Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Help Is Coming!


I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

I woke up this morning with this Scripture on my heart. As I lay there thinking about it, I began to see a picture. Perhaps this picture is for someone who might read this blog, and for that reason I will share it.

When I was at the bottom of life, I begged God for help. I felt as low down and incapable of fixing my situation as I'd ever been. I wept and cried before His feet. It was a turning point in my deliverance. Yet it was not the begging or the tears that caused God to answer my prayer, though God sees our tears. Instead, it was the condition of my heart when I requested His help.

There is a vast difference between asking God to correct everything in your life with no intention of changing your behavior and crying out to God with every determination to not act the same again. One is a position of selfishness, and God will not honor that, the other is a position of surrender. It is, "God, I give you all of this. I won't be the same. Now, help me!"

Where are you looking?

The key point in this verse is the direction in which the applicant is looking and with what they are looking. The verse plainly says, "Lift up." This is an action on our part, something we must do personally. We can no longer look at our feet to our right hand or to our left. We must lift up in the direction of the help and stop looking elsewhere. This is a point of surrender to God.

Now notice, surrender is the only action required. This verse does not say, "Stretch out your hand." It doesn't command us to walk anywhere. In fact, in this verse we are stationary. At the moment of lifting up our eyes, that is the only action. God does not need our help. Remember we need His!

God is a god of mercy and compassion. He desires to help us, but He also desires to see we are looking only at Him. Look in the direction of the help. Stop trying on your own efforts. And lastly, notice to whom you are looking. This is in the second verse. We are not looking at just anything! We are looking at the Maker of heaven and earth.

"I expect you to do it!"

Say to God, "Okay, I'm looking at you now and I expect you to help me!"

Wait, you say, can we do that? Absolutely! What does it say in Hebrews?


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Come boldly! God has promised us help in our time of need. Faith says, I look to You God to keep your word to me, and I look ONLY to you. Then faith acknowledges to whom it is looking. We are looking at the "Maker of heaven and earth." It is one thing to ask for help. But when we ask, why would we ask it from someone incapable of helping? That makes no sense. No, we ask it of the one who has all the power to correct the situation.

And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him. (Psalm 37:40)

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: (Psalm 146:5)

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:13)

He has the power to help and the willingness to help, so expect Him to help! Lift up your eyes. Help is coming!

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"It's in your hands."

I was struggling the other day, full of "how's," "why's," and "what-about-me's," when in my agitation, I decided to pray. Now, I don't recall my exact words. Most likely, they were not so much full of faith as full of complaint. But I remember vividly God's response.

"Put this back in my hands, Suzanne."

You see, so many times I think our frustrations come, not from God's hesitation - He's not sitting in heaven looking at his watch, waiting for the right time to come - but from our inability to stop doing what it is His job to do.

Once again, I had picked back up God's responsibility.

Why is it we think we are to pray and then answer our own prayers? It makes no sense, yet we do it all the time.

"God, I need this or that," we pray, then we proceed to make it come to pass. There comes a point where we have to let go and trust God to keep His word. We find this all through the Word of God.

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (Pr 16:9)

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Je 10:23)

The Lord God directs our steps, not I direct my own steps. In my own self, I am insufficient to the task. At some point, very plainly, I will fail. No, God brings me promotion. God provides the finances. God protects me with His peace. These are His jobs. The good news is, He will do them.

What does it say in John 14:14?

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

He WILL do it. There is no hesitation in that statement. God has spoken.

So once again I laid down what I had mistakenly picked up. There comes a point in faith where things are out of our hands and into His. Our job is to believe He is wise enough, strong enough, and powerful enough - to believe He is faithful to keep His word.

I have felt much lighter since then. I still in the natural don't know how or what God is entirely up to in my life, but I plan on believing He will continue to do it.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Monday, December 5, 2011

God Moments

My thanks to Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press for allowing me to share my God Moment amongst some truly beautiful testimonies others gave about God's mercy and grace. I encourage you to visit the link below. Then scroll to the bottom and read what others have shared. I believe you will be truly blessed.

God Moments in the Ordinary

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Steve's Digicams - Two Important Things About Sales

My December 2011 article is up at Steve's Digicams. In this article, I take a look at two important rules in making (and surviving) sales, especially when dealing with difficult people. You can read the article directly at the link below.

Two Important Things About Sales

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Christmas Is Really About

If I am being truthful, Christmas is not my favorite holiday. In fact, it's probably my least favorite. For a number of years, I struggled with depression during the holidays. One year I even took the decorations back down before Christmas Day actually arrived.

The great stress of attending parties and buying gifts, the whole commercialization of it gets to me at some point, and I begin to identify with Charlie Brown. "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"


Yet every year, God reaches down to give me one moment that reminds me of the true purpose of Christmas. I like to think of this moment as God's little surprise because I never know when it will come or from where. It could be a Christmas play, a television program, a song I hear sung. Whatever it is, it always comes. Often, it is from something inconsequential. Nevertheless, it reaches right in and touches my heart.

Last evening, I watched "A Muppet Christmas Carol" from 1992. It's a cutesy rendition of the familiar tale of Old Ebenezer Scrooge starring actor Michael Caine and a slew of recognizable Muppet characters. In this version, Scrooge's assistant, Bob Cratchit, is played by none other than Kermit the Frog. Tiny Tim is Kermit's son, one of four children of he and Ms. Piggy.

["Okay," you say, "Where ARE you going with this?" Just hang in here!]

Forget the fact that a frog and a pig having both pig children and frog children threw me for a loop. It was during a scene where Old Scrooge is viewing Christmas Present; Bob Cratchit's family is gathered around their meager table; that I had my moment for this year. Bob Cratchit talks to his wife about Tiny Tim's behavior at the church service and then he makes the following statement, "...that we might remember the One who made the lame to walk and the blind to see." *

I'm telling you I almost leaped off the couch. There before me, in the form of a silly children's movie, was the truth of the season. It's not about getting gifts. It's not even about giving gifts. It's not lights or decorations, trees, food, family. None of that. It's not a baby in a manger, or shepherds in the field, or wise men on camels.

Instead, Christmas is the Savior of the world and the hand of a loving God reaching down from heaven's grandeur to heal man - spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially. It's God who is greater, higher, stronger,wiser, and more powerful, being willing and able to do every word of what He's promised. It's God's mercy, God's grace, and God's omnipotent ability come to earth to correct the destruction of evil and destroy the works of the devil. (1Jn 3:8)

Christmas is remembering the One who made the lame to walk and the blind to see!Oh, how I needed to hear that this year, and I will never forget it. Thanks, God!



*I did look for a video online of this scene and the closest I could find was the song they sang after (above). This quote is from my memory of it and so could be off by a word or two.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

Well, it's Thanksgiving again. It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. I have much to be thankful for. God has been good to me, and I believe He has even better things planned for next year.

For one thing, my first fiction novel will be coming out! Look for news about that following Christmas. Another book close to my heart will be out in the week or so, Life Lessons From Grandparents.

This recipe is one that has been in my family as long as I can remember. There are lots of versions on the internet, but I believe this one is the best!

Another Great Thanksgiving Recipe:
My Grandmother's Cornbread Dressing

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FILLING:
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 stick butter
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk

TOPPING:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 stick butter, melted

Mix filling ingredients. Place in casserole baking dish. Mix topping (will be chunky). Crumble over filling. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sure


sure [shoor, shur] sur·er, sur·est, adverb, adjective
1. free from doubt as to the reliability, character, action, etc., of something: to be sure of one's data. 2. confident, as of something expected: sure of success. 3. convinced, fully persuaded, or positive: to be sure of a person's guilt. 4. assured or certain beyond question: a sure victory. 5. worthy of confidence; reliable; stable: a sure messenger.

I was listening to a worship song this morning and the word "sure" leaped out at me from the bridge. It goes:

My soul secure
Your promise sure
Your love endures...always. *

Instantly, the verse from Romans 4:16 rose up in my spirit.


Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.

A sure promise! You and I are "all the seed" it is talking about here. Jesus has given us a sure promise, one that cannot be taken away. Instead, it is secure, reliable, and free from doubt.

Jesus, as Peter began to sink in the water, stretched out his hand to him and asked the question, "Wherefore didst thou doubt?" I'd like to ask you this same question today.

Wherefore did you doubt?

Okay, that question seems archaic, but it's answer is life changing. Why do we doubt when the promise is SURE to us? Instead we are to come boldly to the throne asking for help. (Heb 4:16) Why? Because we know our heavenly Father is there to help us.

Peter sank, not because of the size of the waves or the strength of the wind, he sank because he got his eyes off the sure promise. He stopped looking at Jesus.

But you know, the Word of God doesn't stop there. Paul in the book of Timothy refers to a "sure foundation."

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure... (2Ti 2:19)

And again, in Hebrews the word "sure" returns in talking about hope.


Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast... (Heb 6:19)

A sure and stedfast hope. A sure promise. A sure foundation.

"Excuse me, I'm just going to talk to my daddy and he'll fix it."

Our heavenly Father has promised to answer when we call on him with a sincere heart. When we fix our eyes on His Word and speak faith to our situation, He said HE WILL do it. It's really that simple! (Jn 14:14)

Suddenly we're not like the sea, tossed and turned, by every wind of doctrine. (Jas 1:6) We're faith-filled confident Christians. We "know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He is able to keep it." (2Ti 1:12, author's paraphrase) We expect the answer because of the reliability of Him in whom we believe.

We are sure! Hallelujah!


* "For Who You Are" by Hillsong.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

*Don't forget my blog posts from 2009 are now available as an ebook! Life, God, and Photography Volume 1.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Steve's Digicams - Be Yourself

My article for November is up at Steve's Digicams. This article, entitled "Be Yourself," touches on the uniqueness that makes each photographer their own person.

As always, you have to read the article at their website.

Be Yourself

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

*Don't forget my blog posts from 2009 are now available as an ebook! Life, God, and Photography Volume 1.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Heroes

Too Many Names, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall
Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall


Following the recent death of a well known sports personality, a local reporter chose to use the word "hero." Her use of this term has bothered me ever since.

I'm sure this person was a standup guy. He may have done a lot of things for the sport, and it is certainly sad that he was young. Yet it is not his fame or his money that makes him a hero. He is more a hero for being a father and a husband.

Even that is not enough. There are bad fathers and horrible husbands. We hear about them on the news every day. Instead, it is the behavior, the moral standard, of the father or husband that makes the difference.

You see, hero is a serious word that should carry with it the gravity of its application. It should never be applied lightly. Instead, it is earned, and often through great sacrifice. To assign the word "hero," requires respect for the person so named and for the deed they have done.


Names, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall


Today I visited the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall in a nearby city. It is by far the saddest place I have been. There are 58,220 names on that wall - men who were either killed or are missing in action. However, you cannot stop there! What of the deaths from a multitude of other wars? These figures reach astronomical proportions. You cannot wrap your mind around it. Yet the truth is simple, these men are heroes. By giving their lives, they earned the respect to be called by that name.

My father served during the Vietnam War. He was fortunate to remain in the United States. He made a statement as we stood there that struck me to the heart.

"There but by the grace of God am I."

You see, these names on the wall are more than national heroes. They are personal heroes. They are people - fathers, husbands, uncles, nephews, brothers, and sons. More important than what they did is who they were to those who loved them the most.

Some people say, "It's too sad. I can't go there and see that." Then they go about their merry way and forget all about it.

But I say, "How can I not?" How can I not honor the men that these names belong to by the simple act of my being there. It is all I can give, and yet it will never be enough.


Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

*Don't forget my blog posts from 2009 are now available as an ebook! Life, God, and Photography Volume 1.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Five Things To Know About Job

1. He repented.

Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:6 AMP)

2. He prayed.


So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; and the Lord accepted [Job's prayer]. (Job 42:9 AMP)

3. He was restored.

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10 AMP)

4. He was blessed.


And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. (Job 42:12)

5. He lived a long life.


So Job died, an old man and full of days. (Job 42:17)

Go ahead, compare yourself to Job.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life and Death In Rebel Prisons by Robert H. Kellogg

640-DSC_0785

Originally published in 1865, this book is not one you would pick up at your corner bookstore. It's not even one you'd come across in a general book search. It was recommended to me as a "must have" for my recent research on the topic of prisoners of war.

I found this copy through Abebooks.com, one of the best websites for locating obscure books. When I purchased it, I had the option of buying a newer reprint. However, I chose to spend my dollars on an original printing although it is in terrible shape (and was sold to me as such). To hold something from that time period in your hands is quite something, and for it to be a book so meaningful to its author makes it more sobering.

Robert H. Kellogg was Sergeant-Major in the 16th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteers when he was captured by Confederate forces during the American Civil War and taken prisoner of war to the stockade in Andersonville, Georgia. As General Sherman approached the area in his march through Georgia, he was moved through Charleston to another stockade in Florence, South Carolina. (The Andersonville camp was emptied at this time and all prisoners were sent to other areas.)

It was through determination and faith that he survived his experience when so many did not. This book details his experiences and the suffering of all those who found themselves in his shoes.

You cannot read a book like this without a great deal of thought. It is a weighty subject. From the opening lines of the book:

"No chapter in this history of our unhappy civil war, is so well calculated to enlist the sympathies of the people, as the one enumerating the sorrows of our brave soldiers who have been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the enemy, as prisoners of war."

To his statement at the end:

"As we conclude the sad story of suffering in which our youthful soldiers have borne so conspicuous a part, we are compelled to pause and admire their noble endurance, ther cheerful sacrifices, and patriotic devotion to country amid want and hardship. They deserve a rich and lasting tribute..."

you really get a feel for the author's heart. He wanted everyone to know and no one to forget. It is sobering to realize that at the war's very end, he already felt this way. You would think that four years of civil war, a war that affected every household, would have driven it into their thinking permanently.

The language of the book is a bit flowery, as it tends to be during that time period. However, it is also truthful. The author tells of the great deprivations the captured soldiers were forced to suffer. One cannot realize, given our mentality of today, what is like to have nothing, barely even clothing to wear. The captured soldiers were given no housing. Rain, cold, sun, it all fell on them equally - nothing was provided as shelter. They were given a small stipend of food - most of the time this was cornbread made from corn cobs, sometimes rice. It was always uncooked. They were required to find their own fuel and light their own fire. They were given no fresh water and though they could buy soap, there was no where to wash. On rare occasions, they'd have beans, which were usually full of bugs, and even rarer, meat. They were never given vegetables.

As a result, scurvy was rampant. Other diseases also took their toll - dysentery and malaria were common. Gangrene was another problem. Robert Kellogg himself almost lost his hand to it. He had developed a sore on it which became infected. At one point, the surgeons decided to amputate (that being the only alternative to sure death) and he was taken in before his surgery and left to watch another man have his arm removed. Kellogg was wide awake at the time. In the end, the surgeons decided to give him another chance and he survived his experiences with his hand.

There was very little medical care. In the map of both prisons, an area is labeled "hospital," but this was not at all what we think of in this day. The author very plainly states that most went into the hospital to die. There wasn't any more shelter there than anywhere else, nor more food, nor more clothing. You laid on the ground, and if it rained you got wet. If you couldn't walk, you laid in the wet. Due to Union blockades, medicines were hard to come by, and prisoners were on the bottom of the list to receive any. As a result of the lack of knowledge of that day and the lack of supplies, many men died. Kellogg states it became easier to die than it was to live.

It must be stated that of all the prison camps, Andersonville is by far listed as the worst. Many refer to it as America's holocaust. Robert Kellogg became convinced in his stay there that their deplorable treatment was a deliberate act on the part of the Confederate government to "destroy them." This has been much debated since then, but I submit we should stop and listen to the words of a man who was actually there.

Half of the author's captured regiment died in Andersonville within seven months. He speculates the death figures from Confederate camps across the south to be some 74,000 men. That figure is staggering to me! He also comments on how local women would come to visit the Confederate soldiers only to stand and stare and laugh. Outside help was strictly forbidden.

Now, I do not expect people to run out and buy this book. It is not light, easy reading. But how could I not with my words honor the author and all those he watched suffer and die.

I'd like to end with his own words.

A leaf of a geranium, withered and faded, lay upon the table as I sat musing upon these things, and the fragile thing, broken from its stem, suggest points of contrast between itself and that living, breathing plant of human society, which had been torn from the place where it had been wont to grow, and made to droop and die in consequence. A fragrance, rich and sweet, came from the crushed and bruised leaf, more diffusive by reason of pressure, and it raised the inquiry, whether there might not be, after all, holier and more blessed influences attending the hidden properties which a mighty power had wrung out of the heart of the nation, that would have been apparent if it had never been subjected to such a process?

The delicate juices which conveyed such odor to my grateful senses, were as a voice that told how the country had been enriched by what had been evolved in the struggle to which it was called, and how individuals had been blessed, because the springs had been touched which opened the cells where the most precious incense was stored.

Altogether, it whispered of the power and blessedness of sacrifice, for it made manifest the value of those costly offerings which have been laid upon the nation's altar, and which so many have thought to be in vain. It invested the sighs, tears and groans that have been involved, with a peculiar sacredness, for they have no unimportant mission to perform in creating the more fragrant atmosphere which is to surround the people of coming time."

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Steve's Digicams Article, October 2011

In this article, I go through the thought process behind making a memorable photograph, throwing in a little humor along the way.

The Thought Process: Creating Memorable Photographs

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Suspension

I was thinking about trust today and it came back to me what I learned in my struggles. Trusting God is like being completely suspended. Think of a skydiver, only remove the parachute. THAT'S what it's like trusting God.

You see, whenever we are leaning on something, we aren't really trusting God. If I feel secure in any way - I have a foothold underneath me. I have something to grasp onto (a death grip) - then I am relying on my power, not God's.

Trust, true trust, is scary. Remember Peter walking on the water? That was trust. His physical weight was greater than the water's surface. Don't you think he knew that before he stepped out? There weren't any floats, buoys, or life vests in the boat. No one was there to take his hand. He had to rely entirely on Jesus' words.

Trusting God means you are completely out of control. It is total surrender. It means God has the control. You might not know what's coming up next, but you know God is smart enough, big enough, and powerful enough, He loves you enough to never let you fall.

Ask yourself today. Is He on your side or isn't He? Do you trust Him or not?

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Walk In The Park

My husband and I went to a local park Saturday, something we rarely have time to do together. We walked into the midst of some water fowl gathered together for a handout. Someone had just previously been feeding them, so they looked to us for more. We didn't have any. But it did provide some good photograph opportunities. I thought I'd share a few pictures here.

I don't know why, but this is my favorite shot. This is a female Boattailed Grackle. They are frightfully common scavenger birds. You will find them in every parking lot looking for free crumbs. The open mouth is a way they cool off. The day was warm, but more so if you sat in the direct sunlight.

Female Boattailed Grackle

This bird is a Limpkin, not to be confused vocally with a "limpet," which is a shellfish. They aren't seen everywhere in the U.S. and in fact, I have a friend who would really like to see one, but they are not found where he lives. I seem to be on a roll spotting these this year. Good year for Limpkins, I guess.

Limpkin

Here is another common water bird, the white ibis. Surprisingly, it is not native to my area though, but is now well established. This one was amongst the crowd looking for free food. He (no idea if it really was a "he") followed us a ways down the pathway.

White Ibis

This picture shows a juvenile Purple Gallinule, female. This adorable bird came almost directly up to my husband's hand. See video below.

Juvenile Purple Gallinule

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_33ysc4R6Yg


We saw numerous other things. The full set of photographs is up at my Webshots. However, I would lastly like to share this snake. It's ID confused me at first because of the bright coloration. But someone way smarter than I has identified it as a young Southern Watersnake. They apparently darken as they get older.

Southern Watersnake, Nerodia fasciata

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Steve's Digicams Article, September 2011

My September article is now online at Steve's Digicams. Embrace the sunrise with me!

Photographing the Sunrise

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Steve's Digicams Article, August 2011

My August article for Steve's Digicams in now online!

How to Be A Beginner

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Point of Focus

A Flower Holds The Sun

When I took this photograph, the sunrise wasn't really any different than other sunrises. The flowers in my garden were the same in appearance that they are at any other time of day, and I started to take the same old photograph I've taken from that vantage point. It would have been beautiful too. But instead, my gaze shifted to create an image a little out of the ordinary. I altered my focus from the sun, which was dominant in the sky, to the effect its light gave the flower. In photography, we call this "point of focus."

I read a statement the other day, which applies to this thought from outside of photography.


We must quit looking at our own abilities and failures and limitations and start looking to God.

In the same manner that I created this image of the flower holding the sun, the answer is in our point of focus. One author described it as the struggle of a wrestling match. He said his mind and heart "teeter back and forth between attitudes that are life-giving and those that bring darkness." He then went on to state, "On a given day, I can be filled with praise and gratitude one minute and then overcome by fear or anger in the next." *

Oh, how well I identify with those statements! We must get our eyes off of what we can or cannot do and place them on who God is.

I like the words of 1 Corinthians 4:6 from The Message Bible. It says in part, "It's important to look at things from God's point of view." Think about that - God's point of view! You see, the fact is, as long as we continue to look at the size of the problem, the problem will remain large, too big to handle. All we'll see is the sun, and we'll miss the beauty of the flower.

I say this all the time, but God is GREATER than your problem. He is BIGGER. He is HIGHER. He is MORE THAN ENOUGH. God's desire is for your success, so lift up your eyes and look at where your help comes from! (Ps 121:1-2) Look at WHO your help is! Change your point of focus.

Instead of failure, expect triumph. Expect God to DO what He said he would DO. You know, sometimes we can't see it. I have things facing me today that I can't explain, I can't fix, and I don't know what to do about. I have major decisions I must think about. Yet the solution is not mine to make. My job is to focus on God and let Him work the answer. He's strong enough and wise enough for that! (2Sam 22:30)

*"More Than Ordinary: Enjoying Life With God," by Doug Sherman

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Butterflies

The butterflies have finally picked up for the summer. As the flowers in my garden begin to fade, they flit to and fro searching for nectar.

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflies
Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

(Male and Female)
Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflies

To view more pictures of this species of butterflies, visit my Webshots album.

Female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Dark Form)
Female Tiger Swallowtail, Dark Form

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

Horace's Duskywing Skipper
Horace's Duskywing Skipper

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

To view more photos from my garden this year, view my Webshots.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Did You Doubt?


And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (26) And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. (27) But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (28) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. (29) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (32) And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:25-32)

This event in Peter's life came after he witnessed Jesus feed a multitude of people with five loaves and two fish. You'd think that would be enough to vanish any doubt! Yet when Peter began to sink, his faith faltered. My question is the same as Jesus' was, "Why?" What caused him to doubt?

People always say, "Well, he looked at the water and became afraid."

Yes, that's true. But read Jesus' own words in this paragraph. Jesus stated to Peter and the other disciples, "It is I, be not afraid." Here is the solution! With those words, Jesus gave Peter the only information he needed to walk on the water. It's not solely that the waves were so huge or the wind so strong. Instead, Peter had stopped looking at Jesus.

When I was at the bottom of life, crippled by fear, the one thing that lifted me up was keeping my eyes, my focus, on God. As I meditated on His greatness, my mind became renewed and my faith increased. Doubt came when I stopped looking. The apostle Paul stated this in Hebrews 12:2.


Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Jesus is the beginning and ending (the answer) of our faith. To have a manifestation of what I am believing God for, to see its fulfillment, I must continue gazing at Him.

It's not enough to know not to doubt because doubts come everyday. Despite the marvelous things God has done for me, sometimes the doubts creep in and begin to choke me. (Mt 13:22;Mk 4:19) They come as I lose sight of who God really is, as I forget what Jesus did, as the Holy Spirit becomes distant to me. No, I must know what to do to prevent doubt.

I made this statement the other day.


Live as if God is reliable. Expect Him to be who He says He is.

This is the solution to doubt. Any time I am wavering, I need only look at my failed expectations of the Father. Did I really pray expecting Him to answer?

Christianity is a relationship. In any relationship, you spend time with the other person until you can choose for them. You can order their meal at a restaurant. You know what they will say at any given moment. I can answer for my spouse or my daughter in many situations because of the time I have spent with them. I know their likes and dislikes. I know when not to answer as well. I know when they'd say "no."

Our relationship with God, with the Father, with Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit, should be the same. There isn't a doubt in me that God loves me. I know it. You can't take that from me. I have no doubts that He wants only the best for me. At no point in time will He ever "put things on me" to teach me anything. That is not in His nature or His desires. I know because I've spent time in His presence - time in prayer, time in worship.

There is the answer to doubt.

For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Life At A Time - Repost

Every now and then, the Lord reminds me of something I wrote in the past. Every day when I pray, I have this circle of children I pray for, my own daughter, the children of my friends, and even kids whose parents I don't know, but the Lord has laid them on my heart.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to lift their lives up in prayer. We can only change society one life at a time, and though we may not get any pats on the back for it, the rewards of our time spent in prayer are HUGE. I encourage you to read this article and then take time from your day to lift the children to the Lord in prayer.

"Lord, take these precious lives and today have one person tell them they are loved..."



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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How You Loved Me

I wanted to share this video. The words speak loudly to me tonight and become my gratitude - Thanks, God, for loving me.

Sidewalk Prophets
You Loved Me Anyway


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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Write The Vision

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2)

Lately, I find myself totally uninspired. I can't write anything. I can't create anything. The ideas do not come to me. I do not know where to begin. It's like I have hit a mental brick wall.

It came to me this morning that part of my problem is a lack of vision. Until I know where I am headed, I cannot begin. With anything creative, I must see it beforehand. Even laying out all the requirements of the task doesn't help. They become just so many items on a list, almost making the job harder instead of easier.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:3)

I try thinking it out, sorting what needs to be done. Sometimes I take a general stab at it. But I don't really know where I'm going, what I'm trying to do, and it's time spent wasted. It leaves me with a headache, exhausted.

I refuse to become frustrated because this happens to everyone at some point. Waiting is the only therapy. I must sit patiently and ride this out. I sit knowing each day is time I should spend being productive. Yet there is no other option; I must believe that the vision will come.

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Matthew 4:28-29)

I rose up this morning with finally the grain of an idea in my head. It has taken me days to get this far. But that one grain is right now like a great light. It gives me hope to complete what is set before me. For today, it is enough.

Maybe tomorrow I will complete this. Maybe it will be the day after. Who knows! In the mean time, I will allow this idea time and space to grow for ideas germinated are always way better than those forced into being.


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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Steve's Digicams Article - The Basic Truths of Editing

My July 2011 article, "The Basic Truths of Editing," is now up at Steve's Digicams. In this article, I discuss how you can know when you've done enough editing. I also describe something I call "overkill."

I encourage you to visit the link and take a read!

The Basic Truths of Editing

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Grandmother's Banana Bread

Banana bread recipes are a dime a dozen. This one belongs to my grandmother, Juanita, and is the best, in my opinion, but then I am prejudiced.



1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar.
Add egg. Mix well.
Add dry ingredients.
Add bananas. Stir well.
Stir in pecans.
Bake in greased loaf pan at 325 (F) for 55 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Cool 2-3 minutes before slicing.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who am I?

Who am I?

Sometimes I am a confident woman. I know I can do it. The weather's great; the sun is shining. All things work in my favor.

But sometimes, I am a girl curled-up, sniveling on the couch, waiting for the world to pass by. I am the one making irrational decisions, not thinking clearly. I am trembling and afraid.

Then again, sometimes I am the loudmouth who just said the wrong thing - again. I hate being her! My words like darts are aimed at my family and friends.

Who am I? Am I a composite of events, thoughts, and feelings? Am I a photographer or a writer? a mother or a daughter? a wife? a Christian? a friend?

I am a collection of images - the down-side of me, the hater, bitter and angry; the cry-baby, unsure, ineffective, and inept; the up-side of me, things are grand and I can handle it. I am productive, determined, and successful. I like one side of me more than the other.

Who am I?

I am the things I hide. The stories I never tell. The pictures I don't take. I am all these things. I am the people who don't like me, the situations I don't handle correctly, the mistakes I will make.

But more than any of that, more than any one side or piece of me, I am forgiven. Jesus Christ gave me that. He took all the fragments that make up me, the bad, unpleasant, and ugly, and reconciled them together. I laid them at the cross, and He removed them.

Now, I am loved, and I am free.



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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Friday, June 24, 2011

America The Beautiful



America The Beautiful

I pulled this video from the vault and revamped it a bit. It originally was used as the credits for a much longer video. However, I felt that not enough people got to hear the wonderful harmonies of the United States Air Force choir. The photos were all licensed Creative Commons from various locations.

Enjoy!

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Steve's Digicams Article - Flash Photography (or NOT)

My Steve's Digicams article for June 2011 is now online. In this article I explore the reasons FOR and AGAINST using the flash, also the proper usage of the flash for optimal results. If you've read my columns in the past, then you can rest at ease that this is NOT a technical tutorial on lighting distances and expensive flash methods. Instead, I give simple ideas that just might have you less afraid to utilize your flash again.

Flash Photograph (or NOT)

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Rewards of Gardening

Sometimes gardening brings great rewards. Oh, it's a lot of work. In the summer months, if we do not have regular rainfall, time is required for watering. Even drought-tolerate plants occasionally need water. In the winter, surprising to many, our yard can get really cold. One winter the temperature fell to 16 degrees (Fahrenheit). At those times, cold-sensitive plants must be shielded or moved. My husband and I have walked great distances toting potted plants in and out of our garden shed, and I have done load after load of laundry, washing blankets covered in dirt, leaves, and mulch.

Threadwaisted Wasp
Threadwaisted Wasp

It can become frustrating. No one wants to work outdoors when the temperatures are 97 degrees (F). My husband has carried many a heavy bucket of water into the field. There is also the weeding and trimming to do. But generally speaking, I like gardening. I love planting seeds, just to see if they come up. I find digging in the dirt a therapy; it is peaceful. I don't mind the annual fall clean-up, where dead plants are removed and the beds are returned to a more structured shape. Yes, gardening is work.

Horace's Duskywing Skipper Butterfly
Horace's Duskywing Butterfly

But gardening in the end is about the reward. It is sharing the beauty we have grown there with others. It is reaping the vegetables that we've sown. It is sitting with friends to watch the butterflies. Yet the greatest reward is all the smaller bounties that come from the garden. So much LIFE is found there. It's all the bees (who knew there were so many species?), wasps of many shapes and sizes, multiple colorful butterflies, even the crickets and grasshoppers, that I am fond of the most.

Bee on Zinnia
Bee on Zinnia

And, most especially, it is the hummingbirds! All our time and efforts come to complete fruition in the early mornings and late evenings as our two (male and female) feathered friends buzz past us, moving from flower to flower. It is then we hold our breath, willing them to stay as long as possible, that our all efforts become worth it.

Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird
Female Ruby-throat Hummingbird


If you'd like to see more of this year's garden, visit my Webshots.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Secret Holocaust

"The Secret Holocaust Diaries"
by Nonna Bannister, Denise George, and Carolyn Tomlin

The Secret Holocaust

I read a lot of books, and I do not feel obligated to comment on all of them. However, now and again one crosses my desk that moves me more than the others. These are the books I learn something from. I come away afterward knowing more and thinking a lot more about myself. This book, the published diaries of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, is one such book.

Any account of the Holocaust should move you. It was a horrible, dark time in the world's history, and one that it is virtually impossible to wrap one's mind around. Like all school children, I was taught about the events that surrounded it, how it affected the world, and the genocide of the Jewish people. Yet in reading Nonna Bannister's personal account, I learned so much that I still did not know.

Nonna Bannister was born Nonna Lisowskaja in the Ukraine. She grew up as Josef Stalin was taking power and communism began to come into effect. I admit, past a very basic knowledge, I was ignorant of the more personal effect of this time in history. It's easy to read a general historical account where death figures are given and its another thing entirely to read it in the words of someone who was there. And yet, this someone was at that time a child. Her child's eye view made it all that much more poignant.

When World War II broke out and Germany swept into Russia, Nonna's family found themselves thrust into the midst of it. Here again, was something I had heard of - how Germany broke the non-aggression pact between these two countries, only to find themselves frozen, starving, and unable to accomplish their task. But put it on a personal level, in the words of one family whose love for each other cannot stop the greed of man, and it is horrifying.

The story descends from her happiest of childhood memories to a scene where her elder brother is gone, sent away to prevent his being placed into the communist army. Her father, found hiding in a basement, has been beaten, his eyes carved out, and her mother is left scrounging amongst the emptied homes of people who have fled the country, to find a place for them to live, food for them to eat, and firewood to warm them in what was the coldest Russian winter. Eventually, there is nothing left. Their relatives are killed when Soviet trains are bombed, and Nonna watches her father die, sees a German soldier plunge his knife into him just to prove he is dead. All I could think was, "These people were not Jewish." I had never considered how high was the cost to other races of people, like the Soviets.

Nonna and her mother, in the belief that it would be better for them, voluntarily left their homeland and to live in work camps in Germany at places like Flossenberg. (I had never heard of Flossenberg before reading this book. It is well worth your time looking it up.) Here they are eventually separated and just weeks before the liberation of Germany, her mother is killed following an illness brought on when her arms and fingers were broken in a fit of Nazi rage. When the war ends, Nonna alone was left of her family. Yet the truth is that she was not alone because this happened to so many others.

Nonna Bannister hid her diary and her photographs throughout the war, and even after the war, after she married in 1951, she never told her story to anyone not even her spouse. This book is the result of her own translations of her diaries. (It includes the authors' additional historical notes.) Following her death, the original pages of her diary were never found. Her family supposes they were somehow buried with her.

I encourage you to read this book, but not for entertainment, nor because it is a literary-genius work. No, read it so you will learn something, so you will be grateful for what you have and to help you remember what others have given up.

There are a selection of Nonna Bannister's images online, which can be viewed at this link.


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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blackeyed Susans

A year ago, I planted from a seed packet a few Blackeyed Susans. Eventually, I had this small patch of them in my garden to admire for the season. The season ended and I did my usual garden clean-up, removing dead and decayed plants, but careful to toss any dried seed heads back onto the soil.

As a gardener, you never know from year to year what will sprout. Some years there is a lot of one particular plant and others very little of it. I like the constant surprise, the never knowing. Well, this year I am inundated with Blackeyed Susans. From that one tiny circle of blossoms, I have an entire flower garden full of their happy, yellow faces. They have sprouted all across the bed, in multiple locations.

They are the cheeriest of flowers. I simply cannot photograph them enough, so here is my view of their beauty for you to behold.

Black-eyed Susans and Coneflowers

Blackeyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans

Blackeyed Susans

Blackeyed Susan and Mint

Blackeyed Susan

Here is a video.


For more Views from My Garden, visit my Webshots.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Champion

And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:13-15 RSV)

There is a song called "The Champion," released in 1985 and sung by popular entertainer, Carmen, which tells the story of Jesus' victory over the devil from the perspective of a prize fight. I can remember seeing him perform it in person at a local church-sponsored concert. It's a fantastic journey into the art of storytelling. Yet there is truth to the thought behind the song.

If you define the word "champion," one source states, "Someone who has been a winner in a contest," or, "Someone who is chosen to represent a group of people in a contest." Another gives it as, "a person who has defeated all others in a competition," and then as a verb, "to support; defend." This same source has a definition I particularly like, "A warrior or knight who did battle for another, esp a king or queen, to defend their rights or honour." The word itself comes from a Latin root meaning, "battlefield."

Now, all that is fascinating and a lot of food for thought, but I want to extend the analogy even further and take you more into the mind of the King James Bible translators. In the Medieval world, a champion was one hired to do combat for the rights of another. There were champions dating back to Roman times, but the typical romantic ideal comes from the time of William the Conqueror. It was what we'd today call "a duel." One party would fight another until either one was killed or he called out, "Craven," which in effect was, "I give up."

The battle could be because of any number of things, land disputes, a crime, etc., and was recognized as legal. You could choose either a trial by jury or a "trial by combat." Following the battle, the defeated foe was "declared infamous, deprived of the privileges of a freeman, and [made] liable for damages to his successful opponent." In extreme cases, the loser was sometimes hung, given he had survived.

This brings me back to the opening verses from Colossians 2. There is more to Jesus' resurrection than just an empty tomb. Jesus defeated the devil and all that the devil stands for. He became for us our champion. He legally settled any claim the devil had over us. In the King James Bible, it says He "spoiled principalities and powers." (v15) This thought is again a bit archaic in our modern thinking, but essentially it means they were made useless. (e-sword.net)

Useless means "not serving any purpose." Think about that! Poverty is useless. Sickness is useless. Fear is useless. Anything the devil has tried to "put on" you is useless, it serves no purpose for you, for Satan has been completely defeated. What? Did you think Jesus did a half-way job? No! He "triumphed" over Satan...OPENLY. He didn't hide what He'd done. In fact, he displayed it. He made of Satan a "public example," saying, "Look here at what is useless, at what is futile!"

Now, I know that the world is full of sorrow and many troubles; death surrounds us every day. But we are to be like the man of Psalm 91:7-8, sitting in heavenly places, made inaccessible (AMP) to what the devil desires to do in our lives. We shouldn't roll over and accept things! No, Satan is defeated! As all the world falls around us, God has sent us a champion, Jesus, who defended our honor and restored to us the rightful place in His kingdom. It's legal, and it's yours!

"But," you say, "How do I get there? How do I come to this place of peace and joy, safety and happiness, victory, and deliverance?" Through determination. Through prayer. Through daily meditation in the Scriptures. Through faith in what Jesus has done for you. Through confession of God's promises.

Stand up today with the redeemed and "say so!" Victory is found in praise and worship. Joy is found in your rejoicing!

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy. (Psalm 107:2)

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Satisfied Soul

What is worship? I can tell you it is more than 3 songs on Sunday, a prayer on Wednesday evening, and a random daily Bible verse reading. Worship is an intense longing for something or someone. It is urgent desire.

I love the words of Psalm 63, but notice the desperation phrased in verse 1.

O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You. (Ps 63:1 AMP)

"Earnestly," "thirsts," "longs," and "faint," these are strong words! The psalmist cries out, "My flesh longs to see Your power and glory, Lord." (v2) Then in he goes on to say, "My lips shall praise thee," and, "Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." (v3-4)

He has chosen to worship.

But why? Why the longing? Why the intensity of desire? It is to come to the place of the soul described in verse 5.

My soul shall be satisfied...

Worship brings satisfaction to the soul. Satisfaction is complete contentment. It is total fulfillment of every need or want, rest and peace, joy and happiness. Satisfaction comes as the result of worship.

Through worship, I restore myself to the place God needs me to be, in surrender, and I restore God to the place He needs to be, in control. Any other arrangement will not work. If my decisions are higher than God's for me, then I will fail.

Worship is relationship and it is intimate. That is a new concept for some - intimacy with God. Yet Christ Himself prayed we'd be "one" with God as He was "one" with God. (Jn 17:22) This is unity! Just imagine where unity with God will take you!

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1Co 2:9)

I haven't even begun to grasp what God has prepared for me. What has God prepared for you? Satisfaction? Take the limits off of God, my friend, and worship.

FURTHER READING: Psalm 107:5-9

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Put God in His Place

If ever a book needed to be read, A.W. Tozer's book, "The Pursuit of God," is it. I have never been so humbled by my humanity and more willing to change than I have when reading this book.

There is a section which I'd like to place here for you to read and meditate on. In it he speaks about our position with God, plainly stating that our satisfaction in life only comes when we have put God into the proper place.

"We must begin with God. We are right when and only when we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position."

"Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image...We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be to painful to endure."

"So let us begin with God. Back of all, above all, before all is God; first in sequential order, above in rank and station, exalted in dignity and honor. As the self-existent One He gave being to all things, and all things exist out of Him and for Him. 'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power. for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.'"Link
A.W. Tozer's thoughts echo the Scriptures themselves. A passage in Isaiah 40 comes immediately to mind, which has been much in my thoughts lately.

Verse 19 queries:

To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?*
Then in verse 25 this is repeated.

To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
I find myself asking this question over and over again, and then today I saw a video where a gentleman put it all into perspective. We constantly strive to bring God down to our level. In everything we do, we want Him to conform to our thinking. He must make decisions we understand, within our realm of stature and ideas.

Yet what if we put God into the place He should be - exalted above all, not moldable to our frail human methods? What does it say in Isaiah 55:8-9?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Higher thoughts! Higher ways! Do we really want to serve a God who is unable, unwilling, and uncaring?

"But,' you say, "I don't understand why..."

That's just it though. We don't understand because He is so much HIGHER than we are. We must take the limitations off of God. We must remove the restrictions of our thinking. True freedom comes when we let go of ourselves and allow God to be God, when we restore Him to the place of honor and ability that no other can possibly hold.

We must begin with God, and we must end with God. We must daily, minute-by-minute be ever subordinate to Him, always aware He is greater than we are. He is wiser than we are. It is in this right placing of spiritual relationship that we will find happiness, joy, and success. Anything else is outside of His ability because it is our abilities.

The truth is, we will never be able to do what it is in God's place to do for us in the first place.

* Quoted Isaiah verses are from the Revised Standard Version.


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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In My Garden

Nothing makes me happier than time spent in my garden. Crouched in the grass or stooped in some awkward position, I seek for the most overlooked and neglected insects. Tiny damselflies float on the air like wisps of the wind.

Citrine Forktail Damselfly
Male Citrine Forktail Damselfly

Duckweed Firetail Damselflies
Duckweed Firetail Damselflies

In the garden, I surround myself with beautiful flowers and flashy insects, their colors lighting up my lens.

Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan

Red Admiral Butterfly
Red Admiral Butterfly

American Painted Lady Butterfly
American Painted Lady Butterfly

Even the bees and wasps are welcome here to fly amongst the blossoms and seeds.

Polistes dorsalis Wasp
Polistes dorsalis Wasp

Milkweed Seeds
Fly Away, Milkweed Seeds

In the garden, I forget all my cares. Suddenly, nothing matters but sound and scent, light and life.

To view more photos from my garden, visit Webshots.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two New Steve's Digicams Blogs

There was some unforeseen delay in these being posted. Therefore, they have both appeared online at the same time. The articles are unrelated in topic. The first article entitled, "I Live My Life In Pictures," is my thoughts on photography as it affects me personally. The second article is on achieving sharpness in a photograph.

I Live My Life In Pictures

Sharpness

Take a read and leave me a comment!

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In the Missing

There are some things that happen which just beg to be written down, and for me, this is one of them. It is such a simple story really, but one I cannot shake out of my mind.

I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting my turn, when the elderly couple in front of me grabbed my attention. Since my grandparents passed away, this soft place has formed in my heart. I so miss my grandmother's hugs and long to hear my grandfather's voice. But you know how it goes. Time flows past, and though the memory of them remains, there are days where I don't think of them as much. Preoccupied with living, temporarily they fade from view. Until something startles me and it all comes flooding back.

Soft hands.
Warm voices.
Love.

There in the line ahead of me this couple, so apparently reliant on each other, set their items down for purchase. Their clothing was worn, patched and stained, yet comfortable and respectable. His wallet was held together with silver tape, but his money was neatly folded into a shiny gold clip.

The cashier spoke the price of their goods, some $20.87, and the husband slowly placed a $20 bill into the worker's outstretched hand. Here there was a pause as the cashier repeated the total price, followed by a brief moment of confusion as the older man attempted to take it all in. Shakily he unfolded his wallet and tried to count his change.

I felt my eyes well up. Inwardly, I was thinking I'd pay the 87 cents myself before I'd allow them to leave without what they came for. But the gentleman did have the rest of what he owed. Passing another $20 bill across the counter, he received his change and then slowly began putting his money back into the clip. I was content to just stand there and watch.

It didn't matter that it was taking too long or that he could have moved out the way. I didn't care because I was lost in the moment. I remembered my grandfather's face on one visit I made just before he passed, how happy he was to see me. He too had become consumed by age. No longer able to get around like before, we did our best to assist him.

The couple eventually left, she clinging to his arm, and again, I felt the tears come. I am left today with this memory and so many others of my own. There are happy ones and sad ones. I don't know who this couple was, if they have family who care for them or not. I like to think they do. But for me, it is that in this one moment their existence touched mine in the missing I felt for my own.

My grandmother's rose bush
Granny's Rose-EDIT

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

A Note To My Readers

Dear Readers, I was in the path of Hurricane Irma. I still do not have power at home and so am living a bit like a refugee. I have ...