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3 years ago 2



Let me challenge you to do something really important!  I was sorting through our Christmas movies on DVD over this weekend and found a copy of Christmas Vacation.  It’s a really funny film, but my favorite scene is when Chevy Chase is locked up in attic and he find the box of old 8mm films and starts watching his times at Christmas when he was a young boy.   The last time I had all my family together at home back in late July we planned an evening of looking at old slides and videos from when they were all young.  My oldest son Scott is 41, my middle son Wesley is 38 and my youngest, Catherine is 35, and  we have six grandchildren ranging form 14 to 3.  Everyone loved that evening, everyone laughing at how we all used to look in years past.  It may have been one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had as a family!


As you gather with your family this Christmas season, dig out the old films, pictures and videos and spend a little time remembering together the history of your family.  I will be privileged again this Christmas to have everyone home again for the holidays.  We will plan a lot of activities that will have us all down in the floor, around the fire, celebrating the other great gift, each other.


I will also take time to read the Christmas story to my grandchildren and we will attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church.  I plan to take every individual aside during that week and thank them for all that I appreciate about them.  Some day I will not be here to do that, so I will do it while I can.


Here’s my suggestion; take time this Christmas to share your love with everyone you come in contact with, because in sharing your love, you are sharing His love!


Sherelene and I have been getting our Christmas decorations up over this weekend and with every wreath we hang and when we lit the Christmas tree last night, I’m more filled with that warmth and excitement that I’ve had ever since childhood about this wonderful magical season.  Share that magic with others.  When shopping, open a door for some one wish people a Merry Christmas, find countless ways to share the love that He brought into the world!


My friend, Scott Diussa, introduced me to a great Christmas song a couple of years ago, let me share the words with you now.


“I Celebrate The Day” by Relient K


And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me, in the exact same place as New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever


And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here


To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me


And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life



My first Merry Christmas wish for you!


the pilgrim

3 years ago 4


For years I’ve tried every conceivable way to carry my gear, and on many occasions a photo vest is the right solution, that’s probably why I own five!!!!  Well two were gifts, and I’ll get to that later.  I break vests down into two categories, stylish and utilitarian.  The most commonly seen vest is the Domke vest and for good reason, it doesn’t scream “Photo gear!”.   It can actually look fairly nice.  I have a second that is very much like the Domke but is special to me for another reason entirely!    It was made by Banana Republic back when they made “real” outdoor clothing.  This is the story; My wife and I were at Hilton Head on a summer vacation with the family.  I was tagging along with her while she shopped, not my favorite activity.  She drug me into a Banana Republic, and while she was checking out the women’s clothes I saw this great photo vest, and fell in love with it.  She could see how much I wanted to get it, but unlike herself, she insisted I didn’t really need it.  After a lot of discussion I walked out of the store without it, admittedly a little disappointed.   Six months later sitting around the Christmas tree she handed me a clothes box size package, I wondered as I opened it what she would have bought me in the clothes line, as I seldom let anyone buy my clothes, but myself.  Of course you know what is coming, I opened the box and to my shock found the vest she has slipped and bought me back in the summer.  She said, “You are impossible to surprise, but I got you this time!”  She had, and that vest will always be my favorite!


I think the Domke and “special gift” type vests are best when you want to carry just a couple of extra lenses and some small accessories or filters.  They distribute the weight well and as I said,  you don’t look like a pack horse in them.


The utilitarian type vests like the Leonard Lee Rue and Vested Interest vests above are best when you have to carry a substantial amount of gear and you want it well protect, and frankly you don’t care what you looks like, after all, photography comes first!   The Vested Interest vest has great padding and hold lenses in pockets that are easy to work our of, and is constructed to last for decades!  The Leonard Lee Rue, is a cross between the Vested Interest and the Domke, slightly less bulky than the Vested Interest but well made and very roomy.  I got mine from the son of a friend who died recently, he found it in his Dad’s closet and suggested he would like me to have it.  I’m honored and will keep it in his dad’s honor.  I also happen to love Leonard and Len Rue, two of the nicest people in photography!


Below is one last solution that is not commercially available though several other brands are, a photo jacket.  This one is one of only four in existence,  it’s the Bill Fortney Photo Parka, another of my great ideas???!!!  I made it for photojournalists in the 70′s.  The coolest feature is the tan color is 18% reflectant!  Oh well, not every idea goes over so well!  Only four prototypes exist.  Bill Pekala, Ned Beatty, Don Nelson, an I have the only four.

When you don’t want to carry a shoulder bag or back pack this may be the answer!!






3 years ago 9


I hope your planning to eat with moderation and get some home projects done instead of laying on the couch watching football all weekend!  Don’t worry I’ll take care of that for you!!!   All joking aside, I hope you are truly getting ready for a glorious Thanksgiving!  May I make a ten suggestions that will make it one of the best ever??


1.   If your parents are still living and you get to see them, tell them how much you appreciate all they sacrificed for you!  


2.  If you have a living relative that knows all about your family tree, ask them to tell you about everyone they can remember and record it or at least write it all down!


3.  Tell your children, or grandchildren, or nephews and nieces how much you love them, and take the time talk to them and listen to what they want to share with you.


4.  Sometime Thursday, go off alone and get down on your knees and thank God properly for all He has done for you!  Asking him to help you become the man or woman He wants you to be!


5.  Call a friend you haven’t talked to in while and catch up!


6.   Take a few minutes to count your blessings, write them down, and look at them for a while, and rediscover how wealthy you are! 


7.  Donate some food or money to a local church or shelter that will feed the homeless.  If you really want a blessing serve some food to them or deliver some thanksgiving food baskets.


8.  Watch at least an hours worth of the Macy’s Parade and remember the joy of your Christmas seasons as a child.


9.  Sometime over the weekend watch one of the many great versions of  A Christmas Carol, and remember what the spirit of Christmas giving is about.  *The best one is the 1951 version with Scrooge played by Alastair Sim.  My opinion……  For the kids try The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, great music!


10.  Pray for all those less fortunate than yourself this holiday.


And lastly,  have a wonderful time with your family and friends.  As for me, I’m thankful for having you out there coming here day after day,  to visit with me!  O.K. have a second and third helping!!!!


the pilgrim



3 years ago 19


Before I start this story let me be clear, I don’t consider this a tragedy.  Things happen….. such is life.  I want to concentrate on our response, not the ramifications.  Sunday night I left Corbin to drive down to Nashville for an early morning meeting with an important new commercial photography client for Nikon NPS.  Sherelene had the day off at the clinic Monday so she went with me.  She did some Christmas shopping while I called on the client.  When we arrived back home about 9:00 p.m. last night, we discovered that one whole wall of our kitchen cabinets had simply fallen off the wall smashing most of our dishes and glasses and some other stuff.


Now it’s the week of Thanksgiving, we have family coming in, and the kitchen looks like a war zone.  How do you respond?  Please believe me I’m not bragging, but I’m very pleased with how Sherelene and I dealt with the issue last night and this morning.  A lot of work lies ahead trying to get things cleaned up, repaired and restored, and some of the broken stuff can’t be replaced, but it’s just some cabinets and glasses, and dishes.  One of our first thoughts was what if one of our grandchildren had been standing there when the cabinets fell.  Even and adult would have likely been killed or seriously injured!  We could have come home to the smoldering remains of a home burned to the ground!  No, in the overall scheme of things this is just a hassle, it will soon be cleaned up, (Sherelene has clinic duty today, so after I file some weekly reports, I know what I will be doing.)


After the initial shock of seeing all this “stuff” in the floor we both agreed that it was just “stuff ” and got a good nights sleep.  Here is the simple truth, things happen, and God never promised us that our lives would be free of any stress or disappointment.  I think these kinds of circumstances give  us a great opportunity to see just how much we trust Him, and how grounded we are in our belief that God and family are what’s most important.


So the bottom line is; this is an inconvenience!  Sure it’s ugly, but it’s no big deal.  Everyone is safe, God is still on the throne, Thanksgiving will still be a time of thanksgiving for so much, and we have so much to be thankful for.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff…….. (great book title too!)


This is the day that Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!


Be at peace and be thankful,


the pilgrim