Recent Posts
9 years, 10 months ago 0

Sorry to be so late with today’s entry, but this day started a 6:00 a.m. and just ended about a half hour ago at 10:30 p.m. We’ve been shooting in Nashville with Ricky Skaggs doing two videos
of some of his latest releases. Bill Frakes of Sports Illustrated Fame, and his great team, have joined Bill Pekala, Mark Suban and myself in this effort. We shot in a local church all day and then did field work until all the light was gone. Shooting on a big production video shoot is a new experience for me, and I’m learning a lot. Even more fun than all of that has been to have a little time with Ricky and my Nikon team members.

Long days, doing good work, never gets old. Thank you Lord for another great day.
I hope you guys enjoy some of the images of the days work…….. Have a great weekend…..

the pilgrim

I’m truly a blessed and fortunate man, to work with people like this…………..

Below, Laura Heald, a very talented visual artist, expresses our sentiments near days end, even a little rest is a good thing……………..

It’s a wrap, always wanted to say that…………………..

*Photo note: All images with Nikon D3s @ 3,200 and 6,400 ISO. Various lenses including
the 24-70 AFS f 2.8, 70-300 AFS VR, 70-210 AF, 85 f1.4 AF and 17-35 AFS f 2.8.

9 years, 11 months ago 0

Tomorrow I will be on the road to Nashville to help take part in doing a video presentation in Ricky Skagg’s studio. I thought I would get ahead. I hope to share some fun stuff from there.

I mentioned “Bear” Bryant in a blog the other day, this is a priceless story about him, it has a great moral, enjoy!

At a Touchdown Club meeting many years before his death, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant told the following story.

I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player and I was havin’ trouble finding the place.. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said “Restaurant.”
I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I’m the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, “What do you need?” I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today? He says, “You probably won’t like it here, today we’re having chitlins, collared greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I’ll bet you don’t even know what chitlins (small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South) are, do you?” I looked him square in the eye and said, “I’m from Arkansas, I’ve probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I’m in the right place. “They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, “You ain’t from around here then?”

I explain I’m the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I’m here to find whatever that boy’s name was and he says, yeah I’ve heard of him, he’s supposed to be pretty good. And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.
As I’m paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay.

The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I’d been there. I was so new that I didn’t have any yet. It really wasn’t that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I’d get him one.
I met the kid I was lookin’ for later that afternoon and I don’t remember his name, but do remember I didn’t think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.
When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn’t forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, “Thanks for the best lunch I’ve ever had.”

Now let’s go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I’m back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y’all remember, (and I forget the name, but it’s not important to the story), well anyway, he’s got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he’s got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while I’m down there.

Two days later, I’m in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it’s this kid who just turned me down, and he says, “Coach, do you still want me at Alabama?” And I said, “Yes I sure do.” And he says OK, he’ll come. And I say, “Well son, what changed your mind?” And he said, “When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn’t going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn’t playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y’all met.” Well, I didn’t know his granddad from Adam’s housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, “You probably don’t remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he’s had hung in that place ever since. That picture’s his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him.”
“My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that’s everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I’m going to.”

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don’t cost nuthin’ to be nice. It don’t cost nuthin’ to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin’ your word to someone.

When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he’s still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and he didn’t have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that woulda made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don’t think I didn’t leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.
I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they’re out on the road. If you don’t remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.

~ Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant ~

Editor’s Note: Coach Bryant was in the presence of these few gentlemen for only minutes, and he defined himself for life. Regardless of our profession, we do define ourselves by how we treat others, and how we behave in the presence of others, and most of the time, we have only minutes or seconds to leave a lasting impression. We can be rude, crude, arrogant, cantankerous, or we can be nice. Nice is always a better choice. I like what Stephen Grellet, French/American religious leader (1773-1855) said, “I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now.. Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

the pilgrim

P.S. Now you know why I so proudly showed you my signed football, just like the old man and his picture of Coach Bryant, it is one of my most prized possessions. I’m so proud to say I got to visit with him for over and hour in his office. I got this story from our dear friend, Richard Small.

Thank you Lord, for letting me meet such interesting people.

9 years, 11 months ago 0

I had a nightmare last night, one that I’ve had a number of times before. I was preparing to do an
AV presentation, and things were not working, the projector was not bright enough, the screen was too small for the size audience, the cords were not connecting properly, and I was in a panic. It was almost time for the show to start and I was not ready. I got up and talked to Sherelene over breakfast about the dream, one that I’ve had many times before. She said it was a “fear of failure”. I would like to reject her insight, but I know she is right.

Over the weekend I watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. One of the players inducted was the legendary Jerry Rice. Jerry Rice is without question the greatest receiver to ever play the game. His statistics will probably never be matched or exceeded. In his acceptance speech he said that his success was almost entirely because of his fear of failure. He just didn’t want to let his father, his mother, his coaches and his fans down. He was driven to perfection by the need for their acceptance.

I plead guilty. You probably do too. We all desire to be accepted and needed, and the world tells us that if we do not exceed the standard we will not get that acceptance. The truth is we can never be beautiful or handsome enough, or thin enough, or smart enough, or talented enough, or outstanding enough to command the love and acceptance from others that we need and desire.

There is an answer. We already have all the validation we need, but we sometimes fail to know it.
Jesus died for you and I. He loves us so much, just as we are, that He was willing to accept the punishment for everything we ever did wrong. He took our criticism and He suffered our pain of not being accepted. He took up our case and accepted all the downsides of being us. Then He died so that we would be spared the ultimate punishment of sin, death.

When He rose from the dead, He brought us back to life with Him. He gave us the fresh start we need. Now you and I are completely accepted and loved. We don’t have to earn it, it is a gift. We are now free to be the best that we can be, not to gain acceptance, but to celebrate the completeness of the life we have been given. Praise God!!!!!!!

In real life, I don’t worry about the cables connecting or the projector being bright enough. I make reasonable preparation, and then I trust Him with the rest. In my waking hours, the worst fears of my dreams don’t happen. What does happen is feeling of peace and joy, a sense of things being good and secure. That is what it feels like to walk side by side with Him………

John 15:1-8 (New Living Translation)
   “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

Today’s Prayer: Father, please keep me close to you so that I may bear your fruit.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

the pilgrim

*Photo note: Old house in North Carolina, D700, 24-70 AFS lens.

9 years, 11 months ago 0

Maybe an even more important question is, what is your treasure? We all have those things that we value most in life. Sometimes we stash them away in a bank lot box, sometimes cleverly hidden in our homes. But what do we treasure? I’m afraid way too often we treasure the wrong things.
There is nothing wrong with acquiring financial wealth. One of Christ’s best friends while on earth was a very rich man, Lazarus. His wealth did not keep him from being dear to Jesus heart. The important distinction is to know that it was not because of his wealth, that Jesus loved him.

No matter how successful you become and how much wealth you amass, that will not be why you are loved. Many years ago, I had the honor of interviewing the late, great, Paul “Bear” Bryant for a magazine article. The legendary coach was everything you would have expected him to be. At the end of the interview I had a favorite question that I asked many famous people, I thought the way it was answered revealed a great deal about the person being interviewed. The question was simple, “How would you like to be remembered?” Coach Bryant gave a wonderful answer, “The people of football, the other coaches, and players, and my own players have all been wonderful friends to me, I hope that I will be remembered as half as good a friend to them, as they have been to me.”

That answer reveals a lot. Many people think of themselves as legends, Bear Bryant surely was, and still is! Coach Bryant’s accomplishments were considerable, but his emphasis was on others not himself and his accomplishments. I would like to believe that’s exactly why he was so successful, his life was directed outwardly

Coach Bryant was like a lot of successful people in that he amassed a great deal of personal wealth, but what he valued most was relationships. Money is fine, someone once said, money can’t bring you happiness, but it can sure make you a lot more comfortable in your misery. I’m sure that’s true, I’m even more sure that what does bring happiness is loving, and being loved.

God is love. Read that again, God IS love. It doesn’t say, God Loves, it says He “is” love. The love that God has for us is well beyond our comprehension. His love is far greater and deeper than we can understand. Now listen carefully, you’re about to find out just how wealthy you really are…… If love is the greatest of all the gifts, if Love is far more important than money or gold, then
those that have the most love are the most wealthy. Well, God loves you with a love far greater than any other. Since you posses this love, you have the most valuable thing in existence.

Now, how much does your family love you? How much do your friends love you? How many acquaintances have a real love and respect for you? The most important question is, how much do you love and show your love for them? The answer to the last question will determine the answer to the first three………..

the pilgrim

*Photo note: Antique National cash register, photographed in a store in Sante Fe, NM. Nikon D2x camera with the Nikkor 70-200 AFS VR lens set at F8.