Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Inspiration Thursday - Come as You Are

All of us have been invited to some sort of special event like a Super Bowl Party, Prom, Graduation ceremony, a wedding and reception. One of the first things that we give consideration to is what are we going to wear. The first question is often, "What is everyone else wearing?" We want to be dressed appropriately and make a good impression. When I was in my teens (stone age), there were three basic attire for the guys who were invited to various parties. "Formal" meant a tuxedo or dark suit & tie. "Semi-formal" meant a sport coat, tie and slacks. "Casual" meant slacks and a collared shirt, with or without a sweater. Only if some one said, "Wear your grubs" did jeans, shorts, and t-shirts get any consideration. The idea is that we had to prepare for the event and be dressed appropriately for the occasion. That's just the way it was. The most important event in our lives does not require us to do any special preparation.
Christ offers us the gift of eternal life, a seat at the table of the family of God, and a place to live that has been prepared especially for us. All we have to do is acknowledge that we are in need of that gift, believe that Christ is indeed the only Son of the Living God, and invite Him to live in our heart. All of the work as already been done by the Savior.
Many people don't accept this invitation because they don't believe they are good enough to receive eternal life...and they are right. The Bible tells us that, "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God." (Romans 3:23) This verse also applies to those who don't believe they have really done anything so bad as to deserve eternal punishment. That's why the Bible also tells us that "While we were still sinners Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) All of us are sinful.
Other people say that they intend to accept Christ as their Savior, but they need to clean up their lives and make themselves acceptable to their Creator. God does not tell us that we have to clean up our act before we can be accepted. Christ did not tell the thief on the cross next to Him that his time had run out, rather, the Savior said, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43)
Still others declare their intent to be saved some day, just not right now. They still have a life to live and salvation would interfere in that life. Every day death reminds us that we are not promised our next breath, much less several decades to decide that we are in need of salvation. God instructs us to, "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near." (Isaiah 55:6) What do we have to do? Simple, "Come Just As You Are". Have a blessed week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Horse Show in B&W

This is where we ended yesterday, so if you want to see the color images of the horse show, scroll down one post.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Awe...some Monday

It's been a couple of years since we attended a horse show but Saturday, the daughter of a friend was competing in a show about an hour drive from our house. So, I grabbed my camera and we hopped in the car to go see the horses.

Just so you know, this young lady has over twenty world championships to her credit. She has won most of them on this horse. They are a pretty special team. Saturday's event was more of a regional competition.

It was a hot day and though the arena was indoors, it was not air conditioned, just some huge ceiling fans circulating 90 degree air. Basically that means that most of the girls left their expensive and toasty warm sequined jackets back in the stall and competed in shirts.However, there were a couple of competitors that brought out the bling.

While most of the girls can be found in the "Western Pleasure" category, there is another category that involves "Ranch Skills", which is usually dominated by quarter horses and the guys.
Of course my photo journey wouldn't be complete without a visit to the stall area. This is where all of the hard work really gets done. Someone is always in the practice ring working on improving the skills of their ride, and in ninety degree heat even the horses appreciate a cool shower.

It seems like there is always at least one image that just wants to be Black & White. Come back tomorrow and I'll show you that collection. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

We have a couple of friends and family members that are going through some very difficult times with health issues. One friend in particular has been battling an illness for over a year and the symptoms had gotten worse. They are losing sleep, have severe headaches, and symptoms that most of us would consider devastating to our physical and mental health. This situation also takes it's toll on the rest of the family.
As friends we want to be of some help. We are praying for the entire family and we want to offer words of encouragement, but what do you say? When the suffering is constant and the battle seems never ending. The usual verses of Scripture just don't seem to be adequate or appropriate for this situation. As Christians, we've heard, "All things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Those are easy words to say, but it's hard to hear them when your head has been pounding for weeks, and your body trembles on a regular basis. What promise of God can possibly speak to this situation? My wife found a verse for another family member that speaks to almost every need.  Again, we just need to remember that we serve the God of all creation and we are special in His sight. God is faithful and He will indeed walk beside you through the trial, but God never said that Christians would not face difficult days. God and God alone tells His children, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God. The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;..." (Isaiah 43:2-3)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Riding the Rails

I was going through some my old photos that are stored on CD's. Some of them were from the transition period when you could take the images from your film camera and have them put on CD at Walmart, or Walgreen's. It seems funny to only have 24 - 36 images on a CD and they are less that 1mg each.  Anyway, I came across these images of a steam engine and they reminded me of the trip we took. After all, that's what photos are for, to remind you of good times. Back in 2001 a Frisco steam engine was brought into Cherokee Yard, in West Tulsa, and the public was given the opportunity to take a short excursion on the train. Since my father had worked for the Frisco for forty-two years and I grew up around railroad men, my wife and I jumped at the chance to take our granddaughter. It was great fun and looking back at the photos was most enjoyable. I decided to take a couple of the images and convert them to black & white. Here are the results. Have a blessed day.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Awe...some Monday!

Coolest golf cart ever! I don't even play the game and I'd like to have one of these.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

Almost anyone looking at this image would guess that the subject is a church building, and they would be correct. The steep gable roof, arches, circular window, and top of a bell tower give clues to the purpose without seeing the entire structure or finding a sign that identifies the building. When traveling around any town or city, it is pretty easy to identify churches.
The truth is, Christians should be just as easy to identify. After all, they are the true church. The building is simply the place that God's people have set aside for worship. The Bible tells us that we should be dressed accordingly (Ephesians 6:11). We are to wear the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness,  the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God's Word. Sounds like we're supposed to be prepared for battle doesn't it? Well, we are.
The Bible also tells us that Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them (Acts 1:8) and that Spirit produces fruit (Galatians 5:22). The fruit that the Spirit produces in us is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you can think of the people in your life that you would truly identify as Christians, the chances are you can see their armor and witness the fruit that they bear wherever they go. Have a blessed day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Skywatch Friday

I haven't entered a photo competition in a couple of years. Last Thursday I decided I would submit a few entries into the local county fair. It's not a huge competition but it is always exciting to see what others think of your efforts. I prepared four images for the competition. The judging took place on Monday and the fair opened on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon I ventured out to the exhibit hall to see if I had any success. It was a good day.

This image was awarded first place in it's category.

This image took first place in the color division for "Sports/Action".

This image placed second in the Black & White division of "Sports/Action".

And this final entry placed second in the Black & White "Portraits" category. It was a very good day.
One thing about any competition is that it helps you know how you're doing. Your friends will always tell you that your photography rocks. That's what friends are for. But a competition places your work in front of someone with no knowledge or interest in who you are. They are only interested in the quality of the image. There is a dangerous side to this competition thing as well. Now I am giving considering taking a couple of these images and entering them in the Tulsa State Fair next month. Have a blessed week-end.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Inspiration Thursday - What a Friend

Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1.)

Most all of us have people in our lives that we consider friends. Some of those relationships we consider close friends. But is there a friend in your life that is closer to you than family? There is an old saying that, "Blood is thicker than water". That is mostly true in our relationships with others. However David and Jonathan were the closest of friends and their friendship transcended their family ties. Their relationship is a picture of our relationship with Christ.
Jonathan was a prince, heir to the kingdom. David was a shepherd and had nothing to bring to the relationship other than himself. Christ is the Prince of Peace dressed in the robes of eternal royalty. We are dressed in the filthy rags of sin. Christ took off the robes of the kingdom, laid down his sword of righteousness and went to the cross to pay the price for our sins. His love for us and desire to have an eternal relationship with us is the reason He died for us. Through Christ and Christ alone, we can be joint heirs to the eternal kingdom of God. What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Monday, August 8, 2016

AWE-some Mondays

Beginning in April and running through November, the first Friday of each month is celebrated with a street fair on the town square. There are food trucks, vendors, entertainment and plenty of people watching going on. There is a theme for each month and this past Friday was "Back to School". Along with the local high schools (we have two starting this year), several charter schools, the local community college, University of Arkansas, and a number of educational vendors were  present.
The Black & Gold of the Bentonville Tigers is now joined by the Blue & Gold of the Bentonville West Wolverines. Our town has grown to the point that a second high school will open in a few days, creating an instant rivalry in every sport.
For me, the entertainment highlight were these two local high school student hip-hop dancers. I was NEVER this flexible...never!
There was also a bike race. I don't know much about bicycle racing, but I believe that this was a 40 minute timed event. The course ran around the downtown area and included eight turns in a one mile course.
One thing that I do know is that few things are more colorful or more chaotic than the start of a bike race. It's a wonder that any of these guys escape having a wreck at some point in the race. For me, anything that involves a lot of activity from my knees has become a spectator sport. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Inspiration Thursday - It is Well

Whenever life deals us a harsh blow, we often feel anxiety. Whenever our society seems to be moving in the wrong direction at light speed, we become very apprehensive. We have been told that the upcoming presidential election is the most important in the history of this nation and that is probably true. So what is the Christian to do? Are we to wring our hands in worry? Do we rail against those who oppose even the most basic tenants of scripture? Do we run into the streets shouting our point of view into the face of society?
God says,"Be still and know that I am God."(Psalm 46:10) In other words, calm down and remember who you serve. Psalm 46:8-9 reminds us to, "Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in the fire." We cannot change the world around us until we are willing to change ourselves.
If we want to see real change in the life of this nation then we must be obedient to His word and that word says, "...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 sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14). The change must begin from within. Then we can say "It is Well With My Soul."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Kind of

Last Saturday night we went to a concert featuring two Christian groups, Jeremy Camp & Mercy Me.
We had seats on the 5th row. Yes, it was loud, but it was very good. Here are a couple of examples of their work.
Jeremy Camp

 Bart Millard - Lead Vocals- Mercy Me

Monday, August 1, 2016

Aww Mondays - 44 Facts

I've been blogging since 2007. Back in the early days of my blogging there were fewer photos posted than now and some of the memes were more information based or called upon the participant to explore their creative side. One of my favorite memes Thursday Thirteen. Each week the blogger was required to come up with a list of thirteen items based on a theme of their own choosing. One of the favorites from my warped mind was based on thirteen ways to know if you're a bass fisherman. A couple of examples...
You might be a bass fisherman if;
1.   The engine on your boat has a higher horsepower rating that your wife's car.
2.   Your truck and boat are color coordinated, but your living room furniture isn't.
3.   Losing your tackle box would reduce your net worth by 25%
The other day a friend of mine posted 44 personal facts on Facebook. I thought it was fun, so here are mine. You might say Ahh or Aww, but it is unlikely that you will be in Awe of this list. Have a blessed day.

44 Odd Things You Don't Know About Me:

1. Do you like bleu cheese? No.
2. Have you ever smoked? Yes
3. Do you own a gun? Yes
4. What's your favorite food type? Mexican
5. Do you get nervous before doctor visits? No
6. What do you think of hot dogs? With chili and cheese
7. Favorite movie? Jeremiah Johnson
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee w/cream
9. What is your favorite piece of jewelry? Wedding band
11. Favorite hobby? Digital photography, fishing
12. Do you have A.D.D.? No, well maybe...oh look, a bunny!
13. What's one thing you dislike about yourself? Classified
14. What's your middle name. Rork (It was my mother's maiden name)
15. Name three thoughts at this moment. Fishing, Photography, Oh look, a bunny!
16. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly. Coffee, tea, Coke Zero
17. Current worry? What, me worry? Classified.
18. Current annoyance right now? Presidential election (I have grave concerns about both candidates)
19. Favorite place to be? Behind a camera
20. How do you ring in the New Year? Usually at home watching the ball drop on TV.
21. Where would you like to go? Holy Land
22. Name three people who will complete this. Clueless
23. Do you own slippers? No
24. What color shirt are you wearing right now? Blue
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No
26. Can you whistle? Kind of
27. What are your favorite colors? Sooner Red, High school Kelly Green
28. Would you be a pirate? Nope, I'm not that confrontational and salt water reminds me of getting sweat in my eyes during football practice. I hate it when that happens.
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Nothing
30. Favorite girls name? Sandra, Jeanine, Katelyn, Emily, Alexis (My wife, our daughter and 3 grand daughters.
31. Favorite boys name? Mason, John (Our grandson and mine.)
32. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing
33. Last thing that made you laugh. Bart Millard (Lead vocalist for Mercy Me)
34. Best toy as a child. Bike
35. Worst injury you've ever had? Broken ankle, broken wrist
36. Where would you love to live? I am living there now, NW Arkansas
37. How many TVs do you have? 2
38. Who is your loudest friend? Classified
39. How many dogs do you have? No pets at the present
40. Does someone trust you? Of course, my wife, our daughter and the grand kids.
41. What book are you reading right now? Various scriptures
42. What's your favorite candy? Hersey's Special Dark Chocolate
43. What's your favorite sports team? Oklahoma Sooners
44. Favorite month? September/October/November...Autumn