All Categories - Observatory of the Quotidian
Observatory of the Quotidian
I feel that I am bad at commenting on blogs.

This may seem a strange thing to say; but here's my dilemma:  I don't like to comment unless I have something constructive to say, and on a limited budget of time thinking of something constructive to say isn't always easy.  :P  Is anybody else with me on this?  Anyone have tips?


Well, it's been 11 days since I last posted, and that's because life has been a whirlwind.  Among other things, I partitioned my hard drive and upgraded my Linux Ubuntu operating system manually, and this afternoon played Feste Romane by Ottorino Respighi and Les Preludes by Franz Lizst with my orchestra (I play violin).  Since I love Respighi, I thought I would take this opportunity to embed a YouTube video for my very first time.  : )  I encourage you to listen to the whole piece!

Right now, I'm sitting at my desk, watching the snow pile up and retagging photos.  (I lost my old photo manager when I upgraded my system and with it all my metadata.)  I try to make a point of posting recent photos here to keep myself accountable for taking them, but as I'm watching the snow hit one foot and looking at photos from summer 2009, I haven't the least inclination to post more pictures of snow.  I want to put up pictures of flowers.  Accordingly, it is flowers you get. : )
Climbing roses
...and some cherries
Purple iris
Asiatic lily
And, for good measure, one toad.
After all (think I, with a look out the window) spring really is coming!


I have noticed around the blogosphere the practice of doing "Wordless Wednesday:" a Wednesday post on a text blog with images and no words.  Since this blog is primarily images, I thought I would flip the practice and do "Wordy Wednesday" instead.  And what I want to talk about is fear.

For the Christian--I'm one--fear can be a sin, an insult to God.  We are to fear God himself, because he is God and deserves our reverence; there isn't much else we should fear.  Fearing people's opinions when we know we are doing what pleases God puts man's puny voice above our Maker's voice, which spoke the earth into being out of nothingness.  Fearing that that the ends won't meet in a time of need (such as unemployment, which my family has experienced), while very natural, may be a sign of doubting God's true care.  Fearing loneliness may be to forget how deep and wide and high and broad his love is.  These are to name a few fears I have struggled with or been tempted to.

And fear is not only an internal problem.  It affects how we act.  Especially, it can cripple our efforts to serve God, if we're afraid of the possible consequences to ourselves, our reputations, or our comfort.

You've probably heard the saying that courage is not to be unafraid, but to do what you know is right or must be done in spite of fear.  This is true--but if we try to stand against fear by drawing on our own mental or emotional reserves it will wear us out and break us down.  In Proverbs, "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (13:12a), "envy rots the bones" (14:30b), and "anxiety weighs down the heart" (12:25a).  Fear is destructive.  I would suggest that human experience consistently bears this out.

If we are not enough in ourselves, what are we to stand on when we're afraid?  David, who rose from sheep-tending to the kingship of ancient Israel through a journey of war, threats of assassination, and betrayal, knew a thing or two about fear.  He said, "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)  The stronghold of my life!  God had work for David to do (and the work God gives is always for the ultimate good of the worker, too), and he saw to it that David had the chance to do that work, by faithfully protecting his life and defeating his enemies.  God is MORE THAN ENOUGH for ALL the problems, fears, doubts, and struggles in our lives.  They should never hold us back when we are doing the work he gave us!

Isaiah the prophet knew this too, and God gave him a word of encouragement for the Jewish exiles who were returning from Babylon to a Jerusalem that was in ruins and surrounded by hostile peoples.
"But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant;'
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:8-9)

If you look closely, there are 10 reasons here that God gives us not to fear.

10 Reasons the Servant of God Should Not Fear

1.   You are chosen by God.
2.   You take part in God's covenant of salvation.
3.   God has called you to specific work for his good purposes.
4.   God is your loving Master.
5.   God never goes back on his decision to choose YOU.
6.   God is with you where you are.
7.   He is not just God, but YOUR God, and will be faithful to you.
8.   You have God's strength and his help.
9.   God will hold you up...
10. ...With righteousness and justice to you.

Take comfort, servants of the Lord!  I want to end with the words of Nehemiah:
                    "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

Ask God to be your security, and he'll never let you down!


P.S.  Thanks for hanging with a looong post!  For any who may be familiar with Bible Study Fellowships, this post was inspired by the Isaiah study, Lesson 18, question 7b. : )
I didn't like very many of my photos this week.  This one, I felt, was the best...  Gives a whole new meaning to "up a tree," doesn't it?


P.S.  To any newcomers:  Weebly made some updates and suddenly Google FriendConnect isn't appearing properly.  I apologize and I'll try to have it resolved with Weebly soon.  Please check back!
A glimpse of what the Snowstorm of the Century did to my neighborhood.


Early last week, I confess, I was complaining to myself.  After that beautiful sunny Sunday came several gray days that were exactly what I think of as January and wish it wouldn't be like.  I looked out the window and said to myself, "It might as well be black and white out there!"  At which point a little light-bulb went off in my head, I grabbed my camera, and switched it to black and white mode.  It made quite a difference to my perspective on things, I'm glad to say!  This could be the start of an addiction... ; )
A dear friend's hands
I had a lot of fun with these icicles until my dad knocked them down (bad for the gutters)
I love the patterns of light in the background


I have a Canon Powershot SD1000.  It's a decent little camera, and I like it.  My only real complaint is that I have some trouble getting it to focus where and how I want—time to whip out the manual!—except in Macro, which is without a doubt my favorite thing about this camera.  The Digital Macro setting is unfailingly fun to work with.  Last week's photos from my almost-daily rambles are a case in point:
I LOVE this photo!
Yes, we really did kick the soccer ball on the shoveled driveway.

On Sunday a photographer friend and I made an expedition to the park.  It felt so good to be out in the woods.  It gives me a sense of having room to breathe...
A rusty barrel sat on a wooden walkway, punctured with holes, its presence a mystery.
This is one of my few pictures of snow I am happy with. Why is it so hard to photograph well, I wonder?

I promised you an abstraction, didn't I? : )  After my friend I were driven out of the woods by the cold, we stopped by some snazzy glass buildings to catch the sunset.  Voilà:


As the recent thaw was freezing up, I saw the strange interaction of ice and plants: the one so hard, so definite, the other flexible, vital, and (at the opposite point of the year) growing.

Frozen puddles often intrigue me.  This one was on a school baseball field.
Here streams of water dripping from the roof encased box leaves in ice.



Because I live, you also will live.
                                                                                                             ~Jesus (John 14:19b)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
                                                                                                             ~I Peter 1:3

On New Year’s Day (during a thaw) I went out with a mission: to find as many different green plants as I could.  I barely left my yard,  yet look what I found:

Box Shrub
Ivy & Sage
Rose & Alyssum
Now the snow has returned, and I look for the color in a landscape that (though lovely) can seem monochrome at first glance.  But these green, living things were under the snow before, and they are still there, still living.  Their condition reminds me of God’s people in the world; no matter how bleak, how dark, how cold the winter of this world, the life that is in Jesus Christ causes them to be green and living.  Do you know this life?

The first day of 2011 closed with a uniquely beautiful sunset.
This can be a year of unimaginable wonder.  God is waiting to reveal himself to us if we will only trust and obey him, and his plans for us are too great for us to understand.  I hope that you will join me in seeking him and discovering what he has in store for the bright, new year.


You know, it's my firm belief that we would be wise to revive the custom of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Imagine with me for a moment:  After suitably fulfilling our obligation to Thanksgiving, we would begin the Christmas anticipation.  NOT the celebration, but the anticipation.  We would burrow through the boxes of decorations and scurry through the stores, yet reserve our delight in the knowledge of the festivities to come.  Then, when the day itself arrived, we would pull out all the stops, pop the corks on the bottles of sparkling cider, open wide our houses and celebrate mightily--for it is, after all, a great holiday (holy-day) we are celebrating.  This would continue through New Year's Day until the Feast of the Epiphany, at which point we would subside somewhat and return to normal life (leaving up the evergreens, please), but throw a few dinners in January and February for good measure.  How's that for a way to beat the winter doldrums?

Well, I haven't persuaded the world yet, but I try to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas as I can.  Accordingly, on this 5th Day of Christmas, I present a few observations on the holiday in addition to the winter world.

Our Christmas tree was blessed with new lights this year.
Golden Glow
Sweet-faced Angel
Technically speaking this may not be my best picture, but who could resist the
joie de vivre of this angelic hog?

If I look carefully, I still find green in the garden... among other interesting details.
Butterfly Bush
Fierce Icicle
Red Snowy Leaf

I'm not the only one out enjoying the wintry weather: these are ice-fishing shanties.
Ice Fishing
I consider this my shot of the week (on the same lake).

Let me leave you on a festive note...
Pink Bling
...and wish you a very Merry seven more days of Christmas!
Self-Portrait with Camera