Sunday, April 25, 2010

Old is beautiful

Doris Day once said, "growing old is not for sissies!" I can say amen to that. I worked in the way back portion of our yard cleaning out flower beds and planting new stuff and my body is in rebellion now. I ache everywhere. This weeks assignment for my photography class was on "focus". It is amazing the difference in the photo with a different focus. I found this wonderful old house and fell in love with the look of it. There is great beauty in the oldness of it. I hope I age with equal beauty.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Choose This Day


Joshua 24:15 says, "Choose...this day whom you will serve." Any day not surrendered to the Spirit is virtually surrendered to the flesh by simple default! My daily ritual is to come upstairs for quiet time first thing in the morning. Lately, I have felt impressed to start off my time by kneeling and with my head to the floor to give the Lord authority over my life and day. Soon after I started doing this, I was joined by our cat, Smidge. He is very much a people cat and tends to gravitate to where we are. It is not long after I come upstairs, that I hear the creaking of the staircase as he makes his way to join me. And join me he does. Most of the time I have my Bible open on the floor in front of me as I read and pray back various scriptures to the Lord, but it does get rather difficult to do when a cat chooses your Bible as his spot to plop his body. I nudge him over, but he remains very close to my face. Sometimes, I think he would like to melt into me. Another thing he likes to do is kneed my head which is sometimes not very comfortable because he still has his claws and sometimes he grooms my hair. I think he does these things because he is practicing the word of God. After all, he hears my prayers, hears the word, and now he is a doer of the word. His scripture: "you reap what you sow." He likes to have his head rubbed and scratched so he is sowing his seed by scratching and rubbing mine. At least that is what I think. Not only does he know the Word, but he works out with Warren as well. Each night when Warren goes to the workout room, Smidge goes to pump iron with him. He definitely needs the workout--especially in his gut, but it is hard to get into shape by osmosis.

Choose. Our life is a series of choices with consequences of blessings or curses. A yielded life, a life that daily chooses to live by the Spirit is a life possessed with God's power to live beyond our natural love, to experience joy, to know peace, to express patience, to possess kindness and respond in goodness, to be faithful, gentle, and submissive to His will, not our will.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sad News

I found out yesterday that two of our friend's boys were found dead from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. I knew Michael Hillman from several years of swimming lessons. He was a great kid and I am so sorry he is no longer with us. Here is the story that was in the Roswell Daily Record. Tuesday, April 13, 2010:

Arizona police say two Roswell teenagers reported missing over the weekend were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning on Monday.
Jesse Andrus and Michael Hillman, both 18, were found in the camper portion of a pickup truck by Scottsdale police in an Arizona parking lot. The two Goddard High School seniors were returning to Roswell from a weekend rodeo in Carefree, Ariz.
“At this time, it appears that both subjects died from apparent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning as a generator on the rear of the vehicle may have been running,” stated Officer David Pubins, of the Scottsdale Police Department.
The Roswell Police Department contacted the Scottsdale police asking for assistance locating the teens at about 10:30 a.m., Pubins said. Telephone GPS tracked their location.
“There are some blue and black days coming,” said Kyle “Smiley” Wooton, of the Roswell Livestock Auction.
Wooton said Hillman sometimes worked at the auction and both teens were often around.
“The boys were pretty much raised up here around the stockyard, he said. “Right at the moment, it doesn’t feel like it has sunken in.”
A spokeswoman for the teen’s family said it was believed they pulled into a parking lot to sleep before heading back to Roswell.
“Investigators believe the teens had plugged in the generator before going into the camper to rest,” said Kim Stecklein.
A crisis intervention team was set up at Goddard High School Monday afternoon, said Michael Gottlieb, superintendent of the Roswell Independent School District.
“We set up groups to come in and work with students and staff (who are) grieving,” he said. “We started them (Monday) afternoon and we’ll be there as long as we need to.”

In addition to this news, another former swim student, Taylor Nunez, recently had surgery to remove a mass in her abdomen. Warren saw her initially, sent her to Dr. Mooney, who operated with Drs. Whitwam and Wenner. Unfortunately, the tumor could not be totally removed, so she was sent to Albuquerque.

More bad news: Shelly Coll was diagnosed with colon cancer that has metastasized to her liver.

All these people and their families need prayer. Warren and I will certainly be lifting them up.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Which one?

Today began very early for me--before sunrise. I accompanied Jerry Holm on a photo shoot of an old run down adobe home found on the highway between here and Portales. To get the perfect shot, we had to be on location at sunrise. I was pretty excited to be able to tag along. It looked like I was going on an extended vacation with all my gear. What I was not prepared for was the location. We had to climb over fences (I was hoping we would not be shot at for trespassing) and fight the thorny bushes and watch for snakes. This was definitely not a wedding shoot. Next time I'll wear my boots. I did get some nice shots and a lot of helpful hints. I actually knew what he was talking about when he said, 'shoot at a high f-stop.' I was hoping to get some great shots for this week's class assignment. While I liked some of the photos, I still was partial to some I had taken earlier in the week of my grandkids and some flowers. Decisions, decisions. The final decision was made when Warren agreed with me on my choice. It is a picture of Erynn on the slide at Grace park. I liked how the wind was blowing through her hair, the expression on her face, and the traces of candy around her mouth. It has already had some great comments by others class members. The critical one will be the teacher's comments which will be forth coming. The picture was done all in manual at a very fast shutter speed to capture the on film what is a blur in real life. Children never hold still, so this was definitely a challenge. I was really torn which one to submit, Erynn or Reid. Isn't he cute as he eats his gummy lifesavers? His picture was not as challenging since he was sitting still. Just his little hands were moving. So which one do you like? Isn't it hard to choose?

This afternoon Warren and I worked at cleaning out the flower beds. We got most of them cleaned out in our backyard in less than two hours. It does look so much better. We still have the "way back" to do and we are thinking of putting in a garden. We are debating whether it will be cheaper to buy produce rather than grow it, since it costs so much to water. Stay tuned to see what decision we make.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New look

Being the computer whiz that I am, it only took me all day to figure out how to change the look of my blog, so it has a little color in it. Hopefully, I will be able to make it look better and better as time goes on. Warren and I went to the "tea party" this afternoon and were disappointed in the poor turnout. There is supposed to be another one on April 15th, tax day, so hopefully, it will have a better turn out.

Our creative assignment for this week was to take a picture that portrays a particular mood or emotion. For example, when we say some one is "blue", they are usually sad. I thought of all the standard phrases: yellow, mellow; green with envy; black for gloomy, but I did not want to do any of the standards. I found a huge, wonderful Wisteria vine just full of purple, draping flowers and decided to do "purple passion." I told Warren my great idea, and he did not think it sounded so great. I think it was because he was going to have to "pose" again and have to wear a purple shirt in keeping with the theme. Color coordination is a girl thing. He finally agreed, but with a tad of grumbling. In the end, he was extremely patient while I did my metering and shooting over and over again to get the right exposure. (Automatic is sure a lot easier, but it is not allowed). We got my "passionate" shot, but more significant to me is a new emotion for purple: "purple, patience." Hmmm, seems like I have written about patience before. That is what my wonderful husband is--patient. He is extremely patient while I fiddle with all my settings and take countless shots before I get it right. I think I have the most amazing husband and some amazing shots.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This is the third week of my photography class and our most challenging week. We are learning the big "M" mode--"M" for manual. We have to put in everything: shutter speed, aperture, and iso to get the correct exposure. Pretty scary and frustrating for me. I decided to take a break from it all and go scatter some flower seeds around our red oak tree in the front. I spotted the most gorgeous dandelion that had gone to seed...the kind every child picks and blows off all the seeds. This one would make a great picture for my class. I grabbed my camera and starting shooting. When Warren drove up for lunch I was still outside snapping photos of the weed. He told me to make sure I dug it up before the seeds scattered. Well, I got busy and forgot about the dandelion until Warren came home for the evening. I had not dug up the weed and now, with all our wind, all the seeds were gone, and there was just the naked head. I dug it up a little too late. I am sure I will digging out the fruit of this weed all summer long. As I was thinking about the incident, it reminded me of the kingdom of God. There are only two kinds of seed: good and bad. While this dandelion may have looked good, it is not something we want. It is a weed. I did nothing to make it grow. No water, no good soil. And I did not have to scatter the seeds. The wind took care of that. This is quite a contrast to what I have to do to get a much wanted, gorgeous flower to grow. Anybody who knows me is aware that I collect flower seeds everywhere I go, and scatter them in my "way back" where I have to make sure they are well watered, have good soil, and keep their environment weeded. It takes a lot of work! Like the dandelion, how easy it is for us to engage in activities that can be called "bad seed." By our very natures, we are sinners. Sinning comes easy. We don't have to think about it, but to scatter "good seed" takes work, thought, and calculation. Galatians 6:7-9 says, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." I have seen this principle come to pass over and over again, but the most impressionable experience I have had was during a visit to Dallas to see my good friend, Pat. We were driving to a local restaurant during rush hour. I needed to get over two lanes. One would have been bad enough, but two seemed impossible and I needed to get over quickly. My friend said, "I always let people in my lane when I see they are trying to get over, so you are going to reap what I have been sowing. Put on your blinker and they will let you in." I did thinking she has got to be crazy, but to my amazement, we were let in... in one lane, then the other. This dandelion reminded me how easy it is to gossip, be angry and impatient, think wrong things, take offense, talk negatively, and a multitude of other ungodly behaviors. It takes hard work to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Like I sow flower seeds, I want to sow good seeds and be good seed in the kingdom of God, so whatever I do in word or deed it brings glory to the Father. My prayer is that God will help me to walk in the Spirit and sow to the Spirit, not the flesh. Weeds or flowers? (These pictures are done in manual mode. I think I might have it figured out!)
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