The Calm…and Beauty After the Storm

Storms usually always clear to beautiful skies once they pass…whether the storms are of nature or a storm your life may be going through.

Today we had a series of storm fronts go through our area creating hail damage, wind damage and several tornadoes. The extent of the damage is still being assessed and unfortunately the storm front is still marching east creating havoc as it goes. But for now some of us have peace and the sky is magical as the clouds thin out and the setting sun creates colors that make us smile.

The clouds twisted as they moved across the sky and their colors changed as the sun slowly sets creating a picture of peace and beauty. Even the red bird sang from the top of the tree announcing to everyone who would listen that all is well, the storm has passed.

He sings a message we should all hear and take to heart as we deal with the many storms we deal with in life. God always has us in his hand…always. It’s just hard to visualize His beauty when we see so much negative destruction around us, but I implore you to try. For every step forward that you may make, a new bright light will find its way to your heart.

Allow it in and allow it to shine brightly. Even though it may seem like a setting sun at times, its warmth can give you new life. Embrace it and share its beauty with others. You may just make their day and help them to smile.

And I remind you always of the beauty of kindness. Kindness opens doors that some may think could not open, so always share the power of kindness and watch it work its beauty.

Invisible Love

Hello…remember me?? A person of a certain age…my certain age…should not be so busy that they can’t even do the small simple things they enjoy doing. But alas, that is where we have been for the last six months. But now, I can sit and do nothing…or the small things I enjoy doing. My Christmas decorations of course have been up since mid November so now its just a few presents that need wrapping. Whew!!

The Christmas season, although busy, is where we seem to share the most kindness to those around us and sometimes we focus this kindness on those less fortunate. The Covid years took their toll on all of us – physically, emotionally and financially. And some of those effects are still lingering creating uncertainty. So I want to share a thought from my morning devotion that kind of hit home for me concerning the true purpose for this season…or any season.

Why do we celebrate this season….I think the most trustworthy answer in all categories is...LOVE.

I recently saw a picture on facebook showing pictures of movie portrayals of Mary with baby Jesus next to a picture of Mary crying over the body of Jesus after he was crucified…both pictures reflecting overwhelming gifts of LOVE. God’s gift of baby Jesus for his love of mankind and then Jesus’ sacrificial gift of his life for mankind’s salvation. And lets not forget Mary’s sacrificial gift of raising Jesus, knowing who he was and what his mission was – to save mankind. Colossians reminds us of the visible image and invisible image of God.

Jesus…the visible image of God’s invisible image. How many times do we say – I won’t believe it until I see it. Even the disciple Thomas would not believe in the resurrection until he saw the holes in Jesus’ hands. And modern man is having a very hard time in believing in a God they can’t see. But I challenge you to look around at the beauty of creation, not just the nature side – which is amazing – but the human side as well. While man can sometimes be persnickety, man can also show a beauty and power through kindness and love towards others that can make us see the beauty and love of our invisible God.

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through him and for him.

The fact that even in this chaotic world we have the ability to show this love and kindness is proof that the invisible God is still here. There will be a day when He will leave and when he leaves, all the love and kindness will leave as well. It won’t be pretty.

So share this wonderful season of love – not just now at Christmas but make every day Christmas by reflecting the love we have been shown by our invisible God and His visible Son…and always be kind.

A Colorful B&W

While this is not a true b&w, it is mostly white…snow white. The picture really does not capture the beauty of the snow, our first for the year. I am not really a fan of the snow but I do enjoy it beauty when I don’t have to get out in it.

I thought this shot interesting showing the contrast of my bright blue gate (yes I made it myself. No respecting contractor would do that. But my contractor was horrible so…there you go.)

Evergreens always show the beauty of the snow as it clings to it branches. The shot of the street below is the most beautiful of my shots this morning.

Well, its November in the Midwest, so I guess its time. It will melt next week as temps will climb into the 40s. But the snow today will continue to fall spreading a blanket of visual purity on a less pure world. Remember in all that you do, to be kind. It is a form of love that helps us all heal.

FOTD, October 10, ?

This spring I planted one of those little foam strips embedded with flower seeds. Don’t know what most of them were but I enjoyed their flowers. I think this is in the mum or daisy family and its quite striking.

It has double layered petals that unfold as it opens. Maybe its in the coreopsis family as its center looks similar. Regardless its lovely.

Enjoy your flowers for just a few more weeks here in the midwest. Forecast say two more weeks of 60 to 70 and them it will drop to 40 or lower at nights. Time for them all to sleep and we will see them next year.

Here in the midwest, late fall and winter can really be dreary and gray, so try to be someone’s sunshine in being kind to them. We could all use a little extra sunshine.

FOTD, October 4, Coreopsis

Cee’s challenge of Flower of the Day always keeps me looking for the floral beauty around me. This beauty is in one of the raised flower beds at the church. We put in 4 raised beds by the community garden for people who have trouble bending over but still want to play in the dirt. Then we put two more between two parking lots for those on walkers who still want to plant or just enjoy flowers with easy access. These coreopsis are large and beautiful.

This one bloom evidently got some extra fertilizer as he was a good 4-5 inches across and shows who is boss of the flower box.

Flowers have a personality too as they share their beauty with us. They seem to smile at us as they sway in the breeze. Take a note from their beauty and smile at others. It shows amazing kindness when you do.

FOTD – October 3, Portulaca

Cee’s FOTD challenge reminds us of the beauty we see in the little things around us. Today the raised boxes outside the church with the portulaca, moss roses, was very colorful. These are very hardy plants that bloom all summer well into the fall and are very drought tolerant. That means they can withstand careless care taking.

They are small blooms only about 2″ in diameter but they create multiple blooms of varying colors; rosy reds, oranges, pinks, yellows and whites.

As we zoom around being busy, let’s not forget the small beauty around us. It can be in flowers, birds or the smile of a child. And as we enjoy this beauty, let’s not forget to be kind. The tiniest bit of kindness we share can sometimes break through the tremendous cloud of misery that may surround someone.

Always Be Kind

FOTD, August 27

Cee’s Flower of the Day is always a favorite and I am being a bit of a broken record as its Sunflowers…again. This will probably be the last picture of them in my yard for this season because the seeds are forming and the blooms are getting HEAVY. When you have a single bloom that is easily 24 inches across, that is huge, especially when its a good 10-12 feet in the air.

The bloom is so heavy, the stalk has arched over to keep from breaking.

I have square “working” hands like my dad but you can still see I could not get the entire leaf in the photo. It measures 16 inches at its widest point.

I still have one stalk left of the multiple blooms variety. They too are dwindling, not only from the storm last week but their seeds make them heavy as well. These blooms are only 6-8 inches across but when you have well over 25 blooms on one stalk, that’s a lot of weight.

But the bees still love them. These multiple blooms brought in a lot of bees this year as well as goldfinches and sparrows.

I close as always with a reminder to be kind. If we as creation from the maker above could show the kindness to others as he has always shown us, what a different world this would be.