Focus – WordPress Photo Challenge

I haven’t done a post like this in a long time, but saw the WordPress Photo Challenge, and decided to go for it, since I just took a qualifying photo I love.  Gary and I were at Ocean City yesterday, and I wanted to get a photo of the boardwalk and beach with the Ferris Wheel at the apex.  I only had my phone with me, and so couldn’t get a super clear picture of the scene as the distance was far too great.  After some editing, this is what I was able to come up with.

 

The blur, for me, emphasizes the spray off the ocean along with the intertwining shapes, rather than each detail.  It seems to freeze time, and therefore takes a place that is teeming with bustle, and quiets it down to a moment I’d love to remember.

via Photo Challenge: Focus

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A Little Respite

Hi, friends!

Gary and I are currently getting away, as he is scheduled for surgery next week, with a long recovery.

I will miss you, but need to take a short break of about 2-3 weeks from writing.  I may post some pictures and updates on our excursion.  I may also do some one off posts during the next 2-3 weeks. Please be praying for us, as Gary’s recovery will be extensive.  We are at peace, and know that God has us in all of this.

I post to Instagram fairly regularly, so if you are so inclined, you can also follow our adventure that way.

Again, I will miss you.  I will continue to pray for you.  God Bless!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

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Sunsets near Norfolk VA

Thank You! And Changes Are Coming!

My husband and I are currently on vacation in the Carolina’s – our first vacation other than long weekends since we were married 4 years ago.  We are having a blast!  The weather has been beautiful – the 70’s, which is a very nice change from our Maryland winter.

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It is about 10:58 pm, and Gary is snoring on the couch next to me, after falling asleep during a UK Basketball game.  (I believe they won.)  I have missed interacting with you! My Christmas was probably the best in years, as I shared special time with Gary and 2 of our sons, and our oldest’s girlfriend. God is doing amazing things, for which I am very grateful! I pray that you saw Jesus in your Christmas, and that your heart and soul were comforted and uplifted, even in the middle.

I want to thank you for reading the Advent posts, and for all your wonderful interaction with me – you made it seem more like we were sitting together over coffee.  Your comments meant a lot, and I enjoyed writing, listening to, and praying for all of you.

Several of you mentioned that the series format was greatly appreciated.  So, when I return in a couple of weeks, you will notice some changes.  The first change you will notice will be in the name of the blog – outlined below.  I will begin posting 4 times a week, with a weekly or monthly topic.  Also, the blog will focus completely on encouragement, rather than a variety of themes.  Lastly, you will find some other minor changes that will, I hope, make the blog more cohesive, and more greatly hone in on the theme of encouragement.

The blog’s new name will be “En Courage”.

The word “encourage” is from a french word meaning “to instill heart”.  Along with that, you will find a new Avatar and sub-head, so new and visiting readers can more quickly realize the overall focus.gravitar-photo

As in the Advent series, over the 4 days a week, I will share scripture, stories, worship, and suggestions to keep us going.  I hope to hear regularly from you. I would love you to share the scriptures, suggestions, and worship music that has brought you courage to face life and all if offers.  I would also love to hear your stories of how you have encouraged others, and how you have been encouraged.  I would love to publish some of your stories, to pass on the courage you have given or received.

We all need to have a boost of courage sometimes. As you read, if you are currently encouraged – pass the blog onto a friend who made need a boost.

I look forward to growing in this journey with you, and I love that we can instill courage within each other.

I will sit with you once more in a couple of weeks.  Please, in the meantime, send me any prayer requests.  (In that vain, I will be setting up a new email address when I return, so that you can more easily send me prayer requests and notes privately.)

Love,

Robin <3

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:3

 

 

Seeing Baltimore Differently – Photo Challenge

This post is dedicated to a photo challenge hosted by a fellow blogger, Robyn G @ Captivate Me, entitled “See Differently 2016”. I have had the opportunity to be in Baltimore more often than normal as of late, and so took some time while there to capture some photos for this challenge.

Baltimore can be a daunting place with all of its one-way streets, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and blaring car horns.  In the areas where I happened to be, there is also a sense of decay and disrepair as the old deteriorates in and among the new.  Yet, when I chose to see differently, I was able to notice the beauty among all the cacophony and decay .

Black and White allows the eye to notice subtleties  in line and form better than does color photography.  I chose to edit each photo to b/w, in order to better focus on the outlines and detail, rather than taking in a whole scene.  Occasionally, I photographed a whole street scene, to capture the various lines and forms being woven together.  Where there was a splash of yellow within the original photo, I left it in for fun.  When necessary, I darkened the sky and highlighted the building in order to more fully notice the outlines.

I hope you enjoy my new view of Baltimore, Maryland!

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How does sharing photography of Baltimore fit in with “Proclaiming the hope of Jesus in the everyday”?  Simply this.  God made humans in his image.  In a world where we are told we came from nothing – that is amazing news!  Therefore –

We aren’t products of cosmic “blob”, we are amazingly creative creatures, made in the image of a more amazingly creative Creator!

God spoke stars and cosmos into space, giving each their own song! (yes – their own song!  See this video)   He designed the spots on leopards and the intricately patterned lines on Tigers and Zebras.  He  molded the pattern of each flower design, then fashioned it for it’s surroundings on each continent with innumerable shapes, sizes, colors, and scents.  He thoughtfully painted the canvas of desert, plain, and mountain peak.  Lastly, he created us – no two fingerprints the same, and then looked over all he’d designed and said it was good!

Like him, we long to experience beauty and express creativity uniquely.  These characteristics within us were put there by our creative Creator.  Photography and writing are two of the main ways in which I express a piece of God’s image within me.

Since he created me, and has loved me so relentlessly in Jesus, I long to create in a way that honors him.

So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!  And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. (NLT)

Genesis 1:27,31

As I look over my “creation” above, I too find a sense of pleasure, just as my Creator and Heavenly Daddy did as he looked over his.

Thanks Robyn G. for allowing me to join your challenge!  It’s been fun. #seedifferently2016

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Williamsburg, VA – Photography & American Politics in B/W

A couple of weekends ago, I had the extreme pleasure of visiting one of my most favorite places – A weekend at Williamsburg, VA, as a birthday gift from my dear husband.

I’m far too much of a realist to ever fancy the notion that living during this period would have been anything but difficult.

Yet, this period of American History fascinates me.

It was a harsh time when equality was anything but the norm.

Yet it was also a time of heroism and idealism, where those who formed and fashioned policy should not have been able to abort the plans of the greatest nation on earth.  Only by the hand of God, fashioning His plans through them, could  such a small force overpower such a great giant as Britain.  Yet, they did.

I am not intimating that our nation is favored by God because we are special.  I am saying that any nation who acknowledges God as the source for true freedom, and fashions policy based upon his laws, will be blessed as long as they do so.

These men who wrote such amazing documents as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, turned politics of their day on it’s head.  Leaders and warriors the world over marveled at this idea of a free Democracy, held in the palm of “Providence”.

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

This man also wrote on the politics of his day,

“It would seem as if the rulers of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great; I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that they would set less value on the work and more upon the workman; that they would never forget that a nation cannot long remain strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak; and that no form or combination of social polity has yet been devised to make an energetic people out of a community of pusillanimous and enfeebled citizens.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America Volume 2

Who is Alexis de Tocqueville?  He was a French sociologist and political theorist (1805-1859) who traveled to the United States in 1831 to study its prisons and returned with a wealth of broader observations which he encoded in “Democracy in America” (1835), one of the most influential books of the 19th century.

Are we still able to learn from those who lived before us, or have we blinded our eyes and deafened our ears to what they proclaimed, thinking we are great just because we are. That circular logic is dangerous and most feeble.  However, I don’t believe it is too late for us to remember where we came from, flawed as it was, and head back onto the better path.

Thanks for listening!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read: Advent Day Eleven – The Gift of Freedom