Our subjects cover: religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.

Loving Nature

To us, a person cannot fully love God unless he or she also loves God's creation:

whether it's expressed in the form of Mary's painting at the top of the page, or in Carol Vito's photo of this winter wonderland,

or through the gentle beauty of this mother and child drinking water,

or the beauty of this spotted touch-me-not,

or through this cat and rat who prove that Isaiah's prophecy of a peaceable kingdom (11:6-9) is a reality,

or through this peaceful encounter with a mouse in a tree.

Comments by Terri Russell (2nd) - 9 Jan 2003

Hello, my name is Terri.  It is nice to know that there are fellow Christians, many more than I realized, that have a heart for all of God's creation. My love affair with creatures began early.  I was totally enamored with frogs, ladybugs but especially turtles.  I couldn't leave them alone.  And I loved playing in the mud, to have the feel of the earth in my hands.

My family was attending church at that time, and a child evangelist was visiting.  With the use of a flannel board she shared the story of Jesus.  I remember her telling of the His journey to the cross.  How He loved each one of us.  How He made it possible for us to become children of God, His Father.  She shared with us His invitation to join His family and invite Him into our hearts.  I walked down the aisle and invited Him to come live in my heart.

I suppose I was sensitive.  Deeply taking to heart what happened around me.  Possibly, even as a child I was on the serious side.  I was never very good at games, and I certainly didn't have a competitive edge.  At the end of recess, one day as we waited in line to return to our classes one of the boys began a chant of sorts.  A game of taunting and name calling.  Others quickly joined in.  I was singled out, the name they called me was not particularly bad.  It was the tone of their voices, the look on their faces, the seeming intent of their game. It seemed to me that the intent of their game was to in some way hurt me.  That is what surprised me.  It dismayed me and it hurt.  So I cried.  My tears only excited their taunts, and set the tone for the rest of my educational experience.  That was the beginning of the first grade.

As a result I turned to the companionship of other creatures.  They were my friends.  I found that animals are often slow to judge and quick to forgive.  I read every book about animals that I could find, fiction and non-fiction.  I colored them, I drew them, I painted them.  I plastered my walls with pictures of all types of creatures wild and domestic.  I thought of them.  I dreamed of them.  My life became intertwined with theirs.  The dogs and cats and various wild creatures were my neighborhood playmates.  God brought them into my life and they were like angels of mercy to me.

It wasn't until the fifth grade that I made my first real human friend.  We had a great deal in common.  Neither of us had been successful in building relationships with the other kids at school.  Both of us had a love for other creatures.  Our friendship and love for other creature continues to this day.

And the past difficulties of my childhood experiences became a foundation for my imagination and creativity.  In time I discovered I had a talent for sculpting.  My hands in the clay, of the earth.  Love at first touch.  Enriched by an awareness of my Creator and His creation.  Of the Potter and the clay.  Of the work of transformation that He is forming in me.  And God's love and pursuit of me became a foundation of healing in my life.  He used my creativity and His creatures to help facilitate His touch and movement in my life.  He turned the ashes of my past into a blessing and formed within my heart a capacity for compassion and love not only for other creatures, but for people as well.

I believe that growing up, and transformation, and walking on a path of healing is a lifelong experience.  Each step brings me nearer to what God is creating me to be.  He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

Your sister in Christ

Terri Russell

Go on to Comments by Erin Oldford - 9 Jan 2003

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