MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

Fine Art Photography Inspired By Natural Creation & Wholesome Reading For Your Family's Entertainment



BUTTERFLIES“. . . time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Ah, what a wonderful feeling it is to set goals and actually accomplish them!  It makes us feel extremely good, happy, and proud, especially when obstacles may have befallen us along the way.  And indeed, God also wants us to be happy and rejoice in our hard work.  (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)  Yet, He also makes us aware that things do not always go as planned.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  I, personally, can relate to this fact as I am sure that most, if not all, of you can as well.

For instance, before I retired almost ten months ago, I had set some major spiritual and personal goals that I planned to work toward.  Everything was mapped out and going as planned until about a month and a half before my retirement when Mama’s health began to drastically decline.  However, while helping my siblings to care for her, I still kept my eyes focused on my goals and had every intention of still pursuing them.

With God’s help and the support and encouragement of my family and friends, I made it to retirement.  But Mama’s health steadily declined more and more–to the point where her kidneys shut down, and she came close to dying just as she had two times previously but relating to a different illness.  Thankfully, she got to the hospital just in time and underwent emergency surgery to undergo kidney dialysis.  Now, she is on dialysis three days a week and still also has other previous ongoing health issues.  One of the many blessings about my now being retired is that I can do so much more for her–and yes, I do consider being able to help take care of my mama in her golden years to be a blessing and not a burden.

Needless to say, I have had to make alterations to some of my plans.  But I am happy to say that I have not had toDOOR abandon them altogether (but even if I have to, that will be okay because my family is so much more important to me.)  I am now able to accomplish things that I never even imagined I would, and I have not lost my joy and zest for life.  I am a firm believer that sometimes when one door closes, God opens another, thereby helping us to see the rays of sunshine that await us there.  Whether or not we walk through it is up to us.

So what about you?  Have you ever had to alter or change your course due to some unforeseen occurrence in your life?  If so, how did you deal with it?  You know, acceptance is key when it comes to the things in our lives we cannot change.  No, it does not mean that we just throw up our hands and say we give up, but it is realizing and coming to terms with the fact that we cannot control everything that happens in our lives.  However, we can control (as difficult as it may be) how we react to the situation.  This is what both Darryl and his wife Catina must do in my book ISAIHIN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH.

Well, I hope you are having a great day.  Best to you and yours.  And remember–HAPPY READING!

As always, this is from my heart to yours!  🙂


(Butterflies & Door Photos-Courtesy of Clip Art)



CRYING BABYRecently, my sister’s husband, their six-year-old son, and I were at my mama’s house.  My nephew wanted his dad to fix him something to eat (what in particular it was, I don’t know.)  I was sitting at the kitchen table while my brother-in-law prepared whatever it was.  When he was done and gave it to his son, he abruptly cried out, “That’s not how Nah-Nah does it.”  As his father tried to appease him, he kept repeating over and over, “That’s not how Nah-Nah does it.”  Finally, my brother-in-law politely replied, “I’m not Nah-Nah.”  I did not say a word during the entire ordeal, but inside, I was crumbling with laughter.

Anyway, it made me think about how even some of us adults (me being one of them) are creatures of habit, and anything that is not within our normal routine simply throws us off course–like a runaway train that ends up reeling off the tracks.  Sometimes it seems as though I’m on auto-pilot; some things become so routine that I do them without even thinking about them.  In the past, I had my comfort zones, and that was where I wanted to stay.  And If anyone so much as came within an inch of me, I would immediately want to start crying like a baby and warn them to get out of my way and leave me alone!

AMOFOne of the things that has helped me to be more adventurous and outgoing is my writing.  In 1999, I began writing my first manuscript.  By 2000, it was complete.  Thereby began my search for a publisher, and all the while, I’m thinking to myself, “I’ve never been on an airplane in my life, and I know that at some point, my publisher will expect me to get on one and travel to a book signing.”  But I wanted to write so badly that I did not let it stop me from pursuing my goal.  In April of 2004, my first novel, A MEASURE OF FAITH, was released.

Finally, the time came for me to board an airplane from Atlanta to my first book signing in New Orleans.  And would you believe that it was during hurricane season in the pouring rain!  I was thinking, Of all the times for me to go on my first flight, it would have to be during hurricane season!  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when the flight attendant informed us that whoever had an aisle seat near an exit sign would be expected to assist others in the event of an emergency, guess who one of the passengers in that category was!  You guessed it–me!  She then added that if anyone did not feel comfortable being in the position of having that responsibility that we could request to be moved to a different seat.  Now, I was already nervous about flying for the first time, and on top of it, they expected me to help my fellow passengers if the plane crashed!  I came really, really close to raising my hand and asking to be moved.  But I braved it, and both the flight there and back home went good.  I still don’t care for flying, and I haven’t flown again since.  Of course, if I had to, I would do it again, but I’m in no hurry.

Writing has opened up so many doors for me that may not otherwise have been opened.  I have met so many wonderful and interesting people.  I get to share pieces of my many thoughts with people all over the world.  One of the things I asked God when I learned that I had gotten my first two-book contract was to please keep me humble because no matter what I accomplish in life, I never want to feel that I am better than anyone else–because frankly, I’m not.  To this day, I still pray for humility.  I also continue to tell everyone (including my family and close friends) that I am still Maxine and that I’m no better than anyone else.  We are all God’s children, and only He can read our hearts.  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Because of my relationship with God, I have been able to go outside of my comfort zones and accomplish things that I never imagined I would do.  However, I am simply dust, and any little speck of good that may be in me and everything good that I have is because of Him.  Yes, I have grown, but I still have a lot more growing to do–and even if I live forever, I shall never know all there is to know.  But because He has helped me to step into the deep part of the water, my horizons have been broadened.  But more importantly, it has given me the strength, courage, and fortitude to not cry about things that are beyond my control but, instead, to lean upon Him instead of myself.  (Proverbs 3:5 & 6)

HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours.




BABY CRAWLINGYou may have seen Domino’s Pizza’s latest television commercial where they say, “Failure is an option.” Initially, I felt that it would be bad for business for them to admit that, but now, I think it’s a great advertisement.  No one wants to be a failure, but let’s face it–we are all imperfect humans who make mistakes from time to time.  (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 5:12)  Even the most brilliant, smart, and well-educated person is not without some failings.

QUESTION: Does a baby walk before it crawls?  Usually not.  But even though I don’t know of any who have, I’m not saying there are some who haven’t–because for all I know, there may very well be some out there (in this day and age, just about anything is possible.)  Maybe they just skipped the crawling stage altogether and went straight to walking in the later months of their lives.  Or perhaps there are other reasons.  I don’t know.

We’re all like babies in a sense, don’t you think, in that we all learn, grow, and mature at our own individual pace?  Everything we know in life, we know because we learned it.  For some people, it seems like they were just born with natural talents and abilities.  It may be that it takes them hardly any effort to accomplish the things they do while another person may have to struggle to succeed in the same, a similar, or a different area.  On the other hand, the one who seems to be weak in certain areas could perform better at some things than the seemingly more talented individual.  Either way, this, in my opinion, is one of the times when failure is an option because how will we ever know what we can accomplish if we do not try?  Is it better to simply say, “I can’t do it,” without even trying?  Or should we at least give it an attempt first?  Then if we fail, we can either choose to keep trying or give up.  Whether or not a person decides to pursue his goals is his own personal decision, but when we don’t put forth the needed effort, we won’t know what we could have done.

Could it be that we’re afraid to be called or considered a failure?  It’s human nature, to a certain extent, to care about how others view us, but I have learned that if I take offense to everything everyone says and does to me in life, I will never be happy.  So, no, everyone may not like everything we attempt to do in our lives, but peace, joy, and satisfaction can come to us when we know that we put our best foot forward and gave it our all–even if it means sometimes, someone taking us by the hands and helping us like a parent does his son or daughter when they start learning to walk.  And if we stick with it, the next thing we know, we’ll be sailing on our own.








As always, this is from my heart to yours,