Thoughts from the Shoreline

I’m so blessed to live by the ocean. I love walking on the beach, hearing the roar of the tide crashing in. Hubby woke up this morning and came down with a big grin on his face. “Let’s go to the ocean”. I’m always game to go walk a few miles; smelling the fresh air, finding “treasures” (I got a huge shell this time), listening to the gulls crying as they swoop down to snag a fresh crab dinner.

 

The expanse and enormity of the water reminds me how very small I really am and how this life really isn’t about me. It puts my life in perspective. You can’t convince me that any of this is an accident. It’s too orchestrated. I’ve experienced way too much “God-incidence” to believe anything else. There’s something way bigger going on then what my finite eyes can see, that I’m a participant in. This is SO not about me.

 

The hardest part is realizing that we have no control over what happens. Humans are flawed. We make mistakes and bad judgment calls. People are infamous for hurting other people, despite intent. We can’t control our circumstances but we CAN learn to control our reaction to things.

 

Now hold on! Don’t stone me yet!

 

I said NOTHING about it being easy. Its not in our nature to think this way, either. You have to be proactive and intentional. And there are no instant, lasting results. It’s a process; a refining. And sometimes the progress doesn’t seem fast enough. It’s SUPER hard work, it sucks and you’ll have opposition, but the reward is so worth it!

 

The reward is peace.

 

The key is giving up control to God. Total control. It isn’t on your strength at all. When we finally realize that we aren’t REALLY in control to begin with and let God take the reins, He then has the ability to place us where He needs us to be, free of worry and fear. He will bless your socks off for it!! Test it out and see if I’m not right and your life doesn’t change drastically for the good! Stop speaking negativity over yourself and start claiming the promises of the bible as if it already is. Talk yourself INTO good thoughts, not negative. You have to choose to see things differently. Then sink yourself into God’s Word (do some word searches on the areas you want to improve your life in the glossary/concordance) and hang on for the ride of your life.

 

No, it’s not a natural instinct for most people, I realize that. It wasn’t for me either. But when you’re walking in line with God, peace follows no matter the circumstances. The absence of peace should be a red flag. This guy had been to prison, beaten, stoned, lashed, verbally abused and this is what he had to say about it.

 

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Philippians 4:11-13

 

From an earthly standpoint Paul didn’t seem to have much to be joyful about. He was even shipwrecked and still praised God in it. That’s some rock-solid faith, determination and commitment! That’s called not being shaken by what this broken world throws at us and standing victorious. He knew it was a choice. He set his mind on the prize and kept it set. Instead of focusing on the crap around him, he claimed victory until he had it. I don’t imagine he always “felt like it” either (there’s those pesky emotions again).

 

We are only here for a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things. Just a whisper in time, a leaf blowing by in the wind. Here, and then suddenly gone. From dust to dust in the blink of an eye. From an earthly perspective it seems like some cruel and unusual joke. But there is a purpose…..you know you’ve seen some of it in hindsight. It can’t be denied. Read Ecclesiastes (yes; the whole book shouldn’t take you but 15-20 minutes) with this in mind: he’s saying if you look at the world through human eyes without acknowledging your Creator then of course there’s no hope. But with God this messed up world can still have hope even in its brokenness.

 

I want to let the One who created this place be in charge. He can see the big picture and he really does want an abundant life for me. Life doesn’t always look how I think it should and that’s actually a good thing. It’s not an insult to me. It just reminds me of my need for Jesus. We weren’t meant to do life without Him.

 

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground
Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever
– “Touch the Sky”, by Hillsong 
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The Rio Grande

My son and I took a trip back home the week before last. It was awsome.

The Rio Grande holds a lot of memories for me. It’s nothing like it was 20 years ago, for sure, but the beauty of it still captures my eye. There used to be a lot more water in it. So much that I used to have dreams of being swept away in the drift.

There was a place we called “The Ropes” that had a rope hanging from a tree that you could swing off of. We would “skid-board” along the beach too (you would run and throw a body board in front of you along the water line and jump on it….like the idea of surfing). My teenage years were full of parties at the river, too.

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Driving through VA Wine-Country- Self-Taught Photography 4

As I’ve said before, I LOVE photographing God’s creation. It absolutely fascinates me. My best friend is still here for another week and today we decided to take a road trip through VA’s wine country. It was beautiful even though we didn’t go during the prime seasons; spring and fall.

I’ve been shooting in only AV (Aperture Priority) Mode for quite some time now and have been using manual focus for about 3 weeks. I understand the basics of Aperture, Shutter and ISO and how they affect each other; I just need to figure out how to apply the information in each situation.  The higher the Aperture the smaller amount of light comes in; the smaller the Fstop, the shorter the depth of field.

I’m trying to understand the White Balance (WB) settings. I want to learn how each one affects the other settings as well.

I love the editing part too. I only have Windows Live Photo Gallery, though. I want to get Photoshop and Lightroom. Playing with the filters and the coloring and shading, is a blast. You can do all kinds of fun stuff.

Here are some of the treasures we got

Remington VA pictures- Self-Taught Photography 3

There’s this cute little town 5 minutes up the road from my house. It’s called Remington. It is quaint and the buildings are cool. I’ve been wanting to take pics here for a while too.

Bealeton Cemetary pics

I’ve always had a thing for graveyards. I love to read what people have written about their loved ones. Hubby thinks it’s disrespectful: I think those sentiments were written for us all to see. The oldest stone we could find was dated 1874; with the next oldest being 1878.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bealeton%2C_Virginia says:

“Bealeton grew up as a Depot of the former Orange & Alexandria Rail Road (since renamed Southern Rail Road), and the old railroad station building can be seen in the Bealeton Station development in front of the new Bealeton Library building. The building was previously located on County Road 805, Bealeton Rd. which runs parallel and near the railway. The area was a major traveling point during the Civil War and saw many skirmishes related to nearby engagements.

Despite the presence of southern troops during the early years of the war the northern troops succeeded in pushing the Confederate line south of the Rappahannock River and eventually into Fredericksburg. This move led to the control of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, thus allowing the Union army to transport supplies deep into southern Virginia.

Bealeton lost importance with the decline of rail road travel and became a bedroom community of Warrenton, Virginia & Northern Virginia primarily. This was aided by the comprehensive plan that made authorized water and sewer availability in 1967. Bealeton retains many large farms and provides a unique blend of agriculture, commercial, and residential development”

I’ve lived here for 4 years and have been wanting to go to the cemetary since we came. i took the week off work to do some picture taking trips with my BFF.

Here’s some of what we took:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-taught Photography 2

I’m going to start at the very beginning with learning my camera. I turned off the auto focus and am going to be shooting in AV mode (Aperture Priority AE) until I get it down pat. I’ve been doing some research and found some great tutorial websites. These are pretty informative:

http://improvephotography.com

http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-photography/

There is a wealth of “how-to” photography sites out there. One can learn how to do pretty much anything on the internet.

For this first shot, I forgot to check my white balance (which was set to “tungsten light”. I had been playing around with manual focus in my garage. Self note: check all my settings; this is not a point and shoot camera). I started by setting my aperture at F22.

I tried only adjusting the aperture at first, but when that didn’t work I set my white balance to “Daylight”. VA is regularly shady (usually cloudy), but yesterday it was bright and sunny. So I came down 3 F-stops.

You can actually see the dandelion now, but it’s still a little on the bright side so I came down a couple more F-stops.

After working through the whole range of aperture, I decided to see if I could fine tune with the exposure compensation +/- and got these

I love how the stem on the flower pops on this last picture.  I think I captured the details pretty well with the fine tuning.

I like manual focus. I like the freedom of it. Now I need to figure out how to couple MF with the focal points on the camera.

Thoughts from the Back Porch- Self-Taught Photography 1

My best friend is here visiting me from New Mexico, where I’m from. Over the last 20 years the 2 of us have taken innumerable pictures. Basically our lives have been documented in photographs.  We got into scrapbooking for years, but it’s a little expensive….. I’m going digital now.

There was supposed to be a meteor shower overnight: The Leonid Meteor Shower. “The Leonids occur every year on or around Nov. 18, when Earth glides through a diaphanous trail of dust left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle” says http://www.space.com/13613-leonid-meteor-shower-peak-1966-storm.html. Fox News had some good info too http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/11/16/leonid-meteor-shower-peaks-before-dawn-saturday/?intcmp=trending. Peak hours were midnight to 3am.

And so, shutter-bugs to the core, at 1 o’clock in the morning, we bundled up in multiple layers of sweatshirts and coats, set our shutter speed to 30 seconds (I think next time I’ll try the bulb setting) and headed outside.  I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and she has the T3i. I’ve had mine since Christmas; she got hers last Tuesday.  She has an 85 mm lens; I have a 55 mm (we all have to start somewhere).

After wandering my pitch-dark backyard in our socks and flip flops and finding nothing, we decided to try our hand at pictures of the stars. My camera was on a tripod; I  got a bunch of blue dots (except one shot that got a little streak). She tried it without the tripod and got a light trail from the neighbors back porch spotlight; (she doesn’t sit still and has the attention span of a flea) you couldn’t even see the stars.

We went in when we realized we were being stalked by a possum. Those are pretty mean critters. It kept running out from under the deck. It wasn’t hissing at us or anything, but I didn’t want to stick around for it.  I have a feeling it lives under my deck. I think it is probably a good idea to look into possum repellant.

Driving up Skyline Dr. Shenendoah Valley, VA

This is an amazing drive. I’m sure most Virginians have made this drive at some point in their lives. Being from New Mexico, I have found I have a fondness for trees since we moved here in 2007. They are truly a work of art and they are the pefect photgraphy subject. I didn’t get a chance to make the trip again during the most colorful part of the season. My goal is to do it next fall. I want some pictures of falling leaves.