“Here am I, the servant of the Lord”

In church today we read and prayed:

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
    and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
    I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
    those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
    I have become like broken pottery.

~Psalm 31: 9-12

Susan turned to me as if to say, “This sounds like you.”

My body is tired. I suffer with stenosis and sciatica. I am in physical therapy. And my spirit is strong.

But I have my moments.

Will I have the strength to hike with my son in Colorado?

Will I have the strength to work in my garden?

Will I have the strength to stand in the kitchen and cook for Susan (Pictured here: salmon, her favorite)?

 

Will I have the strength to walk and stand for new portrait sessions?

When we returned home from church I read Psalm 39:

I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
    my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.[b]

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
    for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
    you consume their wealth like a moth—
    surely everyone is but a breath.

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

Okay. Not so dire as this. But I am at the age where I ask “What are you going to do with your time?”

I am going to get stronger. I am going to hike. I am going to garden. I am going to continue to cook. I am going to continue photographing people—-and birds and butterflies and streams and landscapes. In all that I do I am going to give praise to the Lord!

And the title verse in complete: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

I Am Ageless

My birthday was March 7. Reading from The Daily Word on March 8:

“I am ageless and free.

“Just as fall turns to winter and winter to spring in some areas of the world, I experience changes in my life that may affect the way I look or feel about myself and others.

“Yet there is no change in my age or physical appearance or life that can alter the underlying truth: Through the spirit of God within, I am ageless and free from limitations.

“I am a living expression of God’s love and life. Young or young in spirit, I welcome each moment as an opportunity to find new ways to express my divine nature. God’s love in me frees me from the limitations of the past and inspires me to live joyously now.

“Like new buds in the spring, I am born anew each day. I am ready to follow where Spirit leads. I am ageless and free.

“Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his.—Daniel 2:20”
A self-portrait from my birthday:
self portrait

Pan Roast of Cod*, Pears and Caramelized Fennel

I share with you one of the BEST fish meals I have ever eaten. Another great recipe from Gail Monaghan.

Chef and Writer Gail Monaghan wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal about Fennel.

*The store did not have Cod so I used Haddock. I also cut the recipe ingredients in about 1/3.

Marinate fish: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Rub marinade into 4 pounds cod fillets, skins removed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
 Prepare vegetables: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove stalks and outer layers from 3 large bulbs fennel, and cut bulbs lengthwise into 8 parts each (reserve fronds for garnish). In a large ovenproof skillet or flameproof roasting pan, toss cut fennel with 4 large red onions, cut into 8 wedges each, 1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled, 2 lemons, sliced into thin rounds and seeds removed, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. (Two skillets or pans can be used if necessary.) Place in oven and cook 25 minutes. Add 3 fairly hard pears, peeled, cored and cut into 4 wedges each, salt and freshly ground black pepperto taste and 1/4 cup fish stock (vegetable stock or water can be substituted) to skillet and continue to roast until vegetables are tender and deeply caramelized, 20-30 minutes more. Remove from oven and cover loosely with foil.Increase oven temperature to highest setting. Place a baking sheet in oven for 5 minutes. Place cod fillets on hot baking sheet and cook until juices from fish turn from clear to opaque, 10-20 minutes depending on thickness of fillets. Remove from oven and transfer fillets to a large platter and keep warm.

Remove foil and reheat vegetables in oven until very hot, about 5 minutes. To serve, place vegetables around fish and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional). Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped mixture of fennel fronds, parsley and chives.