Playing with the camera

Yellow DeterminationPhoto 1: Yellow Determination. Why? For some little while, I didn’t think these lovely harbingers of Spring would ever be anything but leaves, but here they are, bright and beautiful. I have a row of them waiting to open. Anticipation, a great stimulus to creativity.

Photo 2: From a background of resting stems and dead leaves, this purple beauty and new green growth emerge, sure signs of warmer weather. I REALLY must get out the rake and start tidying up the yard, and yet… the spontaneous music of an untended garden sings to me, riotous and rollicking, laughing at winter, God’s great gift of resurrection.Purple Spring

Photo 3: These are three different kinds of succulents. I don’t know where I got them, but I never expected to see them again. Last summer was their first season in the patio pots, and here they are, back again. What a delightful surprise! If I’d known they were going to be this hardy I might have installed them as ground cover. Maybe this year? Assuming I ever get to work in the yard.

Coming to LifePhoto 4: We have a “rainbow catcher” in our kitchen. At least that’s what I call it. It is solar activated, turning and turning throwing rainbows of color across our breakfast time, making us act and feel like children. “See! There it is. Isn’t it beautiful?” Our eyes chase the hues as they land on the wall and then the ceiling and off the mirror in the living room. We’re treated to a carousel or light. I caught this slice of rainbow resting on a copper plate mounted on the wall. In the next photo you can see the plate in context.

Photo 5: The collage of images is an eclectic grouping. Each image speaks to me Catching a Rainbowseparately and collectively. The wreath of eucalyptus still has – after several years of hanging there – a distinctive aroma. My friend Kathy, gave me the cross for Christmas one year. The horizontal post reads “Journey,” and the vertical post is the Jeremiah 29:11 scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to proper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The fruit collage is tin art, a funky fun piece that makes me smile. The San Pascual Baylon retablo by Peter Lopez, has the following message on the back:

CorneredSan Pascual Baylon, 1540-1592 A shepherd who became a Franciscan lay brother and worked in the dining room or as a door keeper; very devoted to the Eucharist. Patron Saint of the kitchen, cooking, shepherds and sheep. He is also said to guard against a sad spirit. “May the Lord bless and protect you.” Tio Pedro 6/93

Lovely, yes? And I think it works; I rarely have a sad spirit.

The Aztec calendar copper plate was rescued from the basement of my husband’s office right before we sold the building several years ago. It fits that space just right. You can see the “rainbow” on the copper plate to the left of center.

These items serve no purpose other than to make my workspace cheery, and remind me of good friends, laughter shared, and the joy of life.

Playing with the camera is always fun. It’s even more fun to share the experience. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment, share and like. I will greatly appreciate it!

Beautiful Outlaw

Was Jesus Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant? Read On

Have you ever wondered what Jesus was like? Not the Jesus nailed to the cross, but the living, breathing, human Jesus, the man who spent 33 years living as we live. In his book “Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus,” author John Eldredge takes what some might consider a radical and unreligious approach to exploring the personality of Jesus.

I suspect he’s okay with that kind of criticism. It’s sort of the point of the book. Religion as we know it is nothing like the world in Jesus’ day. “Church” wasn’t practiced in the ways it is in the modern world. Too often we see the “don’ts” of religion, and not the hope central to the teachings of Christ. Being in the temple (church) and being part of the body of Christ aren’t in the same ballpark.

Eldredge points out that In his day Jesus was more likely to upset the religious establishment than he was to agree with its leaders. Most of Jesus’ miracles, Eldredge says, were done outside the normal worship experience. Beautiful OutlawAnd Jesus shied away from no one.

Beautiful outlaw is a good description for a man who often hung out with all the wrong people, at least as defined by the religious leaders. “Beautiful Outlaw” made me smile, laugh outright, and often caused me to nod my head in agreement. Eldredge shows Jesus exactly as he was in this life, fully human in his interactions with others. He points out that despite all the religious art that portrays Jesus as a martyred saint complete with halo, Jesus was a man with an intense interest in people. He didn’t back down from confrontation. Other than driving the money changers out of his Father’s house, he showed no tendency toward violence, nor did he seek recognition or power.

Jesus never forgot his purpose. He was not condescending, proud, vain, or loud. He asked as many questions as he answered. His ministry had little to do with what has come to be known as organized religion. Eldredge leads his readers to see Jesus in the way you would see your very best friend. Someone you can talk to; someone who will listen.

John Eldredge is an author, counselor, and teacher. As president of Ransomed Heart Ministries, he is devoted to helping people widen their understanding of God. He has written a number of books on spirituality and living in relationship with God. John lives in Colorado Spring with his wife and three sons. Click here to read an excerpt from “Beautiful Outlaw.”

If you love to read books that bring insight and new ways of thinking about Jesus, religion, and spirituality, I recommend this book.

“Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus,” is available in e-book, paperback, hard cover and audio versions. Published October 2011 by FaithWords, book prices range from $9.99 (e-book) to $17.47 (Hard Cover).


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Rejoice and Be Glad

SunriseThis is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

Glory hallelujah! We have every reason to rejoice and be joyful. When we enter each new day with an attitude of optimism life is sweeter. In Anne Lamott’s book, “Help, Thanks, Wow, The Three Essential Prayers,” she encourages the simple approach to prayer. It doesn’t take a deluge of words to get your message across to the one and only present and loving God. Ask for help when you need it, give thanks all the time and don’t forget to acknowledge the “wow” moments with awe and praise.

Sunrise is a wow moment. Rejoicing in the gift of life is a wow moment. The birth of a child, the touch of a mother, the strength of a father, these are all wow! moments. Life is full of wow moments. The heart-stopping, heartbreaking moments come as well, but not in the abundant way the wow moments come. When they do come, we can still rejoice in the Lord for he is standing with us. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4. NIV

Rejoice. What an awesome word. It means to be happy and to make someone else happy. You can’t beat that as a way of life.

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Spring blooms glorious birth,

Summer sun warms the earth,

Autumn flames riotous bright,

Winter freezes into cozy quiet.

Laughter weaves through it all,

Answering to nature’s call.


Mauve weaves through

Gold and pink,

Slashes of purple

Wink and blink

Night tugs toward day.

Get up! Get up!

Bright colors sing

Receive this, Heaven’s gift

Let your soul take wing

Time passes oh so swift.

Night tugs toward day.


The day arrives

Am I ready? NOT.

Good to go,

Oh what rot!

More to do

Than I can take

Less time to do it

I’m barely awake!


Incandescent red

Shot through with light

Yellow orange bright

Flaming across the dark of dawn

First light pierced with errant ray

Melding hues, surge into day.

Morning is here.

5 Reasons you are important

Volunteers Wanted

When I go to meetings, I often see the same faces. These are dedicated folks who believe in making a difference, and who believe there is a difference to be made. They Will Rogerssometimes suffer criticism instead of praise for their efforts, but this does not deter them. They show up, give their opinions, lend their support, stand up for the promise of a better tomorrow, and forge ahead. They volunteer for business groups, animal welfare activities, social justice causes, civic improvement organizations, and anything else you can think of that will make your life and mine a little better. They don’t get paid, and most go unrecognized. These engines for change are the lifeblood of a vibrant community. If you aren’t currently working for the betterment of the community as a volunteer, here are a five reasons you might want to come to the next meeting of interest to you, and sit down at the table.


Ideas are the seeds of change. Without ideas, there would be no iPad, iPhone, or iMac. There would be no interactive notebook that responds to a touch. There would be no music, no art, no books, no invention of any kind. It all begins with an idea. If you think your ideas aren’t important, think again. You can and will make a difference, but only if you are at the table.


I’ve been at the table many times, perhaps too many times, some might say. My perspective comes from my frame of reference. I still believe my perspective has value, but so does yours. When decisions are being made your thoughts count. If you aren’t present, those thoughts won’t be heard, not because your perspective is being ignored, but because you aren’t there to represent it.

Kick the lid off the box

It is an unfortunate fact of organizations that sometimes leaders become mired in procedure and process and forget their primary purpose, whatever that may be. The board and membership ages. Individual members become complacent or overburdened. In either case the lid must be kicked off the box so new energy, new leaders, new members can come pouring in. Leadership development is as critical as new ideas. Your presence and participation as a new volunteer can make that happen. You can learn from and be mentored by seasoned volunteers.

Your Experience

Nobody brings to the table what you bring. Your experience at every level will help inform and define the organization you become involved in. You will get out of it exactly what you put into it. Your experience will make the organization better and stronger for your participation.


Getting acquainted with people you don’t ordinarily encounter is an excellent way to expand your horizons. Their energy, their ideas, their dedication will energize you, inspire you, and broaden your creativity. Studies have shown that people who are more involved and engaged in life are happier. Volunteering is good for you. So, come to the table. Be a part of making your community great. Just as seeds need water and sun to grow, organizations need your fresh ideas, perspective, and experience. They need you to kick the lid off the box and pour in your creativity and energy. And isn’t it encouraging to know you will benefit from the experience?

Back in the box

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20 NIV

In his book, “When the Game is Over, it All Goes Back in the Box,” John Ortberg uses game playing as a When the Game is Overmetaphor for what we value in life. Too often, we play the game and forget that in the end, everything goes back in the box.

What are you out to win? What value do you put on winning? What do you crave that is here today and gone tomorrow? What are the treasures you lay up in heaven?

In this six-session spiritual study on “living life in the light of eternity,” the section on, “No One Else Can Take Your Turn,” gave me a moment of clarity I must revisit from time to time. With the very best of intentions, I seek outcomes for others based on what I want, not want they want or even what they need.

Instead of trying to fix what (or who) I think is broken, my job and joy is to live my best life now. Instead of wishing I was as educated, talented, or well-respected as my friend, or brother, or cousin, I must make the most of God’s generous gifts to me. Every second counts, not because it could be my last, but because God’s love for me and his plan for me, are gifts I can open anew every day. No one can take my turn in life, nor can I take someone else’s.

I am reminded of a story I heard about a young man – we’ll call him Ed – who paid a proxy to attend college in his name. The proxy did all the studying, took all the tests, and did the “walk” to receive a diploma in Ed’s name. Ed thought he was clever to have someone do all the work. Ed was even able to get a job interview with a prestigious company based on his proxy’s performance and grades. The problem came when Ed had to speak for himself and prove his worth. In the end, his diploma had no value. He hadn’t lived the life of a student nor had he learned what he needed to know. He put his value on that piece of paper, not in an educational experience designed to sustain him.

I don’t get, nor do I want, a proxy to “do” life for me. I am well equipped by the Master Planner to live my best life now. Sometimes I forget that and try to worry my way to resolving the problems of loved ones or friends. When I’m doing that, guess whose life I’m missing out on?


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