Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Photographs

A few photos from around the garden this week. I've planted my snapdragon seeds, readying for winter.

Water Lilies in our Pond
Water Lily

Water Lily

Granny Birdie's Roses
Granny Birdie's Roses

Sunrises
Sunrise

Sunrises

Rainbow
Rainbow

All the rain in our area has our neighbor's pond overflowing. It's now more of a marsh. The benefit is it's full of birds. This week wood storks joined black-necked whistling ducks, greater egrets, cattle egrets, white ibis, little blue herons, and sandhill cranes. It's very noisy in the mornings, but we love it!
Our Little Marsh

Various Birds in the Marsh

If you enjoyed these photos, leave a comment!

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Suzanne D. Williams
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, September 22, 2012

Reader's Realm Contest

I have entered the September contest at the Reader's Realm and could use your vote! This is the first 200 words of the second book in the Florida Series due out next year. It sets up a pivotal character.

To vote, visit the link below and leave me a positive comment there!

Also, look for more excerpt from this book and the first book in the series beginning soon.


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Suzanne D. Williams
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, September 19, 2012

To An Extreme

For God so loved the world ... (Jn 3:16)

so-
Part of Speech: adverb
Definition: to a degree
Synonyms: extremely, indefinitely, indeterminately, infinitely, remarkably, so large, so much (Thesaurus.com)

 With one little word, the entire picture in this verse changes. It's not that God loved the world, but that He so loved it. He loved it to an extreme degree, so large, and so much.

In ourselves, we can't grasp that. Yet think of Jesus' death.He said:
No man taketh [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (Jn 10:18)
Jesus laid down his life of his own accord. It was his choice. The people couldn't take it though they tried numerous times. (1Jn 3:16;Jn 7:30;Jn 10:31,39)

This speaks to me of an extreme. If Jesus was killed because He failed in some way, because the people were stronger than him, because He was overpowered, because He fell into a trap, then where is the extreme? That makes his death ordinary, like any other thief or robber. No,it's that He gave His life. It's that the Father sent the Son, knowing He would die. It's that Jesus' submitted himself to false judgment and physical torture on purpose that makes it extreme.

Now, ask yourself. How extreme are you? God gave to the extreme. Do you live for him to the extreme? When someone speaks against Christ and the church, when someone says, 'God did this to me,' when someone discounts Christianity as unimportant, do you rise up? Do you say, "No, not my Father. Not the God of love!" (1Jn 4:8,16)

If you were in the church with Christ and the moneychangers were selling there, would you react the way he did? (Mt 21:12;Mk 11:15) Would you throw them out in front of everyone?

Christian author, Lori Roeleveld posted a blog about this issue that pierced straight to my heart. When confronted by an unsaved friend's words, she reacted to the extreme.

Once I had a friend who ran a coffee shop. We frequently had spiritual conversations but I never broached subjects that might incite him to feel guilt or fear.

One day, he said to me, “You know what I like about you, Lori? My sister’s a Christian like you but she tells me I’m going to hell. It makes me feel bad and I don’t like it. You’re a Christian, too, but you don’t bother me with stuff like that.”

I stopped with my coffee half-way to my lips and took a long look at myself in the mirror over the coffee bar before answering. “Wow, friend. I have to apologize for that – to you and to your sister – because, I do, in fact, believe you’re headed for hell.”

“What?” He exclaimed. “How can you say that?”

I ticked off the reasons on my fingers. “You don’t believe Jesus is God. You don’t believe you’re a sinner who needs forgiveness. You don’t believe you need to be saved so you won’t trust Jesus for your salvation. In my understanding, if you continue on that path, you’re headed directly to hell. Tell your sister I apologize for making her look bad by not mentioning this earlier in our relationship.”

“Hey, Lori, you’re really scaring me.” He said.

“Now, we’re getting somewhere.” I replied.

Her words convict me every time I read them. I haven't been that extreme; pray God will help me be that way more.

Yet there is another side to being extreme. Standing up for Christ is extreme, but living in the extreme promises He provided is even more extreme. He provided healing. I can live every day of my life extremely well. (Is 53:5) He provided peace. I can live every day in great peace and safety. (Jn 14:27;Ps 23:2) He provided prosperity. I can live extremely prosperous, extremely successful. (1Pe 2:24)

"But wait," you say, "I don't believe in all that."

Well, do you believe Jesus did an extreme work or not? Did He die on the cross and raise gloriously from the grave, to maybe make you well, but maybe not? Did He do all of that so you could suffer for a few years and then He might help you?

NO. That goes back to the image of God with a great 'to do' list. He's up there scanning down the page thinking, "Gee, what can I do to them today. What will teach them the most?"

That's not an extreme God. That's not SO love. That's not so much, so large, indefinitely, indeterminately, remarkably.

I asked the Lord a while back why sometimes we don't receive certain things and His response was extreme. He said, "Where are your expectations?" We only receive what we ask for, so did you ask for a cup of water or a lake?

I'm telling you today, believe to the extreme! He's an extreme God with only the best of the best planned for your life. So show it - by standing tall when the fiery darts are headed toward you, by speaking up when no one else will, by saying, "Whoa baby, look what God has done for me!"

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Suzanne D. Williams
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 17, 2012

An Ode To The Hopeless Romantic

I have a guest post today at the GNFA blog (Grace and Faith Authors). It's my thoughts on the mental shift in my life when I began writing romance novels. 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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Photographs

Surprisingly, I haven't any new photographs worth posting this week, and you might recall I didn't have any last week either, so I pull these from the past. Yet isn't that what photography is about? Tiny moments in time captured forever.

These come from an album entitled, "The Best of the Past," and they are indeed some of my favorites of years gone by. Enjoy! And feel free to leave me a comment.

Mute Swan
Mute Swan

Drifting Away, Dandelion
Drifting Away, Dandelion

Fulton's Crab House, Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida
Fulton's Crab House, Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida

Pine Trunks, Lakeland, Florida
Pine Trunks,Tenoroc Game Preserve, Lakeland, Florida

Upshoot
Upshoot

Morning Awakens
Morning Awakens, Saddle Creek Park, Lakeland, Florida

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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, September 15, 2012

Story Saturdays: Longing

This short story was in response to a writing prompt. For those who don't know, a writing prompt is a word, phrase, or thought meant to spark an idea. The idea here was "longing," and though that means many things to different people, given the release of my novel MISSING and the soon release of its sequel FOUND, I had those thoughts on my mind.

Hope you enjoy and as always, feel free to leave me a comment. If you like "Story Saturdays," I will try to pen them more often.

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It was only a weed, a daisy-like flower sprouted in the crack in the pavement. Yet I could see how it came to be there, how some bird or critter scattered the seed into that spot of soil. I saw how it stretched and grew consumin’ the air, nourishment, and water it craved ‘til it burst into flower.

He and I were like that flower. Like that one afternoon when sparks jumped between us and I knew and he knew how it’d be. Like our young love, newly wed, that only desired the next glimpse, the next touch, the next taste of each other. Like love fed and watered, which became a beautiful thing, a garden of pleasure and delight.

An’ it swept over me. I pictured him as real as he ever was - his fingers runnin’ through his dark, wavy hair as he smoothed out the cowlick, which always formed over his ear; his eyes crinkled at the corners like they was wont to do when he laughed; the salty taste of his skin as he reached for me, his callused palm caressin’ my face. My eyes stung with the image, and I mourned through tear strung lashes the memories of my past.

Bendin’ over at the waist, I plucked a flower from the weed and held it out before me. The scenes nearby faded away: the rows of flags reflected in the ebony stones, the people clustered around its base, the soldiers in their shiny uniforms pacin’ back and forth. My daughter wrapped her arm about me. My granddaughter stood at my feet. But it was he and I again and nothin’ before us but time and age and each other.

The flower wilted in my hand, its stem curlin’ over my thumb, and the years passed between us. I pressed my fingertips to the cold wall and traced each letter of his name, each curve and angle a symbol of who he was then and who he remained to be. Then those forty-five years he’d been missin’ seemed like nothin’ at all. Nothin’ against the size of the space he occupied in my heart.

My daughter squeezed my shoulder and laid her head against my cheek. “They’ll find him,” she said. “They’ll find him, Mama, and he’ll come home.”

‘An I believed her.

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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, September 12, 2012

Steve's Digicams: Romance in Photography

My September 2012 Steve's Digicams article is now online. In this one, I take a romantic look at the art behind photographs. Hope you enjoy it, and as always, leave me a comment. I love to hear from readers.


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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 10, 2012

Author Interview: Suzanne D. Williams

I am privileged to have an author interview online at the Reader's Realm. Check out what I had to say about writing, books, and life in general. Leave a comment to win a copy of my book MISSING.


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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, September 5, 2012

MISSING - DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

My book, MISSING, is a FREE download for Kindle ereaders September 5th and 6th. Spread the word!


Missing-FRONT


Here's an excerpt:(This portion from the first story “Vietnam War”)

Seating herself on the front stoop, Adele leaned back between his knees and balanced the photo album in her lap, Stephen's breath blowing gently on her neck.
The photo album opened with a crackle. “This is John and I.” Her finger pointed to a photo of a cute little girl in a plaid dress seated in a red wagon, bouncy curls framing her face. A dark-headed boy tugged the handle.
Who was this? A brother? He inhaled the faint scent of her perfume.
“John and I grew up together.” Adele paused, her voice hesitant. She flipped the page.
Not a brother.
A rock formed in Stephen’s gut. The next two photos must have been taken in high school. Adele and John wore formal attire. Prom? Or Homecoming? On the shoulder of her dress was pinned a huge orchid corsage, and John’s arm wrapped around her shoulders.
In the other photo, they lay in a field of grass looking skyward. Adele held a flower between her fingers and John … Stephen swallowed. John looked across at her with such tenderness, such … love.
Who had taken that photo? A friend?
Her voice cracked. “When we turned eighteen, we married. It was almost expected.”
Married. He started, stunned, and his heartbeat pounded loudly in his ears. Why didn’t I think of that?
“I’m sorry. I just couldn’t tell you. It is still painful. You see, He went to Vietnam and never came home. He is missing.” Her finger stroked along the edge of the page, slowly tracing the curve of his jaw.
Stephen watched spellbound. Her hand pressed flat against John’s chest as if grasping for what wasn’t there, and she trembled.
He gulped. Here was her love for another man. Her husband.
How could this be?
With a sigh, she again turned the page. In this photo, she wore a long, white gown. Her face shone radiant, and John clutched her waist, his face buried in her neck.
Shaking, Stephen moved his gaze to the opposite page where a photograph of two hands displayed shiny gold bands atop a bed of creamy lace.
“I love him,” she said.
His heart sagged.
 “I will always love him. I love him like the protector, the best friend, he is. He is so wise, so strong.”
Is. Stephen’s blood swished in his ears.
It all made sense now - her hesitation, her discomfort at the mention of Vietnam, her inability to talk. Here was Adele’s devotion and longing.
His blood ran cold. I love his wife. I kissed his wife.
Once again, she flipped the page, and Stephen flinched. What is it? What do I see?

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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, September 2, 2012

Sunday Photographs

It's funny how it works, but some weeks I simply don't find any photographs to take. I tried for a sunrise earlier in the week but it was so "blah" I didn't post it anywhere. Then today, the day I would usually post my Sunday Photographs, I walk out and find so much. So these are fresh pictures barely out of my camera. Enjoy!

The Sunrise
Sunrise

Sunrise closer in
Golden Sunrise

Sandhill Crane flying into the sun
Sandhill Crane in the Sunrise

Powder Puff
Powder Puff

Powder Puff

All the rain this summer has done two things in my yard: brought in the birds (as evidenced in the video at the bottom) and hatched out more frogs. This is a finger-nailed sized green tree frog on a porch post of my house.

Juvenile Green Tree Frog

This video is of our distant neighbor's pond. The birds you hear are black-bellied whistling ducks. There were also glossy ibis, white ibis, cattle egrets, and a pair of sandhill cranes present.


Hope you enjoyed these. As always, feel free to leave 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.

Story Saturdays

This month's FREE BOOK to email subscribers will be a recent release under my pen name, Josephine McCutcheon . This is a line of swee...