Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happily Ever After

Halloween is my least favorite holiday, but the date, October 31st, is very special to me.

On October 31, 1943, 70 years ago today, Halloween fell on a Sunday, and at 9:30 a.m., between Sunday School and church, my parents were married at the First Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana. And from that day forward, they have honored and fulfilled their wedding vows by devoting their lives to each other, for better, for worse ... for richer, for poorer ... and in sickness and in health.

On their wedding day, America was in the midst of World War II. Times were tough and the future uncertain, to say the least.

He was a handsome young sailor, barely 19 years old, and she was his pretty little 17-year-old high school sweetheart. They were deeply and madly in love ... and nothing would do but that they get married.

Today, as we celebrate this extraordinary milestone in their lives, my parents are still just as deeply in love as they were that Sunday morning in 1943, if not more so. Of course, in 70 years of marriage there were some hard times ... and some sad times ... but their unwavering faith in God, and their abiding love for each other gave them the strength to endure them.

My mother's favorite Bible verse is Corinthians 1:13:7, and I think it exemplifies their love and the life they have shared together:

Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things.

My family and I are so blessed to have these two beautiful people in our lives. They have been an inspiration to all of us throughout our lives, and I hope they know how much they are loved.

Happy 70th Anniversary, Mama and Daddy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Little Light of Mine

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven.  Matthew 5:16.

I came across that scripture this morning, and it made me stop and think about my light.  Does it shine bright enough for others to see it, or is it hidden so deeply within me that no one knows it's there ... like the "flame" hidden deep within the petals of a flower. 

Do people have to use a "zoom lens" to see my light, like I had to use to capture the center of the Iris in the picture below?

I would like to think they don't have to "zoom in" to see my light.  I would like to think that everyone I come into contact with can easily see the light of Christ in my life by my actions, but I'm afraid that there are times when my actions may cause my light to dim, or waver.  

I've always loved the children's hymn, "This Little Light of Mine," and find its words inspiring and uplifting. I'm going to share them here as a reminder to myself to try to live my life every day in a way that will keep my light shining brightly. It's a lot easier and much more pleasant to smile at a stranger in the grocery store than to frown and glare at them for leaving their cart blocking the aisle. And it never fails to make me feel better to let someone in a line of traffic, than to try to block them from cutting in. I'm ashamed to say that I have been guilty of both of those things at one time or another ... and I'm sure my light went completely out at those times, which makes me sad to think about.

But today is a new day ... and a new beginning ... and, with God's help, I'm going to try to be a better person and not "hide my light under a bushel."  I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

This Little Light Of Mine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. 

Hide it under a bushel - NO! 
I'm gonna let it shine. 
Hide it under a bushel - NO! 
I'm gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. 

Let it shine over the whole wide world, 
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine over the whole wide world.
I'm gonna let it shine.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

When God Unfolds the Rose

It is only a tiny rosebud ...

A flower of God's design.
But I cannot unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine.
And the secret of unfolding flowers is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so sweetly, when in my hands it dies.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom to unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for leading,
Each moment of my day.
I will look to Him for His guidance,
Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,

Just as He unfolds the rose.
Poem written by Pastor Darryl L. Brown, 1974

Postscript:My sweet blogging friend Jenni in Texas, shared a beautiful song called, "When God Unfolds the Rose," which was written by Frank O'Brien, and performed by Tim Spell. I found this video presentation on YouTube, and it is truly an awesome song. I hope you will take the time to listen to it -- it will enrich and bless your day.
Thank you, Jenni, for sharing this inspiring song.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Godspeed, Little Hummers

We've been enjoying the antics of our hummingbirds the past couple of weeks, as they zoom past us on the patio and swoop and chatter at each other, claiming and bravely defending their "territory" around the feeder. As summer fades into fall, it's time for them to prepare for their long journey south for the winter.
This little guy looks as if he has been "preparing" for quite a while ... just look at that little tummy!

What a little butterball ... Isn't he precious!

I can't help but wonder if he is the same hummer in the pictures below that I captured in June. If he is, he was much thinner back then ...

I have always loved hummingbirds, but didn't really know much about them until I did some research before I wrote this post (see sources below).

The most amazing ... and endearing ... fact I learned was that hummingbirds are very intelligent, and are able to remember places and individual people from one year to the next. I love to think that my little friend in the pictures will be back to see us again next year.

Here are some more interesting things I discovered about them:

For a hummer that hatched during the summer, there's no memory of past migrations, only an urge to put on a lot of weight and fly in a particular direction for a certain amount of time, then look for a good place to spend the winter. Once it learns such a route, a bird may retrace it every year as long as it lives (just think about the "awesomeness" of that!).

The initial urge is triggered by the shortening length of sunlight as autumn approaches, and has nothing to do with temperature or the availability of food; in fact, hummingbirds migrate south at the time of greatest food abundance.

When the bird is fat enough, it migrates (most hummingbirds of the United States and Canada migrate south in fall to spend the winter in Mexico or Central America).

It's not necessary to take down feeders to force hummingbirds to leave, and in the fall all the birds at your feeder are already migrating anyway. Hummers can remember food sources from previous years, and if you remove your feeder, birds will just feed elsewhere, but may not bother to return to your yard the next year.

Hummingbird expert Lanny Chambers recommends continuing to maintain feeders until freezing becomes a problem.

Hummingbirds need our help this time of year to provide a reliable source of nectar when flower blossoms are less abundant. Let's don't forget to keep fresh sugar water in our feeders and keep them clean. Only white granulated sugar is proven safe to use in hummingbird feeders. A ratio of one cup sugar to four cups water is a common recipe. Boiling and then cooling this mixture before use is recommended to help deter the growth of bacteria.

A couple of days ago, my husband and I were sitting on our porch enjoying the late October afternoon, and a hummer came to the feeder, which was just a few feet away from us.  After drinking his fill of nectar, he flew toward me and just sort of hovered about a foot away from me, as if he was trying to tell me something.  I'd like to think that he was thanking us for the nectar we provided during the summer, and, perhaps, he was even trying to tell us 'goodbye.' Who knows ... that may not be just wishful thinking on my part.

Soon this little fellow will be gone ... but through these pictures, he won't be forgotten.  I wish him Godspeed on his long journey and a safe return in the Spring.

Sources:, by Lanny Chambers, St. Louis, Missouri
The Hummingbird Web Site, Larry & Terrie Gates
Journey North Hummingbirds

Monday, October 14, 2013

October Snow

I had errands and appointments in Jackson three days last week, and, while driving East on I-20 between Vicksburg and Jackson, had to pass by acres and acres of cotton fields that looked as if they had been dusted with a blanket of snow.  I could hear those fields calling my name and was frustrated by not having time to stop and capture them with my camera. 

I planned to go back Saturday morning, but was afraid the cotton pickers would get there before I did. Saturday morning dawned overcast, with a heavy fog, and I knew it was my lucky day —the cotton pickers wouldn't be there until the fog lifted and the cotton had a chance to dry out.

I, not so patiently, waited for the fog to lift and was rewarded with a brilliant October blue sky as a background for my photo shoot.  I love it when a plan comes together, don't you!

This field is the same one I featured in a post a couple of weeks ago [The Joys of a Cotton Patch], but it was mostly green then, with a few white tufts of cotton scattered amongst the rows ...
I know the cotton farmer's heart races a little faster every time he checks these beautiful fields ... and where I see beauty, I'm sure he sees dollar signs.

There's just something about a cotton field that inspires my southern pride and makes me glad that I grew up in the "land of cotton."

The cotton bolls were, literally, overflowing, and some looked as if they were the size of baseballs.

Here's that October blue sky I mentioned earlier ...
Isn't it glorious!

And speaking of glorious ... I've photographed dew on roses and pansies and other flowers, but I had never seen dew on cotton!

Is that not awesome!
There should be a country song called, "When the Dew is on the Cotton, I'll be Comin' Home to You."

This next picture is one of my favorites ... I love the contrast between the soft, pristine white cotton and the rustic texture of the leaves and boll.

I was in my glory as I wandered the rows of that cotton field.  What better way to spend a Saturday morning than in the midst of God's glory under an October blue sky ... and to be able to capture it and its memory forever in pictures was a special blessing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Colors of Autumn

 Benjamin Moore's extensive collection of paint colors will never come close to rivaling God's glorious seasonal palettes. I'm going to let the following colors from His "Fall Palette" speak for themselves ...

 Trumpet Vine Orange
 Goldenrod Gold
Pokeweed Purple
Summer and Fall Mix

Swamp Sunflower Yellow
Poison Ivy Red
 Wildflower Magenta
 Sage Grass Rust
Milo Rust
Cotton Boll White
October Sky Blue 
Bronze Leaf
 Tallow Fire
Tallow Red
Gingko Gold
Elephant Ear Rust
Spider Lily Red
Roadside Yellow
 Leaf Potpourri 
Pumpkin Orange
Blue Ridge Mountain Berry Blue
Croton Orange 
Cypress Rust

I hope you are enjoying the splendor of God's Fall Palette where you live, and can take some time this weekend to take a drive in the country to see it at its most glorious.