Category Archives: Christianity

2009-02-18 – Arizona Day 4

The pictures in the folder called 2009-02-18/Arizona Day 4 are from my work/vacation to Arizona.

Jesse and I spent the night at his brother’s house. We got up in the morning and ate at a local eatery. Then we visited a National Park called the Casa Grande Ruins. I think later that day we actually had to show up for work and the vacation became work.

Here are some pictures from that day:


Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

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

Arizona Day 4

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve even more from my trip to Arizona.

Rodan 139 – Small Church

When Jesse and I went on my pre-birthday road trip to Decorah I packed Rodan139 with me at the thought that I’d be able to crack it out someplace along the road trip.

While Decorah and two waterfalls were the ultimate purpose of the road trip, I also thought that if we were super efficient, we might even be able to hit Pike’s Peak before coming home.

No shocker, we weren’t super efficient. We spent a long time at a Civil War reenactment that we stumbled upon. To further complicate things, it rained almost the entire day and Rodan139 doesn’t leave the nest in rain.

On the way home, we stopped at The Small Church near Festina and Rodan139 got to spread its wings for a few minutes.

Here are a few of the pictures I took:


Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

A Photo Journal – Page 104

Last Friday I took a birthday road trip with Jesse. It wasn’t my birthday, but it was the day before my birthday and I knew my actual birthday was going to be filled with working on my Mom’s bedroom ceiling and graduation open houses. So I took Friday off from work and Jesse and I hit the open road.

The ultimate goal of the road trip was to visit and photograph two waterfalls in the Decorah area. I had visited one of them a couple years back and I was never really satisfied with the photographs I took. The other waterfall I had never seen and it sounded very intriguing as it was described as a 1 mile hike to even get to it.

I have tons of photos of these two waterfalls coming in upcoming blog posts. Also pictures of a Civil War re-enactment with some of the “friendliest” folks you ever met in your life, plus a few new entries into THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, pictures of The Little Brown Church, and The Smallest Church.

Plus there is a bunch of video I’m going to edit into a vlog at some point. On this trip I fully intended to take a picture for Page 104 of The Photo Journal. I knew exactly how I wanted to take this picture. I wanted to take it with Rodan139. Unfortunately it rained pretty much all of the day and I wasn’t risking Rodan139 in rain. It isn’t supposed to fly in rain and at this time, I’m not going to push the boundaries.

Luckily, when we were at The Smallest Church, the sky was precipitation free and it fit my definition of the theme for Page 104:


Photo Journal - Page 104
Page 104 – Keep walking until you are lost. Take a photograph the moment you realize you are lost.

Now we weren’t lost, not in the traditional sense. I knew where we were, but I didn’t know the fastest way to get back on the path home without pulling up the GPS. That is as lost as I get. We didn’t walk to The Smallest Church, but seriously, there is zero chance I’m ever going to get lost walking. My sense of direction is just too good.

The Littlest Church is sometimes billed as The World’s Smallest Church, but it isn’t. It isn’t even close. However it is very small. The church seats 8 people and measures 14′ x 20′.

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 68

The journey to taking the picture for Page 68 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT is one that came completely out of nowhere. I certainly didn’t see it coming. I don’t think anybody saw it coming.

It all started when I got home from Youth Group a couple weeks back and saw a bunch of text messages on my phone from Logan. It had been a fascinating night at Youth Group. Pastor Doug came and talked to the youth about the multi-million dollar public relations disaster for the United Methodist Church that was the Saint Louis Conference.

If you aren’t Methodist or don’t follow the news, the Saint Louis Conference was a conference where a bunch of Methodists got together to decide what to do about homosexuality. Just like Jesus wanted. People getting together in big meetings, with a ton of parliamentary rules, to discuss a topic he wouldn’t care about.

He’d be like, “You guys do that. I’m just going to be over here loving people. You might want to think about joining me.”

I have no doubt that Jesus would be throwing all sorts of shade at the modern church. Not just the Methodist Church, but all the pedo-church down the street and the church across town that makes divorcees second class members and the church out in the country that spends a fortune on having a beautiful building but turns it back on the suffering widow and the starving child.

Borrowing from Carlos A. Rodriguez:

Here’s what Jesus did NOT say:

Welcome the stranger, if he has money.
Feed the hungry, who earned the food.
Love your neighbor, when it’s good for the economy.
Give water to the thirsty, once they pay their dues.

Rule. Don’t server.
Be first. Not last.
Take and keep taking.

OR

Borrowing from Barbara Brown Taylor:

The only clear line I draw these days is this: when my religion tries to come between me and m neighbor, I will choose my neighbor… Jesus never commanded me to love my religion.

Remember, 100% of the people you hate were created in God’s image.

There were basically two plans on the table. (That isn’t 100% accurate, but you don’t want to be here all day do you?) One plan was called the Traditional Plan and it was basically, “Hey we’re going to take a couple verses in Leviticus out of context and then forget about literally almost everything Jesus said and pretty much make that our thing. You cool with that? If you don’t agree and step out of line, we’re going to hit you with a bunch of punishments.”

This was put forward by the super conservative churches that our drawn to Christianity because they think it is a way they get to judge other people. Which I get, judging other people makes you feel really good about yourself without having to earn that feeling. It is almost like found money.

My understanding is that this super bigoted plan was put forth by these conservative churches with the intention that it would never pass. Then they could cry foul, take their ball and go home. Their ball being that they could break off from the rest of the Methodists and have their Klan lite meetings without anybody bothering them.

The other plan was the One Church Plan. It basically said, “Hey guys, we aren’t all going to agree on this one issue, but this whole Jesus thing is a whole lot bigger than one issue. So let’s let each church and Pastor do their own thing. If officiating gay weddings is your bag, we dig it, go do it. If it isn’t, that’s like super judgmental, but we won’t force it on you.”

Well, the Traditional Plan passed. So yeah. Sucks to be a Methodist.

But the news isn’t all bad. The Traditional Plan is super unconstitutional (because of a bunch of super boring technical financial issues) and has been sent to the Methodist Judicial Council where it will crash to the ground faster than a Boeing 737 Max 8.

Now the youths weren’t being super talkative. So I had all the people in the room that wear glasses stand on one side of the room and told them for the purpose of this exercise, what would they do if I told them that they were only allowed to come back to Youth Group if they gave up their glasses wearing lifestyle.

Many of them threw their glasses off. They said, they would be willing to cover up who they were to keep coming to Youth Group and that made sad. I dare say melancholy.

Now this exercise was I’m sure was subconsciously based on the C.S. Lewis quote:

“I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun – not because I see it, but by it I can see everything else.”

But then something that will go on the list of my favorite things that I have ever seen with the youth group happened when two of the youths told me that what they would do if they were kicked out of Youth Group for living a practicing eye glass wearing lifestyle. They said that they would build a giant pair of glasses and put it on the church building.

They were being probably about 40% facetious and another 40% punk, but I thought: “My God! These kids have created the perfect metaphor for the situation we are in.”

Much of the rest of the night’s conversation surrounded the gender fluid and transsexual kids that they knew and ways that they can be their allies in what is probably the worst roughest part of life. High School.

The conversation lasted well past the time we are supposed to close up shop. I feel that is was a successful night.

When I got home it was then that I saw all the text messages from Logan. They were pictures of old doors. One had my Dad’s name and my Uncle David’s name on it. The other had artwork drawn on it, by my Dad. I had never seen these doors. I didn’t know they existed.

My Dad passed away two days before Christmas when I was nine years old. My Uncle David passed away before I was born. This artwork had to date back to the early 1960s.

Logan is the someday to be Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Boone News Republican. For reasons that aren’t clear, but also aren’t important, his job landed him at Paradox. I think the best way to describe Paradox is that it is an art and antique and craft store. Yes, Boone has a ton of them. But Paradox is different. The kind of things they sell in there are strange. Maybe even a little twisted. Basically, not the type of thing you’d expect to see in Boone.

Somehow Logan got a tour of the entire building that Paradox owns. It used to be Ensley Photography Studio, but right now it is being rehabbed into something entirely different.

On the second floor of the building there is an old vaudeville stage. In this area, there is a door. On the window are the names Gerald D. Bennett and John D. Bennett. In a pile of doors off to the side is a door that is the work of Doc Bennett.

From talking to my Mom, Logan figured out that this building used to be apartments. My Dad lived there after divorcing his first wife. Uncle David lived there with his first wife. This was in the early 60s. They were still there almost 60 years later.

I told Logan that I needed to see these doors and to see if they would sell one of them to me. Logan went back and setup an appointment to get a tour again on that Saturday.

It was on this tour that I took the picture for Page 68 of the PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT:


Photo Journal - Page 68
Page 68 – Let a window do all the talking.

Now the actual purpose of Page 68 in THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT isn’t to find a window with artwork on it. It is actually to put a subject next to a window and take their picture lit by the light coming through the window.

However, when the wording is “Let a window do all the talking”, you better believe that I haven’t had a window talk to me like that window talked to me.

Here are a few other pictures I took of artwork, some of it kind of creepy, that I absolutely can’t believe are still there 60 years later:


Photo Journal - Page 68

Photo Journal - Page 68

Photo Journal - Page 68

Photo Journal - Page 68

After the tour I did inquire about buying the door from the husband and wife team that owns Paradox. They said, that they would have to think about it, but they thought that they would. I gave them one of my super fancy Photography 139 business cards so that they could contact me. I haven’t heard from them yet, so I may have to go back in and inquire again.

The next time we check into the PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT, we will look at Page 90.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s theme for the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is FAVORITE COLOR:


WEEK 187 - FAVORITE COLOR
FAVORITE COLOR

A FAVORITE COLOR photo is any photo that involves your FAVORITE COLOR.

Happy photo harvesting!

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.

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.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Branch Davidians

We loaded up the car and I punched the address of the Branch Davidians Compound into the GPS. I had absolutely no clue what we would find what we would find when we got to the place where 76 people died in the Waco Siege.

You see, we had stayed the night in possibly one of the worst places in the United States. If it wasn’t for Chip and Joanna Gains, Waco, Texas would have zero positive press.

When you say Waco, Texas people only think of a handful of things in no particular order:

1. Branch Davidians and their fiery end.
2. The Baylor football program and the scores of sexual assaults and rapes that they committed that were then duly covered up by the school, athletic department, and most disturbingly… the police department.
3. The 1916 lynching, torturing, burning, and mutilating of Jesse Washington. A lynching that was attended by in excess of 10,000 people.*
4. Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy being murdered by fellow Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson.
5. FIXER UPPER

I wish I would’ve thought to go see the memorial to Jesse Washington, but it was forgotten. Sorry Jesse.

But being someone with an interest in history and more than a bit of a fascination with cults, there was no way we were going through Waco, Texas and not visiting the Branch Davidians and the site of the Waco Siege.

It is not a stretch to think that it was one of the most important historical events of the 1990s. It was an event that contributed to the dangerous rise of the alt-right and was directly responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing. The deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history. Killing 171 people. Including 19 children.

It is not overstated it to say that we would be living in a different America if the Waco Siege never happened. If you don’t know or don’t remember the Waco Siege, here is a brief synopsis from the Wiki:

The Waco siege was the siege of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, carried out by American federal and Texas state law enforcement, as well as the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993. The Branch Davidians were led by David Koresh and were headquartered at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, 13 miles (21 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco. Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound and arrest warrants for Koresh and a select few of the group’s members.

The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch. An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege lasting 51 days was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died, including David Koresh.

There is too much controversy and too much backstory to really do the Waco Siege justice. If you have questions about it, I suggest you leave them in the comments and I’ll answer with what knowledge I have and what opinions I possess.

What I will state definitively is that the Waco Siege was a terrible waste of life that could have been easily avoided. It is what happens when law enforcement tries to do things for public relations, rather than for… well law enforcement. They took their mistakes at Ruby Ridge and made them exponentially worse.

I’m sure these were some of my thoughts as we pulled up to the gate of Mount Carmel. One gate was open. There was a sign that said that you could get a look around the ranch for $10.

Shortly after we pulled into the ranch a truck came speeding up towards us. Considering where we were, was a little disconcerting. The driver rolled down their window and told us that we should hurry up to the chapel. They were giving a tour up there and we could make it if we hurried.

So we bypassed the building we thought we were supposed to pay at and headed up to the chapel.

Once we got there, there was a guy there telling the story of the Waco Siege. He wasn’t a member of the Branch Davidians in 1993, but now he researched the event with David Thibodeau** (one of the few to survive the fire).

He showed us pictures of the people that perished in the fire. He showed us “trophy photos” that the FBI took after the church (they are offended by the term “compound” because of its militaristic connotation) burned completely down. If you know any hunters, you know what a trophy photo is. You can imagine what you would feel like if people took trophy photos with the remains of your friends and loved ones.

He argued that David Koresh wasn’t even doing anything illegal. It isn’t illegal to stockpile and sell firearms. While it might (you can take out the might for me) be morally reprehensible to most of us to have sex with 14 year old girls, in Texas 14 year olds can be married with parental consent. Which David Koresh did have. Yeah. Gross. Texas, Do better.

Eventually the man (I can’t remember his name) left and we were introduced to Heather***. Heather really made this a special stop.

Heather was 9 years old during the Waco Siege. She was in Mount Carmel when the siege began. She was the last person to leave, days before the final assault that ended in the deaths of almost every Branch Davidian in the building. Including her father.

If you know the timeline of the Waco Siege, Heather’s dad was the mailman that was inadvertently tipped off to the ATF’s attack by a lost member of the media. This is why the ATF didn’t have the element of surprise. This is why the raid should have been called off.

Before he died, he gave her a teddy bear and told her that the bear would watch over her until he saw her again. Then he sent her out into the “Babylonian” world.

As she told us the story she paused and then said, “I didn’t know at the time that he meant, when we see each other in heaven.”

As she walked down the driveway, she expected to be shot in the head every step she took. Finally, she reached the end of the drive and was grabbed by the police. They took the teddy bear away from her and ripped it up.

This wasn’t done (completely) out of malice though. They were checking the bear for a bomb. There wasn’t one.

Tears rolled down her face as she told us this part of the story.

Then she said, “I never got the bear back.”

You could tell with the way she said it that it still hurts that the last thing her dad gave her. The thing that was supposed to “watch over her” was taken from her, destroyed, and never returned.

She wiped the tears off her face and apologized for crying.

We told her not to apologize and thanked her for sharing such a memory to people who were basically tourists in her pain.

Then she offered to give show us the rest of the grounds.


Branch Davidians
The current chapel was built in the same place as the chapel that was burnt down.

Branch Davidians
The fire.

Branch Davidians
Trophy photos.

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Stage.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Telling the story.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Pointing out the “Trophy Photos”.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh

Branch Davidians
Heather is seated in the lower right hand corner.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh thought he was the second coming of Jesus, but this time he wasn’t sinless.

Branch Davidians
Bill Clinton was president during the Waco Siege.

Branch Davidians
Tanks crushed this bus.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
People were trapped in this storage room.

Branch Davidians
Heather’s ducks.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
They built this pool the year before the Siege. They got to use if for 1 year.

Branch Davidians
Heather was really cold. It wasn’t cold for Iowans with plenty of built in insulation.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Oklahoma City Memorial

Branch Davidians
ATF Officer Memorial

Branch Davidians
Current Chapel

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidian Memorial

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians are an offshoot of Seventh Day Adventists.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Gate.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
The road outside of Mount Carmel.

Branch Davidians
The Branch

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Selfie with Heather.

During the tour Heather didn’t say anything positive about David Koresh. She talked about how he separated her from her dad and took over her discipline.

As a child Heather was pigeon-toed. He used to make her walk back and forth the length of Mount Carmel. He would hit her with a stick when he felt she was walking pigeon-toed.

If David Koresh would have stayed alive and remained in power, she would have become one of his wives when she turned 14.

Mount Carmel burned down when I was in high school. We watched it in class. I have seen at least 5 documentaries on it. I have seen a movie on it. Willy and I watched the WACO television show last year. The tragedy of what happened there didn’t really hit home until I was standing on the same ground where it all happened. It is something I will never forget.

We thanked Heather again for sharing and giving us a tour. I felt like a doucher, but I asked for a picture with her. She obliged willingly. She asked us to friend her on The Facebook. This made me feel like less of a doucher.

I broke my 2 month absence from Facebook long enough to become her friend on The Facebook, but I haven’t been back since. If I ever get the stomach to return, I’ll hit her up and see if she remembers us and see how she is doing.

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.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RUINS.


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

A RUINS photo is a picture of something that is in decay.

Happy photo harvesting!

*If we ever have Youth Group again, we will briefly discuss the lynching of Jesse Washington
**David Thibodeau is the survivor that wrote the book that part of the television show WACO is based on. He was played by Rory Caulkin in the show. I can’t recommend that show highly enough.
***Heather is featured in a documentary about the Branch Davidians that aired on A&E in 2018. I have procured a digital copy of it. If you ever want to watch it, I can arrange it. But you have to ask nicely.

2019 Photography 139 Calendar

Yes Virginia, there was a Photography 139 Calendar this year. However, I didn’t sell them this year. I just made a small run and gave them out to a very few small group of select people.

Here are the pictures from the 2019 Photography 139 Calendar:


2019 Calendar - Cover

The front cover is a picture of William McAlpine peering through the hole in a brick. It was taken in the backyard of the Photography 139 Studio. It was taken for the FRAMED theme of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

This photo was entered into the 2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It was accepted for display.

Willy is the first person to appear in a Photography 139 Calendar since the 2012 Calendar featured a final rendition of THE 9 EMOTIONS PROJECT that included images of AmyJunck-Wallendal, William McAlpine, Derrick Gorshe, Shannon Bardole, Jesse Howard, Jennifer Gorshe, Sara Junck, Jill Gorshe, and Jay Janson.


2019 Calendar - January

The January image was taken on a very foggy Christmas Eve morning. It was taken facing northeast from the road in upper Ledges State Park.

This image was entered in the 2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It was selected for display.


2019 Calendar - February

The February image of a red hibiscus was taken in the Photography 139 Flower Garden in 2017.

Unfortunately, the hibiscus did not survive the winter and did not return to the Photography 139 Flower Garden in 2018.


2019 Calendar - March

The March image is of a lily is located in the Photography 139 Flower Garden. It is located in a designated lily patch near the birdbath.

While this macro photo might appear to be one image, it is actually the product of a technique called focus stacking. This image is actually 7 images with different focus ranges stacked one on top of the other.

This photo was nominated for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but it lost the popular vote and was not entered.


2019 Calendar - April

The April image was taken at The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. It was taken on a road trip with my Office Buddy Joe Lynch. It was taken with the in-camera black & white HDR setting.

This image was taken for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. The theme of the image was to go some place “touristy” and take a “non-touristy” picture.

The picture of Mary holding a crucified Jesus was selected for April to coincide with the celebration of Easter.

This image was entered in the Photoshop category of the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. It won 1st Place.


2019 Calendar - May

The May image is of the sculputre Skallagrim by Peter Lundberg. Skallagrim is located in the Franconia Sculpture Park near Shafer, Minnesota.

I took this photo on a trip there with Bethany, Dae Hee, and Nora.

The image is HDR toned and is used as the base image for a Small World image.


2019 Calendar - June

The June image was taken on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. It was taken on the Liberty Bowl Road Trip I took with Russell Kennerly and Jesse Howard to watch the Iowa State Cyclones defeat the Memphis Tigers.

The image was originally taken in color and was transformed into black and white in post production.


2019 Calendar - July

The July image is of a hollyhock from the Photography 139 Studio Flowerbed. This pink hollyhock grew in the dedicated hollyhock patch along the north fenceline.

This macro image was taken while experimenting with a new set of extension tubes.

This image was nominated for the flower category for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but was not entered.


2019 Calendar - August

The August image was taken in the midway of the Iowa State Fair. It was taken for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. The theme of the picture was to take a picture of something that is “nondescript during the day.”

The image was taken when I was able to sneak away during a break in the action of Baby Got Rack’s competitive barbecue competition.

The image was HDR toned in post-production.


2019 Calendar - September

The September image was taken of a grasshopper at Big Creek State Park near Polk City, Iowa. The image was taken for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. The theme for this image was to create a playlist and listen to it while taking pictures. The playlist I selected was the BABY DRIVER SOUNDTRACK. I was listening to the song “Bongolia” by Incredible Bongo Band when I took this image.

2019 Calendar - October

The October image of a ram lounging was taken in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The image I was taken on the way home on a road trip I took with my Mom to Mount Rushmore.

This image was voted to be entered in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Nature Category.


2019 Calendar - November

The November image was taken at the Iowa State Fair in the Discovery Garden. It was originally taken in color and converted to black and white in post-production.

It was nominated for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Nature Category, but it was not entered.


2019 Calendar - December

The December image of an abandoned dump truck was taken in Boone, Iowa near the south terminus of Division Street.

The image was color processed through the Color Efex Pro 4 plugin during post production.

The image was nominated for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Hidden Treasures of Boone County category, but was not entered.

+++++++

There are a few calendars to handout, but for the most part delivery has finished. Almost on time this year.

06-11-08

The pictures from the folder 06-11-08 are from a road trip I took with Willy and Jay to Dyersville. The point of the road trip was to see The Field of Dreams. Jay actually suggested this road trip, even though he doesn’t like baseball. I agreed to go, even though I don’t like the movie FIELD OF DREAMS.

Also on the trip, we stopped at the Basilica of Dyersville. I’m not 100% sure of what Basilica is, but I believe it is a really fancy Catholic church where the Pope can hang out if he ever get kicked out of Rome.

Here are some pictures from the road trip:


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


Field of Dreams Road Trip


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

Field of Dreams

St. Francis Xavier Basilica

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve a trip to the Iowa State Fair!

08-03-08

The pictures in the folder 08-03-08 is from the third day of my vacation in Kentucky with Teresa.

On that day, we went to a Southern Baptist Church service. We spent 3 hours at the church service, before we snuck out the back. I’m not sure how much long it went on. There were some positives about the church service. The music was amazing. The people were friendly. The story of the church was fascinating. It was started by a former prisoner. When he got out of prison he started the church with a mission of helping other convicts of surviving outside of prison and not falling back into the actions that got them in prison the first time.

The negative was it was the only time I’ve heard hate preached from a pulpit. At least hate on a certain group of people. The weird part of it was the pastor wasn’t even talking about the group of people he hated. He just threw a couple of bombs at them for no apparent reason. It was kind of sad.

After the 3+ hour church service, we also went to the lake and watch birds. Then we went to Ernie’s pond and fed his catfish.

Here are some pictures from the day:


Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008













Kentucky Vacation - 2008













Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

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

KENTUCKY – DAY 3

Next week’s walk down memory lane will involve driving home from Kentucky and a look at some Abraham Lincoln history!