Miraculous Snowflakes

snowflake“Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others.  Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”  –Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley 1925

Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931) was called “The Snowflake Man”.
He was a self taught farmer who became the first person to ever photograph a single snowflake. 
He used a process called photomicrography, to capture over 5000 single snow crystals and never found one to be like another!
In 1931 he published a book titled “Snow Crystals” which showcases over 2000 images of snowflakes he captured with his microscopic camera. None of the images are alike!

What an amazing testimony to the wondrous works of God!  Who but God could create miracles!
And He does this over and over!  Millions of tiny snow crystals have fallen to the earth over the years, only to quickly disappear without much notice. Think about that the next time you see snow falling or have to be out in it.  Stop for a moment, pick some up, and marvel at the miracle you hold in your hand. Just as our fingerprints are unique to each of us, so is each snowflake that drops down from the sky,  It is a wondrous work, specially made by our Creator God!

Take some time to check out Wilson A. Bentley’s website
which features some of his snowflake images which are on display at the Historical Society in his hometown of Jericho, Vermont. 
The images are truly amazing to see!  There you will also find his biography and other interesting information.

snowflakesOther links you might enjoy visiting are:

Make a Flake--create your own snowflake online

Snow CrystalsA site all about snowflakes

A Morning Song from the Meadow

Almost every morning I am greeted by a cheery flute like sound. No, it is not coming from my alarm clock but it wafts up from the meadow outside my window, from a little creature who is our state bird, the “Western Meadowlark”.

Every morning, rain or shine, he sings. The day’s weather might be foggy, frosty, or fine, but still he sings and his song is somehow uplifting to me.

So far I have never been able to see him, but I know from reading about him that he lives in the marshy reeds of the meadow near me. I have seen pictures of him, but have never yet been able to capture him with my own camera.

His daily consistency encourages me. As I listen to his song I often believe he is speaking to me to awaken and enjoy another day that the Lord has made. Whatever the weather, I imagine that I should rejoice and be glad for another day of life!

Thank You God, for giving me this unseen daily visitor who inspires me with his song.  I pray I can do the same for others through this blog post today.  

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

 

The Western Meadowlark was chosen as the State Bird of Oregon in 1927. It is known for it’s distinctive and beautiful song.
It is truly one of God’s wondrous works.

For more information visit this link: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/western_meadowlark/id

Listen to a video recording of the Western Meadowlark’s  beautiful song at this link:
youtube=http://youtu.be/lvAUgFb1cLY

2012 in review

THANKS FOR VISITING AND READING THIS BLOG IN 2012!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Grateful for His Wondrous Works

During this season of thankfulness, I am so grateful for the magnificent, glorious, creation of God in my area of His world—the great Pacific Northwest!

This video “Visit Your Pacific Northwest National Forest “shows the wondrous works of God in the Pacific Northwest. The beauty of the mountains, trees, oceans, rivers, forests, and skies. I hope you enjoy watching it and are blessed as you view His Handiwork.

Marvelous Marram Grass

Perhaps you recall walking on the beach through areas of Beach Grass and not thinking too fondly of it, for it was rough and scratchy on your bare feet.  However, Beach Grass or Marram Grass is a very important plant to our beaches and sand dunes.  It has the ability to adapt and grow fast under difficult conditions, as  it’s long reaching roots bind the sands together, helping to stop erosion.[i]

Marram Grass is quite an interesting plant. It’s scientific name is  Ammophila, which in Greek means “sand loving”.  Its purpose is to prevent erosion, increase stability, repair damages, and encourage new growth in sand covered areas.   A microscopic cross section photo of this sand loving plant shows what seems to be many little happy faces within it, causing one to think perhaps this plant is very happy doing what it was created to do on the beaches each day.

It has been said that “The plant’s strategy to deal with life where the collection and retention of fresh water is problematic is to roll up in times of stress and hold on to what it has acquired.”[ii]  That is quite an admirable statement and one which causes me to think that Marram Grass is quite a marvelous and fascinating work of God.  It actually could represent what we Christians should be doing in our world today. 

As Christians we should be making a difference in the world around us.  In this constantly shifting, swirling, changing world we live in, our presence should bring stability.  We should be rooted and grounded so firmly in God’s word that no erosion can take place where we are located, and if somehow the enemy or the world does cause damages to faith, hope or belief we should be actively repairing those damages and encouraging new growth by clinging to what we have been given in Christ and sharing it with others as needed. 

Let’s think upon this, and perhaps begin to model our lives after the Marram Grass, that often overlooked plant that continues to happily do what it was created to do, even though no one may notice.

Astonishing Arachnids

Happy Face Spider

Happy Face Spider

My 13 year old grand-daughter, Vivian, was spending the night with me last weekend and since her two brothers were also, a slight sleeping problem arose.  Which one of them was going to have to spend a night sleeping on the floor?  Well, the second night the lot fell to Vivian.
I made up a nice comfy bed for her in front of the fireplace with some extra couch cushions and comforters that I had on hand and then I suggested everyone settle in for the night.  As soon as I switched off the light Vivian began to wail  “But what if there is a spider down here!”   
She was convinced that a spider was out to get her and was sure if she could sleep up higher none would be able to reach her.  All my reasoning that spiders could climb up or on anything or anywhere didn’t convince her.  She was sure a spider was lurking right nearby her, just because she was sleeping on the floor.  
So, to ease her mind I decided to tell her about the Happy Face Spider and said if any spider was around in my house it was probably a Happy Face who wouldn’t harm her, but might decide to tickle her to make her laugh.

When you see a picture of a Happy Face Spider you just can’t help but smile and be amazed at God’s handiwork.  This spider has markings on its abdomen that look just like a smiling face.

On the Fifth day of Creation when God created cattle, beasts and everything that creeps on the earth, He saw that it was all good, and perhaps as He was looking over all His new creations He was smiling, as His hands were forming the tiny Happy Face Spider.  The Happy Face only lives in the rainforests of Hawaii.  They are very shy and usually hunt for small insects at night.  Scientists think that their unusual markings could somehow be a deterrent that keeps them from being eaten by birds, after all what self respecting bird would be caught feasting on something that was smiling at him.  Personally, I think it is just some of God’s humor showing forth in His creation, for there is also such a thing as Smiling Grass—but….that is a subject for another time…

Not a lot of information can be found on Happy Face Spiders, however I will include a couple of interesting links you might want to check out for further information.

Oh, and back to my grand-daughter and the rest of the story….well, of course she didn’t believe me, not because she knew Happy Faces were only found in Hawaii, but because she did indeed really see a
common black spider lurking in the corner of the room,  perhaps just waiting for his chance to pounce on her when the lights went out.  Go figure! 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5199409/British-scientists-study-Hawaiian-happy-face-spider.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1172804/Meet-happy-faced-spider-sure-make-smile.html

Wonderful Water

It coverWaters  70.9% of the Earth’s surface, and is vital for all known forms of life
It is a colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain.
It is a basic molecule made up of two hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom.
It is a liquid, but can also be a solid or an invisible gas.
What is it?   Water of course!  

Water is one of God’s  wonderful works. It is our most precious natural resource.

Here in Portland we see more than our share of liquid water and sometimes even solid water in the form of snow appears.  We visit our beaches and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Ocean’s water.  We are fortunate to have the Williamette River right downtown and the Columbia River close by.  Our parks have pools, ponds, sprinklers, and fountains.  We have water parks, lakes and indoor skating rinks.  We enjoy our running water indoors from our faucets.  They supply us with drinking water, water for showers and baths, washing and toilets.
There is an abundance of wonderful water all around us daily, so much so that we might tend to take it for granted. Sometimes we might even complain about all the rain, snow or ice.

Yet, approximately one billion people in the world still lack access to safe water for drinking and over 2.5 billion don’t have access to adequate sanitation. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water)

Today, March 22nd,  is World Water Day 2012.  Let’s Celebrate by learning more about what we can do to help bring some wonderful water to those one billion people who have none.
According to the water.org website there are three things most of the world can’t do.  
Those three things are:  Take a Hot Shower—Get Clean Water from the Tap—Flush Away Yesterday’s Dinner.

Perhaps today, on World Water Day 2012, we can make a difference in someone’s life by doing something about that.  Visiting www.water.org would be one way to start.

Also, this Saturday, March 24th, Portland is celebrating World Water Day by hosting a 2012 Walk for Water & Fun Run.  This will be the fourth year where participants check in at OMSI and collect their water-gathering containers to haul water on the 3.1 mile walk around the Williamette River. This is meant to be a model of the water gathering that some women and children must do in some parts of Africa just to get water for their daily use.
For more information or to Register to Walk visit this link:  Walk for Water–-http://www.worldwaterdaypdx.com/

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