Since I have self-proclaimed myself as Miss National Geographic Photographer, I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures with you. I only have a gazillion, so this will be difficult to choose 4 or 5, (or 8 or 10) but we'll give it a go. I have three main "nature" passions with my camera - Enjoy the pictures!
1. Sunsets - I promise you, I have at least 1000 or more sunset, critter and flower pictures to choose from! Let's analyze this obsession. When I view a sunset, I see so much more than a pretty sky. I see God. Every sunset is unique in it's own way. Some may think that if you've seen one, you've seen them all, but I disagree 1000% on that! Even Rick says, "Just how many sunset pictures can you take?" I tell him, "As many as there are." Depending on what kind of mood I'm in that particular day, I might see God's majesty. I may see His sensitivity. There have been times that I was hurting so deeply, or have been troubled about something and I actually could feel His compassion and love for me in the picture He painted in the sky. Sometimes I believe He put that sunset there just for me - because I needed to see His power and glory...His love for me...His sorrow with me...His gift to me.
This one was taken on August 14, 2007. I call this one "Daddy's Birthday Sunset". He passed away in January of 07, so his first birthday after leaving this earth was spent in the very heart of this gorgeous sunset with the Creator himself!
Just Another Gorgeous Sunset!
Through the Wagon wheel
2. Critters - Everyday brings another adventure out here! Always a frog, snake, funky grasshopper, spider (my phobia supreme), bear, deer, turkeys...you name it, I have a picture of it somewhere. Even the creepy creatures of the world give me a glimpse of the Lord. Do you know how much pleasure and excitement I have been blessed with to see these wonders of nature? It has brought me much joy and laughter in seeing some of the "weird" menageries of critters God placed on this earth.
Mr. Frog takes up residence in my begonias.
3. Flowers - My dad was a gardener extraordinaire. He could grow anything...yet, I never learned (or cared to) the "Secrets of the Green Thumb". As far as I was concerned, piddling in the yard was for old people. Besides, he did all the work, and we reaped all the benefits of his huge garden! After he died, it became my mission to work on my yard skills. My first order of business was to nurture a few of the plants from his service...baby steps I told myself. It was VERY important to me to keep at least one alive - to make him proud...to carry on the "green thumb" in the family. Since then, I have come to appreciate the nurturing of plants, flowers, and vegetables. This isn't for old people at all! For one thing, it's hard work! Good grief! I dig, I plant, I water, I weed, I re-pot, I clip, I trim, I prune, I water, I water, I water...did I mention that I water? Holy Cow! When it gets up to 100 degrees many days in a row, you better be watering and nurturing! Yes, I have become my father's daughter. I now love playing in the dirt and reaping the harvest! I even grow my own tomatoes, which was Daddy's specialty. As I said...baby steps, but someday I will have a garden full of many veggies. Right now, I'll enjoy my tomatoes and just playing with flowers and plants. If you think about it, our service for the Lord is much like "playing in the dirt". We plant seeds, we nurture, we prune, we water, we trim, we re-pot...and then we reap the harvest of our labors. Sadly, we often let the weeds overtake our "gardens" and the harvest gets choked out. Laboring for the Lord requires constant care!
I hope I haven't bored you out of your mind with this post. I warned you ahead of time that I have an obsession with photographs...and trust me, I have not even scratched the surface!
There is something about this valley that is different from anywhere else I know. It just has a sense of peace - of the presence of God like no other. Every person who has ever been here has said, "There was such a wave of peace that came over me as I was driving up your driveway. There is something different about this place." It is not the house we live in, it is not the land we own, it is not the landscaping around our place - IT IS THE VERY PRESENCE OF GOD in this valley! Thank you Jesus for allowing me, my family and our friends to see YOU every time we step outside. Don't misunderstand me. God is everywhere and His presence is around us all of the time! But, this place...this is like a little piece of Heaven on earth. I hope each and every one of you have a special place where you can sit with God and just 'hang out' like old friends. Out here, God and I...we've had so many deep conversations, (sometimes over tea...I don't do coffee), arguments, laughs, discussions, tears, "holy fits" and sometimes even "unholy fits"! This is truly my sanctuary. If you ever need to get away to experience peace, serenity, beauty and the presence of God - call me. The door is always open...