A couple of weeks ago, Gary and I headed out to walk Holly long after dark. The sauna-like air, and the songs of the summer night along with it, momentarily took me back to summer nights during my childhood in Michigan. It was a very pleasant place to be, even for a moment.
Yesterday was a memorable day, once again enjoying a special tradition with a friend. Pam and I, every year, plan a special day out together to celebrate our birthdays. We’ve been doing it now for about 10 years, and have enjoyed such places as “The Women’s Exchange” an historic Baltimore restaurant and crafts shoppe where we were offered such vintage delicacies as “Tomato Aspic” from the waitresses wearing crisp white aprons over their uniforms. (Unfortunately the establishment is now closed.) After, Pam gave me a personal tour of her favorites in the city. For several years we ate lunches of scrumptious crab cakes and Cream of Crab soup at Phillip’s Seafood at Inner Harbour, Baltimore, (which is also no longer located there). Afterward we would visit the Cross Street Market in Federal Hill and visit a shoppe called “Zelda Zen”. Another adventure led us to the Boordy Winery where we sipped wines and then drove not too far to eat lunch at a little restaurant near the Loch Raven Dam where Pam used to have meals with her family as a child, It was delightful with plenty of vintage charm. After, we drove to the dam, and took in the beautiful scenes.
This year, we decided to stay closer to home and so dined at Pusser’s, located at the Marriott on the waterfront in Annapolis. It is a fun place to eat, and had several gluten-free dishes. (I am gluten-free.) I enjoyed a vegetable stir-fry, Caribbean style, and Pam had the Black Bean Soup with a Caesar Salad. Both dishes were delicious. Mine was a bit sweeter than a traditional stir fry, but not too sweet – a nice change from the usual fare for gluten-free. (For those who would like to try them, they do warn that their gluten-free choices are only “gluten friendly” but they did take the time to cook my lunch in a separate pan using clean utensils. The decor is delightful – old Annapolis nautical, with pressed tin ceilings and antiques. We were seated in the covered/glassed in patio, and were able to see the the myriad of sail boats dancing in the blue-gray water. (The below photo was taken in Annapolis, but not yesterday.)
After, we headed over to The Clay Bakers, on Main Street in Annapolis, where we spent several relaxing hours creating our own masterpieces. The atmosphere is lovely, as they softly play varied genre of music while you create. The staff are very helpful, as we had never done anything like this before. Our work will be ready next week, but we will return in a couple of weeks together to pick up our creations, and enjoy another day together – a two for one deal we can’t turn down! Until then, what a special day spent with a very special friend!
I returned about a week ago from a wonderful vacation with my sister-in-love, Carlene, in Florida! What a gift to be with her again, as we live on opposite sides of the continent and don’t get to see each other but usually a couple of times a year. Also, this is the first trip we have done together in about 3 years, so it was very special. We are both Jesus followers, and so enjoy that aspect of our lives together, as well as we like many of the same things when we travel, and so it was a pure delight to be together once again.
For the Blogging University Photography Course I’m taking online, two of our latest assignments had to do with architectural photography. The lessons included the use of monochromatic photography playing with lines and light, as well as pops of color in an otherwise monochromatic photo to add interest and character.
I love architecture – the older the better, and have learned a lot over the years by looking at other photographers’ works. A great place to notice others’ work is to use Instagram, or to follow the blogs of other photographers. However, at the time that I began taking a closer look at photography in order to learn technique, there were no such things, and so I looked at magazine photos. I learned a lot just by doing this. Continue reading “Study on Architectural Photography”→
Many of my blogs since beginning Blogging University 101 have included how I delight in connections with people, through spending time with them. However, sometimes those I dearly love to spend time with are so far away that physical presence is nearly impossible. One such person is a dear long-time friend from Hawaii. She and I connect each week and share what is going on in each other’s lives by phone. Every week for several years now we have called each other to catch up on the news, and prayed for each other’s needs. Over the years we have seen many answers to our prayers as God has connected with us through those prayers.
However, I can think of another type of connection that is the very dearest to my heart – the one between me and Jesus. He connects with me through a myriad of ways throughout the day including but not limited to his creation, his words in the Bible, prayer, music, a kind word or deed by one of his followers, and so many more ways. But his initial connection to me and to his world came through his choice to come to this earth. He came to communicate to me and his world what God looks like (what he thinks and feels; what his truth and grace look like), and the extent to which God would go to reveal himself and restore his creation to him.
However, we would never understand the significance of seeing God in creation, or in anything else for that matter if we didn’t first understand that he longs to have a relationship with us! The God of the Universe longs to connect with us personally and intimately. Yet he knew that because of our propensity to misunderstand him, because of our bent to go our own way, that he would need to send a representative to show us who he is, what his love and grace look like; and to tell the truth about him. He had sent representatives for thousands of years (the Prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible), but men wouldn’t listen to them for very long because they consistently chose their own way instead. So, at the right time, God sent his son Jesus. He came as fully human as we are, and yet fully God (yet he refused to go his own way). He came not only to show us who God is, but to make a way for us to be rescued from our propensity to go our own way, and be re-united to him. In order to do that, because our own way is so opposite of his way, he needed to pay for our waywardness by dying. He had to be martyred to make that way sure. (It was so crucial that God make a way that he gave up his own son’s life to do so! The Romans of the day had a cruel way of dealing with insubordination through crucifixion – so that is how he died.) Three days later, because he had only ever chose God’s way, God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and he came to life again.
Sounds like science fiction, but the reality is, my life has been dramatically altered because of Jesus’ choice to connect with me. I have also seen and heard of so many others’ lives being dramatically altered because of Jesus as well. Truth is often much more powerful than fiction! He wants to connect with any who would accept his offer. It’s not religion, it’s a relationship!
Want to hear more? I’d love to share my story with you. And for any whose lives have been changed by his, I would also love to hear your story of how knowing Jesus has changed your life.
John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Bliss: complete happiness, great joy, paradise, or heaven.
Over the last couple of days, I have thought of many things that bring me pure joy – strolling after dark, hand in hand, with my husband Gary, quietly or in conversation, but always enjoying the precious time together. I also thought of time with my family at church – that brings me great joy!
As I’ve considered my list of joy-givers, I realize that for me, pure joy usually comes from spending and giving of time – a most precious commodity. And of all the relationships wherein I find the greatest joy in spending/giving of time, I have to say is my relationship with Jesus Christ.
I find the time I spend with him early in the morning, before the world around me comes to full fever pitch for the day, is the most glorious time of day! In reading his words to me (the Bible), I am refreshed and renewed – literally. In talking to him (in prayer), I find that I receive answers to questions, direction for needs, and peace and calm for life’s difficulties. In telling him how precious he is to me (through songs of worship), I am literally filled with joy as he and I enjoy each other’s presence. There is nothing like it!
If you have never known a relationship so sweet, or if you wonder what in the world I am talking about, I recommend that you try it yourself. Go online if you have no Bible, and read the first chapter of the book of John (the New Testament). Then ask him to show himself to you in some way that day. ie. “If you really exist, please show yourself to me.” If you have a specific need, tell him. He delights in having his creation ask him things! (Whether you believe in him or not doesn’t matter, as his reality isn’t dependant upon your belief in him, just as my reality doesn’t depend upon your belief that I exist) Do this daily for three weeks, reading each consecutive chapter in John. I know it will make a difference in your outlook. Here is a link to John 1 online, should you choose to take me up on the challenge: