A Trinity Tale

“The mystery of the Trinity is the mystery of Holiness: the Glory and the Power of the Trinity is the Glory and Power of God who makes us holy. There is God dwelling in light inaccessibly, a consuming fire of Holy Love, destroying all that resists, glorifying into its own purity all that yields. There is the Son, casting Himself into that consuming fire, whether in its eternal blessedness in heaven, or its angry wrath on earth, a willing sacrifice, to be its food and its satisfaction, as well as the revelation of its power to destroy and to save. And there is the Spirit of Holiness, the flames of that mighty fire spreading on every side, convicting and judging as the Spirit of Burning, and then transforming into its own brightness and holiness all that it can reach. All the relations of the Three Persons to each other and to us have their root and their meaning in the revelation of God as the Holy One. As we know and partake of Him, we shall know and partake of Holiness.”
― Andrew Murray

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(two images of two different trillium plants, Trillium cuneatum / Troup County, Georgia, the middle of nowhere in virgin woods / Julie Cook / 2014)

The tears of a forlorn Father, who wandered alone in the woods the day His Son hung on a cross, fell silently to the ground.
As the tears fell, trickling down through the scattered leaves and debris,
the Earth trembled.

The Earth, now sad for its Creator, wanted to offer comfort.
For each fallen tear, a small plant soon emerged
Three leaves with a tiny three leaved bloom
White for the purity of the sacrificed Son
Red for the innocent blood shed for all mankind

Each Spring, year after year, the trillium returns
offering to all who may wander wood and glen
a reminder . . .
The Sorrow of a grief stricken Father
The Sacrifice of selfless Son
The Grace of a transcending Spirit

Newness

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
you shall begin it serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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(spicebrush swallowtail butterfly / Julie Cook / 2014)

While out walking in the woods, on a most blustery day, a tantalizing surprise made its presence known. . . Gloriously, it appears that our long weary wait, through a never-ending winter, may soon, blessedly, be drawing to a close.

Life has been painfully cold, unseasonably so. Nightly lows have remained in the mid 30’s. Wind and rain has been the featured guest as of late, but today, joyfully today, a glimpse of Hope.

Lithely, without rhyme or reason, bouncing on shimmering translucent wings, the first butterfly of the season dances past non believing eyes.

Still bundled up, fighting March’s final fierce stinging winds, we wander along the trail just happy the sun has decided to make a long awaited appearance. Are we seeing things? Was that truly a butterfly wistfully flitting past?

A spicebrush butterfly makes its way to a small twig in order to bathe in the warm rays of an early spring morning.
A sign of new days and new ways, as the heavy unending winter mercifully dwindles and wanes, becoming nothing more than a shadow.

Today is a new day indeed.
A glimpse of a happy change has made its presence known and for it, we are most grateful!
We sit perched on the edge of a happy new month.
Oh Blessed Happy Day!!

The good ol days

“In every age “the good old days” were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them. ”
― Brooks Atkinson

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(Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook ? 2014)

Is it merely human nature to yearn for times past, memories past, experiences past?
Is the present simply too trying, too frightening, too demanding, too challenging, too real?
Is the future too far away, too uncertain, too unknown, too beyond?

It is to that which is surely known, that which was lived, not imagined which is grounding.
It is to that which was experienced and survived which is now oddly comforting.
It is to those persons who have come and gone to whom we turn our hearts.

Missing what was, struggling with what is, looking with trepidation for what will be.
Despite reluctance or resistance, we are creatures always moving forward—such is the nature of life.
We may look back, but may not travel back.
We have but today–yet struggle through it.
We look toward tomorrow hoping for that which is better.
We live in a state of constant flux and motion.
Trashing in the waters of time, fighting against continual currents of the seasons of our lives which sweep us back and forth.

Taking that which is old, dusty and broken. . . mending it and making it new. . .that is the promise, that is the hope, that is the salvation.
It is the expanse of a bridge which leads from then, to now, to what will be.
Sound, sturdy and unbreakable under the flood waters of life.
The life-line has been cast toward you.
It requires only that you reach and take hold.
That which was, remains in the rushing waters–as you cross the bridge to what will be

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Rev 21:5 KJV)

Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19 NRSV Catholic Edition

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“Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.”
Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples

I think that perhaps we are a lot like the wild apple—not all handsome nor perfect but instead rather gnarly, a bit disfigured, lumpy, bumpy, less than perfect…and yet, there is something thankfully redeeming in us all…..It would greatly behoove each of us to remember such when we look at those who we feel are full of imperfection, who appear “less than” in our eyes and who are a bit gruff and gnarly….as we all have our little imperfections–be they external or internal—

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(photographs: wild crab apple tree/ Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013)

“Explore. Dream. Discover.”

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

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(Photograph: butterfly Troupe County, LaGrange, Georgia / Julie Cook

I know, you’re sitting there at your desk, your kitchen table, on your couch…wherever it is you have your computer or tablet checking out the blog world. You read the quote, the one I’ve got perched atop the picture of the butterfly, by none other than Mark, Samuel Lnaghorne Clemens, Twain and you’re thinking to yourself…”yeah, right Julie…”

“Easier said than done” you say. “I can’t just throw caution to the wind and “set sail” as you say.” “I’ve got a job, a family, responsibilities, how can I just up and chase a dream…..?”

Well, over the years, I too have wanted to throw off the bowlines and take off to follow a dream, any dream..but lamented that I was just unable to do so…as I was too chained down with my life.

And then, slowly coming into focus, it began to dawn on me….I began to realize that the following of ones dreams does not necessarily mean having to abandon the life we, you, me currently call ours…the obvious is to toss the world aside and jump on a plane, in the car, handing in our resignation and off we go…but it’s more subtle than all of that drastic business. It’s more intrinsic than a physical pursuit—it’s more of a state of mind…an internal determination. It’s a slow growth not a radical jump.

The frustrating desire of wanting to do something big with my life, once again, hit me after reading the book Come be my Light about Mother Teresa and her life’s journey. Whatever could I do in my little world to make such a difference…any difference??…I live in a little town, I’m just a wife, mom, teacher….

And then it dawned on me, I may not be able to change the entire world, but I can make small changes in my world—these small changes have ripple effects—expanding outwards, out to those whom I come into contact with… who, in turn, may go about in life, their lives, continuing the force of positive change….reaching out, further and farther. Maybe I’m not to be the big game changer, maybe I’m just the catalyst…..the starting point. All big dreams, large or small, have starts…and all great realities have to start somewhere as small or large dreams…

So yes, you may explore, you may dream and you just may discover that you are capable of so much more than you ever imagined….

there is a fungus among us

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”
George Washington Carver

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(photograph: a delightful, or rather deadly, little mushroom/ toadstool/ Troup County, GA/ Julie Cook/ 2013)

In this case, listening carefully can be done with either ears or eyes.

It was a glorious day. The sun was actually shining…a joyful sight indeed…. The giant, painfully white, fiery orb set off by the backdrop of a beautifully intense cloudless deep blue sky. I have to go back to April to remember when we actually last had a few consecutive days of sun without the torrential rains which have plagued us ever since…and then there is the humidity and temperature….what is this???
The humidity oddly low for August, as was the temperature….upper 70’s with the prediction to only reach the low 80’s today. A wonderful cool breeze…. this can’t be late August! Surely this isn’t Georgia in August?! This was Joy, plain and simple!!

We decided to take full advantage of the day! Sunday….a much needed day to worship, as well as a day to re-coop and re-group, all before starting the long 6 days (6 for my husband and his line of business)of work and school all over again. This day was a delightful excuse to head to the woods.

The four wheeler was loaded in the back of the truck as we headed south on the highway. We’ll use the four wheeler to traverse the dirt roads, the back roads, which will take us further back and further away from “the world”. We’ll then “park” the four wheeler in the shade of the trees as we hit the woods on foot. No worries, no troubles—just the sights and sounds of a precious undisturbed, true remaining forest.

“Don’t forget to spray” my husband warns. It might not feel like August and it might be a beautiful day for walking in the woods, yet this time of year, in the South, can be dangerous as well as deadly. We spray our boots and pant legs hoping to avoid the horde of seed ticks and the larger adults. Lyme disease, Rocky Mt spotted tick fever, you name it, I don’t want it. The other concern is for the rash of poisonous snake bites that have been prolific in Georgia this summer. Spray can’t keep the snakes at bay, only a good set of eyes and ears…. I was not comforted finding two sets of shed rattles when we stopped and got off the four wheeler.

My husband was busy with trail cameras. Obviously this was not just a fun little jaunt to the woods–there was serious business to attend to…such as placing trail cameras strategically throughout the woods, hoping to catch a glimpse or two of that all elusive trophy deer. For him, it’s serious business; for me, it’s pure enjoyment—

…So imagine my delight as I wandered off from the serious business of picking the perfect tree to tie a camera to….. simply to amble my way aimlessly deep into a wooded glen. With the dead leaves crunching crisply underfoot, I suddenly get a sense of a change of season—is Fall a slightly bit closer? Is that what I sense or rather “feel” in the air?? Do I see a slight tinge to the myriad of leaves overhead?

Whether you call it Fall or Autumn, either way, it is a time of year which beckons me back outside after months of dodging “the heat of the day” or as was the case this summer, the constant deluge of rain. It is a time that sends me in search of apples for the baking of pies and the making of cider…not to mention the beautiful colors which engulf my world—a palette of soft warm tones swirling about my head. There is a quickened up beat in my step after months of simply and lazily dragging my feet through the damp fresh mowed grass—-change is at hand and I can feel it!

I see that the long term forecast has the temperatures climbing back up towards the 90’s by week’s end—more like August I suppose. For today, however, I will bask in the possibilities of what will soon be—cool, crisp air, clear blue skies, falling leaves, muted tones…and pumpkins!

On this new day to this new week, rejoice in the possibilities, think of what will be, look closely around you for the signs of change. And if at all possible, get outside in order to enjoy the tail end of summer…before we know it, we’ll be talking turkey …..Happy week….