About Michael Doran

I have been encouraged and inspired by many throughout my life, and seek to do the same for others. My blogs and photographs reflect who I am and what I am thinking or seeing at the moment I post something. I hope what I share brings pleasure and meaning to others. Thank you for viewing my posts.

Reflective

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I’m a sucker for colorful sunrises and sunsets. The splendor of the Sun’s rays illuminating heaven and earth is quite inspirational…almost a spiritual experience for me.

Watching an Appalachian mountainside come to life or a golden ball drop from view into the ocean is enchanting. Living in the middle of America this geographic area has no mountains or oceans, but we still have magnificent sun rises and sun sets. We are located in an area where warm air bumps into cooler air regularly and clouds often develop. I enjoy clouds as much as the morning and evening light shows.

I recall as a child lying on my back and staring at clouds as they passed by. Usually with a friend or my sisters we would call out to one another the variety of shapes that resembled objects we were familiar with. Often, we would see animals and people’s profiles. Clouds could appear happy or sinister and would change quickly as they moved through the sky. Pure joy.

I recall a time where I was with a group of people and we hiked up to the top of an eleven thousand foot mountain. It was a bright day, but a storm was fast approaching. As the initial wave of clouds began passing over us I recall feeling so small and helpless. We were in an area of the Rockies where there are many Fourteeners. These huge mountain peaks and valleys which surrounded us became even more menacing as the large clouds passed by. Their shadows rolled over the rocky terrain effortlessly. As the wind increased and became much cooler I easily imagined how one could perish atop one of these peaks without proper clothing and shelter. It was intimidating.

The image above captures one of our colorful sun sets. I like taking reflective photographs occasionally and thought it fun to shoot the sky reflecting off my Jeep’s window along with my silhouette. It appears I am shooting myself with the camera. However, I can assure you that my Canon has no bullets, only buttons and dials.

Water Bowl

 

This guy performs the kind act of pouring water from a bowl which gives life to this bird and other wildlife. He stops watering in the winter due to freezing, but he’s back at it when warmer weather returns.

Brawn, bowl and bird would have also been an appropriate title for this sculpture, except the word “water” would not have been included. Water is such a critical element to all that has life so I chose to include it.

Granite muscles and chiseled features delicately embrace the watering bowl that the creator had in mind when he or she sculpted this piece of art. I like the fact that it is not only an art piece placed in a flower garden, but has purpose beyond visual enjoyment. Water flowing from within this rock brings relief to soft creatures on the outside. There is no fear-only satisfaction.

I can easily see the correlation between God and this granite man, and people as the bird. We are welcomed into the garden. We are offered the satisfaction that our greatest needs will be met. And, we are told not to be fearful. It appears the bird understands this dynamic very well. I hope we all do, too.

 

Today I Will Make A Difference

Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful. I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stop lights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters. I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom.

I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It’s okay to stumble…I will get up. It’s okay to fail…I will rise again. Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children and friends.

Today I will make a difference.

Max Lucado

What Goes Up…

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“What goes up must come down.”

This is the opening stanza to the song Spinning Wheel by the American rock group named Blood, Sweat & Tears which was written and performed in 1969. As this song came to mind I casually looked for images to reflect some of the lyrics. I saw this squirrel climb to the top of our Bradbury Pear tree, eat a bit and then scamper down.  Rather amusing since the lyrics really don’t have anything to do with the images, except they represent going up and coming down.

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“Spinning wheel got to go ’round.”

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The next day I passed by this windmill and recalled the second stanza of the song so I stopped, took aim and shot it just as the sun was getting ready to peak above the horizon.

Oh well, I guess it’s okay to do word association, even with photographs and music!

 

 

D A W N

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In less than ten minutes this weather beaten barn went from being in the shadows to being illuminated by the warm rays of the morning sun.

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And, ten minutes before this photo, the barn was in the dark. The lighting doesn’t change the condition of the structure, but it does help us to see it clearly.

That’s what Dawn does-it helps us to see life from a brighter perspective.

And what causes the light? The sun, of course…always on time, always illuminating and exposing what can’t be seen in the darkness.

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The sun creeps up on us like a car at dusk getting ready to top a hill. One can see a glow above the crest of the road, but it is not until the head lights come into view do we see what created that glow. It is at this moment we are illuminated.

In addition to illuminating and exposing, Dawn brightens and enlightens. Has it been awhile since you’ve witnessed a sunrise? If it has, may I suggest that you do so soon. And, if you have seen many Dawns, but don’t give them a second thought, perhaps pause for a moment and simply watch in awe how amazing this daily occurrence really is. Quite possibly you may become enlightened and illuminate someone else’s life. That’s well worth a few minutes of our time, and the benefits can’t be overstated.

Caught in the Light

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Took a walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. Stopped dead in my tracks by this tree.

Always on the lookout for one of nature’s surprises. Almost missed this one.

Split bark cedar tree with shafts of light illuminating her unusual essence of colors, curves and twists, and peeling bark. Even the brush which touched her was beautiful.

Soon the leaves turn from green to brown and will drop away.

Ah, winter causes her to hibernate, but not to die. She is too wild.

Spring will come again, as will new growth and a summer full of foliage.

This cedar lives on for whatever purpose the Creator has ordained.

I count myself fortunate to have seen her in this captivating light.

 

 

 

F I R E !

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Fire is a mesmerizing thing to watch; whether it is controlled or uncontrolled. It can be immensely useful to our survival, yet deadly and highly destructive. The outcome depends equally on man and nature. These photographs are of a controlled brush fire which appears out of control. Knowing who set the wood ablaze, it easily could have become out of control ! Very glad that it didn’t.

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Intense heat. Unbridled fury. Forceful energy. Destructive power. Thoughts of Hell.  However, if I were to include photographs of controlled fire, I would reveal images of super hot furnaces purifying and forging steel; electrical power plants powering the engines to create electricity; Bunsen burners heating chemicals to develop the next cure for a disease or a chemical breakthrough; gas-fired ovens to cook meals; camp fires to survive by during the frigid and deadly cold, and candles to warm the soul.

Rather amazing, isn’t it, that out of one essential element of the earth we can find polar opposites for good and bad. Unfortunately, the bad is where we seem to be headed as a country, and as a world populated by hundreds of countries. Fascinating, yet scary. Realistic and not some fictional story. We all live in a crazy time in the era of mankind. I rather think at moments that the aboriginal in some far-off land, not knowing anything about commerce or industry, etc., may be better off than their sophisticated cousins (the so-called industrialized nations).

I love America. I love Europe and Asia, and South America, Central America, the islands of the Oceans, The Balkans and the Baltic’s, the Middle East and the Far East. All that God created I love, but His creation was originally meant to be peaceful, and it is not. Is it my desire to put out the flame which creates destruction as well as blessings? No. I desire to fan the flame of love and peace and tolerance and freedom. However, I will not fan the flames of intolerance or bigotry, nor the flames of hatred and division. I do believe that those who cherish freedom must protect this sacred right. It’s a complicated world.

I am grateful for fire, as long as it is controlled righteously, as was originally intended.