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Union County Wildflowers

Dad and I drove around in Union and Northumberland Counties yesterday to look for wildflowers. It was such a sunny, hot summer day. We found a nice variety at the Brown Avenue Park in Milton. I'm learning to identify them, but there are still a bunch that are unknown to me. There was such a variety of colors and shapes. I hope you enjoy the photos and that you can see some local wildflowers in your area, too :)



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Our Backyard Chipmunk

This little guy likes to visit our backyard and dig in our flower pots! :O


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Seagull drawing


And seagull against a blue sky

On Weasel

Weasels are cute trackers and fast hunters. They have a sweet appearance and an intense heart.

I feel like this is a good way of describing how I feel. I appear cute and small to others, but inside, there's a laser-beam of enthusiasm that drives me to explore, to learn, to experience, and to understand. Sometimes, the two elements blend. And at those times, I feel like I'm unleashing the weasel war dance - the giddy-hyper-happy-hunter has to jump and cheer and smile! I have to celebrate because, yay!! XD

The thing is, I often feel like it's not safe to show myself. Weasels do have predators. The Lord has given them camouflage as a protective mechanism. And likewise, I feel reluctant, hesitant to show my joyful heart. It's not adult-like. (What does that even mean?) It's raw and simple and joyful and intense. My heart feels all tight, like it's wrapped up in so many "shoulds" that it forgets who the person actually is at the core. The person that God created and is redeeming. Maybe it's not always safe to reveal the raw energy, but I have to treasure my soul nonetheless. God created it. And He created many other people in His image, too. Each one is precious, and each is unique.

Something else that I struggle with is a fear of harming others. When I express that happy-hyper-intense enthusiasm, I feel so joyful! But I also find myself regretting it. I feel like I'm being too intense and overwhelming others or annoying them. I don't want to hurt them :( It's that a outrance modality - all or nothing, isshoykenmei, with all one's heart. It doesn't really have a volume control. It's either quiet or loud. As a kid, I didn't know how to control this and I would run, crawl, go everywhere! As a teenager, I took that energy into the realm of research, reading, writing, and drawing. Now as an adult I get to choose. What do I do with all of this energy/fear/joy?

We learned on Sunday that Abram took his thoughts and feelings to God (Genesis 15). I'm trying to do that. <3 In order to take them to God, the first step is to recognize and acknowledge them. That can be hard when one's mind or body is moving at a mile-a-minute. It can feel like I have no idea how I feel or what I'm thinking. The past two years, I've been doing a lot of journaling, sitting with my feelings, and reading other people express and process their feelings. I'm learning that it's ok to feel the feelings. By facing them, I allow them to be acknowledged, brought before the Lord, and released. I'm still learning - just today I was dreading a meeting where I knew it would be a bit confrontational. Ugh, do I have to? But I faced it and tried to stay level-headed and clear and pursue the right track for our institution. I didn't like it (I still don't like it) but I am standing. And now it's past. The dread is still lurking in the back of my chest, but I survived! The Lord will make me stand.

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:21

Praise be to God <3

Lord, I feel hyper like a weasel. I feel curious and burnt out, giddy with enthusiasm, focused and yet confused and fearful. Please guide me each day to walk with You. Please help me to feel safe to express my heart and mind with You, to praise You for Your power and beauty. Help me to see little expressions of You in Your Creation and to see Your eternal Truth in Your Word. Help me to learn self-control, that fruit of the Spirit that is particularly hard for me. Help me to be honest, courageous, and to become a growing reflection of You.

Sounds of weasels

I've been interested in weasels recently. They're tiny mammals with a super-cute appearance and an intense, hunting instinct.

We have three types of weasels in Pennsylvania:

Long-Tailed Weasel - Mustela Frenata
Least Weasel - Mustela Nivalis
Short-tailed Weasel (Ermine or Stoat) - Mustela Erminea

The links above have photos and maps of the counties in which each species has been recorded. The Pennsylvania Game Commission also has a nice wildlife guide about PA's weasels.

Weasels belong to the family Mustelidae. This family includes otters, badgers, minks, and martens. Weasels are the smallest members of the family. Being carnivores, they eat meat; but as weasels are only around 5-10 inches long, they eat tiny creatures like mice and voles. They are quick and alert. They have a keen sense of smell. They're generally quiet and solitary, but they do make trilling sounds when they are happy and squeaking sounds when they're upset. In northern regions, weasels may change color from brown to white in the winter.

Even though I live near weasels, I can't say that I've ever seen one. But I found some videos of them online. In the first one, you get a really nice look at a long-tailed weasel. In the second one, you can hear the sounds that the weasel makes - first a chirping and then its trilling sound.


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