Saturday, April 22, 2006
These are some of the guests we have had at our house this week. The rodent is a Southern Flying Squirrel. It is full size and you never see them because they are nocturnal. We rescued this one from our cat.
The ducks flew into our pool uninvited yesterday and while they were so cute and we were quite flattered that they chose OUR pool from the air, it was quite frustrating for obvious reasons. Where's the Shock, honey?!?
Friday, April 21, 2006
3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.God is not a god of "who he is to me" God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is a God of black and white. There IS a right and wrong. There ARE absolutes. You can deny it all day long, but in the end you will ALSO know the Truth. If you try to make Him out to be any other way, you have made yourself another god. If you want to make a god to suit yourself, you have made yourself an idol. You have sinned. The god of relativism is the most popular god today. Not Budda or Allah, but relativism. Put away the Ten Commandments. Get offended by them all you want. That doesn't make them any less than what they are.
7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
He is my God, He is all powerful, and He doesn't like you to speak of Him that way.
8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Hey! He did this one for you-to give you a break and to have some time with you. Why in the world would you NOT want to take a day off to rest?
12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
You know this one is way easier once you have kids of your own. Imagine how you would feel if your kids treated you the way you treat your parents.
13Thou shalt not kill. (1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.)
14Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.)
15Thou shalt not steal.
16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
You can put yourself on the recieving end of each of these and imagine why doing these things is wrong. When someone does it to you "it don't feel so good, does it?" (That's how I say it to my kids).
God is a God of grace and mercy, but that mercy came in the form of giving up his ONLY son to die a horrible death so we could live. But first and foremost, He is a God of Righteousness. Does a judge let a person off for an infraction of the law just because he has been good since the crime or because the crime was a small one? No, the crime has to be paid for. One way or another-whether it is a fine, or jail time. God is our judge and there is only one payment for crime in His court-death.
Am I trying to scare you? You betcha! That's a hot place you heading to and I don't want you to go there!!! You should be afraid of God! I love Him myself, but if I do wrong, I sure don't want to face Him. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10) It's that fear that may just buy you a ticket out of hell. Think about this: If I weren't afraid of being burned, I might grab the hot stove, but because I know the hot stove is going to hurt me, I am afraid of it and won't touch it. Does that fear make the stove a big, bad monster that's going to get me? No, the stove cooks my food and boils my water. I just know not to get too close to it. Fear of being burned has made me wise!
If we do not accept God's gift as real and valid, we WILL die in our sin. Whether we believe it will happen or not. We have all sinned. It is impossible not to in this flesh. He knows that. So He made a way for us to live with Him in spite of that. Why is it so hard for people to accept that? They want to come to God by any other means that by the way He provided. Why would God have to provide a way if you could come to him just by being good? Why would God have to let His Son die, if He really wasn't going to hold us accountable for telling that lie when He commanded us not to in the first place? Why would tell us there is ONE way to Him-through His Son, Jesus-if there weren't sins that would keep us from Him to begin with.
It's so easy. All we have to do is ACCEPT that Jesus paid the price. Do you have to give up your sin? Yes! But not because I said so. It's called repentance. If you don't turn away from the bad things you are doing. Then you didn't REALLY accept the gift of a paid price. Stand before a judge with a paid fine and see if he would want you to go out and commit the crime all over again. No, he will probably tell you that if he sees you in his court again, he will throw the book at you.
Life won't be easier or more joyful if you accept Jesus. In fact we are promised hardship in life (John 15:20). Our hope is in the future. Not that there aren't blessings from God, the sun rises on evil AND good, and it rains on both the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) Putting on a life preserver doesn't prevent the ship from sinking, but it sure does keep us afloat once the ship is on the ocean floor.
Not everyone can put his sin down immediately. Sometimes sin has such a grip on us that it is either a habit or an addiction. I can tell you from experience, it may take years, but you can stop. Without God, I do not believe it is possible, but with Him, ALL things are possible. (Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23, Mark 10:27, Mark 14:36)
I am not here to pass judgement on you. God didn't make me a judge. I'm just the bail guy letting you know that your fine has been paid. I had to have mine paid too! I didn't want anyone telling me that I was breaking the law any more than you do. But sin is sin whether we want to believe it or not. God is still alive and well, whether we want to believe it or not.
Sometimes we are caught up in our sin due to reasons beyond out control. Maybe it was a deep hurt, or we felt we had no choice. But we do have a choice to put an end to our wrong behavior. God pursues us relentlessly. Let your defenses and protests down for a moment and see if your heart doesn't tell you right and wrong. Do you really feel good about the life you are living?
I'd be happy to pray for you. There isn't much time. You are only one breath away from eternity. Don't waste it. Don't regret it.
The Photographer’s Prayer
Oh, God, as I bring my subject into focus and prepare to make each portrait, never let me forget that I'm creating treasures for some family, a keepsake for loved ones... Make me sensitive to the qualities and virtues of others, that I may draw out into the light, the beautiful radiant belongings of their hearts....
Help me, oh Lord, to be an artist, collecting the beauty of every soul, the glow of youth, the wisdom of age, the gentleness, the laughter or tears of each life that is precious in thy sight... Deeper than a means of livelihood, give me the perspective to see my photographer's art as a service to others, making life richer and more memorable....
And, dear Lord, between the lights and shadows, the ups and downs and the rolling years, keep me from getting out of focus or off center, so that my life and work may be framed with dignity and colored with contentment.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I know it's corny, but because she WORKS for her lessons, we have treated it just like a job and have not stayed around to watch her. This is really the first time I have seen her on a horse since one of her first lessons. When she rode out and I saw her, she looked so beautiful I almost cried.
I am so proud of you, Amanda!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I contacted these people because I had heard what they were doing for Katrina vicitims. I wanted to do something here for the tornado victims. I contacted them and they were excited to be able to help. For now, I am going to clean, dry and scan or photograph damaged photos and send them to OPR. I will repair the minor stuff. So here it is. My relief effort.
Operation Photo Rescue
A volunteer group that will clean, dry,
salvage and repair photos damaged by the tornado.
This is a free service for tornado victims.
Contact Joy Meade
You can also contact me if you would like to volunteer.
You can visit the "parent" organization at www.operationphotorescue.com.
Monday, April 10, 2006
this one has links to pictures on the bottom right:
Friday, April 7, 2006
We spent most of the afternoon getting in touch with those we know around town to make sure they were okay. Many were not. I don't doubt that over the next few days we will learn of all the connections we have with people who were deeply affected by this storm. With each hour that has passed, we have had the truth of the situation slowly sink in. From thinking of the sight of the thing as cool, to feeling sickened that we were actually seeing people we know lose everything they had.
I truly don't think that anyone, escept those who were actually hit by it, realized how bad it was. Although most everyone was affected by the traffic-you couldn't hardly get anywhere north of Nashville. So much of the damage occured in high traffic areas that it made for a lot of headaches. But that made it hard for the majority of us to realize how much damage there was. Traffic was either stopped from going through the areas altogether-the main road through the county was shut completely down-or they routed it around the damaged areas. Only those who needed to be there were allowed in. Even the news services were stuck in traffic trying to get to it. So we didn't even get the first images of the destruction for 3-4 hours. We were hearing eyewitness accounts, but it wasn't until those first images were aired that it began to dawn on us. Tomorrow, when the shock wears off and the road blocks lift, I imagine there will be droves of people going to see for themselves. The photo bug in me wanted to go immediately, but it is respect for my friends and neighbors that keeps me home tonight. After talking to some, I realize how much they are hurting. I will wait a couple of days before I head that way and then it will be to offer help. The south is nothing if not friendly and neighborly. As my New Yorker best friend says, we talk about each other behind their backs, but when it comes to helping, we are right there. When it comes to caring, we are always able to put aside any differences or gossip. We are capable of unmeasurable love and compassion. And I'd be willing to bet that over the next few days, there will be a huge outpouring of just that.
Oh, as a sidenote: William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, had his home torn up really bad. The house right next to his isn't there anymore. I guess no one is immune.
Monday, April 3, 2006
As with all things, it had a beginning. And this began long ago, in a kingdom so distant that no one who goes there ever returns. It had a king with great powers and a house of princes. The princes all served the king in ways that pleased him except one.
The one had found favor in the eyes of the king and through the use of his powers the king had given him great beauty and a voice that sounded of sweet music. The king gave this prince authority so that only the king himself and the king’s own son who ruled at his side were above him. The prince’s name was Lucien.
But the authority given to Lucien had gone to his head. He began to see himself as a greater ruler because with that authority had come power over man. As his ego grew, so did his resentment for the king and his son and he began to spew venom over the other princes to cause strife in the house.
The king saw the rebellion grow in the heart of his favored prince and his heart broke. He said nothing, but waited, knowing the day would come when Lucien would rise against him. Lucien had no power over him, but had become arrogant with greed and lust for the throne. The king could crush him with a single blow, but had no desire to harm the one who had brought him so much joy.
The day finally came. The entire kingdom was divided and Lucien had persuaded an entire third to follow him. The king listened as Lucien screamed accusations of weakness and carelessness at him. The other princes shouted in agreement while those that favored the king begged release to strike them down. With one word the king wiped them all out of his court and into the wilderness. Guards were posted around the castle so that those cast out could not return. The king sent orders to Lucien and the exiled princes that they were free to roam the earth. They were given the power of the air, but beyond this, they would never again enjoy the king’s favor nor the luxuries they once had. A season was given them to roam and do as they pleased, but when the season was over…judgment would be passed.
The king in his great power established a city just outside his castle walls. He ruled the city justly and the city flourished. The people of the city loved the king and served him wholeheartedly. In return, they were given everything they needed. There was no want. For hundreds of years the people had prosperity, health and immortality. This incensed the anger in Lucien. The people of the city now enjoyed what he was promised to lose at the end of the allotted time-life.
Lucien plotted to take control over the kings city and to build himself an army comprised of the king’s own subjects. In order to do this he knew he would have to turn the hearts of the people away from the king.
Disguised as people from different stations within the city, Lucien and his followers crept in. Lucien knew that with time, they would be accepted as citizens and allowed to roam freely through the streets, welcomed into homes, and respected as community leaders. Time was all they needed.