Thursday, August 20, 2020

Interesting Ruby -Throated Hummingbird with Orange Gorget

A few days ago I noticed this unusual hummingbird visiting my feeders.  The common hummer at my house is the black chinned hummingbird, but this is definitely NOT a black chinned.  The next most common one is ruby throated.  As I rummaged through my bird apps and web photos of ruby throated, I uploaded to iNaturalist and someone confirmed it as Ruby throated.  

But this is SUCH a different color than what I expect from a ruby throat. So I sent photos to an expert comparing several hummingbirds that have been at my feeder this summer. He asked for more photos.  

The fork tail is an indicator for ruby throated as opposed to broad-tailed which would be rare bird for my location. 

I am currently trying to use the internet to learn more about my interesting hummer.  


Friday, March 27, 2020

Praying for COVID-19

Long ago I learned a concept of praying the scriptures.  In times of stress I find the Psalms to be meaningful.  I have also experienced when reading one of the One Year Bibles that has a Psalm and a Proverb reading every day, that many times the reading for the day has words of encouragement that are especially relevant for what I am experiencing.

My reading today was Psalm 69.

I also write my prayers during my morning time.  My prayer for today, using Psalm 69:

Dear God,

Save me for the virus seems to be approaching.

All around we seem to be sinking in the mire of infection.  As a nation we have not found a foothold.  We are approaching deep water with overwhelming floods of sick people.  Our medical personnel are crying for help.

It seems that we have people trying to destroy us with lies.

Father, you know how foolish we are.  We can not hide our sins from you.

Father I keep praying to you to have mercy on us.

Please answer our prayers with your sure salvation from this disease.

Rescue us from the mire of this infection.  Let the measures we are attempting keep us from seeking further.

Pull us from these deep waters.  As individuals, don’t let this viral flood overwhelm us or deep waters swallow us, or the pit of death devour us.

Answer these prayers, Lord, for I know your unfailing love is wonderful.

Take care of us, for I know your mercy is plentiful.

Come and redeem us, free us from this virus.

In Jesus name,

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Thinking about how to deal with this difficult time

It feels like things have changed in a heartbeat.  From an active life where I was always on the go, I am now choosing to stay at home for an indefinite period of time.  I am a realist, I think this time of social distancing will be measured in months, not weeks.  From regular contact with my grandson, I may not see him in person for months.

But I believe that God had done some preparation for me.  Back in January I got back into a morning time with God pattern.  This time of Bible study, reflection, journaling, coffee and breakfast help me start my day with the reminder that in the midst of the unknown, the chaos of an unfathomable disease, the drastic changes to every day living, the separation from vital social interaction and the monetary uncertainties, that God IS still in control. In so very many places, the Bible says "Do not be afraid."  "Do not be anxious."

So my game plan is to look outside every day for something joyful and blessed.  It is spring in Central Texas. The flowers are beginning their glorious bloom.  We had blessed rain yesterday.  The butterflies and birds are going about their daily activities.

I will also be working at home on projects that have been neglected such as going through my photographs and making submissions, writing articles and making submissions, go through the house and trying to get rid of 30 some odd years of accumulated belongings.

 Please join me in finding positive ways to spend your time during this unexpected change in our lives.  Be mindful of the beauty that surrounds you.  While you can't ignore the bad news, the number of  cases that will surely rise catastrophically, the difficulties in getting your needed supplies, you can make choices to direct your focus on what is GOOD around you.  You can be grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what you have not right now.

And please, don't forget to spend time meditating with the God of creation.  For me, it will be His peace that passeth understanding that will help me weather the trials that are coming our way.

Grace and peace to you!  May you find a special blessing every day to give you hope during this dark time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

God’s Glory

In my Bible reading yesterday, I read about the glory of God filling the Tabernacle. I wondered what that would have been like to experience first hand.  I tried to imagine what that meant, because I don’t think that I see and experience the glory of God in the same way today.

So I went and looked up the word: glory.

From Merriam Webster’s online dictionary:  

Definition of glory 
 1a : praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : RENOWN
b : worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving giving glory to God
2a : something that secures praise or renown the glory of a brilliant career b : a distinguished quality or asset The glory of the city is its Gothic cathedral.
3a : a state of great gratification or exaltation When she's acting she's in her glory. b : a height of prosperity or achievement ancient Rome in its glory
4a(1) : great beauty and splendor : MAGNIFICENCE … the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome. — E. A. Poe
(2) : something marked by beauty or resplendence a perfect glory of a day b : the splendor and beatific happiness of heaven broadly : ETERNITY
5 : a ring or spot of light: such as a : AUREOLE
b : a halo appearing around the shadow of an object

I think the Israelites experienced God’s great beauty, splendor, and resplendence as well as his distinguishing qualities  in such a way that led them to worshipful praise, honor and thanksgiving.

I am not sure even after thinking about it that I can really grasp what it would be like to experience the glory of God the way the Israelites did.

I think in today’s world, believers know that God is always with them, but we don’t always see it as clearly as described in Exodus.  We don’t necessarily experience His glory in our daily lives as the Israelites did as they saw the cloud surrounding the Tabernacle during the day and the pillar of fire at night.  How would it change our lives if we mediated on God’s glory, his incredible power, and sought His glory on a daily basis.  Would it change how we treat the people around us?  Would it change how we viewed the divisions, the hatred, the animosity that surrounds us in the difficult times we are experiencing?  In the search for God’s glory and in the search for what God’s view would be, would it change our hearts, words, and actions?

As for me, I am hoping I can put thinking about God’s glory into my daily thoughts about God and my relationship with him.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Difference a Year Makes

Last January I took an Amtrak train ride with my grandson from Austin to Taylor.  I could walk and get where I wanted, but walking and standing were endurance tests.  If I walked longer distances, I had to "pause" regularly.  If I really wanted to get somewhere, I got there, but sometimes it was just plain hard.This photo shows what I looked like then.

During the February Laredo Bird Festival, a common comment to me was: "Knee?  It will be so much better when you replace it."  So, I decided it was finally time.  Surgery was scheduled at the end of April.  At a visit to my sleep doctor, I commented that I usually followed doctor's instructions . . . but weight was the exception.  He said, "I have a solution for that."  With some skepticism I started his diet program about a month before the surgery. I felt like I would recover from the surgery much faster if I got some of the weight off.  I started losing immediately.

Surgery day came.  Recovery included using a walker to get where I wanted to go. But . . . I got out and started doing short walks on smooth pavement with the walker.  I still had to pause.  After graduating from the walker, I walked the road by my house. The first time, I just went down to one end and back, pausing a few times there and back.  A little while later, I managed to walk to the main road and back, still with those little strategic pauses.

As the months passed, my walks got longer and stronger.  By Thanksgiving, my grandson and I took the long loops at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a 4 mile day!

Yesterday I took one of the longer loops at Berry Springs Park Preserve with my grandson.  He says I walk faster now.  Today I walked the road in front of my house.  I started at my house, went up the driveway, up to the main road, down to the end of the road, back to my driveway. No pauses.  What a victory I felt!  Then I went down to the pond and retrieved my game camera card.  It is so nice to be able to get around the property easily again.

I lost weight in 2005, 2006. I am now 30 pounds lighter than I was then.

This photo was taken by my grandson at a nearby park in the fall.  I am still working on better fitness and more weight loss. I am so grateful to be where I am.