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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Jan 19 2017

Keeping My Hopes Up

Posted by Mugs @ 7:21 pm in Family,Nature

Today I was up on the housetop (click click click) performing the Christmas lights removal. I can use Gabe’s surprise appendectomy as an excuse for not having done it before January 19th, but it was more a result of, “It’s raining and cold and I’m lazy.”

However, today was warm and sunny and a good day for climbing around on a roof. As I was sitting up there, pondering the great mysteries of life – “Why do half of each strand of icicle lights stop working halfway through Holly Jolly time?” – I looked down in admiration at my mountain laurel. The mountain laurel always looks happy in the cool and sad in the hot.

“It feels like late winter,” I thought. Followed quickly by, “Maybe the snowdrops have come!” I climbed back through the window since jumping off the roof is probably not a good idea when you are 50, and searched the garden for my first bloom of 2017.

The tiny snowdrop was blooming there – its nodding head and green markings filling me with hope.

Dec 19 2016

Sanibel Creatures

Posted by Mugs @ 10:06 am in Family,Nature,Sightseeing

Dale and I had great fun observing the creatures of Sanibel Island. We were in pursuit of shells, but unfortunately for us, some of the unique shells were occupied with creatures who were not interested in sharing. Our first morning, we had a tour from a naturalist who pointed out the many different shells we would find. Dale reached down and grabbed the end of a pointy shell he saw sticking out of the sand. He pulled up a massive lightening whelk and the naturalist was thrilled and explained it to the group. (I failed to take a photo of this massive whelk, so Gabe has declared it a beach legend.) The next day when we toured the shell museum, the workers asked if we had been on the tour where someone found a large lightning whelk. Dale smiled and enjoyed his moment of fame.

One morning at low tide, we walked out onto a sandbar and had an amazing few hours pulling up shells and looking inside. The water was ankle to knee deep and we could see down to all the sea life. I was admiring a beautiful shell I had picked up when a crab reached out and smacked me. I jumped and screamed like a child making Dale laugh. He held the mollusks and the crabs in his hand and they slid or walked back and forth much to his delight.

We visited a bird sanctuary and admired the pink roseate spoonbill, but it was the jumping fish that made us gasp. The lake was full of large fish that would periodically leap out of the water as high as three feet and then splash back down on their sides. It was highly entertaining.

At dusk, we discovered an evening formation of gulls. The commander was in front looking over his troops and a large sergeant major was in back getting the stragglers in line. The sight of it brought back the many memories of standing in formation so very long ago. Oh how my life has changed, but it’s funny how the sight of them transported me back.

Two mornings at low tide, we found a dozen sand dollars. I began to learn the names of the shells: jewel box, buttercup, turkey wing, scallop, cockle, jingle, kittenpaw, conch, olive… It was a treasure hunt for me. At the museum, we learned that the greatest treasure to find is a junonia. They are rare because they reside so deep in the ocean. If someone brings one in, they’ll get their picture in the newsletter. One naturalist told us she had been searching for one for 42 years.

I loved the finding and filled my pockets and bags with shells, but it was the quiet moments walking along with Dale looking at God’s amazing creation that filled me with a peaceful joy.

Dec 17 2016


Posted by Mugs @ 11:29 am in Family,Nature,Sightseeing

I celebrated my 50th birthday on the beach at Sanibel Island, Florida courtesy of my wonderful husband. We had a terrific four days searching for shells and relaxing. When I told Abby, we were playing shuffleboard, she replied, “I’ve got old folks now.” (I found great joy beating Dale at shuffleboard.) I’m grateful to the Lord for 50 years of life and have declared this my year of jubilee – full of celebration and restoration.

Oct 15 2016

A Ferry Ride, A Fearless Leader, and a Sugar Plum Fairy

Posted by Mugs @ 9:38 pm in Church,Family,Nature,Sightseeing

Where can you find a ferry ride, a fearless leader, and a sugar plum fairy? At the women’s retreat, of course. This year we returned to Eastover Manor courtesy of our favorite ferry across the James River. The first question the team asked upon arrival was, “Where is Marie? We need Marie.” Last year, my sister Marie was our unofficial 4th team member who organized the fridge, set meal items out, started the fire, and did everything else that needed to be done well and not in my haphazard way. I cannot imagine why Marie wouldn’t want to come back. Maybe she believes a retreat should be relaxing. (Thankfully, Sondra and Mary Johns picked up the slack.) We missed Mom too, but understood her desire to fulfill the roll of supportive Grandma for Zeke’s performance in November. Happily, Abby joined us this year and brought Kathleen with her to bring us some youthful outlooks.

We were blessed to have Kristen’s dear friend, Jen Oshman as our speaker. She taught us from the book of Colossians on the preeminence, supremacy, sufficiency, and attributes of Christ. She exhorted us to grace driven effort and to holding fast to the future grace that awaits us. We were all privileged to witness the recitation of the book of Colossians by Jen and her sweet friend, Alivia. It inspired us all to grasp hold of Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Alivia was a gift from God to us. Helping us to see God at work among us – encouraging, exhorting, praying, finding scripture, making us laugh with her tourist antics. I met Alivia and thought, “We’ve just met, but I know you. We are sisters in the Lord.” If you ever need an energy boost, ask God to send you Alivia on a redeye flight.

Kristen and I were once again determined to beat The Fearless Leader in the pajama parade. Our efforts, however, were to no avail. When Mary dresses like a chicken and does the chicken dance, what can we do but lose again? There were four categories of winners – Mary Johns’ normal pjs were a hoot, Abby (as usual) was cutest, but it was Genean as the sugar plum fairy who stole the show. My and Kristen’s consolation prize was winning reverse charades despite the opposition’s fabulous totem pole.

Amy was a walking comedy routine throughout the weekend whether she was battling wooden bedposts, forgetting the bridge every time in “May the Peoples Praise You,” or making trash bags suddenly appear. If we were laughing, it was most likely because Amy was up to her antics. She was a great distraction from the pouring rain and howling wind. God granted us a clear arrival and a clear departure, but our fireside chat had to move indoors. The MKM Rappers made their one and only appearance complete with a limousine, broken hearts, shooting the moon, buying a break, and a whole lot of promises. Rapping in front of a crowd – The Fearless Leader leads the way.

As always, God was faithful to meet with us and His Holy Spirit uplifted us. With Christ in our hearts uniting us, we were able to encourage one another in the faith. Each year, God moves among us and every year I am reminded how very precious the retreat is in my life.

Aug 03 2016

Morning Glory

Posted by Mugs @ 9:08 am in Nature

Each morning I look out my kitchen window and admire the morning glory. It’s dark purple color is offset by its bright glowing white center. When I see it, I often think of Psalm 30:5b “…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”