2018: Page 52

2018: Page 52

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • The sixty degree temperatures of yesterday were replaced overnight by colder air that hovered around the 30 degree mark all day today.
  • The crisp night air was refreshing, or at least invigorating, as I walked out of the house to head to work early this morning.
  • As I went about my morning prayer, cleaning, and building prep tasks I spent a lot of time praying for those who are experiencing flooded homes as the waters continue to rise in many locations.
  • It wasn’t long before I realized that no one else had arrived at the building at their normal times, so I checked online and found the school was on a two hour delay.  There are some tasks that are easier to get done in an empty quiet building, so I took advantage of the extra time to get some work done.
  • By mid-morning I shifted my focus to the book I’m working on, with today’s writing wrapped around different aspects of how we ought to serve with generosity.
  • For many people, money is one of the first things that comes to mind when they hear the word generous.  But being generous is much more about an attitude of sharing our self in whatever ways best meet the needs of those we serve than it is about simply handing out money.
  • After work I had some supplies to return that I had picked up yesterday but which weren’t going to work for what I needed them to, so I headed to the store.
  • The return process was simple and handled in a helpful manner.
  • Sometimes I think we hold onto things that we don’t need, or that are even harmful to us, simply because we are afraid that getting rid of them will be too difficult or painful.
  • After a late lunch, I made it home and relaxed for a time before heading out with my family to see what we could find to see and photograph at Potato Creek.
  • We drove from one end of the park to the other, and even took a short hike, and only saw a few ducks and a couple geese out where they were visible.  It was looking like we were going to come up empty, but the time together as a family was time well spent.
  • As we headed back to our starting point in the park for one last look, we saw two different groups of deer along the road so I stopped to take a few photos and asked them to send the eagles our way . . . yes, I talk to the deer. 🙂
  • When we stopped for our final look before leaving the park, there was one of the bald eagles perched in the top of a nearby tree.  As we took photos of it, a second bald eagle showed up and joined the first in the tree.  After getting photos of both of them, they eventually each flew off and disappeared from view.
  • Today’s photo is a collection of several that I took during our evening at Potato Creek.
2018: Page 51

2018: Page 51

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • It was warmer than I expected it would be when I went in to work early this morning.  My first thought was that it would be a nice day if it wasn’t raining . . . then I decided it ought to be able to be a nice day even with the rain. 🙂
  • It suppose it was only fitting that the song in my mind as I went about my morning prayer, cleaning and building prep included the lines, “There shall be showers of blessings . . . Mercy drops ’round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.”
  • Once the building was ready, I turned my attention to the formatting and scheduling of the prayer guide to go out next week.  While it is good to hear reports from time to time of how the prayer guide is being used, it should be satisfaction enough just to write them as a way for me to spend time with God.
  • Much of the morning was spent doing some more writing for one of the next books I’m working on.  It will be a second collection of 13 weeks of daily devotions wrapped around how we ought to serve.  In a change from when I began, the current working title is, “All In: Devotions For Those Who Serve”.
  • By mid-afternoon the rain had let up a bit so I headed down to Potato Creek to see what I could find to photograph.  On the way I stopped and got a white chocolate mocha which I proceeded to dump on myself, so the first part of my time at the park was spent cleaning up the inside of my truck.
  • Once I had cleaned up my spilled drink, I drove through the park without seeing anything that would cause me to stop so I parked the truck and headed out on a trail to see what I could find.
  • As soon as I got out of my truck, several different groups of sandhill cranes flew overhead with their distinctive sound filling the air.
  • Sometimes I think we rush past important lessons in life because they’re not easily noticeable and we don’t want to stop what we’re doing to search for the lessons we need.
  • As I walked the trail, I saw an eagle circle in the distance and then fly past me to land in a tree across the water from where I was.  It was such a beautiful sight to watch and I was glad I had not let the poor weather keep me from getting out.
  • Most things worth experiencing in life have an element of risk to them, even if it’s just a risk of time.  If we don’t take the risk, we will not experience that moment we could have enjoyed.
  • Today’s photo is one I took of the eagle as it sat across the channel from me.  It was pretty intent on watching the water below for most of the time I was watching.

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2018: Page 50

2018: Page 50

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • Another long day mixed with work and fun so the page gets written the next morning. 🙂
  • President’s Day was a make-up day for the school, so my extended weekend plans had to be revised so I could get the building cleaned and ready for the day.
  • Being able to revise plans based on what is actually needed is a very useful trait to learn, even if it’s not always easy.
  • As I headed into work, I was still thinking about the sunrise and sunset I had photographed on Sunday and the song we sang which said, “Open up the heavens! We want to see you!”
  • By the time I took the first collection of trash out, God had indeed “opened up the heavens” . . . only today it was rain pouring forth rather than glorious sunrise.
  • If we’re asking God to “open up the heavens”, we need to be ready to accept what He sends.
  • Once the building was ready for the day, I settled into my Monday morning routine with God to figure out the next prayer guide.
  • Sometimes people are hesitant to develop routines with God because we think they will become too routine — empty routines that have no meaning.  While that is possible, if we keep God as the focus the routines can actually become quite full rather than empty.
  • The topic we settled on was salvation.  Once again, a topic that was difficult to believe I hadn’t written a prayer guide on it already.  I suspect that God has a purpose not only for the prayer guides themselves, but even for the specific topics He leads me to choose.
  • As I spent the morning writing, the reminders of a salvation that has come from God were encouraging.
  • After the prayer guide was written, I wrapped up the remaining tasks that needed to be done before heading out on a President’s Day family adventure.
  • Our original destination was too far for part of a day, so we headed north to Grand Haven, Michigan to photograph lighthouses in yet another season — this one the rainy, foggy season. 🙂
  • From Grand Haven, we worked our way back south along the Lake Michigan shoreline with stops in Holland, South Haven, and St Joseph for lighthouse photos before our final stop in Niles for dinner.
  • Even in the haziness of the fog and rain, there was beauty to be found, photographed, and shared.
  • Beauty isn’t always easy to see, but it is usually present if we look for it.
  • Today’s photo was taken at our final lighthouse stop in St Joseph, Michigan.  The fog created a natural filter that softened the backgrounds and, at least to me, added to the beauty.

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2018: Page 49

2018: Page 49

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • Page 49 was a beautiful, and full, day from start to finish so I’m doing the writing of the page the next morning.
  • With snow arriving Saturday night, I was up early on Sunday to make sure the walks were clear at the building.  The snow hadn’t amounted to much, so it was pretty quick work to run the snow shovel across what needed done and then put down some ice melt for the problem areas.
  • When unwanted, and dangerous, stuff begins to accumulate in our life, it is easier to remove it before it adds up and then take care of any difficult areas rather than wait until it is either “worth our time” or “takes care of itself”.  If those become our two options, we will likely never deal with the problems.
  • As I was finishing up the sidewalks, the sun began to crawl up over the eastern horizon and the scattered clouds diffused the light to create a “chalk drawing” scene — of course I went inside and grabbed a camera. 🙂
  • We had a good worship gathering as David continued a sermon series he is working on through the book of Acts.  Today’s sermon looked at God behind the scenes.
  • The main points of the sermon dealt with what we choose to give the greatest consideration to as we live life.
    • Consider Circumstances:  This is often our default consideration as our circumstances are easiest to see — at least from a surface perspective.  Circumstances can give us a snapshot of what’s going on in a life at any given time.  By viewing them accurately, we can see what we’re up against and what we may have going for us.  The downside of considering circumstances is when we give them too much weight in our mind.  Circumstances never reveal the whole story — especially when we are looking at the circumstances of another’s life.  Circumstances are the surface view and the short range view, not a view of the heart or a big picture view.  There is nothing wrong with considering our circumstances.  In fact, it is generally a wise thing to do as long as we look at them in view of our main consideration — God.
    • Consider God:  This is often the missing element when the consideration of our circumstances gets us down.  One of my favorite verses says, “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  In all circumstances we ought to consider God as He is the one that has had a view of those circumstances from the very beginning and He can see clearly the results they can bring about in our life.  When we consider God, it is good to consider the work God has done in the lives of the people we read about in the Bible and the people we read about in history; but it is also imperative that we consider the work God has done, and continues to do, in our own life!  
  • After the worship gathering and lunch, I spent some more time working on setting up my new computer then we headed out for a family adventure to see what we could find to photograph.
  • By the time the day was over, we had found two different snowy owls, some beautiful lakefront scenes, a group of paddle boarders braving the Lake Michigan water, a stunning sunset, and dinner at Subway.
  • As the day was filled with beautiful scenes, today’s photo will actually be several photos taken throughout the day that give a glimpse into the beauty God shared with us.
2018: Page 48

2018: Page 48

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • The day began with the writing of yesterday’s page and then it has been a day of welcomed rest.
  • After having major issues with two computers I bought in early December, the replacement for the second one finally arrived this week so my restful day has been spent working on setting up the computer to replace one that has not been keeping up with the work I do.
  • If giving up is an option, finishing will rarely happen.
  • After a day of transferring files and reinstalling programs, I took a break and made dinner for my family.  I made mashed potatoes, green beans, and hamburger gravy.
  • It is interesting how the mind connects certain things based on past experiences.  The meal I made was the go-to menu when I was growing up to test our ability to handle solid food after one of us had been sick.
  • I suppose my mind could have connected the meal with being sick and I probably wouldn’t want to have it again.  But, instead, my mind connects it with getting better and I enjoy eating it all these years later.
  • I suppose our relationship with God is somewhat like that . . . some people view God’s laws as reminders of everything they’ve done wrong so they do what they can to avoid God.  Others view God’s laws as reminders of His love, mercy, and grace and draw closer to Him because of them.
  • The laws are the same, it is our response to them that makes all the difference.
  • I never made it out of the house, so today’s photo is a collection of shots I took yesterday that remind me of the beauty of God’s incredible creative work.
2018: Page 47

2018: Page 47

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • Page 47 began early and finished late, so I’m writing the page the next morning.
  • I thought waiting until my mind was fresh after a night’s sleep would help, but the specifics of what to include on this page are still elusive.
  • Most of the time it is good to question what should and shouldn’t be said, whether it is being said verbally or in writing.
  • As the day began, I thought a lot about how easy it is to focus on symptom management rather than do the hard work of addressing the actual problem.
  • Many times we are more concerned about looking good than we are about doing good.
  • My morning cleaning song included the lines, “How great is our God!  Sing with me, how great is our God!  And all will see how great, how great is our God!”
  • Sometimes I think our “rights” in America have become more important to many of us than our responsibilities as servants of God.
  • We would all be in big trouble if God thought the right to give people what they deserve was more important than the responsibility to love.
  • If there is one “right” we ought to value most above all other perceived rights, it should be the “right to be called ‘Children of God'”.
  • Many people like to claim that Jesus is “on their side”, but we would be better off to seek Him and place ourselves on His side.
  • By early afternoon I headed out to get lunch and pick up some supplies.  One of my stops was to pick up trash bags for work . . . it always amazes me how much we spend on bags that we fill with trash and throw away.
  • While I was out I made a quick stop at Potato Creek to spend some time with God while I waited for the building to clear out so I could get my evening work done.
  • The warmer weather and reduced snow cover seemed to have brought out a good variety of wildlife to view and photograph.
  • While each animal has their own enemy that I’m sure they are well aware of, it is always fun to watch the groups of waterfowl that usually seem to interact well with each other despite their vastly different appearances and practices.
  • It is good to know our enemy — God says our battle is not against flesh and blood — but it is also good to learn how to get along with people whose appearance and practices may be different than ours.
  • As I returned to the building to spend time cleaning and getting it ready for Sunday, I found that my mind had returned to the song from the start of my day — He really is a great God.
  • Today’s photo is of some of the waterfowl that were swimming together at Potato Creek.  

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2018: Page 46

2018: Page 46

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • I suspect there were clear skies and bright stars somewhere as I headed to work this morning but the dense fog kept me from seeing any of it.
  • God’s faithfulness remains whether circumstances cause it to be very visible or hidden from my current view.
  • As I went about my morning prayer, cleaning, and building prep tasks I found myself whistling again.  I suspect it’s a good thing my morning work is usually done in an empty building. 🙂
  • The foggy morning brought about a delay to the start of the school day so I used the extra quiet time to continue work at tracking down the current network setup in order to help facilitate better networking communication.
  • It has been quite a while since I’ve seen any deer at work and while I didn’t see any today, it was good to see their tracks lead from the woods up to my office window and then back into the woods.  I guess they miss me too. 🙂
  • I kept an eye on the network all morning as the school was doing online testing.  All reports indicated it went smoothly as the earlier glitches in the network became non-issues as I tweaked the network settings.
  • With the delayed start to the school day, I was well into the afternoon before I realized it.  
  • With the early disciples of Jesus anticipating His return at any moment, I wonder if my arrival late in the time-line of history will make that return seem even more sudden.
  • I headed out to have lunch with a friend who needed time with someone even more than he needed lunch.
  • While food is important, Jesus understood that the time He spent with His Father was even more valuable.
  • As I prepare to have a prayer ministry display at a camp conference in Ohio later this month, I spent some time working on some photo prints for my contribution to their vendor fair drawing.
  • Today’s photo is one I had a print made of for the conference.  Being the conference is focused on Ohio camps, the photos I chose are ones I shot in Ohio.  This one is of Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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