Photo Challenge: Future Tense

spring

These photo challenges are very philosophical. I can’t seem to participate in one without contemplating life.

The future is something I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about, lately. Seasons are shifting outside and I’m stuck in a strange turning point, myself. It’s that phase of in-between-ness. A lot like spring. I’m neither here nor there. I have every possibility in my future–every direction to go in–but no clue which path to take. And that’s okay. Right now, I’m living in the present. Not the YOLO type of present or the Carpe Diem type of present. No. I’m living in the present “which touches eternity” as C.S. Lewis put it.

My life is in the present, but what I do in it, I do for the Eternal and with eternity inside of me.

C.S. Lewis went on to say that we should not invest our hearts in the future. As Jesus put it, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

These plants are budding now, but if another hard frost comes, that may all die off. Spring can be stolen. Heck,  in North Carolina, spring can be skipped. Summer is way too excitable.

Crabapple bloom

These leaves are totally ready for 100 degree weather and lightening storms… and fireflies. We need fireflies.

But I don’t do away entirely with the future. Kierkegaard says that the future holds our hope. Our hope that God will sustain us; that our lives will be meaningful; that one day, in His timing, Christ is coming back–like a groom or a thief in the night, or a prince or a slaughtered lamb.

So I live in the present, concerning myself with what’s in front of me. And I touch eternity, carrying an everlasting spirit inside me. And my only business with the future is to hope and to hope in love because “If there were no love, hope would not exist, either; it would be like a letter waiting to be picked up. If there were no love, hope would be like a letter with blessed contents, to be sure, but with no one to collect it.”

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/weekly-photo-challenge-future-tense/

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Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

Spring

This photo challenge has really made me think about the composition of everything around us. It’s crazy to think about how many leaves are on this bush; how many veins in each leaf; how many cells compose the veins. I wish I was small enough to see photosynthesis happen inside the leaf.

When I think about the details that make up me in the physical sense, and the pieces that make up my life, and the aspects of each of us that make us unique, I think Seurat was a hyper-realist.

Seurat

I’ve never seen life depicted more clearly.

The difference between my picture of leaves and Seurat’s painting is that my camera doesn’t have a high enough resolution to show all the pieces that make up the subject. Seurat found a way to do that.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/weekly-photo-challenge-lost-in-the-details/

Getting Jordan to Smile

One of the hallmarks of being a missionary kid is the family photos. These horrifying and immortal moments get sent out to hundreds of churches and individuals each year to prove that we still exist somewhere. As an adult, it may be a happy and exciting way to keep all the old friends and supporters updated on your family. As a kid, it’s the most grueling afternoon of your life.

I could easily pull up a family photo from each year of my childhood that included my younger brother crying, my sister prodding me over something and my dad with his mouth open (because he can’t stop talking long enough to smile). But, the one picture that I remember most comes from a happy and free afternoon interrupted by my dad saying he needs a picture of us kids–now! So, we jump into halfway presentable clothes and run outside to find something pretty to stand in front of. And then we’re tasked with getting my brother to smile and keeping our eyes open. Our first try gives us this:

1997

Grapefruit was the prettiest thing to stand in front of.

This is actually not so bad. My brother isn’t crying, which is a more than we can usually say during a photo shoot. I’m smiling my very best school-girl smile so that this terrible moment can be over quickly, and my sister is pulling a Dad and won’t stop talking.

But obviously, this doesn’t pass. We have to get Jordan to smile. The harder we try, the more determined he is not to smile and the longer we have to stand there and wait for a good picture. It’s torture. And then a miracle happens. I honestly don’t recall what it was. Somebody told a joke or said the wrong word or something–something that probably wasn’t all that funny to begin with. But whatever it was, it gave us this:

1997 smile

Gorgeous. I don’t think I’ve seen a smile that big on my brother since

babies

March Update: Finding God’s Direction

I know many people are anxious to know what’s going on right now and what my future looks like. I am, too. Everything is still a little unclear. But, here’s what I know so far:

  • I still have not heard about the paperwork needed to allow me in and out of Brazil.
  • The missionaries with whom I was working in Brazil have found ways to temporarily meet the needs of their children and their future schooling is being examined. The more urgent need seems to be for a long term teacher to work with much younger children than I’m comfortable with. I’m not confident that I meet those needs.
  • Doors are opening up for a job in the Charlotte area which can be vital in helping me maintain my North Carolina teaching license.

The doors to serving in Brazil may be closing temporarily, but I continue to study Portuguese, and anticipate the documents for my return to be completed in God’s timing.

For now, I am making use of my time in America and discovering God’s will for my present. I’ve already been blessed with a part time tutoring job. The Lord confirmed His leading in my life when the Mother of my student declared that God had sent me to her. I was an answer to her prayer and she is an answer to mine.

I continue to pray for God’s guidance and provision as I am pursuing full time teaching positions in the Charlotte area.

Along with all of these things, I look forward to the chance to once again volunteer with One7 Ministries–where it all began for me.

Thank you for being with me on this journey to Brazil and back, and for your loving and faithful support. Your prayers and encouragement have gotten me through some tough times. You will still be able to find me here, on my blog. I will keep you all informed of what God’s doing in my life and in the world around me.

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