Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stop and Smell the Roses!

Well, I guess this is more of a cyber-style stop and smell the roses...as I don't believe scented blogs have been invented, and if they had the foodie bloggers would have been all over that by now.  My stop to "smell" the roses is more visual than it is scented.  But saying "Stop and Look at the Roses" would not have had quite the same ring, would it?

I thought with summer waning and flowers wilting with the crisp cool nights, that I would share some more pictures from the hour in the garden.

Fellows Riverside Garden is known locally as "the rose garden".  It is where pretty much every bridal party has their portrait taken, and with good reason as they have a great variety of lovely roses to provide a handsome backdrop. When selecting photos for this post I didn't even try to narrow my choices, as each different color, and stage of blooming is so beautiful!

Flowers are the burst of color for spring and summer, and as much as I love it, I also look forward every year to the vibrant leaves of autumn....and hopefully I will be able to soon share some hues of the fall season. Until then enjoy this palette of summer color and stay behind the lens!

By J.R. Miller, 1912

Things are not finished—as we see them today. Tomorrow they will appear larger, greater. The bud you see one morning in the garden—will be a full-blown rose in a little while. The brown seed you dropped in your window-box, will be a beautiful plant by and by. Wherever there is life—there is growth.

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen

By J.R. Miller, 1912

When the English laureate was asked what Christ was to him, he replied by pointing to a rose-bush, full of glorious roses, and said: "What the sun is to this rose bush, Christ is to me!"

By Thomas Watson:
Song of Solomon 2:1: "I am the Rose of Sharon." The rose is the queen of flowers; it is most delicious for color and scent—to show that fragrant perfume which Christ sends forth. All roses, though beautiful, have their prickles; only the Rose of Sharon does not!  This rose never loses its color nor fragrancy! Is it not then, very lovely?


By C.H. Spurgeon:

"I am the Rose of Sharon." Song of Solomon 2:1

Whatever there may be of beauty in the material world, Jesus Christ possesses all that in the spiritual world, in a tenfold degree. Among flowers, the rose is deemed the sweetest—but Jesus is infinitely more beautiful in the garden of the soul—than the rose can in the gardens of earth. He takes the first place as the fairest among ten thousand. He is the sun—and all others are the stars; the heavens and the day are dark—in comparison with Him, for the King in His beauty transcends all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Friends

Fall is coming!  And hunting season too.  I hunt.  Do you hunt?  I shoot. And when I get my target in my sights, I shoot over and over until I get it!  What to I pack?  Well for these old scans it was a Nikon N80 film camera, probably with some Fuji ISO 400.  For years I have enjoyed the field in front of my home because of all the wildlife it attracts.  Five years ago around the first week of October I saw a group of wild turkeys out having a mid-morning snack...and what a season opener!  Enjoy the collection below to see what I bagged that day.

Ruffling up his feathers!

Below is a shot that turned out very well with a nice fall mood with the fuzzy "foxtails" (a name we called that particular weed as kids). The details of color and pattern in the turkey feathers really show up too.

But as I was shooting the turkeys I didn't notice the other visitor come out into the field from the woods.  It was a Virginia deer!  Also known as a white-tailed deer.  This youngster, with it's beautiful reddish glowing coat, came right out to eat too!  And I was able to get tons for great shots.  It wasn't until I got them developed that my Dad, a former country boy hunter, pointed out that it was not a doe....it was a button buck!  Pay attention to the photos below and see if you can spot those velvety nubs that would eventually become antlers.

Check out that delicate looking back hoof

As I would later learn, a button buck is usually around a year and a half old, and if you look in the background you will notice the doe...he was still young enough to be a mama's boy!

Once you get a good look at her you realize how small he really is.  So it was a surprising fall morning shoot, and one that always makes be appreciate that first week of fall.

By C.H. Spurgeon:

"You crown the year with Your goodness." Psalm 65:11

All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake—His mercy waits upon us…the benevolence of God surrounds all His creatures; in it, as in their element, they live, and move, and have their being.

Yet as the sun on summer days gladdens us with beams more warm and bright than at other times; and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen by the rain; and as the atmosphere itself is sometimes fraught with more fresh, more bracing, or more balmy influences than heretofore, so is it with the mercy of God; it has its golden hours; its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifies His grace unto men. Among the blessings of the nether springs, the joyous days of harvest are a special season of excessive favor. It is the glory of autumn that the ripe gifts of providence are then abundantly bestowed; it is the mellow season of realization, whereas all before was but hope and expectation. Great is the joy of harvest. Happy are the reapers who fill their arms with the liberality of heaven.

The Psalmist tells us that the harvest is the crowning of the year. Surely these crowning mercies call for crowning thanksgiving! Let us render it by the inward emotions of gratitude. Let our hearts be warmed; let our spirits remember, meditate, and think upon this goodness of the Lord.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lake Erie

My trip to Lake Erie over Memorial Weekend led to a trip down memory lane as well.  As a kid my family would vacation in the summer up on the shores of the lake....the closest thing to the ocean I ever saw until I was 13.  It is different than the ocean in a lot of way....for one there is no picking for shells.  The shores are lined with pebbles and rocks....and glass, pottery, bricks, and all kinds of other neat stuff that has been knocked about, worn away, until soft and smooth.  Although the extra coarse sand is anything but soft....it will however save you from paying for a pedicure and pumice your feet "au natural".    The first night was very hot, and the sunset was obscured by thunderstorms moving in over the water.  (The lighting show that night was great from the hotel window....can't imagine how awesome it would have been to photograph from the lake, but my camera ain't waterproof!!!)  The second day was cool, cloudy, and windy...the water the first night was calm and lapping...the next day it was very choppy with waves.  The great lake offered great variety!

Below is a selection of photos taken on the shores of the lake, and the dunes along Headlands State Park, including the old lighthouse.  Many a mariner appreciated that light I am sure, as the history of Lake Erie is fraught with shipwrecks.  Enjoy a couple nice reading selections I found to accompany all the photos!

Shorebird trying to stand against the wind

By C.H. Spurgeon:
The sea obediently respects its boundary, and though it be but a belt of sand, it does not overleap the limit. Mighty as it is—it hears the divine 'hitherto'; and when most raging with tempest—it respects the God's boundaries. But self-willed man defies heaven and oppresses earth, neither is there any end to this rebellious rage.

The sea, obedient to the moon, ebbs and flows with ceaseless regularity, and thus renders an active as well as a passive obedience; but man, restless beyond his sphere…
Cooling off on a hot evening

Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble, and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell and pebble, feel the power of God's law, and yield or move at once. O that our nature were but one thousandth part as much conformed to the will of God! We call the sea fickle and false—but how constant it is! Since our fathers' days, and the old time before them—the sea is where it was, beating on the same cliffs to the same tune; we know where to find it, it forsakes not its bed, and changes not in its ceaseless boom. But where is man—vain, fickle man?  We need more watching than the billowy sea, and are far more rebellious. Lord, rule us for Your own glory! Amen.


By J.C. Philpot (1867):

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your  loving-kindness—according unto the multitude of  Your tender mercies blot out my transgressions."
    Psalm 51:1

What a sweet expression it is—and how it seems to convey to our mind that God's mercies do not fall 'drop by drop'—but are as innumerable . . ..
  as the sand upon the sea-shore;
  as the stars that stud the midnight sky;
  as the drops of rain that fill the clouds before
they discharge their copious showers upon the earth.

It is the multitude of His mercies that makes Him so merciful a God. He does not give but a drop or two of
mercy—that would soon be gone, like the rain which fell this morning under the hot sun. But His mercies
flow like a river! There is in Him . . .
  a multitude of mercies,
  for a multitude of sins,                           
  and a multitude of sinners!

" How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand..."  
Psalm 139:17-18

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trees Grow Slowly

If you have ever sipped an aged wine, or received good advice from your grandpa you already know that somethings get better with age!  The aging process is usually slow....and although most of us are prone to impatience there are some things in life you just can't rush.  I give you roast beef for example....or today's photo subject: TREES  And as Horatius Bonar points out below, there are a few other good things, like a tree, that don't happen overnight.
The first thing I saw at Holden Arboretum was this display of a section of a coastal Redwood tree.  Below is a photo of the plaque explaining the tree's approximate age, and the historical events that occurred during the life of the tree.  The diameter on this thing was so large I couldn't stretch my arms wide enough to touch the outsides with my fingertips.  Amazing! 

(As an aspiring dendrochronologist, I jokingly point to my "birthdate" on the tree rings. Thought I would include it so you could get a sense of the size of it as a whole, and better appreciate the close up shots I took of the thin growth rings, each representing a year of the tree's life). 

**NOTE: Dendrochronology is the fancy word for the scientific method of dating based on patterns in tree rings....impress your friends and work that into a sentence!

As the plaque states, this tree was about 882 years old when it was cut down in 1978, but could have lived 2000 years!  That means there are trees on this planet that were beginning to grow when Christ walked the earth.  Let that blow your mind!
Redwood rings upclose

By Horatius Bonar:  “God’s Trees Grow Slowly”

A cedar tree growing in the park

God’s processes are not always rapid. His greatest works rise slowly. Swiftness of growth has been one of man’s tests of greatness; not so is it with God. His trees grow slowly; the stateliest are the slowest. His creatures grow slowly, year by year; man, the noblest, grows the most slowly of all. God can afford to take His time. Man cannot; he is hasty and impatient…. He forgets how slowly the palm tree and the cedar grow. They neither spring up in a night nor perish in a night… He insists that, because it is God’s purpose that His saints should be holy, therefore they ought to be holy at once.

It is true that our standard is, and must be, perfection; for our model is the Perfect One. But the question is, "Has God in scripture anywhere led us to expect the rapidity of growth, the quick development of perfection in which some glory and because of the confessed lack of which in others they look down on these others as babes or loiterers? Is there in scripture any instance of a PERFECT MAN, excepting Him who was always and absolutely without sin?

Friday, September 9, 2011

On Holden Pond

Well, not quite. As you drive down Sperry Road, in Kirtland Village you do get the sense you are in a perfectly quaint town.  Winding up and down through hills, around sharp curves, you pass charming farm homes, old growth trees, and the clear, rock studded waters of Chagrin River gurgling along the roadside.  "Tucked" away on this road is Holden Arboretum, and while they have many ponds on the 3,500 acre preserve, I don't believe any of them are called Holden Pond. (Although it does have a nice ring, doesn't it?)  Once you get a few miles away you see evidence of the industrial revolution, corporate America, and all that....but out on Sperry Road you really feel a world away and maybe even get a vibe for what it might have been like when US President James Garfield lived on his farm in the area.  I can't even image how pretty it must be when the fall leave colors pop!

Well, I hope you enjoy some of these shots taken around the arboretum...I really enjoyed taking them!  Due to the threat of rain I wasn't able to traverse very deep into the preserve but I still found plenty of God's wonderful creation to keep me busy for hours.  Including the manicured butterfly garden, with a waterfall....shots I am shocked to say were taken without a tripod!  Also, below is a little photographic ode to my mama...I found an arbor of honeysuckle, full of red blooms, which are her favorite!  

By Francis of Assisi, 1225
All creatures of our God and king
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!


Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.


Dear [Heavenly Father], day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.


Let all things their creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

I took this snapshot of a young shutterbug also photographing on the same trail.  He seemed to take his hobby rather seriously.  I can relate!