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Taste of Europe

One of the perks of mission trips is the amazing scenery we get to experience where we work. Here are a few of my top pictures from my recent mission trip to Europe…

Hrad Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia – taken from Michael’s Tower

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) in Vienna, Austria

Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary which connects Pest and Buda – taken from the Pest side looking towards Buda

View from Pest across the Danube River towards Buda, Hungary

Budapest Parliament Building – taken from the Buda side looking towards Pest

Kids camp location, just outside the small town of Hategel, Romania. As I was thinking one day about the difficult backgrounds many of the kids come from, I was reminded of Psalm 121 and God’s promise of His constant care for each of his children.

Random citadel on the way from Hategel to Deva, Romania – stuck my camera under a locked wooden gate to get this shot, couldn’t see anything otherwise (yes, I checked the lock to make sure 🙂 )

I can’t remember the name of this place; it’s somewhere between Hatagel and Deva, Romania. I got the shot while wandering a safe distance away from the team for some me, God, and quiet thought time. I think this sunset was God’s special gift to me that evening. And I also think it’s ok to not always keep your eyes closed when praying. 🙂

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Words of the Wise

I got the following piece of advice from a 3-yo girl yesterday while we were playing with “moon dough” (don’t forget to lisp your ‘v’ and ‘th’ sounds just like every 3-yo does)…

“This is a volcano. But, you should never sit on a volcano. They are very dangerous. You should only just watch them.”

Gottcha! 🙂

Silence

I wish I could take this guy on my next Mexico jungle trip… lol! Dogs, roosters, donkeys, rats, it goes on all night!

For the curious…

A couple of weeks ago I took a week-long photography class in Manitou Springs, CO. Unfortunately, they didn’t own the magic wand to wave over me and make me a professional overnight. 🙂 They did, however, have excellent instructors that could get me started on the track to better capturing the world around me and my fellow travelers in it. Because several people have asked to see some of my practice shots, I reluctantly oblige, but I still have a long ways to go!

Stop-action motion – shutter speed practice

Blurred motion – shutter speed practice (I’m putting a tripod on my Christmas list! Hand-holding this shot was quite the challenge…)

Depth of field – aperture practice

Warm colors, and more DOF/aperture practice (special thanks to my willing subject, Mr. Lego Guy, borrowed from a friend’s necklace)

Last week I went to a local park for more practice, and found this furry friend…

Love the fall colors right now!

Undefined Yearnings

I’ve recently concluded two things:

  1. I think I’m technically a grown-up now
  2. I don’t think growing up is quite all it’s cracked up to be

I once viewed adulthood as this sort of magical state of being wherein one had all sorts of limitless possibilities (like deciding for oneself what to eat or which activities to do in a day) with very few worries (certainly all frustration for multiplication or algebra was long past; thus leaving, so it seemed, only a permanent and varying degree of worry about those “bills”, but a job takes care of those efficiently enough). There would be some sort of “arrival ceremony” to define the transition out of childhood and into adulthood. After all the waiting of childhood, I would have finally reached “it.”

But, to start with, the transition was rather fuzzy. No angel heralds or even a certificate of achievement. Instead, I just kinda got here, and I’m still not sure at what point “here” became “here” rather than “there.” Was it high school or college graduation? Earning a driver’s license? First job? First international trip? First income tax payment?

Adulthood seems so, well, ordinary. Kinda disillusioning. But what’s missing?

I read an article last week in which the author referred to “undefined yearnings” and “a vague sense of discontent.” I like that phrase “undefined yearnings” because I think it is so accurate. I don’t really know what else I want; after all, I enjoy what I do, and have even had experiences I never dreamed would actually happen to me (like visiting Machu Picchu, for example). It just seems like that with all the outward signs of growing up (owning a car, paying taxes) there is something missing on a deeper level.

And I’m finally figuring out that what may I may have overlooked are the several inner changes that need to take place as well. The change from knowing about Jesus through the Sunday school flannel graphs to knowing Jesus Himself, in a deeper, more personal way. The change to discover Jesus as a real companion through life’s journey. The change of receiving approval from Him, and not by jumping through the hoops of the world’s “rites of passage.”

I have a long way to go! But slowly I’ve begun taking these undefined yearnings back to the Lord, asking Him to define and then fulfill whatever those yearnings are. If it includes outward changes, so be it, but those are secondary. I want to find contentedness in life as it is, instead of striving to make it what I thought it should be. I want to know Christ, rather than spend my life chasing ever-changing fancies. To recognize the beauty of His world, the adventure of a God-ordained journey, and the intimacy of fellowship with the best Friend I can ever have.

Maybe this growing up thing really is going to work out… just a little differently than expected, that’s all.

Quotable

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
— Henry Kissinger