Monday, July 19, 2010

Random thoughts

Shelly Coll
Friday I attended a memorial service for Shelly Coll who was taken home to be with the Lord too early for those of us left behind. She was 51 years old and died from cancer. It truly was a celebration of her life with many of her family members sharing stories of how she impacted their lives. Her children said Shelly always told them "be Jesus to someone today." What a great lesson for them to remember. Her younger brother shared some stories I could totally relate to since I lost an older sibling as well. It was as if his thoughts and mine were one in the same. The last person to speak was her husband who shared how the Lord was there through it all, and how Shelly drew strength and peace from God. Every person who shared said, "if you do not know Jesus, do not leave this place without talking to one of us." Jesus was certainly at the heart of this service. Although the service was long, I was glad the family took the time to share. I enjoyed everything they had to say, and did not mind the length. How can one recap a lifetime in just a couple of hours? The family continually thanked us for being there, but I think we should thank them for allowing us to share that time with them because it blessed me tremendously. Our prayers are definitely with the Coll family.

On a more lighthearted note, our quilting guild is asking each member to make a "mini-me," which is a cardboard doll that represents you. It could be an alter-ego, or you. These dolls will be strung hand to hand at the quilt show in September. It was fun creating a "mini-me". I like crazy socks, so my "me" has very visible socks. Warren says denim is a favorite of mine--and he is right--so my doll is dressed in denim as well. I had a lot of trouble drawing the face--in fact, my face is rather pathetic, so I might have to make another "me" after I have practiced drawing faces some. But all in all, I like it.

My "mini-me"
This weekend I processed the pictures of Erynn I had taken using my external flash. Poor Warren and my grandkids, Erynn and Reid, are the subjects of my photo experiments. I have to beg them to let me take their pictures. I managed to convince Erynn to pose for me with the stipulation that she would be able to pick a pose she wanted to do. I thought that was a great exchange. Here are my two favorite pictures using my new external flash.

Erynn doing my poses
Here is Erynn's choice of a pose.
Erynn's choice for her pose. Warren liked her's the best-behind the gate

Aren't kids so much fun!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tom Norcross

Thomas Allen Norcross
July 16, 1952- Oct. 4, 1984

Today would have been Tom's 58th birthday. Happy birthday, Tom. I miss you still. We were very close, not only in our ages, but in relationship as well. There were 11 months between us ( I imagine that is a mom's nightmare) and we were often mistaken for twins. One time, my roommate and I went to spend Thanksgiving with him on his college campus. He had recently moved to an apartment, and I could not find it. I stopped into the dorm where he use to live to get directions to the apartment complex, and the person said, "Are you looking for Tom Norcross?" I replied, "Yes, how did you know?" He responded that I looked just like him.

Tom was always there for me. My philosophy was, if he could do it, so could I. It did wonders to help with my fears of new things, because he had done them and survived; I could as well. He looked out for me. Not only was he my brother, but a best friend. We often visited each other while we were in college. On one of his visits, I was trying to get a research paper finished for an English class, and needed to skip my classes to get it done; but I, also, needed to go to the classes. Tom went to my classes and took notes for me. Now that is love.

How I got my tricycle stuck under the sidewalk, I do not know,
but I was obviously upset and Tom was trying to help.

Since we lived across the street and down the field from the airport, we spent a lot of time there. Tom's love for airplanes and flying came at an early age and it never stopped. He hung around the airport so much, Callen's Flying Service hired him at the age of ten. By law, they couldn't pay him because of his age, so they gave him flying lessons rather than a paycheck. His first solo flight was when he turned 14 years old. He got his pilot's license before his driver's license. He worked as a flag boy for parking the airplanes, for the crop dusters, was a mechanic, and refueled the commercial airlines that flew in here. I imagine it was disconcerting to the passengers to look out the window to find a lad of 13 or so, fueling your plane. (There was always an adult driving the gas truck, Tom would ride his bike to the airport and meet the person on duty.)

Tom at 3 years with a DC-9 or 3 or some number

The love for planes begins

After we both got our driver's license, we shared a '56 Chevy. We used jet fuel in our car. The lines had to be bled as a preflight check to make sure there was no air in the gas line. He collected the fuel in a Coke bottle and put it in our car. That was pretty nice for our pocketbook.

When he was in college, he flew a mail route for free, so he could log the multi-engine hours. At one time he was the youngest pilot with the most ratings. As teenagers, we flew everywhere. He would pick me up from college and we would go. After I graduated, he would call me at all hours of the night, to invite me to a concert (he flew a lot of musicians around), or just to tell me he was flying by.

I learned how to cut hair using Tom as my guinea pig. He did not want to use his allowance on haircuts, and talked me into cutting his hair. I got pretty good at it and he'd ask me to bring my scissors when I visited him to cut his hair and all his friends.

Tom died doing what he loved dearly--flying. And while I wanted life to stop, it went on. It was the normal activities that helped my healing. Ian was twelve, Mark two, and Luke two months. Moms go on for their children. While Tom's death affected me greatly, it did not my children. Life went on as normal. In fact, we were planning the funeral when Ian took Mark outside and took a picture of him after he had eaten some chocolate pudding. It is one of my favorite pictures, and I am thankful Ian made life normal.

Picture of Mark taken by Ian, Oct. 5, 1984

I did not think I would recover from Tom's death, but I did. I was angry at God and angry at Tom for leaving me. I am so thankful we serve a big God, because He never left me or let me down. Warren was a tremendous support and encouragement. I still do not understand the why, but some things are not meant for us to know. God is God, and that is enough. Psalms 31:14-15 says, "You are my God. My times are in Your hands." Tom's time was in God's hand. I can say today, God is good.

One day, I will see Tom again. Until then, I have some great memories of our times together.
Happy Birthday.
Tom with a bib--he loved his hamburgers, fries, and ketchup

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010

Standing: Mark, Drew, Zach, Ian, Laurie, Luke
Seated: Amber, Adi, Meghann, Warren, Rob, Erynn, Jordan

Isn't this a good-looking family? I had Jerry Holm take this picture since we had the whole family home for the 4th along with a couples shower for Mark and Amber. It truly was fun having everyone home. I love my family and feel blessed the Lord has given me such a wonderful family. They do their mom proud.

Amber & Adi making the "Dirt" dessert

I had lots of helpers to cook and decorate

The couple's table

The centerpiece

I was hoping to get some pictures of Erynn and Reid today to try out my new external flash--it arrived yesterday. I am working my way through the instruction manual, but it will take me awhile to get through it I am sure. Hopefully, this will take my pictures to new heights.

Maria came over to cut Erynn and my hair. Yes, we look beautiful--Maria always does a great job. After Erynn's haircut, she was to lie down for awhile since she had a VBS program tonight and her mom wanted her rested. When I told her she needed to go lie down, she told me she could not, because her hair was damp and it would get wrinkled. I knew exactly what she meant. So out came the hairdryer--which Erynn does not particularly like. Well, I think she must not be too fond of it, because every time we come in from swimming, and I want to dry her hair she doesn't want it done. She let me dry it this time though, then she was happy to comply with her lie down time. (She never did lie down--she spent most of time reading books, and doing puzzles. But at least she did not have wrinkled hair.)

This picture was taken over the 4th holiday. Erynn had about an inch cut off today and no wrinkles. We ladies are very particular about our hair. And sometimes the men are the same way too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Shadow of the Almighty

One of the things I have been trying to learn as a photographer is light and shadows. These are key elements that can make a picture pop, bringing life to the photo thereby captivating your attention. In my first two photography classes, we were required to use only natural light. Now I am trying to master artificial light for those times when I do not have the option of natural lighting. I have learned that nothing compares to natural light produced by the sun. I can reflect, diffuse, or bounce that light in varying ways on to my subject, producing some amazing effects. Artificial lighting does pretty well, but nothing compares to the effects of the natural. Of course, where there is light, there are shadows. There is harsh shadow, diffused shadow, interesting shadow, and the perfect shadow. So much to learn!

Jesus called himself "light of the world." He is the only natural light and those who dwell in his light reflect, diffuse, and bounce His light to produce amazing effects in this world. There is a lot of "artificial light" out there, but it cannot produce the same effect--in fact, it leaves one feeling flat, just like a picture can be flat and without life. It is only the natural light of Jesus Christ that can produce life. Psalm 91:1 says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty"--the perfect shadow.
I love Charles Spurgeon's comments on this one little verse.

"The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God. Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence. Those who through rich grace obtain unusual and continuous communion with God, so as to abide in Christ and Christ in them, become possessors of rare and special benefits, which are missed by those who follow afar off, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Into the secret place those only come who know the love of God in Christ Jesus, and those only dwell there to who to live is Christ. To them the veil is rent, and the awful glory of the Most Hight is apparent; these like Simeon, have the Holy Spirit upon them, and like Anna they depart not from the temple; of them it is truly said that their conversation is in heaven. Special grace like theirs brings with it special immunity. Outer court worshippers little know what belongs to the inner sanctuary, or surely they would press on until the place of nearness and divine familiarity become theirs. Those who are the Lord's constant guests will find that he will never let any be injured within his gates."

The element of personal choice is of paramount importance. The choice is ours whether we spend time in the inner or outer court. I wish I could say I was always consistent, but I am not. I strive to be, but sometimes I too easily let other things crowd out my quiet time. I think, "I will do it later" and later never happens. I want to be a reflection of Christ's light and to constantly be in His shadow. His shadow is very closely attached to the person of Christ, and that is exactly where I want to be--close to Him. He makes a perfect picture and I want to be in it.

Experimenting with natural lighting at Grace Community Church for
photographing the Discovering membership class.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11, 2010

This weekend I have decided to clean out the storage shed and the closet upstairs mostly because a local church is having a garage sale and is taking donations for the next three Fridays. What better way to get rid of all the old stuff and help with a good cause. Friday I took over a carload of electronic equipment. It was kind of embarrassing having so much stuff. That will be nothing compared to what I have to donate this next Friday. I will be lucky to get all the stuff in one trip, but my closet looks really nice and I have so much room. Next task is the garage.

In between all this cleaning, I have been trying to get my June pictures organized. I have a lot of pictures. I got to practice on my company and I think I got some great shots.

This is one of my favorite of Adi

This one is pretty cute too!

Adi in a tree

Here is Drew

Looking very handsome!

Drew and Adi

I have a lot more pictures of some of the events for the end of June and July 4th which I will post after I get them organized.

I am the official photographer for the Grace Community Church's Discovering Membership class. I did my first photo shoot of the class tonight. Thank goodness this was a smaller class. I was rather nervous about the whole thing, but I think my pictures will be great. I was too tired to look at them on the computer tonight. I feel a little bit like Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, "I'll worry about that tomorrow."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A quick note

Drew Adi Erynn Reid

The end of June passed as a whirlwind and now July is upon us. Where does all the time go? Our July 4th celebration was fun since all the boys were here with their families. As I was putting out all my July 4th decorations, I was sad to think that our America as we know it, will soon be gone with all of the socialistic programs Obama is putting into effect. I love our country and all it stands for. July 4th is one of my favorite holidays and we must enjoy our freedoms while we can.

I hope to get more pictures posted later, but I wanted to say, "God Bless America!"
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