Patches of Tangerine

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Have you ever come across a brilliant sky and simply admired the magnificence of it?

Fleeting is the word, and opportunistic is the vehicle to capture such a sight before it changes into a totally different canvas.

As I drove into town this morning, this is what I saw. I had my camera with me in the Jeep so I pulled it over and took a few shots. By the time I made it to my destination the sun had peeked out and the sky looked foreign from only ten minutes before.

Certainly I have taken more dramatic photos of the sky, as have many of you, but this one just appealed to me a lot. The soft streaks of tangerine colored clouds against a faint blue background and the dark side of a large tree line made it irresistible.

Life is rather like the sky…ever changing. Sometimes it is brilliant and at other times it is gloomy. Often it is simply dull. The good news is that, like the sky, our lives do change on a regular basis. I hope your lives illuminate the world as this sunrise did for these clouds!

Slow Burn

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Fire is such an amazing thing to watch…it is almost mesmerizing. The way flames dance and embers burn red hot is exciting to view. The heat generated from fire warms the body while the light illuminates the darkness. Even the crackling of moist wood has a surreal effect upon the soul.

I entitled this post “Slow Burn” for a reason.

Too often we run to conclusions, race to say things we will regret, boil over with anger over big or little matters, become defensive when we take words said innocently but deemed hurtful, react to situations negatively without thinking things through, succumb to bad peer pressure, seek revenge over trivial stuff, and the list goes on and on.

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The “Slow Burn” is just the opposite when it comes to how we react to life’s situations. I’ll be the first to admit that life can dish out a lot of painful garbage. I will also admit that watching a lazy fire burn is soothing to the soul.

It calms the nerves. It makes us forget, at least momentarily, that life isn’t so bad after-all. Relaxation sets in and the cares of this life just burn away with each flicker of flame. The warmth produced burrows deep within and holds us fast to what is good and right. Fires can rage, but eventually they diminish and extinguish. Our lives are like that, too.

Wouldn’t we rather live in the state in between where the fire burns slow and the embers are hot? Where blame has no room and guilt has long melted away? Revenge is dropped and egos fall apart among the glow? That is how I want to live. And, you?

Worn Out Shoes

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I knew a man, Bojangles, and he danced for you, in worn out shoes

Silver hair, a ragged shirt and baggy pants, the ‘old soft shoe’

He jumped so high, jumped so high, then he’d lightly touch down

I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was, down and out

He looked to me to be the ‘eyes of age’ as he spoke right out

He talked of life, he talked of life, he laughed and clicked his heels…

 

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1970)

 

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!

In The Palm of Your Hand

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If I could have the world and all it owns

A thousand kingdoms, a thousand thrones

If all the earth were mine to hold

With wealth my only goal

 

I’d spend my gold on selfish things

Without the love that Your life brings

Just a little bit more is all I’d need

Till life was torn from me

 

I’d rather be in the palm of Your hand

Though rich or poor I may be

Faith can see right through the circumstance

Sees the forest in spite of the trees

Your grace provides for me

 

If I should walk the streets, no place to sleep

No faith in promises You keep

I’d have no way to buy my bread

With a bottle for my bed

 

But if I trust in the One who died for me

Who shed His blood to set me free

If I live my life to trust in You

Your grace will see me through

 

I’d rather be in the palm of Your hand

Though rich or poor I may be

Faith can see through the circumstance

Sees the forest in spite of the trees

 

 

Sung beautifully by Alison Kraus

Music and lyrics by Ron Block

Photograph of Cheryl, Elliot & Carson

Inspiration from above

 

 

 

 

Verdant

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Spring is such a vivacious season with verdant grasslands and forests. Along with this season of hope comes the longing to explore, to go outside and seek beyond what we think we know to be there. Or, we simply become invigorated with what we are familiar with, but only witness quarterly. This is true if we live in a climate where there are four seasons.For the longest time I have considered Autumn to be my favorite season, but when Spring arrives I fall in love with her energy, colors and aromas. Can we have more than one favorite season?

Depending on where one lives, Summer may be all we know such as in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. On the other hand, if one lived in the southern Chilean Andes, all we would know are the wonders of winter-like conditions supplemented with a short period of semi-warmth. Or, consider the vast Sahara desert with thousands of square miles of sand. In these areas of the world, seasons aren’t considered quite the same.

However, the world I know enjoys multiple seasons, and each season has it’s own appeal, as does each geographic profile; be it desert or arctic landscape, mountain or rain forest, plain or rolling hills. They all teem with stimulating life and beauty. The key is in the seeking to discover, for it is only then do we really notice what God has given us via his creation. I haven’t even mentioned the oceans or the skies!

My wish is that this season…this month…this day, may reveal something new and remarkable to you. As you walk the pathway of this season of your life, be encouraged, for there is beauty even among the dreariest of circumstances and environments. Seek.

 

 

Dreaming of Summer

The absence of zinnias, monarchs, and vibrant greens make me long for summer. So, I decided to reveal some color to offset the dull hues of winter’s landscape. Not that winter can’t be beautiful, especially in the mountains, but here we have had little snow or color-just drab days and cold nights. Here are a few images taken last summer in our flower garden. There are so many more to reveal, but less is usually best. Think warm!
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