Thursday, January 31, 2013

Skywatch Friday

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How important is it to live well each day?  While the sunset signals the end of another day in our lives, it gives no promise for another tomorrow.  Therefore, it should be important to each of us to live this day well.  How does one live a day well.  I think it would be important to make an effort to make the lives of those around you a little better than it was yesterday.  A word of encouragement, a smile, a hug, whatever it takes to make someone's day better is a worthwhile endeavor.  This is critical when it comes to our family.  Relationships are the most important part of life.  
The most important relationship is the one that God wants to have with each of us.  Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, except through me."  Eternal life only gained through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  God created all life, so He gets to make the rules, and that's the rule.
The second most important relationship is the one that we have with our spouse.  Unfortunately, over half of all marriages end in divorce.  Somewhere along the line we have failed to understand the marriage relationship and it is apparently not worth the effort, to many people, to work on improving their marriage relationship.  It appears to be easier to walk out of the relationship than stand together and forge a lasting marriage.  That is a sad comment on our society.  Again, a smile, a word of encouragement, a hug can go a long way toward keeping a marriage together.
The next most important relationship is the one with our family.  How do we treat our children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.?  The fact that we consider 1.2 million unborn children too much of an inconvenience to allow them the first breath of life speaks volumes about how we value life in general.  We should not be surprised at the many tragic events that children in this society are exposed to, when we don't seem to have a problem with terminating their lives prior to birth.  When does life begin, seems to be the question.  God says, that before you were formed in the womb, He knew you!  Think about that.  
Thank you Lord for the gift of life and the gift of eternal life.  You are indeed the Alpha and Omega.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Ruby Tuesday

I haven't gone looking for specific Ruby Tuesday subjects recently, so I dug back into the files from Christmas and found this capture of the middle grand daughter waiting her turn to play Wii.  Whenever she comes over during the holidays, she locates the Santa hat and wears it for the duration of her visit.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

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Scavenger Hunt Sunday was a challenge this week.  There isn't much lace to be found around our house and I don's have any good sources.  Bling was a bit interesting, but I decided to go a little outside the box (maybe not) for that catagory.  However, wood, fabric, and fuzzy were available.


 Fabric was the easiest categoryAs an architect, with interior designers on staff, we have a room full of fabric samples.  Take your pick.

  During the Christmas holiday this rustic Santa stands next to a very rustic tree that is adorned with ornaments that celebrate the outdoors.  His beard is very fuzzy, don't ya think?

 This little New Testament has a wood front and back.  It came from Jerusalem and the wood is olive.  It was printed in the mid 1930's and was a gift to my great aunt, from one of her students, in 1936. 

You have to go to a horse show and riding competition to understand that half of the show is all about the bling.  The horses are sporting saddles that are adorned in silver while the riders have outfits with more bling than Robert Redford in "Rhinestone Cowboy".


 Technically, I don't believe either one of these qualifies as lace.  I know for sure that the first photo is a piece of crochet.  I think the second is also a type of crochet, only with a finer thread.  This type handiwork was extremely popular in the 1920's to mid 1940's.  You could find bed spreads, table decorations, pieces for arms and back of chairs.  My grandmother used to crochet all of the time.  Some of her work looked very much like the first piece.  See you next week, or come back anytime. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Skywatch Friday

When the clouds tell me that there will be a possibility for a great sunset, I make a point to try to be in this spot when the time is right.  There is a hill about three miles from the house that has a clear view to the west.  The results are often very pleasing.
When my day is not going well, I try to make a point of being in a particular spot as well.  That spot is on my knees, directly in front of my Lord, praying that His will be done and that He would grant me the courage, patience, strength, and understanding to walk through any life event that comes my way.  He has never failed me.  That doesn't mean that there is always a happy ending, it just means that God is faithful to His children.
Great is His Faithfulness.  Have a blessed week-end.

During World War II Nazi Germany unleashed a Holocaust that resulted in the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews. Every five years The United States systematically exterminates 6 million of our own unborn children in abortion clinics. Why is this considered acceptable?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

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I have found a "new to me" meme that I thought I would try. It's called Scavenger Hunt Sunday. The rules are pretty simple. There are five categories provided each week and the challenge is to post a photo that is appropriate to each category. There are some gifted photographers  participating in this exercise and there are those of us that are not so gifted, but enjoy the thrill of the hunt.  This week the categories are, Basket, Park, Auto, Recycle, and People watching. So here goes.

 My first thought of the word basket was who sells more baskets than Pier 1?  Nobody!  When I walked into the store I found the usual collection of baskets for home decor.  Then I spotted these.

This probably isn't the image that most if you conjure up when you hear or see the word "park", but I thought that there would be hundreds of photos posted of pastoral scenes with children and families enjoying time together, so I decided to make a different statement.  You have to be a special person to park here.

 There are a couple of classic and street rod car events in our area each year.  They provide a wonderful opportunities to capture images of beautiful Detroit wheels from the past.

This small "bachelor's chest" and chair were re-purposed by my wife and I for our grand daugher's bedroom.
The chest was mine when I was a teen  and the chair was in my parents living room for many years.  My wife made a new slipcover, we refinished the chest and gave both pieces new life.

 People Watching
When I have my camera, people watching is my favorite pastime.  Some of the best places to people watch are farmer's markets, craft fairs, county fairs, kids sporting events, parks, busy city streets.  Keys to success are a good telephoto zoom lens and keep some distance between you and your subject.  The best way to describe it that I have heard is, "If you're in the shadows, you are invisible."

Well, this was a bit of a challenge, but I found it interesting and I think I will probably do it again.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Skywatch Friday

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that sometimes the sky isn't all that interesting so you just have to fill the frame with something else.  This big guy landed in a tree less than a hundred yards from my office window the other day.  It was nearly noon, so I grabbed the camera drove to a place to get a better viewpoint and was able to snap a few photos before he decided to leave.  Yes, there is a sky and clouds behind him, but who cares?  Not me!

Okay, for you skywatch traditionalists out there, here is a capture for you.  This Sunset was captured on my way home from work a couple of weeks ago.  I can usually tell by the clouds around noon, if it is going to be a good sunset to photograph on any given day.  I have three or four places on my way home that allow me to photograph the sunset without city lights, power lines and the usual clutter of civilization.  I try to get there in plenty of time to set up, and capture enough images to give me options for what I want to post.  Some days are diamonds and some days are stones.

The Vietnam memorial wall lists the names of 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to this country that we might enjoy Freedom. The Vietnam conflict nearly caused a second civil war in this country.

Every 18 days 59,000 unnamed, unborn American children are denied the opportunity to give their lives to any worthwhile cause and there is not a single voice of protest. I simply do not understand.

Our only hope, is in Christ alone.

Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Skywatch Friday

Here we are, eleven days into the new year and I've already missed one Skywatch Friday opportunity.  But last week was the end of the holiday week and I was on vacation so I didn't post much of anything.  How's that for an excuse...pretty lame.
The important thing is we are in the new year and once again we are faced with new possibilities and opportunities to make this the best year of our lives.  What can be done to ensure that 2013 is indeed the best year yet?  Most of us will try to adopt a healthier lifestyle, with better eating habits and more exercise.  Some of us will attempt to acquire a new skill or take purposeful steps to improve skills that we already have.  Still others will decide that a career move or change is the answer to making 2013 the best year of their existence.  On one level or another, I will do all three this year.
I was only marginally successful in a healthier lifestyle last year.  It resulted in the loss of a few pounds, but nowhere near the results that I need to see.  I must admit the results matched my effort.
I am also making a career change this year.  It's called retirement!  That's right, one day this year will be my last day of work.  I have been in the construction industry since 1969.  I've been a licensed architect since 1983 and I have been at my present employer since 1987.  I am ready for this adventure called retirement.  You can scroll down a couple of posts to see how I intend to spend much of my time.
Finally, I intend to work on a couple of relationships.  Like most of us, my relationship with my spouse could be better.  We have been married over 38 years now.  We love each other but there is no doubt that I could be a better husband.  There is no reason why these retirement years can't be the best years of our marriage.  How does one improve on a long lasting marriage relationship?  I think the answer lies in improving another relationship.
The relationship with my Lord and Savior needs a lot more attention from me.  I need to spend more time talking to my Lord, in prayer.  I need to spend more time listening to what my Lord has to say to me, through reading His word and I need to spend more time putting into action those things that I learn from the first two activities.  One thing is certain, the better your relationship is with Christ, the better your relationship will be with the world around you.  Have a blessed week-end.

On December 7, 1941 over 2400 Americans lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor and we were plunged into World War II.
On September 11, 2001 Nearly 3000 people died in three separate terrorist attacks, and we launched the War on Terror.
Every day in this country over 3500 Americans are denied the first breath of life in abortion clinics, and we do nothing.  Something is dreadfully wrong with this scenario.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Part-time Retirement

Yogi, over at Yogi's Den, asked me to give an update on this part time retirement thing that I am doing right now.  So here goes.  A year ago I stepped down as department director took a different role in the firm and went into semi-retirement.  My goal was to do that for no more than two years and then fully retire.  That means that this is my last year of work.  Currently, I work three days a week (Monday-Wednesday) and check my e-mails etc., from home, for an hour or so on Thursday and Friday.  There are three or four times a year when I travel to events that make it necessary for me to put in 45-55 hours in a week, but those are planned events and I can schedule for them.
So...what am I doing with my free time.  Well, when the weather is good, I will usually spend Thursday mornings on the lake fishing.  That will probably continue into full retirement.  I bought  a new boat a couple of years ago and I love spending the mornings on the lake.  Even if the fish aren't biting, I like being alone on the water and I live in a part of the country that has some beautiful scenery to enjoy and to photograph.

Thursday is also errand day.  I try to schedule any doctor, dental, auto service, or other appointments on Thursday afternoons.  If there are none on my schedule, then Thursday afternoon is typically taken up with yard work, weather permitting.
My wife currently works four days a week, so Friday is usually the day that we do something together, even if it is house work in preparation for the week-end.  Friday may find us at the grocery store.  If nothing big is planned, Friday may find us at a local flea market, or we may plan a long week-end in Tulsa, Branson, or other location...even Vegas.  Although I think we've been to Vegas enough times that we're through going there for awhile. 
Saturday usually finds us at one of the Grandcrew's events.  There is little league baseball, soccer, dance competitions, piano recitals, and track meets, although the track meets are usually during the week.  And that brings us to my other hobby (passion)

I have always had a casual love affair with photography.  I have just never pursued it very seriously.  I've always had a decent camera, but I've never taken the time to learn how to use all of the features and controls.  That is changing as we speak.  Last year I joined a local photo club.  It's been fun.  We had a competition and exhibit of our work in November.  I had several entries.

 This photo did not place in it's category.

This photo received and honorable mention in it's category.

This photo placed 1st in it's category

In addition to joining the club, I have subscribed to Kelby Training.  There are a myriad of online classes, taught by world famous photographers, and you have 24 hour access.  Certainly, a lot of the training is over my head and uses equipment that I will never have, but there are hints, tips, and tricks in these classes that make it worth the investment.  I also watch Kelby TV online on a pretty regular basis.  It is free and there is a lot of good information available there as well.  If the weather is bad and I can't go fishing on Thursdays, you will probably find me in front of my computer watching one of these two websites.  After retirement, I may try to enroll in a workshop of some sort.  I would really like to go to PhotoShop World trade show in Orlando.  After retirement, I believe I will have more time to pursue the post processing side of photography.  I am still very much a novice when it comes to using PhotoShop Elements.  Again, I have a decent piece of software, I've just never taken the time to seriously learn all of its features.  I see this as the hobby that will be with me long after I am no longer able to climb in and out of a bass boat.
Finally, I spend a couple of hours a week working on this blog.  Again, I don't take it too seriously.  Some days I will schedule posts for the entire week, Other days I just let it slip.  I don't think that will change much.  I do plan to get my Christmas Music Marathon more organized next year.  I want to tell a story with it instead of just posting random videos each day.  That is the one area of my blog that I am committed to.  It is work to come up with a new post each day for a month.  Those of you who post daily have my admiration and respect.
Well that's the update. I can honestly say that I am looking forward to my last day in the office because I want to spend my retirement enjoying my family and my hobbies.  In my case, my hobbies can be enjoyed by my family.  It's the best of both worlds. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Skywatch Friday

Some days, when the sky is crystal clear, you just have to fill the frame with something interesting.  I love the details of this building.  It is a church in downtown Okmulgee, OK.