Monday, February 25, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 11: Lissie

This photo was taken back in January. Lissie, the second oldest of our nine girls, was being courted by Eric Moores. (Now they're engaged!) Eric, who hails from New England, had been staying with us for two weeks so that the couple could have a concentrated time of getting to know one another on a deeper level. The reason this was important was that Lissie was to return to teaching in Central Asia until the end of the school year. Deciding whether to marry someone based solely on Skype calls would be difficult and probably unwise if it could be avoided.

On the day before Eric was to leave and the couple was to part for five months, they spent hours at a local coffee shop praying together, reading God's word together and seeking Him together. They allowed me to tag along and take photos. I did capture some pictures of tears as they anticipated the impending parting, but as the afternoon passed the pair gained their equilibrium in Him and did a great deal of smiling and laughing. It was during a relaxed, resting-in-Him moments for this young couple that God gave me this photo of my precious daughter. He is so kind. Lissie has been a gift for 21 years, and now having this picture that reveals much about her character is a gift

Saturday, February 23, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 10: A New Take on Senior Pictures

I have a nagging feeling that we may be missing out on a national treasure. While it is both fun and important to capture the beauty of youth--just as the tremendous milestone of graduating from high school is about to take place--our culture's fascination with the seeming perfection of wrinkle-free skin is notorious.

I would propose we continue to take the photographs labeled senior pictures, but let us not miss turning our cameras on the elderly. They've earned their wrinkles by living through some amazing events. Let's celebrate the story that each of their craggy faces represents.

Day 10 of my "people-picture" photography project was taken of my mother-in-law yesterday. Jane was born at the very beginning of the depression so she has childhood memories of the economic suffering that nearly crushed their family. She also has clear memories of World War II with its culmination in the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. She's lived through The Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Her husband was an Air Force pilot during the Cuban Missile Crisis who was airborne during those tense, fateful hours. She watched the airspace race between the Soviet Union and America, and witnessed the first man to walk on the moon. My mother-in-law has seen the near eradication of diseases like Tuberculosis and Polio. She's witnessed communication and computing changes that rival anything the world has ever know during the course of one lifetime. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist the pun.)

So let's continue to capture the beauty of  youth, but let's also make sure we mark the dignity of age. Let's turn our cameras on the seniors we know and record the many profound experiences etched into their faces. As an added bonus, won't these "senior pictures" be treasures to us when the elderly person we've photographed is no longer with us? Let's not miss a God-given opportunity!

Friday, February 22, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 9: A Father I Can Look Up To

In one of the photography books I've read about capturing the essence of childhood, the author suggested hinting at the father's strength without fully revealing the man. As I visited with Aaron and Anna, it dawned on me that demonstrating the contrast between the shoe size of daddy and daughter could give that desired sense of Aaron's reliability and Brielle's dependence on him. Little did I suspect initially that I would get the added bonus of her upward glance at her papa.

I thank God that my precious granddaughter has a father committed first and foremost to her mother and their marriage. He is also committed to every aspect of the care of Brielle--physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 8: Brielle at Mid-Morning

I just had the joy of visiting my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Ohio. What a gift from God the whole trip was--including all the fun I was able to have with my camera!

Aaron and Anna's great room has a large picture window that lets in nearly perfect light most of the day. Here 8-month-old Brielle had just been plopped on the sofa in preparation for a Skype call between her mom and Brielle's Auntie Lissie--our daughter who is teaching in Central Asia. Brielle has just begun to respond to the family member appearing in the computer screen during Skype calls. This is especially rewarding to Lissie since she's on the other side of the world for five months.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Get Stuck Each Time

"Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them.'" (Luke 15:1,2 NASB)
I love these two verses that set the scene for the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son  in Luke 15. In fact, each time I reach this chapter in my Bible reading, I get stuck on these two verses and find it hard to move on. Here's why:
  • I'm blown-away by God's goodness to me. I'm a sinner. Just like the men that the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling about, I'm a sinner. I'm a sinner. I'm a S.I.N.N.E.R! And yet the whole of God's word tells me that Jesus is willing to receive me, just as he was willing to receive the tax collectors and notorious sinners in the verse above. That just takes my breath away; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has a place of fellowship for me. (See John 14:21, 23)
  • As I let it soak in that Jesus is willing to receive me, I then find I want to be like the tax collectors and the sinners mentioned in Luke 15:1. I realize that a desire to be like a tax collector sounds a bit odd. But look at the men's longings. They're elbowing each other for a place near Jesus. They want to listen to Him. I want the desire to come to Jesus and listen to Him to be hallmarks of my life. In fact, I want my yearning to come to Jesus and listen to Jesus to burn a bit more brightly each day in my heart.
  • In order for the tax collectors and sinners to want to come and listen to Jesus, there just had to be something irresistible about being near the Son of God--that is if you were humble. The religious establishment represented in Luke 15:2 missed the wonder of Jesus due to pride. They saw themselves as good and "those other guys" as bad. Jesus saw each man's heart.
  • Jesus very demeanor, let alone His message of forgiveness of sin, must have been so winsome, so compelling, so loving that those who were used to being repulsed by society laid down their defensiveness to come...and listen. I want to know this Jesus. What a King!
So you can see why I get stuck on these two verses. I see not just "tax collectors and sinners" but me. And...I see a Saviour who saves based on His goodness, not my on effort to clean up my life. So, I want to come near to Jesus and I want to listen to Him. Thankfully, Jesus welcomes sinners to His table, including me.