31 Days: Listening to nature


The first thing I notice is the sound of frogs, loud and persistent. Their joyful chorus resounds around the edge of the lake. The birds add their voices in harmony. Sunlight filters through the eucalyptus trees, paths wind through magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias.

I follow a fairy wren along a path up the hillside, slowly, among tall gum trees and flowering carpets of ground covers, hellebores and bluebells. I don’t want to miss the gifts along the way.

I soak in the beauty. Listen and rest.

I can still hear the frog-song up on the hill out of sight of the lake. I listen to the birds calling one another from the tree tops. A family of twelve – mum, dad and ten tiny ducklings – meander their way down towards the lake.

Everywhere there is new life.

The winter is gone, spring has come. And I am blessed.

31 Days to Listen

This is Day 6 of the series 31 Days to Listen. For more information about this challenge, and to see others are writing, visit Write 31 Days.

Standing on solid rock

Great Ocean Road coastline

Standing on a rock – a cliff really – looking out to sea. It’s wild and beautiful, and cold. The only thing between this cliff and Antarctica is several thousand kilometres of ocean.

And the waves of that ocean lick and bite and crash into those limestone and sandstone cliffs every moment of every day.

Travelling along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria recently, we appreciated the rugged beauty of that coastline. We visited ‘London Bridge’ and the Twelve Apostles, pillars of ocean-sculpted limestone. They are beautiful, but they are no longer what they used to be. Year after year a little more of that limestone succumbs to the wind and the waves, and disappears.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

London Bridge, Great Ocean Road

Part of ‘London Bridge’ collapsed years ago, stranding some tourists standing on the remaining section, now separated from the coast. The tourists had to be rescued, but fortunately no one was killed.

Nothing on this earth lasts for ever. Not even rock.

But there is one rock that does last. One rock on which we can stand secure. When we trust in the Lord, no matter what oceans come to beat upon us, God our rock will not be moved. He will uphold us, so that we can stand firm.

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:4 

Thoughts on how to receive the gift of rest

“So how does one rest? … especially at this time of year!”

Good question. I’m not an expert on the matter by any means, but here are a few of my thoughts on rest.

Open the Gift

Who receives a gift and leaves it unopened? Tear off the wrapping paper and appreciate the beauty and value of the gift. Don’t put it on a shelf or in a cupboard and think “I’ll get to that later, when I have time.”

I don’t think God rested because he was tired from making stars and mountains and kangaroos and people. When God chose to rest, he set an example for us to follow. (Of course this is only one facet of God’s rest, but let’s just keep it simple for the moment.)

Trust the Giver

When we rest, we are trusting God to meet our needs. We don’t have to keep striving every minute of the day. When we stop and bring our focus back to the Lord, we give him the opportunity to meet us in our situation. Listen for what he might be saying to you in this moment.

Give Thanks

Celebrate and give him thanks for this precious blessing.

Enjoy the Gift

Don’t you think it pleases God to see you enjoying his gift? Don’t give in to guilt. There’s a time for everything … including rest! Allow him to refresh you.

Lake Te Anau, New Zealand
Lake Te Anau, New Zealand

Tomorrow I’ll share a few practical ideas on receiving rest.

When a dream becomes more than just a dream

Milford Sound

Recently I took a holiday to New Zealand with my sister. It’s been over twenty years since we first dreamed about going to New Zealand together. Somehow there always seemed to be something else happening.

Whenever people have asked me where I’d like to travel, my first answer has always been Zealand. It has always been at the top of my list – even though I’ve ended up travelling to numerous other countries over the years. Somehow, New Zealand kept being pushed further and further to the back of the cupboard. It lay in a dark corner, unseen, gathering dust.

One day folded into the next, until weeks and months and years passed by. Every now and then I’d come across it while looking for something else.

New Zealand was parked in “I’d like to go … one day.”

Sometimes the stuff we call daily life seems to get in the way of the things we dream about. Even the mundane daily responsibilities seem more important than bringing a dream to life.

One day… One day…

Mirror Lakes on the road to Milford Sound
Mirror Lakes on the road to Milford Sound

Sometimes a dream feels like that’s all it will ever be. It’s easy to give up if you don’t hold onto it.

Until this year.

This year we made it happen. And I loved it. Loved it. Loved it like I dreamed I would. I’ve already started a mental list of the things I want to see and do when I go back. And I will be going back.

Our holiday in New Zealand was like a drink of cold water when your throat is dry. Refreshing. Life-giving.

Perhaps that’s what a dream come true will do for you.

Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo

A day at Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary

Recently I spent a few very pleasant hours wandering around the Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary with my camera. Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day.

In particular, I found myself captivated by the little Tammar Wallabies. You’ll understand why when you see them.

How gorgeous is that little face?