Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Unawares

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Each week Cee of Cee’s Photography challenges bloggers with a fun prompt. This week we’re to find photos where the subjects are caught unaware.

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If you want to see more unawares fun fotos, click here.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Close Up

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Close up of art in Melbourne

Each week Cee of Cee’s Photography challenges bloggers with a fun prompt. This week we’re to find photos of subjects that are macros or close ups.

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Chicken Feet, Yannan, China

Chic

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Taipei, Taiwan

If you want to see more close up fun fotos, click here.

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A Christmas Prayer for Lonely Folks

I was looking around in The Gutenberg Project, and found this public domain prayer on Christmas.

A CHRISTMAS PRAYER FOR LONELY FOLKS

Lord God of the solitary,

Look upon me in my loneliness.

Since I may not keep this Christmas in the home,

Send it into my heart.

Let not my sins cloud me in,

But shine through them with forgiveness in the face of the child

Jesus.

Put me in loving remembrance of the lowly lodging in the stable of

Bethlehem,

The sorrows of the blessed Mary, the poverty and exile of the

Prince of Peace.

 

For His sake, give me a cheerful courage to endure my lot,

And an inward comfort to sweeten it.

Purge my heart from hard and bitter thoughts.

Let no shadow of forgetting come between me and friends far away:

Bless them in their Christmas mirth:

Hedge me in with faithfulness,

That I may not grow unworthy to meet them again.

 

Give me good work to do,

That I may forget myself and find peace in doing it for Thee.

Though I am poor, send me to carry some gift to those who are

poorer,

Some cheer to those who are more lonely.

Grant me the joy to do a kindness to one of Thy little ones:

Light my Christmas candle at the gladness of an innocent and

grateful heart.

 

Strange is the path where Thou leadest me:

Let me not doubt Thy wisdom, nor lose Thy hand.

Make me sure that Eternal Love is revealed in Jesus, Thy dear Son,

To save us from sin and solitude and death.

Teach me that I am not alone,

But that many hearts, all round the world,

Join with me through the silence, while I pray in His name:

 

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name._

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven._

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we

forgive our debtors._

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:_

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen._

A Lenten Refection from Laurence

I have to say this would be good for me to heed:

John the Solitary – the famous one – said that there are levels of silence. Our own daily practice of meditation will gradually reveal them. It doesn’t help to imagine or anticipate them but the small sketch that he gives can be useful and help us to persevere whenever we feel discouraged or that we have got stuck. It’s always good to be reminded that there is more to come.

The first kind of silence is that of the tongue. St James addresses this when he urges his early fellow-Christians to guard their speech. The tongue is a like a rudder, he says, very small but with a great influence on the direction we are going. It is obvious enough that we should control our speech when we feel like saying something violent, merely hurtful or spiteful whether it is direct or concealed in humour. It is hard then because we would like to get our angry feelings off our chest. But words spoken in anger and intended to hurt (because the other person deserves it) falls into the same trap as all violence. It never achieves what it promises and it always makes matter worse.

There is however another kind of restraint of speech. Most of our utterances are mindless, they don’t mean what they say, often their main meaning is to fill in the embarrassment of silence and are usually quite trivial. I don’t mean we should always be speaking about sublime realities; but we should always mean to communicate something helpful, meaningful or actual. Empty chatter is the verbal equivalent of promiscuity. Controlling the tongue, knowing when to start talking and when to stop is like being chaste.

When we sit to meditate the first and obvious step is to cease speaking, even not moving our lips or tongue as we say the mantra. With children we sometimes say the mantra aloud a few times with decreasing volume but they soon find they can go straight into reciting it interiorly and silently. This feels a great relief because we often don’t realise how undisciplined and superficial our manner of speaking can be, how often we slither into gossip or. Resting the tongue frees the mind to start moving heartwards.

But first we have to deal with what is disrupting the other level where silence has something more to teach us.

The War Room

 

I knew that The War Room was number 1 at the box office when it opened in the summer. I also knew that it was made by a group of Evangelical Christians known for their low budget films. So I feared this film might be low quality and rather preachy. Yet a couple friends had seen the film and recommended it.

When I flew back to the US from China, The War Room was offered on my flight. It seemed like a low risk chance to watch it.

While there are no big name stars and the story is overtly Christian, The War Room held my interest and was worth my time. It’s the story of an affluent couple who’re drifting apart, bickering and arguing a lot, becoming more materialistic and losing respect for each other — two pitfalls that are all too common.

The wife is a real estate agent, who meets a wise widow who regrets letting her own marriage slide. The widow is deeply spiritual and challenges the heroine to pray for her husband in a “War Room.” She insists that it’s not the wife’s job to fix her husband, but to love him and pray for him.

As you’d expect the praying works. What I liked about the film was that although it wasn’t subtle or polished, it touched on an aspect of life that so many people struggle with. It came across as real. All the actors were believable and the story satisfied. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite film of all time, but I am glad I saw it.