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Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Dragonflies Are Back!

The small lake at Ouabache State Park had been drained all summer last year as work was underway to build a swimming beach. That reduced the number of dragonflies for me to photograph to...well...zero. And that resulted in a dearth of dragonfly photos on the blog last year.

Ah, but the beach is finished now; the lake is full; and the dragonflies are back! 

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Kunkel Lake, Ouabache State Park

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Red Saddlebags Dragonfly

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Calico Penant Dragonfly

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Common Whitetail Dragonfly

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Twelve-Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

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Blue Dasher Dragonfly

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Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

Saturday, June 09, 2018

A Weekend Getaway

On May 19th, Doug and I headed to Michigan for an afternoon visit with family, followed by an enjoyable evening at the home of a couple with whom we had become acquainted through Bonnie, a dear friend from our church. 

Bonnie's sister, Kak, and Kak's husband, Dale, own a beautiful property near Jackson, Michigan. They invited us to join them and Bonnie, along with another friend from church, Vicki, and Vicki's cousin, Greg, and Greg's wife, Sue, for a cookout and an evening of fellowship and singing.

Kak and Dale's lovely home sits on several acres of wooded land. A long driveway passes through a stand of evergreens, past a flagpole, between two ponds, and past a small guest cabin before leading to the house itself.

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Bonnie (left) and Vicki relaxing in the house

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Doug (left) and Dale chatting while waiting for the fire to reach the right temperature for cooking the barbecued ribs

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Relaxing around the tables after the wonderful meal

After eating and visiting for awhile, we all moved into the cabin for a sing-along. Vicki and her cousin, Greg, come from a musical family. Both play instruments and sing. On this occasion, Vicki played a ukelele; and Greg played a bass violin.

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Vicki and Greg (top left); Greg and his wife, Sue (top right); trying for a shot of the whole room (bottom left); Bonnie, Dale, and Kak (bottom right) 


After singing for awhile, we took a break for some banana split dessert, Bonnie's special recipe, after which Greg and Sue left to go to their own home, which was nearby. Bonnie, Vicki, Kak, and Dale all headed up to the main house for the night. And Doug and I prepared to spend the night in the cabin.

The cabin is one room, plus a small alcove used as a closet/dressing room combination. There is a sleeping space in a loft, plus double bunk beds. And the couch also makes into a bed.

Doug and I opted to sleep in the bunk beds, with him on the bottom bunk and me on the top. Getting me up that ladder and into the top bunk proved to be more challenging than we had anticipated and resulted in much laughter in the process. Part of me would have liked to see a video of that; but the other part of me was praying that Kak hadn't set up a hidden camera somewhere in the cabin. I'm sure it would have become a YouTube sensation.

The weekend was topped off with a visit to Kak and Dale's church the next day. It was a wonderful time of worship with friends and the perfect ending to this weekend getaway. 


Monday, May 21, 2018

A Few Spring Photos

Spring, when it came, was short lived. Still, it didn't fail to bring its beauty.

On April 30, we spent a few hours at Ouabache State Park. The trees hadn't leafed out yet, but that made it easier to spot and photograph these little yellow birds.

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Duck in Flight

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Sycamore Tree

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Purple Violets

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We loved the red of these buds against the blue sky.

Ten days later, our crabapple tree was in full bloom. Several days after that, our azalea bush was putting on a show for us. The following collage provides a look at spring at our home.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Smokies in April, 2018

Doug and I spent a few days in the Smokies the first week of April. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a favorite getaway for us, only a day's drive away, very scenic, and most relaxing. 

There was virtually no sign of spring in the trees and shrubs except that the redbuds were out in their glory, and the dogwoods were just beginning to bloom. The lack of any green elsewhere, really made the redbuds stand out.

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Redbud Trees at Oconaluftee

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River Walk at Oconaluftee


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Golden Hour Back Roads Tour

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On Thunderhead Prong Trail

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Bridge on Thunderhead Prong Trail

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Thunderhead Prong Trail

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Douglas Dam

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On Noland Creek Trail

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Noland Creek Trail Plus View of Fontana Lake from Road to Nowhere

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Mama Bear (upper right) and Two Cubs (center and lower left)

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Another Bear, Same Day, Different Location

Friday, April 20, 2018

Remembering Serada

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Serada was foaled 50 years ago today. His dam was Gayranna, my very first horse. His sire was Seranej, owned by the Gulleys of Jimjac Arabian Farm, who had virtually taken me in as a member of the family and coached me along in this journey of horse ownership, showing, and breeding.

When Serada was a yearling, I took him to his first horse show. I felt more than a little out of my league as I led this excited young colt across the distance from the show barn to the show ring. It had rained recently, and there were puddles to be passed. It was as if Serada had never seen a puddle before and thought each one was something that might hurt him.

By the time we reached the show ring, Serada was excitedly blowing and snorting; prancing, feet seeming to barely touch the ground; tail over his back; neck arched. He was a sight to see, beautiful always, but brilliant when excited.

He won first place in halter in his first show. It was the beginning of a highly successful show career, the highlights of which were:

  • U. S. National Top Ten Half-Arabian Gelding in 1971
  • U. S. National Champion Half-Arabian Gelding in 1973
  • U. S. National Champion Half-Arabian English Pleasure in 1973
  • U. S. National Champion Half-Arabian English Pleasure in 1976 (Serada was the first to win that award twice.)

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U. S. National Top Ten 1971

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At His New Home in Florida 1972

Realizing that I lacked the experience to help Serada reach his full potential, I sold him as a four-year-old to Bob Barbieri in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was under Bob's ownership that Serada won his three National Championships.

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National Champion Half-Arabian Gelding 1973

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National Champion Half-Arabian English Pleasure 1973

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National Champion Half-Arabian English Pleasure 1976
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Competing in Driving Class at Nationals 1976

Bob and Serada traveled to the Nationals again in 1978, looking forward to the possibility of earning a National Championship in Driving and a third National Championship in English Pleasure.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. Serada colicked and died the night before he was to compete.

Gayranna and Seranej continued to produce beautiful offspring for several years, although, to my knowledge, none ever matched Serada's show career.

Today, on the 50th anniversary of his birth, it just seemed appropriate to remember Serada. I know how dearly he was loved by Bob and how Bob's heart was broken that awful night in Louisville when Serada died. Horses like him don't come along every day.

The following photos were part of a photo shoot by the Arabian Horse Journal, which featured Serada on the cover of the July, 1977, issue of that magazine. The rider in these photos is horse trainer, Buck Grass.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Our Church

A couple of months ago, as kind of an afterthought to an unrelated blog post, I included a photo of the church where Doug and I worship. It was a photo from 2013, and I mentioned that the building had been updated since then. So this post is to give you a look at the work that has been done on the building since Doug and I began attending there in 2011.

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December 8, 2011

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June 18, 2013

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February 13, 2018
These pictures show only the main church building. A large building, that we call "The Barn," has been added. It's used for a monthly outreach to senior citizens, fellowship meals, and a weekly food distribution ministry. 

A second, smaller, barn has been added for more storage related to the food ministry.

And the house next door to the church property has been purchased to provide a facility to house guest speakers as well as providing office space, classrooms, and a place for the youth to meet. 

Almost all of the work has been done by volunteers from our church, as well as by volunteer work teams from other churches, often from areas far away. These work teams use their vacations to help churches that have a need. 

Last year, there was a work team of more than eighty who spent about 10 days sharing their time, talent, knowledge, and muscle to accomplish several projects for our church. And then, after all that, they gave a large monetary donation before returning to their homes and jobs.

Words are inadequate to express the blessing and encouragment that these teams are to all of us.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ark Encounter

On March 16, Doug and I and our friends, Pat and Adrian, visited the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, to view and tour the full-scale replica of Noah's Ark that has been built there.

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The Shuttle Bus from the Parking Lot to the Ark

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Inside the Ark

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Pat & Adrian (left) and Doug & Linda (right) inside the tall door that can be seen at the top of the ramp in the second photo above


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Pat & Adrian on a ramp between levels in the Ark

One of the exhibits in the Ark is entitled "Fairy Tale Ark." It provides a word of caution regarding how the story of Noah and the Ark is presented to children. With cartoon-like characters and with no mention of sin or past and future judgment, we could be unwittingly teaching children to disbelieve the Bible.

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The sign on the wall in the Fairy Tale Ark exhibit, framed by the serpent, says "If I can convince you that the flood was not real, then I can convince you that Heaven and Hell are not real."

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There are many exhibits depicting how the eight people on the Ark might have worshiped, worked, and lived during the year that they were confined to the Ark as they waited for the flood waters to recede.


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An Artistic Depiction of the Rainbow Covenant
(God's promise to never again destroy the world in a world-wide flood)


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The photo above is of an oil painting depicting the Last Supper in the style of Aboriginal Christian Iconography. The "U" shapes represent people, the mark of a person after sitting in the sand. The cross in the center represents Jesus.

In Noah's day, the world had become so wicked and sin so rampant that God decided to send a flood to destroy "both man and beast, creeping thing, and birds of the air...But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." God gave explicit instructions to Noah regarding the building of an ark that would save Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their sons' wives, in addition to pairs of every kind of bird, animal, and creeping thing on earth.

A Holy God must punish sin, but He always offers a way of escape. As there was only one way to be saved in Noah's day, so there is only one way of salvation today, and that's through faith in God's own Son, Jesus. Jesus temporarily set aside the heavenly glory He had with His Father, to come to earth in human form and offer Himself as the only sacrifice that could redeem sinners. Anyone who places his trust in Jesus and His substitutionary death for us on the cross will be saved from the future judgment of eternity in hell.

One way.


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