After a very late night going through Sunday evening photos, the Monday morning alarm seemed to go off extra early. I am starting to sleep a little better when I do get to sleep, so it wasn’t too bad waking up and heading into work. The air had a crisp fall feel to it and the crispness made the stars and small sliver of moon seem that much brighter. It was so beautiful that I pulled my camera out of my bag and shot a few photos before heading into the building once I arrived at work. As I started on my workday, I began with the usual prayer, cleaning, and building prep routine as I prayed for the students who would be arriving in a couple hours to begin their school week. I also spent time praying about the Growing Strong retreat concept as I seek God for a further refinement in what they will look like now and into the future. I believe He is calling me to remain both faithful and flexible as these retreats come about, so I trust and expect Him to further reveal what that means as the dates for the first retreat quickly approach.
As I worked, I noticed movement outside one of the windows as a couple deer made their way along the backside of the building. As I tried to figure out if there was any way to get enough lighting for a photo, they noticed my movement and disappeared into the woods. As I gathered up the trash and got ready to take it out, I noticed a different movement by the back door and looked to see a pair of raccoons washing their hands in a water puddle that had accumulated by one of the downspouts. There is an exterior light over the door, so I managed a few photos that at least made the raccoons recognizable even though there was a lot of glare visible from the glass door.
Once the building was ready for the day, I settled into my Monday morning prayer guide writing routine. I suppose because of my time spent as I worked praying about the upcoming retreat, the instruction of Jesus to watch and pray was firmly in my mind as I set about listening for a topic for the new weekly prayer guide. As I spent time in scripture and prayer the focused changed a little bit, or was refined to an extent, to be more specific about our need to watch out! The rest of the morning was spent fleshing out the prayer guide as it will address a number of things that God challenges us to watch out for. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are not beneficial to our spiritual growth simply because we have not paid attention to the path we are on.
As I worked on the prayer guide, I was watching out my window and noticed the sun sparkling off the dew-clad leaves. I took a quick walk outside with my camera and snapped today’s photo. It really doesn’t do it full justice, but I still liked the capture of the fall colors and droplets of water from the heavy dew. Back inside, I finished writing the prayer guide then took care of some maintenance issues that had been brought to my attention. When I returned to my office, I spent the early part of the afternoon formatting and scheduling the prayer guide for Sunday’s publication through my email newsletter and on my website.
Once the workday was over, it was time to run some errands before relaxing at home — including a little nap time. I can typically feel when my mind has reached its limit for the day, and right now that usable time span in most days doesn’t cover very much other than my work hours. The nap did help some, so I sat down to write today’s page. As I did so, I got caught up in looking at some possible location stops for an upcoming delayed anniversary trip. One of the advantages in planning family trips is our shared love of capturing and sharing photos of the beauty of creation wherever we go. The difficulty lies in the fact that there are so many beautiful places that we have not yet been to and most regions of the country we would visit have so much more to see that we could fit into any available time. Anyhow, it is fun to look and fill my mind with ideas so that when the trip actually takes place there is plenty of options and flexibility. The downside of getting sidetracked with looking at trip options is that I can feel the buzzing in my head starting to return as I try to finish writing today’s page. I guess that is a good cue to go to the closing. 🙂
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- I have a difficult time stopping in the middle of something and finishing it later.
- When taking photos at a lake, I find that I pay so much attention to the detail of what I’m trying to capture that I rarely end up with the horizon level in the photo.
- Taking 600+ photos on a short photo trip adds up to a lot of hours editing when I have to manually straighten almost every one.
- When I’m paying attention, God often stops me in my tracks with varied displays of His creativity.
- For me, God rarely gives me all the details that I want. He usually calls me to a task one step at a time and asks that I trust Him for the steps I can’t yet see.
- Being observant is important. Knowing what you’re observing can help keep you headed in a proper direction.
- Satan is the enemy of every person. While it is easy to see him as the enemy of the Christian, his goal of destruction is the same whether a person believes in Jesus or not.
- It is far easier to walk down the wrong path than most of us imagine. That is why it is important to constantly watch out for anything, and anyone, who would lead us astray.
- When my internal chemical balances are out of whack, it is even more important than usual to pay attention to the signs my body gives me that enough is enough.
- Rather than be overwhelmed at all the incredible beauty of this country that I’ve not yet seen, I get excited at all the options that exist should something not work out at a location I’ve considered.