Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Uneasy Times

For several days I have felt a very disturbing uneasiness--a foreboding.

This is a time, I want to say, that is unprecedented in American history, but since I am not a scholar of that history, I can't really declare that with accuracy. I can accurately say, however, that this is an unprecedented time in my history as an American.

America is on the edge of a dangerous precipice, that, if the re-election of our current President occurs, will push her over into the abyss of tyranny so many have shed blood to protect her from. 

We will no longer be the country of the Declaration of Independence. It will be as Thomas Jefferson warned when he wrote, "The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who would not."

If there is no Democracy, what then? The tyranny of big government. The reason for the American Revolution.

Have you ever had your house broken into? Have you been robbed? Have you been mugged on the street for anything of value you might have? It leaves you feeling violated and fearful, doesn't it?

Government will mug you, take what you worked for, and leave you feeling violated. Nothing new, right? Just wait.

To add to that, Muslim terrorists chose the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack to invade the American embassy in Libya, torturing and murdering the ambassador, along with 3 other American servicemen. No one in our current administration wants to call this an act of war though.

Is it because not enough Americans were killed this time? Is it because the attack was not within US borders? Is it because we have an ineffective leader in the White House? You bet we do, and apparently he knows that's how Americans feel right about now.

Word got out a couple of days ago that the Obama's have a Hawaiian retirement mansion, valued at $35,000,000, available January 2013. Nice friends the Obama's have, to redistribute their wealth and buy their friends such a fancy gift. If not for them, the moving vans would be heading from the White House, back to Chicago.

So we have the ruination of the country of the Declaration of Independence, and rampant radical Muslims on an insane mission to kill people that disagree with them (after their Friday prayers, of course) and that no one in our government seems to be willing to do anything about; not even protect its own people.

Stop a second. You know what's worse than all this? People I know and love are fighting cancer. In a couple of weeks, our friend and my husband's cousin are both undergoing bilateral mastectomy in the battle against breast cancer. And Leland, who has previously had malignant melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, had 2 more skin biopsies last week. Thank God, they were benign, but unnerving to both of us, nonetheless.

Fear. All around us, prowling around, looking to consume us. I feel vulnerable; hyper-sensitive to the negativity all over the world.

Stop. Breathe.

Listen. There is a quiet voice within, God's spirit, speaking the truth.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear... -I John 4:18

...set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. -Colossians 3:1-2

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding -Proverbs 3:5

And when we step back out into the fray, I suppose we might do well to take Mr. Jefferson's advice along:

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”  

Peace to you--have a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm Still Here!

To say, it's been busy, is an understatement. What a great thing to be putting into words!

It was just a month ago I was listening to the deafening silence, waiting.....

Since then, Leland and I have made some business decisions, consulted our attorney regarding those decisions, and have seen a dramatic turn in the type of client and work they have brought to us.

So, here are the reasons I have not been consistently blogging here:

  • I am now partner in Leland On Location Photographic Images, Inc., soon to be legally so, we hope. I am taking an active role as CFO, co-creative, and chief troublemaker. Okay, so that last one isn't a new role for me...shut up.
  • I've been blogging HERE, and have made our company blog my top priority. Since I believe so strongly in my husband's talents and abilities, it is really fun for me to choose a photo and blog his story around it. He rocks.
  • I'm still working part-time in retail hell. Counting the days until my $8/hour (before taxes) wage no longer makes a significant contribution to the family finances. Angel choirs will sing. 
  • I'm in wedding countdown with my daughter, Laurie, and the rest of the fam. We're SO excited!
  • On a more somber note, Leland and I have a good friend, and a cousin, both diagnosed with breast cancer and both undergoing bilateral mastectomy in just a couple weeks. This has so unnerved me (imagine how they feel) that I've found it hard to concentrate and focus.

Here's the story on that breakthrough I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Last week, we traveled to the Charlotte area to photograph a power generating facility for an international client. This is such an answer to prayer for several reasons: we have been praying and working toward winning a higher caliber of clientele; they had a dream shoot list that included aerials, exteriors, and interior shots; they respected Leland's talent enough to book him out of town and to pay his fee and travel expenses, without argument.

We are turning a corner, friends! God is faithful, he cares about our little lives and what happens to us.

This has been my purpose for blogging our personal journey all these months--to encourage someone else and to give God a broader audience to the proof of his faithfulness.

Good night, and God bless you!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Musings And Ponderings

I have several days away from my part-time, hopefully (now that our business is running at superspeed) temporary job, to consider all that has happened there--and most importantly, what it has taught me.

  • The work has been of some financial benefit to us, even at $8/hour and 20-something hours/week. All work has value. 
  • I've cleaned public bathrooms, been patronized, belittled, and unappreciated. I've been humbled and I have had to look to God for the strength to accept it.
  • I have witnessed some fairly hideous drama among the co-workers. I confess I have been a participant in some instances, but in some I have chosen to simply put distance between me and it. In all instances, I have sincerely desired to do my job to the best of my ability.
  • Power hungry people exist on even the most menial of job levels, as does poor leadership. 
  • I enjoy the horse community, for the most part; especially those who are beginning or returning riders. Their enthusiasm is easy to identify with and sharing in it is happiness. 
  • Some co-workers, like family, are alternately a joy and a challenge for me to be unselfish and loving.
  • I can push myself through illness, exhaustion, and pain. God made me strong in my weakness. 
  • I don't do my job for anyone's approval, but to honor God. 

I'd like to share a brilliant quote, by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf: "You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it." All of my jobs that I can rank as having had the worst leadership, as awful as the experiences have been, have taught me such valuable lessons on how to lead people. Perhaps, one day I will have the chance to put my lessons into practice again, but my fondest hope and prayer is that my partnership in business with my husband, and my modeling career, will soon be my full-time pursuits. 

For the most part, this short message contains simple truth (the point of this journey through life is to learn from the unhappy parts, so don't run from them). I am committing it to memory because, while I have oftentimes failed to live it, I desire to.

Life is too short. We should all be living like we're dying. We are. I have simply to remember those I've lost to cancer, as well as those who are in the battle for their lives, to want to do everything I can to live a God-honoring, abundant life--not simply survive.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 

Everyone have a wonderful, happy, and blessed weekend!


I said months ago (here) that I would be blogging about the very difficult and personal journey through our financial crisis because I wanted God to have an audience. I wanted people to know God is faithful and true to his word, and how he would work out our dilemma.

I also wanted to walk through this and get it right. It's been my sad pattern to blame God and get angry for all the negative things that have come into my life. Really, the reason for the anger is simply because I didn't get what I want. This time, I intended to turn toward him and not away from him.

In a sense, my readers have been my accountability partners in my struggle for faith.

That's the recap leading up to my update: I want to tell you how God has suddenly turned things around for us.

Last week, the business email and phone started blowing up to book Leland. Some of this is the usual local stuff, which is great, but one of those clients is different.  It is a huge, international company. We're excited to be traveling outside our little territory and going out of state for a few days to shoot aerials, exteriors, and interiors of their facility.

To get the point across, this is HUGE!

Our calendar doesn't have a free day on it for over a week. We've even had to tell a client that there was a conflict and thought the job was lost. Leland even offered to refer to another photographer, but this client changed their date to book when he's available!

Every day we are amazed by how things have changed, but please don't get the idea I'm boasting about something we did. We actually quit doing all the usual things to drum up business; mainly, networking functions. When all our efforts amount to nothing, what else is left but to get on our knees? We trusted, we prayed, we agonized, we wavered, we that we could boast not in our own efforts, but in God alone.

These breakthroughs are like coming through the cold winter into the promise of spring and renewed life. They are a glimpse of what is possible, and it's simply amazing to us!

Our goals all along have been to make more money, to be debt-free, and to honor God with our abundance. Please continue to pray for us to achieve these goals.

Praise God for his goodness!