Friday, June 3, 2011

Lava Petals.
Lava Petals. The processing of this image, saved it. For some reason, the petals in the original capture were splotchy, reflective and pixelated. I was disappointed because I loved the composition. So, I started playing around in Photoshop and 'smouched' (a technical term for sure!) the pixels of the petals together to achieve the final image, Lava Petals. I moved the splotchy and reflective pixels into a flowing re-creation. I love it. I can still see the lines of the original composition, but the 'healing' has made the image so much better; what I knew was there had the capture not been corrupted.

Spiritually, I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately; people's forgiveness of me and my forgiveness of others. God indicates that if I forgive others and leave them to His justice, care and love, I am free from resentment. God knows that resentment forms splotchy, unattractive pixels in my heart. When I hold onto the hurt, I am holding onto the destructive thoughts and emotions surrounding what caused the need for forgiveness in the first place. If I let God act as my Father, a Father who will vindicate me and deal in His own way with the person of my resentment, it frees me from the destruction. And when I remember there are things that people must forgive me for (sadly), I can rest in knowing that God will deal with me in the same way He deals with those I must forgive; with justice, care and love.

I want to be transformed by God's love. I want the blotchy pixels of my heart to be 'smouched' by God. I want His healing to make my heart full and my life a reflection of Him. If He says I should forgive and even pray for my enemies, I will try. I will let Him re-create my heart, as if the corruption of resentment had never happened and I will rest assured that for those I have hurt, He will heal as well. Then, I can begin to forgive even myself.
~To God Be The Glory~

Friday, May 27, 2011

Alight.Alight. I love the etherial wispy flutter of this image. It is my visualization of what the Holy Spirit looks like as it fills and transforms my heart; full, light and gentle. I can envision it bounding from one craggy scar to another as it alights on those areas in my life where I am so in need of healing and strengthening.

I want the filling and transformation that the Holy Spirit brings. I want to live my life like it means something. I want to live without fear, indecision or impatience, when surrounded by a culture of relativity. I want the things that break the heart of God to break my heart, when the norm is to turn a blind eye and let someone else get involved. I want my actions to bring Him glory, when the actions of those who claim Christ's name (myself included) tend instead, to bring embarrassment to His name.

In the flesh, I can tell myself all sorts of lies. Like, I really don't know what God is calling me to do. But I know that His call starts with the committed reading of His Word and with prayer. It is true I have not had a verbal pronouncement from on high ( :)...) but if I seriously sought His presence through study and prayer, I bet I would know my next move at any given time. I would have the strength to deny myself the things that get in the way. I would find the energy and patience to proceed. I would find the courage to risk the outcomes that only God can know. I would then be aware of the progress the Holy Spirit is making in my heart.

I read this psalm this morning and I am going to try to keep praying it:
Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with Your counsel.
~To God Be The Glory~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beautiful Simplicity.Beautiful Simplicity. Sometimes in my processing, I choose to simplify the details of a scene. There is beauty in not seeing every edge, color or boundary of an image.

It is true in my spiritual life as well. Many times, not just some times :), I don't understand the details of my situation; where it is going, how it will end up, if I will like how it ends. Even more confounding is that the details I do understand, I want to be in different places or to have different outcomes in the 'image' of my life. My challenge is to remember that there is beauty right where I am, even though I don't understand the details. Faith is trusting that God knows and that He is actively involved. There is freedom in that and in knowing the 'image' will be better in the end if God is the one making the processing decisions. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flow.Flow. I am thinking a lot lately about how one lives authentically as a follower of Jesus Christ. I hesitate to use the word 'Christian' because people have such negative ideas of what a 'Christian' is. Whether false information or bad behavior by those proclaiming that name, it generally connotates judgement, hypocrisy and non-tolerance. That is not what I strive for, believe me. The result of the Spirit of God indwelling a Christ-follower should be a growing amount of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control evidenced in the life of that believer. I want that. I don't care what anyone else does or doesn't do. In fact, in spite of what others decide or how they behave, I want to treat them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It is a tall order, because the natural reaction I many times have to difficult situations is not that listing of attributes. I need God's Spirit to change me on the inside... not through effort on my part, but through His transformation in me... so that Christ's intent becomes my 'normal'...a natural flow of who Christ is in me, out to the world. It helps when I am praying, reading the Bible, and paying attention to His working in my life, but those things are not a prerequisite to God's power. He promises to transform me in spite of myself.

I read a great book last week while traveling. It is the new book by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscut). Her MO is to research a person or event and then tell the factual account. Unbroken is the fascinating description of the life of Louis Zamperini; a rebellious child, Olympic runner, bombardier in WW II, Prisoner of War, and then civilian. Little did I know when I started the book that Louie had a post-war conversion experience that left him healed of his Post-Traumadic Stress Disorder and Alcoholism. All Louis did was accept the Spirit of God, through Jesus Christ into his heart. God did this work of transformation in a moment. My transformation (granted, not PTSD or Alcoholism) is taking longer, but when I read stories such as this, I know God is a God of His Word. I will be patient....!
~To God Be The Glory~

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shy And Sassy.Shy And Sassy. This shot was captured in a square in a small village in Tuscany. It was a Sunday and all the families were out. The little girl was watching everything going on around her and waiting for the next thing coming her way, deciding when and if she would partake. I loved her attitude...shy, watchful, confident in a careful way with a little 'sas' thrown in for good measure.

I feel this way in my life recently. I am turning my back on the past and striving ahead to the future. I feel confident in a careful way, just like this little girl. Things won't be the same as they have been and it has taken me awhile to accept that, but I am anticipating a good future. God promises He will work all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It is time I believe Him. Time to put my hair up in braids, kick my hip out and celebrate the 'sas' in my life. Thanks, Lord. I am ready!
~To God Be the Glory~

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Freedom.Freedom. UGH! Some days I just can't catch a break! Like today. I tutor a 3rd grader in reading 4 days a week for two hours each day. I only go into detail on that because if anyone deserves a break here, if anyone has earned it, it is me! :). So I am driving to my tutor session and come to a busy intersection controlled by stop-lights. I am also having a meaningful phone conversation (hands-free, of course!) with a dear friend, trying to be a support during a difficult time. (earning/deserving good fortune again!!!) I come to a full stop and proceed with caution making a perfectly executed right turn. Nice, EXCEPT, there is a posted "No Turn On Red" sign that I somehow miss while I am doing all this GOOD! (remember, on the way to tutor for my gazillionth hour while supporting my dear friend). After my CHP officer points out there are in fact THREE "No Turn On Red" signs posted, I tactfully include all my altruism in my response. Somehow, I STILL get a ticket instead of just a warning or even hopefully, a "nice job on doing all that good, lady"!

Here's is where it gets dicey. My first reaction is to think to myself that part of the reason I am involved in tutoring in the first place is because I feel God has called me to it. So, HELLO, couldn't He have bestowed a forgiving heart on my CHP officer while I was involved in God's business? A warning could have done the trick just as well as a full ticket; lesson learned with no financial loss or the mental anguish of Traffic School. Shouldn't that be the very least my doing-good earns me?

But then I come to the quick realization that if we are going to talk about who earns this and who deserves that, I better be careful. There WERE three "No Turn On Right" signs posted and the reason I didn't see them was because I was distracted by my phone conversation with my friend, another traffic infraction. Truth be told, my stop was more of a roooolllliiinnnnng stop, instead of a complete one and only two days ago I noticed (and thankfully rectified) the fact that my registration sticker was not on my plate nor were my reg and proof of insurance cards in my car. So since October I had been breaking those laws, as well. Yikes. Perhaps I got off lucky with only the one ticket!

The good news here is that all this thinking (!) happened quickly so that I was able to have the presence of mind to act like a Christian to the CHP officer. (I wear a cross necklace so that if I act snotty/arrogant/angry it is definitely 'bad marketing' for Jesus.) I told him several stories about my tutee and he hurried with my ticket so I wouldn't be too late. Maybe he (and God) saved my life in some way by making me more cautious and aware when I am driving. Maybe, just maybe, God is gracious when He doesn't give me what I deserve but instead, gives me what I need. Woah! Let's hope I remember this when I am spending my day in Traffic School!
~To God Be The Glory~ (even today)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

From Tee To GreenFrom Tee To Green. I have started golfing again after a bit of a break. I really enjoy it...being outside, the camaraderie, the strategy involved. Just like in my faith and in photography, I need to remember that there is lots of value in the process, not only in the end result. Now, don't get me wrong, I love it when I hit three perfect shots and sink the putt for a birdie on the par 5 18th (especially when that putt wins the last $2 bet on the game..:)..). But those great shots wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been the many many many others that didn't go so well. I learned from the bad ones—something about my stance, my alignment or swing plane, that I put into practice in the good shots. What a waste if I hadn't learned and adjusted. I would still be a terrible player. Golf is a process.

My spiritual life is the same. I have some seasons when I am hitting on all cylinders and my faith seems to flow into everything I do. I feel God is close and I am satisfied. Then there are the many many many other times that I feel alone, isolated, weak and lost. I am the furthest thing from satisfied. I have learned in those times however, to 'adjust' something in my heart.... maybe I am being prideful, or self-focused or how I am evaluating an event is short-sighted or I forget that God is really in control and He loves me. It helps me to remember those adjustments and to try to implement them in my heart. I am glad golf provides such a good example....looks like golf is a 'spiritual discipline'!..... whoooo rah!
~To God Be The Glory~