Sunday, July 31, 2011
We were driving through Burlington, Ontario when we saw signs that indicated windows to the water. They were small areas that were provided for public access to the lake. This one gave us an expansive view to the water. As the sun's rays moved across the water, millions of diamond-like twinkles jumped around on the surface. We saw a flight of geese barely skim the water on a morning glide across the lake. We visited for awhile with a delightful Canadian couple, and took our time to really take in the spot God provided for us to enjoy the gleam of dawn becoming the full light of day. It was good not to be in a hurry and take the time to receive the gift of the spot to which God had led us for refreshing.
One of the long standing remedies for being miserable is to do something for someone else. It is amazing how getting out of yourself and helping someone else will bless you with a better attitude. It is especially fun to do something for someone anonymously and not get found out, but know the delight the person garnished from the gift. When we use our God-given talents to help someone it not only brightens the life of the receiver, but the giver as well; both shine brighter.
The path of the righteous
is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter
till the full light of day.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
As we made our way out to the country of Ontario we stopped at a small public entrance to the water in Burlington. I will post more pictures of this lovely spot on the next blog entry. I found this lovely yellow flower and was able to identify it today as swamp candles.
I have seen lots of milkweed in Texas, but it is yellow or white. I found this pink version up in Ontario. I also found, in a wildflower book I bought today, a picture of the light blue flower and identified it as chickory. I came across this beautiful Pink Lady's Slipper along a lake trail up in Algonquin Provincial Park. I had always wanted to see it in the wild, and finally got my wish!
I am thrilled when I get to see a new wildflower, and even more excited when I am able to identify it later. All this pressing in to find names got me to think about this Revelation scripture:
I saw heaven standing open
and there before me was a white horse,
whose rider is called Faithful and True...
He has a name written on him
that no one knows but he himself.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I delighted in seeing all the different kinds of boats on the water at Thousand Islands. Some were quite simple; others were very extravagant. Some were motor powered; others were man and wind powered. I thought about the ability to create that God has put into us to find different ways to move upon the water. Yet, no matter how fast or far a sea ship or space ship goes, it will not be out of His sight. This knowledge can bring us discomfort or peace. He is ever present and awaits the return every time we have gotten off course with our hearts.
If I ...dwell in the uttermost parts
of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me...
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
We enjoyed seeing most of the osprey nests occupied with young ones. The gulls and cormorants were numerous. But the thing that really caught my eye and made me chuckle was the finger island with the birds on it. I had to rub my eyes to identify what the orange ones were. There was a real gull to the left tip of the island. The three atop the boulder were, however, of the plastic genre. Wondered if there was someone hiding, taking pictures of the goofy photographers taking pictures of the fake birds. Sometimes you have to just laugh, even if the joke is on you.
Thought for the day...
keep your sense of humor!!!
The next place we headed to after Niagara Falls was Gananoque to take the boat cruise through the Thousand Islands. There are actually over 1800 islands in the area. We enjoyed seeing the boats, water birds, and the extremes homes found on the islands.
One island held the Boldt Castle. It is now owned by the U.S. Government. Some of the tour boats there to allow people off the boats to take tours of the grounds.
Just as impressive to me as the extravagant homes was the island with a single tree, and the several islands that were home to just one quaint private residence. A few islands were housing lighthouses along with throngs of waterbirds. There was always something new to see around each corner as a new group of islands came into view. The boat wasn't crowded and it was very relaxing to be out on the water without having to maneuver the boat.
Let him reign from sea to sea,
and from the Euphrates River
to the ends of the earth.
I will do some postings of birds and boats of the Thousand Islands to follow this one.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I got this picture of a rowboat from the Thousand Islands tour on Lake Huron. It was a relaxing time boating through the many islands; some with nothing on them, some a single home, and one a castle. I will post more of those on the next entry. But I thought this one should stand alone.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost." they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
This is one of my favorite boat pictures from our Canada trip. I saw this empty canoe on a pier up in Algonquin Park in Ontario. It reminded me of the call to discipleship. Fear has stopped me from doing some things I really wanted to do. People pleasing has gotten me to say yes to doing things for which I really had no passion. When I really lean into prayer and meditation to discern where it is that He wants me to follow, I usually get an answer. Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit have kept me many times from being the victim of these stealers of my joy: fear and people pleasing.
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men."
I felt like I got a double whammy of spiritual meaning in these two photos. I realized that I was seeing a lamppost and rushing water in the same scene. Somebody had told me once that if you are a Christian songwriter, you are not done writing until you have written a song about water and light. Well, I have one of each, but the songs are still coming. Yes, thank you Lord, for the songs and visions you give to us!
Water and light are two elements I love to photograph. Spiritually, they remind me that God and His Word are life, itself, and a lamp to my feet.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
These are a few paths we took while in Ontario:
1. We encountered this turtle on a hiking trail. He spanned about a foot and a half. We kept our distance!
2. This section of highway was quite impressive. It made me think about the people that worked to clear a path for the road.
3. & 4. The bridge going into Thornbury was decorated with flags and gorgeous flowers to celebrate Canada Day.
5. A boardwalk made a path possible through a marshy trail at Algonquin.
6. A nearly empty highway rises to shadows of hills in the distance.
He guides me in paths
for his name's sake.
When I first started taking photography more seriously I sometimes did not even realize that I had captured a reflection in a scene. I now keep an eye out for water, windows, mirrors; anything that might yield a mirror image. Another lesson was that sometimes I had the wrong lens on the camera to get a faraway scene closer or get a sky and a lake included in the scene. I had the wide angle lens on for the last two photos and the telephoto on for the first two. For the sunset captured in the lake behind our cabin it makes you realize that there must have been a sunset above the trees. Interesting things to think about when you look at a photo.
The first photo was one of my favorites from the trip. A fallen tree made a reflection that almost looked like a spider web. It was quite intricate, and beautiful reflected on the still water. God leads me into paths on our travels that we could not have imagined. They do, indeed, restore our souls.
He leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
I took these photos from the plane on the way home from Canada. We were landing rather late, so got to see the wonderful transition of sunset and the light catching whole bodies of water. The texture of the water could still be seen as the golden light reflected on these glassy natural mirrors. Whole lakes and rivers became like molten gold as the wave of brilliant yellow/orange washed over the surfaces. The big lake reminded me of a Chinese dragon. I thought, looking at these huge expanses of Earth, how creative and majestic is our God! I prayed for myself that I would, as well, reflect His Light.
You have set your glory above the heavens...
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man
that you are mindful of him?
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name
in all the earth!
(verses from Psalm 8)
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Our friends had a wonderful bouquet of white and red flowers on a table to greet us as we entered our room. They laid out hats and a Canada journal on the bed. We had purchased Canada shirts with big maple leaves on them at a Walmart before we got to Thornbury. Now we would be appropriately dressed to attend the Canada Day Parade through their town. Turns out we might have been a little boring and underdressed for the excitement of the Parade! People will wear outrageous things in a parade!
You know you have to smile when a woman spectator and the pig in the parade are wearing the same wig. You know you have to smile when you see a dog riding a skateboard in the parade, and seeming to enjoy it. You know you have to smile when you see a guy that big willing to wear that hat and a kilt. You know you have to smile when you have spent a great day with friends!
I remember lots of small town parades growing up. I rode on plenty of floats and helped decorate a few. There were always clowns and animals, special cars, and farm machinery. We always kept a close watch readying ourselves to pounce on tossed candy. We had big smiles.
The thing about thinking about things that make you smile is that it probably has put a smile on your face.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit
dries up the bones.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Some part of me is a little sad at seeing barns decay and fall. I think I identify as I am also aging and graying. But with my increased age I also feel like there is much I want to do yet, and I still have gifts to give to the Body of Christ to reflect a heart that loves Jesus. I have more peace than I have every had in my life, despite some circumstances of my life we face daily. We all have our crosses to bear. But when we can share with others our faith, no matter our age, the soul grows more serene as it matures.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.