2018: Page 16

2018: Page 16

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

  • With yesterday’s snow to take care of, today began very early under a partly cloudy sky with a scattering of stars shining brightly through the crisp, cold air.
  • It is difficult to dress appropriately for outside work.  Too many layers and too much activity results in too much warmth . . . not enough layers and not enough activity results in uncomfortable coldness.  I’ve learned to make adjustments in layers and/or activity as I go.
  • Life is a lot like that.  A lot of factors we have no control over, but there are things we can usually adjust as we go in order to be more effective.
  • If we don’t make adjustments that continually align us with God, we will find ourselves in the extremes of life more often than not.
  • While a day often doesn’t sound like much time when it comes to time off work, it is amazing what can be done with that time if you want make the most of it.
  • Our little Starved Rock excursion over Martin Luther King, Jr day was 31 hours from the time we left home to the time we were back home.  The photos we brought back tell a wonderful story of family time in the midst of God’s beautiful creation.
  • I’m pretty sure God loves it when we are able to draw away from the regular distractions of life to spend extended time with Him, but I’m also confident He longs for us to make the most of the moments we have to revel in His presence.
  • Once the building was ready for the day (inside and out), I spent the morning with God working on the next prayer guide.  We ended up with the topic of “precious things”.
  • The Bible talks about a variety of things which are precious . . . we would do well to make those things precious to us as well.
  • There were a lot of tasks mixed in with my prayer guide writing today but God kept them from becoming distractions as I went back and forth between projects.
  • I can’t always control the things which may distract me, but I can usually decide how distracting I allow them to become.
  • I suppose it was too cold, but I had no wildlife visitors show up at my office window today and didn’t get anywhere to take any new photos.
  • Today’s photo is one from yesterday as I found several waterfalls after misunderstanding which stairs my wife meant when she said, “look the other way at the bottom of the stairs.”  This one was the tallest of the waterfalls and only partially frozen.

_DSC4516

2018: Page 15

2018: Page 15

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

  • With a day off for Martin Luther King Jr Day, we took a brief excursion to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois to watch and photograph bald eagles.
  • Six inches of snow overnight made for a beautiful walk first thing in the morning.
  • I guess I ended the day in the hole . . . my Garmin says I climbed 58 flights of stairs during the day and descended 67 flights.  Not sure how that figures.
  • For me, going down stairs takes much less effort than going up.
  • Making the effort to climb the stairs took me to higher ground where my view was greatly improved.
  • Our journey through life will require more work if we are to walk on higher ground but the eternal views will be worth it.
  • You can’t walk through fresh snow without leaving a trail.
  • The trail we leave in life will lead those who follow it to wherever we are headed.  Where are you going?
  • The eagles flock to locations such as Starved Rock because the dam across the river keeps an area of open water all winter where they can fish.  Do you and I go out of our way, if necessary, to make sure we are being fed through God’s Word?
  • While the snow provides an element of beauty to a bleak landscape, it can also hide a dangerous layer of ice that could make us fall.  
  • Not everything is at it appears.  What looks good on the surface may actually be covering something dangerous that could lead to our downfall.
  • God says to “test the spirits” so we would reject what is evil and cling to what is good.  I believe the “testing” he wants us to do is more than just a casual glance at what things look like on the surface.
  • We saw several frozen waterfalls . . . at least they looked frozen from a distance.  While they appeared to be solid ice, and one of them even had people climbing it, when you were close you could hear the water still running through it.
  • What’s running inside a person may not be obvious if you only look at the hardness of what is outside.
  • Today’s photo is of one of the many staircases I ascended and descended throughout the day as the park was full of canyons and overlooks.

_DSC4337

2018: Page 14

2018: Page 14

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

  • I woke up early to find Susan had wandered upstairs after having a seizure. It was too early to head to work, so once she was resettled I went back to sleep.
  • There was a sliver of the moon visible as I headed into clear the walks to start my day. It was a beautiful sight and the “unlit” portion was also visible in a shadowy kind of way.
  • Somehow I had sent this week’s prayer guide to the office with last week’s prayer points so I had to print new copies this morning and put them in the bulletins after taking the incorrect ones out.
  • In our church gathering this morning David shared a message from the series he is preaching from the book of Acts. Today’s topic was about not giving up because God is with us.
  • God’s presence gives us His provision.
  • God’s presence gives us His protection.
  • God’s presence gives us everything.
  • As I prepared to spend time with my family today, I thought about all the years I squeezed every last cent out of each dime we had because it always seemed like money was in short supply.
  • I’m not sure which happened first but it seems like the more I have opened my hands, the more that I have found in them.
  • We headed out today in search of eagles and a visit to Starved Rock State Park allowed us to find quite a few of them.
  • Today’s photo is a collection of three photos I took of the bald eagles. They are sure beautiful and majestic to watch.

ho

2018: Page 13

2018: Page 13

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

  • I had a Saturday when I should have been able to sleep in but I woke up at my normal workday time with aching knees and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and went through some photos from the past few days and did some writing.
  • I’ve found restlessness can either be annoying or put to good use . . . it’s usually my choice.
  • Looking at some of the wildlife and nature scenes that God has allowed me to photograph makes me eager to capture more of it.
  • Paying attention to the work of God in our life ought to make us want to see Him do more in and through us.
  • I played some Wii Fitness this morning but the aching in my knees seemed to keep me from being as focused as usual . . . my normal “fitness age” is 20 or 21 but today it was 27.
  • Discomfort in one part of our life will usually affect the rest of our life also.  God says that when one part of the body suffers, the rest of the body suffers too . . . this is true as an individual and as the body of Christ.
  • After lunch we headed out in search of scenes that wanted to be photographed. 🙂
  • We started by searching the area where we found a snowy owl last week but found nothing to photograph there.
  • Just because an opportunity existed in the past, doesn’t mean it still exists . . . it may or may not.
  • Our next stop was along the shoreline of Lake Michigan where I snapped a few photos but there was nothing that really caught my eye enough to spend much time there.
  • Observation is key to staying in step with God.  Sometimes a situation may seem likely to be where God wants us involved but a closer look may reveal that it isn’t the right place for us.
  • Finally we headed to a rural area where a snowy owl had reportedly been seen the past few days.  As we drove and kept watch, we saw a white lump a great distance away in a field and it turned out to be a snowy owl.
  • You may not always find what you’re looking for, but you’re more likely to find it if you are looking.
  • Today’s photo is actually several of them that I took of the snowy owl we found.   It was a long way out in the field and I had to max out my zoom and do significant cropping to make the owl more visible than just a speck, but it was still fun to see and photograph.

26840780_1526775700733743_5655930238354358371_o

2018: Page 12

2018: Page 12

Here are some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • With a forecast of freezing rain, ice, and snow, I went to bed last night knowing the school was at least on a two-hour delay so I could sleep in some.  They ended up cancelling school for the day, so I didn’t go into work until after daylight.
  • My truck doors were frozen shut this morning but I was able to coax them open with a little gentle force. 🙂
  • The roadways were a combination of clear, slush, and ice but I managed to make it to work and up the hill without too much difficulty.
  • I started to clear the snow from the walks this morning but discovered that it was safer to leave the light covering of snow in place rather than expose the ice underneath.
  • Today’s devotional writing was focused on serving with endurance.  Sometimes we think that because serving is what we’re supposed to do, it ought to be easier than what it often is.  Endurance is one of the traits that keeps us going when serving becomes difficult.
  • The birds were very active outside my window while I was writing.  There was a small skirmish between a woodpecker and a flicker, but other than that all the different kinds of birds seemed to get along today.
  • I’ve always been able to get lost in books — it used to always be in reading them but now it is more often in writing them.
  • I kept busy writing until mid-afternoon and then turned my attention to getting the building ready for the weekend . . . I should have taken a lunch break between the two tasks.
  • As I cleaned the building I caught sight of the early stages of the sunset as the clouds began to show color around the edges.
  • There reached a time as I was cleaning that it seemed as if God was saying, “Just stop and look!   Be still and know that I am God!”  So, I stopped and looked. 🙂
  • For a day that I thought would be a shorter work day than a typical Friday, I managed to make it just as long as usual.
  • Today’s photo is one that I took during my “stop and look” segment of the day.  God lit up the sky with a glimpse of His beauty and I was fortunate enough to see it and capture a piece of it.

26678266_10213909814114912_581479442057491579_o

2018: Page 11

2018: Page 11

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

  • Fifty degrees feels a lot warmer after a week of single digit temperatures than it does after a week of ninety degree temperatures. 🙂
  • The rain and warm temperatures worked together to melt a lot of snow . . . just in time for an expected temperature drop and more snow tomorrow.
  • I took my truck in for service today.  Regular service helps to catch potential problems before they become major issues.  Life is somewhat like that.
  • I received a call today from a prison chaplain I had sent a box of Impact Prayer Ministry resources to.  It was very encouraging to hear the excitement both about sharing the resources with the inmates and in using it themselves.
  • God knows what I need even before I do and He is better equipped to provide it than I am to obtain it on my own.
  • After a longer break than anticipated, I resumed work on another set of 13 weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we ought to serve.
  • Today’s writing was on different ways we should serve with compassion.
  • For most of us, compassion is not a natural reaction to the sufferings of others . . . but it should be a supernatural reaction by God’s Spirit within us.
  • The source of our compassion ought to be our recognition of the suffering Christ did on our behalf.
  • When we “suffer with” someone, we are better equipped to walk out of the suffering together than if we just try to “give advice” from a distance.
  • By mid-day, the rain finally let up and the birds came out to enjoy the spring-like weather.
  • My truck was done after work so we picked it up and decided to go out looking for photo opportunities after a late lunch.
  • The rain returned by the time we were done with lunch and we struck out in our search for the snowy owl we had seen last week.
  • Our stop at the lake found a heavy fog lifting from the ice and shrouding the lighthouses.
  • The view was interesting but very difficult to photograph.
  • Today’s photo is of one of my morning visitors.  Sometimes I’m pretty sure the birds like to pose for the camera.

DSCN1044

2018: Page 10

2018: Page 10

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

  • I woke up out of a strange dream this morning with two minutes left before the alarm would have gone off.
  • In my dream, there were shepherds who should have been caring for their sheep but they were all huddled around a campfire singing and carrying on while the sheep wandered off.  As I woke up I was crying out, “Wait!  Wait!  That’s not how it’s supposed to be.”
  • I pray that God would make me more observant toward those I should notice and less distracted by those I am comfortable with.
  • A second day of hazy skies and gray weather made me long for some warmth and sunshine.
  • Drizzle and freezing temps are still not a good combination.
  • At least we’ve had enough winter that most people seem to finally realize that the road may require extra caution.
  • Just because the drizzle hasn’t frozen on the surfaces you have encountered, doesn’t mean it hasn’t frozen on the places you are headed . . . discovered that while taking trash out. 😦
  • What always has been isn’t necessarily what always will be.  God wants us to pay attention to where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed.
  • While the praise of people isn’t the motivation behind my writing, it is encouraging when a person calls to ask permission to use what I’ve written in a small group study they are leading.
  • Balancing what you need to do with what you are called to do can be difficult, especially when they don’t seem to be the same things.
  • We had network equipment replaced due to a recall, but their job was to simply replace the equipment and not to set it up to match the function of what they removed.  I guess my IT hat worked as the reports from people this morning said that the lost connectivity had been restored.
  • Putting together promotional material for the different aspects of the prayer ministry helps me to better see what God is doing.  It’s one thing to live it, it’s another thing to write down what it is.
  • With the dreary looking day I took no new photos, so today’s photo is a compilation of three photos that I had printed today to use for a drawing at the upcoming camp conference.  

ce733444-6313-4abe-9f7d-d0d1d6a00a5f