Category Archives: Christianity

Audubon and Guthrie County Auxiliary Images: Vol 2

Here is the second collection of auxiliary images I took while harvesting the town signs of Audubon and Guthrie County with my Mom. The thing is that none of these pictures were taken in Guthrie County and the biggest chunk of them was taken in Shelby County. That is #roadtriplife.


Audubon County
Brayton

Audubon County

Audubon County

Audubon County
Exira

Audubon County

Audubon County - Exira
I would love to see the size of the fire truck that came out that door.

Shelby County - Elk Horn
Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Audubon County - Kimballton
Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

There is one more collection of photos from this road trip out there.

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


WEEK 299 - WORDS
WORDS

But what is a WORDS image? I know many of you didn’t come here fore reading! Top to bottom, left to right… a group of words together is called a sentence. Take Tylenol for any headaches… Midol for any cramps.

But one of the greatest comedies of all-time aside, WORDS are merely collections of letters. You can find WORDS all over the place. Books. Signs. Advertising. Newspapers. Magazines. All over the place. You are literally (used correctly) looking at WORDS right now!

Happy photo harvesting!

My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 2

When we left off, I had just won 1st Place in Black and White and 3rd Place in Color at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but had been completely rejected by the Iowa State Fair for the 4th year in a row.

Whatever I was selling, the judges were not buying. I was despondent, but not discouraged because I knew I had entered some great photos, but they were not what the judges were looking for that year.

2011 comes around. I decided to retire from the Boone County Fair Photo Contest and to start a new way of picking pictures for the Pufferbilly Days. I also had what was probably the peak of my photo contest career at the Iowa State Fair. I got all 4 pictures exhibited. This is extremely hard to do. Thousands of people enter the contest every year. Only 5 of us got all 4 pictures exhibited. You can do the math. It is a big deal.

These are the pictures that were exhibited:


2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - I Recommend Pleasant

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon
2nd Place Class 25

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Must Be Truth

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Drenched in Loneliness
Honorable Mention Class 13

For the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest it was the second year of letting other people select my entrants. Dawn, Derrick, Jen, Scott, Russell, and Rebecca chose my entries. Dawn’s choice got 2nd Place in Black and White:


2011 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Radiant Beams
2nd Place – Black and White

I was pretty excited for 2012. I thought I had cracked the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Code, but there is no code. Some years the judge like you. Some years they don’t. In 2012, they like one of my pictures:


2012 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Truth Perception

That year, I decided to retire from the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Then shortly after that, I decided to retire from Photo Contests altogether.

But in 2017, the itch came back. I decided to put on a Washington Wizards Jersey and come out of retirement. Hard. I decided to enter all 3 contests again. I got all Blue Ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

I got one picture selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2017 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Little Apple

I had the following people select my entries for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest: Jim Robbins (yeah that is a long story), Micky, Michelle, Amber, Laura, and Dawn. However, none of the pictures earned a ribbon.

In 2018, my Boone County Fair entries were determined by popular vote:


2018 Boone County Fair
Red

2018 Boone County Fair
Purple

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

I had two pictures selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Peep

2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Christmas Eve Morn

My Pufferbilly Days entries were also selected by popular vote that year:


2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - INRI
1st Place Photoshop

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Freedom Flight
1st Place Photojournalism

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Abandoned (Mill Creek)
3rd Place Hidden Treasures of Boone County

2019 would also be a successful year. I moved to having individuals select my Boone County Fair entrants. Shannon, Michelle, and Logan selected my entries.


2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Red

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

I had one picture selected for exhibition at the Iowa State Fair and it earned a ribbon:


2019 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Entry - Green Little Vaulter
Honorable Mention Class 18

My Pufferbilly Day entries were once again selected by popular vote:


2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Hocks
1st Place Nature

2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Drops
1st Place Photoshop

In 2020 the pandemic hit and all photo contests were cancelled. Which was sad and I think it was avoidable because in a digital age, I think they could have found a way. For example the Iowa State Fair still held its Fine Arts competition.

Which brings us to 2021. I’m currently working on my next embarrassing failure at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. However, I am not going to enter the Boone County Fair this year. There is a reason for this decision. A very good reason. However, I’m not going to share the reason until it becomes official or it falls through. Things seem to fall through quite often these days. No decision has been made on Pufferbilly Days yet, but Pufferbilly Days has been moved to early August this year. I’m not crazy about the decision, but I’ll give it a chance.

If you want to peruse all 153 Photo Contest entrants in this long weird journey, click on the link below:

Photo Contests

You can see them all from the out of focus to the award winners. The good, the bad, and the moldy jam equivalent.

Audubon and Guthrie County Auxiliary Images: Vol. 1

Harvesting the town signs of Audubon and Guthrie County was one the last road trips I took with my Mom. I took lots of pictures that day, so I’m going to break it up into at least two posts. All of today’s pictures were taken in Guthrie County:


Guthrie County
Panora

Guthrie County

Guthrie County
Guthrie Center

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County
Menlo
Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County
Casey

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County
Adair

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Guthrie County

Most of the remaining pictures were shot in Audubon County, but not all of them.

WPC – WEEK 296 – LIGHT

Once again, there was a healthy amount of submissions for LIGHT. Apparently many of you did see the LIGHT.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 296 - LIGHT - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 296 - LIGHT - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

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 297 - GOVERNMENT
GOVERNMENT

GOVERNMENT! Another great theme for Year 8 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

But what is a GOVERNMENT photo? A GOVERNMENT photo is any photo that involves something that involves the GOVERNMENT. Went to a public park? That is GOVERNMENT. Driving on a road? That is GOVERNMENT. Of course there are GOVERNMENT buildings like courthouse, police departments, fire departments, post offices… Everything military related is GOVERNMENT. Everything dealing with public schools is GOVERNMENT.

Think about the following quote when you are contemplating your GOVERNMENT image:

The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is government.
-Henry Ward Beecher

RULES

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 bennett@photography139.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 GOVERNMENT in this place that is governed my conscience. next Monday.

2010-08-23

The folder 2010-08-23 is absolutely stuffed to the gills. There are so many images in there I almost considered breaking it up into a couple posts, but decided against it. There are pictures in there from a trip to the Iowa State Fair and pictures of Jen and Derrick when Jen was preggers with Evie. Alexis competed in a cheerleading/tumbling competition this year.


Personal Photo Project #43 Alternate

Personal Photo Project #43 Alternate

Personal Photo Project #43 Alternate

Personal Photo Project #43 Alternate

Personal Photo Project #43 Alternate

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

Iowa State Fair - 2010

4 of 6 Alternate

4 of 6 Alternate

4 of 6 Alternate

4 of 6 Alternate

4 of 6 Alternate

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

PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT OF THE WEEK #32

PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT OF THE WEEK #43

STATE FAIR TRIP 2 – COLLECTION 1

STATE FAIR TRIP 2 – COLLECTION 2

RWPE #33 – SILENCE

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve a full moon and possibly a baby shower.

Jasper County Auxiliary Images

This is a reminder that at this point you have 1 hour to get your picks in for my NCAA Tournament Pool. Click on the link below to get started:

Roundball Oracles – Year 16

Good luck!

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I need to wish my Aunt Linda a happy birthday today. Happy birthday Aunt Linda!


Bennett Family Reunion

Slice of Life Volume 5

August 29, 2017

Slice of Life Volume 4

Bennett Family Reunion

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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A couple months back I traveled the roads of Jasper County to harvest their town signs. Here is a collection of the non-town sign pictures I took on that trip:


Jasper County
Newton, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County
Kellogg, Iowa

Jasper County
Oakland Acres, Iowa – A town that shoves it in the face of towns that don’t “heart” their children.

Jasper County

Jasper County
Lynnville, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County
Sully, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County

Jasper County
Monroe, Iowa

Jasper County

Jasper County
I absolutely love this church motto.

Jasper County

Jasper County

I want to visit Jasper County again this year and go to their drive-in movie theater. One of only like 3 left in the state.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is STREET PHOTOGRAPHY:


WEEK 288 - STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

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.”
-Robert Doisneau

Happy photo harvesting!

Postcard Recreation Project – More Churches

This is a reminder that at this point you have 24 hours to get your picks in for my NCAA Tournament Pool. Click on the link below to get started:

Roundball Oracles – Year 16

Good luck!

Note: As of this writing, Iowa State hasn’t made it official that T.J. Otzelberger is Iowa State’s head coach. I will write about that when they make it official.

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Today’s collection of old-timey postcard recreations are of churches in Boone. Featured in here is the Central Christian Church, the First Baptist Church, the Augustana Lutheran Church and the Open Bible Church. I’ve already covered some of the history of the Augustana Lutheran Church and the First Baptist Church, so I won’t rehash that, so here is some history of the Central Christian Church. A church that will always have a special place in my heart, because it was the church of my Grandma and Grandpa Paris. I’ve been to many a family function at that church, but now I don’t think I have a single family member that goes there. Here is a brief history:

For well over 100 years, Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has served the community of Boone, Iowa and surrounding areas. Our first church building was dedicated in 1876, the same year the church was founded. A second church structure was erected and dedicated to replace the first building in 1893; that building was destroyed by fire was replaced in 1903. An education building with classrooms and office space was added to the north of the 1903 sanctuary, and was dedicated on Mary 23, 1954. The Fellowship Hall, Fireside Room and kitchen were dedicated in 1970. A modern Sanctuary, Library and Choir Room were dedicated in 1979.

Twenty-nine ministers have served the church as “settled” or permanent pastors since 1884, including one associate minister who served alongside a senior minister from 1993 to 1998. The Rev. G. H. Sutton served the longest pastorate of approximately twelve years from 1930 to 1942. The average pastorate length is four and a half years.

The Open Bible Church has a very weak history section on their website, but here it is:

Open Bible Church has a long history in Boone. The church has been affiliated with Open Bible Churches of Des Moines, Iowa, for over 70 years. It has been at its current location since 1986 and was expanded in 2008.

At least there is something I guess.

Now, I mentioned in the past that the Augustan Lutheran Church and Central Christian Churches swapped buildings in 1895. From the Augustana Lutheran website:

A new church was built in 1879 and a parsonage in 1885. Because passing trains often disturbed the services, in 1895 the property was traded, along with $3000 to the Christian Church for the property at 7th and Carroll Streets. In 1901, a new parsonage was built next to the church. In 1910, a basement was put under the church and extensive repairs were made.

This always confused me because the site of the Central Christian Church is a mere 1 block closer to the railroad tracks than the Augustana Lutheran Church. But there is two things I didn’t understand. That the building that Lutherans traded to the Central Christian Church wasn’t on the corner of 8th and Greene AND the railroad tracks weren’t in the same location as they currently are. Now it makes sense.

Look at this chunk of a map of Boone from 1896:


1896 Boone Map

You can see in that map that in 1896, the year after the trade, the Central Christian Church was on Crawford Street, between 7th and 8th. Not on the corner of 7th and Carroll. And right against the railroad tracks. Also, you will notice that back then Augustana Lutheran was called Swedish Lutheran AND the Open Bible Church had not been built yet.

We’ll also consult this map again in a couple of weeks, but for now, here are some old-timey recreations:


Central Christian Church, Boone, Iowa - Original
Central Christian Church, Boone, Iowa – Original

Central Christian Church, Boone, Iowa - Redux
Central Christian Church, Boone, Iowa – Redux

Seventh and Carroll Streets, Boone, Iowa - Original
Seventh and Carroll Streets, Boone, Iowa – Original

Seventh and Carroll Streets, Boone, Iowa - Redux
Seventh and Carroll Streets, Boone, Iowa – Redux

First Baptist Church - Boone, Iowa - 2203 - Original
First Baptist Church – Boone – Iowa – 2203 – Original

First Baptist Church - Boone - Iowa - 2203 - Redux
First Baptist Church – Boone – Iowa – 2203 – Redux

This might be the end of church related postcards. I haven’t really come across any others, but the search continues. The next time we check-in with THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT will involve schools.

Austin & Porter 2020 B

In case you couldn’t make it to church this morning, I got your back. Here is a devotional for the fourth Sunday of Lent. Here is a devotional from Reverend Dr. Heecheon Jeon.

God so loved the world

Rev. Dr. Heecheo Jeon
John 3:16

Greetings!

My name is Heecheon Jeon. I am the central district superintendent. I am very honored to share with you one of the Lenten series from the lectionary today.

Let us pray:

Holy God of love,

We give you thanks for this journey of the lent that gives us a space to reflect on our life in you. May our hearts be attuned to your spirit. May our thoughts and words be acceptable to you, O God. Amen.

I want to begin with the famous passage, John 3:16, that you might recite from your heart:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

I grew up in a Christian family in Korea. When I was a child, I loved my home church. I always went to the church ground to play. I had so many friends and families in the church I could play with, and the church was always a place for relationships and a sense of belonging, and for me, the church was another family. As I grew older, my grandmother took me to an early morning prayer service at the church every morning. For some reasons, I enjoyed that early morning service. It gave me joy, happiness and peace. I even followed a loud prayer in a room full of adults, singing hymns and listening the pastor’s message. As I reflected on those days, I realized that the everyday spiritual practice nurtured my soul, and more than that, it really helped me to sustain my faith in my early ages. It eventually strengthened my deep love for God and for the church. And then when I was in high school, I was introduced a book about Korean Minjung or people’s Liberation theology. I was so enlightened by how the church courageously spoke up against the unjust and evil power of military dictatorship that oppressed the people. The church has really taught me how to respond to that evil and unjust world. It strengthens my love for the world, because the church eventually taught me how to heal the broken and suffering world.

During those days, John 3:16 was always grounded in my heart.

“God so loved the world…”

Christianity is about the world that we are living in. More than that, it is about God’s love for the world.
The world is a place where we live together with all other beings; it is an “oecumene,” the household or dwelling place of all beings. It is a community for all beings. It is the whole ecosystem on the planet. And God loves the whole universe.

There is a plenty of reasons why we might be fearful of the world. Violence, hatred, discriminations, wars, divisions, or natural disasters are threatening human lives and lives of all things around us. However, in spite of all these, God still loves the world that the Son of God who is with us is the manifestation of God’s saving grace that may sustain our lives and lives of others, because love is the only way to overcome the radical evil and to transform the world.
Likewise, John Wesley boldly stated at the brink of a worldwide Methodist movement, “I look upon the world as my parish.” I feel his profound passion and love for the whole world. The world is my parish. The world is my church. The world is a place where God is dwelling and God’s love is manifested. The world is where I can bear witness to God’s saving grace. God’s love for the world breaks down all the walls and barriers and chasms between us, and between the church and the world. That is what the churches taught me. This is what John 3:16 is all about. The world is my church, my community, and my people that I am belonging to. We need to embrace them and we need to love them all, because God so loved the world.

I hope we imitate God’s love for the whole world that may unite us all, embrace us all, and make us whole in peace.
I hope our journey to the Easter morning be blessed and guided by God’s love for the world.

Gracious and loving God,

We give you thanks and gratitude for your love for the world.

May we overcome all the barriers, divisions, and discriminations against each other.

May the Holy Spirit unite us all as the people of resurrection hope.

Amen

Next Sunday I will share a devotional from Mr. Jodie Cue. Also know as Reverend Doug Cue.

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Here is the second collection of images from the annual candid portrait photo shoot with Scottie D. and Melissa’s progeny:


Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

Degeneffe Boys - 2020

There is still one more collection of photos from this photo shoot in the hopper.

Wright County Auxiliary Images

Buckle up, this one could be a long post.

I need to start by wishing Dawn a happy birthday. Happy birthday Dawn!


9 Emotions Project - Dawn Krause

Photo of the Day 0089 - July 30, 2014

Bonne Finken

Josh Davis Band

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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I also need to wish a happy birthday to Baier. Happy birthday Baier!


Baier Tenderloin Road Trip

Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!

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It is beyond time I share the photos from my trip around Wright County with my Mom and Teresa harvesting the town signs of… well Wright County. Although some of these pictures are also taken in Humboldt County, Hardin County, Franklin County, and Story County. But I want to start with a little history lesson about Woolstock. The birthplace of George Reeves.

For those of you don’t know, George Reeves was the first television Superman. He also appeared in GONE WITH THE WIND. But after playing Superman he was typecast and had difficulty getting other roles. He died tragically and mysteriously. It was ultimately ruled a suicide, but there are many that think he was murdered. His death was the focus of the 2006 movie HOLLYWOODLAND. He was portrayed by Ben Affleck.

Here is a little bit on George Reeves and Woolstock from the Superman Supersite:

On January 5th, 1914, George Keefer Brewer was born to Helen Lescher Brewer and Don Brewer of Woolstock. At the time of his birth his parents had been renting 2 front rooms in the home of the Fischers. So and so was the midwife that delivered little George in the Fischer home on that cold January day. Marie Claude was his babysitter (Her experiences with George will be coming soon).

Helen Lescher, George’s mother, came from Galesburg, Illinois, which is also where she met George’s father, Don Brewer, while he was at Pharmacy school. She was a child from a wealthy and prominent Galesburg family. Her move to Woolstock was made after she had become pregnant with George and came around the time of her marriage to Don Brewer in August of 1913. She disliked Woolstock because of its small town setting and her desire for more attention and fancy flare that she could not receive in it.

After the birth of George, Don soon acquired a small bungalow home on present day Cecilia Street. Their move there did not tame the flames already drawn by Helen, and Helen became disappointed that Don didn’t want to achieve more then what he already had with his pharmacist job in a small rural community. After a year or so, she would request separation and a divorce. There is talk that Helen ended up staying at the Woolstock Hotel on the west corner of Main Street (now it would have been located on the corner of Herman, Nellie, and Alice Streets across from the grain silos/elevator) during the separation. After the divorce, Helen eventually moved with George to Pasadena, California, near her sister, where she would meet her 2nd husband, Frank Bessalo. Frank eventually adopted George, and Helen made up fake documents about George’s past and told him that his real father committed suicide. Later George would meet his father unexpectedly during a show that George acted and toured with during the 1940s, after the success of Gone with the Wind (George played Stuart Tarleton). George was surprised that his father was alive, and was angry at Helen. He would never meet with his father after that because he thought too much time had gone by.

Don Brewer, himself, was born and grew up around the area of Woolstock in near by Webster City. He continued with business at the Reed and Brewer Drug Store, but would eventually move to Mason City, Iowa.

Well, his mom was a real piece of work.

Here are the pictures from the road trip:


Wright County
Woolstock, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Humboldt County
Thor, Iowa – I wonder is this sign works. Cause I have all sorts of doubts.

Wright County
Goldfield, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County
Clarion, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County
Belmond, Iowa

Franklin County
Alexander, Iowa

Wright County
Dows, Iowa

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County
“Abundent”?

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County
Outhouse!

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Wright County

Hardin County
Alden, Iowa

Hardin County

Hardin County
Buckeye, Iowa

Hardin County

Bald Eagle
North of Zearing, Iowa a few miles. Bald Eagles, the turtles of the sky.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

I believe Jasper County is next up for the sharing of auxiliary images.

The Stenslands 2020- Alpha

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
John 2:13-22

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.

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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:


Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

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Stenslands- 2020

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Stenslands- 2020

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If you want to see more pictures from this photo shoot, click on the link below:

Stenslands – 2020

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!