Contrasts

Sunrise in the winter is beautiful – particularly when there is a “sun” rise (i.e. the gray clouds aren’t hiding it).

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It’s a frosty morning and I snap a picture of the grapevines on the split rail fence. The oranges and yellows of the light create a lovely warmth. But two steps down the driveway, I snap a second picture of the split rail fence.  The colors of these pictures have not been altered but notice the contrast! This second picture is like a black and white photo, sun and shadow, interesting but not exuding the warmth like the picture above, almost formed like the Tao sign.

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A nearly identical moment in time, literally just a split second and two steps apart but an entirely different viewpoint emerges. I wonder how often we take the time to look at all the vantage points of the moments of our life? Time or distance, possibly just around the turn, we may see a contrasting view that gives us a whole new set of information to ponder and consider.

Looking back and thinking about the emotions I feel, both of those pictures are lovely but my preference is facing the light, the oranges and yellows warming a cold scene. What about you? Do you have a preference?

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Morning Glory or Sunflower?

Morning Glory

Morning Glory or Sunflower?

Sunflower

In the middle of a cold January winter, it’s nice to look through my favorite flower pictures …

Sunflowers make me smile – they are happy flowers – they are fruitful flowers. It’s like they praise God in their action – turning their flower head and following the course of the sun throughout the day.

But I’m a Morning Glory – I’m sensitive to too much light but just glow in the dim light of morning or evening and on gray days.  A morning glory is a bit more “awe” producing rather than giving the “happy” sunflower feeling.

And it’s wonderful the world has both of these types of flowers in it plus the diversity of so many others – like it’s a more complete world.

Which picture are you drawn to? Which flower personality is most like you?

Dark and Light, Cold and Heat

snow and frost

On those really cold dark days in January, it’s delightful to feel the warm sun again and to take in the awe of the “diamonds” in the snow as the light shines. During this time of year, I tend to be on social media more … I guess it’s better than totally hibernating.

And one post on Facebook caught my attention – it was something like this “let’s settle this God thing once and for all” – the person then goes on in a tangential and loosely associated way to highlight the discrepancies and evil in the world.

I’ve heard this argument before as proof against the existence of a good God but this time I felt compelled to write some of my own observations …

“Dark is the absence of light.

Cold is the absence of heat.

Evil is the absence of God.

Right now, while living on earth there’s a choice and so some choose the absence of God and that’s all that’s needed for evil to exist.”

I guess the real misunderstanding is choice. How much God honors choice. How what we choose can be good or can be evil. When we choose good, we are actually choosing God. And when we reject choosing good, we are turning away from God. It goes all the way back to Genesis and the Garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit … don’t know the story? Check it out in the beginning of the Bible.

That tree was knowledge of good and evil – since Adam and Eve already knew God – they knew good … why would they ever want to “know” evil? Why would they eat of that fruit?  Because they were deceived into thinking that they were missing out on something and they wanted to be like God. And the rest is history, they were given the freedom to make that choice and they choose to know evil and evil entered in.

Just think of how we (societies) define good and evil … think of the very first relationship you had – the mother and child relationship – how integral that is to our health and happiness. And now think how mothers are killing their children because of inconvenience or bad timing and it’s called “good.” And think of how children are killing their parents because of use of resources and finances and it’s called “mercy.”

Abortion and Euthanasia are two areas where evil has been defined as good and merciful. If we have absorbed this mentality we can kill a family member, what is to stop that philosophy from spreading into the schools and societies where one person kills another because they judge them as an obstacle to their happiness.

We need a guide to discern what is good, we need God’s help. The existence of evil is not proof there is no God, it is proof we are not “gods” and we are not making good choices.

I like the saying “Start where you’re at” … dark is the absence of light but there are many areas of gray where there is some light, allow the talents of your light to shine.  Cold is the absence of heat and there are many degrees between absolute zero and the hottest temperature (whatever that is), carry around a warm heart.  And evil is the absence of God and there are many gray areas and degrees of good, search earnestly to find ways to develop an informed conscience so the greater good will break through the dark and cold in this world.

Probability to Possibility

Possibilities

My husband and I traditionally go to church Saturday evenings, but sometimes napping or other such commitments make the decision for us to go on Sunday.

I like to plan my day ahead and so I asked my husband if we were going to church tonight as usual and he said, “Probably.”  I immediately came back and said, “How can we turn probably to possibly?” From something that might happen, to something that is planned to happen.

Flash … Inspiration … That’s “IT” – the I and T of “it” stands for Inspired Thinking!  In life pursuits or in business, how do we take something that has probability – some interest or skill or desire we have that’s just there – and develop it or channel it to open and create possibilities in our lives?

How do we move from probability to possibility? I would say first that we must recognize those inherent interests, desires and gifted areas – do you know of a “p” word that meets that definition?

Humm – “p” words – planning, persuasion, persistence, perseverance, pursuits, passion, purpose …

Awareness = Panning – like panning for gold or panning the horizon to look at the vast vista of whats out there … well, that might not be totally the right word, but it’s a start – bringing the wisp of probability into a better and more substantial view.

After panning, sort through all those desires and strengths of yours – any themes arise? Any combinations that pique your joy button or get you daydreaming? Our passions and purposes are meant to serve the world, while serving us too! So after panning, step 2 could be to “pick” a dream.

And step 3 would be planning. There will always be gaps that we need to fill in to move towards our dreams. So what plans come to mind that can fill those gaps? Education, training, mentoring, volunteering, practice … hey wait, that’s the next “p” word … this is flowing – so cool!

Step 4 would be to take action – to put into practice that part of the plan that we are in a position to implement.

OMG position – yes – and positioning yourself that way, leads to new found possibilities. God is the creator of our lives but He wants us to be co-creator’s of how it unfolds. I guess that’s why we are em-powered with passion and purpose towards certain pursuits. And maybe it’s time to move from probability to possibility.

Don’t Laugh … LOL

It took me a while to get that LOL didn’t mean Lot’s of Love but rather Laughing Out Loud … that’s probably because I actually do qualify as a baby boomer. A late one, but one never-the-less.

Yes, I remember party lines on the phone and how I’d sneak and listen to the neighbor’s conversation. Yes, I remember getting our first TV – black and white – and watching the first moon landing on it too! I remember the intriguing old radio story programs.

It took me a while but I do have a computer, iPad, iPhone and iPod but those are along side the stack of VHS tapes that I occasionally still watch. Yep, I know how to use a pencil to rewind a cassette tape.  I do have un-listened to books on tape that I’m sorrowing over because this summer I sold my old Ford Explorer that had the tape player in it.

But I have evolved. I know I have and here’s an incident to prove it and don’t laugh … this week my electric toothbrush fell and broke in half – I was distraught – how could I go to my morning appointments without brushing my teeth, when would I have time to get a new toothbrush, how inconvenient – how stressful … then it hit me, I’ve only had an electric toothbrush for the past 5 years of my life … for 45 years I brushed my teeth the old-fashioned way.  I rummaged through my drawers and found a plain old toothbrush. You know what, I’m not going back to the click a button battery one.

How could I have fallen into that helpless feeling so quickly and easily when the electronic thingy broke?  I had a whole lifetime of experience of living without electronic thingy’s, so at least I had some backup plans to dust off in my brain but what about the kids today? Many don’t know what it’s like to be without an artificial extension of reality. How will they cope if one day they are forced to do without?

I know a lot of people don’t practice giving things up for Lent before Easter but what if? What if we practiced developing self-reliance and resilience by giving up the internet or the cell phone or the electric toothbrush for 6 weeks?  Last year I gave up using credit cards during lent and paid cash for everything I bought – whoa – you have no idea how life changing that one thing was! I particularly remember having to walk into gas stations instead of paying at the pump and having a real conversation with a real person at the cash register.

Ok, so maybe you’re not ready to give up your credit card or cell phone but how about giving yourself an experience?  I vacation at a cottage that is in the middle of no-where, has an outhouse and no running water inside except for a hand-pump.  The birds sing, the walks are beautiful, I hear the wind through the pines, I wash up with a sponge bath or in the lake and we cook hot dogs over a campfire at night. Besides an occasional tent camping experience, that’s about as close as I’ve gotten to a survival experience and I passed the test.

Don’t get anxious if your electric toothbrush crashes – you are tougher than that – you will survive and if you practice simplifying your life, you might actually thrive!