Category Archives: Christianity

WPC – WEEK 446 – #INSTAGOOD

#INSTAGOOD! A great theme! A theme so easy that you could participate if you took one picture this week. But did many people take at least one picture to be able to send us the best picture that they took this week to make #INSTAGOOD a popular theme? You’ll have to keep scrolling to find out!

As of 12:01 PM on Monday, March 25, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore the numbers in parentheses):

1-Evie Gorshe – 1 week (IA)
2-Willy McAlpine – 1 week (IA)
3-Tim Panages – 1 week (IA)
4-Elainie Hernandez – 2 weeks (IA)
5-Deanna McClain – 2 weeks (IA)
6-Johnathan Stensland – 2 weeks (IA)
7-Adam Gordon – 4 weeks (2) (IA, MS, MO)
8-Stehanie Kim – 6 weeks (NY)
9-Becky Parmelee – 6 weeks (AR, IA)
10-Sara Lockner – 10 weeks (IA)
11-Lowell Davis – 12 weeks (IA)
12-Michelle Haupt – 12 weeks (IA, MO)
13-Alexis Stensland – 12 weeks (IA)
14-Brandon Kahler – 13 weeks (IA, MN)
15-Scott Degeneffe – 31 weeks (IA, FL)
16-Sabas Hernandez – 32 weeks (2) (IA)
17-Mike Vest – 36 weeks (IA, MO)
18-Sheri Fakhouri – 41 weeks (2) (IA)
19-Logan Kahler – 42 weeks (IA, MN)
20-Nathanial Brown – 43 weeks(IA, SD, GA, TN)
21-Jesse Howard – 43 weeks (IA, MO, NE)
22-Tamara Peterson – 55 weeks (IA, MN)
23-Mindi Terrell – 58 weeks (2) (IA)
24-Linda Bennett – 87 weeks (KS)
25-Sarah Toot – 88 weeks (2) (PA, NY, VT, NV)
26-Angie DeWaard – 92 weeks (IA)
27-Dawn Krause – 96 weeks (2) (IA)
28-Kim Barker – 102 weeks (2) (IA, CO)
29-Joe Duff – 103 weeks (TX)
30-Teresa Kahler – 114 weeks (2) (IA)
31-Carla Stensland – 114 weeks (IA, MO)
32-Micky Augustin – 116 weeks (IA, IL)
33-Andy Sharp – 117 weeks (IA, NE, AR, MS, MO, TN, LA)
34-Bill Wentworth – 118 weeks (NE)
35-Cathie Morton – 121 weeks (IA, FL, BHS)
36-Elizabeth Nordeen – 123 weeks (IA)
37-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 125 weeks (IA)
38-Kio Dettman – 127 weeks (2) (IA)

An observant observer might be wondering why Carla’s streak is intact. She did get a submission in at the horn, but not soon enough for it to be included in the email blast. But is up on the website. You can go look at last Monday’s post and verify.

Here is the list of rules for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE:


1. The picture must 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 and take pictures challenge!
2. There is a limit of 2 submissions per person per theme. If you send me more than 2, I will use the first 2 that you submit.
3. Deadline to submit your submission is 11 AM next Monday.
4. To be considered the photographer of an image, you have to be the one that clicks the shutter. If you hand your camera over to somebody else to take a picture of you, you are NOT the photographer of that image.
5. No screen captures. This is a photography challenge. Not a “look at what I found on the internet” challenge.

There are still 2 ways to submit:
1. Email your submission to bennett@photography139.com.
2. Text your submission to my Google Pixel 8 Pro.
3. Sometimes, for special people, for special circumstances, we can negotiate something.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates or streaks or the rules of the challenge or how to submit. You came to see the submissions and what streaks continued and what streaks flamed out:


WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen (Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe (Hampton, Virginia) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - LAYLA GORSHE
Layla Gorshe (Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - MARY GREEN
Mary Green (Michigan) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - MONICA JENNINGS
Monica Jennings (Ankeny, Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - AMY PETERSON
Amy Peterson (Ledges State Park – Boone County, Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - WILLIAM MCALPINE
Willy McAlpine (Boone, Iowa) – 2 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - TIM PANAGES
Tim Panages (Ankeny, Iowa) – 2 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - DEANNA MCCLAIN
Deanna McClain (Perry, Iowa) – 3 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - JOHNATHAN STENSLAND
Johnathan Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 3 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - ADAM GORDON
Adam Gordon (Iowa) – 5 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee (Tulsa, Oklahoma) – 7 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SARA LOCKNER
Sara Lockner (Ogden, Iowa) – 11 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - LOWELL DAVIS
Lowell Davis (Boone, Iowa) – 13 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt (Overland Park, Kansas) – 13 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - ALEXIS STENSLAND
Alexis Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 13 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - BRANDON KAHLER
Brandon Kahler (Story City, Iowa) – 14 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SCOTT DEGENEFFE
Scott Degeneffe (Boone County, Iowa) – 32 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SABAS HERNANDEZ
Sabas Hernandez (Ogden, Iowa) – 33 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest (Madrid, Iowa) – 37 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SHERI FAKHOURI
Sheri Fakhouri (Ankeny, Iowa) – 42 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler (Boone, Iowa) – 43 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - NATHANIAL BROWN
Nathanial Brown (Des Moines, Iowa) – 44 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard (Iowa) – 44 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson (Perry, Iowa) – 56 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - MINDI TERRELL
Mindi Terrell (Johnston, Iowa) – 59 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett (Kansas) – 88 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot (E. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) – 89 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Iowa) – 93 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause (Boone, Iowa) – 97 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker (Nevada, Iowa) – 103 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff (League City, Texas) – 104 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler (Boone, Iowa) – 115 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 115 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin (Iowa) – 117 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Red Oak, Iowa) – 118 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth (Omaha, Nebraska) – 119 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton (Norwalk, Iowa) – 122 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen (Iowa) – 124 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley (West Des Moines, Iowa) – 126 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman (Boone, Iowa) – 128 weeks

WPC - WEEK 446 - #INSTAGOOD - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett (Mines of Spain State Recreation Area – Dubuque County, Iowa) – 550 weeks

42 participants! That is a great week! Breaking the previous high for this year held by DECORATION at 40. I believe 42 ties the all-time high. Held by the #INSTAGOOD theme from last year. But I’d have to check my records to confirm that.

Thanks to Becky’s trip we added Oklahoma to the Photography 139 Submissions Map!

Thanks to Jen’s trip we added Virginia to the Photography 139 Submissions Map! Virginia was one of the states we didn’t get a submission from in 2023! So that makes it extra exciting!

There were submissions this week taken in the following places:

+ Iowa (34)
+ Kansas (2)
+ Michigan (1)
+ Nebraska (1)
+ Oklahoma (1)
+ Pennsylvania (1)
+ Texas (1)
+ Virginia (1)

Here is the Year 11 list of places where submissions have been taken (submissions taken in each places):

+ Arkansas (6.5)
+ Bahamas (1)
+ California (1)
+ Colorado (4)
+ Florida (3)
+ Georgia (1)
+ Hawaii (2)
+ Illinois (1)
+ Indiana (2)
+ Iowa (444)
+ Kansas (19)
+ Louisiana (2)
+ Michigan (5)
+ Minnesota (6)
+ Mississippi (1.5)
+ Missouri (8.5)
+ Nebraska (18)
+ Nevada (1)
+ New York (9)
+ Oklahoma (1)
+ Pennsylvania (12)
+ South Dakota (3)
+ Tennessee (2.5)
+ Texas (20)
+ Vermont (1)
+ Virginia (1)

25 states so far! 1 foreign country! Not bad! So far, the following people have submitted from multiple places:

+ Andy Sharp (IA, NE, MO, AR, TN, MS, LA) – 7
+ Jen Ensley-Gorshe (IA, CO, MO, TX, TN, VA) – 6
+ Nathanial Brown (IA, SD, TN, GA) – 4
+ Sarah Toot (PA, NY, VT, NV) – 4
+ Christopher D. Bennett (IA, MO, NE) – 3
+ Adam Gordon (IA, MS, MO) – 3
+ Mary Green (MI, IA, IN) – 3
+ Michelle Haupt (IA, MO, KS) – 3
+ Jesse Howard (IA, MO, NE) – 3
+ Cathie Morton (IA, FL, BS) – 3
+ Becky Parmelee (AR, IA, OK) – 3
+ Micky Augustin (IA, IL) – 2
+ Scott Degeneffe (IA, FL) – 2
+ Susanna Funk (IA, CO) – 2
+ Brandon Kahler (IA, MN) – 2
+ Logan Kahler (IA, MN) – 2
+ Sara Lockner (IA, MN) – 2
+ Tamara Peterson (IA, MN) – 2
+ Carla Stensland (IA, MO) -2
+ Mike Vest (IA, MO) – 2

Andy holds a 1 state lead over Jen to be crowned “The Most Travelled THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE Photographer!”

There were no big milestones reached this week. However, Layla submitted for the first time this year! WooHoo! There was some sadness. Evie couldn’t build on her submission from last week and her streak is over before it began. Elainie’s streak is over after 2 weeks. But worst of all, Steph’s streak goes down after 6 weeks!

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:


WEEK 447 - PASSION
PASSION – SUGGESTED BY SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY

PASSION! What a great theme for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

I’m not describing the themes this year unless I think they need a little explanation. One thing to remember that PASSION is not just something you like bunches and bunches. PASSION is something you are willing to suffer for. When you take your pictures, would you be willing to take a punch to the face for this thing? Would you be willing to take something worse for this thing? If the answer is “yes”, then you have a PASSION subject.

I look forward to your interpretation!

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will see your idea of PASSION in this place that is a bit of passion project next Monday.

Fisher of Men: North Ames Field Work

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!


Wapello County - Ottumwa
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!

Here is an Easter devotional and a bit on the history of a popular Easter hymn. At least in the Methodist church.

Risen today! A Wesley hymn devotion for Easter

Many churches of all denominations begin worship on Easter Sunday by singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Charles Wesley’s lyrics wonderfully celebrate how Jesus’ resurrection is God’s victory over death, and call us to tell the world.

A little history
Charles and John Wesley, two of the historic founders of The United Methodist Church, published the beloved hymn in their first hymnal, Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. A section toward the back of the hymnal includes songs for special days where “Hymn for Christmas-Day,” which we know as “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” is just a few pages away from “Hymn for Easter-Day” that we sing as “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.”

For those who know our United Methodist Hymnal well, reading the words Wesley penned can feel incomplete. The alleluias we are used to singing at the end of each line aren’t there. A later editor added them to make the lyrics fit the tune and to give added opportunities for praise.

Entering the story
Wesley writes about the Resurrection in the present tense, inviting us into the biblical narrative. As we sing, we easily picture ourselves standing among the witnesses of the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.

“Christ the Lord is ris’n to day,”
Sons of men and angels say,
Raise your joys and triumphs high,
Sing ye heav’ns, and earth reply.

Participating in this moment, we are also aware of the magnitude of the Resurrection. In this opening verse, Wesley introduces a theme that runs through the hymn. The Resurrection is celebrated both on earth and in heaven.

Our United Methodist Hymnal includes an edit to the second line. “Earth and heaven in chorus say” replaces “Sons of men and angels say.” According to United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, this change updates Wesley’s language to be gender inclusive and emphasizes the Resurrection’s impact throughout the world and beyond.

“The entire universe sings the triumphant chorus,” writes United Methodist scholar the Rev. Paul Chilcote in The Song Forever New: Lent and Easter with Charles Wesley, “with earth and heaven shouting their praise back and forth in ecstatic joy.”

Life in the midst of death
Earth and heaven sing because in the Resurrection we know death is not the final word. Wesley writes,

Love’s redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won…

Lives again our glorious King,
Where, O death, is now thy sting?

In a podcast interview for UMC.org’s Get Your Spirit in Shape, Chilcote says, “Death seems to be a final word in the life of every human being. Seems to be, I say, a final word, because it isn’t,” he continues. “The final word is life, not death. The final word is resurrection. The final word is eternal life with God who loves us.”

Wesley calls us to live into eternal life every day,

Soar we now, where Christ has led?
Following our exalted head,
Made like him, like him we rise,
Ours the cross—the grave—the skies!

In a later verse, not published in our United Methodist Hymnal, he reiterates our call to follow Christ more closely each day:

Ris’n with him, we upward move,
Still we seek the things above,
Still pursue, and kiss the Son
Seated on his Father’s throne;

Life still to come
In the final three of Wesley’s 11 verses, the hymn’s focus shifts to our hope of a day of resurrection yet to come. Wesley returns to the theme of earth and heaven singing praise on that day:

Hail the Lord of earth and heav’n!
Praise to thee by both be giv’n:
Thee we greet triumphant now;
Hail the resurrection thou!

Jesus is the resurrection who brings new life to all of creation, and will bring it to completion.

We receive new life in Christ by God’s grace and are to share God’s love with the world. We do this by joining the song with our voices and lives.

King of Glory, soul of bliss,
Everlasting life is this,
Thee to know, thy pow’r to prove,
Thus to sing, and thus to love!

Living Easter every day
“We experience so many little deaths, don’t we, in our lives?” Chilcote asks in the podcast interview. Some are literal deaths like the loss of a loved one, but we also experience other griefs. Relationships end. Jobs are lost. “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” proclaims that Jesus has conquered all those deaths.

“The central message of our faith,” Chilcote concludes, “is the Cross and the Resurrection. Its earliest proclamation of a God who is in the business of raising us from the dead. Oh, if that isn’t good news, I don’t know what good news is.”

When we gather for worship on Easter Sunday and sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, God’s good news that life conquers death. As his disciples in the world today, we must raise our joys and triumphs high to invite others to join us in this new way of living.

I hope all of you had an amazing Easter!

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After the horrific experience at The Waterfront, the next Friday FNSC got back to our roots. The Catholic Fish Fry Circuit. Although that probably technically isn’t our roots. The first ever Friday Night Supper Club was at Tic Toc. But a good old fashioned Fish Fry is more in our wheelhouse.

On this Friday Jay, Willy, and I checked out the Fish Fry at Saint Cecilia’s in Ames. Here are some pictures:


Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia is in a relatively new building. Therefore it had a disappointingly low amount of creepy Catholic art. The fish they served was baked parmesan encrusted tilapia. Definitely healthier than a fried fish. Pretty darn delicious too!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to tell them not to put bland, boring, worthless mac and cheese on my plate. So that part of my plate went to waste where I could have gotten more green beans. Yet I endured. They did this weird thing where they cut one end off the baked potato. I’m not sure why they did this, but my guess is that it made it easier to put them in the pan and could more in the pan. I’m not complaining, it was just weird. The green beans were green beans. They got the job done. It also came with a solid cole slaw.

There was a wide assortment of desserts available for donation. The chocolate pie I got was phenomenal! Definitely worth the few bucks I threw in the offering basket.

I would definitely go back to this fish fry again in the future. Lent and Catholic Fish Fry season is over, BUT there are still 3 more fish fries I have left to share.

How is my efforting to live a healthy lifestyle going?

You may recall I put a couple pounds on last week. Was pretty sedentary and I didn’t eat the best. This week was a better week. Particularly on the movement front. I probably made a few poor nutritional choices out of necessity, but overall it was a good week.

This week my weight went down -4.5 pounds. I am now down 24.7 pounds since starting Noom. I am 4.9 pounds away from reaching my May 1 goal weight. 29.9 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight*.

Weight obviously fluctuates quite a bit based on a ton of factors. From what you ate the day before to when you ate your last meal to when you went to bed the night before to when you last went to the bathroom to when you weigh yourself. I try not to get too high if the scale ticks down or too low if the scale ticks up. The important thing is that the general trend is going in the right direction.

But weight isn’t the only measure (or even the most important measure) of positive results. My endurance and stamina do seem to be improving. I did two hikes yesterday that involved going up some pretty sleep inclines. I only wanted to die for small portions of them. Instead of the entire time.

That is all to report for now.

Next Sunday’s food adventure will involve ice cream!

Lady

Today is Maundy Thursday, so I wish all of you a happy Maundy Thursday with the following picture:


Happy  Maundy Thursday - 2024

Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples. The Last Supper was a Passover meal and so we continue to celebrate that through communion with unleavened bread and a grape drink. Jesus wasn’t a Christian. In fact, one of my favorite shirts has Jesus on it, riding a motorcycle, with the words “What the (fudge) is a Christian?” I don’t own this shirt, but I have admired it from afar.

My picture to commemorate the Last Supper is a (rather weak admittedly) imagining of Jesus’ Last Supper if he was not only a Christian, but a Methodist. A good Methodist meal would consist of a casserole. But Jesus’ status was “single” or maybe it was “It’s complicated” depending on who you listen to and how you want to interpret relationship status. So I figure Jesus wouldn’t have made his own casserole. He would have picked up a frozen one by Marie Callender and popped that in the oven. He definitely wouldn’t have had wine with it. He would have had grape juice. But not just any grape juice. It would have to be Welch’s grape juice. Or as it was originally called, Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.

You still might be wondering where the Maundy in Maundy Thursday comes from. Maundy is short for the Latin word mandatum which means command. Maundy Thursday also celebrates Jesus giving us the new commandment:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

On these holy holidays I like to share a devotional. This one was written by Rev. Dr. Luz E. Maldonado.

Maundy Thursday

Trimmed or chopped

Scripture: John 15:1-11, CEB
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.

“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete.

Meditation
In the Bible we find the use of similes (indirect comparison) and metaphors (direct comparison). God uses them to bring to His people the teachings of what the kingdom of God is like and what He is like. He uses well-known examples to teach the people in these comparisons. The potter, the carpenter, in this case he uses agriculture-the growing of grapes. Whenever a seed is sown it is done in the hope that it will grow and produce its fruit. But there is a care to be taken so that the harvest is properly reaped.

Jesus teaches us what He and the kingdom of God are like by pronouncing the seven “I am’s.”

In John 10:11-14 I am the good shepherd; John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life; John 6:35-48 I am the bread of life; John 8:12; 9:5 I am the light of the world; John 10:7 I am the door; John 14:25 I am the way, the truth, and the life. And in the reading, we have chosen for today’s meditation: John 15:1-5 I am the true vine. The vine is a grape plant, it is a vine. It has a root, a trunk, branches, shoots, leaves and fruit. Jesus compares himself to that plant “He is” and my father is the vineyard keeper, He is the owner and caretaker. He is the one who takes care, who cleans, who prunes. The use of agriculture to explain the kingdom of God, and its care.

He talks about trimming: What is it and why is it necessary? It is to clean, to cut, to pull up, to remove dry leaves, dry branches. Pruning is a sign of love, God is concerned about us. He takes care of us, He removes what is not necessary, He removes what is not productive, what is not useful to us. When God is closest to us, it is when He is trimming us. When a vinedresser goes to prune, He always has the branch in his hand. God has not let you go, you have always been in the hollow of God’s hand. Pruning is not the absence of God, on the contrary, it is when He is closer than ever. John 15:2 he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.

To be cut off: John 15:2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit; the branch is a new shoot. The danger of not being attached to Christ is that this new shoot will dry up. In other words, the danger of not congregating, of not being in a church, can dry us up, it does not allow us to grow, mature and bear the fruit that is expected of us. The Lord gives us a piece of advice, a commandment or recommendation in John 15:4 “remain in me, and I will remain in you”. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. He is speaking of a relationship, a friendship and fellowship. John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches” is giving us identity. He is also giving us a promise John 15: 5b “he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit”. He is telling us that we need him in order to go forward, John 15:5c “for apart from me you can do nothing”.

For reflection
Trimming is the evidence of something new in our lives. Usually when something goes wrong or we are in a time of trial we get desperate. We tend to worry too much and try to solve. The pruning in your life has as a goal that you bear fruit as it says: Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”; 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control”. So do not stray from the vine and allow whatever the vineyard keeper desires to do in your life to be done, for the result will be a blessing.

Prayer
Blessed God, thank You for revealing Yourself to our lives with examples from our daily lives and with them help us to understand Your plans and purposes in our lives. Help us to stay attached to You and continue to work in our lives, take away what You need to take away, add what You need to add so that we may remain united to You and bear much fruit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

If you want to worship an awesome God, you are welcome to join me at Boone First United Methodist Church. Our Maundy Thursday Service is at 6:30 PM tonight. And I promise you will be home in plenty of time to watch the Iowa State game.

+++++++

Lady
I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am, and
I am yours

My love
There’s so many ways I want to say I love you
Let me hold you in my arms forever more

You have gone and made me such a fool
And I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?

Lady
For so many years
I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and
Made me whole

Forever
Let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly
In my ear

And in my eyes (In my eyes)
I see no one else but you (I see no one else but you)
There’s no other love like our love
And, oh, girl I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long

Lady
Your love’s the only love I need
Oh, and beside me is where
I want you to be (I want you to be)
‘Cause, my love
There’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life
You’re my lady
-Written by Lionel Richie
-Perfected by Kenny Rogers

This week marks the 3 year anniversary of my Mom’s passing. I selected this song because she loved this song and she loved Kenny Rogers. She loved Elvis. She loved the Beach Boys. I’m not sure which was her absolute favorite, but this was one of her absolute favorite songs. And objectively, it is one of the greatest songs ever written.

I got to see a Kenny Rogers concert at the Civic Center with my Mom. It is one of my favorite memories and favorite concerts I’ve ever attended. Life, as they say, is made up of memories. Not possessions. It is a great memory.

This Thursday’s flowertography is a collection of flower images taken in my yard. I know I said I was about to finally leave my yard for the flowertography session, but then I stumbled upon this collection of flower images that I had somehow missed. I’m glad I found them.


Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Nature's Amen - 2023

Soul Expansion - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Next Thursday we will finally leave my yard again.

Can you believe that it is almost flowertography season. I will be heading down to Pella in a couple of weeks to take some tulip pictures. The peak tulip bloom is going to be about 2-3 weeks early this year. So I’ll probably head down there in the middle of April. Let me know if you are interested in going, hitting their bakery, and probably eating some good food.

RAGBRAI – MADRID – III

This is Holy Week, so I did want you to know that if you need or want a place to worship or just check out, well you are invited to the Boone First United Methodist Church. For details, check out the picture below:


Holy Week Invite

I’ll definitely be there for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Hope to see one or two of you there.

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Time to share the final collection of images from RAGBRAI. Not just the last collection from Madrid, but the last period. I didn’t follow RAGBRAI after it left Madrid. I went back to work the next day. But I look forward to taking some time off and doing some RAGBRAI photography again this year.


RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

This year RAGBRAI cuts through southern Iowa. These are the overnight stops:

+ Glenwood
+ Red Oak
+ Atlantic
+ Winterset
+ Knoxville
+ Ottumwa
+ Mt. Pleasant
+ Burlington

The towns it passes through each day haven’t been revealed yet. But there are some great towns already announced.

RAGBRAI – MADRID – II

A reminder, you still have less than 23 hours to join my NCAA Tournament Pool.

If you are a basketball fan, or are just interested in having fun, click on the link below to join my pool:

Roundball Oracles – Year 19

The rules are as follows:
Round 1 = 1 point + seed
Round 2 = 2 points + seed
Round 3 = 4 points + seed
Round 4 = 8 points + seed
Round 5 = 16 points + seed
Rounds 6 = 32 points + seed

The Play-in Games (AKA the First Four) don’t matter. You can wait for those games to complete before filling out your bracket. The deadline to fill out your bracket, is tip-off of the first game on Thursday. Roughly 11 AM.

Under special circumstances, I will allow you to turn in a paper bracket to me. So, don’t be afraid to ask.

Yes, your child can fill out a bracket. Your dog, no.

There were 37 competitors in 2023. A 1 person gain from 2022. Hopefully there is continued growth in participation this year, but I don’t know that I have 1 more friend than I did in 2023. It is possible I have gained even more friends since 2023. I might be a pretty great person.

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Time once again to share some more images from when RAGBRAI went through Madrid. Once again, they did an amazing job and I LOVED their “Alice in Wonderland” theme!


RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

RAGBRAI - Madrid - 2023

Still one more collection of images from RAGBRAI left to share. So looking forward to RAGBRAI this year for a variety of reasons!

Fisher of Men: Boone Field Work

Today is Andy’s birthday so I have to wish him a happy birthday!


Day 194 - July 13, 2022
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!

I hope your day is filled with 17 hour old tenderloins!

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It is Lent! During Lent I like to hit a Fish Fry here and there. Which gives me the added benefit of hitting some Catholic churches and checking out what is usually some pretty creepy Catholic art!

On the first Friday of Lent Jay, Jesse, and I hit Sacred Heart in Boone to check out their fish and their creepy art:


Sacred Heart Fish Fry
Every single one of these dudes looks like a serial killer. Especially the guy in the upper left.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
Is this a serious question? Is Geraldine a super outlandish horse name? Also, nice use of the term “Indians”. Racism isn’t dead.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
If this kid didn’t die when he was 15 he would have put up H.H. Holmes type numbers.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
I kind of like this one. Like the world’s largest shrinky dink.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
No pictures of them standing on the corner of Story & US-30 shaking down people for donations.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
Fish, baked potato, cole slaw, green beans, and a roll. They also offered mac & cheese, but I was able to cut them off before they put that pile of bland on my plate.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
Gave a kid a $5 donation for this brownie. It was worth it.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry
We closed that Fish Fry down. Which is cooler than closing down the bar in my book.

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

Sacred Heart Fish Fry

The verdict? It was a darn good fish fry. I would definitely hit it on the regular if I wasn’t trying to hit all different fish fries this Lent.

Here is the update on my efforting to live a healthier lifestyle. I guess the big development is that I have joined a gym. I joined Planet Fitness in Ames. Although with my membership I can go to any Planet Fitness in the world. I am a little leery of joining a gym in a different town, but I don’t really like either gym in Boone and my tentative gym plan isn’t super ambitious. I mostly want to hit it twice a week. Once after working in Ames and then once again on weekends. I mostly plan to use it to do some HIIT workouts. Maybe some weightlifting. It seems like a good fit cause Brandon goes there and I think I got a deal by being referred by Elizabeth. Or she got a deal. Somebody got a deal and that is all that matters. Now I’m thirsty for some Deal’s Orchard apple cider! Adding the fitness watch and the gym membership are really the 2 big changes. I don’t know of any else that I’m planning to add in the future. Okay, I’m considering buying a smart scale. But we will see.

I have taken to posting some highlights from my daily walks on Snapchat. I really only send those to my Top 8 Snapchat Friends. That is currently Elizabeth, Fran, Brandon, Logan, Sabas, Alexis, Nathanial, and Micky. I have substantial Streaks with 7 of them. I mean maybe they don’t want to get them, but that is the burden of being one of my Top 8 Snapchat friends.

But if you are feeling left out and want to get Snaps from the thrilling world of me walking, let me know and I can send them to you as well. Maybe someday you will be able to squeeze into my Top 8 friends as dictated by the Snapchat algorithm.

I don’t have really any interesting statistics from Noom this week. I was going to try to dig up the statistic on how eating eggs for breakfast increases weight loss, but that was a couple weeks back and suddenly seems like a lot of work. So just take my word for it. Eating eggs for breakfast helps with increased weight loss because they can boost metabolic activity and increase satiety.

This week’s Noom lessons were mostly about how exercise doesn’t really help you lose weight. Mostly cause people overestimate how many calories exercise burns and then justify overeating because they think they burned more calories than they did. While exercise might not help you lose weight, it does help you maintain weight and exercise definitely makes you healthier. And your ultimate goal shouldn’t be to lose weight, exactly. It should be to be healthier and exercise is a big part of the healthier lifestyle.

That being said, I did lose some weight this week. I am down another 2.3 pounds. 14.7 pounds since I started Noom about 5 weeks ago. 51 pounds since January 1 of 2023.

But weight isn’t the only way to measure improvement. It is just the easiest way to measure cause you can stand on a scale every morning. So a couple less directly measurable results are that I’ve been going through my closet to downsize my extensive clothing collection. I definitely fit into some shirts better that I haven’t worn in a long time. While I am a well documented fashionista and twice recognized as the best dressed man at the Computer Mine (in my head at least) the one result that I have found most meaningful to me is my photo backpack. When I first purchased it the bottom strap, the strap that goes around my waist, it would buckle, but it definitely didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. People that saw me probably didn’t like it. It definitely dug into my sides. Now I can cinch it up. Maybe not a lot. Maybe an inch. Maybe two. Maybe just several millimeters. But it is definitely an improvement.

Next Sunday’s food adventure will involve a local barbecue joint. I swear it this time!

RAGBRAI – LUTHER

Today is a rare double holiday. It is both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. As always, if you are not out romancing it up tonight, I invite you to come to the Boone First United Methodist Church for our Ash Wednesday service. Full disclosure, I won’t be there. I am neither out romancing it up or going to get my ashes on in some stray church. I’ll be in Hilton Coliseum (AKA The Cathedral) watching an Iowa State women’s basketball game with the rest of the real ones.

Since I won’t be getting ashes this year, enjoy this picture of me on Ash Wednesday from a couple of years ago:


Day 61 - March 2, 2022

I always like to share a devotional type thing on these holidays. So today I’m going to share one from Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church. This one by Reverend Doctor Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon to be exact:

We Are Ashes – Abiding in Hope
by Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon (Senior Pastor Collegiate Methodist in Ames)

As we lean into Lent, I wrote this poem for Ash Wednesday. If you are into interactive reading, you can look up the passages in Daniel and John that I reference in the poem. I was working with the idea that ash is a transformed remnant of something: a piece of wood, the remains of a meadow, a life, and in that transformation, it always carries the memory of what it was before, just now it is changed. I apply the idea of God’s unquenchable fire (such as displayed in the burning bush and maybe Biblically remembered in the story of Daniel) that changes and transforms us. As the ashes we use on Ash Wednesday come from the burnt palms of the previous Palm Sunday, that image, too makes its way into the poem.

We Are Ashes

What is born from the flame is ash, life transformed,
black and silvered memories of being held
in fire — maybe like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
who walked in the heat, the flames licking their hands
that were folded in prayer even as they were almost scorched
with a knowledge of God too great for them,
even as they became living ashes:
ones who did not forget but were sent as testimonies,
touched but not burnt, maybe with a sign on their foreheads. [i]

The alchemy of loving means we die and no longer die.
What is here is ash from firelight, also dark and essential,
the ashes we become in grief and in forgiveness and in mercy.

Our pretenses have been burnt away.
We are gathered up in dimly lit certainty,
we are the remnant, you and me
and those who kneel who might be far from us
whose heads are also smudged:
“remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” —
the ash is everywhere – –

hopefully faithful, hopefully able to feel
the webbing root buried in the earth that nurtures us,
and the branch we graft to that stretches
out our lives and then the love,
and then the smoldering embers
of all that is the first and the last;
all that is in each moment.

We are secretly the palms that were spread on the road
where Jesus came to collect us on his way to Jerusalem [ii]
and now we are ashes, smeared
with the oil of His hands,
we are the remnant
from the fire of His resurrection
we are the ashes that mark the way to Him.

Let us be spread again, let us be smudged,
let us be carried from the fire into the world
our bodies some sacred event born in ashes and returned,
the name of love written on our foreheads
the sound of hope sung from our prayers
the burden of care held firmly in our hands
and knowing home in the One who heals us,
in the flame that is never quenched, Alpha and Omega, amen.

[i] Daniel 3: 13-30 (the image I draw is poetic license)

[ii] John 12: 12-17

If you are curious:

Daniel 3: 13-30 – Amplified Version

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in a furious rage gave a command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; and these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be thrown at once into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can rescue you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!”

Daniel’s Friends Protected
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and his facial expression changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then he gave a command that the furnace was to be heated seven [a]times hotter than usual. 20 He commanded certain strong men in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 Then these [three] men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their turbans, and their other clothes, and were thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. 22 Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was extremely hot, the flame of the fire killed the men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. 23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [looked and] was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, “Did we not throw three men who were tied up into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” 25 He answered, “Look! I see four men untied, walking around in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the appearance of the fourth is like [b]a son of the gods!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the blazing furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, servants of the Most High God, come out [of there]! Come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. 27 The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s counselors gathered around them and saw that in regard to these men the fire had no effect on their bodies—their hair was not singed, their clothes were not scorched or damaged, even the smell of smoke was not on them.

28 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! They violated the king’s command and surrendered their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego shall be cut into pieces and their houses be made a heap of rubbish, for there is no other god who is able to save in this way!” 30 Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon.

And John 12:12-17 – Amplified

12 The next day, when the large crowd who had come to the Passover feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took branches of palm trees [in homage to Him as King] and went out to meet Him, and they began shouting and kept shouting “Hosanna! Blessed (celebrated, praised) is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; just as it is written [in Scripture], 15 “Do not fear, Daughter of Zion; Behold, Your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16 His disciples did not understand [the meaning of] these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified and exalted, they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him. 17 So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to tell others about Him.

If you are looking for a place to get your ashes, our service is at 6:30.

While Ash Wednesday is meant to remind us of our own mortality, it doesn’t have to be all gloomy because Ash Wednesday also means the Catholics are going to start having Fish Fry Fridays! WooHoo! Bingpot!

I’m going to break down some area fish fries for you, my people, but I will wait until Friday to do that. Don’t worry, I’ll feed you baby birds!

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It is also Valentine’s Day. So I need to wish you all happy Valentine’s Day in my way:


Happy Valentine's Day - 2024
LOVE STINKS!

So first things first. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Second. You might be wondering why this picture is called “Love Stinks”. This was at the insistence of my photo assistant for this project. She complained that this heart shaped sparkler absolutely wreaked! She backed this up by claiming that the sparkler gave her a sore throat for like 5 days. Because she suffered for my art, I have granted her request that the name of this photo is “Love Stinks”.

On holidays like Valentine’s Day I do like to do power rankings. Last year I did romantic comedy power rankings. However, I know many people who absolutely despise Valentine’s Day. So I thought rather than doing something positive about the concept of love, I would do a power rankings based on the negatives of love. My power rankings this year are the 5 Worst Couples! This is a personal list. No apologies if you think, “wait I’m in that couple or throuple” (no judgment). The couples that personally annoy me. Cause love stinks! It often has lots of sulphur and gives you a sore throat for several days. Metaphorically speaking of course!

5 WORST COUPLES POWER RANKING

5. EXCESSIVE PUBLIC AFFECTION COUPLE
I don’t run into this couple that much any more. Mostly because I don’t run with a lot of teenagers or college students and most of the couples I know have been married for years, so the concept of public affection went out the door years ago. But you know the couples. They can’t stop touching each other, right in front of you. All you are trying to do is eat a bowl of soup and they are treating you to the opening scene of BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR*. There is also a variant of this couple that wants to go into great details about their sex life. I didn’t sign on for any of this. Put it in your diary. The phrase “get a room” exists for a reason.

A sidenote on this couple. It doesn’t have to be physical. This can also be the couple that has the just too precious nicknames for each other. PUKE! And couples that call each other “mom” and “dad”… GROSS!

4. THE CONSTANTLY BREAKING UP COUPLE

You know this couple. They’ve broken up 7 or 8 or 9 times, at the very least. And every time, you have to hear about it. You listen to all of the terrible things that one of the people in the couple did. You hear about all of their inadequacies and flaws. Then 24 hours later, the same friend that was dumping all of this stuff on you, they are back with this deeply flawed person that does all of the terrible things. In a couple weeks you will be hearing all the same things again and you stopped caring somewhere around the 3rd breakup.

3. THE SIT ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE TABLE WHEN DINING ALONE COUPLE

This couple probably seems harmless to you. Maybe I can’t defend how I feel about this couple, but I find them SUPER creepy. Sit on opposite sides of the table! At least then you can stare into each other’s eyes lovingly, while eating the Super Nachos Deluxe you ordered for an appetizer. It is well documented that nachos are the most romantic appetizer, but that is a power ranking for a future Valentine’s Day.

2. THE PUBLIC FIGHTING COUPLE

All couples fight. Not all couples have to fight in front of you, all the time. They might argue that fighting is just an example of their passion. They might even argue that fighting is their love language. My love language is handing you a card for a therapist. Go to counseling!

1. THE HOSTAGE COUPLE

This couple can’t do anything alone. Donna is going out for margaritas with her high school girlfriends. But Donna insists on bringing Bob along, cause Donna can’t do anything without Bob. Or Donna does finally join her friends without Bob, but the entire time she is having to check in with Bob. And Bob is having to check in with Donna. This same couple probably has shared social media accounts. The worst! If they don’t have a shared social media account, these are the ones that post super flowery tomes about the greatness of the significant other. They have to know that everybody is reading this is thinking, “oh, they about to get divorced.” And I’m not saying I’m rooting for divorce when I stumble across these… but I’m not saying that I’m not NOT rooting for divorce. Even if it is fleeting.

This list is definitive and is beyond contestation. No interviews at this time.

When I decided to do an anti-love post for Valentine’s Day, I checked in with some of the most ardent haters of Valentine’s Day I know. I simply asked them what couples they think are the worst. Almost without exception, I instead got a long diatribe about why they hate Valentine’s Day. Which wasn’t what I asked, but I did find hilarious. I confess I didn’t really read that part of those messages, cause it was a lot of blah, blah, blah, same things I’ve heard for years. I assume.

Interestingly, only Scottie D. asked me what I think about Valentine’s Day. And I might just tell you someday.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate! Happy Valentine’s Day to all the people who bah humbug it! Happy Valentine’s Day to all the people who dread it because it makes them feel all alone! I can save all of you a seat at the Iowa State women’s basketball game!

If you don’t do the Juicy Wiggle, was it really even a holiday?

+++++++

After we left Jefferson, Logan and I parted ways. I went home for a bit and then decided to go check out RAGBRAI in Ames. As a lark, I decided to head up to Luther since it was one of the towns that RAGBRAI was passing through. I really thought that by the time I got there, it was going to be too late to see much of anything going on. But Luther was packed! I bet Whatcha Smokin’ made a mint that day!

I was impressed with the job that Luther did with RAGBRAI. I hung around and took a few pictures:


RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023
I’d never heard them before, but they were a pretty solid classic rock cover band.

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023
Oh man, I haven’t had wheat grass since Sara got over it.

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023
I’m not a badmouth the younger generation guy. But in my day, when we climbed on a roof, it wasn’t to stare at our phone. We were probably breaking stuff. Okay, maybe the younger generation is better.

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

RAGBRAI - Luther - 2023

Still one more collection of RAGBRAI pictures from this day to share.

* I actually haven’t seen BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, so I have no clue what the transpires in its first scene. It could be very boring. I understand the historical and cultural significance of the movie, but pornography just isn’t my bag.

George Perry Floyd Square – I

Back in July when I went up to hang out with my Minnesota family, I made a stop at George Perry Floyd Square to just see it, experience it, and photograph it. It was one of the most powerful experiences I had in 2023.

If you don’t know what George Perry Floyd Square is, here is some info from the Wiki:

George Floyd Square, officially George Perry Floyd Square, is the commemorative street name for the section of Chicago Avenue in the U.S. city of Minneapolis from East 37th Street to East 39th Street. It is named after George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered there by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020. The streetway and memorial site is centered at the 38th and Chicago intersection.

Public outrage over Floyd’s murder resulted in the largest mass protest movement since the civil rights movement, largely over issues of systemic racism and police brutality. In the following weeks, racial justice activists and some community members erected barricades to keep 38th and Chicago street intersection closed to vehicular traffic for over a year during 2020 and 2021. Artists and demonstrators installed several exhibits, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art to memorialize Floyd and visualize racial justice themes.

To be honest I didn’t know about everything that would be there. I had seen pictures of the painting on the side of the building and the memorial in front of the building and I wanted to see that. Much of everything else I saw was a surprise.

Here is the first collection of pictures:


George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square

Still a ton of pictures to share from this experience!

I Scream: Winterset Field Work

I am definitely starting to run low on food adventures, but I think that there are a few on my horizon. This food adventure took place in November. I cruised down to a state park near Winterset cause it was on my list of places I wanted to see in 2023. On my way home I stopped at a Mom and Pop ice cream shop called Frostee’s. It was the second to last day it was open in 2023. Here are some pictures:


I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's
This year I should go back and buy a Frostee’s shirt!

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's
Even a gross Coke cup can’t ruin ice cream.

I Scream: Frostee's
Got a raspberry malt as I’m trying to take more risks.

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

I Scream: Frostee's

How was it? You know I have the Ted Lasso policy on ice cream:

Ice cream is the best. It’s kinda like seeing Billy Joel perform live. Never disappoints.
-Ted Lasso

Last year May 7 was the first day Frostee’s was open. I imagine it will open about the same date again this year.

Frostee’s is located:

101 East Green Street
Winterset, Iowa

There is one other picture to share from this trip. It wasn’t taken at Frostee’s but on one of the famous Bridges of Madison County. It made me laugh, maybe it will make you smile too:


I Scream: Frostee's

Next Sunday’s food adventure. Will cover the food I ate on my recent trip to Memphis.

2024 Photography 139 Calendar Rejects: The Ending

Time to share the rest of the images that were rejected for the 2024 Photography 139 Calendar. Some of these are similar to ones included in the calendar. They come from a wide range of projects. From auxiliary images from THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT to alternates for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE to some just good old flowertography


2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

2024 Calendar Reject

There is still one more post about the 2024 calendar left. Then we can put it to bed or up on some walls.