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Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth …

John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing that was made.

Job 12:7-9 But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?

Open my eyes, Lord! You have created all things in this world, and You have shared its beauty with us. How blessed we are, if we but see! These thoughts really became crystal clear during our stay at our North Carolina cabin for the past eleven days. The mountains are a wonderful escape for us from the busy SC beach area in which we spend most of our year. Each has its own unique beauty, but much of it goes unnoticed as we navigate this busy world in which we live.

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We have been coming to our NC hideaway for seven years now and appreciate the change from the humidity of the SC coast to the cool temps of the mountains in Allegheny County. In the spring of the year I first noticed an unusual tree with yellow blossoms that produced a green elongated fruit. I asked the locals about it and was told it was a cucumber tree. I assumed that was just their term for the tree and upon meeting a timber man, I asked him the name for the tree. Again I was told “cucumber tree.” Still not satisfied I did a computer search. It is called the cucumber tree but it is from the magnolia family, specifically magnolia acuminata!

Magnolia family? I couldn’t see much similarity and so it puzzled me for a number of years. All was cleared up on this trip. For the first time in seven years, we were blessed by the sight of the ripening fruit, a bright red. In fact, as we came up our mountain, I saw what appeared to be red peppers growing on the trees. Naturally I had to investigate, The “red pepper” turned out to be a pod similar to those that appear on magnolias at home. Now, what was once a puzzle, made sense to me.

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I couldn’t stop thinking about this tree, which neither my husband or I had ever heard of before coming to Allegheny County. We also missed seeing its ripe fruit for seven years. Further investigation led me to some interesting facts: its considered common in the Allegheny Mountain forests and extends into Canada, where it is an endangered species; the bark was dried for medicinal purposes, mostly stomach ailments, but also for sinus problems; and its wood is used for building pallets and such.

I share this information for a purpose, of course. Only God in all His infinite wisdom could have created all living things, each a part of his unique puzzle of life. Only He knows each part, and He created the overall design. The supreme architect, our Father/Creator God, has a specific purpose for each creation. We need to be observant of His world, open to His teachings at all stages of our life, and willing to serve Him for the reason we were created. Thank You, dear Lord, for opening my eyes to a new beauty and opening my mind to pondering further reasons for my own existence.