Sunday, March 19, 2017

Post-Stella Weekend

After this past week’s bout with snowstorm Stella, I understand why true-blue Mainers venture outside at every given opportunity. Stella just couldn’t keep these New Englanders down.
People and their pets taking in the seascape at Higgins Beach.
Yesterday’s sunny blue skies prompted me to grab my Canon camera and drive south to one of my favorite Maine spots. Cape Elizabeth and Higgins Beach.
Higgins Beach
A barn on Cape Elizabeth
For my friends in Texas and other parts of the Deep South, some of these photos prove that snow and sandy beaches do actually coexist. 
Higgins Beach
Next, I headed to the Western Promenade in Portland as the setting sun splashed rich colors across the city.
One of the many mansions along the Western Promenade in Portland.
The setting sun saturated the facade with jewel-toned hues.

A unique drinking fountain at the Western Promenade.

A withering rose left behind
on a park bench at the Western Promenade.
Please take a few moments to enjoy these snowy scenes. After all, the white stuff will be gone before you know it, with spring flowers in full bloom.

As always, here’s a portal to end this blog post. The fish cutout in the center of the screen door adds a unique touch, don't ya think?
Somewhere on Cape Elizabeth
Until next time….

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Blizzard Named Orson

My dream...

and then my reality. 

Orson is the second major winter storm to pound the state of Maine in the last four days. 

With that said, this is my fourth winter here, and my southern blood still hasn't assimilated to the extreme cold of the Northeast. 

I've become a pro at hunkering down, but will I ever adjust? Only time will tell.

"He makes the snow fall until the ground is as white as wool. He makes sleet blow through the air like dust." - Psalm 147:16 (ERV)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Recent Privilege in the Courtroom

Recently, I was chosen as a juror not only for a criminal trial, but for a civil trial as well. 

With all the negativity surrounding our recent presidential election, these trials have been a welcoming distraction as my focus settled on another branch of government—our judicial system.

The criminal trial concluded last week with a not-guilty verdict for two of the three counts that the defendant was charged with. The third count resulted in a hung jury.

In the civil trial, which ended last night, we awarded monetary damages to the plaintiff.

At the beginning of that civil trial, the presiding judge pointed out that a juror is actually a judge. The Bible records this same mindset when Moses took his father-in-law's advice and appointed able-bodied people as judges. (Exodus 18) I had never considered such a notion of a layperson acting as judge in a court of law. 

Serving on a jury is an honorable duty even though many Americans balk at the idea. So, if you ever get called upon for jury selection, please ignore the naysayers. Pessimists who have been summoned usually gripe because the process can be a tedious and long one. My selection for both trials lasted two days, yet I wouldn’t change a thing.

These trials were not the first time I've been called to serve. Over three decades ago, I served on a jury for a murder trial in Texas. And about 15 years ago, I was summoned for service but let go because I knew the District Attorney on a social level. 

Only in the land of the free can justice be determined by ordinary, everyday folks like you and me. Consider jury duty an honor. Consider it an American privilege. And consider it a God-given responsibility.

“When people have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty” - Deuteronomy 25:1 (NIV)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Awestruck By Crashing Waves

This breathtaking view is located at the most northwestern point on the continental United States--the Olympic Peninsula. The pounding waves and beauty of this place took my breath away. Take a listen, won’t you.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sneak Preview - My Washington State Trip

Here’s a sneak preview of my current visit to the state of Washington. This view is near the Battery Kinzie at Fort Worden where the 1982 movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" was filmed. 

The tiny pipeline wave draws in the viewer, don't you think?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Maine's Ramshackled Beauty

There’s just something about the backdrop of autumn against dilapidated barns and other aging things. Perhaps it’s the contrast between weathered wood and vibrant colors. Whatever it is, these photos prove that such beauty is found in all sorts of places.
A basement window in need of repair
(downtown Damariscotta)
The roof may need new shingles,
but the rest of this Augusta structure appears rock solid.
One of my favorite photos from early autumn.
(between Augusta and Damariscotta)
Toward the end of the Civil War (1861-1865),
President Abraham Lincoln designated Togus as
the site for the first veterans home in the United States.
Building #36 (above) was the original nurses quarters.
Weathered barn on South Belfast Avenue in Augusta
Peeling paint on the door adds a touch of
shabby chic to this brick-and-mortar renovation.
(Augusta-Windsor city line)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Getting My "Want-to" Back

Earlier today, I finished my trek up this long, steep hill here in Augusta, Maine. I began trotting down the hill 30 minutes before my finish. And just so you know, I'm a fast-paced walker, which gives you an idea of how long and challenging that incline is.
Winthrop Street
Augusta, Maine, USA
I chose this route because a change of scenery from my usual path had been  beckoning me for some time now. Hence, I've been eyeballing this particular hill. I knew it would be tougher than the other trails and hills I’ve walked on throughout our capitol city. I also knew I had the stamina to conquer it, even at my age.

Making it back to the top and savoring the cool wind against my sweaty skin brought to mind another area of my life I need to conquer—my waning prayer life.

Before this afternoon’s trek, I read in Priscilla Shirer's "The Armor of God" that God is working right now to help me get back to a stronger prayer life and eliminate the lethargic one I’ve been struggling with lately. Tears brimmed as I read about that characteristic of His. 
You may ask how a seasoned Christian gets to the point of being lethargic in her prayer life. Well, to be honest, I left the door wide-open for that to happen by not praying and reading my Bible on a consistent basis. Most Christians concur that reading the scriptures and praying first thing in the morning is ideal.

However, I like to sleep until the last possible moment, so I’m more prone to pick up my Bible later in the evening. As of late, other things have kept me distracted from doing so. Weeks, and maybe even months, had gone by, and before I knew it, I had hardly cracked open the Bible. I have felt like such a failure, an imposter of the faith. That’s a very humiliating confession to admit.

It’s also a humbling confession, especially coming from a girl who fifteen years earlier would wake up every morning at 4:00, excited to read God’s word. The devil licked his chops and gobbled me right up, prayer life and all. The Bible warns that he "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)

The odd thing is, is that I know how important it is to not neglect my Bible and prayers. So, from my recent experience, I just feel compelled to warn you. Don’t be fooled into believing that reading only devotionals and blogs by other well-known Christians is enough. That just doesn't cut it when the devil is looking to stir up discouragement, distractions and discord among believers.

What does this all have to do with me walking up that big old hill earlier today?

I knew I had the stamina from years of fast-paced walking to conquer that hill in a short amount of time. And just as I know I have the physical strength  to plow ahead in the face of such an obstacle, as a child of God I know I have the spiritual tools found in Ephesians 6 to help me conquer or plow through whatever the devil throws my way.

I just needed something or someone to turn me back around in the right direction. Thank you, Priscilla Shirer, for pointing out that I can get back my “want-to” in regard to praying and reading the Bible on a daily basis again.

And a bigger thanks to my small group leader for leading us in this study. Thank you, Shannon Crowe.