Observing Faith, Motivation, and Summer in the Fields


Light in the Dawn Lisa A. Wisniewski

The past week brought with it typical late August weather, full of hazy skies, humidity, pop-up rain showers, and misty mornings.  Watching the sun break through the clouds at dawn casting visible light rays made me feel as if I was watching blessings unfold into the day.  The experience was very moving, touching me deeply, allowing me to forge ahead despite some difficulties encountered during the week.

Motivation Through the Movements

As I watched the light sweep across the skies each morning, I recalled a quote I read recently:

“What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out.” – Bertrand Russell

This quote captured my attention because it is by Bertrand Russell, a British logician and philosopher whom I studied in several classes while pursuing a degree in Mathematics.  Russell is most remembered for his contributions regarding logic and applications of this logic to mathematics.  His work regarding contradictions and paradoxes led him to change his approach to thinking and solving problems.  He later turned away from mathematics to concentrate on philosophy and write about social, political, and moral subjects.


Motivation in the Morn Lisa A. Wisniewski

Russell’s approach to life and his work revolved much around his faith, not only from a spiritual perspective, but also from a physical perspective.  What he saw happening around him sparked questions, deep thought, and at times, perplexing problems that consumed him.  Never one to stop seeking, Russell trudged through the difficulties with admirable vigor.  Though he changed his thought process and beliefs several times as an attempt to deal with internal angst, Russell remained motivated and active until his death in 1970.

Faith’s Journey


Struggles in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

While contemplating Russell’s quote and his life, I realized he could be considered a modern model of many Biblical characters, all of whom struggled with faith, their part in God’s plan, and the circumstances they faced.  For example, the book of Exodus tells the story of Moses, his call by God, and the struggles he had trying to get the people to obey God.  The books I and II Kings (also knows as I and II Samuel) tell the story of David, chosen to lead the people, yet destined to struggle with himself and his faith in God.  In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn of Saul’s conversion, his visions, and his name change to Paul.  Later, in Paul’s many letters to the church community, we learn of his struggles with faith, God’s call to him, and the issues presented to him by the people to whom he was writing.

Like Russell, the biblical characters faced paradoxes and struggled with their inner beings to find peace and ways to move forward.  The faith these people had was at times, their motivation and strength.  It was also a burden to explain and a point of contention with others.  In the end, the truth led these biblical characters to their destinations.

Summer’s Paradox


Summer Paradox Lisa A. Wisniewski

Like the people above, summer also has its paradoxes, struggles, and fits of change.  Summer rises from spring to its apex of light then gives in to time’s ways with the coming of fall.  While we are still well within the throes of summer in my area, little hints in nature are slowly pulling nature toward fall.  The browning teasels in the fields, spent blossoms on a number of wild flowers, ripening fruit and vegetables on the trees and plants, and obvious loss of daylight all point toward fall. However, the bright, blue skies, warmer temperatures, and hazy mornings of dewy grass all say it is still summer.


Shift Toward the Light Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I see these changes around me, I also struggle with altering schedules so I can still run, bike, walk, get chores done, and do other required tasks.  Fortunately, I have learned to experiment a bit and have become more flexible with my thought process.  The years have taught me that if I can’t do something in the morning hours due to lack of light, then I need to do the activity as soon as I come home from work or sometime before sunset.  If the task is something that requires natural daylight, then I need to prioritize it so it gets done.  However, if the task is one I can do with the outside lights on or inside, then I can move it to a different time slot.  It is all about learning, reacting, and growing.

Faith’s Many Facets


Changing Ways Lisa A. Wisniewski

I admit it has taken me a number of years of struggle to reach a healthier perspective on summer, the seasons of life, and the inner soul.  Perhaps the following quotes offer the best insight and description of what I have endured in order to stay motivated and keep faith intact:

“I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –Thomas Edison

“Mistakes are part of dues one pays for a full life.” –Sophia Loren

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What does not destroy me makes me stronger.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

“Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch

“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


Faith and Motivation From the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

All of the above philosophies support faith in different aspects.  Yet each of these philosophies entails a truth that makes one ponder or stop to consider the paths within the journey.  While we all have different physical, mental, and spiritual motivations, the common thread is a faith of some sort based upon a truth which we may or may not understand or agree.

Faith is indeed a motivator, mentor, and mediator.  It is a compass, companion, and confidant that shows us the way through life, time, and all the little details we encounter along the way.

May faith lead us through the paradoxes and seasons of life, allowing us to learn and grow in our own time.  May we find motivation in faith’s ways, even when we struggle to understand, and may summer’s fields offer both enlightenment and encouragement for the soul.


Summer in the Fields Lisa A. Wisniewski

Summer in the Fields

Summer in the fields, beneath the sun’s light,
All the glory revealed in the ray s that find
Every shadow, nook, and cranny
That envelope the ever many
Wonders of the world in nature’s arms
As the days unfold and time departs
Upon the journey along the shores
Where summer’s song is sung once more.


Tall Iron Weed, Goldenrod, and Teasels Lisa A. Wisniewski

Summer in the fields, ever so fine
Full of crops that yield strength for the soul inside,
As well as beauty in the petals and the blades
Of tall iron weed, goldenrod, and Queen Ann’s lace,
Jewel weed, teasels, alfalfa, and clover
Dipping and swaying as the breeze skims over
Creating wave upon wave of color and texture
Guiding the soul through each day’s adventures.


Under Nature’s Grasp Lisa A. Wisniewski

Summer in the fields, under nature’s grasp
Left to methodically reveal the blessings cast
From the heavens to earth below
In both sun and rain, and the moon and stars’ glow,
Creating pockets of peace in the ever-changing world
As the water running to the seas foams and swirls
Around and around and around again
Through both silence’s sound and the refrains under heaven
Singing summer’s song in the morning and the night
As time moves on and the lost soul finds
What it is seeking and even more
Through living and being upon time’s shores.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Bee on Jewel Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski


Bumble Bee on Seedum Lisa A. Wisniewski

References and Related Links

Bertrand Russell – https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bertrand-Russell

Book of Exodus – http://www.usccb.org/bible/exodus/0

Conversion of Saul – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%209%3A1-19

Story of David – http://biblehub.com/library/marshall/the_wonder_book_of_bible_stories/the_story_of_david_the.htm

Observing the Good Shepherd’s Work


The Good Shepherd’s Work Lisa A. Wisniewski

The good shepherd was indeed at work in my area this week.  From the colors in the skies to the flowers in the fields, from the wildlife all around to the special sightings of nature’s finest art, God’s work was noticeable.  The full moon on August 7 made for brighter evening and morning skies, even on a few misty, cooler mornings.  Though the temperatures were below normal for August, the cool air brought a refreshing feeling after several weeks of humidity and high temperatures.

Seeing the Good Shepherd’s Work

Some special sightings on my runs, bike rides, and walks around the yard included:


Fluted Swallowtail on Butterfly Bush Lisa A. Wisniewski

A fluted swallowtail butterfly (Papilio) feeding on a butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii).  Both butterflies and butterfly bushes have seen a population decrease in my area in recent years, so the sighting was a reminder of how precious life is and how nature often moves through cycles of population growth and decay.

A new patch of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) along the road while biking at sunset.  The way the flowers swayed in the light breeze catching the rays of the sun brought a bright spot to the early evening hours.  The sight gave me hope for the future and better days to come after a bit of a rough patch in life.


Pokeweed Lisa A. Wisniewski

Huge plumes of pokeweed (Phytolacca)  towering above the hillside foliage.  The green leaves offset the purple berries with red stems to create a textured illustration of how contrasts in color can offset each other, similar to how different people in our lives can bring out the best within us when we are with them.

Tufts of Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) standing tall and bright in pink and purple clusters atop green, leafy stems.  The way the leaves and the stalks dipped and swayed in the wind created a rippling sea of delicate floating flowers.  The sight reminded me of how often in life we must ride the currents and waves of time’s turning rivers and seas.


White Heath Aster, Gayfeather, adn Tall Iron Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski

Tall ironweed (Vernonia altissima), gayfeather (Liatris spicata), and white heath aster (Aster ericoides) clustered along the roadside to create a watercolor portrait of summer’s finest blooms.  The gayfeather caught my eye with its very bright pinkish purple color, which offset the deep purple ironweed and white heath aster that flanked it.  The sight reminded me of how we need the help of others throughout our lives to sustain us upon our journey.

Feeling the Good Shepherd’s Presence

As I watched the skies change each day through the week, I felt a sense of God’s presence closer than normal.  The feeling reminded me of my favorite Psalm:


I Shall Not Want Lisa A. Wisniewski

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” –Psalm 23: 1-6


How Great Thou Art Lisa A. Wisniewski

The sights also reminded me of one of my all-time favorite hymns, How Great Thou ArtHow Great Thou Art originated from the poem O Store Gud, written by Swedish pastor Carl Gustaf Boberg.  The poem was published in a Swedish paper.  It was later translated to German and in 1927, published in a Russian version of the German text.  Stuart K. Hine, an English missionary to the Ukraine, found the Russian three verse version, sang it with his wife at evangelistic meeting, and later translated the words to English.  Hine later added the fourth verse.  The hymn made its way to America and in 1954 was copyrighted and published by Dr. Cyrus Nelson.

All of these gentleman were moved by the words and an inner sense of obligation to their good shepherd to make His work known.  What started as a private moment witnessed and captured by Boberg ended up being one of the most well known and frequently sung hymns in history.

Another Good Shepherd


Sadie, My Good Shepherd Lisa A. Wisniewski

The words to How Great Thou Art filled my mind most of the week.  As I was mowing grass the other night, I realized I was running out of daylight very fast and may not be able to finish before dark.  My mind and heart wrestled with whether or not I should try to finish the last few passes as the grass grew wet with evening dew and the light dissipated.  Historically, this is not a good thing for me to try, for I have had some rather negative and less than pleasant results when attempting such a feat.

However, I looked over toward the house to see my German shepherd, Sadie sitting on top of the hill where she could see me.  Her intent stare told me she was watching, making sure I was safe, and patiently waiting for me to finish.  Seeing her sitting there reminded me I have a physical good shepherd in my life, one I can lean upon no matter what the circumstances may be.  Our eyes met, and I felt reassured that I would be just fine finishing the grass.

As soon as I turned the mower blades off and headed up the hill toward the house, Sadie jumped up, gave me a nod, and headed toward the house where my dog, Leo was waiting for us.  He too had been watching from the porch, but could not see me over the crest of the hill.  Sadie ran up to Leo, gave him a nudge, and ran around in circles as if to say, “She made it!”


Leo and Sadie, Gifts From the Good Shepherd Lisa A. Wisniewski

Now I must mention that Sadie has been special from the first seconds I met her.   She instantly took to me, sitting at my feet as if to say, “You are my person.  I will protect and guide you no matter what.”

I brought her home thinking I would not be able to keep her, given I already had two dogs and a grandmother to take care of.  However, in the following hours, I realized Sadie needed me as much as I needed her.  She had been in a bad situation and needed rescued from some pretty awful conditions.  Though I did not know it at the time, she had two kinds of worms and had been abused.  Despite the circumstances, Sadie trusted me.  This trust built a strong bond that ranks among the most cherished I have had with my canine companions.

No Words Necessary

Sadie is one of three dogs I have had in my life who does not need words to communicate.  All I have to do is look at her, and she knows what she is to do.  We have an intent stare that means, “come” and raised eyebrow look that means, “what are you doing?” and a smile that means, “I am glad you are here because I need some sunshine in my life right now”.


Sadie as a Puppy With Nikki Lisa A. Wisniewski

My late dogs Princess and Nikki were much like Sadie.  I dubbed Princess my Angel in Disguise, for she guided me through some rough teenage years, allowing me to find the light in life after a long stretch of darkness.  Nikki was my Rock, the one I leaned upon in early adulthood.   Nikki taught me how to really live life and to take time to stop and enjoy nature.  Sadie is my Good Shepherd, for she knows what I need and watches over me no matter where I am in the yard.  She makes sure I go to bed at a decent hour and tries her best to put a smile on my face first thing each morning.  We have a connection no words can fully describe and no sum can express its value.

Like any relationship, we have our moments when we don’t agree or understand.  We can be stubborn and difficult to deal with, but we also recognize we need each other.  I have come to realize that my relationship with God is much the same.  There are times I can see His point and times when I don’t have a clue as to how the path we are on will lead to our destination.  However, as with my dog, Sadie, I trust God and His instincts.  It is through this trust that I have found faith, hope, and love in life.  It is also through this trust that I have found Sadie and other great canine companions and friends.


The Good Shepherd Knows Lisa A. Wisniewski

The good shepherd knows us and our needs.  The good shepherd also needs us to be open to different ways and willing to try.  It is in coming to these realizations that we meet life’s greatest moments full of intangible treasures.

May we find the good shepherd at work in our lives, allowing us to see blessings each day.  May the sights we see and experiences we have lead us to better relationships, and may these relationships sustain us upon the journey.


Love of a Lifetime Lisa A. Wisniewski

The Good Shepherd’s Work

Sun and clouds in the sky
Conveying the love of a lifetime
Through the colors and the breeze
Above the boughs of the trees
And grass in the fields
Allowing us to have and to yield
To the good shepherd’s work each day
As we set forth to create,
Live, try, and be
Through both what we give and receive.


Full Moon August 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Full moon in the sky
Amid the blue way up high
Glowing in both the night and the dawn
As time moves on
Through the rivers and the seas
To deliver us to where we need to be
With the help of the good shepherd’s work upon the way
Guiding us through the ports and the bays
Of each season to come
Giving meaning as the water runs
In and through and out and back
Giving blessings through what we do and do not have.


Wildflowers Along the Roadside Lisa A. Wisniewski

Flowers and trees, grasses and fields,
Below the powers that be within life’s concealed
Moments to have and to hold
In the rapids of the soul
Flowing within time and experiences lived
To both keep inside and forget
While watching the good shepherd’s work so fine
Leading us toward the fruit of the vine
And the ultimate peace
At the summit’s peak.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Butterfly Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski


Joe-pye weed Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

How Great Thou Arthttp://www.allaboutgod.com/how-great-thou-art.htm

Psalm 23 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+23&version=KJV

Observing Nature’s Music Under the August Skies


Morning Music Lisa A. Wisniewski

The past week has been full of challenges and changes under the heavens.  We moved from the last days of July into August, inched past summer’s peak of light and blooming flowers, and shifted from the quarter moon to the almost full sturgeon moon (also known as the full red moon, the green corn moon, and the grain moon).   The changes have been subtle, yet noticeable, leaving the soul feeling bittersweet with memories of summer highs and lows.

Nature’s Song Remembers When

In watching the changes while running, biking, and walking the dogs, Trisha Yearwood’s The Song Remembers When came into my mind.  Just as the lyrics state,


A Lighted Match Tossed Into My Soul Lisa A. Wisniewski

…It was like a lighted match
Had been tossed into my soul
It was like a dam had broken in my heart…
…And it seemed to fit the moment
And the moment seemed to freeze…

…And there was a God in heaven
And the world made perfect sense…
…But that’s just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I’ve burned
And there’s no use in backtracking
Around corners I have turned
Still I guess some things we bury
Are just bound to rise again
For even if the whole world has forgotten
The song remembers when..
(Lyrics by Hugh Prestwood)


One of Nature’s Songs Lisa A. Wisniewski

The light of the morning, the smell of the mist in the air and sweet freshly cut grass, the clouds moving throughout the day within the blue and gray skies, the colors in the sunsets, and the rising moon all reminded me of special moments throughout my life.  All of nature’s offerings are like songs to my mind, body, heart, and soul, each one with an emotional connection, drawing me deeper into the music.

Though nature’s songs have no written lyrics, the colors speak their own language, often stirring a memory or a feeling of days past or a hope for the future.  Every sight has its own rhythm, beat, and harmony, perfectly composed by nature, and sung by a memorable voice.

Remembering Special Voices

Throughout my life, I have been drawn to voices that soothe the soul and convey emotion.  Singers like Patty Loveless, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Christine McVie, Trisha Yearwood, Lorrie Morgan, Roseann Cash, Steve Wariner, Vince Gill, and Rodney Crowell rank among my favorites, along with groups like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and The Judds.   Something about the way these people sang made me feel connected, and those that played guitar or some other instrument as well as wrote songs made an even deeper connection.


God’s Voice Lisa A. Wisniewski

There is also the voice of God, whom I am still learning to appreciate and feel.  I can’t always hear the words, but I can usually catch the music He is playing or the melody He is humming to get my attention.  His silent songs strike me most, often captivating my soul to the point of being totally engrossed, as if the music is running through my veins.

Last but not least on my list is a very special voice, one that took a very long time to migrate from a scratchy, whining tone to an eloquent symphony.  This voice belongs to my late dog, Luke, who passed away on August 4, 2016 due to complications from a mass on his lung.


Remembering a Special Friend


Luke, My Little Man With a Special Voice Lisa A. Wisniewski

Luke was different and a handful from the word go.  He did everything a dog really should not do, and then some.  He was a canine Houdini, able to escape any enclosure or restriction placed upon him.  He also ate pretty much everything he encountered, leading to some very stressful times of waiting to see whether or not he got sick.

The night I adopted him, he “sang the blues” the whole way home in the back of my Jeep.  It would not have been a bad experience, save for the fact he “sung” so out of key.  As time progressed his voice changed, from a cross between a fog horn and a sick cow to more of a pitched whine.  He then went through a deeper baritone stage that was more of a hum and more tolerable.


Luke’s Last Song Lisa A. Wisniewski

The night Luke passed away, he was very quiet, save for a quick, excited frenzy to greet the veterinarian who came to our house to put him to sleep.  Though he was struggling to breathe and very weak, he managed a robust welcome song before settling down.  As I sat  next to him during his last moments, I heard  the song of his heart beating to a slower rhythm, ultimately stopping just after the last rays of the sun had slipped from the skies.  It was as if he was walking me down the path to goodbye, slowly, methodically, like a gentleman.  It was one of those moments a person does not forget.  Ever.

After laying him to rest under the apple tree behind the garage, Sadie and I stood together for a long time in the dark.  At last, we stepped from under the tree.   Looking up, I saw the clouds had moved from the skies to reveal more stars than I had ever seen before.   It was there in the silence under the stars that I heard Luke’s final, silent song of love, a song so powerful and poignant that it moved me to tears of joy, sorrow, heartache, and happiness.  It was by far the greatest song Luke had ever sung, one whose melody remains with me in my heart.

God’s Love Song


Sunrise After the Rain August 3, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Needless to say, this week has been one of bittersweet memories.  As I ran this morning, I felt rather sad at one point.  Looking to the east, I saw the rain clouds from the morning had broken to reveal a crimson red sunrise.  Immediately, I sensed God’s love and understanding.  Then I heard the music start, taking my soul from its saddened state into a better place of peace in knowing that both God and Luke will always be with me.  I may not be able to see or hear them all the time, but they are there nonetheless, leading me from past to present and present to future.

As I watched the sun rise higher, I contemplated why the sunrise starts out red, slowly changes to orange, morphs into yellow, and ultimately turns white.  Though I know the color changes have to do with the angle and amount of light traveling through the atmosphere, I also reasoned that the sun starts out red because God wants to remind us both of His love for us and His request to love Him.  He wants this to be the first thing we see each day, the first song we hear to set the tone and the tempo for the coming hours.


Orange in God’s Love Song Lisa A. Wisniewski

I reasoned further that the change to orange is God’s way of giving us hope for each step upon the journey.  Orange is a bright, warm color, often conveying energy and a sense of encouragement.  The morphing into yellow is God’s reminder to have faith.  As it is written in the Bible,

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it will obey you.” –Luke 17:6

Yellow is related to acquired knowledge, inspiring new thought and inquisitiveness.  If we think about faith, it is the driving force behind finding answers to our questions as well as moving us forward even when we do not know the answers.  It draws us in, pulls us in a more positive direction, and keeps us focused on our destination.  The color yellow is much the same when you break it down to basic parts.


God’s Love Song–Innocent, Pure, Complete Lisa A. Wisniewski

White connotes purity, innocence, wholeness, and completion.  The white in the sunrise is God reminding us He is with us, for us, beside us, behind us, and before us at all times.  He is there through pain and loss as well as joy and happiness in finding what we are seeking.

So, to sum it up, the sunrise is God’s love song, reminding us of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.  It is a unique blend of music written for us each day to listen to, to keep in our minds throughout the day, and to hold in our hearts, minds, and souls no matter what circumstances we meet along the way.

May the music we hear in nature inspire, guide, and encourage us as we journey through life.  May the voices we hear allow us to feel a connection with our surroundings and those who mean most to us.  May the memories that accompany the songs allow us to remember when throughout life, as well as under the August skies.



Deep Rose in the Sunrise Lisa A. Wisniewski

Under the August Skies

Deep rose sun on the rise
Spreading God’s love in the light
Through the universe and back
Without words or strings attached,
Careful not to break the silence of the morn
As a new day begins once more
In the dew under the August skies
Just like the day you were set free to fly.


Clouds Playing Lisa A. Wisniewski

Clouds at noon playing in the breeze
Rolling through the tops of the trees,
Pushing onward to their destination
Without ado or hesitation,
Moving, moving out to sea
Renewing, renewing faith in the dream
In the blue under the August skies
Just like the day that you said goodbye.


Moon and Stars Coming Out to Play Lisa A. Wisniewski

All the stars coming out to play
Deep in the heart of the night’s escape
Twinkling and sparkling like jeweled glass
Within the treasures of life to hold and to have
Etched in the depths of the soul waiting below
For the day it gets the okay to go
In the hues under the August skies
To meet you at the great divide.

In Loving Memory of Luke

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Hope in the Dawn Lisa A. Wisniewski


Under the August Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Faith as small as a mustard seed – http://biblehub.com/luke/17-6.htm

Full sturgeon moon – https://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/

Meaning of the color orange- http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-orange.html

Meaning of the color yellow – http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-yellow.html

The Song Remembers Whenhttps://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/yearwood-trisha/the-song-remembers-when-9963.html

Observing Summer Seeds and Seas


Shifting Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

The skies of summer are shifting in my area, moving slowly past the peak times of daylight hours.  Sunrise is now at 6:13 AM and sunset is at 8:41 PM.  Though we have lost 23 minutes of morning daylight and 14 minutes of evening light, the wildflowers continue to bring forth new blooms, offering color and hope beneath both blue and gray skies.

Plumes and Wild Blooms

On my runs, walks, and bike rides this week, I found the following new blooms:

  • Hibiscus, pink and bright in an open, swampy field
  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), orange and tall growing in an open part of an old orchard
  • Hedge bindweed (Convolvulus sepium), white with trumpet-like flowers winding through the open fields
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), yellow-orange blowing in the wind in a neighbors’ landscape bed
  • Chicory (Cichorium), pale blue creeping along the roadsides

Butterfly Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski


Hibiscus Lisa A. Wisniewski

Each tuft or plume of color dotted the yellow green surrounding landscape like little beacons to guide the soul toward hope, peace, and new days full of promise.  They were a welcome sight amid a week of varying degrees of good and bad news in my area.

Life Seeds


Hedge Bindweed Lisa A. Wisniewski

Looking at the patches of color, I was reminded of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13: 3-23), whose seed fell in different areas with varying results.  The seed that fell by the wayside was quickly taken by birds, never taking root.  Some seed fell on rocky soil, took shallow root, and became scorched when the sun came out.  Other seed fell among thorns, only to be choked out upon taking root.  Lastly, some seed fell upon good soil, where it grew, multiplied, and offered fruit.

I reasoned that the flowers in bloom had taken root on good soil, and that most likely, other seeds had been sown with them, but did not prosper for one reason or another.  As I contemplated this, I thought about how different people learn and grow while others seem to fall into an abyss of some sort, resulting in negative life experiences or lack of growth.


Fertile Soil of the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski

Though we may not always have a choice in where we fall in life’s garden, we can use our experiences, faith, and perspective to either change the soil conditions or move to more fertile soil.  The process may take time, energy, and other resources we may or may not have available in abundance.  The key is, as St. Peter writes,

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)


Hope Personified Lisa A. Wisniewski

I would add that these qualities not only increase your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also allow for the spreading of hope, faith, and love, all of which seem to be needed in today’s broken world.

Weeds and Seeds

As I thought deeper about the wildflowers, I contemplated the weeds that grow along with them.  Some weeds are less intrusive than others, allowing for moderate growth of both weeds and flowers.  These weeds are likened to the smaller setbacks or issues in life.  However, other weeds are invasive, disrupting the flowers’ and good seeds’ growth.  These weeds are likened to the more painful life circumstances, such as the loss of loved ones, abuse, poverty, and unrest.


Flowers Amidst the Weeds Lisa A. Wisniewski

In reading the newspaper this week, I found many of the stories to be full of weeds.  Several headlines called attention to local traffic accidents, all with fatalities and related to alcohol or drug abuse.  Other headlines and stories were about the rising use of opioids, fatal drugs with a powerful grasp upon society.  These stories were disturbing, for they depicted lives once full of potential washed away by addiction, crime to support the addiction, and ultimately severed and shattered relationships.

The stories mentioned or alluded to pain of some sort as a cause for the chain reaction of recklessness, which made me wonder why there is so much pain in the world.  While I don’t think there is one answer to this question, I do think a number of factors play a part, including:

  • Lack of physical activity, work, and responsibility for one’s actions
  • Relying on technology too much, leading to too much idle time and too many temptations (or weeds)
  • Lack of real communication, face to face and in the flesh, which leaves less room for misinterpretation
  • Emphasis on negativity in life, especially in the media’s slanted stories
  • Loss of basic concepts, such as respect, remorse, and compassion

Always Another Way in the Light Lisa A. Wisniewski


Blessings of Grace Lisa A. Wisniewski

Overcoming Weeds in Life

Several of my meditational readings this week were from the book of Exodus, which tells the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  In reading these stories, I found parallels between the mentality of the Biblical people and today’s world.  These parallels made me wonder if we have really made progress in over 2,000 years.  The trials and tribulations may not be exactly the same, however, the topics and subjects are similar.


Heaven’s Embrace Lisa A. Wisniewski

Perhaps this is the whole point of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection—to lead us away from the weeds and tribulations of life to the fertile gardens of heaven where some day all the pain, suffering, and restlessness will subside.

In the interim, we have faith, hope, and love to help us, as well as God’s grace, understanding, and forgiveness.  We also have the choice of sharing positive stories and experiences, volunteering our time, and taking time away from our endless to-do lists to share some quite moments with nature and God.

May our choices in life allow us to grow and bear good fruit.  May the patience, faith, and compassion we show toward others help cultivate good soil for seeds to grow, and may the time spent amidst the colors of summer’s seas give us renewed strength for the journey.


Buckeyes Lisa A. Wisniewski

Summer’s Seas

Buckeyes forming on the branches
As the sun’s light dances
With the soft wind blowing
Keeping the leaves aloft as if floating
Upon summer’s seas within time
Transplanting the seeds bringing forth light
Upon the shores where the soul wanders the paths
To and fro, across and back.


Black-eyed Susan Lisa A. Wisniewski

Black eyed Susan and orange butterfly weed
Open as the sun extends its rays through summer’s seas
Below the swirling clouds of white
Dipping and curling before the fall of night
Reaches the white hedge bindweed
Climbing with the blue chicory
Spreading color throughout the landscape
To brighten the paths as the soul moves upon its way.


Pink Sunset Reflecting Off the Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Pink sunset in the west reflecting off the clouds
As the sun gets lower and the stars come out
Above summer’s seas spread far and wide
Through the growth of the trees and flowers in the tides
Ebbing and flowing by God’s grace
Through the sun’s glowing and waters of the rains
Capturing the seeds of the future to come
Allowing them to be part of the blessings from heaven above.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Hope in Bloom Lisa A. Wisniewski


Blue Chicory Lisa A. Wisniewski

Observing July’s Time and the Delta Before the Divide


Venus and Crescent Moon Lisa A. Wisniewski

We’ve been graced with the presence of Venus and the crescent moon in the early morning skies this past week.  Seeing the two shining brightly in the dark before the dawn created an aura of peace and intimacy for the soul despite being wakened by screeching raccoons between 2:30 AM and 3:30 AM two days in a row.  Though I personally was not in the mood to go investigate the noise, my dogs Sadie and Leo, insisted, barking and running around in circles.

Benefits of Being Bugged


Too Cute to be Denied Lisa A. Wisniewski

After turning on the lights to make sure no raccoons were in sight, I let the dogs out and walked across the sidewalk toward the garage.  Looking to the east, I saw the bright star and the crescent moon just above the horizon.  Of course, the eight year old inside of me got all excited and insisted on running back inside the house to grab the camera and take pictures.

So, there I stood at 3:30 AM snapping shots of the sky while most normal people were getting their required sleep.  As I did this, I contemplated how there are times in life when we have opportunities, but are reluctant to take them because of timing or inconvenience.  While I know it would have been beneficial to be sleeping, something in the experience sent a shot of adrenaline through me, reassuring me of my choice to spend a few moments with nature and God.

As we came back inside, I felt thankful that the dogs had insisted on checking out the noise.  Had they not bugged me to be let out, I would have missed a very special opportunity to see the wonders of the skies and experience God’s peace.

Tugging at Time


Important Time With God Lisa A. Wisniewski

This experience also made me realize that there are times in life when what we feel we should be doing with our time does not match what we are able to do with our time.  We have “priorities and obligations” as well as “responsibilities and commitments” that we offer as excuses.  In reality, we have a conflict of heart and mind, body and soul that has the potential to drive us insane and cause undue stress.

While it is important to take time to do certain things, it is equally important to realize that time is a unit of measure which allows us opportunities.  If we rush through time simply trying to cross items off of our to-do lists, we are not fulfilled.  If we take too much time to do something, we become stressed with what we deem as a “lack of progress” in our minds.

Perhaps the following quotes offer some good food for thought when it comes to time:

“No great thing is created suddenly.” –Epictetus

“Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something.” – Indira Gandhi


Stepping Forward Lisa A. Wisniewski

Weeding Through the Moments

In addition to Venus and the crescent moon, humidity has made its presence known this past week.  With morning temperatures in the 70-75°F range and daytime highs in the 80-85°F range, the added humidity has made running a biking without becoming dehydrated quite a challenge.  Not one to be deterred, I have altered my routine on some days to try to take advantage of cooler morning air.


Tall Tall Weeds Lisa A. Wisniewski

While running along my route, I noticed the weeds have shot up about 6 inches in just a few days.  The humidity, intense heat, and hazy skies provide a natural green house for such growth.   Returning home, I found weeds popping up in the driveway, landscape beds, and garden, much to my chagrin.  While I don’t mind weeding, I don’t always have the time required to do the task.  However, I do have a very anal side that diligently tries to keep up with the weeds.

So, despite working long days, trying to do all the normal chores, and still find time for the dogs, running, and biking, I found myself spending the better part of the past few evenings weeding.  As I tugged at the weeds, I contemplated other areas of life in which I have been weeding lately.  It seems as if I am sorting through information, situations, relationships, possessions, and pretty much everything this month in an effort to find balance and simply clean out the debris.  This is not a bad thing by any means, and actually has been a good exercise in faith, mental ability, and physical stamina.  Letting go of some things has been a test of my faith.  Trying to decide what to keep and what to toss or pull has required some stretching of my thought process and planning abilities.  Doing this exercise on top of everything else has been physically taxing, yet seeing the progress somehow recharges my energy level.


Making Progress Lisa A. Wisniewski

Symphony Amid Silence

In going about all this weeding, I noticed times of peaceful silence with only the whisper of the wind barely audible to fill the atmosphere.  There have also been times when the locusts have decided to rehearse for a concert, sending their unmistakable call of summer through the air.  It is a bit early for the locusts to being making such a din, however, it is far from abnormal to hear the locusts calling this early in July.


Locust Shell Lisa A. Wisniewski

Historically, the locusts call in late August, just before students return to school.  Growing up, my sister and I gauged how much of summer had passed based on when the locusts started calling.  At the first sound of the locusts’ siren, we know our return to school was eminent and that the freedoms of summer would soon be coming to a close.

Locusts make their sound by vibrating a tymbal, or white drum-like plate located on either side of their abdomen.  Male locusts make this call as a way to attract females and find their mate.  The females respond with a clicking or snapping sound.  The resulting noise creates a powerful din in the late day air.

Upon hearing the locusts this year, I immediately started looking for discarded locust shells.  Locusts shed their shells to sprout wings and become adults.   They crack through the hardened shells, creating a slit along the top.  They then push themselves through the slit to spread their wings.

Finding a Gem Amid the Weeds

I looked in all the normal good places for finding discarded locust shells: the grooves of the bark on the old walnut tree, the v-shaped trunks of the maple trees, and the branches of the bushes, but found none on the first night.  The next night while weeding, I noticed an oddly shaped brown object in the grass.  Turning it over, I realized it was a locust shell.  Once again, the eight year old inside got all excited and ran to the house to grab the camera to take pictures.

One Like Another


Weeding Through Time Lisa A. Wisniewski

Just as the locust sheds its shell, we often need to shed habits or possessions in order to move onward.  As we weed out needs, wants, desires, and other aspects of life, we build character, strength, faith, hope, and understanding.  We also have the opportunity to stretch our imaginations, improve our talents and skills, and step outside our comfort zone.  As I have said in other posts, it is in trying that we grow and in growing that we become who we need to be.

Earlier tonight, the rain forced the dogs and me inside.  We worked on indoor chores and cleaned out two small areas that had been on our to-do list.  After the rain, we went outside.  While walking in the yard, I found the weeds growing in the garden to be bothersome to my anal mind.   Though it was later in the evening and rather wet, I started weeding as the dogs supervised.

The number of weeds was a bit daunting, but I quickly realized many of the weeds were large tufts.  Removing just a few tufts created a nice open space in the garden.  I diligently kept pulling although the bugs were biting, I was sweating, and I really should have been inside taking a shower in order to go to bed at a decent hour.  I pulled until dark and almost finished the weeding task.  The sight before me was pleasing to the eye, as well as a reminder of how diligence, patience, and persistence can lead to better things, or as the following quote so eloquently states,

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost


The Best Way Out Lisa A. Wisniewski

May the process of weeding through life’s gardens and spaces provide opportunity for growth, renewal, and inner peace.  May the process of learning how best to spend our time bring a sense of accomplishment and understanding, allowing us to see the blessings in the delta before the divide.


Red, Red Sun Lisa A. Wisniewski

Delta Before the Divide

Venus in the morning sky
Dancing with the crescent moon way up high,
Red, red sun above the haze
Conveying God’s love and grace
To the ground below
As the sound of the wind blows
Through the trees and beyond
The river to the sea past the pond
To the delta beyond the divide
Reaching to help us to the other side.


Deer in Field Lisa A. Wisniewski

Rabbits and deer in the fields all around
Jump and steer themselves without a sound,
Dancing to summer’s song
As the river runs on and on
Through the minutes of the moments
That are hidden in the motions
Of the water in the delta before the divide
Where stellar is the view at the other side.


In the Light of the Sun Lisa A. Wisniewski

In the light of the sun and water of the rain,
We traverse the path that runs by faith
Through hill and dale, mountain and desert,
The Lord allows us to proceed despite the weather
By God’s grace through the river of time
We reach the delta before the divide
That pulls us to the shelter of the other side.


Onward We Press (Sunset 7/20/17) Lisa A. Wisniewski

Onward we press and forward we go
Through the deserts that stretch past where the seeds have been sown,
Spreading our roots along the way,
Past our youth and innocent days
To the forest of the trees
Where before us we see
The world from the delta before the divide
Leading us toward the other side.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Weeding Buddies Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Locusts – http://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/locusts/

Locust mating – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130530152846.htm

Locust shedding shells – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2448427/A-bugs-life-The-amazing-images-cicada-breaking-free-larva-shell-unfurling-wings-adult-insect.html

Locust sound – https://www.livescience.com/28925-why-cicadas-sing.html

Observing July’s Extremes and Hidden Spots


Full Moon July 8, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

My dogs and I watched the Full Buck moon rise on July 8 between bands of rain storms.  The full moon of July is also known as the Full Thunder moon due to the frequency of thunder storms during the month.  The storms were indeed prevalent this week, popping up all hours of the day and night, dumping rain in sheets upon the ground, and blowing tall, established trees like toothpicks in the wind.

Surviving Extremes Through Belief


Storm Clouds in the Distance Lisa A. Wisniewski

Watching the storms made me think about the extremes of life.  One minute, everything is bright, sunny, and carefree.  The next minute, the skies are dark, gray, and filled with a harshness that sends chills through the soul.  We never know what each minute of the day or night will bring, yet we can’t live if we are immobilized by fears or anxiety.  Our faith leads us onward, as does the love of God and others in our lives.  Each step upon the journey leads us to growth and discovery necessary for the remaining parts of the journey.


After the Rain Lisa A. Wisniewski

In contemplating the extremes of nature and life, I was reminded of the extremes God put His people through in order to show them the way.  Some people were “stiff-necked” and reluctant to comply, but others simply did as asked, fearing the consequences.  Perhaps the story of Joseph and his brothers in the book of Genesis (Genesis 37-50) offers a good example.  Joseph lived his life close to God, much to the chagrin of his brothers, who sold him to Pharao in Egypt.  Though famine gripped the land and Joseph did not understand his brothers’ ways, he pressed forward, blessed by God.  In the end, Joseph was reunited with his father Jacob, as well as his brothers, and was able to provide for all of them and their families.  Joseph survived the extremes because of his faith and willingness to listen to God.

Listening to and for God


Bull Thistle Lisa A. Wisniewski

One of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy running and biking outdoors is the opportunity to listen to and for God these activities offer.  Often, I find God’s words in the skies, but sometimes He speaks in the trees, flowers, and wildlife around me.

While seeking God in my runs and bike rides this week, I found:

  • Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), known for its hairy, purple disc flowers and spiny green stems
  • Common burdock (Arctium minus), with its spiny flower balls topped in purple above heart-shaped leaves
  • Teasels (Dipsacus) in bloom with bees buzzing at the emerging flower heads
  • Goldenrod (Solidago) just starting to bloom with yellow flowers arching over grayish green stems and leaves like spatulas

Goldenrod Lisa A. Wisniewski


Common Burdock Lisa A. Wisniewski


Doe in the Brush Lisa A. Wisniewski

On one of my bike rides after a thunderstorm, I spotted a doe in the woods.  She seemed guarded, so I stopped to observe her from behind a tree and discovered she had a fawn close by.  Watching the two together in the dense brush reminded me that sometimes in seeking, we find more than we anticipate or expect.  Depending upon the findings, we may feel overcome with joy, sorrow, or even bittersweet emotions.  How we handle the facts and our emotions is what helps shape our character and success in life, as illustrated in the following quote:

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles that one has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington


Sweet Success Lisa A. Wisniewski

Defining Success Through Lost and Found

It is in trying that we learn, and in learning that we gain the strength to try.  As we go about this process, we find different definitions of success and failure, as well as times of feeling both lost and found.  Many years ago, I realized that in order to be found, one must first be lost.  At first, this was unsettling to me, for being lost is not that great of a feeling.  However, my experiences taught me that being lost is not always bad or a sign of weakness, but rather a necessary process one must undergo in order to move forward.


Finding Light Within the Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Given that I don’t like moving backward, I figure being lost is a good reason to start seeking, and seeking makes one try, which in turn leads one forward.  While this may not be the most eloquent reasoning, it is the simplicity of the solution that makes it beautiful in certain circles.  Perhaps similar reasoning can be used to explain the grandness of nature and summer’s song.  Nature prods us to ask questions, discover, and move on.  Summer’s song is complex in that it is unique for each individual, yet simple in that it speaks to the heart, mind, and soul in a way that is uplifting, as the following quote suggests:

“In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams


Summer Song Lisa A. Wisniewski

May the extremes of life lead us through moments of being lost, allowing us to be found.  In seeking, may we learn and discover the extent of our faith and its mighty powers.  May the character built along the way lead us to hidden spots of peace, happiness, and overall good health. 


Teasels Lisa A. Wisniewski

Hidden Spots

Teasels and golden rod blowing in the breeze
Before a storm stirred up by God ripples heaven’s seas
Casting rain down in waves
Before the sun comes out upon another day
Guiding the lost to be found
In the hidden spots of the world spinning around.


Tiger Lilies Lisa A. Wisniewski

Bull thistle, burdock, and tiger lilies, too
Listen to the locusts call in the pines high above the roots
As the breeze blows in the summer air
And the river runs to the sea within the soul made aware
As what was once lost becomes found
In the hidden spots of the world spinning around.


Rabbits Along the Road Lisa A. Wisniewski

Rabbits along the road, deer in the field,
Out of habit I go, trying to discover what is concealed,
Moving to the rhythm of life’s songs
Through miles both ridden and trod,
Lost in thought in order to be found
In the hidden spots of the world spinning around.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Mountain Laurel Lisa A. Wisniewski


Rose of Sharon Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Full Buck moon – http://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-names

Genesis 37-50 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+37-50&version=NKJV

Observing July Through Summer’s Song


Peaceful Dawn Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I pedaled and biked through the humidity this past week, I found solace in the quiet of the early dawn and twilight hours.  The gentle breezes blowing helped lift my soul and kept me cooler through the miles.  As I strained to find new things within the landscape, I discovered two patches of trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans).  The trumpet-shaped reddish orange flowers stood out from the climbing mass of leaves, reminding me of the following responsorial psalm used in the Catholic mass for the Ascension of the Lord:

“God mounts His throne to shouts of joy, a blare of trumpets for the Lord.” – Based on Psalm 47

Vines of Faith


Trumpet Creeper Lisa A. Wisniewski

Not only are the flowers like trumpets, but also the vine is able to climb with support, usually through the help of a tree in the wild or a trellis if cultivated.  The rising vine really has no bounds, just as the Lord has no boundaries to His mighty powers and grace.

Similarly, if we have faith and open our lives to God, we can achieve the impossible, overcome the seemingly insurmountable, and withstand the storms of life.  Our faith acts as our supporting structure, allowing us to lean on it as needed, and even when we seem to not need it.  Like the trumpet vine stalk, our faith weaves its way throughout our lives, fed by the truth and the light.

Vines of Frustration


Poison Ivy Lisa A. Wisniewski

This week seemed to be the week all the vines in my area made themselves visible.  In addition to the trumpet creeper, I noticed poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) growing out of control in the woods and along the roads, and poison oak (Toxicondendron diversiloba) can be found climbing up the trunks of trees and over fallen logs.

Though these vines do not have large, showy flowers like the trumpet vine, they do have showy leaves which can help identify them.  Poison ivy is known for its pointed three leaf formation, and poison oak for its lobed, round-toothed leaves.  The main issue with poison ivy and poison oak is the oil the plants produce, which is a known skin irritant that can cause a major rash and discomfort, especially in the hear and humidity of summer.


Poison Oak Lisa A. Wisniewski

Seeing the poison ivy and poison oak made me wonder why God would create such a nuisance plant.  In my pondering of possible reasons, I came to the conclusion that like weeds, God creates things to make us stop, look, and learn.  Though the stopping may not be convenient, the looking may not yield a pleasant sight, and the learning may entail a hard lesson, the exercise helps build character, strength, and faith, all of which are needed upon the journey.

Walking Along Discovering Summer’s Song

During my walks and while mowing the yard, I discovered the weeds of summer have taken up residence pretty much everywhere.  Some of the weeds pop up over night, others take their time to slowly spread along the ground.  All of them remind me that there is still work to do to keep both the physical and metaphorical weeds at bay in life.

Weeds of note I found include:

  • Common purslane, which looks similar to cultivated portulaca, but has rounder, broader leaves
  • Broadleaf plantain, known for its thick, leathery leaves and tall flower stems
  • Gill-over-the-ground, known  for its scalloped, heart-shaped leaves, pungent odor when cut, and vine-like growth
  • White clover, known for its three-leaf formation and bee-attracting properties

Gill-over-the-ground Lisa A. Wisniewski


Broadleaf Plantain and White Clover Lisa A. Wisniewski

The carefree appearance of each weed standing in the sunlight beneath the blue sky reminded me that there are times in life for both work and play.  We can enjoy our times of work and play if we open our minds and allow our hearts to feel the graces granted to us.  We can also find peace, energy, and understanding in nature around us as we listen to summer’s songs both literally and figuratively.


Summer’s Song in the Skies Lisa A. Wisniewski


Joy Without a Sound Lisa A. Wisniewski


May the sights and sounds of summer allow us to see both God and our faith at work.  May the weeds of life not permanently detour us from our destination, and may summers song be heard deep within the mind, body, and soul.


Sunset in the Rain Lisa A. Wisniewski

Through Summer’s Song

Sunset in the rain, pink and purple with delight
Singing the refrains of the angels in the sky
Watching over earth between the clouds
As the waters in the seas spins around
Keeping time to the beat that flows
Within the rhyme as the lyrics go
Through summer’s song upon the way
Of the path moving along to heaven’s gates.


Sunrise July 3, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sunrise in the dawn, bright orange and gold
Casting light upon the flowers as they unfold
To greet the rays with open arms
As night fades with the stars
To begin the day anew
Within the sequins of the dew
Sparkling through summer’s song upon the way
As Springsteen strums his guitar in Born in the USA.


Midday Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Midday clouds within the blue sea
Moving about with graceful ease,
Dancing and swaying to the music so soft
Whispered in the grace of God
Riding the breeze up and down
In perfect harmony with the blessed sound
Of silence through summer’s song upon the way
Leading the soul along the path it must take.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski


Fireworks in the Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski


Doe and Fawns Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Ascension of the Lord – http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050516-ascension.cfm

Broadleaf plantain – http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=110

Common purslane – http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/purslane.htm

Gill-over-the-ground – https://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/glhe.htm

Psalm 47 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+47

Trumpet creeper – https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=cara2

White clover – http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/white_clover.htm