Each day, a number of our church members who are also photographers post photos and spiritual commentary, following this schedule: NOTE: To see previous blog entries, access blog archives on the right sidebar.

  • Sunday (Shelley Schurch)
  • Monday (Cheryl Boardman)
  • Tuesday (Robert Howson)
  • Wednesday (Darren Milam)
  • Thursday (Russell Jurgensen & family)
  • Friday and Sabbath (Pastor Maylan Schurch)

 

Yellow Warbler (in apple blossoms)

Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

It’s a question that has been asked of me numerous times, and I’ve even been known to ask it of myself: Why do you continue to shoot pictures of birds you already have numerous photographs of already? The standard, incontrovertible answer is: “I hope to get an even better picture.” While the canned response is undoubtedly true, in reality the truth goes much deeper than that. Some might call it an addiction, and perhaps it is, but what is the underlying motivation that drives this compulsion? I’d like to suggest it has something to do with an appreciation of beauty. This male Yellow Warbler is aesthetically enhanced by its setting. The bird itself is not measurably altered, but our response to it is.

I understand that beauty is subjective and what I think deserves our admiration may not be shared by others, but there are certain common denominators shared by all. To quote from Wikipedia, so it must be true: “The Koine Greek word for beautiful was ὡραῖος, hōraios, an adjective etymologically coming from the word ὥρα, hōra, meaning ‘hour’. In Koine Greek, beauty was thus associated with ‘being of one’s hour’. Thus, a ripe fruit (of its time) was considered beautiful, whereas a young woman trying to appear older or an older woman trying to appear younger would not be considered beautiful.”

This same idea seems to be carried out by Solomon as recorded in Hebrew: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV) To the description of the Yellow Warbler as “a bit of feathered sunshine”, we could add it appears to be in its time.

Searching for HIdden Treasure

Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, May 9, 2022

These flowers are called ballhead waterleaf. They are easy to miss because the leaves kind of cover up the flowers if you are looking straight down at them. I’ve seen them in a couple of places this spring and mostly because they were on a bank where you could actually spot the flowers.

If you are out looking for them, it helps to know how to find them. They are usually found east of the Cascades in Washington and in moist, open slopes and woodlands per the Burke Herbarium Image Collection.

Proverbs 2 is about wisdom. Here’s how we can get it:

Cry out for wisdom,
and beg for understanding.
Search for it like silver,
and hunt for it like hidden treasure.

Then you will understand respect for the LORD,
and you will find that you know God.
Proverbs 2:3-5 (NCV)

Read the rest of the chapter for additional information.

What Difference Does a Mother Make?

Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Carolyn Howson
Sunday, May 8, 2022

[We invited Carolyn Howson to share a Mother’s Day tribute to her own centenarian mother, plus all other mothers.]

She brought us into the world. With her, we began creating our first memories. Her smell, her smile, her body language, her little whispers and warnings and snuggles we fell in love with. Mom. Trust began with her. Relationship-building and a sense of security all wrapped up — not in a book or How-to Manual — but in the life and love of Mother
.
“With Mother in the Family, Happy, Happy Home” is still sung in Beginners’ Sabbath School. (Plus Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Baby.) But, it really does start with Mother, doesn’t it? And once again, we turn our thoughts this weekend to honoring that wonderful God-given role that mothers have embraced across the centuries.

This year, as we think of our own mothers and cherish the treasure trove of memories we share with them — we also have vivid images of places in our world where moms are being thrust into protection mode while navigating their families out of dangers’ way. Terror and tears, courage and fortitude, love and liberty all have been shown on the faces of mothers and fathers whose devotion to family and country are standing firm and with resolve.

My mother just celebrated her 100th birthday in February. In spite of her broken bones from a fall in January, she was blessed on her birthday with nearly 50 guests who came by and received her cheerful smile of appreciation for having come. It was a taste of heaven. Don’t you think the creation of family with a Mom and Dad was a Masterful idea on the part of our Heavenly Father?

Some of us know the loving counsel or advice another mother has passed on to us — mentoring through the years, or even being a role model to other moms. There may be a woman you would like to thank this Mother’s Day for showing you a mothering heart.

Dear Father, Thank you for family. Thank you for our mothers and those who have been like a second mother to many of us. May they know they are loved and that their faithfulness in this role has contributed to Your kingdom. Bless each one with peace, joy, and good health as they continue to minister to their families.

Safe or Secure?

Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, May 7, 2022

One of my lamentations about my childhood is that back then, product packaging was in only one language—English. If I’d been able to compare the English with, say, Spanish, I would have spent many enjoyable minutes flicking my eyes back and forth between the two, enthusiastically trying to puzzle out why the same word in those two languages was often so different.

So this past Monday, while waiting in line at a gas station, I cast a kindly eye on this pair of work gloves, obligingly labeled in English and French. Both words insist that the gloves will go a long way to keep your hands uninjured.

Wait a minute, I thought. In French, securite is probably an exact translation of safety. But in English, isn’t there a slight difference between security and safety?

I think there is. To me, if I’m safe, I’m free from danger. But if I’m secure, it sounds like I’m safe plus surrounded by a sense of caring. For example, in his or her mother’s arms, a baby is both safe and secure—protected from danger and also wrapped around with love.

Maybe I’m making too fine a distinction. But I the more I read my Bible, the more I realize that if I place myself in God’s care, He may not always keep me safe from accident or illness or other tragedies, but He provides me with the secure assurance of eternal life.

To read six Bible texts about this assurance, click the link just below:
https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/security

Attention-getter

Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, May 6, 2022

The official word from my friend and birding guru Robert Howson (who writes Tuesday’s edition of this Daily Photo Parable) is that the jaunty little bird you see peeking over the top of this sign is a Red-breasted Sapsucker.

I always grin when I first hear these little tin-rattlers in the spring. I think, of course, that my happiness would quickly fade if this little guy decided to choose our house’s chimney-cap for his morning concerts. But for some reason we have been spared this personal attention from year to year.

So why was this Sapsucker slamming his beak against this sign in a community park a block from our cul-de-sac? Robert Howson, with a scholar’s judicious caution, has told me that it might be territory-marking, or possibly a mating call. But whatever the bird’s personal reasons, he’s also calling attention to the sign’s warning about the dangers of uncontrolled pet waste.

I’m assuming the Holy Spirit has a sense of humor, and won’t mind being compared to a Sapsucker. Because isn’t one of the Spirit’s roles to be a Divine Attention-getter, alerting our conscience to sin we might be toying with?

Why not review some of what the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit and His role? Click the link immediately below:

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/holy-spirit

Glass Floats

Photo ©2022 by Amber Jurgensen
Commentary ©2022 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, May 5, 2022

This display of glass fishnet floats is at a gift shop in Long Beach, Washington. It got me curious about where they came from so, I looked it up online and found that old Japanese glass floats are still circulating in the Pacific Ocean. Beachcombers might be lucky to find one.

It makes me think about how good deeds and good examples might continue out there long after they have been done. Sometimes it seems like everyone is taking the easy way with not caring how their actions affect others. However, being thoughtful and considerate of other people does make a difference for the positive.

Sometimes only you know when a considerate action is taken. But it is nice to know that good deeds float around like glass balls on the sea as people are encouraged to pass them along.

In Need of Some Protection

Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Earlier this week, I was working in our front yard and had let our dog out with me. Taima was staying close to the house and making his normal “rounds” of the various spots he frequents when he’s off-leash and not fenced in. Unfortunately, he found the scent trail of a few little “friends,” one of which is pictured above. As you can see, this is a young Nuttall’s cottontail. I did look up the type of rabbit, as I would have called it a “small rabbit” without doing a bit more research and identification. Regardless of its actual type, Taima had flushed out the little ones and they absolutely froze in the grass. When I saw them, I quickly lured Taima away and removed him from the situation – luckily no animals were harmed in the making of this blog.

Here we have a scared, wide-eyed, little bunny with its ears laid back, crouching as close as it can to the ground – attempting to blend in with its surroundings. Clearly it is in need of some protection. What I found interesting is, once the canine threat (and the tall person with a camera) was removed from the equation, these little ones continued to stay perfectly still and stationary. As I watched them from a distance, all I could think of was the other looming threats in their vicinity. I thought for sure I would see a bird of prey swoop down and snatch them up, a weasel dash out from the thickets, or a neighbor cat wander over to have their way. Thankfully, I didn’t see any of that. Although I didn’t witness the retreat back to their original hiding place, I did come back to see that all 3 were no longer in their spots where they had been scared by our friendly chocolate lab. Fingers crossed that they all made it safely home!

Fragile furry animals (like these little bunnies) are in need of protection, just like us Christians. We are exposed to dangers and threats all the time. Thankfully, in Psalm 91, we can read about divine protection. Starting with verses 1 & 2:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

I believe we all need to “rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” What a thought that is! It gives me hope we are all kept safe, until Jesus comes to take us to our true Home.