I know a little

Featured Image: Passionflower, along the St Joseph River, Elkhart, Indiana.


Cogitation 34 Saturday 25 August 2018   I know a little about plants, trees, birds, insects and other living things.

So last Sunday I was one among five people who showed pictures  about birds. It  was the last of our church’s monthly summer informal worship services on creation. These services were held in the fellowship hall and included lots of singing.

There were serious, knowledge-laden, birders present last Sunday, but who chose not to speak. These long-time hobbyists have visited bird migration areas such as Magee Marsh near Toledo, Ohio, as well as other locations, including their own back yards.

Hummingbird next, fallen from its perch.

I shared photos of birds I’ve seen in our walks.  “I know a little bit about birds, modestly speaking,” I said by way of introduction.

Quickly adding, “But as I probe the subject, I am severely humbled. I see how little I know about birds. About the 10,000 living species of birds. About the history, sounds, and behaviors of birds. About the fact that 40 percent of the world’s birds are in decline. Or little about the almost 300 mentions of birds in the Bible.

“I am grateful for the real birders among us, for the efforts of individuals and organizations and governments to protect these creatures of God’s creation, for all who share appreciation and love of birds.”

On Olin Lake, LaGrange County, Indiana, June 2018.

Many are familiar with Isaiah 40:32. “But they who wait for 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.”

That probably means serious waiting on the Lord like the birds of the air: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26.  Good words.


We’ve a far way to go in confronting hate

There’s one group of people God values dearly, those with disabilities. How is it, then, that people with disabilities are subject to hate crime?

Violence against people with disabilities is more widespread than you think,” writes Debra McKinney in Intelligence Report, published by The Southern Poverty Law Center, Fall 2018 issue.

McKinney tells what happened to Jennifer Daugherty in 2010: “The 30-year-old Pennsylvania woman with intellectual disabilities was smiley and trusting, a Steelers fan who loved dancing, scary movies, auto mechanics and making friends.”

The gruesome story of her torture, mutilation and killing by six men and women age 17 to 36 leaves one crying to the Almighty for justice. All six killers were convicted, but the family has to sit through appeal after appeal.

McKinney quotes Jennifer’s stepdad, Bobby Murphy: “You never get a time to heal because there’s always something coming up.”

McKinney ends the in-depth feature: “Jennifer is home now, her ashes at rest in an urn on a living room shelf. Every morning when he [Murphy] walks by, he tells her good morning. Every night before bed, he tells her goodnight. Not a day goes by she isn’t loved and missed.”

How much hate can a body–one person or a group–generate and smear around? Surely it’s not a bottomless pit. Increasingly we see and hear and feel the impact of hate and bigotry unleased on the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and communities. Pray God that I can do a little to change that course.

Hate begets violence and crime. Confronting hate is a long, hard battle. Thanks to all the individuals and groups who are confronting hate in all its forms.


Quiet moments on the Mishawaka, Indiana, Riverwalk

On Wednesday we walked along the St Joseph River in the heart of Mishawaka–4 miles.

The plaque reads in part reads, a tribute “to the teachers, mentors, parents and other educators who have had a positive influence on our lives and our community. The figures, a teacher reaching out to a student form an arch suggesting education is a gateway to new skills, new ideas and new stages of life.” Sculptor is Tuck Langland; installed in 2010.

Images from Central Park, Mishawaka


Thursday, Walker Park, Elkhart, our longest recent walk to Cobblestone Crossing–7 miles 

Happiness is not just skipping rope, but being young enough to do it.


Right on

On Friday we visited a quilt/antiques shop in Shipshewana. Owner Rebecca Haarer said she looks forward to the day when she can post a sign in her window that says, “”I’m too well to open shop today.”

At lunch today (Saturday) in downtown Elkhart we found out the password for Wifi is “tipthewaiter.” The service and food was worthy of a nice tip. At the downtown Farmers’ Market we found tomatoes, peaches, corn and cucumbers. Fetched the car to haul our stash home.

Three mums planted and watered.

Be well.


One thought on “I know a little

  1. Thanks for the update and your photos, John. I really like the statues! I didn’t realize how many references there are to birds in the Bible. I was familiar with both of the passages you shared. In fact, last Sunday I was worshipping with my sister, Patia, at the Cincinnati Friends Meeting and the minister quoted the passage from Matthew encouraging us to not be anxious about what we will eat or drink or what we will wear. It was the theme of his sermon which was quite good.

    Enjoy those Mums, all the produce from the Farmer’s Market, and your walks!


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