Free photos, country critters, and {un}related ramblings...


I couldn't bring myself to title this another Just in Case You've Missed Me post, but that's more or less what it is.   

I'll be honest - it's been a rough few weeks - bad enough that Louis has had to cut up my eggs so I could eat them with a spoon. There have been days that my hands have been so painful and swollen that I couldn't pick up a brush or get dressed. RAD has been compared to wearing a coat of armor. That's exactly how I've felt just trying to fold clothes or move about inside my house. 

And pain slowly rubs against me - interrupting thought processes and adding to the fatigue that already characterizes chronic illness. My mind works in slow-motion these days. I struggle to help Emily with her college math, polish my monthly assignments, and I'll look at a blank screen on the computer and think, "I've got nothing to say. Nothing." The pain I can tolerate, but the lack of accomplishment tends to depress me. I told God one day, "I just want to be productive." {More about that in a future post - I'll just say that I'm reading Jerry Bridge's The Disciplines of Grace and it's exactly what I need.} 

But there have been better days here and there, and they have been pure gold - lunch with a friend, hours with Robbi seeking publication on our book {does the editing ever end?}, church, and even a couple of day trips with Louis. 

Some of the best days have been those with family - watching the Olympics with Emily, playing with Gavin, and delighting in Addisyn's antics and Tyler's coos and smiles. 


About a month before I was diagnosed with RAD almost two years ago, I wrote this:
Physical pain is no stranger. I've been assaulted, in a car accident, broken my leg, had emergency surgery for a perforated colon, and experience cycles of pain from crohn's disease flares.

For several weeks I've experienced some of the worst joint pains that I can remember - not just my knees, but my shoulders, hands and feet. Getting out of bed, in and out of the car, up and down stairs, dressing and undressing, sitting, standing, walking - there's very little that I am able to do at the moment without pain, and yet it has been a sweet and precious season of walking in the truth that "the joy of the Lord is my strength" - a powerful reality that I could only know in a season of weakness.

The joy of the Lord has been the banner under which I have walked {or limped} since, and though I'm more disabled and in more pain today than I was two years ago, the joy has only increased.  

I can't explain it. It isn't me. It isn't something I can make myself feel. It's only grace. Pure amazing grace.

So please don't feel sorry for me. I've upped my prednisone dose and the past few days have been much better. And is there anything more precious than to know Christ's strength in weakness? To sit at His feet and delight in the sweetest fellowship and lavish love? 


Moving on to the free photos. When I wrote about hoarding stories, the Lord was also speaking to me about my photos - the gazillion photos I have stored on various hard drives and online.  

Most of y'all know how I feel about my photographs - I can only take credit for stopping to take them - and even that is God's gift to me. If I capture a glimpse of God's glory in His creation, or in our artistic expressions of what God created, then don't the photos belong to Him? {Doesn't everything I have belong to Him?}

Aren't my photos just like my stories? How dare I bury the talent by hoarding them - holding onto them as though they are mine. 

So I open my hands to give them back to Him by giving many of them to you in a flickr set  - for you to use in your own non-commercial blogs or church-related activities {sermons, newsletters, etc - some of my photos were used in a sermon on thanksgiving}.  

Please be patient with me - I intend to add more photos to the set, but if there is a photo you've seen on my blog that you'd like to use and it isn't in the set, just drop me an email and as long as it isn't one I'm using professionally, in the book or a photo of my family or friends, I'll probably add it to the set for you.


God is so, so good to His people - to Him be the glory - great things He has done.


{Photos - traveling with Louis down central Florida's back country roads a few weeks ago - taken from the car window - aren't they cute?}