********** A Christian Journal **********

Growing in the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010 (winding down)

2010 is winding down…
very soon it will be 2011.

Like all years, it was filled with ups and downs
but the blessings from God our Father
continue to bring us joy and peace.

Back in late October, early November,
I finished two new projects…
my first published book and
a 2011 calendar.

The calendar was created using software from Mpix.
The book (It is how I see) was created
using Blurb’s software and is still
available for purchase at…

A full preview of the book can also be seen
at the above URL.

This upcoming year, dependent on the Lord’s guidance and will,
I have tentative plans to publish another book or two
as well as a new calendar for 2012,
and hopefully a few other projects as well.

Up to this point in time,
I have been using a Panasonic Lumix (DMC-FZ20)
point-and-shoot camera for my work.
Post processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

For Christmas this year, my daughter,
has made it possible for me
to get a new camera and an extra lens.
Cost was the limiting factor but
as I researched the products
available to fit my needs
I found a camera kit (the Canon Rebel T2i)
and a zoom lens (Tamron
SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD)
that received high marks
and still adhered to the budget.
This will provide me with a much better sensor
for larger prints and will permit me to shoot in RAW.

Thanks to my son, this spring,
I will have a new (custom made) computer
and a newer version of Photoshop.

Hopefully all of this will allow me to
take my photography to a higher level.
Saying that, it is remembered,
that it is still the photographer
and not his equipment that captures
and processes the final image.

It is the Holy Spirit
within me that allows
me to see.

I am excited to see where the Lord
will lead me in the new year.

I pray that all of you experience
a very blessed and joyful 2011
in Jesus name and for God’s glory.

Let us remember each other in our prayers.

Friday, December 24, 2010

December 24, 2010 (Artificial Submission)

It has been quite a while since I last posted here.

No excuses… I am sure you have heard them all before. J

Artificial Submission

Years ago I never thought I would have anything artificial…
I wanted the real thing. A wood burning fireplace with a cord
or two of neatly stacked firewood outside along the shed;
real candles that required a match (or two)
to ignite and with wicks to trim;
a real Christmas tree that we cut down ourselves
and required some work to stand up
in a stone crock surrounded by stones
and rocks strategically placed to keep
the thing upright and straight…
and a tree which required periodic watering.
Ah, the smells alone were enchanting.
This is being alive
and living life to the fullest.

Now I am older and perhaps a bit more… well older.
You get the picture… now, or you will eventually.

The artificial “electric” fireplace looks pretty good.
The artificial candles even flicker.
And the artificial tree has finally, after 5 years,
paid for itself.

No more smoke in the room because of poor draft and
a lot less dirt and soot on the curtains, etc. No more lugging in
firewood (or paying to have it delivered),
constantly stoking the fire, and cleaning out the ashes.

No more candles that burn unevenly
or won’t stay lit, and less danger from
three very active cats.

And no more struggles with the “perfect” looking
Christmas tree year after year. I don’t even have
to string the lights anymore. How about
the allergies from a real tree, the poison ivy,
and the hatching spiders that migrate to the
tree top and decorate the angel or star.

Yes the cats still like to play with the tree branches,
the ornaments, and they even try to eat
the artificial needles (with accompanying throw-up)…
hmmm… how about artificial cats?

Life is simpler now… ???

Oh but how I miss those smells… artificial
smells in a can or perfumed scented whatever
just isn’t the same… yet! Nor is the
fireplace sounds on a CD and you can’t even
roast “artificial” marshmallows or have the fun
of putting out the candles between your two fingers.

Still… I have adjusted. I don’t even have to squint
my eyes shut a bit to make it appear more magically
less plastic looking… age is doing that for me.

My point to all of this is to draw the line somewhere.

Lets consider what is really important.

Have we let
ourselves become comfortable with an artificial faith…
less genuine, less passionate, less active?

Do we have a “pose able” faith?
One we put on for show… a faith without works?
That is not even an artificial faith…
that is a dead faith… non-existent.

“Faith and works are bound up in the same bundle.
He that obeys God trusts God;
and he that trusts God obeys God.
He that is without faith is without works;
and he that is without works is without faith.”
- C.H. Spurgeon

Keep the “real” flame alive…
the one that counts.