Friday, June 29, 2012

Conversation With God - Suspension

"Whoa, God! I am NOT going out there."

"Suzanne, I am with you."

"But God, just look! There's nothing to stand on."

"Exactly."

"What do you mean, 'exactly'? How am I to survive without something beneath my feet?"

"By holding my hand, Suzanne."

"Your hand. Don't get me wrong, God. I like holding your hand, but how will that help me walk?"

"Because you'll stop relying on yourself."

"Say I believe you-and I'm still deciding, mind you-if I don't rely on myself, then what is left?"

"I am."

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Genesis 28:15)

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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 27, 2012

Dealing With The Amish

It was unexpected.

There I was bored, flipping channels (it's amazing how one can have hundreds of channels and still find nothing to watch) when I came across this new series: Amish: Out of Order.

"Oh, that'll be dull," I thought. After all, there is this whole Amish-fiction book craze going on, and I don't understand that either.

What? You don't believe me? Type "Amish fiction" into any search engine and watch what happens. Go ahead. I'll wait....

See?


Now don't get me wrong. I am not prejudiced against the Amish. But I since I am not one, I don't see the point. Or so I thought.

I poised that night, my finger on the channel button, ready to move on, when some elusive something caught my attention, and three episodes later, I was hooked.

That show changed my mind about the Amish, but not perhaps in the way you're thinking. I'm more confused by the Amish-book craze than ever. Could it be that those authors haven't watched this show? Did they speak with any Amish or ex-Amish?

For even the narrator of the show, an ex-Amish himself, discovered that their beliefs are greatly varied. He grew up in Missouri, where leaving the Amish means ex-communication. He left at age nineteen, and his father never spoke to him again before his death. He writes to his mother, but she doesn't write back. Yet when he visited the most well-known area of Amish culture, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he was told the youth there never leave home. They have no reason because they are allowed so much more freedom.

It's impossible for someone like me, who grew up so far outside of that culture, to identify herself with it enough to create characters and write story lines, especially when the people who have lived it are so unsure about their own past. Now, I am not saying yea or nay about the Amish. However, I learned something valuable by watching that program. I learned I was woefully ignorant, and reaffirmed my need to avoid reading Amish fiction. But most of all, I learned the power of honesty.

Here was a man speaking from his heart. He took on the show despite the hate mail he knew he'd receive and determined to make a difference in the lives of those who were in his shoes. He openly admitted his misgivings, even after all his years of being outside the Amish. I can only respect that.

In his own words:

Finally, and I will make this short, there is the 4th piece. Me. To make a long story short, it is extremely difficult to get an Amish or ex Amish person to agree to go on camera. It is even more difficult to convince them to continue to stick around long enough to make a nice story of them and there life. My commitment to sticking with this project until the finish was a thing of beauty, even if I do say so myself. Even with my full time job at the dealership, filming every night and weekend, time and time again, having friends criticize my decision to “expose” the Amish culture, I did what I believe the Lord led me to do. That was put this show into his hands, do it the best, most honest and sincere way possible, and trust that it will be well received by viewers. I remember at one particularly difficult time during the show, after a particular dose of criticism, I was asked “why”? Why am I doing this? What drives me.
My reasons are hard to explain, but the short of my answer was this. If I can change or influence in a positive way, any one person’s life with this show, if I can lead just one more person to God, or if I can inspire just one person to make his or her life better, then I have accomplished my mission. I am very proud to say that that mission has been accomplished many times over. I did what and more then I set out to do. The show and the feedback exceeded what I hoped for. My mission is complete…… Or is 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.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday's Photographs

Only one image this week, but it's one which reminds me of God's promise to mankind, and He has never failed to keep His word.

This image is 2 photographs stitched together in Photoshop. Click here to see a full size version.
Rainbow

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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 to purchase the 2nd story in the Amanda Series, Playing With Fire. Available at Smashwords and Amazon for only 99cents. And check out my BOGO deal! Buy this story at either location, then send me an email with the invoice number and date of purchase and I'll send you a free Smashwords coupon to download the 1st story in the series, It All Began With A Salad!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Conversation With God - Sorrow

Weeping.

"Suzanne. What's wrong?"

"It hurts, God. It hurts so bad! I can't quit crying."

"Come, sit with me for a while ... There now. Lean on me, and I will make it better."

"You will? But I heard a preacher say you didn't see tears."

"I see faith, Suzanne. But I never want you to have heartache and pain."

"But ..."

"No 'buts', Suzanne. What did Jesus say? Read Luke 4:18."

"Ok. Here goes ... The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised ... Wow, God. That covers everything. But I don't understand."

"What don't you understand?"

"If you see faith, but I'm sad, then I probably don't have any faith."

"You cannot have faith without having all the fruit of the Spirit, and joy is one of those fruit. Without joy, you will also not have hope. Hope is an important step in your faith."

"Oh, so when I'm sad, you will pick me up? Just like that?"

"Suzanne, anytime you feel sad, you need only seek me, and I will come and we will spend time together."

"You know what, God?"

"What, Suzanne?"

"You're holy. You're mighty. You're more than enough. You're the Alpha and Omega. You're the beginning and the end. You're higher and greater and stronger than anything I face. You're wonderful. You're ..."

(Psalms 27:8) When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”




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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 to purchase the 2nd story in the Amanda Series, Playing With Fire. Available at Smashwords and Amazon for only 99cents. And check out my BOGO deal! Buy this story at either location, then send me an email with the invoice number and date of purchase and I'll send you a free Smashwords coupon to download the 1st story in the series, It All Began With A Salad!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Of Judgment

I have always considered myself to be a fair-minded person. In fact, my husband often tells me to stop defending people. However, when the following video came across my screen yesterday, I realized how far I have yet to go.

I clicked on it strictly because the boy looked odd, and formed an immediate opinion, only to have myself proved totally wrong. Now, before I proceed with my thoughts, I ask you to stop here and watch the video and then return.


You are now probably doing the same thing I was. In fact, it affected me so much, I watched it again. There is a saying, which has become trite with use. "Never judge a book by its cover." Applying this to actual books, I have read books I did not like that had great covers and books that had poor covers, but great content. I have read books with titles that misled me; I opened their pages thinking I'd receive one thing and yet what I got was another. There have also been expensive books, not worth the dime, and inexpensive ones worth their weight in gold. One of my favorite stories to date, was regularly 99 cent and given free for two days.

Jesus also spoke of judgment. He said in Matthew:

(Mt 7:1-5)  Judge not, that ye be not judged.  (2)  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  (3)  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  (4)  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  (5)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

And again in John:

(Jn 7:24)  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Now this hits the nail squarely on the head. Isn't that what you just did? You saw that boy and decided for yourself his life, his thoughts, not knowing what was in him. His own parents did not know what he was capable of.

I will let this be a lesson to me. Only God knows the heart of man. (;1Sa 16:7;Ps 44:21) It is not my job or yours to decide for another the path they walk. People sometimes make bad decisions, doing things we do not agree with. Our job as the body of Christ is to love them anyway, to pray for them and leave God to affect the rest.


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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, June 10, 2012

Sunday Photographs

This week I will let the photo speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Giant Swallowtail
Giant Swallowtail

Grasshopper
Grasshopper on Black-eyed Susans

Sunrise on my front porch
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.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Conversation With God - Anger



"I am SO MAD! I CANNOT BELIEVE he said that to me! The NERVE! It's always the same old thing. Over and over again. I can't TAKE IT anymore!"

"Suzanne."

"I mean, HONESTLY. Where are MY rights? He thinks he can just waltz right in here, say what he wants, and I'm supposed to just stand around and listen?"

"Suzanne."

"Oh ... who? ... what? .. Oh, hello, God. Did you speak?"

"Yes. You need to forgive him."

"FORGIVE? FORGIVE? Buzz. Wrong answer, God. Didn't you see what he did?"

"Of course."

"Oh yeah, right! You see EVERYTHING. How can you ask me to forgive him after what he's done?"

"The forgiveness is for you, Suzanne."

"For me? But I didn't DO anything. He's the one who ..."

"That's my point. Your anger is doing damage to yourself as well as to your relationships."

"It is?"

"Yes. Bitterness is a root in your life that will affect everyone around you, and it will eventually come between us. I don't want that for you."

"Oh. I guess not. Me either. I'd hate to not hear your voice anymore."

"Then you need to forgive."

"But what if he does it AGAIN?"

"Maybe you should read Psalm 55."

"Psalm 55, let's see ... Wow, God. Verse 21 really gets to me. That's how I felt. It was like he said those things and they sounded good, but they hurt so bad."

"Keep reading."

"Ok, Verse 22 says, 'Cast your burden on the Lord.' God?"

"Yes, Suzanne?"

"I'm going to do that. This is too much for me anyhow."

"Thanks, Suzanne."

"Thanks?"

"Yes, for obeying. I'm proud of you."

[My companion] has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; he has broken and profaned his agreement [of friendship and loyalty]. (21) The words of his mouth were smoother than cream or butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. (22) Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). (Ps 55:20-22 AMP)

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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, June 3, 2012

Sunday Photographs

Only two photographs this week. The first is an American Lady butterfly which visited my garden.

American Lady Butterfly

We had a rainy day on Friday and I found this tiny bee resting on the petals of a Black-eyed Susan. Shallow depth of field made this a particularly hard shot, so I had a lot of misses. But it was worth it for this one success.

Unknown Bee Species on Black-eyed Susan

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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 to purchase the 2nd story in the Amanda Series, Playing With Fire. Available at Smashwords and Amazon for only 99cents. And check out my BOGO deal! Buy this story at either location, then send me an email with the invoice number and date of purchase and I'll send you a free Smashwords coupon to download the 1st story in the series, It All Began With A Salad!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Steve's Digicams - May and June 2012

I have a two-fer today. Since my May article was late in posting, it now appears along with June's article. Enjoy!

May - What Happened To Photography?
June - The Aperture Effect

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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 to purchase the 2nd story in the Amanda Series, Playing With Fire. Available at Smashwords and Amazon for only 99cents. And check out my BOGO deal! Buy this story at either location, then send me an email with the invoice number and date of purchase and I'll send you a free Smashwords coupon to download the 1st story in the series, It All Began With A Salad!

Conversation With God - Love

"Hey God."

"Yes, Suzanne."

"What's up with people? I mean, it seems like everyone nowadays wants to do anything they choose and then say it's okay."

"Yes, I suppose it does seem that way."

"But why do they do that? Take Jill for instance, she thinks ..."

"Why don't you let me take care of Jill?"

"Oh right. Sorry, God. I'll do that. But what about what the government said? It sure seems like the government has made some bad decisions too. It's all over the news, you know."

"I knew it way before they did."

"Oh. Yeah, I guess you did. Never thought of it like that. Doesn't it upset you?"

"Of course, because I love them so very much."

"Despite all they're saying about you? Despite how they ignore you and do what they choose?"

"Despite all of that."

"Wow. I want to be more like you. I get so mad sometimes. There was this girl on Facebook who said ... and then a bunch of people agreed with her."

"I know, but I love her anyway."

"But God. What if she lives her ENTIRE life thinking like that?"

"You could pray for her."

"I guess I could. I forgot. Guess I was too mad she'd posted that."

"You could pray for the government too."

"Gosh, God. That's hard. I'm not sure I believe in the government anymore."

"But Suzanne, if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

"Even though they're so wrong?"

"Even then. You only have to ask."

"I, the LORD, am the one speaking to you. Come, let's discuss this. Even if your sins are as dark as red dye, that stain can be removed and you will be as pure as wool that is as white as snow. If you listen to what I say, you will get the good things from this land." (Isaiah 1:18-19 ERV)

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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

This month's FREE BOOK has been selected. For email subscribers only, I will send a download link to a copy of STEELE (Billionaire Boys...