Saturday, February 28, 2009
We were up at 5:30 this morning to get ready for Eric's 10K Cowtown run at 7:30. The wind and temperature were brutal. Around freezing with a wind chill in the 20's. And he does this ON PURPOSE!??? There were several races from which to choose, and I was surprised at how many people showed up to participate. We think Eric's time was 53:43. Good job!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders...
let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith...
Friday, February 27, 2009
I have been privileged in the last couple of years to be able to spend some time in my friend's back yard strolling through the mesquite trees right before Easter. I was able to do that again this past week. The walk alone looking at the thorns afforded me great compassion for the Lord as I contemplated the events before the crucifixion.
The crown of thorns was in itself a humiliation. A notice was prepared and fastened to the cross proclaiming JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Chief Jewish priests protested it and shouted for him to be taken away and crucified. They had proclaimed to Pilate that they had no king but Caesar.
Imagining such thorns crushed into his head is startling enough, but when mocking, flogging and crucifixion are added to the the accounts of his suffering, it is almost unbearable to ponder the depth of torture to which Jesus submitted, unto death, for each one of us.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
Jn. 19:1-3 NIV
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull. Here they crucified him, and with him two others~~one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Jn. 19:17-18 NIV
Can you imagine a world without birds? This cardinal in my friend's back yard was quite accommodating. He would strike beautiful poses as he sang to me.
God blesses me so abundantly in what He lets me capture through the lens of my camera.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of the birds is come...
Song of Solomon 2:12 KJV
Last night's sky did not produce great range of color, but the form was astounding. The clouds almost seemed like an old man's face blowing steam and light out of his mouth and nose.
In the heavens
he has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom
coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion
rejoicing to run his course.
Ps. 19:4-5 NIV
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth...
He makes clouds rise from the end
of the earth...
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I met this fellow across the fence this morning. Had me giggling...I felt a kindred spirit with his unruly morning mane. My hair can have patches upon rising that will only behave with washing it and starting over. No product is strong enough to tame it. I have considered hammer and nails or tape. Forgive me the patch of pride that keeps me from posting such a picture of myself!
Hope this made you giggle...
A cheerful heart is good medicine...
Prov. 17:22a NIV
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This magnolia tree was naked except for these gigantic blooms. Without a leaf in sight the light streamed through them to show the network of life in each petal. No doubt spring is around the corner when these lovely flowers appear, each expressing her dance in the gracious and artful blending of angles, hues, and aromas as she unfolds and reveals her beauty.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me
with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe
as a bridegroom adorns
his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself
with her jewels.
For as the soil makes
the sprout come up
and a garden causes
seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord
will make righteousness
and praise spring up
before all nations.
Monday, February 23, 2009
My friend asked me over the weekend what was going on with me that I needed to go out to take pictures. I think it was about being in the midst of all the busyness and city energy, backed up highways, and frenzy of the madding crowd. I have the need as an introvert to get away by myself to get restored and energized.
These pansy faces were all so beautiful that I could spend some time looking at them and know the hunger to see the face of Jesus had been sated. His creation shouts his glory and reflects his love for us. The evidence is everywhere...even in the wonder of a beautiful pansy's face.
~~~~~Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
I nearly walked by this flower in the gardens because of all the bright ones screaming for attention all around it. I backed up a few steps, realizing what had caught my attention was a light green bloom and the way the light was coming through it. I was amazed as I stared into its face how stunningly beautiful it was.
My heart was pierced as I searched for its name...Lenten Rose. I imagine it was so named partly because of the time of year it appears. But I also found meaning in that it was not particularly showy or didn't seem so impressive to even be noticed by its outer beauty. But spending time looking at it shook me to my core. Its light, fragility, humility, all correlated so strongly to the Christ.
Scripture tells us the Son of God was born into meek and humble circumstances. Also, Jesus was quite common looking; perhaps by the world's standards not good-looking. But spending time with him and being able to gaze into his face, see his heart, touch his hem...what could be more beauty-full?
The words preceding and including the Philippian Hymn:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death~~even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phil. 2:1-11 NIV
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I found myself being drawn repeatedly in the gardens on Friday to ruffles. There were ruffled daffodils, ornamental cabbages, jonquils, and brilliant poppies at every turn. I am definitely a girly-girl, and am drawn to things with ruffles. I like ruffled blouses, ruffled skirt bottoms, ruffled baby pants, ruffled edges on table dressings, ruffled potato chips; just to name a few.
I DO NOT like ruffles in my plans, my retirement fund, my health, unexpected weather, and such other depressing world attitudes and circumstances out of my control. Aha! There lies the rub about being ruffled by circumstances. There are things I can't do anything about, and things I can and need to do something about.
Someone once suggested a helpful interpretation of the Serenity Prayer, which I have added to in my own words:
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change (such as many circumstances, the weather, other people, world wars and financial crises, ad infinitum.)
Courage to change the things I can (with God's help!!!)(such as my attitude, the plans etched in stone, my focus from external ups and downs back to internal hope, responsible choices in things I eat and buy and watch, worrying and being negative.)
Wisdom to know the difference (that comes to me via a vital relationship with the triune God who works in me hope and faith so that I am not swept away by circumstances that cause me to lose my peace and joy.)
When I get invitations to worry, my life verses have been:
... all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.
Acknowledge him in all ways and He will direct your path.
I had quite a time with the birds in the garden yesterday. They were busy gathering seeds and singing songs. It was a delightful game getting a little closer and catching each of these in a photograph.
In particular, I noted the song of a cardinal near to me. They can be quite elusive, so I peeled my eyes to any dot of red amongst the bare branches. Then I caught a glimpse of him tucked almost entirely behind a large branch high above me. Soon, I heard his song again, sounding to me clearly like, "I am a pretty bird!" He flew to a spot more observable by me, and repeated the proud flirtation. I sang back to him the same notes. He puffed up his proud self, fluttered his wings, and repeated the chorus. At this point I was entirely captivated by his courting antics. I didn't much care if somebody came by hearing me sing a love song to the cardinal, unless they scared him away! They could think me foolish, but I was in a wonderful place of being able to sing a spring duet with a beautiful partner. I raised the camera slowly to my eye, sang to him of his beauty, and got him just as he puffed up.
Isn't it wonderful that God gave us languages, but also the creative idea of putting words into rhythms and tones to make songs! Those God-given vocal instruments help us praise, grieve, celebrate, meditate, play, be more fully human and more expressive in loving one another and God.
Some of God's suggestions:
Sing unto the Lord as long as you live...
Sing and give praise...
Sing among the branches...
Sing with the Spirit...
Sing with understanding...
Sing, O Heavens!
Trees of the wood, sing out!
SING FOR JOY!
Friday, February 20, 2009
I went in search of flowers today, especially those coming up from bulbs. I found a bed of beautiful hyacinth with some babies just up. I had been inspired by a photo a friend sent me yesterday. Thanks, Melissa!
A toddler and her father and I sat and watched the bees swarm over the deeply hued heads. The aroma was almost intoxicating, and I finally had to go as I almost felt dizzy. The bees were attracted to the deep purple more than the white and pink.
It was nice to see families out with strollers enjoying the gardens together today. People made conversation with each other as they passed, giving the other 'don't miss' hints for what was on down the path. I think it was just what I needed...a little sun, some baby blooms, and friendly strangers.
As the garden beds are beautifully clothed, clothe yourself with Christ....
~~~there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all ONE (emphasis mine) in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.~~~Gal. 3:28-29
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I have been craving a time and place to go take pictures. In the sprawling metroplex of clogged highways, there are still a few havens providing peaceful escapes in the midst of the cities. I plan on checking out one tomorrow since the forecast is for higher temperatures. Being in the mid-winter adds another level of frustration of what to photograph. But I have learned that no matter what weather, season, environment, there is a lesson through the lens.
The Holy Spirit reminded me of the business trip with my husband to New Mexico in a dry winter several years ago. I went outside to walk around the hotel area to see what I could see. It became apparent that when there seems to be nothing to photograph, you have to put on a new pair of glasses to see with the mind and heart. I began to see the beauty of the seed pods and dried grasses having given up their seeds for life to begin in the spring. There was a symphony of the generations passing right before my eyes.
It occurred to me when I looked for scripture to match these pictures and my text that what I found is really the basis for my photography blog. The few lines of scripture were perhaps plucked out of context, but shot right to my heart about connecting a picture/scripture/story:
I applied my heart
to what I observed
and learned a lesson
from what I saw.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Missy's comment on the previous blog brought these beauties to mind. I found them while walking on a path near my friend's home on Evergreen mountain. The wonderful thing about getting out of the rigid mindset to enjoy a particular place at a particular time, with set expectations, is that God is Wild and will surprise and delight you with new things when you step out of the box. Wild hearts that submit to experiencing the wildness of God are in for a ride like no other!
I saw these wild orchids because I was visiting the mountain at a slightly different time than I usually did. I had never seen them on a previous trip because I had never been visiting at the time they were blooming. The unopened bloom reminds me of praying hands.
The previous post of the golden aspen-covered Kebler Pass happened in much the same way. My fall trip had to be scheduled a few weeks past when I usually went to see fall color in Colorado. It was likely that there would be snow and many of the leaves would be past their prime. (Notice my expectation to be disappointed!). Yet God gave me a vision promise that I would see snow on yellow leaves still on the trees. When you get to experience a season overlap like this it is a double blessing to be able to capture it in a photograph. The first picture was shot close to our cabin on the way home from Crested Butte during a morning snowfall. The snow was melting quickly with the brilliant morning sun. We were put in exactly the right place at the right time to see the glorious promise fulfilled. I'm thinking it will be my Christmas card next year.
He calls us to step out of the BOAT, and step out of the BOX!
Uphold me with thy free Spirit!