1266. Man is never out of range of surprises! ~Mehmet Murat ildan

Life is so full of unpredictable
beauty and strange surprises.
~Mark Oliver Everett

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I’m not a professional photographer, but over the years I have and still do take some pretty good photos. However, when I go out on a photo shoot, I’m so focused on the object I’m trying to capture that things often appear in the background that I didn’t see or anticipate. Most of the time it means I have to toss those photos out because something has marred their beauty, but every now and again the unexpected surprise does create a thing of beauty. Such is what happened this morning while I was trying to capture morning glory images. It was very early and a few times my flash popped up, and I don’t really like to take close-up photos in nature with a flash because I find that it distorts the color and in others, the background remains too dark. Then when I edit them and try to lighten the dark background up, bad effects occur on the object(s) in the foreground. But this one above, I really liked because the flash picked up the adjacent neighbor’s pool slide and other objects around his pool that together with the two morning glories created what I think is a nicely colorful vignette.

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This second one was taken several years ago at an indoor rodeo. The barrel racer I was trying to capture was riding extremely fast of course and alongside a railing decorated with American flags which in the camera’s eye created wavy bands of red, white, and blue along with yellow bands from the artificial lighting as well as double visions of her. My daughter and I loved this one so much that as a gift to her I’ve had it blown up and created into what looks like a painting. Surprises like what’s in these 2 photos and other ones I’ve taken are the reasons I’m so passionate about taking photographs and gardening. And I’m fairly sure that I am not the only one surprised and intrigued by strange and unexpected sights.

So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” ~Exodus 3:3  ✝

636. Painters use red like spice. ~Derek Jarman


Has anybody grown curiouser and curiouser about what’s been up with all the red posts as of late.  Well, since February is the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought it might be fun to take a look first at all the shades, meanings, and associations that go along with the color red. And then afterwards launch into the passionate side of the color and the subject of “love, love, love – dut, dudda, da – all you need is love, love, love – dut, dudda, da…” So after this one tonight, get ready for some “luv.”
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Red can be the color of a rising dawn as it glides
across morning skies and through misty white clouds.
It’s fierceness is felt when the hot summer sun
reddens the body with its feverish intensity.
Red is the thorn that pricks the fingers,
But it’s also the rose whose aroma is sweet.
~Edited lines by Sunny Summers
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Red

Fire-cracker, fire-engine
Fire-flicker red –
Red runs through your head
When you’re angry-est.
Red is a big rubber ball.
Red is the giant-est
Colour of all.
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Red is rosy cheeks and lipstick,
Red is a signal; red is a shout,
Ever so loudly it says, “Watch out!”
Red is a show-off,
No doubt about it –
But can you imagine
Living without it?
~Edited verses by Mary O’Neill
These are the offerings (for my Tabernacle) you are to receive from them: …scarlet yarn…ram skins dyed red…spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense… ~Excerpted lines from Exodus 25:3-6 ✝
**Images via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

425. When you celebrate, you are taking time to recognize, to open your eyes and behold in your life the quiet miracles and gifts that seek no attention; yet each day they nourish, shelter, and animate your life. ~John O’Donohue

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is
people who have come alive.
~Attributed to Howard Thurman,
American author, philosopher, theologian,
educator, and civil rights leader

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The Lord demonstrates great passion in all that He does and in all that He creates, and so made in His image as we are, we are designed to be passionate. Our passions make us come alive, and it is in that awakening that we come into full bloom like the passion flower above. Passion unlocks our potential and helps us discover our divine purpose in this life; it creates “moments that blossom,” and that’s what makes the human heart want to celebrate. We are implored in Scripture to celebrate; celebration has been described as a delightful and intense form of human presence. It draws us together, and I believe our relationships with each other ultimately lead to a desire to be in relationship with the Lord.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24    ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

352. Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit. ~Jeremy Taylor

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What I Have Learned So Far

~Mary Oliver

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:34  ✝

Thank you, Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!