About Chuck Spindler

I'm married with three adult daughters, two son-in-laws and three granddaughters. I pastor a Southern Baptist church in a small town in Southwest Iowa.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat

The migratory birds and water fowl are making their way north and passing through our area. Here are a few that have been afloat (on water and air) this past week. These American White Pelicans are getting some R&R on Green Valley State Park Lake as the wing their way to Canada.


One of the largest birds in North America, the White Pelicans has a 9-foot wingspan. This pelican skidded in for a landing among the floating and feeding ducks.IMGP2909

Unfortunately, these were motivated into flight as I slowly approached.


This male Horned Grebe is showing his breeding plumage, yellowish patches of feathers behind its eyes that it can raise and lower at will.


The Canadian Geese wintered at the state park and have all but left. But they did enjoy being afloat both on ice and water when they weren’t foraging in the surrounding corn and soybean fields. (A few Mallards are in the mix of the group shot)

And finally, these shots of a Bald Eagle were caught at the park in early March as it soared overhead. At this point it appeared to see some prey with head and talons lowered, but the eagle stayed afloat on the winds, circling for another ten minutes.


Check HERE for more examples of “afloat.”

Rainy Days and Mondays…

As I accompanied my wife to her Parkinson Disease exercise class this today, it was a “misty, moisty, morning.” It was also a Monday. Cue the Carpenter’s “Rainy Days and Mondays.” I’m not sure if it was the weather or the aftermath of a busy Easter weekend, but I yawned through most of the hour. I had the day off and spent most of it just chilling out, working on taxes and checking out some of the contributions to this week’s Photo Challenge. The day ended with light showers and the week promises to be wet. But it’s just what we need as the trees begin to leaf out, the flowers bloom and the grass starts to green up.

Dripping Crab Apple Tree

Dripping Crab Apple Tree

In my late adolescence and college days, I tended to be on the melancholy side of the emotional spectrum. Songs like “Rainy Days and Mondays” really DID get me down. However, as I began to sense more of my purpose in life as it revolved around my relationship with Christ, that emotional barometer began to rise. At least some of the lines from that “blues” song relate to how that happened in my life.

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me
(The one who loves me)

Though I was already a believer in Christ, my internal wanderings away from him, even though I outwardly appeared to be walking with him, seemed to be the trigger that brought me down. However, like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24), who came to his senses in a pigsty and ran back to the father, I found the loving arm of Jesus, welcoming me back when I repented of my wanderings and ran back. I’ve found no One better to run and find than Jesus, who has an everlasting love for me!

 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. – Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur

I attended a  concert last week in which the artists, Tenth Avenue North performed their song, Stars in the Night. Before performing the song, lead vocalist, Mike Donehey, asked the crowd to turn on their camera phone lights. With lights shining throughout Wells Fargo Arena, I purposely took these pictures out of focus to get more of a more star-like quality.


We’re running to you
On fire from the mercy in your eyes
And through the dark
Singing we are yours
Your love will lead us through the fight
Like stars in the night
Stars in the night
Stars in the night
Lead us through the fight – “Stars in the Night” Chorus

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The band’s guitarist, Jeff Owen, describes how he and Mike wrote the song:

He and I sat down on his piano and came up with these lines around the idea of stars in the night. Old sailors had navigation only by stars. That’s kind of like our walk as believers when the sky is the darkest, the stars always seem brighter and more stars appear to guide you to where you’re going.

Click HERE for more examples of “blur.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

Cheri Lucus Rowlands issued this week’s challenge suggesting that walls are “the canvases of our lives: where stories are read, voices are heard, ideas are shared.” Here are a few walls around my town that communicate some pride and support of our community.

Apparently, no business currently occupies this downtown building, but its boarded up windows lend a bit of beauty instead of blight.

Boarded up windows painted in trompe l’oeil style.

Boarded up windows painted in trompe l’oeil style.

This mural on the local YMCA conveys Creston’s past as its railroad depot and Bluegrass Palace are prominent features, highlighting the role of transportation and agricultural in its economy.

Blue Grass Palace 12'x24', 2002, on the YMCA by Carl Homstad

Blue Grass Palace 12’x24′, 2002, on the YMCA by Carl Homstad

The Creston News Advertiser, our weekday newspaper, invited the Southwestern Community College Art Club to paint this mural on the side of its building in 2006.

Mural on the side of the local newspaper publishing building painted by the SWCC Art Club.

Mural on the side of the local newspaper publishing building painted by the SWCC Art Club.

Three of the four panthers on the wall of the high school gymnasium illicit “Panther Pride.”

Panther mural in the Creston High School gymnasium

Panther mural in the Creston High School gymnasium

Finally, the high school commons is surrounded by photos of the achievements of present and former students. In 1997, the basketball team won the Iowa High School 3A state basketball tournament. My daughter, Katie, was a cheerleader. The cheer squad made it their goal to lead the student body in garnering the “Sportsmanship Award” and they succeeded!

Creston High School Wall of Fame - 1997 3A State Basketball Sportsmanship Award

Creston High School Wall of Fame – 1997 3A State Basketball Sportsmanship Award

You can find more examples of this week’s challenge HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange You Glad It’s Photo Challenge Time?

Starting in my kitchen and then cruising around town, I was able to come up with a little orange to add a dash to the waning winter weather (I love alliteration, too, Michelle W.!)

I especially liked the reflection of this storage unit in the melting ice.


HERE are more examples of this week’s photo challenge.

Postscript (3/12/15): As I was taking these pictures last Saturday, a tragic event was occurring in our community. Three men, getting in what they perhaps thought would be the last ice fishing day of the season, unfortunately went through the ice and drowned in a farm pond. I personally knew two of the men, Earl Burkhalter and Jim Oshel, a brother of one of my church members. Jim had worked for the Iowa Department of Transportation for 38 years, retiring in 2008. Coincidentally, I included those bright orange vehicles in my original post. Today, one of the Iowa DOT’s trucks led the funeral processional to the cemetery, a fitting tribute to a loyal, long-term employee.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

Living in rural Iowa for the last twenty years, I’ve seen a lot of wild life, but it’s only been in the last three years that there has been a growing presence of bald eagles. While I have been able to capture a few at a distance, I am often traveling through the a local state park to “see what I can see.” Last week, I saw a large bird, flying solo among all the flocking Canadian geese, who winter at the lake. It wasn’t an eagle but a beautiful red-tail hawk.IMGP9816 Later, I found another hawk roosting in the deserted campground. However, it would fly to another tree every time I approached for a clear shot. Finally yesterday afternoon, I saw it flying toward the camp ground. As I slowly drove into the area, there it was, roosting 40 feet up in a tree no more than 20 feet from the road. I eased the car as close as I could and stepped out on the far side to allow me to stay obscured. Much to my delight, the hawk gave me the “reward” of a three-minute “drive-by” photo shoot.IMGP0223 Here are a few of my distant captures of mature and juvenile eagles feasting on some geese carcasses on a local lake.

You can find some more examples of “reward” HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

Jen Hooks gives this week’s challenge: The Rule of Thirds is a photography concept that puts the subject of the photograph off-center, which usually results in blank space in the rest of the image.

This was little sparrow was chirping up a storm on this chilly morning.

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29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Click HERE for more examples of this week’s challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

In a recent photo challenge of “yellow,” I featured some migrating Monarch butterflies. One of my Facebook friends commented, “Don’t you have some pictures of tiger swallowtails?” Why, yes I do. These were taken in April of 2013 at my sister’s home in Virginia at the peak of the azalea blooms. Butterfly wings are wonderful examples of symmetry as they are perfect mirror images in size and design.


For more examples of “symmetry” click HERE.

The beautiful and symmetrical butterfly begins as an ugly but symmetrical caterpillar. However, its metamorphosis into something so incredibly different in appearance and mobility might cause one to not believe they are the same creature.

Likewise, the believer in Christ is said to go through a similar metamorphosis.

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, HCSB)*

The same word “transformed” is the word from which metamorphosis is derived. In the text it is a present imperative tense verb, thus a command that involves continuous action. As the Christian experiences transformation, it is not always an immediate, dramatic change, but a process that will find its completion in a thoroughly new creation, redeemed and reformed from the vestiges of a self-centered life to a God-directed life.

*Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

I have had a fascination with miniature replicas for as long as I can remember. From playing with the original Lesney Matchbox cars to building 1/25 scale models vehicles during my adolescence, the more realistic the detail the better. While I have never been a huge HO (1/87) train enthusiast, I did pick up a few pieces in my early adulthood. This Santa Fe locomotive was the largest (and most expensive) of my small collection.

Scale 1/87

Tyco’s Santa Fe ALCO Century 630



Front: Tyco’s Santa Fe ALCO Century 630; Back: BNSF Electro-Motive Diesel SD70ACe

Coincidentally, I now live in a town in which the BNSF has a switching yard. The merger of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe in 1995 created the largest rail network in North America at that time.Creston’s Restored Depot no longer handles passenger/freight rail service, but it is the home of city offices and the site of the Creston Model Railroader’s impressive HO train layout. While the Depot was closed today, I did manage to get a picture through the window. They have done a great job of replicating our community and signature events.

You can find more examples of this week’s challenge HERE

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

An evolving forecast proved accurate with 8-10 inch snow accumulations, canceling the church I pastor and many others in southern Iowa. With blowing snow, I had drifts of three feet to clear from my drive. A late afternoon glimpse of the sun was a welcome sight.

imageYou may be able to see a disc golf basket in front of the small tree on the left. The bottom of the basket should be 22″ from the ground. It appears that about 10″ is exposed, giving some idea of the depth of snow in this open field.

See more examples of depth HERE.

Shot with Moto X and edited with Photoshop Express.