Category Archives: traditions

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’ve said it before …

and I’ll say it again.  I am much too soft-hearted to be a  nurse.  So many things that I come into contact with on a daily basis makes me want to weep and scream at the injustice of life.

I am supposed to simply speak to people and let them know that they are not just a patient, but it isn’t  that simple.  They are people to me.

They are my mother.

They are my father.

They are my daughter, nieces and sister.

They become part of my heart and being and I take them home with me.

I have cried many, many tears for those that I visit with.  I have held their hands, held their family’s hands and prayed with them.  I try to leave them where they are, but they won’t stay there.

They come home with me.  I think about them and hope that they will live until morning; hope that if they don’t, their sons, daughters, mothers and fathers will be able to cope with loss of their existence.

I want to be strong.  I will myself to be stoic and unattached, but that lasts as long as the mist under a strong morning sunrise.  I love these people.  I fall in love with their families and I feel the pain, sorrow and devastation of their loss on every front.

The older I get, the more squeamish, melancholic and dramatic I become.  I surely thought that I would be stronger and more able to control my emotions at this point, but the truth is that I am more susceptible to emotion and empathy than I ever thought possible.

Sometimes, things happen that are funny and yet, the humor battles sorrow for there is nothing beautiful or funny about someone who doesn’t know who they are or where they are or what they have accomplished in their lives.  The emptiness is devastating.  I find myself bringing people home with me in my thoughts and crying over their infirmities.

I never wanted to be a nurse.  I wanted to be a photographer.  I wonder sometimes if I don’t make a better nurse than a photographer.  And then I realize that I can be both.

One makes me a better of the other.

I photograph for the sheer pleasure of it and  yet, when photographs are forbidden, I see past what is present.  I am thankful, on many levels, for the blessings bestowed upon me.

I am a nurse.

I am a photographer.

I am myself.

I am content.

What more can anyone ask than to be content in the life they are living.

I am, above all things, thankful, for the joys, the trials, the triumphs and the the lessons.  Thankful for the things that hurt me and those that bring me joy.

One without the other is insubstantial; combined, they are powerful beyond the description of words.

I. Am. Blessed.

And I am thankful.  The images, whether in real time or captured on film are what life is about.  Life is images and images make up life.

Again I say, I. Am. Blessed.

Bodie Island Lighthouse (my OBX favorite)bodieislandlighthouse

Matt … a truly beautiful human … hatteras_lightning-59


A doe at Bodie Island hatteras_lightning-71

Beach Beauties … outerbanks_day1-327

Political correctness …

has really cramped my style.  There are things I want to know, questions I want to ask, mysteries that I want to unravel, but since the world has decided that everything is taboo, it seems that I’m not allowed to ask.  If I ask what the significance of a certain dress is for, I am frowned upon.  If I ask what the red dot on the forehead means, I am given the cold shoulder.  I don’t ask because I find it odd or disturbing; I ask because I am curious.  I really want to know.

I want to know what someone from India has for breakfast on an ordinary day.  I want to know what someone from Germany holds dear in their heart.  I want to know why and how and who.  I am curious by nature and have a hard time keeping my questions to myself, but find that more often, instead of answers, I am given silence.  Why is it that we have to be so separate.  My blood is as red as the next person’s.  My heart beats, my lungs fill with air, my eyes see, my mouth speaks.

I spent my years in elementary, middle and high school fighting cliques, trying to belong in a place where I really didn’t.  I really thought that, once I reached adulthood, those things would pass away.  There are things I want to learn, people I want to photograph and cultures I want to know more about, but I feel thwarted by a bigotry, prejudice and hatred that isn’t mine.

I know folks of different nationalities and cultures, different colors and countries, but I, because of the standards the world has set, am an outsider.  I don’t want it to be that way, but try as I might to find a way to change it, I continually find myself on the outside looking in.  I would be honored to be invited to sit at the table for a traditional African American New Year’s Day dinner.  To participate in the beauty of the preparation of an Indian wedding.  To partake in the awe of a German Christmas tree decorated with candles.  To walk in the vineyards of Italy and see the beauty that is there, learn what makes them beautiful and listen to the song that the growing vines sing.  I want to sit in an Irish Pub listening to the storytellers as they weave their magic and feel that I am a part of it all, not an outsider, not an American, not  anyone except who I am.  How satisfying it would be to sit at a long table, whether I speak the language or not, with a culture not my own and just absorb it, draw it into myself and hold it in my heart for all time.  I want to understand the color of red in the paint of Easter eggs in Russia.   I want to know what the traditional foods of Hanukkah represent, what the words to the songs they sing  mean.   I have so many questions … and no one to answer them.

I am not politically correct.  I call a spade a spade and am not afraid to speak my mind.  I only wish that there were others, ones who were willing to share, so that what I know of would be more than what I know of.  I am willing to learn if someone is willing to teach me.  I am willing to open myself to the possibilities of endless fascination, but before I can, there must be those willing to open themselves to the possibility that everyone does not harbor a heart of hate.  I am a child of God, that is true in the purest form, and as such, I want to know all there is about the world I live in.  I cannot help it.  I want to know.  I want to learn.  I want to know.  Surely, in all the world, there are others like me.  Teach me and I will learn, and as I learn, I will teach others.  Together, one at a time, we really can change the world.  Come … Let us reason together.


A heart for all mankind … a heart for knowledge … a heart for truth