Thursday, June 26, 2014

Skywatch Friday

January Sunset
This past winter was one of the worst  that I can remember in this part of the country.  We were not alone, as most of the U.S. experienced record setting cold, snow, and ice.  Still, there were days when amazing sunsets were available to enjoy and photograph.  Here's hoping that this coming winter will be a little milder.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - Trust

Who do you trust?  In the world that we find ourselves living, it is often hard to know who to trust.  We read about unethical public servants.  We see stories of senior adults that have been cheated out of their life savings.  Half of the marriages in this country end in divorce and many are because one or both spouses were unfaithful.  So, who can we trust?  There are days when even the most faithful Christian has difficulty trusting in his/her Lord and Savior.  When life seems unfair we want to ask God, "Why does this have to happen?"  I am in that place right now.
A friend of mine is losing his battle with cancer and it just seems unfair.  He is much younger than I.  He has a beautiful family and they all love the Lord.  When I look at my life and how blessed I have been, I just don't understand why my friend will soon depart this life and enter into the arms of his Savior.  But the Bible does give me some clue about why I should continue to have faith in my God and trust Him, even when I don't understand why something is happening.  Proverbs 3:5 tells me to, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding."  Why shouldn't I lean on my own understanding?  God is very clear about that.  Proverbs 5:8-9 He tells me, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways" says the Lord.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your toughts."  In other words, it is impossible for our finite minds to grasp and understand everything that God allows to happen.  In the military information is shared based on a "need to know."  There are times in this life that when we question God's actions or seek to understand why He has allowed something to happen. The simple anwer is that we don't have a need to know.  God is not accountable to us, rather we are accountable to Him.  What we do need is to have the faith to trust in God that He is faithful to keep His promises.  And He has promised that, "...all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  In this place that I find myself, I have no other choice but to "Trust and Obey".  That's all God has ever asked of us.  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Watching From the Dug-Out

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - UN...

This week all of the prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday began with the prefix "Un".  I thought that was very inventive and a little challenging.  So, I headed down to the local Farmers Market to see if I could satisfy all of the prompts in one location.  Here we go.

You will notice that there are NO power tools anywhere is sight of this local artisan.  Just a hand axe, a pencil and some blocks of wood.  What is he making you ask.

He is making these beautiful wood bowls.  Obviously, there are no two alike.  You just have to appreciate this kind of creativity and craftsmanship.

When viewed from a distance, there are three of these handrails on the steps of the local County Courthouse.  They are pretty unassuming.  But, when you focus you attention on a single section and crop out the clutter, I think they provide a most interesting pattern.  I guess that's just the architect coming out in me.

This happy fellow would love to be unleashed to go meet and greet everyone at the Farmers Market.
This guardian of the square is somewhat unapproachable.  He's twenty feet off of the ground and in the middle of a fountain.  Yes, Arkansas was a Confederate state during the Civil War and this soldier is a monument to those who fought and died during that conflict.  Brave men fought and died on both sides of the war and the fact that the ideals of the Confederacy are in conflict with our society, it does not diminish the courage that these men displayed.

On any given Saturday morning there will be one or several street musicians at the Farmers Market.  What better way to practice your music and become accustomed to playing for an audience?  This young lady was unaware of my presence at this moment.  A few seconds later...

I was busted.  It was a good morning at the market.  I picked up some home grown tomatoes before I left.  Have a blessed day.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - Musically Speaking


I'm going to extend my theme of letting the music speak for me.  Last week I picked a couple of songs from contemporary artists and are leaders in current praise and worship music.  Today I think I will let the hyms of the church do the talking.  Most of us who were children of the 50's and 60's know many of these songs by heart.  We sang them every Sunday.  They were our praise and worship.  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

The Real Thing
Summer is finally here.  The kids are out of school and it's time for family fun.  Over the past few years, a multitude of beverages have come to the market place that offer cold refreshment on a hot summer day.  Many of them are low/no sugar, low sodium, low/no caffeine, etc.  I like many of these new offerings, but when you factor in everything that you are looking for in a summer drink, it's hard to beat "The Real Thing."

It just doesn't get much better than pulling aluminum cans from this vintage cooler, that have been burried in ice for several hours.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Skywatch Friday - Rainbow Sky

Rainbow Sky
After a heavy rain there is always the exciting possibility that the sun will come out and we will get to see a rainbow.  Ocassionally we may even see a double rainbow.  However, there are those sunsets when the whole sky seems to be a rainbow and we are "Overcome" by the beauty of God's creation. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I honestly don't know where I get my love for music.  I can't carry a tune in a bucket.  I don't play an instrument of any kind.  I tried clarinet in junior high and that didn't go well.  I sang in the glee club in junior high and that went a little better, but I really never developed any skills in music.  I just like it.  I love how music can lift the spirit, soothe the soul and inspire us to greater things.  I like most kinds of music, but I have to admit that I am not a fan of opera nor hip hop/rap. 
Today I am going to fore go an attempt to write something that may have a glimmer of inspiration for some.  I'm just going to let the music do the work.  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Watch This

This week provided some very interesting prompts and a wide variety of possible intrepatations.  Here are my thoughts on the subjects.

Denim has been a part of my wardrobe since I was a kid and that was a very long time ago.  During my professional career denim was usually relagated to week-ends.  Now that I am retired, it has once again taken ceter stage.  Of course, when I was a kid, there was no need for the expanding waist band.  That's life.

Yes, I have a thing for watches.  I don't know why, but I am fascinated by the infinite designs that are possible.  In the front row are two special time pieces.  The one on the left was given to me by my wife when I graduated from college in 1978.  The one on the right is the last one my father wore.  It's not expensive, but I just don't have any desire to dispose of it.  The second row are the watches that I wear most often. The one on the left is one that I bought at an outlet mall several years ago.  The one in the center is my fishing watch.  Again, it's not very expensive, so if it winds up in the lake there is no huge loss.  The one on the right was given to me by my wife a few years ago for Christmas.  The back row included two watches that I rarely wear anymore, even though I have always liked them.  You will notice that I am a fan of analog faces.  I just don't care for the digital displays.  I guess it's an old school thing.

In photography perspective is all about leading lines.  The lines that draw you into the image and lead you to the main subject.  I captured this image last fall.  The edges of the road provide the leading lines.  They draw you into the image and lead you to that red maple in the back.  The fact that I was shooting from a relative low position provides a little different perspective. 

My typical morning starts by refueling with a whole grain cereal.  I usually top it with sliced bananas or strawberries.  My ever present coffee mug filled with a Jamacian Blue Mountain blend and cream, no sugar.  Okay, now I'm ready to face the day.

Who doesn't like the night sky lit up with fireworks.  I do have better images but I just can't locate them right now.  I need to thin my files out and quit being so much of a photo-hoarder.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Skywatch Friday

Sunrise and sunset have always been my favorite times to capture Skywatch images.  These two times of the day allow me to focus on the sky while the normal clutter of the foreground just fades away.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - Choices

Life is filled with choices.  For a child most choices revolve around whether or not to obey their parents.  For teens, life gets much more complex.  They have many more influences that are trying to get them to explore life.  They can choose friends that have a positive influence on their lives or they can choose to associate with those who are not making good decisions.  At some point they will choose who they will marry, what type of work they will do and where they will live.  All of these decisions have a significant impact on our lives.  Still, more decisions have to be made.
There are those decisions that revolve around life circumstances.  We may lose our job, we may face divorce, we may go through a personal financial crisis.  Someone very close to us may pass away suddenly.  We may be diagnosed with a terminal illness.  How do we deal with life circumstances?
 Many issues do not have a clear right or wrong answer, but there are two choices that are pretty clear.  We may choose to make decisions that honor the God of all creation and acknowledge that He is in control, regardless of the outcome.  Our decisions can be a testimony to how active God is in our life and that He is the source of strength, comfort, courage, faith, and perseverance.  When the storm of life has passed, we have a testimony that glorifies our Creator.
We may choose to become the myrtar with a war story.  Everyone and everything is out to get us and the difficulty that we are facing is just another chapter in a life filled with disaster.  When the storm passes, we have been the victim.  We can blame others.  We can blame God, but it is NEVER our fault.  We were just the poor pitiful target of a terrible situation and life has once again taken it's toll on us.  Now we have a war story.
We will never truly be able to choose the first path until we spend time in God's word and in fellowship with Him through prayer.  The Bible gives us insight in how to deal with the storms of life.  It gives us examples of how God has dealt with others who have faced terrible circumstances.  Prayer allows us to talk to God, praise Him, worship Him, thank Him, and bring our heart felt concerns to Him.  We must remember that God has a plan and is in control, therefore, not every prayer request is answered according to our will, but according to His.  God is not Santa Claus.  We don't bring our wish list to Him and wait to see if we've been good enough to get everything that we ask for.  We seek God's will in our own life and the lives of those around us.  We have to be willing to accept His devine will regardless of how painful it may seem at the time.  The next time life becomes difficult will we make choices that become a testimony or a war story.  Have a blessed day.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ruby Tuesday

Still Blooming
Last week I spent a few minutes photographing the Knock-Out roses in our front flower bet.  I posted several of the images last week, so you can scroll down to see more.  I'm still playing with some of the features in the latest release of PhotoShop Elements.  I started by photographing the images in "Raw".  Basically that just means that more information has been captured than if you shoot in Auto or Program mode  and the images are captured as jpeg files on your camera.  PhotoShop Elements 12 now allows me to open images in camera raw and tweak them before I do any other work.  So far, I'm liking what I see.  Since Raw files capture more information, the files are larger, so you have to be aware of the additional memory requirements.  I don't actually keep than many images anyway.  If I shoot 100 images, I probably won't keep more than two or three.  I used to keep virtually everything that I shot, but that's really not productive.  It's more like photo-hoarding.  Not every image is a keeper, we just hate to admit it.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Quirky

 Some of you may find this whole post a little on the "Quirky" side.  I prefer to think of it as thinking outside the box...maybe a little too far outside the box.

Make Mine A ...

Like many people, my favorite flower is a rose.  You get a beautiful flower and and a wonderful aroma all in the same package.  This salmon colored rose was my mother's favorite color.  My dad grew them especially for her.  This rose is grown from a cutting off of one of the plants that was in their flower bed in Tulsa.
A local farm and home store had these two banners displayed.  I found them to be a little quirky.  Really...who would sell "Dead Plants"?  Maybe Chick Days is for guys who couldn't get a date to the prom...that would be a little on the quirky side.
Morning Ritual 

My morning ritual almost always includes coffee from this mug.  I was at a business convention in Las Vegas in 2005 when I bought this mug as my souvenir.  I used it daily at the office until I retired last year.  It's become a bit of an icon associated with me.
What Were They Thinking... 

Recently a locally hardware store/lumber yard burned to the ground, in the middle of the night.  One has to wonder, what was the business owner thinking when they got that call at 2:00 a.m. telling them that their business was on fire.  By the time they arrived, the hardware store component of the business was already a lost cause.  It cannot be a good feeling.  They have vowed to rebuild.

What's in Your... 
Tackle Box
Fishing is one of my two favorite hobbies.  This is the contents of my "small" tackle box.  I use this when I am fishing for panfish (crappie, bluegill, perch).  I have a larger tackle bag with my bass lures in it and I have two or three other tackle bags with surplus equipment.  It's is bit of an obsession.  No, no, no, it's a hobby.  It's a serious hobby...seriously.
Well that's it for my Scavenger Hunt Sunday,  Quirky Edition.  Have a blessed week.