Participation vs. Investment

September 22, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Firstly - I have many photos I took to go with this post, but my card reader decided not to read them. So, to keep this interesting, I will add unrelated images for you to enjoy. 

Reading: "the answers to your deepest longings" by Lysa TerKeurst and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team.

Watching: "Living Proof" by Matt Embry, his documented journey with MS.

Listening: Elevation Worship's "Graves into Gardens album". Yes, the entire album. If you are having a hard day or need a spiritual pick-me-up, turn it on and crank it up!!!!

The dog pool was green and muddy and gross. It is early in the day, I don’t want to get dirty or wet. So as I gently pull the side of the pool down to drain, so far so good, water is coming out, I am still clean. I was participating in pool water reconstitution, but it wasn’t costing me a thing. When the water was low enough to lift the sides up and dump, again, I was directing the water to the front, where I wasn’t. Well, the water chose to come out of each side instead. Result? I am now covered in mud and pool water. I went from participating, to investing in the process of providing clean water for the dogs (and cats, and rodents, and birds) to enjoy.

Juvenile sports now reward for participation. Some schools too, passing children to the next level without the work to back it for various reasons. People get positions and ministries because they were there and available, the right age, or the right look, but they don’t really have the resume or skills to back the appointment. (Cool down, It’s word).

In Matthew 21:19 describes a fig tree that participated, but did not invest. Pretending to be a fig tree, it had leaves, but no fruit. Jesus went up to it, to get a snack, and found no fruit on it. He proceeded to speak "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth, forever." The fig tree withered immediately. Really? It was still viable, still pretty (today’s philosophy, don’t hate on the fig tree). But no fruit is an ineffective fig tree. Taking up space. No explicit value.

We pray, but see little results because we are participating, not invested. We sing the songs, read the scriptures, but where is the sacrifice. In Matthew 17:21, and Mark 9:29, Jesus told His disciples that some demons are only cast out by prayer and fasting. Ooh, fasting (No! Not my food, sad face), an investment in the present and future.

I am guilty of trying easy. I have been cast out of my ministries, my appointments, even some of my familial roles, because I was participating in comfort, but resisted when it cost me something, or when I felt threatened, or God tested my pride.

In order to be effective and prosperous, there needs to be some healing, breaking of sallow ground, breaking of strongholds and past demons. There needs to be some sacrifice, some heart work, some investment.

Pride, offense, and fear, are some of the little bugs that will steal your ability to produce good fruit. Think deep. Do you participate, or do you invest all that you have into producing the fruit God has ordained for your life?

I have to go change now. Be better. Be blessed.

Gail O

 


Morning Has Broken

August 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

The quiet of the morning is a gift. His mercies are renewed every morning. Before demands take us over, we can sit in His presence and become remade, blessed, filled with His purpose. Mark 1:35 tells us that Jesus rose a ”great while before day” and went to a place of solitude. He submitted His human to the spirit of His father. What we did yesterday, last week, ten years ago does not matter to the Lord once you lay it at His feet. He is faithful, He is forgiving, He is forever our God, loving Father, protector and champion.

Listening to: dry bones rattling by Elevation Worship.

Watching: The Closer and Rizzoli and Isles reruns. Again. It’s all about the writing.

Reading: Unforgettable photograph by George Lange and Scott Mowbray

I love photography! I love people, I love to shoot, and I love to create wonderful art with some of the images. With the revolutionary cameras on cell phones and digital cameras, many photographers are doing everything but shooting to continue to pay the bills. I understand. When I ponder what things I could possibly do to bring in revenue besides releasing the shutter, all I can come up with is ‘shoot.’ So, I practice, I learn, I put myself out there and I wait for the right persons to find me. I always have work, for I seek opportunities, but they are not always paid opportunities. But God.

Last weekend, I documented a baby shower. Let me extol the ingenuity of Amazon, who provided us with a ‘party in a box‘. Everything we needed to decorate the house was in one box, including the sign-in poster.

My daughter dipped Rice Krispies and pretzels in candy melts and we prepared a nacho bar for sustenance.

We celebrated my baby girl’s baby girl, who is due with my great baby girl in September.

There were photo booth props in the party in a box too. People who hate photos of themselves, will pose with props. Usually. We took photos of each guest with our baby mama, just like we did at birthday parties years ago. We were blessed with the turn out, the gifts and the love that was ‘showered’ upon Mikayla, and are so grateful.

This was a day to be remembered. And I have the receipts (proof).

 

 


Mid Week

August 12, 2020  •  1 Comment

Mid - Week

Disclaimer: This is NOT a religious blog. This is a place to explore the musings of a photographer that does everything (or attempts to) from a Christian perspective. “And whatever you do, do it full out for the Lord, not for (approval of) other people. Col. 3:23.

Every time I have sat down for the past 3 weeks, to update you, I get distracted, or busy editing. I have a squirrel problem.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexel

I have been outgrowing a habit of mourning the past, learning to live in the present and trust that my Heavenly Father will cover me and console me when needed. Where are you on this? Do you long for what felt like better days? Today I finally realized I mourn because it was a happy time in MY life. I miss the cuddles and hugs and jokes, all the little things that create great memories. But time moves on. People change their priorities, desires, the people they want to spend time with. Just like anger, wistful revisiting of the past seems to be born out of selfishness.

 

“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer every person.” Colassians 4:6. I went to Baltimore three weeks ago for a wedding on a yacht (more of that in a minute) and for three days I did fun things on very little sleep. As a sort of testimony flying there and home again, I wore a t-shirt that says “Ya’ll Just Need Jesus.” Mostly, I got stares, one or two comments, but no real interaction, which is OK. However, when you wear a shirt that tells people that you are different, you better be different. Speaking with grace is not easy when you are exhausted, and barely strong enough to walk on your own. Twice, while wearing that t-shirt, I got snarky and short with people, not representing the shirt, or Jesus well at all. And at that moment I realized that I acted like that most of the time not too long ago, using such excuses as tired or hungry or stress, which are not good excuses when representing a patient, loving God. Good lesson. I am sorry.


I have spent two weeks revamping this website, I hope you see a difference. It seems that for every item I fix, another error pops up. The goal is that you will be comfortable, find what you need easily and be informed when you find me on the great web to see what I do or what project is currently happening. I am not crazy about the connect with me page, because it is a pre-built, unfriendly template, but I did my best for now and will improve it later.

Pricing is a bear because you cannot please everybody. I want to be fair, but I would like to be able to pay my bills too. The need to see a price list is reasonable, however, my goal is that you are more interested in the quality of what I deliver more than a bottom line. For the month of August, I do have a special that for a limited time would cover any social media images, head shots, a short senior session, children’s milestones, cake smashes and couple portraits.

Three weeks ago, I was in Baltimore, Maryland. I love the east coast, so serene and Olde Americana. The people there are genuine and nice. I was there for a Jason Lanier workshop, ‘A Real Wedding workshop’ on a yacht. This was a great experience, and I will be posting photos several more times before I will feel done.  Once Jason posts his wedding images, I will be able to post images of the couple. For now, it will be images of the area. I got up early the wedding day because three of us went out and to capture the sunrise, the images need to be found. I believe I tucked the card away someplace safe; the location is yet to be discovered. I know where they are not. I wanted to shop downtown Annapolis, or go to the beach, but after breakfast, it was all about the nap and getting the gear ready to go. (Another reminder that the camera bag does not pack itself.)

I love church steeple crosses. I have so many saved in folders.

It was hot, and we talked about everything photographic and business minded.

Sony-mirrorless-camera. So light, such clarity, I am saving up!

My friend, Amy, from Kentucky.

Sunset on the water was unbelievable.

Miss Emily is a model/photographer, Jason Lanier's right hand, and administrative assistant. She is an amazing, beautiful, gracious young lady.

That's all for now. Stay-tuned.

Gail O.


Guidance Optional (or is it?)

July 11, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Days melt away without accountability. I think it has been a day or two without devotion and prayer, and it’s been five. June 29th was the last blogpost, and it really only feels like 3 days. Human beings need to be held accountable, or we just go our own way and do our own thing. We are living in a day where evil deeds are prolific, but someone else is blamed. It’s like a child walking up and slapping his mother, but blaming his dad because he is a bad leader. Using bad examples to become bad examples feeds evil intent. Instead, we should look at bad examples and work at becoming better. Romans 12:17 tells us not to reward evil for evil, but to provide good and honest things in the sight of all men.

I know how to get places, but sometimes I will turn on the navigator. Besides directions, navigators warn us about roadblocks, problems ahead, speed limits, and when the next turn or detour is. I am better with direction than I am without. I have been told my compass is off kilter, and I am directionally challenged. When I first started the business, I bought a camera and ran with it. No mentors, no books, no one that went before me to guide and help me with business sense, technique, or anything to do with photography. My husband showed me how to set up and balance a spread sheet, but I never did it.

A few years ago, I met Jason Lanier and his wife at WPPI in Vegas. He opened my eyes and I discovered mentorship. The main thing I held onto from him is to work hard, but in the time, and don’t expectgreatness to come out of lazy. That is Biblical. Even when the Lord performed miracles, there was work involved. Not so we can boast or take credit, all glory belongs to the Lord, but to see how much the requested need was really wanted. How desperate are you for good things - a change of life, or something to make life better? Are you looking for help (navigation) or hoping things happen on their own? After my encounter with JL, I have found photographers whose style impressed me, and have been constantly learning from them. I have gone into debt buying tutorials, editing tools, and workshops (a habit I have since stopped).

We all need guidance. We are a lost, selfish bunch, mostly doing whatever we want to, until something or someone changes our direction, perception or mind. I was driving home from Tucson and I was on a stretch of road without speed limit signs, so I turned on the navigator and I received what I am sharing from my spirit. I have been studying the Bible on how to be closer to our Heavenly Father and have found the closer I get to our creator, the further I want to get from things that are not good for me. I want more solid food, less junk that does not nourish. I thanked the Lord for giving me the navigator comparison and I thought wow, this is cool. That’s when my mind heard, “Good, let me use you.” Unfortunately, my sarcastic self came back too quickly, “Why not, everyone else does.” Oops. I need more work.

Some scriptures on needing to follow in the steps of Jesus:

John 14:6 Jesus is the only way to reach the Father.

Jeremiah 21:8 “And to this people you will say, ‘the Lord says, behold I set before you the way of life and the way of death.’”

Psalms 139:24 “See if there is any wicked thing in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalms 1:6 “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly will perish.”

GPS = God's Protection System


Finish Well

June 29, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I don’t want to wake up with a to do list in my head, but I do. The whole purpose of rousing early and walking is to spend time with Jesus, clear my head, set my soul and prep for the day. Some days, there is so much competition up there it is distressing. Encounter for Today has auditory devotions that take the scripture of the day and expound on it, helping clear the mind and get me back on track. Then I read ‘Draw near to God’ devotions, and the day is back on a good turn.


 

This week is so busy, I really need to reorganize the schedule so that time is not wasted and each task is efficiently completed. I have read and established so many organizational lists and charts, but nothing stuck until block scheduling. this makes sense to me. For years I make to do list after to do list, but nothing could do it for me. I like crossing things off of lists but it wasn't productive. You actually have to take action. Now, if I do something not on the list, I write it down so I can cross it off. Yep, I'm one of those. I confess. Changing my methods is helping me defeat procrastination. Do it now. No excuses. The more you do, the more you want to do. Simple principals work. Committing everything to the Lord gives the ideas energy.

Week two block scheduling. I am up by 5:30 am. I do need to find a spot for breakfast. I still waste time, but more is getting done day to day, and the things that work, really work. Making positive changes is so rewarding, it baffles me when so many people stay stuck in non-productive, self-defeating life systems. 

Dishes are finally done, and the kitchen and stove are clean. For the three hours it took me to soak and scrub and sparkle, I promised myself I will not let it get this bad ever again! Aha, more progress. So why do we keep repeating mind numbing talks over and over, fight the same battles, get irritated with the same people, without moving any rocks? Life's great mystery of human behavior repeats because you just haven’t determined it is important enough to be done. We can’t control other people, their actions, attitudes or behaviors, but we can change us. We can change how we think, what we think, what we do, and through shifting the currents, finally changing who we are. 

My husband turns 74 on Sunday, so I need to order a cake and figure out how to celebrate, since he won’t leave the house. When I self quarantined for months, he went to church without me, to the store, and did all my errands. Now that I am active, he won’t leave the house, except to work. We will see what finally comes up. I can't wait!

The call to persevere is upon us. Some people are just getting by, but others are running on ahead determined to make a difference. I have been serving the Lord for 40 years and have seen many who have gotten discouraged or lazy and give up. 

II Cor 4:1

 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

We all start out in church for a reason. Mom and dad made us go to church and read us all the stories. It felt good in service. A friend led us in to a service and the word took root and grew. So many things, on the other hand distract and discourage us from being consistent and faithful to the end. Matthew 10:22 tells us that only those that endure until the end shall be saved. There is some enduring to do. People will dislike us because we don't do what they do, go where they go, or think about what they think about. There is a friend that I miss with all of my heart. But she got too busy for church. Her priorities have changed. She stopped caring about how Jesus would like her to live. She doesn't like to spend time with me anymore. It doesn't matter how we started out, really. Conviction, repentance, and baptism get us right with God. What matters is that we finish well.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

We do better when we surround ourselves with like people. There is a saying, if you are the smartest, strongest, or prettiest one in the room, find another room. Iron sharpens iron. Start it with the Lord, and keep it going. 

Gail O.

 

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