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I will not be reading or commenting today, so please forgive me.  Yesterday evening, our Josh called us, in tears, to tell us that our beloved Pepper had died.  It came as a complete shock.  He had been doing so well.  We have the wonderful blessing of knowing that his last few weeks were among the happiest and most fun he’d had in a long time.  Pepper was 49 years old.  For a parrot that is not very long.  Pepper has gone too soon.  He has been a part of my life for 49 of my 60 years.  My family has lost a unique friend and companion.  I will be telling you more stories about Pepper, after I have had some time to grieve.  I will get back to a more normal commenting schedule a soon as I can. Thank you for your forbearance.

Our Josh, who had brought Pepper such joy is heartbroken, as we all are.  Please remember him and all our family as we go through this time of sadness.  I am confident that we will soon be able to remember him without tears. 

God sent me a very special gift yesterday.  I believe S/he was preparing me for what was to happen.  I have recently been commenting to friends that we have had almost no butterflies visit our yard this year.  I have been very curious, and wondered why they were not coming.  We had such a profusion of them last year – all over our Butterfly Bushes and other flowering plants.  Hubs and I had some errands to do this afternoon.  I took my camera with me, as usual, and after we had rehearsed with our music director at church for a trio we will be 2/3 of on Sunday morning, Ashley had a couple of things to do in the church office.  I stayed outside and took some photos of the flowers in the Meditation Garden.  It was lovely there and peaceful.

We stopped off on the way home from there at “The Grass Root,” a plant/garden nursery, and a favorite place of ours to visit and purchase plantings to enhance the landscape around our home.  We were there this time to purchase three Winterberry Bushes that will bring color all year long – Lovely green foliage during the spring and summer and into the fall.  It is a deciduous plant, but once its leaves are dropped for winter, the bright red berries remain all winter long, covering the branches.  They are beautiful plants, and we are happy to be able to put them where they will bring us beauty year ’round.  There were a couple of butterflies at the nursery and lots of bumble bees, but no new or different varieties to photograph.

We’ve had lots of Hummingbird Moths, which are always fun to watch, and tons of Skipper Butterflies – of all varieties, but except for the beautiful Summer Azure that I was able to capture on film (with its wings open!) and an occasional sulphur or similar variety of butterfly, that is all we have had.

God knew I would need something to bring me some joy, and to offer me beauty in a day that would turn to sorrow.  I had just begun to finish up on the slide show below when Josh called with the news.  I added a couple of slides at the end of the film in memory of our Pepper.  All I can do now is to grieve, but also to daily thank God, who has blessed us all with beauty, and our family with the privilege and honor of being Pepper’s family.  God is Good, and God’s steadfast Love endures forever.  I know Pepper is just fine.  He and my Mom and Dad are together again, and laughing, laughing, laughing.  I will never forget his laughter. . .

Enjoy the glory of God’s creation.  In every joy, and through each sorrow, for all my life, God has blessed me with the abundance of enough. . .

(If you have HD, the presentation is much better viewed at 1080p. Click on the bottom right of the video screen to change definition selection.)