Snow Day

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ha, wrong camo for snow

This morning I stumbled into the kitchen to get my coffee going and out my window I saw snow flurries falling from the sky. Next thing I know there’s a flurry of excitement about this strange white stuff we rarely get to experience in East Texas. A few inches and you’d think we were in a blizzard. I braved the cold for a little bit to snap a few pictures.

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That red shed thingy in the middle of the picture really stood out.

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It’s hard to get close enough to shoot birds cuz they always fly away. I’ve only experienced a handful of snow days. Once as a child, it never snowed in the Mojave Desert and the one day it did I was sick and didn’t get to enjoy it with my friends.

I spent a New Years Eve with some friends when I was 13. We jumped on the snow covered trampoline and got soaked. Warmed up by the fireplace and went back out to go sledding. We didn’t have sleds so we made do with something that ended up tearing up our knees and shins. And once in college I had a test I wasn’t prepared for and I was hoping for a snow day but I didn’t get it.

 

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Can Snapshots be Art? Quick Pics 13-17

These are the last 5 quick pics that I took while hanging out with Speedy. I’ve had a lot of fun with this concept and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep shooting the Speedy way, even when he’s not around. A lot of my pics were crap and I’ll be deleting them, but I think it’s safe to say that snapshots can definitely be art.

Quick Pic 13: Guy with Untied Boots

We just stopped to eat and I saw this guy with his boots untied . . . he actually looked like he wasn’t completely finished getting dressed.Wow, and up hill too. 🙃

Quick Pic 14: Lady with Bright Orange Kicks

We were sitting at a very long red light when I noticed this lady’s bright orange shoes. I’m torn . . . I kinda like this pic but I also don’t. After I tried a few things, I finally decided to turn down the saturation on everything except their shoes and purses.

Quick Pic 15: Gnarly Tree 

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I like how gnarly the branches are so I included it.

Quick Pic 16: Her Piano Keys 

We stopped at someone’s house and I wandered into this dark room where I found a piano. I shined the light on my phone and snapped a couple of quick pics. I liked this one the best and I played with the split toning in Lightroom.

Quick Pic 17: Fish Tank Dragon

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We ran into this giant Pet Sense to get a new collar for my dog, Sunny. Their selection was pretty sorry for such a huge store, so I didn’t get a collar . . . I did grab this pic in the fish area though. And I played around with the split toning with this one too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my quick pics and I’d love to know your thoughts about snapshots and their place in the art world.

Can Snapshots be Art? Quick Pics 1-6

At times, when I’m chillin with my friend (let’s call him Speedy), who doesn’t like to stop, I am forced to take pictures while going 70 mph down the road. One day Speedy absolutely refused to stop and I missed so many picture opportunities. I could have gotten very discouraged and frustrated . . .  but that didn’t sound like fun so I decided to challenge myself and see what kind of snapshots I can come up with.

I like to embrace the freedom and possibilities of stepping out of my comfort zone, or challenging any lingering, pre-conceived ideas about the process of making “art” especially with photography. Many artists and non – artists have asked the question: Can a snapshot really be considered art? Hmm . . . 

Quick Pic 1: Wooden Fence, B&W

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Before 

 

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After

I’ve taken many pictures on this road and something always grabs my attention. I managed to get Speedy to stop for this one, but only while he turned the car around. I’m not crazy about this quick pic, but I chose to include it because there’s just something about it.

Quick Pic 2: Shadow of a Tall Tree

I had a few minutes to shoot this one because Speedy had a quick stop to make. The sun was pretty high and casting this huge tree shadow. I didn’t like the warmer image on the left, so I tried to be inspired by cross processing, and made it a little bluer.

Quick Pic 3: Objects in Mirrors, b&w

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Before

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After

I like that baby mirror in the corner, and including the camera and photographer can be fun sometimes. Especially with that pinky up for balance purposes. I also thought it was more interesting in b&w.

Quick Pic 4: Blurry Trees

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I like the angle, the blurriness, and the way the sun is glowing. Reminds me of a picture taken on a toy camera.

Quick Pic 5: Birds on the Power Lines at the Gas Station

In one of my b&w film classes, I remember being very captivated by a guy who did a series of birds on power lines. It’s hard to remember all of his thoughts behind his photographs, but his series was in the back of my mind when I took this quick pic.   

Quick Pic 6: Xmas Light Pic the Speedy Way

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I was ruthlessly picking on Speedy by this point and taking pictures of everything as the world zoomed on by. This one reminds me of the red and blue blur . . . y’know, Clark Kent on Smallville . . . aka Superman.

Why Does Pope Francis Want to Change a Verse in The Lord’s Prayer?

I heard this morning that Pope Francis wants to change the wording of The Lord’s Prayer. He said that God does not lead us into temptation, but that is Satan’s job. He said this verse implies that God leads you into Sin and a father wouldn’t do that but that a father would help you get up immediately. Instead he wants it to be, “do not let us fall into temptation.”

I enjoy digging deeper into the Bible and getting a better understanding of what it’s teaching us so let’s jump on in.

First of all, temptation isn’t actually sinning. Temptation happens before you sin or don’t sin. It’s important to distinguish between temptation and sin because, come on, who isn’t tempted to do something they shouldn’t? I know that I get tempted but I don’t always follow through on the temptation. And it’s God, and the things I’ve learned from His word, that helped me overcome the temptation.

Pope Francis is using the KJV, so I wondered what the original Greek translation is actually saying. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “lead” (1533) could be better translated as “carry” or “bring”.

So, instead of “Lead us not into temptation,” it would be more accurate to say “please don’t carry or bring me into temptation”? I wondered what the original word “temptation” is actually saying.

The word temptation here could be better translated as “trial” (3986) So, we would be asking God, “please do not carry me or bring me into a trial or test, but deliver me from evil”? This reminds me immediately of Job, who God actually brought to Satan’s attention.

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Job 1:8

God said to Satan there’s nobody on Earth like Job, who is upright and blameless. Satan replies that God blesses Job and if God took away all those blessings then he’d surely curse God.

“The LORD said to Satan, “Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:12

God is outright testing Job, carrying him or leading him into temptation. The heading over this section is even titled, “Job’s First Test.” Even though He is allowing Job to be tested by Satan (who God created) He also ordered Satan not to lay a finger on the man himself.

Hmm . . . in the book of Job, I see no implication of God leading him into temptation. I see that God outright carries him into temptation which is directly brought about by Satan. So, Pope Francis is partially right that it’s Satan’s job to tempt humans into sinful behavior. But, who created Satan and gave him that job? God did.

It might be hard for some people to look at God as being in control of everything, including Satan, or whomever else he created. I feel comforted because I know that God is in charge, and I personally don’t want to be tested the way Job was tested. God allowed him to go through some pretty bad stuff. But God also protected Job while he went through these tests.

I was reminded of another verse:

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23,24.

Many verses in the Bible let us know that God will get us through difficult situations that will surely happen, but he won’t let us fall. So, the Pope’s concept about asking God to not let us fall is definitely a common concept in the Bible. But I still wonder if it is an appropriate or necessary translation for this particular prayer?

The Lord’s Prayer was given by Jesus as instruction on how to pray. And if we study it carefully, and combine this one prayer with other things the Bible is teaching, I believe we can continue to deepen our understanding until the cows come home.

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Let’s look again at Pope Francis’ proposed translation “do not let us fall into temptation.” Is this a better translation? Does it give us a deeper meaning of what the prayer is asking for? Does the Pope’s reasoning behind the change make sense? Are his reasons consistent with the rest of the Bible? Does it actually water down the truth? 

I’m glad I looked up the original meanings in the concordance. Gives me a little more wisdom to chew on.

Being Thankful in Texas

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that everything’s bigger and better in Texas. Well that’s true. Big hair, big stories, big trucks, big land, and big sports fans. I’m a big Dallas Cowboys fan and the football game is the thing I look forward to the most on Thanksgiving. (Yes, even more than the food.)

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Shoot, Texas is a football state. You might think Pee Wee football is serious stuff but by the time you get to high school. . . . watch out. (Netflix Friday Night Lights, and you’ll see.) I was in high school band and the Dragon’s biggest rival was the Lufkin Panthers. Those games were a little scary too. Their scoreboard had a panther that screamed and the ferocious energy was. . . .well, it was Texas high school football energy.  And guess where Dez Bryant played when he was in high school . . . 

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AT&T Stadium – Art, Education, and Football

The world’s biggest domed structure, AT&T Stadium, is a great example of just how important football is round here. I mean, who else would have an art gallery in a sports stadium? (I’m an artist who loves sports so thumbs up from me.) According to their website, they also offer classes and an educational tour which will be the “experience of a lifetime.” (I love education too!) And that Jumbotron takes my breath away. 

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The Food

You’re not just gonna get a ‘lil hot dog and a fountain coke here. On their menu you’re gonna see items like the Jumbo Texas Pretzel, The Big D, and The Legendary Double Burger. During the games they show footage of their grills . . . omg, it’s mouthwatering. Better bring a Texas sized appetite.

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The Cheerleaders

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders set the standard for all cheerleaders. They’re beautiful and incredible athletes and they do a great job cheering our boys. They’re always ready to pose for photos, sign autographs, and volunteer their time to great causes, like the Salvation Army. 

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Doing The Most Good

One of the biggest and most important contributions made by and through the Dallas Cowboys organization is their longstanding connection with The Salvation Army. All year long, but especially during the holiday season. Each year they serve an early Thanksgiving meal to families and starting in 1997 the Thanksgiving Day halftime performance became a kick off to the Red Kettle Campaign.

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They also encourage youth through the Play 60 program, by choosing 11 youth who are judged based on their performance and on how they demonstrate The Salvation Army’s 5 Core Values:

  • Passion
  • Compassion
  • Bravery
  • Uplifting Spirit
  • Trustworthiness    

You see we not only have big stuff and big Texas attitude. . . we also have big hearts. I remember during Hurricane Harvey all of the reporters on t.v. were just so shocked that we would help strangers. They just kept repeating it over and over again, until finally one guy said, “That’s what Texans do. We don’t care about race or anything else, it’s what we do.” We jump in our big trucks, drive over our big land, and we help our neighbors out. 

Dem Boys aint having a great season, but whether we win or lose I’m really looking forward to the game. I hope you’re having a Happy Thanksgiving . . . even if you aren’t watching the game 🙂 And go make a donation when you go out to do your shopping . . . and don’t forget to grab a bag of Tostitos too and help the Cowboys do some local donating.

 

Happy Veterans Day

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My dad is retired Air Force, and he is a veteran of a foreign war, Persian Gulf. He worked with dangerous chemicals and things that go boom. He’s always been a good spirited, funny, strong, healthy, John Wayne kind of guy. He doesn’t get sick. He has God given stamina and endurance. He’s never had surgery or been to the hospital.

Until recently, 7 days before my birthday, he needed to go to the ER because he was having trouble breathing. I couldn’t believe it. He was even trying to grab his stuff for work, because apparently he thought he was gonna be going there after a quick visit to the ER.

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They ran dozens of tests (seemed like 1,000’s) and just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They finally said he was anemic. More like he was a starving vampire. He walked into that place with 3.7 units of blood. The normal level is 4.7 units. Even though it was obvious something serious was wrong he was talking, making jokes, and his skin wasn’t even pale. They finally diagnosed him with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, which we’re pretty sure he got from a weed killer. (Maybe you’ve seen the late night commercial.)

Of course the hospital’s concern was very focused on insurance. That’s when I felt so grateful for his service in the United States Air Force. They had a little trouble finding his info because like I said at the beginning of this post, he doesn’t get sick. So, he never actually completed the paperwork. He figured other people needed that insurance more than he did. Everything got sorted out, and just a little more than 2 months later he’s recovering remarkably well thanks to God, and the strong man he made my dad to be.

I told a lot of people in that hospital about his service and that he’s a veteran. I don’t know the exact number of people, but out of all of them, only 1 person thanked him for his service. Now that Veterans Day is here, I want to thank all of our brave veterans for their service. The way my dad faced these challenges, is the way our troops face their challenges to protect our freedoms.

They’re not just heroes in war but they’re heroes in the everyday. I was reminded of that when my dad went into the hospital. (BTW, 2 months earlier he fell off my roof, and got back on the roof to finish the job.) He was brave and cracking jokes and making everyone else feel comfortable when he couldn’t even hold his head up. Bigger than life. That’s the kind of people that join up.

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Right now on the holiday we make an effort, but we can show our appreciation all year long. After all, they do that for us. It really means a lot to them to hear it. I pray that God blesses you and your family like he blessed mine.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

How To Keep a Jackabee Busy

There comes a time in every Jackabee owner’s life when they need their dog to, well . . . to put it delicately . . . to SHUT UP!bone_dog

The Busy Bone works every time. I don’t rely on this technique too often, but every once in a while I let her stay busy with a Busy Bone while I enjoy peaceful quiet . . . no barking. No following me around everywhere I go.

Busy JackabeeOf course, the best and most effective way to keep your energetic Jackabee calm is to make sure they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation everyday.

And most importantly lots of love . . . aka Belly rubs.

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