Category : Uncategorized

6 years ago 0

Yesterday I said goodbye to a friend. Well, I actually said, I’ll see you again soon. Phil Fox was a wonderful man. I loved him and, I still love him, but then, Phil was so easy to love. Phil was a great family man, and he had a great family. His wife Joyce, his sons, Phil Jr., Dale, and Marcus are all great people. I suspect that they got that way because of Phil’s and Joyce’s sterling example.

I first met Phil when I went to work for Doug Blair at Richland Coal. Everyone loved Phil, and I never heard a single person say a negative thing about him. Some time ago I got an email about the dash between your year of birth and the year you leave this earth. The dash is what you did with your life. More importantly, who you blessed with your life. Phil’s life between 1940 and 2011 made a lot of lives better. He had countless friends, raised a great family, was a wonderful husband to Joyce.

I’m honored that Phil called me a friend. If my “dash” is anything like as good as Phil’s then I will have lived a good life. When we loose a friend that knows our Lord, we don’t say goodbye, you say “see you later, my friend”…..

I miss you and love you Phil, I’m looking forward to catching up one of these days….

the pilgrim

The Hat?

Thought you would never ask…..

Phil wanted something to express his appreciation to people that been praying for him during his battle with melanoma. The hat idea seemed ideal since he was “known” for the hats he wore. The quote was given to him in a dream he had about a dear friend that had died from cancer a few years ago. In the dream, his friend appeared and told him, remember these words; “Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Jesus is His name.”

Three weeks later, Phil was diagnosed with melanoma cancer that eventually took his life. He had these hats made and wore HIS HAT, conversations started with curious strangers and Phil was able to share his faith with them. He would say, “It’s not my hat, It’s not your hat, It’s Jesus hat! and one size fits all….” Way to go Phil, and the way to live, as well………

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: D7000, 24-120 AFS VR

6 years ago 0

This past weekend I was again honored to be among the presenters at Grandfather Mountain’s Camera Clinic. The event is sold out every year with over 140 people packed into the beautiful theatre in the round auditorium. Don Nelson was honored for his decades of service to the photo community of the region, running the two photo events annually for many, many years. A few years ago Don fought and won a courageous battle with Lymphoma. The treatments knocked him down hard, but he has slowly been recovering, but the after effects make life more challenging
and he was stepping down from those duties this year. I was glad to get to be there for this years
event and share this last time on the mountain with him in charge.

Of course many great
old stories were retold,
including, (to the right),
the year Don had
100 t-shirts and hats
made that said, “I
Stayed Awake During
a Bill Fortney Slide
Show!” We all had a
good laugh and shed a
few tears remembering
all the great times, “On
the Mountain.”

Don has been one of
my best friends for many
years and he has done
more than almost any-
one to further my
career as a photo-
grapher. I treasure
these great memories
of being with him, his
sons Scott and Jeff,
and our dear friend
Tom Payne so many,
many times on Hugh
Morton’s mountain.
Hugh went to be with
the Lord several years
ago and we missing
him very much.

Above, Don accepts his thanks graciously, as always.

I did two programs, one Saturday and, one Sunday morning. We had a great time and all went well. After one of the programs a lot of kind people complimented me on the teaching programs.
I thanked them for their kind remarks, and tried to deflect the honor to Him. This morning the scripture for the In Touch devotional wrapped it up nicely.

Psalm 139
 1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
      and know everything about me.
 2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
      You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
 3 You see me when I travel
      and when I rest at home.
      You know everything I do.
 4 You know what I am going to say
      even before I say it, Lord.
 5 You go before me and follow me.
      You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
      too great for me to understand!
 7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
      I can never get away from your presence!
 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
      if I go down to the grave, you are there.
 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, *( I thought of this many times flying my
      if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 10 even there your hand will guide me,
      and your strength will support me.

God is so good to let us have these wonderful times, with dear friends, enjoying photography
and great places like Grandfather in a spirit of praise to HIm.

Be blessed this week,

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: All images courtesy of Edger Payne.

6 years ago 0

Sorry to have missed yesterday, but I was on a top secret mission and did not allow myself any
communications with the outside world. Actually I speak this weekend both Saturday and Sunday at Grandfather Mountain and I decided to take some of Friday off to relax before working all weekend. Sherelene was off this weekend so we slipped away for a rare day and evening together. Since my Nikon business, except for travel, did not start until Saturday, I used some Marriott points and got us a room at the Grand Bohemian Hotel (now associated with Marriott) in Asheville, NC. Sherelene wanted to surprise me and took me out to dinner at place I’ve want to have a meal for a long time.

The hotel was astounding, the
restaurant a real treat, but most
of all a evening with my beaut-
iful bride was best of all.

A message to all husbands; take
a little time and turn off the
phone and computer and “invest”
some time with the girl you
married. Take the time to do
all the things the daily grind
takes away from you.

Our meal was not expensive,
but the time catching up was
invaluable. Sherelene knows
what a big Sinatra fan I am,
not so much the man as his
incredible voice. She was so
sweet to think of taking me to
this place. It was decorated
with vintage memorabilia from
the Sinatra era. When I was
21 and a senior in college my
brother Homer and I went to
Florida for spring break and
did the unconventional thing
of snorkeling, and road tripping
all the way down into the Keys.

On our return home we found
out that Frank Sinatra, the man
himself, was performing at the
Fontainebleau hotel in Miami.
We were shocked, but were able
to get tickets for the dinner show
and went to see him. It was then
and still is the most astounding
stage show I’ve ever experienced
and I’ve seen a lot of concerts
and performances. Sinatra had
unbelievable control over an
audience. He was 50 at the time
and right in his prime as a singer.
Homer and I had a great time
and even bumped into, literally, Connie Francis on our way out into the warm Miami evening. As magical as that evening was, last night and yesterday were even more special. What a pleasure to spend quality time with the women you said you would gladly spend the rest of your life with
42 years ago…….

Ephesians 5:25
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.
Take a moment this weekend and tell you wife you would marry her again, in a heartbeat…..


the pilgrim

*Photo Notes: All images with my iPhone.

* And yes the burger: It was great, actually I’d give it a 4.4 on my 5 pickle scale, not Fava’s or Milt’s
but a really good burger none the less. A tenth or two of those points might have been because of my companion…..

6 years ago 1

I know, that was terrible, by now you know how corny I am. I was thinking this morning after reading the morning devotional that Noah, had a real problem. God told him He was going to destroy the world by flood and he was to build a boat, a really big boat and put two of every animal and bird on board and wait for the rain to come. There is a thousand reasons why Noah could have said no, but he didn’t. He could not “dodge” a direct order from God.

We do everyday. God urges us through His Holy Spirit to do something, say something, refrain
form doing or saying something and yet, we dodge the request. Think how bad it would have turned out for Noah if he had said, “no”. Believe it or not we do great damage to ourselves when we say no to God. God does not give us direction because He has nothing better to do with His time. Every urging from God is to help us, protect us, bring us closer to Him. No one would argue with any of those results, yet, how often to we avoid His direct instructions?

Listening for God’s voice is essential, but even more important is heading His directions. Just thank Him everyday that He hasn’t asked you to build a boat……..

In Him,

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: Nikon Coolpix P300, ISO 160, processed with NIK Color Efex Pro 3.0 Cross Processing.