We are in a great season of change. This shift may be occurring faster than you are prepared for. There might also be some uneasiness or anxiety about how to receive these changes and reposition with grace and love.
Become aware of old systems that are no longer useful; seek new strategies that help you move forward in love. Stay in tune and in trust of the universal expansion and faithfully adjust to God.
The world is in constant flux between worldly systems and spiritual systems. Every ‘system’ has a light and a shadow side. So even fighting for ‘right’ or ‘religious ideals’ can lead us down a path away from God and to self-destruction. Achieving a harmonious balance of opposites where we are neither forcing nor resisting, yes, that would be sublime.
“I look for the good that is on its way.”
PREPARING FOR CHANGE
In less than a week, we will need to accept and even greater shift. Yes, I am talking about the election. Be ready to accept the results with courage and hope, keeping in mind that God’s ways are not our ways. Change takes time and it’s coming.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 55:8
It always helps to exercise with a friend for long term fitness goals. Working out with, our furry friends count too. Sometimes I don’t know who is more excited to hit the trails, me or them.
Triunfo trail at Triunfo Canyon park is a scenic hiking adventure with views of Westlake Village and the Conejo Valley. A sprinkling of Fiddlenecks greeted us near the trail head. A majestic, old oak tree provided a splendid backdrop.
The ancient oaks highlight the rolling hills of Westlake Village.
Red Maids added lively color to the fields along the trail.
My sister, Maria also joined us on this trek through nature. She kept the pace going, as I wanted to stop and take photos. The trails were lined with Fiesta flowers, Blue Witch, Blue Dick and some Shooting Stars. As we climbed higher we saw many clusters of Bush Sunflowers.
Sticky Monkey flowers hid amongst the sunflowers. The trail goes on for miles but we turned back after about 50 minutes.
It was a spectacular hike. the following week, the four of us explored an unnamed Conejo Open Space trail off Denver Springs in Westlake Village. This little known trail held spectacular vistas and wildflowers in early June.
Lake Eleanor Trail –Conejo Open Space, Westlake Village
It’s a perfect secluded spot for some nature therapy. Golden Yarrow was plentiful along the sides of the hills.
Blue Dick rose above the tall grasses.
I spotted a Pink Mariposa Lily.
It was so peaceful. Maria and I stoped to deeply breathe in the fresh clean air as we observed the rolling green hills through the Deer Weed.
The Denver Springs trail in the community of Three Springs is a wonderful place to view the sunset with sweeping views in all directions.
The reflection of the setting sun to the East overlooking the Westlake Reservoir and the same sunset to the West.
Such incredible beauty!
The COVID quarantine has reinforced, in my life, the importance of environmental stewardship. All of nature is truly a gift to be safeguarded.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you about the loss of my fur baby and hiking buddy, Sammy. We covered lots of beautiful miles together. Sammy was a rescue and I made the last part of his life delightful.
RIP little Sammy. I’ll remember our wonderful adventures together.
With gratitude, Linda
“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” – Psalm 71:8
Spring is the most glorious season to spend time in nature. It was disappointing to have most of the trails close down at the end of April because of Coronavirus. Now that the nature trails are open again, I can once more express my gratitude for God’s awesome creation and give myself the immunity boost that nature provides.1
Beautiful Trails – Late April Through Mid-May
There was a nice showing of Chinese Houses along the Pentachaeta trail in, Triunfo Canyon Park, late April before the trail closures. The colorful blooms usually last through May.
One tiny Silver Puff stood out among green the grasses.
An abundance of Fiesta flowers covered small areas of the Pentachaeta Trail.
Field of Owls clover
Only a few specimens of Blue Eyed Grass were found but they were delightful.
Hiking down the trail, I discovered an arrangement of Seep Monkey Flowers and Miners Lettuce in a moist stream bed.
The birds of spring were singing joyful songs. I was seeing, smelling and hearing the symphony of nature. I turned my walk into a moving meditation by syncing my breath to the rhythm and tune nature was playing.
Tiny, fairylike Whispering Bells made a delicate ground cover and added a fairytale feeling to my experience.
Further up the trail, there were plenty of Fiddlenecks in groupings but I chose to photograph this single plant, getting lost in its detail.
A golden sprinkling of California Goldfields dotted the landscape like magical fairy dust.
Poppies were spreading out, stretching across the trailhead.
I found an unusual plant that I had never seen before, Bur Clover.
Miners Lettuce is edible and used as salad greens. It’s a good source of vitamin C.
I’m pretty sure this is Nakedstem Sunray, Enceliopsis Nudicaulis. It’s also known as Naked-stemmed Daisy.
There were just some of the beauties along the Pentachaeta trail. I also visited the Wendy trail.
THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, WENDY TRAIL
The Wendy trail in Newbury Park offered some colorful and stately Lupine flowers.
Purple robe made a lovely spring blanket of flowers.
The Wendy trail is a fairly easy one to walk. My Maltese enjoyed themselves.
The colors were so pretty on this variety of Vetch. Possibly Vicia Americana.
Enhance the Functioning of Your Body’s Immune System
Keep enjoying nature and the sunshine for good immunity. The sun provides Vitamin D which is excellent for the immune system, so is Vitamin C. “Vitamin C is essential to stimulating the formation of antibodies, which help suppress an over-reactive inflammatory response. In layman’s term, vitamin C can help slow down how fast a virus reproduces and spreads.”2 Stay safe and stay healthy.
With a grateful heart, Linda
So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. – Psalm 79:13 NKJV
There is a lovely quote, “The earth laughs in flowers.” I can relate to that. California’s wildflowers bring a smile to my heart. My neighborhood nature walks have helped to keep me joyful during the “shelter at home” order.
Winter on the Pentachaeta trail dissolved into Spring with the last of the fringed Linanthus.
Tiny California golden violets started to make an appearance here and there in early March.
By mid-month Viola Pedunculata were abounding on the Pentachaeta Trail. Have you ever seen a field of Johnny jump ups before. They were stunning!
Walking up the trail, newly born owls clover and California goldfields adorned the edges of the path.
Purple nightshade covered the hills.
All this grows without the help of man. Incredible! My respect for God’s creation and the wisdom of earth increases with every visit to the Southern California open spaces.
Around the bend, a small stream was flowing. Next to the stream were these beautiful yellow and orange canyon sunflowers (Venegasia carpesioides).
Hiking higher, I came across this interesting series of circles with an offering bowl in the center. It made me reflect on the sacredness of nature and our planet. I offered a prayer for healing of the earth.
The flowers on the Fuchia-Flowered Gooseberry shrub were vibrant, alive with color in my Westlake Village community!
The buck brush blossoms that covered the hills in February had dwindled to only a few in early March.
The Indian warrior, also called warriors plume, fascinated me. I took a closer look at its striking flower clusters. This is a parasitic plant that feeds off the roots of other plants.
The following week, I headed up the Westlake Vista trail. Warriors plume were also prolific on that trail in early to mid March. I was delighted to see my first white nightshade plant on that trail.
The California poppies had multiplied significantly since my last visit. My soul danced to their energy!
Like a butterfly, I moved from flower to flower. Interesting California Everlasting plant.
Dainty ‘red maids’, what a color!
The white bleeding-hearts like the higher elevations.
A menagerie of petite wild flowers with Fiesta flower in the foreground.
Nuttall’s Larkspur in late winter.
Happy, Seep monkey flowers next to a dry stream.
They look as if they’re laughing, don’t they? Yes, I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson, the earth does laugh in flowers.
With a smile in my heart,
P.S. These photos were taken when the trails were open. The recent new Corona virus restrictions have temporarily close these trails. Stay safe and healthy.
“For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'”
California winters provide a surprising variety of colorful flowers growing wild in the hills. Hiking the Westlake Vista trail during February, I spotted these dainty pink shooting stars growing among the grasses.
The shooting star is very striking in groupings. It is a member of the primrose family. I’m pretty sure this variety is Primula clevelandi.
Tall and majestic these white bleeding heart or white ear drops (Ehrendorferia ochroleuca), made quite an impression against the backdrop of the mountains.
Heading up the trail, my companion and I stopped to admired the common stork’s bill or pinwheel (Eurodium cicutarium). It has a very pretty flower but it’s considered a weed. It is not an original California native plant.
The top of Westlake Vista trail overlooks the Westlake Reservoir. It was an exceptional beautiful clear morning.
Fringed linanthus – Linanthus dianthiflorus dotted the rocky soil.
California goldfields spread along the craggy flood plain near the reservoir.
One of the many varieties of Cryptantha perhaps Cryptantha clevelandi.
On the way down from the reservoir my friend and I chose a different path.
The flowers of the deerweed (Acmispon glaber) were lovely!
Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) wild flowers were abundant. Could also be Bluewitch Nightshade – Solanum umbelliferum. Both are deadly to humans.
The day was glorious! I was grateful to be able to share California’s beauty with my friend, Sandra, visiting from Germany.
We were excited to see so many varieties of winter wildflowers, like these purple owls clover – Castilleja exerta)
A once majestic burned oak, killed by the Woolsely fire.
Poppies, our beautiful state flower. Who knew February would be such a wildflower wonderland in Westlake Village!
With gratitude, Linda
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”– Ecclesiastes 3:11
This girl turned 90 years old last week. Our family was fortunate to be able to reunite, gathering from around the U. S. to celebrate her birthday. All 9 of her children and most of her grand children attended the party for this special lady.
My mom, Lillian, is the daughter of Hungarian immigrants. Her mother, Ethel, sewed the dress she is wearing in the photo. She also made dresses and coats for my sisters and me when we were growing up.
The party was hosted by my sister, Alane, in her beautiful home in Berwyn, in S. E. Pennsylvania.
Berwyn, is a stunning suburban community, nestled in a country setting outside Philadelphia.
Mom and I in the entryway – Doesn’t my mother look lovely, especially for 90! She’s so inspiring. She did her own makeup for the party, a beautiful woman in every way.
Lillian’s progeny – a family so big we couldn’t get everyone in a photo. So there’s three group photos and still we missed a couple of people.
Most of the teens and young adults were congregating in another room.
My brother John with my nephews David and Marco.
Mom and I with my sisters, June and Alisa – I helped Alisa prepare one of the cakes.
Mom and Alane in her kitchen – Alane is a superb cook and hostess. She put out an incredible spread! They are both the ‘glue’ that holds our family together.
“Blessed are the happiness makers.” – Henry Ward Beecher
We also had a private celebration at Enoteca Tredici just for mom’s children and their spouses. It’s a fabulous place in Bryn Mawr, with delicious food. first class service and a chic, trendy ambiance.
Later that week, some of us explored the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and went apple picking.
Highland Orchards was a lot of fun. There was a great store with delicious treats, fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts. Outside there were fabulous gourds, pumpkins, apples of many different varieties, food trucks and activities for children.
We did some sampling, my favorite apples were the Mutsu, juicy, sweet and delicious! The Mutsu apple (also known as Crispin) was introduced in 1948 and is a cross between the ‘Golden Delicious’ and the ‘Indo’ apple.
My niece, Juliet, liked the Fuji.
My youngest nephews, two cuties!
It was a beautiful fall day, we were able to experience the late October changing of the leaves. My nephew, Jamie, and I enjoyed the greatness of nature.
So gratefulI I could experience Pennsylvania and My mom’s 90th birthday with loved ones!
Wishing you all the best of the season,
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16
The worst fire in the history of the Santa Monica mountains left the landscape bare and black. Southern California lost 83% of cherished parkland and open space in the Woolsey fire. But perfectly timed rains were the ideal scenario for recovery. They revived the burned out wastelands and turned them into green colorful landscapes.
Fire helps seeds to germinate. This was one of the reasons an abundance of purple owls clover graced the Pentachaeta trail this Spring.
Golden fields of wildflowers carpeted the area adjacent to the Oak Forest community where over a dozen dwellings burned in the Woolsey fire.
The California Goldfields made hiking along the Pentachaeta trail magical.
When I returned to the trail later in May, wildflowers were still abounding, even after a couple of weeks of hot days.
The variety of different kinds wildflowers was amazing!
My sister and niece also get excited by nature’s artistry. Together, we witnessed the amazing transformation of the scorched hills.
FAREWELL TO SPRING
These late blooming Clarkia rubicunda are aptly called, Farewell To Spring!
The Pentachaeta trail shares a trailhead with the Westlake Vista trail. That trail also had some lovely late spring wildflowers.
I saw only one lone grouping of wild sunflowers.
Painted Lady butterflies made an impressive showing.
The fire burned over the top of the Westlake Vista trail into Three Springs Park in my neighborhood. Thankfully, the fire was stopped at the perimeter. The burned hills in the park, gave birth to a magnificent field of Phacelia grandiflora.
Tall and spectacular, these large-flowered Phacellia bloomed from May into June in Three Springs Park, Westlake Village.
I am grateful no homes were burned in my neighborhood. I’m also thankful for the rebirth of our open spaces after the horror of the November, California wildfires.
Have a blessed and joy-filled summer. ~ Linda
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” – Numbers 6: 24-27 NLT
Nature has provided a bounty of wildflowers from the burn scar areas of the devastating Woolsey fire. Stunning shades of purple blue dick’s and blue lupine flowers stretched out into the distance on the Cistern trail.
Only a heavenly gardener could have arranged such a lovely arrangement of lilies and lupines.
Amazing plate size Matilija poppies graced the trail trailhead as my friends and I started out on our Cistern to Lookout Trail hike..
Bold magenta lupine wildflowers and interesting rock formations added a degree of magic to an area that was only a few months ago black sticks and ash.
At the junction of Cistern and Lookout trail, vibrant poppies pointed to evidence of a tree charred by the Woolsey fire.
The fields in Agoura Hills were dazzling with color from early March and well into May. The red Indian warrior (or warrior’s plume) wildflowers were gorgeous!
Lookout Trail leads into Malibu Creek State Park, in the distance. It’s nice that this trail provides some shady areas.
Incredible fuchsia color Papaver. The center looks like a flower within a flower.
Pastel wild Catalina mariposa lilies adorned the trails in local Westlake Village and Agoura Hills trails from April into May.
In the midst of the wild lilies and mustard with my furry friends. The hills of Malibu are in the distance.
A stunning perspective of Malibu Creek from above.
My first time seeing these desert pin cushion wildflowers.
April’s fields of lupin blossoms, gave birth to thousands of painted lady butterflies in May.
“Behold, I make all things new.” – Revelation 21:5
My wish for you is that you will be refreshed by nature as I have been. May God bring you into deeper levels of inner renewal. If you are going through difficult circumstances or have experienced loss, I pray the promise of spring’s restoration of the barren, fire scorched hills, will bring you hope,
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3 NLT
Give gratitude your attention. Feel it’s light and energy. There are no limits to the greatness of gratitude.
When you practice gratitude, you create new pathways in your brain. It changes your perception. The more I appreciate, the more goodness comes to me. I am grateful for eyes that see natures beauty. What are you grateful for today?
Local Super Bloom
Spring is a beautiful time to explore natures bounty. I came across these amazing fields of wild poppies while out exploring the hills in my neighborhood.
The poppies were hiding in the trails adjacent to the Westlake Village Community Park. Just beyond the poppies, I discovered an area of delicate blue wildflowers spread out like a carpet. They danced in the breeze.
I was delighted and kept walking. Around the bend I found an additional surprise, large fields of wild Lupine. Butterflies were everywhere, flying in and out of the purple-blue flowers.
I could hardly believe my eyes. These hills were black a couple of months ago, burned down to the dirt by the Woolsey fire. The fire was the reason for so many wonderful wild blossoms.Tall stalks of mustard plants were growing along with the Lupine (lupin).
I’ve cooked wild mustard greens from the local hills with some onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mustard greens are delicious and a powerful superfood! They are full of the antioxidants, vitamin C and glutathione which boosts immunity and prevents cell damage. High in calcium and vitamin K, mustard greens can help avert osteoporosis. They have numerous other health benefits. Pick the tender new growth.
I was excited to bring my daughter and sister back to this spot on the weekend. They were thrilled with the dazzling display. We couldn’t resist posing with nature’s glory.
It was a perfect spring day. I’m so grateful we shared this time together. We found grace in our gratitude of this beautiful place.
“Nature does not, hurry yet everything is accomplished.”
– Lao Tzu
I enjoyed pausing for a moment to soak up the late afternoon sun and listen to the song birds.
As we continued on our hike, I noticed some of the Lupine I had seen on my first visit was plowed down during the week, to make the hiking trail wider, but it was still lovely. Lindsay and I sampled some of the peppery young leaves of the mustard plants as we walked ahead, ready to discover more of God’s artistry and beauty.
My home town, Westlake Village is in the distance. What’s in your community? Check out the AllTrails App for hiking ideas.
The richest person in the world is not the one with the most money but the one with the most gratitude.
Happy Spring! ~ Linda
“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” – Psalm 145:5 ESV
This morning was the first day of fresh air since the Woolsey fire ravaged our communities. It’s been raining and the rain has washed away the stale odor of smoke from the charred hills. I’ve taken fresh air for granted until this devastating fire.
I am one of the lucky ones who’s home was spared by the ravenous fire but I still mourn the lives and homes lost.
I live adjacent to a reservoir, so even after the evacuation was lifted, for days I heard the buzz of the air dropping helicopters and whirlybirds that scooped up water nearby to fight the fire as it moved north.
I am so grateful to the firemen who traveled to my hometown, Westlake Village. They came from all over the United States, to help save our homes.
These gentlemen who are posing with my niece, Marianna, and my two dogs are from outside Seattle.
The fire tragedy followed just one day after the Borderline mass shooting in neighboring Thousand Oaks. My sister and I sang at this local night club, so we know it well. In my mind, I pictured every horrifying detail as it was reported.
God bless Sergeant Ron Helus who went in first and lost his life. His bravery saved countless lives. The other 11 casualties are: Cody Coffman, Justin Meek, Alaina Housley, Telemachus Orfanos, Daniel Manrique, Sean Adler, Noel Sparks, Kristina Morisette, Jake Dunham, Blake Dingman and Mark Meza Jr. I hope they will not be forgotten.
COMMUNITIES COMING TOGETHER
Our communities are rallying with an outpouring of love. We’re holding fundraising concerts and other events to help the families of the victims. I have seen blessings of grace where people are turning loss into gratitude.
In this frightening and confusing time, we are all searching for ways to help ourselves and others heal. My niece Erin wrote this poem to help process her grief.
I DO NOT ANYMORE
This morning I sit in my office, as I do most every day, My heart is heavy, thoughts are swirling, I know not what to say.
I cannot help but wonder if I’m safe behind my door, I used to feel safe and secure, but I do not anymore.
Is my daughter safe inside her school as she learns with all her friends? Is my father safe in the restaurant where a client meeting he attends?
Is my mother safe inside the gym as she lifts weights to get strong? Is my brother safe inside the club as he spins records blending songs?
Is my uncle safe in the courthouse as his clients take the stand? Is my cousin safe in the hospital where she holds her patients’ hands?
Is my aunt safe in line at the bank as she waits to cash a check? Is my rabbi safe in our synagogue with a tallit around his neck?
Are my friends safe is any space as they go about their day? Is my community safe as once again we light candles and we pray?
Are teachers safe in classrooms? Are actors safe on stage? Are revelers safe at parties? Or must they fear those with hidden rage?
Is there safety inside stadiums where for our favorite teams we cheer? Is there safety inside shopping malls as we shop for gifts this year?
I hear the word “tragic” yet again, read “senseless” in news feeds. “Thoughts and prayers” are thrown about, as if that’s what we need.
I have no words of wisdom, there’s nothing poignant I can share. I just exist here with a heavy heart and try not to despair.
Anger takes up space in me, tears overflow my eyes, As I think about holding my daughter tonight when out of fear she cries.
I ask the same question I asked last week, and too many times to count, When is enough is enough is enough for change to come about?
But for now, I sit here wondering if I’m safe behind my door, I used to feel safe and secure, I do not anymore.
– Erin Eichberg
This has been a sad and challenging month for our quiet community but with the rain, comes the hope of new life and new beginnings. As we rebuild, I’ll hold this hope in my heart.
“Each morning we are born again. It’s what we do today that matters.” – Buddah
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4