Artists Law of Thermodynamics

I wanted to show you a header picture I took this week. You had to be there to appreciate the full beauty and grit of an Iris flower growing in a foot of water and high grass. The dynamics and lighting were astounding. The color contrasts were worth staring at for a long time. Several species of bugs were attracted enough to have a steady stream of insect visitations. Then I tried to take a picture and capture the scene, the mood, the color and light and insects. I fell as close as one might fall in love for a wild flower as a picture taking artist-writer.

You may have just looked at the picture and said to yourself “hmm, nice picture”, if you like pictures of flowers. A whole lot of something(s) were lost from my experiencing the flower to your experience seeing a picture worth quite a few words (by my estimation). We just experienced this natural law; “The second law of thermodynamics states that as energy is transferred or transformed, more and more of it is wasted.” My emotional experience transferred to a photograph and words to you have lost about 95% of it’s energy. More than that if I cannot find good words to bring it together.

Simply translated: I write about an awesome experience or insight the world needs to hear about and the reader says “hmm, nice thoughts”. I take two hours or two weeks on a perfect fantastic picture which conveys the essence of nature in it’s fullest beauty. Someone looks at it and says “Oh, nice.” Yep, lost a ton of energy from the creator to the rest of the world.

So, let me add something to the picture (as I took more than one). I may get an “oh my, would you look at that” on this next picture of the same flower. Or not.

See the eye? You didn’t know flowers have eyes did you?

Now I have lost your interest in the flower and my flower picture is about the eye looking back at you. You are totally distracted. It’s a really good picture though and will probably be worth more words to everyone except botanical people. So what am I writing about here? Oh ya, how much energy is lost from writer to reader? About 99.9%

One more example from this weeks pictures. I took 20 pictures of this Barred owl placing it’s self in the same tree as nesting robins. our whole backyard was full of bird protesters of every small species incited by the robins. I named the spot beside the raspberries “Cacklephonia.” Seemed fitting.

Seems innocent enough. and yes, I got close.

I experienced these pictures in real time. I spent an hour attempting to shoot pictures I couldn’t get from the ground while listening and watching dive bombing birds at the big owl. The owl would merely mew softly like a cat while giving me “the look” everyone sums up in one word “who?” My point exactly made by a friend “that’s an owl”

If a picture worth a thousand words can, at best, convey only a small percentage of the experience of being there, think how hard we as writers, artists and photographers have to work at communicating our thoughts, emotions and stories. How much work and talent does it take to make a difference?

In this light, think of how amazing this experience was for the world to conclude this about the disciples of Jesus? “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

I cannot begin to imagine the powerful experiences (many recorded) these men had to effectively change the world. So powerful the pagan world around them was constantly being changed. The second law of thermodynamics doesn’t work on God. Jesus last words prove correct for the last 2000 years and the great artist and writers energy is transferred 100% with no loss of energy

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

This challenges me to the core. I want to know and experience Jesus in such a way.

Lets keep growing…noticeably, and rely on his power.

Visible New Growth in a balsam

Gary

Psst…And the eye?? it’s a bumblebee.

Again

I have a heart condition. It’s a secret to most. Those who have deeply known me over a long period of time just accept the processes of life. Eyes dim, thought delays lengthen, shorter strides gimp as the former wings of my heart and soul grow slowly defluttered. I want a good heart again.

I want to walk through the woods with unspeakable joy again.

I want to see the un-see-able as I gaze through the treetops into the heavens, past the galaxies again.

I want to rescue desire and wonder to mountains above, to wrist away warring-fear-demons smog. Again.

I want my acidic tears of grief to be purified by joy into refreshing life drops where they fall again.

I want my hearts strong rhythm refreshing and cleansing every cell, so what’s dying may live again.

Oh Lord, I need your heart to beat in me again. You can have mine. Again.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Again

Oh friend, have you ever searched your heart and found it shriveling? After the rocks of life have so cracked the looking glasses of reality, how do we see clearly? Eternity is seen with the heart, but only clearly with the creators heart in us is life and eternity in focus at the same time.

Gary

Leap of Faith

My thought from my morning time with God today, and, taking a picture of a squirrel.

An everyday activity if you are a squirrel. Loping up a tree, running across branches as thin as a wire and sailing into the next tree just for the fun of it is a normal leap of faith; if you are a squirrel.

However

If you are a regular human person, that leap of squirrel faith will land you on the ground hurting in places you didn’t know about. I know about this. As a child we siblings, and coerced friends, would climb trees and bend them down to the ground. That got old so the next idea was to see how far through the forest we could go before touching the ground. Leaping does not work, in fact it hurts. Thankfully the idea died before one of us, you know, used dads insurance again.

Let’s say that this kind of leap of faith for a squirrel is ridiculously small. Now, let’s call it small and name it “Mustard Seed Faith”, (because it’s small). Humanities greatest trapeze artists can’t do what a squirrel can do. This is often where I go wrong. I ask the wrong questions and often side-step the important.

I know that God wants his followers to live by faith, walk by faith and emulate great people of faith. But, all too often I skip to the part what faith is supposed to look like (You know…all those fruits of the spirit, miracles and fearless leadership God has called me to.) and somehow think I can shortcut the process of becoming one who intimately knows the heart of God. In my head I know that quality and quantity time spent on one’s knees and in the word results in a small seed. There is a long ways to go being the tree by streams of water with deep roots and lots of fruit.

All these words and a picture just to say that leaps of faith in the spiritual are but a reflection and outworking of who we have become in Christ.

God has called us to become way more than we are. God has called to to more faith than we have. Our part is to being one positioned to hear HIs voice clearly and respond to what he asks. Those around will see you taking a leap of faith and you will land it. Like the squirrel, this is who you, in Christ, have become.

My personal prayer question: Do I have even a tiny leap of faith in me Lord?”

Gary

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ” Hebrews 11:6

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Writers Drift

They do. They drift. Okay, so do I, maybe, I guess…Lot’s of life applications here.

I thought of this while shoveling out our driveway and then three more driveways on our road. The winds created a ground blizzard and made huge packed drifts where cars and trucks once passed through. All our drives are 100 yards long (give or take some distance). At this point I need to show you a picture of my shovel in case you think a retired guy is superhuman. Disclaimer: I wrote that for me as I know it never crossed your mind.

My snow shovel.
Yep, snow piles are everywhere this year.

Think about how easy it is to drift in life. Life’s storms and winds come up and change our direction. things pile up and our energies are used just to cope and get by.

I write this to encourage those of us who write to consider how grounded we are to the message we have set out to get across. It’s easy to drift with the winds and react to the times. If we write just to be read, it is like me shoveling snow (with the skid steer bucket of course) because I like shoveling and piling snow. Anywhere, everywhere. It’s fun! I’m afraid I have accomplished many things in life needlessly.

Truthfully, I have heard many public speakers who just like to hear themselves talk. I have read many a blog with a sigh thinking “and your point, encouragement, entertainment value or motivation is…?”

My last point is a spiritual consideration directed at those who follow Jesus.

I use a skid steer to shovel snow as it’s not humanly possible to move that much snow after a storm with hard packed snow drifts. We have no business tackling jobs without making sure we are onboard with God’s will and God’s power (not from asking God to be onboard with us). This is the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is from a conviction that this is what God wants us to be about. This is from our walk and living relationship with a risen Christ in us.

When we drift from operating on God’s leading and his power, we fall into the big drift of powerless mediocrity.

So, watch out for those prevailing winds of time, the storms and blizzards of life and the drift that so easily happens. “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1

“Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” psalm 127:1

  1. Take a walk 2) have a talk 3)get right 4)Stay tight!

Gary

Dad, I See You Put Your Life Into Words

Each Day With God

By Doyle Fultz

When in the early morn awake, slumber from your eyelids shake.

Hasten to thy closet fare, Begin the day in humble prayer.

Thank Him for the day at hand, and the sun so bright and grand.

Ask for care through early hour, And for strength and serving power.

The morning hours have passed so soon, now the sun is high at noon.

Hasten to thy closet fare, Sustain the day in earnest prayer.

Thank Him for His care and power, and the peace of early hour.

Ask Him for sufficient grace, to end the day at normal pace.

Oh, the day has passed so fast, as darkness spreads its hovering cast.

Hasten to thy closet fare, End the day with grateful prayer.

Oh, the days they come and go, Peace and war with friend and foe.

But the one who hastens fare, to his closet in petitioning prayer.

Is the one who stands abreast, and wins the victory of trial and test?

Life is one big cross to bear, Bear it strong-in fervent prayer.

I found this poem in dads things. It’s time (after a couple years) to share the thoughts of a man of God trying to grow through all life’s struggles. I still hear his voice sometimes and I turn around in the old shop to ask him where he put….???

This is how I remember my father. I have spent much of my life on my own journey, yet, experiencing the presence, power and sometimes the absence (feeling) of an ever present God who enjoys and rewards one drawing near.

Standing on the promises here in the woods Dad…bye for now. I’ll be along in a while.

Gary

Lavender Morning

It’s still dark out as I try to read the outdoor thermometer. Close to 40 below zero but getting warmer, all is frozen except for some wildlife and birds. I have no idea how a deer’s ears or the chickadee’s feet do not freeze. I park myself in an easy chair in front of the picture window, open my bible and let the Lord speak to me through his word. He does.

In Matthew 19:13-15 I read where people brought their children to Jesus. He laid hands on them and blessed them. In our culture today it would have been a moms club that got together, collected the kids and marched them to Jesus. However it happened the disciples were not in on it as they were rather miffed. Jesus’ time was too important for that. Another flaw in their religious thinking was toppled as Jesus told them that the kingdom of God was made up of children such as these.

I immediately asked the Lord if he would lay his hands on this old guy 2000 years later and bless him. I immediately received a response. “I did that when you were a child, don’t you remember?”

A flood of memories came to mind through the years. Instances of intimacies with the Savior, incidents unexplainable apart from the hand of God. My parents had often presented us (and a slew of other children) to Jesus. “Age aside my child, you can still bring people to Jesus.”

Yes Lord, I am willing to bring someone to you today.

I watched the morning sky lighten to lavender then rose and finally blue. It’s 10 degrees warmer and light enough to take a picture of the thermometer. A deer walking the perimeter browsed on spruce bough ends as the chickadees came to our outdoor-left-over Christmas tree (click any picture to enlarge for slide show)

The phone rings and I get my winter clothes on and go help my neighbor quickly get to Emergency (another ongoing story for sometime).

Beauty in the cold morning as the sun crawls down the spruces

Gary

What Doesn’t Work

First Ice. Last night I walked out on the lake and took a picture of the sunset. All the migrating birds were gone. It’s winter here. In a couple of cold days and freezing nights the ice will be safe enough to go fishing. I know…I know, “safe” is a word with wide borders for some and quite rigid for others. “Safe” is a here and now word for some and an eternal word for others. “Safe” is a false perspective outside the game of baseball and the gates of heaven.

Three young guys were checking out the thickness of the ice with an ice auger. They are standing on less than three inches of ice. They didn’t fall through so it’s safe ice. How much ice do you need to feel safe?? My siblings tell me I need more inches of ice than thin teenagers in skinny jeans. Technically-scientifically safe? That’s different isn’t it. We desperately want to be safe in this world and it’s prudent to do the best we can but we deep inside know life here will never be safe. Time will prove that statement to be true.

This morning I went down to the lake and there was a single young signet swan on the ice. Evidently it could no longer stay with the rest of the swans. Sometime in the night it dropped out. Left behind it is vulnerable and has a 50/50 chance of survival. The ice is not safe as open water would be much safer. Eagles, big owls, coyotes, wolves, otter, fisher, mink and bobcat would all love a meal of signet. They need to eat to survive as well. I’m rooting for the signet but if it’s too weak to continue the migration with another flock it will die.

My wife and I for 40 years have tried to keep our handicapped daughter safe but we can’t and it hurts. Several Life flights and many many emergency surgeries make one either jaded in life or sure of the bottom line of life, or, both. In Christ we are promised both death and life. We live and then die. We die to live. Both are true but only dying to live is safe. Our daughter knows the score. She is like the signet on thin ice and the world is getting less and less safe for people like her. Several doctors have advised “Let her go” because she is handicapped. We are getting older as her protectors. Her safety and ours is found in Jesus. We talk of these things often. Meanwhile her safety here has been way out of bounds miraculous. Someday her Jesus will say “come home where it’s safe”.

Trying to control our own safety doesn’t work. Like walking on thin ice, it works until it doesn’t.

We are not “safe” people. Jesus is not “safe” to follow, yet safety is ultimately only found In Him. This is campfire talk. Deep talks. Time to think of the realities beyond just living each day out. Time to really know our creator now rather than meeting his refusal at the gate. “Safety First” should include “Safety at last”

Gary

Too Much Is Never Enough When Less Is More

The photographer in me never seems to be satisfied. I take a picture of the moon. It’s a good picture but it’s worth one word, not a thousand. Moon. I take a picture of fall leaves. Now I have doubled my words in a picture. Fall Leaves. I need more ingredients, different light, more context, well maybe I don’t know what I need. Something with depth, something that evokes questions, something that says there is a story worth finding here, something that shares or illustrates a concept or just looks so nice it’s worth blowing up and putting on the wall.

Which leaves do I look at? Somethings missing. Too many leaves. This picture is not enough by being too much. Less is more?

So, if I take a bunch of these, add some of this and that and put more variety into the picture, will I call it “enough”?

This is a better picture but I was taking a picture of autumn leaves, now it’s not about the leaves anymore. It’s autumn though.

Every added ingredient changes what the picture is about. I would like to take a picture of autumn leaves that would make people say “wow, autumn leaves” in other words “enough”. Maybe less is more and thus “enough”?

OK, we are getting there. Autumn leaves. not all are in focus so the eye is drawn toward a few yellow leaves and some brown and a red leaf on the same tree. Still too much to be “enough” ?
Autumn leaves. Some fallen some still attached on a very young tree. There’s a story here. Life, death, winter preparation, Will the young tree winter well and some day have thousands of colorful leaves to display the glory of God it’s creator?

What is enough? Is it not being satisfied with what we have? Is it being content in whatever situation we find ourselves? Are we not like a picture to the rest of the world around us? What do they see? Too much of ourselves? Vain attempts at too much of God with words? Too much of deeds with no apparent explanation? When others see us do they see a story they want to hear?

I sure hope my life on display evokes the postures of others to lean in and hear a wonderful story. A changed life because of knowing Jesus as my creator and rescuer, as my friend and Lord, as my guide through life and as one who is more than “enough”.

Last night in the boat I was thinking about what makes a picture “enough”? What makes my life “enough”? I glanced up to see a large hawk land in a tree. I was a long ways away from the hawk and even further from the moon coming up. Low light and I’m in a rocking boat so the odds of a picture turning out were short of miraculous. For just a picture I’m going to call it “enough”.

He is watching the moon come up and keeping an eye on me trying to get closer.

I like to think my life is worth more than any picture could be. Too much (of me) is never enough when less of me (with Christ) is more.

Gary

Context: Cut A Hole In The Wall

What great lengths are you willing to take to live the life for which you were created?

Cut a hole in the wall, frame openings and put windows in your life. Get a big window, not a peep hole. Know what’s happening outside your space. Next: open the window and throw any insulting parrot voices out and close the window (Not your spouse or kids, but perhaps your television).

Build a deck to sit on and watch the world in it’s context, go by. Meditate on the words of Jesus because they have the substance of life. The words of God give us the context wherein (and within) we were created to live, wherever we happen to reside, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.

Take walks in nature. It’s as close to God’s garden as we can get, understanding that nature is not God but it’s a great place to meet and talk with him. There are overt hints of God’s character, creativity and lessons of life and insight to gain from God’s creation. Take a peek at some of my nature and deck views this autumn. This is often my physical context. Sometimes God’s context for me is seen through the camera window framed.

All nature is in context with God’s word

Click on any picture for a slide show and to enlarge smaller pictures. I tried some catchy captions which will appear at the bottom of each picture. You might come up with better ones.

These were my thoughts as I spotted a deer peeking at me through a hole in the woods (header picture). All of nature is in the moment. No matter the season or food source or conditions, life is moment by moment. As the leaves fall outside, I am reminded that my life is like a vapor that appears and then disappears (the big context James 4:14). In the moment I want to be in context of God’s words to me through Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I want to live in God’s context. On the deck, at home, driving down the road, in the grocery store, talking with the neighbors and in anything I may post or read online. The life and words of Christ in me is the context which begs me to cut a hole in the wall. His love within me compels me to view the world as needing his love.

Gary

ps: I posted some pictures for free download on my unsplash site here

Wonder-bird Lessons on Life

“Come play with me” He said. OK I read his mind. I may have confused it with “get off my deck” but his chirps sounded more inviting then that. Does anybody you know speak hummingbird? In my world I sometimes forget how to speak wife…

There is no way I can relate to a hummingbird. If I could fly and try to land like that, there would be a hole right through the glass feeder. I can only marvel at the little winged design and wish I had wing (arm) muscles like that. Am I doing what I was created to do? My arms may not flap well but they can help my neighbor get his firewood up for the winter. I can help the widow down the road get ready for fall and winter. I can take my neighbor fishing.

Hovering and drinking some good nectar for fuel to catch bugs while being alert for danger. I can only do one at a time usually. I know people who hover. They are another danger but that’s another conversation.

I used to wish I could fly. I later on wished I could fly like a hummingbird. Now, I’m OK just watching and living longer. “What are my passions Lord that can bless others in ways where I really fly?” May I never bury my talents!

Unbelievable maneuvers.

Hummingbirds have the ability to be aware of everything around them. They seem to be able to drink nectar and avoid danger or bullies in an instant. I have so much to learn in this area. Am I aware of others and their needs or just focused on mine? Am I aware of dangerous lies dispensed so liberally in our world, even churches? Am I aware of drifting toward a prayer less life and the worries and fears that can sting? Like the Hummingbird, I must put on the brakes and flee these dangers.

The black hornet was guarding the feeder so I got a fly swatter and took care of the danger, I do have something in common with the hummingbirds. I strongly dislike and am afraid of bees, especially Big Black Hornets.

Photography gives us a lens and frames what is intended to pass on to the viewer. Jesus Christ our creator gives us a clean lens and the right framing in focus. I am convinced we were created with a fixed focus where we only see clearly when our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

My hope is that we will all begin to see Jesus Christ, all he created, and his amazing grace and sacrifice for each of us clearly. So much of life is unclear and we see through a very dirty lens and look at life from such a wrong angle (ours) until it is washed clean and our lens turned to follow Jesus.

Clear enough??
And we get to feed on what God provides. He really does provide, and provides on so many levels. Eyesight, awareness, spiritual food, physical food, Truth dispenser, His perspective framed by is Word, peace, Love and joy…
For more hummingbird pictures, click on my other blog Hummingbird Picture Problems

Gary

PS: I want to see a movie where a human being somehow can be inserted into a hummingbird body to understand and save the hummingbirds from certain extinction (or some involved action plot). I want it in 3D along with Dramamine and a barf bag better than what the airlines provide. If I was strapped into an interactive chair that moved with the action, you might as well plan my funeral. Seriously, these little midgets in the bird world have moves that would kill most humans. Maybe someday?? After the trumpet??