For Tom B – Spring 1993

(This is the last frame of the first roll of 35mm film I ever shot of scenics.)

Tom,

After I showed you this image in 1993, you suggested I take a step back and learn how to capture the best possible image, technically.   Well, I’m just now getting around to doing that.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

Yes, it has been quite a while…

Today’s teachable moment came when my sister owned up to feeling under spiritual attack.  She was unaware how familiar I am with the subject so when I suggested a counter-attack, she recoiled.

This is the back story:  Shortly after I deleted my other web sites this Summer, my brother and I focused some attention on our sister who has been living in Alaska for over 35 years.  We knew that, whenever we called her, she was alone…and had been for a few days…and was never sure where her husband was nor when he would be home.  My brother took steps to investigate.

In 1979, our sister suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed and partially blind.  Her husband moved them to Alaska where he wanted to retire from the Army.  Turns out, my now former brother in law has been living in a different town in Alaska with another woman…for who knows how long.  Shortly after we found out, said brother in law had the marriage ‘dissolved’ and set plans in motion to have my sister relocated here…the town where I live.

My brother and I went house hunting for my sister; the house was paid for by her ex.  I had 10 days to set up housekeeping and prepared to spend a few nights with her.

I had not seen my sister in 20 years when she arrived at the airport last month.  She was not in good health.  In fact, in the last 5-6 weeks, my sister has been to the ER twice and admitted to hospital once … for 4 days.  I have resigned to live with my sister, now, as her full-time care giver.  For now, anyway, I have given up living on my own, in my own home.

Fast forward to this morning… I was met with repeated hostility from my sister.  Upon questioning, she revealed her frustration with her condition and situation…which is not a new frustration.  Because my sister and I have, independently of each other, grown to have strong faiths in God and a reliance on His guidance, we often talk about spiritual matters…and rather candidly.

This morning, however, we discovered our approaches to spiritual warfare are not the same.  The word she uses for her defense is “resistance.”  I, on the other hand, prefer to “counter-attack” but with a twist.

I find that I am most vulnerable to spiritual attack when I am focused on my own agenda.  This morning’s spiritual attacks were concerning my attempts to have a weekend ‘off’ from being my sister’s 24-hour caregiver.  I had arranged for home aide.  I had arranged for my little blue wonder car to be fixed and aligned.  I had pulled out my camera and gear.

It started at 7AM, when the home aide company called with bad news…the aide was in the ER.  Without the aide’s assistance, I would not be able to make the appointment to get the car aligned.  No alignment, no road trip.  No road trip, no photography.  Furthermore, the camera batteries were dead.  etc. etc.

Hence, the discussion on spiritual warfare.

But I am not about to just “resist” any efforts of darkness to foul my life.  I am going to turn these frustrations into Grace, and here is how and why:

1) I first look at what is being threatened…in this case, my ‘vacation.’

2) I then accept the strong possibility that plans are to change.

3) Next, I look for a way to change my focus from a ‘my’ thing to a ‘God’ thing.

4)  I advertise it; some people call it ‘witnessing…’

…which is where you come in.

My life has not been what I had intended, hoped, or thought it would be.  In fact, I keep being asked by ‘life’ to give up my life as I have known it.  The result, each time, has been an increasingly clearer connection to God…the best agenda anyone could hope for.

Thanks be to God and to God be the Glory.

People Don’t Listen…

…but that is okay because that is just how people are.  I am determined to no longer get upset when people do what people do…like jump to conclusions, make gross generalizations (that are usually wrong.), hate without cause or reason, make bad choices.  I choose to do differently but if I get upset when others do dumb stuff, then I am only making myself unhappy.  People are not going to change just because I think they would be better off if they did.

I have probably not heard much of what has been said to me about my own stupidity…but I can not be totally sure of this because I wasn’t listening at the time.

Addendum:

I think I’ll add a little recently gained wisdom to these sentiments, namely:

People Aren’t Perfect…including myself.

I do my best thinking face down in the gravel.  (I stole that quote years ago and I can’t remember from whom.)  When dusting the grit off of my cheeks last week, a loyal friend pointed out two truths to me:  1) I expect too much from people and 2) I give more than I have.

I thought I had learned point #1 a while back but I guess not, as demonstrated by the piece “What Am I Missing” and my current situation.  Point #2 has eluded me as well.  All of my life I have given to others, especially my children, more than I could afford to give…not just financially, but emotionally and physically.

These two statements are now my new mantra.  If I forget them, please remind me.