Roadside view of Cane Creek Mountains

Some days I don’t drive this part of this old road, but seeing glimpses like this makes me remember what a beautiful place this is. You can’t see the creek in this picture, but it is there, meandering through the landscape from pasture to pasture and field to field.

There are higher hills a few hours to the west, and larger bodies of water nearby as well. The colors change with the rhythms of the season, but for me these hills are timeless, always just beyond the tree-line from my back porch. Quiet, almost hidden, these Cane Creek Mountains are the very picture of perfect spring green on this April afternoon.

~ Enjoy the everyday beauty~

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Reflections on the passing of Rev. Billy Graham

This beautiful spring-like morning in this little corner of North Carolina the sunshine is playing peek-a-boo through the clouds. A family of cardinals is enjoying the cover of the sentry cedar outside the bedroom window. and the air is filled with joyful sounds of squirrel chatter and songbirds.
Here, in this scene I have learned of the passing of Rev. Billy Graham. And, while I’ve never met him face to face, I have been one of the many in the crowd at a “Crusade” in Greensboro when I was much, much younger, and I have had the benefit of reading, watching, listening and reflecting on his sermons throughout my life. And for that, for that example of being a conduit or merely a thread for others to see Christ, I am truly grateful. This world is a much better place for your 99 years here, and while you will be so missed, today it seems this corner of North Carolina is celebrating your life in a beautiful, natural, peaceful manner.
November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018, What an abundant life was shared in the span of that dash.  Rest in peace and may the angels lead you into paradise, Reverend Billy Graham.
“Well done, good and faithful servant….” Matthew 25:23

Later…..

Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.

But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.

Hello, Tuesday! It’s good to be here.

Sunday Afternoon ~ Coffee with the Cardinals.

Sometimes, the birds in this back yard play peek-a-boo.  Singing and chirping their greetings from the deep cover of the bushes, or just out of sight behind the branches of the trees. The resident cardinals are especially good at keeping hidden, despite their briliant red feathers.

This week, however, they seem happy and content to be seen, and I absolutely love seeing them.

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Snapshot through the screen: Cardinal surveying the melting snow.

My grandmother, Ava, was the one who began and encouraged my fascination with cardinals.  She was a wise woman.  If I can only remember half of the things she told me or I overheard her say during the short years I knew her, I should be fine.

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Snapshot through the screen. Cardinals enjoying sunshine in an old oak tree behind the swingset.

A quick glimpse of a cardinal has always been special for me, but an afternoon of these beauties allowing me a few pictures is enough to make me smile for a long time.  All but one of these pictures was taken through the screen as I tried to not disturb the birds too much.  So (giggle) these are literal “Screen Shots” .

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Snapshot through the screen:  Enjoying the sunshine and chirping in the warming afternoon air.

Birds aren’t known for staying still long, of course, and these are no different.  Eventually they left to survey other areas.  Perhaps looking for nesting sights, perhaps looking for food, perhaps just enjoying the afternoon sunshine, perhaps all of that and more.

 

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On a higher branch, watching the other birds.

So, having whispered my timeless wish upon first sight, and spending time enjoying their lovely company I settled back onto the porch with my afternoon coffee, and made myself a note to more often remember to focus on the beauty and peace in these little everyday moments.

~Peace~

Class ~ One must observe before one may teach.

I get to meet the most amazing people.
Early in our youth ministry season, I received a call from a senior at a nearby university seeking an opportunity to observe a class in our program.  After our standard background check and an interview, she quickly became part of our group and settled in with the eighth graders and a few of the best mentors in a youth setting that anyone could ask for.  The youth love seeing her. The volunteers love seeing her.  We all love seeing her.
I remember walking into the lobby at our first meeting and having this beautiful young lady ask me nervously ask if her service dog would be allowed to stay with her. I couldn’t believe she would even ask that, and I felt sad that she had ever had to ask such a question. The dog and I became great pals, and we’ve both been placed in time out for playing while she was on duty, but only once, we got the message.
Today she and I sat down at the same table where we held her first interview. This time, however, she was interviewing me for her class. This was a final step in completing her project. Her time with us is drawing to an end.
Before she left, she let me record a short little “goodbye” video for the youth from her.  Ah! What a beautiful soul in such a caring young lady. She is going to be so missed.
There’s a deeper point to this story, however. I can’t remember the number of places she told me she had contacted about observing, but she told me I was the only person who called her back. To those who did not call her back, I would say two things: First, you missed out on an incredible opportunity to get to know someone and help her pursue her goals. Second, thank you, because you did not return her call, she found her way to our program. Her presence, I know has enhanced our classroom group and I hope the experience has been enriching for her as well.
These young adults with whom we’re entrusting our future need experience, need encouragement and need safe places to pursue opportunities. If you are in such a position to offer those opportunities, I would ask and encourage you to consider doing so. I can only imagine, and I may never know how this young lady will impact the lives of others in the future, but I believe she will be a powerful force and great asset wherever she chooses to be, and we were blessed to have her observe and be part of our program for these weeks that passed far too quickly.

The last Monday of Summer 2017

via Daily Prompt: Glorious

This evening I was on the back porch, aka my favorite room in the house, reviewing the events of the weekend with the amazing young people with whom I have the privilege of working over the weekend, and checking the calendar when I realized it is the last Monday of summer.  Autumn is scheduled to arrive Friday!   A couple of things happened nearly simultaneously: a sweet text from an old friend to schedule coffee & catch up time, and a strong sunbeam streaming through the leaves.


Both drew me away from my “business” immediately.  Gears were switched, focus was redirected I stepped out into the summer air and turned my face towards the glorious sun rays.

Some sunsets paint the sky in vibrant colors.  But sometimes…..sometimes the sun slips below the canopy and directs the late day rays through and onto the leaves.  Today was one of those days.

If you missed it, perhaps you can enjoy these few photos, these evening views through some of my favorite trees.


I love it when sunlight breaks through these old trees.  It’s as if the rays carry whispers from God saying “I see you, now look towards me”.   And so, I will.

Monday Morning Coffee & Back Porch Prayers

Welcome, friends, to this last Monday of August 2017.

It’s different, you know, when Monday is your day off.  The world seems to be in such a rush; everyone has so much to do as the new week begins.

Meanwhile, my focus is on a coffee cup and how few words I can speak.

Soon enough, I will be searching the news for the hopeful and reassuring actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and other situations happening throughout the world.

But not yet…..

Now it is time to sit quietly with ancient prayers and fresh coffee as the rays from the rising sun reach through these old oaks and bathe the back porch in soft morning light.  And I will stay here, where the morning light dances, as long as it lasts.  ​​At least part of this morning’s ancient prayer comes from St. Augustine (354-430) “O Lord, my God, Light of the blind and Strength of the weak; yeah, also, Light of those that see, and Strength of the strong; hearken unto my soul, and hear it crying out of the depths.  O Lord, help us to turn and seek Thee; for Thou hast not forsaken Thy creatures as we have forsaken Thee, our Creator.  Let us turn and seek Thee, for we know Thou art here in our hearts…..”

The rest of this morning’s prayer is a whisper of overwhelming deep gratitude and thanks from the core of my heart and depths of my soul, sent forth on the morning breeze with true intentions and hopes that it may grow as the rest of this day unfolds.

Be safe out there, everyone.  Look out for one another.  Saint Augustine, pray for us.

Soon enough it will be time to leave the back porch, but not just yet…..