I Look Unto the Hills . . .

It’s early morning here in Prescott Valley, Arizona. I’m gazing out my front window: the Bradshaw Mountains in the distance and our American flag waving welcomingly over our front porch. A bit of pink blends with shades of blue in the gentle morning skies. Spring green is budding on our globe willow trees. Directly across our cul-de-sac, an ornamental plum tree is in full, confident bloom.  Driving down a residential street yesterday, I witnessed a row of ornamental pear trees, covered completely in white blossoms.  As my daddy would say, “I’m drinking it in!”

Ornamental Plum Tree Praising God

Ornamental Plum Tree Praising God

I’m so thankful that God gave me eyes that see. My mind was very preoccupied, driving down that ornamental pear tree lined street yesterday, but God enabled me to juggle several mental focuses, and drink in nature. Oh, oh!  The sun has now peeked over the Mingus Mountains behind our house casting new rays upon the Bradshaw Mountains before me, toward the west. Northeast to southwest, these two ranges nearly encircle our valley. I love to watch the dance of the rays striking their affects upon the crevices of the hills. Light and shadow. The shades of earth and sky continually change. Eyes to see. Thank You, LORD! I feel so loved.

The Bible tells me, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” You may recognize this verse as the Himalayan peak of Scripture, John 3:16. And the children’s chorus agrees: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  Visions from nature and words from Scripture soften my heart.  I’m breathing. I hear my heart beat.  I know I’m cared for; I’m loved. Quietly, I observe His presence. Without His care, I just would not be (Col. 1:17). Soothing. Soothing.

May you too be soothed and softened by His presence in creation and His Word, always near you.

May our eyes see. May our ears hear. May our hearts softly drink it all in.

We are loved with an everlasting love, and underneath us are His Everlasting Arms.

The morning proceeds. My honey has arisen, and I hear him moving around the kitchen. Cling. Clash. Grinding sound — just for some seconds. Wafting smell. Coffee. He’s made our Saturday morning coffee.  Sounds of human life in our home also sooth me. Paul just brought me a steaming cup in a Longaberger mug I inherited from Aunt Martha (who has been in heaven for twelve years now). Memories. Good. Thank You, Lord, for my heritage. My home. My Paul. My family.  God is here, present with me, revealed in these varying realities.

The sun is getting brighter! Oh, the ornamental plum tree is aglow!  But why was my mind preoccupied yesterday (though not enough to miss the ornamental pear trees!)? Yes, let me tell you more good news.

Yesterday, my mind was churning over ideas from four books and lots of lectures. I was about to take my final exam for my class, Applied Research in Theology of Ministry, one of my last courses toward the degree I’m currently pursuing.The good news is that I made it through the exam, and it is now behind me! Thank You, Lord! So, after the test, I again drove by the trees and appreciated God’s handiwork.

Oh, the glow from the ornamental plum tree is brighter! Must go take another picture. You see how distracting God’s artwork is! Okay. I’m back. You see,  I decided to put this blog on the back burner this past month while I was coming toward home plate in the completion of my coursework. I had six papers to write and this exam, so that was enough pressure for the month of March.

Sorry to neglect you, my little circle of readers! Lord enabling, I try not to neglect you again. I’ll return to my goal of publishing one post a week. Gratefully, it is impossible for God to neglect us.

                        “Practice His presence.” What is unseen is more real that what we see, for the unseen is the life behind our lives.

Colossians 1:15-17

John 10:10

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “I Look Unto the Hills . . .

  1. Jan

    Thank you, Karen! Such a blessing! Congratulations on finishing your course !! jan

    Sent from my iPad

    • kltolsen

      Thank you so much for your response, and so quickly! And sent from your iPad! I’m impressed. Glad you are enjoying your new tool!

  2. Marty Zuidervaart

    Your enthusiasm for the love of the Father is so contagious, Karen. During this Lent season,
    I, too, am “drinking it in”! Here’s my title for a good short story: “Dying to self; flourishing in Jesus.”
    Your blogs are such a gift to those of us who understand what constitutes the excellence of writing!
    Your friend and brother, Marty.

    • kltolsen

      Thank you so much for your warm response, Marty! Are you going to write this short story? I’d love to read it! I think everyone of us would do well to write a version of it. Really, as growing Christians, all chapters of our lives should carry this theme expressed from endless angles. I like the expression, “flourishing in Jesus.” My daddy most certainly personified this! Blessings, this Palm Sunday!

  3. Carolyn

    I love hearing how your Daddy impacted your life! His words are with you forever. Just this morning I was reading about God’s beauty all around us and how we let things crowd out our ability to observe. Ann Voskamp says, ” We need eyes to see His glory. When the purity of Jesus lies over a heart, His transparency burns the cataracts off the soul. The only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within. God within is the One seeing God without.” I have learned (the hard way) that we really connect with God through His creation. Thank you God for eyes to see. Love you my sweet friend. Thanks for the reminder.

    • kltolsen

      Excellent quotation!! I appreciate your contribution to the conversation! Sweet!
      Love ya!

  4. Sue Meckstroth

    Karen, I felt like I had a little visit with you this morning upon reading this blog. Thank you for allowing me a moment of respite to just see God in the day! Sue

  5. debra

    thank-you Carolyn for sharing that quote!
    Congratulations Karen for accomplishing another class. The Lord is using you mightily. Blessed be His name 🙂

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