Category Archives: Art

11-09-08 & 11-10-08

The folders 11-09-08 and 11-10-08 contain a wide variety of pictures. They range from a trip to Ottumwa to trips of a book downsizing to pictures of Shannon after she had her hair cut for Locks of Love.

I had forgot that I poorly decided that the best place to takes pictures for her after picture was on an abandoned train bridge that goes over Squaw Creek. This unfortunately lead to a tragic incident where some of the hair was lost. It was a stupid idea and this tragedy might be why the bridge was ultimately torn down a few years later. Which is kind of sad, because I like things that have been abandoned.

Here are some pictures to look at:


Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

11-09-08

Rainbow

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

Shannon After

The books photo is when I was preparing to buy a house and I decided to downsize my book collection. I should probably do that again.

By adding these photos to the Photography 139 Gallery I was able to restore the following “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

The Future of Boone

The Shannon After

Lunchtography

Words, Words, Words

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Iowa State football.

Boone FUMC Church Directory: Chapter 5

I think this is the final collection of pictures I took for the Boone First United Methodist Church Directory.

I think these pictures were taken on Graduation Sunday. However, that isn’t the reason for the red balloons. I just can’t remember the reason for the red balloons. Might have been the church’s birthday. That seems vaguely familiar.

I know at least a couple of these ended up in the Directory:


Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

This process gave me some ideas for the next Directory. I might have to take a more active role in crafting it.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Triplets

After doing our “horns down” gesture, we loaded back into the car and headed north. Hoping to get deep into the heart of Oklahoma before bedding down for the night.

Leaving Austin we made a stop at Buc-ee’s. If you ever make it to Texas, I can’t strongly recommend stopping at a Buc-ee’s enough. Without mincing words, it is the best gas station in the world. I’m not just saying that because they have a beaver for a mascot.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Buc-ee’s is almost as big as Wal-Mart, but you can shop there without feeling that you are supporting an evil organization. They have just about everything you want, from a fudge shop to a barbecue shop. Do you need more than barbecue and fudge? You really have to experience it. Words don’t do it justice.

While I was Buc-ee’s I had an interesting encounter in the bathroom. Most men live by a rule that when you are at the urinal, you don’t speak to anybody around you. I don’t necessarily live by this rule, but I’m guessing 95% of men do.

While I was about my business a Washington State fan got my attention. I was thinking, “Great, I want to hear some dirty Cougar gloat about their victory while I’m in the most magical place on earth. (Buc-ee’s, for the record, not the men’s room.)

But he didn’t gloat though. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “The refs screwed you guys.”

I wasn’t looking to make a beautiful connection with another human being over gas station urinals, but here we were. I looked him back dead in the eyes and said:

“I know.”

Leaving Buc-ee’s I figured that we could unright a wrong that I didn’t even know I had committed. On the way through Waco we could stop at Magnolia and pick up the cupcake that I had apparently agreed to buy my Mom but had forgotten.

Because we knew the trick of the bakery food truck, I dropped Jesse off and scooped the loop of the silos district of Waco. I stopped and took a few pictures of an interesting looking burger joint and a church:


Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

While scooping the loop I discovered something about Magnolia that we didn’t realize the first time we were there. They have a parking lot. If you ever find yourself visiting Magnolia, don’t fall for all the parking lots charging you $10 to park there. They have a free parking lot. Go there first.

I parked our trusty steed and headed into Magnolia. Right next to the bakery truck was the infamous Alabama Sweet Tea truck. This time it was open. Hallelujah!! I was going to be able to have even more sweet tea!

I got in line, but I was greeted by an extremely prejudiced menu:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Once again, the bigotry of southerners was thrown in my face. I almost decided to skip the sweet tea, but I persisted:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

After securing the sweet tea and the cupcakes, Jesse and I got back on Interstate 35 and efforted to make good time. We wanted to get as far north as we could to make the last day of our road trip as short as possible.

We did stop at the Texas-Oklahoma border to take our picture with the iconic Texas sign:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

I also saw this in the rest stop bathroom and I documented it because I didn’t know what to make of it. I still don’t know what to make of it:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

We stopped for supper at a Taco Casa in Ardmore, Oklahoma.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

I’m not going to say it was delicious, but it was cheap and there was lots of it and sometimes when you are on the open road, that is enough.

We left Taco Casa and gassed up at a Valero. At the pump next to us were a boyfriend-girlfriend or brother-sister combo, being in the south, possibly both, gassing up their truck. They were clearly loaded. I’m not an expert on Ardmore, Oklahoma, but if I had to take a guess at their controlled substance of choice, that guess would be meth.

Regardless of what they were on, they were clearly staring at me. It made me a little nervous because our car being a rental, I wasn’t packing the car knife that always resides in the Sir Pixalotmobile. If trouble was going to go down, all I had to rely on was my dashing good looks. Fortunately, that was all I needed.

Finally, the guy spoke to me.

“Sir, how tall are you?”

At least he got my name right.

“Six foot three or six foot four.”

His girlfriend/sister said, “You’re sure a tall $&#@er. What do they feed you?”

While I should have said “Meth heads.” What I really said was, “Taco Casa most recently.”

I finished gassing up the rental and we hit the road north looking to put distance between us and this unfortunate part of Oklahoma.

We drove for a couple more hours and bedded for the night at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Perry, Oklahoma. After spending about 15 minutes watching the Oklahoma-Alabama game with an Oklahoma State fan that turned out to be a hotel employee eating what looked like tapioca pudding out of about a one gallon bucket (my man) we were in our rooms and snoring the night away.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

We got up in the morning and enjoyed the continental breakfast that the Holiday Inn Express & Suites had to offer. They didn’t have a fancy pants omelette guy. But they did have conveyor belt pancakes and I can’t ever say a bad word about conveyor belt pancakes.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

But the real show stopper was this mango juice that they had on tap. It wasn’t straight mango juice, but it was still delicious. I knocked down something like 5 cups of it and then filled up my empty Alabama Sweet Tea mason jar with more of it for the road:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

It really hit the spot and I was melancholy when I finally knocked down the last few drops as we approached Manhattan, Kansas to visit Nate and Laura and the triplets.

There isn’t much to say about this visit other than TRIPLETS!!!


Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

The triplets were doing great. Nate and Laura were doing great for being so tired. The triplets slept the whole time we were there, so maybe triplets is easy? Either way, it was a great visit.

We said goodbye to the Millers and hit the road. There was a stop for lunch in Topeka and another stop for gas. However, it wasn’t long before we were back home in Boone, Iowa. The #1 Affordable Small Town Where You’d Actually Want to Live as ranked by realtor.com.

I Know What I Did Last Mother’s Day…

Reminder that tomorrow night the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group will be holding a fundraiser for their mission trip to Rapid City, South Dakota in June:


Ash Wednesday Spaghetti Supper

Cost is a free will donation. Come eat some delicious spaghetti. Throw a few ducats into the till. Heck, even stick around and enjoy a wonderful worship service. Support a good cause and borderline great kids!

Hope to see many of you there!
+++++++

While I work on the 2018 backlog, the most recent folder I cleared out was from pictures I took on Mother’s Day.

They range from pictures of my nephews grilling to pictures of me working on a self-portrait project (that heavily involves updating classic Photography 139 image “Blue Steel”) and pictures of Naima.

Enjoy:


Mother's Day - 2018

Mother's Day - 2018

Mother's Day - 2018

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

SELF-PORTRAIT

The original “Blue Steel” was considered too sexy to hang on the wall of Salon 908. I’m not going to bother trying to get Blue Steel Redux on any public walls. However, one of them could be part of the Canvas Wall Project.

10-28-08 & 10-30-08

I’m going to publish the pictures from 2 old timey folder today because they are both pretty small.

The pictures in the folder 10-28-08 are from a trip I took to Ottumwa with Sara. Jen inherited a house when her Uncle John passed away in Ottumwa. It was nice house as far as houses in Ottumwa go, but it needed lots of attention before it could go on the market.

Sara and I went there, I think to help, but on this trip to Ottumwa I’m not sure we did much helping.

The pictures from folder 10-30-08 were from the beginnings of my house hunt. It took me 3 months of looking at over 60 houses to find the house that is the current home of the Photography 139 Studio. The way I found my current house is both extremely nerdy and a bit of a God Moment, but that is a story for another journal entry on another day.

These house were the 2nd set of houses I looked at. I looked at 2 other houses on a different night, but those aren’t part of what I would consider my official “House Hunt” because I was mostly just tagging along with Teresa’s friend Rob on his house hunt.

Here are some pictures to look at:


Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

Fun Fact:

The tie that is in my hand in the mullet wig picture I wore in my Computer Mine Holiday Card photo because I felt it was very punk rock.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Ottumwa

House Search

The Ottumwa entry has a story about the time Derrick betrayed me… over a potato.

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve disc golf and long hair Shannon. But not at the same time.

Get Your Ash!

Today’s post is somewhat more of an advertisement than informational or even photographical. This is me telling you what you should do for supper next Wednesday.

The Youth Group will be making and serving spaghetti next Wednesday night before our Ash Wednesday Service. The cost of eating delicious spaghetti is an at-will donation. All the money raised will go to support the youth group and youth group activities.

All the details you need are on this picture of this wonderful poster the Sr. High Youth Group made on Wednesday night:


Ash Wednesday Spaghetti Supper

If you want it spelled out more, this is what you need to know:

What: Ash Wednesday Spaghetti Dinner
Where: Boone First United Methodist Church
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Time: 5:30-7 PM
Cost: Free Will Donation
Why: To support the Youth Group on their Mission Trip to Rapid City, South Dakota in June!

I can personally vouch for these kids. Look at some of the good works they did in Vidor, Texas last year:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Some of the pictured kids have moved on. Some of the pictured kids will be going. Many new faces will be getting their first taste of service Christianity through the mission trip lifestyle.

So come down on Wednesday and support a good cause and great kids! Then stay for our Ash Wednesday Worship Service!

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is FACELESS PORTRAIT:


WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT
FACELESS PORTRAIT

A FACELESS PORTRAIT is a portrait that does not include a person’s face. It could be a picture of just part of their body. Or with their face covered. They don’t even necessarily have to be in the picture.

Happy photo harvesting!

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Alamo Bowl

We gave her a hug. Loaded back up in the rental and left Waco profoundly changed in a way that is hard to figure. My best guess is that it would be the way you would change if you saw the Vietnam War Memorial with a veteran of the Vietnam War or if you talked to a holocaust survivor or met somebody that was in the towers on 9/11. Something that was merely academic, was suddenly real.

We were a couple hours from San Antonio and several hours from the kickoff, but the game seemed decidedly less important than it did just an hour or so earlier.

We only made one stop between Waco and San Antonio. Some gas station that won’t be remembered for the cleanliness of their bathroom. Bathroom not pictured.

We reached our hotel near the San Antonio airport about 4 hours before kickoff. We dropped off our stuff and took an Uber to downtown San Antonio to meet Andree and his brother. The Uber driver really hated Lonestar Beer. He made a point of that in our conversation.

We met Andree and his brother at their hotel and walked to Fudrucker’s for supper. This violates the #1 rule of Christopher D. Bennett road tripping, but I was hungry and wasn’t in the mood to make a big deal out of it.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

The River Walk, which we walked by.

On our way to Fudrucker’s we ran into a guy with a beard that was almost as impressive as mine. We exchanged pleasantries and then we hugged it out for a bit. I think Andree and his brother were a bit mesmerized by this exchange. Apparently they have never hugged a complete stranger. Which is sad and means that they clearly need to grow beards.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip
My burger and onion rings hit the spot!

After the meal we walked to the Alamodome for the Alamo Bowl. We walked a good portion of the way with a Washington State graduate that was from San Antonio originally, but now lived in Japan. He was fortunate to be able to attend the bowl game of his alma mater because he had come home to visit his mom for the holidays. Washington State happened to be playing in San Antonio. Really worked out for him. He was a pretty cool guy.

We got to the game and I had an usher take our picture:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

The usher walked back like 20 rows to take our picture to make it horribly backlit. I did what I could to salvage the photo in post.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Unfortunately, the Cyclones couldn’t pull off the victory. The refereeing was dreadful. The kind of refereeing you get one Big Ten refs referee a Big 12 game. They just don’t see the caliber of athlete and they aren’t prepared for the speed of the game.

This resulted in one of Iowa State players being ejected from the game for targeting, but replays showed the Cyclone more like softly landed on top of the Cougar quarterback.

Another terrible call was a play where Matt Eaton caught a pass and took 4 steps before being tackled. The ball came loose as he hit the ground. It should have been a 20 or so yard completion for the Cyclones. Somehow the refs called it an incompletion.

Regardless of how terrible the refs were, Iowa State has to look in the mirror and face the fact that they gave that game away. 3 turnovers. 7 false start penalties. That isn’t a recipe for beating anybody, let alone a top ten team.

It was with that bitterness we filtered out of the Alamadome, knowing the better team didn’t win that night, but excited to see what these young Cyclones do in 2019. Even though we were facing the reality that Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery were probably leaving for the NFL with a year of eligibility left.

Jesse and I bid Andree and his brother a fond adieu and took a Lyft back to our hotel. I think our Lyft driver was somewhere on the autism spectrum. At the very least he was extremely socially awkward. Not the type of guy that hugs a stranger on the streets of San Antonio.

After having the same conversation with the Lyft driver at least 5 times on the way back to the hotel, I was relieved as we hit the hotel room. I crashed almost immediately.

Jesse had booked us kind of a fancy pants hotel with all his Marriott points. They had a spread for breakfast that made me almost (ALMOST) forgive them for not having a make your own waffle maker that makes waffles in the shape of Texas.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip
They had 2 guys making cook-to-order omelettes.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Jesse had something of a dreadful pain in the gulliver, so I took over the driving duties. The trip back to the Cyclone State was mostly business, but we did stop in Austin.


Austin
Austin artwork.

Austin

Austin

We also stopped to see the Stadium where the Texas Longhorns play football. I’m pretty sure it is the biggest stadium I’ve ever seen. It holds almost twice the number of people as Jack Trice Stadium. It feels twice the size of any other stadium I’ve seen. Such as where Kansas plays, where Kansas State plays, where Iowa plays, where Missouri plays, where the Vikings play, and where the Chiefs play. The only stadium I’ve been to that is comparable in size is where the Nebraska Bugeaters play.


Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Horns Down!

The guy we met outside of Texas’s stadium was interesting. He immediately wanted to engage us in a political discussion when he found out we weren’t from Texas.

He had two main planks to his political beliefs.

#1. Texas not having state income tax was the greatest thing ever.

I was happy for him to be so happy about it, but I tried to explain to him that having no income tax just means that he pays higher taxes in other areas. Furthermore, not having state income tax moves the tax burden from the wealthy and makes poor people pay more taxes.

He insisted this wasn’t the case, but it is in fact true.

The effective tax rate on the bottom 20% in states without income taxes is 10.7%. The effective tax rate on the bottom 20% in states with income taxes is 9.9%. 9.9% is less than 10.7% if you were trying to do the math.

The effective tax rate on the top 20% in states without income taxes is 4.7%. The effective tax rate on the top 20% in states with income taxes is 7.6%. 4.7% is less than 7.6% in case you were doing the math.

The sad truth is that whether or not you have an income tax or don’t have an income tax, the wealthy in this county don’t pay their fair share of the tax burden and the poor pay too much of a tax burden.

To his other point that he wasn’t get taxed more in other ways to make up for the lack of income tax, the numbers don’t back him up there either.

Just putting Iowa against Texas, Iowans pay a little more than 1% more in state taxes than Texans. But 1% is not the great number that he purported.

Iowans pay:

Total Tax Burden – 9.32%
Property Tax Burden – 3.45%
Income Tax Burden – 2.5%
Sales & Excise Tax Burden – 3.35%

Texans pay:

Total Tax Burden – 8.15%
Property Tax Burden – 3.70%
Income Tax Burden – 0.0%
Excise and Sales Tax Burden – 4.45%

Excise and sales tax burden is inordinately paid by the poor and middle class.

States that don’t have an income tax get that money from some place else. That some place else is usually the poor.

While the jury’s still out on the benefits of living in a state with no income tax, experts agree that there is one clear result for those states that do levy an income tax.

It helps the poor.

An income tax is a classic tool for redistributing wealth. It’s usually “progressive” in nature, meaning that it taxes higher earners at a greater rate than lower earners. Other taxes typically don’t have that Robin Hood-like characteristic.

Sales taxes, for example, are considered “regressive.” They don’t change depending on the income level of the consumer. They treat everyone the same. So do levies on food, gasoline and other key consumable items.

These taxes place an unfair burden on the poor, according to research from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The reason is the lowest earners in the state devote the lion’s share of their take-home pay to buying things that are subject to sales taxes. The wealthy, who can save a chunk of their income in their 401(k)s and other investments, have a much smaller exposure to the sales tax.

If you think I’m delving into class warfare, I will only say this:

There can’t be class warfare in this country until the poor start fighting back.

Here is my favorite example of how class warfare currently works in our country:

A billionaire, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 1000 cookies. The billionaire takes 999 cookies and says to the worker, “watch out, that immigrant is going to take your cookie.”

#2. Ann Richards is the worst thing that ever happened to Texas.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Ann Richards. I’m not. I’m not going to defend her. However, after listening to this guy espouse about his libertarian belief for 15 minutes. Then listening to him call Ann Richards a bitch at least 5 times and tell us about how he celebrated her death, the only policy that he pointed out that was so terrible was that she repealed a law that made it legal to build a building that is taller than the state capitol building in Austin. That would be a libertarian policy. I’m not sure he actually knows what he is.

But I digress.

After doing our “horns down” gesture, we loaded back into the car and headed north. Hoping to get deep into the heart of Oklahoma before bedding down for the night.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is TRANSPORTATION:



TRANSPORTATION

A TRANSPORTATION photo is a photo of anything that is TRANSPORTATION related. From trains to planes to automobiles. To bridges to tunnels to tracks.

Happy photo harvesting!

Iowa State Fair – 2006

Another Throwback Thursday. Throwing it back to pictures I took at the 2006 Iowa State Fair.

These picture never appeared in “An Artist’s Notebook”. I uploaded them now because I am going through some nearly pre-Photography 139 photos and trying to get a grasp of a semblance of an organizational system for them.

Looks like in 2006 I took 2 trips the Iowa State Fair. One involved Ernie and I assume Teresa. Also Monica, Robert, and Robert’s lady friend at the time. Then there must have been a second trip with Jay.

Here are a few photos from those days:


Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

I don’t know that I have many of these extreme walks down memory lane left to publish, but perhaps a set of pictures from after the Towers were imploded might be on the docket. The ones in Ames. Not the ones in New York City.

Boone FUMC Church Directory: Chapter 3

Seems like another good time to release a collection of photos that I tooke for the Boone First United Methodist Church’s Church Directory.

In this collection are pictures I took of a particular stained glass window that the committee wanted, a communion set that the committee wanted, some Youth Group pictures the committee wanted and a choir picture the committee wanted.

You will see no pictures of Kio, which I believe is what the committee wanted. Too soon? Love you Kio!


Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

There is still at least one, possibly two more sets of pictures from the Boone FUMC Church Directory Photo Shoots still out there to publish!

The Proverbial Swan Song

While I was preparing to write this entry I went down a rabbit hole on the origins of the term “swan song”.

I have heard the term many times, but never really understood what it meant. Apparently there is a belief dating back to ancient Greece that swans stay mostly mute for their life and then right before they die, they sing a beautiful song.

There is still a fair amount of debate on whether or not swans do in fact sing a beautiful song before they die. I would like to think it is true since swans are among the most beautiful of birds. They certainly are the most beautiful bird that you can see in Iowa, in the wild.

The term isn’t always morbid. Is has come to be synonymous with doing something great right before you retire.

I don’t know if this post 100% qualifies, but it is about a form of retirement for me.

For the last couple of years I have done some pro bono photography (although I once was paid in homemade treats for Naima) for the Boone Area Humane Society. The last time I did photography for them was when I covered their annual Pet Memorial Day Celebration.

Due to the shifting sands of the power structure of the Boone Area Humane Society, I have a feeling that I won’t be asked to do any photography for them in the coming years. But that is a story for a different time.

Here are some pictures from that event:


Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Kio ran the event. Pastor Doug gave a speech and lead us in prayer. It was a cool event. I hope it continues to happen in the future, but the way things stand currently, I have my doubts.

Another loss that people in one of my communities are experiencing is that we learned that we will be losing Pastor Doug and his amazing wife Jodie near the end of June. It is a good deal for Doug because he is getting a big fatty promotion. He will be the District Superintendent of the Southeast District. He will be posting up in Mount Pleasant.

For our church, it kinda sucks. Doug is a great Pastor and Jodie is possibly an even better Pastor’s wife. Losing both of them will leave a hole in our church that the next person or persons will have quite a time filling.

The new Pastor will also be like the 80th Pastor we have had in the last 5 years. Now that is probably hyperbole, but search your feelings, you know it to be true.

There is a common misconception that somewhere in The Bible it says “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is a common phrase that is trotted out as a reassurance when people are going through difficult times or grief.

The truth is that this isn’t in The Bible. Sorry, but sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

That being said, I would like to give the common response to the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I wish God didn’t know we were so strong*.

The good news is that while God doesn’t say anything about giving us more than we can handle, God does say that we won’t be tempted beyond our limits:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Therefore, I hope my church will not be tempted to feel sorry for itself. I hope my church won’t feel tempted to cling to the past. I hope my church won’t be tempted to resist the future.

A new Pastor is coming. While they will be the 80th Pastor in the last 5 years, I have faith that we will get a good one. We are in a good position and while we aren’t exactly a “destination” denomination, we are in a relatively good place and we have some powerful people looking out for our interests.

Playing the numbers game, we’ve really only had one bad Pastor in the last 15 years. While they were a really, really, really, really, really bad Pastor (I mean the guy sermonized at least once a month about past congregants he had smited and that is just the tip of the iceberg), we aren’t due for another like him for at least 30 years. Those are my calculations at least.

While I’m sad to be losing such great people, I am optimistic about the future and what a new Pastor will bring to our church and what our church will bring to a new Pastor!

There is light at the end of the tunnel and at this time, I don’t hear a train.

*On a personal note, this phrase has always bothered me.