Tag Archives: Nature

Lessons from an Adventurous Pup

800px-Whipps_LedgesThis past weekend my husband and I took our little puggle pup Amber for an adventure to a beautiful park with tons of gorgeous and fascinating cliffs, rocks, ledges, and more. Amber is about 18 pounds and full of energy. The combination of beagle determination and pug goofiness makes her a crazy ball of fun in any situation but is heightened when surrounded by new smells and exciting trails to explore.

While my husband and I were careful to watch exactly where we were going, little Amber was not so cautious. She ran up ahead as far as her leash would allow her to. She pranced around and jumped from rock to rock without a care, occasionally glancing back at us as if to say “Come on!” She was happy as could be without a care in the world. She couldn’t see the path ahead through all the rocks, but she trusted that we were right there behind her, holding onto her leash and ready to stop her from going too far ahead or too close to the edge.

At one particularly adventurous moment, she took a leap onto a large slanted rock to the side of our intended path, much too steep for her to climb up.  She started to slide back down and my husband quickly picked her up, placing her back on the ground in the direction we had been heading.  Still she wasn’t scared or cautious as we came to the rocks again.  Her tail was wagging in its curly pug fashion as she happily continued along.

As Amber proved to be quite the trooper on our hike, she also knew when it was time for a rest.  The discovery of a small babbling stream through the rocks caused her to slow her step and take a few moments to drink up and cool off.  The sight of a little toad hopping along the path made her stop in her tracks to see just what this new creature was up to.  The lush green grass that grew in clusters along the trail provided more opportunities for breaks as Amber paused to munch on a blade here and there.  Despite her adventurous spirit, even Amber knew when to take a break and just relax.  She knew when to stop and enjoy the treasures she found.

As I carefully watched her to make sure she would be safe, it occurred to me that this is how I should be on my own adventure through life.  To go through life enjoying all the things we have been given and willing to try new adventures without fear.  To be able to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit guiding me even when I can’t quite see the path ahead.  To go forward knowing that if I start to wander in the wrong direction, to get too close to the edge, to attempt a climb too steep and dangerous, God will be there the whole time to gently pull me back to safety and help me find my way again.   And in the midst of it all, to be able to stop, rest, and enjoy the blessings that surround me.

I wish I could see the exact plan all laid out ahead of me with little signs telling me which way to go, what decisions to make, and so on.   But I can’t.   The best I can do is pray for guidance and keep going forward with my full trust in God.  When I feel myself beginning to stress over which way to go next or worrying over what might be ahead in life, I am going to take a cue from my pup and keep moving forward with the plans God has for me, stopping to rest and listen to His voice, and continuing on my journey with faith, hope, and excitement at the wonders God has in store.

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The Beauty of Creation

Winter is not letting up just yet! As we are in the midst of another snowstorm it can be easy to complain about the weather. Instead, I decided to re-blog a post I had written two years ago to invite all of us to look for the beauty in God’s creation. God’s wondrous works can be seen even in the icy weather that surrounds us. Let us all take a moment today to see His glory surrounding us.

roses near running waters

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence;  see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa

The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere.  In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on.  For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God.  It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator.  When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created?    In the midst of these gorgeous…

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White As Snow

The first snowfall of the season has arrived!  I awoke this morning and looked outside to see the ground blanketed in beautiful fresh snow.  It was the perfect kind of snow. Crisp, white, soft.  It decorated every branch of every tree.  Huge snowflakes fell softly to the ground.   Snowfall

As I walked my dog at the park next door, I was struck by the beauty of the remnants of fall mixing together with the upcoming winter.  Red and orange leaves that has fallen onto the path were frozen and crunched with ice and snow as we walked.  The reds, yellows, and oranges of the fall leaves that had not yet left the trees poked through the snow and left splashes of color. 

The rising morning sun cast beams of light that made the fall colors even brighter hues and made the snow glisten all the more.  As I walked and prayed I thought of Isaiah 1:18:

“though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be like snow;”

I looked at the   scarlet leaves covered with white snow and marveled at our God’s goodness. 

Many people lament the start of the winter season.  It is easy to see the dangerous roads, the poor visibility, the shoveling, the brown sludge of wet snow mixed with dirt and mud, icy sidewalks, and high heating bills!  

Instead we need to pause and take a look at the beauty of the snow that our Creator has sent to us!  We need to be reminded that our lives are like the winter.  They are messy, full of problems and trials.  But oh how beautiful our lives become when we set our gaze on the Creator and live in His love!  He has made such wonderful things and has given us so much.  Our sins are forgotten; made clean and white as winter snow. Our God is truly amazing.

The Beauty of Creation

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence;  see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa

The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere.  In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on.  For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God.  It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator.  When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created?    In the midst of these gorgeous landscapes, we are reminded of the wonder of our God.  We are reminded of His perfection.  The next thought I usually have is, with all of this wonderous perfection…what have we done to it?

God created everything we see.  We have all heard the creation story countless times. (Genesis 1)  God created the heavens and the earth, the light and the darkness, the sea and the sky, all things that grow, all creatures of the sea, sky and land, and man in His very own image.  He saw everything He created, and it was good.  He didn’t look at what he had created with regret or determine that only some of His creations were a success.  He looked at everything He had made and found it to be good.  In that very beginning everything was good.  Just as God had created it.  Man was given dominion over animals but was also given animals to be companions.  Everything was peaceful and glorious until sin entered the world.

Since then, we have lost sight of the beauty and perfection of nature.  Our God has created such beauty and we are the ones who choose again and again to mess it up.  The trees and mountains and the sea seem to show creation as it was intended.  Beautiful.  Silent.  We are too often surrounded by the noise of our modern-day society to notice the beauty of the earth.  Sometimes we are too concerned with our own personal needs to look upon the needs of God’s creation.  We have an obligation to care for His creation. In caring for His creation, we can better care for the people who are a part of that creation.  By taking care of the plants and animals and doing what we can to reduce pollution, these are things we can do to protect God’s creation and thus make the world a better place for everyone. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this at the 2010 World Day of Peace when he chose the theme “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.”  You can read his full message here http://conservation.catholic.org/ along with several other passages speaking of creation.

Taking care of creation includes animal life as well.  I recently saw the new movie “Big Miracle” with my husband (it’s the one about the 3 Alaskan whales tarpped in the ice).  It was a wonderful movie and when we left the theater I thought, how awesome that everyone came together for these beautiful whales!  Wouldn’t it be even more awesome if we could all work together to protect every aspect of creation?  Including animals, plants, land, sea, sky, and people too! We need to do what we can to care for animals and respect them.  God created all creatures and we need to do what we can to keep them from becoming endangered or extinct, just like we need to do our part to protect the forests and rivers that God created and just like we need to protect our fellow man. 

In Psalm 148, all of creation is praising God.  If even the trees and the rivers can praise God for what He has made, how much more should we praise our Creator?  By looking at His creation we are reminded of everything we are given.  We are called to join in praise with the heavens, the angels, and all of creation!  This is such a beautiful thought.  It almost seems like a fairy tale.  All the trees and mountains andlions and elephants and even whales joining in praise with the angels and with all people, young and old.   But this doesn’t have to be a fairy tale picture.  When we are immersed in nature, at the ocean , walking in the park, climbing in the mountains, we can silently offer our prayers of praise to God with the land we are surrounded by.  We can care for the creation surrounding us, from the land to the sky to the creatures that we share this earth with.  And we can care for the people.  For our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are all a part of creation and can all do our part to protect every aspect of creation that we are able.  And to forever praise our God.  To open up with creation like the roses open up near running water.  Open up our souls to the glory and praise of our God.

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog!   The title of this blog, “roses  near running waters,”  is a reference to one of my favorite Bible passages.  It’s from Sirach and is a lesser known passage but for me it perfectly describes how awesome God is.  When I see the beauty of nature, I am reminded of God’s wonder and love for us.  His creation shows the beauty and perfection that is God.  And when I see the glorious beauty surrounding us, I know that the God who created all the heavens and the earth can certainly help me through anything that comes my way.  The wonder of His works reminds me to praise Him in all I do and to trust in him with all my heart.  Here is the passage:

“Listen, my faithful children: open up your petals, like roses planted near running waters; Send up the sweet odor of incense, break forth in blossom like the lily.  Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise; bless the LORD for all He has done!  Proclaim the greatness of His name, loudly sing His praises, with music on the harp and all stringed instruments; sing out with joy as you proclaim: The works of God are all of them good; in its own time every need is supplied.  At His word the waters become still as in a flask; He had but to speak and the reservoirs were made.  He has but to command and His will is done; nothing can limit His achievement.  The works of all mankind are present to Him; not a thing escapes His eye.  His gaze spans all ages; to Him there is nothing unexpected.  No cause then to say: “What is the purpose of this?”  Everything is chosen to satisfy a need.”       ~Sirach 39:13-21

So, like roses planted near running waters, I strive daily to praise the LORD for all He has done and to place all my trust in His infinite goodness.  And through this blog I hope to share my thoughts on matters of faith in this modern world, all the while remembering to keep the focus on the Creator.