Category Archives: Christianity

2010-01-19 & 2010-01-25

Happy 4th of July everybody! This holiday celebratory picture is a bit different.


Happy 4th of July - 2020

This historical marker commemorates the crew of a U.S. Army Air Force B-24 Bomber that were killed when their plane crashed in Boone County during a training flight during WWII.

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The pictures in the folders 2010-01-19 & 2010-01-25 are from a couple different PERSONAL PHOTO PROJECT(s). One is of a Sara through the window in my entry way. The other is a picture of some family Bibles. There is also a picture from the 3rd ever WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. The theme was PEOPLE.


Hearts Beat High with Joy Alternate

Hearts Beat High with Joy Alternate

Hearts Beat High with Joy Alternate

Hearts Beat High with Joy Alternate

Hearts Beat High with Joy Alternate

Hearts Beat High with Joy Alternate

WEEK 3 - PEOPLE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

The Lovely Silhouette

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:

RWPE #3 – PEOPLE
Personal Photo Project of the Week No. 5
Personal Photo Project of the Week No. 6

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Willy and some flowers.

Singleness

Photography 139 subscriber and all around swell person Alisa Baker was recently featured on the podcast “The Upside Down Kingdom”. I encourage you to give it a listen, because she has some real interesting things to say:



If you got this blog in an email, you will have to go to the website to listen to the podcast.

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I recently purchased a photo rail to help me do some super-macro photography. What is a 4 way macro focusing rail slider. Can’t picture that in your head. Well it looks something like this:


Singleness

The rail system really aids in doing some precision focusing with a super macro lens I purchased a couple years ago, but has very limited functionality and is very user unfriendly.

But with the rail, I was able to make these images on my first round of experimentation:


Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Since it might be hard to figure out what the subjects of these pictures are they are sidewalk chalk, cherry blossoms, and a dandelion.

These pictures are not cropped. This is the full resolution of the original images. This new toy should be lots of fun!

Senior Sunday – Taylan – Volume 2

I should start with wishing everybody a Happy Easter!


Happy Easter - 2020
Happy Easter!

It is definitely one of the weirdest Easters that most of us have ever experienced. I didn’t go to church on Easter Sunday since I don’t know when. Instead, I drove around and took a few pictures of church signs while listening to KWBG.

From 8-9 they played the Palm Sunday worship service of the local Baptist service. The Pastor of that church now helps with our Youth Group and she truly has been a godsend.

From 9-10 they played our worship service. Which was a live Easter service. I just want to share a couple of my favorite signs I saw this morning:


Easter 2020

Easter 2020

I would like to share an Easter Devotional from the Bishop of the Iowa Conference of the Methodist Church:

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here, because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him. Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the message to you.”

With great fear and excitement, they hurried away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them and greeted them. They came and grabbed his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that I am going into Galilee. They will see me there.”

—Matthew 28:1-10 (CEB)

Billy Sunday was the first great traveling evangelist of the twentieth century. He traveled the country with his flamboyant revival showmanship, which attracted enormous crowds. A consummate showman, Sunday he would invite his listeners at the end of the sermon to come forward by walking down the sawdust trail of the temporary wooden structure to give their lives to Christ. “Hitting the sawdust trail” became a synonym for repentance and conversion.

The first people to ever hit the sawdust trail, however, were the women, weren’t they? Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb, where they encountered an angel sitting on a stone who said, “Don’t be afraid. Jesus has been raised from the dead. Now, hurry and go, tell his disciples.”

The phrase, “hitting the sawdust trail,” actually predates Billy Sunday, originating in the forests of Oregon, where lumber jacks would get lost deep in the woods. Needing find their way out, they would lay a trail of sawdust along the way so they could follow it out to a place where they could get their bearings.

Like the lumberjacks, we, too, are totally lost and have to rely on God’s grace to lead us to and then along the sawdust trail. We cannot control resurrection because resurrection is God’s work of grace. Do you, too, want to hit the sawdust trail? Then practice resurrection by welcoming and walking beside all kinds of people traveling the way of spiritual formation.

In his poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, Wendell Berry captures the unpredictability of resurrection. He says, “So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it…. Practice resurrection.”

Prayer:

God of new birth, this is the day of resurrection, and we are ready to hit the sawdust trail, a trail that leads right back into everyday life where we commit ourselves to practice resurrection. With your grace leading the way, we will welcome all people to journey with us, so that one day the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. And he shall reign forever and ever, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Amen.

By: Bishop Laurie Haller, Resident Bishop, Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

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Here is a second collection of pictures from Taylan’s Senior Picture Photo shoot:


Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

Taylan Howard

More senior pictures next Sunday!

Bravard

I’d like to start with a little Good Friday Devotional I found on MethodistThinker.com:


On Good Friday we commemorate that day nearly 2,000 years ago when the way of salvation was opened. Jesus the Messiah, the One who knew no sin, became sin for us and suffered the death we deserved.

As the Apostle Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.”

A prayer:

Father, how can we thank you enough? You did not spare your own Son, but gave Him up for us. We echo the words of the songwriter who asked, “What wondrous love is this?”

Thank you for Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Now, as He lives in us by the Holy Spirit, may we become living sacrifices, pouring all that we have, all that we are, all that we hope to be into the advancement of your kingdom.

This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the Living One, who was dead and now is alive forevermore.

This will be one Lent that I will truly never forget. It started with some much joy and fellowship on Ash Wednesday and shortly thereafter it will end in quarantine and physical isolation. But the isolation isn’t forever. The physical fellowship will return again.

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Back in October, I got together with the Bravard family to take their family portraits. As is the tradition almost every time I do family portraits, the lighting was brutally harsh, but we got some pictures I like. Have a look:


The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

The Bravards - 2019

It was a lot of fun taking their family photos!

Minnesota State Fair #1

14 work days of working from home in the books. I think the last time I indicated that I was starting to get a system going. Now I can say that I’m starting to get comfortable working from home. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’ll pumped when it is safe to work from the office again, but I mean that my FOMO is tamping down quite a bit.

That being said, Naima has been pretty much a Sleepy McGee during the day and left me alone to work. However, today she was a ball of fire. I think it is because I have new neighbors that have moved in next door and they have a dog named Gator. Naima and Gator like to “play” by running up and down the fence together. It is a positive that Naima has a new friend. If there is anybody that is really bad about social distancing, it is golden retrievers.

The new neighbors seem good. When Linda moved out, she left a Hawkeye windsock hanging off the back of the house. As the new neighbors have moved in, I’ve been watching that windsock. After 5 days, it is still there. Unfortunately.

Last night I got to introduce myself to the patriarch of the household. I mentioned that I have been waiting for that windsock to go down. The windsock will be staying up. They are Hawkeye fans. Other than this obvious shortcoming, they seem like they will be good neighbors.

An update on what I have been listening to while I work from home:

I still listen to 96.1 from 7 to 9 in the morning. Listening to Christian music does help center me and is a good reminder that while we may feel alone in this pandemic, we are not alone. Not by a long shot.

Then from 9-11 I listen to the Master Playlist. You don’t know about the Master Playlist. It is a playlist of songs I put together for my last birthday party. It is 1,585 songs. 102 hours of music. I am listening to it to cut some of the fat. I’m up to track #307 right now. The acoustic version of “100 Years” by Five For Fighting. Not to be confused by the radio version of “100 Years” by Five for Fighting. That is track #303 silly.

Then from 11 to noon I eat lunch. Watch one episode of THE OFFICE. Then I shower. Lotion up. Gotta keep them feet soft. Put on a fresh set of clothes. Then I’m ready to take the world back on.

From 12-2 or so, I listen to the Master Playlist some more. At I turn on Murph and Andy and they take me to 4, when I clock out and call it a day.

14 days done. Who knows how many more to go, but I am beyond blessed to still be able to work 40 hours a week, have health insurance, and collect a paycheck every other week.

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Here is part of devotional I found on the Methodist Women website that I thought I would share:

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

Jesus calls out the importance of love to his disciples, the importance of loving one another. Love is the only way, the only path to grow with, the mark of a disciple as beloved, the keeper of the fellowship of disciples. Love is central to Jesus’ mission.

Even as he knows the pending betrayal by Judas and Peter’s denial of him, Jesus demonstrates love by washing their feet like a slave does.

Jesus is focused in his teachings on the centrality of loving one another, so that love will not be broken by troubles and doubts among the disciples.

Jesus glorifies God as the highest, the one source of the new commandment to love and act as one beloved community. The parallel verse to this new commandment is in John 15:12-14, laying down one’s life for the love of friends, and for all friends to do the same. It lifts up the heroic act, giving one’s life for others. Love is the formation of community, and love becomes eternal.

Jesus’ pronouncement in John 10:10 is made real.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, help us to rest in your words of love, and loving our neighbors who are suffering, be with us in search of the true meaning of life you offered and find us to be faithful in helping build communities of love, nurture and care. In your name we pray, Amen.

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Last August I went to the Minnesota State Fair with Bethany, Becca, Jonah, and Shawn. I do have to say this, “whoever said that the Minnesota State Fair is better than that Iowa State Fair is seriously disturbed.”

That being said, the Minnesota State Fair is definitely worth visiting. It is crazy overcrowded, but there is more than enough to keep a person entertained!

Here are some pictures:


Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019
I can’t tell if this is genius or madness, but I love them!

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019
I don’t know what Swedish Egg Coffee is, but it sounds disgusting.

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

Minnesota State Fair - 2019

The one thing I was told not to miss at the Minnesota State Fair is the cookies in the bucket. We did get some and they did not disappoint, but that that is a story for another entry though.

What I want to point out is that another thing the Minnesota State Fair is famous for is a place that sells bottomless cup of milk. The tragedy of this situation is that they aren’t right next to either. In fact, they aren’t even close.

Oh the humanity!

2009-09-09

The pictures in the folder 2009-09-09 are from two road trips I took back in 2009. One was a trip with my Mom, Grandma, and Teresa to Kalona. Kalona has always been one of my favorite places to visit. It has been too long since I have been there, that is for sure.

The second road trip was one I took with Jay and Jesse to visit Faust up in Mankato. It also has been too long since I have visited Faust. I don’t lack proper motivation. Mankato has a sweet Godzilla statue that I still haven’t seen.

Here are some pictures from those road trips:


Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Kalona Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

Mankato Road Trip - 2009

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:

Vacation Stuff – One

Vacation Stuff – Two

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve some family photos I did for Jim’s lady friend Pam.

Birthday Road Trip – Misc.

Hey! Guess what? One week from today is Ash Wednesday! Do you know what that means? It means that it is another chance to come support the Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Indianapolis!

We will be holding a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser from 6-7 PM at the Boone First United Methodist Church. You can come down there and slop down some delicious spaghetti for whatever price you deem acceptable. Just throw some of your spare scratch in the donation basket and knock down as much spaghetti as your heart can take. Some garlic bread too!



All the information you need is right there. Hope to see many of you there!

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This is the second to last collection of images from my Birthday Road Trip. This is a collection of some random stops and places that just didn’t quite have enough pictures to warrant their own post. Places like Fort Atkinson and The Small Church near Festina.


2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

2019 Birthday Road Trip - Misc

The last collection of images from my Birthday Road Trip are the cruddy cell phone pictures I took that day.

Birthday Road Trip – Little Brown Church

For starters, happy birthday Anders! We celebrated Anders’ birthday last night at January birthday night with yellow cake, a DOLEMITE double feature, and a root beer tasting.

After all, DOLEMITE is my name and (expletive deleted) up mother (expletive deleted) is my game!

Here are some pictures of a man I consider to be at least the equal of Dolemite!


PHOTO JOURNAL - PAGE 121 ALTERNATE

9 Emotions Project - Anders Runestad


One of my secret (I guess) goals of 2020 is to be more proactive about putting information for Movie Night up on the website. Because if you are reading these words, you are invited to Movie Night.

But be warned, you may never be the same after you attend Movie Night. Exposure to great art tends to change a person. In fact, I think Movie Night broke Willy.

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Enough about Anders’ birthday. Let’s talk about my birthday. Last year Jesse and I took a road trip around my birthday. One of the stops we made was at The Little Brown Church. There were a bunch of LARPers there. Maybe they were time travelers. Either way, they were dressed up like it was the Civil War.

Here are some pictures from that stop:


Little Brown Curch

Little Brown Curch

Little Brown Curch

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church

Jesse had never heard of The Little Brown Church, but it is the church from that song. You know the song. The song about the little brown church.

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood
No lovelier spot in the dale
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale

Our church hosted a filmmaker who made a documentary about it once. It was interesting, but it didn’t feature one time traveler.

Argerich

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


Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

Street Photography - Ames, Iowa

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

Advent Candle – Christ

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

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



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

“Help, Thanks, Wow.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s light the Christ Candle:


Advent Candle - Christ

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

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

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


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

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

Have a great Christmas Eve everybody!