We Can’t Run…We Can’t Hide!

Dear Reader:

Yesterday afternoon Susan invited me over to see her new home and celebrate my nephew Lee’s birthday! It was a lot of fun…Bekah and Ady were just coming back from a swim meet in Savannah and timed it perfectly for the arrival of the pizza…de’lish! And the red velvet birthday cake was such a treat!

I told Lee that I needed a picture of little Rhodes playing ‘peek or boo’ with me because the story (from a devotional I read earlier this week)is about seeing and sometimes not seeing…or thinking God can’t see us.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.” – Hebrews 4:13 NIV

“Peek or Boo” has always… and continues to be… a favorite childhood game…no matter how many times we play it and yell out “Peek or Boo.” Little children think if they just cover their eyes no one can see them. We adults think that is just adorable in our little children and grandchildren toddlers…but you know what…unfortunately we convince ourselves that we can do the same thing with God…disappear from His Sight.

Here are some amazing facts about our vision that are just plain mind-boggling. (Source: “What God Sees”– Indescribable- Louie Giglio)

“Did you know that on a clear night, away from the city lights and using only your eyes, you can see all the way to the Andromeda Galaxy, which is located an astonishing 2.5 million light-years from Earth? And on a really good night, you can see all the way to a star called Deneb, one of the brightest stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how far away Deneb is, but they think it’s at least 9 quadrillion miles away — or 9,000,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of zeroes! God made your eyes amazingly powerful so you can see just a bit of His magnificent creation.

But as powerful as your eyes are, God’s eyes are even more powerful. He can see the farthest star in the farthest galaxy of the universe. He can also see the shortest hair on the left leg of the tiniest bug. And He can see every hair on your head — and count every single one (Luke 12:7).”

God see absolutely everything. “And He sees you — perfectly and completely. But when God looks at you, He doesn’t look at just the outside — your clothes, your hair, or your nose. God looks much deeper than that. He looks at your heart, and He sees all the things that are filling it. He sees the worries and the doubts, what makes you happy and what scares you. He also sees the anger, the jealousy, and all those secret sins you think no one else knows.”

The nice thing about this situation is that there is no need to play games with God because He already knows all our secrets that we try to hide and guess what…He loves us in spite of them all…just the way we are. We never take a bad picture in His Eyes…or even have a bad hair day…What a relief!

So until tomorrow…Here is an interesting tidbit the author added in his devotional that caught my attention…I am a trivia lover and I think you will be amazed too.

“Your eyes blink about 12 times every minute — that’s more than 10,000 blinks every day (not counting when you’re asleep, of course). Each blink lasts about 0.3 seconds, which means you have your eyes closed for more than 50 minutes every day!”

Party fun for the young and younger! Sliding down steps…Susan’s stairs are just perfect for this game!

Pizza and birthday cake are a  winning combination and if you don’t have a candle… an imaginary one works just great too…only they are harder to blow out.

Funny faces and playing hide and seek completed the evening…thank goodness for little children showing us all how to have fun! What is a party without them?

Susan’s house is beautiful and works perfectly for one and all…her living space downstairs consists of a welcoming foyer, cozy den, large sized kitchen…bedroom/bathroom andwalk-in closet.  Bekah and Ady have their own bedrooms/bathrooms and an extra lounge/den area to watch television and play games upstairs…

Took this picture at 7:00 last night of the moon. I hope I can stay up to see the “Blood Red” moon color….will see how it all works out….BURR! It is freezing outside…literally…in the twenties!

 

I went out about 11:00 and was disappointed…you could tell the eclipse had started as it looked like someone had bitten off a piece of the moon but still it was just white….so what was the big build-up about the “super blood” color?

 

I really forgot about it and started reading….suddenly I felt the book sliding down my lap and jerked awake….when I looked at the clock it was 12:45. Nah…it was too cold and it was probably completely eclipsed and nothing but darkness out there. Something kept nagging at me however…so I threw on my coat and at first thought my initial inclination was right…I didn’t see any moon.

Just as I was about to turn around and start back towards the porch…I saw it…straight over head. It was so directly overhead I couldn’t lean back far enough to see it without feeling like I was going to fall over…

I thought that there was no way my little iPhone camera could possibly get any identifiable photo in all the darkness but I desperately wanted to try….BECAUSE…the moon was almost completely “blood red” against a streak of light blue…it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in the sky. I am so thankful I followed my “gut” reaction and went outside.

Not too bad for a little iPhone shot is it? God’s amazing universe!

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“Common Sense isn’t Faith…Faith isn’t Common Sense”

Dear Reader:

Isn’t it interesting how we can come across a thought like “Ezekiel’s Vision about Wheels within a Wheel” (as happened to me by going to Hobby Lobby to look for a suitable hearth wall hanging)…and then suddenly ‘wheels within wheels” just start popping up everywhere…whether in conversation, application, or more visibly… walls in buildings I enter.

This  art work was hanging in the hallway right outside my Comprehensive Wound Center office entrance door. It has been there forever but I just “saw” it Friday when I went for my weekly appointment. The door to the office is so heavy I always have to stop and lean my shoulder/body up against the door to push it open. It was while I was getting ready for this weekly “ritual” that I finally noticed the art work.

I let go of the door handle…backed away…grabbed my iPhone and took the picture. I thought again about the definition I had looked up concerning the phrase…”Wheels within wheels”…a complicated situation, made even more so, by varying thoughts and opinions in reference to an outcome concerning an incident.

This has definitely been true of my foot “steps” through the on-going process of healing my left foot. Common sense, alone, hasn’t been enough to help me or my medical team figure out ways to implement the right techniques to make my foot whole again. It has taken a lot of  ‘leaps of faith’  on both our ends to try new methods to accomplish this goal. (Luckily my team has been open to new methods and supportive of each other’s ideas and opinions.)

There is a strong possibility that this past Friday’s Affinity treatment might have been the last…(not the last work to be done on the foot…just the last Affinity procedure.) There is still some healing left to do and honestly I don’t know yet what that will entail but this medical team has earned my faith and I am leaving my complete recovery in their (not only capable…but miraculous) hands.

I have seen the medical “wheels within a wheel” at work right before me while I listen in fascination to every member of my medical team… nurses,  doctor, the medical representative providing the Affinity…all brain-storming together…week after week after week. All of them encouraging me that we are getting closer to our goal…not to get discouraged along the way. (Especially when I was strapped to the Wound Vac…one of my personal greatest challenges.)

When I looked up the word Affinity…instead of several different definitions they all combined to mean the same thing…

“If you get along with someone very well, you have an affinity with them. … When you are attracted to someone or something a great deal, we say that you have an affinity, a natural connection. Likewise, scientists use affinity to describe organisms that are alike or resemble each other.

On a social level…my medical team has formed an “affinity” for each other….we laugh a lot and kid a lot making the hour procedure fly by  in a warm companionable atmosphere. The new viable tissue being used to “bridge” my wound for my developing skin to cover is a natural connection …just one not used until recently…with much success.

Common sense methods work many times and don’t we all revere people we label as “Good common sense folks“…the type of people who can help us in most situations? Still there always comes a time…when common sense alone doesn’t work…we have to rely on faith...on Someone bigger than us…the Great Physician who uses earthly doctors as instruments to accomplish great miracles.

So until tomorrow…I am so blessed to be experiencing the two best worlds (wheels) within my medical team (more wheels)…common sense and faith…the winning combination.

I left my appointment Friday for a “date” with my oldest grandchild-Eva Cate. The school had only a half-day scheduled Friday so she would be home by the time my appointment was over.

Reading doesn’t come easily for her so benchmark assessments make Eva Cate very nervous.. But to her amazement and her teacher and tutor’s delight she showed real progress this nine weeks….once again combining good old common sense reading/teaching methods with good old-fashioned faith. They lifted Eva Cate’s scores and spirits. Well done my little one!

We always have to go get some TCBY of course and some kind of surcie she can pick out…it was a fun afternoon and evening sharing in the happiness. (Also watching Eva Cate teach Jake how to do the Macarena! 🙂

As I was typing last evening I looked out my window and saw a strange looking moon…like something out of a Halloween show…with tree branches and shadows across it.

***But from what I hear… tonight will be the real spectacle…with a great spook show title all its own: Super Blood Wolf Moon! Can hardly wait until tonight…(10’ish I believe? 🙂

 

 

 

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Is it Time to “Soften” Up Some?

Dear Reader:

I can still remember as a child wondering how someone’s heart grows hard. Can someone’s heart really turn to stone and if so, what happens then?

These were the kinds of questions that plagued me as a child with an imaginative personality. The first time I heard  the term was probably in Sunday School when I learned the “Exodus” story and how the pharaoh’s heart stayed hardened plague after plague… disaster after disaster. I always wondered why he just didn’t soften it and let the people go?

Now as an adult it is easy to see how we can all fall into the pharaoh’s same plight…trying to go through life acting tough and hard in our attempt to bring control into our lives and our family’s lives…but at what cost?

On August 18, 1988, George H. W. Bush received his party’s nomination for president of the United States. In his acceptance speech, he calls for a “kinder, gentler nation.” It is hard to believe that this speech took place thirty years ago and now President Bush has passed. I would love to hear our leaders today talk  about a “kinder, gentler nation” because we could all use some softening tactics on life within the time-line of the world we all share.

When we as a people are caught up in turmoil every day of our lives it s easy to see how our hearts can harden. In today’s society turmoil has become the status quo and the overall effect is trickling down to our families. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty of the times we are living in is taking its its toll on so many people’s outlooks on life.

I have definitely had my share of “melt-downs” throughout my life …but thank goodness I have had my children, my students, and friends inquire as to the problem and why I am not acting like myself…to the point that I am forced to stop and look for “softer” ways to handle daily problems.

I think one of the biggest problems today is listening to voices that are too loud and aggressive. I find myself wishing someone would alert the speakers to lower their voice tones and slow up their rhetoric. Learning to talk softly and clearly while discussing problems with our children, students, peers, friends, and strangers alike is so important.

These days to help counteract argumentative voices and shouting matches through the media…I find myself (turning down or off the television ) and  buying “soft” light bulbs…By simply bringing down the harsh lighting to softer rays…the room transforms into a cozier secure home to unwind in.

“We can’t always make challenging situations go away…but we can soften our voices, our touch, our opinions, and our thoughts.” It is interesting but more times than not when we find ourselves raising our voices… it is not at someone else as much as our inability to be softer to the “imperfect human being inside each of us.

Human beings are the worst critics of themselves in the animal kingdom…that’s why out pets sleep so much better than we do! 🙂

So until tomorrow…Most people are doing the best they can under the conditions that they live in. By being softer and kinder we can hear more, learn more, feel more and love more…love our fellow man.

  • Source “Vow to Soften” (Rachel Macy Stafford) Devotional Daily

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are for what you have. (Tiny Buddha)

 

 

 

A big shout-out and Happy Birthday to my nephew Lee who shares his birthday with Robert E. Lee! It has been fun watching you grow Lee and become such a talented musician and a wonderful husband and daddy…very proud of you. Happy Birthday!

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Meeting the “Sun” Halfway

Dear Reader:

I have to admit when I stopped by one of the Summerville nurseries in the midst of decorating the porch for Christmas I was looking for more ‘Christmasy plants’ than the owner’s recommended two dwarf “Firepower” nandinas. (*I mean these are just ordinary plants that turn into bushes that I remember seeing everywhere as a child growing up in North Carolina…a dime a dozen. I seemed to remember that everyone had them because they were inexpensive, easy to plant and maintain, pretty….all in all very cost effective.

The owner must have sensed my ‘less than overwhelmed’ expression when she suggested the dwarf plants for the bench. She hurriedly went on to tell me as they got more sun the color of the leaves would turn into a dark red brilliant color like a “Moses” bush. And the cold weather actually made them turn faster… I would be pleased since I could plant them elsewhere after Christmas.

I is well after Christmas and we have definitely had roller coaster temperatures throughout December and January. She was right, however, I love the ‘firepower’ dwarf nandinas. They do love the cold and sun…the few plants that I don’t have to cover up or drag in and out as these crazy weather fronts come through. Up and down, up and down.

It was late afternoon when I took this picture of the nandinas yesterday surrounding “Little Big Red” on the white bench. The slanting rays of the sun were only hitting the right side of the bench…apparently this happens daily. Sure enough…the right nandina is a brilliant shade of red while the nandina that gets more shade (on the left) is slightly more subtle and is mixed colored with green leaves.

Yesterday was the first day “Little Big Red” had been back on the bench ( Due to the freezing temps over night he has been inside the house on the other side.) He was so happy to be basking again in his favorite place in the world…the white bench! Chelsey counted several buds springing up …by Valentines “Little Big Red” might have some red surprises for us. He is definitely a “chip off the old block.”

After I came in from watering all the plants on the porch including the poinsettias (still so beautiful)…I thought again about the difference between the two nandina plants and how the proximity to the sunlight makes such a difference in living things….and not just plants.

When I am filling up “Surcie” at one of the gas stations near my house I often think longingly of the ‘good old days’ when a person didn’t have to fill up their own tank and wash their windshields and check the oil and other lubricants…it was all done for us. Sigh! Thank goodness for mother’s sake all that was offered to her in her day…she would never have been able to  drive today and do that herself…at least not without stress and difficulty.

When I came across this excerpt it really took me back down memory lane.  (Huffington Post/Glen Beck/”The Media of the Future.”)

“There was a time when you pulled your car into a gas station and a bell rang. As you sat in your car, about a dozen uniformed attendants would rush out to your vehicle and surround it. They would fill your car with gas and monitor the other essential fluids. They would check your tire pressure, clean your windshield, and shine the chrome on your bumper until you could use it as a mirror. When your sparkling car was ready for departure, you might receive a road map or even a stuffed animal for your child.

The treatment was spectacular, considering you really only needed gas.”
…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I have started wondering if I am getting too set in my ways…like car drivers of old… part of me expecting others to “shine the chrome on my bumper until I can use it as a mirror?” I want to feel the light of God upon me but am I still anticipating the light to come to me and not vice-versa? Shouldn’t I be out there chasing the light so I, too, can shine brilliantly instead of staying in the shadows and just getting by with a mediocre inner light?

Isn’t God’s light more about positioning and location in our own lives? Shouldn’t we be the ones to place ourselves in the direct light intended for each of us individually?

If I go out on the deck on a winter afternoon like, the ones we are enjoying now…how I position myself is critical! If I place my lounge chair facing the afternoon sun…I feel warm and happy all over with the rays shining down on me…but if I don’t get up occasionally and move my lounge chair…I soon find myself in the shadows, the shade, and the cold once again.

So until tomorrow….”God will meet you halfway. Do your best and let Him do the rest.” (Found this in one of my old family Bibles) *Still good advice…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

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“Wheels Within Wheels”…

Dear Reader:

Since Christmas I have been staring at a large, blank orange wall wondering what to do differently with it decoratively….since the old dried flower arrangements looked pretty pitiful after a decade or more and the large key was broken and flapped out and hit me every time I tried to get it back up…it was time for a new look.

So for the past few weeks I have thought about what I would like to center the hearth with… as the primary focus…I thought about a large clock, or a mirror, but when I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday none of the ones I saw clicked with me.

And then I spotted it …a big round wheel with decorated wheels within it…suddenly I realized this was the symbol I was looking to find. Think about it…my life has revolved around wheels lately.

My car “wheels” were stolen (twice) and left me “wheel-less” for three months and while that was going on…my personal left “wheel” (foot) took a turn for the worse and left me high and dry on a recliner with my foot stuck up in the air…dependent for the first time in my life for an extended period of time. (And bless everyone for coming to my rescue!)

We associate the exiled prophet Ezekiel with the term “wheel” in scripture since he had a vision in which he saw God in a big chariot being pulled by four animals with four different faces…on wheels within wheels. It is a pretty complicated story with lots of different interpretations.

Because of the complexity of the story…today the expression “wheels within wheels” denotes a number of different influences, reasons, and actions… which combined… make a situation difficult to understand and /or decipher.

And that is exactly how I felt for a few months…completely baffled by the concurring strange events that befell me all at the same time….”wheels within wheels.” Deep down I knew that the axle (G0d) was still intact even while the wheels were going crazy around me.

So when I saw this art wall decor depicting a ‘wheel within wheels‘ I knew it had a place in my home…smack dab in the middle of the wall.

So what did I mostly hum (except for the first stanza and the refrain) on the way home…  the old spiritual/ folk song…”Ezekiel Saw the Wheel.” At church camp one year our cabin decided that song would be our selection for the end-of-the camp song fest... mainly because we loved Woody Guthrie and he was singing it along with other folk singers in the sixties.

The only part I remember is:

Ezekiel saw the wheels;
Way up in the middle of the air.
Ezekiel saw the wheels;
Way up in the middle of the air.
Chorus

And the big wheel run by Faith, Good Lord;
And the little wheel run by the Grace of God;
In the wheel in the wheel Good Lord;
Way up in the middle of the air.

So until tomorrow…The good thing about wheels is that a wheel will always turn full circle. I can feel the changes in my life as I type this post…today is an absolutely gorgeous, beautiful bright sunny day, my left foot doesn’t hurt any more, and now I have a whole new mantle/hearth decorated with special art works that make me happy…as it does my “Happy Place.” Life is good. Blessings abound.

“The big wheel run by faith, Good Lord, and the little wheel run by the Grace of God!” Thank you dear Lord!

*A fun little coincidence: The name of the affable young salesman’s (who sold me my car “Surcie”) last name is “Wheeler.” 🙂

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

*With such a great day going on…I should not have been surprised when Anne sent me (last evening)  a photo of the daffodil bud we saw a few days ago … now open and blooming…with another bud close behind. *A wheel within a wheel?

 

*My favorite time of the evening…When the lights go down and the embers glow….another day in Your faith I grow.

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The Many Sides of Character and What It Can Deliver

Dear Reader:

My  favorite  little “character” statue in the garden is Bliss. She never fails to make me smile… with her arms outstretched ( little birds sitting on them) while she stares up into the sunlight and a world of happiness! She can find bliss  within herself …no matter where she is placed.

The term “character” is diverse and can used in many different ways. It can be used in reference to a quality, a person, or a mark.

Quality: The  particular combination of things about a  person or place, especially things you cannot see, that makes the person/place stand out from others.

Person: A person represented in a movie, play, or story

Mark: A letter, number, or other  sign used in writing or printing.

If we are talking about character demonstrated, especially during difficult times (character over circumstance) then we are speaking about discovering the true make-up of an individual. It is in this situation that the term character lies within a spiritual realm beyond the ordinary.

Max Lucado, in his book, Let the Journey Begin, addresses the term ‘character’ through a legend from India. The legend is titled: “Character Creates Courage.” Lucado shares this legend with his readers to demonstrate how character builds the traits around us we want to be remembered for long after we are gone. *But a lesson to the wise…these enviable traits come from inside, not out.

“There once was a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat. That resolved his fear…until he met a dog, so the magician changed him into a dog. 

Now the mouse turned cat turned dog was content until he met a tiger- so once again- the magician changed him into what he feared most at the time. But when the tiger came back complaining that he had met a hunter…the magician refused any more help.

I will turn you back into a mouse again…for though you have the body of a tiger…you still have the heart and courage of a mouse.”

Isn’t this story so true of human nature? We want security and courage so badly that we desperately try to built a moat around us to never let in something that we fear. The weapons we use to protect ourselves (from our own self-inflicted fears) are wealth, fame, and status.

Lucado asks us: “But do these approaches work? Can power, possessions, or popularity really deliver us from our fears? Courage is an outgrowth of who we are. Exterior supports may temporarily sustain, but only inward character creates courage.” 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

So until tomorrow…Every morning we have choices to make concerning the day ahead and they are freely ours to make…whether we choose kindness or patience, tolerance, acceptance, joy or courage…is up to us. Father help us make the right choices on the right days for the situations that will befall us…putting others first.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*As I walked in the garden yesterday the silvery plants (Artemisia “Powis Castle”) looked so pretty against the colorful dark pink azaleas and different shades of green)…they even looked alluring against another overcast day.

When I came back inside I cleaned up my bedroom (always a good feeling) and turned on the twinkling fairy lights…they always brighten my world…inside and out.

I had to laugh at myself when Lucado added this paragraph at the end of one of his chapters….I don’t think I have a “strut” down yet… I am getting better, however, at “ambling” and taking time to enjoy the garden and beauty at a leisurely pace…but I will definitely take this thought into consideration! 🙂 *Don’t want to get “too big for my britches” as Grandmother Wilson warned me as a child.

“God would prefer we have an

occasional limp than

a perpetual strut.

And if it takes a thorn

for Him to make His point

He loves us enough not

to pluck it out!”

 

 

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The Mysterious Wind of God

Dear Reader:

I love the bushes Mary Lee, pew neighbor at church, gave me for my garden. I wish I could remember the name but these bushes turn the most beautiful orange color in late fall and winter…the cold seems to turn the orange tinge even darker with each temperature drop. A flash of beauty in the dead of winter.

Yesterday as I walked out on my deck and around the perimeter of the garden a sharp breeze kept hitting my face…I must admit the older I get the less I like cold weather…particularly cold weather with humidity and/or wind. I get uncomfortable outside fast in these conditions.

But it isn’t just temperature effects of the wind but the sound of it too that makes me feel strangely uncomfortable and I don’t know exactly why.

Yesterday I was reading some free sample pages from one of Kent Nerburn’s books titled Ordinary Sacred: The Simple Beauty of Everyday Life.

As part of the Prologue Nerburn recounts a story about the wind and listening that opened my eyes and ears to the importance of listening to nature and not being afraid of it. Since Listen is still my 2019 Word of the Year the anecdote struck me personally. Hope you enjoy it too.

Nerburns remembers as a young man walking through the Saskatchewanland prairies late one afternoon…he was on a personal journey to see the world through new eyes and was immersed that afternoon in  the sheer beauty of the prairies.

Suddenly he heard a truck pull over…it was a rancher who asked if he would like a lift…he did and hopped in. Like most ranchers who live in wide open spaces he was a man of few words…and soon a compatible silence engulfed them as they both enjoyed the beauty of the late afternoon terrain.

Around one curve the rancher slowed down as he spotted a break in his wire fence. He said he had to check on his stock and that Nerburn was welcome to follow him if he liked. At one point the rancher said something to Nerburn (while looking for his cattle) which Nerburn couldn’t understand since the wind was howling so loudly.

When they got back to the truck he apologized to the rancher for not responding in the earlier conversation but he said the wind was wailing too loudly to hear anything.

The rancher smiled at him and responded “Oh yeah, the wind. I don’t even hear it any more. The only time I notice it is when it stops.” 

*Nerburn took this comment and applied his thoughts to it (that I love.)

“The voice of God in our lives is like the wind, so constant, so present that we only notice it when it stops…perhaps in times of crisis, loss, failed relationships, and loneliness. 

It is only then that we feel the great emptiness that surrounds us… so we find ourselves reaching for the reassurance of hope and promise that we are not alone. God’s voice never stops, however, it only pauses to catch its breath and to remind us by its silence to listen more closely and take it less for granted when it begins to whisper once again.

This is a book for those who seek to hear that whisper…and to keep our hearts open to it.”

So until tomorrow….Jesus ( Gospel of John) said, “The wind blows where it will, and you hear its sound, but know not from whence it comes or to where it is going.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I have come to realize that cardinals would rather scrounge for food on the ground than try to hang onto a cage and eat from a ‘suet’ bird feeder. The smaller birds like the suet food cages…the larger birds…not so much so.

 

 

About twice a day….early in the morning and late afternoon I see Sammy…that beautiful red coat of feathers catches my peripheral vision every time I am typing on the computer. As I turn to look at him…he stops feeding and stares back at me….sometimes a whole minute goes by before the bond is broken by me returning to the computer or Sammy flying off….it is such a beautiful and actually private moment… sharing life with nature.

 

 

 

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