Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Occasionally the local fire department will use an abandon property as a training exercise. The debris left behind makes for an interesting photo opportunity. The chimney is kind of an iconic remnant of a farm house, but a closer look reveals a few interesting details. Of course, some things were just meant to be photographed in Black & White. Have a blessed day.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ruby Tuesday Too/Wordless Wednesday

Every year my wife purchases several baskets of plants to place on the front porch and patio. The variety of color brings new life to the space and makes sitting outside in the evening just that much more enjoyable. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my camera and tripod, and had a portrait shoot of some of the blooms.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

 This week-end is Memorial Day week-end. For many Americans it is the official beginning of the summer vacation season. It is Indy 500 week-end. But Memorial Day had a much more somber beginning. It began, after the Civil War, in 1868 as Decoration Day when an organization of Union veterans called the Grand Army of the Republic established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions merged into a single celebration to honor all Americans who died while in service to our country. Today most people use the day to honor all of their friends and family members that have passed away, regardless of the circumstances.
It may sound a little macabre, but it you want to be inspired, visit a national cemetery or at least spend a little time in the military section of any cemetery. I visited the National Cemetery in Fayetteville, about 20 miles from our house. It doesn't take long to realize how many tens of thousands of Americans have given their lives to make this nation great. Some of the markers indicate that the veteran lived a full life after their service. Other dates give witness to those who died in combat. Markers give testimony to those who were Christian, Jewish, and other faiths. One can find America's combat history on these hallowed grounds. The dates on the headstones tell us of those who served in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

One is reminded that a soldier does not select the battle nor decide if the cause is worthwhile, but goes where they is called and gives themselves in service to this great nation. So, this week-end, when you are enjoying the holiday with friends and family please remember that a price has been paid for your freedom. Have a blessed week-end.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Awe Mondays

I never ceased to be amazed and stand in awe at the variety and colors of flowers that God has created for us to enjoy. There is simply no end to their beauty.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

We live in a society that tells us there are multiple ways to get into heaven. It reminds me of the current trend in children's activities...everyone gets a trophy. If you are a participant in this life, and you haven't committed some horrible act, then you go to that place that you consider to be heaven.
Others believe that religion is absolutely essential to gain access to eternal life and that religion must be filled with a variety of rituals, ceremonies, rules, etc. Failure to follow the rules will place your eternal destiny in danger. Finally there are those who don't believe in anything, or so they say. According to them, there is no God. When you live, you live and when you die, you die. The only thing that matters is how you live this life.
The Bible teaches us that all three of these viewpoints are false. Humans have a soul and that soul will live beyond the grave. Where that soul spends eternity depends on one single decision. What do you do about the person of Jesus Christ? Christ himself has told us that everyone is not going to heaven. Christ said, in John 3:16,18, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life...He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Furthermore, the Bible teaches us that no amount of good deeds or religious ceremony will get us into heaven. Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We are all descendants of Adam and Eve. The same sin nature that was present in them is alive and well in us.
Finally, there is only one way. Again, Christ Himself tells us, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Personally, I don't see any loopholes or escape clauses in that statement. Have a blessed day.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Aww...Ahh...Awe Mondays

I Love a Rainy Night
There is just something magic about what a little rain on the street will do to a photograph. The reflections just make the whole city block come alive.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Still Crazy After All These Years

May 11, 1974
 So, What's The Secret - May 11, 2016

So what's the secret to being married for forty-two years and looking forward to celebrating number fifty one day? All I can tell you is that our marriage is centered around our faith and that the message from God's Word is critical to the happiness that each of us enjoys.

First of all, God loves us and everything He does for us is for our benefit. He created the institution of marriage to be enjoyed by a man and a woman and to bring each of them happiness. The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on a cross for us so that we might, through faith, have eternal live. Christ tells the husband that he is to love his wife with the same love that Christ loves the church and gave himself for that church (Ephesians 5:25). If I love my wife with that kind of love, then everything I do, I do because I love her and I want her to be happy. I want her to be pleased with this relationship. I want my Lord to be pleased with me as a man who loves his wife and realizes that his wife is a gift from God created especially for me and for my happiness.
Secondly, marriage is a partnership. Like any relationship, it takes work to maintain that relationship in peak condition. A happy marriage doesn't "just happen". Both of us are committed to the relationship and to each other because we love one another and it is our desire that our partner be happy in this relationship. No major decision in this relationship is made without prayer and conversation. God is not the author of confusion, therefore He will not give my wife a different answer to an issue than the one that He gives me. Again, God created the institution of marriage for our benefit, not for our demise.
Finally, I married a woman far better than I deserve. I thank my Lord and Savior for her every day. My wife is the most thoughtful, caring and giving person that I know. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." I have found that woman. Proverbs 31:25-30 further states, "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and teaching of kindness is on her toungue. She looks well to the ways of her houselold, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." I married such a woman.
So, back to the original question, "What's the Secret?" The answer is, you have to give yourself to the marriage. You have to give yourself to your spouse. Whatever you have within you, you have to "Give it Away."

Wordless Wednesday

Snake Bit

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ruby Tuesday Too

Who ya gonna call?

Last week there was a film festival in town. The Bentonville Film festival was organized by Gena Davis. The primary purpose is to focus on the role of women in the film industry. Why Bentonville was chosen as the host city is anybody's guess. Still there are lots of activities that take place. One of the films that was screened was the original Ghostbusters. Coke got into the act by building this display on the town square.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Aww Monday

I pulled out my big lens for the first time in a long time and captured this little feathered friend on my back fence. Little did I know, something really special was in the air.

 Later in the evening three WWII warplanes made several passes over our neighborhood. We live about a mile from the local private airport and one of the pilots there owns the P-51 Mustang that is leading this formation. There is a film festival in town and a lot of celebrities are visiting our area. Meg Ryan, Gena Davis, Harrison Ford, and Harry Connick Jr. have all been sighted in the area. I didn't get a great focus on these planes but it's my first time trying to capture something moving this fast.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

Unfortunately we now live in a society that, for the most part, doesn't really believe in God. Therefore they don't really believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by virtue of "The Trinity" that Jesus is God. The past fifty years has seen our society slowly remove God from our daily lives. It started with something as simple as removing prayer from our public schools. I understand the reasoning behind the decision, but it was the only contact that some children had with any spiritual matters. There was a time when no school activities took place on Wednesday nights because that was a church night. Now, most churches have no mid-week services. Many limit their worship time to Sunday mornings and no longer have Sunday evening services. We have replaced an opportunity to meet with fellow believers on Wednesdays and Sundays with other activities including our kids travel sports. What have we taught them? We have given them the example that the team is more important that the Creator. We have determined that working 50-60 hours a week between Monday and Friday is the only way to get ahead in this world and that our week-ends must be spent on family activities that only put more pressure on the family members to be successful at other activities. We have forgotten that the most important family activity is worshiping our God together and learning about His love for us. We are created by God and He has a plan for our lives, but many of us never bother to find out what that plan is. We have our own ideas about how to be happy and successful in this life and God is not a part of the plan. So, how have our plans worked out?
There are more single parent families than ever before. The divorce rate is nearly 40% even among Christians, which only validates the fact that even those in the Church don't take their relationship with Christ as seriously as they should. We have more children and youth on drugs than ever before, more homeless than ever before, and more families in desperate life situations than ever before. But the good news is that God has always stood ready to establish or re-establish a relationship with His creation.
"So God created man in is own image; He created him; male and female He Created them." Gen. 1:27
"You formed my inward parts; You covered in my mother's womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14
"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." John 3:16
"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their in and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
 "I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Faather, I have sinned against heaven and before you,...and am no longer worthy to be called your son. ..." Luke 15:18-19 


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday

 I Love a Rainy Night

It was a rainy Friday. The high school soccer matches got canceled because there was some cloud to ground lightening within 5 miles of the venue. So what else could I do, but wait til dark and go shoot some reflections around town.

One nice thing about rainy nights is that you get some pretty cool reflections. This little food trailer was sitting under a street light so the reflection was built in.

Everyone knows that Bentonville, Arkansas is the home of Walmart and this is where it all started...Walton's Five & Dime. The building has been converted to a museum and has the complete history of the Walton business. Sam Walton's office was moved from the general office and reconstructed here. It is exactly the way it was on the day that he died.

Just around the corner a whole new block of retail/office development has been constructed, including a one-of-a-kind Neighborhood Market. This particular store has a deli that rivals Whole Foods and Fresh Market.

 The past few years have seen the construction of multiple bike and walking trails in the area. In fact you can ride or hike from Fayetteville to Bentonville and Bella Vista on a connected trail system that is nearly thirty five miles in length. One of the results of this fitness trend is multiple aparrel and outdoor gear shops have opened in the area. There must be a dozen bicycle shops in town. Ten years ago the only place to purchase a bike was....you guessed it, Walmart.

The regional growth has also brought a multitude of new eating establishments to town. Louisiana based Flying Fish is one of my favorites.

One of the best things about the growth in the area is that old buildings are being repurposed. Here, the old City Hall building in Rogers has been reborn as upscale condominiums. Well, that's it for another not so Wordless Wednesday. Have a blessed day.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Aww...Awe...Ahh Monday

Deja Vu
The two images below were taken one week apart. The girls are in the 8th grade. Top photo shows them in their Jr. High uniforms running in the 4x800 relay. Since both teams qualified for the 9th grade tournament...
the same two girls are shown wearing the uniforms of the high schools that they will represent next year. I don't know how I managed to get them in almost the same stride, one week apart. If you didn't know better you would swear that they must train together on a regular basis.