Welcome, 2023! So ready to embrace a new year and look forward to what each new day will bring. For some fourteen years, rather than make multiple resolutions, I have selected a single word that would play a role in my life in the next 365 days. I pray over and carefully contemplate what that might look like in how it might play out from several angles. This year’s word is no exception. It has multiple facets and meanings that I will embrace and work on in my life. I put that word in the forefront of my mind and even make a cell phone background with the word emphasized to keep it ever before me. There are so many ways this word will have an application to my days. I usually pick a verb because I want it to instill action but this year, it can be a noun or a verb!
The watchword for 2023 is PRESENT. Several ways I anticipate applying this word is to be present when I am talking to people, especially loved ones, to stop and really give them my full attention. With all the distractions and interruptions that bombard me each day, this will be a real challenge. I want to fully engage and be present and absorb each moment–it is a gift.
Each day is a gift, a present to be embraced and fully spent. We have this moment, the present, and no other guarantee. No need to dwell on the past or worry about future concerns. This very moment is the present, the gift, the opportunity to fully take in. May I use each day with full abandon and with a heart full of appreciation for the very gift to have experienced it.
Also, I aim to become more aware of God’s loving Presence within me and in others, (okay a little spin on terminology but it isn’t a far stretch.) I want to be aware of His surrounding me, to feel those holy moments, and to respond with His wisdom and love.
I am looking forward to the further ways God will reveal meaning and guidance in this versatile watchword for the year. It never disappoints!
For many years, I have chosen a word to be a reminder or a recurring theme for the coming year. A word that I would keep at the front of my thoughts and make part of my mission. In recent years, I prefer verbs as action statements that inspire and prompt me in some way. In past years, I set this word of the year by New Year’s Day. However, this year it just didn’t happen.
The year was difficult for us, as it was for so many others. As we entered 2022, we had a family member that was very old and in the last days of his well-lived life. We also had another family member in the throes of chemotherapy and cancer treatments. Simply put, I wasn’t ready to spend much time in reflection looking back to see how my watchword had shaped the year. So, here it is already April 1, and I think it is time to share my word of the year. So far, it has been a very fitting inspiration for me. More about that in a bit. First, though, a look back at 2021. It was the second year of a full-fledged pandemic that took away so much of everything we held dear. Families weren’t able to be together, older people were unable to see loved ones, travel plans were sabotaged, and this was the year that some people that I knew lost loved ones to the dreaded, insidious virus. Everyone knew someone who died due to Covid. Everyone, in one way or another, felt it and grew very weary. Our lives were held captive to masks and hand sanitizer, wondering if a touch or hug was okay or if we should step back one step farther. Children learned to respond to half faces with only eyes to read and no mouth, with no way to gauge a satisfied smile or unhappy tightening of the corner of a mouth. Many of us wondered what long-term social impact the social mores of pandemic protocol would have on people. Though that is yet to be determined, it is clear that virtually no one came out of this year unscathed.
There were good things as well that defined our 2021. One of the most life-changing ones was selling our event venue and deciding to enjoy a simpler life again. We found renewal in finding a smaller home in a subdivision again. Though we will still be able to renew our hearts at the ranch when we like, it will be in a much needed, scaled-down version.
My word for the 2021 year renew held more meaning and life course for me than I ever could have imagined. From simply using it to refresh my thought process in a world of having absolutely nothing normal to a desperate, cell revitalizing prayer for my loved one diagnosed with cancer, I prayed my word “Renew, Lord! Please renew!” “Renew” was a spiritual journey and a mission to help others refresh their souls in the long, lonely days of 2021. Renewal was the glorious result of a sweet answer to a long-awaited prayer to simplify our lives. And ultimately, renew was the watchword, as our loved one entered his Heavenly Home, fully restored, fully made a new creation on January 14. Renew was the word for the beginning and the end, bookends to a year we readily said goodbye to. As I write this, we are without masks, without fear, without the confines of pandemic protocol, and we believe with much optimism that we are nearing the end of this strange and most difficult time.
The most amazing thing about picking a word for the year has been the way it really does define that year. Without knowing what the year holds, but with a little prayer and forethought, I settle on a word and more years than not, I find how appropriate and fitting it is. As in previous years, the watchword also became the lifeline to depth-of-soul satisfaction and inner peace. I am thankful that we were able to renew our hearts, and refresh our souls throughout this past year and to experience true renewal in so many beautiful ways.
For 2022, the word is nurture. This year I added a byline “help good grow.” There are so many ways I plan to consciously make this my theme. I hope to nurture relationships that need my touch, to nurture my own soul with Bible reading and care, to nurture habits for good health, and to nurture and encourage my family, especially my grandchildren with stories and love and every blessing I can offer. May I pour out myself and fill others, nurturing their souls. I have lived long enough to know that we are blessed to be blessings to others, or as a friend used to put it: when your life gets an upgrade, you better be sure that someone else’s does also! I look forward to seeing all the ways that God shows up this year, and in particular how He nurtures in and through me, as I offer up myself in service to Him. Here’s to a year filled with nurturing hope and faith and many others along the way.
What a difference a week makes! We are now shooting in manual mode and I must say this class has explained the exposure triangle better than any I have seen in the past. It helps that Emma Davies was a schoolteacher. She has a way of explaining and simplifying to help us grasp the basics of what we need to know to get by and actually use the info provided. Now for the assignment. We are starting in aperture priority mode at f8 and will open up the camera one f-stop to f 5.6 for more light, so we will move the shutter speed or the ISO faster or higher to get less light to compensate and get the same exposure. It makes sense now, but I will pick up my camera and be back here. One thing to note is that my camera has three stops in between each of these settings…
This chart is the best! Simple, and useful!
So, here is the assignment.
Step 1 Select aperture priority mode, choose an aperture that is a full stop (i..e. f8) and take a photo.
Step 2 Write down what settings the camera picks.
Step 3 Go onto manual mode and dial in the settings that the camera picked, except change the aperture by 1 stop (bigger) to have a wider aperture, and a shallower depth of field.
Step 4 If you leave the rest of the settings as they were in step 2, your photo will be slightly over exposed, because you have a bigger aperture. So you need to change the shutter speed or ISO by a corresponding 1 stop in the opposite direction (less light). In this case use shutter speed, and change it to 1 stop less light (faster). Take the photo again. Keep everything the same between photos – where you stand, what you’re photographing, how much light there is.
Both the photos should have the same exposure, if the light hasn’t changed and you focused on the same spot. The only difference should be a slightly shallower depth of field in the second photo.
Have another go, this time on shutter priority. Try changing the settings by 2 stops, and by using a combination of both aperture and ISO to compensate
Started with f2.8 then went to f4 and shifted the triangle up ISO one fstop accordingly to achieve the same exposure.
f 2.8 ISO 100 1/60
f.4.5 ISO 200 1/80
More open aperture needs lower sensitive ISO or a faster shutter speed to have the same exposure. I had some trouble with the aperture locked and figured out my camera had a button that locked on it. Shooting in manual isn’t comfortable for me yet–just need more practice. Have a great week, and catch some light along the way!
ISO refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to light–the higher the ISO, the more noise–so you want to use as low an ISO as possible to still capture the light. Our assignment this week was to go back to a previous week’s photos and retake them using your camera’s highest ISO and lowest ISO. I tried to recapture the scene as closely as possible but the light is different today (very overcast) so the settings are not identical.
I am spending more time with my camera and continue to read a lot about camera stuff on sites like Light Stalking and Digital Photography School and my Udemy class and my Creative Live class I bought years ago. I love gadgets also, so I ordered a timer remote that would be cool for a stationary time lapse shoot. I continue to investigate tripod heads that will support the weight of my 70-200 mm lens. Any suggestions are welcome here!
Here are the results of my shoot this week: (I’m not seeing a lot of graininess. I increased the ISO 100x. But as you can see the shutter speed had to compensate by being almost 100 x faster as well. And the aperture closed 4 -f stops down.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week. Catch some light along the way!
Yesterday, our old reunion group got together for lunch at the gorgeous new home of one of our original members. The six of us met every Monday at La Madeleine Bakery over coffee for some 25 years. We poured our hearts out as we navigated times that we thought so difficult and beautiful and so full of life and blessing and every facet of emotion. Little did we know what the next years would bring.
We called it reunion group but it was our therapy session–truly our lifeline to sanity and everything sacred as we journeyed through what Anne Morrow Lindbergh referred to as the Oyster Bed years in Gift from the Sea–years where family and chores and the busyness of a full house demanded so much of our time that we often wondered if we had lost ourselves entirely in the laundry piles somewhere. We grounded ourselves in those wondrous years with a weekly visit about the deep mysteries of a sacred life and reset the course each week to walk closely with our Savior and to know Him better as we muddled our way through this messy chaotic, and blessed time of life. Finally, we closed the meeting with a prayer for each other and discussed our moment closest to Christ that week.
Yesterday as we gathered, we knew how changed we were from life’s blows. Beautifully, each had managed to maintain an inner glow that only Christ can give. We had all centered ourselves on that inexplicable Peace that comes in the storm, not once we are free from it. Three of the six of us had lost our husbands in the past three years. Another’s husband was recovering from a heart attack that he had suffered just this past November. We had lost parents, suffered serious health issues, breast cancer, and a stroke, financial struggles, and we had dealt with grown children who had major struggles, substance abuse, divorces, and some had lost their way. Life imprinted its indelible scars on each of our hearts, and the captivating result were hearts more full of love and mercy than I ever remembered so many years ago.
Aren’t these women beautiful! If you knew them, you would know also that their beauty runs through and through coursing through their veins, not simply through their alluring smiles. They survived the curves life has thrown them, and they stand as sweet testimony to a victorious life when you have Jesus deep inside.
I so love these women and am overflowing with gratitude that God chose them to walk with me over all of these years and show me Christ in their love for me and others. And for the record, this luncheon was my moment closest to Christ this week!
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.