Sunday, July 31, 2011


P7040074We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Song: ‘Blessings’
Written and sung by Laura Story

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seen In A Nearby Place

The winds have welcomed you with softness,P6259624The sun has greeted you with it’s warm hands,P6259622You have flown so high and well,
That God has joined you in laughter,    
And set you back gently into     P6259618The loving arms of the earth below.

— Anonymous, known as 'The Balloonist's Prayer,' believed to have been adapted from an old Irish sailors' prayer.

The morning we left for vacation – just minutes after we left home – we saw several hot air balloons high overhead.  It didn’t take us long to realize they were descending and it appeared they were going to land in a nearby field beside a business we would soon pass.  I have dreamed of taking a hot air balloon ride some day – and I intend to do it one of these days.  Perhaps next Spring or Summer.  As we turned to pass the area where the balloons would soon land my sweetheart (and he is a sweetheart!) pulled over to the side of the road so I could get out of the truck and capture it all with my camera.  I loved every minute of it – the sights of the big balloons.  The sounds of the hot air being released to keep the balloons afloat.  The voices of the people riding, floating, in the baskets. And those on the earth below.  My heart longed to stay but I knew it was time to be on our way, headed out of town.  To the lake.  For a long-awaited vacation.  Oh, how I wished I climb on-board and fly away!  One of these days I will.  And you will know it’s me up there.  I’ll be the one with the camera.  And the big smile on my face!  Be sure to wave!!

The balloon seems to stand still in the air
while the earth flies past underneath.
— Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garden Talk

She stooped over the flowers
and talked about them
as if they were children.

Frances Hodgson

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Determination

P6289976An ‘interesting’ thing happened with my blog while I was away on vacation. I feel I must share it with you so you don’t have to deal with the same thing when you least expect it.

A man from a country on the other side of the world contacted me to ask where I ‘found’ the photo I had used on a blog post three years ago.  He said he found it interesting that I had used that photo and that the credits at the bottom of the photo had been blurred so they were not readable.  He continued to say the photo was the work of one of the photographers in the firm that employed him.  Before I replied I did some research and found that, indeed, he represented a reputable photography firm in another country and that this did not appear to be spam or an attempt to ‘trick’ me in any way.

I replied in my most gracious manner to say that I did not recall exactly where I had found the photo since it had been such a long time ago but I assured him I did not blur the credit and that I always give credit to those whose work I use when I use other than my own.  I told him that, as an amateur photographer, I do not appreciate it if someone uses my photography without permission, nor would I be happy if I were not given credit for the photo.  I explained that when I do use photography other than my own I always give credit and I use it from free sites – I never use copyrighted photos unless I have been given permission from the owner and have made arrangements to use it.

He followed with this reply:  “I completely understand. I do have to protect our photographer’s images though, so I would ask that either you remove the image or pay for its use. The rate is currently $50 for 2 years website use.  If you choose to pay, the easiest way to do that is through [link attached].  I hope you will understand our position.  Many thanks.”

I responded to tell him that I was not going to pay for use of the photo and that I had removed it from my blog.  I mentioned that I planned to write a blog post about the situation to share with my friends and readers a caution about sources that some of us, in our innocence, may consider safe and legal.  I assured him that the only reason I used the photo in question was for the impact it added to my words.

His final response was:  “No problem.  If you do mention this in your blog, it would be worth pointing out that many of the Image Libraries (particularly some of the larger ones), would not bother to ask whether you wish to pay for the image. They would just have sent you an invoice and a letter from their legal department.  We try to be a little more flexible here, but you may not have been so lucky had the image originated elsewhere. Google images is full of Rights Managed images because that’s often the best way to bring them to the buyer. It is therefore very risky to make use of images without prior knowledge of their origin, no matter where you find them.  I hope that makes sense.”

I chose not to respond again.  Case closed.  Lesson learned.

You can view the blog in question and read the comments I added here. The bottom line, I’m afraid, is that you cannot trust anyone but yourself! You cannot trust sources or credits that are not yours. 
From this time on I will ONLY use photography that is mine!  If, for some reason, I want to refer to a photo that one of you have shared that has given me inspiration I will continue to do what I have done in the past – I will contact you and ask permission to use it.  And I will give credit where credit is due!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Anchor Holds

I have journeyed
Through the long dark night
Out on the open sea
By faith alone
Sight unknown
And yet His eyes were watching me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I've had visions
I've had dreams
I've even held them in my hand
But I never knew
They would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand

I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
These eyes have seen
But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Where God proved his love to me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

Now we have this hope
as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul -
it cannot slip and it cannot
break down
under whoever steps out upon it...
Hebrews 6:19

Song: ‘My Anchor Holds’
Written and recorded by Ray Boltz
Scripture: Amplified Bible

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Uninvited Guest

It seems just when we need it most – in the times it seems laughter and smiles are few and far between – God sends something to give us a chuckle or two from something totally unexpected.  That’s what has happening at our house.  We have been ‘chosen’ by a guest – an uninvited guest – to share our lives with him.  Or her!

Apparently while we were away on vacation a little, local guy decided to move in and take up residence in our hot tub.  It was rumored by a certain grandson of ours who was here at our house for a few days that he had sighted a ‘squatter’ nearby.  Attempts by that grandson to capture and remove the trespasser were not successful.  I, however, have discovered the identity of – and have become very familiar with – the offender!

A few days ago my sweetheart drained the water from the hot tub, cleaned it thoroughly, refilled it and started it again.  The next morning I nonchalantly ‘donned’ my swimsuit, grabbed my big towel and headed for the hot tub.  Removing the cover I was  immediately faced with the fellow who seems to think our hot tub is his home.  A small, dark green frog was swimming floating in the hot tub!  A nearby tool that belongs with my sweetheart’s boat helped me scoop him out and transport him quickly into the bushes nearby.  Now it seems he is a persistent ‘guest’ as he reappears each morning – in or on the hot tub.  A favorite place seems to be in a little fold just under the cover. 
I’m telling you – I am NOT going to get in that hot tub unless I can see every square inch of the water and surface below.  I’m NOT going to share my hot tub with uninvited guests.  I’m selfish that way!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Source Of Help

I look up to the mountains—

does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Psalm 121:1-3

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Maybe. . .

‘Just that maybe …
maybe you don’t want
to change the story,
because you don’t know
what a different ending holds.’
Ann Voskamp

But God knows the end of the story and it all makes sense to Him.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Home Again

IMG_3712I’ve been sitting here – at home again – enjoying the cool morning breeze coming through open windows and the scent of lavender laundry detergent as the sheets from my bed slowly agitate and become infused with the scent I love.  Through the morning I have picked up little things – reminders that special people were here in our absence.  A little sock from our baby granddaughter.  Forgotten – or taken off on purpose?  Hair accessories that certainly must belong to a growing granddaughter.  Signs of bubbles blown in the backyard.  A note from our dear daughter, thanking us for giving her and her four sweet kids a bit of vacation while we were away.  It’s a note that thrills my heart with the gratitude in her words and the love I read there.  The love in my heart for her spills a bit from my eyes as I realize that this place that I call home also feels like home to her.  Bringing her children here for a few days brought respite from daily life for a bit.  I am thankful that this place that is a gift from God to us and a blessing to our lives has once again blessed someone else.  This time, those dearest to our hearts.

During my time away I spent many hours reading and devouring a book I bought just before our vacation.  I couldn’t put it down.  The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin spoke to my heart.  God had already been speaking to me about opening my home and my heart to more people.  He spoke to me in the places of my reluctance!  Sandy’s words were just what I needed – at times I was sure she was reading my mind.  I came home excited and ready to open the door of my home more than ever before.  Ready to welcome and share our home more with friends new and old. Today I realized it already began while I was away!  In ways I never dreamed, my door opened and my dear ones came in – they were the first.  And they found rest and blessings here.

Thank you, God, for the gift you have given me.  My home.  Not really mine - it is Yours!  Use it to touch those You choose.  Help me always hold the door open wide to the dear ones You send my way.  Let my home be a blessing.  A refuge from the storm.  A place of rest and joy!  A place where Your presence brings peace to all who enter!