Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 21

Once the tree is up and the house is decorated for Christmas, we get our shopping done, we look at our schedule and see when family will be in town and what day(s) they will visit us, then do the grocery shopping so that everyone's favorite food will appear on the table during the holiday celebration. There is mostly a renewed happiness among people everywhere during the Christmas season. It is as if "Joy Has Dawned". Well, it a manger in Bethlehem. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 20

The Christmas Story is both simple and complicated. One thing that becomes clear to us is that Christ is the Son of God and He came to save humanity from their sin. Salvation is available to everyone who calls on Jesus. Take a look at the story and see the call of Christmas. Christ was born in a manger to parents who could not find a room for the night. He was not born in a palace and heir to any throne on this earth. He was already heir to eternity. Among the first to be told the good news were shepherds in nearby fields. Shepherds were hard working men and their job was not what most young men aspired to. Again, there was not a palace of nobles awaiting His arrival. He grew up among the citizens as a carpenter. He did not live a life of luxury awaiting His turn to rule over peasants. The whole story of Christ tells us that salvation is not exclusive to the rich, famous, well educated, or purchased by those who can afford to pay the price. Eternal life is available to everyone, regardless of their place in this life. The call of Christmas is a call to faith. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Music Marathon - Day 19

 In virtually every country, in every age, when an heir to the throne is born, there is great celebration. When the King of kings was born there was great celebration in heaven but not everyone on earth received their King with open arms. The heavens rejoiced, the angels sang, but here on earth Christ was seen as a threat by some rulers and nothing more than another poor Nazarine born in Bethlehem. But, He was not like any other child and He grew to become not like any other man. Jesus was God's only Son and salvation can only come when we receive our king. Have a blessed day.

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 18

All of us look forward to good news. Last Thursday I got some very good news. Back in October I had a bit of an accident and my camera along with my favorite lens took a tumble and broke both pieces of equipment. I sent them in to the manufacturers and got an estimate on the repairs. That process took a couple of weeks. After I approved the expenses, it took another three weeks to get the equipment fixed and returned to me. Most of the images you have seen in this year's marathon have been taken with my phone, a borrowed camera or a few are reprints from previous marathons. The image above is the first published image with MY camera back from the camera hospital. It's like an old friend returning after being apart for a very long time. Believe me, being without my camera for five or six weeks is an eternity. My camera and lens are back, and just in time for Christmas. Happy days are here again. I could boogie, but I'm sure I'd break something else.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 17

I love this Santa cookie jar. It is a joyful creation and there is the promise of good things inside that are to be shared with others. Christmas is a special season. It is a joyful time of year with the promise of the Good News that is to be shared with everyone and the gift of eternal life made available to all.  That's Christmas to me. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 16

Have you ever spent time just gazing at the ornaments on a tree and pondered the story of Christmas?
What questions come to mind when you read the account of the birth of our Savior? There are a couple of songs that consider what thoughts went through Joseph's mind as Mary carried the Son of God in her womb, and what questions did he have about being the earthly father of Christ. I wonder indeed.
After all, it seemed like a strange way to save the world but God tells us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. Thank you Lord for your infinite grace.

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 15

Of all the traditions that our family enjoys at Christmas, our favorite is probably the Christmas Eve worship service. We have lived in three states and been members of several congregations over the years, but each one has had special Christmas Eve services. Some have celebrated the Lord's Supper, others have had musical presentations, and a few have told the story of the birth of the Savior. All have served to allow us to stop and focus on the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of Christ is the single most important event in human history. May your family know the joy that can only come from knowing the Savior.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 14

Nearly all of us can remember making a Christmas list. We might see the latest toys in store windows or the Sears and Montgomery Wards Christmas catalogs would arrive in the mail and we would wear them out looking at things that we longed to have. Some of us may have even cut out the pictures in the catalogs and pasted them to our letters to Santa, hoping that the gifts would be waiting on us Christmas morning. Time passes and we grow up. As we mature, our hopes, dreams, and Christmas wishes changes. Family, friends, employment, and health become our focus. We want peace, joy, and security. We long for family that are absent, and we look forward to spending time with those who are close at hand. We learn that true happiness is not found in things that can be purchased, but in things beyond the reach of financial gain. True joy, peace, comfort and security can only be found in the manger and everyone who does not know Him as their Savior is on my, "Grown Up Christmas List." Have a blessed Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 13

Christmas ornaments come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and themes. These three represent first responders. These are the first people on the scene of some of life tragic events. They must bring skill, training, compassion, and professionalism to the point of contact with the public in the most difficult of times. Many of them have to work holidays while the remainder of society takes a break from their labors. Whether it is spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a police station, Fire Station or Hospital, or military personnel stationed around the world many of our countrymen will have their minds consumed by one thought, being home for Christmas. I am ever thankful for those who have chosen to make service to others their life work. Have a blessed Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 12

Decorating the house with Christmas lights is a tradition around our house. I usually put the lights up sometime in November, when the weather is good, then turn them on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year I was a couple of weeks late getting the lights up and didn't get the job done until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Still, when the lights come on, it a sign that "Christmas is Coming". Have a blessed day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 11

Everyone loves giving and receiving gifts at Christmas. We enjoy seeing the expressions on the faces of loved ones when they unwrap a package and the gift inside is most unexpected. It brings joy to the entire household. On that first Christmas night God gave us a gift that was most needed, the gift of eternal life though His Son Jesus Christ. On that night Love Crossed Over. Have a blessed day.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 10

We live in a world that is desperately seeking love. We ask ourselves, "Why can't everyone just get along?" For the most part we are seeking love in all of the wrong places. We try to find happiness in things that we can purchase or events that we can control only to find out that our idea of peace does not make others happy. Peace, joy, and happiness can only be found in the manger. The Bible tells us that "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world throught Him might be saved." (John 3:17) There can only be one response to the gift of a Savior...Adore Him. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 9

All of us have favorite Christmas memories. This ceramic ornament, made by my wife a few decades ago is one of mine. Like some of the music you will see and hear during this marathon, I consider this decoration a Christmas classic. It won't be long before Santa Claus comes to town. Have a blessed day.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 8

While there is a great deal said about the virgin Mary and her being chosen to be the mother of God's only Son, one has to ask about Joseph, the man chosen to be Christ's earthly mentor. Joseph had to be a patient, understanding man of faith. He is the example of a husband, father, and man that we would do well to emulate. He took Mary and cared for her, protected her, and loved her when many advised him to abandon her. After all, she was pregnant and "It Wasn't His Child". Have a blessed day.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 7

Have you ever look into the clear star filled night sky and declared, "Oh what a glorious night"? Gazing into the heavens after dark can give us a little perspective on just how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. On one glorious night God chose to reveal His love for all of mankind to some shepherds in a field. Why shepherds? They were truly second class citizens of their day. God showed us that salvation and eternal life if available to everyone and that every person He created is precious to Him. On one glorious night, Heaven Came Down! Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 6

One of the best things about the Christmas season is that most people seem to be in a giving mood. Employees at retail stores seem to be a little more helpful and strangers seem to be more willing to say hello, Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. For a few brief weeks we seem to be able to push aside many of our differences, negative news and unkind words in favor of a little kindness, love, and understanding. It's like there's a little bit of Heaven Everywhere. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 5

The book of Luke tells us that Mary traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph even though she was very near delivering her first born child. Joseph probably took his betrothed with him to protect her from unkind treatment by those who did not understand what was truly going on. Mary was most likely the subject of much gossip in Nazareth and Joseph was not going to allow her to be put to shame. We can all learn something from this part of their journey. It is not wise to gossip or ridicule someone when we have not walked in their shoes. We make assumptions based on incorrect information and we miss blessings because we don't take time to understand. Today many in this world miss the blessing of eternal life because they have not taken the time to understand what God has done for them through His son, Jesus Christ. Is there room in your heart for a Savior? Have a blessed day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 4

Soon after Thanksgiving is over, our thoughts turn to Christmas. Yes, there is shopping to be done, decorating the house inside and out as well as listening to Christmas music. When we turn our thoughts to that greatest gift and His purpose to bring peace on earth by bringing peace to the hearts of men, it is hard not to say everyday, "Let it be Christmas". Have a blessed day.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathond - Day 3

We celebrate Christmas with decorations, gifts, food, and time with our family. It is easy to forget the trials and tribulation that Mary & Joseph endured to bring our Savior into this world. From the time Mary was told by the angel that she had been chosen to be the mother of God's only child until the night Christ was born, their lives were filled with hardships. I can only imagine that at some point they would encourage each other with the words, "We're Almost There". Have a blessed day.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 2

One of the things that I like to do during the Christmas season is photograph decorations and ornaments. So, over the next few weeks you will see images from our home, our family, our city, and our church. It is my way of inviting you to celebrate Noel and come to see what God has done.  Have a blessed day.

Friday, November 24, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 1

Welcome to the eighth annual Christmas Music Marathon! Eight years are you kidding me? As stated every year, the purpose of this series of posts is to take you mind off of the commercial madness that surrounds this season and help you focus on the true meaning of Christmas through music. Each day between now and Christmas, you can come to this blog and read a short devotional thought, see Christmas celebrated by my family, and watch Christmas music videos that convey the message of the season.
Today, I begin with my traditional beginning. You may drive around your town and look at all of retailers trying to get your business. You will turn on the television and every ad seems to be about giving gifts to those you love. Nearly 2000 years ago God gave us the greatest gift of all, a Savior, Jesus Christ...and it all happened in a little town called Bethlehem. Let's take a walk through Bethlehem. I'm glad you're here and I hope you drop by often. Have a blessed holiday season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

 Final Autumn Leaves

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This is the last post before the 2017 annual Christmas Music Marathon begins. Come back Friday to start getting in the Christmas spirit with music that celebrates the true meaning of the season.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Awe...some Mondays - Countdown to a Marathon

It's hard to believe, but Friday I will begin posting my 8th Christmas Music Marathon. If you don't know what it is let me explain. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving I will post a photo, a music video or two...maybe three and a devotional thought that attempts to focus our attention on the true meaning of Christmas. You are cordially invited to drop by listen to the music, enjoy the photos and read a short message that will hopefully encourage you during the season. The music will come from traditional hymns, contemporary Christian, Southern Gospel, as well as choirs and orchestras. Here is a sample of the music that will be posted.

It's not Christmas yet, but it will be here before you know it, so join me this Friday to begin celebrating the greatest event in human history, the birth of Jesus Christ. Have a blessed week.

 Click on image to enlarge

Lucy is ready for the 2017 Christmas Music Marathon to begin. The fun starts Friday.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Autumn 2017 at Big Cedar Lodge
Branson, Misouri


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Awe...some Mondays

Last week we spent three days in Branson, MO. It is a short 2hr drive from the house and is one of the places that we visit several times each year. We went to spend a few days near the lake and I intended to photograph some fall foliage. Well, the weather turned cold, the sky turned gray and I only got a few images of the Autumn colors. We did visit an automobile and farm machinery museum. I fell in love. I have always been a fan of Mustangs, Camaros, and muscle cars in general, but while walking down one of the aisles I spotted these two beauties.

 These are 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz convertibles. They are big, bold and beautiful. I am sure that many of today's automobile designers are envious of the freedom that the designers in the 50's and 60's enjoyed. These motorized parade floats were the symbols of the jet age, space age, and freedom of the open road brought about by the interstate highway system.

Cadillac was the epitome of luxury, style and comfort in automotive design. Mercedes, Jaguar, and even Rolls Royce paled in comparison to the luxury of the Caddy and the Eldorado Barritz was the absolute top of the line. These classics now command six figures from prospective buyers. One look at these land yachts and the only word that comes to mind is ...AWESOME!!! Have a blessed week.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Skywatch Friday

This tree has become my "Fall Color Gauge".  I have photographed it multiple times over the years. I think it has an almost perfect shape and when it bursts into it's fall color, it can be spectacular. This year it is okay. The wind has been blowing a lot since the start of the fall season causing many of the trees to lose some of their foliage and the photo opportunities are lost as well. I will be out this week-end and the first part of next week trying to get some images before the trees are stripped of their splendor. Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Awe...some Mondays

 Recently a local apartment developer completed their third project in our area, a 500 unit complex. To celebrate the grand opening, they commissioned a group of artists to do this sand sculpture. It took four people a week to complete the project and it is impressive.

 The theme is a family taking a vacation in Northwest Arkansas and driving by some of the local attractions.

The family is driving by the Tyson chicken. Tyson is one of the largest food producers in the world. You really don't want to get behind a chicken truck on a two lane road.

Once the sun goes down and the lights come on, the sculpture takes on a whole new look.
Day or night, no display in Northwest Arkansas is complete with out an Arkansas Razorback.