Have you noticed how windy it has been lately? This past fall and winter, and even right now, the intensity of the wind has been crazy. The winds have been whipping around our house, making those loud whistling sounds and shaking the house itself. It has been happening for months now. These winds are blowing all over the world. These are winds of change. I can feel it. The winds of change are upon us. This is God working!
The Lord shows us that He is working by doing works and wonders in the natural world. He has always done this, and He is doing it right now. (Remember, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13: 8)
Do some research and you will not only see that places in the U.S., but all over the world, are experiencing shakings and groanings in the natural world.
I stumbled across the "Not Me, Him!" YouTube channel earlier this week. I am not exactly sure who this young man is, but he is awesome! God bless him for the work his doing and sharing with the world. I wanted to share this video he created a few days ago that he put together concerning exactly what I am talking about here. Take some time and watch it. I think you will enjoy it.
Those of you who know me, know that I am enormous animal-lover. There are very few creatures on this earth that I don’t care for. I like most critters that others do not, including spiders, snakes, sharks, and bees. Actually, the only living thing that I don’t like is roaches. (They completely gross me out!)
And, if you know me, you also know that I considerably tender-hearted. So, it should come as no surprise to you that when I come across animals in distress, I do my best to help them. I will stop and help turtles cross the road. I will fish lizards out of water bowls. I will pick up wiggly worms from the sidewalk and put them back in the dirt. I will scoop up spiders inside the house and take them outside. I will guide hummingbirds out of my garage with a rake. I will pick up snakes and relocate them to safer areas. This is just who I am. It is who God made me to be.
This past Sunday, as I was taking Clancey for a walk, we came across a young opossum that was hurt. I could see a big scratch on his head and he was curled up, breathing heavily. I initially panicked, not knowing what to do. But, I knew I could not leave him there like that to die. I quickly headed back home to jump online and search for help. My husband and I tried calling at least six different places, hoping they could take him in. No one could. After those strike-outs, I got back online. It took me a while, but I finally got some help from a wildlife rehabber, Melissa, on a Facebook group I belong to.
Melissa first advised me to be careful in handling this baby, as opossums are wild and they do bite. However, most often they freeze up, or “play possum” and handling them shouldn’t be that hard. She told me to clean up his wound with peroxide and antibiotic ointment. She also told me he would appreciate some water and fruits and veggies.
By-the-time I got back to take care of the little guy, lots of flies were flying around. This really worried me. But, I got to work, cleaning up his head. I also noticed he was hurt under his arm as well. So, I cleaned that up too. Next, I put out some fresh water and peas for him and even tried putting some drops of water in his mouth. Next, I covered him with a cloth to keep the flies away. I then decided to leave him alone for a little while, and give him some time to rest.
Honestly, I needed some rest too. I was so worried over this little guy. I was anxious and fretting about him. I went home and cried and laid down for a quick nap. And, I think, most importantly, I prayed and prayed and prayed for him. I truly didn’t think he would make it.
The next time I went to check on him, well I almost didn’t even go. I didn’t think I could take seeing his little dead body lying there. But, I also had to know how he was doing. So, off I went, holding my breath.
When I got there, he was gone!
The cloth I had covered him up with was still there. The jar lids I put his food and water in were there. (Along with ants who were eating what was left of the food.) But, my little guy was gone.
The only thing I can figure is that God used me and that little bit of work I did on him, to allow him to rest up and leave of his own volition.
And, this is why I am sharing all of this with you today—God is so, so good!
God heard my prayers. He saw my tears. He saw my heart. And, He took care of this sweet little opossum.
To me, it was a miracle.
But, that is what God does, doesn’t He?
That is the business that God is in, isn’t He?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see this first-hand and be reminded of Your mercy and love. Thank you for allowing me to play a part in it. And, thank you for allowing me to share this with others. I give you all the glory. For, it is nothing that I did, but what You did.
In Your son’s name, I pray, Amen.
P.S. Did you know? Opossums eat ticks and copperheads. They are immune to snake venom and, due to low body temps, they rarely contract rabies. So, please show these critters some love!
In my last post, I told you I would share with you more ways you can be a better steward of the environment. So, here I am! I believe that the best thing you, or any of us can do to help Mother Earth is to produce as little waste as possible. There is a huge movement that began in the early 2000’s and has been steadily growing in popularity ever since, it is called the Zero Waste movement.
Wikipedia tells us that Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Only 9% of plastic is actually recycled. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature. The definition adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) is:
Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.
So, let’s stop here for a bit. Just the term “zero waste” sounds impossible, doesn’t it? I am not going to lie, I don’t know if I will ever truly be a “zero waste” person. But, I can tell you that there is an amazing amount of stuff we CAN do. As Kathryn from GoingZeroWaste shares with us, “The true goal of zero waste is to rewrite the story of our consumption. It’s to put value back into our belongings and to focus on living instead of collecting junk we don’t need. It’s not about perfection; It’s about making better choices.” (By the way, Kathryn’s website is my favorite Zero Waste website. She has a great story and tons of great information on how to live Zero Waste.)
I think the biggest single piece of advice I can give you is to simply be more thoughtful. Be more thoughtful when it comes to your purchases. Can you buy the item you need used or second-hand? Do you really need whatever it is you are buying? Is it something you will like and/or use years from now? Is it well-made? Will it last? If you truly do not need it, refuse to buy it. Start jotting down the cost of everything you *could have* bought for a month and see how much money you are saving.
Be more thoughtful when you go out places. Are you going grocery shopping? Bring your own bags for produce and to take your purchases home in. Are you going out to eat with friends? Bring your own straw, cloth napkin and reusable containers to take home any left overs. (This is a million times better than bringing home a doggie bag made from styrofoam.)
Be more thoughtful in what you get rid of and how you get rid of it. Cleaning up and cleaning out your home and belongings is a good thing. (Remember my post on Less is More?) Is what you are getting rid of still good and useable? If so, then donate it to Goodwill or another charity, or maybe ask if any of your friends could use it. Can the item be used for something else? For instance, that old t-shirt could be cut up and used to make cleaning rags or maybe you could cut the arms off and sew up the bottom to make a shopping tote.
Be more thoughtful about the trash you do produce. Buy items that come with minimal packaging, or better yet, no packaging at all. Is there any possible way to reuse said trash? If so, please do. Can you compost it? If so, please do. Can you recycle it? If so, please do.
If you become more thoughtful and conscious now, the world will be better for it tomorrow. Again, I know this is hard; every time you change your way of thinking, it is a process. (And, admittedly, sometimes it’s a long and hard process.) However, if you start thinking in terms of what small changes you can make, and start making those changes today, over time your efforts will grow. Take one small step and make one small change this week. Take another step and make another change next week. The third week, you will become preoccupied with something else in your life and you will fall of the wagon. That’s ok! We are only human after all. Just get back on the wagon when you remember.
I will leave you with this great quote from Maya Angelou. I think it fits this topic very well;
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
In my never-ending search to find an answer to my health issues, I learned from a book called Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers, that toxic chemicals bombard us from every angle and that they can and are making us sick. (And, yes, I am talking about Suzanne Somers from Three’s Company!) So, towards the end of last year, I finally decided to make a real effort in changing what was coming into our home and negatively affecting our bodies.
Basically, any product that consisted of ingredients that I could not pronounce got replaced with natural ones. I do NOT like the harmful chemicals that compose most of what we use to clean our homes and bodies with. I stopped buying household cleaners, laundry detergent, soap, hand sanitizer, fabric softener, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, and shampoo and started making my own. (Or buying it online from people who make it with only natural ingredients.)
When I started doing online research for natural recipes and products to start using in our home, I came across some other information that was deeply disturbing to me—how much trash we produce and throw away.
Have you ever thought about how much waste you produce in a day? A Columbia University study estimates that Americans throw out 7 pounds of materials per person every day. (This number 7 is NOT one I like.) This amount of waste equals 2,555 pounds of materials per American each year. If your eyes have not been opened to how horrible this is, I hope this blog post is your wake-up call.
We now live in what I call a “throw-away” world. We buy things, use them once, and throw them away. Nothing is built to last or for longevity anymore. If we get a hole in our sock, we toss it and go buy new ones. We spend $900 on a new mobile phone, just to replace it two years later. We buy paper towels and paper plates with the intention of using them once and throwing them away. In essence, we are just throwing money away.
Hey, I get it, throwing things away is convenient and easy. But, in reality, we are running out space and resources for all the trash we make. We need to start doing better. We must start doing better. For our planet, for ourselves. There are some simple changes you can make starting today. And, they are easier than you think.
Thanks to modern conveniences, we don’t have to wash clothing or plates and utensils by hand anymore. (Thank you, Lord!) Eat your meals from the dishes you own, rather than on paper plates. Start using dish rags and towels to clean up messes around your house, and use cloth napkins with your meals. (Instead of using paper towels or paper napkins and tossing them in trash, you can use your dish rags and towels and toss them in the laundry.) Buy some handkerchiefs to blow your nose in and toss those in the laundry too. I mean, you are going to be doing laundry this week anyway, right? I know I am. And, trust me, you won’t even notice those extra rags, towels, napkins, and hankies in your dirty laundry basket.
Converting your kitchen to a more sustainable paperless system with “unpaper towels” is a wonderful way to reduce the paper consumption of your household. They are so much better for the earth than cutting down thousands of trees.
(As a side note, these natural birdseye cotton “unpaper towels” I bought from This Joyful Home on Etsy are fab! I use them for everything from wiping up spills, to using as napkins, to blowing my nose. They increase in softness and absorbency with the first few washes.)
Also, I am willing to bet that you have some tote bags floating around your house. Over the years, I have gathered quite a few. Start taking those on your shopping trips. Better yet, keep 2 or 3 in your car. That way you have them when you need them. Brining your own tote bags is a million times better than using the crappy plastic ones they give you at the store.
Earth Day is Monday, April 22nd this year, but every day should be Earth Day! These are just a few ideas to get you started down a more earth-friendly, sustainable path. It will also save you money. (Who doesn’t want that?) Instead of throwing away that sock with the hole in it, how about darning it? Maybe consider using your mobile phone for more than just two years. Use your every day dinner ware, instead of paper plates. Heck, pull out that fine china you have on display in your china cabinet. Use that stuff! It is beautiful and you only live once. Enjoy it now!
Let’s stop living in a “throw-away” world. Let’s start being more thoughtful with the items we already own and everything that purchase in the future. Buy items with the intent on using them again and again and again. I will be sharing more ideas with you in next week’s post. I hope you keep following along and start thinking of your own ways to reduce trash and be a caretaker of our environment. God will bless you for it!
One of the things I love most about life is nature. I love being outdoors, I love grass and trees and plants and animals of all different shapes and sizes. I love fresh air and sunshine and rain and wind. Getting to see the beauty in every living thing that surrounds us often takes my breath away. I think one of the reasons I love nature so much is because it was created by God, just like we were. Plus, when we look at God’s creation, it reminds us of His incredible and exquisite handiwork.
So, having said this, it should come as no surprise to you that I am extremely concerned about the state of our environment. Everywhere I look nowadays, I see trash. And, every time I see it, I go through a range of emotions; anger to frustration to numbness to sadness. (Is numbness an emotion?)
The good Lord created this beautiful earth and I believe it is our job to take care of her properly. It is up to us to lead the charge and show others how important it is to treat the earth well. We need to be her caretaker. Taking care of the world is not just an environmental issue, but a spiritual and moral issue as well.
There is a great American Indian quote out there that states, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” I love this quote. And, even though I don’t have kids, I do know plenty of people with kids—and they deserve a clean earth to enjoy.
If you read your Bible, you know that God asks us to take care of His creation. It is His, not ours, and as such, we should treat it with respect and obey His wishes. Both Jeremiah and Isaiah prophesy about the dire consequences that occur when we disobey God and fail to take care of the earth. The following six Bible verses all relay to us that we should be good stewards of the environment:
1. Genesis 1:26
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'"
2. Leviticus 25:23-24
"The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land."
3. Ezekiel 34:2-4
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally."
4. Isaiah 24:4-6
"The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore, earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."
5. Jeremiah 2:7
"I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable."
6. Revelation 11:18
"The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
So, what do you think about all of this? Don’t you think it is our obligation to do whatever we can to take care of this world that we inhabit? I do! And, I hope you will join me in taking steps to honor God in the way we care for our environment. Let’s start with the simple step of putting trash in the trash can. Better yet, see if that trash is actually something that can be recycled and recycle it.
When we all work together, we can make a big difference! In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more ways in which we can re-direct our thinking and start making changes that will help our earth; ways in which we can all be good caretakers of our Mother Earth.
We have a huge flower bed on the side of our yard. (We live on a corner lot and this flower bed runs alongside one of the streets we sit on.) My hubby and I planted lots of nice flowers and plants so that we, and our neighbors, can enjoy them. The problem with having a flower bed as big as ours, is that it requires a lot of upkeep. We created it initially thinking that it would be less grass for us to cut, and thus less work. Boy, were we wrong! We should have just put sod there. Oh well, live and learn.
This flower bed is so big that we must have a truckload of mulch brought in to cover it all. (Otherwise, it would take us 50 trips to Home Depot and back to get enough bags to fill it in.) And, buying mulch by the truckload is not cheap. And, next we spend most of the day spreading said mulch.
Then, there is the chore of keeping out the grass and weeds. We have Bermuda grass, which I really like because it is nice and soft and green most of the year. But, man, does it spread! If you don’t stay on top of it, it can quickly take over and get into places where you do not want it.
Well, I have been remiss in keeping out that Bermuda grass this year. I have been watching it spread through our flower bed for a while now. I kept telling myself that I would get up early, when it was nice and cool out, and then I would pull up the grass and weeds. But, weekend after weekend passed and I didn’t do it.
Finally, this past weekend, I decided to get out there and do some work before I really regretted it. So, I got up and got out there while it was still cool and I got to work. I worked for a good while. I got a lot done and felt good about what I did, but I still have a good bit left to do. (Le sigh…)
So, while I was in my flower bed cleaning out the encroaching grass, I got some quality time in with the Lord as well. The Holy Spirit shared some good insight with me.
As I was pulling up that grass, I couldn’t help but think about how our lives are a lot like gardens. Having a fruitful garden and a fruitful life is a lot of hard work. Pulling up grass and weeds can be tough. If we want to have a garden full of beautiful flowers and plants, we must be diligent about keeping the grass and weeds at bay. Likewise, to have a happy and healthy life, we must keep all the bad thoughts and negativity at bay. It is something that I often find myself struggling with, as I am sure you do too at times.
With each clump of Bermuda I plucked from our flower bed, I kept thinking about how I also needed to be plucking out every negative thought as soon as it popped into my head. Wouldn’t it be so much better for us to rid ourselves of anything ugly immediately, rather than letting it linger and take root in our hearts and minds? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to do this as they pop up, rather than just waiting and trying to get rid of a ton of them later? I think so! Because, just like that Bermuda grass, negative thoughts spread quickly and before you know it, they have taken over.
Cleaning out of the bad and negative thoughts in our minds will allow us to focus on the good and positive thoughts. And, those will grow and thrive. This will bring us peace and contentment. Keeping the unwanted grass and weeds from our flower beds allows the flowers and plants to grow and thrive. This will bring about the beautiful flowers and good fruit that we seek.
As we say goodbye to winter, I realize that I have been remiss in sharing some beautiful pictures with all of you that I took over the last few months. So, better late than never, right? I mean, there is never really a bad time to look on God’s handiwork.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I adore nature. It is one of the few things in life that truly fills me up spiritually and emotionally. There is simply nothing better to me than being outdoors. I relish getting to hike, but because of my health issues, I don’t get much of a chance to do it. So, I settle for taking walks around my neighborhood and local parks. And, I have come to be thankful for these small excursions.
I am a creative person and enjoy creating things. And, I have had an infatuation with textures for as long as I can remember. So, a lot of these pictures were taken because I thought the textures were cool. I hope you enjoy them! And, happy last day of winter.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.