Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughts on a Sunrise

Another sunrise... another opportunity to savor each fleeting moment as the heavenly kaleidoscope turns.

Changing... changing... always changing.

Some mornings I ponder that which is beyond my comprehension.

Today I just sip from my steamy morning cup and scratch Ragz behind her silky ear.

"Yeh, girl... It's going to be a great day."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The King Came Down

The mid-day light struggled through low, filtering clouds, and the incessant rain painted layers of gray upon gray, but the ancient Korean palace radiated color and opulence. Though many centuries old, the meticulously restored and maintained buildings and grounds were pristine, and to the melody of the tour guide’s sometimes-timid English, I could almost see the majestic Korean king descending from his throne.

“According to legend,” the young guide said, “the king wished for nothing greater than to provide the best for his people in the villages surrounding his palace. It is said that he would often come down from his throne and exchange his royal robes for the rags of a poor, humble servant. His bare feet treading the rough stone streets, he would talk with the villagers. More importantly, he would listen to them, eventually returning to his palatial home, better prepared to meet their needs.”

As I stood in the small crowd of tourists, I was struck, as I’m sure others were, by the kind of king this ancient legend described. And when the guide had ended her account, I felt compelled to speak up.

“This king of legend reminds me of my King,” I offered. And as the crowd and their guide turned toward me, I went on. “I serve a King who did more than visit his people, dressed as one of them. You see,” I told them excitedly, “My King is the King of kings, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and the Creator of all that is. Yet He loved each of us so much that He gave up His throne in Heaven to come to Earth, to be born as a baby, to take on the form of a servant, to grow up facing everything that we face, and to willingly give his perfect life as a sacrifice for our imperfection… so that our every need might be met. He didn’t come just to find out how we live, but to show us how to live.”

“That’s right,” the young guide replied. “I serve King Jesus, too. And when I tell this legend of our ancient, Korean king, I am always reminded of the true King.”

I don’t know what thoughts went through the minds of the travelers that surrounded me as we continued our tour. I don’t know if the Holy Spirit was at work in hearts that drizzly day in Seoul. But I thanked God for a young Christian guide who told a most compelling story, one that I hope might have opened some heart to the simple message of a gracious God and King.

The light of the sun still passed dimly through the thick, dark clouds, and the steady rain ran noisily off the ancient tile roof of Changdeokgung Palace. But the light of the Son seemed to dispel the darkness, and the day had become one I would long remember and cherish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Come Close and See

I passed by beauty in a busy place...
A beautiful soul, a beautiful face.
My life was all wrapped up in me--
Too busy was I to stop and see.

But beauty didn't suffer

For not having been seen;
Only I was robbed
Of what might have been.

I stopped by beauty in the garden today...

So easy to have missed along my way,
But richer am I from my ivory tower
To have knelt down here by this humble flower.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Golden Moment

The gold for which we labor and toil,
Which blinds men's eyes as they dig the soil,
Or warps their goals, visions and dreams
As they tunnel the mountains and pan the streams,
It's power is fleeting; its joy dies away
In the hands of men who wish it to stay.
But the golden morning that lifts my eye
Gives hope to a dream that never shall die.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Night's Forces Surrender

Dark, wispy apparitions scatter in retreat as the sun marches triumphant across the horizon. Darkness holds court no more. The earth awakens and light rules.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Light in the Dark of Night

Here in the shadows of the wood
A radiant rose shows that it could
Bring light to even this dark glade
Where life is hard and colors fade.

And when I bitter shadows taste,
In the darkest times that I might face,
God’s love shines like a beacon bright
To banish all the shades of night.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Crystal Gazing

Frost crystals sparkle in the sun, decorating the autumn leaves with a festive texture. Time to stoke the wood stove and drop another marshmallow in the hot chocolate.

Perhaps one of the most unrecognized factors that contribute to successful nature photos is timing. No, not shutter speed, though it can make a big difference. Think more basic than that. Great timing may have to do with strategically planning a shoot, analyzing on what day of the year the sun will rise at what point in the sky, and at what time. Often good timing means that you are lucky enough to have just the right cloud conditions to lessen the harsh contrasts that might otherwise make a great shot difficult at best. Good timing may mean waiting for hours until conditions are right.

But the timing I'm talking about is as likely to be serendipitous as it is planned, possibly more likely. The truth is, great photos are all around us, but often they are not waiting to be captured. That's where the timing comes in. Many great photo opportunities come and go in a fleeting moment. The photographer who is able to instantly recognize the great photo, and capture it with virtually reflex response, will come home with the prize.

The crystals on these leaves formed in the cold morning dew of Autumn, before there was sufficient light to photograph them. But almost the instant that the sun rose above the eastern hills, they began to melt, quickly losing their sharp, crisp edges and defined shapes, til in seconds they were gone entirely, leaving nothing but wet leaves.

As much as is within your ability, be ready at all times for the opportunities that life sends your way. When the masterpiece presents itself, no matter how fleeting the moment, meet the challenge; focus on the prize... make the capture.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bee Gigglin'

Behold the little buthee bee 
Mutht think it thort-a funny 
To land on thuch a pretty thpot 
That tickle-eth hith tummy.