Category : Uncategorized

8 years, 4 months ago 0

This morning I will leave for a NASCAR race up in Sparta, Kentucky, I will be with good friends, but I won’t be at home for the next four days. When the image above was made above I was in Santa Domingo at the Pan Am games with three great Nikon buddies, Stanley Menscher, Mike Anskat, and Anne Cahill, but I wasn’t at home. Over 200 days a year I’m somewhere interesting, doing something fascinating, with great people, but I’m not at home.

Home is where your heart resides. “There’s no place like home!” the Wizard of Oz. I could go on, but it is senseless, I’m leaving home today and that is just how it is. Thankfully my heart is always at home with Him. If it were not for the presence of God in my life, I would spend a great deal of time alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love the people I work with, and for, it’s just not home. Through the years I’ve heard it thousands of times, “wow, I sure wish I had your job!” I tolerate it, and smile, but they really don’t know what they are asking for. Trust me, no place is as nice as your, bed, your kitchen, your home. I’ve been fortunate to stay in some very luxurious resorts, in beautiful places, but it’s not home. Last month when I was able to take Sherelene along on an assignment and add a vacation day to it to show her some of the places I went for years, without
her, it was my best trip to those places, ever. It was more fun showing her these great places than all the times I went there alone.

It would be torture to live a life with an empty heart, but mine is not, even when I feel alone, I’m not alone. I feel His presence in my life, He sends people to minister to me, and for me to minister to. He makes the loneliness go away. Walking with Him is always an adventure, a chance to not know what will happen next, but to be assured, it will be to His glory, and for my good.

I’m still madly in love with my wife, even after 42 years of marriage! Someone once asked my wife, having heard me say that, “How could you guys be so in love after 40 plus years of marriage?” Sherelene said, “ It’s simple, he’s only been home 15 of the 42 years…….”

Thank you Lord for helping us to live like this and thrive……..

the pilgrim

O.K. now on to NASCAR, hope to post some interesting stuff over the next few days……….

*Photo Note: Nikon D100, 80-200 f 2.8 lens. Santa Domingo street scene, altered in Photoshop.

8 years, 4 months ago 0

This past Sunday of the 4th of July weekend, my music minister at my church gave a very wonderful sermon on Worship. I usually think of singing and praising when someone says worship, but he backed up a more important definition with scripture. God made us to worship Him and the worship He desires the most, is how we “live” for Him.

I reflected on that for most of the weekend and it has been a great spiritual journey for me. The more I read the word, and the more I think on this sermon the more I am convinced that my music minister is absolutely right. God wants us to live in honor of Him. He wants us to apply what His Son, Jesus, taught us. What brings the greatest honor to God is the highest form of worship. I made a little simple checklist of how I hope to do that;

1. I will be genuine. I will not try to stand before God and fool Him about who I really am. Of course He knows anyway, but I will not stand before Him trying to pretend I’m someone both He and I know, I’m not.
2. I will seek His forgiveness. Since I’m going to be honest before Him, I will need to repent of my wrongs and ask His forgiveness. The great news is that I know He will forgive me.
3. I will ask for His strength, wisdom, and compassion as I relate to others. I have no hope of honoring Him, if the effort is done in my own strength.
4. I will constantly remind myself that this life, this opportunity to serve Him, is not about me.

I’m sure with more thought and prayer I will add to that list, but for now is daunting enough….

the pilgrim

8 years, 4 months ago 0

Sherelene is working today so I’m not taking the day off either. I had several things I wanted to
address, so here goes;

Email from a friend: I got an email from a friend who is, “not yet” a believer, he was some what offended by yesterday’s entry, in one way, he stated in his email, “I guess you are saying if we are not Christians, or alongside you politically, we are the enemy!?” Absolutely not! The enemy is Satan. His sole purpose of existence is to steal and lie. He is the great deceiver. We are not struggling against flesh and blood, but a spiritual enemy. If I did not believe strongly enough that
God is the answer, I would not have ever made “the” decision. Since I’m fully committed to Him
I can’t deny where I stand on the issues of the day. People may not care one way or another, but
I still must stand my ground if only to demonstrate that it’s real. We are not pitted against others,
we are pitted against the real enemy, God’s enemy. I pray my friend will find this peace.

The 4th of July: This weekend is more than a chance to Bar-B-Q out and have parties, it’s that too
but much more. It’s a celebration of our declaring independence which led to the forming of our nation. It is a time to be thankful for what God has established, the greatest experiment of freedom in the world How will the experiment end? That’s up to us. Are we willing to stand up for what so many died to leave us?

What chains bind you? Jesus came, showed the way, and died so that you might be set free! We are all bound in the chains of this life; sin, fear, anger, jealousy, greed, deceit, dishonesty, self -indulgence, lack of concern for others. I hate that list, it is awful to think that describes me, but sadly it does. At our worst, we are capable of this describing our behavior. The Good News, and that’s why we call it the “Good News”. That Jesus has made it possible for us to live above our nature. Will we still make mistakes, fall and bust our knees, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can rise above our nature. If you no longer want to drag your chains around, you can only get rid of them, if you see one man, Jesus.

Thoughts on DSLRs: I’ve been doing an informal study of Nikon’s current top four cameras. In the coming weeks, I will make that study more formal, but for now here is what I’m thinking. The D3x is the ultimate Hi Res camera for the studio and fashion shooter, and very useful for the landscape photographer. It is ruggedly built and a little on the heavy size for carrying around in the field,
but oh what beautiful files it makes. Speaking of files, they are big, and that means it eats up your storage, but then storage is cheaper everyday…… The D3s is the ultimate quality file maker that still has speed and agility. The D3s, for me is the near perfect camera, great looking files, ridiculously good Hi ISO low noise, and just sweet ergonomics. I think for most folks 12 mega pixels is plenty. Heavy? yes, worth it, you bet. The D700 is the value camera in the current line, near D3s performance, maybe 95% as good in a smaller more affordable package. If i could only own a single camera this might be the one. Then just when I was sure I had a good handle on things, we released the D7000. Wow, this truly is a great value. For only $1,200. it is a 16.2 megapixel camera that also shoots 1080p Hi Definition video. It is packed with top end features and is light and easy to carry, but still very well made. I have to admit, I’m in love with this little sweetheart. So what do I use almost all the time? The D7000, when I need more speed and better High ISO low noise the D3s and D700 are the ticket. If I bought three cameras today for my retirement, they would be those three, D3s, D700, and D7000. But retirement is still some time away and before then who knows what the line-up will be…… Fun, fun, fun.

A fun project is coming: Through the years I’ve collected a number of old manual focus Nikkor lenses, many classic, super sharp, zooms, wide angles, and micros. Since all the current higher end bodies allow you to use the older lenses, a very cool feature by-the-way, I will soon do a full test of many of these lenses on current bodies. Should be interesting as many of these old classics can be bought for very reasonable figures. I hope to work on that in July. I plan to test the following manual focus Nikkor lenses; 24mm f 2.8, 50-135 f 3.5, 80-200 f 4.5, 80-200 f 4, 300 f 4.5 IF-ED. All on FX and DX bodies.

Have a great 4th weekend and be blessed, and thanks for joining me here.

the pilgrim

*Photo note: Nikon Coolpix P300, old car, Utah.

8 years, 4 months ago 0

Psalm 139:1-10
New Living Translation (NLT)

 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,
      if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 10 even there your hand will guide me,
      and your strength will support me.

Paul said, and I’m paraphrasing his words, “I know who I should be, but I act like someone else, I know what my conduct should be, but I don’t act that way, I know what is right, but still I do what is wrong, Oh Father, please help me!”

I feel like Paul today, I’m having a mighty spiritual struggle, please let me explain.

When I was driving to Birmingham Tuesday evening I was listening on XM radio, to the Glenn Beck program on Fox News. I like Glenn Beck, I think he loves our country and our God. I know he is a little far right for some, but not for me. He told a very, very frightening story which I will recount for you.

He said there is a park in New York close to where he lives and on Saturday nights in the summer they show a movie, usually an old classic film. His daughter had always wanted to take a blanket and some popcorn out to the park and watch a movie as a family. This past weekend for the first time they did, as a family. The daughter went to the park early to secure a good spot and the family joined her about time for the movie to start. When Glenn arrived, he was immediately recognized by some of the crowd in the park. His presence caused a stir in the crowd. People said unkind things loud enough to be heard. Finally one woman got up and walked over to the Beck’s and said in a loud, ugly tone, “We’re New Yorkers and we hate Republicans!” Glenn’s wife asked Glenn, quietly, “Do you want to leave?” He whispered to her, “not on your life.” The heckling continued and finally some men, who were drinking too much, spilled their beer on the Beck’s blanket and his wife blouse, laughing about it the whole time, obviously enjoying the further taunting. Only when the film was over did Glenn and his family retreat tot heir home. They did not react to the behavior of some of the crowd.

This is where I need to fall on my knees and ask for God’s help and forgiveness. This story made me extremely angry. If I had been there I would have stood up, and told people around the Becks to act like adults, to shut up, and watch the movie, and leave them alone. I’m pretty certain a fight would have broken out, and a lot of people would have gotten hurt. I wouldn’t have accomplished anything in trying to defend them, and would have only made things worse, but you can bet your life, that I would have waded into the fray anyway. I would have been even more livid than when I heard the story.

This is my dilemma, I love my country, and I want to live at peace with everyone. I wish everyone held my values and my faith, but if someone chooses not to believe as I do, I believe in their right to do as they wish, without interference from me. If you’re an atheist, that is between you and the God you don’t believe exists, that’s not my fight, but His. There are people that I have extreme disagreement with politically, but if they showed up at a Fourth of July picnic where I and my family were enjoying ourselves, I would not treat them unkind, just because I have great issue with their politics, I could still be civil and cordial, after all I’m a southerner, and a Christian.

As Psalm 139 says above, “I can not escape your spirit, oh Lord.” My problem is sometimes my anger leads me to try to escape His presence. I can’t dare do what I desire to do, and still walk next to Him. I want to live in peace, but the forces that oppose my faith and my beliefs are yelling with ever louder voices. Our country is heading for a time that the opposing forces are going to take more drastic action, than they are now, in defiance against each other. I’m fearful of that day, and even more fearful of my reaction. I know God is not a God of fear, but I am humbly on my knees before Him, asking Him to save me from myself, to teach me how to turn the other cheek.

I desire to be at peace, even with those that I have completely opposing views with. My anxiety is it appears that more and more, the world is no longer satisfied to simply have an apposing view,
they now seem to be ready to force it on those that disagree. I can only survive these, and coming times with God’s help and strength, I’m too weak, and to reactive, to do it alone.

That may be exactly where God wants me to be, recognizing I’m too weak to do it without Him.

I sincerely pray you have a wonderful Independence Day weekend with your family and friends, unopposed in your patriotism, and your faith.

the pilgrim

Footnote: The other shocking news story of Tuesday was that a VA Cemetery federal official has banned the use of the terms, God and Jesus from funerals performed there.

“In one example cited in documents filed this week in federal court, cemetery director Arleen Ocasio reportedly told volunteers with the National Memorial Ladies that they had to stop telling families “God bless you” at funerals and that they had to remove the words “God bless” from condolence cards.”
*excerpt from article on the Houston Chronicles website below.

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