Morning Coffee with Randy

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There is nothing that gets the day started and headed in right direction like a cup of good morning coffee. The smell alone is enough to give my brain the kickstart it needs as I head into my office for a few minutes of devotional Bible reading and prayer. Coffee sparks my day.

And I know I’m not alone in this. Judging from what I read on social media, nearly everyone requires some measure of caffeinated beverage to start their day.

While I would love to be able to invite everyone over to have morning coffee with me, we all know that isn’t going to happen. There isn’t enough coffee here to go around, I don’t have enough mugs (though that may change now), my kitchen is too small, and I really like the peace and quiet of the early morning. It’s the devotion and prayer thing. That’s my alone time with the Lord.

What I can do is this…

Instead of you coming over here for morning coffee, how about drinking coffee where you start your day using one of my mugs. I can see you’re excited just thinking about it.

To make this easy, starting today you can get mugs with some of my best photos printed on them. All you have to do is go here and order. The mugs are available in two sizes, 11 and 15 ounces.

Mugs make great stocking stuffers and there is still time for them to arrive for Christmas. So you really have no reason not to.

Even if you don’t drink coffee, these mugs are perfect for whatever you drink, hot or cold. Dont’ wait. Get your’s now.

I’m even offering a little incentive. Until the end of the year use this code…NPCNDX …at checkout to get 50% off my markup on your entire order of anything in the store.

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Posted in Thinks

Basic beach, no frills

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More pictures from this trip are posted here.

Solana Beach, basic beach

Yesterday (Monday 11/21) my photo outing took me to Solana Beach. It’s a basic beach. No frills, but a great walk.

It was a break from our normal Del Mar vacation habit of going to San Diego at least once during the week. That’s okay. I like doing new things, and I am always good with spending time on the beach.

Wave crashing on a rock

A day before we went to a street fair in Encinitas. I saw some close up photos of waves crashing on rocks displayed at one booth. I don’t know where they were taken, but they inspired me to try making some of my own. Since I didn’t have any waterproofing equipment with me I stayed back a bit for this shot. If you want to get close in to crashing waves it is a good idea to have a waterproof camera housing.

For a closer perspective have a look at another image in the gallery.

Wave splash

I zoomed in a little closer for this one and got a bit more detail in the water. It also looked better to me in color. 

That’s another thing I like about basic beach photography. It is easy to find great black and white, or monochrome, subjects, and I like to work with black and white.

Old railings

One more thing I like about walking on the beach is that it is constantly changing and always presenting new things to look at. Tides go up and down, sand comes in then goes out, and new things which were hidden are revealed.

Besides, the beach is just a great place to walk.

Both Solana Beach and Del Mar are a basic beach. Water, surf and sand. No frills, just beach.

Other beaches, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, can be practically theme parks. Lots of stuff going on. Boardwalks, shops, skating, cycling, and an endless list of activities. These beaches are full of frills. I like them too.

Let’s face it, I like beaches. I miss living near the beach.

What’s your beach story? Leave a comment.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving at the beach

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Update: The pictures from this trip are posted here.

Del Mar Beach looking north.

This week we are celebrating Thanksgiving at the beach. We will staying at our time-share in Del Mar, enjoying daily walks on the beach, and falling to sleep and waking up to the sound of the surf.

Going for walks is one of my favorite things to do. Along the beach is my favorite place to walk. Above you can see where we walked today, and probably will walk every day this week. A walk north on this beach rewards you with a great view of the race track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. You know, where the turf meets the surf.

Heerman's Gull

When you walk on the beach you are going to see Sea Gulls. They are a staple of any walk on the beach. Not surprisingly, we saw hundreds of them, including this Heermann’s Gull. We also saw an assortment of other shore birds. No pictures though.

This gull impresses me. It has what it takes to stand out, be cool, and sport a red bill. Not every sea bird can do that. Not only does it have a cool name, Heermann’s Gull, but a beak that has it’s own coolness factor. He is the Rudolf of gulls. Born to lead and shine that beak.

Lifeguard boat

Not to be outdone by a sea gull with a red beak, this lifeguard decided to take a red boat out for a spin. Crash! Right through the surf. It was more impressive in real life. Maybe I should have done video.

This is a good point to insert my tip of the day. Red. That’s it. Look at the pictures above. They would be pretty dull and uninteresting without the red. Injecting some bright colors, just a bit, will help your photos to pop. Any contrasting bright color will work, but I think red works particularly well.

There you have it. My pictures from day one. These aren’t all of them, and there will be more throughout the week. More will be posted after we get home and I’m back to my big monitor. Size apparently does matter.

Update: Pictures are now posted here.

Pictures from a previous trip to Del Mar way back in 2013 are posted here. More from July and December last year are here.

Join the conversation and leave a comment.

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Eleven amazing things the Lord will do for us. The last two will inspire awe.

Bible and a blue cup - the Lord

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During a recent time spent in the Psalms, I slowly and prayerfully read through Psalm 146. Know what I discovered? A clearly laid out list of things the Lord will do for us. The only thing He needs from us is to trust in Him. Really trust. Have complete confidence that He will do what He has said. He is going to do what He promises and nothing, not one single thing, will deter him or move him off his course, because He is faithful. Forever faithful.

It may seem obvious, but there is one other thing he needs from us. To not trust in mortal men. Since all men are mortal that would include all of them. Even those of high earthly rank. Verse 3 says, “princes,” but I think we can use a modern term like presidents. They are mere mortals and as such their promises are limited and temporal when they can be trusted at all. In the end “their plans come to nothing,” (v.4). God, not the government, is the hope of mankind, the hope of the needy.

So what is on this list of things God will do?

1. He upholds the cause of the oppressed.

Who are these oppressed? All of us. At one time or another we all endure unjust treatment. Most of us several times throughout our lives. It goes along with being human and living in a flawed world. Nevertheless, whatever injustices have followed us, whatever oppression has held us down, God promises that he will uphold our cause.

2. He gives food to the hungry.

Nothing is more oppressive than hunger. Lack of food has done more to bring about oppression than anything mankind has ever devised. But hunger is not limited to food alone. Spiritual hunger is also a reality and leads to spiritual oppression.

3. The Lord sets prisoners free.

Without Christ, we are prisoners of sin. In Christ we are freed from sin and death. Free to live new life in him. Free to worship and serve him

In the physical realm, many are imprisoned unjustly and often for their faith. The freedom Christ offers is the hope that justice will prevail. The freedom to rest in his sovereignty.

4. The Lord gives sight to the blind.

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the scales fall off and our eyes are open to the wonderful grace and mercy that is found in Christ. Through eyes of faith we begin to see the hand of the Lord working among men. With eyes of faith we see and understand our own depravity and the power of Christ death on the cross to free us from sin.

5. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-38

6. The Lord loves the righteous.

Those He loves He will not forsake. He loves the righteous, but He also loves the sinner. This is proven in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

7. The Lord protects the foreigners among us.

He loves and cares for those who don’t look like us or think like us. He loves and cares for those who do not believe like us. He loves all mankind, and we must too. We are Christ’s ambassadors to the world bringing the knowledge of his salvation to everyone.

8. He cares for the orphans and widows.

In the ancient world, orphans and widows were among the outcast of society. In the modern world Christians are often outcast, pushed aside as not fitting in. Christ is preparing us a home with the Father and will return to take us there.

9. He frustrates the plans of the wicked.

When all is said and done, sin and death will be no more and all the plans of the wicked will come to naught. 

And then…

10. The Lord will reign forever.
11. He will be our God throughout all generations.

I pray this has encouraged you, given you hope, and inspired reverent awe in our incredible God.

Leave a comment and let others know what you think.

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Everyone relax. God’s grace is enough.

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Early in the morning, after Donald Trump was projected the winner of the electoral college vote, I posted this to Facebook.

Everyone relax. You’re all going to be fine. It’s not like we haven’t been through this before. We don’t understand God’s ways, but rest assured the outcome of this election is all part of His awesome plan.

It may not be what I would have allowed my creation to do, but then I’m not an omniscient god.

He is a good God who has promised that all things work together for good. I will wake up in the morning excited to see what he is going to do next, because I believe Him and trust Him.

That last sentence pretty much sums up the way I wake up every morning. It makes no sense to wake up any other way. Each day gives me new opportunities to assess the results of the previous days, seek God’s grace for the new day, and prayerfully build the tomorrow I believe He has called me to.

Do I always hit this mark? Heck no! But that’s okay, as long as I recognize and admit my shortcomings, and get back at it. God’s grace is incredible, and it carries me through the toughest times.

Perhaps that’s really what all this comes down to. Grace.

While some people are running around in a state of near euphoria, others are depressed into downright panic. Even some Trump voters are wondering, “what have we done? Yeah, we voted for him, but he wasn’t supposed to, you know, win.”

Exactly what did they expect to happen? That’s the danger in a protest vote, you might actually get what you vote for.

It’s all part of the game. A game that involves outlandish rhetoric to stir up the masses. Both sides are guilty of saying things that they will never do just to get votes from the radical fringes of their support. Tell them what they want to hear and they will vote for you. A candidate doesn’t have to actually do any of it. Their supporters just have to believe that they will. And that is what has so many in a panic over what is going to happen when January 20, 2017 rolls around.

And that brings me back to God’s grace.

I imagine Him looking down from his throne and having a great-big-belly-laugh and shaking his head. Or perhaps He is shaking his head and shedding tears of disappointment. Who knows? What I do know is this. God is in control, and He would be in control with a different outcome. So relax. God’s got this, and He has you. The question is, do you have Him?

His grace is enough to carry us through the worst of times and the best of times, the darkest night and the brightest day, Republican administrations and Democratic administrations. By his grace He sent his Son to die in our place so that we could have abundant life. He loves us, and He will bring us through whatever storm there is. Probably not the way I think or want, but definitely the way I need.

So, if you are angry, upset, frightened, worried, distraught, jubilant, happy, or don’t care, about a Trump presidency, relax. God is in control and his great, amazing grace is enough to get me through. How about you?

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or to find out more about God’s amazing grace.

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