Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Chapter in God’s Book

We started off the New Year my favorite way with Gabby’s birthday being the first order of business.  I think of the years before we had her we often slept through the night not even greeting the new year until we got up the next day…my, how things have changed!  Now I find that I look forward to the New Year more than I used to.  Many get retrospective with the years end but I find myself far more eager to press ahead.  The past is merely a stepping stone to the future!


The future can’t be grasped fully without an understanding of the past.  That being said I’m reminded of the strange dishes I’ve tasted abroad.  Even trying things like the above dish of peanut butter soup and grass cutter rat would seem daunting…I admit it, I was daunted too however in tasting it I found it to be something far more wonderful then I would have dared hope!  Willingness to push your limits is a requirement if you want to see reward come.  I think of a song my mom wrote called “Great Victories”.  That song talks about how you can only have great victories by having a great battle…how true that is!  We had to break a mold to go to Ghana in the first place but because a brave group of ladies led by my mom tried something we had never dared to try before we were so blessed later on.  Because of that 20 years later I stood with my family meeting the son of the man I’ve grown to consider my brother.  Seeing Lovely with Julian filled me with a very real joybecause I felt like I was seeing the future through my camera lens here.  Here were people from two entirely different nations and cultures standing together and facing a bright future togetherand I knew it was speaking of even better things to come. 


We finally had some time to visit a botanical garden in Ghana.  We had to go some distance above Accra to get there.  We stopped at one point and looked down in the valley where the city stood.  It was a good way to try and forget the intense heat.  One thing I love about the tropics is the extraordinary flowers there are .  I’m not expert on plants…for all I know these are in America but surely not in Montana!  Just look at these spear shaped and red edged leaves!  Glorious greens and yellows give me hope in this wintery white world we’re in right now.  Ah yes, I remember what green looks like now!  Surely this is tropical paradise!  Everyone takes pictures of the top of palms but I found there to be a beauty in the roots too!  Ancient trees looked down on the present with a majestic flare.  Just look at the base of this monster tree!  Many of you have shown pictures of your chickens…this African rooster knew who ruled the forest…at least in his mind!  The largest tree trunk had a spiny protection unlike anything I’ve ever seen before..would you care to hug this tree?!?  It’s hard to grasp just how huge these trees were from a picturebut remember we were with a large team of people and this group shot was taken at the base of one of these trees so this may give some perspective. Some trees weren’t just amazing for their height but their width!  This tree was carved from top to bottom!  Orchids were everywhere…this one was unlike any I’ve seen in the pastand this while not an orchid was beautiful none the less!  We have centipedes and maybe millipedes but this one was well over six inches long !  Look a water balloon tree!  Okay, I actually have no idea what kind of tree this is!  Ever seen a cinnamon tree?  Well, now you have!  The bark was so aromatic…even the leaves smelled like cinnamon!  The military landed a helicopter in the garden years ago and the jungle is slowly claiming it for it’s own .  This little beauty peaked out at us as we continued down the path!  There are palms and then there are palms!  These growths in the tree looked like giant pinecones or maybe that’s what I’m used to seeing here in my home state.  Mom’s ankle was bothering her some at this point so as she stopped to restI thought I’d get a closer look at the pinecone type growths…I’ve never seen anything like this!  They were at least 12 inches long!  Soon other flowers grabbed my attention .  If I lived here I’d try to have these in my garden…I wonder if they’d survive my black thumb.  Well, that’s about it for now, Hope this warms the cold wherever you are and remember:  spring really is on the way!


  1. Great reading and beautiful pics! The pic of the food makes me very hungry...;-)

  2. Wonderful photos Joe. Thank you! The flowers are lovely but I do think I would have to be awfully hungry to dig into the rat soup. ;-)

  3. WHAT beauty there is there! Without you, I would not have known, nor would it have occurred to be to wonder. Now I do wonder and enough that I will try to research several of the plants. I love anything in the plant/flower world and it's where I have most of my picture taking ops that I enjoy.
    Now peanut butter and grass cutter rat rat soup..probably I would not have been able to overcome my inhibition. Likely that would be to my deficit as I would not have the experience to add to others. But I'm not surprised that you did. You have the right spirit of heart.

    The blog was a joy to read...but then, it always it.

  4. I love trees and these are so unusual and beautiful. The flowers are very pretty and such beautiful colors.

  5. Wow.. Joe . I loved the trees over there.. The photos of your family are beautiful but the whole place with grass and all looks like heaven to me. The chopper sure made me stop dead and bet it did you too . Happy to see the photo of it. Have more. ?
    I like the roots of the trees and how they are signifcant in so many of the things we do and how we live , ever God mentioned the trees in the bible but then I dont think he left out anything or his team.:)
    God Bless you all in this new year. May it be filled with many of Gods promises for each of you , health and happiness abound also.
    and haver really really made me sick for grass when Im looking at two feet of snow. Ha. :)
    Loved your blog

  6. That is the biggest acorn I have ever seen Joe.
    And beautiful photo of your Mom.

  7. The future God gives is always in the faces and eyes of the children. Seeing the recorded through the lens of a camera should lead us on the path needed.

    As always your pictures are not only beautiful, they show most of us the beauty and sites we will never get to see in person. Thank you for this.

  8. Very interesting blog and pictures, loved looking at all the different trees and plants. Not so keen on looking at the hmm food dish, especially as I am feeling a bit queasy tonight. lol - God Bless and a Very Happy New Year to you all - Nita.

  9. What a lovely new years chapter in here except the rat soup that I'd rather not have LOL!
    though I might need in my house just sake for my diet?

    The Green thing in the rocks,Palms tree I wondering how many years to grow like that?
    The chickens eye on somethigs?
    Everythings new to me thank you for sharing to us.

    It is nice to seen your mum & Gabby in photos I right? I sometime thinking about your mum that how she manage to walks...
    Have a nice weekend,

  10. Joe, I enjoyed reading your blog, and love looking at all your photos of your family and friends. All the different trees, and plants are interesting, and some so Beautiful. I really like the spear shaped leaves on the one plant as it is so unique in appearance.
    I'm like Carole when it comes to the rat dish. Just give me a peanutbutter sandwich instead please. :)
    Your photos look so warm and inviting. Thank you for all you share.
    Blessing, Dianne :)

  11. What a great journey, thanks for taking me along.

  12. Congrats Joe for creating this blog. Its so lovely and memorable of all the great experiences we had in the month you visited.

    These plants and flowers just shows how good God is to His children. Giving us nice trees and flowers so pleasing to the eye.

    God will surely grant us, all that His children need to His glory.

    Be blessed

  13. The trunks of those trees are crazy beautiful.. can you just imagine if those trees could talk.. ? and that pinecone.. I have seen some pretty huge ones.. but that one takes the cake for sure.. I am not to sure about the dishes you have grown accustomed to Joe.. that is still in debate within my mind.. "smile"
    I treasure your writings.. and your thoughts.. gives one hope for the new year.. might as well bring it in with faith and hope.. rather than fear .. and like you say.. God is control.. and its nice to be able to just take a moment and see what HE has in store.. for this new year.. sorta like opening up a present.. never know what is in it.. but its something good..
    raining here.. yep RAINING.. a lot of the snow is now melted.. now if it does not get cold to night we will be ok.. but.. this is Montana we are talking about.. and so far this year.. its theme.. has been ice.. and more ice.. guess we will find out soon..
    soft hugs..

  14. Those tree trunks look like Elephant legs to me. Great Photo's Joe. I don't think I would have eaten the peanut butter and Rat soup I'd run a mile if anyone put that on my dinner table.
    Have a great day.
    Hugs Lady J

  15. I loved this whole thing.. wonderful way to start a new year.. the pictures and narrative is just wonderful..Sorry it took me so long to get here..I miss visiting a lot.. just not enough hours in the day I guess. Thanks for your prayers and support.. I am blessed with your continued friendship!

  16. always a pleasure to read ur travel stories
    The foto with Lovely and the son of.... no words needed.The trees my god Such biggies.
    the cinnamon reminds me of cinnamon island in sri lanka.The smell hmmm its a wild orchid no???
    i think Michiko san will love it She likes orchids.haha ur food....hmmm rat?
    we eat in Dominian rep. years ago
    nothing wrong..if u dont know what u eat haha
    but as u say..
    u have to change ur limits
    tc and Happy birthday for GAbby

  17. I am doing a catch up blog walk today and so glad I had the chance to see this newest blog.
    Oh, Joe, this was a fantastic post and photos! I have to be honest and say no to the soup, though. Yeah, I know, it's all in my head but I'd have to wimp out. But the chilis? Love 'em.
    The carvings on the tree blew me away as did the sheer size of the tree trunks. You could almost make a small home in one of those! Your posts are always the best and it's heard not to write a comment that's a mile long. I think you know I could do that. HA.
    Much love, grace, and blessings to all of you and tell Gabby Happy Birthday! XOXOXO

  18. Wonderful tour through your lens and words, Joe! I really enjoyed it.

  19. Happy New Year Joe, As always your photos of plant life really are beautiful. Funny to come here where you are still blogging on your trip where it is so hot and everyone else is complaining about snow and cold. I know you are experiencing that as well. WE just got a huge dump and now have about 3 feet total. Packing up now to head south for the rest of the winter. I would love to stay here but hubby prefers the desert in the winter months. Wishing you rays of warm sunshine on your area. Hugs Carrie