Karen Campbell Prough

THE MORNING SONG

Dad's pictureTHE MORNING SONG

Do you ever feel the beauty of this world is more than you can comprehend?

Early one morning, I realized a bird sang outside the window—not more than five feet from where I was making a bed. I peered out the window trying to see him.

But he hid in the leafy branches of a shrub. I sank to the bed and listened, reveling in the inspiring notes and short melodies.

God made the feathered creature with the ability to welcome morning’s light with a song.

I wanted to stay and listen. I longed to grasp the cadence and trills in the performance. But it ended too soon. Sunlight filtered through the tree branches, and then a dove joined in with a softer tone, as if pouring forth the benediction.

Within a ten-minute span of time, I witnessed a fragment of God’s wonderful handiwork. I cannot comprehend the enormity of His creations. His touch leaves an imprint on everything—right down to the miniature tree frog trilling forth a song after a summer rain.

So many adults and children never visit God’s natural settings or view His amazing gifts. Children sit with tiny screens in their hands, fingers moving, playing a manufactured game—which will be outdated and tossed aside in a few months.

And man has tried to tame nature.

But through the lack of appreciation, much is destroyed. And there is more to this world than man will ever comprehend. Just the awe of walking up a mountain trail and gazing at a single flower, which may wither away without another human being ever appreciating it, cannot be described.

But that is God. He knew what He created was good. That fact is recorded in the Bible.

But what struck me this morning was the thought that just a tiny bird singing is something we humans cannot fully grasp, even though we listen over and over. We do not know what the bird feels or why it sings the beautiful notes. What is it saying or proclaiming? Does it pour forth thanks? We can only pause, close our eyes and listen—listen intently.

When you step outside today, take a grateful look around you, even if there is snow piled in drifts over your yard. See God in the snowflakes, in the constant drip of melting icicles on the porch’s overhang, and in the fact you can see your breath. God breathed into us. We became living creatures with the capability to appreciate, as a gift, the rest of his creation.

 ~Karen

 

Copyright © Karen Campbell Prough 2015

Feel free to repost the blog and photos, keeping the copyright notices intact. Thank you.

 

LOOK DOWN

A collection 1LOOK DOWN

We’ve all heard someone say, “Look up! Raise your head.”

But I’m challenging you to look down. Yes, search the ground where you walk. You might be surprised to see special arrangements God made just for you, because the next gust of wind will bring about a new pattern.

These unique touches of beauty, which most of us walk all over, shouldn’t be missed.

And while vacationing in the Georgia Mountains and camping at Fort Mountain State Park, I noticed some wonderful displays under my feet!

My husband took a late afternoon nap, and I wandered around for the next hour, snapping pictures of God’s splendid handiwork. But the beauty lay on the ground and the crunchy gravel where I walked.

I’m sure other campers wondered about the poor woman circling the campground—the one taking pictures of the path where she walked. They probably shook their heads in pity and told their children/grandchildren to stay away me.

Yes, strange.A collection 3

I know I appeared disoriented while circling with shuffling steps and pausing to—seemingly—take pictures of my hiking boots.

But at every step, I saw a new arrangement displayed in perfect simplicity. I took way too many pictures, but it was so much fun! Don’t neglect the simple path you walk or say it doesn’t amount to anything.

Perhaps, the high and lofty stuff will fail to be the most important possession in life.

“I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.” Psalm 145:5 KJV

~ Karen

 

 

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© Karen Campbell Prough 2014

Feel free to repost this blog and photos, keeping the copyright notices intact. Thank you.

DRY BONES AND HOPE

DRY BONES

Have you ever felt like you needed renewing?

We are human and many things in life can sap our strength, play with our emotions, or almost take the life out of us. Joy vanishes, we feel lifeless, and our will to climb out of an imagined pit dissappears.

We need comfort, but it is hard to tell others what we are experiencing. And we may actually believe we’ve “dried up”.

Everything enjoyable in life is gone. At times energy levels sink and we can’t figure out why.

We are like a pile of bones. There is nothing supporting us, holding us together, or covering us with warmth.

It’s not that we’ve sinned or turned away from God, but happiness is gone. What we thought wrapped us in comfort, like skin, has fled. We feel like we’ve been cast aside. We are falling apart like a skinless bones. How can we “pull it all back together”?

Or how do we help someone else who is going through such a time in their lives? Where do we find guidance for them?

Is there scripture to address these dead feelings?

One scripture comes to mind. Psalm 119:25 NIV says: “I am laid low in the dust, preserve my life according to your word.” In the NLT the same scripture says: “I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word.” It’s easy to see how discouraged the writer must have felt. He was lifeless, dried up like old bones, and abandoned in the dust by those around him.

But the scripture also says God will renew and lift us up, if we seek his help, read the Bible, and believe. But trust must figure in there. We must trust in God’s word–the scriptures–to pick us up and put the “bones back together”. God’s word applies His love as a covering. Psalm 94:19 NLT lets us know what God can do. “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.”

Have you ever felt like a pile of dry bones? Where did you find support, the help you needed with renewal?

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19 NLTTop of cliffs copy

The picture of the bones was taken in the Rocky Mountain National Park, where my daughter and I went hiking. The bones most likely belonged to an elk. Or perhaps a deer. I didn’t examine them real close.

∼Karen

 

© Karen Campbell Prough 2014

Feel free to repost this blog and photos, keeping the copyright notices intact. Thank you.

 


 

A Time of Renewal

 Renews my StrengthA Time of Renewal

Sometimes a time of renewal can’t come fast enough.

Do you ever feel that way?

I think we all go through periods in our lives when we are stretched to the limit. Inner peace fades away and crumbles when we need it the most. And during those times, even the smallest problem grows into a monster. The shadow of that “monster” can dim the good things in our life and leave us stumbling around in confusion. We fear we have no strength to go on.

Rugged mountain trails and dangerous cliffs can be an example of rough times in our lives—events when we need strength. But even before the renewing of our spirit, the right guide can make all the difference in how we view problems. A guide brings assurance, comfort, a sense of relief, and a huge gift of renewal.

Our God knows there has to be periods of reflection and renewal in life, that’s why He gave us a day of rest.

With renewal, what we once viewed as insurmountable or too rugged to conquer can turn into a journey toward untold wonders. A steep hill becomes something to overcome, with pride and confidence, as the prize at the completion. The towering mountains of life lose their ability to terrify us. We can stand and appreciate winds of peace.

As we pray, God renews our strength in the face of the enemy. He guides us where we should go to gain the most benefit from our circumstances. He knows the way. We don’t. And by following in His step and releasing our desire to plunge through the underbrush on own trail, we bring honor to Him. We feel renewed–able to continue the journey of life and be a witness about our Guide.

Thank you for pausing to read this blog. Please, scroll down and leave a comment.

Karen

No rocks.2

 

© Karen Campbell Prough 2014

Feel free to repost this blog and photos, keeping the copyright notices intact. Thank you.

LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP

Down to sleep 2Many things in life cause weariness, drain our productivity, or create sadness. But the death of a friend or relative can do all three. Even though most of us hate to admit it, spending time at the hospital with a loved one, staying up all night with them, and returning home to chores and phone calls can strip us of inner reserves. The ability to stand strong wavers.

During a tragic sickness in the family, schedules change, the phone demands to be answered, and life doesn’t give us a break. Some things go on as usual but without our input. We may have to step back and let others do things we usually take care of. But sometimes sadness and loneliness destroy the possiblity that we’ll ever A Flower power 1walk away unscathed.

Where do we find strength to go on?

Strength comes from the one who created us.

God blended the mind, body, and soul into a vessel that can cling to God’s will, his infinite love, and his knowledge. By talking to family and friends, we may try to explain how we feel. We wait for their human responses and long for a large patch to be put on our hearts, but God is the only one who has all the answers.

He gave us the ability to experience a full range of emotions. And each emotion has a perfect fit inside us, but when the balance is tipped, dumped into a huge pile, and shoved at us–nothing seems right. Only God can reach inside and allow us to be what he created, a unique human being. He never told us to hold in sorrow and take on the attributes of a cold statue.

1 flower power 4God lets us to be human, to experience the broad ranges of emotions and feelings he created. Yes, we feel weariness, sorrow, agony, and even joy. And along with the huge display of devastating emotions, God layered hope, joy, and peace–to conquer our pain.

Don’t rush to discover peace when bad things happen. Peace is  waiting there, but find it by following the unique needs you have as an individual.

If you want to cry, don’t let someone convince you to hide your pain. If you need to run to the woods and scream questions at God, do it. He will listen. If pouring out your heart in prayer is your desire, then take that route. There is no time limit or rule, when it comes to releasing sorrow. As long as you are willing to let him, God will nudge you into a path of peace. And much like a quiet wave pushes unforseen treasures up to a beautiful beach, God’s compassion carries us over the pain and sets us free to be a blessing to others.

Peace is a tranquil interval among the storms of life. When untroubled times lift you above the pain of the past, accept the gift with a prayer of thanks. The presentation of peace is not understood by those who have not faced heartbreak. Nothing is better than laying down to sleep without agony washing over P1090376us.

Remember, your soul is in God’s large hands and he cares.

“I will praise him from the bottom of my heart.” Psalm 35:10 NLT

 

~Karen Prough

 

 

 

 

 

A PATH THROUGH THE WOODS

Vacation to VA and PA in 2013 741

 

A path through the woods meandered along the shaded stream and beckoned to me. My feet followed the unspoken promise of discovery. I failed to understand what tugged at my heart and compelled me to climb the irregular steppingstones toward the hint of sunlight.

An opening in the woods fanned out, inviting the hiker, the innocent passerby, and the curious to pause and catch their breath. I follow its irresistible summons—fueled by my imagination and the warm invitation to return to a former place and time.

I needed harmony and a slower pace to life. Inner peace had gotten lost in everyday duties.

An old homestead waited near the pines. The cabin stood gray, moss-tinted,A Log and Clay 6 and weathered, but the shaded porch drew me toward its promise of comfort. I rounded the corner of the building, and my hand caressed the sun-warmed logs.

 A berry picking place 2

Unripe berries hung from the nearby fence, a pledge of abundance in the future.

 

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I stooped to pull weeds at the base of the porch, their prolific runners tangled among the “settler’s roses”. Vibrant blooms graced the sturdy canes. As the midday sun warmed the rose petals, their old-time fragrance filled the air, and provided a picturesque background to an old hitching post.

 

A Log and Shoes 2

The porch steps became my sanctuary, and I pondered the presence of the astonishing roses. I wondered whose hands and fingers had planted them. Were they gnarled fingers, twisted and trembling with a lifetime of hard toil? Or were they the delicate and unlined hands of a young bride?

A blossum patch 2

 

I lingered on the wooden steps, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the peace and quiet. But time does not wait, and I soon stood—to bid farewell to a gentler time in the past.

 

 

 

 

My steps took me away from the tranquil moment, but my heart grew lighter. The load I carried on my shoulders fell away. The image of the simple roses and the green stained logs followed me. They lingered in my mind, and reminded me to return more often—to think of the generations who have lived before me and had sought God’s comfort.A blossum alone 1

Ahh, perfect advice. Seek a portion of quiet comfort—a place and time that is special to your needs, as when the scent of roses lifts the burdens of the day.

 

Find time to remember.

 

 

A Log and Clay 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you.    Deuteronomy 32:7 NLV

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post. I hope it gave you the longing to go back and realize God’s promises are meant for you and those you love. Bits and pieces of the past helped make you the unique person you are today. God can give comfort, which covers and erases the wrongs in our lives. And if we need his forgiveness, we can ask without fear. He can create a new person in us, a person filled with inner peace. Go back, find a place of peace, take your family with you, and bask in God’s love.

The pictures used in this blog are from two different trips to the mountains. The cabin pictures were taken at the Foxfire Museum while vacationing with friends. The rest of the photos are my pictures of roses and exploring I did on my own, during a trip to a writer’s conference. Walking around by yourself and visiting buildings that house the past can bring a different type of connection to a forgotten time period. You have no one to talk to. Only your thoughts give weight to what you see and feel. The hush of a wooded cove, the wind in the trees, and the echo of your steps on a wooden porch cause you to imagine the voices that once filled the air. Life moves on and we can only tread where time leaves its mark. But the moments of peace and reflection can be worth the time spent. We are not the only generation who has walked this earth. So many have gone before us, but we are reminded to remember the days of long ago. God was with those in the past, and he cares for us. He also cares for the future generations … the ones who will walk where we have set our paths.

“We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD.”  Psalm 78:4 NLV

~ Karen

 

© Karen Campbell Prough 2014

Feel free to repost this blog and photos, keeping the copyright notice intact. Thank you.

 

 

WAITING PATIENTLY

WAITING PATIENTLY

Where's that cat? He mauled me and made me very angry!

Where’s that cat? He mauled me and made me very angry!

When huge challenges wash over us, the immediate reaction is to kick, bite, sob, and scratch. And as the waves of attack hit us, we fight harder, lose hope, and try to outrun the situation, but by then—it might be too late. And sometimes when we run, adversity seems to chase us down and double the beating.

Here is an example. A well-fed housecat will pounce on its tiny prey, hold it down with clawed paws, and finish the kill as the terrorized victim bites and launches its futile attempts to help itself. Green eyesBut sometimes, as long as the poor captive remains quiet and still, the cat will just bat it around for a few minutes. He gets bored with the captive’s lack of outward reaction and quite often abandons the destructive game.

And that is when the chance of escape presents itself. The prey opens it eyes, having learned a valuable lesson, and finds a safe haven.

Hold still and wait. So how can that advice compare to what the Lord can do for us, especially when we end up on our backs, staring at bad things in our life? In Psalm 40, we find a statement that can help us face troubles. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Psalm 40:1-2 KJV

Hold on—wait.

That is what the scripture says? God will hear my cries?

“For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord, make haste to help me.A squirrel 3

Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.” Psalm 40: 12-15 KJV

I never noticed those words in the Bible. But I’ve heard them in real life.  Aha, aha! So when the enemy or the situations of our lives seem to be taunting and sneering while wishing evil on us, we need to remember that our God turns toward us and hears our pleas for strength and help.

No loud aha, aha from the adversities of life can hold us down if we rely on God for strength. When we try to fight battles alone, we will suffer more damage. Let God take hold of your life—give all of yourself to him. Remember God is our Redeemer and will fight for us.

a bear 4Now that can make a person want to do a little jig or dance and say, “Aha, aha! I got God on my side.”   🙂

Please, scroll down and leave your response to the words, “Aha, aha!” Thank you for reading this blog.

~Karen

 

 

 

 

© Karen Campbell Prough 2013

 

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