Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life Lessons from the Beaver

     We took another trip to our local state park this week which was especially enjoyable because my husband was able to join us.  That was a special treat!  Almost everywhere we turned we saw the work of a beaver.  It was amazing to see how much work they do to get a dam made.  What perseverance and determination they have - a concept many of us, even adults, don't completely get nowadays!  The bashful beaver or beavers, who remained hidden, must have worked long and hard on this dam.  Their hard work is proof of their tenacity.

Further proof of their resolve can be seen in the photos of these trees.

And these are only a couple of examples of the trees that the beaver(s) had worked on.  Here is another example.

     The tree on the right was lodged against limbs of another tree but was only hanging on by a thread at the point of destruction.  At any rate, we can learn much from the beaver and his work ethics.  God must have had much for me to learn over this past year about perseverance.
     What we really went to the park for was a refreshing hike in the woods and to see if we could spot a few more wildflowers.  We saw very few but here are some photos of what we did see.

This is Fire Pink.

These are pictures of the flower of a Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar).  It is a member of the Magnolia family.  It was quite colorful.

This looked like a miniature iris bloom, possibly Southern Blue Flag.

An Eastern Tent Caterpillar (moth).

Here's my family racing ahead to see what else they could discover and Rae-Rae balancing on one of the beaver's trees.  Our experience in nature, God's beautiful creation, over the past few weeks has been so much more enjoyable than I had expected.  If we look for things to enjoy that God gave us, we can certainly find them!

Enjoying little kisses from God,

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  Romans 5:3-5 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Appreciating God's Creation

     Today we went to a local state park attempting to find something in nature that interested my kiddos enough to study.  I think more than anything they just wanted to play and explore on their own.  
     What we decided would be a fun study for all of us is flowers of any type, whether in a garden or growing wild.  What ended up being the most fun was searching for the flowers.  Then we'd take snapshots of them and try to see if we could identify them.  So here's what we saw and our stabs at identification.

We think this is a Potato Dandelion (wildflower), a member of the Aster family, but if anyone else knows exactly, please feel free to share.

We are pretty sure these are Wild Blue Phlox (they also grow wild), a member of the Phlox family.  But again, I'm new at this.

Rae-Rae is holding a Common Dandelion.

I'm not positive but I think this is Common Fleabane (wildflowers), also a member of the Aster family.

I couldn't find anything that looked enough like these wildflowers to even guess.  Yet they are still beautiful. 

Periwinkle (or Vinca)

This is another annual, like the Periwinkle above, but I don't know what it is.  It was a beautiful, vibrant red.

     I was amazed myself at how many wildflowers we caught a glimpse of when I've never paid much attention to them before.  I guess it goes to show me that we can always see beauty amongst the "weeds"  when we're looking for it which is especially true of everyday life.  Even my 8-yr. old daughter got that from today's nature walk.  As we were driving out of the park, she said, "Thank you Lord for the beautiful flowers!"  Amen to that!

I hope you are also catching glimpses of God's little kisses today!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Little Kisses at the Beach

     Last week, my daughters and I made a trip to the beach with my mom and my brother and his family.  It was a last-minute opportunity to enjoy a beach we haven't seen in a while.  And since my hubby said he thought it would be a nice change of scenery for us, we gladly accepted the invitation.
     It was so pleasant at the beach - not too hot and not to cool.  For me, it was just right.  The girls, my two nieces and nephew splashed around in the ocean - the younger four riding on River Rats most of the time we spent at the beach.  There was no end to their energy level.  When they weren't doing that, they were playing in the sand or swimming at the pool.  While digging in the sand, one of my daughters, accidentally I might add, picked up a sand crab without realizing it until after she'd done it.  Another one got stung several times by the jellyfish that seemed so abundant where we were.  We also saw a Blue Heron and some beautiful yellow Hibiscus blooms.  I just sat back and enjoyed spending time with family that I don't see often enough along with the ocean view that God made.  All of these, from spending time with family to enjoying God's beautiful creation, were little kisses from God and I enjoyed them all.

I was about ten feet away from this incredible bird when I snapped the camera.

Blessings to you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

More Time Spent in Nature Study

     Today we spent some more time outdoors.  These are the beautiful things we saw.

Blooming Camellia

Kids flying kites & just being kids

Our 2 cats,
Scout & Winchester

and a Tulip Tree bloom (Japanese Magnolia).

     Hope you also experienced little kisses from God today too!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring is Here - We Embark Upon Nature Study!

     For some time now, actually for the past couple of years or so, I've really wanted to do outdoor nature study with my children but have never really had that final boost of motivation to actually do it.  Somehow, I recently found a nature study blog, Handbook of Nature Study (see link on the right side of my blog), that finally gave me the push to do it.  Today, we went outside and just walked around.  It wasn't for very long but it was nice to just get out for no other reason than to just observe nature.  God has shared His beautiful world with us - we should enjoy it!  I've been missing out and so have my children.  Not that we never get out of the house - we do - but we don't typically get out solely for that purpose.

     We observed several things today and thought we'd share some photos of what we saw.  Here are the beautiful blooms that caught our eyes:

Burgundy Loropetalums

a cherry tree in full bloom

 a Bradford Pear tree, and a bright Forsythia Yellow/Golden Bell Bush.

     After discussing our beautiful scenery, we've decided to study the blooming cherry tree and acorns over the next few days.  Nature study #1 - here we come!


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Artwork by John Bell copyright 1998-2007 used with permission