Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Creative Challenge Win at Webshots

Ok, so not exactly a WIN, but I placed 9th in the "Enchanted Forest" contest. No prizes. I mainly enter to encourage net traffic. You know, the fun of self-promotion.

This particular photograph was taken at the Circle B Reserve, Lakeland, Florida, about 5 years ago with my previous camera, a Fuji 4900.


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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, March 26, 2011

On Book Writing and Speech-Making

I had to speak at a ladies meeting today, to give my testimony. I'll admit I am still processing the experience. Frankly, I am not sure what to do with it in my life's timeline.

But I do know it stresses to me why I like writing. Writing is my therapy. It gives me time to think about my words, to filter my thoughts and pack them neatly into slots. Speech-making is different. Once spoken, words are just out there and you can't take them back or reformulate them.

I have publicly given my testimony three times now and each time has been different from the last. This time, I really can't tell you what I said. How to explain that...I was told I did great. But truthfully, at the end I felt as blank as a piece of paper. It was like I woke up from a dream. Oh, over the last months I had prepared a whole string of thoughts. I had preached myself silly trying to fit what I wanted to say into 15 minutes of time. Yet I knew inside that when I got up there, I'd be myself, it'd all go to the wind, and I'd remember none of it.

Perhaps if I could have written it all down instead...

That's, after all, what I did with my book. I am so proud of the accomplishment of having a published book. However, when the first person asked me to sign it, and then another and another, I was totally unprepared. I couldn't figure out why that mattered.

I told my husband the other day that it was the story of my failure and God's success. In the scheme of things, I am such a small, ordinary, insignificant person. Why has God chosen to use ME in the first place? I cannot tell you how many times I have asked myself that question.

In late 2010, and when I asked the Lord what I should call the book, He said, "Fearless." That title puzzled me.

"Fearless? But, God," I argued, "I'm not fearless!"

"Fearless," He said, "is not being without fear. It's not letting fear control you."

Ah, and this I understand. Today as I stood up there, I had captured that. No matter how hard the struggle to rid myself permanently of the affects of fear in my life, no matter how long it takes, I will not make decisions based on fear. If that is what fearless means, then I am it.

So...I signed a few books today, still puzzling over why that matters. (I don't mind signing them and my notes to people are always sincere. I don't know how else to be, actually.) But my story is God's story. Every word I write and those I speak are His words. They are what He would say. I am just the vessel.

I don't know yet why He has chosen me. Maybe He just wanted one person willing to stand up and say, "Enough! You don't have to be afraid." I must be obedient, this I do know.

God is so good, friends, all the 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.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Butterfly Photo of the Season

Though I have seen several butterflies already this spring, this is the first one to cooperate for a photograph. The flowers are blanket flowers growing in my flower beds. They were also popular with several species of bees.

Painted Lady
Painted Lady on Blanket Flowers

Extreme Close-Up
Painted Lady Butterfly

Bees
Bee on Blanket Flower

Green Bee on Blanket Flower

And what is this event without a video to go along with it? I enjoy making videos and am finally getting the "hang" of using my DSLR to make them. Background music by Kevin McLeod.


Completely unrelated to the butterfly incident, I have to share a couple additional photographs and videos. This first one is my dog, Ginger, basking in the sunshine. Notice the nose twitching! She is forever scenting the air.
Link
Ginger in the Sunshine


Our first Eastern Bluebird nest finally has babies in it! They make quite a racket when dad shows up with food. Look closely at this image and you can see the chick sticking his head out!

Easter Bluebird Nest

Lastly, this male cardinal visited the other evening to singing his song.


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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, March 22, 2011

My Book Available for Kindle!

My book, Fearless, is now available for direct download via Whispernet at Amazon! Check it out!

Fearless ebook


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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, March 13, 2011

The Power of Unforgiveness

You'd think, reading that title, that I had made a mistake. Didn't I mean, "The Power of Forgiveness"? Well, I could have titled it that way, except I wanted to make a point. However, first let's read from Matthew 9.


And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. (2) And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (3) And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. (4) And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? (5) For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? (6) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. (7) And he arose, and departed to his house.

I confess I never understood Jesus' words in this story. Literally speaking, yes, it is not any easier to say one phrase over the other, but in my heart, I knew there was more to it than just that. Then the other day, I heard a well-known preacher make a statement about this passage that finally turned the light on in my own heart. (I love it when that happens!)

But first let me state, forgiveness is vital to answered prayer. We read this in Mark 11:26, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

It is found again in Matthew 5:23-24,"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." In both verses, we plainly see that before we can begin to request anything from God, we must forgive.

We find this again in James 5:15.


And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15)

Here again, like Matthew 9, listed with the prayer of faith and healing is forgiveness of sins. The question now is why? Why did it matter if Jesus said, "Rise and walk," or "Your sins are forgiven?" Why does unforgiveness hinder answered prayer?

Here is where the revelation came for me. IT HINDERS ANSWERED PRAYER, IT PREVENTS HEALING, BECAUSE IT IS THE SAME POWER THAT DOES BOTH!!

Think of it this way, if you have an electrical outlet mounted in a wall, but never hook it to any electrical wires, then you can plug in any appliance you wish - a toaster, a can opener, a space heater - and none of them will work because that outlet is not attached to any power. You can beat and pound on them until your hand hurts, but they still will not work. There is no power.

This is the effect of unforgiveness on our prayers. Forgiveness operates from the same supernatural power as healing or prosperity. The power that heals is the power that saves, the power that prospers, and the power that forgives. When we allow unforgiveness to remain in our heart, we cut off the power supply. We become just like that outlet, suddenly nothing we try works. We pray and pray and pray, but it's not that God doesn't hear us, instead we have unplugged ourselves.

This is why we are warned again and again in the New Testament against strife. (1 Cor 3:3;2 Cor 12:20;Php 2:3;Jas 3:13;Jas 3:16) To walk in the fullness of God's promises for us, we must lead our lives in peace and forgiveness. In fact, Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us to "look diligently" for peace, and 1 Peter 3:11 says to seek and pursue peace. Peace and forgiveness plug ourselves into God's great power and give Him the ability to move in our lives. Suddenly, everything works and our prayers are answered.

So ask yourself now in Jesus' words, "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" Hallelujah! Both make complete sense to me!

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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, March 10, 2011

Steve's Digicams Article - The Amazing World of Insect Photography

My March 2011 Steve's Digicams article is now online. This article is dedicated to a man who gave me my start in Macro Photography, and fostered my love for photographing Insects - Mike Ash. I encourage you to give it a read.


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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, March 8, 2011

My Book Now Available on Amazon!

My book, Fearless, my testimony of how God freed me from fear, is now available on Amazon. It is also available through Becky Combee Ministries, Inc. in ebook format (epub or mobi - Kindle). Cost is $12.

Amazon

Becky Combee Ministries, Inc.


If you have any questions, drop me a note!

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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, March 6, 2011

Circle B Reserve, Lakeland, Florida

My husband and I took a walk in this local Reserve yesterday (3/5/2011) and saw more wildlife than I have seen in years. It was an important moment in my healing because it is a location I have avoided visiting for 4 years.

I have been meditating a lot lately on the Word of God about enjoying life. My goal has always been to be able to plan to go places, look forward to going, and enjoy myself while I am there. Unless you have suffered under the weight of fear as I have, you would not understand how difficult that really is. God has given me a Scripture to stand on. The words of 1 Timothy 6:17 speak to my heart where it says God has given us "richly all things to enjoy."

Here are some of what we enjoyed yesterday. The video was taken on the marsh-side of the walk. The noise you hear are, for the most part, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. There were hundreds of them flying back and forth. However, if you looked closely you would see an innumerable species of other water birds. We even saw a Roseate Spoonbill.


My husband actually took this photograph; this family of pigs was on his side of the car.

Wild Piglet

Male Anhinga
Male Anhinga, Circle B Reserve

Blue Flag Iris
Blue Flag Iris

We probably saw all-together over 40 alligators of all sizes. We even saw two tiny babies, no more than one foot long. This one was perched on a log with several of his turtle friends.

Alligator and Turtles

Here's another one.

Alligator

This is a bird I was excited to see as it was my first in the wild.

Bittern
Bittern

Lastly, here are some of the birds at the marsh.

Snowy Egret and Pied-Billed Grebes
Grebes and Snowy Egrets

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Blue-winged Teal, male and female
Blue-winged Teal Ducks

I have many more photographs, including several landscapes of the Reserve. If you'd like to view the entire collection of photographs, you can do so here (pages 3-6).

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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.

Video: Mona Lisa Smile

This is an old song by Shelia Walsh from the 1980s. It came across my headphones the other day and I was so captured by it that I created this short video. Hope you enjoy 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.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Who do you want God to be?


Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? (36) He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? (Jn 9:35-36)
John 9 finds Jesus in the midst of a debate over the healing of a blind man. It wasn't enough that the blind man received his sight; the religious leaders had to argue over whose fault it was that the man was born blind to start with. First, they accosted the man's parents, who immediately said to ask their son. The son's reply was simple. He said, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." (v25)

You'd think that would be enough, but they pressed the man further, "Who did this and how did he do it?" (v26)

Again, the blind man responds. "I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?" (v27)

In other words, "You didn't hear me the first time! Why must I repeat it?" At this point, the leaders begin to say all types of bad things about him.

At that moment, the light of revelation comes into the blind man's heart. I can see it. I have been there. That moment when suddenly you KNOW the truth.

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. (31) Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. (32) Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. (33) If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. (Jn 9:30-33)
This brings us to the only response Jesus makes on the entire debate. The religious leaders cast the man out in continued disbelief, and Jesus steps in to talk directly to the blind man.

"Do you believe in the Son of God?" He asks.
"Who is he?" the man replies.
"I am he." Jesus states.
"I believe!" (v35-38)

Just the other day, when I was doing my daily meditation, I heard a question rise up from within my heart. It is similar to the one Jesus phrased to Peter in Mark 8:29, "Whom say ye that I am?"

My heart spoke, "WHO do you want God to be?"

It's such a simple question, yet the answer is profound. Man, in his own mind, continually acts just like those Pharisees. Even with such a great proof before us, we refuse to believe. The blind man knew God had to be behind his healing, yet the leaders of the church made fun of him. They took a moment of God's mercy and compassion and tossed it aside under their own misunderstandings. To them, none of it made any sense.

I have long said that people do not like to be wrong. I see it over and over again - men defending themselves despite their errors. "It's not mine. I didn't do it," when God just wants us to admit our sin and move on into the blessings He has prepared for us. Didn't He speak these words through the prophet Isaiah long ago?

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. (Isa 1:18-19)
Willing and obedient! The question asks again, "Who do YOU want God to be?"

The blind man wanted a God who would heal him. The woman who anointed Jesus feet wanted forgiveness. (Lk 7:38) Who is God to you? Who do you believe in?

I believe the most vital wisdom we must all obtain is who God is. We must know Him, know His power. (Php 3:10) Our faith rests in the knowledge of all the things God is. He is love. (1Jn 4:8,16) He is faithful. (Deut 7:9) He is forgiveness. (Dan 7:9;Lk 5:21) He is mercy and compassion. (Deut. 4:31;Neh 9:31) Why, like those Pharisees, cast this knowledge aside?

"God won't help me."
"God doesn't heal today."
"God can't possibly forgive HER!"

Who God is, He is to you, to me, to the world. He hasn't changed. He won't change. He is eternal. He is forever. (Mal 3:6;Deut 33:7)

Who DO you want God to be? My God is powerful. He is mighty, and full of deliverance. (Ps 29:4;Neh 9:32;Ps 50:1) My God is great; He is wise. (Ps 77:13;Ps 95:3;Job 36:5;Ro 11:33) Whatever I need, He is there to provide it. (Mt 6:8-9)

That's who God is! And I believe 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.

Story Saturdays

The deadline approaches. To receive April's book, you must be a member by midnight April 29th. The email will go out on the 30th. Thi...