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.

Monochromatic by Nature

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Well, almost monochromatic, but close. “Where have all the people gone?”  So goes the 1970’s song sung by Joni Mitchell. It is a question that had serious implications (given all of the issues at stake in America and the unrest at that juncture of time).

I looked out my sliding glass door after a light snow, and this is what I found. It was peaceful, and oh, so white. However, as often comes to mind are partial lyrics of days gone by…this happens quite often.

So, I study the Adirondack chairs. And, I study them a bit longer. I wonder where have I gone? What has happened to my life? I feel uncomfortable. But, to not question is an affront to introspection and character. Somehow, I must determine the reasons as to why I feel this way.

Can anyone relate? Lots of questions. So few answers in and of myself. There is One who has all the answers. As I study scripture, I am drawn to conclude, as did James, the brother of Jesus, that “Life is but a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes away”. If that is true then who am I to go through life without considering what is next?

I often look to the future, but of almost equal importance, I look at here and now. I wish I could change many of my past behaviors and consequences, but I cannot. Nor can anyone else. Regrets? Yes. Defeat? No. Healing? Yes, but it takes time. May we all be patient. Don’t forget the power of hope. And, dream in color !

 

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Standing Out from the Crowd!

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Canadian geese are a funny lot. They have taken over the Midwest and are found everywhere. Many don’t fly south for the winter as they all used to do. They waddle around haphazardly and stop traffic constantly. They poop everywhere and have become quite the nuisance. Yet something about them intrigues me…perhaps it’s their adaptability.

One source said it is a Canadian attempt to take over America, one goose at a time. At the rate they are increasing, and are on the protected species list, he may be right ! In the meantime one bird seems to be having a difficult time knowing which way is up. Some say he is fishing, but I don’t believe it. Perhaps he was one too many eggs in the nest.

Nah, he is fishing…they all do it !

Dog Tired

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Did 2019 seem like a blur? So much going on constantly…some of our time was productive, some unproductive and some dysfunctional.

Actually, a lot of dysfunction and chaos which can make for a very stressful life. And, stress can be simply exhausting. Dog tired exhausting , in fact.

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Ever felt like these guys? Of course, we all have. Too tired to press on, to seize the day, to conquer that which must be conquered? 

I offer a snippet of advice for the coming year ahead. Learn from these guys and take a break when you’re worn down and out. Make the time to be still…to meditate and to sleep. Work will always be waiting so no worries there. The cell phone can be turned off. Friends and family can be ignored temporally. Peaceful rest is what is so often needed in our hectic world. I dare you to be dog tired on a regular basis and just flop down and rest. You will be glad you did, and so will others. May 2020 be a wonderful year!

Peace

Upside Down

 

Ever feel like your world has turned upside down…for a day. Perhaps longer? Lots longer?

Most, if not all of us have, and it can be quite disconcerting. Confusing, in fact.

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So, what to do about it? How can we turn our topsy-turvy world right side up again?

There are many answers which can be inserted for guidance, but I’ll use these for now.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (and) “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In other words, take the focus off of self and place it where it was meant to be in the beginning. We may be surprised as what follows!

Liberty Memorial

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This 217 foot tall memorial and adjacent structures were completed in 1926. It was dedicated after the conclusion of WW I and is considered the American national memorial to the Great War.

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It stands on a hill across from Kansas City’s Union Rail Station. Generals and presidents from across the globe attended the commemoration ceremony along with over 100,000 local residents and visitors. This monument was refurbished and reinforced between 2000 and 2002. A world class museum was added underneath.

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There are four protectors of peace which depict guardian spirits that watch over the memorial as designed and carved by Robert Aitken: honor, courage, patriotism and sacrifice. When created and for many years thereafter, there was a plume of illuminated steam which bellowed out of the top. This was quite dramatic to view from miles away and appeared to be flames of gas.

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The next image is a sideways upper view just to reveal how tall 66 meters is when standing at its base. An elevator takes viewers to the top external walkway. I love the architectural lines and curves of the cylinder.

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There are two concrete sphinxes which represent memory and future…hoping that this will be the last great war. The “future” sphinx faces west away from Europe and towards the future while “memory” shrouds her face from the past. Such is the symbolism as we are told.

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Winter Winds

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The late November wind blew through my yard like a hurricane blitzes through a tropical region. No stopping it nor slowing it down. They both blow ‘till they run themselves out of energy.

In the meantime, I must steady myself as I tend to yard work in preparation for Winter’s fury…more wind plus freezing temps. How I hate that combination. I like snow. I don’t mind the cold but put the wind behind them and I absolutely can’t tolerate that duo of freezing temps and wind.

Some folk never experience what I just described while others live it much of the year. The later either like it, adapt to it or simply don’t know anything else but the Winter Winds. How they endure it I really don’t know. Yet, many thrive regardless of the harsh conditions.

I suppose those fine people in the rain forest don’t mind the sweltering heat and humidity along with the insects and snakes and predators. Adaptation seems to be the order of survival regardless of the circumstances. Besides, what else do they know?

Fast forward to areas with urban, suburban and country settings. Each assemblage have their own survival skills. Most of these skills are taught or simply learned by trial and error to stay alive. They are not so far apart from the Amazonian and the Arctic peoples of Planet Earth. They just live within a different set of circumstances. A bit more moderate, perhaps.

Along with geographical differences come traditional differences, as well. What may seem odd to one group of folks is normal to another and vice versa. Diversity among the human race is one of God’s crowning achievements, similar to the animal kingdom. Yet, ignorance often breeds contempt and misunderstanding which is sad. Rather than go off on a tangent about the negatives, I choose to celebrate the glorious and positive variety among God’s creatures. I’m so glad these differences exist…it would be rather boring if they didn’t.

For those in the parts of our world where the sun doesn’t shine so much, bundle up, as this winter seems to be starting off on the colder side of the thermometer. Cheers!

Time to Wake Up

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Wake up ! Not just to sunrises, but to the injustices and corruption taking place in DC and other governments. To the violence and poverty in Chile, Haiti, Brazil and beyond. To the ravages of war all across the globe. The abuse of the elderly, the weak and the little ones. Global warming (regardless of the causes). The loss of human rights in many countries and cities. Greed which knows no boundaries. Poverty.

Also, wake up to the many wonderful people and acts of kindness and generosity taking place throughout the world. People ignoring old prejudices and bringing about harmony. Pulling someone out from the gutter. Speaking up for shared and well-grounded values. Loving one another regardless of differences. Honoring God. Putting others before self.

We must be aware of what is going on around us and become agents for change. We can all make a positive difference. Watch another sunshine and wake up to another day full of opportunities. Certainly challenges await, but as Winston Churchill stated, “Never, ever give up”. Defeat is not inevitable. Victories in so many areas will and are being won.

Bless as you have been blessed. I certainly have been. I seek forgiveness for not doing more, but I still have more life to live to make amends. Pressing on.

Pain

cell 2-26-15 007 Ever hurt so badly that even the pain of hurting someone you love more than life itself, and which pain was caused by self, becomes a numbing sensation?                                                                          Like the chiseled wooden man on the bench, he feels nothing…or so it appears. Man knows pain, and fear, sorrow and regret. Does this sculpture feel any of those emotions?                                                                                  It appears not, but at some point in time someone put the ax to him, and then the chisel. What was once a tree now sits a man. Was the metamorphosis painful? Only the wooded man knows.                                                                             I  know the numbness of my pain as I have chiseled away at the lives of others. Maybe you know this pain, too. One thing I have learned in life is this: tears come in the night, but rejoicing returns in the morning. I long for morning because some nights last a long time.