January 31, 2009

Another reason to love Lynchburg - The White Hart

Today was David’s second straight Saturday school so, once again, Kim and I had to figure out what we should do with four hours of our time while we waited for him to serve his time. Last week we headed to the cemetery to take some pictures. You may remember the dark and moody sky last week. This week, we went straight to my favorite coffee shop—The White Hart & Inklings Bookstore.

Kim has been working on the Gelina family geneology online, so she took her laptop with her to take advantage of The White Hart’s free wifi. I took my camera and my laptop so I could work on some new Photoshop techniques.

I have become a big fan of The White Hart’s caffe lattes—especially when they are made by my favorite barista in the whole world—Elizabeth. Next time you’re in Lynchburg and visiting The White Hart, order a caffe latte. If she's there, be sure to request that Elizabeth make it for you. She’s an artist of the highest order.

But this brings me to the topic at hand—another of the myriad reasons that we love Lynchburg. The White Hart coffee shop and its associated bookstore Inklings is a unique place that just exudes Lynchburgness. (Okay, I made that word up, but it says what I want it to say.)

My favorite barista, Elizabeth

I mentioned last week the wonderful conversations happening at the tables around us as we sipped our drinks and read our books. That is the regular course of action at The White Hart. But today we noticed a new dynamic.

A few homeless men came into the shop this morning. They were greeted by a few of the folks who were sitting together sharing conversation at the tables. We had heard a few of these folks discussing the book they are studying in their Sunday school class at church. When these homeless men came in, a few of the folks at these tables went to the counter and order coffee for these men. The White Hart's coffee is very high quality and a bit expensive. But after watching this happen a few times, we realized that they view this as a ministry.

There were quite a few folks who obviously knew each other. They were sitting at a few different tables. Each time one of these homeless men came into the shop, they would greet them and talk to them and buy them some coffee. We were very impressed.

And this is an interaction that seems to us characteristic of the people of Lynchburg, Virginia. The people of this city seem to have a genuine concern for others. This is especially seen toward others who are in particular need, as we were when we first came to Lynchburg and they rolled the red carpet out for us.

So now you've heard what I have to say about this fantastic coffee shop and bookstore. But what is The White Hart/Inklings all about from their point of view? Here’s the description from their web site:

Inklings Bookshop is in its 13th year. We are now opening The White Hart, where we will combine the sale of books with a café, coffee shop, and live music venue.

The White Hart offers organically grown and fair-traded coffee with a menu featuring locally grown, organic food products. We feature pastries made in our own kitchen every day. Whenever practical, our ingredients are purchased from local farmers.

The White Hart is a name frequently used in England for some of that nation’s oldest pubs. The image of the white hart or white stag is found in the Arthurian legends, as well as legends from Celtic and other cultures. In some cultures the animal may appear as a reindeer or a unicorn. The appearance of a white male deer is symbolic of the presence of the numinous or divine. The legends of the conversions of St.Eustace and St. Hubert include an appearance of a white hart displaying an image of a cross between its antlers. [Read more]

[And more]

Inklings Bookshop &
The White Hart Cafe

1206-1208 Main Street
Lynchburg, VA 24504

King Richard II used the device of a white hart in his arms. [More]

We hope that Inklings Bookshop & The White Hart will be a kind of “third place” for the Lynchburg community, where one can relax, visit with friends, enjoy some good food and drink, find an interesting book, and hear good music. Please let us know how we can make this a place for you.

As you can see, The White Hart and Inklings bookstore is a unique place. But I also love it because of its location. It’s directly across the street from the fantastic Lynchburg Market on Main Street, Lynchburg. All the photos in this post were taken either inside The White Hart or on Main Street within three blocks of the shop.

A very nice camera shop is at the opposite end of the three blocks, so I walked to the camera shop while we were waiting for David’s Saturday school to end. On the way to the camera shop, I took a few pictures of the unique eclectic architecture to be found in Lynchburg and a few pictures of holly leaves and berries.

I just can’t say enough about The White Hart and how enjoyable it is to spend a few hours there if you have the time to do so.

It’s great to live in Lynchburg!

By the way - As I was walking to the camera shop, I noticed an old office building with some missing windows. It appeared to be under some stage of ongoing construction and it caught my attention. As I focused my camera on a few of the windows, I noticed a cat sitting on one of the window sills. The cat seemed very interested in what I was doing, so I took its picture. I didn't get a model release. Hopefully it won't mind.

Click this picture for high res version

Remembering a gentle spirit

A few days ago, I posted “He Took On the Form of a Servant,” and focused on what it was like live in the light of Philippians 2. Well, NC State's Coach Kay Yow was an example of this type of life.

As I listened yesterday to her pastor read letters from some of her former students, one theme resounded:   she lived her faith and demonstrated it by loving everyone. In the “Tribute to Kay Yow” program on WRAL TV last night, this is what our local sportscaster had to say.

Her pastor also told of a devotional she led at a church function, when she focused on the verse, "Let your gentleness be known to all men." She was really convicted by that verse, and said, “I never want to be a harsh coach.” Her pastor said he was so surprised because she was one of the most gentle people he knew, but that she was passionate about becoming a gentle person.

Anybody who knew her, or watched her, knew she wanted to win the game. Yet, her gentleness was demonstrated even in the heat of battle. Gentleness doesn't mean you no longer battle, it just means that you battle with respect.

I am impressed by this woman's example, and hope to one day be able to have others say of me what was said of her yesterday.

Watch the whole thing.

Blog Header - January 31, 2009

Today's blog header photo shows the street in front of the Lynchburg Market. I love the mix of architectural styles in downtown Lynchburg and was struck with the uniqueness of this scene.

January 30, 2009

God's Awesome Hand of Grace

I had the most wonderful privilege today. I was able to participate in the orchestra at Coach Kay Yow's funeral.

This great woman of faith planned out her memorial service like a gameplan, and it was a big win for the name of her Savior!! I wish I knew of a link for the whole service, but this was the most important part. The thousands of people who attended, and those who watched the live streaming video heard Coach Yow's testimony, the Romans Road, and a clear challenge to follow Christ.

WRAL.com has the 20 minute video posted for all to view. I am so excited about what God will continue to do through the life and death of this fabulous servant of His.

Enjoy this video!

Wow, that's a sham!

From the creative minds at The Sacred Sandwich:

Big Game Party!!

No, that kinda sounds like a party for hunters, doesn't it?

Maybe it should be The Big Football Final Game of the Season Party. Naw, that doesn't sound too good either.

Well, whatever you call it (don't use the term Super Bowl), the NFL has relaxed its restrictions and has now said that churches may show the game at their non-super-bowl-named events.

It's a good thing, because this coming Sunday we will be at one of those parties. I think our's was named the Super Bowl Party, but we will now call it the Fellowship Bowl.

Watch out for zombies!

If you're going to hack into a digital road sign, be sure you're ready to leave a good message. If they catch the guy who did this, he should be given a public service humor award. I bet he brought a smile to the face of many motorists.

January 29, 2009

Nutrition over carbonation

David loves sugar, and candy, and soda, and anything deep fried in oil. To put it simply, if it’s bad for him, he loves to eat it.

I guess that’s not particularly different than most kids, but it is an ongoing cause for concern—even though he’s way more healthy than we are.

The juicer with fruit and vegetable at the ready

To provide some more context, our family received a vegetable juicer for Christmas. It’s a nice one and seems to be well-built. And we’ve been making good use of it. Vegetable and apple juice made from fresh fruit and then consumed shortly thereafter is tremendously nutritious in addition to being surprisingly tasty.

It has been David’s habit to run out to the porch to grab a Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper to drink with his breakfast. We have tried to direct him toward drinks that are more nutritious and less harmful, but this is one of those battles we have chosen not to fight in favor of seemingly more important things (like getting him to the school bus stop on time).

David doing the juicing

So I have been very pleased by the fact that David has become a huge fan of fresh carrot-apple juice. He didn’t want to try it at first, but since I seemed to enjoy it so much he finally decided to give it a try and he has become an enthused carrot-apple juice drinker—especially at breakfast.

Carrot-apple is a basic juice for the juicer; most juices are much more complex with way more ingredients. But that doesn't mean it isn't a delicious or supernutritious drink. In fact, this drink is called "The Champ" by Jay Kordich ("the Juiceman"), who claims that this juice cured his cancer and saved his life. And because of the intensely delicious nature of this drink, it can serve as a base for adding small quantities of more potent vegetables like greens, spinach, radishes, and beets. In fact, carrot-apple-beet juice is not only delicious but it has such a beautiful color that it attracts immediate attention and is so high in betacarotenes that it should be a standard drink for anyone who is concerned about fighting anti-oxidants.

Juice filling the glass

Carotenes are best known for their capacity for conversion into vitamin A, their antioxidant activity, and their correlation with the maximum life-span potential of humans.... Orange-colored fruits and vegetables (carrots, apricots, mangoes, yams, squash) typcially have higher concentrations of provitamin A carotenes. The provitamin A content parallels the intensity of the color....

Juicing provides greater benefit than beta-carotene supplements or intact carotene-rich foods because juicing ruptures cell membranes, thereby liberating important nutritional compounds like carotenes for easier absorption.

Michael T. Murray, N.D., The Complete Book of Juicing

Getting ready to enjoy the results

If you're looking for a way to increase your family's nutritional intake while having some fun along the way, go out and get a juicer. They're a healthy and super-fun blast.

Better kids media

Do you remember Veggietales? I remember about a decade ago when Veggietales was in its heyday that teens were having Veggietale parties—all-nighters (non slumber parties) with the Veggietales shows running non-stop for the duration. It was great stuff with a fantastic message for kids (and adults) in each show.

I was really disappointed when Veggietales was sold to a non-Christian company. The Veggietales that you see on Saturday morning cartoons now are nothing like the old shows with the great morals to the story, key bible verse applications, and prayer requests. They're now not a whole lot different from other cartoons like Fairly Odd Parents and Pokemon.

But Phil Vischer, the original Veggietales creator, is still trying to put out decent kids media. You can keep an eye on him and his progress at PhilVischer.com. And you can read his thoughts about why there may be a better alternative to Hannah Montana.

Proclaiming uncommon truth

John MacArthur has written some of my favorite books. He is able to clearly explain theological concepts that can be somewhat difficult to understand. And he is able to make those concepts so understandable that quite often I find myself wondering why they weren't completely obvious to me in the first place.

Another of my favorites is Kirk Cameron, co-founder of the evangelistic group Way of the Master and lead actor in the movie Fireproof, which was just released on DVD this past Tuesday.

In the following video clips, Kirk Cameron interviews John MacArthur about his book Hard to Believe, one of my favorite John MacArthur books. MacArthur's clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is simply fantastic.

Reign in your members!!

A few years ago our church purchased quite a few license plate frames with the church's name and web address on them. Many of us thought that this would be a good way to advertise the church up and down the highways.

We realized that the frames might not have been such a great idea after quite a few people responded to the free license plate frames with something like, "I don't want to put that on my car because then I'll have to be ultra careful when I'm commuting." This was in the Washington, DC, metro area and the drivers there are notorious for their aggressive driving and their bad behavior toward the other motorists.

I was reminded of that situation a few days ago when I heard about this call to LifeChurch.tv.

Perhaps we should all just make sure we're behaving properly in public. Then we may advertise our churches with impunity.

January 28, 2009

More ice

David was really hoping that school would be canceled today, but no such luck. There was an hour delay and then back to school as usual. So at about 8:45 this morning I walked David down to the bus stop.

Of course, I took my camera along to capture some more of God's creativity. Although I don't like driving in snow and ice, I love to photograph it. Fresh fallen snow is one of the most beautiful images of purity I can imagine. And the results of frozen rain are fascinating.

The freezing rain continued throughout the night, so there's quite a bit more ice on the branches, grass, mailbox, and everything else than there was last night when I took the pictures for this morning's post. The weight of the ice had caused the limbs and branches to hang low, giving a completely new look compared to yesterday's early storm results.

The trees closest to our house have looser limbs and branches than the more tightly packed trees closer to the bus stop. There are also evergreen trees closer to the bus stop, so we were able to see more beauty in the diversity of God's creation.

David loves snow and ice. He especially loves eating them. So he kept munching on the branches as we walked past them and he waited for me to compose the various shots. When we got to the bus stop, David asked me, "Will the ice still be there when I get out of school? I want to eat more."

You'd think that would indicate that he's not a picky eater. But, alas, he is. Perhaps we should consider feeding him just frozen water.

January 27, 2009

Blog Header - January 28, 2008

Yesterday I traveled into Washington, DC, for a meeting. In order to make it into the city by opening of business, I have to leave our house at 3:00 am. So I left the house long before the winter storm hit the DC metro area.

But by the time I had arrived at the outskirts of the DC suburbs, the snow was coming hard and heavy. The roads quickly became covered and in typical Washington, DC, fashion, the drivers all began driving like morons. I've gotten used to DC driving, but familiarity doesn't make it any more pleasant.

Psalm 147:16-17
He gives snow like wool;
   he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
   who can stand before his cold?

Mary and I recently discussed the enjoyment we can derive from noticing the contrasts in the world. The terrible drivers in DC provide me a wonderful contrast to help me appreciate the better behaved drivers in Lynchburg. But I digress.

The contrasts we were talking about were related to weather and how different times of day, different seasons, and different weather provides us with endless variety—each with a unique beauty, if we only open our eyes and appreciate it. And the pleasure we derive is fulfilled when we praise God for the beauty he has blessed us with.

So I paid attention to the change in the weather as I left the DC area and headed back to Lynchburg yesterday. The snow was still falling and accumulating rapidly on the ground as I headed out of the city. As the temperature raised the flakes became large soft feathery flakes, and as the temperature lowered the flakes became tiny and fell a bit more swiftly.

The pattern of the snow blowing past the car had a unique beauty all its own as well. I've always loved the way snow looks through the windows of a moving automobile. It almost looks like one of the effects they use in movies to indicate a time warp or a worm hole in space.

But as I got closer to home, the snow gave way to freezing rain. I have always hated driving in freezing rain because it is very dangerous. And yesterday I was driving through the mountains, which have a much higher potential of danger in such conditions.

But God is sovereign and I was driving carefully, so I decided to just notice how beautiful everything becomes when a layer of ice covers everything. The grass began to glitter. The sky took on a gray hue that caused the ice-covered tree limbs to stand out in vivid relief. Even the mechanical portion of the windshield wipers became quite beautiful in it's icy covering.

So as soon as I got home I grabbed my camera a took a few pictures of the tree limbs in our front yard.

Thank you, god, for such a beautiful home you've given us.

A Typical Shopping Trip...

So what was life like after that “surprise” came along?  People have remarked that I must be amazing to be able to handle all those kids so close in age.  I wish I could report that they were correct in their thinking, but I commonly reply, “No, God's Grace is Amazing.”

I thought, however, I would add a few anecdotes in my next few posts about what life was like back then—the insanity, the chaos, the disposable diapers (you have NOOOO idea...), the wet kisses and sticky hugs that were not short in number, and even how I handled discipline.  I claim no originality for the coping mechanisms that worked because they were either accidentally happened upon after much trial and error, or gathered from others who had walked the path before me. I will, however,  claim complete responsibility for the failures (if I am brave enough to post them...) even though blaming my kids for my shortcomings would be the easier route to take.

As a starter, I thought I'd give young mothers of multiple youngins and curious onlookers a glimpse into a typical shopping day.  I'll admit, this narrative isn't one particular trip, but it does represent things that really happened; some of them all on the same day.

Since setting is really important in a good story, I want to you to picture the spot where we lived when the kids were very young. We lived smack dab in snow country in Central NY. Add to that the reality that we lived at a high elevation on what southerners here would have considered a mountain and had a driveway that went up at a "decent" pitch for over 200 feet.

It’s January, and I desparately need bread, milk, cereal, and some vittles for the hard working hubby. There’s just no getting around it, I must venture out for groceries.  After strapping up my attitude, I gather up the kids’ winter gear and begin dressing four youngins to brave the elements: four snowsuits, four knit caps, four sets of mittens, four pairs of boots. And, lest you think I was some organization wizard, it took time to locate all the pairs. Mind you, these children were not unusual toddlers; they wriggled, fought, complained, and inevitably would soil a diaper once they were totally bundled up. After a good forty minutes (ten minutes per kid...)I'd herd them into the minivan, buckle them into four carseats amidst loud protests (who would want to be confined in a carseat with a snowsuit on??), and carefully slide the car down the driveway.

Twenty minutes later, we arrive at the grocery store. As I park, I silently bless the person who thought of special parking near the door for “Parents with small children”—after all, that’s a handicap in and of itself! It is no small feat to safely unlatch four children and get them from the parking lot into the store. I had a routine, though. After each child emerged from the van, they had to put one hand on the vehicle while I unbuckled the others. It worked fairly well, if I do say so myself. With the baby’s carseat on my hip and three others holding hands, we would navigate the parking lot.

Once inside we get two shopping carts. I clip the youngest’s portable carseat onto the seat portion of one shopping cart, stick another older toddler in the seat of the second cart, and put the two smallest into a basket, surrounding them with the winter gear we have shed. Now that I have created a spectacle, I begin pushing the two carts (one in front, one pulled behind) down the aisle. Of course, my angelic children played quietly and let me comparison shop, NOT! I routinely stop to break up a fight, patiently (ahem) acknowledge a “mommy, look!”, or glare at a child and say through gritted teeth, “we’ll settle this at home!” Needless to say, curious onlookers stop me to ask, “Are they all yours?” I am tempted to say that I run a daycare in my home, but I grudgingly answer, "Yes."

After about an hour of wandering aisles and filling up the empty basket, oh, and trips to the restroom for the one potty training toddler, I checkout and then the process of bundling up begins again. This time we even make it out of the store with all of the mittens and hats.

At the car, I strap the four in their car seats, deliver a snack to each (except the infant, who at this time really wanted to nurse and is letting it be known...), then proceed to put the groceries in the back of the minivan. I then unbundle and sit in the passengers seat to deliver lunch to the infant, then plop him back into the carseat and head for home.

Look for installment number two soon—arriving home and putting away the groceries...

Be courageous, President Barack Obama

From John Piper‘s sermon this past Sunday (January 25, 2009) at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Homemade latte

Since I began touting the wonders of my new moka pot, I have been receiving many questions about various coffee drinks and how to make great espresso drinks at home.

So I thought I'd post a few articles on making coffee drinks at home, and today's will be how to make a basic caffè latte.

Using the French Press to froth milk
Prior to frothing on the left; same milk after frothing on the right

Caffè Latte

Approximate Italian proportions

Pouring the espresso from the moka pot

One part espresso to four parts steamed milk, with no foam on top

  1. What is called a caffè latte in America is essentially a monster-sized cappuccino in Italy.
  2. Steam the milk first and set it aside. Pour the freshly brewed, hot espresso directly into the cup.
  3. Pour the preferred proportion of steamed milk over the espresso.
  4. Add sugar, Splenda®, or even a biscotti, if desired.

I typically heat the milk in our microwave and then froth it using a French press (churning it in the manner of the old fashioned butter churn while I wait for the espresso to brew). I add the heated milk to the espresso in the coffee mug, holding back the froth with a spoon.

Final result

Then I spoon some frothed milk on top of the coffee and milk mixture. I stir the result slightly to give some color texture to the frothed milk. If I'm feeling particularly fancy, I sprinkle a small amount of nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

I typically use 2% milk, which froths quite easily and contributes some flavor to the latte. Skim milk froths more easily but doesn't impart as much flavor to the final drink.

January 26, 2009

An offer of economic assistance

In these tough economic times, it's a bit overwhelming to think of coming up with the cost of a college education. So, just at the right time, the school that Mary and I went to is offering economic help in the form of a tuition grant.

Click here [BBC Grants] to learn more and to learn about an education from Baptist Bible College.

And the hits keep coming

One of my favorite web sites/blogs/whatever for the past decade or so has been The Sacred Sandwich. It is an extremely funny, tongue-in-cheek fake newspaper that hits the nail squarely on the head with its satirical articles. The Sandwich's favorite targets seem to be post-modernity (Emergent) and the Seeker Sensitive movement.

But today I found a particularly hilarious thought and it did not come from one of the articles posted there, but from the comment thread. The article was called Things I don't want to hear behind me in church and it contains a great list of reasons why you might prefer to sit in the back of church. But in the comment thread the conversation turned to my personal pet peeve in church, on the road, in the grocery store ... cell phones.

One person complained of folks whose cell phones go off in church and their ring tone is set to Led Zeppelin. To which another responded with this scripture (?) quote:

“The ringing thou hast not prevented. And a thrashing with wheat stalks shall be thy due punishment. For the merchants of the earth have waxed rich with the assortment of tones. Lament and wail for your bill is in the mail.”
First Opinions 3:17

And yet another one

One of my favorite bloggers, the Internet Monk, has posted a great post about The Face of a Gracious God. In this post he is contrasting two views of God:

  1. The view that God is majorly torqued at us and can't wait to beat us over the head. We're currently being protected by Jesus, but if we step out of line we're in danger of the huge divine wet noodle heading our way.
  2. And the other view—that God is a loving God who has blessings upon blessings stored up for us. He can't abide sin and our sin has caused a rift in the relationship, so he provided Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to restore us to full fellowship with him, which includes that huge storehouse of blessings.

Having grown up in a church that preached the second definition but lived the first, I am particularly sensitive to those Christians that iMonk describes as "grumpy." They seem to revel in looking for things God is going to be upset about in the lives of others and then instantly jump all over that person. Of course, they defend their attack by saying that they are simply concerned that the person repent and be restored to fellowship with that really ticked-off God of theirs.

Here's a quote:

We have far too few Christians who are overwhelmed at the news that God has fired the bookkeepers, sent home the bean counters, dismissed the religion cops and bought party hats for the grumpy old people. The big announcement is this: In Jesus, we discover that God is just sloppy with his amazing grace and completely beyond common sense when it comes to his love. Just to enhance his reputation as the God who know how to throw a party, he’s inviting all of us back home, no tickets necessary, no dress code, for a party that will last, literally, forever. With open bar, and all on him. (Oh calm down Baptists. You can go to another room.)

Go read the rest.

A blog to watch

I found a new blog (new this year) that looks like it will be a good one to watch. So far the posts have been positive, humble, and appear to have the desire of bringing glory to God.

This is the permanent footer on the Charis Jesus blog:

Grace is God’s lavish and undeserved free gift of eternal life, and His ongoing generosity, affection, goodness, initiative, strength, & faithfulness to you because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

January 25, 2009


I meant to get this out a little earlier so that it would correspond with Sanctity of Life week, but I'm sure it's every bit as useful now.  Anyway, below is a story/poem to remind you that every human life is valuable to God and should be to us as well.

It was my 35th birthday.  Around me stood my husband of ten years, my nearly four-year-old, nearly three-year-old, and my fourteen-month-old.  "Make a wish, mommy!  Make a wish!" were the cries of the little ones.  As I watched the flickering candles and listened to the noise, I quipped, "I know what NOT to wish for!"  Taking in a deep breath I blew out all but one of the candles.  A week later I knew that my wish would not be coming true this year...I was pregnant once again.  

Overwhelmed would not be an adequate word to describe what I felt.  Granted, hormones were at peak levels, but I spent the next three days crying and telling God that He could not possibly know what He had signed me up for.  I even pondered the verse, "He was in all points tempted, even as we are." and thought, yeah, right, I'm not buying it.  

By God's grace, my sense of humor took over, and I began to look at things a little differently.  I won't tell you it was a major change of attitude, as I kept remarking "that's all I need is one more toddler to pull out of things!!".  But I was heading in the right direction.  So I sat down and penned this poem.  It became my "announcement" to friends and family who would be frowning at our reproductive habits.  (And we did get lectured, by the way!).   Enjoy—


We got the news the other day, another baby's on the way
If you're surprised, well so are we.  Ourselves, we were content with three.
But God had other plans in store, Our children, soon, will number four.
What's more our baby will arrive before the oldest one turns five.
One more carseat, one more bed!  Such thoughts run rampant in my head.
Another year of little sleep, while I, my midnight vigil keep.
My weight loss plans I must postpone—my body's once again on loan.
And yet, you'll find no sadness here;  some panic, yes, but not a tear.
In fact, it's hard to hide the smile; For I know in just awhile
Our Father's sending from above Another child for us to love.
And though budget's now too small, you won't find us upset at all.
Far greater than a cache of gold is the child we soon shall hold.
The fruit of the womb is His reward, so join us as we praise the Lord.

Mary Fuller (May 97)

Blog Header - January 25, 2009

I took the photo for today's blog header at the Lynchburg Market last spring. I thought the warmth of the day shown in this photo might provide some hope for things to come; it is currently 21 degrees as I type this.

I've always enjoyed taking pictures of people. There is so much variety and I love to try to decipher their expressions. I especially enjoy photographing interaction between people, with kids interacting with adults being my absolute favorite. It makes me think of what the "Lion King" called The Circle of Life.

January 24, 2009

A day in Lynchburg

Today Kim and I had about four and a half hours to kill while we waited for David to attend Saturday school. We have found that losing his Saturday play time impacts his behavior much more than getting to stay home all day because he's been suspended. I know these are not the victories most parents look for, but such is life with our son.

So early in the morning we headed out to take David to the downtown Lynchburg location of the Saturday school. And after dropping him off we decided to enjoy our awesome city.

It was quite dark this morning and the sky was beautiful so we headed for one of our favorite photography spots—the Old City Cemetery. On the way I noticed the sky behind the spires of two churches and stopped to take the picture. A guy walking down the street asked me what I was taking a picture of and I said, "the sky is beautiful today." He turned around and looked at it and said, “you’re right—the sky is beautiful. Thanks.”

At the front gate to the Cemetery, I stopped and took another picture. The sky can change so quickly and I really wanted to make sure I got pictures of it before it changed. And about 15 minutes after taking the picture of the Cemetery gate, the clouds thinned and the sky brightened—still beautiful, but not nearly so moody.

Since I photograph Lynchburg so much, and because I have some favorite photography spots, I like to look for unique angles of things I have photographed before. So I took the photo you see here of the chapel behind the grave stones. Previously, I have photographed the chapel only from the park, which gives a warmer look to the chapel, probably the builders’ intended look all along.

But in the photo to the left, with the grave stones in sharp focus in the foreground and the chapel slightly out of focus behind them the mood is altogether different. And I like it. I guess I was in the mood for moody photography after photographing the heavily cloud-laden sky. So this composition just spoke to me as we drove past these stones. In fact, I took this photo from the driver’s seat of the car without even getting out. That’s not an advisable way to take photos, but this scene just seemed so photogenic that I didn’t even attempt to look at it from any different angles.

After cruising around the Old City Cemetery for a while, we headed to the Lynchburg Market to buy vegetables and apples. The vegetables are for our family. The apples will be split between our son (who loves to juice them in our vegetable juicer) and the deer who now realize that we leave apples on our back patio for them each night. They wander into our back yard and amble over to the patio to get their treats. If we go outside before they’ve found the apples, they begin to walk toward us expectantly. If we go out while they're eating, they just look up at us and continue chewing. David talks to them in a loud voice, typically asking if one of them is Bambi. Of course, I've told you about Thumper—our pet cottontail rabbit. Well, his name is actually Roger—as in Roger Rabbit.

Since we still had about two and a half hours left to kill before the end of David’s Saturday school, we headed across the street to Inklings, the delightful gourmet coffee shop and bookstore. This store has a fantastic collection of books for purchase. Or you can simply read them while you're sipping your latte, hot cider, gourmet hot chocolate, or chai tea. The store was hopping this morning and it was fun to listen to some of the conversations at the nearby tables. It’s obviously a meeting place for deep thinkers and we heard discussions on classic literature, theology, philosophy, and warfare tactics of the mid-nineteenth century. I read a few chapters of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and now want to purchase a copy. I read this book when I was in high school and loved it. The quick reading of the first couple of chapters reminded me of what a great book it is. So now I have another book to add to my wish list. It's getting pretty long.

All-in-all, another enjoyable day out and about in our wonderful city. And David did so well in school that his teacher came out to see us afterwards to say, “I just wanted to tell you that David did fantastic today.”