Friday, January 26, 2018

by Julie Lavender

Tucked under layer after layer, I braved the just-below freezing temperatures for another winter’s walk. My hubby didn’t require quite as many layers; he’s braver than me.

My little corner of the deep-south had already seen more frigid weather in the few short days of 2018 than the entire winter season just last year.

The green shrub bedecked with red splotches caught my eye, and I first thought it was a holly bush. Closer inspection, though, told me it wasn’t, and I sequestered my biologist husband for an explanation.

“Ilex vomitoria,” said David.

“Ew. Does it mean what I think it does?”

“Yep. We’ll look it up when we get home.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

by Julie Lavender

A walk with God this week led me past several bare pecan trees. I’ve always thought they were rather unattractive in the winter, without their lush, green leafy embellishments and dangling fruit accessories tucked inside husks to protect the edible nuts.

Winter chaos and disorder

The barren limbs always seem to have no order, just chaos and frenzy protruding in all directions. And only a few random trees still have pecans 
attached. But, my husband says if no squirrels have nibbled on the remaining nuts, they are undoubtedly not very tasty. 

Friday, January 12, 2018


by Julie Lavender

Iridescent, dark violet berries hang in clusters beneath chartreuse leaves, attracting the attention of hungry birds and nibbling mammals. The American beautyberry shrub, aptly named, certainly catches my attention on a winter walk.

The long, arching branches droop with the weight of its fruit from early fall to late winter. Some of the berries become snacks for raccoons and squirrels and armadillos and opossums. Quail, cardinals, mockingbirds and a variety of songbirds partake in the delicacies, too. And the deer forage on them heavily, too.

Yet, many of the berries cling to the bush throughout the bleak months of early winter, lending color to an otherwise drab landscape. The berries, though beautiful, are somewhat bitter in taste, so they’ll do in a pinch for a hungry critter, but might not be the preferred morsel. At least, not when other tasty treats are available.

I think God did that on purpose….in fact, I know He did.

Friday, January 5, 2018


by Julie Lavender

A brand new year brought a special blessing for my walk with God today.

SNOW!    SNOW!!     SNOW!!!!!

To many, that’s not a big deal. But in south-Georgia where I walk with God, it’s huge!

It just doesn’t snow here that often. On the rare occasion that it does snow, it’s merely a light dusting at best.

God’s beauty never ceases to amaze me. I’m in awe of His creations – the ones that breathe in oxygen and the ones that release oxygen – as well as the natural wonders, like majestic mountains, violent volcanoes, luxurious lakes, and shimmering seas.