Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up

This week’s 4th of July parade included the Elks Lodge Clowns with this high riding unicyclist. For the kids, getting candy is the highlight of the parade and receiving a sugary treat from this clown requires that you “look up.”

Clown candy 2

You can find some more examples of what’s above you when you “LOOK UP” these additional examples of this week’s photo challenge.

We are Weeping

My daughter, Anna, writes in light of the recent police-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and the ambush of police in Dallas last night. This violence strikes a particular grief and concern to our family’s heart since we have a black son-in-law and family and friends in law enforcement. Believers, pray for the peace and love of God to overcome this evil through our attitudes, words and actions. Here are her thoughts:

 

Cousins at play

“Did you hear?” my friend asked yesterday morning, “Yes, not another one.” I said helping my kids out of my car. Both shaking our heads, both weary. I grew up in Memphis in …

Source: We are Weeping

How we win. How we fight. — Anna Spindler Writes

My daughter, Anna, is a WordPress blogger, too. Her focus is on writing, and I HAVE TO share her latest post. I am always proud of her insightful take on life and in the midst of this most recent tragedy – the Pulse shooting – she rightfully warns that we should fight the “evil,” not each other. She observes: “The real enemy is EVIL. But evil likes it when we fight…when we forget about him and focus on each other. We’re like a dysfunctional family fighting at a funeral.”

By the way, her blog is worth following…you may not agree with her but you will be challenged! (shameless parent plug).

 

This week has been heavy, friends. It started with my NPR app sending me horrifying texts in the middle of the night Sunday and grew as the death toll rose and our sense of safety was again rocked. It continued with immediate culture wars. Fingers pointing. Angry words. Emotions preyed upon for political gains (all […]

via How we win. How we fight. — Anna Spindler Writes

Facebook Fast

A week Facebook_iconago, I announced to my Facebook friends that I was taking a fast from that social media platform. This was partly the result of a discussion, which a group of men I meet with had the preceding evening as we discussed Chip Ingram’s book, Good to Great in the Eyes of God. As we talked about the implications of the final chapter on “Great Habits,” it was suggested that we take a media fast for one day. This  might be a spiritually healthy way to focus on God and others in a personal way rather than the impersonal manner associated with sitting at keyboard  and typing away. There was another reason that precipitated an abrupt break from Facebook that following morning, but that will  be discussed at the end of this post.
Well, today I broke the fast intentionally, having had a few accidental logins. However, I do have a few observations:
1. I didn’t miss it…much. Sorry if I failed to give you a celebratory greeting if you had a birthday over the past week. That is one of the reminders I do like on FB.
2. I had to log on a few times just to get event information (graduation open houses, wedding invites) that wasn’t transferred to my calendar. Due to one of those quick inquiries, one astute friend observed that FB was showing that I had been active and questioned if I really was fasting. Another time I opened up Safari on my phone and it opened up to the last site which was FB. So, if you choose to fast and don’t want to be accused of cheating update calendars and log out from all devices before taking a break.
3. I have found my best method of limiting time of FB is to take the app off my phone. That will remain off.
4. Most of the pictures of my grandchildren (the reason I joined FB) are showing up on Instagram now. I don’t need to be distracted by what’s trending (ex. hashtag* NationalSendANudeDay) *spelled out to avoid hyperlink!
5. And the preceding trending promo highlights the unwholesomeness of social media. Too many temptations are just a click away. The day I took a break, I received a “friend request” from an individual that had no mutual friend connections. I am careful about accepting friend requests but investigated to see if there might have been some connection through my blogging that has a wide audience. When I clicked on the request, I beheld a pornographic sex scene. I quickly retreated and deleted the friend request. But I was shaken by how quickly my life was invaded by an unwelcome visual that is still etched in my mind even after a momentary view.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job 31:1 (NIV)

6. While I glean a lot of ministry related information from social media (church members/families: please call me when you’re in the hospital before it’s posted as a prayer request on FB), I will start limiting my access to a couple of times a day rather than have it up as an active tab.

We all deal with time wasters in our lives. You may not have a problem with social media, but almost all of us could eliminate something from our lives that would help facilitate better relationships with God and others. What is it for you?

I could go on, but don’t want to take you away from some important personal encounter you should be having right now. Plus, I need to spend some personal time with my wife, who I’ve not seen all day!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape

 

Following Cheri’s suggestion to check out the “Finding the Best Shot” post, I chose to show both landscape and portrait orientations of the same sunset.  Which do you prefer?

While the landscape orientation is a rural Iowa shot, it almost has an African savanna feel to it.

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Before the sun went totally behind the horizon I took this portrait orientation, allowing me to zoom in on the trees and catch the “fire” in the trees.

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For more examples of the week’s landscape theme, click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less)

Our city has the privilege of hosting a hot air balloon competition every September. An average balloon system – envelope, gondola, fuel tanks, and 40 gallons of fuel – will weigh about 600 pounds, deflated on the ground. Adding two to three people will increase the weight by another 300-500 pounds. But, once the envelope is filled with hot air…weightless!

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

Flying over Kansas on Wednesday, I caught an optical phenomenon that I had never seen before: a glory. glory-Edit

From Wikipedia: The glory consists of one or more concentric, successively dimmer rings, each of which is red on the outside and bluish towards the center. The effect is believed to happen due to classical wave tunneling, when light nearby a droplet tunnels through air inside the droplet and, in the case of a glory, is emitted backwards due to resonance effects.

Though the “glory” effect may have a scientific basis, I believe that all creation bears the mark of THE Creator, thus helping us see glimpses of His glory.

11 Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57:11 (NASB)

May your New Year be truly glorious!

Click HERE for other examples of this week’s challenge: “circle.”

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Hawk) Eye Spy

IMGP8096This post is dedicated to the Iowa Hawkeye football team (12-0), playing Michigan State on Saturday for the Big 10 Championship. GO HAWKS!

Last August, I spied this red-tailed hawk on a telephone line as I drove down the street. He obliged by allowing me to take a few photos from my car before flying to a nearby tree. I was able to walk within about 30 feet, the hawk keeping his eye on me!IMGP8076 copy copy

We continued our stare down for a while, but….IMGP8078 copy copy

…he finally blinked!IMGP8086 copy copy

For more examples of this week’s theme, click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

While not quite winter, we had our first snow last weekend. It wasn’t much, but because the temperatures were above freezing when it started, there was a layer of ice/slush under the snow that required a shoveling of walks before parishioners came on Sunday. As I shoveled, my attention was captured by the maple leaves, dancing on top of the snow – a sort of last hurrah as we transition from fall to winter.

Fall into Winter

Fall into Winter

For more takes on this week’s theme, click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

Quote

The Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines was recently refurbished, including the regilding of its dome with 23-karat gold leaf. Built between 1871 and 1886, it is the only five-domed capitol in the country.

Iowa State Capitol Building

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”