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?

Mediocrity?

Creativity is an odd thing…some possess loads of it while others have it within them, but can’t seem to squeeze it out all that often. In my case, the desire is there, yet the enthusiasm wavers a bit. Hence, not much creativity being published.

I like quotes, quips and prose. I read a lot…not a big deal. What do I gain? The more important question is, “What do I contribute?”.  Oh, I love a wonderful photograph and painting ! Great sculptures also capture my heart.

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I woke up early this morning before the sunrise, but as I saw the illumination upon my dining room wall, I quickly grabbed my Canon and took this image. The sky was changed within seconds. Literally.

Mediocre photograph…which may equate to mediocrity. What do you think ? I wonder ?

I like it because it reflects the ever-changing gift of God’s creation. Please take a moment and study the makeup of the clouds…the odd color and shapes…the background…the tree tops which just emerged from winter’s grasp.

Mediocrity. I am not sure I know the meaning of this word. However, I like this photograph because it reflects a peacefulness about it. I hope you like it, too.

Collateral Damage from a Day of Fun

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Despite the gloomy weather of late as the seasons change from Summer to Winter with little evidence of Autumn, except for the lovely foliage colors, I thought it appropriate to share this photo. Yesterday it was 70 degree F. in the afternoon, and today it was a cool 27 degrees F. this morning. Regardless, I like this image because it is the aftermath of grandchildren playing with some of their toys at our home…they eventually were picked up with their assistance. They have learned responsibility.

These toys are considered rudimentary these days, but they bring back fond memories for me. We try to keep life simple, yet Elliot (4 years) can maneuver through an iPad faster than I can turn it on!

Our lives seem so complicated these days. You may call me a bit old fashioned, but I believe there are just too many activities, too many videos, too many texts, too many tweets, too many meals outside the home, etc.. Families and friends have little time for, well, family and friends.

Funny, as I have aged I have become more introverted, but I value relationships as much-if not more- than when I was younger. Rather a paradox which I don’t quite understand at this stage of life. Perhaps circumstances are to blame, however, it doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is that we don’t take a moment of life for granted. Whether very young, an adolescent, a young adult or full-fledged adult with a family…every day is precious. I’ve been through depression so I know what it’s like to not feel this way, but feelings are deceiving. Even during my worst moments, I knew deep down inside that every day mattered, and vowed to wait for the good moments to reappear. That took quite some time. I still struggle, as do many of you, but I consider myself fortunate.

Be encouraged by God’s word; ” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Sometimes we just need to have faith to get us through the tough times. This doesn’t necessarily mean loads of money or excellent health or even stellar jobs…It simply means to be blessed with His presence of peace which leads to a prosperity of a far better kind. I had to learn to be patient, and I am still learning. Please join me.

 

L A Y E R S

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Sunrise, Lenexa, Kansas, USA, at approximately 7:30 am or 0730 hours, January 31st.

Walked to my car from the health club after a workout and this is what I witnessed.

The actual sunrise was much more outstanding than my photograph, especially as it changed colors and shapes by the second.

After downloading this image to the computer, the layering seemed to magnify itself.

So, I thought about layers. We sometimes hear that certain things are only skin deep. At other times we hear that some things are buried so deep they can’t be found.

The reality is that when it comes to life, most everything that lives has layers: whether it be physical, emotional, mental or anywhere outside these realms. Life is complex.

I would like to limit this post to humans. We are fragile, yet flexible. We are strong, yet weak. Courageous, yet cowardly. Compassionate, yet cruel. Kind, yet mean. We are amazing. We are a mystery.

Like an onion which has a layer of silky skin upon juicy layers of zesty fruit, we can peel away and come to the heart of this vegetable without really understanding its uniqueness. We simply take for granted that is how all onions are and so be it. Like them or not. I venture to say that people are similar to onions in that we possess a complexity of layers.

We are not single cell organisms like some bacteria, but complex in every discernible way. This complexity is patterned after the Creator of the universe. Appreciate the commonness as well as the uniqueness.

If you can relate, I am so tired of the charade that is taking place in our world-especially in America. So many are divided. So many are angry and critical. So many are giving up. And, so many feel lost. This doesn’t even cover the majority of our world who don’t have a clue as to what I just stated-they are simply trying to survive. Can you imagine that…existing each day merely to make it to the next?

So, I return to the topic of layers. Explore the diversity, the uniqueness, the amazing in others, and in yourself. This may take some time as you peel away each layer, but discovery awaits. But, please, do not forget to explore the oneness we all have as human beings created in the image of God. May we all experience, and exercise, more peace and patience each day. The world needs it, you need it, and I definitely need it, as well.

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.                                                                                         

 

 

Rose of Sharon

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Hibiscus syriacus is a deciduous flowering shrub with large blossoms of various colors. These exotic looking shrubs can be found all over the world, and produce flowers from Spring to Autumn. They are a hardy plant and require little to no maintenance.

 Symbolically, in The Song of Solomon, Jesus is referred to as the Rose of Sharon. Sharon was a lush plain in Palestine at that time. The rose is considered by many to be the most perfect of all flowers. Since Christ is the only perfect man to walk upon planet Earth, the use of the rose in describing Him seems fitting. However, rather than Jesus (as the bridegroom) giving His people (the church) roses as a man would offer his beloved, He became the gift as well as the giver through His sacrifice.

 Hence, when I look upon our shrub producing a plethora of blooming roses throughout the warm Summer months, I smile and think of Him. Christ’s love and mercies-which are new every morning-refresh my occasional weary soul and remind me that life is a gift to be enjoyed daily. Just as hope springs eternal with each bloom, so His love endures forever. I hope you experience the Rose, and in doing so find peace and contentment.