Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

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I must confess that I was troubled by this weeks challenge to capture “love” through the lens of my camera. Love can be represented in so many different ways, which may well be why it is our subject for the week. Because I was having such a hard time with the challenge, I played word association with myself. The first two things that came to mind were God and Family. As I have recently written about God I thought this would be a great time to write a little about my family. You may ask why a picture of a greasy hamburger represents my family and love. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s not because we are unhealthy eater, though at times we are. It is much more.

The picture above is not just of any hamburger. It’s of a “Lassen View Hamburger” from the now closed Lassen View Resort on Lake Almanor! You see, I grew up on Lake Almanor and spent my summers helping my parents and grandparents run Little Norway Resort. Lassen View made the best hamburgers I have ever had (I’m still looking for its replacement) and it was a treat when we got to have them. They were special as were the people who handmade every one of them. They may not have been blood relatives, but they will always be family.

Lassen View - Love 2This last summer my grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday and invited us all up the the lake for a grand celebration. It was a time to celebrate my grandma, our family, and all that living on Lake Almanor meant to us. As part of celebrating, the previous owners of Lassen View came out of retirement  and brought their grill with them. It was amazing! Out of everything they saved from their lives at the resort the hamburger grill is one of the prize positions. Not only by them but everyone who gets the chance to bite in to the product of it’s perfectly seasoned grill.

You see, this hamburger represents much more than my families love to gather around the table and eat (though we LOVE to do that). It represents a chapter in my families life as we lived, worked, and gathered around Lake Almanor. When I think of this hamburger I can’t help but think of my life around the lake. Whether it was sitting on the deck at Little Norway Resort watching the boats come in and out eating a hamburger before going back to work on the gas dock, fishing with my brother up in Hamilton Branch and working our way down the path to the Hamburger Hut at Lassen View to grab a burger (at random hours of the day), or sitting down at the PG&E camp ground after Labor Day and basking in the peace of the post-tourist season, there are so many powerful memories tied to the sight, smell, and taste of this burger.

It has been long since my family sold Little Norway and our friends sold Lassen View, but the memories still live on. Over the years I have been able to take my wife back to the place where I grew up, but until this last year I was only able share with her stories of the Lassen View Hamburger. Being able to share the real thing felt like being able to share a part of my history, a deeper part of myself with her. It’s much more than a hamburger, it’s a part of who I am, who my family is, where we came from, and the love we share. When I think about love I think about my family (past, present, and future) and this juicy hamburger brings all that love flooding back into my memory. It’s amazing how food can do that. So while my photo for this challenge is hamburger it’s really all about love…it’s all about family.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

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This weeks “Beyond” photo challenge inspired this series of photos taken along the Mendocino coast in Northern California over the weekend as my wife and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. It was a great time of rest, planning, re-centering, and looking “beyond” the present to see what the Lord has for our lives. (Above is a photo of the road we walked out Pt. Cabrillo light house. If you look between the trees you will see the light house off in the distance and the ocean beyond.)

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The light house serves for me as a reminder of what we center our lives around and what our guiding light is in this world. For me and my wife that guiding light is the Word of God and His will for our lives. The light house is a reminded that in the fogs of life, without the light of Christ to guide us we will be blown into the rock as countless ships have the without lighthouses. (Photo above of Pt. Cabrillo light house above)

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Being in such a beautiful place it is hard not to take time for a photo or two. My wife is vary patient with me as I drag my camera case around from place to place. She has to constantly remind me that I need to put my camera down and enjoy our surroundings. She is right! This was an amazing weekend away with her that I will not soon forget. (Photo above of Martha and I)

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Looking out at the coast I am reminded that while the light house was a guiding light for ships, it was only useful for those at see. It was a beacon and landmark for the traveler, the adventurers, as they made their way along their journey. For those who remained upon the safety of the shore it meant vary little, often only an annoyance with its light and resounding fog horn. But for those upon the sea it was the difference between life an death. (Photo above: Rocky Mendocino coast)

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While it was the light house that drew us to the edge of the see, it is the unknown adventure that calls us beyond. As my wife and I stood looking out at the see where the heavens touched the water, I realized that the light house did not beacon us to safety but called us to a life of adventure somewhere over the horizon. Yes the light house brought ships into harbor safely, but more than that, It kept them safe on course as they made their way up and down the coast and to port unknown. A ship may dock for a season but it was never long before the wind in it’s sails and the taste of salt in the air drove it back out to see. So should be our live. God gave us His word that we may set the course of our lives by it. At times it may bring us into safe harbor but He never intends for us to remain there. The light house is set to keep us off the rocks and to help us to aline our course. It is the wind that drives us forward… and all by the great mercies of God.

Keep Calm and Carry On

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As I reflect on the uncertainty of 2013 and the experiences of the 2012, I believe this borrowed British slogan is quite appropriate for the start of a new year of blogging… and living. It is fitting that I remind myself, and you my faithful reader, that as we enter the impending future, we “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

The slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was developed in 1939 as a way to boost the public morale as Britain sat on the brink of war with Germany. It was designated the last of three war slogans to be used, and it was only to be distributed in time of extreme peril or invasion. The first two (“Freedom is in Peril. Defend it With All Your Might” and “You Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.“) were widely distributed and were meant to call men to action. To call them to rise up and fight! The third was meant to call men to faith. To a steady, persevering faith. Faith in their King, their country, their fellow man, and ultimately, to all the events and forces which could not be seen at work around them, to faith in God. And yet it was the only slogan never used. Men were called to action but few to patience of faith.

Sitting on the brink of a new year, we too are called by slogans and appeals towards action. What are New Year Resolutions if not a call to pick up arms and push forward, to resist! We challenge ourselves and others to be better, do more, to reach for the stars. It is a call of self reliance. A call to dig within the human conditions and find power to better ones self. Oprah would say, “Own your power.” However, the deeper we dig and the more we rely on ourselves the more we understand that we just can’t do it. That “I” do not have everything within me that I need. That I need more, I need God.

In thinking back I 2012 I can’t imagine what the year would have been like without my faith in God and my relationship with Jesus Christ. There were times when I reached deep within myself to find the power and strength to get through only to realize there was nothing left. I was out! Then I found that God was there waiting for me with His strength, His power, and His peace. It was only when I let go of relying on myself and trusted in Him that I was sustained. As I strove for action God called me to rest and peace. As I sought to better myself God called me to have faith in Him. As all around me called me to rise up and fight, God called me to faith, a steady persevering faith.

Now, at the beginning 2013 I want to do so relying on God and growing in my faith. There were challenges and disappointments in the last year that may continue into the new one, yet I know God has a plan far greater than anything I could hope to accomplish within my own power. As the world may call me to self reliance and action, God is saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Remember who I am in Him and in whom I find my strength, peace, and joy. While action will be called for in the coming year, it will be built upon and powered by, a steady faith in God.

There are four passages of Scripture that God has place on my hear for the coming year.

Romans 8:28.And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Matthew 6:25-34.For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will beadded to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Psalm 46:10.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

These passages remind me to “Keep Calm and Carry On.” They help me to understand that 2013 does not belong to me, but to God. I have desires, dreams, and goals just as others do, but I must remember that no matter what happens God is in control and as I move into this new year steady in my faith and seeking to grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ, He will work things together for my good (and His glory) even if they’re not necessarily in my plans.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

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When I first saw the that “Illuminations” was the inspirational backing for this weeks photo challenge I had many images in mind. This night photo Golden Gate Bridge at night is one of them. I have lived in the San Francisco bay area for almost nine years, driving across this bridge many times a week, and it never gets old. There is still a bit of wonder and amazement every time I cross the bridge.

As I look at the bridge all lit up I am reminded that this is more than just a bridge. It is a life line between two dramatically different parts of the Bay Area. On the south side of the bridge you have San Francisco with all it’s cultural expression and thriving urban life. On the north side you’ll find Marin county in all its natural beauty. Both sides have their appeal and both side attract those from the other. I live in Marin but I can’t avoid the call of the City… and for those in SF, they can’t avoid the draw of the raw natural side of the bay. The bridge is much more than a bride… it is a two mile stretch of human constructions that transports one between two totally different life experiences.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

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This is my “first” time posting to the Weekly Photo Challenge but I hope to make it a regular thing to inspire me both in blogging and photography. This will be a short post as I have chosen to begin this on a Thursday night before the weekly assignment changes and I have to be up at 4am for work tomorrow. I hope you enjoy.

I am not one to make “New Year’s Resolutions”, in fact, in many ways, I have sworn them off. To be completely honest, I, like most Americans, show the world how unresolved I actually am through my “resolutions.” I boldly post to facebook… or my blog… “I’m going to lose weight!”, “I have given up sugar!”, or “My resolution is to watch less tv!” Then, a few weeks later I show my true color as I find I have not changed at all. Maybe I’ve even put on a few pounds. So here I do not make a resolutions (though I hope to be resolved), but share a desire. One which I will earnestly peruse.

As I enter 2013 I desire to take on the attitude of the Apostle Paul and seek to know nothing “except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) Above is an image of a wood carving I brought back from Prague. It is a reminder to me of the price Christ paid for my sin. I am a protestant believer so you will not find images of Christ on the cross in my home. I do not believe that is where He resides. You will see crosses around as reminders of the price paid for my sin and the cross I must bear to be a true disciple but you will not find Him still hanging there. He was taken down from that cross, buried, raised on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of God.

But the Apostle does not stop with just his desire to know Christ. He also desire for that knowledge to lead him to spread the message everywhere he went of who Christ was and what He had done. This message was not preached by Paul in his own power but through the power of God for the strengthening of man’s faith. This too is my desire. I desire to know only Christ and Him crucified so that in my weakness I may rest in His power for the glory of His name.