Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

It's hard to believe another new year will be here in a few short hours! It seems like the older I get, the faster time goes.  My father used to tell me this would happen but I didn't understand what he meant.

How are you celebrating New Year's Eve tonight? I will be celebrating at home with my wife and two boys, Noah and Samson. The fireworks will annoy Noah but Samson seems to just MEOW his way through the evening.

My wife and I will watch television as we often do in the evening and go to bed early. I'm sure I will be awakened around midnight by Noah wanting to be petted. 

My prayer is that you have a blessed 2020!

So what are your plans for the evening? Are you making any New Year's Resolutions?

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sunday's Thought!

Sunrise
"Sunrise!"
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

WOW! Once again, Christmas Day came and went faster than I could ever say! I hope your day was nice and you were able to enjoy time with those you love. That is important, more than you may realize.

Now, another year will begin on Wednesday. A New Year and New Decade 2020 arrives with all its bells and whistles and celebrations. 2019 was a good year as I got to travel and see many parts of the universe. However, it ended on a bit of a sad note.

A few weeks ago, I went to the funeral of a dear friend who lived for nearly 80 years. I met her and her husband at a church I attended many years ago. She was always a very caring and loving lady making sure everyone was loved. I taught her grandsons in classes at her church for several years and that meant quite a bit to both of us. The funeral was the first Christmassy service that I ever attended. It was a celebration of her life and love of Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, I learned that her husband passed away. It wasn't too surprising to me because, though he wasn't told of his wife's passing, they were very close so it seemed like it should be this way. They were always together, going everywhere and doing everything. Also, he had been ill for quite a while.

Over the years, I have found that time spent with friends and family is, well, priceless.  My parents passed away around 6 years ago. Though I still miss them, it is comforting to know they are no longer suffering from this world's troubles including their health issues. Having spent time with my parents grilling dinner, celebrating Christmas and New Year's, watching Bill Gaither and the Homecoming Friends on TV and at a few concerts, and so many more activities that I have memories to cherish for the rest of my life.

My friends who passed away recently, as well as my parents, went on to Heaven. They believed in Jesus, accepted Him as their Savior, and served Him in so many ways throughout their lives. They were a wonderful witness of God's Love.

Ever wonder what will happen to you after you die? It's not just a matter of being good or being nice. You have to accept Christ as your Savior to go to heaven. If you would like to learn more, please visit Peace With God

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Wednesday's Words! Encouragement from God's Word

2 Corinthians 9:15
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

"Thanks be to God
for his
inexpressible gift!"

- 2 Corinthians 9:15

"Merry Christmas!"

We wish you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas Day!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sunday's Thought!



Nativity
"Nativity"
Photo Credit: Jeff Weese, Flickr Creative Commons

What is Christmas All About Anyway?

Focusing again this week on a college buddy's comments about the commercialism of Christmas has got me to thinking, along with many others in this universe, "What is Christmas All About Anyway?"

Every year since I was a little sprat I have always watched a "Charlie Brown Christmas" on TV during the Christmas season. For me, it wasn't Christmas yet until we saw the show. I have fond memories of my childhood with my parents watching the show. We would get all of our snacks and drinks ready so we wouldn't miss a second of the show! Now, even as a senior adult, I love watching the show and find it interesting that it is one of the most popular Christmas shows.

I think I can somewhat relate to Charlie Brown's search for the true meaning of Christmas in some ways. As the season nears, it seems like everyone is going crazy over everything Christmas. Buying Christmas presents, decorating, office parties, family parties, and the like. To me, and even Charlie Brown, there isn't any meaning in all of that. Even directing the Christmas play doesn't seem to help him.

When Charlie Brown asks, " Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" Linus says, "Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about."
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not:" [Linus drops his security blanket on purpose] "for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"[Luke 2:8-14 KJV] (A Charlie Brown Christmas, December 1965)
When I younger, my parents enjoyed playing Santa Claus. As I mentioned last week, they enjoyed buying presents and surprising us. We were taught not to put too much emphasis on the gifts as it's not the point of Christmas. However, they made certain that my brother and I knew what Christmas was all about. The Birth of Jesus Christ. It isn't about all the commercialism that it is today which is probably why I feel like Charlie Brown and wonder what is Christmas all about.

God gave us His Son Jesus on Christmas born in a manger in Bethlehem. He came to earth to save us from our sins. He did not come to condemn us but to save us. If you would like to learn more about Salvation and God's Plan for man, please visit Peace with God.

May you have a Blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wednesday's Words! Encouragement from God's Word!



"But when the
fullness of time 
had come, God sent
forth his Son, born
of woman, born
under the law."

- Galatians 4:4

Monday, December 16, 2019

Railroad Photography! Norfolk Southern Leading Intermodal Over the Potomac, Shepherdstown, WV

Norfolk Southern Leading Intermodal Over the Potomac, Shepherdstown, WV
"Norfolk Southern Leading Intermodal Over the Potomac, Shepherdstown, WV"
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

Last winter, January 2019 to be specific, I had the privilege of spending the day watching trains at various locations through Virginia and West Virginia with my railfan buddy Noah, my dog! We usually take several railfan trips together since we love each other's company!

We had recently discovered the trestle bridge from Maryland into Shepherdstown, West Virginia or vice-versa. As we were exploring the area at the Rumsey Monument two Norfolk Southern Locomotives leads an intermodal train over the Potomac River. 

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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sunday's Thought!

Christmas Gifts
"Christmas Gifts"
Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash

Continuing on my Christmas theme for this month, I got to thinking about the Christmas presents that my family and friends gave me when I was younger. If my family was still living, gift-giving would probably still be happening among our family but it would have stayed simple over the years.

My mother used to start looking for, or maybe I should say paying attention to, next year's Christmas presents almost as soon as she gave us the presents for the current year. She had a money limit but she wanted the gift to be special. It would be something that I would not buy for myself AND within her price range. I remember the year she gave me my first camera. She found the perfect camera for me and it was on sale so she was able to get it for me.

My parents would not go in debt for Christmas presents for my brother and I or anyone else for that matter. She spaced out buying the presents throughout the year so she would not owe so much money all at once. If I know her, she probably did that so she could pay cash and not use her credit card.

For as long as I can remember, Christmas day and opening the presents my parents gave me as a young boy was a special time. I knew it would be fun but what would they, and Santa Claus, give me?

As I look back and think about the gifts, it's not the gifts that matter. It was the thought that was behind them. It was the simplicity and beauty of being given a gift from someone who loved you no matter what.

This reminds me of what God did for us. All of us. Not just a few select people. Every last one of us. He gave us a very Special Gift on that first Christmas Day, the birth of His Son Jesus. He was born in a manger, a much simpler place than most of our hospitals. He lived a short life of 33 years doing many works of ministry and showing God's Love. However, it cost Him everything, God His Son and Jesus His Life. He was crucified on a cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins and spend eternity in heaven with Him.

If you would like to accept Christ's awesome Gift to us, the Gift of Salvation- eternal life, please read and pray through the following-

Admit
Admit that you are a sinner, just like everyone else born into this world, until we  confess to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness:

"(23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified 
by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
- Romans 3:23-24, ESV

"(23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
- Romans 6:23, ESV

Believe
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

(16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him 
should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16, ESV 

Confess
Confess your sins in a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:

(9) "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
 - Romans 10:9, ESV

(13) "For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”  
 - Romans 10:13, ESV

Pray
"Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. 
I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation 
and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. 
Jesus, come into my life and take control, 
forgive my sins and save me. I place my trust in You alone
 for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."

Amen

Now, you're a Christian - Welcome to the family.  So, what's next-

  • Find a 100% Bible-believing, teaching, preaching church. Here are a few resources:
  • Find believers (Christians) to fellowship with
  • Get baptized
  • Buy a Bible
  • Read the Book of John
  • Get in a Bible Study
  • Daily: Pray and read the Bible
  • Find a Mentor
  • Learn how to Pray
  • If you find yourself asking "Why am I not perfect" or "Why am I still doing wrong things?" Be sure to talk with your Pastor, a Christian friend or a mentor.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Railroad Video: Norfolk Southern Locomotives 9352, 9801 Lead an Intermodal Through Cassandra Railroad Overlook Park, Lilly, PA



A park popular with railfans is the Cassandra Railroad Overlook Park in Lilly, PA. It's an old trestle-type bridge which goes over 3 Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks learning in and or out of Horseshoe Curve, in Altoona, PA.

On my last trip to Cassandra Railroad Overlook Park in October 2019, I created a few videos of the trains going through the area. I hope you enjoy!

By the way, if you enjoy these railroad videos, please consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel. Also, I would appreciate hearing from you in the comments. Is there any information you would like me to include in my videos?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wednesday's Words! Encouragement from God's Word!

Matthew 1:23
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

"'Behold,
the virgin
shall conceive
and bear a son,
and they shall
call his name
Immanuel'
(which means,
God with us)"

- Matthew 1:23

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sunday's Thought!

Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash
"Christmas Nativity"
Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

This week, as I thought about my friend's Facebook comments about Christmas not being about giving or receiving gifts and all the crazy commercialism associated with the season which we are bombarded with, I got to thinking about why I believe.

I have been blessed with having been born to Christian parents who had me in church every Sunday, every Wednesday night, every revival service, and every Vacation Bible School I could possibly attend. My parents were very involved in the church too. Dad was a Minister of Music and Mom played the organ, sang a few duets with Dad, and taught in various areas with youth.

However, that scenario, though awesome it might have been at times, didn't make me a Christian, didn't save me, and only had a little effect on why I believe. Mostly because I was young and, as most young children do, I had to find out what I believe- the whole "I know better than my parent's thing." Also, as I said last week, my parents or Christian friends cannot get me into heaven. I have to make the decision myself.

As life would have it, I became a Christian in my college years. Actually, I remember asking Christ into my heart as a 6-year-old but a lot of things happen along the way so I rededicated my life.  After years as a youth and in college having seen many hypocrites and Christian double-speak I got away from attending church. I never got away from God- for which I am very thankful. I didn't attend church regularly and begin to hang out with people that I probably shouldn't. Fortunately for me, I didn't get into any really bad trouble but life wasn't what it could have been.  As I went through this period of "rebellion" I wasn't aware that God was watching out for my best interests or what was best for me. But, He was.

As I have struggled throughout my life with chronic health issues, I have seen God's Hand come alongside me and make the impossible come true. He directed me to doctors who knew about my health issues and were able to help. When some doctors shared some not-so-good news, God's strength was provided to get me through. Or, give me comfort when the struggles were difficult to handle.  These times showed me God and His Love for me.

Throughout my career and life, there were many times when God directed me to the right job or to make the right choices or finding the right home to live in. As challenges came along, God was there to guide me in the right way. Many times, maybe even most, I thought that I was just living life. Later when I would look back, think over something, I learned it was God.

Later in life, I had to take care of my parents while they were ill and subsequently passed away. The time caring for my mother was very challenging but God worked through my wife to help us with some challenging parts of her care. God comforted and gave me a peace beyond understanding when it came to her passing. When it came to taking care of my father, I had to do it by myself hoping and praying that I would make the right decisions. There were so many times during this time that I knew God was there helping to make the right decisions, directing the doctors to do the right thing. Many times, these were the hardest days I have had to do in my life but I knew God was there. 

For me, first and foremost, to think about a God who would send His Son, Jesus, to be born in a lowly manger, live a short life of 33 years, then be willing to be crucified on a cross for my sins is more than I can comprehend. This love for me goes beyond what anyone in my life has ever done for me. I have only had a few friends in my life who would have that much love for me. It is explained in this verse-

For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes 
in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16, (ESV)

Yes, I believe. Not because I was told to but because He is alive and has shown His Love for me.  Christmas is a time to celebrate the Gift of the Birth of a Saviour. 

If you would like to learn more about God, Jesus, and the Christian life, please visit Peace With God!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Two Trains at Cassandra Railroad Overlook Park, Lilly, PA



My railfanning trip to Pennsylvania in October with my wife and my dog Noah continues in this video of "Two Trains at Cassandra Railroad Overlook Park, Lilly, PA."

I enjoy visiting this park because it allows you to look down upon the trains as they head to Horseshoe Curve, Altoona, PA, in the east or left to head west. Looking over the bridge and headrail you can see aspects of trains that would you not normally see when standing on the ground. The other part I like is having a natural setting of trees and mountains to photograph the trains rather than the city or town setting.

Cassandra Railroad Overlook Park is close to a few other great locations to watch trains including Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, Bennington Curve, Tunnelhill at Gallitzin, and Bennington Curve to name a few. At the entrance, there is a sign listing several other parks or locations to railfan.

Please share in the comments below your favorite east coast railfanning spots.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wednesday's Words! Encouragement from God's Word

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night by Nahum Tate
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

"While shepherds watched 
their flocks by night, 
all seated on the ground, 
an angel of the Lord came down, 
and glory shone around. 
'Fear not,' said he for
 mighty dread had seized 
their troubled mind 
"glad tidings of great joy
I bring to you and all mankind."

- Nahum Tate, 1700 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Garden Perspectives! White and Maroon-Brushed Tuber Dahlia

"White and Maroon-Brushed Tuber Dahlia"
(C) Allen Pearson Photography
A most beautiful flower to grow in the garden is the Dahlia. Depending on where you live, they are annuals or perennials. Either way, they brighten the day with their variety of colors, shapes, and sizes!

I created this image in a neighbor's garden. It is available on traditional archival paper print suitable for you to frame, canvas, and metal. If you would like to learn more about my products, please email me at allenpearsonphotography@gmail.com or visit Allen Pearson Photography.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sunday's Thought!

Sale!
"Sale!"
Photo by 
Justin Lim on Unsplash

A guy I know who has been a little critical of how the world does things especially around Thanksgiving, Black Friday Sales, and Christmas caused me to do a little bit of thinking. His comments were right, but they caused me to say, "well, instead of criticizing, share why you believe, why we celebrate Christmas, why we don't get "excited" or go "crazy" with all the Black Friday Sales and the bombardment from various outlets and media.

I dread Black Friday Sales every year! It's turned a wonderful time of year into the most annoying time of year. My phone constantly rings. So much so that I have to turn the ringer off to get work done. Of course, that concerns me because of my senior father-in-law who might call and I could miss it. My email inbox receives 100's of emails a day. Oh my word, if I do not check it and delete unnecessary emails, it will easily pile up to five hundred or so. I have to go through them all checking the ones I do not recognize because it could be a new client.

I understand businesses need to make ends meet. It's important to do so if you want to stay in business but the constant bombardment has become way too much. A phrase from one TV recently commercial got my attention, "Get all the Christmas Presents I Need...." Hmmm.... all I need? It's crossed the line.

Most of the "Christmas Wish Lists" I have given Santa Claus when I was a child, given to my parents, or even to wife over the years has never included anything I need. Only what I want. There is a difference. Need is something I would have to have to survive this life. Like underwear, a shirt or pants. Want is something I would like to have to make something more fun in this life.... like an HO Scale model of a Chesapeake and Ohio Locomotive... let's say.

I do not believe, nor will I say, that Black Friday sales or even all the Christmas sales we have been hearing about since September are evil. All the glimmer, gold, TV's as big as many houses, new cars, jewelry, toys, and the like will not bring you true happiness and contentment. You may think so but that's really only for a while. Just wait for the newer edition or version or whatever comes along you may find yourself wanting it. True happiness and contentment of the heart only come from knowing God and serving Him.

Over the years, I've noticed that God has provided or taken care of my needs. He's directed my paths in life to do what He wanted me to do to provide the resources for my needs. This doesn't mean that I have everything I want. If it did, I'd be driving a Hummer2 and would have everything else I wanted too.

Look past all the Black Friday deals and the hoopla that is made every year at Christmas and find the true meaning of Christmas, "the Birth of Jesus Christ." Visit a local church, especially one hosting a Christmas pageant to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Becoming a Christian is an awesome and blessed thing to become. To learn more, please visit Peace With God.