Category Archives: Religion

The Ultimate Triumph

I took a few pictures on Easter of last year that seems like a good time to share.

I think the pictures of the Easter Egg Hunt were taken by Jaxon. In fact I’m positive they were taken by Jaxon.


Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter - 2019

Easter Sky - 2019

Easter Sky - 2019

Easter 2019

Easter 2019

Easter 2019

Easter 2019

Easter 2019

Easter 2019

We are a little more than a month away from Lent now and I’ve been thinking on what I’m going to do for Lent. I would say that traditionally Methodists don’t really give up something for Lent. Instead they add something for Lent.

I’ve been playing with the idea of going pescatarian for Lent.

Why pescatarian?

#1. Eating less meat is the best thing you can do to help the planet:

Industrialized agriculture and the onset of the worst species extinction crisis since the demise of the dinosaurs means that livestock and humans now make up 96% of all mammals. But despite consuming the vast majority of farmland, meat and dairy accounts for just 18% of all food calories and around a third of protein.

The mighty hoofprint of farmed meat isn’t just inefficient. Deforestation to make way for livestock, along with methane emissions from cows and fertilizer use, creates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the world’s cars, trucks and airplanes. Meat rearing practices risk mass extinctions of other animals, as well as spawn significant pollution of streams, rivers and, ultimately, the ocean.

#2. Goals should be realistic and attainable. While going pescatarian will vastly reduce the amount of meat I eat, it is a realistic goal, because I know there is no way I could pull off going full vegetarian and let’s not talk about going vegan.

#3. A pescatarian diet is healthier. It is healthy for the heart, reduces the risks of some cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

#4. The prophet Kurt Cobain taught us that “it’s okay to eat fish, ’cause they don’t have any feelings.”

This means that I need to get that road trip to Corning with Shannon to tenderloin it up on the books before February 26.

Argerich

Back in May I went to see Evie perform during her piano recital. The recital was in Chocolaterie Stam in downtown Ames. I arrived early, so I wandered around downtown Ames and took a few photos that I’d like to share now:


Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

I still really haven’t set 2020 photography goals for myself, besides make the blog more current. But one of them might be to do more street photography.

Confirmation – 2019

I guess now that we are in 2020, pictures from 2019 would be considered backlog. I won’t get into my goals for 2020 until I write my 2019 review post, but one of my goals is to get in the ball park of caught up with my backlogs. That way this post will feel more contemporary. I might have to go back to adding a Sunday post, but I guess we will see.

Today is a collection of pictures from my church’s Confirmation Services in 2019.


Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

Confirmation - 2019

There won’t be a confirmation class in 2020. One of those things that frequently gets lost in the shuffle when our church has a pastoral change.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody! Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus!


Christmas - 2019

I believe that is important on this day to remember who Jesus was and who Jesus wasn’t as the Christian church wrestles for its soul. I recently saw a quote that breaks down who Jesus was and who Jesus wasn’t, very succinctly.

“Jesus WAS a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers, and crooks; WAS NOT American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer; BUT was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control. Never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes. Never asked a leper for a co-pay.; and was a long-haired brown-skinned homeless community organizing anti-slut shaming middle eastern Jew.”
-John Fugelsang

Another John Fugelsang quote I love is this:

“I’ve come to view Jesus much the way I view Elvis. I love the guy but the fan clubs really freak me out.”

Some of them freak me out to man and I go to church at least twice a week.

On this, the day that we celebrate the arrival of the Messiah, let us remember who Jesus was and celebrate him.

Christ is Born!

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At this point, I’ve hopefully distributed almost all of my Photography 139 calendars. I feel it is probably safe to start revealing what pictures I choose to include during a frantic Black Friday design session.

This is the front cover:


2020 Calendar - Cover
Front Cover

The front cover image is a picture of water drops on a mirror. The image was converted to black and white and then processed in Photoshop through a technique I like to think that I invented, so I will make a name for it and call it Double Inverse Solarization. This picture was selected by popular vote to be entered in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Photoshop category. It won that category.

More picture reveals in the following days!

Advent Candle – Christ

It is Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite days of the year and it is my favorite worship service of the year. I LOVE candlelight service. I don’t think there is any other service (perhaps a few on the mission trip) where I can feel God as much as I can during Candlelight Service.

Before we light the Christ Candle, I want to share a picture of the Youth Group the night we did our own Candlelight Service:



Anne Lamott is one of my favorite Christian writers and she distilled prayer down to the following:

“Help, Thanks, Wow.”

While I think that those three words can say just about everything you need in prayer, for the last two years I have the youth close our little service with the following poem, that I consider to be an amazing prayer. Or at least an amazing affirmation:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

The poem was written by Marianne Williamson. If you’ve heard the name, yes, the insane lady that is running for president. The author aside, I do love closing with this poem because candlelight service and the poem have the same message. We are not to keep our light to ourselves. We are to share it with others. When we share our light with others, they will share their light with others.

Let’s light the Christ Candle:


Advent Candle - Christ

One: For weeks we have listened to obscure messages from ancient prophets.
In their words
we have caught glimpses of the light that is promised.
Now, though the wreath is ablaze
and all the candles of anticipation have been lit,
still there is one last prophecy to hear.

All: With eyes wide open,
ears attuned and hearts unguarded,
we gather around the wreath one last time,
longing to receive the Word within the words.

One: A reading from the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 9, verses 2 to 7.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


All: This night these words are fulfilled in our hearing
and in our living
for the promise of God has come to us.
Our lives are the manger
in whom the Christ child is born.
No longer do we seek light from another source;
now the light burns in our hearts
and we become love’s lamp.

One: So, we light the candle at the center of our wreath and our faith.
We light it in the name of the One who is the light,
and, as Mary did so long ago,
we name this light Jesus.

Have a great Christmas Eve everybody!

Advent Candle – Love

The candle set that I have pictured and that we have been using here is one I “made” for the Youth Group. It isn’t the correctly color scheme. It it didn’t come from an official religious artifact store. It is a collection of scented candles from Wal-Mart. It was painted by Youth Group alumnus Megan Osborne.

I bring this up because the Love candle is the one that gets lit the least, next to the Christ Candle in the middle. The majority of the youth think that this is the best smelling candle and wish we could just light it all the time for that reason.

Despite the humble origins of this Advent Candle set, I believe that it has been sanctified by the love that has been put into it and the love that surrounds it.

Let’s light that Love Candle:


Love Advent - 2019

One: Love’s memory is long.
As we come to the last Sunday of Advent,
we recall the many times we have been here before
with still so much to do
and so much love left unexpressed.
The Hebrew Bible lesson today recalls a promise to King David,
which the church has often understood
to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.
Love’s promise is often kept in unexpected ways.

All: God’s love endures forever.
In a world where even evergreens turn dry and brittle,
God’s love is the one reality on which we can rely.
Today we prepare for the greatest expression of that love,
as we listen once more for the Word in the words.

One: A reading from the Second Book of Samuel, Chapter 7, verses 10-11; 16.
I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies… Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

All: God’s love endures forever.
Through acts as simple and common
as the birth of a baby,
God transforms the world,
and God’s promises are kept.
It is that expression of faithful love
we anticipate and celebrate this day.
It is that promise that brings light to our deepest night.

One: So, as we light the fourth candle
in eager anticipation of God’s greatest promise fulfilled,
what else can we do but name this candle Love?

I would add that not pictured is the green hula hoop we use to signify a wreath. I forgot to bring a wreath and the youth decided that a green hula hoop could have the same meaning as a wreath.

The green of the wreath symbolizes continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ. A green hula hoop has the same qualities and therefore can symbolize the same things. Plus it is more meaningful since the youth picked that out themselves.

However, the reason it isn’t pictured is because somebody stole (or more likely moved) our green hula hoop. I guess they wanted themselves some of that everlasting life found in Christ.

Liturgy of Light was written by the Rev. Michael Piazza, Dean and National Pastor of the Cathedral of Hope UCC,
Dallas Texas.
Copyright 2008 Local Church Ministries, Worship and Education Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH

A Photo Journal – Page 66 & 67

It has been since September 20 that I published something from THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. For several months, I have been down to just a couple pages and I had the final page done, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger on that last page. Faced with my deadline of being done with this project by the end of the year, so I could pick up another project for 2020.

I finally knocked off this project on Thursday with the help of Vest. These pages call for a celebrity picture of sorts and for the longest time I was concentrating on Tiger Woods, but in the end I decided a person that was less a celebrity, but more of a historical figure.

I’m not going to reveal who this “celebrity” is supposed to be. I hope that people can deduce it from the images, although I know that they might not make sense and you might not be able to figure out what they represent. That is okay, if I can at least get people to think a little bit, that is all I ask.

Page 66 & 67 0 Make a sequence of four pictures inspired by the rise and fall of Britney Spears (or another celebrity).


Photo Journal - Page 66-67

Photo Journal - Page 66-67

Photo Journal - Page 66-67

Photo Journal - Page 66-67

If you think you know what I was trying to say, feel free to leave your guess in the Comments section of this here blog.

This leaves only one page left to reveal:

Page 123 – Don’t take any more photographs -none- until you see something that emotionally moves you. Only then pick up your camera.

That picture will be revealed next Friday, along with my new photo project.

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This is your reminder that this week’s theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is LANDSCAPE:


WEEK 223 - LANDSCAPE
LANDSCAPE

A LANDSCAPE image is a picture of an area of land. That is it. You can poke your head out your back door (assuming you live in a house) and take a LANDSCAPE picture.

Happy photo harvesting!

Methodistgiving

For like the last 15 or 16 or more years, my church has held a free Thanksgiving dinner open to anybody in the community. The last few years I have went down and photographed the event until I needed to tap out and go to my family Thanksgiving.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day, you might even recognize a few faces from the Youth Group (present and past):


Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019

Thanksgiving - 2019


If you don’t want to cook for Thanksgiving or just find that you are alone, feel free to join us next year for Thanksgiving!

Who’s a Big Boy? – Chapter 1

Before we get into the meat of this post, I’d like to remind you that tonight at the Boone First United Methodist Church from 5:15-6:30 we are having a soup supper that is a fundraiser for our 2020 Mission Trip to Indianapolis:


2019 Soup Supper Poster

Hope to see many of you there tonight! You can even stay for the Christmas Concert that follows!

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Back in early August, the world’s largest steam engine (or something like that) the Big Boy toured through Boone. It was on its way from Des Moines to Omaha. I took part of the day off and followed it from roughly Cambridge to Carroll. Here is a collection of some of the pictures:


Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Teresa joined me after the Big Boy stopped in Boone for the rest of the trip.

I took a gamble with where I set up for when it crossed the high bridge and I lost big. Very big. But I’ll get into those details in Chapter 2.

Advent Candle – Joy

Before we kick the tires and light the fire on the Joy Advent Candle, I do want to invite you to another Mission Trip Fundraiser.

This Wednesday from 5:15 to about 6:30 at the Boone First United Methodist Church we will be serving chili and potato soup. All you have to do is drop is knock down a bowl or two of soup. Then drop whatever you fill is appropriate in our donation basket.

Then, if you are feeling up for it, at 6:30 you can head up to the sanctuary and watch the Christmas Concert, which I have no doubt will be a beautiful disaster. Just like they are meant to be!

Because we have a different schedule than normal, the youth spent last Wednesday night making the soup and chili. Here are some pictures of the production:



Yes, Jodie, we used your recipes.

So hopefully, we’ll see a few of there!

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Let us light the Joy Candle:


Joy Advent - 2019

One: This season of preparation is half done,
and today we light the third candle of our wreath.
It is pink to remind us
that there is so much about which we should rejoice.

All: In the midst of all the parties and merriment,
we are a people seeking true joy
in the arms of the One who comes to bring it.
Even as night continues to lengthen,
we sense the coming of light that will brighten our days,
so we listen for the Word in the words of the prophet.

One: A reading from the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 61, verses 1 to 3.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

All: We rejoice in the Anointed One
who came and who comes.
With joy-filled hearts,
we join the energy of our life to the life
whose birth we anticipate.
With Christ, we, too,
will bring good news to the oppressed,
bind up the broken-hearted,
proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

One: For us, God has replaced our mourning
with the oil of gladness,
so we light this third candle and name it Joy.

Liturgy of Light was written by the Rev. Michael Piazza, Dean and National Pastor of the Cathedral of Hope UCC,
Dallas Texas.
Copyright 2008 Local Church Ministries, Worship and Education Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH