Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is to the theme of MASTERPIECE.

I couldn’t help but showcase the talents of my son & one of his female friends.

This first photo demonstrates his female friend’s masterpiece breakfast, showcased on Facebook one morning (with permission given for me to share here with you), and artfully designed to tantalize the tastebuds:

I've given this piece of art a tastefully simple title: "Pretty Pancakes"

I’ve given this piece of art a tastefully simple title: “Pretty Pancakes”

Not to be outdone, my son countered with his own masterful breakfast masterpiece – decorum of delicacy included:

And keeping with the simple, direct theme, we'll just name this one...er..."Awful Waffles"

And keeping with the simple, direct theme, we’ll just name this one…er…”Awful Waffles”

No, my son is not under the age of 8. Feel free to comment without regard to hurt feelings! LOL

Hope I started your day with a good breakfast (laugh),

-jody

You Do Count (But Don’t Let it be Negatively)

Christian author, Max Lucado wrote a book entitled, It’s Not About Me, in which Lucado points out that we each have a tendency, from very early in life, to believe that we are the center of our own universe. Our social environment doesn’t necessarily break us from this tendency, but more likely builds upon it. Although we learn to get along with others, we still tend to make our decisions based on how the outcome will affect us as individuals. The adage of “looking out for number one” or “taking care of yourself because no one else will” is echoed on a daily basis, from career opportunities to skin care commercials. Even looking at this concept from a more noble perspective, we begin to adopt mantras that we should ”take responsibility for our own actions” or that we must “take pride in personal tasks.” Oh, and to complain when things become too tough will generally be perceived as a weakness.

The fact of the matter is that we are responsible for ourselves, but we’re also responsible for much more than only ourselves. We’re part of a much larger (and intimidating) system. Rather than always seeing ourselves at the center of our make-shift universe, we may, instead, often believe that we’re such a small part, our decisions and actions don’t really count. However, anything we do as individuals, multiplied by the efforts of all, will ultimately impact this universal system in a massive way.

Did you take a moment to consider that last statement? As an individual, you do count, both positively and negatively. When you make decisions based only upon individual needs, your decision counts, though sometimes (unfortunately) negatively. When you make decisions based on the needs of the whole, even individually, you can produce a huge return on your investment for many future generations. If we all band together to make a difference by choosing to take even one positive and specific action, can you imagine how our efforts might be multiplied?

Building a church from the ground up

Building a church from the ground up

Sudan kids

Illumination______________________________________________________________

Posted in response to this week’s Trifecta challenge (333 words using the word band by its 3rd definition) & in honor of so many who have stepped forward to be World-Changers, whether in their neighborhoods or across the globe.

Love & respect, -jody

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Reference:

Lucado M. It’s not about me. Nashville (TN): Integrity Publishers; 2004.

Why is Brown such a Loathsome Color?

Brown. The color of my loafers

Crunching across crisp, fallen leaves.

I kick them around, a frown on my face

As I reminisce on the tone of his summer skin –

No longer warm.

Image located at URL: https://humantriumphant.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/73ef6-cimg2899.jpg

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33 words for the Trifextra weekend challenge (that goes as follows):

give us a thirty-three word piece that has a color in it.  Use the color to describe anything you like, or use anything you like to describe your color, but keep it creative and keep it short. – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.n07NGmCN.dpuf

A Cut & Paste Life

My life is like one gigantic disaster of a manuscript, full of honest mistakes and typos, never letting me get around to conveying what I really meant to do or say.  I view others’ life manuscripts as masterpieces in progress, but I’ve always underestimated my personal capability to come up with a suitable ending for my own. Oh, I’ve had plenty of conflict to fill in the pages, almost even a climactic moment or two – but never any resolution. I’ve tried to cut and paste from others’ lives, hoping I could come up with something…something…meaningful? Yeah, maybe meaningful. Envious would be better. I’m still just the man with no name, though, like I was trained from birth to have a dull and uneventful life. Okay, not uneventful – just full of events either not worth remembering or that I sure don’t want to be remembered by.

But people who are remembered get memorials. That usually means they’re dead. How meaningful is dead? Who wants to be remembered as…dead? That’s the advantage to a dull and uneventful life. If you’re living it, guess what? You’re alive. Less conflict equals less dead. Maybe I had some pretty good birth training, after all. I think I’ve underestimated my ability to create a good ending to my story – one in which everybody else should be envious. I just won’t become dead. Now there’s a masterpiece ending.

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inmonsterbadge1

This story is brought to you by the prompts from Inspiration Monday at BeKindRewrite.

The Rules?

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.

OR

No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:

THE MAN WITH NO NAME

ALWAYS UNDERESTIMATED

TRAINED FROM BIRTH

CUT AND PASTE

MASTERPIECES

The Measure of Grace

Human beings spend inordinate amounts of time taking measurements, whether it involves measuring up to someone else’s standards or measuring one’s value or worth based on societal standards. It seems we do not feel self assured without basing our claims on others’ interpretations of such measurements. Unfortunately, these measures are most often biased to include personalized or societal expectations of how one should perform within the contexts of certain roles.

Above is a poem (measuring me through someone else’s eyes), handed to me one day at church by my sweet, inspirational young friend, Gracie – with whom I share a love of poetry. By the measure of societal standards, Gracie doesn’t always ‘fit.’ She’s very tall for her age & a bit awkward in her prepubescent gait. Her family struggles financially, so her clothes, even when clean, are often well-worn. Sometimes she struggles in school – particularly in English & Reading (so she tells me). Top it off with her giant, gentle spirit, and you can probably imagine that Gracie gets bullied sometimes. Yet, she’s always Grace-filled.

Below is Gracie’s poem, typed out, in case you’re having trouble reading the original above. I left all spellings and grammar in their original form, without editing for corrections. (And trust me, I had to ask my teacher personality to have some grace on me, so I wouldn’t fall short and succumb to that expected published standard.)

Your eyes sparkles like glitter.

You shine like the sun.

You glow in the night.

You faith is strong but your love is stronger.

Your hope and kindness is wonderful.

Your a great person.

Your sweet like candy.

Your smart like a genius.

Your a beautiful person.

Your a giving person to everyone you meet.

My first thought, when receiving Gracie’s poetic gift, was, ‘Wow, how I only wish I could measure up to be an inkling of her creative portrayal of me!’ Oh sure, by someone else’s standards (someone who might have had a more critical eye for mechanical detail), some corrections for spelling, punctuation and errors could have easily been the mark of measurement. But look at what would have been missed! ‘That person’ would’ve missed Gracie’s expression of her feelings, her grace-filled affection, and her ability to metaphorically compose them to flow forth through her elementary school pencil. I couldn’t help but praise her talent and encourage her to continue practicing her gift of poetry.

Perhaps because we were sitting there in church when she handed me that poem, I was more in tune with spiritual writings when this Matthew verse came to mind:

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…

and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

I believe the impact of this truth comes through the lens we’re using when we’re measuring someone else – the one that’s being reflected through our own heart’s standard.

In my reflection, it dawned on me that, despite the measures others will try to apply to her, by her own standard of measurement, my friend, Gracie, is going to do just fine in life! And you know what? I believe I have proof! Last week, she excitedly informed me that a poem she had written to her school teacher had not only been accepted to be published, it had won first place in a poetry contest. Gracie was judged by a standard of measure that determined she will be receiving a $500 savings bond towards college tuition!

So what about you? Have you ever considered your own standards of measure?

Your value?

Others’ worth?

If so, and you find these are falling as short as our economy, it may simply be time to reflect upon the placement of your interest – and to allow yourself and others to be judged by the marks of Grace.

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Persuasion: Are You the Predator or the Prey?

A Powerful Lesson – A Lesson in Power:

A persuasive predator should never be the least bit apologetic for gaining power and influence over others through the induction of seduction in the communication process. Beyond injecting charismatic or coquettish words, a successful seductress understands how to charm with transcendence, inflicting subtle, subliminal acts and insinuations to communicate through reflections of her victim’s own desires. Whether sexual, social or political in nature, the goal of this intoxication is to produce surrender.

Keys to persuasive seduction involve reading others’ communication cues to identify vulnerable prey. The seductress must take great care, however, to identify her own vulnerabilities. You see, a predator cannot best determine an effective target without first understanding the effect her prey is having upon her. This helps her to accentuate vulnerability; but, more importantly, to recognize her disastrous capability of being turned into the prey, if great care is not taken.

Seduction ultimately communicates the promise of excitement and adventure that has been lacking in both the victim and the seductress.

One particular form of communication is nearly impossible to resist, making it regretful to only reserve it for individual use. Known as the soft seduction, it is commonly used to sell to the masses, whether selling oneself or a product. Its success is imminent because it communicates entertainment and titillation without demands or irritation.

It is assuredly more palatable for us to label this communication as persuasion rather than seduction.

To reach its greatest measure of success, the persuasive message often appears more as news than publicity, is designed to evoke emotions, speaks directly to the target in a friendly manner, and is presented to appear as if everyone is a part in order to create a chain response.

Thus, the first lesson in power, most powerful to you of all, is this:

You are often powerless to recognize that you are being seduced, and many times, even if you do recognize it, you are even more powerless to end it.

My precious little paddling partner got a little overconfident last weekend in the paddling skills I’d taught her (forgetting her own vulnerabilities). Here, you see her about to use her paddle to communicate (as a predator) she is waging water war. Unfortunately, we were both about to also become prey…

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You might consider this one a little 333-worded creative synopsis of an academic read of mine. This was my own (very abbreviated) take on:

Greene, R. (2001). The art of seduction. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

I wrote this in response to this week’s Trifecta challenge on:

CHARM (verb) – 3rd defintion –

3: to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music)

This week is community-judged – so come join the Trifecta community — by writing…voting…or just being your charming self. 🙂

Travel Theme: Tilted in New York

Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack has a weekly photo challenge out, with the subject being TILTED.

Rather than show images taken at a tilt, I thought I’d add some photos taken in New York this Spring in which the subjects either are tilted (such as the tree trunk or the flowers bending towards the sunlight) OR they create an artifactual perspective of being tilted (such as the heights of the buildings as viewed from below, cresting the sky).

A Clear Diagnosis

As the water drained,

I gave thoughtful diagnosis to the resultant ring encircling my exited sanctuary.

Stage IV was metastastic. Would’ve required comprehensive treatment. Thorough cleaning.

But Stage III?

…Clearly someone else’s problem.

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Trifecta threw some words our way this weekend – 3, to be exact – then asked us to add our own 30 to them for a little community fun!

The words we were given to work with?

ring                     water                       stage

I had a couple of responses up my sleeve, so if you couldn’t relate to my light-hearted bathtub ring malignant metaphor above, here’s one that may really have a resonating ring to it:

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We were once free, unrestrained.

Captivity taught us to perform on stage.

Daily, we enter that ring.

Occasionally, we get water boarded by others’ disapproval.

Release into the wild now?

Street urchins’ fates.

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Would surely like to know which one you liked the best.

And if neither of them did anything for you, then challenge yourself to go play with those 3 words + your own added 30 & come join us for the Trifextra weekend challenge (link on the Trifecta image above)! 🙂