all the things I do in my hideaway

Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

7 Days of Inspiration – Tuesday

7 Day of Inspiration – Tuesday – a picture of where I go for inspiration.

I am so blessed to live close enough to the Seattle temple to go there whenever I want to.  As with almost all temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it sits on a prominent hill.    Anyone traveling I-90 west of Seattle will see it easily.  The northwest corner of the property includes a small wooded area with paths and beautiful flowers.  While often used for wedding photos, it is a place to step outside of the world a bit prior to entering the temple, a place to focus on the ordinances of salvation and eternity, a place to go when the cares of the world become overwhelming.  This is the place I went to last spring when my sister was diagnosed with cancer.  I was preparing to spend my spring vacation with her, and felt the need of peace and comfort from my Father in Heaven. Because of traffic that afternoon, I arrived later than expected, and decided to spend part of my time here before entering the House of the Lord, that sacred temple.  I loved the play of light with the gray clouds to the south and the white clouds/blue sky over the temple itself.

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Musical alarm clock today…

 

 

I awoke early this Thanksgiving morning with the tune and words of a hymn running through my mind.  “For the beauty of the earth…” seemed to wind through those early moments of consciousness.  As I listened to the celestial choir in my mind, examples wove their way into my thanks.  The verses continued, and I felt the need to share with you this morning.  May your day be one of gratitude and rejoicing, filled with love from friends on earth and friends above.

For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies.

For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies.

For the beauty of each hour, of the day (the incredibly bright rainbows I’ve seen this fall) and of the night

Hill (Mt. Olympus) and vale (Norris Geyser Basin) and tree and flow’r.  Sun and moon, and stars of night (the Milky Way from a secluded camp)..

For the joy of human love, brother Steve and Brent), sister (Kathy, Carol, Marilyn, Maurine), parent (Mom and Dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins), child (Suzanne, who added Glen, then Aidan and Ryan; Jenn, who brought Matthew; Deborah;  Robert, who added Katherine;  Ben;  Bekah; and Rachel).

Friends on earth (Marilyn, Nancy, Annette, Louanna, Carrol, Linda, Megan, Julie, Ethel, the list continues),  and friends above (Linda, Rene, Debbie,…) .  For all gentle thoughts and mild.

For the truths from teachers wise (too many to name) , for the words from fertile minds  (all the writers I’ve learned to love and read).

For the heroes I daily find, walking through the sands of time (Jesus, Enoch, Captain Moroni, Joseph Smith, Jean Valjean, Sidney Carton, Aslan,…).

For the gift of earthly life.  Body, spirit, heart, and mind.

Heart to love and hands to serve.  God’s good work to do on earth.

For the daily simple deeds, waking, sleeping, working, play.

Daily learning how to lead, how to follow the Master’s steps.

For the gift of ears to hear, voices speaking from the dust.

Leading to eternal life, teaching patience, truth, and love.

For the daily simple deeds, waking, sleeping, working, play.

Daily learning how to lead, how to follow the Master’s steps.

Lord of all to thee I raise, this my hymn of grateful praise.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…”  James 1:17

Fruit of my labors…

A unique month, not found on the calendar, has begun in the Pacific Northwest.  This is the month known as Blackberry Season.  Drive around, and you’ll see men, women, children, of all ages, picking berries into buckets, cups, grocery bags, bowls…and some just eating!

The Himalayan Blackberry was brought to North America in the late 1800s, valued for its large, juicy berries.  Loved by birds and many other animals, the plant spread widely.  This beautiful corner of God’s creation is prime real estate for these berries.   Leave land unattended, and chances are, blackberries will be comfortably taking over within a few short years.

As a science teacher, I love to mention this plant.  This is a perfect example, growing on the perimeter of our school grounds, of seed dispersal by animals.  Animal eats berry, animal digests berry – expect the seed, animal performs what is known, in a life science classroom, as “excretion.”  You know about that.  The “offerings” from the birds, found on cars, sidewalks, trees, patios, and occasionally, oops!  On you…or me.  Teachers call this a “real world connection.”  What a tasty connection!

Just a side note:  Those animals are often birds, but I know for certain that porcupines participate in the great seed dispersal.  A few Blackberry Seasons ago, my daughter, Suzanne and I were hiking on Cougar Mountain.  We stopped at the top of the hill to just look around and spotted a porcupine, up on his (or her – we didn’t ask or try to look) hind quarters, picking and eating blackberries as fast as it could.  Other animals like this month, too.

For eleven months, residents despair of eliminating these plants from their yards.  Herbicides claiming to eliminate the canes – nice sales pitch!  Dig, cut, burn,…what?  There’s another one growing in a new spot in the yard.  A few enterprising souls even have a unique business – “Rent a Goat.”  Those four-legged creatures,  immortalized for eating Bill Grogan’s three red shirts off the clothesline, will eat blackberry canes, thorns and all.

But this is Blackberry Season.  So, this morning…

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Almost a gallon today…

What should I do with this wealth?

I have so many choices; pie, cobbler, ice cream topping, ice cream, jam, jelly, pancake syrup, …think I’ll just freeze these.  Then I have choices all winter.  And Blackberry Season has just begun.

Clouds…

With the cool weather we have been having. clouds are much on my mind.  In some parts of the country, like Utah, clouds can mean rain, and maybe not much else.  Here, clouds can be our friends.  Clouds on a summer morning mean our “cooling blanket” from the ocean has paid us a visit, and the day will not be HOT, but pleasant.  In the winter, the blanket is our “insulation”, holding the warmth (?) of the day above the land.  We know that clear nights in the winter mean COLD nights.  So, thanks for the clouds forecast for the next few early mornings, and the sunshine for the rest of the day. Temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s are my thing!

(I would take a picture of the morning clouds, but they are gone!  What a day to enjoy!

Patience, a fruit of the Spirit…

What a wonderful Sabbath Day.  As happens so often, the messages presented in Sacrament Meeting were the exact things I needed to hear.  The last few weeks of school can try the patience of the most patient of teachers, and this year was no different.  I felt like so many things were happening that I had no control over, and I was becoming impatient with the situations I was facing.  I wanted (and still want) answers to some questions, and I didn’t want to wait.  Like a little child who wants to eat (or whatever) NOW, I had bombarded the gates of heaven for answers, NOW.  Looking back, I realize I received the answer I needed, even when I didn’t appreciate it as I should.   My answer was, “I won’t ask you to do more than you are able.”  Still, patience was lacking.

The Lord’s timing, as always, is perfect.  School ended on Thursday.  Today, the topic of the speakers was patience.  The Spirit touched my heart, and I found comfort and hope in the words quoted from Pres. Uchtdorf in the April, 2010 conference:

“Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience.  Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand on our lives until long after the trials have passed.  Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.

Patience is a godly attribute that can heal souls, unlock treasures of knowledge and understanding, and transform ordinary men and women into saints and angels. Patience is truly a fruit of the Spirit.

Patience means staying with something until the end. It means delaying immediate gratification for future blessings. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word. It means resisting evil, even when it appears to be making others rich.

Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)   Ultimately, patience means being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord” (1 Nephi 2:10)  every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. In the words of John the Revelator, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and … faith [in] Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12)

Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls. (Luke 21:19)   Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls. (Luke 21:19, footnote b)   Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. This was true in the time of the Savior. It is true in our time as well, for we are commanded in these latter days to “continue in patience until ye are perfected.”  (D&C 67:13)

The great Saguaro cactus of the southwestern desert of the United States is only 1.5 inches tall after 10 years of growth.  That cactus is a creation of God’s hand.  If He is willing to wait so long for that cactus to grow, He will be patient with me as I grow.  The lesson I need to learn is to be patient with myself and with His timing for me.

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Flowers and hummingbirds…

This morning, I looked out at my little fushia basket just in time to see a hummingbird leaving.  I hope the bird returns sometime and I get a better look.  For now, the flowers are doing well.  There are four plants in the basket.  Three are survivors from last year (I did nothing except ignore the basket) and the fourth was added to even out the space.  I expect to see more flowers in the next few weeks.