Gates

IMG_1758 (2)

These gates are some of the most imaginative of design I have ever witnessed. True, there are so many diversified examples of ornate and beautiful gates throughout the world that one must stop and give thought about them. Wherever I have traveled-near and far- there are always gates. Some are simple wood frames with initials and some are colossal wrought iron wonders with symbols and elaborate features.

IMG_1760 (2)

This family loves horses and also have several horse sculptures on their property. These gates are their newest addition to horse yard art. Whoever the artist / metal fabricator is, he or she did a fantastic job of creating a very unique and functional gate system. Imagine being invited to their home and pulling up onto their driveway to find these horses facing you ! Dinner is probably as yummy as these gates are beautiful.

I ask myself, “Why gates, anyway? Are they to keep people and critters in or out…or both?” I believe the answer is ‘Both’. But, then I ask myself, what is so important to want to keep something outside the gates or inside the of them? This presumes there is a fence or wall which encloses the property and attaches to the gates.

There are so many obvious answers that the questions seem rather elementary and they are except for one scenario: the Heart. Not the physical organ which pumps blood throughout our bodies and sustains our lives, but the soul of a person which is somehow attached to the mind, as well. Would you agree that we erect walls to protect us from hurt and pain, and emotionally build gates to allow what we want to enter or exit the confines of the precious property within?

So, I think about the gates I have created. I examine whether they are locked or not. I reflect on what I allow to enter or exit. I think about the various stages in my life where I did and didn’t allow or disallow something in or out. And, I think about now. Who or what am I keeping in or out? Is my current defense adequate? Are gates even necessary? What is the cost to my personal well being? Is it time to open the gates to my heart…at least unlock them? Perhaps asking these questions will bring about a new dynamic to my life. I could use a change. How about you?

ILLUSION

Yosemite, etc. 052 (2)

In today’s world of ‘make believe’ we can reconfigure just about any image, video, audio or written word to reveal whatever it is we choose to convey. And these illusions can be quite convincing…like that of a crafted magician.

Take the image above, I can name all sorts of explanations as to what it is: painted abstract art, sunlight on glass fragments, mineral bath, rocks from Mars, etc., etc.. Whatever it is, it seems to be a bit unusual which is what our culture likes to see and hear. Below is the real photograph and explanation.

Yosemite, etc. 052

This is a closeup image of the rocky bottom of the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. Simply breathtaking to witness the water flow over these time-worn rocks with the sun illuminating them through the water. Lots of peaceful energy here…kind of like God’s grace which flows across our lives…at least I hope it does. Whether we take the real or the illusion, there is a choice to be made every day. Not to say which is right for you, but I kind of prefer the natural image. Maybe that is because I was there and saw it and photographed it. However, I find both to be intriguing.  Here’s to reality and creativity !

Morning Swim

 

IMG_1714

 

There is nothing quite like an early morning swim on a late Summer day

Past the Golden Rod and over the water lily up-shoots

And eventually into the clear water

Autumn may be around the proverbial corner, and will be welcomed 

Yet, a good paddle is so refreshing and quite relaxing, too

Makes me wish I were a duck, except during hunting season !

Double Vision

20180909_191146 (2)

I couldn’t let this moment pass without pulling out my cell phone and snapping this photograph. The quality is not so good, but the subject matter is a bit unique. Afternoon sunlight radiating through the glass panes of our double entry doors created this effect.

Double doors with double glass panes, double shafts of light, and double windows are enough to give one double vision !

We recently lime washed our fireplace and the change was dramatic…see below.

20180902_151914 (2).jpg

So, we also have a double image of the same object before and after the alteration. We like the change and would be interested if you do, too.

However, the title of this blog really isn’t about fire places or shafts of light or lime washing. The crux of the matter has to do with how well we see life and adjust to its ever-changing demands placed upon us. I’m fortunate if I can keep up with today’s pace of living as it seems so fast and appears to be getting even more so. Sure, some of this is aging, but mostly it seems to deal with technology and mankind’s affection toward it.

Am I crazy or just having double vision on occasion?  I answer by simply saying, “Yes” !

 

Verdant With A Twist

20130621_180145

Something vibrant and a bit unusual came to mind today…Gooseneck flowers sprouting from their lush, leafy stems. These lovely plants will take over an area of a garden like mint so one must be diligent to keep them in-check. The contrasts in colors, shapes and textures have always caught my eye since I first became introduced to these wonders several years ago. They are a hardy bunch!

To be forthright, I needed a moral boost today, and reveling in these flowers assists in this endeavor. Have you ever caught yourself suddenly feeling really low, but without explanation? Most of us have because this dynamic is not so unusual. What is odd about today is that it is similar to most days and there comes the rub. Today is like yesterday and the thought that tomorrow will be the same is, well, depressing if one doesn’t like today. However, tomorrow doesn’t have to be like today if one looks beyond oneself.

“Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning”.    Psalm 30:5

The Good Life

VACATIONS 545

“The good life-the one that truly satisfies-exists only when we stop wanting a better one.

It is the condition of savoring what is rather than longing for what might be. The itch for things, the lust for more-so brilliantly injected by those who peddle them-is a virus draining our souls of happy contentment.

Satisfaction comes when we step off the escalator of desire and say, ‘ This is enough. What I have will do’. “

Chuck Swindoll (2012 quote)

Powerful words of insight and wisdom. Of course, this appears to apply more to the middle and upper classes of the world’s population, yet the poor are not immune to the pull of longing. In many cases this pull is justified if the daily needs of existence are not being met…and who defines what those are? But, being human can bring out the best and the worst in all of us.

The Italians have a beautiful saying, La Dolce Vita, which captures the good (sweet) life in a much more romantic way. So, to all of us, consider stepping off the escalator for a moment or two and give contentment a chance !

Bruised Reeds

Reed Cat Tail (2)

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out”.        Isaiah 42:3

We, the human race, are all broken (bruised) in one way or another. Sure, we can create facades that vault us into super stardom appeal, but in the end we all face issues that we simply cannot overcome in our own power. Try as we may via manifold self-help strategies, the latest diet and fitness plans, seeking advice from others who may or may not be qualified to give it, and on and on it goes.

Rather than spend your time on all of the reasons as to why we are bruised and broken, I want to state a few simple thoughts which compliment rather than deride this human condition. First, we are beautifully and wonderfully made (Palm 139:14). Period. Whether a model or a paraplegic, a millionaire or a homeless junkie, a child with AIDS or an Olympic star, we are all basically the same once we overlook the obvious differences on the outside.

Secondly, we have a hope which transcends this earthly existence. This hope is called Love and came to us in the form of a man. He set the world upside-down with His teaching and is either praised, loathed or ignored…Jesus is His name. Because He loves us so much He has chosen to not condemn us, but to save us from ourselves. Rather than break the reed or snuff out the candle, He strengthens the stalk and fans the flame to burn brighter. It may not always feel like it, but it’s during the tough times that faith grows and hope is renewed.

So, the next time you see the stalk of any plant think about the bruised reed, about yourself and have faith that both will outlast the storms of life and the foibles of the human heart.