Have you ever seen the Pink Swallowtail butterfly?—No?

Well, I suppose that’s because there is no such thing.

Swallow Tail in Sunlight, Pink photoshop

[Pink Swallowtail. Photoshop.] 

This photo of a yellow Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail is my one and only experiment with Photoshop ever. You’ll notice by comparing it with the original below that I also de-colorized the ground and sharpened the image a bit. I like how this emphasized the natural circle of light around the butterfly which was filtering down through the leaves above me.

You never know what your creative side will think of next. I wonder what creative possibilities went through the infinite mind of God when He said,

Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.—Genesis 1:24, ESV

Swallow Tail in Sunlight

[Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail. Nikon D40. Smoky Mountains, NC. June, 2009.] 

It’s Friday! 

It’s the first Friday in September. In the north autumn is underway. Here in Atlanta, I can feel it on the horizon. Now our thoughts turn to football, sweaters, and hot chocolate, and my personal favorites: camping, colors, and mountain air.

Here’s a few reasons I’ve enjoyed autumns past, and why I look forward to September-November every year.

Enjoy!


Click any photo to view a full-size slide show

 

I Would Never Believe

Lon Hetrick —  September 1, 2014 — 4 Comments

A historical, apologetic poem…


I would not believe in a hidden Creator;
I would not believe in original Man;
I would not believe in an ark on a great flood;
I would not believe in God’s bow or God’s plan.

I would not believe Abram heard a voice calling;
I would not believe he was given Canaan;
I would not believe the son, Isaac, was promised;
I would not believe Jacob wrestled a man.

I would not believe that a bush spoke while burning;
I would not believe Moses parted the sea;
I would not believe in the stones cut from Sinai;
I would not believe cloud and fire could lead.

I would not believe that walls fell before trumpets;
I would not believe in lambs, bulls, or priests;
I would not believe in an altar or temple;
I would not believe in their prophets or kings.

I would not believe when wild John came to baptize;
I would not believe in the Man he proclaimed;
I would not believe in the Spirit descending;
I would not believe some unknown Nazarene.

I would not believe in the wine, loaves or fishes;
I would not believe in the lepers made clean;
I would not believe that dead Lazarus was raised;
I would not believe Bartimaeus could see.

I would not believe in Zacchaeus, forgiven;
I would not believe, nor care, Jesus wept;
I would not care a sick woman dared touched Him;
I would not believe that He came to pay debts.

I would not believe some foretold he would suffer;
I would not believe He intended to die;
I would not care were He innocent or not;
I would not believe He was Christ, crucified.

I would not believe that I needed a Savior;
I would not believe anything that He claimed;
I would not believe in a Father to pray to;
I would not believe He, alone, is the Way.

I would not believe that events have a purpose;
I would not believe my life means anything;
I would not believe that He cares for my sorrows;
I would not believe He’s my Redeemer, my King.

If hundreds had not seen Him alive, after dead;
If witnesses were not killed for saying He lived;
If four had not written and fully agreed;
If disciples had not loved Him, unto death, how they loved him;

If they had not loved Him, I would never believe.

Since the sad news that Robin Williams took his own life, I have seen some heated debate over two related issues: whether the suicidal have a choice, and whether suicide is selfish. I may be coming late to the party, but I needed time to sort through what was being said to articulate my feelings on these questions.

As a woman who lives with mental illness, I have faced the specter of suicide myself. I have experienced the pain of mind that makes death seem like beautiful freedom. But I refused freedom at the cost of life, and I may have to refuse it again.

Continue Reading…

It’s always a bit of a surprise when a new post gets a lot more traffic than usual, and when an old post gets more and more attention.

The most viewed posts this week are this new post: 6 Ways to Love Someone With Anxiety or Depression

and this year-old post: God’s Will and Your Big, Stupid Mistakes—4 Things to Remember.

If you haven’t read them, you might want to check them out over the weekend.

Or, if natural beauty is your thing, check out this photo gallery of beautiful Norway.

Thanks for following Average Us. Have a great weekend!

 

 

The following is a guest post I wrote for Anne Marie Miller’s website on June 16, 2014. It was republished by ChurchLeaders.com. I wanted to share it with you today, here on Average Us.—Lon


You’re probably familiar with this passage of the Bible written by the Apostle Paul:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.—1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV

We love these verses, don’t we? Beautiful written, wonderfully inspiring. You may even have had them recited at your wedding.

But what if loving this way involves supporting a spouse or a child with emotional health issues? What does 1 Corinthian 13 look like in that kind of real, often dark, life?

I live with three such women—one wife and two daughters, all in counseling, two on medication—and I want to share what I’ve learned about loving and supporting them as Paul instructs. I hope you’ll find inspiration and new courage to love a similar someone in your life.

❯ ACKNOWLEDGE IT

Love believes all things…

What your spouse or child is feeling?—It’s real. It’s not “just in their head,” not in the dismissive way we usually use that phrase. The single most loving thing you can do for someone struggling with a mental health issue is to let them feel the validating sense of relief that comes from being believed.

Let your loved ones know it’s safe to confide their weird, icky, creepy, dark, scary thoughts with trustful, trustworthy, compassionate you.

❯ DON’T GUILT

Love is not arrogant or rude…

Most mental health issues aren’t caused by sinful decisions a person has made. Being bipolar, or depressed, aren’t sins people commit. Rather, they are specific manifestations of the universal human fall into sin and misery. They are signs of the same broken, sinful nature abiding within you. Anne Jackson has written more about this in Your Anxiety is Not a Sin.

Let your loved ones know you still respect and admire them. They need to know your good opinion of them hasn’t changed.

❯ LISTEN PATIENTLY

Love is patient, not irritable…

You may hear the same, or similar, story over and over and over…

Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t let exasperation slip out, even if you feel it once in a while. Instead, listen actively, patiently. Ask gentle questions, not to fix “it,” but to hear “it.”

Give your loved ones the sounding board they need to process how they feel.

❯ KEEP LIVING

Love hopes all things…

“It” is real, but it doesn’t haveto be the 24/7 center of family life.

Keep your daily routines and annual traditions to maintain a sense of order and rhythm to life. The idea isn’t to pretend nothing is wrong, but to remind you and your family that life is still worth living.

Help your loved ones see the meaningful enjoyment of small accomplishments, and family games, Sunday sermons, and trips to the beach. Make fun together. Make memories together. Laugh together.

❯ PRAY TOGETHER

Love bears all things…

Pray with them. For them. Out loud.

Few things will fire more warmth and trust in a relationship than the simple act of asking God to help your loved one.

A childlike plea will do. Often, the very act of praying for a loved one in need becomes the answer in the moment of need.

❯ GET USED TO IT

Love endures all things…

Life as you knew itmay be interrupted for a while.

You may have to become a caregiver and life coach for a season. You may be needed at 3 am to sooth a panic attack.

You may have to make time just to help your loved one walk outside, to experience the sun and grass and flowers. You may need to do the laundry, at the last minute, just because. You may need to attend counseling or a support group. Maybe because he wants you to, maybe because she won’t go without you.

You may have to become more than you imagined you could.

But, love will endure all this and more.

❯ OVERWHELMED?

Where will you find the inner resources to love this way?

I’ve found that I have to rely on God for that.

I have to bring my weakness to Him to ask for His strength. I have to confess my inadequacy to ask for His sufficiency. I am the average husband and father who makes mistakes, speaks too harshly, listens half-heartedly, who sometimes, just doesn’t get it.

But God is great for us in His Son, Jesus Christ. God will pour out the Spirit of Christ to fill you with His love, patience, kindness, endurance, and all that you need to love the struggling person in your life well.

And even if this season of life lasts longer than you can imagine, set your hope on Christ’s promise of eternal peace and rest beyond the present suffering. Trust Him for this.

He is great, even when life isn’t.

Do you love someone, or are you someone, who struggles with anxiety or depression? Any thoughts to share? Please do in the comments below.

Happy Friday!Norway in a Nutshell Route

This is the final gallery in our Norway series taken as we returned to Oslo by train. We had some terrific memories: watching the changing of the royal guard right after dignitaries arrived at the palace, and taking the girls to shop at Ikea (of all places, LOL).

Enjoy!

Previous Norway galleries:

Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo reveals a bit of Norwegian cultural history

Oslo to Myrdal to Flåm began our cross-country Norway in a Nutshell tour

Best Walk Ever captures our stroll through the villages of Flåm and Lunden

⟩ Cruise on the Sognefjord with stunning views

Gudvangen and Voss completes our tour of the Sognefjord

⟩ Beautiful Bergen makes my list of places I’d love to live


Click any photo to view a full-size slide show