Creatures Great and Small

IMG_9040Animals are, I believe, a wonderful gift from God. Created to beautify Creation, to be companions, to provide various necessities of life, and for us as humans to steward well and to enjoy. And God is glorified.  Genesis 1 recounts God’s forming of the earth and filling of the earth with creatures:

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And it was good. Good. Good. When a good and wonderful God calls something good, it must be good. Of course, the earth now is fallen and corrupt, but God’s fingerprints are still all over His Creation. His love and creativity and glory are still wonderfully evident. Imagine what earth must have been like in perfection, before sin and death and decay! How beautiful it must have been.

IMG_9089When I am just sitting stroking Kashka or laughing at Luna’s antics, my little heart just wells with mirth – That God would pour so much uniqueness and loveliness and humor and fun and personality into these insignificant little creatures just amazes me. They each have their habits, their quirks. They have their ways of asking for and receiving and giving affection.

Time and again, when the cats are being darling or strange or comical or affectionate, I find myself asking out loud to whomever happens to be within earshot, “How could I ever think this little creature is the result of evolution? How could I think anything other than that God created and loves this little creature?”

IMG_9045Kashka likes to sit at the window and squeak her paw on the glass, the charming cat version of fingernails on a blackboard. She does that to ask to come inside. Or she jumps up on the windowsill of the Miner’s Cabin and looks at me with her big green eyes. She has a white patch of fur on her belly, and will roll over on her back to have the white patch rubbed. She can’t meow properly, but breathily chirps. She is delicate, graceful, and a pretty capable hunter.

Luna, on the other hand, is big, beautiful, clumsy, and talks to himself while hunting. Doesn’t catch a thing, as far as we can tell. He has a huge voice and a huge personality. He likes to stretch and walk at the same time, and looks really goofy while doing it. He knocks stuff over, rolls on the floor like a dog, and runs chaotically around the yard. I think he got dropped on his head while a kitten. Or God just gave him an extra dose of personality. Something like that.

IMG_9077Anna’s beautiful cats, such simple and ordinary creatures, are daily humorous or tender reminders that God cares deeply about His Creation, even the tiny and seemingly unremarkable. He didn’t forget to infuse evidence of His glory and creative power into even the tiniest of creatures. They were created by God, so they must be remarkable. Humanity was the crowning glory of the Creation, but I can’t help but believe that God enjoyed the process of creating all of His many creatures, from the smallest and least significant to the pinnacle of His Creation, from creatures great, to creatures small. The Lord God made them all.

Laura Elizabeth

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Taking Time to Wander

IMG_8964Time is a commodity everyone is short on.  We live in a rat’s race pace, perpetually scraping for “more time”, but never feeling like we find it.  And all for what? A few more dollars in the bank? A few more stamps in the passport? A few more parties, pleasures, possessions? People spend their healthy days working themselves to death in the hopes that they’ll still be healthy enough when they retire to enjoy the things they didn’t enjoy when they were younger.

IMG_8948Now, I don’t for a minute think that the end goal of life is enjoyment or pleasure – I believe God put each of us on this earth with a purpose, that purpose being first and foremost to glorify Him. I believe our lives should be useful lives, seeking to serve and bless other people. This is something I’m still working on myself, trying to figure out. But even while I believe that pleasure isn’t the goal of life, I believe that God made this world beautiful for His glory and our enjoyment, and I don’t think nearly enough people are willing to enjoy it, or give themselves the time to enjoy it, or have the eyes to enjoy it, or to enjoy the deeper significance of the beauty of this world. Our culture has created a mindset towards work and daily life that makes it difficult to enjoy the good things God has created, the things that can’t be bought and paid for.

I think this is ultimately an issue of purpose, of spiritual purpose.

IMG_9002Of course I understand that our culture is far from being Christian anymore – Our culture is actively rejecting any concept that is remotely Christian, but by rejecting God and the Gospel we haven’t just lost our faith or our adherence to some “strict moral code,” as some would like to argue. By losing our Christian worldview and our Christian identity, we’ve lost our purpose, our identity that goes deeper than our job title, the dollar amount on our paycheck, the neighborhood we live in, or the prestigious way we spend our free time. We are forever hungering for something we think we can buy with money, but can only be gained with spiritual eyes and a new heart. We’ve lost the joy of contentment.

IMG_8973We’ve lost the ability to appreciate God’s simple daily gifts and the significance of something as ephemeral as a rainbow, or a flower, or the way the sunlight strikes the mica-encrusted quarts.  We’ve lost our appreciation of beauty. And what slim appreciation of true beauty that there is becomes mired in the mindset of meaninglessness, all that there is in this world being the result of complicated and unexplained “natural processes”. Meaningless, everything is meaningless.

We have a nation that is sinking under a burden of vainly spent dollars, under a burden of depression and worry and jealousy and envy and pride and hate.  We have a culture of people who live with the constant reminder of what they can do, should do, or want to do, of what the human race can do, has done, will do, wants to do. We have a culture that wakes, eats, works, and sleeps surrounded by the fruit of man’s labors. Our culture is so bent on complicated pleasures, so bent on belongings and material wealth and security, that we as a culture have completely lost sight of the brimful storehouse of God’s goodness, manifested in His wonderful Creation, which are gifts that anyone can enjoy.

IMG_9030There is a whole world that exists outside of the city limits, above the light pollution, beyond the concrete, steel, brick, and glass of our world of industry. What if people could see and understand the significance of beauty?  What about the beauty of true and selfless relationships? What if people had a context in which to understand sorrow and grief and pain? What if people could be reminded of what God can do, has done, will do, and could see God’s fingerprints on every hill, rock, tree, flower, pebble, lake, and cloud? What if people could see God’s promises spelled out in His Creation? What if people could revel in the plenty of contentment? What wealth of soul that would produce! These are pleasures that cannot be bought with money, comforts that aren’t material, so to these we all have equal access. Even the poorest among us can be rich indeed, rich of soul. That is a richness that lasts.

IMG_8947This is a richness that begins, first and foremost, at the moment of Salvation. This is also an attitude of the heart that can be cultivated, and doesn’t require straying outside of the city limits (although it is easier to see God’s handiwork outside of man’s world). It is possible to train one’s eyes to see God’s fingerprints in the small and mundane things of life. It is possible for anyone, work-burdened, life-burdened, heart-burdened, or otherwise, to experience the joys of living, whether in the midst of difficulty or not. God gives these gifts. We have to be willing to see them.

IMG_8939How wonderful, then, is taking the time to wander and to wonder, taking the time to stray from the beaten path, to gaze on the obscured, to revel in the majesty of this beautiful world, knowing that this world, beautiful as it is, is just a washed-out, lesser, corrupt version of the wonderful world to come.

Laura Elizabeth

The Glow and Gleam

IMG_8825Times of year and times of day have characters all their own, colors all their own, slants of shadows and shifting lights that are not shared, but are coveted jealously. There is the gold of autumn, the blue of winter, the joy and bloom of spring.There is the sweetness of the lazy days at the end of summer, the snap and crackle richness of autumn.

IMG_8847In the dusky winter evening, the already-pale colors became muted and harder to name, as the delicate light of winter gave way to night. Up and over hills, down and into gullies, in and out of the sinking sunlight. Shadows slanted between the trees and on the pine-needed-carpeted slopes, and clumps of rabbit brush seemed to glow, with the sun shining from behind them.

IMG_8865The grey of a snowless winter day took on a golden tint, and all was gold and grey and brown. Here and there flickered glints of green – A lichen nestled in the carpet of pine needles, a tiny star of silver-green leaves growing from a cleft in a rock, a patch of yucca, still green as springtime, and the darker green of the living pines.

At last, the sun sank away and the gold and gleam faded to twilight, then to night. Twilight and dawn, noon and night, summer and winter, spring and fall, heat and cold, cloudy and clear – What a palette, and what a Creator God!

Laura Elizabeth

Daily mysteries

IMG_8486Sometimes it takes a country song and moonlight to rattle me out of my own self-centeredness and back into a state of gratitude before God. Last night, I was tired and grouchy and feeling a little sorry for myself when Montgomery Gentry’s song “Lucky Man” came on the radio. I felt rather sheepish. Then light from the almost-full moon peered over my shoulder and brushed my cheek. I looked back and there was the moon, rising above the rugged hills on the road a few miles from home. What in the world do I have to not be thankful for? Thankfulness in all circumstances should be the state of the Christian heart, but it took a country song and moonlight to remind me just how good my circumstances are, and how petty and pathetic and wrong my complaints are. And how good God really is – how incomprehensible!

This morning I restocked our wood supply for the Miner’s Cabin. Up the hill at Grandma’s house, there is a whole woodshed of old dry pine that probably hasn’t been touched in years. Squirrels have used the shed as home-base for probably a decade, so there is a decade’s worth of pine cones and pine cone pieces piled all over the woodshed, which make great fire starter. I brought down enough wood and “fire starter” to last awhile, and spent a good chunk of the afternoon sorting and organizing and straightening.

IMG_8796.1It is so pleasant to sit and listen to the crackle of the fire, to hear the metallic rush of sound as a log collapses, to feel the heat slowly warm the room. Wood heat is exquisite. It is simple and sweet and fierce. I love to watch the glow of the embers beneath the logs, in the place where the very air seems to burn and blaze. I love the dance of the heat along the edges of logs, the blossoming of flame, the crackle and release of sparks. I could sit before a fire for hours.

Moonlight and flame, and the God who created both – Three beautiful mysteries.

Laura Elizabeth

 

 

Findings | Winter Pods

The subtle beauty of winter.
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Little treasures on a winter walk.

Laura Elizabeth