I heard much sad news, was stuck indoors, and saw the constant clouds out the window today. So I looked for a moment of solace. To find one I went into "view my memories mode"...and found a bit of color to share. It helped me think of the glory of God, and crack at smile to end the day.
The title suits my baby Big Girl. Took this after a hot day, late summer birthday party with her friends riding ponies. I swear you can see her independence, sweetness, and sass all in one shot.
Some people say a good portrait is supposed to let you see more than the image of a person...it is supposed capture the essence of the person. I can use some more practice, but this captures Kelley....
Time is in very short around here. It is a constant race against time to get up, feed, cloth, clean, teach, maintain, and then get back to bed before it starts all over again. It seems at least half of the eight of us are always out of sync with the others....Too often our weekends are merely Groundhog Days.
Well in the midst of all this I was able to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity provided by the Cherokee Gun Club. I was able to spend over four hours with the two big boys on the range learning safety, good habits, and showing them what a fun lifetime hobby looks like under the guidance of an incredibly patient guide and trainer from the club. Look them up, and if you have kids who want to learn the same...contact them. You will not regret it, in fact you'll be trying to schedule another visit! The boys will not let me forget to...and Momma liked the confidence the boys came home with.
The key to the day was the tutelage of Mr. Richard. You will not find a calmer and nicer man to enforce safety while displaying the joys of shooting. He listens, coaches, and keeps the focus of boys in a way I wish I could emulate. He made my job of being an extra safety and assistant coach a joyous one. In fact he made it easy for me to come home and say I helped my boys grow up a bit today. So I got as much a gift from today as they did.
One message I always find myself returning to in this blog is why my photography is important to me...and it so much relates to life. You have to find the good moments and appreciate them. Today was one of those good moments to be a Dad. Thanks God and the Cherokee Gun Club.
One thing I love about spring in our home in Georgia is the ever unfolding reminder of the march of time. All through the summer the blooming bushes and flowers will rotate with a beauty to remind me of how much greater His Glory will be in heaven. If you can find a loveliness like this here in a fallen world; imagine what beauty will await where perfection, justice and holiness prevails everywhere.
Happy Sunday! Enjoy some time with God today!
Today my wife and I had a Sunday afternoon date...to complete our Divine Mercy Novena and Sunday at our church. While I am still processing all the lessons from the last ten days, I rarely allow myself to miss a nice moment or two with the capture of a frame of electrons, ones and zeros. The image on the program matches the beauty of the Holy Hour... so I just had to share.
Jesus I Trust in You!
Just a few shots from going out and about with Kevin after dinner tonight. This boy may have a hard time concentrating on finishing his dinner, but he focuses pretty hard out here with his rod and reel.
Carry your cross today. The Saints remind us, the only way to heaven is through the cross. We must suffer, and learn to rejoice in that suffering. This is such a hard concept if we are of this world and not Christ's. (I struggle with this debate daily myself!) So let us not be like the masses and flee our Lord in his time of need. Let us take up our personal cross, and follow Christ in his way of the Cross.
PS Please pray for the boys...we start carrying our cross today at 1155, St Brigid to Regina Caeli, Academy.
St John Paul the Great says: "No one apart from God can give you true happiness." He calls us to follow the example of Mary, in complete unconditional "yes" with no compromise or laziness. "Humanity is in urgent need of the witness of free courageous people who dare go against the tide and proclaim with vigor and enthusiasm their personal faith in God, Lord and Savior." This mission is never easy...and is impossible if we rely on the power of man alone. He quotes Luke to remind us "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
I am starting to get "it" in the long line of repentant sinners knowing I just need to do what we should. Tonight I'll pray we can all embrace the power of the supernatural God to be what we are truly called to be in our eternal home.
(Quotes and Lesson courtesy of Lent and Easter, Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Compiled by John V. Kruse and published by Liguori Publications page 54)
In the darkest of times...where people keep faith in God they will find hope he placed in our hearts by the same God to do the works of charitas needed to build a foothold of his kingdom on earth, and earn entrance to his kingdom in eternal life.
If we loose the faith...the darkest of times becomes a very dark eternity without hope, and a complete isolation of self from others and our creator.
Who is able to go through a pint of yogurt without blinking?
Who asks for second breakfast yogurt?
Who wants yogurt for lunch? Dinner? Dessert?
Just another crazy day with snow and ice in North Georgia. Dad got 15 minutes for photos and this is what I got!
The last two weeks were crazy: Long work days, family fighting off various rounds of the December virus, robotics competition, about two cords or more of fallen tree branches in the yard, family challenges that come with six kiddos, we lost a great American soldier I once was proud to call my own, trying to discern God's will for my family, and a dozen other crazy moments and challenges.
All this made me have a hard time focusing today. Very hard! All that stuff was running around in my head. Luckily I was able get a good rosary in at church, and then work on that yard doing physical labor for a few hours. In the rhythm of prayer and breaking down branches I centered myself for a while. So when Kalen and I came in from the rain, I was able to appreciate this one moment of two boys of mine playing.
In that moment of personal peace I was able to catch a photo of two boys secure in a warm house, loving each other, two boys who know they are loved by their parents, and safe from so much evil in the world...for just a moment. Now at the end of my day a friend lost his son-in-law in an accident, and I know I need to pray for him and his family. The sorrows and confusion of the world is back on. They, and so many others, need a moment of peace to begin to work towards healing.
I'll pray for all those who need their moment, because in my moment of peace I realized again how blessed I am. Blessings however cannot stay still, they must move on to help others. So I will do what I can in prayer tonight. I'll also pray someone who reads this, may just be inspired to join me in looking for moments of peace to share with the world.
This year, amidst the toil and agony of an angry world, we have a great deal to be thankful for. In our house we have a new life (Josiah Anthony), we have a good new roof over our heads, food in the kitchen, friends who pray for us, opportunities to worship God in our faith, educating our six children at home, and one child who stood before God and the whole church this year to declare she stands with God in the Catholic faith as an adult.
In many parts of the world personally choosing to do any of those actions would result in arrest, "re-education", torture, confiscation of goods, violence going to and from the store, and of course even death. I can see what I am thankful for, and I am not blind to hidden dangers of ideologies which put man's scientific law over God's Natural Law. I am not blind to how selfishness causes people to cross six lanes of traffic at 75mph almost killing six people because you cannot be bothered to fix a wrong turn on our own, stealing millions from companies for your "salary" rather than building it up with good wages and local investment, how elected leaders can bankrupt a country by creating funny money to buy votes, and the danger of growing totalitarian socialism groups brought on through professors across our college campuses, and lack of good faith formation in the domestic church.
I've seen evil face to face in my life. I know the dangers of the world those threats alone provide. I wish everyone could. Maybe we would appreciate what a gift we throw away through drug use, oversexualizing everything, infidelity, shutting down life in our families, following Marx and other false God's, or a lack of the Fear of God
So I am thankful today for the gift of a loving wife and six children who will grace our table. I am thankful for the extended family, and adopted Army/Church family I'm graced with throughout the world. In this country we can still I can breathe, think, and fight for justice. I am also thankful for the gift God gives us to make that fight, and suffer the pains which will come from it. Nothing good ever comes without suffering, and suffering for justice allows the blood of the lamb to mingle with ours. This can save at least a little part of creation in place in time. (Well at least the saints say so...)
So today I hope we can all pray for thanksgiving for all the good we received. Then looking at where we stand, as leaders of our domestic churches, commit our families to proclaim, "As for me and my house we stand with God." Joshua 24:15
The world outside is frightful. The agents of chaos are legion right now. Mass destruction warfare is now more possible than ever before, because courageous men did not act when the opportunity was present. In our country, agents of anarchy want to use their evil to deliver tyranny on the masses through imposed Marxism. In our church, the evil theology of modernism is encased in prelates unfaithful to the unchanging magisterium of Christ's bride on earth. Inside family life we also have the chaos of too much noise competing for the attention of us parents and our children.
Now is the time to pray. Pray for a moment of silent reflection amidst the storms, war, noise and chaos. Find your moment and ask to be the instrument God needs you to be to bring the world back to him one soul at a time. Now is the time to become the missionary of his word, to create safe havens for our families to make the new missionaries, and to remember this struggle is an eternal one on God's timeline not ours.
Like everything else the Lord teaches...what seems hopeless by the world's terms is actually the situation where we can use his power working through us for miracles in our time to flow. It all starts with a prayer to beat back the chaos. The call is now out there...what do you say>
I was able to enjoy a slightly different dinner Wedensday night....excellent sushi. The little Ichiban Sushi restaurant was done up just like many a sushi joint I remembered as a child in Japan. In this age of cell phones I found most of us miss out on the little things in our environment. I this case a traditional Japanese fishing boat right over my head on the window called me to photograph it. Rather than just photograph it, I took the time to compose and make some art of the image. It is just something I would miss i i hac not forced myself to enjoy the environment for a minute or two.
Amidst the hustle bustle of Northern Virginia sits little St John the Beloved Catholic Church. From the outside it appears to be a typical 1950's design of a church, lacking the traditional calling cards. Walking inside was a surprise. During adoration Gregorian chants filled the church, the altar was made the centerpiece, and based on the appearance of the cushions all around the sanctuary it it had an altar rail in use at mass for communion. It was wonderful, and adoration was full of people coming, praying and heading back out into the world. On my way out I found a wonderful board filled with men and women entering religious life, heading the call of the Lord. What a way to go forth.
Sometimes the wrapper just does not tell you what you are really looking at! Thank you St. John the Beloved.
As a child I'd never believe one day Americans would have to live in fear about flying the flag of the United States from the own property. I'd never think there could be a moment of doubt who'd you'd root for in an international sports match. I'd never believe if someone raised here would tell told me this flag was a symbol of oppression while they spouted socialist tyranny as the way I must live. In too many ways the world is upside down, mostly from a lack of education rooted in natural law.
Yes I am missing pride in our flag and the ideals of valor, unity, balancing self interests, and reach for the goal of being one with God it clearly enshrines.
Yesterday we welcomed our newest family member, Josiah Anthony to the family. He is a wonderful little boy, and the family gallery moments are full of rich loving emotion. People viewing these photos would think we live in a wonderful version of wonderful TVLand where all is right in the world. In reality though, the photos reflect a grace filled moment resulting from a gutwrenching year of enrichment leading to it.
Over the last year as a family we faced many challenges. Our adventures extended not far from the house. Daddy led only minimalist excursions, Momma struggled with health issue after issue, kids got sick, we faced challenges at school, in discipline, and we all lost our marbles from a problem or issue more than once. NONE of those moments were the type of Rockwell images I relish to build in either my personal or photographic life. I certainly never captured those moments outside of own cranium.
Friends can't come over, Daddy is at work, and Momma is too sick to drive? Hope for tomorrow and play with your siblings. Tired of groundhog Saturdays with no adventure...shut up and finish a job you had not finished in the house. Tired of having to do more and more chores, lacking Mom's presence in your life because she is perineally sick, or the thought you now have bigger bills to pay? Pray on why your giving into vices, and hit confession to seek forgiveness.
In the valleys of life we always have a choice to help ourselves go lower, hold the course or begin to climb to the ridgeline again. I know the only way we reached this glorious moment yesterday though, was because of our collective responses to those low points. We only occasionally failed to stay at or gain altitude, and never went into a terminal decent. The key to our family response was our collective final decision always kept hope alive through acts of faith and charity. We also paid up lots of pennace to each other for our internal transgressions.
We had a moment in some glorious graces, and now we are back to reality. A huge tree fell in the yard, feedings every three hours around the clock, littles now need to re-establish the household order, health needs restoration, there will be more chores to do, and needs to meet. The reward though will be more lessons leading us to greater heights of love, and good photographic moments.
So off to work we go!