Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Simple Day, Simple Play


Kentucky Butterfly in a Picture in Picture Bubble

A visit with a friend, a quick tour of her back porch, and summertime; these are just some of the ingredients that were used in the making of this photo. What else was there, you ask?

Well, there was the butterfly of course. There were the purple flowers that attracted butterflies. Oh, and then having my cell phone at the right time.

I took plenty of pictures but, for now, this one seemed best to share. I loaded it into a couple of editing programs to get the colors brighter, the lens flare, and the nice glass frame, and then I cut the size to fit the posts. 

I’m amazed that these miniature computers we call “smartphones” can do so much. It wasn’t that long ago when a cellular phone was a huge clunky thing with a foot-long antenna. And for all its girth, all you could do with it was make a few phone calls. Now, I can take a photo, edit a photo, add creative designs to a photo, and even make a kaleidoscope out of a photo and then surround it with a fancy frame. Amazing huh?

Butterfly and Flower Kaleidoscope in a KVAD Summer Frame

I wonder what I’ll create for the next Fun and Flourishing Friday post.

 

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Fun & Flourishing Friday, Nonfiction, Photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yahshua The Jew


The above video has beautiful lyrics to celebrate Our Messiah. I pray it blesses you to listen to the group “Lamb” and their excellent worship music.

You can see by the copyright date that I wrote the below poem many years ago. It came about just as I was learning about the Hebrew/Jewish roots of the Christian faith in which I was raised. Learning the Hebrew roots of my faith changed my walk with God more than I can put into words. It made the “Old Testament” come to life for me, and it explained so many of the words of Jesus I had grown up with. Through studying, especially in using The Complete Jewish Bible, I learned that Jesus/Yahshua actually quoted many Old Covenant words as He ministered. I recommend the above study Bible, which also comes with some great notes and appendices. I enjoy it in print and on my Kindle.

I have shared my testimony in previous posts, so I thought it was a good night to share the poem that came from my new understanding of The One who was both The Jewish Messiah and the Christian Messiah I had grown up with.

YAH-SHUA THE JEW

© 1999 By Crystal A. Murray

If Yahshua had come teaching
All the things we teach these days;
If He came not as a Rabbi,
But taught modern “Christian” ways;

If He said, “Stop being Jewish
For their laws & feasts are old;
Just form a church on Sundays
And give the pastor all your gold.”

If He taught multi-religions,
And many-faceted beliefs & ways
Religious & sin tolerance:
No judgment, no prices to pay;

If He taught that love means acceptance
No matter what other people do,
Would ANYone have believed in Him
As Messiah, King of the Jews?

See, it’s not the miracles He did,
Or the hungry that He fed.
Or His interpretation of the Scriptures,
Or any fancy words He said,

It’s the old, anointed, prophecies,
The promises of a virgin-born Son,
That proved He was THE Messiah,
Lion of Judah, and The Holy One.

‘Cause He could not have grafted anyone;
Into a vine of Love, pure and true,
If He, Himself, was not The Vine,
The Lamb, Son of Yahveh, and a JEW!

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Bible, Creativity, Nonfiction, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haiku My Day


Color Splash Daisies with Haiku

Poetry, Haiku Style: A Simple Way to Paint Pictures with Words

I use a diary app on my phone (Journey–Diary Journal) to write a haiku about my day as the last thing I do each night. I title each entry, Haiku My Day, and I enjoy this daily challenge. When I was in school, I hated it (like so many others) but now it’s one of my favorite forms of verse because of the simple format and forced focus. When I first taught it to my writer’s group, they groaned like I was one of the elementary teachers they remembered forcing this non-rhyming poetry on them as children–until the class was over. Then, they understood the following list of things writers can learn from creating haiku.

As a result of writing haiku…

  • You will be more apt to notice, or be aware of, the present moment, (something important for every writer);
  • You will realize the POET-ential (potential) of each moment for settings to be used in stories and articles.
  • You can recapture some of the keen and vivid perception you had when you were young and everything was new and wonderful and worthy of further investigation, or at least of telling the world around you about. (Which is why we become writers in the first place, right?)
  • You will have a heightened and deepened appreciation of life & nature, and how to paint them with word pictures.

Let’s begin with an answer to the question: What is haiku?

Haiku are Japanese in origin but have made their mark in American poetry where they traditionally consist of seventeen syllables, written in three lines that are usually divided into 5, 7 and 5 syllables, respectively. In Japanese haiku, there is always a nature theme. To express this, each haiku will use what is called a kigo (season word) to indicate the season in which the Haiku is taking place.  For example, flowers & butterflies can indicate spring; snow & ice, winter; mosquitoes & lightning bugs, summer; and multicolored leaves, autumn. But in writing Americanized haiku, no topic is off limits.

Matsuo Basho, (1644-1694), considered the greatest master of this form of poetry, said the poet should write directly from his own experience and should try to seek the deeper, inner life of the subject or moment’s activity.  He stated, “Learn of the pine from the pine: learn of the bamboo from the bamboo.” It is important to use your first impression, exactly as it was when you write about subjects taken from daily life.

Here’s a haiku I wrote the day I created the first lesson. For my examples, I’ll put the syllables in parentheses after each line. See if you can determine where I was while preparing.

…Quiet all around, (5)

…Just a whisper here and there; (7)

…People reading books. (5)

You likely figured out I was in a library. Now, here’s a set of haiku (called a renga) I wrote for the four seasons. See if you can figure out which season is represented by each.

…A cup of cocoa, (5)

…Flames blaze in a fireplace; (7)

…I am warmed inside. (5)

 

…New blossoms on trees, (5)

…Pink, white, purple, and yellow; (7)

…Generate new life. (5)

 

…The sidewalk is hot, (5)

…I do not have shoes to bear it; (7)

…I walk on the grass. (5)

 

…Feeding time is done, (5)

…The green has left the trees; (7)

…Look at the colors. (5)

I have plenty more, but now it’s your turn. Here are some suggested haiku exercises.

  • Look around you right now and write one or more haiku about something you see. Think of it like playing twenty questions and answer some of the base questions. Then, see if someone else can figure out what you’ve written about.
  • Write your own set of four three-line verses describing the four seasons.
  • Think of two things that are opposites of each other: trust and fear; peace and war; rich and poor; tall and short; loud and quiet; hard and soft, etc. Now write a haiku that shows their differences.  Try to get it into one three-line verse.  Choose new opposites to write more verses. Here’s an example of an opposite haiku…

…Heat waves in the air, (5)

…Icicles aim for the ground; (7)

…Opposite seasons. (5)

  • Think of two things that are like each other or that complement each other: faith and trust; peace and quiet; rage and violence; water and liquid; silk and satin; music and lyrics; etc. Write a haiku to draw attention to their similarities.
  • Write about the most beautiful thing you can ever remember seeing. Make it visual enough for others to clearly see the same thing in their minds.  If you’re tossed, don’t worry.  Just write more than one haiku.

Try this form of writing to bring focus to a character or subject you may be struggling with. If you write a haiku you are willing to share, please comment on this post and let others see it. I’m excited to see what my readers might share.

 

August 10, 2016 Posted by | About Writing, Creativity, Nonfiction, Poetry, Wordy Winsome Wednesday | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve Looked at Clouds


Clouds at St Louis with Text (2)

I almost decided to find the video for Both Sides Now to place here since it goes well with the title. 🙂 Besides, I haven’t really looked at all clouds from both sides now or before. I have looked enough to share a little about them for Tech Time Tuesday, though.

A friend recently found out she has a cloud account with her cellphone, but she wasn’t sure what that meant. It’s not the first time someone has asked me what a cloud account is, so I thought that would be a good topic to cover for today. First, a definition from Wikipedia (slightly edited)…

A file hosting service, cloud storage service, online file storage provider, or cyberlocker is an Internet hosting service specifically designed to host user files. It allows users to upload files that can then be accessed over the internet from different computers, tablets, smartphones or other networked devices.

In simple terms, just like a cloud can move through the sky unfettered, the information you store in a virtual cloud is not restricted to one location. It is the very definition of portable, but it’s more like having a portable safe that you don’t have to physically carry around with you.

I have a personal cloud storage device that allows me to store documents, pictures, music, and other media for use wherever I may install the software and provide the password and other information. That means, if I don’t have enough space on my phone or tablet for all my pics and music, I can still show them off by simply accessing them through the cloud.

In addition to being able to own a personal storage device, such as the Western Digital My Cloud drive that connects to your home network, you can use the storage capabilities of companies with large storage spaces available to multiple users. One of the most well known (other than web-based email, photo sharing, and blog hosting sites) is Amazon through the Amazon music service. Whatever music you purchase from Amazon, you can play on your phone, computer, tablet (especially Kindle Fire) or any TV into which you can connect a streaming device like Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV. etc., if that device can access Amazon applications. Amazon also stores photos,videos, and documents. (Amazon links here include a short link through my affiliate account, and they are safe.)

There are many other cloud services, some of which you may already  be familiar with, and some you may not. You can search and read reviews for security and best prices, but whatever you choose, make sure the site has an “https” in front of the URL (the part that often starts with a www and ends with a dot com). The “s” in the name means the site is secure, so others cannot access what you store there without logging in. Here are a few sites I have used…

  • Dropbox — Has applications for PC and mobile phones and tablets. Often comes preinstalled on phones and offers high storage content for limited times.
  • Google Drive — Connected to a Google (Gmail) account and can be accessed by invitation for collaborative editing in edition to storage.
  • Evernote — Great site for storing your bookmarks, recipes, images, and many other things you want to remember from your Internet visits. My favorite task for Evernote is that I can highlight a portion of a page and save just the highlighted selection, the whole page, or just a screenshot of what is currently viewable. Evernote also has a phone application that works with the sharing function.
  • OneDrive — This is from Microsoft and has generous storage amounts if you are a user of Office 365.

You will notice that the links for each site I’ve given above begin with the https I mentioned earlier. Right-click on any link and copy the link onto a Notepad or other text document if you’d like to view the link before you visit it. I’ll tell you more about safe clicks next week, but for now, this Tech Time Tuesday article is long enough.

 

August 9, 2016 Posted by | Nonfiction, Tech Time Tuesday | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Colors, Your Colors


Cool PicsArt Edits on Colorfy Flower--Framed

Sometimes, I think my mind has an invisible “Energizer Bunny” running overtime with thoughts and ideas. And yet, for this Musably Monday post, I’m struggling to bring just one idea to the page. It’s like trying to decide which digital crayon to use for the Colorfy app pictures.

Of course, for the picture above, I did pick some colors to play with, and I had fun creating patterns. It’s colorful enough for me to be satisfied, but then I found the PicsArt app on my phone and had to further personalize the picture with some creative effects. And then I added one last frame with PhotoStudio. It’s a good thing all these apps are free because otherwise, it could cost a pretty penny just to make something fit my eclectic tastes.

Having our own thoughts and ideas about a subject is what makes each of us individual. As long as our individual ideas do not disrespect Our Creator, or bring harm to others, they should be fine to entertain. If you want to make orange leaves with purple outlines, there’s no harm in that. This was my first digital coloring image, so maybe that’s why I felt the need to stay with traditional colors on the leaves, but I did enjoy throwing extra creativity into the flowers.

Speaking of individuality, yesterday hubby and I decided to rewatch Babe on Netflix. (Yes, the movie about the cute little pig.) We hadn’t seen it in over 10 years, and I had forgotten how much I really liked it. The idea that a pig could suddenly become valuable as a “sheep-pig” is way off the beaten path. But, not only does the pig do a fine job at leading the sheep, he also protects them and becomes their friend. If you haven’t seen it in awhile, I recommend pulling out your copy and popping it into the DVD player. If you don’t have a copy, it’s available for rent or purchase on Amazon Video.

As I watched the movie, one of the hardest parts for me was when the frenzied crowd ranted against the farmer and his pig. They had no idea what that little pig could do, and they raged against the idea of anything different than the normal sheepdogs they were used to. But Farmer Hoggett stood his ground, seemingly undaunted by the criticisms of all those around him, because he was confident in what his pig could do. And once the truth was known, even the crowd came around to another way of thinking.

This is a lesson for me. I have always been the odd duck with different thoughts and ideas than most everyone else. But I have also felt driven to fit in. I have bent to please people on many occasions, and it has not turned out so well. I need to remember both the farmer and his pig, and I need to stand in confidence that my ideas and colors are okay even if they don’t match your ideas and colors. As a matter of fact, if you have created any of these digital coloring pages with an app and uploaded it, please include a link in the comments and let me know where I can see your colors.

 

August 8, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Musably Monday, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Joy in Giving Us Free Will


Joy Looking Down Virtual Alley at Cowboy Church--From Jan 2010 with Edits Aug 2016--Sm 4 WP

Joy Looking Down a Virtual Alley at Cowboy Church
Image by Crystal A Murray, (C) 2010 All Rights Reserved

For this first installment of Serendipitously Sunday, I looked for some great idea to present itself to me. It showed up while I was organizing digital files and found a few things still in first draft stage. Provision by serendipity doesn’t mean there won’t be any editing, right? It’s a little longer than usual, but I hope readers will enjoy it and be blessed by the concepts. May you all have a wonderfully joyful week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I had it all planned. As soon as my retired hubby left for a day of errands, I was going to use the alone time for doing housework to surprise him when he got home. Alas, before he headed out, he stopped to tell me what he wanted me to do while he was gone. Ack! Now I couldn’t do as I planned because his request ruined my chance to give freely.

How many times have you wanted to be a giving person, and someone stole it away from you? Maybe it came in the form of a required tip percentage on your food bill. Maybe you tried giving to a hungry person, but the beggar demanded money and refused food, so you had to walk away. Maybe you love helping missionaries, but when some preacher says God will curse you if you don’t dig deeper, suddenly it doesn’t feel as good to give anymore. (Unfortunately, pulpit manipulation to give happens more often than you’d think.)

See, free will gives us the right to give from our hearts, and it allows the recipient to receive our gift with all the joy we have to share. I’m certain God created the idea of free will because He wants to receive whatever we give Him as a gift from our hearts and given with full joy.

One of the times I read 2 Corinthians 9:7, I realized it was written more to the recipient than the giver. A good receiver can bring joy to whoever gives him or her a gift. I hadn’t previously associated that with the joy of giving freely, but when I put these two concepts together, I realized something: Though God has authority to control all things, He chooses to leave us with free will because He loves a cheerful giver in all things….not just money.

It is possible to shine God’s light of truth with joy. We don’t have to tell others how their sins deny God if we demonstrate behaviors that uplift God. When we lift Him above all things, He (yes, He, and not us) will draw (not control, push, or force) all men to Himself, and we will receive the joy of another soul accepting Christ as Savior. His word gives a wonderful hymn of praise for salvation in Isaiah 12. Read the whole chapter for encouragement. Verse 3 reads, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Yes, God’s Word has strong criticisms for the disobedient, but they are more often delivered to the religious who know better and still disobey. Those who have not yet been drawn to God must first desire to give Him their hearts before He will change their lives. He will replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh in which He can work. We cannot force that with judgment and condemnation. Our control will kill their free-will desires, and it could prevent God from receiving the cheerful gift He wants.

God takes great joy in giving us free will because we can turn that around and choose to serve Him with joy. We give our hearts to Him joyfully instead of out of necessity. Those of us who already serve Him can learn from His example how to do the same with those who do not yet follow Our Lord. In this, we can be harmless as doves, and in this, we will see more people freely and joyfully give their hearts to God–which, of course, is our intention in the first place.

August 7, 2016 Posted by | Bible, Devotion, Nonfiction, Serendipitously Sunday | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now For A Word from my Sponsor


My Sponsor is the One who gave me breath for life, so taking time out to seek His presence and thank Him for all the moments and minutes He gives me is only natural. I cherish all His creations and the joy I find in them. His word on the first Sabbath in Genesis 2:2-3 is…

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

For a Sabbath day’s rest, my first Sabbatically Saturday post will simply be the pictures I took yesterday along with some creative editing. Relax and enjoy God’s gifts of nature and creativity, and share with me if you do some creative work of your own.

Pic 1, Naked Ladies (Belladonna Lillies) from my front yard. These soft pink beauties are all over the neighborhood right now too.Naked Lady Flower with Macro Attachment--Sm 4 WP

Pic 2, I wanted to catch the flowers while they still had some water from the earlier rain, and I got some, but then I cheated and decided to use the KVADPhoto+ raindrop filter to add a little more to it. While I was at it, I thought a nice bamboo frame and a bit more saturation went nicely with the raindrops.Naked Lady Flower with KVAD Edits and & Bamboo Frame--Sm 4 WP

Pic 3, When I have a nice contrast in an image, I really have fun getting out the Fractalius plugin and seeing what all images it will create for me. It takes my love of fractal and colorful design and adds it to real world images. What more could I ask for?

Naked Lady Flower with Macro Attachment--Fractalius Edit and Frame--4 WP2

Naked Lady (Belladonna Lily) with Fractalius Edits & Framing

Pic 4, Another Fractalius image with a bit more color and a nice vignette and frame from Irfanview. Fractalius Naked Lady--Sm 4 WP

Pic 5, And we’ll end this with a kaleidoscope made from one of the fractalized flowers because, after all, it is #KaleidoSaturday on Twitter.Fractalius Bright Naked Lady into Kaleidoscope--Sm 4 WP

August 6, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Nonfiction, Photography, Sabbatically Saturday | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Fun–A Gift for My Sister


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome to my Friday blog post where, sticking with my pattern of daily alliteration in my titles, it is time for Fun and Flourishing Friday. Since I’m planning on Fridays being posts of fun, photography, family, etc., this one lines up perfectly with edits done to a picture of my sister and her husband. Plus, the fancy frame even allows for the definition of flourish.

I had a great day where I got a bit more exercise and activity according to my Samsung SHealth app. As part of that activity, I took a bunch of pictures in my front yard, and while I was working on some creative edits, I changed my mind midstream. I’m kinda known for doing things like that. It’s a woman thing and an Adult ADD thing, so…oh, look, another idea popping in.  🙂 Not really, but really. My mind is always racing with new ideas and running down a variety of rabbit trails.

Anyway, I remembered I had a picture from my little sister’s recent vow renewal ceremony out in Arizona. She and her husband celebrated their 33rd year of marriage, and since I couldn’t be there for the event, I asked for a lot of pictures.

Well, Candie is normally the photographer for her church, but as the subject of the photos, she couldn’t be the one to take them. I don’t know how many people she passed the camera to, but she ended her day with a variety of nice pictures. Unfortunately, only a few were of just her and her hubby Steve together. The best one also had half a word and some wall decor behind them. That’s the first image in the slideshow above.

I cut the image to a size that would print for an 8 x 10 landscape, but I had not yet been successful in removing the letters and design. I’m not practiced in using the cutting tools to cut and paste an image yet, but the new Photoshop Elements 14 has a “refine selection” tool that makes a big difference, so I hope to use that method in the future. For this one, I simply copied and pasted plain wall portions over the decorated wall. I use the free software from Irfanview for simple editing, so shadowing and colors aren’t perfectly even, but a little work with the cloning tool took the square lines out. From there, I opened the image up in my KVADPhoto+ Pro desktop app from the Microsoft Store. (Note: links are for ease of reference only unless they link to Amazon where they include my affiliate info.)

Image two in the slideshow reveals the heart bokeh I placed over the walls to soften the background and add some color. That took two different effect filters, and half the fun is seeing what an image looks like with the different filters until I find one or two that seem perfect. For this, white hearts and then colored hearts worked well together. In addition to that, I added a simple frame to make the picture printable as an 8 x 10 for my family that doesn’t use the Internet. The frame is perfect because it includes some dainty lace, and my little sister loves all things lacey and Victorian.

The last image was the simplest, though I went through a variety of frames to get to it. For that one, I surrounded the previously edited and framed image in another Photo+ frame that I thought would look good for when my sister wants to share her pic online. We’ll see which one she likes best, and feel free to comment on the one you like best too.

Shabbat Shalom to all my readers, and may this fun and flourishing Friday finish your week in peace and joy.

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Fun & Flourishing Friday, Nonfiction, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Treasure In My Heart


 

Heart Leaf in Fancy Frame with Text

Heart Leaf in The Park in Decorative Frame

 

Welcome to the first installment of Theologically Thursday. The word of God and the doctrines of serving Him are good for every day of the week, so you may see theologies on other days as well. However, my goal will be to always bring something specifically related to Scripture and Bible study on my Thursday blog posts.

For a simple post about matters of the heart, I started with a search for Scriptures that pointed to the heart, and that brought me to the one in the image above from Matthew 6:21 in the King James’ Version.

Next, I read over Psalm 37:4 where the words from the New King James’ Version say, Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. And then I read in Proverbs 4:23, in the Complete Jewish Bible, the following: Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.

There are so many Scriptures on the heart that I can see a variety of topics drawing me in for deeper study. For today, however, I will focus on the idea that God is in the business of granting our desires in the same way good parents want to grant the desires their children have. A good parent doesn’t say “yes” to everything–no matter how much the child whines and begs. Instead, a good parent teaches a child why some things are better to desire than others. For example, a good father doesn’t help his son find drugs that will harm him no matter how much the son thinks he wants them to “be cool” to his friends. And, a good mother will teach her daughter to desire a mate that will treat her as a person of value rather than helping her get the attention of the most popular guy in school just because that what she says she wants at the time.

In His holy word, our Abba Father teaches us that if we will focus on Him, seeking Him first above all else, He will grant us our desires. I believe that if our treasures are truly wrapped up in Him, our desires will be for things He desires to fulfill. The Scripture in Psalm 37 may actually mean that God will literally place the correct desires in our hearts.

To make sure our loving Father can freely bless us with whatever we desire, all we need to do is protect our hearts from distractions that seek to turn our thoughts away from God and His love. If we trust in His sovereignty, we will have desires, but we will not covet anything not already in our lives because we will trust that He is our provider of right desires and of fulfilling those right desires.

May we all seek to hide an abundance of treasure from God’s word in our hearts that we will not sin against Him even in our desires, and may He fulfill every right desire of our hearts.

August 4, 2016 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, Theologically Thursday | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Me Brainstorm a Better Brand


 

TLIME PLUS GEORGIA - 800 x 668 Logo with Text

The Lord is My Editor–Logo with Text

Well, now it’s Wednesday (at least it still is for me since I am not an early to bed person even when I’ve been earlier to rise), so it’s time for Wordy Winsome Wednesday. On this weekly post, I will talk about writing or my writing and whatever that entails. Maybe I’ll talk about grammar, maybe my struggles with formatting and submitting, or maybe I’ll share excerpts from longer pieces. For this week, I want to share some of the ideas I’ve come up with for branding. More than that, I earnestly seek your opinions on these ideas, so I can finally create a brand from which to focus on future projects and marketing.

My problem with branding (and so many other things in life) is all about my eclectic tastes and personality. I don’t seem to fit into any of the usual molds. I write poetry, haiku, novel-length fiction, short stories, articles, lyrics, haiku, devotions, Bible studies, and have a couple books I’d like to do about bands. Oh, and I’ve got an old project for Christian writers that I’m getting ready to revive. In addition to writing, I edit, photograph, create graphic designs (like wallpaper and kaleidoscopes), do web design, and run a writer’s group. If I added all the work experiences in my life, this post would get way too long.

So, how do I create a brand when my creative desires are all over the map? You might say pick a favorite, but most of them are favorites and all of them have probably been a favorite at one time or another. On my business cards, I finally opted for the following line: “Writer–Editor–Creative Mind” and I added the words in the logo above. I was told by an agent at a conference that “The Lord is My Editor, I Shall Rewrite” is not actually a brand, and she came up with “Stories that Need to be Told” as an option. Most everyone in the group liked that one, but I found it used quite a bit when I did research.

All this brings us to my own brainstorming. I have come up with 10 possibilities in addition to the one from the agent. I created a poll that will allow readers to choose up to three favorites, so I could use a weighted voting technique to help select a favorite. Would you please choose your favorites, and/or add your own suggestions, to help this eclectic gal toward a final brand? In addition, you are welcome to comment on your choices and your suggestions. Thanks so much, and I truly appreciate all comments and ideas.

 

August 3, 2016 Posted by | About Writing, Creativity, Nonfiction, Wordy Winsome Wednesday | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Creative Images & Fun Apps


In my effort to blog daily, I’m finding myself taking more time than I plan ahead and ending up far later at night than planned, but I’m gonna stick with this. That said, here’s my Tech Time Tuesday submission.

I love to play with graphic programs and apps, especially if they make colorful and kaleidoscopic designs. The designs themselves are a bit of technology, but to stick with a true techy theme, I’ll share just a few of the apps and sites I use to create and have fun.

For starters, because of copyright laws, I suggest always using your own images as a base to create from. That means you’ll need some kind of camera, and the higher quality images you start with, the higher quality graphics you’ll end up with. If you just cannot find anything of your own to use, make sure you use something with a Creative Commons.org license that does not prevent derivative images. (See the CC site link above for explanations of the various licenses.) And if the CC license requires anything (such as attribution–giving credit to the original photographer, or share-alike–repeating the same CC license in your final product), be sure to uphold such requests.

I put together this mosaic of designs from the images I created from the top left picture of a stack of colored chains. The pink, black, and white chains were actually a necklace, and I was very happy with the colorful designs I was able to make. Here’s my mosaic from the creative and fun website called Big Huge Labs

Hi Res Chain Scopes Mosaic2

Necklace Kaleidoscope Mosaic

Now for the technical part. (Note: I’ll add links to make it easier for readers to find the sites. Also, know that links to Amazon are short links with my affiliate information. If you decide to purchase from Amazon, it helps me a little if you use my links. Thanks.

First, I used an app called “Kaleidoscope Lime Pro” that I downloaded from the Google Play Store to make the circular mandala designs as well as the tiled tessellation designs. I love how one picture can create so many images, and I play with this app often when I’m waiting somewhere with my phone. There is a free version of the app, but for 99 cents, I found it worth supporting the developer to continue to make quality apps such as this. I have used it on both a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Note 5, and both worked perfectly. You may even find my Note 3 review when you view the app.

Next, I used a slightly newer app I’ve had since May called “Photo Studio Pro” that I got from the Amazon App Store. I also opted for the pro version on this to support the KVAD developer and to have access to all the extra options. The PIP (picture in picture) options just came out recently, and that is what made the image above where you see my original kaleidoscope mandala inside a glass with a flower at the bottom. The image above with the cupcakes is done with one of the KVAD frames.

And that’s about it for this Tech Time Tuesday. Download some apps, make some images, and upload them to a safe site like Flickr or Google+, then come back and share some links with me. If the sites and images are safe, clean, and family friendly, I will approve your comments so others can visit your images too.

August 2, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Nonfiction, Tech Time Tuesday | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making God…


Indiana Fireworks 2015

Fireworks from Patoka Lake, Indiana, July 2015 by Crystal A Murray. In camera and post editing for sparkle and framing. (C) All Rights Reserved

It’s August 1st, and I have decided to force myself back into daily blogging. My goal is to have a different topic for each day of the week, and since the first fell on a Monday, I’ll start with what I’m calling Musably Monday. On Mondays, I will share my thoughts on any variety of topics, sometimes fresh ideas and sometimes the old stuff I keep in various files and rarely share. For my first post back, here’s a little something I thought about upon waking up one morning last week.

I woke thinking about gifts I’d like to have in my spiritual life; gifts like others have and like I think I should have since I’m a dedicated believer. I mean, if prophecy and healing and faith and visions are so necessary for these end times, surely anyone truly serving Almighty God can have them just for the asking, right? And if one does not have them, that person must be lacking in something they need to be doing to receive such gifts. Maybe we have not just because we ask not, or maybe something else is required to earn and deserve a taste of the abundance God has to offer. After all, so many Christians talk about the gifts and anointings they have received from God as if those gifts are badges of honor, it gives the unspoken message there must be something special about the people and/or behaviors of those who walk in spiritual gifts.

My mind immediately went to the following thought: I wonder what I can do to make God give me…. And there, I stopped. The words make God stuck in my thoughts as not fitting for my relationship with the Great Creator I serve. He is the one on the throne. He is the one who set the universe in order. He is the source of all. Who am I to think I can make God be or do anything? Almost immediately, before climbing out of bed, I got my phone out and began typing more on the subject.

MAKING GOD…

I see many people these days who are pushing to make God this or that. They think by their prayers and certain behaviors, they can change God instead of changing themselves to become better vessels more yielding to Him and His perfect will. Too many want to make Him…

  • A God who does what we want.
  • A God who does whatever we claim in Jesus’ name.
  • A God who gives us dreams.
  • A God who fulfills our dreams.
  • A God who tells us everything in advance.
  • A God who will give us a perfect life if only we have enough faith.
  • A God who only talks to certain people doing certain behaviors in certain ways.

Because of these modern teachings, I sometimes find myself asking God what I need to do in order to get Him to: heal me, bless me, fix me, fix others, etc. But, in all truth, I don’t want to “make God” anything He is not. I have no desire to control Him. If I could manipulate Him, He would no longer be God.

Instead of trying to control Him by asking the right questions or perfecting my earthly works, I just want to walk in His presence and get to know Him better and better. I desire to do what pleases Him. I want to come boldly before His throne of grace, not to get Him to do anything for me or give anything to me, but to cleanse and perfect myself in His mercy that I may learn more about how to uplift Him to a lost a dying world.

As I heard stated recently, it’s not the abundance of darkness and sin that cause us problems; it’s the lack of light. We have no shortage of things set against God and His holy word, but it only takes a little light to drive out darkness. We have a promise in John 12:32 that if our Savior is lifted up above the earth (and I believe that would include the works of earthen vessels–good and bad), He WILL draw all men unto Himself. We don’t have to try and make God do anything for us or others. We ask, we trust, and He answers. It is always His will to give us whatever gifts and tools we need to lift Him up because it is never His will that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9)

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Devotion, Musably Monday, Nonfiction, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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