Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Family Easter

Nana, Papa, and the Grandkids.

Daughter, Son-in-law and the Grandkids.

Just the Girls.

 Nine years old.

Eleven years old.

 Soon to be thirteen years old

Seventeen years old.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!  It's Resurrection Sunday!  Christ is Risen and there is victory over death.  I serve a risen King.  How can I describe him?  I'll let S. M. Lockeridge speak for all of us.

That's my KING indeed!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

Wake up!  Resurrection Sunday is almost here!  The God who created you has provided a way for you to spend an eternity in His presence.  He has even prepared a place just for you. "...I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."  (John 14:2)  There is only one way to receive the gift of eternal life and spend eternity in that place that God has prepared for you.  "...I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  (John 14:6)  That's pretty straightforward.
Here's how it works.
Everyone of us has sinned to the point that we are not worthy to enter into heaven on our own.  No amount of good works, charitable contributions, or loving our neighbor will buy our way in to heaven.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".  (Romans 3:23)  There is not a soul on earth worthy of entering heaven on their own merit.
"The wages of sin is death."  (Romans6:23)  The price that must be paid for our sinful behavior is death.  Not just physical death, the spiritual death, which is the eternal separation from God.  So how do we establish a right relationship with God?
"...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  (Romans 10:9-10)  We must admit that we have led a sinful life and that we are in need of a savior.  We are required to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He has, in fact, risen from the dead.  Call on the name of the Lord.
"...that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."  (2 Corinthians 5:15)  This is NOT a fire insurance policy.  Accepting Christ as your savior requires that you and I turn away from our sinful lifestyle and pursue those things that please God.  A change in our heart should change our life.  Accepting Christ can take place anywhere, any time.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me."  (Revelation 3:20)  The invitation is open 24/7.  You don't have to be in a church, you don't have to be in front of a minister, you only have to open the door to your heart and invite Christ into your life.  So, the questions are:
1.   Are you a sinner?
2.   Do you want forgiveness for your sins?
3.  Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again?
4.  Are you willing to surrender your life to Christ?
5.   Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and into your heart?

I ask you again...
1.   Are you a sinner?
2.   Do you want forgiveness for your sins?
3.  Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again?
4.  Are you willing to surrender your life to Christ?
5.   Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and into your heart?

Are you sure?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Sunset of a Career - Final Entry

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So, I have put in my last official work day at the office.  Monday morning I will fill out my time sheet, turn in my keys, say my good-byes and enter into full-time retirement.  You've read, in the previous posts, how I got to this point in my life.  The question is, where do I go from here.  The answer is, the Lord only knows.  I do plan to spend some time at the location above.  It is a small lake about five miles from the house.  I plan to spend time running down a much larger lake in my bass boat, not really caring if the fish are biting, but just enjoying the time outdoors and on the water.  I plan to spend much more time with my photography, both the capturing of the images and the post processing.  Then, there are the grandkids.
Summer is coming and that will provide multiple opportunities for us to spend time on the water, at little league baseball, and youth soccer tournaments.  There will also be dance competitions and just hanging out.  Of course there are projects to complete.
I have a two large planters to build in the landscape.  There are a couple of furniture re-purposing projects waiting on me, and there is always something to do around the outside of the house.  There will definitely be more personal time.
I can spend more time, in the early morning, in God's word.  I can spend more time viewing photography training videos, and there will be time spent to get myself in a much healthier physical condition.  Don't get me wrong, all of the numbers that my doctor considers important are ok.  I just need to get more exercise and eat better.
I am sure that God has something planned for me in this new adventure called retirement, I just don't know what it is.  I am confident that He didn't bring me to this point in my life and just expect me to do nothing for my remaining years.  Whatever He has planned for my wife and I, we look forward to the journey.  If you care to follow along, just stop by here occasionally and see what we're up to.  

Find a church of your choice this Sunday and celebrate Easter with the Savior.  Have a blessed week-end.

He is Risen!

Because He is risen, there will come a day when He will call my name and, "I Will Rise"!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sunset of a Career Part IV

 In 1984 we moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and I worked for a firm involved in high-end residential design.  That housing bubble burst so I went to work for a firm with a more diverse client base.  Still, the economy tumbled and I was out of work by the beginning of 1987.  There were hundreds of architects looking for work in the metroplex.  One week-end we took a trip to Tulsa to visit my parents.  In the Sunday paper there was an ad for an architect in Rogers, Arkansas.  We drove home, I sent them my resume' and scheduled an interview.  I got the job.  I started work in May of 1987 and have been there ever sense.  I found out later that the ad I answered was scheduled to run in the Dallas paper the following week-end.  Was it blind luck that I happened to be in Tulsa on the week-end that the job was advertised in the Tulsa paper.  I think not.  God is at work in our lives even when we are unaware of His presence.  The job in Rogers, Arkansas put my wife and I one hour from her parents and two hours from mine.  No more six and eight hour drives from Dallas.
Once we got settled in here in Northwest Arkansas we found our home church.  As soon as the pastor found out I was an architect he put me on the long range planning committee.  I stayed on that committee for sixteen years.  We built a new children's building soon after our arrival.  Several years later we embarked on the design and construction of a new worship center and music suite.  By then, I was joined on the long range planning committee by another architect, and very good builder, and an experienced construction manager.  Once the construction began several of us became part of the construction committee.  You have to understand, there is a committee for everything in a Southern Baptist Church.  The sanctuary seats 1600 plus 150 in the choir.  It is a first class facility.  Was it mere coincidence that we joined a church in the midst of expanding their facilities?  I think not.  God expects all of us to be involved in His work.  We are to use our talents and gifts to glorify Him in our lives.  To this day, the largest single project that I have been involved in, is this facility.  I believe that was a part of God's plan all along.  Let's see how that works.
God gave me a talent to draw and a desire to become an architect.  He provided me with a wife who supported my dream and encouraged me all along the way.  He gave me His approval by stepping into that design exam when things were not going well.  He put me in a position to accept my present job by placing me in Tulsa at precisely the right week-end.  He placed me in a church that needed the help of an architect to direct the planning...not design the building.  I believe that God has spent my lifetime preparing me for this work.  God did not bring me to this place to design retail and restaurant projects.  Instead He placed me here, that that I might serve Him through the construction process of His church.  My day job just provided me with the means to pursue His will.
That work has been completed for several years now.  I have seen my daughter, and three of my grand daughters saved and baptized in the facility that God allowed me to be a part of the planning and construction.  That is far more precious to me than anything I would ever accomplish at my day job.  Thank you Lord for your blessings, your goodness and for everything you have done to bring me to this be continued.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sunset of a Career Part III

In 1982 I was prepared to take the professional licensing exams.  At that time there was a two-day written exam given in June and a  one-day design Exam given in December.  I had passed the written exam.  The design exam required the candidate to produce a set of design drawings for a specific building type within a 12 hour time frame.  And you thought that was a concept new to cake challenges on the Food Network.  Every architectural candidate in the U.S. takes the exam on the same day in one of numerous locations around the country.  The site of my exam was in Stillwater, Oklahoma at Oklahoma State University.  The exam commenced at 8:00 a.m.  We were required to produce a floor plan, site plan, two exterior elevations and a section cut through the building, all within the 12 hour time frame.  Are we having fun yet?  It was almost 11:00 a.m. and I felt like I was still staring at a blank sheet of paper.  Things were not going well.  I decided to step out of the studio for a few minutes and gather my thoughts.
This architecture thing is all I had ever wanted to do and it was slipping away from me.  I finally did what I should have done all along.  I prayed.  I told the Lord that if it was not His plan for my life for me to be an architect, then I was willing to return to Tulsa and seek out His will for my life.  If, in fact, He did want me to be an architect, then we had about 9 hours to get it done.  I returned to my table and started sketching a few ideas.  Within about a half hour things began to fall into place.  A couple of hours later the first floor plan was done.  I finished the exam with two hours to spare and I had time to add landscaping, people, and other "eye candy" to my design documents.  When I left the exam studio that day I didn't need to wait three months for the results to come in the mail.  I KNEW that I had passed and that was confirmed in March of 1983 when my certificate of license arrived in the mail.   It was if God had just said, "All you had to do was ask."  I think God has a plan for all of us and all we need to do is ask Him what it is.  It may not always coincide with our personal desires, but it will always be in our best interest.  Over the years I have received confirmation that not only is it God's will that I became an architect, but that I can serve Him within my profession...but that's a story for another be continued.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sunset of a Career Pt. II


I was working for a large Architecture/Engineering firm in downtown Tulsa in 1973. I rode the bus into work each day. I met my wife of 39 years on the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority "South Peoria" bus. Soon after we were married we made plans for me to return to school and finish my degree. As I said, I realized that this was the only way I would ever realize my dream. So, in December of 1974 we packed up our meager belongings and moved to Norman, Oklahoma where I enrolled in the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture for the spring semester of 1975. Three years later, in the spring of 1978, I graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. While I was in school, our daughter was born. After graduation, we returned to Tulsa where I got my first job as a real architecture intern. I worked on the first re-design of what is now OneOk tower. The building was originally designed to be 52 stories tall and it was to be the headquarters for Cities Service Oil Company. The building was sold before completion and the first revision was to reduce the size of the structure from 52 to 36 stories. After construction began, the size was reduced again, this time to it's present 28 stories. However, the granite for the 36 story exterior had already been shipped, but that's another story for another day. The story for the next post is passing the licensing be continued.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Sunset of a Career Pt. I

Sunsets are often the best part of the day.  Not only are they the most colorful part of the day, but they come at a time when many of us are settling into a more relaxed frame of mind, after a busy day at the office.  Life has sunsets as well.  The sunset of my career is close at hand.  I will retire next week, after forty-four years in the construction industry.  I thought I'd take a couple of posts and look back over this journey.  Come along.
I was always interested in drawing as a kid.  My notebooks and binders were filled with doodles, designs, and cartoons.  I took my first drafting class as a sophomore at Edison High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Interestingly enough there were three or four of us that eventually became licensed architects.
After high school I enrolled in the college of Architecture at Oklahoma State University in the fall of 1965.  I struggled with my studies that first year.  While on summer vacation I was drafted into the Army and served in Viet Nam.  I came home in May of 1968 and resumed my studies that fall.
Still struggling with the academic side of the profession, I took my first job in an architects office in 1969 in Springfield, Missouri.  I worked there a couple of years before moving back to Tulsa.  The only problem was, there weren't many jobs for architectural draftsmen at the time, so I found work as a civil engineering draftsman.  I changed jobs and went to work in a firm that had architecture and civil engineering.  I was told that I could work in the civil engineering department and when an opening became available they would give me the opportunity to move into the architecture department.  After a couple of years observing the hiring of several architectural graduates, it became obvious that the only way to make my dream come true was to return to be continued.

Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ruby Tuesday

Crystal Bridges - Part II

 This piece is called "Big Red Lens".  It can be found at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Last Friday my wife and I went to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit.  You can scroll down to see moreAfter visiting the Rockwell exhibit we strolled through another part of the museum to re-visit some of our favorite pieces.  Big Red Lens is one of mine.  They have moved it from it's original location and I like it better now.

 No trip to Crystal Bridges is complete until I visit my favorite piece of art in the entire facility.  "The Lantern Bearers" stops me every time I visit.  

There are also some wonderful sculpture.  This piece is all glass.  No, I have no idea how you create a full size dress out of glass.

You would think that I have a fixation for lighted globes.  Again I found this piece really interesting.  So interesting, in fact, that I took a closer look.

Yes, this is a sculpture.  It is a larger than life sculpture of what the artist believes he will look like when he is older.  It is beyond life like.  The detail is amazing.  It actually borders on creepy.
Every hair has been individually place.  I don't know what medium was used to create the bust, but the results are beyond description.  This is a piece that you have to see in person to believe.

I am taking my team at the office to see the Rockwell exhibit in a couple of weeks.  I'm sure that I will also spend some time in the other galleries.  I noticed that they are setting a new display is one of the halls.  I can't wait to see what it is about.  Obviously, I'll share what I can later.  Have a great week.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Norman Rockwell Exhibit

Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell
This iconic painting was done by perhaps America's most beloved painter of the 20th Century.  It currently is in the permanent collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Right now Rosie has guests.

The museum is currently host to over original 50 paintings and sketches as well as EVERY Saturday Evening Post cover that Rockwell did, and that's over 300.  The exhibit is stunning.  There are a couple of paintings from the 60's that will stop you in your tracks.  They are not what you would consider typical Rockwell subject matter.  There are also a few examples of his very early work (1914). NO photography of any kind is allowed in this exhibit area.  Non-flash photography is allowed in the rest of the facility.  Rosie is not a part of this exhibit.  She's in one of the main galleries and can be photographed.
I did capture a couple of images before I noticed the sign that prohibited such activities.

Rockwell was the consummate illustrator.  His attention to detail is jaw dropping.  One cannot help but be impressed by the sheer volume of his work. which only a fraction is on display here. This exhibit cannot not be completely appreciated in a single visit.  It is a MUST see for anyone within a hundred miles of Bentonville, Arkansas.  Tickets are $12.00 and they are for a specific time.  You can stay in the exhibit as long as you like, but they are simply trying to stagger the crowd throughout the day.  The tickets are available online.  You can purchase them, print them and bring them with you when you come.
My wife and I got to the museum when it opened this morning at 11:00.  We had a leisurely lunch in the dining area and made our way to the exhibit for our noon reservations.  We spent about an hour and a half in the Rockwell exhibit, then strolled through one of the other galleries before heading home.  By the time we left, the dining area was packed and there was a decent line at the entrance to the exhibit gallery.  Regardless, it is an event that anyone in the area should not miss.

I found the image I was looking for.  This is a painting by Rockwell that depicts the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.  It is an incredibly powerful piece and this little image doesn't do it justice.  The original paining is probably 4 by 6 feet.  Like I said, it's not what you would consider typical Rockwell subject matter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Skywatch Friday & More

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Regular visitors may notice a new blog header.  You may also notice a date in that header.  No, I am not retiring the blog.  I am retiring myself from my job.  More on that later.  On to Skywatch Friday.

As I have said before, when you have clear blue skies, fill the frame with something else.  Recently a 21C hotel opened here.  One of the features of a 21C hotel is art.  I found this piece in the courtyard.  Personally, I think this might be a great addition to the NBA game.  If you can put the ball into the top baskets you get 7 points. 

Okay, now a bout that retirement thing.  I took my first job as a draftsman in an architects office in 1969.  That means that I have been in the construction industry for 44 years.  The last 25 years I have spent with the same firm.  I started as a project manager and eventually became the Director of Architecture.  Four years ago I was Director of Architecture and Marketing.  About two years ago I decided to slow down a little so I stepped down from the Architecture position and focused on Marketing.  I also cut back to three days per week with the intent of retiring no later than December of this year.  This past December my wife and I re-examined our situation and decided that I was in a position to retire in April if I wanted.  So, we have spent the past few months getting my Medicare in order, finding supplemental health insurance and getting all of our medical needs taken care of under my current health plan.  Mission accomplished.
As I write this post, I have six working days left in the office.  I am going to miss the people.  I am going to miss the daily creative process and I am going to miss the process of landing a new client.  But, I have other things to do now and I am truly looking forward to my final day of work.
Those of you who read this blog occasionally, know that I have more than a passing interest in digital photography.  That will become one of the areas that I intend to focus on in my retirement years.  I also love to fish, and I have the bass boat to prove it, and I have four grandkids that will go fishing at the drop of a hat.  With summer coming, I think the timing is perfect.  I almost forgot, there are several projects around the house that need to be done. There will be some traveling, but that will probably not start until next year.  We're going to have to adjust to our new income level and I expect that will take a few months.  All in all, I honestly believe that I can fill my days with interesting things to do.  I hope to be like my wife's uncle.  He's 84 now and has been retired since he was 55.  Not long ago he said, "Ya know, I never have gotten tired of not working."  That works for me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ruby Tuesday

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As you can see, I have no trouble finding Ruby Tuesday models on my back deck.  As long as I keep seed in the feeder and spread some on the rail, cardinals are constant visitors.  I feed them from first frost to about the middle of March.  Then they can fend for themselves through the spring and summer.  Of course there are several people in the neighborhood that feed them all year long, so I'm just fooling myself into thinking that they actually spend all summer searching for their own food.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Time for another Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  If you want to participate just click on the badge above and it will take you to the host site. Here we go with this week's prompts.

I captured this image a week before I knew that #5 would be a prompt.  This was taken at the state high school basketball play offs.  This is one of those young people that will be playing somewhere at the next level next year.  He scored 40 points the night I saw him play.

Word of The Day
I know, Ranger looks like a rather strange selection for word of the day, but this word is attached to this...

  and the weather is getting better by the day.  Soon it will be time to hit the lake and chase bass on a regular basis.


I made a trip to a local dog park the other day in search another prompt when I found this owner and her mini Schnauzer "sharing" some quality time together.
 This is the real reason that I went to the dog park.  As soon as this pup catches up with the ball that his owner threw, he will be wiggling from one end to the other.

These are third on my all time list of favorite cookies.  No. 1 is any cookie that my wife makes.  It is really dangerous around our house at Christmas.  No. 2 are Girl Scout "Thin Mints" but they are seasonal and Oreo's come in at No. 3.  I love taking these with me when I'm fishing out of the Word of the Day because they are way less messy on a summer day than those thin mints.  That's it for this week.  Have a blessed Sunday.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Skywatch Friday

One of the nice things about fall and winter sunsets or sunrises, is the interesting patterns that trees without leaves can introduce into the photo.  You can create a whole different mood by simply including a silhouetted tree into the image.  Life is like that.
All of us cast an image or influence those around us.  We have an impact on the lives of our family, our friends, our co-workers and those that we come in contact with on a regular basis.  It is amazing how much more interesting our lives become when we introduce Jesus Christ into our personality.  Our outlook on life is changed.  Our interaction with others is changed.  Everything about us is different.  The Bible tells us that when we accept Christ as our Savior, we become a new creature.
Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013