Celebrating Al’s Birthday

I appreciated my church allowing my wife and me to take off a long weekend in February. It enabled us to go to Fort Worth for two reasons. Of course, seeing the grandchildren was tops, but the second reason was just

Anna with Al (1982)

as special to us. Several months ago we received an invitation to celebrate the 90th birthday of Al Anisowicz, who we have known for 40 years. Al and his wife, Robbie, were some of the first people we met at North Fort Worth Baptist Church while I was in seminary. We had a 10-month old daughter, who we entrusted to Robbie’s care in the nursery while we went to Sunday School. She and Al then “adopted” Anna and additionally our other two daughters, who were born during our time there, as their granddaughters. Their own grandchildren were not in Texas, so our daughters met the need they had to “love on” some babies. We have maintained that relationship over the years and they even made two trips to Iowa as Al played in senior softball tournaments into his 70’s. 

Me, Al, Anna’s daughter, Charlie and Myra

It is not a misrepresentation to say that Al and Robbie were the main reasons we joined that church. Yes, I wanted good, biblical preaching, but that was available in a number of churches that were much closer to the seminary. However, we were away from family and significant connections, and this retired couple reached out in significant ways to show the love and care of Christ. For that reason, I was compelled to give some time, travel and TLC to the man, now a widower and dealing with cancer, and reciprocate the love he showed to my family and me.

Al and Robbie remind me of some of the simple ways we as church can make an impact on the lives of people. Don’t underestimate the importance of a warm greeting, remembering a name, dropping off a meal or offering to babysit.  Simple acts of love expressed to someone at any age can have an eternal impact.

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. -Romans 12:10-13 (NASB)

We also took in the Cowtown Marathon, but that’s a story for another post! 

Al with daughter, Linda, and son, Mike

Welcome Winter

Hello Winter. Today is the winter solstice. While December 21 marks the shortest amount of daylight of the year in North America, the coldest temps are yet to come.

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Crest Baptist Church after a weekend sleet/snow event and sub-zero temps

MSN.com had this explanation for the lag in the shortness of daylight and colder temperatures.

The solstice marks the astronomical beginning of winter, while meteorologists view winter (the three coldest months) as starting Dec. 1. The day of the solstice, however, isn’t typically the coldest day of the year. There is a weeks-long lag between the solstice and the coldest average temperature for most spots in the USA.

This lag in temperature occurs because even though the amount of daylight continues to increase, the Earth’s surface continues to lose more heat than it receives from the sun. In most locations across the country, the coldest weather occurs around two or three weeks later, in early to mid-January.

Photography in the winter elements can be challenging, but also tremendously rewarding. From the crisp blue skies to the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, it is definitely worth getting outside for some shots.

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Sunrise pano with iPhone on 12.20.16

However, for the faint of heart great captures can be taken from the warmth of car.

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Sunset over Summit (frozen) Lake with iPhone on 12.20.16

I hope to add some fun winter shots in the next three months and look forward to seeing yours, too.

*Today also marks the changing of my header, a rural road in Union County, Iowa, that I change with each season. It seemed appropriate to turn on the WordPress snow machine, too, but it will stop on January 4.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic

Having grown up in Tennessee, snow was infrequent and a holiday if it was six inches or more. Snow is much more common in Iowa, but still has a magical appeal to me as it covers the drab browns of fall and floats through the air like the freshness of white linens on a clothesline. Unlike the noise of rain, this precipitation brings a reverent silence.

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“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge