Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

Happy Thanksgiving.

World Vision ADP GuatemalaIt’s been my 40th Thanksgiving. It’s been a very different year for me. I’ve experienced wonderful joys and difficult sorrows. I have so much to be thankful for. If I were to begin writing about all of them, I’m sure my season of life would end before I was able to pen every one.However, today, I am blessed to be caught up in the hands of grace found in Jesus Christ. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a powerful family that lifts me up in prayers that covers my multiple sins. I’m blessed to have shared over 18 years of thanksgiving with my wonderful wife and I’m thankful for beautiful children.Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. Find Him in the difficult places where He is seeking to restore. Go there and be with Him.Peace.Johno~

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We are blessed when we Bring the Light

Reading through the comments posted yesterday, this line caught my attention. “We are blessed in this life when we are able to ‘bring the light.’” As true as this statement is, don’t we battle with this thought in America? Instead of bringing the light and finding ourselves in blessings, we simply say “God bless America” without any expectation of bringing anything to the table. Hasn’t God already blessed us as we sit on our sofas playing our WII games and watching Netflix? Are we now in a welfare based system of blessing? God bless us… God please bless my family… God bless my, fill in the blank. Give us, give me.I was talking to a young man the other day who claims to be an atheist. He said, “one of the things that bothers me about Christianity is, they don’t really believe in mankind.” He went on to explain his thoughts and how he believed that mankind was more capable of doing more good than many of the sermons he had heard that preached, “man is nothing, he is a sinner and he is lost.” As I listened to him, I believed he had a good point.Sometimes we do focus on the, “O what a wretched man am I” and never on the incredible power of what this son of Adam can be.God has an incredible blessing for mankind. As people who follow the Way, we must “bring the light” to those around us. Realize that the God of all creation came down from heaven to earth as the man Jesus and told us about stories about Kingdom of heaven. It was Jesus who showed us the way to the Father and then returned to the Father leaving the story of the Kingdom of heaven in the hands of mankind to share with mankind from generation to generation. That’s some responsibility.I believe it’s time for us to stop asking God to “bless us” and it’s time for us to bring the Light to the darkness… then we will be blessed because God is already there.Have you ever fed someone who was hungry? Ever visited someone in jail? Have you ever given water to someone who was thirsty and not felt the blessings?I believe there is a generation of people who are tired of hearing how bad they are and listening to ancient prayers for God to bless them while they sit stoic in church pews. We should be talking more about ways to bring the light into the darkness and the blessings will overflow.True, we are saved by Grace and not by works so no one can boast… But, a faith without works is dead.peace.johno~–Congratulations to Patricia for her comment. She gets her name in the bucket twice. Don’t worry, if you made a comment on yesterdays blog post your name goes in the bucket too.Don’t forget to pass this on to your friends or don’t if you feel selfish and want the basket all to yourself… Keep posting comments to get your name entered.

For those of you just tuning in, here’s the contest:This week, I’d like to know your thoughts on what topics you think get talked about to much on social websites, i.e. blogs, twitter, facebook, etc… and what topics don’t get much attention on the web.My promise is to choose one topic from the comments and blog everyday this week about something you think doesn’t get much attention.Here are the rules:1. Since this site is viewed by some of my children, your topics must be family friendly.2. You can post your ideas once a day. You can comment as much as you like on things suggested by others or even your own ideas… but, only one post with your ideas will be count.At the end of the week I’ll throw your name in a bucket for every post you made and draw a name at random. That name will WIN a nice basket from Uganda, Africa.

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52 blessings 14.2010

It’s amazes me how blessed I am to find myself in so many new places. So blessed to meet new people. This is a big world and there’s so much I’ve never seen or done. This week, I met a cowboy. A man that can drink, smoke and shoot… all while riding a horse at the same time. Go figure. Not something I think I could ever do, but that’s ok.

Being from the city, I never knew much about cowboys except for what I was able to see on television.

Coby, pictured here, is more cowboy than any television character I’ve ever seen. I saw this man rope the hind legs of a calf… by throwing a rope over it’s head… I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m sure not to many on the face of the earth could successfully do such a thing.

I’m not sure who or what I will met in the days to come, but this was a special treat.

peace.
johno~

By the way…
So everyone knows, I have all the other pictures of the week since number eight and I promise to get those up soon.

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52 blessings 08.2010

Well, I’m not sure if this is a real blessing… but many blessings come about because of it. Traveling. Today, my oldest daughter said, “Wow, you know how many miles you will fly this year? How cool is that?” I told her she would drastically change her mind once she took the flight form Seattle to London and London to Entebbe, Uganda. It’s not that cool to fly… However, the ministry, the serving is.

This week I will be flying with World Vision to Guatemala to do some photography for their “Vision” trip. A hand full of World Vision volunteers and a couple staff members will embark on a trip of a life time to see how WV works with communities through child sponsorship.

This is an incredible opportunity for me and it’s a crazy story that lead me to this spot today.

In March of 2009, I signed up with World Vision as a Child Ambassador. A CA is someone who shares the joys of child sponsorship, with churches and other organizations, on how to make a difference in a child’s life, their families and community. Our family sponsors two beautiful kids in Uganda… Zakaliya and Lucy. We wished we could sponsor more children but instead I chose to volunteer and invite other into the joy that our whole family has had.

Sharing the story of sponsorship can be hard sometimes… It’s not that people don’t care, I just think they’re afraid. Afraid of long commitments, failure, putting a face on poverty or a host of other concerns… I hear lots of things. I wish people would take a few more risks in life and just trust Jesus.

Well, I shared with my mother about sponsorship… She looked through several picture folders and fount two little boys she wanted to sponsor. She then told me that she would pray about it and get back to me. She never did. The picture folder that I receive, of WV kids, have expiration dates. This gives them a better chance and more exposure by not letting them “hang” in one spot. Well, the folders expired. She had missed the opportunity to work with these boys. She was truly upset. I told her I had just received several more folders of kids needing sponsorship and so she grabbed the folders and began to read their stories.

Carlos, jumped out at her almost immediately. They both shared the same birthday, January 4th. Not only that, but Carlos has a big family, Five sisters and three brothers. My mother also has eight other siblings. It seemed to be the perfect match. This time she filled out the paper work and became Carlos’ sponsor. So cool.

Several months later, I was having lunch with a good friend of mine, sharing goals for 2010. I told him I wanted to retire from sports photography and do more humanitarian work. I told him I should probably think about contacting World Vision since I was already working with them. I had sent and inquiry about using some of my photos from a previous mission trip… nothing. Not a call, nothing. I knew, this would be difficult. There are so many gifted photographers, I had a pity party scheduled… but I decided not to show up. I had to make a strong effort to plan something in 2010. So I began to think about when I would be thinking about connecting with WV.

Shortly after that, I received a call from the National Director for Volunteer Service. She asked me if I might be available to be their photographer and videographer for a trip to Guatemala. I have to say I was shocked. I wasn’t suppose to even begin to start thinking about this yet and here it was in my lap. I responded with a maybe and that I had to pray about it. With a little one due in December of 2009 and plans for a Uganda trip with my oldest daughter in May of 2010, I was a bit unsure.

All of a sudden it was if I had shown up to something that God was orchestrating long ago. I called my mother, who is a powerful prayer warrior, I shared with her what was going on, that I had been invited to take photos for World Vision and she told me she was just thinking about her sponsored child Carlos. It turned out that he was from Guatemala. She said she would pray about it and that was that.

A few nights later, she called and said God had put it on her heart to pay for any cost, that I would need for the trip. I told her that WV was taking care of most of the cost but she said she would send me a check… She said, “If you go or don’t go, I just feel that I need to send you this.” I told her we were taking one day at a time and much would be decided after Rebekah was born. Dawentte and I agreed that God was up to something and that we would listen to His call. I agreed to prayerfully move forward on this trip. Rebekah was born December 14 and on December 15 I had my first phone conference with the Vision team members. On that call, I learned that we would be in Ixim Achi, ADP #179904. I really thought nothing of it. I was trying to catch up with the team.

January 4th, my mothers birthday, I called, as usual, to wish her well. She asked if I had decided to go to Guatemala and I told her, Yes. I didn’t realize that it had been so long since we spoke. She was excited that I was going and then something clicked in me… I asked her to go get Carlos’ picture folder… I told her there should be a number for the Area Development he was in. She got the folder and read, “1-7-9-9-0—–4.” I couldn’t believe it. God had put something on her heart long ago and now God was sending me right smack to his home. God is on the move and I love that about Him. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will be in Guatemala and in a few days I will meet Carlos and his whole family face to face.

So all the prep work has been done, and now I sit in this hotel room ready to travel. God is all over this. There is no other reason for my being on this trip other that He has something planned. I am looking and listening.

So traveling is a blessing and to have a place to rest in between is too.

I’m so excited to see what’s next on this journey.

Until the whole world hears.
johno~

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52 blessing 05.2010


I remember my first taste of coffee… my mothers instant “tasters choice” YAK! I’m not sure how old I was, but I’ll never forget the laughs as my contorted face brought forth wonderful amusement for those watching. It wouldn’t be until I was 19 and fighting fire for Chelan County Fire Department. (Yes, I was a firefighter, EMT at one time). It was winter and cold. Fighting fire in the cold nights, wet and freezing, I knew I had to do something, but coffee? YAK! A friend of mine told me, “You need to drink coffee. What else is there” I told him about my experience with coffee, “tasters choice” and for what I tasted to be the “tasters choice” it must have been in the line up with chum, dirty toilet water and charcoal mixed with burnt food and water. He laughed at me like the others did so many years ago and he told me I needed to try an espresso shot.

My first espresso shot. I would like to say it was heaven, it was not. I still didn’t have the taste for coffee, but I was going to. It wasn’t a matter of liking the taste… it was a matter of staying warm. I knew I would drink coffee if it killed me and I would learn to drink it straight. None of this fancy pants stuff… Cream, sugar, etc. With as much junk as some folks put in their coffee, I doubt they are really drinking coffee.

Winter forged on and I forced every hot cup of coffee down that I could to stay warm. I was told the secret to good coffee was never washing your mug. I gave it a shot and I’m not sure when it really happened, but I got hooked… I fell head over heals for the taste and smell of coffee. I can’t imagine not having a nice hot cup of BLACK coffee. It is one of the best parts of each day. The aroma early in the morning just makes me smile.

Is it a drug? Am I addicted? Say what you want… I don’t really care. I love my coffee.

I’ve managed to have coffee from many parts of the world. Darker roasts are my favorite and I enjoy beans from Africa.

Is this a blessing? Of course it is. Take it away from me though and it could be a curse… for you. :)

peace.
johno~

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52 blessings 02.2010

Chalk this up to my first real product shot… I have to say, “I’m blessed.”

I’m not sure I could go into all the details of this photo. Yes, I know it’s a bunch of Canon cameras, but it’s more.

Last year my family and I were returning home form the Oregon coast after speaking at a youth retreat followed up by a few days of personal family time. In route, and on our last leg home, we thought it would be a good idea to stop at a restaurant we don’t often get to. The parking lot was full and for a moment I thought we should just skip it, however the overflow lot across the street had a few empty spots. Sandwiched between three busy food joints, I chose to park our van under a light. It wasn’t dark and it most likely wouldn’t be by the time we finished but, you know what they always say.

We ate, we laughed, we used the bathroom and left. Upon returning to our van after a nice meal, I noticed something black all over the ground and what looked to be a white sock. Funny, there’s a sock on the ground. We approached the car and I noticed that the black on the ground was little pieces of glass… it was glass from our rear window. I thought, “Someone hit our car.” It was Dawnette who said, “They stole our stuff!”

Just replaying that moment in my mind as I write this, makes my stomach knot up. It’s a sick feeling, a stomach punch when you’re not expecting it. A moment when the whole world slows WAY down. “They took my camera bag! They took my laptop. They took my guitar!” In all they stole two laptop bags, with the two macbook pros, my camera gear, and my guitar. An estimated $11,000+ in all “replacement cost.” Not even including the two hard drives that held my photos. (Yes I had 2008 backed up, but not January – March 2009)

Hours with paperwork, police reports and long phone conversations with insurance claims, I thought I would never see another piece of camera gear. Just so you know, all my gear is paid for. I don’t use Visa… I work for it and when I have the money, then I get it.

Looking back now, It was a good check in my life to really see what was important. A friend called me to check on me a few days later. After a bit of conversation, he said, “You sound pretty calm for what’s just happened.” I’m so thankful for that. I don’t want this stuff to rule my life. I want it to be a tool for blessing not binding.

It’s one of those things that you really don’t know how you will react until it happens. In Christ, all I could do was trust that it would be OK. I didn’t need it all back. They had left me with one camera which was under a blanket on the front seat… It was OK… It was. Better than I deserve, our insurance was “Replacement Cost” insurance. I didn’t get everything replaced, but I was able to make some choices that would allow me to use this “stuff” for good. I got some good stuff.

This year, Lord willing, I will be traveling with World Vision to, Mexico and Guatemala and then a return visit to Uganda for Faith Quest Uganda 2010 with a ministry team from the NW. It’s my goal to use the gift of photography to bless many and tell the story of people around the world. Photography is a wonderful tool to be used and I plan on using it for blessings and not curses.

peace.
johno~

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52 blessings 01.2010


Well, it’s the start of a new year and a new photo challenge. This years photo theme will be “52 Blessings.” After last years photo challenge wreck and the disaster of having my gear stolen in the 3rd month of the year, I thought it would be best to focus this year on my many, many blessings.

Blessing number one… Life. One of my favorite quotes is from Rabindranath Tagore. He says, “Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” Oh how true. Life is one of the best examples of hope we have. I believe this is the reason Jesus gives us hope… because He gives life. His life… so we might live.

As I start this year, I start with blessing number one… my life. I know this is a photo of my newborn daughter, but this IS my life. What a wonderful blessing and I am very thankful I have the opportunity to do something with it.

My you also come to know that you are a blessing.

peace.
johno~

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