Sunday, August 25, 2013

Nature Week

We've been enjoying an incredibly mild summer, even in August! Last Monday, we took a short ride to one of the state parks, just to get out of town for a couple hours and bask in the pleasant weather.

I did not know dragonflys were different colors and sizes. Several varieties were flying along the swampy edge of the lake. The blues were gorgeous!

There were some large ones with dark blue & white wings, but they wouldn't stay still long enough to be photographed. I was able to sneak up on this soft blue guy above.

This little guy was infatuated with our car antenna. He hung on for about a quarter mile, then broke off the affair.

Last summer, I was chasing sunsets. This summer it's moonrises. Last week's "Blue Moon" caught me by surprise. It was amazing the first night. So the second night, I went out to the ridge again hoping to see the same thing.

Alas, it was not as big and the sky was cloudy. But I do think the clouds made for an interesting picture.

I don't have a big enough lens to get a proper shot and I confess, I was too lazy to mess with the tripod & correct exposure settings.

Friday night, I made up my mind to get up early Saturday and try for a sunrise shot at the ridge.

The fog hanging over the valley was ethereally beautiful.

The sun came up between these trees from the spot where it was clear enough for me to stand. (I have an aversion to chiggers, having experienced them once out here on the prairie, so I don't venture too far into untamed lawnage).

I found this cool app that lets you pinpoint an area on a map, then shows you from which direction the sun & moon will rise and set. I've already checked ahead and mid-October the sun will rise over the part of the valley unobstructed by trees (as in the fog shot above).

This last shot is from a different part of the area as we were leaving. It looks more like a sunset.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Life's Road Trip

Who loves road trips?!?!?

I do!

My husband likes to just get on his motorcycle and hit the open road. I like to have somewhat of a destination in mind but be flexible enough to stop on the way if something interesting catches my eye. When we travel together we have a nice blend of planning with room for flexibility.

(Yes, he took this picture while driving! Bad hubby!)

A couple years ago I posted pictures of the cotton fields we saw in Tennessee. That was one of my most favorite road-trip moments ever. Getting off the highway and traveling down this country road was a delight to my soul and spirit. Just around the bend of this road you see in the picture was a charming farmhouse. I had to fight a feeling of envy of the people who get to live in such a tranquil setting. I'm sure they work very hard to earn a living from these fields, though!

(Those old cotton fields back home...I wish Tenn was my home!)

While I love serendipity, I'm also the person who reads the end of the book first. Recent example, I did a Wiki search to find out what created the Dome in the new tv series..but I won't be a spoiler.

All that to illustrate - a journey completely full of unknowns is not for me!

Several  friends are currently experiencing some very major life changes. One said she just wish she knew how it was going to turn out. She knew it would all work out, but just wants to know NOW, how. I tried to encourage her with that pithy saying, "you know it's going to turn out alright, but life is about the journey."

It's so much easier to say that to someone than to live it.

Some missionary friends have experienced a really tough journey this past year. He wrote in a one of their newsletters that a friend had sent him a word of comfort from Psalm 23.
Eerie forest in the Smoky Mts.

Personally, when I think of  the 23rd Psalm, old western movies come to mind. There's usually a scene where the town preacherman, in that twangy, cowboy tone, presides over a funeral with these words "yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ...."

So many pines killed by a parasite in the Smoky Mts.

So, yeah, Psalm 23 is not the first scripture to come to mind when my friends are hurting. 

But check it out in the Amplified version:
                                                                                                                                                A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

His friend went on to say - don't get so caught up in the battle that you miss the green pastures that God has placed along the way.
Whatever kind of journey you may be walking right now, remember three things from this psalm:
1. You will go through the valley. But God is walking through it with you, protecting (with the Shepherd's rod) and guiding your steps (with the Shepherd's staff).
(A field of dead trees along Rt 66)
 2. Not only is He walking beside you, but He's waiting for you at the end with a bounty of wonderful gifts. 
 (Beautiful park in Little Rock, AR)
3. I think this is one of the best lessons from Psalm 23 for this (sometimes scary) journey that is Life: God has put a variety of rest stops along the way; moments for you to enjoy. Don't miss out on the green pastures.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Work in Progress

I thought I'd give you an update on the angel I'm making for my sister!

She's almost finished. Just the wings left to do. That will be a fun project as they are embellished very heavily.

This doll was made from a compilation of patterns and inspirations.

The body is made from a pattern in one of Patti Culea's books. The arms & hands are from the recent Arley Berryhill "Siren" mermaid class I took. Her coiffure is also inspired from the mermaid doll. Her outfit is a free-form design from fabric scraps I had on hand. Sherry Goshon encouraged us to let go of our strict seamstress upbringings in the workshop I took last year. Her panties are from one of Barbara Schoenoff's patterns. The wings will be constructed from the online tutorial by Jean Bernard that I used on my Blue Fairy doll.

Now on to the uber-embellished wings!