Monday, January 15, 2018

Winter's Back With Snow Geese!

Well, not just yet!  Sorry, Snoopy!

Last week we had a brief reprieve from the deep freeze!

The arctic air flowing down from the North
 was replaced with mild, spring-like zephyrs from the South
which also brought us copious amounts of rain...

 Surprise! Surprise!  It was all just a ruse!
 Winter has returned with a vengeance!

But, then again, this first month of the year is named  
 after Janus, the mercurial Roman god with two faces...
Or so the legend goes!

 January is named for the
two-faced Roman god Janus.

We are even suppose to be getting some snow this week!
 Hooray! Just in time for my birthday coming up soon!

I just love snow!

Hawthorn Berries In The Snow

Woods In Winter

When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill
That over-brows the lonely vale.

O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skaters' iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Frozen Woodland Pond

Alas! how changed from the fair scene
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day.

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,-
I listen and it cheers me along.'

The following video was taken by my
oldest son this morning just around the corner
from home.  For all you nature lovers out there, enjoy!

Snow Geese In The Cornfield

"Woods In Winter"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Sunday Meditation: Blessed Are They That Believe

"Blessed are they that have not seen, 
and yet have believed."
John 20:29

A Child's Prayer
 Donald Zolan


To the Chief Musician.
A Psalm.  A song.

God be merciful and gracious to us and bless us,
and cause His face to shine upon us
 and among us-

Selah pause, and calmly think of that!-

That Your way may be known upon earth,
 Your saving power, Your deliverances,
 and Your salvation among all nations.

Let the people praise You, 
turn away from their idols,
 and give thanks to You, O God:
 let all the peoples praise
 and give thanks to You.

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
 for You will judge the peoples
fairly and guide, lead,
 or drive the nations upon earth.

Selah pause, and calmly think of that!

Let the people praise You,
 turn away from their idols,
 and give thanks to You,
O God; let all the peoples praise
 and give thanks to You!

The earth has yielded its harvest
 in evidence of God's approval;
God, even our own God, will bless us.

God will bless us, 
and all the ends of the earth
 shall reverently fear Him.

George Washington's Prayer
Ken Corbett

Come to the fountain of mercy and live,
Come, and a pardon receive;
Drink of the water that Jesus will give,
Freely to those that believe;

Weary and burdened with sorrow,
Sweet is the message to thee,
Learn of the meek and the lowly
Come heavy laden to Me.

Come to the clear flowing river,
Drink of its waters forever,
Hungry and thirsty, O, never!
Blessed are they that believe!

Happy the nation whose God is the Lord;
Hearing in meekness and love
Counsels of wisdom and truth in His Word,
Looking for comfort above;

He is their Rock and Salvation,
He is their Strength and their Song,
Onward from glory to glory,
Leading them gently along.

Look unto Jesus, ye regions of earth,
Victor of death and the grave,
Though He was humble, and lowly His birth
He is the mighty to save.

Why should we wander in darkness?
Why to the world should we cling?
Hope, like a bird, is before us,
Pluming her beautiful wing.

God Bless America
John Lautermilc

"Blessed Are They That Believe"
Written by Fanny Crosby

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Meeting Of Two Mothers

Mary, the Christ long slain, passed silently,
Following the children joyously astir
Under the cedrus and the olive tree,
Pausing to let their laughter float to her-
Each a voice an echo of a voice even more dear,
She saw a little Christ in every face.

Jesus As A Little Boy
Del Parson

Then came another woman gliding near
To watch the tender life which filled the place.
And Mary sought the woman's hand and spoke:
"I know thee not, yet know thy memory tossed
With all a thousand dreams their eyes evoke
Who bring to thee a child beloved and lost.

"I, too, have rocked my Little One.
And He was fair!
Oh, fairer than the fairest sun,
And, like its rays through amber spun,
His sun-bright hair.
Still I can see it shine and shine."

"Even so," the woman said, was mine."

"His ways were ever darling ways,"-
And Mary smiled-
So soft, so clinging! Glad relays
Of love were all His precious days.
My Little Child!
My vanished star! My music fled!"

"Even so was mine," the woman said.

And Mary whispered: "Tell me, thou,
Of thine." And she:
"Oh, mine was rosy as a bough
Blooming with roses, sent, somehow,
To bloom for me!
His balmy fingers left a thrill
Deep in my breast that warms me still."

Then she gazed down some wilder, darker hour,
And said-when Mary questioned, knowing not:
"Who art thou, mother of so sweet a flower?"-

"I am the mother of Iscariot."

The Judas Kiss
Gustave Dore

Agnes Lee

Home, Sweet Home

Dorothy and Toto Dolls
Madame Alexander 

'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home.

An exile from home, splendor dazzles the vain;
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gaily, that came at my call-
Give me them-and the peace of mind, dearer than all!
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

I gaze on the moon as I tread the drear wild,
And feel that my mother now thinks of her child,
And she looks on that moon from her own cottage door
Thro' the woodbine, whose fragrance shall cheer me no more.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

How sweet 'tis to sit'neath a fond father's smile,
And the caress of a mother to soothe and beguile!
Let others delight 'mid new pleasure to roam,
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasure of home,
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

To thee I'll return, overburdened with care;
The heart's dearest solace will smile on me there;
No more from that cottage again will I roam;
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

"There's no place like home".

"Home, Sweet Home"
John Howard Payne

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Growing Older

"Now faith is the assurance of the things we hope for,
being the proof of things we do not see, and the conviction
of their reality, faith perceiving as real fact what is
not revealed to the senses."
Hebrews 11:1

            Rushing Through The Ozarks
Joseph Baker

With the coming of another new year we are all...a year older.
Just what does it mean to us-this growing older?
Are we coming to a cheerful, beautiful old age,
or are we being beaten and cowed
 by the years as they pass?
Bruised we must be now and then,
 but beaten, never, unless we lack courage.

Not long since a friend said to me,
 "Growing old is the saddest thing in the world."
Since then I have been thinking about growing old, 
trying to decide if I thought her right.
But I cannot agree with her. 
True, we lose some things that we prize as time passes and
acquire a few that we would prefer to be without. 
But we may gain infinitely more with
the years than we lose in wisdom,
 character and the sweetness of life.

As to the ills of old age, 
it may be that those of the past were as bad 
but are dimmed by the distance.
 Though old age has gray hair and twinges
 of rheumatism, remember that childhood
 has freckles, tonsils, and the measles.
The stream of passing years is like a river 
with people being carried along in the current.
Some are swept along, protesting, fighting all the way,
 trying to swim back up the stream,
longing for the shores that they have passed,
 clutching at anything to retard their progress, 
 frightened by the onward rush of the strong current
 and in danger of being overwhelmed by the waters.

Moving With Faith

Others go with the current freely, 
trusting themselves to the
 buoyancy of the waters,
 knowing they will bear them up.
 And so with very little effort,
 they go floating safely along, 
gaining more courage and strength
 from their experience with the waves.

As New Year after New year comes,
 these waves upon the river of life 
bear us farther along toward the ocean of Eternity,
 either protesting the inevitable and looking longingly back
 toward years that are gone,
 or with calmness and faith, facing the future, 
serene in the knowledge that the power
 behind life's curtain is strong and good.

And thinking of these things, 
I have concluded that whether it is sad to grow old
 depends on how we face it, whether we
 are looking forward with confidence
 or backward with regret. 
Still, in any case, it takes courage
 to live long successfully, 
and they are brave
 who grow old with smiling faces.

Ozark Winter
Peggy Conyers

"Growing Older"
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
From the book, "Little House In The Ozarks"
A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler
The Rediscovered Writings
Edited by Stephen J. Hines
1991 Guideposts Edition

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Pass Through And Carry On

Lenten Roses Blooming In The Snow

Christina Rossetti

Flowers preach to is if we will hear-
The rose saith in the dewy morn:
I am most fair;
Yet all my loveliness is born
Upon a thorn.

The poppy saith amid the corn:
Let but my scarlet head appear
Am I held in scorn;
Yet juice of subtle virtue lies
With my cup of curious dyes.

The lilies say: Behold how we
Preach without words of purity
The violets whisper from the shade
Which their own leaves have made:
Men scent our fragrance on the air,
Yet take no heed
Of humble lessons we would read.

But not alone the fairest flowers:
The merest grass
Along the roadside where we pass,
Lichen and moss and sturdy weed,
Tell of His Love who sends the dew,
The rain and sunshine too,
To nourish one small seed.

The birds of the air finding food and rest in the snow

 Helen Steiner Rice

We look ahead through each changing year
With mixed emotions of hope and fear-
Hope for the peace we long have sought,
Fear that our hopes will come to naught.

Unwilling to trust in the Father's will,
We count on our logic and shallow skill,
And in our arrogance and pride,
We are no longer satisfied.
To place our confidence and love
With childlike faith in God above.

And tiny hands and tousled heads
That kneel in prayer by little beds
Are closer to the dear Lord's heart
And of His kingdom more a part.
Than we who search and never find
the answers to our questioning minds-

For faith in things we cannot see
Requires a child's simplicity
Oh, Heavenly Father, grant again
A simple childlike faith to men,
Forgetting color, race, and creed
And seeing only the heart's deep need.

For faith alone can save man's soul
And lead him to a higher goal,
For there's but one unfailing course-
We win by faith and not by force.

Annie Johnson Flint

When Thou passest through the waters,"
Deep the waves may be and cold,
But JEHOVAH is our Refuge
And His promise is our hold:

For the LORD Himself hath said it,
He the faithful God and true:
"When thou comest to the waters,
Thou shalt not go down, but through

Seas of sorrow, seas of trial,
Bitter anguish, fiercest pain,
Rolling surges of temptation,
Sweeping over heart and brain,
They shall never overflow us,
For we know His word is true:
All His waves and all His billows
He will lead us safely through.

Threatening breakers of destruction,
Doubt's insidious underflow,
Shall not sink us, shall not drag us
Out to ocean depths of woe.
For His promise shall sustain us,
Praise the LORD, Whose word is true!
We shall not go down or under,
He hath said, "Thou passest through."

 Winslow Homer

"Fear not, there is nothing to fear, for I am with you;
do not look around you in terror and be dismayed,
 for I am your God.
I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties,
 yes, I will help you;
yes, I will hold you up and retain you
 with My victorious right hand
of rightness and justice."
Isaiah 41:10