PHOTO CHALLENGE OCTOBER 2015

#Christianity, #Nature, #Photography

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them…..Matthew 6: 26

I love nature and all that it has to offer. When I cannot get to the trails to view the beautiful landscape or to see the wild life, I do what I can to bring nature to my own backyard.

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Blue Jay leaving the bird feeder with a sunflower seed in its mouth

So often I will come into the kitchen to find at least ten or twelve doves in the garden or just lounging on the deck. I love that they are mainly peaceful birds.

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Dove flying to the bird feeder to get his turn at the seeds.

While I’m afraid to get too close to Racoons, I am always happy to get a photo of them. We just happened to be walking on the trail when we spotted this one.

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Racoon clinging to a tree.

This Juvenile bald Eagle seems to have taken a little rest stop on his migrating journey. I was luck enough to see him the other day.

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Juvenile bald eagle snacking on fish.

While the Eagle was perched in a tree several ravens or crows came after him. He decided to go for a little fly around only still to be tormented.

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Crow torments Eagle

https://claresphotospace.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/october-2015-500×186.jpg

FALL FUN and FOLLY

#Christianity, #Health, #Nature, #Walking
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Fall Scene

While walking for health is a wonderful way to live, so is maintaining balance in our lives. Yesterday I continued my daily brisk walking routine, but when I was asked to go on a shoot later, I just couldn’t resist.

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Racoon

The day was bright and beautiful, bringing forth an array of yellows, oranges and red. The air was fresh, we were warmly dressed and with our gear in hand, we set out to see what and who would come our way on this glorious afternoon. The first place we stopped at there was really nothing of interest to shoot, so we soon moved along to one of our other favourite spots.

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Red Squirrel

As we approached the bridge we could see a group of men and women standing on the beach, at first we got excited, because they seemed to be looking upward, getting poise to take a shot, but as we moved closer, we realized they were just standing around chatting…..not a good sign. A lady with a camera in hand came walking up to us and we asked her anxiously. “Did you see him? Is he here? To our disappointment she told us we had just missed him, and she pointed in the direction that he had taken. She continued walking in the same direction, while we stayed on the bridge for a while.

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Racoon

After a while we noticed the same lady way down the beach, and as we carefully scanned the area, we realized that she had found him. Excitedly we started in the same direction, hoping to get the opportunity to shoot him, however, by the time we reached the location, he had taken off again.

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Shoveler

Not having any patience to stand around in the cold with the others on the beach, we decided to leave and then return later. All in all it was a lovely afternoon, we saw many beautiful images, and we also got to take some shots. Then it was time to go home, but no, let’s try one more time to see if we can find him. So we arrived back to the parking lot, and yes, some of the same cars were still there. We approached the bridge and yes, the men were still standing there ready and waiting. A couple approached us on the bridge, cameras in hand, and we asked the same question. “Is he here? Did you see him? Once again we were told we had just missed him, and they pointed to the direction where he had flown. The man was quick to tell us not only did he have some shots of him, but he also had a video. It was amazing to see this Eagle, picking up a stick, flying up in the air and then dropping it. It looked like he might be practicing, for when he has to pick up fish.

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Unknown??

We were now losing light fast, so the other photographers on the beach came up to the bridge to meet us. One of them seemed to know every tree in which we might  find the Eagle, so we left the lake side and I went running after him on to the marshy side, in hopes of at least getting one good shot. We looked in different areas and just when we were leaving, out flew the Eagle from the marsh side, and back over to the lake side. Now here we were running back the way we had just come from in hopes of finding him. It’s as though this Eagle might have been toying with us.

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Unknown and Mallard develops friendship.

By now, logic told me I should really be heading home, but instead I went almost running in the opposite direction, trying to locate the Eagle. We walked a good ways down the beach without spotting the eagle. Dejected we decided to call it a day, and just as I was saying how disappointed I was not to get a shot of the Eagle, he came flying over head. I did get a shot, but nothing worth posting. Most of all I ended up doing 17,000 steps and the equivalent of 7.57 miles for the full day. As a result there would be a price to pay that night. Cramps in the legs and total exhaustion. Today I welcome the heavy rainfall that we are experiencing, and I pray to God that He will grant me the patience and wisdom that is needed.

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Redwing Blackbird

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

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Dove & Redwing Blackbird

WALKING FOR BETTER HEALTH

#Christianity, #Nature, #Photography

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. Psalm 145:5

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Eagle in flight

I’ll be trying a vegan diet for 45 days. The plan calls not only for proper nutrition, but it also talks about the health benefits of brisk walking daily and also the benefits of fresh air on a daily basis. With the cooler weather on the way I know that I have a difficult task ahead of me.

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Yellow Legs

Yesterday I started out walking, not feeling too keen on it, nor was I feeling in the best of health. Somewhere into the walk something kicked in and I felt better as the walk continued.

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By the end of the walk I felt much better, had engaged with other neighbours along the way. These neighbours were out raking leaves which then inspired me to go and do likewise.

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Eagle

By the end of the day I did 9,694 steps and 4.3 miles.

The pictures posted above are from other walks out in nature.

WHALE WATCHING

#Boat, #British Columbia, #Nature, #Tours, #Whale Watching, #Whales
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Light House

Today I awoke to hear the sad news of people losing their lives while out Whale Watching in British Columbia. How tragic and unfortunate.

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Whale Watching

A few months ago I got the opportunity while visiting Victoria BC to go Whale Watching. It was an exhilarating experience, and I remember thinking that even if we didn’t see any whales I still would have enjoyed the experience. I loved the speed of the boat and the freshness of the wind on my face. It was an absolutely wonderful day spent in nature.

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On that particular day we would see four different types of Whales, so the Naturalist on board our boat deemed it to be a very successful outing, and it was.

IMG_8927 Eagle IMG_8941 Eagle

Not only did we see Whales, but we saw Eagles, Seals and other wildlife.

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Humpback

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Cormorants

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Seal

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Killer Whales

So again so sad to hear of the boat sinking in Tofino BC with 5 dead and 1 missing.

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Prince of Whales

This is the boat that we traveled on. We saw four types of whales that day the Minky Whale, Humpback Whale the Killer Whale and I forget the name of the fourth one.

OUT OF HIDING

#Christianity, #Wisdom, Encouragement, Inspiration, Poems

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When I was at my lowest and ready to give up on really believing, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Now it is my mission to hopefully open the eyes of others to the Holy Spirit. Just before Jesus returned to heaven, He made the Holy Spirit available to us, but so many of us forget to invite Him into our lives, and as a result we suffer needlessly. The Holy Spirit awakened my mind and inspired me to write this poem.

The Holy Spirit woke me up this morning,

He tapped me behind the ear.

The Holy Spirit woke me up this morning,

There was something He wanted to say.

He told me yesterday is no longer,

A brand new day has come my way.

The Holy Spirit woke me up this morning,

Thank God it’s no longer yesterday.

The Holy Spirit woke me up this morning,

He told me of many victories ahead

Victories gained when we ask Jesus

To feed us with His daily bread.

The Holy Spirit woke me up this morning,

He is available to every mind.

All those who search the Words of life are promised 

“Seek, and you will find.”

He speaks to those who choose to hear,

He is real and ever guiding.

By steadfast faith and true obedience,

Let us bring Him out of hiding.

BILLOWING WAVES

#Christianity, #Pets, #Poem

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A few years ago, I started getting the darkest of dreams night after night. On one such occasion, I found myself out in the middle of the ocean where it was extremely dark. I was not afraid because I sense I was led there by Jesus. At some point, however, Jesus disappeared, ( or I just couldn’t see Him,) and that is where the terror set in. I was sure the waves would cover my head and I would drown.

I awoke from the dream feeling a sense of foreboding. I would keep having these dark dreams, which always seemed to leave me out in the middle of the ocean. One day as I was reflecting on the dreams, and as to what they could possibly mean, the Holy spirit comforted me with the words to this poem, letting me know that the waters would not overflow, and that I should not be afraid.

It would be shortly after this encounter with the Holy Spirit, that my husband was diagnosed with  Colon Cancer, and now we were staring a big mountain right in its face.

God has led me into rough waters,

I trust Him; He will not let them overflow,

I’m never alone, He is with me,

He is with me wherever I go.

The waters are billowing,

But in this darkness I will not be afraid,

Others desperately avoid the waters

They will only come to the edge to bathe.

Burdens once heavy now seem lighter,

God has taken me over the waves

If others would dare to venture,

Jesus is waiting there to save.

The waters are high and threatening,

While I was in the rough, He did not let my heart break,

Nor did He allow me to weep.

He picked me up, He carried me over,

He told me the winning is straight ahead

Only doubters will retreat.

We made our way to the other side,

Where the gargantuan waves still flow,

In the safety of His arms the waves seem small,

Evil cannot stop me, even though He pursues and calls.

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God did pick me up and carried me over the waves, for  in that particular year I lost my mother to a stroke, and my husband endured three surgeries within a year. Two of the surgeries came five days apart, with the second one being an emergency surgery, which was done on  Christmas day. I also lost my pet cat “Calypso” that year. Did I blame God? No, because in everything I still saw His abundant goodness. He sent many wonderful people along our pathway to give us the support that was needed at that very difficult time.

THIS SPIRIT HAS A COMFORTING VOICE

#Christianity, #Depression, #Medication, #Mental Issues

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In this scripture we find out a bit about the Holy Spirit. He is a “Spirit” so we cannot see Him. However, He “speaks,” and if we are seeking after Him with all our hearts like the disciples did, if we are following God’s commandments, and if we invite Him into our hearts, we should expect to hear Him speak to us. His Words are Comforting and there is no need to be afraid.

The Holy Spirit also “listens” to the Father and to Jesus, and He will give us messages from them. He will tell us what is right and wrong and will steer us in the right direction. We just need to get under the protective covering of Jesus, and be still enough to hear Him speak.

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It is the “tormentor” and the “accuser” that will unsettle us. I believe this is the battle the world is facing. This is the reason I believe for suicides, depression, mental illness. If we are not under the protective covering of Jesus we are open to all sorts of negativities from the tormentor (Satan.) It is an ongoing battle. The Holy Spirit will try to woo us, while there comes a tongue lashing and temptations from the accuser. We should learn to resist Satan and all his temptations.

What do you think about this battle, I would love to hear your thoughts?

I  am not discouraging anyone from taking medication or from seeking professional help, as I am not a professional. This is strictly my interpretation of the bible and what works for me. My heart aches to see so many suffering only because they do not recognize the power they have available to them.

Leola Durant

TIPS FOR ELIMINATING DEMONS

#Christianity, #Demons
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Harvest Time

Sometimes I blame Adam and Eve for the poor choices they made by plunging us into a life of sin, and then I wonder if I would have done anything different. Truthfully, yes, I know I would have done the same thing as Eve. We all have our weaknesses, and if I can’t stop eating a piece of chocolate that will make me sick, why would I think I could have resisted the fruit!

I thank the Heavenly Father for sending Jesus to save us from a life of sin. I am so glad Jesus came to show us how we can live as He wanted Adam and Eve to live in the Garden of Eden. God wants us to be free, and even though all of us are born with the propensity to sin, we can turn it around when our eyes are focussed on Jesus.

If we are to eliminate all the negativity or demons from our lives the first thing we must do is to pick up the Bible and read it, cover to cover. It’s a battle for many to read the Bible, myself included. As soon as we pick up the bible we get tired and sleepy or we find that something else takes our attention away. This happens to all of us as it’s a ploy of satan and his demons to keep our eyes blinded then keeping us from reading the Good News within the pages of the Bible.

Not only are we to read the Bible, but we are to claim all the promises within its pages. Every promise that God gave the Israelites is also for us, His little children. Many of us as Christians knows the Words of the Bible, but those Words alone will not get us very far. It is only when we start to live as the Bible ask us too, that we will connect with God on a personal level. Many think that it’s restrictive to have a relationship with God, but it’s just the opposite. Our new relationship will point us upward towards Jesus, making it more difficult for demons and negativities to weigh us down.

Demons do not like the name of Jesus, so it’s better to stay under His protective covering. God is to be honoured in every way, He is not to be viewed as a magician. In other words, we should make sure we are following Him for the right reasons, not just to get rid of our demons (evil spirits) and then return to our old ways. He would know our real motives anyhow. When we are cleansed of the demons (evil spirits) we then have to let the Holy Spirit (Good Spirit) be our new filling. If we do not do this, the demons will return and they will be even worse than they were before.

Matthew 12: 43 – 45 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, He goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, “I will return to the house from which I came.” And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of the man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.

The scriptures above are telling us that when we are cleansed from the evil spirits that are within, we need to be filled with the goodness that can only come from God. If we are no longer praising God and staying close through prayer , because we think we are healed, we could be in for a big surprise, as we could now be in bigger trouble than we were before. There is a Supernatural Spiritual Richness that will be placed within us by God, and nothing or no one can ever take that away.

Praying is also very important, because it’s just another way of connecting with God. While we can pray anywhere or anytime, I think it’s also nice to get on our knees at least twice a day and give honour and worship to God, He is worthy of it. The rest of the time we can stay connected whether we are birding, driving, gardening, golfing, whatever we may be doing.

Once the evil spirits are gone from with us, we need another Spirit to fill that void. The Holy Spirit is His name. The voices of torment will now be replaced with a Voice of Comfort. We know this because just before Jesus left this earth, He said to His disciples: John 14: 15 – 18 If you love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

If we are seeking after worldly desires we will never be able to understand the Holy Spirit. It is only when we are seeking after God with all our hearts, that He will be available to us. So we need to make up our minds which path we would like to take.

John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you in all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.

God is good, He did not leave us alone, even though many of us feel abandoned by Him. We are all free to connect with Him if we choose to and just by doing these few simple things we can live our lives more freely as we get ready for a life in eternity.

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version (NKJV)

THE WILD LIFE

#Christianity, #Nature, #Raptors

Before I took up Wildlife Photography, I thought myself to be a very patient person. I now know that this is not so. Perhaps there are many lessons to be learned from this hobby.

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap, nor gather in barns; Yet your heavenly Father feeds they. Are you not more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

God wants us to have faith in Him. He wants us to believe that whatever our needs are, they will be supplied by Him. Not only are we to wait on Him, but we are to also pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11. To wait on the Lord does not mean that one will just sit and wait, it means that whatever we do, we will be doing it under His guidance, and in order to be guided by God, we would have to be connected to Him through prayer.

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The Catch of the Day

My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me. Psalm 101: 6 Only the faithful ones who serve God will dwell with Him in eternity.

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Purposeful Walking

Freedom is our reward for having a closer walk with God.

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Freedom to Fly

Scriptures taken from New King James Version (NKJV)

TRANQUIL MOMENTS

#Christianity

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I love the peacefulness that can be found in the early morning hours. It’s a brand new day, a brand new beginning. The worries of yesterday do not need to enter. There is hope in this sunrise, hope for a better future, and expectations for a better day. Dark clouds at some point will evaporate, so should our burdens and worries of yesterday.

The dew still glistens and the air is fresh, it’s easy to breathe in and out. All around me there is a quietness and a stillness, the Creator has pronounce His blessings on yet another day. I am grateful  for the beauty He has placed before my eyes.