The Power of Prayer
We Remember 9/11
A Silent Parade Of Fire Trucks Only To Honor Those First Responders That Have Died In 9/11 And In The Past Years. Before The Parade, All The Participating Firefighters Gathered For A Church Service Honoring The Fallen and Victims of Terrorist Attacks.
On September 11th, let us all remember to pray for peace in America and throughout the world. Let us also remember the victims, the courageous first responders who lost their lives, and all of the families who lost loved ones in this momentous tragedy.
God of Love, Strengthen Us In Hope.
Goals Are Just Problems Waiting to Be Solved
Tons of material has been written about setting and achieving goals. Almost nothing has been written about intentions. Intentions are the foundation for goal achievement. Intentions are the power behind goal achievement. Intentions create both resolve and desire. The resolve and desire to achieve. What are your intentions?
In business, when you get your sales plan or sales quota, do you intend to achieve it? Or are you defeated the moment you look at it? How about that home project that you’ve put off? Or in developing your holiness?
Mentally change “gonna” to “intend.” I’m gonna lose ten pounds. I intend to lose ten pounds. Which do you think is more powerful? Intention makes things happen.
Here’s a way to begin understanding intention: take a resolution or a goal that you did not achieve. Write down why that achievement did not occur. Not excuses, the real why. Now write another paragraph on what you could have intended to do that might have made that goal, or that resolution, a reality.
Many people I know convert setting goals into problem solving. In other words, instead of setting a goal just look at that goal as a problem that needs to be solved. This method tends to make goal setting more digestible.
You may have a goal, or you may have been given a goal, but your intentions will dictate the outcome of the effort ( or lack of it ).
Morning Sunlight Through The Pines
Smarts and Intelligence
Some people seem to be smart, as in intelligent, bright, or knowledgeable, and others not. What makes, or causes, the difference?
Someone asked how I come up with my topic for each blog post. Well, basically, I wake up in the morning and spend much quiet time, not to allow outside influences, and discern what is the most pressing thought or issue on my mind from the past week.
Today that happened to be about smarts. That is, I have come to realize how often people tell me how smart or intelligent I am. Or I find out others have said this about me. This troubles me a great deal, because I don’t believe anyone is really smart, it is just simply how we give to and treat others.
For example, in the business world I find many people make decisions based on how much providing their service or product costs them, or how much money they make from a business relationship.
The people who are smart understand by investing in these opportunities through what benefits others will always come back with more opportunity. Not always direct business, but sometimes referrals, or some other interaction.
It’s the basic principles of following what the Bible says about money, and the Ten Commandments, with a sprinkling of experiences and practicing integrity. Sometimes I’ve had to make business decisions that looked as if it, or I, was failing. But the decision was based on what most benefits others in the matter.
Sometimes months or years later I learn how my decisions like this really benefited others, other times I have confirmed how my decisions didn’t work at all, even though I had to struggle. And struggle is the key, because you don’t get wisdom without struggling through learning from experience.
Same goes for the struggle to develop the habits of reading the Bible daily, or seeking from a mentor and then taking action. Jesus struggled so that we could have Salvation, being submissive to God.
Books don’t make you smart, until it is how you give that knowledge to others that makes them see your wisdom. It’s not smart to keep that wisdom to yourself.
There are certain areas in business that I am not very good, and I found this out by trial and mostly error. So I decided that I would only do the things that I am highly skilled at, and turn to others who are highly skilled in the things I am not. Other times this taught me how I can be very good at something I didn’t think I was good at.
So when you mostly do only the things that God has gifted you with, is the smart thing to do. It is learning through our mistakes that we’re able to see the ‘red flags’ in situations, and respond to them more intelligently in this way.
So, again, this is the message for today: That to be considered to have smarts means, to me, that you give from your best self, skills, experiences, and following the Bible, in a way that makes a positive impact on others and in the world.
Good Day Promise Sunrise
Changing Seasons of Time
When I see one tree almost bare from the falling leaves of Autumn, and another not even changing colors, it reminds me about the changing seasons of life, or a reminder how each of us is different.
All of us are individuals to the point that each of us has a right to our own opinion. I learned this in a profound way from a very good friend of mine. And as we get older we tend to change who we are, and what we think, based on our experiences.
Ask anyone who is married for a few decades and they most likely will attest to this.
If you look at the age of the trees, many variables cause them to grow to a certain size, in different directions, and how they react to the seasons over the years, etc. …
So the lesson, or point, here is that as we go through the seasons of life over time to ‘just move with it’. Be open to others viewpoints and how they change or respond to their environments, and not take everything too seriously.
It is then we truly notice the beauty of life and the blessings of this world we live in.
May God’s blessings Fall on you like the leaves of Autumn.
Wood Bench and Yellow Flowers
Draw Near to God
The morning sunshine illuminates the clouds in the blue sky, and evaporates the fog in the tree tops as well.
God is love, and invites us to draw near to Him. So that we can be illuminated with His Light, and allow Him to remove the fog we often have with finding our purpose.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds.”— James 4:8
Thinking In Black And White
Thinking is a rare commodity in our world today, especially with the distractions of our information age. It is important now to be mindful of how we are intentional about blocking out time with our own thoughts.
Our own thoughts help us to know what we mean about what we say. Sometimes it’s important to write this down, so that when asked we can picture in our heads the words on the page. It’s also important to share our thoughts and not worry too much about being understood, but rather to simply show how you understand our world:
“It turns out that I cannot compel someone to understand me, and if I had even one iota of the wisdom of Christ, it would not have taken me close to 54 years to figure that out. I once wrote in a blog post: “In the past, being misunderstood bothered me mightily. Ironically, I was the one with the comprehension problem.” Even then, I didn’t really get it, but now, I know that someone else’s opinions, thoughts, or reactions to me or what I share are really none of my business. Understanding myself, though: that’s a different story. It’s like what Andy Warhol said: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
~ Cheryl Ruffing
What if I change his statement a bit? How about this? “Don’t think about thinking, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, do more thinking.””
God speaks to us through our thoughts and through our dreams, but many times we suppress it. There is too much noise and distractions in the way, or we are afraid of the silence or believe our thoughts are not important.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. God doesn’t.
What Dogs Teach Us
A few years ago my wife and I went to our Son’s school open house. As we were walking down the hall another set of parents looked as us as if they knew us. In fact, I started to ask myself if I know them! Then the wife approached us and said ” we live on the block that you walk your dogs …. you have two beautiful dogs who are well trained!”
This happens more often than I wish to admit. Have you ever been known because of your dog?! Many people know us, but we don’t know them … because they can look out the front window of their houses and see us with the dogs, though we can’t see them.
So, this got me to thinking. In the window of life, for example, children learn more from our actions than from our words. … and, just like dogs, you never know the reflection that you make on others.
Family Walk To The Park
Happiness is sunlight on a flower.
I hope this Daffodil flower makes you happy today.
One of the beautiful things I love about flowers, is their power to create happiness.
To be happy means feeling or showing pleasure or contentment with someone or something.
If you are familiar with the musical CATS, there is a song called ‘Memories’. The last line in the lyrics goes like this:
“If you touch me
You’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun”
Happy Bird In The Wetlands
The Perspective We Have From Silence
We desperately need silent prayer to fill our souls.
In the silence, whatever is hidden deep within us is raised to the surface and is magnified.
Silence in the presence of God is not a waste of our time. In fact, it is the most profitable time we can spend in life.
The Lord is the One who does the work; we only become His instruments if we allow Him to work through us.
“The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence.Saint (Mother) Teresa
The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence.
Silence gives us a new perspective.”
When I decided to do the topic of anger for this photograph, I quickly became overwhelmed and wanted to change it or give up. Because there is so much that can be said, it is simple yet complex.
So, I have decided to share what anger means to me. That when I become angry I immediately ask myself who or what needs my forgiveness? Let me explain.
A spiritual director once shared with me that anger most commonly happens when something is not going our way, or we react to an injustice of our world view that we can not control.
For example, recently there have been several delays with a house project where my wife and I depend on others to complete. I have also felt anger at times because a part of my work is not getting the results that I’m looking for …..
The only way I know to get through this, is to firstly forgive what is not working, and second seek for where God is at work in these situations. It often turns out that God has a better plan, and He is just waiting for me to meet Him where he is at work in it.
This can be difficult at times because it takes prayer, patience, and discernment with the Holy Spirit to find where I need to be in my thinking and my actions. As Fulton Sheen says, “the Holy Spirit is an artist who paints a picture for us of the vision that God has for us.”
So, when you become angry, I hope that what I have to say helps you to pause and respond with forgiveness instead of react with anger.
Eggs With Steam
Dusk on the Ranch
The Interesting Thing About Dialogue
…. is that it means “a conversation or exchange between two or more people,”
Dialogue is important so that we can function as a society, and to foster personal growth.
To learn the viewpoints of others, so that we can then create our own viewpoints on life.
With today’s use of technology, specifically smartphones, it can be easy to put off being in-person.
However, it is the personal interaction of all the human senses that gives dialogue its power and effectiveness.
Morning Blue Hour Abstract
With this latest photograph Morning Blue Hour Abstract – Pine tree silhouettes illuminated by the blue hour sunrise in the America Midwest of Illinois. The Blue Hour is at twilight, when the Sun is quite far below the horizon, coloring the sky deep blue. As for abstract, its definition is just as subjective as its name implies.
Abstract images are conceived or imagined outside of ‘reality’. They can encompass a huge variety of subject matter, take us out of our comfort zone, make us question what we see, or invite us to enter another realm.
If you look, then, you will see less abstract works in my own artwork than you may find other subjects. This is because when I create an abstract work it is not the original intention, rather later on the work lends itself to being a tweak away from reality.
I share my art photography on the Vivaldi blog platform, as well as on MeWe social network: Vivaldi has better privacy and security, and a focus on being visual with image properties and is a great tool to publish and share your ideas; MeWe has a Privacy Bill of Rights like no other, plus there are many groups and features (like a personal cloud and photostream) on MeWe that are designed for photography.
But more about abstract and my artwork. A true definition, that I learned in college, for abstract photography, sometimes called non-objective, experimental or conceptual photography, is a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials.
I am mostly a person of reality, as those who know me best will tell you. Though I do have a great appreciation for people who are abstract thinkers, as much as I do for abstract artworks.
I hope that what I have said inspires you to discover abstract art photography, and the thoughtfulness that it evokes for yourself.