Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Inspiration Thursday - Teach Your Children Well

Every once in a while I spend a few hours in flea markets.  I love wandering through the booths to see what is there and wonder where the items came from and how did they find themselves in a 10x10 booth in a flea market. This is one of those pieces that makes you ask, "What story does it tell?"  Did someone purchase it as a source of inspiration for themselves or was it received as a gift?  Did it occupy the prominent corner of an office desk or simply reside on a bookshelf at home? Did this item truly inspire someone to better things?  We will never know.  Before I retired, I spent a great deal of my professional life trying to be that person in the first line.  Now days I spend most of my time in the number two and three slot in the eyes of the world.  What are you trying to make happen? If you truly want to make things happen, spend your time improving your relationships with your family. Spend your time teaching your children how to be mature, responsible adults.  Grand parents, use your time with the grand kids wisely to show them what truth looks like. Contrary to popular opinion, they don't learn honesty, integrity, dependability, and work ethic on their own.  Someone has to teach it to them.    The world is filled with self-help, self-improvement books, but the best book for teaching others how to walk tall in this world is the Bible.  2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Proverbs 22:6 tells parents to "Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." God's Word leaves little doubt that it is the responsibility of the parents and grandparents to teach the children how to be responsible citizens. Spiritual education should not be neglected. In fact, the most important lessons a child can learn are those taught in scripture. The best place in this world that they can be found is "Stand on the Promises and Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Teach your children and your grandchildren well. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bikes, Blues & BBQ - Details

Last week Northwest Arkansas hosted a major motorcycle rally.  Over 200,000 visitors descend on this region for four days.  Scroll down a couple of posts if you want to see some the bikes that were in town.  Today I am featuring the details.
The gas tank has always been where the signature piece of artwork appears on the bike.  However, in recent years bikes have been covered in art from fender to fender.  Just scroll down a couple of posts to see what I mean.  I prefer the simpler graphics to the outrageous works that some display.  For me, you can have too much of a good thing.

 On the other hand, I never get tired of looking at a sparkling engine.  I have never ridden a motorcycle but I do admire the machinery.
If you prefer not to have the full wind-in-the-face ride, then adding an accessory like this will keep your hair straight and the bugs out of your teeth.

Like I said, some bikes had artwork from fender to fender.

In recent years the Indian motorcycle company has been reborn and this fender is an example of their vintage offering.  It is a beautiful and very impressive machine. The Vintage Indian is nostalgic from front to back, complete with leather saddle bags and fringe.

Even the headgear does not escape the artistic touch.  Well, that's wraps up another year of Bikes, Blues & BBQ.  I'm already looking forward to next year.  Have a blessed week.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friday Night Lights 2015

Although the season is 4 weeks old, Friday night I made my first trip to the local high school football game with my camera.  It was the first game of the conference season.  The local team is very good.  In fact they are the back to back defending state champions and they are now 4-0 this year.  In our community senior citizens get free passes to all high school sports and that makes for some cheap entertainment.

When you're the back to back defending state champions, you can count on a lot of fan support.  It really makes for a fun evening when the stands are full and the home team is playing well.

The band is a must for the right Friday Night Lights atmosphere.  Our band is 380 strong.

Of course the cheerleaders and pep squad are in full force to keep the fans on their feet and cheering the team on to victory.

 But Friday Night Lights is all about the game.  In this image No. 86, of the home team, is about to catch a touchdown pass.

 Here, another home team player is on his way to the endzone.  This touchdown really put the game out of reach. At this point the score was 28-14.

While they struggled some in the first half, the local team defense made all the right adjustments and shut the visitors down in the second half.  A 14-14 score at the half became a 42-14 blow out when the final whistle blew.
I love high school football.  It is a great way to spend a Friday evening.  We're going to miss a couple of home games due to other events that we have committed to attend, but I will keep track of the team with my cell phone app.  If you are looking for a fun time on a Friday night, find a high school football game to attend.  You won't regret it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Skywatch Friday

Last Sunset of Summer 2015
I've always been a fan of sunrise and sunset photos.  The other day, about 6:30 p.m. I noticed that the sky looked like a great sunset was going to happen, so I grabbed my gear and headed to a local lake where I knew I could get a good view of the sunset.  Between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m. this happened.  I am told that the closer we get to the seasonal equinox the quicker the sunset happens and I believe it.  Farewell summer 2015.

 First Autumn Sunrise 2015
I got up this morning around 6:30 to get ready to go the the gym and as I headed into the kitchen I noticed a colorful glow coming through the window.  I looked outside and knew that a special sunrise was about to happen.  Again, I grabbed my gear and drove a few blocks to the gym.  Across the street from the community building is a farm that has escaped local development and a pastoral image is still possible to capture.  By 7:05 a.m. this is what I saw.  I don't know if the early bird gets the worm, but I do know that he gets to see some of God's best "Good morning" greetings.  Have a blessed week-end.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bikes Blues & BBQ

There are several major events that take place in Northwest Arkansas every year, but none are bigger than Bikes Blues & BBQ.  Now in it's 17th year, over 200,000 bikers descend on this part of the state each year for four days.  If you don't like motorcycles, you just need to leave for a short vacation.  I have never ridden a motorcycle, but they have become pieces of rolling art and I love photographing them, so I headed down to one of the main gathering places Wednesday to catch some of the machines as they rolled into town.
In the bike world this is known as a "Bagger" because of the stylized saddle bags on the rear fender.  This is also one of the more custom bikes that I saw.

While this is a new bike it is a vintage design and a true "Bagger".  Who doesn't love a little fringe.  How many of you had a buckskin fringe jacket in the late 60's or early 70's?  I know I did.

As the biker community ages (Baby Boomers) trikes are becoming more popular.  The newer designs feature two wheels in front and a single wheel behind.  They are actually more stable in a corner than the traditional designs.  However, the trike in the bottom image probably weighs as much as a Honda Civic and is more expensive.  These things can push $40K.

Custom paint and graphics have always been a part of personalizing your ride and these were the two most outrageous examples that I found.  I guess that's enough for one day.  I have detail images that I will share very soon, so come back.  Until then, keep the shiny side up.  Have a blessed week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

 If you grew up in Oklahoma and specifically in Tulsa you know what this stuff is.  It is Frankoma pottery.  Frankoma Pottery was founded in 1933 by John Frank a University of Oklahoma art professor.  You can find much more information on Wikipedia.  Anyway, Frank developed a style using Ada clay (from the area around Ada, OK) and perfected a unique glaze that made his work very desirable.  Eventually he moved the manufacturing to Sapulpa, OK which only about ten miles west of Tulsa.  During the 40's, 50's & 60's Frankoma pottery was extremely popular.  They manufactured dinnerware as well as decorative pieces. Some of it combined an art deco sense of design with a southwest flavor in the glaze.  Because of the way the glaze reacted when fired, no two pieces of Frankoma pottery are exactly alike.  I never really appreciated Frankoma pottery until the past ten or fifteen years.  While I only have a few pieces and I usually pick them up in flea markets, I have come to love this product that originated in my home state and settled only a few miles from my home town.  For all practical purposes, the pottery ceased to be manufactured in 1991.

Almost all of us have some sort of collection of coffee mugs.  Mine includes three examples of Frankhoma pottery.  I have four of each of these designs.  The one in the center is a collector mug from Falls Creek Baptist Assembly, which is the largest church sponsored youth summer camp in the world.  I attended Falls creek four years in a row from my freshman to senior year in high school.  It is still operating and better than ever.

Other than the coffee mugs, I don't have any pieces of the dinnerware.  Here you can see the variation of color within each piece that made Frankoma pottery so unique.  For most people, you either like it or you don't.  I used the be in the "don't" camp, but I have definitely come into the light.

 The small vases are bout six inches in diameter and six inches tall.  I suppose they could be used as table center pieces.  I use a couple of them on my desk as pencil holders.  The larger footed vase is on display in the living room.

The very design of this little vase caught my eye at a flea market recently.  Here is an example of art deco design sensitivity combined with the southwest glaze influence.  I love how the darker glaze accents the lines of the piece.

This bowl is about ten inches in diameter and it is my favorite piece.  That subtle design coming up from the base of the bowl is absolutely brilliant design as far as I'm concerned.  Again, the glaze accents the decorative elements of the pottery.  This piece will fit in any interior decor.  Yep, I rescued this from a flea market as well.

The only way to appreciate this little dish was to stand it on it's side.  I'm not sure what the original purpose was, but I'm sure that the stylized shape of the state of Oklahoma was not a mistake and is what captured my attention. Here you can see the variation of color common to the Frankoma glaze.
I don't collect a lot of things, and none of my collections are extensive, but I enjoy each item that I have collected and that's really all that is important.  Do you collect anything and what is your favorite item in your collection.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Skywatch Friday

There's an old saying, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy, and wise."  I don't know how much truth there is in that verse, but I do know that early to rise allows you to see skies like this.  I woke up about 5:45 Tuesday morning and decided to go fishing on one of the local lakes.  When I got all situated on my favorite little pier, I looked to my right and I saw this sky.  All of a sudden it just didn't matter if the fish were biting.  God was doing some of his best work in the sky that morning and I had a front row seat.
Regardless of what is going on in the world around me, and it is a mess, I can look at a sky like this, know that the Creator is still in charge of it all and I can Stand on His Promises and Lean on His Everlasting Arms.  Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Rockin' the 50's & 60's

Last week the Senior Adults at our church had a 50's/60's party.  We found this background graphic on line and installed it on light weight insulation board.  It was a huge hit with everyone.

All of the decorations, including these centerpieces were the inspired ideas of my wife.  I just helped.  Again, these were a big hit with the crowd.

Here is the source of the ideas and the one that can plan the best party ever.  Just give her a theme and turn her loose.

Here is my wife with her number one helper.  I just ask where she want me to put the stuff.  We're a pretty good team, with 41 years of experience.

We brought some of the youth in to help serve coke and root beer floats.  Dinner was burgers in baskets, just like the good old days.  The kids came complete with poodle skirts and letterman's sweaters.  I think they had as much fun as the adults.

We had over 100 senior adults attend this party, but there was another motive for this event.

This group donated a pick up load of food to a local food pantry.  There are multiple needs in every community and feeding the hungry is just one opportunity to show God's love to those who need it most.  It was a great evening for everyone.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Skywatch Friday/Inspiration Thursday

Have you ever noticed how those big, white puffy clouds can change into ominous grey storm clouds in a matter of minutes?  Life can be like that.  One minute you seem to have the world by the tail with a downhill pull and the next minute it can all come crashing down.  Sometimes you can see the storm clouds gathering and some days you just get blindsided by life.  Sometimes the storm leaves almost as quickly as it arrived and other days the storm is the beginning of a journey.  Regardless of the storms of life and the length of our journey, the Christian can rest assured of one thing, Redemption Draweth Nigh.  Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Flea Market Fun

Labor Day my wife and I decided to make the rounds of several Antique Malls/Flea Markets in the area.  I like looking at what others have discarded.  You can find almost anything in one of these places.

If you grew up in Oklahoma during the 1950's -1960's you know that this is Frankoma pottery.  This is a pitcher in their Aztec pattern and the color is desert tan.  As a youngster I had little use or appreciation for this stuff.  Frankoma pottery was located in Sapulpa, Oklahoma which is only about 15 miles from my childhood home of Tulsa.  I am not a huge fan of the Aztec pattern, and desert tan isn't my favorite color, so I left this one on the shelf. However, I have collected some other pieces in the past few years that I find very attractive.

 This is the real deal, Mission style student desk, and if I had a place to put it, it would be in my home at this moment.  I love everything about this piece of furniture.  I can tell  you, it was VERY reasonably priced.

If photography is your thing, this is an Argus C3, 35mm camera.  I don't know if it works, nor do I remember the price, but it is just plain cool.  Argus was one of the first popular 35mm cameras in the U.S. before Nikon & Canon became the gold standards for photography.  Again, I love the look of this camera.

Before ice makers became standard equipment on refrigerators, the aluminum ice tray was the way ice was made for home consumption.  This is the fancy 3-row model which made smaller cubes that better fit into ice tea glasses.  The 2-row model was standard in most refrigerators.

Children of the 40's & 50's lived a dangerous lifestyle.  This rocking horse would not be allowed into the modern home occupied by "attack helicopter" parents guarding the current generation of kids from all harm.  Those springs would pinch your fingers, legs, etc.  You could get the horse going so that the motion would actually buck you off.  This type of toy was not available again until the mechanical bull showed up in country bars in the 70's.  But guess what? We survived!

While not as free spirited as the spring loaded rocking horse, this horse was more for the trail ride.  Moving your feet forward and backward on the foot rest made this pony move forward at a fairly safe speed.

Hey, if you wander around in a flea market long enough, you're bound to find Nemo!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Skywatch Friday - Inspiration Thursday

Sometimes clouds provide great backgrounds for landscape images and sometimes the clouds themselves make great images.  Such was the case the other afternoon.  I was taking photographs of our grandson's birthday swim party when I looked up and saw these clouds.  I took a few minutes out of the party pics to snap this image.
God has a marvelous way of showing us that He is always present.  Just look at the natural world around us and marvel at His creation.  The sky seems to be His ever changing canvas of creativity and He uses the sun, moon, and stars to provide unique lighting to his paintings. Have a blessed week-end.