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April 28, 2010

Finger Friends

We drove halfway down Electra Road last Saturday, scouting the hillside for wildflowers and other interesting attractions. Rafters on the river side of us received oohs and aahs from the peanut gallery while I found a few places to pull off the narrow road and do some hunting.

I let Angel use my old point-and-shoot. She's not yet to the "Wow! What a beautiful flower" stage at 9 years old, but she certainly can appreciate a beautiful bug - beetles in this instance. I showed her how to use the macro mode and away she went, trying her best to capture the little critters. This is the only picture that wasn't too blurry, and it is the best of the day in my opinion (including all the ones I took!).

Her camera was soon in my back pocket, then given to Barb after I pointed out a little creek filled with mica schist, milky quartz, basalt and other treasures. She's more rock hound than photog, still exploring all the options. Barb took this picture of her holding a few pounds of quartz (I think).

You can see more of this trip here: Gold Country Afternoon

April 17, 2010

Spring Promise

Finally! The promise of spring has been fulfilled TODAY as Californians get their fingernails dirty doing yard work before the next rains arrive. Days like today make all of the hard work worthwhile. The grass will never be more lush and God paid the water bill. A few new flowers grace the birch trees. The poppies collections are still blazing in the backyard. And here I sit (after tackling the great outdoors) at this stodgy computer, processing pictures, updating the page, reading and answering email, listening to Barbara clip and thunk the pieces of another puzzle, and not wanting to take on my next project: climbing up on the roof to cover a few more holes between the shingles! Ha!

The Stockton Record paid both granddaughter Angel and me tribute by publishing a few of our pictures in the paper. This was Angel's first attempt at taking 'real' photos with my Nikon DSLR at Oak Grove Regional Park after she attended the "Bug Fest" at the Nature Center. She's a point and shooter with an eye for simplicity at this stage, but I'm trying to get her headed in the right direction re: composition, exposure and focal length. Hey, at 9 years old, she's way ahead of me in those departments. I was still on the receiving end of picture taking at 9 years old. And film was expensive.

Today, the digital revolution will spawn a younger-than-ever generation of photographers who will capture the fleeting moments of their world with greater expertise than ever. One man's opinion.

In case you missed it (previous post), you can see all of these photos taken by Angel at: Angel's DSLR Debut. Mine can be linked from my main page.

April 11, 2010

Color Shift and DNA

"Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together," is a chorus from the Book of Psalms. From micro to macro, creation gives ample reasons to praise and extol Him who spoke the worlds into existence and perfectly placed our little orb the perfect distance from the sun to sustain life and created its prerequisite molecular structure to insure variety and order and calculated its grandly designed ecological balance to preserve and propagate living organisms and crowned it with conscious beings like you and me.

Sorry, Mr. Evolutionist, but DNA in even the simplest cell forbids any eons-long, chance-riddled, non-intelligent force credit for its existence. Ex nihilo, nihil fit, let alone the lowly amoeba.

Let's Eat Worms!

Angel is your typical tree-hugging 4th grader, happy in the tall grass and tick-infested woodlands. She likes all things insect except spiders and will even eat a worm if given the chance.

I took her to the annual Bug Fest at Oak Grove Regional Park yesterday where she got some hands on education about critters. Hundreds of kids watched bug races, netted insects for identification, perused the Nature Center, heard presentations on a number of related subjects and had a chance to eat millworms (drenched in chocolate, of course).

We were overwhelmed with the hoards of kids and parents (and grandparents), all flowing through a diminutive Nature Center filled with stuffed animals, snakes, lizards, turtles, Indian displays, and other indicators of San Joaquin Valley life and history. Angel was fascinated by the model skulls and bones of little animals and deer and a pelican beak which you could handle. Collecting skeletal remains aren't my hobby, thankfully.

There is a full series of these park pictures here: Bug Fest Pictures And you can see Angel's park pictures here: Photog Angel.

April 6, 2010

Veni, Vidi, Vice Versa

Stanford's shocking first half is now being countered by Connecticut in the second half. 44-31 right now reflects UConn's ability to reverse its mindset under extreme pressure - an ability we should all be blessed with. But alas! How weak and pessimistic and deflated most of us are when confronting the monster.

Ol' Jack lays there, completely oblivious to the reality of competition and being on the losing team. His kingly lifestyle robs him of all sense of poverty and pain.

Game over - UConn wins. Stanford will soon be flying home with nothing to be ashamed of. They came, they saw and they almost conquered.

April 3, 2010

Springing Bouquet

We were invited to a neighbor's birthday party today where we knew exactly zero guests. I took my camera and willingness to make a new friend or two. The latitude of personalities at a gathering is always pretty wide. Sports fans (the two Final Four games were hosted in the living room), kid fans (talk a lot about their kids), shopping fans (here the conversation steers to what new store is being built and where), family scuttlebutt fans (where you hear stuff you probably shouldn't hear), and food fans (most everyone fits this category).

Then there are the kids, who like to herd it here and there, usually outside on the swingset or on their scooters, or just chase each other around. They don't mind staying out of the way of overbearing adults who spoil their fun as often as possible. I cornered all seven of them for a few willingly posed pictures.

It isn't hard to understand why portraits of the younger set are so much better than those of their parents. They have yet to lose that freedom to act naturally and feel overly self-conscious. And the more heads in the picture, the better the poses. They're still in the show-off stage of life.

God has so blessed parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents with these little ones. What an awesome responsibility we have to raise them with all the love, instruction, truth, godliness and prayer that we can, especially in a world as wicked as this.

God help us!

April 2, 2010

Crucified, Buried and Raised From the Grave

Mark 15:24-47

And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. And the inscription of His accusation was written above:
With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And He was numbered with the transgressors." [Isaiah 53:9]
And those who passed by blasphemed Him wagging their heads and saying, 'Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!'
Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, 'He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross that we may see and believe.'
Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.
Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour [3 p.m.]. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which is translated, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'
Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, 'Look, He is calling for Elijah!' Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, 'Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.'
And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, 'Truly this Man was the Son of God!'
There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.
Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.
Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.

Mark 16:1-15

Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, 'Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?' But when they looked up, they saw that a stone had been rolled away -- for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
But he said to them, 'Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples -- and Peter -- that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.'
So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature . . . '