Category Archives: through the eyes of the spirit

It’s that time of year …

not for celebrations and parties.  Not for get-togethers with good friends and people you may know.  Not shopping for bargains and gifts, not meeting up to have a good time and not for having a nice glass of wine with like-minded folks.

Well, actually, it is that time of year, but not for everyone.

For some, this time of year means eating a cold can of beans alone in an empty room without power because the electric bill wasn’t paid.  It wasn’t paid because the baby needed medication and there wasn’t enough money for medication and electricity.

For some, this time of year means standing on the street, in the cold, wearing street clothes and house slippers because there wasn’t enough money for rent and if there wasn’t enough money for rent, there certainly wasn’t enough money for a coat and shoes.

For some, this time of year brings memories that are bitter and hurtful; thoughts of years past that ran, one into the other, with no happiness or joy.

For some, this time of year means nothing.  It is simply the passing of time while watching the world go by, just like the year before and the year before that.

For some, this time of year means family, food, friends and fellowship.  It is these people who embrace the season and enjoy it as they always have, together with the people they love and are comfortable with.

But what about all the others?

Who, when they set down to their family table laden with food, surrounded by family, warm, cozy and perfect, think of those who have nothing, expect nothing and know nothing different from the emptiness they feel every year at this time?

I and many others call ourselves followers of Christ.  We say with our voices  how much we love and want to be like Jesus.

We sing praises, bless our food and continue on in the same traditions we have followed for years.  We praise Jesus and say we want to be like Him but prove time and again that we recite words we believe but don’t, deep down, mean and we fail the very Jesus we say we want to be like.

He wants us to share what we have; not just home, warmth, family, friends and food, but the very word that would bring others to love and honor Him.

Invite a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner.  Invite several strangers.

Let’s bring someone homeless to our home and make them, for one day, family.

Let’s show them that Jesus is real and that they are loved.

This time of year is our time, the Jesus follower’s time.  Our time to put our money where our mouth is.  To be hospitable, to offer shelter and food for those who are hungry and the ones the world calls outcasts.

It is our time to take in everyone, despite everything, and to show them Jesus.

If we, who claim to be the hands and feet of Jesus don’t show love to the oppressed, be certain that the evil one will.

He will entice and enchant them, then make them slaves to his depravity and hatred of all things good.

Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of beating us to the punch.  Let us be the Jesus we claim to want to follow and lead someone to Christ by being the hands and feet of the Savior.

Make no mistake –  Satan is working hard to win the souls of the lost and if we don’t work harder, he will win because he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get a response on the first pass.

Be Jesus to the world and don’t give up just because you can find an excuse.  Having an excuse doesn’t excuse us, but overcoming excuses and finding a way to be Jesus to the world shows our true alliance.  We are with Jesus or not with Jesus.  It is as simple as that.

Everyone reading this post is welcome to Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s house.  You, for one day, will be our family, you will be warm and your bellies will be full.  Must love, or at least tolerate dogs, though, because our place is lousy with them!  🙂

I was just on the verge …

of a meltdown.

I had already picked out the breakable missile to be thrown at, well, something breakable.

My inner voice was saying, rather loudly, that there was nothing to break that could be salvaged and that I should put down the weapon.

I’m not certain when my inner voice became a hostage negotiator, but she has, and with obvious authority, decided that she’s the boss of me.

My meltdown voice, not to be silenced by a newbie, was saying “I don’t care, something has to give.”

Then the inner voice then said, in a still, soft tone, “who are you mad at and why do you want to break things?”

I replied, in my loud, hateful voice,” what do you care?  Leave me alone”.

That soft voice spoke again and said, simply, “Why do you work so hard to destroy yourself?”

It stopped me in my tracks.

I realized at that moment that I was mad at someone.

I was furious that I was, once again, left feeling like I had done something wrong.

I was angry that I felt alone, insecure and abandoned by someone who would, if the world turned on its axis as it is supposed to, mean nothing to me.

I realized that I was disappointed in myself for being gullible, fallible, ignorant and needy and yes, I was intent on destroying myself because of it.

I was angry that I could put so much of my self-worth into someone  that found no worth in a friendship I was  willing to give.

I was angry because I felt I needed someone to find worth in me.

I was angry because, for a span of time, I could find no worth in myself.

That newbie voice just kept on jabbering until I was forced to either listen or throw myself into an active volcano.

Since burning every inch of skin off of my body was the lesser of the choices, I decided to stop being a self-centered, belligerent jerk and listen.

So I listened and in doing so, decided that the newbie voice was likely getting some coaching from a veteran.

I’m worthy without validation, for many reasons, the least not being that I am a child of Christ.

When I went down the reasons that I should feel OK about myself, that one reason, the most important one, didn’t immediately enter my mind.

Yes, there are people I want to like me.

They chip away at my self-esteem and make me feel that I will be less of a person if they don’t interact with me.

They, at some point, gained control over my self worth and whittled it down to next to nothing,

But if they don’t see it, my world will unfold just as it would have anyway.

There came the WOW moment that made me think twice about where I was, where I’d come from and to where I was going.

I found myself very disappointed in myself because I had, yet again, lost my way.

But, if the voice is accurate, which at this point, I’ve no reason to suspect otherwise, the way will be made clear if I stop feeling sorry for myself and ask for directions.

Yes,  folks have hurt me more than I ever knew I could be hurt, on a level that I didn’t even realize existed.

But they can continue to hurt me only if I continue to let them … if I give them the power to make me feel inadequate, insecure and unworthy.

There is only one person who dictates my worth and HE has found me worthy.

I question that.

Daily.

Hourly.

But HE is in a position of omnipotent power and if HE says HE likes being around me, then everything and everyone I have felt inferior to become irrelevant in my world.

I’ve cried way more tears over things I can’t change than over the blessings I had before I tried to change anything.

My meltdown lost merit after that.

I didn’t feel the need to shatter physical things.

Instead, I felt the desire to lift myself higher than I had deemed myself worthy to be because ONE well more worthy than myself found me worthy.

I felt compelled to love and to pray for the ones who challenged my worth.

I am thankful for a Saviour who sees the weapon in my hand and understands that I really want to throw it; who sees my tears and feels my pain, who knows my broken heart and comes running.

I have been looking in the wrong place for a long time.

It doesn’t mean that I won’t want to throw things again, as that is part of the imaginative nature I have been given; but I won’t want to throw them in hurtful indignation.

I will throw them simply for the fun of it.

And then I can sing joyously while I dance in the rain because I am worthy of the raindrops from Heaven.

Life isn’t easy, it’s not a cake-walk or a bed of roses, at least not all the time.

At other times, it is rainbows, daisies, trees in winter and fairies in springtime.

It is, essentially, what it is, and I’m worthy, so says my Lord, to enjoy the best and endure the worst and still be who I was destined to me.

Myself.

In His image and under the magnificent umbrella of His faith in me.

I am, in this moment, OK with that.

http://www.gcuniverse.com/throughtheeyesofthespirit

 

Being just on the cusp …

of sanity is a truly difficult place to be.

Reality is real.  That’s factual.

Yet fantasy can justifiably be just as indisputable.

That sound ridiculous, but in my  world, it is how it goes.

I spend as much time daydreaming as I do actually living the life in front of me.

I think about all sorts of things, rearranging them from time to time so that I have no doubts or regrets.

That, in itself, is lame.

Time can’t be altered.

There are no “do-overs” in life.

It is what it appears to be.

I would, if I could, change some things, but wouldn’t go back and do it all again for all the blue in an October sky.

I have to find a place of contentment in my chaotic world, otherwise, I couldn’t survive.

If I dwell on what didn’t go my way, there’s a better than average chance I will lose focus on my blessings.

And they are many.

My blessings.

While it is true that I took some blessings for granted and, in doing so, lost them …

I’ve only myself to blame.

Each day is an opportunity for me to rectify that which was irresponsibly lost.

What I do with that opportunity is solely on me.

I wish many things, but at the end of the day, I am where I am because of the choices I’ve made.

But then, aren’t we all?

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My beloved …

much missed and cherished convertible is back.

She still makes noises and currently has no back seats, but she’s running.

I have missed my little car.

I mistreated her by making her pretend she was a Jeep, but she took it.

I will mistreat her again to get to the places I need to go and she, as she always has, will understand.

She knows me, my dreams and aspirations.

She understands my yearning to see and photograph.

I’m very happy to have her back and hope she knows how much I’ve missed her.

She’s mine; she was always meant to be mine.

I won’t trade her when I am finally able fulfill my lifelong dream and get a Jeep.

No, she’s safe here. She will always have a place in my heart (and in my driveway).

I’m pretty sure she knows that.

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She took me to my falls many, many times.

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She took me to the high places at Clingman’s Dome in the Smoky Mountains, where snow fell heavily in October.

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She took me, in the pouring rain, to Hungry Mother Park in Marion, VA

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She took me up and down Big Moccasin every day, stopping often so I could photograph my favorite trees.

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She took me, more than once, to the Outer Banks of NC.

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OBX again …

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and again.

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She took my girls with me many times …

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      many times.

Yes, I’m very happy to have her back.

Very happy, indeed.

My nieces …

are remarkable.

Each of them brings me unspeakable joy.

Sophie, the oldest, was my first. I watched her being born and captured the first photograph of her.

She became, that photograph did, anyway, a greeting card.

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/holiday-cards/nurses-day-cards/general-nurses-day/nurses-day-obstetrics-new-baby-exam-150758?aid=133039

Gracie, known to me as Gracie-Bell, was second. I didn’t witness her birth as she decided to create all kinds of drama.

She, like her older sister, is a drama queen.

Gracie has Down’s Syndrome but lives life as though it will end tomorrow. She’s a character and, as you may have imagined, a greeting card as well.

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/holiday-cards/nurses-day-cards/general-nurses-day/happy-nurses-day-child-dancing-803906?aid=133039

Life happens as it happens and as it does, I capture it.

It’s what I do.

My daughter, for instance, was a music education major.  She’s chosen a different path, yet still found herself on a greeting card.

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/miss-you-cards/general-miss-you/girl-with-trumpet-music-135567?aid=133039

My dad, an inspiration to me though we often butted heads, is my mentor. Guess what?  Yep, a greeting card.

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/dad-father-birthday-cards/general/happy-birthday-dad-farmer-246883?aid=133039

Life happens.

In that life is magnificence.

Live.

Love.

Embrace.

Enjoy.

Time passes, life goes on, memories fade.

Enjoy each moment for there will come a time when nothing, except memories, remain.

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Family. Friends. Creation. Life.

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Nothing matters more.

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Spinning Circles…

under cover of darkness in daisies growing randomly through the tall meadow grass.

I feel unstoppable; I hear the joy of my own laughter.

A stunning evening sky blossoms above me, twinkling.

The moon echoes my laughter.

The wind sings a night song.

I twinkle and laugh and sing with them.

The fireflies are back.

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What is it about music …

that has the ability to soothe the soul while it simultaneously sends it reeling in turmoil and heartache, joy and sadness; reminiscing and rebelling even as it brings us back, unto ourselves, full circle?

That is is the beauty of it, is it not, to touch the untouchable space in the soul and spark the imagination? To make us think beyond what we know so that we try to touch on that which we weren’t even aware we wanted to know?

Part of the mystery?  The enigma?  The fascination?

I listen to music for hours every day, various genres ranging from hard, head-banging rock, to soothing  yet heartbreaking cello, to piano concertos. There are soaring arias, operatic manifestations that vary widely from my beloved Bryn to local, struggling, yet resilient talent, all of which move me on one one level or another.

Move me to seek, to find, to think, to imagine, to embrace and learn what I’ve always wanted to know.  It, music, is a kind of courage that makes one feel worthy to not only want to know, but to feel that they have right to discover.

It is empowering, this music of which I speak and it belongs to all of us.

Listening to music and interpreting it is no different really, than developing the photographs I take and finding in each one something magnificent or a flaw that makes it unintelligible and useless on every level.

Music is the same.

There are pieces that I listen to daily because I cannot help myself.  I love them, the sound of them, the places they take my mind whether I want to go or not and that is part of its power.

The power to take one on a journey, maybe pleasurable, possibly painful, but a journey that will leave the listener feeling more than they felt before and less because now, they realize that they were, prior to this moment, incomplete.

It is a humbling experience, understanding music and feeling a connection.

Anyone can hear music, but only some can comprehend it understand it and seek it because the choice, once they have experienced it, is no longer their own.

They are a slave to the sound, the vibrations, the magic that music has to offer.

There are composers who enamor me more than others, some very well known, some known not at all.

It makes little difference, at the end of the day.

There are composers I love to hear and conductors I love to watch. Some, at their very core, are nothing less than brilliant.

There are songs that are sappy and sentimental that pull at me just as there are instrumentals that draw from the depths of my inner being and make me feel things that I had either forgotten or purposely hidden away.

I’m still not sure how I feel about those except they evoke emotions that I’m not fully prepared to embrace.

It is during these indecisive moments that I throw things at mirrors, shattering them and feeling perfectly fine about it.

Whether it soothes my spirit, fries my brain or breaks my heart, I need music; it is the language, fourth to words, shadow and light, of my blood.

I can’t play a note of it, but I have an innate understanding of it.

It moves me like the river flowing over the rocks that I so dearly love.

Without music, everything else in my life would go on as it always has, but all of the emotions would be diluted. That, to me, is a sobering thought.

ClevelandOH-34Severance Hall … Cleveland Orchestra … Mahler’s First.

tay_musicMy favorite trumpeter …

Lightning over Big MoccasinProof that nature is full of music and miraculous things…

powelvalley_windsofmtnempire-301The joy of simply knowing what music is about …

clarinethandsA clarinetists’ hands … music and beauty and awesomeness lives therein …