Gift #1044: Thanksgiving Blessings – Kingdom Coming

Yesterday we spent time reflecting on God’s provision for us and the rest of His creation.  Because we can trust Him to meet our needs, we are free to seek after His kingdom and make it a reality in our lives.  Today’s passage fleshes out what Christ’s kingdom looks like.

 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Luke 4: 16-21

 When I was planning the topics for these posts I was getting concerned because focusing on the words of Christ would necessitate drawing strictly from the New Testament. I was not at all sure that I could manage a series of posts without dipping into the Old Testament and was already trying to figure an escape route back to the Isaiah.  Turns out, I didn’t need to because Jesus Himself quoted from Isaiah, as evidenced by this passage and so we get the best of both worlds – a beautiful prophesy from my favorite book of the Bible and Christ’s fulfillment as He read those words in the temple.  This scene  gives me goose-bumps as I imagine the young carpenter entering the temple, asking for a scroll, and reading the words that would change the world – words that God had promised His people hundreds of years ago were now fulfilled in the Word made flesh.

I had originally planned to talk  about each aspect of the prophecy and how Christ fulfilled it both in His earthly ministry and in His spiritual one as He continues to draw our hearts to Him.  However  having just re-read Isaiah 61 in it’s entirety and being moved to tears, I think the prophet-poet’s words would be more impactful than any of my own.  This prophecy was written to the Israelites who starting to return back to their homeland after being captives in Babylon.  They had been through horrific warfare, destruction, disease, and enslavement by a foreign power, and they were coming home to ruins.  Throughout this time God had promised His people that He would heal them and their land.  This chapter is a beautiful description of the future God has planned for those who trust Him.   Though it is long, I hope you will take some time to read it in its entirety.  It cannot fail to bring comfort, hope, and great rejoicing for when our Redemption draws nigh and His kingdom comes.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1043: Thanksgiving Blessing – Ravens and Lilies

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful day surrounded in love.  For today’s post celebrating Thanksgiving, we are going to spend more time in the gospel of Luke listening to what Jesus says as He encourages us to trust Him for our needs:

 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Luke 12:22-32

In this address, Christ uses two examples to show how much care the Father has for His creation and for us too.  What I love about this passage is how closely God is shown to interact with creation.  God does not just set the world in motion and sit back to watch.  He is intimately engaged in every moment.  Notice  God declaring that He personally feeds the ravens.  In another passage of Scripture that I love, the writer describes the animals as receiving their food out of God’s hands.  I think about that when I read these verses.  He is actively engaged in meeting the needs of every aspect of His creation – not even birds are insignificant to Him.   In His second analogy, God is described as dressing or clothing fields with wildflowers.  He says that not even the most regal courts of humanity can compare with the glorious beauty that God pours out on flowers, which are ephemeral.

The implicit implication is that if God devotes so much care and attention in clothing the world with beauty and providing food for all His creatures, won’t He meet our needs too?  Our God is generous and eager to pour out His love and blessings on His creation.  The birds and flowers do not fret about how they will meet their own needs – they are completely dependent on their Creator.   And so are we.  Though we work and can buy food and clothing, those gifts still come from the hand of God and we are dependent on Him to provide for us.  Christ urges us not to set our focus on our material needs, but trust Him to supply those.  Instead we are encouraged to joyfully thank Him for His provision and rejoice in what He provides.

Knowing the character of God allows us to trust Him.  Trusting God frees us from worry and fear.  Freedom gives us the motivation to participate with God in making His kingdom a reality.   We can focus our energy on pursuing God’s rule in our hearts and in the world around us.  We become His agents in sharing His love and grace; and in so doing we reap eternal benefit because our hearts are focused on the One of greatest worth.  We have no cause for worry or fear because we have God Himself and we are heirs to His eternal kingdom.

When I moved from Texas to Colorado as a young teenager I lost nearly everything I knew and loved and it was a devastating time.  I was a long time coming to the point where I loved Colorado and viewed it as my home.   Shortly after we moved there, my mom and I found a cross-stitch shop and that soon became the happiest place of ours to visit.  Rare was the week that did not find us stopping in at least once.  One of the first patterns I bought and stitched from the shop was a poem based off this passage.  It says

See how the lilies flourish white and fair
See how the ravens fed from Heaven are
Then ne’er distrust thy God for cloth and bread
Whilst lilies flourish and ravens fed

It was a beautiful reminder to me that God would take care of me in this strange new place.  He did meet my needs in a way I could never have imagined.  He showed me more of Himself, grew me in His word, opened my heart and mind, and turned a foreign land into a home.   He didn’t just meet my needs, He filled my cup to overflowing.  May you also experience abundant comfort and joy in Him today.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1042: Thanksgiving Praise #2 – Found

Today’s blog features one of my favorite parables that Christ told.

 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:8-10

I think this resonates so much with me because I re-enact this scenario to various degrees multiple times a week.  I’m forever putting something down and not remembering where I put it or storing something in that “special place” and promptly forgetting.  Lately I’ve been questioning the laws of mass and energy – I’m not so sure that matter is not created or destroyed.   I’ve had too many stitch markers and pencils evaporate into thin air while I’m knitting.  And like this woman, as soon as I realize my loss, I’m ripping up the couch cushions, crawling on the floor, retracing my steps trying to find the blasted thing.

This parable is one in a series of analogies that Christ gives to help people understand the heart of God towards them.  Another well-known parable is the shepherd who has lost one lamb out of a flock of 100 and does not rest until he has located the lamb and carried it back to the flock.  There are several truths that emerge about the character of God from these descriptions.  First, both the woman and the shepherd have a lot of coins/sheep.  The loss of one, though sad, is probably not considered that dire by the people listening.  But notice how the woman and the shepherd respond:  they’re not content to cut their losses and be happy knowing they still have all but one.  All of their energy is invested into finding the lost one.  The woman sweeps through the whole house; other translations give the feeling of her literally ripping the house apart to find that coin.  The shepherd leaves the rest of his flock and does not return until he’s found that lamb.  In this we see a beautiful picture of God’s pursuit of us.  He does not rest until He has found us and restored us back to His household.  His love knows no bounds, there’s no limit to His coming for us.

Next, notice what the coin and lamb did.  That’s right – not a single thing.  There’s absolutely no indication that the coin or lamb participated at all in being found.  The lamb did not decide that life in the pen was not so bad after all and decided to go back.  They weren’t trying to be found.  The woman and the shepherd took all the initiative in finding their lost coin and lamb.  I once read a quote that says “In those times when I can’t seem to find God, I take comfort in knowing that He finds me”.  It’s stuck with me all these years.   We get so caught up in thinking that we have to save ourselves, make ourselves better, clean up our act, and get it together.  But we don’t.  Like the coin and the lamb, we are helpless to make ourselves found.  It is God who does the finding and saving and we, like the little lamb, just need to rest in His arms knowing that He will find us and carry us home.

Third, there’s a party!  When I would hear this as a child I always thought that was a bit excessive.  Sure, it’s great that they found their missing coin/lamb, but throwing a party about it?  That’s getting carried away isn’t it? But no, it’s not because the response is proportional to how valued the coin/lamb is.  Because we are precious to our Creator, there is great rejoicing when we are restored.  Christ emphasizes that in several of his parables – there’s always a party when there’s restoration.    The lost lamb is not punished for wandering off: instead the shepherd is exultant that the lamb is back with him.  God’s response to us is one of joy and celebration.

One of the first consequences to sin was hiding – from God and from each other.  And we’ve been on the run ever since.  But so has God.  He always comes after us, willing to go to any cost to hold us in His arms again and tell us we are loved.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1041: Thankgiving Blessing #1 – Rest

Today’s words are probably one of the best loved of Christ’s invitations:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ” Mat. 11:28-29

All who are weary and burdened… and who doesn’t feel like that? There’s physical weariness, which is primarily what I thought of when I learned these verses as a child; but there’s also emotional and spiritual exhaustion that can pull at us and drain all the joy from us.   The longer we live in this world, I think the more weary our souls tend to be and we long for rest… sweet, life-giving rest.  It’s something the world yearns for, but it cannot give.  The world tells us to stifle our weariness with more activity and more noise.  But God calls us to be still and rest in Him.

He offers us rest from our worry and anxiety.  God’s word is filled with the phrase “Do not be afraid”.  I think they are the words God speaks most often.  This year I’m keeping a notebook of every time I come across those words.  One thing that I’ve noticed is that God always gives a reason for why we should not fear.  And almost always, that reason is because God is near, because He knows our situation, and because He is our Savior.  Our reasons why we can rest from fear are rooted in the character of God and His presence with us.  The world is a fearful place, the future is unknown, but God is bigger than it all and His voice reassures us that we can rest in knowing He is here.

Christ also gives us rest from our guilt.  Guilt is one of the most powerful negative emotions and it stifles the joy and peace we’re meant to have.  Like most negative emotions, it has its place and purpose to help us recognize when we’ve done wrong, but if we stay stuck in that place listening only to the accusations of guilt, then we’re robbed of the life we’re meant to have.  The anecdote to guilt is forgiveness and Christ freely offers that to all who ask.  Not only does He forgive, but He gives us His righteousness. We can live confidently in His presence knowing that He sees us as perfect and blameless because He has removed all our sin and shame as far as the east is from the west.

We have rest from achievement.  This is the greatest application for me in this passage and the one I continue to struggle with the most.  I’m very results driven – I expect to do a lot and to do it efficiently and perfectly every time.  I naturally align my self-worth very closely with what I accomplish.  And this is deadly.  When I measure my worth by my activity, it’s never enough and my pursuits rule over me as a cruel and merciless master.  This is where Christ’s words find the deepest meaning for me.  He tells us to stop… just stop whatever we’re doing that we think will give us worth or make us accepted.  We don’t have to work for God’s love or favor.  He has given it fully and unconditionally to us.  There’s not a single thing we can do to make Him love us more.  In starting to grasp this truth over the past few years, it has been an enormous weight off my heart.  And if we’re secure in knowing that God loves us, then we don’t need to seek for approval from ourselves or others.  I don’t need to drive myself into exhaustion to prove to myself that I’m awesome and I don’t need others to affirm that.  No more fighting, bowing, scraping, competing to get ahead.  We’re free to do our best and leave the outcome in God’s hands.  No more expectations or self-absorbance in relationships.  We’re free to give love and grace to others without condition, knowing that we’ve experienced God’s full love and grace in our lives.

In what ways do you need rest right now?  What are you struggling with or weighed down by?  Christ’s invitation to rest is for you.  He understands and knows the weariness of our hearts.  His life-giving rest is an eternal gift that fills our lives with joy and peace.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1040: Preparing for Thanksgiving

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be this week; I can’t comprehend how the days are flying by so fast.  And then preparations for Christmas start.  That is always a very busy, stressful time because my family living here  go for a long visit to our family in Texas.  All our holiday prep work has to be done by the second week of December because we’re on the road shortly after.  That makes for a very frenzied time.  Every year I dream of having a calm, relaxing holiday with time to savor everything.  But it’s always a struggle to achieve that.  I end up exhausted and then it’s over –  and I think that’s pretty typical of everyone.   Recently I’ve been trying to change the way I approach the season and remember that the reasons why we celebrate aren’t connected to our circumstances.  At Thanksgiving, we rejoice in God’s provision for us and at Christmas we recall anew His presence.  These are realities that inform our attitudes towards life and they can be clung to regardless of whether the times are busy or quiet.

Last week my mom and I went on a weekend trip to Cincinnati and on Sunday morning we worshiped at Glendale’s Christ’s Church.  We’ve been deeply blessed every time we’ve visited and I do view it now as my second church home.  During the sermon, the rector introduced this period of time leading to Advent as a sort of transition.  He said that the lessons (or Scripture readings that guide the service) were unusual and often filled with tension and this was an intentional reflection of building into Advent.  He talked about how celebrating Advent remembers the coming of Christ the child, but also looks forward to the second coming of Christ as Conqueror.  This “already, but not yet” reality is mirrored in our own lives and world as well.  We have tasted of the goodness and provision of God, and evidences of His care for us are all around, but at the same time we recognize that His kingdom of justice and righteousness has not yet fully come.  We live in that in-between tension of “already in our hearts, but not yet in the world” and this is the dimension in which we are called to live out the gospel of grace in a hurting world.

The sermon ended with the encouragement that although the world tries to divide us into infinite factions, Christ unites us together in Him.  Sin separates us from God and from each other, setting us against our neighbors, but Christ draws us near and fills our hearts with His love and desire for reconciliation.  We were encouraged to present Christ to our world and to allow His grace to transform our hearts and overflow to those around us.  I had been thinking of what to blog about for Thanksgiving week and this sermon decided it for me.  So for this week, I will be sharing various aspects of Christ’s character as described from His words and interactions recorded in Scripture.  It’s my hope that focusing on Christ and what He offers us will fill our hearts with hope, joy, and thankfulness  – not only for Thanksgiving, but for the days to come.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1039: It’s Halloween again

This evening I had a treat waiting for me when I came home from work – I received my Halloween swap package!  One of my online groups, called Tiny Owl Knits, celebrates Owl-o-ween with an anonymous swap.  We fill out questionnaires, receive a person, and create a package filled with things we think they’ll like.  The package must include a hand-knit item and a treat.  Plus anything else you’d like to include.  My owl took a bit longer to receive as he had to fly across the Atlantic Ocean!  My gifter was from Great Britain!  It is thrilling to receive a package from someone living in the place I’d most like to visit in the world!

imageShe packed it full of wonderful things – handknit items, chocolate, and hot cocoa (from Cadbury!), soap, yarn, buttons, beads, and postcards.  Here’s a closer look at some of my gifts.  She filled the box with lots of leaves too.

imageShe gave me handmade soap in orange chocolate flavor and knit a towel to match.  I can’t wait to wash my face and hands with it.  I’ve never had a handknit towel, but I’ve heard they’re great.  There was also a woodland notebook with owls and mushrooms on the cover and a knitted leaf.

imageHere’s a closeup shot of a knitted cornucopia with a skein of yarn inside.  I was delighted by this – imagine having a skein of yarn in such a cute present!  The outside of the cornucopia has tiny leaves sewn along the border.  The skein is a dark brown with mauve, dark purple, and olive green – my favorite colors.  I’m thinking a hat would be great.

imageMy generous gifter also knitted me a felted cauldron.  I’m enchanted with it and think this might be resident in my room all year long.  Umm.. that spider button – it’s absolutely amazing!  The cauldron was filled with tiny silver heart beads and another skein of beautiful yarn!  This skein is more of a grey/green base with all sorts of brighter colors woven in – yellow, pink, red, dark purple, and blue.  This says “happy winter mitts” to me – maybe paired with a bright color to liven up dreary winter days.

imageOne of the most lovely gifts was a series of ceramic buttons.  She told me that they were handmade by artists in Africa.  I’ve never seen anything like them – they are earthy and beautiful colors and woodland themed – my favorite!  I can’t wait to find special projects for them.

She was also very creative in packaging my box – she sketched on owlies on the outside and created a lovely felted panel for her knitted leaf and some of the buttons.

imageimage

I feel very honored to be the recipient of such a wonderful package.  One of the most special things about participating in the swap is not just the amazing items you receive, but knowing that a total stranger was thinking of you, making something just for you, and finding things that they think you’ll like.  This kind of thoughtfulness and kindness is a treasure.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1038: Forest of Gold

Despite the crazy schedule of the last few weeks, I’ve been desperately trying to spend every moment outside that I can.  My family went to Spring Mill State Park a couple of weekends ago and there was still a lot of green.  The following weekend found my mom and I at our neighborhood park to try to do a bit of hiking and enjoy the foliage. We were there while they were setting up for a trick-or-treat event on one of the trails – local businesses and special interest groups were setting up booths along the trail with activities and candy and people were arriving in droves with their costumed families while we left.  It was fun to see that.  And then this weekend we went to Eagle Creek park for an afternoon of hiking and knitting.

image

These couple of weeks are my favorite of the year.  Our fall came slow and late, but I think we hit peak about last week.  There’s still a fair bit of color and some of the late changers haven’t started yet.  Other trees have already shed their autumn cloaks and are bare now.  The first area of Eagle Creek we tried hiking in had already lost its leaves for the most part.  After walking around there for a bit, we decided to go to another area of the park to hike where you can walk through forest and then around the lake.  I like this trail because the lake area is full of seed pods and berries this time of year.  However, the great happy surprise for us was that this forested area was full of color and absolutely glorious.  The weather was fine – the sky blue, a gentle breeze, and the warming rays of sun – combined with the stunning colors made for the perfect fall day.

image

We reveled in the beautiful autumn colors, picked up leaves, took pictures, and shuffled our feet through the colorful fallen leaves.  We talked and praised God for the beauty He gives His creation.  We knit on our fall projects and watched the birds come to the feeders.  We got to pet a beautiful sheltie named Rusty.  He was happy and excited to meet some new friends and to hear compliments on how lovely he was.  He seemed excited to be enjoying the fall as well.  (It’s not very often I get a chance to pet a sheltie, so this was a special moment)

image

I cherish walking through the woods so much, and at no time more than autumn.  It is the height of glory, the joyful revel of creation’s song before winter.  And I could walk through a forest of gold forever.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1037: All Hallow’s Eve

Happy Halloween Everyone!  We’ve had a lovely couple of days celebrating the season.  We had a Halloween pitch-in and costume contest at work and then I’ve been passing out candy this evening.  In between answering the door, I made Halloween cards.  Now I’m watching Clue and am contemplating finding a pumpkin-flavored something to snack on.  Ahh fall, how I love you!  It’s hard to believe that in a few hours we’ll be saying goodbye to my beloved October.

For Halloween I wanted to share with you some tags I made for a Halloween swap with RedLead Paperworks.  I’m a guest artist for them and enjoy their Halloween stamps and making art with them very much.  They always make great fall/Halloween stamps.  For this year we needed to make 4 tags and a holder for them.  Here’s my Halloween bouquet.

image

And now, a tour.

image

For the first tag, I wanted to use the wonderful bottle stamp and decided to pair it with the orange tag which I toned down by tapping black ink on the surface.  I die cut a magnificent spider web designed by Tim Holtz to decorate the back.  Various Halloween images were stamped to create a scene in the bottle and colored with watercolors to look like a sunset.  I stamped a tag and fastened it to the bottle with twine.  The bottom of the tag is decorated with black cardstock and washi tape.

image

Feeling excited about the first tag, I turned my attention to a stamp that wasn’t quite my style, but I wanted to make a Gothic-feeling tag.  So for this one, I stenciled a damask print on the tag and colored with purple and orange inks and kind of smudged up the edges.  I stamped the woman and a little raven to sit on her shoulder.  She’s decorated with rhinestone jewels and some obliging bats that are making themselves at home in her hair.  It needed a bit more punch, so I created a black paper rosette, stamped the quote and layered them together.  I tied cheesecloth ribbon around the tag and nestled the rosette on top.

image

For my third tag, I needed to think of some way to subdue the fluorescent green.  I knew I wanted to use the owl on the branch stamp with a moon and the tombstone raven.  I played with a layout on this tag, and then I noticed part of a paper doily that I’d inked with green and discarded because it didn’t work on a previous project.  Almost without thinking, I picked it up, tried it out on the tag, and decided I loved it there.  More bats took up residence in front of the inked moon and the I found this Halloween quote which I cut into strips, colored, and layered to the front.  It gives it a fun, quirky look and this ended up being my favorite tag.  The quote says ” The moon is full and bright and we shall see what can’t be seen on any other night”.  Oooh.. spooky!!

image
The little tag features a cute owl wearing his Halloween party hat.  He and Percy the Spider are hosting a Halloween soiree.  Oh, and look… the bats have invited themselves in.  Tag is finished up with spider web and orange polka-dot washi tape.

I hope your Halloween is filled with special treats and moments and that you might spy an owl or bat as you say goodbye to this magic night.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gift #1036: Mushrooms Abounding

There’s a spot in my neighborhood that is prime mushroom ground.  About this time of year a bumper crop of them emerges and it’s glorious.  I keep a weather eye out on that spot throughout the year just in case a fetching fungi is peaking up from the ground.  Today on the way out of the neighborhood to run an errand I saw them.  Naturally I had to stop by to say hello and take pictures.  They live in a “pretty bit of wildness” where a creek passes through our subdivision and the road crosses over it on a bridge.  Lots of bushes, trees, and wildflowers are concentrated there.. and also mushrooms.  During the fall I like to take walks there to admire the foliage and the horseapples and check on the mushroom situation.

image

Here’s what we had in hand today.  There was a nice variety of mushrooms to pick from…naturally I don’t have a favorite – I love them all.  I was so excited to see all of their interesting forms.

image

Aren’t they lovely?   I especially like the little ones that are hiding in the grass as if they’re shy of the world.  They smelled really good.  I don’t dare eat mushrooms from that are collected in the wild (or the neighborhood).  I only eat ones from the grocery store.  Though  I do have some acquaintances that harvest their own as they go on hikes.  In fact, a few weeks ago I saw a man walking in our neighborhood and he had a bag full of mushrooms he collected from down in the creekbank.

image

In my world, mushrooms are for photographing and pumpkins are for petting.  Later in the afternoon my mom and I went for a hike in a local park.  I’ll try to post pictures of the foliage when I get a next chance.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks and will continue so for a bit longer.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the mushroom photographs!

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gift #1032: Another Old Friend – Spring Mill State Park

This weekend my family made our annual fall trip to Spring Mill State Park.  It’s been a very hectic time for us and I think all of us were glad to head to the woods and unwind for a bit.  There the park and inn were, greeting us just like old friends and we rejoiced in the serenity and beauty of the landscape there. My mom and I spent long hours hiking in the woods.  We try to time it to go during peak autumn color.  We’ve had a strange autumn here and I’m not sure we’ll have a peak.  It’s been very warm – haven’t even had a freeze yet.  Many trees are still green, some have colored, and others just dropped their leaves in confusion.  I find the forest to be incredibly soothing to my soul.  I love to walk in the company of trees.

image

We had bright sunny days all weekend and I was entranced by chasing the sun through the trees.  Most of my pictures this time were of the sun peaking through the forest and lighting up the leaves.  The sunlight bathed everything in a golden hue.  We visited the pioneer village and garden.  Because we haven’t had a frost yet, there were still plenty of flowers in bloom and the ferns and moss were lush and green.  We saw a blacksmith at work and got to watch as he thinned out a poker handle into a leaf and stem.  It was fascinating for me because it’s very much the same processes we use in metalsmithing for jewelry, except his was on a larger scale and requires more muscle.  And then we spent more time in the forest and walking around the lake.

image

 

It was idyllic and I’m so grateful for another opportunity to see our special park in its autumn glory.  I hope you are enjoying the autumn weather (if you’re on the Northern Hemisphere) too!

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment