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1 year, 1 month 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

 

 

1 year, 1 month 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 year, 1 month 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

1 year, 1 month ago 10

 

 

It happens from time to time, a well meaning person tries to talk some sense into me!  Over the Christmas holidays a person asked me why I made such a public, strong, unabashed stand for my faith.  He said, “I think it’s great to have beliefs, but in today’s society a lot of people think that is something you should keep to yourself.  Many people are made uncomfortable by someone being so bold about it.”

 

I respect his opinion and I fully understand where he is coming from, but I don’t think he fully understands where I’m coming from.  Let me share an email I got this morning from someone signing up with Artists Standing For Christ,  and I will withhold the name of the person who so kindly sent the email to me.

 

HI Bill, count me in.  I really like the concept of Artists Standing for Christ. You don’t know the effect you have had on me since we have not seen each other for awhile. I attend church regularly and now my daughter and her two children do also! I take part in a weekly Bible  study reading Corinthians 1. I have spent the past three weeks reading and studying Romans to catch up with the group.  I wake up happy with gratitude every day. Thanks to you.

 

He added this quote which I love,

 

“Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass….It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
~ Vivian Greene

 

I appreciate the kind words, but the glory and honor should go to Him who makes all this possible, including my life.  It just so happens that I have a very special love for the man that sent me that email.  I’ve prayed for Him, and have watched him become a terrific photographers as he has also grown in his faith.  I’m thrilled he is getting to be a really good shooter,  I’m much more thrilled about this note!!!!

 

Photography is what I do, I love it, and it has brought me 46 years of fun, adventures, excitement and fulfillment, but it will not last forever.  Being obedient to God and doing as I’m told for His glory and His sake, will last through out eternity.  My friend got one thing wrong in his email to me, the last sentience; Thanks to you.  No my friend, thanks to our Heavenly Father who loved you enough to place in a situation where we could meet and He could minister to you.  What part do I play in all this?  Simple, I live by the following prescription;

 

“Life Comes down to just two things;  God loves you, so….love others…and God sacrificed everything to be with you, so….sacrifice everything.”

 

It’s no more or less than that.  Is it easy?  No!  Is it worth it to remain under the protective wings of our Heavenly Father?   You bet!  A dear friend of mine that has a very successful prison ministry ends all  his meetings with this quote.  “When I’m gone, if you can’t remember me, you’ve lost nothing, but if you can’t remember anything about the man I shared with you, Jesus, you’ve lost everything my friend!”

 

No one knows what their life will be worth when they are gone, but I’m not taking any chances, mine will count for something far more important than myself.  I will raise up the name of Jesus and will lovingly share it with anyone that will allow me to. I don’;t want anyone to miss the peace and joy He has brought into my life, and no one has to.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim