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8 months, 3 weeks ago 6

 

 

This morning I am putting together the itinerary for the Route 66 tour coming up in March.  Actually I started on it last January when I was planning to drive the same trip alone.  I rarely ever take participants to a place I have not been to, and know well.  The few times I have, I’ve regretted it.  So I’m  not going to make that mistake again!  I want to get double duty out of this blog post, instructional and spiritual.  So I will make each of the important points in both planning a physical trip and spiritual journey, in context.  Physical trip points in ORANGE  Spiritual in BLUE

 

Here is the plan:

 

1.  Determine a destination.   It is pretty hard to map out a plan if you don’t know what your ultimate goal is!  For the Route 66 trip I know that by Saturday night, I want to be in Henderson, Nevada (just south of Las Vegas).  I know my starting point for the group will be Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

 

In my spiritual life I have a destination in mind as well.  When the Lord calls me home I want to be exactly where He wanted me to be, at that moment.  Planning how to serve Him is a matter of trusting Him daily and taking the instructions given for that day or week.  Since my eternal home is already assured and all reservations made, I only have to trust Him day to day.

 

2.  Pick a route.  For our trip on Route 66 we naturally want to stay as close to Route 66 as possible, after all it is a Route 66 tour!!!!!  Now this is both easy and not so easy.  Most of the original Mother Road is now integrated into I-40 along the southern corridor.  Some sections of the actual 66 route are still around and we will drive over a good portion of those, but much of the in between stops driving will be on I-40.  This is good because a trip down only the existing parts of Route 66 would be a long slow journey, and we do have a time limit of about a week.

 

Our Spiritual route is pretty simple.  If the goal is to get to the destination, (Eternal life and to share our Lord with others), we must accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Trust in Him, and let Him guide us moment to moment.  It seems to simple but it really isn’t, it takes time to learn to know that He is there, and will not fail us.  We naturally want to work out the plan ourselves, but God doesn’t need our help, and the sooner we can relax in Him the better the journey will go!

 

 

3.  Calculate the Timing.  Before stating  trip if we know a starting point and the ending point we need to calculate how long it will take between those two points and figure out if our allotted time will allow the trip.  For the tour coming up, we are in great shape.  We start in Oklahoma City on a Saturday evening and end a week later (Saturday evening) in Henderson, Nevada.  That is 1,098.9 miles and we have 7 days to cover it with lots of stops!  So we only have to cover 181 miles a day!

 

If you are trusting God on your spiritual journey this one is super simple, trust Him with the timing. You know where you are now, He knows where you’re headed and ONLY He knows what He has planned for you between now and then.  Relax, He got this!!!!

 

4.  Prioritized your stops along the route.  On the Route 66 tour there are dozens of things I want my guests to see and get to photograph and experience.  Since I drove this exact route last year, and have already photographed all those sites, I know all about where to stop, how much time we can spend, and where some of the coolest things are to see!  Now there are many more things we could stop to see, but there is not time to see everything!  So, it is imperative that the stops be prioritized.  it is vital that we stop at the BEST places even if it means sacrificing some less important stops.

 

On a spiritual journey we need to keep in mind what our priorities are as well.  Since we will be trusting God with much of that journey, we need to stay close to Him, and that can best be done by time in prayer, (talking to Him and listening for His voice), reading the word, (the instruction manual for the Christian life), and fellowshipping with fellow travelers along this spiritual journey!

 

 

 

5.  Develop a good, workable plan.  On the Route 66 trip I know that we will have time to see a lot of great things, enjoy some killer food, and experience the rich history of the Mother Road, because we have a good plan, a plan that will allow time to soak it in, and not feel too rushed.  A plan allows for an overview of how we will use our time.

 

The most workable plan for a walk with Him, is to trust Him, listen for His voice and always be obedient.  It is a waste of your time to try and develop a “better” plan!  Trust me,  His plan is perfect and the sooner we submit to it, the more peace and joy we will have.

 

 

 

 

6.  Enjoy the journey.  Once you  know your destination, your route, know what stops you want to make along the way and have a good plan to be able to accomplish all that, relax and enjoy it!  The trip down the Mother Road is a trip back through History and it will remind us of what our lives were like over a  half century ago!  It will be a cornucopia of Americana subjects, and great and interesting people to meet.  the best way to make it great is embrace it, and enjoy the journey.

 

The best way to enjoy your spiritual journey is to simply TRUST!  God loves you more than you could ever know, He has provided everything you need, forgiveness, strength, courage, peace and joy.  All you need to do to enjoy the journey is give your heart and life to Him, and trust in His day to day, moment to moment plan for your life.

 

 

 

So I better get cranking the info to get out to my guests on the Route 66 trip!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

8 months, 3 weeks ago 2

 

 

Thanks Scott!
I just read Scott Kelby’s blog post for today and I had to expand on it!  It is a beautiful sentiment, very thought provoking, let me take it a little further and hopefully provoke you a little more!

 

This is his quote:   “2016 is an unwritten chapter….Love deeply, live boldly, and go after something big!”

 

“2016 is an unwritten chapter….”   At first this seems rather obvious, but sadly to many,  it’s not.  The important implication is that “you” can write the chapter of 2016!  What are you going to write about, what are you going to do that will become the story of 2016?  It’s up to you……

 

“Love deeply”    love noun 1 his friendship with Helen grew into love: deep affection,fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment,endearment; devotion,

adoration, doting, idolization,worship; passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation,

besottedness. ANTONYMS hatred.2 her love for fashion, compassion, care,caring, regard, solicitude, concern, friendliness, friendship,kindness, charity,

goodwill, sympathy, kindliness, altruism,unselfishness, philanthropy, benevolence, fellow feeling,humanity.

 

Loving deeply is a powerful commitment.  Their is a big difference between the beer commercial’s  ”I love ya man…”  and  ”I love you my friend.”  One is casual, one is not.  Real deep love is not casual.  Deeply loving others requires a lot of juice, juice I don’t have within myself! Thankfully, my Lord not only requires me to deeply love others, and He supplies His love!  If we try to love within the boundaries of our own abilities, we are doomed to failure, we simply are not equipped to have that kind of love, but that love is available, you just have to know where it is, and  how to access it!

 

Live Boldy….  The definition for Bold has such words as;  courageous, valiant, fearless, audacious, daring, brave, adventurous, heroic, confident, and gutsy!  Be honest with yourself, are those terms you think others would use to describe you?  I know some years ago my answer would have been, sorry,  that’s not me.  Today, I hope those that know me best would feel comfortable using some of those terms in describing me.  I know that sounded awfully boastful, but hold on and let me explain. Why would that have not been an accurate description of me some years ago and might be now?

 

Some years ago I came to understand that this life is not about me, I accepted Christ and asked Him to teach me how to live the way He would have me live.  Now that construction project is still underway, it’s not nearly finished, but progress has been made!  Boldness is one of the traits He gave me.  I believe deeply in those things He has taught me,  loving others, truly caring for others, seeking to help anyone that I can.  If we are not fearless, courageous and gutsy, we will not accomplish much,  and that brings us to the last and most key point!

 

“….and go after something big!”   This is the key to a great 2016, 2017, and the rest of your life!  Go for something BIG.  So what is big for you?  How about Fame?  Maybe Fortune, Maybe Power,or being Admired?   I know you know better than that, none of those will bring you long term peace, joy and happiness.  Jesus said he that is first here, will be last there.  He was talking about service, the woman that gave a single coin of a small denomination in the synagogue, impressed Jesus more than those that gave lavishly.  Why,  because she gave a lot, of what little she had!   One of the words that describes big in the dictionary is “significant”.  What are you going to do in 2016 that will be significant next January when you review your year?

 

Scott has been  great friend to me, I’m proud to call him my friend,  and I thank him for this post.  So  ”Learn how to love deeply, the rewards are enormous, Live Boldly having the courage to stand for something more important than yourself, and find something big enough to be worthy of your life.”  When it’s all over, what do you want to be the legacy of your life, what of real value can you leave your children, grandchildren and friends.  Important thoughts to ponder at the beginning of a year!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

8 months, 4 weeks ago 2

 

 

 

 

The Best Photo Events of 2015:  A tie between the Great Smokey Mountain’s Nature Photography Summit and His Light’s “Christmas in the Smokies” with Joe McNally & Anne Cahill.  Much hand wringing took place before the Summit, but with a stellar team of instructors, hard work by April Love and our full team, it was a smashing event!  The time with  Joe and Anne in the Smokies was my most anticipated event!  I love both of them dearly and it turned out to be more wonderful than even my greatest expectations!  These two events reminded me of why I love beings photo education so much!

 

 

 

 

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Portrait of Jim by Joe McNally

 

 

My Spiritual Mentor of 2015 (and for several years prior)!  Jim Haverstock has been my sounding board, patient counselor, photo buddy and my dear friend.  We all need someone to just be our friend, to listen quietly, but speak boldly when we need to hear it.  As Bruce Willis would say, he’s that guy!  Thank you Jim.

 

 

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The most exciting outreach of 2015!  This new group of brothers and sisters in Christ are going to reach thousand of people for Him.

 

 

 

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The Best Films I’ve Seen this Year:    A tie for Number 1, War Room and Woodlawn, followed closely by number 2; Do You Believe.  All three of these Christian Films are first class films, with incredible messages.  The Christian Film industry is catching up with Hollywood on quality and has raced way passed them on substance!

 

 

 

 

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Proudest Moment for Harlan, Kentucky and Best Song of 2015:  Jordan Smith wowed America with his wonderful voice, and steadfast service to God and witness for Him.  I’m so proud of him and happy for him!  Finally a good guy wins!  Best Song:  Mary Did You Know?

 

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My Best Moment Alone in the Wilderness:   On the trip out of Zion, all of us driving in our own vehicles,  I was alone and found one of my favorite spots at the perfect time of day for the light on the Red Rocks.  I’ve photographed this scene many times, in snow, rain and bad light.  This day was different, it was near the end of a long season and near the end of a long workshop, I was alone, just standing there looking at one of my favorite scenes in any national park, it was a great moment.  This is the best part of being a shooter!

 

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22 Great Reasons for my being thankful, every day, for the life God has given me!  Can’t wait to see what He has in store for 2016!

 

 

 

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My favorite new toy.   I picked up an X30 for those moments when I don’t want to carry a full size camera. Once I started using it I was so impressed it is a constant companion.  The lens a 28-112 zoom is very sharp, the features are substantial, but gladly the camera is not!!!!

 

 

Blessings and Happy New Year,

 

 

the pilgrim

 

 

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Almost forgot, best new lens of the year!!  The Fuji 90mm f 2  What can I say, everyone that has shot with it buys it, enough said!  Built like a tank, sharper than you can imagine, and just plain fun to use!

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 months ago 7

 

 

I just got the new Artists Standing For Christ God Beads from Original Pieces,  and they are terrific and available very soon!  I will let you know the moment they are available through OP.  I am loving the great collaborative effort the wonderful folks at Original Pieces have dedicated to our cause.  The Oakley’s are committed to serving our Lord through their business and they are working hard to help us spread the word.  Tami told me that even the name of their business was from God, she was inspired that we are all Original Pieces, made by God, each with worth and purpose.  That is what ASFC is all about, letting people know that they have real worth.  If you are not a believer,  you may wonder how on earth I can make that statement!  After all, you and I know lots of people that are really bad folks, some are dishonest, some have hurt others badly, some are impossible to like.  So how can they have worth?

 

Please let me share a story with you, a very personal story.   Many years ago I ran a company that Sherelene and I owned, a business, called The Great American Photography Workshops.  A few years into running the business we were upside down.  I owed over fifty thousand dollars  and could see no way out.  I was in the desert, no I really was in the desert, in Arizona!  I had just run three straight workshops, and was thinking constantly about facing the failure of our business.  One day it became more than I could bear, I pulled off of the road in the desert, and wept bitterly.  I wet the steering wheel with my tears.  I prayed, God, please, please help me, I’m so afraid!  Now those of you that know God’s voice will understand the next part, for those that don’t I can only beg you to believe me, because what comes next is truth and epic!

 

In my spirit, but as clear to my spirit as an actual voice, God said “What are you afraid of?”  I said, ” I’m afraid of failing, I’m known as one of the leading workshop providers in America,  I run one of the most successful workshop companies in our country.  What value will I have if I loose that?  It’s the only thing I have.”

 

The next thing God said to me, in my spirit forever changed me.    It was profound, and a truth I had never fully grasped before.  God said, “Do you really believe that is what gives you worth??!!  Young man, I sacrificed my Only Son just for you, that you might be forgiven, so you tell me, how much more valuable do you want to be than that!!??”

 

I drove out of the desert a new man, a man that realized that my worth is not based on my reputation, my accomplishments, what people think of me, or even what I think of myself!  My worth was established over 2,000 years ago.  That is why I’m standing for Christ, because He did so much more than stand for me, He died for me!

 

So when you decide to join us in ASFC, you can proudly wear the G Beads and this is what they signify. The three wooden beads stand for the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit, they are made of wood from the Olive tree in Bethlehem. The two red beads on either side represent the blood of Christ that was shed for you and I.  Our prayer is that many people will ask what the bracelet, (that’s what most people call it when they ask me!),  is all about?  What a perfect way to share little part of our faith.  The most important thing is for those of us that know Him, to help others learn about Him, and accept His forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

In a couple of days many millions of people will make New Year’s resolutions.  Mine is simple, I will be obedient to God’s call to go out and love others in His name, with His love, and for His Glory!  Join me!

 

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim