Last Breath of Summer from a Beach in Gulf Shores

Lighthouse Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico
Lighthouse Silhouette as the Sun Sets Over the Gulf of Mexico

Busyness has many enemies, but to me, one of the greatest causalities of busyness is the loss of creativity. When life turns into a checklist of task items the thing that loses out, at least in my life, is always the creativity of reading, writing, photography, poetry, contemplation, prayer, games, music, and so on. Many of those can be viewed as spiritual disciplines, which means one could say that busyness can pull us away from those things in our life that are to be set aside for worship.

This past weekend I finally got a few days to go down to the beach and relax, only it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I had thought it might be. Sure it was time away from the routines of life, which was great, but I really think it takes more than a few days to untwist your mind from the speed of life we live today. That’s the part that never really happened… but that’s ok too, after all, how busy could it possibly be with the view from our balcony below. What we did get to do was visit with family we haven’t seen in a few years, I finally got to visit the aviation museum in Pensacola (that post is upcoming), and we enjoyed a few glorious sunsets on some empty white sand beaches.

I left Auburn hoping to get through two books while I was down at the beach, both of which I had made it about one chapter deep. I managed to make it to the last chapter of the first book, one called Lifted By Angels by Joel Miller, and one I hope to write a review about soon. This was a great book to read uninterrupted at the beach, a place where one’s thoughts can be lifted above the routine of daily needs. There were so many quotes that caught my attention in this anthology about our interactions with angels, especially when it comes to our interaction through a prayerful life, but this stood out when talking about asking for things in prayer…

Isaac the Syrian said that when we ask for earthly things, it’s like a subject standing before his king and imploring him for a measure of manure. The request insults both the king and the subject.

I think we often get so caught up in the earthly life of “things” and the tasks of the day, we forget our life is about preparing for eternity, not necessarily worrying about tomorrow. Below is sort of a timeline from sunup to moonup on our last day, in the last bit of summer warmth before the real fall arrives soon.

Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico
Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico
Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico
Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores
Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores
Moonrise Over the Beach
Moonrise Over the Beach

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Children's Remand Facility in Uganda Africa
A teenager watches others play at a children’s remand facility in Uganda

As soon as I read the topic for this week’s photo challenge I immediately thought about several images I took at these so-called remand homes in Uganda (to read more details and see more photos go to these two posts They are Hidden but Not Forgotten and The Challenge of Being Salt and Light in the Darkness). These two images presented here for this week’s post were taken 24 hours apart from each other at two completely different areas in Uganda hours away from each other, at a place defined by solitary from the rest of the world. The desperation for children who sometimes get stuck in here for years ranges from joy in just being alive to actually dying from malnutrition.

There is a missional group called Sixty Feet who have a team on the ground there 24/7, and they do some fantastic work over there with these kids. Since these images were taken, Cornerstone Church has sent several teams to visit these facilities to try to provide a little hope to those who find themselves in this situation. We have another team leaving this coming Tuesday (see updates on this blog) with plans for several more teams over the next six months.

As a part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge on Solitary I would challenge everyone to take a look at Sixty Feet and just see what they are doing in Uganda. Even if you have no intention of partnering with this group at all, just check out what they are doing in Uganda and make yourself aware of what life is like for some of these children. They are in a desperate situation, but many had more joy than I’ve seen anywhere else in the world within the most unimaginable situations.

Children's Remand Facility in Uganda Africa
Child looks on at a children’s remand facility in Uganda

Gameday Auburn vs ULM or Everyday Life in the South

Auburn University Marching Band Football vs ULM 2012
The Drum Major Leads the Auburn University Marching Band for the ULM Game

It came a little later this year than in the past few seasons, but Saturday was finally gameday in Auburn. As part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge they asked people to post about “everyday life” where you live. This may not be everyday life in other parts of the country, or the world, but it is down here in the south. There are those times during the year when people are waiting for SEC football, and then there is the fall when all plans are thrown out the window and people are at the mercy of the SEC schedule and the networks timetable.

This year it just feels a little different. ULM best Arkansas the week before, and Auburn had lost their previous two “away” games, so sitting out in the blasting heat and sun to watch Auburn barely come away with an overtime win against ULM wasn’t the greatest afternoon ever, but it was Auburn football. Auburn’s eagle still flew, and the band still played, but people were dropping left and right because of the heat, prompting my question as to why in the world do they agree to play a football game in the south during the day anymore? I know the answer is the dollar, but still, people were literally being carried out on stretchers. But that’s football devotion in the south, and part of every day life down here.

This coming Saturday could be a very hard game to overcome with LSU already smelling blood in the water. The shots here were taken with my Nikon, sneaked into the stadium since Auburn will no longer allow DSLR’s inside the gates anymore. I probably will not every hassle with it from this point forward this season and just use my iPhone instead, which just gives me another chance to improve as an iPhotographer. I always love the intensity of the Auburn Marching Band, and they are always so accessible during the game, though I’m not sure how they don’t pass out in those wool uniforms in 100*F weather.

One of my favorite shots of the day is one reason why I love football in the Bible belt. The circle of Auburn football players praying before the game puts some perspective on the fact that this is just a football game. But even more, we still live in a part of the country where football players can pray with their coaches, and the team has it’s own Team Chaplain in Rev. Chette Williams. Something rare in this pluralistic world we live in today. War Eagle.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Sun Rise on St George Island, FL
Sun Rise over the Gulf of Mexico on St George Island, FL

It didn’t take me as long to come up with an image for “merge” this week as a part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Merge), but it also looks like one of the more popular posts from the traffic as well. A sunrise might be a little more cliché than my previous posts, but we just got back from the beach, and this is what you shoot at the beach. I also have an extreme fondness for sunrises and sunsets. Twice a day we get such a unique view of God’s creation, and no two are ever the same. Last year I watched two sunrises and almost three sunsets in about a 24-36 hour period when I flew from Atlanta to Africa (which I actually don’t think I have posted yet).

I love the topic of photographically showing merge. There is no better way (to me) to photographically exhibit the topic of merge than a sunrise or sunset over the ocean, except perhaps a heavy fog. The night merging into the day. All the colors merging and blending all into one. Then the horizon disappearing or reappearing, marking a change in time from one day to the next. This shot was taken yesterday looking out over the Gulf of Mexico from St. George Island, FL just about 30-45 minutes after sunrise, just about the time all the color in the sky and water faded into dull blues. It was just as peaceful in person as it looks in the photo above.

I’m going to do another post later with just photos from St. George, so for now, here is my version of “merge” for this week. Be sure to check out some of the other entries below.

Other Related Posts:

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge « Ruth E Hendricks Photography
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge | Four Deer Oak
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge | Denise discovers…
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge… | Mirth and Motivation
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge « City Life Picture

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Project 365 [Day 253] God Gave the Growth
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 :: God Gave the Growth
This is part of the WordPress weekly photo challenge, on growth, and as with each week, I try to figure out what 95% of everyone else will be photographing, and I eliminate those as possibilities. This time it took me almost a week to find some unique way to photograph “growth” in a way that wasn’t a plant growing or a flower blooming. It’s like trying to photograph a concept, and was actually much more difficult than I anticipated. The word growth has some type of organic regenerative something, like the process of photosynthesis or a child growing into a teenager and the like. So, instead of an example of growth as seen in the form of life, I give you the concept of growth, as explained by Paul’s letter via 1 Corinthians 3:6-7. One of my favorite pieces of wisdom from Paul, and one that really shows a unique perspective true growth.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

The word growth in this context is a Greek word used here by Paul, αὐξάνω, which is a phrase that roughly translates “to make” or “to cause growth.” It can be used as a noun or verb meaning multiplication or growth, primarily the term involved the natural reproduction, but always under God’s direction and control (Lv. 26:4; Dt. 7:13; Ps. 67:6).That’s sort of a long explanation for a photo, but so be it, what’s a good blog post without a little bit of etymology.

Below are some other examples of this week’s photo challenge of growth. There are some great examples there as well, if you did the weekly post, leave a comment, I would love to check out your post as well.

Related Articles

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth « My Tropical Home
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth « danikurniawan
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth « Incidentally
  4. Weekly photo challenge: Growth « The (Urban-Wildlife) Interface
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: growth « Movin’ on
  6. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth | IsobelandCat’s Blog
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth « Wilderness Escapades
  8. weekly photo challenge: growth | catbird in america
  9. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth « PhotoCrazy
  10. Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth | RyNaRi

1P. A. Blair, “Increase” In , in New Bible Dictionary, ed. D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard et al., 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 505.