augment the beauty of the landscape.

Living on Light

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Bush Honeysuckle Lisa A. Wisniewski

The added light has coaxed the azalea, honeysuckle, lilac, and crab apple trees into full bloom.  Most of the azaleas I found were pink, purple, or orange in color.  The bush honeysuckle along my biking route is known as Morrow’s honeysuckle with white and yellow flowers.  The other variety of bush honeysuckle native to our area is the Tartarian variety, which produced pink flowers.  There are also vining varieties of honeysuckle, most of which are not native to our area.

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Mayapples Lisa A. Wisniewski

Additionally, the buckeye and wild cherry trees, viburnum, and hawk weeds have formed buds that will soon bloom.  The skunk cabbage and Mayapples have created a green blanket in the woods, popping up from underneath the brown leaves left over from the fall.  The skunk cabbage can be smelled from a distance. The pungent, strong odor is what gives the plant its name.  The Mayapples are much less aromatic and very distinct in their shape with leaves like an umbrella.

The light is necessary to make the stalks of the plants grow and the flowers open up.  In addition the light, these plants and trees need water and nutrients from the ground to help sustain them and make them grow.  These components each play a vital part in the process and must be present in order to keep the process moving.

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Lilac Lisa A. Wisniewski

The added warmth from the sun has also allowed the intoxicating, sweet smell of these blooms to permeate the air.  The heat from the sun’s rays acts as a catalyst to open the flowers and release the aroma through pollen.  Bees and birds use this pollen as food.

Much like the plants, we too need a variety of inputs in our lives to learn, grow, heal, mature, and keep moving.  Also like the plants, we need water and light, as well as nutrients from the food we eat to sustain us.  We also need a sense of love, support, understanding, and patience from those around us to help us thrive.  These components act as catalysts to release our own fragrance so to speak, helping us build character and strength for the journey.

Wondering About Wandering

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Wandering Beneath the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

As we walk through the miles, we often wonder about certain aspects of life.  This wondering does not mean that we don’t know.  It does mean we need some time to contemplate, research, and develop understanding.  Wondering acts as the catalyst to ask questions, seek answers, and delve deeper than the surface of a subject or topic.

Our wandering does not necessarily mean we are lost.  It does mean we are seeking, searching, looking, and trying to move forward.  Granted, we have setbacks and roadblocks, detours and missteps that take us on what can seem like meandering roads to nowhere.  However, it is in overcoming these aspects that we discover who we are, as well as blessings in disguise.  We may not realize these blessings immediately.  In fact, it may take years for us to realize or see the fruition of such blessings.  Just as the plants grow and mature within the seasons, we also grow and mature through time.

Thoughts Unleashed

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Explorer Leo on Duty Lisa A. Wisniewski

Seeing all the growth during my runs, bike rides, and walks this week has set a million thoughts running through my mind, as well as many questions about nature.  I have come to realize that this is a good thing, for it allows the 8 year old inside to have some fun and gives the 44 year old a sense of youth and renewed energy.  A colorful flower, amazing sunrise, or the smell of freshly cut grass sends my inner child into a frenzy, so happy for the simplicity in the beauty and endless potential for exploring.

The recent color explosion has also sent Sadie and Leo into a frolicking frenzy, exploring every blade of grass, leaf, flower, or bug they happen to find.  Leo is young, so he tends to explore by putting everything into his mouth.  Sadie is older and prefers to inspect by sniffing everything.  They each have their own way of learning and growing, which is fun to watch.

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Sadie on a Sniffing Mission Lisa A. Wisniewski

Between the three of us, we have certainly put on a lot of miles this past week and had many wondering moments.  This makes me wonder if we have made Mother Nature happy, exploring all she has to offer in utter amazement of her beauty and creativity.  Given that Mother’s Day is coming up, we hope she likes our simple gift of exploring and sharing our findings.

Activity Explosion

The recent blooms have also brought out a number of birds and other wildlife to explore the colors and smells.  The squirrels are having a field day running from the pine trees in the side yard to the tall tulip tree in the front yard.  Back and forth, back and forth they go, almost smirking with delight.  This has Leo quite upset, especially when he is tied on his cable.

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Doe in Woods Lisa A. Wisniewski

In addition to the squirrels, the deer have been quite active in the fields and along the wood lines.  They are grazing on clover and grass and will soon be nipping the tips of the jewel weed off once it pops up.  During a bike ride this week, I spotted a doe lying down in the woods along the road.  It occurred to me the sight was a bit odd, but then I remembered that the fawns are typically born in May, usually visible around Memorial Day.  While it may be a little early, the doe could have been waiting to have her fawn, or maybe even had the fawn already and was resting.

Also on my bike rides and during my runs this week, I have seen robins, killdeer, cardinals, finches, blue birds, oriels, sparrows, crows, hawks, geese, and ducks flying around.  Some of the birds appear on a mission, hunting for worms or places to nest, but others simply seem to be flying around with no specific goal in mind.  While the birds all belong to the same family in nature, they are each distinct in color, size, shape, and activity level.

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Spotted White on Leaf Lisa A. Wisniewski

Joining in the activity this week are the rabbits, moles, sulphurs, and whites.  The rabbits hop about in zigzag patterns to and from their destinations.  The moles are typically not seen, but we know they are active by the amount of dirt being displaced along their routes in the yards.  The sulphurs and whites flit about flapping their delicate wings in hurried fashion.  Trying to get a picture of them turned out to be a challenge this week, but I did manage to capture a few shots, some in motion and a couple with them resting on a plant.

Joining the Crowd

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Blooms Abound Lisa A. Wisniewski

Seeing the wildlife and plants thriving in the light has given many people in the area a boost in spirit and energy level.  While the dogs and I spend time outside no matter what the weather is like, many people around us wait for the inclement weather to subside before venturing out.  It seems the light and warmth have drawn a number of people in our area to walk, run, bike, and do yard work or other outdoor activities.

I sometimes wonder what God and Mother Nature think about us as they see us moving around like little ants, scurrying here and there, back and forth, up and down, in circles and mazes, trying to accomplish our tasks or reach our destinations.  This time of year, it must look like a chaotic mess with all the increased activity.  I wonder if God and Mother Nature get tired of watching over us or if they sometimes laugh at our antics.

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Heaven Watching Over Us Lisa A. Wisniewski

Something tells me neither of them ever tire of watching us and that any laughing they may do is with us and not necessarily at us.  In either case, they are there for us, which is probably what matters most in life.  Like the light, God and Mother Nature help us to see, grow, and find our way.  They also act as catalysts behind the scenes to keep us moving along with time.

May the light of spring and warmth of the season allow us to unleash our inner creativity, providing renewed hope, energy, and strength.  May the mix of colors in the plants and trees brighten our world, and may we come to know nature as one of our greatest gifts.

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Glorious Sunrise in the East Lisa A. Wisniewski

Greatest Gifts

Glorious sunrise in the east
Above the scores of colors in the trees,
Blossoming and spreading their leaves wide
Beneath the awesome May skies
Where the birds cruise upon the winds
And the light reduces the shadows’ extents,
Offering the greatest gifts from near and far
From the heavens steered through the stars.

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Rows of Mayapples Lisa A. Wisniewski

Doe in the woods waiting patiently
Among the rows of Mayapple leaves
Robin hopping up and down, up and down
Trying to feel the worms beneath the ground,
Killdeer calling in the wind
While spreading its wing as if broken,
Among the greatest gifts of life
All so honest and pure in the light.

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Dew on the Grass Lisa A. Wisniewski

Honeysuckle and lilac blowing in the wind
Spreading their aromas over and back, to and fro in nature’s extents,
Dew on the grass and pollen in the trees
Leaves the bees buzzing over and back in a frenzy,
Their hum a constant as soon as dawn breaks
Until the sunset removes the light from its space,
Leaving a stillness for miles around
In the greatest gift of time ever found.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

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Wild Cherry Tree Blossoms Lisa A. Wisniewski

A Note of Thanks

Thanks to everyone taking time to view our post this week.  We worked hard to find things in nature to photograph and did our best to mix a bit of science, real life, art, and faith into one post.  Hope you enjoyed it.

-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo

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Junior Editor Leo and Editor-in-Chief Sadie Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Bush honeysuckle – https://extension.psu.edu/bush-honeysuckles

Mayapple- https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=pope

Skunk cabbage – https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Plants-and-Fungi/Skunk-Cabbage