Sunday, April 26, 2015

Quick Squirrel Post

Is this not one of the cutest squirrel poses you've ever seen?  He/she is tucked into the crotch of a palm branch right outside my desk window.  His little eyes never completely close, poor thing - but he is as relaxed as I've ever seen a squirrel. Look at his hind paw just hanging down.......sweet little thing.




















In the morning I can hear him run across the roof - and then he appears in the palm, sitting on the branch he is now curled up in, barking and barking.  He must wear himself out.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hugh Somerville's Bible

A few years ago I was in a used book shop - I don't remember where now - and I saw a nice old Bible for sale.  When I looked through it, there were family events recorded in it and it was an expensive Bible when first purchased.  It had a semi-yapp cover, which, for those of you who might not know, means the leather cover overhangs the edge of the Bible pages about a half inch.  This was to protect the pages from weather.  A full yapp overlaps by an inch and forms almost a complete leather cover over the pages.  The only thing missing from a full yapp is a zipper to close it completely.  

So of course I bought the Bible.  I love to look up the people recorded inside on Ancestry.com.  In this case, Hugh Somerville was one of the founders of Dunedin, Florida in the late 1800's.  He and his brother came from Scotland and were influential in the naming of the new town, a bit north of Tampa.  

I found a reference to the history of Dunedin online that mentions Mr. Somerville.  Actually the link is a history of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin of which Mr. Somerville was evidently a member.  

Here are some scans of the family information inside the Bible:


















Above is the inscription inside the front cover from Reverend Wilkie, also mentioned in the history of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin.  



















According to the Tuttle history link above the pictures, Hugh was first married to someone named Mary Alice Anderson in 1880.  She died in February of 1902.  In November 1906 Hugh married again to M.A. (not another Mary Alice surely??) Neel of Davidson, North Carolina.  It is her writing that we see on these pages.  She had one child, a daughter whom they named Mary Alice.  The beautiful note below is addressed to that daughter, asking her to remember her father as a wonderful man.  She was born in 1909 and her father died in 1914, which means she was only 5 years old.  Old enough to remember him but a painfully short time to have enjoyed his company.



















Inside the Bible is also included a photograph that isn't in the best condition.  It is colorized - I don't know if it came that way or was done afterward.  I'm assuming the woman is M.A. Neel Somerville and the man is Hugh Somerville.  














This house below looks as if it could be the same house today.  The only difference is the addition to the first floor.  It was for sale a while ago and advertised as a "farm house" from 1898 in Dunedin.  The kitchen is huge and lovely.  I wish I could see more of it.  I think a trip to Dunedin is going to be on my list of summer things to do.











Lastly, here are pictures of the outside of the Bible as well as the title page and year printed



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Windows

This is the view from my desk in the morning when the sun is just coming up.  (I really have to chop off that dead palm branch stretching across the view.....)





These are double windows.  The lighter blue glass is on the left and the darker blue glass with greens and reds is on the right.  Sometimes I see birds and squirrels in the palm tree.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Lesson

I am finally returning to the right road after wandering off on a side road of my own understanding.

And all of a sudden the Lord is showing me where I have really been.  Everyone who grips this life and its' problems with their own two fists and refuses to allow God to either lead or comfort them takes off on this path.  This is a mental battle, a battle of thought.  Will I accept the Lord's will and submit to Him, gritting my teeth even, or will I refuse and clutch my independence to myself.

This diversion has a long and time worn history.  One of the classic examples of it is the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt.  If ever there was a people who were fighting God, it was them.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:6  concerning the Jews in the wilderness, "Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did."

And so they are examples to me.  I understand their arrogance and frustration as they were led into the desert and kept there by God, provided and cared for.  They didn't like it and didn't want to be there.  They blamed Moses, they blamed God, they were cantankerous and crabby.  They wanted something the Lord would have given to them in His timing, but they wanted it in their own.  I also understand that they believed in the Lord and had eternal salvation.  They were afraid of Him and had bitterness toward Him at the same time. I understand only too well how they shook their fists at God (when they thought He wasn't looking) and said things like, "You have brought us out into the wilderness to kill us here."  That statement was self fulfilled.  No He didn't bring them into the wilderness to kill them.  But by their disobedience and lack of faith, they brought about their own death there.

And so they paid a terrible price.  God became angry with them and their generation died in the wilderness.  They were not allowed to come into His rest in the land.   

I was lying in bed last night saying my prayers and suddenly it came together in my mind.  They were not allowed to enter His rest.  The thing they wanted most desperately and about which they were so bitter was the very thing they prevented themselves from achieving.  Rest.  Blessing.  Peace.  My eyes flew open and I just sat there realizing that the Holy Spirit has been trying to talk to me for a while and I just could/would not hear.  

I am listening now by the grace of God.  I will not die in the wilderness or be forbidden to enter His rest.  I see where a short time ago I was blind by my own volition.






Sunday, March 8, 2015

Living



I have often looked at the words "A Nest Amid Thorns" on my home links page and then looked away full of guilt.  It's not like I don't have anything to say, but it is often not the type of thing I want to put on a blog, or know how to put on a blog in a creative way, and so I turn away.

Then I thought of making a whole new blog, but I love the look of the one I have.  After all, I tweaked and tweaked the basic Blogger format until I had the right background and colors.   With me, once something is the way I like it, it rarely needs change. 

And so, today, instead of turning away I clicked.  And then I wrote. 

What's new?  I'd like to say that everything is coming up roses, but then I'd be making things up.  Things are just......life. 

I'm getting older as is everyone who has their present residence as planet Earth.  So nothing surprising there.   However, as one reaches their 60's, body parts, as I like to say, begin to fall off.  What really happens is that our bodies, a temporary dwelling place, begin to break down.  If you are particularly attached to your body - and most of us are - you are nonplussed when the process begins in earnest.

I'll just list a few things without description and then we'll be done with this subject.  Overweight by about 50 pounds at least, sedentary at home and at work, suffering from depression, diverticulosis causing diverticulitis, various joint and muscle aches and pains, numbness and tingling.

Now that we've cleared that up you know enough.  The worst part of above?  Depression.  It takes motivation and covers it in gray, which exacerbates all the other issues.

Next?  Poor financial decisions over a lifetime leading to having to pay the piper now.  Enough said about that.  No one beats themselves over this worse than I do myself.

What to do?  Only one thing. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

That's Proverbs 3:5,6    One morning last week I had to repeat this over and over to myself as I drove to work.  I thought of each phrase, especially "your own understanding."

This part of the verse means a lot to me.  I was raised to almost worship intelligence, being "smart".  If my mother wanted to make me blush with pleasure, she would tell me how intelligent I was because I knew she held that virtue most highly.  She could give me no better praise.  

Unfortunately, the Bible tells us not to lean on that.  It might mislead us;  what we think we know is often disproved later.  To make matters even more ludicrous, our minds are like a tiny ants' when compared with the mind of the Creator of the Universe.  If we place what we think we know above what He has said in His Word, then at the very least, we have problems.   

I have always found my experience to be much more real than......faith.  And therein lies my difficulty:

"Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him."  (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

And so, I am choosing faith over experience, immersing myself in His Word more than I have in the past, but not as faithfully as I should.  After all, I am a work in progress.

Don't you think the details above - the problems of life, aging, self-brought difficulties - make the perfect situation for God's touch?



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Eternity Will Be



Stroking the fur of one cat, while
Restraining the paw of the kitten.
My cat’s eyes look into my own
Mirrors of his soul.  I am to him, The One.
The kitten, new as dawn, soft and unafraid, unlearned of the thorns of this life.
He is a bit arrogant, trusting in the air beneath him, the seeming solidity of Things.

My heart breaks, knowing the future of life is death, slow-coming.
We are all so brilliant in our beginnings, so sure in the strength of each decided step.
Before we are warned weakness comes, what we once traversed with joy, we now tread in sorrow, slow and stumbling.
It is the curse of Adam, of sin, of mistake, of error pursued before thought.
Growing old outside but not in.  Inside we are new, pink and blinking.
Inside we are alive and vibrant, waiting for a kinder existence in which to be.
But outside, oh outside, we groan as once-suppleness becomes stupid stumbling, clumsy.
My silk string of hope is in the Lord.  Lord of eternity where there is no weakness, no sadness, no failure.
The invisible string of His promise to me.  He will allow me to walk, no – stride in that new home.
That new place, so like all the places our souls have ever loved, have ever yearned for.  For me it is mountains, verdant with hazy summer growth.  For me it is youth, feet running over green earth, ever up to the heights, where my eyes gaze upon all the blessings…..wild strawberries amongst the grass, the view of Catskill heights in the distance, sitting atop a deserted fire station.

All that I have loved, bird and beast, have shared in this newness of flesh, the renewal of life in Him. 
And I will see glory, but quiet and soft. 
And I will be there amongst the free, amongst the golden, so glad to serve, to observe, to silently soar aloft and feel the warm air beneath my wings.

He has promised.  He has loved and paid it all so I can be free.


A Poem For The Times



Our Time

My heart is torn
Between the deep rutted tracks in the soil of my father’s time
And the yearning reaching ahead of my time becoming the present, becoming my daughter’s time, and then leaving her, too, behind.
Time, time and a half a time
It all winds around together, swirling like a color wheel with the lines removed;
Blue sliding into green into yellow cum orange then red, ethereal purple, ultraviolet, end of the spectrum.
So much difference between 1919 and 1956.  The aftertaste of unthinkable death, the horizon blighted with a sharp black edge into the 40’s.  The days of my father’s wide eyed youth, his acclimation to the bucking earth he rode on and thought he ruled.
1939 was the end.  No, really, 1914 was the end.  Of certainties, attitudes that were Right, the Codes of Life.  1918 was feeling one’s hand reach into the blackness of the empty room ahead, while the other hand held onto memories of light from before the deluge.
That other hand held tight right up to 1960, give or take, and then let go, forever set adrift.
Echoes of old centuries, ancient certainties, straight gazes between eyes, let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Now free floating in a blank undefined universe, unframed pictures oozing out edges. 
No anchor, no anchor.  Circling the drain of time.
Yet-In spite of-Instead of-Below our vision….the Truth is….the Truth Is.
Anchor.  Light.  Bond of strength.  Blood knowledge between us.  He has….
Everything Under Control
In the midst of madness, gray chaos, unfathomable sadness, wild boar madness, clawed and bloody violence.
Inside the tiny bird fluttering to the ground, flying a thousand miles and more for God’s reasons alone, alight upon a ship in the vast night of the ocean, panting for breath, taking a break from eternal flight.
Tiny on the rail, wet with the writhing sea, arising aflight again to the south, to warmth and sun.
Among us who strive, weary and winding, stumbling on the faint hint of path amongst the debris. 
He Is.  He  Has.  Us.  All. 
To The End.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back Yard Lizard

Yesterday I was in the back yard looking at all the butterflies and flowers, searching for signs of any subtle South Florida harbingers of a changing season, when I brushed against a bush with my arm and set off a commotion of movement.

I knew it had to be a lizard, and I hoped it was an unusual one.  It was - a Knight Anole.  Not a native species, but oh so beautiful anyway.  Here is his picture as he sat staring at me, trying to decide if he should run for it, look invisible or try to kill me:














Why he had his tongue out I don't know - maybe he was sticking it out at me.  I love his eyes.  They are inside little cones that protrude from his face - and the cones move up or down or side to side, taking the eyeball with them.  With our eyes, just the eyeball moves, not the skin around it. 



























In the picture above the camera focused on the head so if you click on the picture to get a larger view, you will see his eyes much better.