We visited Vicki’s Aunt Ann and Uncle Mark this weekend, down in the Jackson area. We drove down last night and were treated to a wonderful dinner and had a nice visit. This morning we attended the Concealed Pistol Licensing (CPL) class. This is the class that all applicants for a Concealed Pistol License must complete prior to submitting the application. Uncle Mark was the Host and Assistant to NRA Instructors Greg Panzl and Earl Poleski. There were 10 other students in addition to Vicki and me. The class was a full 8 hours with classroom instruction followed by firing range instruction. Our instructors have a wealth of experience and did a fantastic job of teaching us the importance of safety and the importance of being prepared mentally and physically while defending yourself and others. Earl instructed us on the Michigan law as it relates to Concealed Pistol License and the responsibility of those who carry. Mark demonstrated the many available options one has when it comes to choosing a pistol; revolver vs. auto-load, the different calibers of bullets, and the type of bullets available. Greg taught us defensive shooting skills, and strategies for home and personal safety. It was a long day, but the class time went by quickly because the subject was pertinent and very interesting. One of the topics covered how to safe guard your home and included practical step you can take to make your house more unfriendly to criminals. After all, aren’t we all concerned with assuring that we are doing all that we can to provide a safe environment for our family?
We love coffee in this house. We like our coffee black, and we like it bold. We drink a lot of coffee in our house. Each morning is a routine, I’m sure like many others out there, we start the coffee before anything else gets started. We have a grind and brew coffee maker, that grinds the whole beans and then brews the coffee into a thermal carafe. Our coffee of choice is Starbucks. We are drinking “Tribute” this week and loving it. We have become hooked on Starbucks and really enjoy the bold flavors. Our favorites include; Italian Roast, Espresso Roast, and Sumatra. Coffee gets us going, that little jolt from the caffeine, the smell of the fresh ground beans, and the aroma of the coffee as it brews. Black coffee… I remember when I was a young boy, my dad would order coffee, “coffee, black please”; and I would watch him sip it, and savor the taste. My dad was and still is a coffee lover. It must be in the genes. Like father, like son.
I have never been able to read in the midst of distractions. I know others can tune everything out and focus on the book at hand, not me. I tend to read the same sentence over and over again, without comprehension. I need a quiet place to read, a place where the distractions are minimal. When I sit down to read God’s word, I am the same way, just Him and me; a nice quiet time to read, study, and reflect on the Word of God. I will usually read my Bible in the morning, before anyone else is up and moving. We should all take a few minutes to spend reading the Bible. When our computers or iPhones start acting up, the first thing the tech geeks tell you to do is, “try rebooting”, which normally involves powering down and restarting. Well, that applies to us too. Sometimes we need to reboot, power down, and spend some quiet time with God. Psalm 46, verse 10 tells us to, “Be still and know that I am God”. What better way to reboot, than to spend some quiet time with the One who knows us better than anyone; the Maker of Heaven and Earth, our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
Justin and I went out and shot some more location photos. It is hard to believe Justin is wrapping up his senior year. It seems like only yesterday we were taking pictures of his first day of kindergarten. The years have flown by and our little guy has grown into a man. We are very proud of you Justin. Keep up the good work!
Today we helped Ed and Karen celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Friends and family gathered around them to offer support and congratulations. This is becoming rare these days, many married couples end their marriage, instead of working through the tough times together, they often part ways. Ed and Karen, we all salute you and thank you for being a shining example of how married couples can work together, and with the help and love of God, grow together.
I finally persuaded my lovely wife Vicki to pose for a portrait. In addition to being my wife, she is my best friend, and I enjoy our time together. So it was great that Vicki was willing to pose. I wanted practice lighting with 1 light. I’m glad Vicki posed for me, I really like this photo. I like the way the shadows create a mysterious feel. My light source was a Nikon SB900 in a soft box. I have been shooting mostly in manual mode lately. I have found it helps me become more aware of the light and depth of field in my photos; which in turn helps me to become more involved with each shot. The result is that there is more of me in the photos, I am more intimately involved with each picture. I used to just set it on aperture or shutter priority and let the camera decide what the best setting was. I have come to enjoy manual mode.
The assignment this week on Digitalphotographyschool.com is to take a photo using available window light. I set up this still life, fruit in our “fruits of the spirit” bowl. The verse is from Galatians 5:22-23…
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
As I was walking this evening, I turned down the dirt road and a poem by Robert Frost came to mind, The Road Not Taken…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Be sure to enjoy your journey and remember to take the road less traveled, you may be surprised at what you find.
This is a view of the last sunset of winter from behind the lacey branches of the willow tree. We bid you ado Mr. Winter! Today was officially the last day of winter. We had record temperatures today in Frankenmuth, with temperatures climbing over 80 degrees again today. This has been one of the mildest winters I can remember. I am cautiously optimistic that we are finished with the winter weather, but I am looking back over my shoulder; somewhat ready for the big surprise snowstorm. It has happened before. We usually have a snow storm in April, one last hurrah from Mr. Winter, just a parting shot to remember him by. I hope this isn’t the case. I am ready for Spring and the rain and new growth that comes with the new season. The great weather has given us all a touch of Spring fever, here in Frankenmuth.
This morning was beautiful. As I looked out the window, I could see the crescent moon shining as the dawn was breaking with a beautiful blend of colors. There was a layer of ground fog which added a soft filter to everything low. I like the colors behind the silhouette of the willow trees with their lacey branches. A beautiful sight indeed as we left the house on way to church. Thank you Lord for the beauty of your creation.
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created. Psalm 148:3-5 ESV
Wow what a gorgeous St. Patrick’s Day in Frankenmuth! We hit the 80 degree mark today! Although there isn’t much green yet, it was a beautiful walk along the Cass River. This is the view from the dock where the Paddle Wheel boat is parked during the summer months. Looking up the river, you can see the covered bridge and a cloudless blue sky. The only thing missing is the green grass and the leaves on the trees, otherwise this was a perfect summer setting on this late winter day. Happy St. Patty’s day to all! I leave you with this old Irish blessing,
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
We had another beautiful day today. It is hard to believe spring won’t arrive until March 20th, we had to open the windows and let in the fresh air. I took a quick walk this morning with my camera in hand and saw the cat tails in our ditch. As I made my way down into the ditch and perched myself on the culvert, I lifted the camera and focused on the cat tails. I wanted a shallow depth of field, so I bumped up my shutter speed and opened the aperture. Just as I was about to release the shutter, a couple of chickadees decided to check out the cat tails too. So I recomposed and took a couple of shots.
This is Mrowli, our cat. When his eyes look like this, dilated pupils, he is ready to pounce. I’m not sure what he’s looking to at, or what he is considering going after; maybe it’s Tillie, he likes to play with her sometimes. Especially if she’s not ready for the Mrowli pounce. He looks very intense and focused.
When I let the dogs out this morning the first thing that struck me was how nice it was outside, the sun was shining and it was that “golden hour”, when the morning sun turns everything it touches to a beautiful, warm, rich, golden glow. As I took in the beauty of the morning I saw it, a bright, half moon shining in the cloudless blue sky. I ran and got the Nikon and shot this photo. There are a couple of birds in the trees off in the distance. The furthest tree has a hawk, whle the closer tree has a robin. You can’t see the details enough, I wanted the whole scene with the half moon, blue sky, trees basking in the golden glow of the sun, and even the field is aglow. What a nice way to start the day!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV
My Bible is worn and torn, ragged around the edges, and there is a story there. I wish I could tell you that it is worn and torn from the many times I’ve opened it to read the Word of God; or it’s worn and torn because I take God’s Word with me everywhere I go. No, neither of those are the reason my Bible is worn and torn. I do read it, but not as often as I should. I have taken it with me, but not as often as I should. One time when I did take my Bible with me so I could read the Word of God while flying, I lost my Bible. When I arrive at my house and unpacked, my Bible was nowhere to be found. I remember having it in the airport after landing, but could not remember placing it back in my bag. I phoned the airport and spoke with someone in the lost and found department. They searched and then told me they were unable to find the Bible. Well, you can imagine my surprise when there was a knock on my door, about 3 weeks later. I answered the door and there was a representative from Bishop Airport holding my now worn, torn, and tattered Bible. Who knows where it had been. I like to think maybe it fell into the hands of someone truly in need of God’s Word, because the Lord knew that person needed to feel the love of God. I will never know, but I like my worn, torn, and tattered Bible.
I sliced this delicious honey crisp apple with one of those gadgets Vicki picked up at a Pampered Chef party. This is a really great way to slice up an apple, it makes uniform, bite size pieces. This tool makes it easy to eat an apple a day. After all we are supposed to eat at least 5 servings a day of fruit and vegetables. I’ve been trying to hit that number, but it’s not always easy, just like everything else. For this photo I used soft box with my SB900 flash unit. I shot the photo in RAW and then processed in Photoshop CS5. I used the “ink outline” filter and added a little texture to give the photo more of a painted look.