Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Undiscovered Treasures" in our own backyard

On Sunday, Ken and I had a chance to visit the Volo Bog.  For those who might not be familiar with a bog, here is the Webster definition:  area of marshy ground: an area of wet marshy ground, largely consisting of accumulated decomposing plant material. It supports vegetation such as cranberries and moss and may ultimately turn into peat.   This is a simply amazing place, but I suggest that you make sure and wear  good shoes (it is a long, long walk to cover most of the blog) and also bring a hat and sunscreen!  There are these really interesting "floating" walkways that sway and move as you walk on them.  So, you feel as if you are going to sink into the bog as you walk along.  We saw so many really neat things, including two Sandhill Cranes that were walking slowly through the reeds. 
This kind of fuzzy picture is still really pretty cool!  The best part of this bog is that it is only about 5 minutes from Gwen's house!  So we can go back many, many times.  It was a really great reminder for me, that often there are many "undiscovered treasures" right in our own back yard.  I think that this really hit me with all the vacation planning I have been doing over the last week.  While it is so wonderful to travel and visit new places, we should not overlook the wonders in our own area.   I remember being so surprised when I found out that there are many people who live in the Chicago area that have never been to Brookfield Zoo, or the Museum of Science and Industry, or the Art Institute!  So Ken and I decided that we would visit all the different attractions in Chicago and make sure that our kids also got to experience them.  And Ken and I keep discovering new things! 

As we were walking out of the bog, I saw this old tree stump.
 It was really interesting.  Most of it had been just slowly dissolving, as the elements and the animals wore it away.  I stood there and imagined the very large tree that once stood in that spot.   There was something about the fact that nothing had been disturbed by human hands. With the light streaming through the trees, it was easy to look up and "see" in my minds eye, the tree that had been.  All that was left was this crumbling, broken hunk of tree stump. 

I've been thinking about this tree.  I love that even now, it is useful.  It provides potential homes for many various small animals and birds.  Additionally, it has become part of the ecosystem of the bog. Now, look at the forefront of the picture.  There are many new plants growing up around this stump.  I am sure that there is a new tree, that will soon stand in the place of that one.  A new tree, springing up from the roots of the old one. 

I love that picture!   It is such a great reminder that our family tree continues to grow and grow.  I remember my mom sadly realizing that she was the last of her generation on the family tree.  It was so easy to remind her that the tree had lots of new sprouts with her 9 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.  This made her smile and then laugh.  She told me that she would never have imagined that her family tree would be SOOOOOOO big!  

I love that Jesus planned families and generations.  And then there are examples all throughout nature that remind us that even as we lose those loved ones off of our family tree, everything that they are contributed to our family, continues on.  The prayers, the declarations, the vows, all of that continues.  The Bible says in Luke 1:50  "His (God's) mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  What a great gift.  As I have blogged before, it is just further incentive to me and spurs me on to pray into my FUTURE generations.  I remember when I really began to understand that PRAYERS ARE ETERNAL!  It is such a powerful thing and one that each person had to grab.  God's time is not our time.  When we speak a word through a prayer or declaration, it is spoken into eternity.  If this seems beyond what you can grasp, just take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this truth into your spirit. 

Jesus, thank you for using nature to speak truth into my spirit.  Thank you for revealing your amazing qualities to us when we ask.  Holy Spirit, remind us each day to see things from your ETERNAL perspective.   Give us all courage to ask for more revelation and give us the willingness to be still so that we can hear your answer.   Amen

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