Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Determined Digitization

Whoever thought there would come a day when most everything we view would be via a computer, or one of its stepchildren, like the IPAD?  I should have gotten the hint when, as a younger woman, there was a concerted effort to go paperless in the realm of business where I hung my shingle ~ whether in the private sector or Church ministry.  

Today people in business and at home have little cause for record-keeping of the paper type.  Bills are paid online.  Communication takes place by way of emails or texts.  Even the written word is replaced by Kindle and e-Readers.  Digital formatting is the stock-in-trade for just about everything today.

There's the good and the not-so-good of this migration away from all things printed.  I could pen keyboard large tomes about the subject, but I won't.  Today my thoughts are mostly centered on a small, yet beneficial aspect:  the digitization of old photographs.

For some months now I've been scanning hard copy photos into a stand alone, backup hard drive.  Many photos in my collection are faded & worn; some hardly recognizable thanks to the anything-but-colorfast-Poloraids of yesteryear.  It's taking me hours and hours and hours of input, due largely to the Herculean effort to crop, enhance color & identify each one.  All this spans years that reach back to the late 1800s and journey forth to the present.  I've finally made my way into the early 1990s, which is to say I've covered a great deal of ground.  I'm nowhere near finished. 

There's been an unexpected & mostly delightful aspect to said determined digitization:  re-living the past.  In most instances I am warmed, or find myself laughing aloud.  In others, I feel more somber; sometimes sad.  Unbelievably, I can place myself back there, in a specific scene, as if it were happening in the present. What a way to time travel!

My long term goal in reaching the Photo-Finish Line (pun intended) is that all the photos in my possession will be saved permanently.  I will then have the ability to download one photo or many for my family.  No one will be forced to guess at who/where/what is the photo's content after me and those of my generation are long gone. 

Anyway, no deep thought here today.  Mostly I'm marking memories.  Given the project du jour, there are many such to mark.

For instance ...

Dating ... 

When the children were little ...

Our boys (forever seeking to
outdo the other) tying flies.

One of many family dinners 
with our children.

A familiar scene when a
grandbaby heads to Grandma's bathtub.

My sisters & me sorting through my 
mother's documents & photos, 
attempting to figure out what was what. 

Fun times with my sisters
and brothers-in-law (I'm taking
the photo)

Wee me, Mom & sisters
Dolores & Carol.

There's just sooooo many to choose from; and I'm tempted to post hundreds.  Sufficient for now is the blessings brought on by this project.  THEY can't be digitized.

The Lord has been mindful of us ...
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
Both small and great.

May the Lord give you increase
more and more.  
You and Your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord, 
Who made heaven and earth.

The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor any who do down into silence.
But we bless the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 115:12, 13-15, 17-18

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Good Inheritance

Nearly all our worldly goods are spread between a barn and a garage.  For the past three months we've been living with the essentials and little more.  It's been a season of change; of waiting, and more waiting.  In fact, it's been a season that's spanned three: Fall, Winter & now Spring.  

I'm no stranger to change.  I may not always be a fan of it, but I've come to appreciate the familiar Recipe that always seems to result in the enlarging of my heart, if not my boundaries.

  • 1/4 part adventure
  • 1/4 part opportunity
  • 1/4 part faith-building
  • 1/4 part exasperation

As with any recipe, ingredients matter.  They're designed to compliment each other in order to achieve a desired outcome.  In a very real sense, they work together for good.  In my life, they have been the means by which God grows me; matures me.  Alter them and risk an undesirable outcome.  Fight them and risk a handicap.

If nothing ever changed, 
there'd be no butterflies. 
~ Unknown

This I know:  I have a good inheritance.  It makes the Season of Change my favorite because it stymies my notions of hunkering down and/or getting rigid; of resisting.  It puts flesh on the bones of what I know to be true:  the best is always future; always yet to come. 

I press on to take hold of that for which
Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider
myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is
behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the price
for which God has called me heavenward 
in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 3:12-14  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Best Used By ...

"Teach us to number our days, 
that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
~ Psalm 90:12

This one began with a pedicure; a self-indulgent, somewhat messy, personally applied spa experience at home.  I'm not a nail polish sort of girl, though back in the day I was all prissy over matching nails, makeup & purses.  What was I thinking?!!  

But now the dawn of Flip-Flop Season is soon to be upon us.  Thus today was as good a day as any for my 2014 Maiden Spa Voyage.   

A confession:  nail polish is doomed to the garbage heap if it's in my home. My inspection & selection began with an effort to find something still harboring life.  Most were little more than goo.  I even tried my typical home remedy: a few drops of polish remover (also among the spa antiquities in my larder).  No luck.  Dante's Red, Precious Pink, Latte, Coral Shore, Magenta Magic ~ all of them unsuitable, well beyond their Best Use By dating.

The out-dated goo polish got me to thinking.

Who'd ever think of drinking sour milk long past the Best Used By date on the carton?  Or what about bagged lettuce ~ you know the kind ~ the one that's gone all slimy?   Oh how about the look on the clerk's face when you present a discount coupon expired many months ago?  

What if our lives are like that?  What if there are Best Used By dates for segments of our lives, or blessings, or for seizing opportunities, or ?????  What if saving, or hanging onto to something that ought to have been tossed long ago is hurtful?

"As long as it is day, we must do the
works of Him who sent Me.  Night is
coming, when no one can work."
~ John 9:4

"It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young."
~ Lamentations 3:27

I'm wondering if that's not one reason why God's mercy is new every morning? The leftovers from yesterday, like Manna, have passed their Best Used By date.  That means I can release what was & reach for what is, & is to come.   And you & know, in the absolute sense, that's Jesus Himself.

All this from gooey nail polish.

"This is what the Lord says ~ He Who 
made a way through the sea, a path
through the mighty waters, Who drew
out the chariots and horses, the army and
reinforcements together, and they lay 
there, never to rise a gain, extinguished,
snuffed out like a wick:
'Forget the former things; do not dwell
on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing'!"
~ Isaiah 43:16-19 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Ministry of Presence

Just the sound of it comforts my soul, The Ministry of Presence. It's a term I heard during a radio program, wherein a young woman was speaking about the power of abiding:  Him with us.  Us with Him. Us with others.  Others with us.  

The young lady had been through a horrific ordeal, and that which comforted her the most was the ministry employed by loving friends who came to sit; to be present.  No preaching.  No sage advice.  No awkward attempts to make sense of it.  

You won't find an advanced degree or certification program for achieving such a Ministry.  It's something acquired, like taste.  And, like so many other acquired tastes, it is often not very savory or sassy at first gulp (think avocados or sauerkraut).  Moreover, it affords no stage, no applause, no money, no recognition what-so-ever. 

On the upside, it doesn't cost a dime.  Yet somehow, in God's counter-intuitive economy, it is valuable beyond calculation.

God is our refuge and strength, 
an ever present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

The Ministry of Presence ~ the full implication of Immanuel's love.

... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.  Against such
things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22

And this is His command:  to believe in the 
name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love
one another as He commanded us.
The one who keeps God's commands 
lives in Him, and He is them.  And this is
how we know that He lives in us:  We
know it by the Spirit He gave us.
1 John 3:23-24

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Women Walking with Jesus

It is my great pleasure & privilege to join fellow blogger (speaker, author, counselor/mentor, visionary), Lisa Shaw, and a host of God-loving ladies in the launch of a new arm of Lisa's ministry Women Walking with Jesus.

When Lisa launched this initiative yesterday, I was greatly blessed to learn that she had selected a piece I'd written for the inaugural event. You can read it for yourself by clicking here:  God-Given Credentials.  This is a small sampling from that post:

" ... here's the deal:  You and I are vitally important.  
We are God's best; the crowing glory of His creation; 
His Plan A to reach a lost world.  
He has no Plan B." 

Throughout this and coming months, Lisa will be sharing her own encouragements, as well as posts by the other women affiliated with this new ministry.  I hope you'll drop by her Blog to ponder what's sure to be a wide array of refreshing testimonies.  When you do, it is our collective prayer that you'll come away loving Jesus more.