No longer available–Now What?

Our ice maker stopped working a few weeks ago. I first replaced the ice tray inside the refrigerator. While it worked after the repair the water wasn’t flowing to it to make the ice.

Above is the actual part for the water inlet valve. It controlled the water for ice and getting cold water in the front door.

The great thing about the internet is you can find parts from sources all over the world. However in my case the part was no where to be found. The “Currently unavailable” message was on every website that I went to and even calling around locally no one had one in stock.

I went to forums and no recommendations for anything other than having it rebuilt.

Problem Solving

While searching I realized this Kenmore part looked similar. The same number of inlet and outlets and similar switches, just a little different placement of the parts.

I took a risk and ordered the part. Cost was about $38 vs original part was more than $100 in many locations.

Took me about 15 minutes to install, minus one trip to Home Depot to get a $6 part to convert one water line to a bigger line. Turned it on and tried it. At first when making ice the water shot out the front of the door where you fill your cup with just water. Took about a minute to figure out I had switched the connections.

I made the change in the connection and now everything works.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 4500, ƒ/4, 1/100

This is what I do every day for my clients. I look and identify the problem needing to be solved and then I look for a solution.

Many people today can type in the model number of their refrigerator and find the part. Yes this is problem solving and would be helping a client. However, how many would be able to find a solution when the solution isn’t so clear cut.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/20

I will be honest that many times when I come up on problems and the solutions are not so clear, I pray. I have yet to have a voice talk to me and tell me the solution. What I have had happen many times after some time in prayer is the ability to let go.

After letting go and knowing I do not have a solution I then am able to be much more creative. I believe that the creator of the universe works through me in ways I cannot explain and helps me to think in ways I never would have done by myself and come up with some solutions.


First of all let me say that you cannot get enough education to know it all. Education is about a lifestyle of constant learning.

If you are starting out take formal classes at a college or trade school. Find a mentor and ask lots of questions.

Remember that if the solution is obvious to most anyone then there is little you can do to be of any service. Your value is helping solve problems that people cannot solve themselves.

All problem solving is creative thinking. No matter if it is accounting, childcare, food service, or something in the arts when you are up against a new problem and the solution isn’t something that has been done before, you are creative if you solve the problem.

The reason I make this last statement is that if you are an artist, like a photographer, as I am–You should take as much pride in doing the business part of the job as you do in the artistic part.

I will leave you with a scripture that to me reminds me that God is able to work through me if I only let God do so.

John 16:13

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

I want MORE civility so I don’t Unfriend more people

Nikon D5, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 40000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Sports just might be the last area of civility I am seeing these days in our society.

Stephen L. Carter, the acclaimed author of The Culture of Disbelief proves to readers that manners matter to the future of America. says, “Civility represents the sum of all the sacrifices that one makes in a democracy for the sake of living a common life.”

Listen to Carter speak at Yale on the topic:
Is Civility Important? from Yale Law School on Vimeo
Now the reason I say sports is one of the last places I am seeing civility isn’t because people are not at odds, but yet they play hard and still try to get along after the game and during the game by respecting each other.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 22800, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000

Over the past 25 years I have watched so many institutions go through major changes. I watched my denomination, Southern Baptist Convention, growing up from a front row seat not just divide itself, but is now doing even less of what is was doing when it came to missions. I was laid off during the infighting because giving was dropping and they could no longer support my position.

My first job out of college was for a small daily newspaper. The media which are the ones reporting what is happening in America are protected by the 1st Amendment, yet due to so many financial changes are a fraction of the size they once were to cover our country, yet in the same time our country’s population has grown.

I watched as predominately Baptist fundamentalist organized to be The Moral Majority and attach themselves to the Republican party. I would sit in small groups in churches through the years and it was assumed that you were Republican if you were part of the church, because many didn’t see them as separate, but the same.

In past presidential debates the candidates took their turns more than today, where they talked over each other and the moderators. This is only a reflection of how we as a society talk to each other today.

I applaud Andy Stanley’s message not that long ago to his church about the election. Listen for yourself:

I think Stanley’s points around the scripture are what can help us restore civility to our public discourse.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40 All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.

I think those who are not Christians could also live by some of the guidelines that Stanley points out. I love how he encourages you to share your opinion and even argue your point. However this is where I think his wisdom from the scripture would help reunite America. We should not make our points at the expense of undermining our influence.

The Great Unfriending

This weekend I unfriended a few more people because they crossed that line. They jeopardized their relationship with me. I don’t doubt I have probably done something to someone in my life to do the same.

This election cycle will most likely be remembered by many as the time so many of us unfriended someone in social media.

Business Tip

No matter your political position be careful that you don’t jeopardize a relationship or the ability to have influence in your industry.

In my faith we believe that Jesus died in order to demonstrate how much God wanted to restore the relationship. We believe there is nothing one can do that God would not forgive in order to restore a relationship. The only thing we believe that can break this relationship is man’s rejection of God’s olive leaf.

Revelation 3:20

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

As business people we should live this out in our business. We should be trying to recover customers and doing all we can to keep the ones we have.

We should speak up when we disagree with a client. We should argue our point with them. However, as Andy Stanley reminds us don’t do any of this at the risk of losing your influence or jeopardizing the relationship.

Nikon D5, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

You will score with your clients when you treat them as people. You will continue to have influence when you respect their opinions as well.

By living out Matthew 22:36-40 you will be the most confident, curious, composed, compassionate people in the room.

Lessons learned from Shakespeare, Bill Clinton and Steve Jobs

Our house is quite busy this week. My daughter has not only been memorizing lines for her role as Olivia in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, but also she is has been making all the costumes for the actors as well.

When you study Shakespeare you soon realize how revolutionary he was and I think creatives today can learn a lot from him.

The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.

In the Twelfth Night here are some of the words he created:

  • Improbable fiction
  • Laugh yourself into stitches
  • Out of the jaws of death
  • consanguineous
  • control (n.)
  • dexterously
  • hobnob
  • lustrous
  • malignancy
  • to negotiate
  • whirligig


I think what creatives today can take away from Shakespeare is the importance of innovation rather than just variations within a style.

“Advertising” was created by Shakespeare–that is the word was created by him. Photographers use his word “exposure” a great deal in their craft.

At the root of his creation of words is that of a problem. I believe Shakespeare was just solving the problem of how to talk about life when the words just didn’t exist. He was helping the audience understand a storyline by addressing the lack of words to describe something.

The key to our success is our ability to tackle new problems and come up with new solutions.


“I feel your pain” – Bill Clinton

Your business success is based in your ability to have true empathy for a client and the struggles they are going through. Your ability to communicate that empathy is key to your success. Bill Clinton huge debate moment was when he was able to connect with the American people and talk about their problems and connect with them emotionally.

After the debate Clinton shortened this into his slogan “I feel your pain.”

Steve Jobs, like Clinton, articulated the problem someone experiences with mobile phones before his introducing the iPhone.

“Business School 101 graph of the smart axis and the easy-to-use axis, phones, regular cell phones are kinda right there, they’re not so smart, and they’re – you know – not so easy to use.”

Jobs, like Clinton, then goes on to talk about how Apple is the right company to tackle the problem because they did it before.

“We solved it in computers 20 years ago. We solved it with a bit-mapped screen that could display anything we want. Put any user interface up. And a pointing device. We solved it with the mouse. Right?”

Steve Jobs roll outs of new products are studied today by marketing experts just like we study Shakespeare in schools.

Just watch Steve Jobs bring up problem after problem and then show how the new iPhone will handle this for you. While this is an hour presentation, people were on the edge of their seats because he continued to introduce a new problem and the solution to that problem. The iPhone was to revolutionize how you will do life–and it did just that for our culture.


What Problems Are You Solving?

You want to be successful–then solve the problems of others. Those who rise to the top are those that serve others.

Did you know that your problems tend to disappear when you focus on others problems and help solve them? The key to your happiness is by serving others and making them happy.

Why Instagram is great for photographers

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. – Wikipedia

How do you find work?

To get hired you need to find your audience. This is where your potential clients are that you want to show your work.

Many years ago the way photojournalists and photographers got work was by flying to places like New York and making appointments at as many publications or agencies that they could pack together in a few days to a week.

It was common for a person to spend $3,000 to $6,000 on transportation, hotel and miscellaneous expenses to just show their work. Most photographers would have a few books. Each of these books cost were a few hundred dollars or more to produce. You often would drop off your book and hope they would give you a call. So having a few books was important to get your work out there.

Today clients are more likely to just ask you to send them a link to your website. Face to face meetings are more reserved for the actually projects than just seeing people’s work.

How do you get their attention today?

Now if you are a writer then Twitter might be the best way to get your work noticed.

Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. Registered users can read and post tweets, but those who are unregistered can only read them. – Wikipedia

It is important to note the difference between Twitter and Instagram. Twitter was established to share TEXT and Instagram was setup for PHOTOS/VIDEOS.

While you can post photos on Twitter the audience is expecting mainly text. Instagram requires an image or photo because that is what the audience is expecting.

People like Instagram because it is visual and this is the audience that will appreciate your images.

Your Target Audience uses Instagram

The odds are pretty high that your audience [Potential Customers] uses Instagram. Take a few minutes and go to and type in the search box the names of the companies you want to work with in the future.

Here I searched for Delta Air Lines and before I could finish typing it popped up first.

When you then go to their account they tell you to share your travel pics and use the hashtag #Delta.

Hashtags are a pound sign immediately followed by a keyword. They’re used for categorization on social media.

Instagram is another hotspot for hashtags, and the good news for those who love to extensively tag photos is that there doesn’t seem to be a saturation point.

Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags.

Now here is another tip. If you use @Delta then whoever manages the Instagram feed for Delta gets an alert/email that you have tagged them.

This is because @NAME is the account. Only the account holder will get an email, whereas the hashtag is something anyone who follows that hashtag will see.

Believe me there is someone at Delta paying attention to those posts. If they like it they may share your post and if they really like your style they may end up hiring you to shoot material for their Instagram feed and other projects.


While I just showed you the backdoor to getting your work in front of potential clients it is important that you use this technique in such a way as to be relevant to your potential client.

If you tag your photo with @NAMEOFBUSINESS be sure the image is something that they would post on their account.

Here is a post where I and tagging Coca-Cola.

Here is a post that I tagged Nescafe.

I also used hashtags for the country and region of the world.

Now just remember that because you are using the correct account name and hashtags to get in front of your potential customers that doesn’t mean success. Your images must be compelling and they must think your style of work is worth pursuing.

Now here are some of the Instagram accounts I follow because I think they are relevant and reaching an audience:

I follow many others, but this is a good sample. Most of the successful photographers using Instagram in my opinion marry the text and images so there is a short story.
I have noticed that those who are most successful tend to stay on theme for their Instagram posts. 
Be careful how you evaluate Instagram accounts!!!! Do not base your opinions on what you think about their work alone. I highly recommend taking the time to analyze an account and figure out why they have 40K+ followers. Humans of NY has 5.5 million followers. Now if you are a trained photojournalist you may find fault with the work of some of these Instagram celebrities. Don’t discount them. Learn from them and then put your personal touch on your posts using some of their techniques.

Are you a Proactive or Reactive Volunteer?

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 36000, ƒ/8, 1/100

Last night I attended the ASMP Atlanta Chapter meeting where the executive director Tom Kennedy shared what is the status of the organization. He was here to listen to the members and what they are also seeing as a need for the organization.

When we asked the question, “What is the value proposition of ASMP?” is when we found that we didn’t have a very simple answer.

WIIIFM – We realize that one of the first things that most photographers are asking is “What Is In It For Me?”

This is a very common theme that every business and organization must realize. We are there to serve our audience/customer. The really hard thing for most volunteer organizations to grapple with is that those volunteering for the organization are also the audience.

We as volunteers are more prone to give of our time when we are getting something out of it.

In the FOCUS meeting last weekend Greg Thompson, director of corporate communications for Chick-fil-A, talked about this from the perspective of hiring new people to his team.

Greg listens for how long the person talks about what they want to get out of a job verses what they want to give of themselves. He went on to talk about Truett Cathy.

“When you focus on what other people need and want it is amazing how you get what you want.” –– Truett Cathy

I think while there may be some examples out there on how to truly be successful, I think for the most part that the way to truly be successful is actually counter intuitive and this is why it is so difficult for people.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 32000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

As we were wrapping up the meeting Tom Kennedy talked about one of the most influential words he remembers shaping America when he was just ten years old from the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” –– John F. Kennedy

Ah Ha Moment for me

Last night the Ah Ha Moment for me was hearing people talking about how they wanted to help the organization and were volunteering. The moment it clicked was when someone offered to go to the area colleges and art schools to talk about ASMP.

You see I have been doing that for the past fifteen years or more. I have been speaking to colleges and art programs regularly about business practices.

I realized that many of my colleagues were having the same trouble with volunteering as they do with talking to clients about work. They are more than willing to help out and really would if asked, but that is the problem.

By the way when I am speaking to those groups I am representing ASMP. I am also representing every other group I am a member of like NPPA, Roswell Presbyterian Church, Atlanta Press Club and many other hats I wear. You see ASMP is doing a great deal. Just see what our members are already doing.

We as members are acting on behalf of the organization informally all the time. This is how new members will decide to join or not based on how they see us conduct ourselves. Many people join organizations because they are impressed with the members or they stay away saying they are just hypocrites.

Now I am not sure we see that when we ask a client if there is anything we can do to help we are often creating another problem. Sure there are times that if you have a good relationship already with a client that they may be able to tell you something, but the reality is most of the time they would have to stop and think about their needs and then think about your abilities.

It is the same thing as someone coming to your house offering to help you. Often they would be embarrassed to let you see the inside of their house and then for them to know how YOU can help.

Possible Solution

Lets take a problem situation like a family has just had a loved one seriously hurt in some accident and they are now in the hospital. Calling the family and saying is there anything I can do is not as effective as offering them some specific services that you can do for them.

Here are some ideas:

  • Can I bring you a meal today?
  • Can I go by your house and handle some things for you?
    • Cut their grass
    • Get their mail
    • Check on their pets
    • Pick up some clothes for you
  • Your children can stay at my house and I can get them off to school for you – can I do that for you?
When someone is in a very stressful time for them to stop and think of things you can do for them isn’t easy to do. This is where those who are truly service oriented thrive and rise to the top.
Be proactive and not reactive. While you think that asking if there is anything you can do is proactive, it is really fishing for something that you can be reactive.

Volunteer Suggestions

I think I will be taking my own advice and reaching out to Tom Kennedy with some things I can offer to do for the organization.
  • Hey Tom I would like to volunteer by writing some blog posts and willing to coordinate getting others to write some posts as well. Would this be something you could use?
  • Tom I have been going to area colleges and speaking on Business Practices and could video tape one of my presentations or share my powerpoint if that could help others do that around the country.
  • Tom I would love to create a multimedia package on some of our Atlanta chapter members who are great success stories on how they are helping clients reach their goals.
I think it is easier for the organization to react to my proactive actions than me asking what can I do for the organization.
By the way I think all this proactive conversation about helping your associations you might be a member also works for how to get more jobs.

Faith Peppers asks, “What do you want to be known for?”

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 2500, ƒ/3.5, 1/100

Faith Peppers, the director of public affairs and chief communications officer for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recommends that communications professionals ask themselves, “What do you want to be known for?”

Peppers says that she hires for character many times and then also may consider if someone has particular skills like storytelling.

Listen to her advice here:

Essential Skills for a communications professional – Do you have them?

Dr. Houston Davis, interim president of Kennesaw State University addressed what he hears industry wanting from all college graduates.

I believe his list is applicable to the communications professional.

Dr. Houston Davis’ Essential Skills

1) Critical Thinking

2) Global Engagement

3) Information Discovery – Able to deal with Ambiguity

4) Communication Skills – Written & Oral

5) Ability to have had an internship, apprenticeship or some real world experience in a profession while in school

6) Undergraduate Research

7) Have all this documented so that employers can see the skills you have acquired.

a) Creative

b) Global

c) Documentation

d) Leadership

e) Research

f) Service

Listen to Dr. Houston Davis explain these Essential Skills here:

Do you ask your client the right question? Michael Schwarz tells us his thoughts on this question.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 2500, ƒ/3.5, 1/100

Michael Schwarz said a mouthful in just a couple minutes during our FOCUS panel discussion.

When he was new in the profession he asked clients, “What do you want me to do?” Later he would discover that wasn’t the right question.

Listen to Michael explain this evolution in his career.
“What are you trying to accomplish with this project? or Why are you hiring me?” is the better question. Which often is met with, “I don’t know, let me get back to you with an answer.”

While the client had a shot list the better question helped to focus all the content and also gives Michael ideas on how to pitch some of the solutions he can deliver.

So what question do you ask your client?

Photographers need to lead an organization of one

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/60

Col. Tom Clark, director for Citadel’s Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, spoke last night to the Atlanta Citadel Club. Clark brought his leadership tool bag and the first thing he pulled out of the bag was a hammer.

When he was a cadet at the Citadel this was the tool used by the leadership at that time. The downside of this being your only tool is applying a hammer to every situation doesn’t get the results you are needing.

“Ever tried hammering a screw?”, was a question he asked us.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/60

Then he pulled out a screwdriver which had many different tips that could be switched out.

This tool reminds us that we must look at the head of the screw and figure out which of the tips: Flat Head, Philips, Square or something else is needed to fit the head of the screw.

Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/80

Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, also has a leadership tool bag he uses when talking to people about leadership. Dan Cathy has a slinky as one of his tools. Dan says:

Just as one end of the Slinky has to be the first to descend a staircase in order to put the whole thing in motion, leaders must be the first to move forward in any endeavor in order to put the rest of the team in unified motion. Just as the Slinky won’t work without one part of it “leading the charge”, any team endeavor we desire to complete—whether as a family, a group of friends, or an entire organization—will not happen unless a leader takes the first step. Let’s remember this the next time we’re on the precipice of a new endeavor, and let’s be leaders who get the whole thing moving.

Nikon D750,  AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500

Both Col. Tom Clark and Dan Cathy are leaders who teach leadership to people. They realize that these tool bags filled with examples are those “visual” reminders that help people grasp the concepts of good leadership and remind them to put those into practice.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/4, 1/250

Compass as Ethics Tool

A compass is a relatively simple instrument based on a simple concept. With its northward facing needle, it is a consistent and true indicator of physical direction. By placing “moral” in front of compass, we evoke a clear picture of mental processes that point a person in a particular direction in life. These processes are consistent and true indicators upon which personal belief and action can be based.

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

No system of morality is accepted as universal. For many people they use their faith as the set of doctrines that will be their true north for their morality compass.

Leadership? But it is just me

You may have been passing over all those leadership books because you are just an independent photographer. You don’t even use assistants, so how could this possibly help me?

Glenn Gutek wrote that “Great Leadership Starts With Leading an Organization of One.” These are some great tips. There are two that I think many photographers would benefit from using that I want to highlight:

  1. Control Time–You should be always focused on your top priorities for that moment. When you get up and start your day the first things you do for your business should be the highest priorities. When you finish your day and go home then your priorities should be focused on your family and what is most important. Knowing how to get the most out of your time during the day is great leadership skill.
  2. Temper Emotions–This is the one thing I struggle the most about. The reason it is such a struggle is because I am so passionate about my work. You have to be to get emotionally impactful images. 
Gutek said about tempering emotions, “at times it is critical to practice the discipline of being dispassionate.
Being dispassionate allows a leader to protect the environment from becoming toxic and engaging in the wrong battles. Leaders should fuel their energy by investing in their passions, but keep things from running off the rails by not pouring gas on a volatile situation.”
Fuji X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 200, ƒ/7.1, 1/750

You are playing Chess not Checkers

The greatest thing you will learn in dealing with clients is how different each and every situation there is to one another.
Almost nothing looks more orderly than chess pieces before a match starts. The first move, however, begins a spiral into chaos. After both players move, 400 possible board setups exist. After the second pair of turns, there are 197,742 possible games, and after three moves, 121 million. – Popular Science

James 1:5

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

All these tool bags of leaders have one thing in common–Strategy. Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. 

Does your tool bag have only a hammer? What are you doing to learn about what tools are best to put into your leadership toolkit bag? 

Tip on dealing with depression that often comes with freelancing

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

Ernest Hemingway used this long quotation from Ephesians in his book The Sun Also Rises:

“What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.”

Hemingway thought the characters in The Sun Also Rises may have been “battered” but were not lost.

Do you feel “Battered”?

For many reasons you too may feel frustrated and even depressed with your plot in life.

Are you suffering from any of these:

  • Loss of a client
  • Not sure what potential clients want or need
  • Camera gear is old and not financially able to upgrade
  • Feeling betrayed by another photographer
  • Loosing clients to younger photographers
  • Feeling old 
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 500, ƒ/4, 1/500

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

– John 16:33

First I cannot tell you to read something or take something and it will all be better. What I can say from my life experiences is that it can really suck all you are dealing with. One of the best things when one is feeling this way is just to have someone there with you. Having someone who just listens and doesn’t give advice but is willing to be with you during this time.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX, 100, ƒ/7.1, 1/640

This is a Bible verse that reminds me that I am not alone:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

– Psalm 23:4

You may feel like Joseph and Mary on their way to Bethlehem. You are going there to pay your taxes and you arrive and you have no where to stay. It is the end of the year and you also have a child on the way.

I doubt they were all excited about this trip with all they were dealing with in life.

Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/500

Carry one another’s burdens

Galatians 6:2 – Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings. 

Now if you are able I highly recommend helping others when you are down. If you are not able then this is a clear sign you need to see a doctor.

It will help you to get your attention off of your own problems. Sometimes we get in such a hole that we can’t see anything else, or find the way out. Helping others works to break this cycle, and opens our vision. It gives perspective, shows that your problems are not insurmountable.

When I started giving to others of my time and talents was when things finally turned around for me. Now let me tell you just because you start helping someone doesn’t mean there is instant gratification for the work you are doing.

Like the mule here helping carry the farmer’s burden you too will feel the weight of the work you will do. Helping others will once again reveal your true self worth. It will show you that you do have value and that you can make a difference.

While you are helping with other people’s burdens, which sometimes are wounds you are going to help heal yourself.

You will find that you aren’t the only one with problems. We know this intellectually, but seeing it first hand is healing. Sometimes we feel like we have been singled out for pain. We are not that special. It comes to all. Receive healing as you work to heal others. Do something; get out.