Lucy loves her humans, but there are days when we are obviously not entertaining enough for the house princess.
Memorial Day 2020
Today is Memorial Day. We are long past the days of spending hours and hours packing the camping gear and scrambling to find the perfect campsite on the lake shore. The Memorial week-end is a quiet time around our house this year. Saturday my wife and I drove about an hour to visit the grave site of her parents. It is over three hours to the place where my parents are interred, so we don’t get there very often, although we will probably make the trip a little later this year.
Our parents were members of what history has called, “The Greatest Generation”. I doubt if any generation will fully appreciate what this group of Americans accomplished. They grew up as children of the Great Depression and as young adults began to climb out of the economic dungeon and into the light of a new promise, fueled in part by the war in Europe. Then, on December 7, 1941 this generation was thrust into World War II on both fronts, engaging Nazi Germany and it’s axis powers in Europe while responding to the Japanese bombing of Peal Harbor in the Pacific. My wife’s father was stationed in Europe while my dad was in the navy and saw action in the Pacific theater. These men and women literally saved this world and built the greatest nation on the planet. As Baby Boomers, we were the direct beneficiaries of their efforts. Nearly all of them are gone now as even the youngest soldiers of that conflict would be in their 90’s now. For all of the things that the educational system says that our children need to learn, we could all still learn a great deal about how to live life from this Greatest Generation. Happy Memorial Day.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week the theme at 4M is songs about flowers and gardens. Well that’s a pretty broad subject. Personally I love flowers and gardens. The first song is a little difficult for me to feature. I love roses and one of the earliest songs I can remember about a rose is “Yellow Rose of Texas”, but being a native of Oklahoma it hard for us to pay much respect to Texas, even if it is deserved. There is a little football game in October that pretty much defines the OU/Texas relationship. Still, I love the song.
Okay, so I gave Texas top billing and it is a great song from my pre-adolesence, so now I have to give equal time to my home state with a much more obscure musical offering. Color is not the issue, It’s just an Oklahoma Rose.
I have to admit that one of my favorite songs about flowers or gardens comes from gospel music and many people will recognize it because this song was found in their hymnal. Some people who pray daily have a special place to go and pray. They may choose a quiet place on the patio or a special chair in the corner of a room while others may retreat to a garden to get away from the distractions of this life and spend a few precious moments alone with the God of all creation. They Come to the Garden Alone.
My final offering is a song that I post nearly every year in my Christmas Music Marathon. Selah is one of my favorite Christian groups and Rose of Bethlehem is one of my favorite songs. Stay safe, stay healthy and ave a blessed week.
Lucy – The House Princess
(American Cocker Spaniel)
Lucy, our house princess, has several designated places around the house to lay down and catch a nap. There is a bed by the fireplace in the living room, and another in the den. Then there are the alternate places that she has chosen for herself. There is a throw on top of the couch in the living room that allows her to see everything that happens in the back yard and there is my wife’s chair in the den that allows the guard princess to see everything that happens in the front yard. The image above is from the location by the fireplace. After a walk around the neighborhood or some frisbee fetch time in the back yard, Lucy is ready for a little down time.
Class of 2020
Saturday was supposed to be the day for commencement exercises of the graduating class of 2020. That has been postponed until July, but most families had some sort of home celebration. We had a taco bar, a few friends dropped by, and gifts for the graduate. Proud parents and grandparents were in attendance.
One traditional and special gift from Nana, a t-shirt memory quilt made from t-shirts and athletic jerseys that carry special memories. These shirts have been collected and saved for over 10 years of soccer, track, church camp, vacation bible school etc. Nana designs and pieces the quilt together then sends it to someone to do the final quilting. It is truly the gift that will keep on giving.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week is a free choice week so I get to pick whatever music I like to share. In this day and age of electronics, social media etc., have you noticed how many folks are still not good communicators? I mean when a friend sends you a text, you answer it and follow up with a question….no follow up answer. It’s like their phone went dead. A relative calls and invites you to dinner. Where are we going, you ask. They reply that they will call you right back with the answer….nothing. It’s like they forgot to pay their bill and service has been cut off. You call back to verify the location and no one answers. It’s enough to give one a nervous breakdown.
One thing is certain. With the demise of the landline phone looming in the not to distant future, the lack of communication won’t be the fault of the Wichita Lineman.
Maybe the answer to the lack of communication is just blowin’ in the wind.
Have a blessed week.
46 Years of Awesome!
So….What’s the Secret?
Today, May 11, 2020, my wife and I celebrate our forty-sixth wedding anniversary. It has been the most exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling journey of my life. In a world where everything seems to be devalued, especially love and commitment, some might ask, how have you stayed married so long? I first penned the following words eleven years ago and I believe them to still be true today. The good Lord willing they will still be true in four years when we celebrate our 50th.
So what’s the secret to being married for thirty-five years and looking forward to celebrating number fifty one day? All I can tell you is that our marriage is centered around our faith and that the message from God’s Word is critical to the happiness that each of us enjoys.
First of all, God loves us and everything He does for us is for our benefit. He created the institution of marriage to be enjoyed by a man and a woman and to bring each of them happiness. The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on a cross for us so that we might, through faith, have eternal live. Christ tells the husband that he is to love his wife with the same love that Christ loves the church and gave himself for that church (Ephesians 5:25). If I love my wife with that kind of love, then everything I do, I do because I love her and I want her to be happy. I want her to be pleased with this relationship. I want my Lord to be pleased with me as a man who loves his wife and realizes that his wife is a gift from God created especially for me and for my happiness.
Secondly, marriage is a partnership. Like any relationship, it takes work to maintain that relationship in peak condition. A happy marriage doesn’t “just happen”. Both of us are committed to the relationship and to each other because we love one another and it is our desire that our partner be happy in this relationship. No major decision in this relationship is made without prayer and conversation. God is not the author of confusion, therefore He will not give my wife a different answer to an issue than the one that He gives me. Again, God created the institution of marriage for our benefit, not for our demise.
Finally, I married a woman far better than I deserve. I thank my Lord and Savior for her every day. My wife is the most thoughtful, caring and giving person that I know. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” I have found that woman. Proverbs 31:25-30 further states, Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and teaching of kindness is on her toungue. She looks well to the ways of her houselold, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” I married such a woman.
So, back to the original question, “What’s the Secret?” The answer is, you have to give yourself to the marriage. You have to give yourself to your spouse. Whatever you have within you, you have to “Give it Away.”
Senior – Class of 2020
The class of 2020 will go down in history at the class bitten by the Corona virus. While none of the students have actually been infected with the virus the entire class has been affected. Their final spring semester in high school has been canceled. No prom, no spring sports, however, a late development has graduation ceremonies rescheduled in July with limited seating. Nearly all of those things that make your senior year a life-milestone have been abandoned. It breaks my heart that these youngsters will not get to experience all of those activities that are typically a part of their final weeks in high school.
Our youngest granddaughter has been a student/athlete throughout her educational experience. She started playing soccer at age 6. She was one of only three players to make the high school junior varsity as a freshman that was not playing travel ball in the off season. As a freshman she also discovered track and eventually settled into high jump. Her sophomore year she won the conference championship and finished 2nd in the state. Her junior year the team won their second straight state championship. Just prior to the pandemic and sheltering orders she finished second at the state indoor championships and had set her third personal best in three meets. She was ranked 25th in the nation overall and number 12 among high school seniors in high jump. She was on track to have a great senior outdoor season and the team was poised to make it three in a row. Fortunately our girl will jump again in college. She has secured a track scholarship to compete at the next level.
I am going to miss photographing this young lady participating in all of her school activities, but if we get the chance to see her compete in college I will be there with my camera to capture the moment.
So what are you doing with all of your “Home Alone” time as we wrap up our second month of sheltering at home? This COVID-19 pandemic has literally brought our world to a halt and shown us that we are not truly masters of our own destiny hasn’t it? Many families have rediscovered the joy of time spent together. Since both of us are retired, my wife and I have spent a lot of time together the pasts four years, but since social distancing and shelter at home orders have severely limited our interaction with friends, we have found ourselves spending even more time with one another.
Most recently the weather has stabilized and we have spent more time in the yard. I have already mowed the lawn twice and my wife has gotten her spring flowers planted. We have plans to landscape the areas on each side of the house, but that is going to require some professional help. I will be getting bids for that work soon.
Personally, I have been taking a couple of online photo classes from Creative Live. One class focused on a DIY home studio and gear while the other was all about portrait photography. I also purchased a new photo editing program from On1 called On1 Camera Raw. It can be used as a stand alone photo editing program or it can act as a plug-in to PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements. I love some of the presets that this program has. Over the past couple of years I have posted articles that I have called “Fun With Filters” and this program is going to open up a whole new world of possibilities. This past week I photographed some of the blooms of the knockout roses in our front yard and edited them in On1 Camera Raw. Here are the results. This first image has had very little editing done.
After applying a couple of presets from On1, the image looks like this.
Once again this rose bud required almost no editing.
However, after adding a couple of presets the results look like this. Not every edit is pleasing to everyone, but I love the creative possibilities.
Okay, time for one more and this virtually unedited image is my wife’s favorite from this photo shoot.
I have to agree, I think the image above is my favorite, but I still had to add a filter just for fun.
Stay tuned. The possibilities are endless and I have just scratched the surface of my new toy. Best of all this program was on sale and extremely affordable. I mean EXTREMELY affordable.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week the theme at 4M is blogger’s choice and I am trying to come up with a fitting theme for the current state of affairs. While several states are still under strict shelter at home orders, others are beginning to loosen certain restrictions. Last Friday the state of Arkansas allowed gyms and fitness centers to open, but with the restriction of no pools, spas or showers. Some retail stores, like Hobby Lobby opened Friday as well. Wednesday restaurants can resume in-house dining with limited seating, and social distancing practices in place. Wednesday will also be haircut day for tens of thousands as barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and tattoo parlors will reopen with occupancy limits and social distancing guidelines. I believe that the governor will make an announcement today regarding places of assembly such as churches, movie theaters, and concert venues. I know that some folks believe this is happening too soon but I believe that we have to come out of our shells and begin to recover, we just have to be cautious. Besides, the individual still has the option to remain sheltered. For the immediate future it appears that face masks and social distancing will be the new normal for all us. Sooo… what have I decided that my personal theme for this week should be? How about “Change”. While we believe we are moving toward getting our lives back to normal, the truth is that things have changed and some of the changes will be for the better and will be permanent. Have a blessed week.
While out on a recent photo walk I remembered that I had not photographed any dogwood trees this year. Typically the dogwoods bloom immediately after the redbuds. For Ozark fishermen the dogwoods in bloom mean that the crappie are biting and the bass will soon be spawning. I managed to find a few dogwood trees around town and captured a few images for your enjoyment.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week the theme at 4M is Angels. Angels is an awesome topic and a big thanks goes out to our co-hostess at http://www.angelswhisper2011.com for giving us this theme . The best place to find angels is in the Bible. They serve all sorts of rolls but the most common one seems to be as God’s messengers. It was an angel that delivered the message to Mary that she would give birth to the Savior of the world, God’s only Son. It was an angel that rolled back the stone at the tomb of Christ to reveal to Mary Magdalene that Christ had risen. The book of Revelation tells us of seven angels responsible for seven churches. Time as space do not permit me to elaborate here, but rest assured that God has provided each of His children with a guardian angel and know that there are angels among us.
On the lighter side, angels have been the subject of songs forever and I will present a couple of them here. I can say that I appreciate jazz music in nearly all of it’s forms, but in the mid-sixties I really enjoyed contemporary jazz, specifically the music of Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck. My first introduction to the latter artist was the iconic album, “Time Out” but it was the cover art and title song from a later album that sealed the deal for me.
Pop music has been singing about angel like qualities in people since the beginning. In 1960 Bobby Vee virtually cloned The Clovers 1956 release of Devil or Angel and it became one of his early hits.
What would become known as “Do Wop”, pop music of the 50’s & early 60’s had a multitude of angelic titles. Pretty Little Angel Eyes was a great song, but I can promise you that my worst night on the dance floor never looked like this.
Let’s put a cap on this with the haunting voice of Ms. Sarah McLachlan and Arms of an Angel. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay close to home. Have a blessed week.