Thursday, January 29, 2009


"A January Scene", Great Island, Co. Cork.
Panasonic LX 1, 1/1600 sec, f8, -0.66 EV, ISO 80, 45mm equivalent, (Click to enlarge)

January is such a loooooonnnng month. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark, the bank balance is the wrong side of zero – but apart from that it’s doable! We're nearly there, we've made it, just two and a half days to go - and there are small signs of new life in the Garden with the hope of Spring not too far away…

Here’s a wonderful poem I found by a chap called Francis Duggan. (Duhallow is in North Cork, near Kanturk):

In January In Duhallow

The cold winds of January from the north east does blow
And the weather is cold quite cold enough for to snow
And the hungry birds silent on the naked hedgerow
In the flat and rushy fields where the Blackwater flow.

January in Duhallow from here far away
In the chill of the morning the frost bound fields gray
In the farmyard sheds cattle bellow for silage or hay
Where the sun seldom shines on a January day.

The distinctive harsh caws of the silver backed crow
In the Season where grass does refuse for to grow
And few cars on the roadway that leads to the town
Near where the river flows bank high in flood waters of brown.

In January in Duhallow the old fields looking bare
With the harsh chill of Winter in the cold Morning air
And at least eight long weeks till the first breath of Spring
When Nature will bloom and her wild birds will sing.

Francis Duggan

Monday, January 19, 2009

Change War for ...

Panasonic LX1, 1/50 sec, f2.8, ISO 80, 28mm equivalent (Click to enlarge)

I know that "change war for schools", "change war for smiles" is very simplistic, but why not? I like the deliberate naivety of the artist. It reminds me of John Lennon's "Imagine", a song which for me at least is in equal measure annoyingly simplistic and dreamingly uplifting.

If only we could change war for schools, if only we could change war for smiles. Of course there is hope:

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
(Isaiah 2:4)

Friday, January 16, 2009

English Market, Cork

Panasonic LX1, 1/8 sec, f2.8, ISO 200, 34 mm equivalent, (Click to Enlarge)

Panasonic LX1, 1/30 sec, f2.8, ISO 125, 34 mm equivalent (Click to Enlarge)

I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the old English Market yesterday whilst between appointments. It really is a wonderful place to shop; there is always a buzz about the place as people go about their business buying fantastic food - meat, fish, breads, cheeses and various exotic culinary delights from around the world. It is the antithesis of modern supermarkets, which feel so clinical (and cynical) in comparison...

The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

(Proverbs 11:1)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wait on the Lord

"Kite Surfer" at Garryvoe beach, Co Cork, (taken yesterday).
Nikon D70s, f5, 1/100 sec, ISO 200, 50mm (Click to enlarge)

Have you ever waited for God to act on something and waited and waited and then finally just when you were losing all patience (and energy) He showed up and did something far more amazing than you were expecting in the first place?

One lesson I have to keep learning is that God’s timing is very different to mine. There are things I would God to do sooner than later, people’s lives transformed, healing, peace-making etc. But who am I to tell God what to do and when to do it!?

Yesterday I was reminded of a verse from Isaiah 40 that helped me get back some right perspective:
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Learning to wait on the Lord has to be one of the really important goals of the Christian life. Waiting for His promise of strength to rise above the distractions and difficulties of our lives and of those whom we care about and trusting in His timing - that’s what it is all about! The notes in my study Bible say: “Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God’s power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen. His strength is the source of our strength; when you feel all of life crushing you and cannot go another step, remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength...”(1)

(1) Life Application Bible, N.I.V., Tyndale House Publishers, 1991, p.1228

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cold but Clear in Cobh

Panasonic LX1, f4.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 80, 28 mm equivalent (Click to enlarge)

Panasonic LX1, f4.9, 1/500 sec, ISO 80, 28 mm equivalent (Click to enlarge)

I was glad I had my pocket camera with me yesterday as I was doing some visits around Cobh. It was very cold, with the temperature hovering around zero, which for Cobh (with its own micro-climate) is very cold indeed. As you can see from the pictures, the sky was a deep blue and the air very crisp and clean. Makes me want to burst into Song ;-)

I can see clearly now the rain has gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day
It's going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day
I think I can make it now the pain has gone
And all of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
Look all around
There's nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead nothing but blue skies
I think I can make it now the pain has gone
And all of the bad feelings have disappeared
I can see clearly now the rain has gone
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day