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Times

16 Mar

There are times I still fantasize about one day sharing with particular people everything I ever hoped to share with them. As if time will be reset and we will go back and still have a chance to do everything we dreamed of together without taking away from anyone or anything that happened in between. I’ll see a sunset or a mountain, a bit of Americana, and think, “oh, this person or that person would like that” and I’ll want to show it to them so we can share the moment once again, just for a moment. 

But life doesn’t work that way. It’s a ray always moving forward. It doesn’t go back no matter how much we sometimes want it to, and there are no do-overs. Funny thing, we never know where it’s going either. Hopes and dreams fade away and new ones take over, but they’re never really gone. They just collect there in our subconscious in the land of unfulfilled dreams and every once in a while something happens or we see something that causes us to take them out and reflect on them a while. Some come back as fond memories of a dear friend as we reflect on someone we will always care about. Others are harder to put back away, or they never really left our conscience and we think about them every day despite our best efforts. I don’t know if that means they are really good or really bad, but of our difficulty with letting them go there is no doubt. 

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just nostalgic. A silly aging man wondering what life’s about. Or maybe this is just the natural outcome of a life full and well-lived. I’ve always been one for experience with a heart full of memories of people loved and lost, of goods times and bad, of adventures and boredom, setbacks and progress. It sure has been a full life, interesting in its lessons that were often unexpected and oftener still did not match common sense, but in which reality, strange reality, always played a part. 

These ponderings push the troublesome memories down for a while and let me focus again on the moment. It’s the flow of life. We drift along, occasionally get caught on a rock or a little algae for a while and then we move on knowing sooner or later another will come along. (And if it’s too much later we miss it, wondering if – even hoping that – we haven’t stopped caring.) We take the respite, breath and sigh, then move along. Regardless of anything else that has ever happened, the sunset or sunrise is still beautiful. And life, this strange wonderful unpredictable existence, goes on. 

12 seconds of peace

10 Feb

Forests and trees

25 Jan

A man will never understand the forest until he truly knows trees.

He will never understand a tree until he knows both its details and context.

And he will never understand someone else until he truly knows himself.

Frozen beauty

9 Jan

20170106_145156

For more photos of winter’s frozen beauty, click here: https://sway.com/s/rY0dZamI12C3ohaG/embed (Opens in Microsoft Sway.)

Morning prayer for 9/11 and every day 

11 Sep

Let this be the day, Lord, You take me into Your loving arms quickly, painlessly, and carry me to Your heavenly home. Bless those I leave behind and help them find Your peace.

Forgive me and them for all our sins, and help us forgive each other. Have mercy on us so that we may become perfect servants of You.

If today is not that day, give me strength to make it through this day here and make the most of the life and blessings You offer.

Help me appreciate the mysteries of existence and the gift of Your loving grace.

As far as I am able with Your help, let my presence in the world honor You and be a blessing to my fellow man.

Though I may never understand evil or all the reasons for troubles, grant me the courage to overcome them and the wisdom to know all things are possible for the good in You. 

Let me serve Your call, whatever it might be today, and stay open to Your presence in my life and the lives of others.

These things and more that we pray to You privately, for You know best what is in our hearts, in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Fond memories

7 Sep

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning as men often do, I think of past loves. It can be pleasant remembering good times shared. When these daydreams get too distracting or I begin questioning the joy I have today, I reflect on the memory. Was my first thought of a past lover “I’d sure like to sleep with her again” or was it “I want to fall asleep with her again”? As I have admitted, I have been in love a handful of times. And for one or two of those I hesitate a second before answering. But in the end there is no doubt as it becomes ever clearer to me that I am where and with whom I am meant to be.

What’s good in the world…

30 Aug

The loyalty of a dog

A baby’s laugh

The genuine smile of a child. 

Morning dew

Watching the sunrise

Watching the sunset

Seeing a shooting star

A good friend you can count on

Occassionally basking in Sunshine

Feeling the presence of God

What do you find good in the world?

Spiritual battle One

29 Aug

There is a fallacy popular today that war or conflict is the greatest of evils. Conflict is inevitable. Perhaps the greatest evil is instead rejecting God’s truth for the fantasies of man.

Early morning friends

26 Aug

The struggle for life is real for every living thing.

Amazing what life you can find on your own front porch. The question isn’t whether or not it’s there; the question is whether or not you notice.

Another problem facing the world today…

24 Aug

Management and leadership are not the same. Leaders understand this inherently. Managers who equate leadership with title or position never will. 

Just showing up and meeting the minimum are alone not enough, but you still gotta do ’em!

Like, lust, and love

22 Aug

When you are in like with someone, you really enjoy spending time together, losing yourselves in the moment well beyond a simple friendly acquaintance. When you aren’t together life goes on filled with fond memories.

When you are in lust with someone, you really enjoy having sex together, as if its your greatest passion in the world. Whether together or apart, your predominant thought is about doing it with each other again.

When you are in love with someone, you really enjoy being with each other, a little or a lot, together or not. You may want them sexually, but accept it might not be possible. You like them, but admit to yourself that they can also be a pain in the ass. More importantly, you both are free to be yourselves knowing you will accept one another however you are. You have an overwhelming desire for your partner’s happiness, and them being happy is enough for your own.

Many will say this is too simple. Maybe it is, or maybe it’s just that the majority never really fall in love. Most of us fall in like or lust, many of us multiple times, sometimes multiple times with the same partner. But a select few truly fall in love for all time.

Oh, we could speculate about why this is, about the growing world population, the loss of meaningful shared experience, the rise of hedonistic culture, or the widespread decline of interpersonal communication skills. Whatever the cause, its rarity just makes it that much more special.

I think I’ve been in love a handful of times. Although the day-to-day has only worked out with one – my wife, I pray for the happiness of the others with each passing thought. I like to believe there’s a higher reason we end up as we do. Maybe the others came into my life to teach me about love. Maybe I was brought into theirs for the same reason, or maybe it was mutual to help each other prepare for where we would each eventually end up. I don’t know, but I have no doubt that next to this beautiful soul sleeping beside me is where I want to be.

The problem

18 Aug

The problem has never been that I don’t care; it’s that I care so much. It isn’t that I care what others think of me; that is irrelevant. But I do care what they think of themselves, and far too often my ill conceived words or actions have inadvertently made those I care about think less of themselves. That hurts, I know first-hand because I live with diminished self worth every single day. 

Conflict is a fact of mankind, some discord is a part of every family. We each likely make some comments that are insensitive or hurt others, but it ought not be a way of life, either toward others or within ourselves. Afterall, we are all children of God. (And yes, I’m working to improve my own positive self-talk as well.)

Words can never say I’m sorry enough. Sometimes even actions, no matter how heart felt, are too little too late. All we can do in such cases is say I’m truly, truly sorry, and try not to make the same mistakes again.

So, to my spouse, kids, and exes, I’m sorry for every hurt I ever caused you. I’ll try to do and be better. Of course I’ll only see a few of you tomorrow (exes and grown kids tend not to stick around), but I’ll love each of you to my dying day. God bless you all. 

Oh, and thank God for dogs. I don’t know where I’d be without them. 

From nuclear engineer to counselor

14 Aug

Simple pleasures

Morning walks and bedroom talks

Existence is not limited to what is easily measured. When we limit our thinking to measurable data, we shackle ourselves to old understanding that misses the intangible and endless unknown. Before discovery of the calculus, addition of the infinitesimally small seemed impossible, or was at least beyond our comprehension. Before the discovery of fractals, plant growth and the very possibility of life seemed so absurd as to be magical, and yet life existed. “i”, or the square root of negative one, made space flight possible and unlocked many secrets of the sub-particulate world. Yet in the common man’s understanding, such unreal numbers, as they are called, cannot exist.

Faith of a child

The faith and fun-loving of a child

If these things are true, as mathematicians and hard scientists have discovered they are, how much more is out there – or inside ourselves – that we don’t know? Social scientists acknowledge the individuality and unpredictability of human beings. Geneticists have shown the similarity between humans and all other forms of life. Darwinists have pointed out the not-so-steady and sometimes unexpected evolution of organisms and systems. Yet we as theorists still insist on formulating new, limited models to describe human behavior as if our understanding is complete. With individual human beings – systems so complex they evolve their own consciousness – we try to force them into models we know are flawed simply because their reality is too difficult for us to understand. Often we ply them with drugs just to get their behavior and individual views of the world to become more similar to what we expect. It is literally brainwashing, except that the washing is done with dirty, contaminated water and is sanctioned by the state. 
Diversity and connection

The diversity of human nature and experience is amazing. Like mathematics, there is undoubtedly infinitely more about ourselves that we don’t understand. One person’s time here on earth is almost certainly not enough time to understand it all. But that is not sufficient reason to stop trying, or to force others into models we know are wrong, or even to anoint any human being with expert status, especially ourselves because deep down inside we know better than anyone else that we personally do not understand it all. 

So what’s the point?

So what is the point then of soft sciences like psychology, sociology, and the like, beyond manipulation by a nefarious relative few to dominate others? It is to remind us all to be human and to demonstrate true compassion for our fellow man. Of course, some systems (individual people) cross wire due to severe injury of some type, physical or emotional. For these pharmaceutical treatment may be necessary, but the point of any treatment, whether pharmacological or simply a different experience in therapy, is purely to help the individual’s life be more functional. Anything more – to instill societal values, to enforce behavioral “norms”, to push the therapist’s or a professional organization’s political agenda, to make life easier or gain a more comfortable living for the therapist – is not good therapy. 

Light of hope

A beacon of hope

We’ve all heard the phrase “lies, damn lies, and statistics” referring to the manipulation of measurements to get them to indicate what we want them to say. It is a common practice in politics and the media, two of the most unscientific and dishonest endeavors today. But it is also bad mathematics and even worse understanding. Put away your faulty statistics and limited models, and instead listen to your clients and what they have to say. People tell you a lot more than what you think they do whether with their words, timing, non-verbal expression, or even with what they don’t say. And they are constantly reacting to you – another flawed human being – as well as to everything else in their world.  The goal is to hear at least enough of what they say to help them (and you) find some peace and fulfillment day to day. 

From nuclear engineer to counselor

The therapist’s therapy

Chincoteague gold

13 Aug

Wild horses
Rolling ocean
Perseids meteor shower
Glowing campfire
Quiet dawn
It’s good to be alive.


Life and reading

8 Aug

Sun, or is it Son, and reflection

Sometimes the source seems less bright than the reflection, seems.

In life, as in reading, it is important to stay engaged all the way to the end to get the full meaning. Life begins scary and confused; we’re often screaming and covered in someone else’s blood. If we could, as infants, reason that this was all life is about, some of us would choose to end it then. We would refuse any further experience and declare ourselves hopeless victims of a terrifying and confusing world. Likewise some people stop reading a work after the first chapter, paragraph, or sentence, assuming they understand the message therein.

Reflections of Sunshine

Words can have two meanings, or three or more.

As a counselor I have learned it is important to pay attention to everything that is and is not said, and to appreciate, but not be distracted by, how a client says it. Much of communication is non-verbal, it’s true. But it’s also true that some people simply are not as eloquent as others. Some unexceptional things you hear or read can seem shocking; other vastly important things can seem mundane simply for how they are delivered.

Light through crossed lives

It’s easy to get the message confused as it passes through crossed lives.

Writing is a kind of therapy for me, and Lord knows I, for one, am not the best communicator, especially when describing myself. That’s why it is so critical to stay engaged and focused for someone’s whole message, especially when reading the book of his or her life. Peace and prosperity to you. 

Reversed reflection

If a message seems oddly disturbing, maybe it’s just a reversed reflection.

A question I’ve pondered

7 Aug

Someone asked,  “if you had the power to change one thing what would you choose? ”

Without hesitation I responded, “to not be born”.

Were I not here I would have no knowledge of the corruption of this world or man. I would have never failed or hurt the ones I love. My faith would have never waivered and I would never have done wrong. 

My successes are limited, my love unfaithful. I have looked at others and not appreciated my blessings, I have counted my myriad blessings and still done wrong. 

Were I not here, I would have never known love or gentleness or compassion. I would have not been here to be a much needed friend, but I would not have been self-centered either. 

People panic when they hear someone talk like this. “My God, is he going to hurt himself or someone else?” Or they speculate with glee about imagined offenses, forgetting for the moment their own dark nature and corruptions past. They don’t understand or perhaps are not being honest with themselves. 

This is not a lack of faith or compulsion to violence. It is not contemporary guilt over some spectacular crime. It is an admission that I don’t understand. 

I did not bring myself here into this existence, nor is it my place to determine when this time is done. I am simply here to do something that is beyond me, something, I don’t know what. 

So here I am waiting to leave, living and loving, hoping for the best, and failing in every way imaginable. Just waiting. 

At times it has felt like I found my purpose – when my first child was born, when I saved a life, when I gave a smile or held a hand as someone breathed their last. But there were other times, and they happen quite often, when I know I have failed to be the person I am supposed to be. It happens nearly every day if not every second. And yet here I am still waiting, not knowing why I’m here. 

If I could change one thing what would it be? I wouldn’t exist. 

But it isn’t my decision to make or yours, nor can we change it. So we, I anyway, continue to be here and wait and try and fail. But some day we won’t be and that’s when we’ll know we’ve fulfilled our purpose whatever that might be. We probably won’t know what it was even then. But I rest assured it is something. In my feeble, self-absorbed way I just get tired of not being God. Then I think of His holy wisdom, of being everything for everyone everywhere and I’m glad my existence is so limited. And I thank God for the imperfect failing, wonderfully impermanent humanness I am. 

Wildflowers

4 Aug

Such natural beauty at our feet and yet we fight amongst ourselves. 

Our little city 3

24 Jul

Our little city 2

24 Jul

Our little city 1

24 Jul
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