Learning to Seek First the Kingdom Everywhere

Pond in Back Yard
Pond in Back Yard

I’ve been living in this phrase, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” found in various places in scripture, trying to determine it’s sway and meaning for me personally. Ever since I wrote this post about my idea of what 2013 would look like, I’ve been asking myself the question, how… and where? It’s easier to look at my back yard and see the fog rising off the pond at sunrise and say, there He is, but seeking the kingdom above all else requires looking in those places of darkness where he is the only light that shines, and it’s not nearly as bright as it is above.

Realistically I’ve been walking down this path of making, what seemed like, several small and moderate lifestyle changes, really for years now. Over time of course they are more significant than perhaps they seem in the moment of the decision. In fact, collectively, they clear a path to allow more of God in and less of those things that distract and tend to pull us in the opposite direction. I still love reading about the drastic and dramatic though, like Paul Miller’s story, Paul Miller returns to the internet after a year away, where he took an entire year fast from the Internet only to find his demons (my words) followed him offline. The more I live in this phrase Jesus spoke the more I’m finding what I once thought was dramatic and impossible is now possible, and dramatic only to those who have ears but refuse to hear.

Right now I’m pouring over Jeff Shinabarger’s new book, More or Less, and I can’t wait to do a full review on this book. His book basically tries to answer the question, “What is enough?” For some reason it keeps reminding me of this scene from Wall Street when Bud Fox asks Gordon Gekko “how much is enough?” a question we get confronted with every day. Jeff has taken this to a new level, and is at the same time helping me understand new ways to “seek first the kingdom,” some of which I’m looking forward to sharing when I finish his book.

This Week’s Project 365 with Sunset Over the Fillmer Farm

Sun Setting Over the Pasture
Sun Setting Over the Pasture on the Fillmer Farm
Wow yet another week has come and gone. This is my weekly Project 365 post which includes a week where we had our kids and grandkids out to visit from Colorado and go to do a quick family photo shoot one afternoon. The images below are the chosen images for Day 223 through Day 229. You can see the entire shoot on Flickr at http://P365.me.

My favorite shot again this week was a sunset (above), which ended up being a little similar to last week but not. I love sunsets, and this one came right after a heavy summer rain shower when the sun peeked just below the clouds. The shot above was taken with my iPhone 4S, a camera that continues to amaze me each week. We finally started to get some rain in our area and this week was one afternoon shower after another. Hard to complain about the rain when we have been in a drought for so long, but it did make for some very hot and humid days, something our family from Colorado thought was a little less than pleasant. I love how different each week’s photos turn out in this project, next week is sure to be more of the same… different.

This Week's Project 365 with Sunset Over Toomer's Drugs Auburn

Project 365 [Day 221] Sun Setting Over Toomer's Drugs in Auburn
Sun Setting Over Another Day on Toomer’s Drugs in Auburn
Another week of 2012 is just about over, can’t believe it. I usually work on my Project 365 posts on Saturday afternoon and today I just decided to post the week below. The images below are the chosen images for Day 216 through Day 222. You can see the entire shoot on Flickr at http://P365.me. I started doing this a while back in a post series called Saturday Summary when I started looking back at each week through the photos I took. I haven’t posted in that series in a while, but decided to resurrect it for today.

I took this shot above with my iPhone as we walked back to the car from dinner over at Five Guys. It doesn’t always work, but I love shooting directly into the sun, mainly because not many people do it because it way over exposes the shot, but here it worked. I love this section of Auburn, there isn’t much down here on college that isn’t more Auburn than Toomer’s Corner. I had a few people ask me about the full high res version of this image, so I just decided to post it here as Sun Setting Over Toomer’s Drugs in Auburn (high res version). You are welcome to download it from that page, please don’t sell it.

That shot above reminds me how close it is to football season now and that first game at the Georgia Dome on September 1st. The weeks do go by so fast. War Eagle.

The Most Colorful Macro Flower Edition of Friday Feet

I thought I would make today’s Friday Feet the most colorful set of flowers shot in this series. I spent most of the day in blasting 100*F heat cutting acres of dry grass so this was a nice break. The flowers are from the Stephens family from after their service yesterday (see previous post). They were nice enough to let everyone take home some flowers from what turned out to be one of the most beautiful displays of flowers I have ever seen at any service, and now they can live on forever on the interwebs. In fact, there were so many flowers that everyone who wanted any got to take some home and the lobby of the church was still filled with flowers when everyone left.

The shots below were macro shots taken at a 1:1 magnification ratio or greater. The orange rose with the water drops was slightly greater than 1:1 by using what is called an extension tube (basically 27mm’s of air between the lens of the camera body). I love macro photography. It has a tendency to show all kinds of details that we just don’t see through casual observation like the oil and water colors from a few weeks ago. The first show below of the two pedals is the big flower on the very top by the basket handle above. No special lighting or anything, the flowers were just that colorful. Have a good weekend everyone.

The Longest Day as Catalyst West Coast Begins

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d7b_3916-edit-carlos

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I can’t quite remember a day that lasted this long since my last trip to Las Vegas when we arrived at 2am after leaving Atlanta early in the morning.  Today at least I did arrive in the 3pm area but not it is 12:30am at home and I am just trying to process everything that went on today.

I did take a tour of Mariner’s Church for tomorrow’s main event.  It was very great to get an early walk around and I did get to see some familiar faces from Atlanta over here in Orange County.  After the labs ended today the kick-off event started with Carlos as the MC.

Below are just a few photos form the evening. The last shot is the chapel here at Mariner’s Church.  At night it was transformed into this incredible flood of colors and I may do a post with just shots of this chapel, it is very beautiful.

Photographing Holes in the Clouds or Fire in the Sunset

Fire in the Clouds at Sunset

This week I will do a shortened version of the Image of the Day, today being the only one, at least on the blog. You can follow several images I will post throughout the week via Twitpic on Twitter if you so desire.

I took this shot a few years ago and I am always amazed at what the cloud formations can turn into so quickly. This image in the clouds during a sunset lasted only a few minutes, but it was enough for me to pull out the camera and take a shot of the fire in the clouds.

Camera data: Body Nikon D100, Shutter 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO-200, focal length 120mm

The beauty of the sun in the clouds, but it is really cool when it opens up like this and displays something that none of us can reproduce ourselves.  You can just see the trees at the bottom of the image but the hole that the clouds opened up just screamed for a photo.  It only lasted a few minutes at most.  I have several other shots taken in sequence but the hole closed up very fast.

How often do we look at the clouds for great photo opportunities?