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9 years, 9 months ago 0

If I were to explain how our lives go in stages, and I could only do that based on my own life experience, I would say this;

1. First, we are consumed with ourselves, our needs, our desires, our goals, and “our” satisfaction.
2. Second, at some point, we become more interested in others, but still maintain a pretty strong dose of self gratification.
3. Finally, we begin to realize that as much fun as it is to get what we want, the joy of sharing it with others is even greater! Unfortunately, self concern never goes away completely, but at this stage of life it is at least, subdued.

While I’m sure these changes are related to age and experience, I’m also pretty sure that they differ with each of us. The one thing I know for sure is when you start to really get into sharing
with others, it becomes is the best time of your life.

In October, Scott Kelby and I, and some other great friends, are doing a workshop out west for a group of photographers that will join us. I’ve been to the areas we will photograph at least twenty five times, so none of it will be new to me, but the joy of seeing the look on other’s faces when they experience this incredible place, will bring me more pleasure than I had the first time I was in awe standing in the same spots!

God grants us many joyful experiences in life, and then we get the joy of watching others feel that same since of wonder. The National Parks are some of our greatest natural treasures, and the ones we will visit during these two events are among the most spectacular of all. The image above is from the Paria Wilderness Area, just outside Page, Arizona. It is a magical place that few people ever discover. It is so much fun to take folks there and see how it affects them.

Remember, our mission is to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves…….

Philippians 2: 1-5

 1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Today would be a great day to jump to the next level of awareness of others………..

the pilgrim

*Photo note: F100 Film camera, Velvia film, 80-200 f 2.8 AF lens. Paria Wilderness Area,
late afternoon.

9 years, 9 months ago 0

Three years ago I had a second bout with cancer. I’m fine, surgery did the trick, but after the surgery, during recovery I found that my blood count was low, anemia. The main symptom of
anemia is a need for ice. So for the past several years I have kept a good supply of ice wherever I happen to be. Now I’ve told you all that to relay the following story. My church has a large commercial ice maker. My pastor has kindly allowed me to get bags of ice from the machine to keep my cooler filled. I actually perform a service as it cycle the ice faster and keeps the system running better. Since I often need ice when the church is closed. They gave me a back door key so I could get ice when no one is there.

The other day I dropped by the church to get ice and found that the locks had been changed. The reason, fear of people getting into the church that have less than admirable intentions. Come to think of it everything has a lock on it, many people lock all their doors when they go to bed at
night. The message is we live in a world where people are not confident that they ad their possessions are not longer safe. What a shame.

I grew up in a small down way back in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. I don’t ever remember locking our house, or cars for that matter. People simply were not a threat. I could walk around my small town on any street, even the darkest ones and never have any fear. I sure wish we could still do that. I often ask when visiting a new city, how safe it may be to walk around in the evening.
What a shame that we would have to ask.

When I was growing up, almost everyone went to church, and those that didn’t would be quick to admit that they probably should be. If someone fixed your car, they saved the old parts and explained why they replaced them. If someone gave you the wrong change they would rush out of the store after you to return your change.

I once broke the glass in a neighbors screen door (something we don’t have anymore), and I knew before my father ever told me that I had to go, and admit I was the culprit, apologize and offer to pay for it’s repair. Some may be reading this and laughing at me, but this is what is missing from
our country today. We’ve lost concern for others, we’ve lost the need to do what is right, we’ve lost the importance of self reliance. Now I’m not saying everyone has, but far too many have.

We don’t try to figure out to solve problems, we wait to see what program the government will establish to solve our every problem.

It’s time for a wake up call, if you ever want to live in that world we once enjoyed, again, it’s starts with us. If we want our world to be like that, we have to be like that first. Can we change the world, probably not, but we can make our own little corner of it better……..

Father, I’m not sure how all of this works into your plan for us. I know that in heaven we will get it right. For now, if it is your will, show us how to turn the tide here, now. Amen

the pilgrim

P.S. They are getting me a new key, hopefully I was not who they wanted to keep out…….

9 years, 9 months ago 0

Since the theme for my last few posts have been family, this one is long over due. When I count my blessings, of which there are many, Sherelene is at the top of my list. God had blessed me with a wonderful partner, my best friend, and the love of my life. When I was looking around at family that assembled over the weekend I was thinking how it all started when two people fell in love. I often speak and show my images to big groups and I always mention that after 40 years of marriage we’re still madly in love. A lady asked Sherelene one evening “How after 40 years of marriage could you both be so much in love?” Sherelene respond, “Well he’s only been home 15 of the 40 years!”

I imagine that some of what has kept our relationship strong has been the long absences. However, I think the far more important factor is a few of things we learned early in our marriage. When going through a particularly rough time we were counseled by our Pastor and his words of advice have rung true for many years.

1. A marriage is not a 50-50 proposition, it’s a 100-100 arrangement. You have to be 100% committed to your partners needs, not 50%.
2. Love is a decision not a feeling. Many times you won’t feel like you;re in love, but you must decide that your commitment goes beyond the feelings of the moment.
3. Never go to bed angry. Resolve your differences before you sleep on them, even it only means that you agree that you strongly disagree, but still love and respect one another.
4. Never stop dating. Keeping a marriage strong means continuing to treat your spouse like you did when you were dating. If you are trying to win someone’s heart, you keep their heart by doing it the same way!
5. Learn to forgive and forget. It’s the example that Christ taught us, and it still is the best way…..
Forgiveness covers a multitude of sins.
1. Lastly, and most importantly, give your lives and your marriage over to Jesus and trust Him with your relationship and your own heart.

You may not need any of this “friendly” advice, but if you do, follow it with all your heart.

the pilgrim

Photo note: D700 and the classic 85mm f1.4 AF Nikkor lens.

9 years, 9 months ago 0

Over the weekend we all gathered in Lexington, Kentucky for the Young Family Reunion. This is my wife’s mother’s family. Nora was one of nine sisters, one died very early in life, but the other eight have become some what legendary in our family. Today only five remain with us. Every couple of years we gather to honor the family and enjoy each others company. The little ones are the most fun to watch as they make new life long friends with their cousins. Above Gracie Scott embraces my youngest grandchild Abigail Brooklyn Fortney, Wes and Rhonda’s daughter.

Sherelene and I were so proud to have all our children, their spouses and all six grandchildren at the event, no small task! The older I get the more I realize just how important family is. I had an older member of the family once tell me, “when everyone else has abandoned you family will still be there.” That’s true and as we toil through life trying to provide for our families we need to remember that giving them our time and love is even more important than making money.

I’ve been so blessed to enjoy such
a great family. The other night
we went down to the lake during
the last two hours of light of the
day. We took our pontoon boat
over to one of the large rock
formations in Laurel Lake and let
the kids jump on a ten foot high
out crop to the water. As the
entire family floated on life
jackets and watched the kids
scream with joy as they dropped
into the water, I realized how the
simplest of pleasures can bring so
much joy. We often loose sight of how much just spending time together means to a family, especially the little ones. I’m sure that the memory of that evening in the lake will loom large as they grow older. A highlight for me was just sitting and watching everyone have such a great time.
I also loved the loud applause from all the family when I jumped!

Today’s prayer: Father thank you so much that you’ve blessed me so far beyond anything I deserve. My family is my greatest earthly treasure and I could never praise you enough for blessing me with them. Please help me to be the kind of husband, father, and grandfather they deserve. Amen.