photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “Jesus

Bathed in Light: Jesus’ Love

It’s 3:30 a.m. and I’m watching The Dark Crystal and thinking about nabbing another bowl of Pistachio Almond Ice cream. Party for one. 🙂

I’m in a particularly jovial mood- a bit celebratory. For weeks, I’d been super depressed- lost in the post-breakup haze that always accompanies splitting up with the mate. I knew I would have my bad days here or there, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be so bad. My heart was just wrecked.

Two days ago, in the twilight hours of pre-dawn, I fell on the bedroom floor and just wailed. I hadn’t let myself cry after Josh left (except for once) and finally, the damn burst; I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I cried and cried and prayed and really just got all of the ick out. I read Isaiah 26 (out loud) and really felt the Lord there in the room with me. After I anointed myself and finished reading the Bible, the cloud passed over me; I could feel it lifting physically, not just in my spirit, and afterwards I felt so light. The chains fell off of me and it’s been that way since. The heartbreak and sorrow were just too heavy for me and I knew that I wouldn’t make any type of progress until I let it all out, and let it all go.

So I did. It’s funny…to the hungry, desperate soul, even bitterness is sweet, and I was just soooo desperate to feel Jesus’ love. My heart has been restocked with sweet love and I feel a warm glow swimming around inside.

I have one of these too. >>>>>>> 🙂

Oh…and these little guys don’t hurt either:

DoeyandVirgilCarl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 film lens/Canon Rebel 

We have two new housemates! Our dog, Chance, is crazy about them: He gives them baths and is a great guard dog. Brianna named the male kitty Virgil (from Dante’s Inferno), and Brian named the female Do Re Mi Fa So La To Do, but we call her Doey for short.

They’re absolutely adorable and I’m madly in love with them.

(Time to hit the hay.)
Good night morning, world.

“With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.”  -Isaiah 26: 9


When Love Comes Walking In

It’s such an awesome thing; when life has given you a big crap sandwich for a bit, and then you see two people madly in love and you just have to smile and be in awe and think- I remember that. :0 )

In this case, it’s my son, Brian, and his little lady- Mandy Tator Tots:

cute1

cute2

3

And then when I was driving home tonight, and saying, “God, I know you have a great plan for me. It’s painful, it’s hard right now. But I know you have my best interest at heart.”

And then I looked up and saw this!

rageagainstherain

“Yeah. I’ve got you, kid,” He said…and smiled.


“My Death Needs to Mean Something”

Those were the words that were found in Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note that was posted on all of her social media accounts shortly after her death. Leelah chose to commit suicide because she felt that the life she was given to live was too painful to bear. Ultimately, she was not allowed to be who she wanted to be.

Leelah Alcorn was born Joshua Alcorn. She was born into a moderately strict religious home in which the gender you are born with is the gender you are expected to die with. Leelah took a great risk sharing her conflicting feelings with her parents as a young teenager. I too am a Christian and come from a tightly-woven Pentecostal family. In families like ours, “gender reassignment surgery” (or the like) would be asking for a one-way ticket to Exile Island where you would be expected to live out the rest of your days with spiritual leprosy as a complete and utter outcast. Sadly, this is the perspective of many Christians today.

Leelah was hoping to find love and acceptance and most importantly understanding when she told her parents that she’d felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body since the age of 4. If your own parents can’t accept you for who you are, then who can? She was shocked and heartbroken to be met with resistance, denial, and total rejection. Her parents told her it was “just a stage she was going through” and that “God doesn’t make mistakes”. They immediately banned Leelah from all social media for the next 5 months, taking away her cellphone and laptop. They also deleted her Facebook account and restricted her social activities to church-related group activities mostly, and when Leelah wasn’t being conditioned in such ways, she was restricted to her bedroom. They also forced her into Christian-based “reparative therapy”, which is, in short, a  “corrective therapy” for homosexuals and and people who identify as transgender.

I couldn’t imagine, as a Christian, somebody forcing me to go to “transgender therapy” where I would be told that I would have to be made into the opposite sex- including sexual reassignment surgery. I can only imagine how Leelah must have felt: She was made to feel like a leper in her own home, school, community, and church.

Leelah pre-scheduled her suicide note to post to her social media outlets following her death with one final request, “Fix Society. Please.” On the early morning of December 28, 2014, she walked four miles in the cold to interstate 71 and at approximately 2:17 a.m., she stepped out into the highway and into the path of a tractor trailer.

Leelah Alcorn

Leelah AlcornMJ

Her family’s rejection of her chosen identity was more than she could bear. It breaks my heart that her mother still lives in denial- still choosing to call her Joshua instead. Even after Leelah’s suicide note had been posted, having begged other parents to never reject their children’s rights- including their right to choose their own gender- her mother posted this message to her Facebook account:

“My sweet 16-year-old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn, went home to Heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”

They rejected Leelah in life, and they reject her in death. That’s beyond heartbreaking to me.

Jesus’ Words have forever transformed my heart and life. When a group of men had gathered around a woman to stone her (having accused her of adultery)- each having a handful of stones- Jesus looked at them and said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

One by one, they all dropped their stones. Jesus said to the woman, “Go thy way and sin no more.” He forgave her and loved her. Completely. One of my friend’s once said something to me that I’ll never forget. She said, “The sound of forgiveness is the sound of a stone dropping.” I love that. And although Leelah’s life choices weren’t a “sin” to her, the fact remains in many religions, a transgender lifestyle is viewed as sinful. I think we should stop expecting other people to “live up to our expectations” but rather deal with our own insufficiencies and our inabilities to accept his or her alternative lifestyle. After all, our lifestyle is “alternative” in their eyes.

I do not “support” suicide, but I most certainly respect any person willing to die for his or her cause. Leelah didn’t commit suicide because she was “so depressed”. Not really. She committed suicide because she felt that she had a cause worth fighting and dying for. Soldiers do that every day. Who’s to say that any person’s cause is more important than another’s?

So for Leelah, I’ll do what I can so that she didn’t die in vain. As a parent, I’ve let my kids know (and they all know this already) that I will support them always– no matter who they choose to be. True love is all-encompassing and non-conditional. If my children choose different genders, religions, whatever- I will love them just the same. It’s not my “job” as their parent to love them, it’s my privilege. I only wish Leelah would have received the same support from her parents. She may have chosen to stick around…

It saddens me that Leelah’s parents are wanting to put Joshua Alcorn on her tombstone, instead of Leelah Alcorn. I have just gone and signed the online petition so that her parents might honor Leelah and give her her chosen name for her tombstone. Already, there are over 200,000 people who have signed the petition. If you too think that Leelah should have the right to her own name on her tombstone, you can go here and sign the petition. I think it’s what Leelah would have wanted.

To any parents out there who may read this and defiantly cling to your strong Christian roots- I admire you. I cling to mine too! But let’s do what Jesus wants us to do above all else, and that is to love others- just as they are; not who you think they need to be:

 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1st John 4: 7-8

” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

-John 13:34

In memory of Leelah Alcorn (Nov. 15, 1997- Dec. 28, 2014)
Leelah Alcorn

If you’d like to support Leelah’s right to have her name on her tombstone, you can sign this petition (and/or reblog this post).

Thanks for viewing! x


No Greater Love

-John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I used to think that Scripture was about Jesus dying on the Cross (only). Now I have a deeper understanding of it. I think now, in order to truly love one another, we have to die to ourselves- even if just a little bit. it takes strength and courage to be selfless. In the world we live in today, self promotion is a way of life: Facebook, Twitter, blogs.

I’ve been hit pretty hard lately and have had to scrape myself up off of the floor. I can’t write about it here as I want to protect the nature of the matter and the persons involved, but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with to date. My soul really felt as if it could have just perished. But yesterday, and the day before, I awoke with a whirlwind surrounding me. I could feel the Lord circling me with His strength. His breath was rushing through me- the Holy Ghost- which I’m a big believer in was rushing through me like cold water- there’s really nothing like it. It’s like having goosebumps on the inside. Two mornings ago it was so strong it actually pulled me out of sleep and yesterday it was the same thing.  This morning I  woke up and it’s been the same thing- so very strongly. When it’s this strong, I know that I’m feeling the prayers of others who are praying for me.

I have a sneaking suspicion I know who that person is. 🙂

When we pray for other people, we nail ourselves to the Cross, as it were. As we take on their burdens, we also take on death and die to “self”, becoming crucified with Christ. I know now that this is what that Scripture means. When we pray for others, we’re laying down our lives for them- standing in the gap.

So Y, this is a special thank you to you, because I know your prayers have broken through! I’m strengthened and feel so much stronger. My spirit is revived and I can literally feel your prayers and I’m rejoicing. Thank you my friend. ♥

I’m dedicating this pic to you! Rain on glass. (Yes, I was actually driving in the rain when I captured this shot. I know, “bad me!” But it was worth the efforts!) it was nothing special at first, but then I defocused the lens and it turned into this beautiful, impressionistic work of art of the traffic in front of me. Hope you likey! 🙂

Helios 44-2 film lens/Canon Rebel XSI/SOOTC- straight out of the camera
rainMJ


T.E.S.T.I.M.O.N.Y

Suffering.Pain.Sorrow.Crucifixion.Death.Resurrection.Hope.Love.Light.L I F E

Image

SP/Cross made from popsicle sticks and dental floss
Circa: 2009


The Fisherman

Image

 

I throw my line here and there
Good, bad, it doesn’t matter what I catch
All the colours of the scales are beautiful in my eyes
Some think fishing is for fools

To sit and wait
Perfectly still
For things to happen
Days and years

The line is a funny thing
Sometimes the waters muck things up
The silver line breaks

But away I go
Casting it out again

“Look at that fool,” they say.
“Holding a stick at the water’s edge.
She is mad!”

And on they go, their faint shadows diminishing before my eyes
That are razor-sharp focused on that line
That really does move this time.


Dead Men’s Bones

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

-Jesus

Image

Matthew 23:27/KJV

This is one of the reasons I love Jesus so much. He really knew/knows how to tell it like it is.
I have to deal with a lot of people in and out of my life that think they’re “righteous” because they hardly miss a church service.

But I like what Keith Green (singer) said: “Going to church makes you a Christian about as much as going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.” I love that man.

Sometimes people become so blinded by what is actually necessary– their attendance sheet becomes their primary focal point and everything else becomes blurry- like a bad lens, and then their self-righteous scorn, hate, and condemning judgment of others follows.

I’m all for blurry pics too but let’s keep it real.

If you’re going to be all up in the service 3 or 4 times per week, how about acting like it?
They kind of go together. [You know who I’m talking to.]

Smackdown over.
On to other things.

****************************************************

Taken on my solitary walk last week:
(All shot with the Helios 44 film lens + Digital Rebel)

Abandoned railroad

ImageSomebody’s mailbox

Image

Pretty fluff

Image

Desolate Railroad (road) at night/full moon above

Image
Broken road
Image

Abyss

Image

Curl- (for my mother)

Image

Cool weeds

Image

Full moon over a dog kennel

Image

Snow in a parking lot
Image


Turkey Drama and Toilet Paper

Well I’m glad to say that we’ve all made it through “Thanksgiving”. What does that even mean? Thanksgiving. To me, it means knowing that your kids are alive and well, you’re still breathing. We all have our meanings for it.

In my situation, it’s a bit peculiar. My sister (name withheld), and I haven’t talked since last September. Not this past September, but the September a year ago. (13 months.) Now, that said, if you and a certain family member have an unpleasant kerfuffle, you shouldn’t host Thanksgiving at your house. Why is that? Well, because you would alienate said member. Completely. Everybody and their grandmas would be welcome but you. That would be…well, rude. But that’s the case and that’s what’s happened.

My sister is devoutly “right” all the time. (Note the sarcasm.) She is the president of the hate committee of her “private sanctuary”, and services start at 9:00 a.m. every Sunday, weekly- sharp. She has wrapped every family member up in her glorious existence for more than 5 years now. If you’re less than “chaotic and dramatic”, you don’t stand a chance. Sorry…I’m thinking that there are other survivors out there like me that feel this way.

So, this year, Josh and I have chosen to eat with homeless people than to be with her and the rest of the “family”. Yes, it’s true. We’ve chosen to spend our time with street people- drug addicts and alcoholics- degenerates and the mentally ill, than to be with them. We didn’t get “an invite”, but that’s alright- we were already gone.

On the bright side of things, Josh and I are getting along splendidly. We don’t focus on the “might be’s” of the future. We’re taking each day and applying it to our lives. We’ve pulled through some amazingly difficult times. We don’t know how much time we have together, but we’re grateful for every single day and we show it. I think that’s what’s most important- that our lives are vital and static.

And today, we have toilet paper.
Can you really ask for more than that?

(Not really.)

Image.

Josh’s pic- guy walking in the park/SOOTC (straight out of the camera)
G3. Taken yesterday- Thanksgiving, on our mile walk at the park.

 


Up with the Chickens

 

 

Image

Ohio River/foggy morning/Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass f/4- natural lighting/5.19.13

I awoke this morning to find our home enshrouded in thick fog. How could I not go out and grab a few shots? I drove down to the local marina with a fresh cup of coffee. I have plans today to do one lesson in each course: Public Speaking, Earth Science, and Health Psychology (no small feat), but when I put my mind to something, I don’t let go. 

Mornings like these are my favourites: the world is so still- everybody’s sleeping and completely unaware of the fog. For the past several days, I’ve been getting up early and hitting my PC and BS- that’s not short for computer and “BS” – it’s short for “prayer closet and Bible study”. When I start my days with these things and in this order, everything falls into the right places in my day. My mind is renewed, as is my faith, strength, and hope- challenges become “doable” and I have a promise of success already- I just need to do the work.

When I was praying this morning, I felt the Lord wrap his arms around me and give me a big hug. I know that I’m loved, terrifically; I don’t worry about things.

So I’m off to put a huge dent in my schoolwork.
It’s going to be a beautiful day. :0)

 

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

 


The Looking Glass

It’s 2:50 a.m.
Chance is going nuts, ripping and running around the living room. I just gave him a bath. Brian Bob is chilling in his room- Brianna- the same. I should be sleeping, or doing homework, but I’ve just downloaded Tex Murphey: Overseer. Gaming is one of my coping mechanisms, much like millions of other people. Until my heart heals, I’ll trudge along the motions of my life- school, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, etc. and slip away into my game as often as possible. I just can’t process any more raw emotion at this time. Tex Murphy is a welcome escape.

I’m torn between another pistachio and almond ice cream cone and Guinness Extra Stout. I have a 6 pack in the fridge and it whispers to me. I keep forgetting to drink one. I  decide on lemon and ginger tea with honey instead. I’ve had a migraine for two days now. (Imagine that.) I can’t do this again tomorrow. After two days, my mind starts fracturing into tiny bits of livewire pain- sizzling every nerve until it’s raw and jittery. It does little good to complain other than to serve as a reminder that I’m still suffering. It too is a welcome escape from the pain in my heart.

There’s nothing one can do but ride the wave of heartache after a breakup. One of my x’s is all over me like white on rice- I’m disgusted. He thinks it might be a good time to squeeze back in. I think it’s highly disrespectful and pretty insulting to me. I know people do that- the rebound thing- but if you’re crawling away from the battlefield of one relationship, why would you hop into the trenches of another? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it’s the furthest thing from my mind. (And heart.) I think I’ll be alone for a very long time. I’m a one man woman, and I think it’s necessary to experience the pain after a breakup. It tells me that the love I knew was real and that’s why it hurts so much. My friends don’t know what to say to comfort me, and that’s ok. There’s only so much another human being can offer in the way of companionship and support. If it weren’t for my love, relationship, and friendship with Jesus- I would absolutely crumble and die. I have no doubt. I’m not enough to keep myself going- I think of Sylvia Plath- and can understand how a broken heart could make her stick her head in an oven and forget to live. She couldn’t bear to lose her man to another woman. But Sylvia Plath said when she was just a child, “I’ll never talk to God again.” And I suppose she didn’t. So, she killed herself. I think she should have talked to God.

That’s where she and I differ. I love life, and as painful as it is to feel your heart being ripped from your chest, I do have a very close relationship with Jesus. We talk, commune, and just have a good time together. When I think about His love, and how He’s able to reach into every tiny place in my heart- I can’t be angry or sad for long. I smile, and know I’m loved. He washes away every awful feeling, and the bitter tears become bittersweet. They eventually become joyful, and I become like a child again, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation: I rise above the pain.

I’ve gone and talked myself right out of my misery again, and feel a half-smile creeping across my face.

Oh heart, you’re going to make it…

Image50 MM/manual/ISO 3200/natural lighting/Squire Boone Caverns/3.28.13