"There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)
I've had a pity party of late. Yes, it's true. I'm starting to feel bad about the fact that I don't have hundreds of "friends" on facebook, or for that matter, in the real world. Here I am, a grown woman, feeling unpopular and unloved because barely anyone comments on my status updates or sad that I'm not invited to every dinner party. How stupid is that?!? What, am I, like, in junior high?!? Wah, wah, whatever!!!
There are very few people who love me and accept me for the warped, crazy, God-fearing person that I am, blemishes, weaknesses and all. I never have to pretend around those friends. There is no need to worry about offending their sensibilities when it comes to discussing the Divine. They don't care that I look silly in plaid bermuda shorts or that I'm letting my hair go gray. They enjoy my eccentricities, even sometimes praise me for my unabashed quirkiness. What freedom I have in those relationships! Maybe the reason I feel so comfortable around the few companions I have is because my soul already knows we are called to build up the Body of Christ through meaningful friendships (note the emphasis on meaningful). In living a righteous life, it is imperative to surround oneself with those who will support you in doing God's will; with their counsel, their companionship, their prayers, their love and their character. There is no furthering of the Kingdom without the spiritual help of a true friend.
The proverb is true. It really is better to keep a few friends close than to be surrounded by lots of so called "friends" who really don't give a crap.
SPOILER ALERT: This post may contain secrets the professional photographer may not want the average Joe Schmoe to know...
While understanding the photographical concepts of light, f-stops, exposure, color, composition and contrast is important, more often it is crucial to be precisely at the right place at the right moment in order to get that "perfect" shot: Having good luck, if you will, is part of the game. But, sometimes you can create your own luck by using a digital camera with a very large memory card so you can literally shoot hundreds if not thousands of photos to capture that one cool shot. Of course, it also helps to have patience, lots of free time and a good pair of glasses in order to sift through those hundreds of images.
Oh, and you also have be indifferent to the butt numbness that invariably strikes while sitting in front of the computer, staring for hours at those hundreds of pictures in the quest for the best and greatest shots.
Those who live in fear of their death live in bondage. For it is that fear that causes man to waste time, effort money, spirit in order to avoid death and the process of dying (in the form of aging). We spend much energy to achieve, possess, experience all while in this life. We perform to great effort keeping our bodies to some arbitrary perfect man-made ideal. Yet, it all keeps us in the chains of earthly desire. It is in our dying in Christ, both physically and metaphysically, that we are truly free. For it is in Christ that we have all...the promise of eternal life. The devil has the power of death but Christ has the power OVER death.
So, I pose to you this simple question: Who needs wrinkle cream when the body will be perfected upon its rising on the last day?
O sleep, most delicious, restful sleep, where art thou? Why dost thou hide thy face from thee? Have thou dost abandoned thee forever? Didst thou subject thee to insomnia's wretched grip? O sleep, come back to thee.
iphone...check hp smart touch laptop...check ipod touch...check livescribe pulse smartpen...check amazon kindle ebook...check the faith database cd...check sharper image battery operated alarm clock with nature sounds...check oral-b cordless toothbrush...check digital SLR camera...check yamaha digital piano...check family calendar on microsoft outlook...check online banking...check email, facebook, twitter and a blog...check
If we ever run out of electricity in this country, I'm hosed.
Wow! I won a photography contest with this photo at Yosemite that I took while camping with the family in June. I just LOVE this shot and I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to shoot it! I especially like the subtle commentary on God and man....in the foreground, something man created; simple, interesting, functional. In the background, something GOD-created; majestic, awe-inspiring, functional.
I think God has every right to brag about this one...not the picture (I merely captured what He created long ago) but the view.
Many people profess to being Catholic. But, if you were to ask those Catholics what they believe, they might not be able to tell you. They know in their hearts that what they practice is real and will demonstrate their love of God through their holy actions, but they may not be able to explain why they believe what they believe. My pastor, in his homily today, said, "it is necessary for us to awaken our own desire to know our faith better, to understand the teachings and implications of what we are called to believe. Only then can we be credible witnesses of Christ in and out of season." I whole heartedly agree. If we don't know God, then how can we really LOVE Him? Haven't you ever heard the saying, "to know me is to love me?" The same holds true for the One who loved us first and loves us best. God even tells us this in Proverbs: "It is not good for a man to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet misses the way." (Prov 19:2 RSV-CE). We are admonished in Sirach that before we are to speak, we are to learn. (Sir 18:19 RSV-CE)
Some may say that love is an emotion (actually, some say love, it is a river but I digress). I say that it is an intellectional decision based on factors we may find, on the surface, attractive, but ultimately are grounded firmly in truth. Think back on a time that you were absolutely "in love" with someone. Didn't you want to know EVERYTHING about that person? The same is true for God. If we are to love Him, we are to know as much as we can about Him. Getting to know the Lord seems daunting: Where do we look, where do we turn? But, it's really VERY easy. Though God speaks to us in whispers when our hearts are still, his voice actually thunders in the book of his Word. The fundamental things we need to know are contained in that divinely inspired collection of books. Right now, you may be thinking..."But, how do we know what the things in the Bible mean? It all seems so confusing." That's where Holy-Spirit-guided human intervention is helpful. First and foremost, read what the leaders of the Church (the saints, Church doctors, popes) throughout the ages have had to say about Scripture and its interpretation. Second, don't just go on autopilot during Mass every Sunday. Our priests do a fine job of explaining the Word during the homillies. Third, take classes through your parish or diocese. Fourth, go to RCIA classes. And, last but not least, the more adventurous should enroll in a Master's of Biblical Theology (like the program available at John Paul the Great Catholic University http://www.jpcatholic.com/academics/theology.php).
Be prepared, though. Once you begin getting to know God, your life will NEVER be the same!
Ok, maybe there are things more humiliating than shopping for a bathing suit. But, I continue to find it rough, even when my virtual model at Lands End is trying the clothes and modeling the fit for me. I find it both fascinating and sad that my virtual model looks a lot like the real me, sans the cellulite. Couldn't Land End just make her look a little thinner? You know, like department store dressing room mirrors fool you into thinking you're smaller than you are because, in reality, these mirrors come from the fun house mirror supply warehouse?
And, why is it, that at 42 years old, married 21 years and two kids wiser, I am STILL worried about what I look like to other people? Maybe I should just carry a sign that says, "If you don't like the gushy tushy and the blinding glare, avert your eyes."
I would not, not in a million years, not for a million triple-dog-dare-ya's, not for a million dollars (ok, maybe for a million dollars)...I would not step out onto one of the Sears Towers' new SkyDeck glass balconies. It gives me vertigo just looking at the pictures:(http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/us_sears_tower_ledge)
Besides, just imagine how many mojitos could be contained if the materials were used properly; for cocktail glasses...