Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure


Several years ago, my parents compiled a list of family keepsakes and let us five children choose what we wanted. Many of the items were distributed as my parents  downsized over the years. Two of those items that came my way are pictured here. My great-grandmother, Mary Samuels originally possessed these treasures. She apparently bought furniture when she was displeased with her husband, and the organ was one of those purchases. As a preschooler, I remember standing on both pedals and pumping as I played some cacophony, believing it was a symphony.

Grandma Samuel's Organ and RockerThe rocker, however, is the real treasure. Also an item from Great-Grandma Samuels’ home, it sat on the front porch of my childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee with its twin. Many hours were spent rocking on the front porch with family and friends. When I bought the home from my parents, only one rocker remained, the other already having been distributed to one of my sisters. Still a sturdy rocker despite years of exposure to the elements, its green paint was cracked and revealing the previous layers of white and pink. Eventually,  I decided to refinish it, stripping the three layers of paint down to the oak grain. The cane bottom had long ago been replaced with a sheet of plywood, so I undertook the job of re-caning the seat. When I finished the transformation, I gave it back to my parents with whom it remained until last year.

Rocker Organ OverheadMy mother, now a widow, moved to our town a few years ago and decided her apartment was too crowded for the old, wooden rocker after she bought a more comfy rocker. It has come back into our possession as a special treasure, holding in its seat the memories of all the family and friends that rocked in it over the years.

While it is fun to reminisce about these special “treasures,” all earthly treasures will eventually deteriorate and cease to be, even though they may outlast several owners. Therefore, I try to hold loosely to material treasures because they are transient. But because people will be eternal, investing in others for the sake of eternity is what will last. Jesus Christ said:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.            (Matthew 6:19-20, NIV)

There is truth in the saying, “You can’t take it with you.” So, it’s best to plant gospel seeds here and now in those who will eventually become part of the heavenly treasure of relationships that we will enjoy forever.

For more examples of “treasure” click HERE

Addendum: Here is a three generational picture with my grandfather sitting in the rocking chair. He lived with us for eight years and weather permitting, he and our dog sat on the porch every day and watched the world go by, the squirrels play and his U.S. flag fly.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie


There is nothing like the tiny clasp of a child’s hand in your own. I have been able to capture that moment of each of my granddaughters’ first grip of their Papa’s hand.

As I enjoy the privilege of holding my granddaughter’s hands, I am grateful that the hand of God has hold of me, his child – guiding, protecting, providing and preserving:

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
 I will take hold of your hand.
    I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.                 Isaiah 42:5-7 (NIV)

For more examples of this “selfie” challenge, click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus (Take 2)


In September, our community hosts the annual Southwest Iowa Professional Hot Air Balloon Festival. Weather conditions permitting, balloonists launch at least four times to test their piloting skills. A parade, flea market, YMCA 5K Balloon Chase, night glow and other fun activities surround the event.

Last year, I heard the nearby “whoosh” of the burners filling a balloon envelope with hot air. To my surprise, the competition target to which pilots toss weighted bags from their baskets was placed just a few blocks from my home. That meant that all 50-plus balloons would be close and low! I hurried to find my post and reveled in the multi-colored, sky parade floating effortlessly through my neighborhood.

I took this series of shots of one balloonist’s pass of the target, intentionally getting some shallow and greater depth of field focus shots (the first is my favorite). Here are the results:

Out of focus balloon

Balloon is piloted just above tree level as it approaches target to drop weighted marker.


Balloon ascends from the target.


Street signs are of no value to balloonists.


“Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon”

Thanks to Southern Sea Muse’s Photo Challenge post that jogged my memory of these pictures! Here are a few more close and overhead shots:

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Hot Air Balloon Days is September 20 – 22, 2013, Creston, Iowa, USA.