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7 years, 10 months ago 0

Number One, my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Number Two, my bride Sherelene and the wonderful family she has given me. Number three the great brothers, sisters, and friends God has blessed me with. Number Four is a tie, Photography and Flying.

From the time I was a little boy, I wanted to be a pilot. Twelve years ago I decided to learn to fly ultra lights after seeing the movie, Fly Away Home. Wesley, my middle child, and I, decided to do a book on America from 500 feet in the air. That was how it all started. The airplane above, (yes it is an airplane, it took off, flew, and landed), was my first that I flew for any length of time. I started training in Cessnas and for a short time flew a tail dragger Kolb ultra light. An unfortunate crash ended my love affair with the Kolb. It wasn’t the Kolb’s fault, pilot error.

Anyway, I transitioned to the Microlight above. This is a French Air Creation Fun Racer. This is a true Part 103 ultra light. That means it weighs less than 254 lbs., holds only 5 gallons of fuel, and is flown by a single occupant. This little guy was a blast to fly, slow and easy to control, it took me on great adventures, all over America.

Almost a decade later I got my next
plane, a Hughes Aero Predator
Powered Parachute. This was the plane
I used for the second book, America
From 500 Feet II. The PPC was also
a great way to enjoy the wonder of
flight. Floating at a slow 30 mph
over the trees and deserts was always
a thrill, and hey if a problem happened
the parachute was already open!
No problem ever did though.

The next plane should arrive next week
and the adventure begins anew. I’ve
shown one very much like it below.

I tell you all this to say that a scripture
that is very dear to me, is real and true.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God
and all these things will be added
unto you, even the desires of your
heart.”

I believe and scripture teaches us that
God loves us more than we could
ever know or understand. I believe that he also wants us to have great joy in our lives. I think in my case, He knew that my great desire to fly was in keeping with His will for me. For many years I’ve wondered why He chose to bless me with this dream. After countless talks to various kinds of groups I came to realize that my aerial adventures gave me one more interesting thing to use to reach out to others in His name and for His glory. Audiences will sit in rapt attention to tales of aerial adventures only to find me sharing how much I love the Lord as part of the talk.

Isn’t it so like God that He
could answer our most
personal prayers and at
the same time bring Glory
to His Kingdom. Then
again we are talking about
God, why shouldn’t He be
able to do anything He
desires. Of course He can,
and does.

I don’t think that God re-
wards us because we
deserve it, He blesses us
because He loves us.

Every time I take off I know that I’m rising up into the sky closer to Him, physically and spiritually.

Today’s Prayer: Father, thank you for blessing me in so many ways, and thank you for understanding my great desires and making it possible for me to realize them.

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: The top images was shot on film F100 camera, the PPC shot was made by my brother, Mark Kettenhofen, D300 and the 17-55 AFS lens, the last shot was courtesy of Wings of Freedom the builder of my new Phoenix 103.

Post Script: It took until I was over fifty years old to realize this dream. One of the little ideas that arrived in my head during the first book project was that since I was now excitedly a pilot, I wanted to master all three kinds of ultra lights; Trikes (top image), Powered Parachutes, and three axis (conventional type airplanes). With this last plane, one more dream will become a reality.
I have over two hundred hours in the first two types and now will start to build hours in the third.

7 years, 10 months ago 0

One of the unfortunate ways that man dealt with punishment in biblical times was stoning. Many accounts in the Bible tell of the sinner or offender being stoned to death. What is the opposite behavior from this radical way of dealing with anger and hurt?

Romans 12:8-20 (New Living Translation)

8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
If I’m reading this passage right, God has a plan for us that does not include condemning, judging,
scolding, and stoning. You may be thinking that you’ve never stoned anyone, but don’t be too quick to let yourself off the hook. We may have never literally taken up a stone and thrown it at someone, but how many times have we hurled insults, accusations, and judgements on others. In the end those kinds of actions can bring just as much if not more damage to a person’s spirit as a stone does to their physical body.

Today will be a day of choices, will you be an agent for good in the lives of others or will you take part in their destruction? Unless you’re ready to start picking up stones, their is no way better than
His way. As Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

the pilgrim

7 years, 10 months ago 0

If you think you may have seen this image before, you’re right. I want to step back into the past for a few minutes, give me a moment and I will explain. First this is Tuesday’s post being done a day early, I’ve got some things I need to take care of tomorrow and I wanted to get this done now.
Secondly, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow, since I’m so excited about this post, I want to do it right now!

Do you remember in the last Indiana Jones film when Indiana must choose wisely among the many cups, one of which Christ had used at the last supper? You remember what happened to the man that did not choose wisely. Let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty picture.

The images in this post are from the Savannah Workshop I did last year with Scott Kelby and some other great friends. At that workshop I met a man that has had a profound impact on my life. The moment I met Al Crook, I knew he was special. Al is one of those kinds of guys that you just can’t help but like. He is full of energy for life, and his kindness and concern for others flows from him.
When your in his presence you are blessed, just to be there. After the workshop was over I thought of Al often. When I started the blog, he commented from time to time.

Later when Scott and I decided to try and get the gang back together for a reunion , Al was one of the first people that came to my mind. I was really looking forward to seeing him again. When he did not register I started to worry and I got in touch with him. He told me he had been battling cancer and was just not going to be up to it, but sure wished he could. I prayed for Al and thought of him often. Today I got the chance to give him a call and check on him.

I was thrilled to hear
that at his last Doc
visit he was told
things looked good
and he didn’t have
to come back for
a number of months.
We shared about
how tough it is to go
through cancer
treatments and just
how lousy it makes
you feel. We both
have lived through
those times.

At the end of the conversation, I asked Al how I could, specifically, pray for him. His answer once again opened my eyes to what God wants from us and how my Heavenly Father is using Al to bless me and others. Al said, “Please pray that I will rest in and depend on Him.” What a powerful word of knowledge. When we are going through times of pain and discomfort it is normal to say God please take this away from me. Real wisdom is to say God, I don’t know the purpose of what I’m facing, but I do know you love me and you wouldn’t allow it unless it can ultimately bring good to me and glory to you. So in affect, Al said to God, have at it, I can take it if you will stay by my side and allow me to come out of it, the man you want me to become.

When the scripture said that Jesus said, “Lest you be like these little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” He was saying, in modern language, unless you trust me completely, you
still don’t get it. Al gets it.

Thank you my brother for sharing your life and wisdom with me. I will pray for your full recovery and return to wonderful health. I will also spend a good bit of my time trying to get back in touch with the child in me that trusts completely, and chooses wisely…………..

the pilgrim

7 years, 10 months ago 0

There is a special place where I’m always overcome with peace. Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina is a magical place called Grandfather Mountain. I was introduced to it and it’s wonderful owner, yes a mountain owned by a man, Hugh Morton, many years ago by my dear, dear friend Don Nelson. Hugh has gone on to be with the Lord, but I feel his presence every time I go to “the” mountain. Grandfather has been the place of many wonderful adventures and memories, not the least of which are the countless photography programs where I’ve been honored to speak and share.

Sharing at Grandfather is like no other place. Surrounded my many friends and long time associates, you can just relax and be yourself. Now I’m always myself, I’ve never figured out how, or why I would want to be anybody else, but these special people make it easy to do.

Spending time on the
mountain is always
a pleasure but getting
to do it with 175
friends is even better.
This weekend I shared
some photography
lessons. Sunday
morning I shared
some life lessons.

The title of the Sunday
program was Sharing
your adventures
through AV programs

Because I do a great deal of presenting on behalf of Nikon, I have a wide variety of AV shows that I share. Most are for sheer entertainment, but some have good “life lessons.” As an example, in the show called, And So It Goes, the song by that name is sung by the late John Denver and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from their wonderful album, Shall The Circle Be Unbroken II.

A mansion on a hill is a lovely sight to see,
but like any other house, it’s only temporary.
Home is anywhere you choose to put your heart,
if there’s no love inside, it will soon fall apart.

Ashes to ashes, dust into dust,
buildings will crumble, bridges will rust,
Mountains will disappear, rivers will dry up
And so it goes with everything but love,
so it goes, with everything but love.

Another show is the story of a young lady who remembers her coal miner father and the tough life he lived providing for her and her family. The wonderful song brings to light the most important gifts we give to others. The song is called Coal Dust Kisses,

Covered up from head to foot from all the dust and soot,
that’s how he came home from work everyday.
He worked hard in the mines, as a child I thought it was a crime,
for man to have to work that way.
But every night before he fell asleep,
He never failed to leave, Coal dust kisses, on my cheek.

Yet another haunting song tells the story of a soldier that gave all, and in the end, made it all the way to Arlington.

I never thought that this is where I’d settle down,
I thought I’d die and old man back in my home town.
They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men,
for a job well done.

There’s a big white house sits on a hill just up the road,
the man inside he cried the day they brought me home,
they folded up a flag and told my mom and dad,
we’re proud of your son.

And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property,
I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company,
I’m thankful for those thankful for the things I’ve done,
I can rest in peace, I’m one of the chosen ones,
I made it to Arlington.

I shared some other things too, some light and fun, some serious like these. We shared some common understanding that life is not only a joy, but also filled with tough times and sadness too. In the end the message was that God loves us and he never lets us go through anything that he will not bring good from, if we love Him, and are called to His purposes.

It’s a privilege to share with such good people, to spend time on that incredible mountain, and
serve such an awesome God……..

the pilgrim

* Photo notes: Nikon D700 and 24-70 AFS f 2.8 lens. Fog courtesy of Grandfather Mountain.