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 Sunsets and Storms

Abstract Sunrise Out My Office Window

For the last few weeks when I finally got around to reviewing the images for my Project 365 (see gallery of all P365 images here) I always seem to have a unique sunset or sunrise photo I like. The above shot wasn’t actually an official P365 image, but I really like how the abstract, somewhat pastel, sunrise turned out. This shot above was taken with my iPhone out of the window of my office-study around 6am while I was doing my daily routine of reading.

This week was a super busy week all around, and the images are really from all over the place. Two images in this set are part of larger posts, one of Deborah, which was posted yesterday, and another below is one image in a full set of images to be posted later in the week. These images represent my week well, and they are really all over the place, but my favorite image really has nothing to do with good photography, it has to do with the power of a yellow sticky note. I’m not sure I’ve ever received a more encouraging note on a computer left for me to fix. On a day I had almost no extra time to do anything I was handed a computer that didn’t work because of an unfortunate coffee spill directly on the computer’s keyboard. This note, and the fact that the computer was actually able to be cleaned up and get it fixed within about an hour was such a great end to my work week.

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.

Southern Drought No News Wants to Cover :: Friday Feet

We have been in this drought for some time now, it seems like years, because it has been. For about the last 5 years or so we just have not had any steady rain at all. The best evidence of the drought, at least on our property, is our pond. This is basically a 2 acre pond that is rain fed. From the feet shot you can see it is dry as the Arizona desert. From the shot of the pond area, almost the entire view of the photo should be under water, in fact I am basically standing where the water should be. Anyway, I know it’s not the most photographic Friday Feet but it’s what this summer is turning out to be like on our side of the world. We could really use an active hurricane season where we get some nice slow moving weak storms over and over again. I know the fish shot is kind of gross so I left you with my moms yellow flowers blooming like mad in this 100* weather.

Coming up soon, some uber cute shots of my nephews in their Chick-fil-a cow costume for their annual photo contest. It was quite something to shoot people in cow costumes in 100* weather. Have a good weekend.

Saturday Morning Macro Flowers Before the Heat Arrives

I think I spent an hour or longer last night looking for a single wildflower to shoot and found nothing. We have had so little rain here this summer that nothing wild is blooming, until I woke up this morning and looked right outside my window. I always forget about these tiny little violet wildflowers. They open every single morning and are gone by about 9am. Of course they get more water than the rest of the scorched earth around here since they are close to the house. Ebby unwillingly sat among the flowers for me, so patiently. She can be like stone when you just place her somewhere, poor thing. If you want to see the EXIF metadata for the macro shots above go here or here. They were taken at “life-size” or a 1:1 macro. I love the reflection in the water droplet (and no I didn’t place that there, God provided a nice bit of dew on the flowers just for me this morning). You can actually see the house and my camera if you look close enough. Hope everyone has an enjoyable Saturday, and has someplace to stay cool.

Indian Pink Perennial or Red and Yellow Wildflower :: Photos

The Photo of the Day today is a very small red and yellow wildflower found in the southeast, usually in the spring to early summer in the shade, called an Indian Pink or Maryland pinkroot, and woodland pinkroot. Better known by its Latin sir name Spigelia marilandica this little guy was blooming over at Chewacla State Park all over the place once we took a look around. Shot with a D7000 and a Nikkor 35mm 1.8 (EXIF details can be found over here) if you are like me and so inclined to read that sort of stuff. I have some shots of the waterfalls but haven’t gotten around to post-processing on those yet. This has already been a crazy busy week and it’s only going to increase as the week goes on unfortunately. It’s not really unfortunate, it’s just the way the week is this week.