Photo Journal: Autumn in Hagley Park and Matthew 6


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A walk through Hagley Park today provided (as usual I would almost say) for stunning scenery. The oranges and yellows of Autumn are hard to beat. At the same time the beautiful greens of the Native Garden with all the ferns and was like a green oasis in the middle of the park.

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But I guess it was upon passing a bed of poppies in all different colors that I could not help but thinking about the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 6:

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Matthew 6: 28-30

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Hard to beat isn’t it?

It was strange seeing such a colorful, almost spring like display of colors.

11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
Song of Songs 2

The winter has yet to start for real! However snow is predicted for today. It reminded me of a sing from my childhood in the Netherlands:

Het leek opeens een beetje Mei in October

(translated: Al of a sudden it seemed like May in October)

And here we would have to turn that around and say it seemed like October in May.

 

Photo Journal: Maruia Falls Revisited


Last month I wrote a blog post with the title “Water” which covered amongst others the fountain in Hagley Park in Christchurch, the Pupu Springs, the Wanui Falls, and, the Maruia Falls. I remember well how we were there that time in June and I wished that I had a camera that could zoom in more. My then Fuji Finepix A900 allowed for 3x optical zoom and I had never been that impressed with the digital zoom option. Now I had my birthday present, a Fuji Finepix S4000 with me which allows for 30x optical zoom. It is not easy to keep it still but you get used to it and it was amazing just to look through the view finder and close up in itself.

To see the sheer power of the water coming down in large quantities.

What an amazing sight and sound for that matter (Just thinking we may need to go back now to film it).

Maybe it is me but I just like a little child, in awe with God‘s creation. And while I was in awe, my eye caught this little bird that apparently was not half as impressed as I was as it was flying around dangerously close to the thundering down water. Or perhaps he was more aware or conscious than I how much “His eye is on the sparrow” indeed.

All in all it felt like a renewed introduction to these beautiful falls that formed the perfect stop for the boys: spectacular sights and heaps of rocks to throw in the (thundering) water.

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More to follow in my flickr photostream

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Photo Journal: His Eye is on the Sparrow (Again) and Psalm 84


Last year I wrote a post in relation to this beautiful hymn after a sparrow was kind enough to make it possible for me to take a relatively close up pic. On or most recent walk in Hagley Park, I noticed, while feeding both ducks and eels that there was this little tree along the waterfront of the Avon River that seemed to almost be like a gathering place for the sparrow. Overhanging branches made it possible to hide under there, yet at the same time they could warm up in the sun on the top of the little tree sheltered from the wind by the surrounding higher trees.

What a chirpy group of birds they were and again I started to sing because I became happy just seeing this seemingly happy bunch of birds.

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Psalm 84:3

In this Psalm we read how David almost envies these little birds.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Almost as by nature sparrows provide for themselves habitats in houses and buildings similarly to other birds in the woods or open country.  And David, uses the fact that the Temple was no exception to express how much he really loves God. While these little insignificant little birds live right there in the presence of God, he is living in a palace away from there, and it almost seems like he’d give it up just like that just so he could be there in the place where God lives.

And in seeing them again that day I realize how much of an example they are to us: seemingly happy, not waiting for God to offer them a place in His house but just doing it AS BY NATURE, living life day by day. We can learn a lot from this little sparrow.

His eye is on the sparrow

The lyrics to this beautiful song again:

Why should I feel discouraged / Why should the shadows come / Why should my heart feel lonely / And long for heaven and home / When Jesus is my portion / A constant friend is He / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches over me / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches me /

I sing because I’m happy / I sing because I’m free / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches me (He watches me) / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches / I know He watches / I know He watches me/

Do you get it, the song starts of with a lot of “why should I’s” . It is so amazing to get to the key point of the matter: by faith we are saved and more, when you realize that when Jesus died for our sins, he left with the promise of the Holy Spirit, and with Him living in us, we do no longer need to worry. We will never be worthy but Jesus paid the ransom so that we can be reconciled with our Creator, n0t because we deserve it (as we never will) but because of His will and His grace. It was never about us , it was all about Him. Not about what we can do so He may look after us, how we can deserve to be His children, it was already taken care off.

Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions or faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come. (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity).

The Law, and adherence thereto cannot be our ticket, it is the promise, the fruit, that will come from the God’s Spirit  living in us and we listening to it, our comforter, our guidance so we may be lead from glory to glory, as chirpy as those sparrows.

Photo Journal: water


The fountain  in Hagley Park made for spectacular sight looking close up against the light.

Maruia Falls

On the way to Golden Bay we stopped at the Maruia Falls some waterfalls.  Amazing to see and hear the sheer force of the water coming down. This large waterfall was created in an earthquake in 1929. The earthquake caused a slip which blocked the original channel. The water was forced to flow over a small area of farmland and then over a bank back to the channel below the slip. This created a new passage and more erosion from the falling water has increased the drop to some ten metres.

A short track down hill leads to a view of the falls from below and also provided for a great place to have something to eat and drink on the way to Golden Bay.

Pupu Springs

Also quite spectacular were the Pupu Springs and the amazingly clear water, said to be the clearest in the world. Pupu Springs or Waikoropupu as its full name is, can be found in the South Island west of Nelson, near Takaka

In the Bible we find mentions of “living water” and I guess what I saw as Pupu Springs came close to what I imagined that to look like. The color and clarity was just amazing.

Wainui Falls

However what was probably most spectacular was the Wainui Falls in Golden Bay.

A forty minute walk takes you to this waterfall, a walk most worthwhile. The track leads through the forest and over a swing bridge. Minutes after crossing the bridge you will hear the falls and than almost as by surprise you will be right in front of them in all their spraying and noisy marvel.

More to follow on my flickr photostream.

(John)Key Notes 25 February 2011


 

25 February 2011
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STANDING ALONGSIDE CANTABRIANS

My thoughts and sympathies are with everyone who’s been affected by Tuesday’s earthquake, especially those who have lost loved ones. Watch or read my speech here

I’ve been down to Christchurch a few times since the earthquake. When I walked through the central city, it felt surreal. It was eerily quiet but as you looked around you knew that a real catastrophe had taken place.

It’s a disaster that has affected all New Zealanders in some way.

I’ve been heartbroken by stories of great loss and pain, and shocked by the extent of the damage. But I’ve also been encouraged by the survivor spirit of Cantabrians. It’s that spirit that I believe will get you through.

In Lyttleton, I saw a community that was devastated but rallying together in its time of greatest need. I met a woman who was cooking almost enough food to feed an army. Locals were bringing food from their freezers to her, she was cooking it, and they were sharing it with all who needed something to eat.

I met international tourists in Hagley Park who had fled from where they were at the time of the earthquake, leaving behind all their possessions including passports. They told me they were amazed by how well Cantabrians had looked after them and helped them.

That extraordinary spirit makes me proud to be a New Zealander.

This earthquake marks the beginning of a long and challenging journey for Christchurch. But New Zealanders stand shoulder to shoulder with you as you face this journey, and the Government is behind you 100 per cent of the way.

I want to acknowledge the huge amount of work being put in by so many people, particularly the hundreds of search and rescue workers, emergency personnel, and medical professionals.

Though lost lives will never be replaced, and though Christchurch will never look the same, we will help Cantabrians rebuild their lives.

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE SO FAR

Our immediate focus is on search and rescue. Here’s some of what the government has done so far:

For the latest information on the Government’s response, click here.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

I’d like to thank the thousands of New Zealanders, and people around the world, who are donating money and offering to help Christchurch.

If you would like to help, you could contact the Red Cross (www.redcross.org.nz), the Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.org.nz) or the Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (www.rnzwcs.org). Many banks are also offering ways to help, so contact your bank to find out more.

All other offers of help from the public should be directed to earthquakehelp@msd.govt.nz.

Best wishes,

John Key
Prime Minister

Click here to view photos on Flickr of my visits to Canterbury this week.

 

Comment

Thanks John for these notes, you presence here in Christchurch is, I am sure greatly appreciated. For the first time in a long time they felt for real again.

Hagley Park Card on Zazzle.co.nz


 

Hagley Park Greeting Card

 

Also available as post card.

Go get it here: Hagley Park Card on Zazzle.co.nz.

Photo Journal: Random Impressions of the Last Week


It Summer Holiday so that means less time behind the computer and more time spent with the family. Some random impressions of the last week below.

Evening Walk

Earlier this week we had an incredibly warm day. Later i the evening, to cool off a bit I went for a walk with my oldest son to see this amazing sunset right around the corner.

Backyard

If there are a few things that are dominating in terms what the back yard is all about it is probably the butterflies, the veggie patch and playing children. In a recent post I detailed the cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. And after these beautiful animals took off we already have a number of new caterpillars running and eating their favorite Swan plant.

Besides that we are very pleased with the promise of home grown vegetables such as the spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots and silver beet.

Are you getting hungry yet?

Hagley Park

Hagley Park is again quite stunning this year and it is so amazing to see how it is different every year. Here some impressions of this every beautiful park and one of my favorite places to go to for a quick walk. There is always the beautiful scenery and at thew same time the beautiful detail if you keep your eyes open: flowers, insects, birds.

Time for a rest near one the amazing ponds in the park.  Who would not be amazed, inspired by scenes like below.

Barnett Park Walk Way

In the absence of our youngest, we took the other two out for a highly recommendable walk up the Barnett Park Walkway: a two hours walk (with kids) up to a large cave, near Sumner, Christchurch with beautiful views over Christchurch  and a nice walking challenge for the boys.

Yes you guessed it right, the black spot in the rocks up there is the destination. The great part was that the track is cyclic so you walk back down a different route.

Again it was a great mix of stunning scenery and beautiful detail making oit clear how much the two are related. From the cave there was a spectacular view back to Christchurch.

Inside the cave it was the breathtaking scenes provides by the differently colored rock formations that took all of my attention.

Any abstract painter would be pleased with an outcome like that.

Rapaki

Finally we ended up for a quiet afternoon at Rapaki, a little settlement in one of the bays near Lyttleton. A lovely alternative when you want to go to the beach but have the luxury to hang out in the shade of the trees when the sun gets to warm. A walk around and a little chat with the fishermen or in my case the fisher ladies, having their minds set on catching some fish for diner.

Keep an eye on my flickr stream as I will be uploading more there.