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3 weeks, 3 days ago 1



My dear friend Scotty Smith sends me prayers almost everyday that remind me of some area of my life that I need God to examine, and fix!!!!!  After a great season of His Light Workshops with Jim, a wonderful series of workshop with Jack Graham. the incredible start out Summit got off to, not to mention an incredible wife, and family to com home to, I’m so grateful and most of all to my Heavenly Father that has done more for me than I could ever even imagine repaying!!!

I loved this prayer form Scotty, I hope it blesses you to, and some shots form our Southwest Tour.



A Prayer for Rekindling Our Gratitude

    [The older son] was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”  Luke 15:28-31

    Dear heavenly Father, though I’d never boast about my “many years of serving you,” nor am I tempted to trust in my works for your favor; nevertheless, at times my ingratitude matches that of the older son. I stand convicted; but I do my best repenting, not by beating myself up, but by preaching the gospel to my own heart, so here goes.

    Father, you are constantly running to me in the gospel—inviting me, imploring me, pleading with me to get on the dance floor of your grace—to enjoy the music of reconciliation, to sing the songs of redemption, to make merry to the glory of God.

    You are constantly saying to my grumbling, complaining, discontented, self-righteous face, “My son, you’re always with me because I’m always with you. Nothing will ever separate you from my lavish love for you in Jesus. I greatly delight in you. I rejoice over you with singing. Everything I have is yours.

   All your sins are forgiven, including your ingratitude. I’ve declared you to be righteous in Jesus, and I’ve hidden your life in his. I’ve begun a good work in you and I will complete it. I’ve made you a co-heir of the new heaven and new earth. You’re destined for an eternity of perfect relationships and wholeness, in a perfect world where everything is perfect. Come, let us rejoice and be glad.”

    Hallelujah, many times over! Father, I repent of my whining, envy, and complaining; and I’ll seek to keep my ungratefulness at bay by consistently blasting my heart with the gospel. Thank you for your patience and kindness. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ peerless and praiseworthy name.








Blessings from a,


Grateful pilgrim


3 weeks, 5 days ago 3



When Wilson Reynolds asked me to help him make his dream come true, I thought it was doable, but a very,, very tall order.  Over the months of work,  many times I wished I had said, I was just too busy!  That would have been a mistake.  I’m so glad I stuck it out.  Not for me, but for Wilson.  A lot of  people contributed to the success, so I’m not taking credit, but I did make everyone hold their feet to the fire. April Love worked tirelessly and if any one person deserves credit it would be her.  For the time of the week, Jim and Sue Haverstock worked continuously to see everyone was served!  Add them to the MVP list too!!!


Our team was simply marvelous, so giving, so available, they lived up to their sterling reputations!!!  What a group of CLASS ACTS!


After I got home and started to relax I could hear the familiar strings of Disney’s “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes.”   The more I heard those familiar words in my mind, I knew that one of the most satisfying things in life is being even a small part of seeing someone else’s dreams come to fruition.


To all of those that worked so hard, find that song by Linda Rondstadt and just turn the lights off, listen, and relive the week, and it’s magic!   Just like Wilson Reynold’s Dream!!!!!




the pilgrim

3 weeks, 6 days ago 20

Tony Sweet and Jack Graham share a laugh in the field at the TGSMNPS  (The Great Smoky Mountains Nature Photography Summit  - Volume I


Our first Summit was a smashing success and for a lot of reasons!!!


1.  Over 200 great, enthusiastic attendees!  We had the great pleasure of spending five days with some of the greatest folks, they were really a great group!  Below, Len Rue Jr. signs an attendee’s event poster!



(2.)  We had the most incredible team of instructors, leaders, mentors and just plain great guys!  Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Rob Sheppard, Tony Sweet, Jack Graham, Wilson Reynolds, Len Rue Jr., Jim Begley, John “Snake” Barrett,  Bill Lea, Ken Jenkins, Brett Wells, and even the pilgrim.


(3.)  We hit the fall color perfectly, we got peak color and then leaves on the ground!!!!








(4.)  April Love and the Tremont Lodge and Resort Team, along with Jim and Sue Haverstock worked tirelessly to meet everyone’s needs!!!   April spent months taking care of the countless items on mine and Wilson’s lists!  She did a great job!  Wilson stepped up to the plate and invested in the infrastructure needed to make this resort ready for such a great gathering.  New screens, nice, big ones, and Canon 4500 lumens projectors graced the three big meeting room venues!  The on screen images were simply the best reproduction I’ve ever seen, not great news for me, got to have a Canon WUX450 projector now!!!!!!


As the co-chairman, along with Wilson, I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to see such big undertaking go off with so few issues, of course lots of little things will be fixed or enhanced for next year, but since we will only be accepting 225 attendees next year, it looks like the TGSMNPS has many years of great events, yet to come!!!!


Don’t take my word for it, this is just a few of many comments emailed to us after the event!!!


“After attending the Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit this past week, I wanted to commend you and all involved on a great event!  it was refreshing to hear from all the educators and professionals their honest opinions and appreciated how freely they shared their knowledge, experiences and technical expertise during the event.  To me, the event proved to be more about inspiration and community than any other gathering I’ve attended.”

Karin Smith



“Bill, this was absolutely one of the best events I’ve ever taught at. So yes, I’m in for next year, pre-conference session and all. Seriously, this was a special event for me and so many people there. I think we came pretty darn close to connecting with people the way we do on a small workshop. Anyone who wanted to really get personal interactions and learn a lot could have and had plenty of chances and I think we helped a lot of people last week. The feedback I heard was over the top great.”

Matt Kloskowski


“I really enjoyed meeting a lot of truly great folks, and our time together as a team was a very special experience!  One of the best large events I’ve ever attended or spoken at!”

Jack Graham


“A triple home run, out of the park!!!!!”

Paul Travers


Stay tuned to both the TGMNPS website and mine to see information about when registration will start for the next event!  It will be bigger and better than ever!




the pilgrim


1 month ago 7



Rain, clouds, wonderful color, full streams, and over 200 enthusiastic photographers made for an exciting first day at the Great Smoky Mountains Nature Photography Summit!  The full program schedule gets under way today after an early morning in the field with some of our great instructor team!  Here were a few off my favorites from the first day.




As always some of the most fun things to photograph were on the first floor!!!




So we will keep busy, and i will keep you updated!




the pilgrim