I went for a walk on a local trail in our area to photograph some fall color. I spotted these leaves in the crotch of a tree and when I got close I found this little fellow.
Cataract Surgery D-Day + 1
Last Wednesday I had my first cataract surgery and I can report that my distance vision is greatly improved. My eyesight was getting worse, and I was just starting to see a little yellow tint in everything and my night vision made it uncomfortable to drive in heavy traffic after dark. Street signs were becoming increasingly difficult to read…even highway exit signs were not as clear as they should have been.
My visit to the ophthalmologist revealed that I had a cataract in each eye and it was time to remove them. The process is pretty incredible. I showed up at the eye surgery center at 8:00 a.m. By 8:30 I had been checked in, taken back to my “ready room”, given a couple of rounds of eye drops to cleanse and numb the eye and they give you an IV to calm all of your nerves.
They rolled me into the surgery suite and the fun began. You can’t really see anything. They shine a very bright light in your eye and blocks out all surrounding distractions. What you see is something similar to a kaleidoscopic light show. They make two very small incisions in your eye. Then they use the mini version of the process for removing gall stones or kidney stones by blasting the cataract then vacuuming it out through one of the small incisions. Once the cataract is removed, they insert a new lens which is very soft an pliable. It is folded like a taco, inserted through the incision then unfolded inside the eye. That light show you see is all of these things happening right before your very eye!!! The surgery takes 15 – 20 minutes, so I was done and out the door before 9:30.
Today my distance vision is greatly improved and I am told it will still get a little better over the next couple of days. When both surgeries are complete I probably will not need glasses for distance vision and only cheap reading glasses for close work…like threading that fishing line through the eye of the hook. Based on these early results of my first procedure, I am looking forward to my second surgery and even better vision that I have had in decades. This is coming from someone who refuses to wear contacts because I hate things close to my eyes. If you have been told that you need cataract surgery, go for it. It will change your life.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week the theme at 4M is our choice, so in keeping with my vision theme I think I’ll find a few songs about eyes, sight and vision. In recent free choice weeks I have focused on inspirational music and what could be more inspirational than I Saw The Light!
All of us have been told at one time or another that only the strong are able to face and work out their own problems while only the weak go running for help in every situation. I have found that it all depends on where you run to and who you look for. I have learned that in every situation the best thing for me to do is to run to my Heavenly Father and tell Him, “I Look To You.” He is my source of strength, wisdom, courage, love, honor and respect. The very first chapter of the very first book of Scripture tells us that we are made in the image of our Creator. He is our Father and we can rely on His Word in every circumstance, so when life makes you want to run and hide, get on your knees and take your problem to the Savior and tell Him, “I Look To You.”
Scripture is filled with the testimony of God’s love for His children. God loves even those who hate Him and have no use for the things of the All Mighty. Christ did not die on a cross just for Christians. He died for everyone but only those who accept His gift of eternal life will know the joy of spending eternity in a place designed and built especially for each of us who follow Him. We can rest assured that His Eye Is On The Sparrow. Have a blessed week.
Aww Monday – Lucy, American Cocker Spaniel Fetching Machine
Friday Night Lights
This time last year I was seeing doctors, having tests run and preparing for a major surgery. The result was that I did not get to photograph a single high school football game and I LOVE photographing high school sports. Well football is back, in spite of Covid-19 and I went to my first game of the season, even thought it is week three. I’m a little rusty when it comes to panning and getting the focus as crisp as I want, but it was a start and I will be attending more games and capturing more images, so you might as well brace yourself for more gridiron chaos.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
The theme this week at 4M is to pick our favorite decade of music and feature songs from that decade. I was in my teens and early twenties during the 60’s and I believe that happens to be the best music ever. We had The Supremes, The Four Tops, Sam Cook, B. B. King, , The Beatles, Beach Boys, Alman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, Simon & Garfunkle, James Taylor, Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, Leon Russell, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zepplin, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Linda Ronstadt…and the list goes on. I could make a play list that would last for weeks. So where do I start.
The first album I ever bought was Ray Charles, What’d I Say, but that was released in 1959 so it doesn’t count. I also owned Modern Sounds in Country/Western Music where Ray put covered songs by Hank Williams and other greats. Country would never sound the same again.
As the decade of the sixties began the pop charts were filled with country songs, instrumentals, big band vocals, soul sounds. One song that got everyone on the dance floor was this number by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. You can hear the influence of Chubby Checker and The Twist all over this song.
1964 was a watershed year as the “British Invasion” swept the country and the Beatles became a household word. They charted no less than five of the top 20 songs for the whole year. It all started with a little hand holding.
My senior year in high school was 1965 and the number one song of the year came from another British band. They just never seemed satisfied.
I came home from Vietnam in 1968 and the music world was filled with hard rock and protest. On the hard rock side I found that a little Cream in my coffee was just what I needed. Cream was made up of three future rock hall of famers, Jack Bruce on Guitar and vocals, Ginger Baker on drums and Eric Clapton on Guitar and vocals. They were simply on another level. Eric Clapton is still making great music. The number 6 song of 1968 was all about love and sunshine.
The decade came to an end with one of my favorite groups, Creedence Clearwater Revival releasing one of their early chart toppers. While John Fogerty wrote this song and the group had a hit with it in 1969, the tune became the anthem song for Tina Turner in 1971. Tina became Proud Mary. Have a blessed week.
Aww Mondays – Looking Back
Here is an image of our youngest granddaughter at our favorite resort in Branson Missouri in 2012.
We have probably been back to this resort five or six times in the past eight years, so I decided to recreate this image.
Needless to say, things have changed. She is now a freshman in college. Wow! Where did the time go.
The time has come for me to have cataract surgery. Yes, my vision is getting worse and a recent visit to the ophthalmologist revealed that I have a cataract in each eye, so I will have them removed over the next few weeks. This surgery now takes less than half an hour and recovery is less than two weeks. I have a little anxiety only because I don’t like things close to my eyes. I never wore contact lenses because I refused to poke my finger in my eyes every day. At any rate, I found a couple of things at Lowe’s and Walmart that helped put a lighter touch on the situation.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week at 4M we get to pick and genre of music that we like to feature, so I am headed toward praise and worship. An artist that I met several years ago and really like his music is Jason Gray. Jason has a way of putting our average everyday relationship with our Creator into words and set them to music. His music is not “High Church” or “Christian Anthem” rather, it is how most of us think in our spiritual relationship with God. Here are a few examples.
Mankind, by nature is an impatient bunch. We are inclined to pray, “Lord give me patience…and do it right now.” Our timing is almost never the same as the Almighty. Just remember God is always “Right On Time”.
All of us like to look back on our lives and remember what we would call our “Glory Days”. They are typically our high school through early twenties when we were in peak physical condition and able to do nearly anything. We thought we were ten feet tall and bulletproof. The truth is, a little age and experience bring the wisdom that we use to navigate this life. Even though I am in my seventh decade on this planet, my relationship with the Creator has made these are my glory days.
Every Christian has had days that feel like they are all alone in this world. We lose our job or we are transferred to a new location and have to start our lives over. A loved one passes away, or we receive news that we have a medical condition that will alter our lifestyle for the rest of our life. We feel like we have been abandoned by God and have to face difficult times all alone. It is in those times that we just want God to remind us that He is still active in our life. In John 14:18 Christ promises that He will never leave us as orphans. In the very beginning (Genesis 28:15) God tells those who have a relationship with Him, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…” Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them;for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Still, we often ask the Father to ” Remind me You’re Here”.
Have a Blessed week.
A couple of years ago my wife had this portrait of Lucy painted and gave it to me as a birthday present. It is incredible and you can see the soul of the pup in the eyes. Lucy will be four years old in December and she is the source of endless joy around the house.
Happy Fall Y’all!!!
Recently my wife went into Autumn decorating mode and filled the house with vignettes of fall color. Here are a few examples.
If you think these are good, just wait until she puts her Santa’s helper hat on for Christmas. Have a blessed week.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
The theme this week at 4M is songs honoring National Neighbor Day or Sons Day. I will skip the obvious Mr. Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and move on to other subjects. I am an only child so I wouldn’t know anything about being the Seventh Son.
While “son” is not in the title, a brother is a son. The lyrics speak to where we would do well to be as a nation, thinking more of one another than ourselves. My fellow man…”He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
I remarked that I am an only child…an only son. I know that my parents loved me with a special love because I was their only offspring. My mother wrote letters to congressmen, pleading not to send me to Vietnam because I was her only blood relative. It was to no avail and I served my country in Southeast Asia. I can only imagine the agony that God Himself suffered when His only Son was crucified by an angry mob, thinking they had put an end to the teachings of Christ. But on the third day, the stone rolled back from the tomb and God the Father spoke to His Son and said, “Arise My Love”.
Obviously, I have a treat just out of frame that Lucy is lazer-focused on.
North Forest Lights
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a world-class facility that focuses on the works of American artists from the days of the colonies to the present. It is a spectacular place to visit…and it’s free!!! Currently there is an exhibit on the trails around the building called “North Forest Lights”. It consists of five works placed in the forest with special lighting effects and set to music. The trail is approximately one and one half miles long I did not capture images of some of the purely light exhibits because I needed to do long exposures and that would require a tripod and just get in everyone’s way. Here a a few images that I did manage to capture.
This first piece is titled Forest Frequencies. It is a circular maze type structure with lights in the top of the pathway. The work varies in height from about 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 feet. It’s an interesting work that this image doesn’t truly do it justice.
This piece is titled “The Hearth”. The description is, “A bonfire like sculpture to immerse yourself in the warm glow and beating heart of nature.” The work is probably fifteen feet in diameter. The light changes from red to blue and the white lights beyond move and come from all directions. There is music that accompanies this exhibit as well.
This exhibit is a massive tree with lights place throughout the branches. There is a microphone where the couple is standing. You sing into the microphone (not to worry, no one can hear you) and the lights change colors that supposedly reflect the colors of your voice. Interesting.
There is simply no way to do this exhibit justice. This is a light and music show set over a dry stream bed. You stand on a bridge, over the stream bed, and the light show takes place literally at your feet. It is titled, “Memory of Water.” The image and colors change with the music. Awesome is the only word that comes to mind.
If you are in the area between now and April, the exhibit is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning at dusk. There is an admission fee because of the number of staff required to be on the grounds. You can get tickets from the website, http://www.crystalbridges.org. It is worth the trip. I plan on going back and photographing it again later in the year
Monday’s Music Moves Me
The theme this week at 4M is free choice. I get to pick whatever theme and music I want to post. So, in keeping with the light show above, I’ll spend a few minutes talking about the greatest light and music show that is yet to come.
Followers of Christ have a belief and hope of the coming of the Savior. This event is commonly known as The Rapture and it applies only to believers. The Rapture of the church is first mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and the vooice of tf an archangel with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. We Shall Rise! Revelation 1:7 tells us that the entire world will be a witness to this event, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him…”
Chapter 20 of Revelation tells us that there will be a judgment of all mankind and verse 15 specifically says that anyone not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire. I know where I will be “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”, how about you? Revelation 21:1 describes the new heaven and the new earth. In verse four we find that because Satan was bound in chapter 20, there will be no tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no more pain for those who have placed their faith and trust in the Alpha and Omega, Jesus Christ.
That day that I leave this life and step into eternity will begin a life filled with “Joy Unspeakable”!!! Have a blessed week.