Monday, January 28, 2013

Sandhill Crane Day

Bill and I made our third annual trek to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge to the see Sandhill Cranes. We also hoped for a Whooping Crane sighting. We were at the viewing platform from about noon until 2 pm. We saw many Sandhills, but not the exuberant numbers that we have seen before. Bill spotted a bird across the lake that looked like an eagle, but even with the spotting scope of some of the other birders, we could not be sure. Probably a juvenile bald eagle, possibly a golden eagle. We also saw several large hawks, likely red-shouldered. A few blue herons were among the Sandhills. There were ducks we couldn't identify, but a few snow and blue geese swimming with them. Double-crested cormorants flew by occasionally. Among the small birds, I saw a yellow-rumped (Myrtle) warbler to add to my life list, bluebirds and phoebe. My camera is not powerful enough to get good pictures at the distances we were. I am definitely getting a spotting scope. Below the Hiwassee pictures are a few from earlier in January.

Can you see three birds?

Sandhill Head Shot

Feeding Time

A large gathering of Cranes

Mississippi HomePlace

Snow and Blue Geese, Taylor Rd, Sunflower County, MS
January 3, 2013

Our Little Pond

Robins enjoy the water, joined by a Cedar Waxwing

Monday, January 14, 2013


"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God." Matt 5:9

I believe that those of us who call ourselves Christians are called and given a mandate to be peacemakers. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Using violence only escalates violence. We who call ourselves Christians are the hope of the world for building peace. If we don't answer the call, who will? Jesus' model for building peace was not to carry a bigger stick, it was to turn the other cheek, to reach out in compassion. If you call yourself a Christian, don't tell me it can't work. Young men who feel loved, valued, embraced in a fellowship of compassionate community don't go on killing sprees, even if they suffer from mental illness. There are many actions we need to take socially and politically to solve the problems of violence in our culture. Unless those actions begin with the goal of building peace, they will ultimately fail. So for every political action proposed, ask yourself: will this bring more peace or is it escalating violence? What can we do in our homes and local communities to make sure every child in this great and wealthy nation is loved, cared for, and embraced by a loving community?

The essayists at Sojourners say it more eloquently than I. I hope you will read what they have to say.