Thursday, October 31, 2013

Skywatch Friday
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I am not a political animal.  I really don't have much use for politicians, regardless of their party.  Recently our Federal government has proven that they don't have much use for each other either.  Both sides have proven that they don't care as much about governing the greatest country in the world as they do in getting their own way.  Compromise seemed to be removed from their vocabulary and certainly from their agenda.  Truth also seems to be an elusive concept for those who have been elected to serve in public office. If you believed that the Federal government can and will take care of your every need, recent events should have crushed that dream.  But then, I'm not sure that I was ever supposed to rely on the government for my security nor were they obligated to provide for my every need.
The truth of the matter is that there is only one source that I can rely on for my well being...the Bible.  God's Word is the truth.  I can rely on it because it is unchanging.  We seem to be comfortable with the concept of  manipulating the truth to fit the circumstances to our own benefit, even if that means turning the truth into a falsehood.  The truth of Gods Word is beneficial to everyone who is willing to apply it to their lives, regardless of their circumstances.  Something as simple as "Thou shalt not steal" is clearly beneficial to everyone.  In fact if we actually lived by the Ten Commandments, there probably would not be any need for a police force.  The fact that we are incapable of living according to these laws is the reason that we need a new way to have a relationship with our Creator.  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)  That's the truth.  I don't believe any entity in our Federal government can make that offer.  Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

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County Road 40


Monday, October 28, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

This past week-end was homecoming at the local high school. The team won the football game on Friday night and the homecoming dance was on Saturday night. This year, our oldest grand daughter is a senior and she chose a Ruby red dress for the event.

Homecoming 2014

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Skywatch Friday

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While crystal clear blue skies or those days when the sky if filled with puffy white clouds make for some of the most pleasant weather, it is those days when sunrises and sunsets tell of an impending change in the weather that often provide the best photo opportunities.
Life can be similar.  The days that seem to go very smoothly are enjoyable, but those days that require us to solve difficult issues, weather personal storms, or deal with less than pleasant people, are the days that we may find the most satisfying.  The question is, "How do we deal with difficult situations?"  Most of us rely on our own wit and wisdom to get us through the day.  Some of us consult with trusted friends and family to provide answers to stressful times.  Still others try to find answers in self-help books, that have been written on virtually every subject imaginable.  Finally, there are those who believe that the television talk shows have all of the answers.  I seems that most of the time we are not really looking for the answers to our dilemma, we are looking for validation of our opinion.  We have already decided what we want to do, we are just looking for someone to agree with our solution.
If you're truly looking for the best possible answer to life problems, they can be found in one place.  Those who would say that life doesn't come with an instruction book are wrong.  If you are willing to put in the time and effort to read and understand the message, The Bible is God's instruction book for life.  Don't expect God to agree with your solution very often though.  However, if you are willing to accept His counsel you can rest assured that the answer is in the best interest of all concerned.  That does not mean that life's problems will disappear for those who trust the Lord, it only means that the best possible advice comes from the one who created us and inspired the writing the of book that we have come to know as The Bible.  Prior to His death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection, Christ told His disciples that He would send a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16).  This helper is available only those who have called upon the name of Christ and invited Him into theirs lives as Lord and Savior.  He is willing to be available to anyone.  Christ says, "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)  Is someone knocking at the door to your heart?  You might want to answer the door.

Autumn Leaves

While Autumn officially arrived a month ago, the leaves are just now starting to change.  We have had a very wet spring and summer which has kept the trees and grass green longer than usual.  In fact we still haven't had our first hard, killing freeze.  That's the freeze that will turn the Bermuda grass brown.  So, if we want some fall color, my wife had to create it...and create it she did.  She is extremely gifted in the area of design and decorating.  Wreaths seem to be one of her specialties.  She has done them for all seasons, for numerous friends.  The top one hangs on our front door.  The bottom one is being delivered to a friend today.  If you think these are good, wait until you see what she can do for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

Boot Scootin' Boogie

 I found these boots on display at a local designers market in Tulsa last September.  I'm guessing these boots are made for dancin' and not for ridin', ropin' and barrel racing.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scaventer Hunt Sunday

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 Time for another Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  I had a difficult time actually interpreting a couple of these prompts, but here are my contributions for this week.

 We spent four days at Big Cedar Lodge recently.  I took my boat so that I could spend a few mornings fishing.  I was "watching" for any signs of bass feeding in a cove, but all I found was smoke on the water.

The leaves are just starting to change colors here in Northwest Arkansas.  This coming week should be spectacular.
First World Problem
My first reaction to this prompt was, "Huh".  Then I got to thinking.  The truly first world problem was when sin entered into this world by way of the disobedience of man to His Creator.  The Cross is a symbol of the solution to that problem.  Jesus Christ is the only answer to the sin that inhabits us and it was His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave that enables us to have victory over that first world problem.


There are advantages to going fishing at 6:30 in the morning at Big Cedar Lodge.  For one thing, you just might witness an incredible sunrise.  Another thing is that the water is still and reflects images like a glass mirror.

A Good Day

What can I say, any day at Big Cedar Lodge is a good day.  I look forward to returning next year.  That's it!  That's all I've got for this week.  Have a blessed Sunday.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Skywatch Friday

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Once a famous professional photographer was teaching a class and one of the students asked, "How do I take more interesting photographs."  Without a second thought, the professional answered, "Place yourself in front of more interesting subjects."  That may sound very short, even inconsiderate, but there is great truth in those words.  There are times, though, when God can take a rather mundane object and make it spectacular.  The photo above was taken at sunrise this past Monday on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.  Big Cedar Lodge is a world class, world famous resort.  Even though the marina is a nice structure, it is not world class architecture.  However, let God add a special sunrise and the scene becomes magic.
Some people spend their entire lives trying to be somebody special.  They get their education from prestigious universities, take jobs at blue chip companies, and do everything within their power to become important.  If you want to be someone special, someone important, then put yourself in front of the most important and special being in the universe, the God of all creation.  To Him you are already special.  In fact God Himself said that, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."  When most of the world have NO idea who you are or even care, God knew everything about you before He formed you.  How special is that?  You are loved.  Again, Christ Himself said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  There is NO entity in the universe that can love you like that.  Finally, Christ said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly."  When the world around us is trying to drain our strength, our joy, our resources, and our happiness, there is one, and only one person that desires to give us an abundant life...and that person is Jesus Christ.  So, like the student that wants to take more interesting photographs, if you want a more fulfilled life, place your trust in the only person that can truly make it happen.  Have a blessed week-end.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

 The middle grand daughter is on the 8th grade dance team.  In this image she is on the far left.  Em has always liked music and dance, but she is the last person that you would expect to be on the dance team for basketball and football.  She is typically very quiet and stays in the background.  However, when it comes time to perform, she puts her performance face on and transforms into a high kicking dance team member.  This is the image is the real reason for this post.

However, I am at a football game and the uniforms are red.  So, I have another excuse to capture some images for Ruby Tuesday Too.  These are the eighth graders.  They won their game 13-0.  We didn't stay for the ninth grade game.  It is amazing how much these kids grow and improve each year.  When the ninth grade team took the field, to warm up, the were much larger than these youngsters.  On Friday night when the high school team plays, they are huge, when compared to these jr. high counterparts.  Happy Ruby Tuesday Too.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Skywatch Friday

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There are times when a sunrise or sunset is so incredible that one must admit that only God could create such a scene.  Sadly, many people refuse to admit that this same God exists everyday and that He desires to have a personal relationship with them.  One must ask the question, "Why do people refuse to believe in God?"  The responses are varied.  Some will say that God and religion is a crutch for the weak minded and those who cannot think for themselves.  Others may say that there is a logical explanation for everything and that the concept of an all knowing God is just not logical.  Still others may admit that they believe there is a higher being but that they personally don't care to have Him involved in their lives.
One of the real reasons that people refuse to acknowledge the God of the Bible is that they don't want to be responsible for what that means.  If we acknowledge that there is indeed a God, then we are responsible for that knowledge.  For example, if you have no knowledge of math, no one would expect you to come up with the right answer to the sum of 6+3+10.  However, if you have an elementary education, you should be responsible for knowing how to find the answer.  Many people operate on the same principal when it comes to God.  As long as they refuse to acknowledge His existence, they can't be held responsible for not having a personal relationship with Him.  The truth is God exists, whether we believe it or not.  He sent His son to die on a cross for our sins, whether we believe it or not.  And some day we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ, whether we believe it or not.  The unique thing about truth is this.  The truth does not depend on our belief in order for it to be true.  Absolute truth is the truth, whether we believe it or not.  Therefore, when Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father, except through me", that is the truth...whether we believe it or not.  When the Bible tells us that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes on Him shall be saved", that is the truth...whether we believe it or not. The truth is, God loves us, He wants to have a personal relationship with us, He want us to experience the "abundant life", and He wants us to spend eternity in a heavenly home that He has prepared just for us.  And that's the truth.
But we have to acknowledge that God exists.  We have to acknowledge that we are not perfect and that we are sinful beings.  Finally, we have to acknowledge that Christ is the risen Son of God, confess our sins, repent of our sinful behavior, ask Christ for His forgiveness and invite Him into our lives as our Lord and Savior.  It all starts when we finally admit that God is real and just "Believe".  Have a blessed week-end.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ruby Tuesday Too

This edition of Ruby Tuesday Too is about ribbons.  Ruby red ribbons to be exact.  Back in July I decided to enter some photos in the Tulsa State Fair.  I looked through the categories, picked the ones that I wanted to enter, then searched through my images to find some appropriate entries.  None of the photos were allowed to be more than two years old.  I entered four photographs.  The turn-in date was September 14.  The fair started on September 29, but we didn't make the two hour drive to Tulsa until this past Saturday.  Needless to say, the suspense was killing me.  Upon arrival at the fairgrounds, the parking was horrible.  The weather was perfect and I think every person in Tulsa county was at the fair that day and everyone tried to squeeze into the same parking area.  We finally found a parking space, paid our admission and headed to the midway to get something totally unhealthy to eat.  After a polish sausage sandwich we made our way over to the building that housed the competitive exhibits.  It took a few minutes to find my entries, but to my surprise I had won three ribbons!  One image had placed third and the other two had earned ruby red second place banners.  The fourth image did not place, but that's okay.  I know what I need to do to improve my chances of winning next year.  It was a great experience and I may very well enter again next fall.  Here are better views of each image.

 This first image was taken at the Cherry Street farmers market in Tulsa.  I thought that there was just too much character in this face to pass up.  This photo took second place in Black & White, candid images.

 This image was taken at the Palomino World Championship horse show in Tulsa.  This gentleman travels around the various horse shows, polishing and cleaning the boots, saddles, hardware and equipment of the contestants.  I captured this image about 8:00 a.m. before the activities started.  This image was awarded third place in Color, candid images.

This final image is our oldest grand daughter competing in a track meet.  It was awarded second place in Color, sports images. 
It submitted a black and white version of this image in the B&W sports category, but it did not place.  I'm pretty sure it didn't get an award because there is no action in this image.  I would have been better suited to a candid image category.  Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Skywatch Friday

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These crosses at a local church soar over 90 feet into the air.  On a day when storm clouds loomed near, there was a photo opportunity that I just couldn't resist.  I was reminded of God's presence in my life.
I realize that there are those who don't believe in God and there are those who believe that God exists, but don't give Him much credit for His creation nor His presence in the lives of men and women.  Even many Christians, who truly believe in God, only use Him to help manage a crisis.  Many people find themselves asking, "where was God when I really needed Him".  God is ALWAYS present, and always active, even when we are unaware of His presence.  When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, He takes up residence in their heart by means of the Holy Spirit.  Our relationship with Christ is only as good as we want it to be.  If we never read His love letter (the Bible) to us, nor talk to Him (prayer), or show any interest in His plan for our lives, we cannot expect to be aware of His presence.  If we only call out to Him in times of distress in order to deliver us from a difficult situation, we may never understand why we were placed in that situation.  However, if we do read His word, and spend time in prayer, praising Him for His goodness, mercy and grace, we will find that God is ALWAYS near and always ready with an answer to our concerns.  A relationship with Christ is like any other relationship, we have to spend time with Him in order to get to know Him and understand how He thinks, what He expects of us, and how much He loves us.  Once we commit ourselves to the relationship, then we can always say, "He is here, Hallelujah!"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013