The Anchor

Hebrews 6:18-20 (NIV2011)  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,  where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Our hope is an anchor for our soul. The following image is created through filet crochet. This method is very similar to cross stitch embroidery. You create an open or filled box following a charted design.

My hope, an anchor for my soul. Streams in The Desert entry for May 11 reads:

“Psalm 66:12 We went through fire and through water; but You brought us out into a wealthy place.

“Paradoxical though it be, only that man is at rest who attains it through conflict. This peace, born of conflict, is not like the deadly hush preceding the tempest, but the serene and pure-aired quiet that follows it.

“It is not generally the prosperous one, who has never sorrowed,who is strong and at rest. His quality has never been tried, and he knows not how he can stand even a gentle shock. He is not the safest sailor who never saw a tempest; he will do for fair-weather service, but when the storm is rising, place at the important post the man who has fought out a gale, who has tested the ship, who knows her hulk sound, her rigging strong, and her anchor-flukes able to grasp and hold by the ribs of the world.”

Though I had sewn an anchor with filet crochet method, I had no idea the pointed ends were called flukes. Now I need to Lord to help me realize the anchor-flukes of my faith are able to grasp and hold by whatever life may bring me.

Even so, Lord, I trust You to be my salvation.

Fallen But Still Growing

There is a trail we often walk at Harsha Lake, which we have always called East Fork Lake. It is truly our favorite trail though there are few wildflowers there. Recently we noticed a tree had fallen across the stream. We commented how sad it was that this tree would mess up the photos we take trying to capture the changes in the water.

We returned to our trail a few weeks later and wow was I surprised! This pandemic struggle has been very difficult for me emotionally. I guess I am what is referred to as a melancholic depressive. I want to be an optimist, but I am more like Eeyore!

So there is the fallen tree. Sprouting leaves now in the sun and sudden heat of 80 degrees, constantly watered by the stream.

This tree is not upright as we are accustomed to seeing them grow. It must still be rooted though! Obviously, I have no idea how long the tree can survive. But I am going to take this image as a reminder to hope. Hope that a new day will come. Hope that until then, we are sustained by our loving Father.

Happy are those whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. “ Psalm 1: 2-3

1983 and 2020

Reading Facebook the other day I came across this quote.

How, then, shall we live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning all of our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward him who calls in the deeps of our souls.

Thomas Kelly

Inward surrender. Yes. I need me more of that. So frustrated. Tried to buy a car. Since it is likely the last new car I will ever purchase we decided to go for the interior I wanted. They told us, “No problem. We can get that brought in from another dealer.” Well, big problem. No one else had one. So, “No problem! We can order that from the factory.” So whenever the factory reopens and is able to make that on the line, we will eventually have a new car. Thought for certain I could use up at least a week or two learning the electronics of a new car. Grateful we have the means, but no distraction from a new car any time soon.

Oh yes! Bob agreed that I could get a dog if I wanted. We had to put our aged beagle down a few years ago. I miss her to this day. So I began looking on line for a dog. The tiny one I was most interested in is oh, 2-3,000 dollars. Nope. Can’t see that happening and there were none available now. Could send a deposit and wait on a litter. Have never spent that much money on an animal companion. Surely there are some dogs in shelters waiting for our home.

Guess again! Shelters closed because of pandemic. The one I am most drawn to came from a hoarding situation and they have no idea when she might be ready to adopt out. There are plenty of big (40 lbs. plus) pit bull mixes. No thanks. Bob doesn’t want a tiny dog that yaps all the time. A new dog to nurture, to cuddle with, to train.

So our daughter met a dog that seemed perfect. He was being fostered at the same home where her new adopted dog came from. The foster mom thought we would be a great match. We applied. Very excited. Within a few hours we were denied the dog. Never saw that coming!! We do not have a fenced yard. It is VERY hilly and would be next to impossible to fence. His bio said he would need another dog to live with. No other dog here.

Inward surrender. Yes. I need me more of that. Surrender to WHAT IS, rather than hanging my hopes on what could be. Once I was directed to a powerful book entitled Radical Acceptance. Yes, I need to go to that place again. That motivated me to try to remember a quote I used for many years to remind myself to surrender to the Lord.

William Law wrote a book entitled A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. I first read it in 1983. I found the title from a journal entry I wrote when our daughter was 7 and our son was 4. ANCIENT history!

Stand turned to a patient, meek, humble, resignation to God when your own impatience, wrath, pride and irresignation attacks yourself. This is a higher and more beneficial performance of duty than when you stand turned when attacked by the passions of other people. Wholly give yourself to be helped by the mercy of God. Patience to expect it all from God.
Nothing brings you so near to divine relief as the extremity of distress.

Give myself to be helped by the mercy of God. Especially when my own impatience, wrath, pride and irresignation attacks ME. I did not remember the quote in that context. Still earning, thirty-seven years later.

Radical acceptance.

Patient, meek, humble resignation to God. Higher and more beneficial performance of my duty.

“Nothing brings you so near to divine relief as the extremity of distress.”

Okay. I am at that extremity. Come, Lord.

Have You Hit the Blah-blah Stage?

Okay, we went out to one store with masks and our list. Then another day another store with our masks. Early hours reserved for seniors. Then one other day, another store with our masks. In fact, we are not going any place without our masks. It seems as if only 50% of the people out there are wearing masks. Shopping was missed for two months, but it is not all it was cracked up to be.

Boring is an understatement. I miss our church life. I miss my friends at Senior Center crochet and knit group. I miss my friends from the Convent. Heard yesterday via Facebook that one person there tested positive. That is terrible news as most of the sisters are older than me and I feel old as dirt at 69.

Are you fed up with Zoom meetings? That is all we have had here for Bible study group and weekly prayer group. I am grateful we have that, rather than nothing. Compared to real life meetings, it just doesn’t make a very palatable substitute.

I, personally, found last weekend very disturbing. Videos on every channel of people crowding each other at resorts and beaches and boardwalks. It made we wonder “What are they thinking? Do they not believe that over 90,000 people have died of Covid-19?”

So I am going to stick with Dr. Fauci. Let’s wait 10 days and see where infection rates stand. Betting there is a rise in many, many places after this que será, será attitude.

So what did I buy? Probably the best find was iron on interfacing. I used up most of what I had purchased for a project using old t-shirts to make a quilt. The interfacing went into masks to provide another layer of filtration. If we decide to isolate totally again, I will need that interfacing to work on that project. Read, keep from losing my mind!

So this afternoon America topped over 100,000 dead from Corona virus. We are due to watch a space launch in a couple hours. This is a weird time we are living in.

Please wear a mask and stay well. And yes, the bulk of our shopping is still done with curbside pick up.

LET Us Lay Aside and Run

Hebrews 12:1 reads

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us

When was the last time you threw something off? Like the covers in bed, or your coat when you entered a warm room? The author of Hebrews gives us a graphic picture of how we are to respond to hindrances in our walk with God. “Let us throw off everything that hinders!”(NIV) If you haven’t thrown off a sweater or sweatshirt lately, go do it now. Do it again thinking of all the things that keep you from your relationship with God. Throw it off!

“And the sin that so easily entangles.” Have you ever taken a walk through a field that was overgrown with shrubs and vines and plants with thorns? That’s what I think of when I read “the sin which so easily entangles.” You start off thinking “this will lead me to what I want” and soon you are up to your lower leg in tangles and sin is tripping you and tears your pants legs, sending stickers and burrs into your socks. How do you get out of the mess? Throw it off! Get back to the path trod by the great cloud of witnesses. Back to where you can run the race with perseverance. Remove yourself from the sin that so easily entangles. get prayer from your part of the Body of Christ, and refuse to go that way of entanglement again. Millions of people who lived before you chose Christ as their Way, their Truth, their Life. You can do this!

Jesus, lead me in Your paths. Help me run the race with perseverance and joy. Amen.

Lilies of The Field

 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:27-34 (NIV2011)

My eyes almost popped out. I stumbled for words trying to ask “What is the world is that?” Never expected this much excitement from this hike!

Well her name is as weird as she is lovely! May I introduce you to Hoary Puccoon of the borage family. Stan Tekiela in “Wildflowers of Ohio Field Guide tells me, She ” is one of at least six species in Ohio. There are eighteen species of puccoon found in North America. The fine hairs that cover its stems and leaves give it the “Hoary” name. “Puccoon” is an American Indian name for any plant used for color dye (the roots of the puccoon make a red dye.) I am amazed!

When I saw the next one I recognized it from our Smoky Mountain hiking. I started to call it bellwort. As I have researched for this blog it turns out that no, it is actually called Wild Oats. Both plants are part of the sessilifolia family, but wild oats only have one flower. The term sessile refers to the fact that the leaves lack leafstalks. Isn’t that weird? Look again and see for yourself!

Sessile – no leaf stem

Oh the wonders of the glory of God!

New to Us!

The Nature Conservancy has a preserve called Edge of Appalachia. It is co-owned and operated with Cincinnati Museum Center. The property is in Adams county and is one of the most biodiverse natural areas in the region. We had never been there until recently.

We hiked the Lynx Prairie Preserve Trails. (We actually missed a tiny portion as the rain began to threaten us.) I was delighted to find some flowers I had not seen before and one I see rarely.

As we entered the trail this beauty greeted us. At first I thought it might be an Indian Paint Brush. Turns out it is also known as Scarlet Painted-Cup.

Wildflowers in color by Arthur Stupka says, “The true flowers are greenish-yellow and practically concealed by vermilion or scarlet tinged upper leaves.”

WHAAAT? I am not even looking at the flower? These are the first ones we saw on this walk and I thought perhaps someone had long ago dropped a few seeds in this areas. Nope. They are wild and we proceeded to see scads of them as we walked further! They do not remind me of the same flower we saw in the Southwestern States.

This beauty got a crummy name: “Common Lousewort.” It is also known by a much nicer name, “wood-betony.” So peculiar! I think it is lovely. The flowers can be yellow, white or the red ones we saw.

The trail was 1.3 miles (three interconnecting loop trails.) Described as easy. I want to return there. Wondering if the partial loop we skipped had Lady Slipper’s? Pink, yellow or white? I’m game!

Tomorrow I will show my two FAVORITES from this hike!

Any Idea What This Is?

So my husband has been stir crazy and when I walk into a room now and he has something to tell me he say, “oh! ooh! Call on me!” sort of like this guy

The first photo is a wild geranium. I love the little bee in the center with pollen on it’s abdomen! Here he is close up in case you missed him.

We kept seeing this and telling each other that cannot be May Apple. They are smooth and these are heavily veined. I did not get a photo, but they are called umbrella leaf and a found a photo on the web.

The first time I saw Bluets we were in the Smoky Mountains. They were lovely, tiny and so baby blue. Now I know they also grow as Narrow-leaved Bluets and can have white-to-pink or lavender flowers!

Keep your eyes open! Never know when you will see a treasure in plain sight!

Wildflowers says I was looking at: Golden Ragwort! Goodness that website is MUCH faster than looking through my flower books 🙂

Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower) Height: 1 to 2 ft.Blooms: April to July Leaf Type: toothed Bloom Size:  0.75 in. (typical)Flower Description: Flat or rounded clusters, Regular blooms, 10 or more parts

I want Canada Violets in my yard to grow with my purple Wild Violets which I DO NOT consider to be a broad leaf weed, thank you very much!

Yep, that flower is overexposed. Still learning!!

I must admit I did not know to look under the petals to see if there was green there. I believe this is called Star of Bethlehem. I like the One the star pointed to!

I think this was a tree swallow, though there was a barn nearby! (Giggle, do barn swallows need to live near or within a barn?!?)

So Let’s Step Away

from all the virus worries. I will share some of the treasures in plain sight from one recent hike.

I only saw one piece of leaf being carried!

Proverbs 6:6-11 (NIV2011)  “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,  yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.  How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—  and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”

So I guess I better keep walking and staying motivated during this time in my life. Look what we saw on the same walk at Long Branch Farm in Goshen, Ohio, part of the Cincinnati Nature Center. If you know me you know I love purple!

Spring Larkspur

Where will your journey take you?