Thankfulness.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:4


As the seasons change, I am reminded of the beauty of fall. The leaves have turned this beautiful, auburn color with golden hues and hints of green. Even the air has felt more crisp and inviting. Tis the season of thanksgiving.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER CALL

1

thanksgiving

a capitalized :thanksgiving day

:a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness

2:the act of giving thanks

:a prayer expressing gratitude

Upon swift walks to and from work, beauty has captivated me. It’s as if the earth has been trying to get my attention. Meanwhile, I have been somewhat engrossed in getting to my destination.

Children out of their seats. Running around the classroom. Laughing, shouts, and paper planes. Welcome to my Thursday morning. As I stood there raising my voice and demanding respect I began to feel overwhelmed. I had one goal at that point: Get home on my lunch break. As I whisked through the next class, I swiftly got my things together. I was almost through those doors.

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When I stepped outside everything was at a stand still. There was warm air, birds chirping, a gentle blowing breeze, and colorful leaves surrounding me. I felt slightly disappointed that I considered the day to be horrible when it was actually abundant. God encouraged me to embrace the moment and to be grateful for it. I sat on a nearby bench and took it all in.

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Thanksgiving is a spirit. You don’t have to wait for Turkey day to be thankful and grateful. Show gratefulness in your life today. Don’t miss another moment!

 

Here are some reminders:

  1. Embrace the beauty in each moment.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. Grow stronger, not bitter.
  3. Shift your perspective. Don’t be narrow-minded. Think of the bigger picture.
  4. Give thanks to God in all things.
  5. Stop and smell the roses (or shall I say pinecone this season?!)

“Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” Matthew 6:28‭-‬29 NLT

* Read Psalm 100 for more on thanksgiving. Peace and blessings! *

 

Kissed by the Sun.

This week I went on an adventure. To discover the wildly beautiful. My voyage took me very far. From the plains of Maryland to the great wilderness. I went in pursuit of God’s nature. What I discovered was far more pleasant than I anticipated. Journey with me on this voyage through photographs.

First stop, on the trails to wonderland.
Beautiful, vibrant, trees collide with plastic, orange dividers. I feel welcomed as I journey down the trail. 

Next, I was greeted by this Royal Paulownia tree. Royalty welcomes me.
I had to take a closer look at this massive tree. It consisted of deep ridges so detailed that there was no doubt they were handcarved by God. Observing the plants at the base, everything pointed upward so I decided to look up.

What a wonderful sight. Such beautiful ridges and deep indentations. As I studied the patterns in the ridges, the leaves waved down below. I wanted to get a full perspective of the height, so I stooped down low.

I thought I’d just be observing the height of the tree but the base of it allured me as well. Nestled together were chiseled rocks and dandelions. Like little cousins, they were huddled together next to the tree.


The foliage stood tall as I knelt a little closer. I embraced each patch of green goodness.

My gaze then shifted to a bench area. The shadows created contrast in the green grass and bench.

There I sat, taking it all in. This was a moment of reflection. A moment of gratitude. A moment of peace. 


Then I realized something.


Here comes the sun, do do do do… 

The sun peered out between the branches and I felt this overwhelming warmth on my face. I was delighted!

Not only had I been welcomed by the greenery, the sun said hello with it’s warm rays. It was God’s way of showing me the harmony in all of His creation.

I hoped to capture the depth of these clustered leaves in contrast to the top of this tree. It was full but yet separated.


Then it was time to go for a swing. Woodchips, wind, and the faint creeking of metal on my swing as I swayed back and forth.

Then I rested under a tree. I had been wanting to do it lately but was too reserved. 

I clinched the grass in my hands. I planted my feet deep in the blades. I loved every bit of the moment. 

Some moments that I did not get to capture was the discovery of this beautiful, wooden chapel near the forest and a mellow deer kneeling down to eat plants.

Over & Out,

A Nature Lover

“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord . For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being. The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods. Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. “But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.” – Job 12:7-10 NLT

*All pictures taken on a Galaxy S7 🙂

Nature Walk with Mom

Last week, I did something exciting. I went on a nature walk with my mom. I brought my a Panasonic DMC-G3 camera along and we hiked toward the trail. As we embarked on the nature journey, I stood in amazement. All around there were vibrant, dynamic works of art. Trees, grass, twigs, flowers to name a few. Mom and I found a spot with a chopped tree lodged near the forest. The ridges were alluring. This was a perfect opportunity. Clean, crisp air. Neutral weather. We smiled the whole way to the park.

 

I recall mom saying “Shantel, it would be nice if you captured that over there.” We saw an old church building, enjoyed swings at a playground, and admired the vast land around us. We were amazed at God’s creation and drew closer to explore its beauty.

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This is used to be a railroad.

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Mom prefers to be behind the scene.

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As we captured what fascinated us, we came across a gazebo further in the woods. It was the perfect place to relax and enjoy more scenery. I was able to get some good shots and mom took nice ones too.

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After sitting and relaxing, we headed back down the trail and saw more fascinating sites. I saw a compass which which was settled atop a tree. Mom spotted a bench that had painted leaves on it. That became our new object target.

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Such vivid colors in this painting.
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Two worlds collide.
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Every direction leads to nature.
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A candid shot! I was getting photo ready.
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Much better.

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Leaves and pine cones are a perfect mix.

These pictures tell our story. As stated by Thomas Browne, “Nature is the art of God.”

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Photos courtesy of Shantel Gross. Request permission if you would like to use them.