Sunday, March 26, 2017

Autumn Changes

Self-Reliance Corner - The Spiritual Principle of Obedience

The third principle of self-reliance is obedience to God's laws.  Since one of the objectives of self-reliance is to become more like God, this only makes sense.  We are taught in the Doctrine & Covenants (Section 130:20-21) that "There is a law...upon which all blessings are predicated.  And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated".

Some of God's characteristics are that he is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful) and full of charity towards his children.  Likewise, if we wish to increase our knowledge of both temporal and spiritual matters, to become more capable in meeting the challenges of life, and more loving towards our family and friends, then we must live (i.e., be obedient to) those gospel principles that will allow us to develop in those ways.

For example, we can study, ponder and pray as we learn, that we may gain understanding and discern the truth of all things, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  As Solomon prayed to God, so let us also pray: "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this thy people, that is so great" (2 Chronicles 1:10).  And let us avoid, as Paul admonishes (2 Timothy 3:7) the pitfalls of those who are "...Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth".

Thomas S. Monson
Our modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, said: "The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord's commandments.  I quote again the words of the Lord: 'He that keepeth (God's) commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things' (D&C 93:28)".

In our last post, we talked about the multi-generational nature of self-reliance and the importance of instilling a culture of learning and education in our children and grand-children.  Our children, by applying the principles discussed above, have progressed in their education so that they are able to support their families and help other people.  We think that their great-grandparents, who initiated this change in family culture 100 years ago now, would be pleased to see the fruits of their efforts.

Enjoying Nature

You have no doubt noticed by now that we love to walk in the various parks around Melbourne and enjoy the birds and other fauna that we encounter.  Several weeks ago, we saw two young men traveling down the Yarra River, who had taken this appreciation to a higher level.

They stopped to say hello and to tell us about sighting a migrating bird that we hadn't seen for a few weeks.  They clearly were set to enjoy their surroundings and their time together.

Note that these adventurers are careful to stay on the river.  People do not camp under the eucalyptus trees here because they are prone to dropping large branches in any kind of wind or during a period of dry weather.

So far, we have not had a "near miss" with a tree branch, although almost as dangerous are stray golf balls hit from the numerous courses along the Yarra River!

We are entering the fall of the year, which means some rain and slightly cooler temperatures (mid-20s as opposed to mid-30s).  The fields have turned an emerald green.  With the backdrop of rain in the distance and sun behind us, we took this beautiful photo a couple of days ago.

Double Rainbow over Cricket Green

We took a trip up into the Dandenong Mountains a week ago, to one of our favourite hiking spots called "Grant's Picnic Grounds" (actually a large forest reserve).  The beauty of the surroundings, with the tall eucalyptus trees and the "tree-ferns", is very calming to the soul.  Although we still look out for snakes, it is relaxing to walk through a forest with essentially no predators (the closest being kangaroos, which generally do not bother people, and foxes, which are very shy and rarely seen).

Tree-Fern (trunks typically 2 to 5 m high)

Old Growth Eucalyptus (rising to over 30 m high)


It is the time of year for birds to migrate and we are seeing a number of visitors to our favourite local pond (Banyule Swamp).  The first (below) is actually a resident, but we are seeing many more at this time and year and love his fall colours.

Chestnut Teal

Playing Hide & Seek with a Juvenile Nankeen Night Heron

Yellow-Billed Spoonbill Arguing with
Eastern Great Egret over Landing Rights

This last photo is of another resident, but he was so colourful, sitting on this small bush covered in seeds, and with the background grass, that we just had to include him.  This is probably the brightest colouring we have seen all summer; the young birds start out with a dull and patchy colour and then grown into their adult plumage as the summer progresses.

Eastern Rosella

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