Upside Down Photography

After taking a picture of a blue heron on a placid pond, I decided to flip the photo. That caused me to go on a search for others that might appear almost the same whether they were right side up or up side down. Here are a few.

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Blue Heron at Green Valley State Park Lake


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Fall Foliage at Green Valley State Park Lake


Upsidown ISS

International Space Station dashes over Green Valley State Park Lake


Upside down

Summit Lake


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Sunrise at Green Valley State Park Lake

Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds

I had driven two hours to a spot that is known for being a winter habitat for bald eagles. I’ve been before but on Tuesday afternoon, the eagles were just not being cooperative and close up. I was about to go home when I stopped back by the location at which I had first stopped and within five minutes I was rewarded with the shot below.

Here are a few pics of another eagle, Ring-billed gull and American white pelican, that came as a reward for my patience.

This post is in response to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

Quote

The Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines was recently refurbished, including the regilding of its dome with 23-karat gold leaf. Built between 1871 and 1886, it is the only five-domed capitol in the country.

Iowa State Capitol Building

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

I have found myself at my 94 year old mother’s hospital bed for the past week and have been through the gamut of emotions as we have had differing opinions on her prognosis. While not yet out of the woods, I’m glad to report she has improved.

Hospitals are not generally spots of serenity. With the constant flow of health care professionals in and out of the room and the monitors with their incessant beepings, it seems to be at best organized chaos. But this hospital, being of the Methodist tradition, has a chapel that offers some moments of solitude and serenity.

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Jeanne Hoff Goodwin Chapel, Iowa Methodist Hospital (Des Moines, IA)

I had been in the chapel once before, exactly eight years ago, as I offered up prayers for a young woman from our church. A wife and mother of two young boys, she lost her courageous battle against leukemia that day. As I entered the chapel today, I was reminded of the roller coaster of emotions of that day and the difficulty the family had in making the inevitable decision to end lifesaving measures and saying goodbye. I know, especially after this week, that it is never an easy decision to make, no matter what the age of the loved one.

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Today, a painting on the west wall of the chapel caught my eye. I immediately knew it was a depiction of Jesus’ healing of the paralytic, whose friends lowered him through the roof due to the crowds preventing access to “The Great Physician.” The painting, by that same name, is the work of Warner Sallman. His paintings, Head of Christ and Christ at Heart’s Door are modern, iconic images of the Savior.

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While the painting is especially appropriate in a hospital setting as it acknowledges the role of God’s power over disease, the biblical account reminds one of Christ’s power over our most deadly spiritual malady: SIN. As the man was laid in front of him, Jesus forgave his sins. Receiving criticism from the religious leaders about his audacious and divinely presumptuous statement, he discerned their thoughts. Responding to their challenge, Jesus said that while saying one’s sins are forgiven might not be discernible from their perspective, making a lame man walk would give proof of his divine power to pardon sin.

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Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, 11 “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

12 Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:9-12*

The knowledge of Christ’s ultimate authority over the power of sin gives the follower of Jesus a serenity to face life with a peace in turmoil and the afterlife without fear.

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.  Amen
(Reinhold Niebuhr – 1892-1971)

wpid-img_20150117_114104.jpgSee more examples of serenity HERE.

My good friend and neighboring pastor, William Richardson, wrote about Warner Sallman’s life and art. You can find his blog HERE.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers – 2

Dammed lakes are containers of water for multiple uses: drinking water, recreation, flood control. McKinley Lake in our town’s primary public park was originally dammed to supply water to the local rail industry in the late 1800’s*, covering over 40 acres. It now serves the sole purpose of public recreation.

Help me out if you can identify the wild flowers that grow on the bank of the lake.

Here are a few more containers I saw on my morning walk.

HERE is a link to how others are interpreting the theme, “containers.”

*History from the McKinley Lake Restoration Project website

“The lake on the west edge of Creston was originally built in 1874 by the C.B. & Q Railroad. The lake was forty-five acres in size and was created by damming up a creek that drained thirty thousand acres of land. The entire land area including the lake was an 80 acre tract.  They built it with the purpose of creating a Holly System of Waterworks. A 7 inch water main brought water directly to the center of town from the Lake. It provided water to the Round Houses and Machine Shops as well as many downtown businesses. A communication system was developed so the yard manager could tell the waterworks supervisor when more water must be sent up. In the winter ice was cut from the lake for railroad use between Burlington and Council Bluffs. All the ice used in Creston was also cut from the lake.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

It’s sweet corn time in Iowa! When I came to preach in view of a call in Iowa 20 years ago next month, one of the pulpit committee members hosted a dinner in which massive quantities of sweet corn were served. I took one ear while others took two or three. I soon found out why…it was like dessert. Therefore, between mid-July and mid-August folks line up at local farmers’ roadside stands to buy a baker’s dozen of these exquisite ears.

The Gates family always brings their daily distribution of fresh picked sweet corn in this 1954 Chevy pickup. This “relic” is always a sign that good eatin’ is just a shuck and a boil (or microwave) away.

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Check out the article in our local paper that ran today…”How Sweet It Is.

Donncha Ó Caoimh makes this week’s photo challenge:

Share a photo of what “relic” means to you — it could be your still-running 1979 Honda Accord Hatchback, a historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field.

Click HERE for more examples of “relic.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story – Take 2

Shane Francescut writes: For this week’s challenge, we want you to become a documentary photographer and attempt to capture a candid moment of a person, place, or thing. Put your National Geographic hat on and tell a story by documenting a moment in time through a single image. What do you think this story is?
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The “rest of the story” is that these three swans had just been released by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as they try to restore trumpeter swan populations to Iowa. The Trumpeter Swan Restoration project released these three swans last May at Summit Lake near Creston, IA, and four more this year.

Click HERE for more examples of “split second story.”

 

 

Disaster (Relief) Comes to Creston

Jerry Hartman and Bob Dillman remove damaged tree.

Little did we know that the severe thunderstorm on the evening of April 14 would spawn an EF2 tornado just west of town. It happened so quickly and was rain-wrapped, giving no one the ability to issue a warning. The effects were minimal, given that the tornado skirted the northwest corner of our community. But for those in its path, the damage was devastating.  While we were spared the loss of any precious life, a total of 14 single family homes and 16 multi-family units were severely damaged and two homes in rural Union county destroyed as well. Several outbuildings on farms were destroyed and 40 homes in the area had minor damage. The Greater Regional Medical Center, not only a hospital but also housing all local physicians, took a direct hit and is still not back to inpatient care. The dormitories of Southwestern Community College were also in the path and now sit empty as all the students finish the semester housed in hotels and homes. Creston Community Schools received severe damage, but classes were able to resume the following Wednesday. The YMCA and other local businesses in the path have yet to reopen.

Things looked pretty bleak as darkness fell that Saturday night. But the outpouring of volunteers began immediately. By Sunday morning I was receiving calls from staff of the Baptist Convention of Iowa, asking if our Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units were needed in Creston. Not knowing the full scope of need yet, Wes Jones, Director of Missions, Northwest & Southwest Associations, arrived by 1:30 p.m., to make an assessment, meet with officials and then, mobilize the Chainsaw Unit. Three men from Sioux City joined Wes and Crest Baptist Church’s own Jerry Hartman, a DR trained volunteer. These five spent the next three days assisting residents with tree removal, as well as spreading the Good News of Christ. With each completed job, the homeowner received a Bible and a prayer for God’s continued aid.

Additionally, Pastor Mike Carlson and Associate Cal Callison from First Baptist, Winterset, arrived on Tuesday, serving as Disaster Relief Chaplains. They visited local adult care facilities that were also impacted by the storm.

The saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) is so true. But those who were on the receiving end of so many volunteers were tremendously blessed in the midst of adversity. Our community continues to be grateful to the many volunteers, including our own Disaster Relief volunteers, who so quickly and selflessly came to the aid of those in need.

Corky Jenkins, Dick Lechtenberger (homeowner), Robert Battles, Wes Jones and Bob Dillman.