Winter’s Composition (Thursday’s Foto Fun Link-In)

© 2013 I.K.Hadinger
© 2013 I.K.Hadinger

The roses are dead now, so we can’t stop to smell them.

It’s cold outside, and you’d think it’s bedlam!

Yet beauty can be seen, a.m. or p.m.

By venturing out to shoot winter’s welcome!

 

This photo was shot near my home, at a local park just a hop off a well traveled road. I love this photo because of it’s serenity and beauty. And because I could write a poem about it. 😉

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Want to join in on the Foto Fun Link-In? Here are Tammy’s rules:

Share a photo you took.  No cheating!

G-rated (breaking this will get you kicked off the island)

Tell why you love it.

Visit another link-in blogger and make a comment. (My note: still working on a link-it button to make this do-able).

 

 

 

Time & Presence = Priceless Gifts

Half our family left the nest years ago; we were six, now we are three.

Last month, one came by train from the east, another by plane from the west. The oldest one currently lives fifteen minutes away.

The joy of spending time with them was immeasurable. Evidence of their presence was everywhere…

Michael’s keys dropped on the table as he came in…

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Joey’s tradition of doing the yearly, large crossword puzzle…

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And Jon gently strumming his guitar and singing softly…

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They came for Christmas, but not merely for the gifts. The gift of presence was worth more than the presents.

Christmas was special because we spent time with each other, together as a family.

They’ve all gone back now, each one to their own life. I miss them.

I miss the keys on the table, the strum of the guitar, and the, “hey, what’s a six letter word for…?” called out to anyone nearby.

They are busy about their lives (as they should be!) yet I wish they’d be back sitting around our table.

This, I realise, is how God feels about me, too. He loves when I spend time with him, at his table. Even when I am busy about my life, his Spirit is with me, but what he especially longs for are the times spent wholly in his presence, when I make the effort to stop and be with him.

When I am confused, time in his presence gives me clarity; when I’m discouraged, he knows it and lifts my spirits during quiet moments with him. Like David, I say,

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalms 16:11)

This is so, because I am his child; he is my heavenly Father. I have found – and keep finding –  refreshing for my soul in his presence.

You can too. His presence is a priceless gift – if you take the time.

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

Time, for me

time_clockFor the first time ever, I’m joining the OneWord365 party. Late, but that’s okay! Time and it’s essence are flexible, at least in this case.

This “OneWord365” movement had caught my attention in the past when noticing friends blogging or posting Facebook statuses about it.

The idea, for those who are clueless, live in a bubble, are anti social-media, or only follow sports (heh), is to choose one word at the beginning of each year in lieu of making resolutions, and see how that one word can affect our life, i.e. decisions, attitude, goals, relationships, etc.

Some of my blogging friends chose words for 2014 like joy, fulfill, and words.

For the past week or so, even before considering hopping onto this OneWord bandwagon, the word ‘time’ has been reverberating within me. Perhaps reading through the Book of Ecclesiastes four times since the beginning of the year may have something to do with that? My one word for 2014, therefore, is “time”.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Like you, I have no idea what this year will hold for us. However, we do have certain plans, and that includes our move back to Mexico, because it is time.

My husband will be weaned off his anti-seizure medication, because, in answer to prayer, his neurologist had told him it is time.

And though none of us know what other events will significantly mark this year, we can know and trust the One who does:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Psalm 62:8

My times are in your hand.  Psalm 31:15

And with that trust comes the assurance that even through life’s unfavourable circumstances that (may) (will?) come our way, God can turn them into something beautiful.

“God makes every thing beautiful in his time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Do you have a word for 2014?

Discover Your Goals, Don’t Make Them

Path of a New Day ©I.K.Hadinger
Path of a New Day ©I.K.Hadinger

In life, work, or in ministry, we all make goals. Some of those succeed, some don’t.

Unexpected circumstances can take those beautifully crafted, well thought out goals and toss them overboard from our smoothly sailing life. It may happen in one swift twist of fate or perhaps through a wearisome, drawn out battle. Either way, you find yourself off course and in tumultuous waters.

Will it be caused by an illness, an accident, a loss, or perhaps by someone else’s actions?

Frustration at its finest as you kiss your well made goals goodbye.

What if we opted for a better way?

Goals are discovered, not made. God delights in showing us exciting new alternatives for the future.” Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

This year, shall we try to discover our goals rather than make and cement them?

We can, through building Godly character, with eyes set on our Maker.

A discovery conceived from faith-conviction and incubated in meditative reflection. A discovery that doesn’t fear silence as it focuses on Scripture.

Goals discovered through willed obedience.

For the end of the matter is this: fear God and keep His commandments, for all else is vanity and striving after wind (Book of Ecclesiastes). May God delight you as He helps you discover your goals.

Happy New Year.

 

I Hurt

©2013, I.K.Hadinger
©2013, I.K.Hadinger

Two words we humans find so difficult to say…to one another…when it is real.

“I hurt.”

Not physical pain, for that is easy to communicate. Emotional or mental pain is not.

Instead, we use other phrases like, “it’s been hard,” or “I’m struggling,” because they seem more palatable.

Less vulnerable, really.

Safer.

Smiles and friendly conversation, those seasoned deceivers, trap the truth within.

The fragility inside is guarded well from those who would mishandle it. Yet revealed it must be to those who could help heal it.

But…To whom? is a fearful pondering.

When? and How? are other puzzling queries.

Together they shout in agonizing silence.

If you are hurting today, I pray you’ll find your “whom” and “when” and “how.”

I pray for strength and courage. I pray for God to intervene.

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!”  Psalm 119:25, 28

© 2013, I.K.Hadinger
© 2013, I.K.Hadinger

 

Fall, Downward

Fall, Downward

Fall, Downward – © I.K.Hadinger

I love this photo because I love the place! Perspective, autumn colours, and a cool touch of water are all pleasing to the eye. Shot at the Rocky River Nature Center (Ohio), one of my faves to visit when we return to the area, especially in the autumn.

One of the many things I will miss upon our soon return to Mexico.

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(This is part of the Foto Fun Thursday Link-In, started by Tammy over at www.missionarytrek.com). Link to the link-in coming asap. 😉

 

Foto Fun Thursday – Anticipation

My friend Tammy over at Missionary Trek has started a photo link-in party on Thursdays. I thought I’d jump in today with a photo I took in Hungary that I love.

I call it Anticipation.

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©I.K.Hadinger

I love the look of expectancy on the child’s face as he waits (for what seems an eternity) for the ball to enter his sphere of engagement. He keeps his eye on the prize, knowing soon he will get his reward. Listen close, I think you can hear his squeal of delight.

I wonder how my life would be different if I lived the way this boy plays?

That’ll preach.

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I Grieved a Hero I Loved (but never knew)

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Heroes Square, Budapest, Hungary

Standing in the warming sun, I leaned against the railing in the center of Hősök Tere (Heroes Square), Budapest, camera in hand. My interest was in the cenotaph (a memorial similar to the tomb of the unknown soldier) just a few feet away.

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Cenotaph in Heroes Square

“To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence.”

Around me, tourists began arriving by the hundreds, covering the vast square in kaleidoscopic pattern – some in large groups led by guides with microphone in hand and speaker slung around their shoulder, some walking hand in hand with their sweetheart, and others like us, a group of foreigners admiring our surroundings and snapping photos, independently of one another.

It was there, in the middle of a crowd and of my desire to capture memories that a wave of grief suddenly and surprisingly washed through me for a hero I loved, but never knew.

Karl and Ilona Stadler
Karl and Ilona Stadler – my grandparents.

That hero was my grandfather.

He was not a soldier; he was a border patrol official in charge of the trains passing through the town of Hegyeshalom, on the Austrian border.

My grandfather gave his life for helping others escape to freedom from the Communist oppression of Hungary in the 1950’s.

And for the first time in my life, standing in front of the heroes memorial, I cried for him.

I cried for my loss of never hearing his voice or looking into his eyes, for never sitting on his lap or hearing him laugh, for never being held in his arms or smelling his cologne.

I cried also for my grandmother, and for my mother and her sisters.

I cried for the painful and personal hell through which they each lived suffered and survived: the separation, the imprisonment, the beatings, the fears that should never have been in their childhood, the loss of their home and family security, their harrowing escape, and their threadbare life in a refugee camp.

My trip to Hungary earlier this month began as a missions trip to help build a church in Szigetszentmiklos. It ended on a mission to re-build my family’s history, find answers to many questions, and document my heritage for my children and their future children.

But mostly, to show how God’s thread of redemption pulled together tattered and torn patches of humanity to create an eternally meandering quilt.

I invite you back for the unfolding story.

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Q&A with Elisabeth Corcoran, author of Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage

Like most people, I hate divorce; I hate what it does to every individual directly involved in it and to everyone else indirectly touched by it. Yet that hasn’t changed the fact that people in my life – relatives, friends, even fellow ministers and missionaries – have experienced the painful, unexpected, sometimes unwanted but always ugly, process of divorce.

It is especially difficult when divorce occurs within the Christian faith context that teaches that marriage is to be “as long as they both shall live.”  (This is the Biblical position I believe and advocate.) The hurdle for me and other women who share this same conviction is learning  how to respond and minister to our broken and hurting sisters in Christ whose marriages have been torn apart or are currently unraveling – especially when abuse is a factor.

To help us jump that hurdle, I’ve invited author Elisabeth Corcoran for a Q&A based on her latest title releasing today:  Unraveling: Hanging on to Faith Through the End of A Christian Marriage.

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IKH: What counsel would you give women living in an abusive or addiction-filled marriage?

EC: I would tell her that she’s not alone.  Because being a Christian woman in this kind of marriage can be very isolating.  I would advise her to do one if not all of the following:

  • If she or her children are physically or sexually unsafe, to leave and find a safe place to stay.
  • Find a Christian counselor.
  • If not attending a Bible-believing church, find one.
  • If not in a small group Bible study, get in one.
  • Try AlAnon or Celebrate Recovery.
  • Pray for a mentor.
  • If there is someone on your church leadership team that you trust and that you believe understands the dynamics of your kind of difficult marriage, prayerfully share your story and ask for help.
  • Be willing to do what they ask you to do.  But also, test their counsel against Scripture and listen to the Holy Spirit.  Getting varied wise counsel is a hugely smart thing to do, especially when you’re in the vulnerable place of being in a hard marriage,  but remember that you have been given a spirit of a sound mind and you are allowed to make decisions for yourself.
  • Make no decisions quickly or out of fear or anger.
  • Stay close to God.  Ask him to walk you through this.  Ask him to bring people, groups and resources into your life that can help you.  Ask him to give you a teachable spirit and a brave heart.

IKH: How can churches become a safer place for troubled marriages/divorcees?

EC: This is such an important issue to me.  I believe there are two ideas that the Church must understand and embrace.  One, that domestic abuse is not just a black eye, but that it includes emotional abuse, manipulation, control, etc.  Abuse is not just physical.  And secondly, that there is a huge difference between a regular kind of blah marriage or a normal marriage with everyday problems and a marriage that is abusive or fraught with addiction; and these kinds of marriages should not be treated with the same advice across the board.

Also, women need to be believed.  For the most part, I believe that by the time a woman has come to her church for help, she’s tried everything else to fix her marriage, and that usually, it’s not that she’s exaggerating…she might not even be telling you the full picture because she’s afraid of what you’ll think of her or her husband.  So if she tells you she thinks she’s being mistreated or her husband might have an addiction, take her seriously.

IKH: What is your view of marriage, and has it changed because of your experience?

EC: Ironically, I think my view of marriage has gotten stronger and sharper.  I’m not just a proponent of Christian marriages staying together forever no matter what.  I’m an advocate for Christian marriages to thrive and be beautiful because they are supposed to be examples of the relationship between Christ and the Church. I think we’re selling Christian marriage short, and we shouldn’t be settling for just slogging through it until we die.

IKH: What is the purpose of the book (why did you write it)?

EC: I wrote this book for every woman who finds herself going through a divorce, either one she initiated or one that has taken her completely by surprise.  I want these women to know that they’re not alone, that there is grace, that they will make it to the other side, that beauty will come from their pain, and that God’s love for them hasn’t stopped.

IKH: How is God restoring you?

EC: There have been sort of two ways that I’ve seen God restore me.  I think he has restored my heart in the ways that you would expect: time alone to cry or watch movies or reading the Bible or journaling or when friends would send me notes or bring me chocolate or whatever.

And I think that God has been restoring my life though by allowing me the seriously great privilege of reaching out to other women who are hurting.  I led a small group of separated and divorced women in my home this summer, going through a book together.  I meet with women one-on-one when they ask me to.  I write on my blog.  I moderate two private Facebook groups for women who are in difficult Christian marriages and who are separated or divorced.  I just went with a friend today who got divorced…prayed with her before, sat with her during, cried with her and hugged her after.  I still can’t believe that he lets me do these things…that he allows me the honor of coming alongside women who have been where I was (where I sometimes still totally am) and says, “Okay, I comforted you…now go pass some of that along…”  It’s been a really beautiful season of my life, in the midst of the hard.  Which is pretty much how God works, when we let him.

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1370436_10201930041914958_927578410_nElisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, along with several other books, who speaks several times a month to women’s groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers’ Guild.

During her time at Christ Community Church’s Blackberry Creek Campus in Aurora, Illinois she began and led their women’s ministry for ten years prior to moving to the city’s Orchard Community Church. She lives with her children in Illinois.

Visit her online at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/difficult-marriage-divorce/ or https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran.

She is the moderator of two private Facebook groups: one for women in difficult Christian marriages, and one for Christian women who are separated or divorced.

Email her at elisabethkcorcoran@gmail.com if interested in joining.

Unraveling can be purchased at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/po3ek2w.

Lilies of the Pond

Graceful

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Beautiful

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Elegant

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Peaceful

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Winsome

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Placid

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Thank you, Creator God.

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed,and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation , plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11,12

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All photos © I.K.Hadinger 2013

To order prints, leave a comment.

To see my still growing portfolio, go to www.ikhadingerphotography.com