Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

Aww Mondays

I’m All Ears!!!

Top of the Rock

Recently my wife and I spent a couple of days at Paradise Point just outside of Branson Missouri. It is adjoins Big Cedar Lodge and sits on the shores of Table Rock Lake. It is an awesome place to stay. Branson is about an hour and a half drive from our home so we make two or three trips per year. At least one of the trips involves the family vacation and one involves my wife and I just getting away from everyday life and spending some quiet time in the Ozark mountains.

One of the attractions at Big Cedar is the Top of the Rock. It is a golf course restaurant, museum, and there is a 2-1/2 mile golf cart ride through an area filled with rock formations and waterfalls. We have never done this attraction before and autumn seemed like the best time to take the tour. You rent the golf cart, and you can spend as much time as you like on the trail. There are places that are made for photo opportunities and places that you make your own opportunities. The colors were changing so it was a great couple of hours. Here are few images from our time on the Lost Canyon Nature Trail at Top of the Rock, Big Cedar Lodge.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

This week at 4M is a “We pick ’em” week so I am going to drift back into inspirational music and introduce a couple of groups that are new to me. The contemporary Christian music genre is in a constant state of flux and it seems that new groups are emerging almost every day.

For many people the word “hope” implies wishful thinking. We hope our team wins. We hope surgery goes well. For the Christian hope is a guaranteed event that just hasn’t happened yet. We place our hope of eternal life in Christ because his death on the cross and resurrection three days later guaranteed our salvation and an eternal home in a place prepared for us called heaven. Our hope is real, it just hasn’t happened yet. When life becomes difficult we find ourselves “Holding On To Hope”

The third chapter of Matthew tells us that Jesus went to John the Baptist to be baptized establishing a widely recognized ordinance of the Church. Baptism is a public demonstration of our private decision to accept Christ as our Savior and to seek and follow His will for our life. The water can be a creek, stream, swimming pool, livestock trough, or a place in the church specifically designed for the purpose of baptism. The water itself has no special power, but in its own way it is Holy Water.

Scripture tells us that heaven is a real place created by God the Father and Christ has prepared a place for every believer to spend eternity. The Bible also tells us that no one is good enough to get there on their own. We are naturally rebellious and sinful, falling far short of the perfection required to enter paradise. Christ stepped out of heaven, lived a perfect life and offered Himself as the only acceptable sacrifice to pay for our redemption. Every believer is a Rescue Story. Have a blessed week.

Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

Aww Mondays

While Lucy is a healthy happy, bundle of energy, she does love a good nap. Crisp autumn days will often find her snuggled up in her bed catching up on her beauty sleep.

Autumn in the Ozarks

Autumn is my favorite season and Northwest Arkansas is one of the most beautiful places in the country during the transition from summer into winter. The colors are glorious and this year is another great season for photographing the foliage. We have had some cool temperatures, high winds and heavy rains which means that the leaves may not stay on the trees as long as we would like. The other day I grabbed my camera and headed out to capture the colors of autumn inside our city limits. Here are some of the images. There will be more in the coming weeks.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

The theme this week at 4M is to pick a country and build a playlist of artists from that location. Okay, that sounds like a fun search, so I will pick Australia for reasons that will be clear a little later. The first group is a mega group of brothers that gave us all Saturday Night Fever. The Bee Gees hail from down under and while the soundtrack from the movie made them all super-rich, it was a song from earlier in their career that stuck with me.

No list of Aussie artists would be complete without Olivia Newton John. She was the heartthrob of many a young man back in the day. This song has a decidedly country flair to it.

Speaking of country, the real reason that I chose Australia is because it is home to Keith Urban, legendary country artist and guitar player.

Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

Aww Mondays

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…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

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…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

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.

Greater Vision

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.