Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #848…Not taking no for an answer

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We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure – all your life.“

– John W. Gardner

I met Floyd while on my  walk a couple of early morns ago. He pulled his faded small sedan along side and proudly proclaimed his 40 years of work experience. He was looking for some landscape work.

I paused, aggravated from the exhaust from his overloaded vehicle. Two younger men uncomfortable weighed down the backseat. I told him I had nothing for him and he politely moved on to any other existing opportunity.

When we arrived home, Floyd was in our backyard. Assessing our overgrown and every prolific crop of bamboo. With loads of exuberance, he complemented my attempts to trim my forest. I was using the dead canes to cover an old chain link fence. Floyd gave me encouragement on my thus far slow progress. He pulled out a small legal yellow pad and scribbled a dollar figure, “that’s what I’ll do it for.”

I thought of the soreness of my back and hands from my last clearing of the cane. While I was pondering the offer, his men had somehow squeezed themselves out of the weathered Nissan. Saws, trimmers, tools and cords had also escaped the trunk with the men asking for an electrical outlet. It was an offer too good to refuse.

Floyd signed the scribbled pad and asked me to do the same. He then laid out specific detailed instructions to his “crew” and left for another job. I shook my head feeling that I had probably just thrown my money away.

The two men set to not only taking out all the dead cane, but also installing it on my chain link fence. In talking to the two men, whose age I could not guess. I figured them younger than their weathered look by the speed of work. Talking to them I found out the younger looking of the two was the other man’s father in law. Oh yes, we all do have a story.

The men worked through the day, filling a trailer with dead bamboo promising to come back the next day. Floyd asked for a whole $20 advance for gas to get home.

Back at work the next day, I had a chance to visit with Floyd. He had a story, a wife dying of cancer, “a tumor the size of a cantaloup, they can’t take it out”. Bills just like the rest of us. Broken tools, a too old vehicle and an even older body, but a firm faith in the Lord (he had on a “I love Jesus” t-shirt). As I lay in bed that night contented with all their work and not a sore bone one, I thought of Floyd. How he was so ahead of me in the game. I don’t think I would have the nerve to just approach strangers asking for work. Touting my ability. I thought of how representative Floyd was in not only resisting failure, but his relying on faith and doing nothing more than asking for his daily bread.

A better man than me!…†…en theos….jim

 

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #845…Fear at the jump

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It is just so hard to really believe that I have come to the end of the board. It is time to take a leap and hold firm to the faith that a net will appear.

We finished the last of our sports portraits and school photos last week. A lot of my identity has seemed tied to what I do for a living. I know this is a false assumption yet cling to it none the less.

I remember the words from my dad shortly after he retired. How he shared that he had been someone who people came to for advice and help with their cameras. After retirement, he sorely missed being called on for his opinion any longer.

Hence I am filled with fear of the same. You notice that my feet are not so close to the edge of the board. I like to use the excuse that it was because I had almost 10K$ of camera equipment around my neck, but there is a deeper issue. The fear of having to work to redefine myself, my calling, my passion.

I do look forward (ok, I am tiring to convince myself) to not having to make any more photos of kids holding some kind of a football,volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis ball, golf ball, baton, hurdle, barbell, pompoms, megaphone, helmet, bat, glove, bases, mask, google, golf club, cleats or swim fins. But I will miss hearing some youngster telling me his mother or dad told me to tell me hello, that I did their photos years ago when they were in high school, jr high or elementary school.

So here I stand at the end of the board. Listen for the splash….monos en theos…†…jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #713 – Halfway to nowhere & you can’t pay the toll

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Don’t you just love it when you think you know exactly where you are going. You see something you think you wanted to photograph. You work at it a bit and then as you are walking back to the truck, you look down the road and all of a sudden you realized why you stopped here….Matt Maher wraps it all up very neatly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfa3GZOEb38

MATT MAHER LYRICS

“Rise Up”

When you see the road ahead
That you’ve been down before
When you’re halfway to nowhere
And you can’t pay the tollYou’re hanging onto mercy
Withered on the vine
With your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds
And your heart on the lineOpen up your eyes…

You’ve got to rise up, rise up
When this life has got you down
You’ve got to look up, look up
When you search and nothing’s found
My eyes have seen the glory of the love that’s here and now
It’s coming down
So rise up now.

When you’re told that day is over
Long after the sun goes down
And your mind it keeps on racing
At the dreams that don’t come ’round

When you don’t know how to surrender
Cause your whole life’s been a fight
When the dark holds you and you can’t break through
Cause you haven’t seen the light.

Open up your eyes…

You’ve got to rise up, rise up
When this life has got you down
You’ve got to look up, look up
When you search and nothing’s found
My eyes have seen the glory of the love that’s here and now
It’s coming down
So rise up now.
Yeah rise up now,
Oh rise up now.

en theos…jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #616 – DO YOU HAVE TO TOUCH IT TO BELIEVE IT?

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Tell people an invisible man in the sky created all things, they believe you.

Tell them what you’ve painted is wet, they have to touch it to believe.”…

 George Carlin

George Carlin had some simple thoughts that provoked deep thought. What is the first thing we do when a server puts a plate of food in front of you and declares “hot plate”? Most of us have to take a quick touch and loudly echo “hot plate”.

Why do we often put God in the same category as wet paint and hot plates ? Somethings are meant to just be believed: a butterfly, a sunrise, a new born baby, the comfort of a pet. Not things we can touch, but yet we believe.

See God, be wowed today, try letting him touch you. ††† en theos ††† jimwork

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Photos on the journey #457

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Some days, I question what the hell am I planting ?

What am I growing?

Do I even produce fruit from which to be judged?

Sometimes it feels that the best option is to grow nothing and then, do you avoid being judged?

Peace out, Praying for a calm week and to at least prepare the soil. ††† en theos ††† jim

Photos on the journey #452

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Things are not always as they appear. This is an image taken at night with a full moon veiled by a thin layer of high clouds. Another one of those times that things do not evolve as you planned.

Life flows that way. I never planned to have so many days of  “melancholy”  (the Freudian polite word for depression) at this station of my life. Yet the clouds continue to form and obscure.

Holding tight and fast to Toby Mac’s promising words:

“So, baby, hold on Just another day or two I can see the clouds are moving faster now And the sun is breaking through
If you can hold on To the one that’s holding you There is nothing that can stop this crazy Love from breaking through.”

Seems like I have been holding on to different songs lyrics for most of my life. I keep repeating them, trying hard to turn them into reality.
Peace out ††† en theos ††† jlawrence