Five-Minute Friday {YES}

Friday, looking at a bonus day extending the weekend.

Friday, with the weekly laundry to wash and groceries to buy.

Friday melting in to the Saturday when college football season finally returns and brings with it more yelling at people who, thankfully, can’t hear us but this is what we do when our favorite sport returns.

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empty tea cup

The end of the week that brings opportunities to linger over breakfast, a chance to play or being instead of doing for a while. A chance to come together with our faith community Sunday that always brings new grace.

A time to say no to the ‘should’ and YES to the unknown possibilities. To say YES to living wholehearted, weak and trembling, but learning we are made in the image of God and he is waiting to say YES to us.

Linking up with the weekly Five-Minute Friday blog party at Kate Motaung‘s place. Stop over and share your words on this weeks prompt.

What We Learned {August}

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I nearly let this link-up go by as it’s just a busy week. But I was diligent in jotting down things I learned and it looks like August was a good month for boosting knowledge.

Basics that I probably should have known but, you know, now I do!

Who doesn’t use Google image to find pictures of anything but I never realized there was a way to pinpoint my searches. Once you’re in Google Image, look for the button that says “more tools” and click that. There you will be able to refine your search to file size, type and the best part, images that don’t have use restrictions. BONUS!

Periscope

I’ve read about a lot of folks using Periscope so I had to take a look. It’s easy as it’s a free app to download, follow whoever you want and when they go live you’ll get a sound notification. You can watch it live or anytime within 24 hours. Most segments are 15 minutes or less which is perfect. You can even watch Emily Freeman on Periscope ;)

If you like photography and using filters, etc. I have found Rhonna Farrer tutorials on Periscope to be especially helpful.

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                                               edited with rdmagic and rhonnadesigns apps

Words

Here’s something else I’ve been seeing in print more and more: the word bespoke. I had no idea the meaning and the context wasn’t helping me so to the dictionary app I went to discover it means “made to order”. Huh, who knew? ;)

Swag – I think we all know the current meaning has been associated with swag bags as in the goodies you get at a conference, etc. At our nieces wedding the photographer was doing pics of the groomsmen when she said, “Show me your swag.” The men were a bit restrained but the two little boys quickly threw their arms crossed over their chest to their shoulders. So now I’m learning from a 5 and 7-year-old. Sounds about right.

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Paul Kathryn_batchWatermark

                             My favorite of the day: my brother walking his middle daughter down the aisle.

Speaking of weddings, and photography, said niece asked if I’d take pictures at the wedding too. Since I wasn’t the primary photographer (we’re all friends so there was no threat) there was no pressure and it enabled me to focus on the candid and do what I love most: capturing the mood of the moment. What a delight.

August was the time for my husband and I to get our personnel review with the organization we’re with. That hour conversation about goals taught me I wasn’t prepared and needed to put more intentional direction in my life. I wrote about the results of that meeting here.

Linking up with Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky for a monthly link-up of What We Learned.

Goals? Me?

around the lake in North Carolina

I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect this.

It was our five-year review. At least I guess it’s a five-year thing. They’ve happened somewhat randomly throughout our 20+ years as Salvation Army pastors.

This review skipped the basics, the stuff that tells you how you’re doing or the perception of how you’re doing and went straight to the goals. As in, ‘what are three goals you have?’

I sat silent.

He didn’t want to hear what I was thinking. That Hudson is just shy of 4 years from retirement and my goal is to get through and get out. How’s that for goals?

Finally, a few things were scratched out…I mentioned a certification one of our counselors has encouraged me to get and we talked about that and a possibility of schooling for an advanced certification in addictions counseling.

It all sounded good and met the needs of the review. Whew, that was close!

Then I got an email inquiring about checking on my credits and what would be needed to finish a degree and reality set in and I realized this goal thing was serious.

And one standard review woke me up from my comfortable coasting. It woke me to the reality of what’s next? What is that thing that will always be there when I’m not required to do this or that?

Those thoughts swirled through my mind for days as I needed to peel off layers of expectations, perceptions and obligations. I need to find the basics that make me want to learn and share.

Then I wrote this email:

“As I have thought about our conversation, talked to Henry (who seems to know me better than I know myself) and let these things settle in my heart, I think my real desire, is indeed, communicating; communicating a story of grace and hope and the beauty of God.”

And then I shared it with three friends because to say it makes it real and, hopefully, makes me accountable. But to say it here? I’m taking a deep breath now.

My heart isn’t with the certification for addictions counseling even though I could make money doing that in retirement. My real desire is to tell stories; through words (written and spoken) and or pictures, (photo’s or art).

I’m not sure how it will look right now but I’m looking around to find out. It’s not an obvious thing or easily quantified in our standardized goals but I feel settled about it. In the way that I’m not questioning it or wishy-washy. I don’t have a goal to write a book or be a commercial success but to hone the talents I’ve been given to continue to learn and grow and share God’s story of grace. 

There is a lot of unknown. But this unknown has me excited for the possibilities God has ahead.

The first person I shared this with has this on her Facebook status today. Maybe it’s not just for me but for you too.

no fear
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 

Five-Minute Friday {alone}

The short refrain from The Lone Bellow rings loudly in my ears

“….you’re not alone, you’re not alone”

and I wonder if she knows that 3000 miles away she’s not alone.

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a rare time the three of us are together Aug 2015

                                                         a rare time the three of us are together Aug 2015

Today is another birthday celebration for mama, another she won’t recognize and another my sister may feel alone in carrying the family weight of simply being there.

It’s something we’ve slowly come to accept simply because we have no choice. She is there, Washington state, our brother is in Dallas and we are in the tip of Florida, eyes on that “cone of uncertainty” watching another storm with a name.

Even with her three kids and supportive husband, with dozens of extended family nearby, how many times has she felt alone sitting with mama, answering questions of her care givers and showing up when others can’t?

Sometimes life is that way and while we’ve shared the tears we also share the smiles and understand when our laughter may not be understood by all. We know that standing alone does not mean we are alone and we ask God for that comfort that he gives, sometimes, in surprising ways….the smile of a knowing person, the email from someone who has walked this journey, the echoes of a song.

 

“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 the Message

Details, details

I took the full view of her in, barely seeing the wedding dress as her radiant smile stole the show.

Yes, it was lovely, white, some kind of satiny material, but it was my niece I was seeing, not the details.

That’s me. For an artist, I miss a lot of the fine points. Instead, I take in the nuance of the moment, the atmosphere of the room.

Paul Kathryn_batchWatermark

blurred flowers

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candid bridesmaids framed cropped

Don’t ask me the color of someone’s eyes, even a good friend, because unless they’re brilliant blue or magical brown I won’t have any idea. But ask me if they have a smile that makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room or if they find laughter as easily as some see a speck of lint on a sweater and I’ll know that.

When I hold the camera to my eye, that’s what I’m hoping to find, to capture, are those details.

The niece sad, somewhat casually in that expected tone, “aunt Debby, you always have your camera so you’ll be taking pictures too.” She had a photographer for her wedding, a family friend who wouldn’t feel the least bit threatened or put upon with me off to the side snapping away. And I wouldn’t feel pressure being the primary photographer which gave me greater access.

I stood at the side and didn’t have to give directions. As family, I walked in the room where the bride and her attendants were getting ready with barely a notice of my presence. That’s the best.

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parents of the bride

parents of the bride

funny expression

Madisons Kathryn_batchWatermark

reception kiss

Daniel dancing

This is what I would photograph always: smiles and laughter, expressions of newlyweds and little boys invited to dance with the grownups.

There is One who knows the details. How could he not, he created our very being. Like I know our daughters crooked pinky fingers and our sons toes are long like mine, God know the external and internal of our lives. The miracle is, He loves us anyway.

“Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 Living Bible

 

Linking up in a discussion group ‘On Being a Writer’ over at Kate Motaung’s place. Stop by.

Five-Minute Friday {find}

I have lost

money

time

socks

and my patience.

No matter how organized I want and appear to be, things are lost. The day swallows up my best intentions and this house continues to hide what is often in plain sight.

Typically, I am the one to find whatever is being looked for at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s a man thing, a husband thing, or just a my husband thing but why, for the love, can’t he see what is in the refrigerator?

We take turns rescuing each other that way because I can never find anything in the garage. hmmmm

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What I’ve been looking for most these days are words. They aren’t coming freely and the ones that come aren’t feeling sure and alive. This usually means it’s time to examine myself. Am  I feeling sure in what matters and alive to what is in front of me?

Am I investing time in truths that restore and sharpen my faith?

I have felt complacency creeping around the edges as I wrestle with comparison and truth.

My value is not found in the words I write, or don’t write.

I will never find myself in accomplishments but only in God’s gracious love.

 

 

 

A change of view

The words have been slow lately. It must be a time to absorb and refill what has been depleted. Our annual week in the North Carolina mountains was one of taking in the beauty of creation in its many forms including people. Lots of people. It has left me short of words and hoping, as Rod Steward sang, that  every picture tells the story.

“What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalm 104:24 the Message

These seem to grow everywhere, even in parking lots of diners.

view

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house garden

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stone steps

 

“O God, listen to me! Hear my prayer! 2 For wherever I am, though far away at the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help. When my heart is faint and overwhelmed, lead me to the mighty, towering Rock of safety. 3 For you are my refuge, a high tower where my enemies can never reach me. 4 I shall live forever in your tabernacle; oh, to be safe beneath the shelter of your wings! 5 For you have heard my vows, O God, to praise[a] you every day, and you have given me the blessings you reserve for those who reverence your name.” Psalm 61:1-5 Living Bible