Thursday, July 31, 2014

Skywatch Friday

North to Alaska
 An amateur photographer/hobbyist once asked a professional shooter what was the secret to making his photographs more interesting.  The seemingly abrupt answer was, "Put  yourself in front of more interesting subjects."  That may sound like a cop out, but there is great truth in those words.  While God can paint an amazing sky anywhere in the world, it is most beautiful when surrounded by amazing landscape.  I can photograph some beautiful sunrises and sunsets in my hometown, but they pale in comparrison to the landscape of Alaska.  My wife and I took a cruise to Alaska last week and I have to say, I can understand why someone would want to move there.  Southeast Alaska, which includes Juneau and Anchorage actually has a rather mild climate, not unlike Seattle.  In fact, Ketchekan is in a rain forest.  That's right, they get over 72 inches of rain per year.  While Juneau has the Mendenhall glacier and Glacier Bay is in the area, you have to go further north before that 72 inches of rainfall actually turn into ice and snow.  If you are thinking about a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, I would recommend an Alaska cruise.  You will wake up each morning to an amazing landscape.  For the children of the Lord, there will come a day when we will wake up in Glory!   Have a blessed week-end.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

Have you ever felt that God didn't answer your prayer?  Have you ever prayed that God would heal someone you love, only to see them pass away?  In the past year, we have lost two friends to cancer.  Both were under the age of 55 and had loving families.  One will not walk his daughters down the aisle, nor see his grandchildren.  Neither will see their grand children grow up and graduate high school or college.  Both will not experience family vacations with those that they love the most.  Many, many people prayed for God to heal these two, but it seems that it was not in His will.
Each journey started with a diagnosis.  Upon hearing the news we immediately began to pray for a healing.  We prayed for the doctors to have the wisdom and the knowledge to bring the disease into remission.  After some time had passed and treatments were administered, both friends were given the news that the cancer had spread and that the prognosis was not good.  Our prayers moved to the next level.  We gathered with friends and prayed.  We petitioned the Lord for a miracle.  In both cases,the day came when we received the news that our friends had been moved to hospice and that the battle was nearly over.  Once again, our prayers changed tone and urgency.  We prayed that God would give them peace, comfort and courage for the journey ahead.  Finally, the news came that each had passed away.  In each case there was a sense that our prayers had not been answered.  After a few days of mourning over the most recent loss of a friend, I came to realize that perhaps my prayers had indeed been answered.  My desires had not been granted, but my prayer had been answered.  How is that possible, you might ask.  We prayed for a healing and the person is gone.  Where is the healing?  I would tell you that when God gathers one of His children and takes them home, they are HEALED!  They are healed internally, externally, and eternally!  They have gone to a place that Christ has prepared for them and the Bible tells me that that there is no more pain and no more tears for His children.  Those of us who are left behind, mourn the loss of our loved ones.  We experience the pain of separation because we are going to miss the relationship that we had with the one who is gone.  Still, we need to understand, God is in control and His perfect will has been accomplished.  A healing has taken place, just not the way that we expected.  In those times when we don't understand God's plan, we just have to trust His heart.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

Red Salmon
If you noticed that I have changed my header photo you probably have already guessed that my wife and I took an Alaska cruise last week.  Our 40th wedding anniversary was in May and we decided to celebrate by taking our first cruise ever.  So prepare yourselves, this week you will probably be bombarded and bored with Alaska cruise photos.  I'll start small with it one photo.  This salmon design was stitched onto a large canvas bag in one of the souvenier stores we visited.  We didn't purchase the purse, but I found the design too irresistable, not to photograph.  Happy Ruby Tuesday all!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skywatch Friday

When I was a working man, skywatch photos were pretty easy to come by.  I would leave the house early enough in the morning to photograph the sunrise from a couple of locations on my way to work and, in the winter, the sun was setting as I left the office, which gave me a few more opportunities each evening.  Now that I am retired, I find that getting a good skywatch image actually involves some effort.  I find myself digging into the archives more often and finding images that I haven't posted nor discarded yet.  Some of them are suitable for posting.  They just don't always happen to be current.  For example the image above was take in November of 2011.  It has a really cold, winter feel to it.  The sky is almost icy in nature.  Hopefully I will have some fresh images very soon.  Happy Skywatching everyone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

Fishing Buddies
Digging into the archives I found this image of the youngest grand daughter, four years ago, and I on a fishing trip at a local lake.  Three of the four grandcrew love to fish.  Obviously, the life jacket is the reason for this post.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Skywatch Friday

Like most people who view photography with more than a passing interest, many of my images come out of the camera and into Photoshop Elements for a little post processing.  This image, however, is Straight Out Of The Camera.  I just didn't feel that this image needed any enhancement.  As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - Your Great Name


What's in a name?  What are some of the great names of the past? Well, many people would tell you that John F. Kennedy was a great name.  Abraham Lincoln was a great name.  George S. Patton, George Washington, Ceasar Augustus, Leonardo Di Vinci, Michaelangelo, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Betsy Ross, ...and the list goes on.  All are names of people that society considers great names of great people.  These men and women have made significant contributions to the world and their influence extended far beyond their time on earth.   When parents are expecting the birth of a child, they go to great trouble to select a great name.  It may be a family name from the past or they may put a different spelling to a familar name in order to make their child unique. Still there is one name that is above all names.
The name of Jesus is the greatest name of all.  Salvation and eternal life comes through one, and only one name, the name of Jesus.  Even before he was born, the angels said that His name would be called, Wonderful, Counseler, Prince of Peace, Son of the Highest...and the list goes on.  There is no other name under heaven by which a person can receive eternal life.  Christ Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me." (John 14:6)  The next time you need to call on someone in a time of need, call on the greatest name of all, Jesus.

Wordless Wednesday (Not)- Strike Up The Band

Strike Up The Band
If your looking for a great way to spend a summer evening, may I suggest that you attend a Drum Corps International show and competition.  This is the third year that this organization has performed in our town and my wife and I have attended all three performances.  Unlike most middle of July evenings in Arkansas, last night felt more like autumn.  There was a light breeze and temperatures in the upper sixties.  So, what are you going to see when you attend one of these events, you ask.
You're going to see flashy uniforms and very talented musicians performing very complicated routines desisgned for marching bands.
You're going to see talented dancers and colorful flag lines that are integrated into the music.
You're going to see original routines performed by young people who have spent their entire spring and summer preparing and performing these routines.  These performers are between 16 and 21 years of age.  They come from various backgrounds and they pay to train and perform in the drum corps.  It's not unlike travel soccer or baseball teams.  Each performance ususally features about eight different drum corps from two different levels of talent.  The "B" groups are ususally a little smaller and less experienced.  They also may not be quite as well funded.  The "A" groups are larger, more experienced groups and the routines can be very complicated.

I have to admit, these were my favorite drums.  They had a couple of covered wagons in the background as part of their routine and these graphics on their durms echoed the wagon wheels.  I love this kind of creative thinking.
Perhaps the most decorated group in the competition last night was Carolina Crown.  They are the reigning champions in the drum corps world.  If you want to see one of these performances, just go to for schedules and ticket information.  For a few my readers, they will be in Tulsa, OK tonight, Denton, TX tomorrow night, Dallas, TX on July 21, and Mustang, OK on July 22.  It will be on of the highlights of your summer.
I went to YouTube and found this video of Carolina Crown performing.  It's thirteen minutes long, but you don't have to watch the whole thing to get an idea of just how talented these kids are.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Skywatch Friday

Fire & Ice
Some days you can look into the sky and there is no denying that there is a God and that he loves painting the sky for our enjoyment. 

Inspiration Thursday

Time to let a little music provide the inspiration.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

These geranium blooms are from a potted plant on our deck.  My wife loves the splash of color that they provide and they bloom well into the heat of summer, particularly if shade is provided.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Red, White & Blue

Friday we had the family and a few friends (twenty in all) over to the house for burgers, brats and dogs.  After the meal everyone piled in their cars and headed to the local park for the city fireworks display.  I managed to find all of the prompts for this week in one place...kind of.  Here we go.

There were plenty of bombs bursting in air.  There were red ones, and...

white ones.  The white ones were interesting, everyone came for the color, so let's move on.
The blue displays were very nice looking, but every one was looking for a little more sparkle.

You want sparkle?  We got sparkle!  Some of the displays were really spectacular.  


The whole show was enhanced by patriotic music playing in the background.  It was the perfect combination of music and explosion.  The whole show lasted about thirty minutes, but it was some kind of show.  What did you do on the fourth? 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

How do we handle life's difficulties.  We may know someone who has been severely injured in an automobile accident.  A friend may have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  It is not unusual for us to face issues that leave us feeling helpless.  Our response may have been, "All I can do is pray."  Well, prayer should have been our first response, not our last resort.  God created us with the intent of having fellowship and an eternal relationship with Him.  His letter to us is the Bible.  It is a life instruction manual.  Our communication to him is through praise, worship and prayer.  Through our prayers we can praise and worship Him.  We can bring our concerns to Him.  We can share our lives with Him.  Honestly, God loves it when that happens. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "pray without ceasing."  Prayer should be a part of our everyday life.  Prayer relieves anxiety.  Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  The reward of time spent in prayer, is peace of mind.  Others may not understand how you can be calm in the midst of a storm.  You may not fully understand it yourself, because the peace of God surpasses human understanding.  It is never to late to become a person of prayer.  Find some time today and enjoy a "Sweet Hour of Prayer."  Have a blessed day.