Category : Uncategorized

1 week, 2 days ago 16
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

When Wesley was a little boy we were standing in the front yard, I had my camera shooting pictures of him just playing and I asked him, “How much do you love me?” he immediatly stretched his arms wide until his little chest was pushing forward and said, “this much!”

 

It’s hard in times like this to not to want to ask God, “do you really love me?”  I haven’t and I never will!  Let me tell you why.

 

God gave Sherelene and I three wonderful children and we got to keep Wes for 45 years.  I will always treasure every second of that time.  I’m thankful we did not loose him sooner.

 

God loved me and you so much He sent his “only” son to suffer and die so that we could be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life.  When I think how much I’ve suffered knowing Wes is gone from here, I can’t even imagine sacrificing Him for anyone else. What an incredible, impossible sacrifice He made for us.  Yet HE did.

 

I still have Scott and Diane, Hannah and Ben, Rhonda and Elijah and Abigail, Catherine and Clint, Cassidy, and Cade in my life and I treasue every one of them.

 

God allowed me to marry the most beauftiful and loving women in the world and through it all she is still here almost 50 years later. I’ve spent the last fifty years trying to figure out how on earth I pulled that off!

 

Lastly for the last day I’ve heard and read written words of sympathy and love for Wes and his family, Sherelene and I over and over, hundreds of times.  No greater thing than real, true freinds can any man ever possess.

 

I sit here in my office this morning wondering how on earth could anyone be so blessed as I am.  Then God spoke strongly to me in my spirit and said, “Because this is how much I love you.”

 

I am cradled in the arms of God,

 

the pilgrim

1 week, 3 days ago 153
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

How does a father say goodbye to a much loved son?  Wesley leaves a wife, Rhonda Lee Fortney,  a son, Elijah Pierce Fortney and a daughter Abigail Brooklyn Fortney.  A brother William Scott Fortney, Diane Fortney and a sister Catherine Anne Moore, and Clint Moore.  His mother Sherelene Scott Fortney and myself, William Glenn Fortney.  He also leaves a large host of friends and family who have been sending messages from near and far away, expressing their love for him and our family.

 

This is not an obituary, Wes simply moved to a new address.  When my children were younger I told them when they once asked about when I was going to die, when a  friends parent passed, I  explained it this way; ” You guys know I go on trips and I’m gone for a while and then I come home, you know I’m somewhere, just not here. Well someday I will go on a long trip and I won’t come back here, but I will be at a place that you will come to and see me later.”  That comforted them then and it comforts me now, Wes is at a place where he is safe, not in pain and filled with peace and joy, and someday, I will go to where he is and be with him again, and this time to never be seperated again.

 

I shot thousands of photographs of my three precious children.  Here are just a few of my favorite images of Wes.

 

 

This angelic image of Wesley and Catherine at the lake has always been one of my favorites!  They loved each other so much.

 

 

Only a week ago Wesley’s brother Scott, who he always called his “hero in life” , came up from Florida to give his stem cells to Wes  in this battle against Lymphoma.  They had three great days together in the hospital to just really enjoy each other, Wes told me it was one of the greatest times of his life.

 

 

One of my all time favorite images is of Wes and Sherelene standing on top of Mount LaConte, I’m sure this is the kind of beauty he is enjoying today, look at those smiles! No, I didn’t climb Mount LaConte, a fellow hiker shot this image, but I love this image so much.

 

 

Before the 911 attacks Wes and I traveled 123,000 miles over 14 months and photographed from and ultra Light airplane for our book, America From 500 Feet.  Even though the book was a run away best seller, the real treasure was that 14 months I spent with Wes!  I will hold on to those memories for the rest of my life. Thank you son for that gift.

 

 

This was our last photograph made as a family just last week.  Wes was doing great and we were all so happy to be with him.  Left to right, myself, Rhonda, Cassidy, Wes Scott, Sherelene and Catherine.

 

Yesterday morning at 5:30 am when starting a bag of platlates Wes coded and was 40 minutes with out a heartbeat.  The medical team made heroic efforts to bring him back but in the late afternoon he simply went to sleep and went on to be with his Lord.  His suffering was over, our was beginning.

 

Wesley was a warm caring man, a great father and husband, a wonderful brother and son.  He touched countless peoples lives and was always thinking of others needs.  He cried everytime he lost a friend, and now we are crying at his loss. He will never be forgotten by any of us, and if you have made peace with your God, I know he will be at the gates to greet you when you arrive, that’s just who he was and is.

 

In Loving Memory,

 

Your earthly father

 

 

Prolog:  No parent should ever have to loose a child.  The saving grace for Sherelene and me was that we know where he is now and are greatly comforted to know he is truly with our Lord.  You know what is coming next, if you are not sure if you will ever meet Wesley there, you can make sure you do!  Talk to a pastor, or call me, or get on your knees and ask God to give you that assurance, I know that is what Wesley wanted, for everyone he met, to know the Lord as he did.

1 month ago 7
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

We all struggle with what is fair when it comes to making a photogrpaph.  This video

does not attempt to anwer that question, but does breath life in to the possibilities!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

1 month ago 17
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

 

I’ve been watching the news, too much news!  It has had a very profound and terrible affect on me. What have I learned from this activity;  I voted for Donald Trump in 2016, so; I’m a smelly Walmart person, I am one of those idiots from the middle of America that is still clinging to my guns, God and Bible. I’m in the “Basket of Deplorables”!  I’m a white, straight, Christian, therefore; I’m a racist, nationalist, messagenist, homophobic, Nazi.  I’m stupid, and should be hated because of my beliefs and my 2016 vote.

 

For the record, the only part of that, that is accurate is I do like my guns, love my God and believe in the Bible. I shower every day and wear clean clothes, I was born white as were both of my parents.  I’m straight but not homophobic, I have lots of friends of color, I am proud to be an American and love my country, so if that is a nationalist, guilty as charged, though I don’t think that is a bad thing. I’ve been married to the same woman for almost 50 years and still am madly in love with her, and have been faithful to her all 49 years of our lives together!  I had family members who died in World War II fighting the Third Reich, so I doubt I’m leaning Nazi!!!

 

So I’ve been lied about, called ugly names, disparaged, and verbally spat on.  What has my reaction been?  Satan has had his way with me.  I’ve developed a hatred towards those that hurl those insults, that have unjustly attacked me. That have reported false news and hurled insults on my President.  I was just about ready to start wearing MAGA hat and punch out anyone that even look cross eyed at me!!!!  I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore!!!

 

Then I went church this morning……..

 

My pastor preached on the day that Jesus was crucified.  They beat Him, spat on Him, made Him carry his own cross to the hill where He was nailed to that cross and hung Him up to die.  He was not guilty of any crimes. The crowd jeered at Him and said if you are the king of Jews, save yourself.  The soldiers that had driven nails through his wrists and feet gambled for his only possession, his robe.  After all this with blood running down his face from a crown of thorns driven into his scalp, how did he react?  He could have called down lightening from the skies and struck them all down, but he didn’t.  He said, “Father forgive them for know not what they are doing.”  At the remembrance of those words I went down to the alter and wept and asked God to forgive me for hating those that have persecuted me.  I asked Him to help me forgive them.

 

In this season of Easter, I pray that we all find a way to love one another and stop abusing each other, and work together for the common good of our country.  This confession of my own sins is my start.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim