Saturday, January 30, 2010

7:00 a.m and 7 Degrees

OldTown_01.30.10-51

It's 7:00 a.m. and 7 degrees F in central Michigan. It is barely daylight.

As I arrive, there is already a line 100 feet long. Folks are standing in line for a food give-a-way that is going to begin at 11:30 a.m. Under my breath, I thank God that I don't need to stand in a line like this.

In my heart I know that these folks are no different than me - they just had some bad luck or took the wrong fork in the road. It could happen to me in a heartbeat. And it's a miracle that it hasn't happened to me at some point in my far-less-than-perfect life. This simple truth has done a lot to bolster my Faith over the years.

Do you realize how rich you and I are? Even when times are tough, we are richly blessed.

  • 800 million people on our planet will not eat today. Will you?
  • 92% of the world's inhabitants don't own a car. Do you? Maybe two?

If you answered "yes" to either question above, those who answered "no" will think you are rich.

If you are reading this post, you have:

  • An Internet connection
  • A computer, cell phone, or some such device (probably both)
  • Shelter from the cold
  • Money enough for the luxury of the items above
  • eyesight
  • fingers and the dexterity to use them
  • the ability to read
  • and more.....

The bullet points above say a great deal about your blessings, don't they? God has blessed us.

Who are we going to bless today?

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Destination: Dr. Wallace's Office

DrWallace'sOffice

No, it's not the dogs that are destined for the Dr.'s office.

This framed print is prepped and ready to hang at our vets office. This print will join another print of mine at Dr. Wallace's office -- a print of our infamous Olive the Wonder Dog (below).

We still miss Olive. She was a piece of work.

Olive_HDR

Olive the Wonder Dog

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Need My Beauty Sleep

Waldo&Luci_01.22.10-94

Waldo&Luci_01.22.10-56

Hey, Loser! Yeah, YOU...with the camera! Can ya give us a break? Do ya ever put that thing down? Can a hound get a break around here? All we ever get is click, click, click, click. Bite me.

- Waldo Denardo

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Waldo and the Cone of Shame

Cone

(No, you cannot use that title for the name of your rock band)

Waldo may be the most tolerant hound dog on the planet. He recently had surgery on one of his legs. After his surgery, he wouldn't leave it alone, so our vet gave him the Cone of Shame.

Waldo is an 85-pound puppy (8 months old), so you can imagine how much space he takes up...including his cone head. I kid you not, he's been pulling in radio waves from Alpha Centauri.

Cone head and all, he's the happiest dog I have ever known...and I've had a bunch of dogs in my life. This guy is teaching me a few things about tolerance and unconditional love. No kidding.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Best Birthday Ever

Danny

Thirteen years ago today, our son was born. It seemed miraculous to us, because we were quite sure we would not be having a child at all. Ever. We had been trying, but the cards seemed to be stacked against us. In fact, Kay had become pregnant a couple times, but sadly, it never worked out. It seemed it was not meant to be. It was an emotional roller-coaster for both of us.

Then, our luck changed. The planets aligned, the clouds parted and sunlight filled our lives (In fact, we know it was not luck at all). In any case, Danny was born thirteen years ago today...on MY birthday.

Happy Birthday, Danny. You're the best thing that ever happened to us. We love you more than you will ever know. You're a terrific son.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Balinese Red Canoe

Canoe

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

OId School

Ukraine_12.16.10

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Playing With Crayons

Crayons

Yes, I still play with crayons. I still run with scissors, too.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hoar Frost Abstraction

HoarFrost_.01.10.10

I've learned over the years that anticipation is a key ingredient in photography. Anticipating people, the sunrise, the wind, the waves, etc.

Last night when we rolled in around 10:00 p.m., I noticed fog in the air and it was VERY cold - about 4 degrees F. Fog and extreme cold is an unusual combo. It's a combination I know well, however. These weather conditions create hoar frost. I decided then and there I needed to get up before the sun to be prepared for a photo op.

That first step is the toughest.

Sure enough, when I got up and looked out the window, there it was. As anticipated. Then my tired mind took over:

  • Ahhh, it's too dang cold.
  • There is a wind and it will destroy the frost before I can find a location.
  • The sun's not quite right.
  • It's gonna take me 15 minutes to get all my layers of clothing on and then it will be over....
  • It's gonna be a big waste of time.
  • blah, blah, blah....

Then, as is often the case with me, I overcame my inner-laziness. I am so thankful God gave me the ability to overcome all that lazy crap...although it's a battle. For crying out loud - THIS IS LIVING LIFE, DAN. GET YOUR A** OUT, YOU BONEHEAD (my words, not God's).

And so I did. I took that first necessary step.

THEN, came the bonus. I was dressed for the Iditarod, yet I never left the garage. I took three steps from the house into the garage and the frosted window (above) revealed itself. I would have never seen it had I not fought the battle and taken that first step. Nor would I have known it was a mere twenty feet from where I was whining in the fetal position.

As I was clicking, it began to melt. Ten minutes later - Poof! - it was gone.

That first step. It's a big one. And I happen to think it's a catalyst for a good life....in so many ways -- a photo op, a marathon, a walk with God.....

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Math

New Math

Many Hardships + Freezing Cold + Jesus = Pure Joy

Go figure.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Remembering.....

OldTown_Portrait

When I was at Old Town Christian Outreach Center this past Saturday, I was saddened to learn that this fellow is no longer with us. I blogged about him last year. We never really met, but he had an impact on me that I will not forget. For that I am grateful.

Whenever I am at Old Town, it catches me off-guard when folks call me "brother". I love hearing that. After-all, we all have the same Father, right? I guess I should be more tuned-in to that. There is a lot of love that permeates every cubic inch of Old Town. In fact, to the fellow pictured above, I was "brother". How great is that?

You're gone now, but if I play my cards right, I'll see you again someday. And for that I'll be ETERNALLY grateful.

Thank you, brother.

With love and gratitude,

Dan

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If you would care to see my blog post from last year, you can see it here: A Life Lesson in Happiness

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Need is Great

OldTownCOC_01.02.10-209

My little friend here spent much of yesterday morning at the local soup kitchen/Christian Outreach Center. This little frito-bandito was doing everything he could do to stay warm and it wasn't working. It was 5-degrees without the wind chill.

Times are tough for a lot of folks these days...and especially so in Michigan, where the auto industry (and supporting businesses) are in the tank. There are many unemployed and underemployed. It has been explained to me that most folks first pay their bills -- rent (or mortgage), heat, electricity, cell phone, cable, etc. and only then do they think about buying food. It gets especially difficult near the end of the month when cash is thin. That's what makes the soup kitchens and outreach centers so important. It gives folks a resource to help them bridge the gap.

OldTownCOC_01.02.10-38

The folks above are standing in line to receive a box of groceries, a blanket, a prayer and some brotherly love.

This time of year I start cleaning out my closets of stuff I haven't touched for a while. I don't need it, in fact, I probably never needed it. I WANTED it, but didn't need it. What's up with that? In any case, I take it to the local outreach center where it is given to someone who NEEDS it.

I am constantly reminded of my friend Ron. He owns one fork, one knife and one spoon. It's his gentle reminder. He can pull it off being a single guy and he is on the road a lot. Not everyone can do what he does, but I'll bet you can make a concession or two three. I know I can.

It's a good time of year for a resolution, eh?

Happy Blessed New Year.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

A Retrospective

Nutshell

This is a small, but representative sample of my work from 2009. Some of these you've seen and some you have not.

One thing I've always been pretty good at is moving on...and not resting on the work I've recently completed. I like keeping my momentum going and that means moving on, losing site of the shore, pushing myself to create and hopefully learning and growing along the way. As a new year begins, it's time to see these images grow smaller in my rear view mirror.

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