Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Christmas Invitation

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:18-21)

Christmas. It means different things to different people. For me, its significance is that it's a day set aside to remember the time that God entered our world in human form, to live among us, to teach us about Himself, and, ultimately, to die for us. 

You see, we...every single one of us...are sinners. We are unable to live up to God's standard of righteousness. Unable to earn admittance to Heaven. That leads us to two of my favorite words in the Bible: "But God..." 

But God loves us. He put into action a plan to redeem us, to exchange our sinfulness for His righteousness. In the Babe called Jesus, dwelt all the fullness of God. When that Babe grew to manhood, having lived a perfect sinless life, He offered that life in payment for our sins, taking our sin on Himself and offering us His righteousness in exchange.

And then, as evidence of the sufficiency of the sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead.

Through His death and resurrection, we can have eternal life. The only requirement is that we place our entire hope of eternal life in what He has done. We must choose whether we will stand before God on Judgment Day, clothed in our own righteousness (which the Bible describes as "filthy rags") or clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God.

God invites us to come to Him on the basis of our faith in His Son. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus, I can't think of a better time to do so than on Christmas Day. He gave His life for you. What better gift could you give Him than the gift of yourself?

Perhaps these words could help you express your heart to the Lord:
Dear God, I know I am a sinner, lost and condemned for hell. But Christ Jesus the Lord died for my sins and rose again. And right now by faith, I receive Jesus Christ into my heart as my Savior, trusting in Him alone for the forgiveness of my sins and eternal life. Thank you for saving me; thank you for making me your child; thank you for giving me a home in heaven. Now help me to live for you from this day forward. Amen.

I wish each of you a most blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Warm December

We have been having some of the warmest temperatures ever recorded for December in our area, nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) last week. On two of those days, we visited Ouabache State Park, something we've never been able to do in December.

Our chairs, where we enjoy reading by the lake at Ouabache.

On a walk around the lake, I took this shot back towards our reading spot.

This is part of a trail we started to hike, until turned back by mud that we weren't prepared to walk through.

Ouabache has a small herd of buffalo.

We saw a couple of yellow dandelions and this fuzzy one near the buffalo pen.

This shot of a rare December rainbow was taken from our house last Monday after a rain storm.

The warm weather doesn't feel much like Christmas, but I'm not complaining.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bass Mansion

On December 9, we met up with some friends to tour the Bass Mansion, also known as Brookside, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation.

The home was originally built in 1889, but a catastrophic fire destroyed everything but a portion of the masonry veneer in 1902. It was rebuilt the following year. 

In 1944, the house and 65 acres were purchased for Saint Francis College (now Saint Francis University); and the mansion now provides office and conference space for the university.

The next three photos display three sections of a very large space. I hadn't planned ahead to stitch them together for a panorama, but I felt I needed to include a panorama to give you a bit of the feel of the space. It's not a great job of stitching, but I hope it serves its intended purpose.

The Library

This cabinet was in a corner of the Dining Room

This is a window shade in the Dining Room

African Marble Fireplace in the Dining Room

The wall mural in the Dining Room is entitled "The Hunt" by Holslag

This red room was too small and too crowded for any wide shots, but this one allows a glimpse.

One of the ornately carved doors

Bathtub in Mrs. Bass' Dressing Room

The washstand is decorated with the same delicately painted flowers as are in the tub.

Circular Staircase

The Ballroom

A last look at the mansion

It was fun to take this tour at Christmastime, with all the festive decorations. But I think I'd like to take a guided tour sometime, without the distractions of the seasonal decorations and without the large crowds that come with the Christmas season, so that I could focus more on the period details that make the home special.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Kerrydale Ranch

As mentioned in my previous post, my first horse was raised from a weanling to age 10 by Lauren, a girl in California who was preparing to go off to college and needed to sell Gayranna. She put a classified ad in an Arabian horse magazine. I saw the ad and contacted her; she sent films of the mare; and the deal was made. Arrangements were made to ship Gayranna to Indiana.

Ten years went by, during which Lauren and I stayed in touch with each other; but we had never met. In 1977, I made the trip to California to meet her. By then, Lauren was married to Mel; and they were living on a 5,000-acre ranch near Eureka, California, not far from the Oregon border. The ranch was a totally new experience for me. I was in awe.

The house pictured above is where Mel and Lauren lived. It was small, with few modern conveniences. I stayed with them the first night of my two-day visit, sleeping in the living room, in the company of a crate of recently hatched chickens who were kept in the house at night for warmth and for protection from marauding skunks.

This was the main ranch house, where the owners stayed when they were at the ranch. It had no electricity, but there was a generator that could be activated with the flip of a switch. They arrived at the ranch on my second day and stopped by Mel and Lauren's to offer me a bedroom at the main house that night. I was given a daylight tour of the house; shown where my bedroom was; and told to feel free to activate the generator when I came in so that I could see to find my way.

It was fully dark that night by the time I went to the main house, and the owners had already gone to bed. Knowing that the generator was very noisy, I opted not to turn it on, feeling confident that I could find my way without lights. As I entered and felt my way through the house, I heard a sound behind me. I had seen a large Doberman Pinscher in the car with the owners, and my first thought was that the dog was stalking me. The sound I heard sounded very much like a dog's toenails on a wooden floor. I hurried to the room I'd been assigned, put my purse on a chair by the door, and moved toward the bed. Just then, I heard a loud thud and was sure that the dog was going for my throat. I know I made a sound of fear, and my heart was pounding...until I realized that the thud had been made by my purse falling off the chair. The sound of toenails on wood that I'd been hearing was the crackling of dying fires in the numerous fireplaces in the house. My heart was still pounding by the time I crawled into bed, but it was accompanied by embarrassed giggles. Fortunately, no one seemed to have been disturbed by my panic.

Following are several pictures of the ranch itself.

Lauren said that the ocean was visible from the ranch on a clear day, but it wasn't quite clear enough that day.

Black Walnut Corrals, built by Mel

"Bacon" Bull

Mac & Bawly

Mac and Bawly were a breed of herding dogs known as McNabs, bred as the perfect cattle dog, able to both head and heel. I saw these two in action and was amazed. The cattle on Kerrydale Ranch were basically wild, but these dogs showed no fear as they worked, obeying hand signs and whistles from Mel. It was a treat to see them work as well as to see them play, as in the above photo.

Lauren came to Indiana the following year, to see Gayranna once again and to attend the U. S. National Arabian Horse Show in Kentucky with me. She couldn't get over how flat it is in Indiana. "On the ranch," she said, "if we need a flat spot we have to level it."

Saturday, December 05, 2015

A Horse Show From 1972

I was recently going through an old box of photos, preparing to scan them into the computer, when I found an envelope containing negatives from 1972. It's difficult to see what's on a negative, simply by holding it up to the light; and my curiosity prompted me to scan these into the computer. (I love my scanner. It's amazing to me that it allows me to scan negatives, as well as slides, prints, and documents.) 

Among the negatives were pictures of me riding in a horse show in 1972. I'm pretty sure it's the only time I ever rode in a show. I'm not sure now, after all these years, what ever prompted me to do it this time. The show, held in a nearby community as part of their summer festival, was very small, with mainly local contestants. 

The horse is my very first horse, a mare named Gayranna (pronounced Gare-Anna). I had purchased her sight unseen from the girl in California who had raised her from a weanling. She was 10 when she came to Indiana and 15 in these photos.  

I don't remember if we placed in the Western Pleasure class. There was a sizable group of contestants in that one. The class size was much smaller in the English Pleasure class, so I probably received some sort of ribbon in that one.

None of these are great photos, but they're special to me for the memories they hold.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Who Remembers...?

Who remembers Robert F. Kennedy, whose brother, John F. Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States?

Frequently referred to simply as RFK or Bobby, Robert Kennedy served as Attorney General of the United States in his brother's administration. He was campaigning for President himself, when he was assassinated on June 6, 1968. 

That Presidential campaign brought him to Indiana during the spring of 1968, as he campaigned here prior to the Indiana primary election.These photos were taken during a campaign stop in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

His manner was invariably self-deprecatory. And when he spoke, it was always tentatively, modestly and with deadpan jokes that turned on himself. In Fort Wayne, in the homestretch of the campaign, he asked a sidewalk rally whether the city was going to vote for him. Otherwise, he said he and Ethel and their ten children would have to go on welfare. "It'll be less expensive just to send us to the White House," he went on. "We'll arrange it so that all ten kids won't be there at once, and we won't need to expand the place. I'll send some of them away to school, and I'll make one of them Attorney General."

RFK Quotes:
  • There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?
  • One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.
  • Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.

The photos in this post were taken 47 years ago, in 1968. I don't know where the original prints have gotten to, but I came across the negatives last week and scanned them into the computer. They clearly show their age, with the dust and scratches; but they are still rather special.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Few More Photos from Our November, 2015, Trip to the Smokies

After Doug's hike to Andrews Bald on Wednesday, the 4th of November, he developed a couple of nasty blisters. So we avoided any serious hiking for the remaining two days of our time in the Smokies. But we still got out into the National Park and enjoyed its beauty.

This river is in the Greenbrier area of the park, at the beginning of the Ramsey Cascades trail.

This is part of the road that takes you back to the Ramsey Cascades trail.

We pulled to the side of the road in Greenbrier and took a short walk off trail through the woods.

A stone fence is all that remains of a homestead that was located here before the property became a National Park.
This is a rather tattered Variegated Fritillary butterfly that shared the hillside with us at Douglas Dam one afternoon.

The same butterfly, but showing the underside of the wings

This Common Checkered Skipper butterfly was also sharing our hillside that day.

The fall colors are in evidence in spite of the haze in this view from the eastern Foothills Parkway.

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