I mentioned last week that one way I find relief during this pandemic is to get out and do a little photography. One of the hidden gems in our fair city is a small park in a residential neighborhood. It is private property that the owners allow the public to use. During high school homecoming and prom this place is packed with parents and prom dresses. It used to be the only place in town that the kids would meet in the afternoon prior to homecoming or prom. It was a city cultural event. Now there are several venues in the area where people gather and take photos of the prom participants. Right now the park is closed but a walk around the perimeter fence and the plants growing near the fence provide ample photo opportunities. Like most of my photo walks, I found myself to be the only human in sight. Social distancing is typically not an issue for photographers as most people disappear when the camera comes out.
You can see why this is a favorite gathering place for prom and homecoming photos. You also probably wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that the property owner was a master gardener and plant nursery owner. The family has been in business over 50 years and lives across the street from the park.
Sadly this year there was no prom and this park will remain closed until the sheltering order is lifted. Looking forward to the day when this place will once again hose bridal shoots, homecoming gatherings, and just a place to photograph some of the best flowers in the city.
This week’s theme at 4M is bloggers choice, so I get to pick my own theme and the songs that are appropriate for that theme. I think I will pick “Kindness”. One of the good things to come from this pandemic is that people are being kind to one another once again. I must say that during an election year I don’t miss the political attack ads that proliferate our homes almost non-stop for months on end. Being kind and respectful has become a bit of a lost art, yet in 1 Peter 3:15-16 the Bible tells believers, “…set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.” Collossians 4:5-6 reminds us to “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” The Bible is the instruction book on how to do life and if we call ourselves a Christian then we should act like the Scripture instructs us. Peter is saying that God’s child should be acquainted with the Word of God and always be ready to tell someone why they have the hope that comes from inside of them and we should always answer in a manner that is kind and respectful. We are not to be an offense to others nor an embarrassment to our Lord. Collossians affirms the instruction that all of our speech should be with grace. One of the purposes of salt is to improve the taste of something. All of our speech should be pleasant to the ears of the hearer, especially the unbeliever. Even difficult subjects can be approached in such a manner that no one gets angry and a relationship is not ruined. So my theme is be kind to one another. We don’t know the circumstances in which some folks are living and the reasons for their seemingly abrasive actions. We might be the only kindness that they experience during a day. Stay safe, stay sheltered, and stay healthy. Have a blessed week.
And now for the old church hymn that inspired the Kenny Rogers song.
Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic and we have little idea when all of the restrictions will be lifted, I try to get out once a week and photograph something. I get outside, get a little sunshine or rain, and get a little exercise. With a little good fortune I even manage a decent photo or two. We are blessed to live in Bentonville, Arkansas. That may only mean one thing to you and that would be the home of Walmart, but it is also home to a world class museum named Crystal Bridges. One lesser known attraction is Compton Gardens. Dr. Neil Compton was a local physician, writer, photographer, and lover of nature. Compton Gardens a seven acre site that includes the Compton Home that was designed by noted architect E. Fay Jones who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Being a naturalist Dr. Compton filled the site with plants native to the Ozarks. In recent years the house has been restored or repurposed into a meeting venue and the site has had a couple of trails added that serve as an entry point to the landscape around Crystal Bridges. A round trip walk to the museum site and back to the Compton Gardens parking lot is about a mile but the return trip is up hill. Still it is a marvelous site for capturing images of plants and flowers as well as being a prime location for portrait photo shoots. Last week I walked a very short portion of the trail and found these blooms.
This week is supposed to be cold and rainy, so I don’t know how much photography I will get to do but I’m sure that I will find a reason to get out and capture something. Have a blessed week. Stay home (kinda), stay safe, stay healthy.
I didn’t have a good transition from Aww…some Monday into 4M so I just broke them apart and the theme this week is “Fools” either in the title or lyrics. After a brief search I found a song by one of my all time favorite artists and I just can’t pass up the chance to feature Dwight Yoakam performing King of Fools. Enjoy.
HE IS RISEN. Regardless of our situation, Christ is in control. I am reminded of the account of the arrest of Christ in Matthew 26:47-56. In the heat of the discussion between our Lord and a servant of the high priest, Peter decides to intervene and severs the ear of the servant with his sword. John 18:10 identifies the servant as Malchus. Christ rebukes Peter and tells him to put away the weapon, then asks his apostle, “…do you not think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Jesus was telling Peter, “I’ve got this.” Peter had spent three years with Christ and had seen a multitude of miracles, yet when things got difficult Peter took matters into his own hands rather than relying on his Lord and Savior to resolve the situation. Christ had to intervene once again.
John 18:8 tells us that when asked by those who had come to arrest Him, Christ told them that He was the person they were seeking and asked that they allow His followers to go their way. Jesus was arrested and would soon face Pilate. Once again, even to an unbelieving governor, Christ would tell Pilate, “I’ve got this.” In John 19:10-11 Pilate claimed to have the power of life and death over Jesus but the Savior reminds us of who is in control when He replied, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above…”
The past few weeks a deadly virus has come into this world. It has caused death, financial troubles, fear, and even a degree of panic among the population. We must remember that God is in control in all things. None of this happens without God’s knowledge or consent. We may not understand His purpose but we must rest in the fact that all things work together for the good to those are called by His name. We must look for His blessings in the storm. Families have been required to put their personal schedules aside and spend time together, believers have come to see the value in corporate worship and the need to fellowship with one another, and many in the world have realized just how fragile life is and that man is not truly the master of his own destiny.
It is our faith, our trust in God, and the fact that He has told us, “I’ve got this” that provides the believer with a peace that surpasses the understanding of the world around us. With much of life’s activities canceled or put on hold it seems as though God is telling us the same thing that He told the Psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:10)
Remember to pray for all levels of government leadership, all healthcare workers, first responders, and your neighbors. Stay home, stay healthy. He’s got this.
So…how are you dealing with the COVID-19 restrictions? We are finishing up the second full week of social distancing in our town and Sunday marked the third Lord’s Day that there have been no services at the Church. The staff meet in the sanctuary and the congregation live streams the worship time. It’s certainly not as good as live fellowship with other believers, but it is necessary in these trying times.
During the week my wife and I take a short drive every few days to places we enjoy spending time. The other day she met a friend for coffee on the town square and they walked along a local trail while visiting at the preferred social distance. When she got home she said, “Have you seen the flowers on the square?” “No, I haven’t”, was my reply so I was advised that I needed to grab my camera and go take a few photos. The tulips were in full bloom around the square which means they won’t be with us much longer, so I headed out the door with camera in hand and sure enough the square was ablaze with tulips. here are a few images from my photo walk around the town square. I must say, the flowers were Aww…some and a bright spot in my week.
So the music theme this week is walking. I guess the photos above prove that I at least took a walk around the town square. We took another walk at one of the local parks, but those images have not been processed. It these days of no restaurants, movies, cross-fit gyms, or concerts, walking the neighborhood has become a very popular pastime for many Americans. Sheltering in place may give rise to a whole new fitness trend. Our cocker spaniel is enjoying the walks into areas of the neighborhood that she has never seen, but she is not a fan of social distancing. Lucy wants to play with everybody and their dog…literally. So what about walking songs. Well, if you live in Northwest Arkansas, walking to New Orleans can take quite awhile.
But if you think it’s a long walk to New Orleans, how about walking to Jerusalem?
Of course the stroll is kind of like walking only with a little rythum…sometimes very little rythum. Just sayin’
During difficult times whether in our personal lives or during a global pandemic, there is no better time to walk closer to the One who created us, loves us, and wants to spend eternity with us. Have a blessed week.
So…whatcha been doing since we have all been advised or ordered to shelter in place? I suppose there are all sorts of options for entertainment that we don’t normally practice when we have movies, restaurants, concerts, and sporting events to attend and satisfy our craving to be amused, thrilled, excited or fed. I have been working on a couple of photo projects. I think I have deleted a couple of thousand images from my files that are either bad photos or they have no longer any value in my archives. The weather has been cold and wet recently so I have only made one photo walk recently but I am taking a couple of online courses, one in photography and one Bible study in the book of Daniel. And, as you can see my wife and I mastered a 300 piece puzzle recently. We talked about what we might do for amusement before everything got crazy and my wife said she has always liked puzzles. Therefore, I went into our local Walmart,bypassed the paper towels, toilet paper, antibacterial soap, and spray disinfectant to get to the toy department and purchase a puzzle. Seems that no one was hoarding those at the time. Anyway, I picked out a couple and brought them home. It took several hours over several days to complete the pictured above. I thought we would start with a little easier challenge since this puzzle only has 300 pieces. It really was beautiful once we completed it. Our next one is 1000 pieces and we haven’t opened that box yet. Just the cover photo is a little intimidating but I am sure we will unbox the beast and start stretching our brains again soon. Here is our next adventure in puzzle land.