Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life hits the pause button

This has been one of the busiest, and most stressful, years that I have ever had. We have lots of things to do to be ready for the Arena cutover, and we were supposed to do our final export of our data from our old system today.

Yesterday it started snowing very early. By noon the snow was getting so bad that we closed the office and sent everyone home due to snow, a first for me. Remember, we live in southern california... We live at an elevation around 4000 feet, so we usually get a snow or two each year, but never anything quite like this. In talking with others around here, it hasn't snowed like this in 30 years.

We woke up today to a winter wonderland, with between 14 and 24 inches of snow everywhere. We played in the snow early, took pictures, and had a wonderful time. Then a little later we build a snowman, a big one (taller than Patty), in our front yard. Then around 4pm a friend came by in his 4x4 (snow had been melting, making our house accessible, although I still don't know if I can get the jeep out of my driveway, it's rather buried in snow). We built a killer sled run with our friends and finished the day out sledding. I'm really tired, and rather sore, but this has been a fantastic day.

In the middle of all the stress, in the midst of all the busyness, in the hectic hustle and bustle of the season, God called a time out. And we got to play in the snow.



Monday, December 8, 2008

One Roll of Velvia

One roll of Velvia is all it took to remind me in glorious color why I still shoot film.

One roll of Velvia is all it took to remind me what breathtaking photos really look like.

One roll of Velvia is all it took to remind me why I take the time to work with a film scanner.

One roll of film brought back all the passion, all the joy, and all the love of photography.

One roll of film also reminded me how important the photofinisher is, as a few frames were badly scratched... Grrrrr!

But one roll of film, what a glorious roll it was!


More thoughts from the little flowers

This book is very interesting. It reads like legend, and seems to exaggerate things quite often. Still, there are good lessons to be learned and pondered from the text. When I talk about legend, it is passages like this one that stand out:

"Inasmuch as the faithful servant of Christ, St. Francis, was in certain things almost another Christ"

That is, to be frank, way over the top for me. But then this is a style of literature I don't normally read...

The next chapter retells a journey of St. Francis and Friar Leo, in which they discuss what perfect joy is. To Francis, perfect joy is to experience a hint of the suffering of Christ. He rejects all the things of life in return for suffering, and claims that perfect joy would be to arrive at the end of their journey and suffer unjustly for the love of Christ. While I think there is a certain pride at work in the asceticism. the key point that perfect joy is only found in Christ is rock solid.

Why do we think the things of this world will satisfy? Why do we boast of our own talents and abilities, when they are nothing without Christ? This book is a good reminder that without Christ, we are nothing.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pondering the little flowers (revised for clarity)

I'm currently reading the little flowers of St. Francis of Assisi. It's a small little book that reads a bit like Christian legend. Interesting stuff. One thing that I've been pondering:

Francis was raising money to repair physical church buildings. He also was collecting stone and such. At one point a man he had bought stone from came back to him (knowing that Francis had money) and demanded more money for the stone he had sold. The text uses something like "with avarice in his heart" so it was clear that at least in the mind of Francis the man was being dishonest. Despite this, Francis paid him God used that in Sylvester's life. The text reads:

"Then St. Francis, marveling at his [Sylvester's] greed and not wishing to contend with him, as a true follower of the Holy Gospel, put his hands into the bosom of Bernard and, having filled them with money, put them into the bosom of Sylvester, saying that if he wanted more he would give him more. Sylvester, being content with that which he had received, departed and went to his house. In the evening, thinking over what he had done during the day and considering the zeal of Bernard and the sanctity of St. Francis, he repented of his avarice. That night and on the two following nights, he had a vision from God, in which he beheld how from the mouth of St. Francis issued a cross of gold, the top of which reached to heaven, and arms of which extended from the East all the way to the West. By reason of this vision he gave away all that he had for the love of God and became a minor friar, and he was of such holiness and grace in the Order, that he spoke with God even as one friend speaks with another, as St. Francis many time attested, and as shall be described in what follows."


How should we interact with someone who rips us off? I know the little flowers aren't scripture, but I've been pondering this lately due to something that happened to me personally. Should we confront someone who rips us off? Should we take them to court? (scripture is clear on that one, at least if they are a believer, and has another process outlined in matthew 18) Should we just ignore it?

Food for thought, no conclusions here...