Daily Prompt; That Stings – The Shack

I don’t usually grab onto the WP Daily Prompt – I usually can find enough stuff to babble or rant about without a prompt, but this one caught my attention.

It said to talk about the last book you read that bit or stung. Several come to mind, but the absolute last book I reread was The Shack by William P. Young.

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 9.51.52 AMThe Shack “is a metaphor for the places you get stuck, you get hurt, you get damaged…the thing where shame or hurt is centered,” Young said in an interview. We all have a shack in our lives, and as I read this, mine was shown to me in all its technicolor horror. Things that I had tried to bury in the far recesses of my mind dug its way up to the surface, reopening wounds that weren’t all that too well healed.

Then why would I encourage you to read this book? Because, while you are dealing with the pain of the protagonist and recalling your own bitter memories, you soon become transformed into the story and the healing that follows.

Yes, there is a lot of sadness, bitterness and grief in the pages of this NYT bestseller, but there is also unsurmountable joy, peace and above all healing.

As I cried with Mac over his own unimaginable tragedy, and shed tears over my own scars that have haunted me for nearly my entire 53 years, I began to hope. Hope for a better place than this horrid world we now live in. I also began to see that sometimes bad things do (more often than not) happen to decent people, and although I can’t (and probably never will) see the big picture, God knows, and I have to trust in His plan. This lesson was made crystal clear to me as was the ‘one piece of clarity’ that I gleaned from this particular reading – “Love without an agenda!” Wow, what a concept.

This nugget of wisdom first stung me greatly, because when I examined myself closely, I realized, that I always have some kind of an agenda. Whether it is something as benign as getting more hugs from my grands, I have an agenda. To love without an agenda is to understand the depth of God’s love, and to understand the depth He went to to ensure that none of us perish in this evil world. Sorry, didn’t mean to get preachy, but this book will change the way you look at God, Jesus , the Holy Spirit – The Trinity. This concept has always eluded me (and I was raised Catholic). If you struggle with the concept of the Trinity, The Shack might just help to solidify its reality in your mind.

Although The Shack was written as fiction, you cannot help but hope to dream that this encounter did truly happen, and that everyday people like you and me can actually physically wrap ourselves in the arms of Papa. I hope you will pick up a copy if you haven’t already read it, and if you have, maybe decide to reread it again. Some people get all wrapped up in the imagery of God as a robust black woman – but not me. For Mac to accept God, He had to appear in a form that Mac wouldn’t shy from. After all, we are ALL created in God’s image – so I imagine Him as a kaleidoscope of character and personality traits. But one thing is always constant: His love never waivers, never changes and He never apologizes for it. HE LOVES ALL OF US WITHOUT AN AGENDA!

Weekly Photo Challenge 16: Surprise

I know I am probably late on this post, but I was waiting for Christmas so I could get some fresh SURPRISE images. Christmas morning photos may not be the best composed, lighted or even sharp photos, but they are often the most genuine.

My grandson, Ethan has always like Pokemon, so his Aunt Micah knitted him a Pikachu hat. He was VERY surprised, and maybe just a wee bit embarrassed. After all, he is 12!

My grandson, Ethan has always liked Pokemon, so his Aunt Micah knitted him a Pikachu hat. He was VERY surprised, and maybe just a wee bit embarrassed. After all, he is 12!

Don't look at me!

Don’t look at me!

Sheer Joy

Sheer Joy

Slapeze Slippers, Just What I wanted!

Slapeze Slippers, Just What I wanted!

This is so cool!

This is so cool!

Monkey, Monkey's new Dresser!

Monkey, Monkey’s new Dresser! Mac has a very special friend called Monkey Monkey. He has always wanted clothes for him, plus he loves boxes and containers. I found this old junk jewelry box, painted it and made it into a wardrobe for MM. Then I made teeny tiny clothes including a super hero costume! To say he was surprised is an understatement.

Everyone is excited

Everyone is excited

Isabelle asked for Camo clothes so she could play army with her brothers; apparently pink is easy to spot in the woods. She was very excited!

Isabelle asked for Camo clothes so she could play army with her brothers; apparently pink is easy to spot in the woods. She was very excited!

I made Aeden a dress up suitcase, she was thrilled!

I made Aeden a dress up suitcase, she was thrilled!

Rebekah always has the best reactions, even if I didn't catch her face!

Rebekah always has the best reactions, even if I didn’t catch her face!

I think she likes it!

I think she likes it!

Our family is so big and my living room not so much, that it is often difficult to get good shots, but it never stops me from trying. I still managed to click off nearly 200 shots on Christmas Morn; most of the time, I miss the event until I look at my images. One of these Christmases, I’m going to leave my camera off – Nah, not really. 🙂

A Word a Week Photography Challenge – Wood

Wood, more specifically, bark, has always fascinated me. I love the texture that it imbues. How you can almost feel its roughness when you look at an image of a trunk, branch or even rough cut lumber.

Just a knot

Just A”peal”ing

So I’ve culled through a few specimens of woody shots to share with you. Hope you enjoy.

Study in Bark I

Study in Bark I

Study in Bark IV

Study in Bark IV

Study in Bark III

Study in Bark III

Study in Bark II

Study in Bark II

Knot your average tree

Knot your average tree

I love when moss grows on logs - fallen or otherwise.

I love when moss grows on logs – fallen or otherwise.

Nails stand at attention in an old piece of decking.

Woodscrews stand at attention in an old piece of decking.

Dripping rain off an old fencepost.

Dripping rain off an old fencepost.

Merry Christmas

P.S. Does anyone know how to make a collage on WP? I’ve scoured the site and cannot find any link or instructions?

I’m reblogging this for two reasons: 1: it is important and 2: so I won’t lose the addresses.

Lenore's Thoughts Exactly

On December 15th, my blogging friend, Oma, wrote a moving post about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. As a police officer, Oma relates to the first responders with first hand experience. What follows are his words. Please take a moment and read his thoughts. I hope you’ll reach out to the first responders in Newtown, too. One week, two weeks, even months later, they need our support. They never forget.

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Sigh . . . All That Is Left To Do Is Wait

I panic and rush around, afraid I will never get it all done.

But then when I’m through, I find that I have days to wait.

It is the same every year; I panic because I think I will never be ready in time, and then I finish my preparations days ahead of schedule!

Christmas Time! You gotta love the excitement and the ulcers it causes. 🙂

Shopping done and every gift is wrapped: CHECK

I love sparkly packages and pretty bows! This year's gifts contained a lot of "repurposed" and handmade items.

I love sparkly packages and pretty bows! This year’s gifts contained a lot of “repurposed” and handmade items.

Stockings hung and filled with all sorts of goodies: CHECK

The Grownup Stockings. Stockings are a BIG tradition at our house. Everyone puts something in everyone else's stocking.

The Grownup Stockings. Stockings are a BIG tradition at our house. Everyone puts something in everyone else’s stocking.

The Grands stockings. I made each of these by hand out of repurposed sweaters.

The Grands stockings. I’ve made every stocking by hand out of repurposed sweaters.

Christmas goodies made: CHECK

It is tradition (a hold over from when I was a kid) to make Spicy Hermits (my dad always called them rocks because my mom always overcooked them and they were as hard as) and Pecan  Sandies. I also make Foolproof Fudge every year. This year I tried something new - good, but won't make the list next year.

It is tradition (a hold over from when I was a kid) to make Spicy Hermits (my dad always called them rocks because my mom always overcooked them and they were as hard as) and Pecan Sandies. I also make Foolproof Fudge every year. This year I tried something new, blueberry crumble – good, but it won’t make the lineup next year.

Now all that is left to do is relax and cuddle up with the hubby watching old Christmas favs!

Hot Dog! Its time for some popcorn and movies!

Hot Dog! Its time for some popcorn and movies!

I hope EVERYONE has a Very Merry CHRISTmas and a Beautifully Blessed New Year!

Photographic Challenge: Light

Light is not only important to photography, it is essential! I love the way light reflects off of things or as in this photo, shines though things. This photo was taken a few years back in one of the only operational old Missions in San Antonio, Texas. It is one of my favorite images and is equally as breathtaking in black and white.

The  late October evening sunlight made this photo really "shine"

The late October evening sunlight made this photo really “shine”

A Word in your Ear has put up a challenge for readers to find photos that portray theconcept of light. Light is so important when taking photos, so really, every photo qualifies! Many readers have posted numerous photos in response but I have just one that I think is a little different.

Sometimes bad people do bad things, we don’t always have to blame it on an illness.

Photo Challenge 15: Delicate 3

Last but certainly not least, flowers.

I noticed that many bloggers chose this subject for this challenge; and it is obvious why – flowers are the epitome of delicate. They are short-lived, easy to bruise and tear and oh so lovely to gaze upon. Here are just a few of my favorite little friends.

A tiny, tiny little bloom unfurls in the morning sun.

A tiny, tiny little bloom unfurls in the morning sun.

This was an image I shot on film years ago. I have since lost the negatives, so this is a scan of a printed image. I love sunflowers; they are the least delicate flowers I know.

This was an image I shot on film years ago. I have since lost the negatives, so this is a scan of a printed image. I love sunflowers; they are the least delicate flowers I know.

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 2.59.36 PM

Ice encrusted holly withstand the harsh realities of winter – tougher than they look.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.02.25 AM

Pink poppies

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.02.46 AM

Water lily

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.00.19 AM

My beloved redbud blooms (Oklahoma’s state flower)

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.00.42 AM

Cherry blossoms over a fence

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White and pink phlox

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 2.54.38 PM

Close up of cherry blossoms

Have a wonderful week!

Photo Challenge 15: Delicate 2

While visiting an amazing small aquarium in Jenks, Oklahoma several years back, I tried my hand at shooting underwater images through glass. After all, I knew I would never get a chance to do this up close and personal (because of fear and expenses). I was pleased at how they turned out, but I was also enthralled at just how delicate both the subjects I was shooting and their eco system were. I revisited the aquarium at a later date and discovered that most of the tanks were not doing as well. They were in the process of starting over, but it made me realize just how fragile the balance of nature can be.

These tiny little jellyfish were no bigger than the tip of my pinky. They were hard to shoot, because they wouldn't hold still!

These tiny little jellyfish were no bigger than the tip of my pinky. They were hard to shoot, because they wouldn’t hold still!

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 9.58.58 AM

This little guy was hiding

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 9.59.14 AM

I loved the color, the tiny little feathery fronds and the softness of these underwater plants.

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 3.01.38 PM

Strawberry anemones

I loved the delicate trendils of this pink lady.

I loved the delicate trendils of this pink lady.

 

 

I hope you enjoy!

Photo Challenge 15: Delicate 1

There are so many things that are delicate in this world: Flowers (will get to those in a moment), crystal, computer chips, nature and of course my favorite, children. Newborn babies are so very fragile and delicate; they are at the mercy of their caregivers. Likewise, even toddlers and children are equally as delicate and dependent on the adult world not to harm them. For this reason, part one of this week’s photo challenge goes out to the families of the children that were harmed at the hand(s) of disturbed adults (both from Sandy Hook Elementary and around the world).

Touching is the first line of love and comfort for a newborn.

Touching is the first line of love and comfort for a newborn.

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 3.00.12 PM

Sweet Aeden; A daddy’s touch

Cupid's Lips, Isabelle as a toddler

Cupid’s Lips, Isabelle as a toddler

Daddy's Kiss

Daddy’s Kiss

someone to hold you while you sleep; Grandpa and Caera

someone to hold you while you sleep; Grandpa and Caera

Newborn in Pink: Caera

Newborn in Pink: Caera

Protective hands: Owen

Protective hands: Owen

I hope you have a beautiful day and remember to gently love those delicate little people in your lives!

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