August 29, 2010

Blog Header - August 25, 2010

I took the photo for this blog header one week ago. This is the view from Skyline Drive at about 4:45 am. I love the intense blues at that time of morning (night?).

August 26, 2010

Waiting on the true source of comfort

Traveling the twists and turns of business life is never fun—especially in a severe economic downturn. And once again I find that I have looked at my own efforts as the way to get ahead. You’d think I’d learn at some point that all of this is in God’s hands—not mine.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

And so, I will worship while I’m waiting.


August 23, 2010

“I will give you rest”


he never-ending roller coaster of life continues....

Last week was difficult. In fact, it was so difficult that it’s difficult even to put it into words. It was a tough week. Forget the literary excellence of It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, it seemed to be one of those worst of times weeks.

So as the end of the week approached, I began to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. At 3:30, I typically begin to shut down my computer and pack up my belongings to head to the bus for the commute home. And this week I had Friday night plans. As soon as I was to arrive home in Front Royal I planned to head to a friend’s house to play some music. I was looking forward to the release.

The week had become increasingly stressful as each day passed, and Friday was a microcosm of the entire week—it began bad and got worse as it went along. My work seemed to place heavier and heavier loads on my shoulders. Clients seemed to be particularly difficult taskmasters. But I kept my sights focused on that 3:30 light at the end of the tunnel. The seconds were counting down—I was into the home-stretch. And then...

@ 4:45 am

At 3:28 I received a phone call asking me to work on a project that evening. Work was to be sent to me at some unspecified time in the evening and I was to turn that work around so it could be distributed to the team that night. In other words, the light at the end of the tunnel was just extinguished.

@ 5:15 am

So I told my wife that Saturday would begin early for me. I planned to take my camera and tripod up into the Shenandoah Mountains early on Saturday morning to take pictures of the sunrise. I thought the solitude would help relieve some of the stress. And it did. The solitude allowed me to focus on the spectacular light show that God displays every morning. It seems God understood the modern American psyche with its short attention span. The beautiful colors of a sunrise last for about 30 minutes. So you need to be watching for it or you’ll miss it. And at that time of morning, that light show seems to be intended for just a handful of people. In fact, this past Saturday it seemed that God put on this light show for me alone. Not one other car passed me as I stood in the center of the road taking pictures with exposure times in the minutes rather than fractions of seconds.

@ 5:30 am

I felt the stress slide away. I pondered the magnificence of our great and majestic God. And I praised him for his glorious creation.

@ 5:40 am

I returned home a little bit before 7:00. Our family ate breakfast and then headed out to run some errands. Then we returned to Skyline Drive as a family to drive the mountains together. It was a good day.

And then it was Sunday. We sat in church and listened to the encouragement from the pulpit—encouragement that it seems was intended for me almost as directly and uniquely as the beautiful sunrise God had provided one day earlier:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28–30

Later in the day

Wow! Thank you, God!

More pictures from the day.


August 21, 2010

Blog Header - August 18, 2010

I took this header photo at the Warren County Fair a few weeks ago. None of us had ever been to a truck and tractor pull and we had a blast. This truck was typical of the trucks in the event. They were pretty amazing.

It’s Friday - Weird, but fun, Voca People

Okay - their choreography looks like it was done by an invalid fundamental Baptist with Hyperactive Disorder, but their vocal harmonies are quite good.


August 19, 2010

Adagio state of mind

We have had a string of overcast and rainy days—very welcomed due to an overly hot and dry summer that has parched the ground and left the water tables low. But rainy days tend to impact my emotional and mental state and the recent days have put me in the mood for Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” I hope you will enjoy it with me.

And another one to continue the thought.

J.S. Bach - Air on the G String
Uploaded by halfnislife. - See the latest featured music videos.


August 16, 2010

Blog Header - August 12, 2010

A few years ago a friend from work asked my wife and me to take some pictures of her daughter. She and her husband invited us to their house to take the pictures. We set up our portable studio in their garage, but ended up taking many pictures in the gorgeously landscaped yard.

I took the picture for this header when they were showing us around their back yard. They were walking toward me holding hands and looking very happy. When I raised the camera to take the picture the wife began laughing and it resulted in this fun photo.

To our military - Thank you!

I found this video on Facebook. It’s a heart-breaker, and it made me want to say a heart-felt thank you to all those men and women who make the sacrifice to serve our nation, to keep us free, and to promote justice in the world.

Thank you.


August 14, 2010

Portico musings


itting on the porch.
Feeling the cool breezes and listening to the rustle of leaves. Contemplating ... almost nothing. After a very difficult week, full of dishonest people pushing against one another in the never-ending dance of corporate futility, I have finally returned to my home. God has provided a beautiful, cool day with a refreshing breeze and deeply textured sky as the setting for today’s rest. Thank you God—my rock and my refuge.

Margaret Mitchell – Gone With the Wind

They topped the rise and the white house reared its perfect symmetry before her, tall of columns, wide of verandas, flat of roof, beautiful as a woman who is so sure of her charm that she can be generous and gracious to all.

I have always loved porches and feel tremendously blessed to now be living in a home with three porches and a spectacular view of the Shenandoah Mountains. The lack of traffic sounds (replaced by the sounds of summer insects and the distant sound of an impromptu pick-up baseball game) heightens the pleasure of this peaceful pastoral scene.

The week has come to an end. The work is done. The weight of the world, but for a moment, has been lifted.

These fancies arise in the soul—alas, how rarely. Only at epochs of most intense tranquility when the bodily and mental health are in perfection, and at those mere points of time where the confines of the waking world blend with the world of dreams.

And so I capture this fancy, where all that we see—or seem—is but a dream within a dream.

Edgar Allen Poe


It’s Friday - Perpetuum Jazille’s Joyful, Joyful

I really need to be in a choir like this.


August 13, 2010

Blog Header - August 8, 2010

click for full size

I took the picture of this adorable little boy sporting a “doo rag” at the 2010 Warren County Fair. The boy was watching the truck and tractor pull and was having a blast along with the rest of us.

August 11, 2010

The reason we have a bunny

Ignore the long, slow, and boring opening. Once it gets rolling, this video is great!

A message from our Constitution

August 08, 2010

Warren County Fair – Molly Hatchet Rocks!!


e went to the Warren County Fair yesterday and had a blast! This is such a wonderful place to live. We love the small-town feel. We love the intensely southern culture (a Yankee would probably disintegrate just by crossing the county line). And we love the wonderful events that are put on every few weeks by the town or the county. It’s truly a wonderful place to live.


Before continuing this post, scroll down to yeseterday’s post, turn up the volume on your computer, and launch the video. Then, while the song is playing, come back up here and read this post. The song will put you in the right frame of mind.

The Warren County Fair lasted a full week, but working in DC kept me from being able to attend until yesterday. But what a great day to go to the fair. It was a beautiful day—not too hot, relatively low humidity, clear skies with a few clouds that increased in the evening just in time to make the sunset beautiful. I noticed it first as we made our way toward the band shell to get ready for the concert of the evening—Molly Hatchett. It was a great concert. I’ll tell you a bit more about it. But first, read the Attention callout. You simply have to read the rest of this post with the proper musical setting engaged.

Beautiful sunset just before the Molly Hatchet concert

The day began with a uniquely southern-country event, a truck and tractor pull. It was loud. It was dusty and dirty. It smelled of fossil fuels. And it was a total blast. David was grinning ear to ear for about three hours straight. At one point he said to me, “this is my kind of loud.” He’s right. He even got to talk to a few of the truck owners.

One of the trucks pulling the sled
Another truck – from the opposite end of the track
The after-effects of the truck pass

Although David spent some time after the truck and tractor pull riding the rides, I went straight to the band shell to set up our lawn chairs and get ready for the Molly Hatchet concert. I was excited to see this band again after 31 years. (Molly Hatchet played the first rock concert I ever attended—at Kings Dominion.) And it was worth the wait. Molly Hatchet is a fantastic band and they sound better now than I remember them sounding at that concert 31 years ago. The bass player was fantastic! Of course, I didn't play bass guitar when I was in high school, so I probably didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the bass player at that concert.

Rythm guitarist
Lead guitarist
Lead singer
Bass guitarist
All together (except the drummer)

It was a great day and we had a wonderful time. We’re so glad God brought us to this town. It’s a great place to live.

Having fun in the audience

More pics from the fair


August 07, 2010

Party in Front Royal –Tonight!


The year I graduated from high school. One of the highlights of that year was Senior Night at Kings Dominion. Each year, Kings Dominion would shut down early, get the park ready and then reopen only for seniors. They always brought in a great rock band for the finale of the evening, which ended at about 3:00 am in 1979.

The band for our senior year was Molly Hatchet—and they were awesome. It was an incredible concert.

Warren County Fair

Today is the last day of the Warren County Fair. Each night of the week-long fair in this uniquely southern town, a southern band ends the day with a concert. Tonight is the last night and they saved the best band for last. Tonight the finale will be Molly Hatchet. Front Royal is going to party tonight! And we’re gonna be there! Kim has even invited a friend of hers from high school, so it will seem like old times—except for the fact that we probably won’t stand and jump around as much as we did 30 years ago.

Molly Hatchet


August 05, 2010

Another one rides the bus

A tribute to my current commuting pattern.

Blog Header - August 1, 2010

This wonderfully photogenic structure is an old house along the side of the road near Upperville, Virginia. We pass this on our way to and from church. It’s simply a fascinating building in a beautiful setting. I could probably spend many days taking pictures of this old house from different angles at different times of day.

Pastor Billy Graham?

Rev. Billy Graham

n the 1960s a journalist asked Billy Graham the question: “If you were a pastor of a large church in a principal city, what would be your plan of action?” The evangelist’s answer is well worth considering today. And his answer to this question is recorded in a book I am very interested in reading.

I think one of the first things I would do would be to a get a small group of eight or ten or twelve people around me that would meet a few hours a week and pay the price!

It would cost them something in time and effort. I would share with them everything I have, over a period of years. Then I would actually have twelve ministers among the laypeople who in turn could take eight or ten or twelve more and teach them.

I know one or two churches that are doing that, and it is revolutionizing the church.

Christ, I think, set the pattern. He spent most of his time with twelve men. He didn’t spend it with a great crowd. In fact, every time he had a great crowd it seems to me that there weren’t too many results. The great results, it seems to me, came in this personal interview and in the time he spent with his twelve.

Rev. Billy Graham offers The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Dr. Robert F. Coleman. This quote from Rev. Billy Graham came from that book [currently selling for $5.99 at Amazon].

The Master Plan of Evangelism
Product Description

For more than 40 years this classic study has shown Christians how to minister to the people God brings into their lives. Instead of drawing on the latest popular fad or the newest selling technique, Dr. Robert E. Coleman looks to the Bible to find the answer to the question: What was Christ’s strategy for evangelism?

I think it would be a very good time for the churches in America to buckle down and get back to the work of evangelism—spreading the gospel to the nation and to the world. It is well past time for us to leave our infatuation with programs, styles of music, bible versions, and dress codes and get back to the task Jesus gave to us—going into all the world to preach the gospel.


August 02, 2010

A blonde joke to start your week

My wife’s blonde, but this is still really funny. (Oh ... and that’s not my wife in the video.)

Turn-about’s fair play. As long as I’m making some of the women feel dissed, here’s one to reveal the inadequacies of all us men:


August 01, 2010

Blog Header - July 28, 2010


his blogheader is from my collection of old photos. It predates digital by quite a few years. I took this photo of our pastor’s daughter as part of her senior portrait photo shoot. That was almost 20 years ago. After doing quite a few studio shots and many others around the house, we headed out to Prince William Park for nature scenery and ended up with some gorgeous pictures.

Prince William Park is a place of particular interest for my family. It is the location of my sister’s wedding, which would be enough to cement it firmly in a place of honor. But we also have a wealth of memories from 20 or so years of visiting this park regularly as a family and for church picnics. My sister and I know some areas of this park almost as well as we knew our living room at the time.