March Hope Whispers

Truths That Breathe Hope

❤️ God’s Love Faithfully Remains With Us ❤️

“Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

❤️ God’s Love Graciously Forgives Us ❤️

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, 
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Ephesians 1:7 NIV

❤️ God’s Love Fully Frees Us ❤️

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah,
His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross,
we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments
chalked up by all our misdeeds.
And not just barely free, either.
Abundantly free!”
Ephesians 1:7 The Message

“When I’m kicking and screaming
When I struggle believing
God, You are always faithful
No matter what
When my eyes cannot see it
And my heart doesn’t feel it
God, You are always faithful
No matter what
No matter what…”

Spring Breathes Hope

The robins are here! Yes! Even though we’re still having cold days, it’s a sign that breathes life and hope. We so need that in these troubling times, don’t we? What part of spring breathes hope in your heart?

🦋 “And springtime rallies at the touch of the breath of God.” – Unknown

🦋 “Spring is far more than just a changing of seasons; it’s a rebirth of the spirit.” – Toni Sorenson

🦋 “A life without love is like a year without spring.” – Octavian Paler

Our Suffering Matters to God

All the violence, abuse of power, and painful losses in this troubling world is devastating. So many are suffering loss and pain at home and abroad. Because of this, we may tend to beat ourselves up when we murmur over our own troubles and struggles.

Do you ever minimize your own troubles because others have it worse? Do you ever feel selfish when you feel complaints in your heart over your own suffering? This month God used this blog post to remind me our struggles are always valid to Him. And it’s both necessary and healthy to acknowledge and grieve our own suffering. – Your Suffering Is Valid, Even When Others Have It Worse by Shannon.

“I understand what we are trying to do when we play down our troubles because they are small in comparison to what others are experiencing. We’re trying to put things in perspective so we can be grateful, avoid feeling sorry for ourselves, and be compassionate to others. However, I think minimizing our troubles can sometimes be harmful. It leads us to ignore our feelings, which can increase our stress, cause feelings of self-doubt, harm our self-esteem, and heighten our anxiety.”

“We’re not required to choose between acknowledging either our suffering or their suffering; we can acknowledge both our suffering and their suffering.”

Shannon from Of The Hearth

Nature Retreat

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof
that you can go through a great deal of darkness
yet become something beautiful.”
– Beau Taplin –

“Just when the caterpillar
thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly.”
– Chang Tzu –

I’ve been thinking lately of how a butterfly must struggle first to become beautiful and freed to fly. So this month my heart feels nudged to share some of the butterfly photos I took in 2012 at the butterfly house and to remember why I named this site Freed to Fly.

February Hope Whispers

Truths that Breathe Hope

❤️ GOD Values Us ❤️

“Look at the birds.
They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns,
for your heavenly Father feeds them.
And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?”
~ Matthew 6:26 NLT ~

❤️ God Doesn’t Merely Tolerate Us; He Delights In Us ❤️

“For the Lord delights in His people.”
~ Psalm 149:4a NLT ~

❤️ Victory Is Already Ours Through Jesus ❤️

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity,
or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger,
or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say,
“For Your sake we are killed every day;
we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory
is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
~ Romans 8:35-37 NLT ~

Sometimes God Says No

🦋 “What if God’s ‘NO,’ is really a gift? His way to protect us from what we cannot see, provide something better than we can imagine, or be part of the process of growing us closer to Him.” – Lysa TerKeurst

🦋 “The key is you have to trust that God only has the best in store for you. If God says no to something, He says yes to something even greater. It is when you fully surrender all of your desires to His will that His perfect will is done.” – Nick Vujicic

🦋 “I know now, Lord, why You utter no answer. You are Yourself the answer. Before Your face questions die away. What other answers would suffice?” – C.S. Lewis

Nature Retreat

“How countless are Your works, Lord!
In wisdom You have made them all;
the earth is full of Your creatures.“
~ Psalm 104:24 HCSB ~

Thank you to my brother John
for these spectacular photos.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Hooded Merganser
Red-Tailed Hawk
American Bittern
Isn’t it amazing how camouflaged this bittern is?
Red-winged Blackbird Doing the Splits 🙂
Botta Pocket Gopher
Western Banded Gecko – This little gecko may have had a close call in life. Do you see a difference at the end of his tail? If a predator snatches these geckos by the tail, they can release that part and regenerate a new one! Amazing, right?
Black Widow
The black widow is one among several spiders whose defense strategy is to play dead.

January Hope Whispers

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
“And my God will supply all your needs
according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19 NASB
❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
 “He who did not spare His own Son,
but delivered Him over for us all,
how will He not also with Him
freely give us all things?”

Romans 8:32 NASB

What Is Empathy?

🦋 “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee

🦋 “An exchange of empathy provides an entry point for a lot of people to see what healing feels like.” – Tarana Burke

🦋 “Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’” – Brene Brown

Truly, no one can show perfect empathy like Jesus, but through Him we can empathize more with others. “The Gift of Presence” by Linda Stoll is a great example of empathy!
“No judgement. No opinions. No pontificating.
I felt validated. Heard. Safe to be myself, all kinds of messy, imperfect, and flawed.”

Nature Retreat

All my life through,
the new sights of nature
made me rejoice like a child.“
~ Marie Curie ~

Thank you to my brother John
for views of unique species
and to our son Glen
for the beautiful sky views.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Unique Species

Out of 750 butterfly species in North America, the Western Pygmy-Blue is the smallest. Only 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch!
The underside of the Western Pygmy-Blue
Can you believe this is actually a butterfly? A Western Giant Swallowtail can disguise itself as bird poop! (Correction: This is actually the Swallowtail still in its caterpillar stage. Still amazing though!)
Chalky Bird Dropping Moth

Spectacular Sky Views from the Dominican Republic