Monday, September 30, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

Every year, for the past fourteen years, the city of Fayetteville, AR has hosted a motorcycle rally called Bikes, Blues, and BBQ.  It has grown into one of the largest events in the country, attracting over 200,000 bikers and enthusiasts during the four days of the event.  Needless to say, with that many motorcycles in town there is no shortage of Ruby Tuesday opportunities.

As the Baby Boomers age, trikes are becoming more and more popular.  There is always at least one patriotic themed bike each year.

A more recent take on the three-wheel concept involves moving two wheels to the front and a single wheel to the rear.  These are manufactured by a company called Can-Am and are said to be more stable and maneuverable than the traditional trike design.  Yes, this one has a bit of a "Transformer" theme going on.

This bike was built by Paul Teutul Jr. of American Chopper fame.  Photos simply do not do this bike justice.  It is an absolute work of art and the attention to detail is jaw dropping.  This bike alone was worth the drive down to Fayetteville.
That's all I have for this Ruby Tuesday.  I have more photos of bikes and I will probably share some of them in the future.  Have a great Ruby Tuesday all.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

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This week I picked one event and tried to find all five prompts within that activity.  Let's see how it went.

Rule of Thirds
It's time for fall baseball in our part of the world and the grandson is playing in a "wood bat" tournament.  So that is the basis for this post.  The "rule of thirds" is one of the basic rules of composition  in photography.  In this image the subject is placed in the right third of the frame.  This gives him some place to throw the ball and helps the viewer imagine the entire pitching motion.

Made Me Smile
I'm not a huge fan of the flat billed baseball hats, but when they are worn by ten-year-old players, they make me smile.  Yep, the rule of thirds is at work here too.
The most important lines in baseball are the foul lines. Everything needs to happen in fair territory and that would be to the right of this white line.
Even in the midst of the game with activity all around, there are those alone moments in the dugout.  Okay, this is also one more example of the rule of thirds.  However, you don't have to ALWAYS place the subject in the right third of the frame.  It just worked out that way.
 At the end of the day, baseball is a team sport and the kids spend time with their coaches learning how to play together.  It's a great time of the year.   One last example of the rule of thirds...the entire team is in the LOWER third of the frame.  Whew, I finally broke that right side of the frame thing.  Have a blessed week.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Skywatch Friday

This image was captured last Friday.  There was an amazing sunset going on just prior to the kick-off of the local high school football game.  I was standing near the endzone preparing to photograph the game from field level, for the first time.  When I looked behind me and to my left I saw the band director on his podium silhouetted against the colorful sky.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  It's interesting how many things are going on at the same time during a high school football game and each person is focused on their responsibility.  While both teams are finishing their warm-up drills this director is focused on getting the band ready to play the Star Spangled Banner, followed by the school fight song.  This director is focused on his responsibilities and nothing is going to distract him from completing his tasks.
As Christians we have been given certain responsibilities by our Savior and we have been placed in a world filled with distractions that can prevent us from completing our tasks.  Among our responsibilities, we are told to abide by the laws of the Ten Commandments.  In fact, many of the laws of this country and other civilized nations are based in these statutes.  There are other responsibilities mentioned throughout God's Word and they are all written for our benefit.  The one responsibility that humans seem to understand the least and have the most difficulty expressing correctly, is love.  Time and space do not permit me to adequately discuss this topic, but rest assured, most of us are confused about love.  Most of us spend a lot of time "Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places."  The Bible tells us to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev. 19:18).  We are told, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all man." (Rom. 12:18).  Husbands are told to "love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her." (Ephesians 5:26) God even tells us the characteristics of love..."Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with truth;..." (1 Cor. 13:4-7).  Unfortunately, as Christians, we are guilty of the charge laid against the Ephesian church in the book of Revelation, "Never the less, I have this against you, that you have left your first love." (Rev. 2:4) We are commanded to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:4).  The problem is that we have replaced God with things.  We have placed any number of things in our lives ahead of loving the God who created us and breathed life into us.  Like the band director above, we need to shut out the distractions of the world around us and focus on our primary responsibility, loving God with all of our heart.  Have a blessed weekend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Faith in Glass II 

Stained Glass at First Baptist Church, Bentonville, AR

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

The last time I went to the local farmers market I noticed that there seemed to be more vendors than usual.  In fact there were several vendors just off of the square, on a side street.  Of course any event, in Arkansas, with shade structures is going to have at least one Razorback logo.  As I made my way down the street I discovered that these were not normal farmer market vendors.  There were cooking implements and equipment.  I'm thinking Chili Cook-off!  Wrong!

Only in Arkansas will you find the "World Championship Squirrel Cook-off"!  Somehow, at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, grilled, fried, boiled, or roasted squirrel just didn't make my mouth water.

Of course, even prepping the animal for cooking didn't appeal to some in attendance.  Still, it was a fun diversion from the normal farmers market fare.  Have a great Ruby Tuesday all.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

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This week's Scavenger Hunt provided several opportunities for "outside the box" interpretations.  I can't really say that I wandered very far outside the box this week, but here are my images.

Something You Wore
 It's football season!  On Friday nights you will find me wearing the hat on the left, in support of the local high school team.  They have been very good this past decade.  The Tigers were in the state championship game six times and won four championships.  They lost some very good players to graduation this year, so the jury is still out on how far this team will go.  On Saturdays, you will find me underneath the hat on the right.  As a native Oklahoman and University of Oklahoma alumni, I will always be true to my school.  The Sooners have seven national championships to their credit, but have been in a bit of a rebuilding mode the past few years.  Still, their worst record recently of 8-4 would be a considerable improvement for some programs.  This year no one knows how OU will do, but they will always have my support.

  I went into the archives for this one because it is one of my favorite images of the grandson.  This was taken at Disney World in 2008.  He was almost five at the time.  With all of the rides, colors, and commotion around him, he has found amusement and entertainment in a mirror.  That's kids.  Ya gotta love 'em.

Inside Your Fridge

 Typically, the inside of the fridge is off limits to outsiders.  Just sayin'.  I am at the age, and weight, that I need to pay closer attention to what I eat and drink.  So, here are options to whole milk, something I haven't had in years.  I do drink a diet shake on a pretty regular basis.  Mixing the Almond milk with the protien shake and adding a few strawberries makes a very good shake.  Using the vanilla almond milk on cereal eliminates the need for sugar or artificial sweetener.

Daily Routine
  I have neglected this part of my daily routine for far too long.  Spending time reading God's Word is critical to a balanced life.  Many people will tell you that life doesn't come with an instruction book.  Yes it does!  The Bible is God's instruction book to us on how to live life and how to react to every situation that we find ourselves in.  One of the best places to start reading the Bible is Proverbs.  You can read one chapter per day and finish it in a month.  It is the book of Wisdom.  Our world is filled with self-help books on virtually every subject known to man.  Often times people read these books only to find them a waste of time and effort.  Any time spent reading the book that was authored by the God of all creation is time well spent.  

  Most of my mornings begin with a cup of coffee.  I have several cups from which I enjoy my first dose of caffeine each day.  This is one that I don't use very often, but I do like it.  I got it at one of the Disney hotels while on a business trip several years ago.  Actually, this is a mug, which means it holds at least twice as much coffee as a normal cup.  I rarely need to go back for seconds.
Well, that closes the book on another Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Like I said, I didn't wander too far out of the box this week.  See, I can color inside the lines.  Have a blessed Sunday and come back anytime.  I also participate in Ruby Tuesday Too, Wordless Wednesday, and Skywatch Friday.

Football Friday Night

Friday night high school football is hard to beat for cheap entertainment. Last night I went to the local football game and took my camera. I've done this in the past, I've always tried getting photos from the stands. You really need to be on the field to get up close and personal with the game. Even then, the game doesn't always happen when and where you need it to. Things still happen at the opposite end of the field that you just cannot capture. Still, I found a way to get in the endzone! I could have probably wandered the sidelines, but I didn't want to push my luck.

The fans were in the stands early and ready for a great contest.

The band was rockin' the house and adding to the whole Friday Night Lights experience.

The Tiger mascot and cheerleaders were into the game from start to finish.

And I have to admit.  There is no better place to be than on the field for action photos.  I will figure out how to get down there on a regular basis.  The home team lost 21-13, but there is still nothing better than Friday Night Lights.  If there is a local high school team in your area, go see a game.  You'll enjoy the evening.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Skywatch Friday

One thing that I like about Skywatch Friday is that there is no way any two photos will be alike.  The sky is constantly changing.  The sun is in a different place and the colors are always unique to the location.  There are times when the weather can be predicted by looking into the sky.  While we may not be able to forecast days in advance by simply staring at the sky, we can see storm clouds coming or feel the change in temperature and humidity and signals a change is coming.
Interestingly enough we should be able to determine the general direction that our country is headed by looking at the world around us.  Many would say that our country has lost it's moral compass and some recent headlines would appear to bear that out. The college baseball player who was murdered in Oklahoma by three teens, because they were bored is evidence enough that many youngsters have no sense of right and wrong.  How have we come to this point?  The true moral compass is Jesus Christ and we have attempted to eliminate Him from every aspect of our lives.  The Bible says, "Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it" ( Proverbs 22:6).  My generation, The Boomers, have failed to do this.  Instead, we have said, "don't push religion on your children and when they turn eighteen they will figure it out."  That's like saying don't teach your child how to read and somehow they will figure it out on their own.  The Bible is life's instruction book, written by the God of all creation and it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16).  Without the Bible, we are NOT equipped to live this life as God intended.  The only answer for this situation is for God's people to return to their first love and to begin to teach their children and grandchildren that God loves them, He has a plan for their life, and He has a desire to have a daily relationship with them.  Life with our children and grandchildren is filled with teaching moments.  We can teach them that God is just something that we make room for when it is convenient, and completely ignored most of the time, or we can teach them that Jesus loves them, He knew them before they were formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5) and He has provided an instruction book that will guide them in every aspect of their life.  We need to start now.  Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Faith in Glass

 Stained glass at First Baptist Church, Bentonville, AR.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Skywatch Friday

Our annual family vacation on Table Rock Lake in Missouri always provides an opportunity for a great skywatch image.  This is the third year that we have made this resort our vacation destination, and the grand kids have no desire to go anywhere else.  The lake is right out our back door, the pool is right out our front door, and they get to be kids 24/7!  We fish off of the marina dock in the evening, we use the free kayaks during the day, I take my bass boat and we fish in the morning.  We often rent a pontoon for everyone to go out on the lake at the same time.  It's very relaxing and great fun for everyone.  In fact, we never go to Silver Dollar City, which is only a mile up the road and we rarely travel into Branson, which is about seven miles from our resort.  We just hang out and enjoy the lake and one another.  There is nothing quite like fellowship with the family.
Christians are a family.  In fact, the church is the bride of Christ, and there is nothing that the bridegroom enjoys more than fellowship with His bride.  All too often the bride gives the bridegroom the "cold shoulder".
We fail to talk to the groom through prayer.  We fail to read his love letters to us through His Word, and we fail to claim the abundant life that our Savior has provided for us through His sacrifice on the cross.  Any successful marriage is hard work.  Both parties have to make the happiness of their spouse their number one priority, and that is not always easy to do.  We are Christ's number one priority and fellowship with us is His number one desire.  Unfortunately we rarely return His love in the form of our worship, praise, and obedience.  The good news is that our Savior and bridegroom always stands ready to forgive, forget, and restore the relationship.  We simply have to take the first step.
Father, forgive me for my arrogance, my pride, and my disobedience.  Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit within me.  May I find my joy and peace in Christ alone.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

There are a couple of vendors at our local farmers market that can always be counted on to have some of the best looking fresh flowers.  There are a variety of colors available, including shades of red for Ruby Tuesday Too.  Have a blessed day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

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Most of the images this week came from the local farmers market.  I may have stretched the box a bit in order to make the photo fit the prompt, but it works for me.  Here we go.

Labor (Day)
These locally grown, vine ripened tomatoes are the fruit of someone's labor.  Fresh, locally grown vegetables
are the primary reason for visiting the local farmers market.  It is a great way to kill a couple of hours on Saturday morning and you never know what will be there.  Early in the spring lettuce and radishes dominate the tables.  A little later in the season, fresh tomatoes are just the thing for that perfect BLT sandwich.  Towards the end of the season, okra becomes available.  Yes, I like my okra fried or boiled and it's great in vegetable soup.
   When you reach my age, more than likely, you will be taking some sort of prescription medicine.  Additionally your doctor will recommend that you take a variety of over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplements.  The only way to track your intake is this handy pill caddy.  If you're not here already, this IS in your future.

Close Up
 Back to the farmers market.  Flowers are always available at the local market and it's easy to get a close-up image.  The nice thing about a telephoto lens is that you can shoot both wide and close-up without changing lenses.

Phone Call
The cell phone/smart phone has virtually eliminated pay phones from the landscape and make it possible to reach anyone, anytime, day or night.  Unfortunately, we can get so distracted by this device that we may forget to take care of the business that is right in front of us.  This young vendor, at the farmers market, is so busy with his cell phone that he doesn't realize he has a customer standing right in front of him.

White Space
    White space is the space over, under, around and between the graphics of a sign, page of a book, etc.  In this case, the white space is actually yellow.  Well thought out white space is a critical element in graphic design and contributes to the readability of the document. We need a second high school in this area and we are voting on the issue very soon.  Yes, I support the new high school and yes, I picked up a sign, and yes it is now in my front yard.
Well, that's it for this edition of Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Have a blessed day.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Skywatch Friday

Earlier this summer my wife and I were in Tulsa for a Southern Gospel concert.  We also decided to take in a minor league baseball game.  The park where the Tulsa Drillers play is in the downtown area, so the skyline make a nice backdrop for the game.  We also have a minor league team here in Northwest Arkansas and they are in the same league as the Drillers.  There are few things more relaxing than an evening in the stands of a minor league baseball game.  If there is a team in your area, make plans to go next year.  You won't regret it.

In the game of life we are all players. No one sits on the bench. The question is are we ready to play and  what kind of a contribution will we make while we're in the game.  The God that created us, has a plan for our lives and has invited us into a relationship with him.  Like any relationship, hard work is required to make it work.  Love is required to sustain the relationship.  We must be prepared to go to war to defend the relationship.  Christ died on a cross in order that we might enjoy an eternal relationship with Him in a place prepared for us.  He has called us into spiritual warfare and we fight a battle each day to strengthen our relationship with our Savior.  Are you ready for "One More Battle Stand".

I Shoulda Been a Cowboy

I like wandering through flea markets.  One never knows what is waiting around the next corner.  As a child of the fifties and sixties, and growing up in Oklahoma, my life was filled with cowboy heroes.  There was the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Wild Bill Hickok, and the gentleman pictured above, Hopalong Cassiday.  These stars appeared in movies, had radio shows and eventually made the transition to television.  As long as "Hoppy" was on the scene, good always overcame evil.  You will notice that not all good guys wear white hats.  Some days I think that "I Shoulda Been a Cowboy".

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


Ruby Tuesday Too

This past week-end the grandson and I did a little fishing on one of the local lakes.  Between 7:00 a.m. and 8:0 a.m. young bass form schools and chase minnows within casting distance of the the bank.  They are breaking the surface of the water and will hit almost any lure thrown in their direction.  If you want to get kids hooked on fishing, you have to put them in a position to catch fish, and this is the perfect opportunity.  "The Big Guy" is already hooked on fishing, so he was more than ready for this adventure.  Fortunately, he wore a shirt that made a perfect entry for Ruby Tuesday Too.

The two or three of you out there who actually read this blog have probably noticed that it was inactive for the past few weeks.  I just took some time away from the blog.  I don't know how often I will post in the future.  I am sure that over the next few weeks, I will be a little slow in returning to blogging form.  Sorry for the inconvenience.