Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Used by permission, GraphicStock."

As we end 2014 and begin 2015, a few words to consider-

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

-2 Corinthians 5:17 [ESV]

Interested in learning more about Jesus Christ and how to have a life filled with His Joy? Please visit Salvation.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday's Thought

"Used by permission, ChristianQuotes"
I discovered this graphic and quote at Christian Quotes website and found it to be one of my favorites.

For me, this is God reminding me that as He calls someone to do His Work or His Will, He will prepare you to go forward to do it.

2014 was a rough year.  Quite a few changes happened, we lost a two family members within days of each other and a third got seriously ill- it was crazy.  Yet, in the midst of it all, I felt God's Presence comforting me and teaching me along the way.

As the year went on, I learned that God has something for me to do for Him.  More than I am doing now.  Not prepared for it, I argued that I wasn't the one nor am I ready and that's not what I want to do in my future.

2015 will hold quite a few changes for me.  Am not worried about whether I am equipped or can handle what comes my way- just relax in God's Hand- He will equip me for what I need to be.

Have you found yourself being asked to do something at church but not qualified?  Yet, you knew you were supposed to do it?   Please share in the comments.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday's Foto: A Favorite Spot

"A Favorite Spot"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Walney Nature Center is one of my favorite places in Northern Virginia to photograph.  Seems around every turn, is something new to please the eye and soul- nature is very healthy for you-

I photographed "A Favorite Spot" while exploring the trail which goes behind the Walney Nature Center offices and Information Center down toward the pond.  I love to take Noah, my dog, with me on these shoots.  He keeps me company and enjoys the outing.  I have to admit though, it takes me several attempts to get the photo I want because he's anxious to explore so he'll tug on the leash.

Where is your favorite place to photograph?  Please share in the comments-

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

"Christmas Nativity"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

O Come All Ye Faithful 

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Author: This Christmas carol is credited to an English hymnist named John Francis Wade (1711-1786).
It was later on translated to English by Frederick Oakeley and William Thomas Brooke
and was published on Murray's Hymnal in 1852.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Christmas Red Poinsettias"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Hark the Herald Angels Sing! 

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Author: Written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
the melody of Mendelssohn'scantata (Festival Song)
was used by William H. Cummings and 
adapted it to the lyrics of Wesley's
"Hark the Herald Angels Sing."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday's Thought

Christmas Memories 3

Today is Christmas Sunday- typically celebrated in the Christian church the Sunday before Christmas.  This is usually the highest attended Sunday, along with Easter, of the year.

(C) Allen Pearson,
All Rights Reserved
For those who attend church regularly, it is often the time to catch up with friends who have been away at college or who have parents or grandparents in town visiting. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ with your church friends who you may not see again before Christmas.  For me, I have a few friends that I want to see before Christmas Day and its been a time to see college students that were in classes I taught at church.

There are many great memories of playing the organ for a Christmas Cantata my father directed at church.  I'd rehearse with the choir and practice and practice.   Not only did I work on that, but had the hymns, a prelude and postlude to learn.  I wanted it all to be perfect.

One year, I had found a copy of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. It was written in the key of "C" so I knew I could learn it if I practiced and practiced.  The Sunday I played it, the audience stood. When the audience stood, which I hadn't thought about, I got nervous as to the attention given to me.  I managed to play the piece without an error (according to the church members- I won't share my version).

Used by Permission, GraphicStock
I remember one Christmas what seems like hundreds of years ago now, especially when you look at the development around the church, when I was a teenager.   The pastor's wife Doris had me help her  decorate the church.  Not sure why me, but it was and maybe a few other teenagers.  Anyway. we were to go out in the field behind the church and get branches with pines needles on them and return to the church.  The decorations turned out to be the most beautiful I'd seen in a church.  Not to mention, the beautiful smell of pine.

One of my most recent favorite Christmas memories was when we attended a Baptist church where the organist really knew how to play the organ.  Tate knew all the ways to pull out the right stops, play the bass pedals loud on certain pieces- she didn't play around when she played the organ.  She played it majestically giving the organ the ability to let the church hear what it was made of.  The pianist, Mary, had the special touch that brought the piano to life.  Christmas was a musical celebration of Christ's birth to Tate and Mary.  I got to sit back and praise God through their music.  The blessings are beyond any explanation.

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Author: The lyrics was written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), 
also known as the "Father of English Hymnology." 
Watts wrote the lyrics in 1719. 
The melody was composed by Lowell Mason (1792-1872), 
a composer of church music.

May you have a 
Blessed Christmas Sunday full of memories!!

Merry Christmas!!

"Used by Permission, Christian Clipart"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday's Foto: Blushed

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

The leaves are blushing aren't they?  Or, is it a streak of God's paint brush painting red across the fall leaves?

Taken in Walney Nature Center off the Rocky Run Trail.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday's Thought

"Used by Permission, GraphicStock"

Christmas Memories 2

Christmas was always something special for my mother. She loved playing Santa Claus for my brother and I.  Later in life, when I married, she was thrilled to include my wife.

Soon after I married, it became a family joke when my mother would say, "I've started my Christmas shopping- any guesses who for?"   I never really had to wonder who it was. My father always seemed happy to go along with whatever mother had planned for the Christmases.  Though, I think he really had a little more to do with the gift suggestions than he wanted to admit. I know he enjoyed the surprising part of it.

I have many Christmas memories involving my parents.  A few of my favorite include the year of "the Bicycles!" My brother and I were notorious for waking up very early on Christmas Day- very excited to get what Santa brought us.
"Used by Permission, GraphicStock"

One year, we got up around 5 a.m. and went to wake up Mom and Dad.  Little did we know, that Dad had just gone to bed, not more than two hours before we woke them up.  He was hoping we'd sleep in- but to his dismay, that didn't happen. He had spent all night assembling bicycles for us.  We didn't know this until several years later.

One of the funniest memories was the year my brother gave my father a leaf blower.  Somehow, the thing came on when Dad opened it and everything- everywhere went flying across the room- wrapping paper, bows, decorations. Fortunately, the tree remained standing. I remember ducking so I wouldn't get hit with something.

A special gift that I still have, and when I become the world's greatest dog photographer (yes, it used to be nature photographer), it will be worth millions, was the year my parents gave me my first camera. My mother thought I needed a digital camera and gave me the latest and greatest digital point and shoot. I began a lifelong journey with photography that I owe to Mom and Dad's gift that Christmas.

Most of the time, our gifts were something we needed or had been wanting for a long time.  And, definitely not something expensive.  We had to save our allowances for that. I am thankful my parents didn't give us underwear or socks or t-shirts at Christmas. I always felt bad for the nerdy kid who got those and told others when asked.  

And, for us, Christmas was about the celebration of Christ's Birth, not getting presents.  The presents were symbolic of the wisemen giving gift to Baby Jesus. Music of the church filled the air and often around the house as we celebrated the Birth of Our Savior Lord Jesus Christ.

Should our Lord return to take His children home, will you be ready? To be sure visit Salvation and then visit God's Love.

"Used by Permission, GraphicStock"

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday's Foto: White Poinsettias

"White Poinsettias"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
One of my favorite Christmas decorations is the Poinsettia, white and red.  They are just so beautiful and bring Christmas to a natural celebration without all the glitz and tinsel and tacky.

I cannot have them in my home as I have had dog and will probably adopt another dog and cat soon.  Poinsettias are extremely dangerous for dogs and cats are listed among the toxic plants that can cause death.

Knowing that, I take the time to enjoy them at my church which decorates quite a bit with them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Photographing the Seasons: Painter's Light

"Painter's Light"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
As many nature photographers have said, and I know I've said a few times, you can return to the same place at a different time or a different day and time and find something different to photograph.  A fact that never ceases to amaze me.

A few years ago, when I was searching for the perfect images for a friend, I left for Walney in the early morning.  I was walking through the field in Walney Nature Center, near the stream when the sun rose creating a beautiful array of light and colors.

The entire field of trees and underbrush seemed to come alive with color.  To me, it looked like God took paint and splotched it across the area.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday's Thought

Christmas Memories

My brother passed away a few years ago now. Unfortunately, we weren't very close. We didn't hang out together, do stuff together and so on it went, as many brothers do.

We lived different lives with different friends and different interests.  Chances were, if you liked to hang out with him, you probably would not like me and vice-versa. He was pretty much the GQ guy and while I'm more the outdoor guy who loves to get his hands dirty in the garden or while playing with the dog. What was funny about this is, we didn't let others pick on each other.  We pretty much defended each other! I always thought that was funny- or interesting to say the least.

After his passing, I have been reminded of many Christmas memories that I'd never given much thought. These have been triggered by songs on the radio by old favorites like Nat King Cole or especially Bing Crosby's "Jingle Bells" or "mele kalikimaka."

Recently the memories have been about us as boys in an Alabama city.  Decades ago, we were sitting in the backseat of an old station wagon- when Santa Claus pulled up next to us at a traffic light.  Of course, we really thought it was him.  Santa and my parents had fun with it and he waved "bye" as we took off from the traffic light.  My brother and I were so excited I can remember us smiling from ear to ear.

Then, there was the Christmas when Santa Claus came to visit.  He knocked on the door, my parents opened it and in walked Santa Claus.  We were so excited.  He said he was just checking on my brother and I making sure we were being good.  And, of course, he wanted to double check our "wish list."  

My brother's passing caused a fire already burning in my heart to flame even stronger.  I wondered what it's like in heaven, though not in a hurry to find out. The larger burden of this, was the people around me who are going to die without hearing the Gospel or spending the time getting to know Jesus. My heart ached at the thought- but wasn't sure what to do.

I decided I would share the truth of the Gospel with as many people as I can- which I should be doing anyway- and I would reach out to people who may be lonely during the Christmas season.  The way I will get through the Christmas season is to remember the great memories of Christmases past while celebrating the glorious Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

"Living Nativity"
Flickr Creative Commons, Ralph Daily

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Photographing the Seasons: Green on the Trees

"Green on the Trees"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
I enjoy walking through the woods at various local parks photographing the colors of fall.  I love finding trees that are covered in ivy or other growth that makes the tree "green."

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday's Foto: Photographing the Seasons: Walney- Through the Leaves

"Walney- Through the Leaves"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
This is one of the first images I created when I began photographing in 2006. I was using my Fuji FinePix S5200. I wasn't sure, at the time, what I wanted to do in photography, so I bought what I called a "little fancier than a point-and-shoot" camera and used it quite a bit.  The camera was a little faster than the prior one and it got me hooked on pursuing photography further.

"Walney- Through the Leaves" has become one of my favorite photos.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Photographing the Seasons: Fair Lakes Fall

"Fair Lakes Fall"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
One of the most beautiful fall settings is located on the Fairfax County Parkway north of Monument Drive- this was before the major widening project.

Early morning is the best time to photograph this location but it should be scoped out first to see if it is still safe and develop hasn't changed the view.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Colors of Fall"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

"The Lord is a stronghold
 for the oppressed,
A stronghold for those in times of trouble,
And those who know Your name
out their trust in You,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken 
those who seek you."

- Psalm 9:9-10 [NSRV]

Monday, December 1, 2014

Photographing The Seasons: Mysteries of Walney

"Mysteries of Walney"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
"Photographing the Seasons" became a project for me when I said "it's difficult to find beauty in fall and winter" to a client.  I love the spring and summer seasons so much and do not like the cold weather, that I missed the beauty of the rest of the year.

In my quest to find fall's beauty, I captured "Mysteries of Walney" as the sun rose over the trees across the way.

Photographing nature is a fascination experience.  I have returned to locations where I've photographed before, and seen something different.  "Mysteries of Walney" is a great example of the ever changing world of nature.