Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mama-Mia and Happy Birthday, Buddy!


Meet Mama-Mia..Our new kitty adopted from our local shelter.
Her time was running out and when I saw her online, I just knew she was for me!
At just two years old, she is a big kitty that just loves to cuddle with everyone.
This is an answer to my prayer of more than three years ago when I got sick and really wanted a cat to snuggle with, and she is the cuddliest little thing I've ever met!!
It took me this long to work up the courage to step into that shelter for the first time in over thirteen years.
(Which is when I adopted Sasha)
I'm so glad I did this..
The dogs both love her!
It's weird, but she acts as though she's always been a part of our family.

I also think she makes a great birthday gift to Buddy who just turned seven today!

Happy Birthday Bud!




 ~BLESSINGS AND LOVE~
     & remember, we are...

~NEVER FORSAKEN~


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Oh DEER!

When a fast food chain starts placing venison (deer) on their menu..It is NOT a good thing!

I'm not even gonna name the restaurant, since I don't want to freely advertise this..But most of you probably already know anyway.
Opening day of deer hunting is a big thing up North where we live.
And yes, we do have venison in our freezer still from last season as I write this..
The reason I am not happy about this is because, as an eater of venison, I am able to enjoy the meat because I know that the person who harvested my deer did so with responsibility and even compassion. I know that she lived within her herd and grazed on the land that our friend owns which consists of several wooded acres as well as thousands of surrounding farm fields here in Northern Michigan.
Not one season have I failed to first thank the Creator for this provision and then thank the deer for her sacrifice.
So..why shouldn't the folks who do not or cannot hunt be able to partake in a venison sandwich at a fast food restaurant? Well, my answer is pretty simple.
For the same reason I have given up eating beef, pork and chicken. *I am not always successful in avoiding these foods however, but am working on it. I am also in the process of eliminating dairy from my diet..This is actually easier for me because of awesome products such as almond and cashew milks.
I can no longer eat those animals knowing that (many times) their sacrifice came about from having to exist in a very cruel and abusive industry where their flesh means big money, and they are  treated as just a product for mass consumption. Living in cramped holding stalls or cages unable to see daylight in many cases, and in order to get good and fat, unable to run around and feel the earth beneath their feet and graze with their herds the way God intended.
I am not trying to start a debate here..just telling the facts of what our consumer-driven fast food chains have to do in order to satisfy the wants of their customer in a way that is cost effective for their industry.
I think many people would agree that it is pretty awesome to watch wild deer as they peacefully graze in a field or leap through the wild landscapes like they do so here in the great state of Michigan and elsewhere..their white tail flagging as they retreat into the forests.
I enjoy watching the small family of four deer that like to hang around our front yard picking through acorns that have fallen, or pulling down branches of the cedar pines that grow in our swamp and nourish them throughout the cold winter months.
This..



NOT THIS!
Now, this fast food chain might say they have sourced their venison from some distant place where the animals are grass fed etc..But the truth of the matter is that may be the case for now while they are introducing this new product to their customers, just to see if there will be a demand for it or not..But once they discover how people do enjoy eating venison (like we have for millennia) and that they are making lots of money selling the product..then I'm sure the dollars will follow the demand like everything else..and they will have no shortage of 'sources' to draw from in order to keep the cash flowing!
I would expect many people will be excited about profiting from this new industry and our government would likely allow farms to raise deer in areas where they are plentiful like right here in Northern Michigan as well as all over the USA.
I would also expect to stop seeing the deer in the wild anymore before long.
If you doubt what I'm saying here..then let me tell you..The fast food restaurant that just introduced this item on the menu
 in six states on Halloween day, is already boasting that it was a total success as the sandwich completely sold out on the first day.Just some 'food for thought'!

~BLESSINGS & LOVE~
And remember, we are...

~NEVER FORSAKEN~

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Let's go for a ride!

Meet our new mud buggy!
(A dream come true for us)















oops, this is from Hog Island a couple weeks ago..But I'm leaving it on here cause it is so pretty





Time for lunch on the trail
Thanks for coming along for the ride!

~BLESSINGS & LOVE~
and always remember,
we are...

~NEVER FORSAKEN!~

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's Wintober (Winter in October)





Jeff walked around the house singing Christmas carols last night..
Don't know whether to rake or shovel! 

~Blessings & Love~

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hello...I am still alive and well!





I've only been online for a short while now and already I am addicted to YouTube. 
I've been hearing an awful lot about an impending WW3, and other disturbing things...So I have decided to put my trust in The Lord, and not worry about this. Some might think that is foolish, but as my daughter says, "Don't let the devil steal your joy today with fears about tomorrow."
Jesus said the same thing:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33,34


So here is my offering to any who are weary from listening to the news..Some of God's little reminders of his power and Majesty over his creation..and his love for his children through Christ our Lord..

I took this photo at a very remote and difficult to access
area in Michigan's Upper Peninsula..I managed to frame the lighthouse
by  leaving the designated pathway and laying down in the sand behind the driftwood.
This photo reminds me to always keep my
focus on Jesus, my Lord..He will never be moved,
but there are times when I will need to move away
from the path that I am on in order to stay focused.

Although this is not one of my better photos, I am
including it on here in order to illustrate a point..
Even through the storms of life..We can clearly
see and remember God's promises.

 I want to apologize to friends who have contacted me worried because of my long absence and silence online.

We do have home internet now, thank The Lord, and it is pretty amazing!


As soon as we got our cable upgrade, we were blessed by a week long visit from our oldest granddaughter..She and I had a total blast!

We are so much alike, and I think she was really surprised that her grandma really is such a kid at heart! I know her mom is probably confused about what ever happened to the strict disciplinarian that raised her, lol! I am retired from all that now, so it's time for some fun, fun, fun with the grands! 
Alyssa taking a picture of me taking a picture of her

At the close of summer Jeff finally got some time off from work and we were finally able to take the camper out for some exploration!

We also visited our daughter in Indiana for a few days at the beginning of October, and had some fun at Indiana's annual 

'Feast of the Harvest Moon' festival where we walked around eating turkey legs and sipping hot apple cider among many people, some of which were in period dress circa mid 1700's...


Here is Jeff and daughters aboard two ship museums on the coast of Lake Michigan
This is the largest of the two, the
 S.S. City of Milwaukee.(otherwise known as Manistee's Ghost Ship)
because they open it up as a haunted house tour in October..We toured it in August.


And here is a photo someone took of an alleged ghost ship on Lake Superior the same weekend we were there!
This got the attention of our local media and is now all over the internet.

And here is a photo I took myself of a real ship as we drove over the  Mighty Mackinaw later that same week

This photo was taken early morning on the shore of Lake Michigan
The land you see is called Hog Island.
We parked our camper on a ledge overlooking the water..
In fact the next photo shows the rocky shoreline
where our campsite is hidden.
The camper is perched on a cliff at the right of this photo. 
At sunset
And here are some neat passers-by that we encountered during our camping trip...
This eagle was perched on a rock way out by the island..He was hunting seagulls. We know this because a friend who camped there before witnessed eagles taking down seagulls who migrate to the tiny island each spring to lay their eggs. We were there last May and seen the island full of them..(This last camping trip was earlier this October.)

These two made us laugh as they were navigating the waves trying to get in for a closer look at us!

Only two days after returning home, our Son In Law shattered his hip in three places..He is a disabled veteran, only 30 yrs. old, and he is having a very difficult time of it. He initially stayed in the hospital for five days after surgery, but we had to take him back for an additional five days because of severe pain and swelling. We would sure appreciate your prayers for his recovery. He is at home now...

Thank you, and God bless!

~Blessings & Love~
and remember,
we are...

~NEVER FORSAKEN~

Just one more photo...
Taken after I completed this post..

Yes, that is snow on that pine branch!
(sorry about the reflection in the window)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Clear Image



Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
 Ephesians 5:1-2

We are made in the image of God at birth (meaning we are born with the potential of being  like our Creator in terms of being his children, and heirs to his kingdom in heaven), but as we grow closer to him through our relationship with Jesus, we are constantly being shaped into the image of Jesus.
But how does that happen?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18


For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.
Colossians 1:9-15




Seek Him...

 

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 (emphasis mine)
 
Draw near to Him...
 
 


 

 




I recently watched a 'Nature' episode on PBS about orangutans. At the same time I was doing a study on what the word 'image'  means to me.
In the program, I noticed how the young orangutans would get in real close to the parent in order to learn how to do the things the parent did, like how to use a stick to get seeds out of a plant. It was actually comical to watch the youngster get within inches of the grown-up so that their focus was intent upon them and nothing else.
 And then it struck me...
That is the way we should be with our Lord!
In order to learn of him and imitate the way he does things, we need to get in closer...our focus should be zeroed in on him and him alone.
I honestly need to follow this advice myself...I can sense the Lord speaking into my own spirit as I write out this blog post. In fact, just as I began writing, a friend called asking for advice on choosing a camera. I told her which one I use, and how it has a good zoom capability, but the image stabilizer was something that seemed to take too long for me to be able to get that final shot sometimes.
 
I haven't written anything on this blog for a couple of months and was struggling with what to write today when I remembered how God used a TV program to teach me something...and when I wasn't quite sure where to begin this essay, The Lord further directed me using a phone call from a friend.
Honestly, what are the chances of getting a random call about photography while creating a post about 'image' ?
This was no mere coincidence, and what it told me was that God is interested in what I'm doing here on this blog; in fact, he is able to use me in this way...but only if I pay close attention.

So what does an image stabilizer do anyway?
The short answer to that question is it is a technology built into many cameras that helps reduce the blur caused by the operator being shaky when trying to hold the camera steady...It does a job similar to what a tripod does.

Now I will attempt to make a comparison to this technology, and what I believe The Lord is trying to teach me concerning learning to watch him in order to be able to imitate his ways...
In order to be able to get a clear picture of who Jesus is...We need to use the Word of God. We need to read his Word closely in order to discover him, who he is, and how he does things.
 I believe The Bible is our image stabilizer...and Jesus is the image we are focusing on.
And yes, just like the image stabilizer on my camera takes some time before the image comes into focus...so does studying the Bible take time in order to reveal a clear picture of The Lord to me.

If you Google "Image of Jesus" you will get a million different images..

The Shroud of Turin
 Although for the sake of this study, we are not focusing on the physical, bodily image ...but the personality, the attributes of Jesus. Which are so plentiful in scripture that there is no room to list them all here.


The Father Revealed

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
John 146-11
Notice in vs. 8 how even though he had known and seen Jesus with his own eyes, Philip wanted to see more.
Even Job in the old testament longed to see God with his own eyes...

                    For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
  
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That  in my flesh I shall see God,
 
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
Job 19:25-27


So it is understanding that we also long to look upon the face of our Redeemer.

But we Christians have been given the Spirit of God, and not only will we see him, but we will be like him when we enter into eternity.

 Until we see Him face to face, we can catch a glimpse of Him in a true Believer, a true Christian right here on planet earth.
(Remember this the next time you are tempted to talk badly about a fellow believer.) *Oh-Oh! :o

 Or maybe we can see him when we look in the mirror..
Then one of the elders said to me “Do not weep! See, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed..
Revelation 5: 5

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
*And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13
*(I included vs.13 because the subject of LOVE seems to be the main context of the chapter)

So if we LOVE God and others the way Jesus demonstrated in the Bible, then God sees Jesus when he looks at us.

which makes perfect sense because Jesus gave us the command:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
This commandment may sound simple, but it is not easy.
In fact, I would be lying if I said I found it easy to truly and always love God, let alone myself or anyone else!
Only through Jesus can we experience that kind of love towards anyone.

  • John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  • 1 John 3:16- This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
 I don't think its by accident that both of these verses are located in separate books of the Bible, yet are numbered exactly the same verse and chapter. They sure do seem to connect one to the other!
We ought to be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ...I believe this means not only our mortal life, but also to lay aside time and energy for one another.
*This is just my opinion, not to imply this as the meaning of what Jesus is saying here

I hope this essay has in some way helped you to want to get to know God better...The Bible tells us that the only way to get to the Father is through his son, Jesus Christ.
So please understand that all you need to do is to read of him in scripture, and to fully understand his Word is to know the person himself who is called 'The Word'.

 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

How can I really get to know Jesus?
If you repent of your sins, ask Jesus into your heart today, believing that he died for your sins  so that you will live with him in eternity instead of going to hell as a payment for your own sin...You will receive the Holy Spirit who will reside within you, which will guide you into understanding scripture, and that will enable you to change into a new creation in Christ..
 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,..  Ephesians 3:16
 
~Blessings & Love~
and always remember, we are...

~NEVER FORSAKEN~


 

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