Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday 2014 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 3

 Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week Scavenger Hunt Sunday has given us the opportunity to post five of our favorite images.  Since I didn't do a true Thanksgiving themed post on Thursday, I'll post those images now.

 Since Thanksgiving is all about family, I thought that a group photo would be appropriate.  We have never had a photo taken with all of us in front of the house, ever!  There is a specific reason for this photo and I may explain it at a later date.

Wednesday afternoon the grand crew came out and spent the night.  It's always a joy when this whole crew is in the same place at the same time and that is getting harder to accomplish.  The oldest is now a freshman in college.  The next is a freshman in high school, the youngest grand daughter is in junior high and the grandson is in middle school.  What is that they are holding, you might ask.

Nana always has a group activity for them and this year it was baking and decorating gobbler cupcakes.  All of the kids like spending time with Nana in the kitchen and a fun activity like this never grows old, even for the college freshman.  There is a lot of time spent in the kitchen around Thanksgiving making high calorie treats.
The oldest grand daughter helped Nana make this pumpkin pie while the youngest grand daughter made and applied the decoration.  She made a template for the leaves, rolled out the dough, cut the shapes, applied the sprinkles. then baked and applied to the pie.

This year Nana decided to take a page from the Pioneer Woman cookbook and bake a Caramel Apple Pie with Pecans.  We're still calculating the calorie count on this masterpiece.  This is my wife's favorite time of the year.  She loves being in the kitchen making special dishes for her family.  Thanksgiving and Christmas give her all of the reasons that she needs to spend time in her favorite place, expressing her love to her family through her cooking.  We are the most grateful recipients of that love.  Well, that's it for my Scavenger Hunt.  Stay tuned, or continue reading for day three of my annual Christmas Music Marathon.  Have a blessed day.

2014 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 3

For the past several years November 4th has been celebrated by some as Blog Blast For Peace. I have participated most years. It gives me a chance to show, through scripture, that peace is the will of God. The purpose of the birth of Christ was so that there might be "Peace on earth and good will toward men." Before peace can come to this world, it must come to the heart of each individual. When the Holy Spirit of God lives in us, we possess a "peace that passes understanding" and when we refuse to accept Christ as our savior, peace will never truly be ours. Still, in a nation that is filled with violence, unrest, evil, crime, corruption, greed, arrogance, and pride, there is a heart cry for peace. May peace visit your heart this season.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

2014 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 2

The second chapter of the book of Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary went to their home town in order to register for a census and be taxed. The city was filled with people doing the same thing. While they were there, Mary gave birth to Jesus.  While most of Bethlehem was unaware of the significance of the Birth of Christ there were a few to whom the birth of the Savior was made known.  Today is much the same.  In the midst of our cities people are shopping for gifts for one another without really knowing much about the significance of Christmas. Take a walk through Bethlehem.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Skywtatch Friday - 2014 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 1

Usually I try to put the sky in context with a foreground.  There are times when the foreground is just unappealing and would detract from the images.  Then there are times when the sky is all that you need.  It is a glorious abstract reminder that the God of all creation is still in control and enjoys sharing His creative talent with us.  Have a blessed week-end.

Okay gang, it's time for Season 5 of my annual Christmas Music Marathon.  Thanksgiving is over, we're all stuffed with Turkey, football and Black Friday deals.  It's time to focus on the real meaning of this glorious season, the birth of Christ.  Each day, between now and Christmas, I will post an inspirational thought, a photograph and/or a video or two that I hope you will enjoy.  One of the videos that I like to start my marathon with may not sound like a Christmas song at first, but listen to the lyrics and you will hear the words of the angels in the book of Luke as they proclaim the good news to the shepherds on the night that changed the world, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ThanHappy Thanksgiving

May you and your family experience the joy of Thanksgiving with friends and family. May your day be filled with those things that bring joy to your heart and make memories that you will cherish for a life time. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ruby Tuesday - Stinger

There is nothing quite as iconic in the automotive world as the "Stinger" hood of a mid-sixties Corvette.  This hood typically announced that there was a big engine with big horsepower lurking underneath.  This particular hood says that there is a 427 cubic inch big block Chevy in the engine cavity.  VARooooom!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Skywatch Friday - Room With A View

Room With A View
Recently my wife and I spent a few days at the Wilderness Lodge, on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missouri.  It is part of a huge resort complex developed, built, and owned by Johnny Morris, founder and owner of Bass Pro Shops.  Fall in the Ozarks is a special season.  The trees are changing colors and there is a crispness to the air that is unlike any other season.  Late one morning I stepped onto the balcony of our room and was greeted with this view of another lodge on the property.  Life on this earth just doesn't get much better than this.  Have a blessed week-end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

I probably should have included this video in last week's post.  I just found it, and I think it is a good reminder that there is never a need for anyone to be alone.

 Depending on your age and how long you have been a Christian, or not, the question next question might be, "What are you ready for?" If you have never trusted Christ as your savior, are you ready now to make that decision.? If you are new in your Christian journey or have had a difficult time deciding how God wants you to serve Him, are you ready now to do whatever He reveals to you as His will for your life? If you are a Senior Adult and have served Him for a lifetime, maybe you're just ready to go home. Regardless of your place in life, "Are you Ready Now?"

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ruby Tuesday - October Rose

October Rose
So far Autumn in the Ozarks has been pretty mild.  In fact, some of the bermuda grass is still green and my knockout roses are still blooming.  Knockout roses are almost evergreens and will bloom into late fall.  As you can tell, we have had just the right amount of rain at just the right time to enhance the photographs.  I love it when than happens.  I think water droplets add so much more interest to images of flowers.  Happy Ruby Tuesday.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Southern Raised

Last night the Senior Adult ministry of our church had their Thanksgiving banquet.  Our musical guests was the Gospel contemporary bluegrass band Southern Raised.  My wife and I have a special connection to this talented set of sisters and their baby brother.  Twenty years ago my wife and I taught the young married Bible Study group in our church.  The parents of Southern Raised were in our class.  It was great to see the entire family and they are extremely talented.
After the concert we got a picture taken with the group.  Little brother is on the far left and his poster image is photo bombing his sisters.  Next is the father of this group, then myself, the mother of these talented young adults, my wife, and finally the three older sisters.

These youngsters are classically trained musicians.  A little over seven years ago, they decided to play contemporary bluegrass gospel.  They picked up the instruments, learned how to sing and now they are an award winning group.  If you ever get the chance to see them in person, please do.  You will have a great time and you'll be amazed at the depth of their talent.  They are musicians, vocalists, and songwriters.  Here are a couple of examples of their talent.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Skywatch Friday - Chapel in the Ozarks

Okay, so that sky is crystal blue and not all that interesting, but the chapel and the autumn colors are a different story.  Recently my wife and I spent a few days at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, MO.  The whole complex is owned by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.  Recently, they have added a complex with a golf course, event center, restaurants, this chapel and a honeymoon cabin.  The chapel alone is enough to make you want to renew your vows.  There is no better time to visit Big Cedar than autumn.  The colors are just spectacular and the weather was perfect.  How about you, do you ever plan a fall getaway?  You really should.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - One IsThe Loneliest Number

The rock band Three Dog Night recorded a song titled "One is the Loneliest Number".  There is a lot of truth to that phrase.  Have you ever felt alone?  Has there been a time in your life when is seemed that no one listened to what you had to say or seemed to care about your opinion?  Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that you were left to face the challenge alone?  I'll have to admit, that as an only child, I have felt like I was all alone in this world on many occasions.  There are times when is seems that no friends, colleagues, support groups, or anything else is available to walk through a difficult situation with you.  But there is an answer.  The God of all creation knows you better than you know yourself.  In fact, Christ Himself tells us that the very hairs on our head are numbered.  So, the choice to be alone is ours and ours alone.
The Bible tells me, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."  God desires to have a relationship with each of us, but He leaves that choice up to us.  If we are willing to confess our sinfulness, repent, acknowledge that Christ is the Son of God and ask for His forgiveness, He will enter into a relationship with us and we will NEVER be alone again...Ever!  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too - Veterans Day 2014

While there is no Ruby Red in today's images, the men pictured below and millions like them spilled or were willing to spill their blood in service to this great nation.  I am proud to say that four generations of my family have served in the U.S. armed forces.  I don't have any records or images yet that prove service beyond the Civil War.
My great grand father served in the 15th Kentucky Cavalry during the Civil War.  He was born, raised, died and burried in Crittenden County, KY.

I don't have an image of my grandfather in uniform.  This image was taken after the WWI.  He and several of his siblings moved from Kentucky into Oklahoma territory.  He served in the Army during WWI.

Needless to say, my father (and personal hero) served in the Navy during WWII.  Dad was born and raised in Oklahoma.  He served as a radio operator on the USS Bunker Hill during WWII.  The Bunker Hill provided air support to the invasions of Iwo Jima, Tarrawa, Okinawa and other islands during the war in the Pacific.  On May 11, 1945 The Bunker Hill was struck by two kamikaze planes and lost 600 crewmen and pilots.
The Bunker Hill was the second most severely damaged ship of WWII.  She limped into port, repairs were made and she returned to service.  Americans that were children of the depression and fought in WWII are indeed the Greatest Generation.  It breaks my heart that there are so few of them left. 

 I served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam.  One thing my father and I had in common is that we were both radiomen.  He was MUCH better at it than me.  
One thing that all of the family veterans have in common is that we all came home from the conflict and lived normal, productive civilian lives.  I am ever so thankful for that fact alone.  
Please remember this, the soldier does not pick his adversary, nor the conflict in which he is engaged.  He serves his country and those chosen to lead him.  His responsibility his to his fellow servicemen, his leaders and his country.  Most of us don't give much thought about our service in the early years after we come home.  It is just something that we did and we would like to move on.  As we grow older, we become more aware of what we were asked to do and we do take a certain pride in our service.  I'll be the first to admit that I never thought that I would give much attention to my military service after I came home from Vietnam and was discharged into civilian life, but when I am at an event and veterans are recognized for their service, I am overcome with pride and emotion that others appreciate what veterans have done.  Thank you for appreciating us.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Skywatch Friday -Glimpse of Your Glory

I love being around the lake at sunset.  Sunrise and sunset are the two best times to photograph almost anything, but there is something special about being on or near the water at the end of the day.  Regardless of how hectic your day has been, sky and water combine to calm the senses, give the hope of a better tomorrow, and gives me a glimpse of God's glory.   Have a blessed week-end.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - Priceless

What is the most valuable thing that you do not own but would like possess?  Several years ago MasterCard released a series of TV commercials that gave the cost of some items and one thing that was "priceless".  Here is an example.

When it comes to life, there are a multitude of things that one can purchase and happiness is the result, but only for a little while.  Sooner or later the new wears off or something better comes along that we are told will make us happier than that thing that we purchased before.
The Bible has a little different take on the subject. Proverbs 4:5 tells us to seek two things, "Get wisdom! Get understanding!"  The getting of wisdom and understanding is a journey and it truly begins in Proverbs.  Reading one chapter per day in the book of Proverbs will enlighten us regarding what the Creator of Life considers to be wisdom and understanding.  We are told to embrace God's love and instructions, and we are instructed to flee from evil.  That's pretty good advice.  In fact, it's "priceless."  Simply reading God's Word is not enough.  We must let Him have His way with us.

Sometimes, God's way requires us to climb a mountain.  Not to fear, He will go with us, every step of the way.  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Blast for Peace 2014

We seem to be living in a world that has little use for peace.  Our society is filled with corruption and violence.  Our world is at war in numerous places and there are those who would force their ideology on the world through terror.  This is NOT how God intended for it to be.  His word tells us to depart from evil and seek peace.  Peace should not be confused with tolerance, they are two different things.  Tolerance does not bring about peace.  Tolerance of a rebellious, disobedient child does not produce a well rounded, law abiding citizen anymore than tolerance of evil produces peace.
The Bible tells us to train our children in the way that they should go.  Beginning with the Baby Boomers, we have failed miserably to do this.  Children have to be taught how to be good.  Somehow we have come to the conclusion that we should not teach our children about spiritual matters and when they grow up, they will make their own "wise" decisions.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  A child who has no instruction in religious matters will no more understand God's plan  for their life, than a person denied any access to instruction in math will grow up and figure out calculus on their own.
Like so many things, peace begins at home and comes from the heart.  It's a very simple concept, but very complicated to live out each day.  Have a blessed day.  Peace to you and yours.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Trick or Treat

While the prompts for this week are definitely skewed toward Halloween, I have decided to take one of the prompts and build a theme around it.  I chose "Fall Colors".  I know, it's a bit of a stretch, but bear with me.

Dress Up
Here in Northwest Arkansas the fall colors begin to appear around mid-October and peak before the second week in November.  This year Halloween week-end is supposed to be the best time to see the fall colors.  The first hard freeze of the year was on Halloween when temperatures dropped into the mid-twenties.  In honor of the season, even the Bald Cypress "Dress Up" in their best Autumn attire.

When the foliage decides to get all dressed up for fall the result is eye candy for every one.  Whether you view the tree from a distance or get  up close and personal, the colors are just wonderful.

 Fall Colors
While most of us associate a cemetery with all things spooky, the beauty of fall colors invades even this final resting place.

Trick or Treat
When Halloween rolls around there are no tricks. The fall foliage is always a treat for the senses.  Often times the skies are crystal clear and provide an incredible background for the colors of the season.
  Photographers Choice
I think that is is probably my favorite tree in all of Benton County, Arkansas during the fall.  It is nearly perfectly shaped, it sits alone in a pasture, and when it decides to put on it's fall outfit, the show is spectacular.  This year is the best that it has looked in three or four years partly because we have had ample rain, which means that the grass is still green on Halloween.  Have a blessed Sunday and as we say here in the South, "Happy Fall y'all!"