Nature: House of Worship

Introducing Kentucky Artist and Author,  Tammy Ruggles~

Tammy is my GUEST BLOGGER for the month.

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Nature: House of Worship

by Tammy Ruggles

While growing up and attending a small country church, I always sensed that there was more than one way to worship the Lord, and this was by communing with Him in nature.

At the age of 12 or 13, my dog and I would walk around the 100 acres of my grandparents’ farm as I read the Bible and let the passages soak in. I didn’t quite understand the meaning of Romans 1:20 but felt it inside nevertheless. At that young age, if I had to point to one thing that proved God’s existence, to me at least, it was nature. I’m sure it’s that way for a lot of Christians or even those without a religion.

This isn’t to say that I worship the creation more than the Creator. No. In fact, creation is one of the things that speaks to me about the power and existence of the Supreme Creator.

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Whether a blooming flower, a singing bird, or a fiery sunset, God is in it. The whole universe is His canvas, and look what He paints.

Nature works together in perfect harmony, from the top of the higher species to the lower. I think we humans want that, deep down. I don’t think we really want chaos, but peace. But so many factors are at work that put a stumbling block in front of us.

Once in a while I pray for peace. Not just in a general, universal sense. But in a personal, one-on-one sense too. So much strife going on with those around us. When was the last time we unplugged from all the gadgets and just took a walk to commune with God and even ourselves?

I think it actually recharges us, giving us nourishment to meet each day with renewed strength, hope, and faith.

We live in challenging times, and it will help us to live as close to the Lord as we know how, and to worship Him in all the ways that are pleasing to him—serving Him and each other.

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I love the churches I grew up in but have always strongly felt that we don’t have to have walls in order to worship God. God has no walls, and neither does nature. Nature is one of my favorite ways to feel close to Him, and I capture His power and beauty with my camera.

Romans 1:20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

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Tammy Ruggles Bio: Tammy Ruggles is a legally blind photographer, artist, and writer living in Kentucky. Her first paperback book, Peace, was published in 2005 by Clear Light Books.

Little Steps #4_ Look for the EXIT SIGN

Little Steps #4 – Look for the EXIT SIGN

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Discover, Recover and Revise your life through some Little Steps

Part 4 of 7-part series

“Little Steps” by Lynda McKinney Lambert

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Artist and author, Tammy Ruggles, recorded an  interview with Lynda McKinney Lambert in 2013.

Click on the link below to listen.

Interview with Lynda McKinney Lambert

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Visual artist and author, Lynda McKinney Lambert,  lost most of her eyesight due to

Ischemic Optic Neuropathy in 2007

Topics discussed on this video:

Diagnosis and finding help

Treatment and Rehabilitation Services

Begin your Personal adjustment

Recover a functional and creative life

Find your own path after sight loss

Seek answers from your own past – your Timeline

Change your life for successful transition to your next step

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Regardless of any situation or challenge you will face at any time, remember there is a way OUT.  You may veel like you are locked in, secluded, alone, or trapped. Remember, YOU are NOT any of those conditions. You have CHOICES you can make and those choices will take you in a better direction.

The KEY is to ELIMINATE HESITATION – Grab that EXIT SIGN

EXITSignRed LOOK around for your WAY OUT, and go for it.

Do it NOW.

Look for your EXIT SIGN!

“The more you are challenged the more you change.”  

Lynda McKinney Lambert

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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You can read Little Steps #1, 2, and 3 by clicking on the links below.

Little Steps #1: Begin the Journey to DISCOVER, RECOVER, REVISE you life

Little Steps #2: No More Excuses for YOU!

Little Step #3: Choose Better Words

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Lynda is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.”

Visual artist and author, She is currently working on two new books.

“Kaleidoscope: Patterns of Light and Dreams” is a series of realistic fiction based on memoirs.

“Eclipse: Hands Folded in Prayer” is a book of poetry.

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Lynda writes two blogs. Scandalous – Reflections  and Walking by Inner Vision

A Visitation from Butterflies

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A Visitation from Butterflies

This blog article is written In Loving Memory of Isabella Emily Daley.

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The Ancient Greeks believed a butterfly was the soul of someone who had died.  The ancient Greek word for butterfly is “Psyche.”  Translated, it means “soul.”

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Summer gardens offer a wide variety of exquisite flowers  that are fragile, colorful and .sweet-scented. The floral delights  are accompanied by lively insects in luminescent hues; they move gracefully on the warm summer breeze.  It’s an annual “dance of life forces.”  These dancers seem to pick up speed as earth becomes warmer. Every living creation develops into a visual cacophony of the celebration of life. We call these the “lazy summer days.”

In our joy of the moment, we are unaware that  time passed too quickly Before we realized the summer days were growing shorter,  the months and years passed. The  glorious dance of the butterflies, insects, and wild flowers gradually began to change.  It was such a  subtle  changing we barely noticed!  There was a final time of blazing colors  when everything was intensified.  Autumn brought a different  kind of landscape to our vision. It was a beauty that was even more intense than our summer days had been.

As the fall season cooled down the earth, we  laughed together as we walked through the brilliantly colored leaves. They drifted and tumbled so quietly  to the ground. We stood  together holding hands beneath those trees; we felt the transformed leaves fall around us.  Soon the layers of autumn’s leaves covered the ground where we stood.

The day came when we stopped what we were doing,  looked around at our altered world.  We saw that we were left standing here and realized everything had changed.  But even though our world was different now, our hearts were full of the memories we carried within us.  Each of us held onto memories of the delights we had experienced when we walked together, singing songs and laughing  together in the sunshine of that long, glorious period of our Summertime.

There was one exception to this though, as I think about it today.  I remember one miraculous afternoon in January when I watched quietly while two butterflies played together in the stillness of the thin air, as though time had vanished. I was permitted to enter a spiritual realm for just a little while. It was magnificent!

These days, when I see a butterfly in the field, it brings back a specific memory for me. The images from that memory are as vivid now as they were eight years ago when I saw them.

I stood for hours at the bedside of our daughter, Heidi Melinda. She was in a medically induced coma following surgery that removed the tumors of  two cancers from her body.  Within a couple of days, she was near death.    Each new day, I watched as she steadily went one step down after another.

She was often motionless, with tubes sprouting out of her body and up to the ceiling or attached to machines on both sides of the bed.

Heidi was kept in a coma for over 2 weeks. Nurses and doctors were at her side or directly outside her transparent room  as they worked on the computers continuously monitoring her.   There was nothing her family  could do but pray and wait.

One afternoon, I sat in a chair at the foot of her bed. My eyes focused on  her. I realized suddenly we had two unexpected visitors. They did not come in through the door.

Everything seemed so normal; I watched silently as two enormous butterflies emerged from the atmosphere  near her feet.  The pair flew gently forward, playing with each other as butterflies do when you see them gliding and hovering around the dancing blossoms in a field. The two butterflies were a deep red crimson and each of them was  the size of my hand. They were dark, yet bright.  Their wings were velvety  and large. In all my life, I have never seen a butterfly as large as these two.  As I watched them, it was as though these dancing and frolicking butterflies were the most normal scene I could ever have experienced. Yet, they were not normal at all!  This was a miraculous moment; it was something from another time and place. Heidi’s body was the field over which the butterflies  zig-zagged back and forth. They moved towards her head. It felt like I watched them for quite awhile. I believe it was probably only seconds. It was like an eternal moment when time did not exist

The butterflies had emerged from another dimension, it seemed. The brilliant pair made their presence visible to me. They gave me new hope for my daughter. I sensed that they were a pictorial symbol of the Holy Spirit.

I thought, “The  Holy Spirit has come to visit us!”    I felt an inner peace and divine assurance at that moment when I saw this vision. I knew my daughter would heal; she had experienced a miracle.

It has been over 8 years since her surgery, Heidi remains free of ovarian and kidney cancers.

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Sometimes, a person will mention  how they suddenly saw  a butterfly that appeared  unexpectedly  after a loved one died.  They appear without warning, and often they fly around a person, or even bump into a person as though trying to get attention.  It seems the butterfly is trying to communicate with a human.  One woman related how she had just been “head-butted by a butterfly.” Sometimes, butterflies come in pairs; often, they are exceptionally bright and larger-than-life. They appear to be so otherworldly that you could not possibly miss seeing them.

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Traditionally, it is believed butterflies are harbingers; of renewal; transformation; healing; Divine presence and even gratitude. These butterflies are always right on time!

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Butterflies   are  an ancient symbol with deep roots as a metaphor in folklore and the narrative accounts of antiquity.  Inspiration and ideas from the ancients are all around us today.  Through the centuries of human time, there  will always be connections that bring together the distant past with our  own present moment.

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The Mandarin Chinese word for butterfly means “seventy years.”  Therefore, in that culture butterflies are a symbol of a long life.

Japanese culture says the butterfly is thought to be representative of maidens and marital bliss. Many Japanese families use the butterfly image in the family crest design.

Germany has a  unique belief about butterflies. As butterflies can often be found hovering around milk pails or butter churns.  The German word for butterfly is “schmetterling.”  Isn’t that a beautiful word? That word is actually derived from the Czech word, “Smetana,” meaning “cream.”

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My favorite depiction of a butterfly,  though, is the ancient Greek mythological meaning of butterfly. . It means the “human soul.”  And, to the Ancient Greeks, a butterfly was the soul of someone who had died.  The Ancient Greek word for butterfly is “Psyche.”  Translated, it means “soul.”

We can find references to the butterfly as a soul in the lore of Russia and Ireland. There, the butterflies are always symbolic of a celebration and resurrection.

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Because we  hold the hope of resurrection, the symbol of the butterfly is an important image to Christians. You will find it used particularly at Easter to signify that Jesus was put to death and after three days, he arose.   Every person who has accepted Jesus into his/her life is filled with the resurrection power of Christ.

At funerals and memorials of a Christian, there will usually be references to a butterfly as an example of how we all will shed our body at death, and then we will come alive again with Christ. We are eternal spirits who have been living in an earthly body. We will shed that body and our spirit will be with God for all eternity. We are transformed.

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“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”

~ 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

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What do we know about Heaven and who will be there?  Jesus answered the question in a way that surprised those who knew him and followed him when he was here on earth. He gave a very clear example of who it will be that enters Heaven. The answer surprised the disciples and what Jesus said at that time is a good reminder for us – it  is children!

Another, and perhaps the most important aspect of all, is that butterflies are connected throughout history with children.  And what would make it so significant that they are depicted with children in nearly every culture? Why are children so important?  Let’s take a small glimpse into another story  in the Bible that show us the importance of children. 

In Matthew 18 (NIV) we read how the disciples asked Jesus one day “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a small child to come over to them  and Jesus placed the child right in the middle of the men Jesus told his followers  that they must become like a little child or they will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me,” he said.

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And, finally I come to one  final story I want to share with you.  This story is about a  little girl who came from Heaven to stay  for a short Summertime of life.  We can say that she  is a glittering “butterfly from heaven.”

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Princess Isabella Emily Daley – “Bella” is the 6-year-old daughter of David and Betsy Daley.  Bella has two  brothers, Steele, and Jake. Her two sisters are Michaela and Bailey. After a short time here on earth, Bella left to be with God once again. It was on Sunday evening, June 28, 2015, at 6:46 pm.  Before she left, her Heavenly Father granted her just the right amount of time  to express how much she loves her family.  In her final moments of life here on earth, she kissed her mother, father, and sister “goodbye” and then departed.

Princess Isabella  loves everything that is pink. Bella loves rainbows and butterflies!  She loves sparkling things, glitter, and music for dancing. Because God is so gracious and loving, he granted Bella one final “farewell..”  I am happy to relate that she was last seen here by her 3-year-old brother, Steele, the following morning.   When he was told that Bella went to be with God, he replied,

 “She’s an angel and I kissed her face;  she dancing like an angel and she’s running” he said, as he pointed outside.

Don’t be surprised if one  day, when least expected, a sparkling pink butterfly comes flying around you and insists that you notice – and you’ll  remember dear little Bella, a “butterfly from Heaven,” and you will say, “Doesn’t  she shine!”

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Thank you,  Dave and Betsy Daley and family for your generous sharing of Bella with the world. We are forever changed.

by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Contact: riverwoman@zoominternet.net