TORN

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All week we have had Monarchs gathering nectar in preparation for their long flight to Mexico. I can’t fathom that such a small creature as a butterfly can fly up to 3,000 miles (4,800 KM) from Canada to Mexico to escape winter temperatures. From my home the distance is about half of that.

This Monarch has a torn wing…damaged goods is what some would call him; not much good for anything now that he is broken. Typically a tear such as this would keep the insect from flying, but he seems to do just fine. I hope he makes it safely. Butterflies can’t self-repair torn wings like a lizard can grow a new tail, but I read where some people actually do this for them!

I realized many years ago that all (not most) humans have some form of tear or tears. Sometimes these tears are physical and quite obvious, but for most they are hidden from others or they are revealed through words and actions at specific moments. With all of the self-help books published, it is clear that people are striving to repair their brokenness. We may have some success, but we will never completely heal without the aid of our God.

So, the next time you look in a mirror, stop long enough to acknowledge your torn body or ego or mind…maybe even a crushed spirit. Upon doing so resolve to accept what can’t be changed and seek help with what can. I’ve looked into a mirror enough times to know that I need assistance quite regularly. I also know that I, and you, are wonderfully made creatures in God’s image. So, be hopeful and joyful. And, please look above for the ultimate healing.

Sunset Thoughts

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I glanced out our west kitchen window and caught a glimpse of the setting sun.

I hurriedly went for my camera and stepped outside for a few shots.

Don’t know why this was so important as I have a thousand photographs of sun rises and sun sets.

I snapped the sun from various angles and positions, but post only two images. It doesn’t really matter anyway. The sun shines and sets as directed by the Creator so where I stand to take a photograph really makes no difference. Nor does taking a photograph.

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However, a photographer, like a painter or writer, envisions that perfect image he or she has in the mind. It is an intuitive thing, I believe.

These photos are nothing extraordinary, but possesses a part of me. I was compelled to take it for no other reason than to bring myself a bit of satisfaction.

I share them to encourage you…to make an impulsive leap towards something which brings you joy and fulfillment…even for a moment or two.

I’ve been ‘down in the dumps’ lately and needed a bit of inspiration. Without a job and striving to start a new career as an independent business, I feel a sense of fear and self-doubt. Yet, deep down inside, I know I can make this adventure work to my (and other’s) benefit.

Every photograph, and every typed or written word helps.

I am blessed.

 

Last Hurrah

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Sometimes photographs don’t need much, if any, commentary. I am fortunate that I follow many talented photographers who provide excellent images and equally titillating commentary. I don’t know if this image even comes close, but I like it (if that counts).

These blossoms may be this year’s last salute to a pleasant summer for us in the Midwestern United States. These Geraniums have bloomed several times, but I think this will be their last until Spring. Hence, the hurrah!

I think sometimes we, as people, reflect the natural environment around us…or could it be the other way around? Either way, I pray Texans will see such beauty again and soon after the flood waters recede.

Horse Power

I have been a high performance kind of guy (gearhead for short) since I was old enough to understand speed and cars. I came of age during the Muscle Car Era, and weekly racing was as common as going out to grab a soda or beer (underaged at that time). I owned several muscle cars including a ’67 mustang, ’69 Mopar Superbee with six-pack carbs, and a ’70 Roadrunner with dual quad carbs. I didn’t have the bucks to really add more horsepower as many of my friends did, but it was still a blast and good memories. I set no records, but had a lot of thrills.

Below you will see two images: one of a magnificent horse in the early morning sunlight on a cold day (one of my favorite images) and a combination of that same horse with a diesel-electric locomotive pulling a southwest bound load of coal cars to some power plant.

I love horses for their majestic beauty, sheer strength and independence. I love fast cars with their mind-boggling horsepower as that of a dragster or funny car with almost 8,000 horsepower! Try zero to 300 mph at less than 4 seconds in a quarter mile and you will begin to understand these rockets on wheels.

However, without the horse, how could man develop a symbol for power! Besides, the horse is a God-given creation whereas a machine is a God-given adaptation of the original design. Both are important, but my money is on the original.

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Dual horsepower with the original in the fore-ground. Isn’t he wonderful…the horse)?

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BTW, I was a locomotive engineer for several years!

Legacy

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There is no getting around the fact that each day we grow older. There are zero exceptions although many try to defy this reality by behaving and dressing and looking younger than they really are. As children, we don’t give aging a second thought because it is inconceivable. By the time we hit adolescence we think we are invincible and still don’t give aging any thought, except to acquire a driver’s license. As young adults and married couples, we are so busy with life’s demands that we don’t dwell on growing old. When we become middle aged, we are supposedly at the peak of our earning potential and enjoying life so we shrug off aging. It’s not until we begin to take care of our parents that the reality of mortality really hits home. Besides, there are more aches and pains than in the past.

Growing old is not a bad thing, at least if one is reasonably healthy and has his or her basic needs met. In fact, some of the youngest people I know are in their seventies and eighties! They don’t think old, but are wise and intelligent. They enjoy life and  others. They help those who really need help. They become role models to their grandchildren and others who respect them.

This old farmstead has aged. It served those well who built it and utilized its resources. Over time, I believe the owners and family adapted as well as they could due to the changing culture. But, at some point, the usefulness hit a dead end. The barn with silo and pastures outlived their purpose and fell into disarray. It troubles me to witness such neglect, but the owner’s story could be a difficult one and there may not have been the resources or need to keep up this place. It’s possible the original owners were honorable and hard working people, respected by all. As a side note, I like old barns. For me there is something magical about them, and I enjoy photographing them, as well. Rather a paradox…disliking the neglect, but enjoying the result.

While visiting my dentist the other day he shared with me about his changing life. One daughter just got married. One daughter finished school and works for him as a hygienist. The last daughter will be attending college next year. He then mentioned that at this point in his life he has began thinking about his legacy. I understood what he meant, but I couldn’t really relate. Many people focus on their legacy with respect to their posterity and position in society. There certainly is nothing wrong with doing so, it’s just that I never have. Whatever I am and do (and have done) will speak for itself after I am gone. I simply hope the positives outweigh the negatives and I have blessed others along the way.

 

Almost Anywhere ?

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Two young boys riding their bicycles along the boardwalk of a small town at sunset. Such a peaceful image…and it was. Everything about this scene translated to tranquility as Cheryl and I ate dinner along this beautiful coastline. These little guys were an added bonus as they were undoubtedly riding to meet their mother nearby to go home. No fear of anything which is how life should be, especially at their age-even though this locale is a tourist destination.

I wish all places throughout our world were like this; peaceful and serene. However, such is not the case. I am grateful we found this secluded refuge. I only wish millions of so many unfortunate children could experience this same dynamic.

Cherish the simple blessings in life…that’s what I tell myself. And, I do.

No Hand Out

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A month ago I voluntarily had surgery on my right hand; more specifically on my thumb. I had a condition where I over used my thumb by gripping things and squeezing things very hard and often over the course of many years. The pain started about ten years ago, but gradually became worse to the point where I could barely hold a pen or pencil and write legibly.  Grabbing a glass became painful and squeezing the handle on a hose sprayer impossible to do. I tried on multiple occasions steroid shots and for a while they helped, but eventually didn’t. The base of my thumb which adjoins my hand bone had no cartilage (cushion) between them which created the pain plus the ligaments were badly worn out. The only alternative was surgery or not use my right hand which is my predominate hand for just about everything. I can’t really tell by this photograph of my x-ray where the exact problem lies, but the surgeon knew, thankfully!

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Both images were taken before surgery. I am healing know, but the doctor says it may take up to six months to feel normal again, and up to a year to be 100%. Immediately after the surgery the pain was intense, but it diminishes as each day passes.

I share all of this not because I want you to feel sorry for me…far be it. I am very grateful that medical science can correct such a defect (my hope anyway). My overall purpose for this post is to share with you an insight I had since I the operation.

It seems to me that often to correct a problem, we have to make the decision to inflict a certain amount of pain or discomfort. Far too many of us are too comfortable to do just that. I was. Look at the world scene today…what a mess we are in. America alone has multiple serious issues we have tried to correct over decades, but haven’t. I realize this is a vague statement. However, the rest of the world seems to have little hope of correcting the problems of disease, malnutrition, slavery, adolescent sex trade, gross injustices, hatred, poverty, religious and ethnic persecution, economic crisis and so on.

At some point, we, as a human race must join together to correct all that is wrong in our world. I believe God will eventually do so, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if for a moment we could all agree on something of benefit for humankind? I chose to have this surgery out of necessity. It seems to me that there are far more important necessities awaiting us to correct. I pray that we would all work toward the solution to these great issues that affect us today rather than continuing to be part of the problem. Idealistic? Yes. Hopeful? Yes. However, won’t you join me anyway…even if it is a bit painful at first?