“Wow! Look at that!”
“Hey, let me see too!”
When my brothers and I were growing up, my parents always encouraged us to look, to explore, to see, and to learn about nature and things around us. I remember the fun times we had looking at things through a magnifying glass or my older brother’s microscope. Camping trips in our pop-up tent camper were memorable family times full of new sights and sounds.
That curiosity and appreciation for God’s creation continues with me today. I love the warm-weather months when I can be outside more …despite the allergies! Flowers, birds and other wildlife, vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, and more, bring me great pleasure. As I mow my yard, I often mow around the tiny wild flowers (aka weeds) and see my neighbor smile as I do so. That is what inspired the poem I wrote a few years ago, “Just a Weed”, and also led to the naming of this blog.
When God finished creating the world, he looked around at all that he had made, and it was very good! When I think of myself as the tiniest speck in a vast universe, I am in awe like the psalmist who, when he considered the heavens, wondered why God would notice us or care about us. I am overwhelmed that he sees my small self as His precious jewel!
Thinking from that perspective and considering the world around me helps me to notice others and to value each life. Whether struggling with self-image or frustrated with what life is throwing at me, I remember that we are God’s treasure and are wonderfully made! Just as we gaze through a magnifying glass or microscope and discover amazing worlds, God gazes into our deepest being, sees our imperfections, and loves us.
*Genesis 1:41, Psalm 8, Psalm 139:13-14
Sunshine on a frigid morn
Warms the heart
And dazzles the eyes
Blue sky stretches
Like a shining banner
Spread in bright welcome
Cheeks and nose
Touched by chill
Tingle in response
Through the crystal air
Come sounds of life
Sunshine on a frigid morn
Warms the heart
And dazzles the eyes
Oh, nature’s gift.
Of meadows and bees and song and breeze
Of mount and sky and clouds against blue
Of gurgling streams and splashes and cool
Of rustles and song and rattles and tread
Of wonder and creation
from “OF… Songs of Life” – Charlotte-Anne Allen
I love the scents and colors of herbs. In recent years, I have begun learning a bit about how to grow and gather a few of them and about some of their uses. I enjoy my little spots in the flower garden and pots on my sun porch and I help with some at my in-law’s home. “It’s a happy,” as my daughter would say as a child to describe something she liked. Not all my growing attempts are successful, but repeat attempts are sometimes more fruitful after I learn more about them. Some creature (perhaps a rabbit?) thoroughly enjoyed my in-law’s basil this year, which had to be replanted two times! Then too, I find that some plants are just not suited for the areas available, so other plants are found that will flourish there. Herbs, used from ancient times to improve health, to treat illness and injury and to cook with, have much to offer. Like insects, we are drawn to them because they can provide comfort, healing, and enjoyment of growing things.
As I was considering this, I thought of how God wants us to draw near to Him. He loves for us to come to Him and to thank Him when we are enjoying the scents and colors of life. When we draw close to Him we are recognizing who He is. God can show us where we will flourish when we are receptive to His offered gifts and guidance. He is the source of comfort and healing. Have you ever been to the point where you just didn’t know what to say or do, or even if you wanted to try?! While all our “growing” attempts are not successful, God helps us to thrive. I am so thankful for those around me, people who reach out or give a hug or word to help through difficult times and to join in times of celebration. Sometimes we need to be “replanted” and sometimes we need to be faithful and to learn so that we can thrive where we are. I’m so thankful that He is with me, especially on my “I’m just done” days! Draw near. Like insects drawn to herbs, we are drawn to the One who provides, who is the source of life.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… James 4:6a
Have you ever considered how the world would be without the movement of air?! I remember that on hot summer days when I was growing up, we kids would giggle as we spoke into a blowing fan and listened to our strange voices. When I am working with children to improve their speech, they learn about the parts that are used to form words. After we go through the basic tongue, lips, and “motor” (voice box), we try saying a sound without using air. Of course, we can’t!
Some of my favorite camping memories as a girl are of lying in our tent camper at night, listening to the wind sighing in the treetops and feeling its cool touch on my face. I still love to have a window fan blowing in my room on a summer night. My spirit settles as I breath in that fresh stream of air.
The book of Genesis says that when God formed man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Isaiah referred to “God the Lord… the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it.” Life is a precious gift, and how often do we misuse it or take it for granted?! Just as no words can be produced without the element of air, so life cannot be fully expressed without God’s breath within us. When I catch myself feeling rushed when going about my busy plans and responsibilities, I remind myself to pause and breath in God’s presence. He is like a cool touch to my hurried soul and fresh strength and peace to my heart.
*Genesis 2:7, Isaiah 42:5
I step my foot upon this path
And so, begins my journey
Warm sunlight touching rock and blade
Beckoning to this journey
Companion with me on the way
To travel in life’s journey
Feet now ready, my legs prepared
Where go we on this journey
Sounds of voices, human and beast
Speak out along the journey
Questing onward through shade and bend
Ever upon this journey
Ah! The joy of releasing tired, hot feet from the confines of shoes and socks! My mom and I used to kid about our “hillbilly blood” because our shoes inevitably fell off when we came home. Warm summer rain showers were the perfect opportunity for my brothers and me to splash barefoot up and down our gravel drive in town. On summer trips with the family, I remember digging my toes into the soft warm dirt of my grandparents’ country drive. Have you ever walked through a wet vegetable garden and ended up doubling the thickness of the soles of your shoes with mud?! Just walking becomes an effort.
Sometimes our lives get like that, mired down with stuff that drags us down and overwhelms. We splash barefoot before God in our pain and doubt and it is difficult to see joy. When His wonderful grace and love showers down upon us, we in our weariness do not always see it. We may be unable to receive until it has had time to soak in. I love the words of the psalmist who wrote, (God) lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. * Like on those warm summer days, we can dig our toes into the strength of His being. God lifts us up and sets us on solid ground. What joy and release when we stand with Him in faith, free of the confines of life which weigh us down!
* Psalm 40:2