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.

Four Seasons

Much has been written about the four seasons of our lives and of nature. Hence, even the calendar is based upon the stars and seasons: Autumnal Equinox, Winter Solstice, Vernal Equinox & Summer Solstice. I list these as they come at this time, and since summer is officially over (at least in the northern hemisphere) we enter the season of Autumn or Fall. Our lives correlate to nature’s seasons rather well.

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Actually, all life begins in the spring season when we are conceived, born and we begin our early years of development. I realize that some creatures begin their lives in different seasons, but I am basing my dialog on human beings. At this stage of the cycle of life we are filled with wonderment and often joy. I know, there are so many children whose lives appear to be anything but joyful. However, I have seen children in slums who find joy in the most dire circumstances. They inspire me.

Then comes Summer which welcomes the developing years of one’s life. This season is filled with activity, learning, and blessings. The later part of Summer involves adolescence and the challenges and excitement which accompany this season of life. Funny, how so many of us reflect upon this season most fondly as we grow older. Based on experience, please enjoy, but be careful as risks are often taken without any thought of danger…I am a living example!

Autumn comes next as these are the middle-aged years of one’s life. I now have two grandchildren who “knock my socks off” when I get to spend time with them. This is a joy-filled, and a reflective season, and is usually accompanied by many memories of raising our children. I believe it to be my most favored season …especially because I relate to nature so closely and the change of this season is so dramatic.

Winter follows and we experience the cleansing of new fallen snow and arctic blasts of air which cleanse the mind and spirit. It is also when we realize that this is the last season and we best make the most of it. Family and friends are most important during this time. Far too often we succumb to physical and mental illnesses which cause alarm among all who care. However, we were never promised an eternal life while enveloped in these bodies of flesh and bones.

This photograph was taken a few days ago and reflects nature’s changing personality during the season from Summer to Fall. I captured this image with my cell phone camera and admit it is nothing spectacular. Yet, I like it because it reveals an authentic representation of our reality, and of our seasons. So, whatever season of life you find yourself in, I encourage you to stop and enjoy it. As is so often stated, “Time flies”. There are no do-overs in life, only restarts!

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.

 

Spring

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Soon, we will see the vibrant colors of Spring.

Soon, we will smell the fragrance of lilacs and all other blooming flowers.

Soon, we will feel the texture of lush leaves and delicate petals.

Soon, we will witness bees and butterflies pollinating, and birds propagating.

Soon, we will experience the full wonder of this season.

And, if we keep our eyes, ears and noses open to her transforming beauty, Spring offers treasures we cannot make nor buy, but simply enjoy for free.

Spring also offers her greatest gift…Resurrection.

May our hearts be open to all that is Spring.

 

Double Vision

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When this double vision ends and I see clearly again, will I be any better off and make sense of life? 

When I feel that my existence seems like that of a spectator, will I ever become a participant?

When the cold of winter and loneliness of the holidays overwhelm me, will I cry myself to sleep?

When faith flickers like a dying candle, what will become of me? Will I have mattered to anyone?

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I will be better off, and so will others, once I regain clarity, and I will understand my life’s purpose.

I am already a participant, I just need a little encouragement to help me understand this truth.

I will cry no longer-even though I needed to for a moment-because joy is just around the corner.

I will light another candle-thus keeping my faith-for my life matters very much. It matters to those who love me and to those who are yet to know me; to the lost who need me and to those who have helped me; to the sojourner who has double vision and to the blind who can’t see at all. No more tears, no more despair, and no more loneliness for there is One who loves me just as I am. Prince of Peace come join me now and help me to show others the way. 

 

 

 

Tis’ the Season…a Prayer

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I believe most people, regardless of religious affiliation, want to live in peace. This is preciously why Jesus came to earth. The angels announced when He was born, “Peace on Earth and good will towards men” (women, too). Why there is so much division among various peoples of the earth can be easily explained. Man is inherently selfish and prideful, and wants his own way regardless of who is afflicted or abused. In fact it is those whom Jesus focused on the most-the downtrodden and forsaken.

I sincerely want everyone who reads this post to know that I pass no judgement because of one’s beliefs (or lack of beliefs). And, I am very, very grateful for those who follow my blog and for those who stumble upon it. I find it gratifying to know that even one person finds either what I have to say or the the photographs I take to be of enough importance to stop for a moment and sneak a peak at one of my posts. I certainly enjoy some of my fellow bloggers’ words and pics, and am especially grateful for the regulars who visit me. As always, I welcome your comments. Now, for my prayer.

Please Lord, let there be peace upon the earth, and let it begin with me.                                                                                         

 

 

Where Did The Wonder Go?

I wish I could take credit for the title and idea, but that honor goes to my pastor Nathan Miller who preached a superb message about losing the wonder, the awe about God as we age. For those who are interested, he referenced Mathew 13: 53-58   which is a short excerpt in the Bible where Jesus is preaching in his hometown. All who heard marveled at Jesus’ command of scripture, but they rejected him because he grew up among them and was familiar to them, therefore not accepting his message or ministry. In the end, Jesus said that a prophet is not honored in his home town. Of course, he was much more than a prophet which increased their rejection of the message, and ultimately him. I felt a tinge of remorse as I realized I often regard Christ through too familiar eyes.

Please hang with me as I share some thoughts about life using this theme. As much as this message applied to people’s relationship to God, it also applies to so many other critical aspects about our daily lives. Wonder can be defined as “a feeling of surprise mingled with  admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable“. The photos I will be sharing are of Elliot, my grandson, who is full of wonder. These images are cell phone shots taken impromptu, but I believe they get the point across as you watch Elliot in fullness of wonder. And yes, I don’t mind sharing him with you!

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It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. I know that is harsh and not always the case, but there is a ring of truth to this statement. Familiarity also results in boredom and a withdrawal from what we once cherished. This is probably the most common result and occurs over time. It is seldom intentional. In fact, we don’t usually know we have reached this stage until we are either confronted by someone who remarks about our adjusted position about something or someone, or we have an epiphany of sorts and realize that what used to excite and engage us does so no longer. However, there is hope!

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Wonder is a beautiful thing! Whether we are experiencing something for the fist time or the hundredth, when we capture the essence of what it is that thrills us we become filled with awe and joy. The key in keeping ourselves from falling out of this mindset is rather simple, yet in reality so difficult to maintain.

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To view life through the eyes of a child is one such key to maintaining wonder for the sublime which surrounds us each day. I am not speaking of what some consider to be a foolish Pollyanna who blindly sees life through rose colored glasses. I am speaking of the Pollyanna who believes that good things will happen rather than bad, and remains optimistic even during adversity. To wake up each day with the expectation to simply enjoy each encounter and experience is a good start. Elliot is quite adept at this. I didn’t say perfect, though!

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Ah, but there is a battle raging all around us, as well as inside of us. There are so many enemies which seek to rob us of our joy and the wonder of life which God has so graciously given us. We fight pain and fatigue, money worries and relationship hassles, poor health and fear of death. Negativity and chaos bombards us from every outlet possible: social media, politics, war news, seeing poor sportsmanship, experiencing greed and corruption, and on and on. It seems for every positive there are three negatives. However, that is not reality, but what we are lead to believe is our reality. We must change our perspective and rise above the debris which has caused us to become bored and afraid. Circumstances may not change, but our mind and hearts can.

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We must strive to rid ourselves of cynicism, malice, bigotry, inflated egos, fear, exaggerated regrets, unrealistic expectations, and all that is unhealthy to our souls (it’s not the same for all of us-only you know what stirs your soul). Perspective is borne from hope and appreciation for what is rather than what we want. There is nothing wrong with desiring more or better things in our lives as long as we are balanced in seeking such. Wonder is not easy to maintain because life can be cruel and very hard at times. But, anything worthwhile takes effort. Personally, I want to expend my efforts as Elliot does. I want to train my mind to view each day as a gift just waiting to be opened! Yes, I am an adult and have adult responsibilities which I take seriously, but that shouldn’t prevent me from having the heart of a child. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these“.