Cherry blossoms in the time of Coronavirus

Spring is here! Or at least was here briefly for the last few days. Today it’s raining where I live, and a few snowflakes sneak in from time to time. It’s also the first full day of my state’s stay-at-home order.

I wanted to be sure to notice spring happening around me over the past week, to not let the stress and anxiety of such uncertainty take over completely and cause me to miss what I can still enjoy. So I’ve been trying to get out a bit more with my camera.

There’s a beautiful cherry tree in full bloom at a park near my house, and it’s loveliness stopped me mid-dog-walk Sunday morning.

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I never noticed the star in the center of each cherry blossom before.

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Spring’s reawakening always feels miraculous to me, even though I know it will come each year. It’s a lovely reminder of God’s live-giving breath, too. Creation comes back to life, perhaps a necessary reminder for us to hold onto in the time of Coronavirus.

I want to encourage you to notice spring where you are, too. (If you live in the southern hemisphere, notice autumn and its own beauty coming?) Whether it’s from your window, or you’re able to walk outside, what spring gifts can you find?

Stuck in the middle?

Early March means spring is just around the corner. Right? Where you live, maybe spring is already emerging. My mom tells me her tulip magnolia has already bloomed.

I visited Atlanta last weekend and saw a few early signs of spring, including this star magnolia:

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A star magnolia blooms in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park (taken with my cell phone).

But where I live, spring feels a long way off. We had snow last night, and when I left the house this morning, it was 27° and windy.

Gardeners around here recommend waiting until Memorial Day weekend to plant outdoors. So you might understand why I’m feeling stuck in the middle of winter. I know we’ll have some lovely days between now and Memorial Day weekend, but true spring feels a long way off.

Maybe you’re feeling stuck in the middle of something right now, too?

As my dog and I passed this No Parking sign this morning, a thought struck me. Whatever middle we feel stuck in—whether it’s the seasons, an illness (our own or a loved one’s), an election cycle, a difficult project at work, or fears of a pandemic—let’s remember not to park right here in the middle.

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After all, if there’s a middle, there’s an end, too. So let’s keep moving. And may each moment find us feeling a little less stuck.

What are some ways you look for light and hope when you’re stuck in the middle? What keeps you moving? I’d love for you to share your ideas below.

Welcome backyard guests

My husband set up backyard bird feeders this winter, and we’ve had a steady stream of gray birds: juncos, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches. While I’m happy to see them visit the feeders, I’ve been missing the splash of red of cardinals.

Finally, on a miserable winter’s day, I glanced outside and saw that yearned-for color.

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A male cardinal waiting near the feeder

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She braces in the wind and snow.

Our feeder isn’t ideal for cardinals. I hadn’t realized the perch arms were too short for them. But every so often now, the cardinals pay us a visit. Because the juncos and nuthatches spit out other seeds looking for their favorites, the cardinals don’t leave hungry.

I’ll have to add another feeder, though, as I want these favorite winter guests to feel welcome.

What winter guests do you long to welcome to your home?

A bishop speaks of trees on MLK, Jr. Day

We celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today in the United States.

I was wrapped up under a blanket on the couch this morning ignoring my dog’s pleas to go outside (it was 14º with wind and snow flurries), when I came across Bishop Michael B. Curry’s MLK Day keynote address airing live on Facebook. Bishop Curry began by quoting Jeremiah 17:8:

“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.”

I hope you’ll take a moment on this day to listen to his short message.

Two Novembers ago, on election day, I snapped a fuzzy photo of a house with one of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. wrapping around the porch eaves in a cut-out metal band.

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

May your day be filled with light and love.

Light in the New Year

Thank you for your patience as I took a break from the blog. The last 18 months have taken me too much away from writing and photography, and while I won’t blog weekly as I used to, I do want to begin again, anew for the new year, the new decade.

I’ve changed the tagline up there at the top of the blog: Exploring the Nature of God. Every now and then, when there are pictures or words I think you’d enjoy, I’ll share them here. Mostly, I hope to bring a little more light into your life through this blog, beginning with this morning’s sunrise. These are from my cell phone, shot quickly so as not to miss the light.

A fiery display of a new day
The reward for looking out early

What does light look like in your life right now?