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

Pouring Out and Leaving Our Worries and Stress at the Feet of the Lord

“Grace” was my Word for the year in 2021. And truly, God’s grace was so generous and free and still is. When I went through dark valleys, I had a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but God still graciously brought me through. In hindsight, I can now envision Him holding my hand and leading me or carrying me, even when I had no strength to lift my eyes and focus on His love and grace.

Focusing on the depth of meaning in that word did help me to open my eyes more to grace moments I so easily overlook. However, this year I decided not to focus on a specific word but rather on a renewed thought process.

In the past months, when I start thinking I must get this or that done, when I get anxious and overwhelmed about all that’s going on in this world and my heart aches for those who are hurting, I hear God whispering, “Just rest, My child.” I feel He is calling me to put less pressure on myself. To take one day at a time, and even one step at a time, and to keep my focus on Jesus. To lay low and rest in Him and His unchangeable goodness and unfailing love. Just to take a deep breath, confide in Him, and do the next right thing. To stop stressing out if I post less here, am unable to keep up with other things in life, or cannot change situations out of my control. To just “be” who I am in Christ, give all my anxious thoughts over to Him, and to seek to be more like Him in my every thought, word, and action.

“So here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
    Leave all your cares and anxieties
at the feet of the Lord, and
measureless grace will strengthen you.”
Psalm 55:22 TPT

“Pour out all your worries and stress
upon Him and leave them there,
for He always tenderly cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7 TPT

I have read about some chosen words for the year, and I am looking forward to hearing what lessons God has taught you. But whether you have chosen a word or not, my prayer for all of us is that God will anchor us more and more in His unfailing love and bottomless grace for us.

Still
by Hillary Scott

“I believe that You are God alone
But sometimes I still try to take control
Cause I get scared when I can’t see the end
And all You want from me is to let go

You’re parting waters
Making a way for me
You’re moving mountains that I don’t even see
You’ve answered my prayer before I even speak
All You need for me to be is still…”