Monday, August 21, 2017

The Solar Eclipse, 2017

As I was on my morning walk, I received a text from our neighbors wanting to know "was I going to watch the eclipse"today.  I hadn't really thought about it.  The news reports in Northern Colorado have been stating "don't get on I-25 unless you have to.  Traffic is terrible and cars are inching along the interstate."

In hearing the news, I began to have flashbacks to when Hurricane Rita was headed towards Houston. This was two weeks after Katrina had hit New Orleans back in 2005.  I remember trying to flee Houston in the middle of the night to try to escape the storm and the traffic.  With all of that said, I have stayed in my neighborhood and the immediate surroundings for the past few day.

I texted back to my neighbor and asked "do you have the solar glasses.?"    Her reply was yes.  She said meet us at the pool area around 11:15 am(MT) where we have the best spot of seeing the eclipse.

I got home and began to read up about all the craze for the solar eclipse. In Colorado, the eclipse would begin around 10:30 am and last until 1:15 pm.  The peak would be between 11:45 and 11:55 am. I found out that where I was located, the eclipse would reach about 95% instead of 100% total darkness.

 And that the last time that the United States had an eclipse was in 1979 and it only had reached five states. It was in 1918, that the eclipse did cross the U.S. from coast to coast. Today's eclipse was stretching across fourteen states: Oregon, Idaho, a sliver of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, a tiny portion of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The next solar eclipse will be visible in Colorado on August 12, 2045 and that the path of totality will pass directly over the state.  Who knows, I could still be here?

As I got to the pool area, I could already begin to feel the weather getting cooler and the sun did seem a lot dimmer.  There was a stillness among the wind and a quietness among the birds.  It was as if, time was standing still.

It was interesting to watch as the moon passed in front of the sun.  It was surreal in observing this take place.  As the moon did cross in front of the sun, it wasn't total darkness.  I looked north towards the Wyoming border and you could see the darkness.  It reminded me of when the weather changes and a northern is blowing down from Canada.

It was a great experience and if I am still around in 2045, I will pull out my solar glasses and I will enjoy the moment.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The End of the Day

There is something about walking in the evening.  It is a great way to end the day.  

As I strolled through the neighborhood, I thought about how peaceful my day had been.  It had been an uneventful day.  We need to have those because there are days where we feel that we can't accomplish anything.

I could hear the crickets chirping, I could see the swallows gliding through the sky and the rabbits jumping from one area to the next.  Also there was a crispness in the area as the sun was lowering in the west.

I was able to capture this photo of the sun going behind the clouds.

Thank you Lord for a beautiful and peaceful day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Eye of the Peacock

Today as I was going through pictures, I came across one of the photos that I took this summer in Italy.  I was touring an organic cheese farm and these peacocks were roaming the property, spreading their beautiful feathers and crying out their call.

The beauty of the peacock is so spectacular with it's rich, iridescent blue body and the tail plumes are a rich blue as well.  The vibrant blue, green and yellow eye spots on the feathers show the beauty of the peacock.

The peacock is symbolic of integrity, as well nobility, holiness, guidance, protection and watchfulness.  This is one reason why you always see peacocks roaming on the grounds of royalty.

Seeing this photo reminded me once again of the beauty of nature.  God created the peacock and He created me.  May we never forget how special we all are in God's eyes!

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Dancing Butterfly

As I relaxed outside today to enjoy the warm sunshine and cool air, I noticed the "white dancing butterflies" in the garden.  It was so peaceful to sit there and to watch them flutter from one plant to another.  As if they had no care in the world.

Watching nature is so symbolic of our own lives.  Even though we don't have wings to fly, we still have the opportunity of sharing ourselves with people around us.  Sometimes we just don't want to reach out and share happiness and joy with someone.  Are you in a rut in life?  Get out there and do something for someone else.  Spread your arms and embrace life!

Butterflies are so adaptable to their environment.  We need to learn to be sensitive to our surroundings.  You don't have to put yourself into a situation that doesn't build you up.  Be around people and circumstances that encourage and support you.

Also, butterflies teaches us metamorphosis.  Butterflies shed the old before they can become the beautiful creatures that they are.  We need to remember that sometimes we need to back-off and to allow the process to happen.  The adult butterfly only emerges as the conditions are right.  We need to remember that there will always be "changes".  When we do develop and gain our growth, our life will take on a new formation and we will be ready for our next phase in life.

As the butterflies danced among the flowers, they remind us not to be so serious, but to enjoy our surroundings.  We need to embrace changes as they happen. People tell us "to stop and smell the roses".  Maybe we need to stop and dance with someone.  Dancing always brings a smile to your face, as well as laughter.  Laughter is so cleansing.

The white color reminded me of purity and the cleanliness that we all strive for.  As we all know, no one is perfect. But we all need to be the best that we can be.  The Indians believed that the white butterfly represented "a guardian spirit, ushering you along the path of life".  The butterfly represents the endurance, change, hope and life that we all need.

For even just a few minutes, taking time to watch the white butterflies dancing, took away the stress and problems around me.

Do yourself a favor!  Get outside and watch nature perform and I promise you, you will have a different outlook on life!

The White Dancing Butterfly

Sunday, August 13, 2017

His Divine Plan

In my search of discovering His will for my life, I am reading the book Every Life Is A Plan Of God by J. Oswald Sanders.  He has a lot of good insight.

In today's reading, these words made an impression on me:

"Each of us is unique because we are made in the image of God.  'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.'  Genesis 1:27.

If there is a divine plan for our lives, and I believe there is, we should not expect it to be like an architect's blueprint.  Or like a travel agent's itinerary, all complete with dates, places, and times.  We are not automatons controlled by a heavenly computer!  Divine guidance concerns people who have been endowed with the awesome power of free choice.  Every day we have to make decisions and choices, some of which will affect our whole future.  The fact that we have been created in the divine image adds an eternal dimension to these decisions.

The circumstances surrounding our lives are not accidental, but are devised by an all-wise and loving Father, who knows how best we can glorify Him and yet at the same time achieve our own highest good.  When this becomes a conviction, believed and accepted, then every part of life becomes significant, and life itself becomes one large voyage of discovery of God and our own true selves."

My life is not by accident.  The these things that I am going through are not by accident.  Even though at times I want everything laid out, that is not going to be the case.  Once I allow God to be in control, I can have the peace that I am looking for.

I just need to "Let Go and Let God"!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Just A Thought!

Mark Twain once said,

"Take your mind out every now and then and dance on it.  It is getting all caked up."

He was saying, "Try something new, break new ground, get out of your rut."

Our lives are like that.  We sometimes keep doing the same thing over and over and over, but we get nowhere.  There is a lot to life.  I am challenging myself to try something new!  Let's see what I come up with!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Accept the Things I Cannot Change

Today, I was reminded of the verse that theologian Reinhold Niebuhr composed:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

These words are easier to recite than they are to live by.  But the more that we recite this verse, the more we will begin to understand that we can be comforted by our great Creator and that He understands His plans perfectly, even when we don't.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Press On

Today was a day of one thunderstorm after another coming through our city.  Our lives are so much like these thunderstorms.  We get one situation handled and within a hour, a day, a week, a month, etc., another situation comes about.

Will there ever be a day or a time that we feel like there is a peace among us?

How does one handle finding out that their job has been eliminated or that they have been diagnosed with cancer or a love one has died or they don't have enough finances to pay bills?

As I was reading my Bible, I read a story about David and how he handled tough times.  David and his men were out fighting battles and they came back to their homeland.  When they approached their town, they discovered that their town had been destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters had been taken captive.  David and his men wept until they couldn't weep anymore.

David's men were so upset at him, that they thought about stoning him.  They were bitter in spirit because their families had been taken.  Instead of thinking of a plan to go rescue their families, they looked for someone to blame.

As I continued to read, the scripture that stood out was "But David found strength in the Lord his God."  God gave David the strength to begin to look for a solution instead of a scapegoat.  So often as we go through circumstances we want to blame someone, instead of looking for a way to take care of the problem.

With wisdom from God, David found a solution and was able to rescue everyone who had been taken captive.

As we go through our circumstances, we need to go before the Lord and pray for wisdom to handle the situation.  Take one concern at a time, handle it so that you can handle the next and the next and the next.  God doesn't promise that there will never be a problem, but He does promise that He will carry us through the problem.

The photo reminds me that we even though I may be surrounded by water(challenges), the calmness(the strength from God) will help me to tackle the circumstances and that I need to "press on".

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

An Earnest Request

As I have been on my journey of understanding my role in life, I have begun to understand that God wants me to come before Him to request for the needs of the people around me.

This past Sunday, one of the preachers talked about how the whole world longs for a spiritual connection with God. Some people feel that God is always with them and some feel as if God isn't listening to them.  That He never hears them and that their prayers(requests) are just bouncing off the ceiling.

There is no "magical formula" in praying to God.  He wants us to talk with Him about our hopes, our dreams, our desires, our hurts, our disbelief, our pain, etc.

Even the disciples came before Jesus and asked Him to teach them to pray.

Jesus taught them the Lord's prayer.  It is okay to come before God with the same prayer request(over and over and over).  He encourages persistent prayer, when we pray with a sincere and honest heart. He also encourages us to be faithful.

Until others feel comfortable in praying, I will continue to pray for the wisdom/direction or healing that they need in their life.

We are like these "Black Eyed Susans" when we have God in our life.   These flowers are very versatile to heat and drought.  These beautiful yellow flowers with the dark, brown-purple centers with-stand the obstacles around them.  We also with-stand the obstacles around us when we allow God to direct us.

Keep on Praying!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Today, I Wept

This morning I received a text from a friend discussing all the situations going on in her life at this time.  My heart was so heavy burden that I began to weep.  As I wept, I thought about Jesus and when He wept when he heard that Lazarus had died.

As I have emotions for my friend, Jesus also had emotions(compassion and sorrow) for Lazarus.

As the tears flowed, I prayed for my friend.  I prayed that God would give her the strength to endure all that she is going through; to give her the wisdom and the insight that she needs.  As I cried and prayed, I could feel the Lord telling me that He would take care of her.

Jesus doesn't want us to hide anything from Him.  He cares.  Matthew 11:28-30 states "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of an ox.  It is then attached to a piece of equipment so that the oxen can pull.  These heavy burdens(sorrow, sin, weariness, etc) can only be freed through Jesus.  He will give us peace, love and healing.

I dried my tears and decided to take a walk.  It had rained earlier in the morning and now the sun was peeking through the clouds.  With the sun out, the flowers looked more vibrant and alive.  I also felt more vibrant with the sun rays touching my skin.

Our lives are so much like nature.  After the dark clouds and rain, there is always hope with the Son in our life.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Trust in HIm

One would never believe that it is August in Colorado.  For the past few days, it has been cloudy and rainy.  The highs have been in the 60's and it almost feels like a fall day.

The dark cloud has lifted, but the clouds are still surrounding me.

As I look at the attached photo, I wonder how do I see beyond the clouds and remember the days of pink clouds, the baby blue sky and the light of a brand new day.

The verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 3:5-6:
""Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

We at times wonder can I really trust God?  Will He get me through these tough times?  By being in prayer and reading the Bible and allowing the Word to be my guide, God will give me the direction that I need.  It is hard to explain to someone about the peace that overcomes me when I am reading the Word.

I must trust God in every area of my life.  This mean; my values, my priorities, my work, my family and my dreams.  When I allow God to be first in my life, I will accomplish His purpose and He will assist me through those dark times.

I just need to remember to take "one day at a time".  God tells me not to worry about tomorrow. Today is His.  As Scarlett O'Hara, from "Gone With the Wind" said, "After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Dark Cloud

Have you ever felt as if a "dark cloud" was hanging over your head?  I know I have.  For the past several weeks, I have felt as if all my "joy" has been sucked out of me.  My heart has been heavy for my family and friends that are going through so many trials in their life at this time.

As I am going through this darkness, it has taken me on a journey to find the light that God gives to each one of us.

In the book of Genesis, the story of Joseph shows me that God is always with me.

"But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden."  Genesis 39:21.  The notes for this verse tells me that, as a prisoner and slave, Joseph could have seen his situation as hopeless.  Instead, he did his best with each small task given him.  His diligence and positive attitude were soon noticed by the warden, who promoted him to prison administrator.  As we go through situations, we need to follow Joseph's example by taking each small task and doing our best.  God turned Joseph's situation around.  God will see our efforts and He can reverse even overwhelming odds.

God is with each one of us, as He was with Joseph.

As I look at this picture, I see the "dark clouds" and the light of God shining through.  This week, I will be seeking the "light" that God wants me to discover.