Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine

While in Florida for our annual family reunion earlier this month, I was taking a time exposed shot of the moon’s reflection on the Gulf of Mexico. The “bonus” was when a person searching for something on the beach momentarily aimed the flashlight in my direction.


Here are a few more night shots with both moon and city lights shining.

For more examples of this week’s challenge, click HERE.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Local

I went through my hometown last week and had breakfast with an old high school friend, Mike. Actually, he treated me to breakfast in his small cafe on the first floor of a 22-story office building in East Memphis. While an unfamiliar setting, it brought back memories of what epitomized local dining when his parents operated the restaurant in the community near the University of Memphis. Known for serving heaping portions of comfort food, lines extended outside during the lunch hour(s).


A cropped portion of the print “Buntyn Memories” by Randy Thornton

My first lunch date with the woman who became my wife was at Buntyn Restaurant. I still remember having the fried chicken while she had the vegetable beef soup with fresh dinner rolls. Following seminary, we had returned to Memphis to serve on a church staff and were back for dinner eight years after that first date. Our attention was drawn to a print hanging on the wall that featured the restaurant. It happened to have been painted by the son of a church member, and I was able to purchase the print that has hung on our wall ever since, continuing to give us a touch of “local.”

Though not the same restaurant, last Wednesday’s visit to the vastly scaled down version brought back a number of memories. My friend’s mother, who operated the cash register in the glory days, was there napping in a chair.


Presidents and celebrities adorned the walls…then and now.

The walls were covered with pictures of the Presidents that adorned the original walls, along with celebrity photos which extolled the good times and food that were enjoyed decades ago.


Note of thanks from the Eagles.

As customers drifted in and out, mainly getting coffee and breakfast sandwiches “to go,” Mike returned to our table with every break to catch up, just as I remember his dad making the rounds at the original restaurant, conversing with his guests. My friend would occasionally ask customers if he could pray with them, including a young woman who worked in the building but came by with her 4-week old son to grab a treat. Mike knew that her 7-year old son had been dealing with a severe case of scoliosis and had been praying for him. The young mother reported that he was now out of his brace much quicker that doctors imagined. She gave credit to the Lord and the prayers of Mike and others for her son’s speedy response to treatment. I lead in a prayer of praise.

That is the epitome of “local”…that personal care and attention to the needs of others through good service and genuine interest. Mike is carrying on that tradition!


Standing in front of the original signage for Buntyn Restaurant

For more examples of “local” click HERE.

Just Locker Room Talk?

While I had planned to write something about this latest (11 year old) revelation, my daughter, Anna, did a better job than I could have done. She writes this apolitical post about the problem of misogyny in our culture that has been highlighted (again) in another Presidential election season.


Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

While the main feature of our vacation spot is a beach on the Gulf of Mexico, we have always enjoyed Alligator Lake and it’s occasional breaking out into the Gulf. But, only in the last few years did I discover its uniqueness to not only in the U.S., but in the world as a coastal dune lake.


Alligator Lake is held back from entering the Gulf by a coastal dune.

According to the Walton County Florida website:

Walton County is home to 15 named coastal dune lakes along 26 miles of coastline. These lakes are a unique geographical feature and are only found in Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, and here in Walton County.

The brackish waters serve as a stark contrast with the clear water of the Gulf. The occasional break through due to flooding or storm surge (and the occasional human interaction), usually only last for a day before the dune is rebuilt and holds the water back for weeks. This video captured the “outfall” from Alligator Lake in our visit in 2014.

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

I am currently spending time with my family in Florida at a beach location to which my family has vacationed since the 1980’s. The beach is ever changing both in the landscape and the real estate. When we first came, the owner of this beachfront property, idyllically isolated by a state park on each side, built a number of modest duplex vacation condominiums on the beach and sold lots in the small subdivision. Through the years, million dollar homes have been built for full-time residents and vacationers. His modest condos have disappeared through hurricanes and developers. Only one original condo remains and serves as a reminder of those more simple days on the beach with small children experiencing the vast expanse of Gulf waters and waves for the first time.


imgp3748_editedMany memories have been made here. We have gathered as extended family to celebrate almost every sunset and milestones, such as my mother’s 90 birthday. It has served as the place of introduction to the newest members of the family, as it did this year with our grandson and some of my nephews newest kiddos.


It has also served as a place to celebrate the lives of those who have gone. My father, having died unexpectedly just prior to my folks’ annual pilgrimage here, would have fully supported our trip down just weeks following his death. It was a bittersweet time without him, but served as a time of healing and support for my mother, who always cherished her time with him and family on the beach.


I am glad that the next generation is beginning to build their own memories that will one day serve as the basis of their nostalgic looks back at some of the special times of family life.



For more examples of this photo challenge, click HERE.







Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

As Jen H issued this week’s challenge, she said, “This week’s challenge is all about reflections.” Reflections, mirror images, are fun to capture. Whether it is a shiny paint job or placid lake, the reflection seems to double the beauty.

The first was taken a year ago. My mother was a day away from graduating to her heavenly home and was a patient at the area hospice home. A church member’s grandmother was also a patient there and the granddaughter and her husband rode their new Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle Glide (CVO) to the home. As a diversion, I took a few minutes admire their new ride and to get a few shots of the beautiful bike. What made this picture special to me was the reflection of the hospice home in which my mother spent the last two months of her life.


The second image was just taken today. While it was not the most spectacular sunset, the local state park lake was relatively placid, offering a nice mirror image of the opposing bank and the sky.


For more examples of “mirror” click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was one of those events that you remember where you were on April 19, 1995, when that act of domestic terrorism happened. I’ve had the desire to stop every time I driven through OKC, but had never taken the time until last October during a leisurely trip through Oklahoma.IMGP1114-2

The Memorial is bounded by The Gates of Time –twin bronze gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 – and mark the formal entrances to the Outdoor Memorial. 9:01, found on the eastern gate, represents the last moments of peace before the blast.


The west gate is inscribed with 9:03 which is the minute that the rescuers began their recovery work.
The reflection pool between the gates represents the time of the blast.
IMGP1137 Stitch-2
The Field of Empty Chairs is arranged in nine rows, representing the nine floors of the building and the arrangement of chairs indicate the floor on which the victims were at the time of the blast. Five additional chairs are on the end, memorializing five victims who were outside the building.untitled-2
The outside inscription on each gate and the museum is: “We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”
It is indeed a moving memorial, remembering the 168 people, 19 of whom were children, who lost their lives on that tragic day.
For additional contributions to the theme “Frame,” click HERE.

  Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning

The best part of high humidity on a early summer mornings is that the huge spider webs that have been woven overnight are more visible.


I love the appearance of God’s handiwork and these transparent “stands of pearls.”

You can find more wonderful pictures of “Morning” HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up

This week’s 4th of July parade included the Elks Lodge Clowns with this high riding unicyclist. For the kids, getting candy is the highlight of the parade and receiving a sugary treat from this clown requires that you “look up.”

Clown candy 2

You can find some more examples of what’s above you when you “LOOK UP” these additional examples of this week’s photo challenge.

We are Weeping

My daughter, Anna, writes in light of the recent police-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and the ambush of police in Dallas last night. This violence strikes a particular grief and concern to our family’s heart since we have a black son-in-law and family and friends in law enforcement. Believers, pray for the peace and love of God to overcome this evil through our attitudes, words and actions. Here are her thoughts:


Cousins at play

“Did you hear?” my friend asked yesterday morning, “Yes, not another one.” I said helping my kids out of my car. Both shaking our heads, both weary. I grew up in Memphis in …

Source: We are Weeping