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: Dreamy

As a child, I remember laying on my back with my buddies and watching the clouds pass overhead. We would imagine different objects as the shapes of the clouds shifted and changed with the winds. I have not given up that pastime and offer a few of those clouds here. Do you see what I see? (Hover over the photo for my interpretation.)

Perhaps these serve as more of a Rorschach test and reveal something phobic or sinister about me, but I still love to daydream about what’s in the clouds.

For more examples of “dreamy”, click HERE.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

This was Homecoming Week in Creston, Iowa. The home football team traditionally runs through a banner, challenging them to “carry the day.” For this special game, a friend’s son carried the Panther flag and was the first to break through this hand-painted sign, leading his teammates onto the field for the evening’s competition.

Of course that sign was only a hopeful prediction. The sign that really matters is the scoreboard at the end of the game. Our boys prevailed in the end, even adding a field goal to finish with a 50-35 win.


 Sherri Lucas Rowlands offered this week’s challenge. See more interpretations HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

As Ben Huberman, WordPress Editor, suggests, “nighttime is when the real action starts.” That is certainly true of football homecoming week in rural Iowa. The annual tradition of TP-ing (aka: toilet papering, rolling, or wrapping) is in full swing as the Friday night game approaches. The young people, who hit my home tonight, were a little more creative. Not only was toilet paper wrapping my deck and hanging from the trees, but plastic forks, some impaled with marshmallows, lined the sidewalk.

Even my car was covered with post-its. We’ve been assured after many years of having our home TP-ed that only those who are liked get targeted. Such was the sentiment of a message painted on the window of our car – “We ♥ You, PC.”


Some decry this as vandalism and wasteful. Because it is not malicious, I do not consider it as vandalism. I would agree that it is wasteful, although there have been a few times when abandoned toilet paper rolls not completely used on the yard found their way into my bathroom. Perhaps that is “TMI” (too much information).

All this nighttime activity took place under a beautiful half-moon.


Click HERE for more examples of “nighttime.”


Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

We have two items in our home that convey the “endurance” of influence on my wife’s side of the family. The first is a watch that belonged to her great-grandmother for whom she was named. It was a gift to Myra McKay Harned on Christmas of 1903 and still endures 101 years later.

The second is a wooden cut out, representing a special family connection to Harned Hall on the Austin Peay University campus.IMGP9824

Myra’s great-grandfather, Perry L. Harned, was the first Commission of Education for the State of Tennessee, serving under Governor Austin Peay. William Hale, President of Tennessee A & I College, said of Harned:

Commissioner Harned is a Christian gentleman who towers above men and their petty schemes. He did much to make the building program and the program of the school in general possible.

President Hale was so impressed by Harned that he named his second son and third child Edward Harned in honor of the Commissioner. As Commissioner, Harned was instrumental in the establishment of what was then the Austin Peay Normal School in 1929.

Myra had always heard that a building on the campus was named for her great-grandfather. So, on a trip to Clarksville, Tennessee, we stopped, hoping to find it. After asking a maintenance employee for directions, we soon found ourselves getting much more attention than we expected. He informed the administration that we were there, and soon we were met by the university’s vice president and a history professor.

While visiting with the history professor, I mentioned my wife’s name and he replied, “Your name is Myra?” That is when we were told that Harned Hall was actually named after Harned’s wife, Myra McKay. Since buildings were generally named in memoriam and Harned was still living at the time of construction, it was named after his wife.


The building had been slated for destruction, but because of its historical value and outcry from older alumni and faculty, it was saved. (HERE is a link to that story.) The wooden cut out was a gift to my wife, representing the 1932 building that continues to stand as an enduring mark of the educational influence of Perry Harned and wife, Myra McKay.

So, these two tangible items in our home give us the sense of an enduring family legacy.

Krista at WordPress issued this week’s challenge:

Show us what endurance means to you. Is it that high-school diploma, beads of sweat earned on a long run, a treasured family heirloom, or something else entirely?

Click HERE for more examples of “endurance.”


Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Humanity is perhaps at its highest when it moves beyond selfish pursuits and comes together to care for the needs of others. Last spring, our church helped coordinate a community-wide “Mobile Hunger Fight” sponsored by Meals from the Heartland of Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Since 2008, the faith-based organization has packaged over 40 million meals for the hungry in Iowa and around the world. With over 150 volunteers from churches, schools, businesses and health-care facilities, the event packaged over 60,000 meals.

It was a joy to see our community come together and make our light shine beyond ourselves. Isaiah 58:10 “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”

Click HERE for more examples of humanity.

To the Twins, 13 Years Later

As the United States pauses today to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack, I re-blog my daughter’s fitting remembrance of twins, who lost their father on that day. May we never forget the sacrifice made that day by ordinary working people, whether in an office or in roles of fire and rescue, and the resulting absence of those lives from their families.

Original post: To the Twins, 13 Years Later.

There are days sketched on my parents’ and grandparents’ minds forever. Pearl Harbor, crowded around the family radio, hearing the unimaginable. The day JFK was shot, my mom’s lunch lady was crying as she went through the line. The day that Martin Luther King was shot and there were curfews and chaos and sadness in their city.

In my mind…it’s this day. 22 years old and fresh to Texas, the second week in grad school, I was walking down the curved marble stairs after my 8 o’clock class. At the bottom, stood a mixture of students and professors, huddled in disbelief, eyes glued to the TV in the foyer. And the Trade Towers were on fire. And the world has never ever been the same; our innocence was lost in a moment.

That next summer, the youth group I was interning for took a trip to New York. There we were, over 100 of us, fumbling with subway cards, walking miles and miles in matching tee shirts (not exactly the way I wanted to experience NYC for the first time), and searching for bathrooms that weren’t to be found. I was feeling embarrassed.Ugh, why are we here? We look like tourists! Until we arrived at Ground Zero. Suddenly, there was reverence. Even among the 7th grade boys.9:11

There’s something about standing on ground where people have fought for life and lost, that sends chills through your bones.

In the summer of 2002, there was a huge makeshift memorial at Ground Zero. A wall, with words from loved ones and total strangers scribbled all over it, US flags, balloons, pictures. There was too much to look at. I read a few messages and then took in the scene in its entirety.

But then something caught my eye that has stayed with me clearly for 13 years: a snap shot of 2 babies in matching high chairs, with the words, “look how big we are now, daddy” written on the picture. And there I stood, and cried for those twins who didn’t have a daddy and their mama who didn’t have a husband anymore. And now, 13 years later, I think of them. They are much bigger now. Maybe they started 7th or 8th grade last week. Maybe they’ve moved to the Midwest, maybe they are still in Manhattan. Maybe they have an adopted dad, who loves them as if they were his all along. I don’t know. But every year I think of them and pray for them. While my false sense of American invincibility was forever rattled about this time on September 11, 2001, they were losing their dad. And now that I have twins growing strong within me, I think of their mother, who lost her best friend, her help, and likely her joy. And I remember. I can’t remember everyone who lost their lives that day. But I can remember the twins and their mama and one daddy who walked into work on a normal September day and never came home.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure


Getting a jump on the competition, we were airborne.

I would not consider myself a very adventuresome person. I’m not the most athletic person and not much of a thrill seeker. However, I have flown with a friend in his tandem ultralight, a risk my late father, a Navy fighter pilot (from Hellcat props and to Fury jets), admitted he would not take. And, last September, I took my first hot air balloon ride during our town’s annual balloon race.

Perhaps some of my favorite adventures are kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico in the pursuit of a close encounter with dolphins. Three years ago, my sister and I were treated to a sighting of a pod of about ten dolphins close to the shore. With kayaks on the beach, we quickly ventured into the waters to get a closer look. I took my Canon Power Shot, but after taking about a dozen pictures I noticed the display said, “No Card.” I was sick and too far from the beach house to go back and retrieve an SD card, so we just continued watching the dolphins breach, while staying a safe, non-intrusive distance from them.

There are few, non-essential requests that I make of God, but this is one time I prayed that He would let me have another opportunity to see and share a similar experience through the lens of my camera.

The next day, with my camera by the door our beachfront condo and card in slot, the same dolphin pod swam past. Over the next hour, they treated us to the occasional sights and sounds of surfacing (chuffing/exhaling), but also some spectacular jumps, including two breaching simultaneously in what looked like a choreographed SeaWorld show (see thumbnail below – 1:58 on video). Because of the uncertain and sporadic nature of the dolphins’ surfacing, I chose to take shoot video instead of photos. Below is a compilation of that adventure.

Click HERE for other interpretations of this week’s theme – adventure


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

This week’s challenge allows for different interpretations. This might be a “cause and effect” composition. For my interpretation of the story, display the caption by running the cursor over the photo.

Click HERE for more examples of Frédéric Bever’s challenge:

 With an intuitive approach, I considered the photos’ subject matter and graphic attributes and chose those that resonated with each other, creating cross-dependencies and visual analogies. They’re combinations that tell a story. The resulting dialogue — they story they tell — is the creation of each viewer’s individual perception. It’s your turn now: for this week’s challenge, bring together two of your photos into dialogue. What do they say to each other?  – Frédéric Bever

In reality, the squirrel on the left (not sure it’s the same one on the right) is doing what God has programmed it to do. As I watched it this past Saturday, the squirrel went from one place to another in the yard, placing food away for winter. It, however, binged to prepare for winter. The squirrel on the right looks as though he was well prepared for winter, displaying a fat belly.

Nature has some things to teach us about being ready for times of leanness According to the Bible. Solomon observed:

Go to the ant, you sluggard;consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)

In practical terms, we must prepare materially for the “winter seasons” of life, that are in some ways as cyclical as the seasons. Whether it is in the order of shelter, provisions or finances, we should be ready for those occasional periods of hardship.

But there is the “winter season” of our lives, too, for which we should be spiritual prepared. I just received notice of the death of a friend in my last church. He was advanced in age and had declined physically and mentally. However, he was prepared for this season of life for spiritually, having stored up treasures in heaven that first came by placing his own life in a secure, eternal, loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ (John 14:1-6). Secondly, he had set his affections on those that God has His heart set on…the world. (Acts 1:8)…loving them as God had loved him.

Summer is fading…don’t be caught unprepared!

Vote for Your 3 Favorite Charles Gabriel Songs

A local colleague in ministry and prayer partner, William Richardson, also blogs on WordPress, highlighting the lives of past followers of the Christian faith. If you love Gospel songs, like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” and “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” then you know Charles Gabriel. Take a moment to cast your vote for your top three Gabriel favorites. Click this link: Vote for Your 3 Favorite Charles Gabriel Songs.