Here is another collection of images from the Stenslands 2020 family photo shoot:
There is one more collection of images from this photo shoot left to share!
This is the final collection of pictures I’m sharing from the photo shoot with Alexis shortly before she gave birth to Anela. However, she doesn’t appear in any of these pictures. These are all pictures of big brother Kanoa.
I still have a collection of Anela pictures and several collections from the Stensland Photo Shoot to share to wrap up my 2020 year of photography.
It has been over 2 months since I got back to this photo shoot with the Stenslands at the end of 2020. It was a real blessing to have gotten so many of these pictures taken with Mom. She originally was just tagging along and then she went home and changed clothes to be in some of the pictures.
There is still a lot more pictures from this photo session to sahre.
When we met with the funeral home to plan my Mom’s funeral, they told us to bring them some pictures so that they could put together a video to play in 3 places during her visitation. I asked how many pictures and they said around 35. I asked what if we could do more than that. They said the max was 50. They didn’t want the video to go too long as they wanted people to keep moving as much as they would. Plus most families don’t even have that many pictures.
I did a cursory look around and without digging too deep my initial collection of pictures was around 140. I went through them with Alexis and Elainie and we were able to trim it down to about 51. Here is a collection of the images from Mom’s Visitation Video and an explanation of why it made the video.
This is the Last Picture I ever took of Mom – We were at the John Wayne Museum – She loved John Wayne Westerns, but not his war movies. What you can’t tell from the picture is that she is wearing a shirt with the names of her 4 Great Grandchildren on it. It had become one of her favorite shirts and she seemed to wear it on all of our most recent road trips.
I have more tributes to my Mom to share. But the remaining ones will be more words than pictures.
Thank you again for all the thoughts, prayers, support, and everything else that you guys have given my family during these times.
I need to start today by wishing my sister Carla a happy birthday. Happy birthday Carla!
I hope your birthday is as wonderful as you want it to be!
I also need to wish Monica a happy birthday. Happy birthday Monica!
I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!
We did it! 76 straight weeks of double digit submissions! I was worried about PICTURE IN PICTURE for a bit, but we came through!
But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:
But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:
It is here. Judgement Day. The last theme that didn’t get double digit submissions. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. 76 weeks ago. September 23, 2019.
There were only 7 submissions from 7 people:
+ Jen Ensley-Gorshe
+ Andy Sharp
+ Kim Barker
+ Humble Narrator
+ Stephanie Kim
+ Tamara Peterson
+ Jesse Howard
But what is STREET PHOTOGRAPHY? Why is it so scary and intimidating?
Sorry, Chris from 5 seconds ago. I reject your premise. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY isn’t scary or intimidating. It is awesome!
Some of the best and most famous photographers in history were STREET PHOTOGRAPHYers.
+ Dorothea Lange
+ Helen Levitt
+ Diane Arbus
+ Robert Frank
+ Fan Ho
+ Vivian Maier
+ Robert Doisneau
+ Henri Cartier-Bresson
Okay, great, you are thinking, but you still haven’t defined STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. Is it pictures of a street? No, but it is photography that often takes place on the streets.
Here is the best definition: “conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.”
The 2 most important things. RANDOM and PUBLIC. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY is often mistaken for CANDID PORTRAITS. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY has to be done in a public place. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a portrait. It can be a piece of art. It can be a building. It can be a sign. It doesn’t have to be on a street. It can be at a sporting event. It can be at an art festival. A farmer’s market. The most common place would be a business district. It only has to meet those 2 criteria: public and random.
What is public? I mean that is pretty obvious. It can’t be in your house or in your friend’s house. It has to be somewhere in the public. Where other people can be.
What is random? That simply means that you didn’t go to wherever you went with the intent of taking that picture. Something about the place you went to compelled you to take that picture. You may have went there to take a picture, but not a pre-planned picture.
Some people think of STREET PHOTOGRAPHY as candid portraits. It isn’t, but it certainly can be. However, the picture can be of street art like the example. Egene Atget, was the first STREET PHOTOGRAPHYer. He took pictures of buildings.
I’ll make one last comparison. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY is to photography what jazz is to music. It is all about improvisation. This is perhaps why I love it so much.
Okay, one last thing. Most of the great STREET PHOTOGRAPHYers worked in black & white. I’m not saying your submission should be in black & white, but it is something to think about.
Also, think about this quote before thinking about your STREET PHOTOGRAPHY creation:
“The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected you find in the street.”
Meditate on this before you go out looking for some STREET PHOTOGRAPHY images.
Then send me your submission(s) by 11 AM CST next Monday. The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.
You can send your images to either email@example.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.
That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing our idea of PICTURE IN PICTURE in this place that was born on the streets next Monday.
Today is the second Sunday of Lent. I’m going to share a devotional by Reverend Ron Carlson:
Giving up and letting go
Rev. Ron Carlson
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there. He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency. He said to the dove sellers, “Get these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it is written, Passion for your house consumes me.
Then the Jewish leaders asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? What miraculous sign will you show us?”
Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.”
The Jewish leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” But the temple Jesus was talking about was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered what he had said, and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
It is ironic that the communications folks asked me to develop a devotion based on this passage, known by many as Jesus cleansing the Temple. It is ironic because I can have a bit of a temper and have at times in my life gotten pretty upset. Many times, in an effort to calm me, my wife has reminded me that Jesus did not operate out of anger, but love. I believe that every time she has tried to hold me accountable in this way, I have brought up this story. While many of us have used this story to justify a moment of anger, I don’t necessarily believe Jesus was angry.
Our passage takes place in the temple, as the time of Passover is approaching. When I look at the picture the writer of the Gospel is laying out for us, I imagine more of an open-air market than a sacred space. I picture crowds of people, fast talking vendors, loud noises and enough cattle to keep some of my rural neighbors very busy. It is no wonder that we find it easy to think Jesus was upset when he experienced this in his Father’s house.
We need to remember that Passover was a feast where many traveled to the temple from great distances. We also need to recall that cattle, sheep, and doves were required for burnt offerings, and that the required offerings needed to be perfect. It would not have been possible for travelers to have brought with them the proper offerings. Also, the Roman and Greek coins the pilgrims would have brought along would not have sufficed for their temple tax. Due to the human images on their coins, they needed to be exchanged for Tyrian currency in Jerusalem. While the atmosphere might seem awkward to us, it was needed for worship to occur.
There are some scholars who see Jesus’ actions as an attack on those who are taking advantage of the worshipers. I think we see something broader in scope, In my opinion he was confronting the systems of worship, not the abuse of those systems. Jesus complains that his father’s house has become a place of business. Since this business was necessary to maintain the system of sacrifice and tithes, I see this as Jesus issuing a powerful challenge to the authority of the temple and its worship.
In doing this, Jesus echoes the great tradition of Old Testament prophets who cried out about sacrilegious activities in the temple, against corrupting the worship of God, and substituting ritual for devotion. Prophets who usually began their addresses with “This is the word of God…” Their messages were filled with God’s judgment and grace, they often pointed out where God’s people had strayed from God’s way. Like many prophets before, Jesus’ message is not understood initially, we see that it is only understood through the lens of his death and resurrection.
In the words of Gail R. O’Day, “Jesus challenges a religious system so embedded in its own rules and practices that it is no longer open to a fresh revelation from God, a temptation that exists for contemporary Christianity as well as for the Judaism of Jesus’ day.” What does this challenge mean to you and me? Where are we closed to the idea of something different and what are we holding onto so tightly that we will not be open to the idea of reformation, change or renewal?
Lent is a perfect time for us to reflect on these questions and others like them. Others in this space have noted that Lent is traditionally a season of giving up. Giving up and letting go is an important individual spiritual discipline in this season, because it allows us to draw closer to God. What do we need to give up and let go so that we may draw closer to God? What idols are we clutching so tightly that we are losing feeling in our hands? Would Jesus take the whip and chase these things from the temple?
Almost a year ago we were just beginning to truly understand the pandemic that was upon us as people of this world. Since that time, there have been many things that have changed about Sunday morning. In this time, we have learned to let go of some things that we would not have ever dreamed letting go. Things like responsive readings, singing with gusto and even fellowship time. At some point we will pick some of those things back up because we can, and they are important to us. Are they important to God? I am quite sure there will be other things we will look back on and wonder why we thought they were so important. The important thing is that we have still been able to worship God.
There are many things that we do in our lives because that is just the way we do them. These things may not be important to the desired end result, but they are important because they feel comfortable. I am pretty sure the vendors and coin changers in the Temple were comfortable. They were making a good living, and it looked like nothing would get in the way. They were doing God’s work, helping others to worship God. Then Jesus pointed out where change was needed.
What is Jesus pointing to today in your life? We need to be open to change. To be open to change we need to let go of our idols. What better time than Lent to begin that process. Through Christ and by Christ we can go where we need to be, closer to him.
As we go our separate ways receive this blessing – may “The Lord bless you and protect you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace.” Amen.
Next Sunday I will share a devotional from Rev. Dr. Heecheo Jeon.
A few months back when Sabas and Ealinie were back from California for Christmas, I met the Stenslands up at Amanda’s office to do a quick family portrait photo shoot. I only got to see Elainie and Sabas twice while they were back because of the incredibly mismanaged pandemic, just another reason I can’t wait for this to be over. Or at least until I can get vaccinated.
Any ways, here is my first collection of favorites from the photo shoot:
If you want to see more pictures from this photo shoot, click on the link below:
Also, if you have any kind of real estate needs in Boone or anywhere near Boone, you should 100% hit up Amanda and iHome Realty!
It is the first Sunday of Lent. It is possible you couldn’t get to church today for a wide variety of reasons. To help you out I’m sharing a devotional by Reverend Melissa Drake.
“Knowing our Identity”
Mark 1: 9-13:
By: Rev. Melissa Drake, Southwest Region Superintendent
We are in the first week of Lent—and this Sunday begins our journey of the next 40 days, leading the church up to Easter. The Lenten season is designed to be a mirror for us: it’s a way for us to witness to Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, as he prepares to begin his ministry.
For Christians, Lent has historically been the yearly season for us to examine ourselves in that same mirror: to spend time in deep personal reflection and preparation as we get ready to commit ourselves to living into the way of Jesus: the way of his baptism, life, death and Resurrection.
For the church it is our season together of reflecting and preparing for the ministries of sharing the Good News of the Resurrection with the world that so desperately needs to hear and see and touch and feel that they are beloved of God.
Lent, this season always known for its austerity—the season where the days are getting longer, but not necessarily getting better—always begins this same way: with Jesus’ baptism and then immediate temptation out in the wilderness. And this year we hear from Mark, chapter 1, verses 9-13:
About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”
At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.
Lent always begins this very same way, and I think sometimes, we, in the church get obsessed over the temptation and the wilderness part, and not so much over the baptism and the naming and claiming part.
And this year of all years, it is a year for us to remember the naming and claiming part: The way the clouds split open and the sun must have been dazzling; the way the wind must have blown, maybe in that wild spring way that makes us adventurous and crazy and ready to go out in the world again, or maybe it blew in that soft spring way that wraps us in the warmth of better days coming; and then the voice. That voice coming from the heavens that says, “You are mine. You are beloved. In your very being I find happiness.”
As Bishop Laurie shared in her devotion last week, Lent has historically been a season to give something up: and that can be such a powerful discipline. We need this time to examine ourselves, to pay attention to what we need to give up and let go so that we can follow Jesus more nearly and dearly. This is a season of giving things up and letting things go as we practice our faith; but it’s also a season of holding on as well. Throughout his time in the wilderness,
Jesus held on to the identity and relationship with God that was so clearly expressed at his baptism.
Friends, as we recommit ourselves to living in the way of Jesus, we need this time of holding on as well. A holding on to what cannot be changed, but what can so easily be forgotten or overshadowed or lost: that deep KNOWING of identity: that deep knowing of belovedness. That deep knowing of relationship, of who we are and who we belong to. And that deep knowing of being absolutely enough, at our very core, for God to delight in us without having to produce anything or accomplish anything.
What would happen to our church communities if we spent the next 40 days holding on to this identity, within our own spirts, during our own times of temptations that tell us that we aren’t enough. That other people have it more and better. That if only we worked a little harder, we’d be more worthy.
And I wonder, what would it be like in our church communities, if we could do this for each other, even in these longer days that don’t always seem to be getting better? If all of our words and all of our work in the next 40 days were about reminding each other, showing each other that we are beloved of God—to remind each other that there is nothing, neither height, nor depth, nor zoom church, nor sub zero temperatures, there is neither pandemic, nor politics, nor temptations or just plain old fatigue that can separate us from the love of our God. And our care for each other.
Friends, this is the promise we made to each other at our baptisms: this is our work of the church: to be connected together. To watch over one another in love. To remind each other of who and whose we are. So that, out of our union with Christ, in his baptism of death and resurrection, we can take this good news out into the world and say and show: World: you, too, are God’s beloved.
May you be blessed; may you hold on.
And may “The God of all grace, who has called us to eternal glory in Christ, establish you and strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit that you may live in grace and peace. Amen.”
Next Sunday I will share a devotional from Rev. Dr. Moody Colorado.
Around Thanksgiving I went over to meet my new grand niece Anela and photograph her. As I’m sometimes asked to do. Here is the first collection of those images:
These are the first pictures of Anela that I’ve shared. Meaning there is now an Anela category on this website!
There are at least two more collections of Anela pictures to share in the hopper still!