What Will You See?

“For through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see --”
Colossians 1:16 (NLT)

I got up early this morning, shoved my laptop into its carrying case, and headed to McDonald’s drive-thru for an iced coffee. Then I drove to the lakefront and parked the car in my favorite shady spot. It was almost eight o’clock. As usual, I put down the car's windows, and I moved to the front passenger seat where the steering wheel wouldn't be in the way of my laptop. Finally, I settled in to write.

The lakefront is a perfect place to write in the early morning. It's quiet there. An occasional jogger runs by or someone walks with a dog. Sometimes, a tractor rumbles across the beach with a sand rake smoothing the sand and removing driftwood and other debris. But mostly the only sounds are birds singing and seagulls squawking.

This morning, a young couple sat at a picnic table with their backs to the lake. Their conversation interrupted the quiet. I overheard them discussing their relationship, specifically whether they should stay together.

A little girl, four years old maybe, played nearby at the beach’s edge. “Look, Mommy!” I heard her squeal. She pointed toward the water. I looked, and I saw it, too, a tall ship drifting silently to the south bathed in the early morning sunlight. She ran to the picnic table and tugged on her mother’s arm. “Mommy! Come see!”

“Not now, Monique!” her mother scolded. “Daddy and I are talking!” The mother shifted her body on the bench and turned her back to Monique. The little girl plopped down in the grass and watched the ship sail away. I watched it, too. I ached to join her there in the grass and share her excitement of seeing a tall ship sailing on Lake Michigan.

As I sat listening, Monique’s parents decided to get a divorce. Her dad walked away. Her mother stayed at the table, buried her head in her hands and cried. Meanwhile, Little Monique skipped on the sandy beach playing with the gulls, oblivious that her life was about to change.

I remembered a quote by Henry David Thoreau. He said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Oh, what we miss when we turn our backs to the world around us. Tall ships sail unnoticed. Tears fall unobserved. Lives change forever.

Every morning, with each sunrise, God puts the whole world before us to see in a new way. How we see it is a choice. We can rejoice in the tall ships, dry tears with compassion, vow to make life better; or we can turn our backs and let life pass us by.

Psalm 118:4 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Whatever this day holds, we know that it is God’s day. He is working among us while our eyes are closed to what is right in front of us.

Open your eyes to the world this week. Maybe you'll see life differently.



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Check out my newest book in Barbour's Camp Club Girls tween mystery series.
Available now at Amazon.com or from your favorite bookseller.

Molly the Owl

He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.
Job 12:22
(NIV)


Lately, I’ve been addicted to the Owl Box Channel on UStream. I started watching a few weeks ago when almost every national news network carried the story of Molly the Owl and her brood.

Molly is a wild barn owl inhabiting an owl box in San Marcos, California. Homeowners Carlos and Donna Royal created the owl box to provide an atypical glimpse into the daily life of a common barn owl as she raises her young. A camera fixed inside allows viewers both day and night views of the owls.

Owls are nocturnal, so the infrared night cam provides the most interesting view. It reveals the mysteries of darkness, events that go unnoticed while the world is asleep.

In the darkness, Molly sits on four perfect eggs. A tiny pip hole appears in one of them. The hole grows larger. Then, with a little help from Molly, the egg breaks open revealing a tiny owlet, feeble and featherless. Molly consumes the eggshell. She warms the owlet with her brood patch, a sparsely feathered patch on her belly. In the period of a week, viewers watch until all four owlets hatch and are squawking for food.

Every night, thousands of viewers tune in to wait for McGee, Molly’s mate, to show up with a treat. (Yes, thousands of viewers! The Owl Channel has had more than 16 million unique hits since it went live in January.) A camera outside the owl box allows viewers to see when McGee arrives. He usually has a mouse, rat, rabbit or gopher dangling from his beak. Quickly, he drops it inside the owl box door. Molly grabs it, dissects it and feeds it to her young.

There’s plenty of drama in the owl box. Occasionally, an intruder, a rogue owl, tries to enter the box. Molly attacks, wings spread, talons ready. The intruder flies off into the darkness. Last week, two of the owlets died. No one knows why. But God knows. He knows everything that goes on in the owl box. The owl box viewers mourned the deaths of little Kelly and Jody (the Royals named all the owls). In the site’s chat room, viewers wondered what had happened to the owlets and speculated about the causes of their deaths. If they had been watching the outside camera at that moment, they might have noticed this.


In the daylight, two sunbeams rising up from the owl box door. Two little lives returning to God.

Psalm 121:3 says, He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber.

In the darkness, God is all seeing and all knowing. He does not sleep.



Read more about Molly the Owl here.



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Check out my newest book in Barbour's Camp Club Girls tween mystery series.
Available now at Amazon.com or from your favorite bookseller.

Behold the Dragonfly

For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (ASV)

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I grew up across the street from Lake Michigan. Between our house and the lakeshore was a strip of prairie land, and in late summer swarms of dragonflies always showed up there. When I say swarms, I’m not kidding. Thousands of dragonflies formed black clouds along the shoreline. I noticed them when the rest of the world seemed silent. I stood quietly wondering if I could hear the dry rattling of their wings. But I couldn’t.

My grandmother said that in her day dragonflies were called “darning needles” and they sewed children's mouths shut if they were sassy to their parents. This terrified me. Dragonflies seemed to be curious about humans. They flew around and close to me -- and I was a sassy little kid. You don’t hear a dragonfly coming until it’s right in front of you, and if it wanted to sew your mouth shut it could. One day, a neighbor boy stood in the field and raised one arm, index finger extended. He said it had something to do with dragonflies seeking the highest point. When he allowed a dragonfly to land on his finger, I thought he was very brave. He must have been a good boy, too, because the dragonfly left him alone.

I feel sorry for people who are too busy to notice the dragonflies. The genius of God’s perfect design is so evident in these amazing creatures. For centuries scientists have studied them, especially their wings and their eyes. Two sets of delicate wings allow dragonflies to hover, fly loops, go backward and sideways. They can come to a complete stop at 30 miles per hour. And their large multifaceted eyes are made up of thousands of lenses making it possible for them to see nearly 360 degrees around them.

Last week, I was writing in my car at the lakeshore when I noticed hundreds of dragonflies darting around. Their teal bodies reflected the radiance of the sunlight bouncing off the sparkling water. Now, instead of being afraid of them, I’m curious. The world seemed silent to me again, like it had when I was a child. Focused only on the dragonflies, I got out of the car and raised one arm, index finger extended. Surprise! One did land on my finger. She clung tight to me as I lowered my hand to get a better look. I wondered how she saw me through those many lenses in her bulging eyes.

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says our understanding of God is like “looking in a mirror darkly.” In Paul’s time, mirrors cast an imperfect image. Sometimes, the glass reflected multiple images of an object creating an effect much like the way dragonflies must see. I suppose that’s the way the dragonfly saw me, a garbled image of something bigger and greater then she could begin to fathom.

Mother Teresa once said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence....”

And so do the dragonflies move in silence, seeing us in a mirror darkly the same way we see God.

Have you noticed the dragonflies this summer? Stop, savor the silence, raise your hand and see if one rests on your finger.


**********

Check out my newest book in Barbour's Camp Club Girls tween mystery series.
Available now at Amazon.com or from your favorite bookseller.




NEW FROM THOMAS NELSON

CLICK ON THE BOOK TO PREVIEW. VIEW THE BOOK TRAILER BELOW.
FROM BARBOUR BOOKS
I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.
Click on the picture.
I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

By Max Lucado, Published by Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


©text on this blog copyrighted 2012 by Jean Fischer unless otherwise credited. You may link to the blog, but please don't reprint the text without my permission.

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