No Professional, But Fun

There are many novice photographers better than me, but I would venture to say I at least will tie with someone who has the most fun trying. Since retiring a few years ago(I retired when I was very young, Ha) I have developed a love of bird watching and tie that into my love for photography and you have mostly fun photographs.

I work part time at the church and have also placed bird feeder there so today is a sample of birds at home as well as at church. Most of the pictures are new but some are favorites. I have become fascinated with the hummingbirds of the area and most from the church were taken today as the phone were very quiet.

These two seem to fight over the feeder or at least like to play chase. I know the pictures are not real clear but I did not have my telephoto lens with me today, so we are zooming way in per the computer.

They seem to have no tail feathers when they sit as their wings are longer and cover them when they rest. But when they fly, it is amazing how they move those for balance and direction.

I love this picture even though the hummer is not real clear. But his reflection shows up in the water as do the flowers below. And you can see how he spreads his tail feathers.

Both of these birds seem to be females as they males have that legendary red throat. I have a male one at my home that guards that feeder.

I need to learn how to work with the shutter speed on my camera to see if I can catch the wings clearer. Below are some other pictures I took today and a few of my favorites of my bigger birds. The cardinals are beginning their molt so they are looking real sad as they lose old before the new arrives.

As we enjoy nature around us, remember nature likes kindness too so remember to be kind to all kinds.

Amazing Stonework, August 19

Yes, I am behind schedule. Its been one of those weeks. But I have a beautiful building for you today, built in 1904, out of porphyritic granite. After doing my granite research and verifying the many colors ranging from white to black, I believe this to be Dakota Mahogany, from Milbank, South Dakota. This granite bed is 2.6-2.7 billions years old and that in itself is amazing. This being Iowa, that makes more logic sense that the granite on the east coast, but I am no expert.

The building is still used as a high school and will soon be crawling with teenagers. As I pass by it going home from work, I see the marching band is already practicing, getting ready for football games. Football means fall and I am more than ready to be rid of this 90 degree heat.

In reviewing a lot of the columns you see on buildings today, you see them polished and shinny but these they left in their natural block form that was ground into rounded shapes where they came out from the building. You can see the individual blocks and enjoy their wide variety of color.

But when you look close, you can see the cuts in the stone where they shaped the columns plus making their colors more prominent. Even the feet of the columns are cut and sanded into shape.

Above the doorways on the east and west sides of the building are beautiful arched windows with a masonry balcony above them that has interesting metal grillwork. Here I want to tie in with Monday Window and Ludwig’s challenge of beautiful windows for these are indeed striking.

The north side door is not as artistic but still amazing to look at with scroll work and stone columns at the roofline.

The south side of the building is where the school has expanded down through the next block making a quite large school. And while the extension is made of brick, it just doesn’t have the artistic heart of the older building. So I remind all to look at older buildings with a different eye and see the beauty of architects of old. You could not afford to build buildings of this artistry today. So I remind you before destroying an older building, check to see if there is any soundness left to the structure and if so, find a use for it and let its beauty remain among us.

In closing I remind you of always being kind. Kindness can open doors thought to be closed and let light in through windows once thought dark.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – August 18, Violets

Thanks to the fun challenges that we enjoy through blogging, we share that fun with others. Cee’s challenge for Flower of the Day is a favorite of mine, so today, I am sharing my indoor flowers.

My violets are three different colors but right now only two of them are blooming. The baby plant, which is supposed to be pink, has not bloomed yet.

Flowers share their beauty with us so that we can enjoy them and maybe share that beauty with others. Flowers can make you smile, some will make you sneeze, but their beauty can bring you peace. And we all need some of that. So enjoy the flowers you find in your area, smile and remember to be kind. That can also bring you peace.

Its Only Gonna get Worse

Monday’s I usually send out a post for an encouraging word to help us all have a little brighter smile for the week, knowing we do sincerely care for each other. But tonight I am asking you to remember we are at war. Not a war that you can see with guns, tanks and such, but a war that is even more devastating…spiritual war.

Tonight, I feel we are at war in all of our churches, so I am sending this out to any Christians who understand the true love of Christ.  We know Satan is busy lying and deceiving, trying to take down any followers of Jesus as he can. We see it everyday on the news but I saw something today that broke my heart and it reminded me that we are indeed in the midst of a spiritual war. What I saw is not important, so no need to ask.  It is just a reminder that Christians are being singled out and that it is only going to get worse.

We, as Christians, MUST stand firm TOGETHER, holding each other up, praying fervently for our pastors, our leaders and our churches. We have seen amazing answers to prayer recently in our church, so we know how well prayer works but I ask you tonight to go strongly to the Lord to pray for pastors, our church leaders and our church congregations and against those who seek to destroy them.

Again, we must be vigilant in prayer. A question from the sermon this past Sunday was “what is prayer” – prayer is nothing more than communicating with God. It does not have to be done in a special way but it does have to be done sincerely and it needs to be done often. The more we tune into the Lord, the more power we have to resist the evil schemes even when we don’t realize we are being attacked.

So I ask you tonight, pray for your church leaders, your pastors, your churches. By all of our prayers, they will be strengthened.

And I close with a reminder of the spiritual gift of kindness. Kindness has the ability to turn away meanness.

Always Be Kind

FOTD – Aug 13, Sad Day

Today we say goodbye to the beauty of my sunflowers. The tallest of the spiers was well over 12 feet high with over 15 huge blooms on one stalk. Some blooms were over 9 inches wide.

Then Wednesday a storm came through and all but one of my sunflowers hit the ground. The picture below was taken less than one minute before she snapped. The weight of even more blooms that the earlier picture proved she was no match for the wind.

The storm took out power as well as limbs and some trees. One year plus one day ago we had a derecho come through that caused massive damage to trees, crops and power. I am afraid that as our oceans warm due to human carelessness, that the collapse of that important system for the entire globe will only make our weather more erratic.

The weight of each of these blooms was almost too much to carry indoors but the are making my table beautiful for now. I had to use a heavy cut-glass vase to make sure the weight of the flowers did not pull the vase over.

But I enjoyed them so much that yes, I will plant them again next year. If you love flowers as a lot of us do, join in on Cee’s wonderful challenge of Flower of the Day. And as always I remind you of the beauty of kindness. It complements any flower of any garden.

Amazing Stonework, August 10

Good afternoon friends. Today’s building is quite beautiful but I am not sure what the column material is – red marble or red granite. I may do the high school next week because even the blocks seem to be out of the same material where today’s building is brick and concrete with the red columns.

The Rock Island County office building has beautiful details of concrete that show off the brick around the building. You can see the edge here in this picture, delicate details in concrete. I find it amazing.

The front door is surrounded by massive columns, and a large archway open through the concrete columns above.

The inner area inside the columns show intricate details on all edges and levels. The ax, gavel, and greenery with ribbon are interesting.

The corners of the building each have a detailed roof design with what I am assuming may have some copper metal somewhere due to the greenness, or just painted that color. But the concrete design in the block panels are similar to what we have been seeing in other building of that time.

Thank you for coming to read about the old stone buildings in my area. If you have them in your area, feel free to share them with us here. And as always remember to be kind. Kindness shows inner power, strength and beauty.

An Encouraging Word

Good morning. Hope you are well this morning. I am bringing you thoughts from several sources this morning in hope that it makes you feel the love and peace of Christ. I think there are times we all struggle with “Am I doing this right, am I following Jesus the right way today?” Or maybe it’s just me and my ADD. Sometimes my mouth opens and…good grief where did that come from? Pastor’s sermon Sunday really showed me how easy it is to get off track, even as Christians. 

Some so-called Christian leaders even advocate the working out of a system of morals, ethics, and religion that would bring together all the religions of the world. It cannot be done. Jesus Christ is unique. Billy Graham

I am rereading the Left Behind series and finding that since it has been so long since I read it the first time, I forgot about a lot of the inner details of the books, so it’s almost like reading it for the first time. I ran across a statement that hit closed to home as one believer was trying to explain the difference between religion and Christianity. It said “…religion is man’s attempt to reach God, while Jesus is God’s attempt to reach man.”

Our ordinary abilities will never worship God unless they are transformed by the indwelling Son of God. Oswald Chambers

I remind you today of how very much we are all loved and all God really wants from us is that we follow him. When we go all in with that, He give us the riches of the world, not as the world gives but as He gives us through His love for us.

And as always I close with a reminder to be kind. It show the beauty from the inside.

Always Be Kind

Amazing Stonework, August 3

I have enjoyed sharing the amazing buildings in my area that are considered old. Most are still very much in use but all show incredible artistry of that day. Today’s post is close to my heart as it is my home church, First Baptist Church of Davenport, Iowa.

This church, built in 1889, was originally named Calvary Baptist but later became know as First Baptist. It is a building built with brick, carved stone and decorative concrete. One of the interesting features to me is the building corners which are not sharp corners but rounded. The steeple used to sit atop the squared off section above the door but a tornado came through in the 50s and sent the steeple through the roof – on top of the pipes for the organ. Yeah, those had to be replaced but they make a beautiful sound today.

As with most churches there are many beautiful windows but I am partial to these not only because of the beautiful stained glass but the way the stone, brick and concrete highlight their beauty.

In more modern years, an extra window of glass was added to preserve and protect the original windows. the heavy wooden doors also have a stained glass window above them.

The windows on the side that are the adult classrooms are a favorite of mine due to the large decorative concrete panels.

The full side of the building…

This is amazing artistry when you think about construction that was nearly 130 years ago. Even the far side wall has a little artistry to it as the wall is curved instead of a straight and features glass blocks in the windows.

Since I am including a lot of window pictures here, I want to tie in with Ludwig’s Monday Windows. Windows are an opening that allow light to shine through. And we as Christians need to be windows to allow the love of Christ to shine in and through us.

Look around your area and see the beauty of architecture from long ago. It can be quite amazing when you really look. And as always, remember to be kind. Kindness radiates as bright as any window and shows a beauty beyond compare.

Always be kind

Hello Again, Its me!

Life. It can get so out of control sometimes that you just need to stop, get your bearings and say hello. That’s what life was for me last week. I don’t think I even saw my computer much less wrote anything so this week I will unload with flowers, birds and activities. For now lets talk about birds. I put in a new feeder at work and am now enjoying hummers at the office. The pictures aren’t great but they are from a phone and they are fast little critters.

I also added a new cloth thistle bag at home and the goldfinches seem to like it better than the large thistle feeders.

The blue jays, the woodpeckers and the nuthatch enjoy the peanuts I put in the ring.

And of course the rest of the birds enjoy the house feeder. I have even had some mourning doves stop by.

about I do enjoy the birds and the flowers during the warmer months. They help me settle and bring enjoyment while I see the birds scamper and sometimes become territorial over whose feeder it really is. I hope they enjoy the sunflowers now that they are beginning to seed out. I already have ideas for next year. Enjoy nature in your back yard and remember to always be kind.

Morning Encouragement

Good morning Y’all. Such a funny contraction “y’all” stemming from the possible laziness of the southern language. In a world that quickly moves about with people moving from place to place all over the world,  we run into many forms of different sayings stopping periodically asking “Where are you from?” But it’s great to know that regardless of where we are from or where we go, the Bible is always the same. The versions may change but the message is the same. We just have to read it often enough to make sure we understand what it is saying. And as we read it, sometimes over and over, we get an entirely new meaning of what we read the last time we read that section. I guess that is what makes it the living word of God.

Those who do not read the bible think we believe that the Christian life makes us free from adversity and trauma. But Oswald Chambers reminds us that the bible teaches us how to deal with the craziness that life throws at us. 

God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. Oswald Chambers

When we step out in faith on the teachings of the scriptures we are strengthened and nourished by God to be able to withstand the sometimes hard onslaught of life. We become overcomers.

Be encouraged today that even though times may be hard, we have a Savior teaching us His ways, holding our hands and sometimes carrying us to a peaceful place where we can be comforted from the turmoil of life around us. Stay in His word and find the strength, love and peace He gives us. 

Have a great day and always remember to be kind. Kindness is a gift from God to share on those who need it…and we all need it.

Always Be Kind, even to those who are not.