Thursday, May 31, 2007

Entry: Your Choice May 28 - June 1

UP, UP, and AWAY

This picture was taken in Simpsonville, SC at the Freedom Weekend Aloft Festival. Hundreds of hot air balloons amused millions of people as the balloons floated up into the air. The balloons all looked as bright and colorful as Easter Eggs and some even with designs on them of dinasours, butterflies, and roses! Watching the hot air balloons was so mesmerizing that the crowd was hushed in awe of the amazing show - almost to the point of a hypnotic trance. We watched the balloons go from the laying flat on the ground, to being filled up with air, to turning on the heat, and all the way to way way up in the sky. The flight of the hot air balloons happened all so quickly. Thanks goodness there were two rounds of hot air balloons to float up, up, and away!

Submitted by:
Beth Pearson

Entry: Your Choice May 28 - June 1

I took this photo at the "Here's Looking at You, Kid" 5K run organized by my daughter's school club, Teen Institute. This runner knew he was not the winner, but look at him! He is straining for the finish line with every ounce of determination he could muster. You can see that no one was really watching him, yet he gave his best effort. I feel like that sometimes, that no one notices what I do for the Lord. What I need to remember is Philippians 3:14: I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Then I can say as the apostle Paul did in II Timothy 4:7:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

Submitted by
Stephanie Reed

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Entry: Your Choice May 28-June 1

My husband called me on my cell phone and said, “Get in the car and take this picture!” It was about one-quarter mile from our house and I had just a few seconds before the layers of sky disappeared, but it reminded me exactly of a scene while we were traveling through Italy—“Tuscany”—and to think it was in my backyard the entire time.

What fun I had going through your blog—I’m a photographer, writer, speaker (in that order!). Long story short…photography is still my passion! “A moment caught in time—just like this photograph.” The moon will never look just like that, the layers of color in the sky will never appear just that way again, and the best part (how could I forget…they just put fresh manure on the fields and I got to walk in it to take this shot!). It was stinky, but worth it! (Don’t worry…I threw the shoes away!).

Submitted by
Connie Pombo

Entry: Your Choice May 28 - June 1

Nahal Zin

The Desert of Zin

En Avdat, Israel

(c)Eva Marie Everson

I am thirsty. The desert sun is blazing over my head just atop the canyon walls. I stop along the rocky path long enough to look up, to gauge its position. How much longer, I wonder, before it dips behind the jagged cliff? How much longer before I reach the water that cascades from the rock?

When I begin my trek again, it is only to look at the feet of the one walking ahead of me. The path he takes, I take. The rock he steps upon, I step upon.

A single thought comes to mind and—taking my eyes off the one before me—I turn to speak it to the one behind me. I slip; the earth’s sand shifting under my feet and I quickly turn forward again, vowing to keep silent until I find my way to the promise of water.

Before long it comes. At first as trickling over stones, flat and almost level with the earth. Then as a rush, spilling to a pool below.

I step up. Up. Up, until I come to the shade cast by walls of cool stone. I press my back against them and look up once more, to the place where the eagle stretches out his wings and soars in the sun’s rays. I turn my head to the west and catch them as they dance across the rocks and up to where the water appears to begin. When I look away to where the pool ends and the stream begins, I see a reflection of the mountain, mighty and strong.

Mysteriously—though not a single drop of water has crossed my parched lips—I am no longer thirsty. This is the way of it, the Lord whispers in the breeze. This is the way of life. There are valleys so deep they have carved themselves far into the rock. You feel dry, nearly without the strength to carry on. But you keep your eyes on the one who walks ahead of you and the pathway becomes clearly marked. Easy to navigate. Take your eyes away—even for a moment—and you slip. You may even fall.

But that’s okay. You can always stand up—do you see my hand as it reaches for yours?—brush the dust away, and continue forward.

Forward to the rock that is higher than you. Higher to the water that pours itself upon a dry and weary land. Up to where the eagle soars and the sun dances, sending the mountains reflection to where the water flows.

And flows. And flows. Until it reaches the place where you began. The place where you will return again.

“Why did I have to come here?” I ask Him.

“You came to see the Rock,” He says. “To behold the source of the water. Understand this, and you need not be thirsty again.”

Submitted by
Eva Marie Everson

New Theme Announced!

The theme for this week is YOUR CHOICE. Submit a photo and written portion of your own choosing by Friday. More details are in the right column.

Winner will receive a copy of The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby and all the regular promotion perks.

The Pix-N-Pens June newsletter will be sent out next week - be sure to sign up to receive your copy!

Congratulations, Will Thorpe!

Congratulations to The Philosophical Mind, Will Thorpe, this week's Pix-N-Pens winner! I apologize for the lateness of this announcement - I had to make a quick trip out of town that took a little longer than expected!

Here's a little about our winner, in his own words:

My name is William (Will) Thorpe and I live in a small town called Lewisburg Ohio near Dayton and am 22 years old. I attend Sinclair community college majoring in Graphic design and also take side religion/philosophy/physical education classes on the side.

I attend an interdenominational church called "Jacobs Well Fellowship." There I help out with the youth and currently have been involved with the new and free weekend paintball camp which is the start to our goal of building an equestrian center and summer camp. There I hope to serve and minister once built. I also hope to become a graphic designer and also possibly starting my own graphic design/photography business or working for some other corporation as a graphic designer.

I am also a chaplain assistant in the U.S. ARMY Reserves and have been in for four and a half years with another three and a half to go.

I currently am only working part time as a waiter at a Red Lobster where I get to serve guests. So far I make more than enough to pay for my bills, but I am now looking for a full time job (preferably in the design field) so that I can buy my own place and finally leave the parents nest.

When not at school, church or work, I enjoy ballroom, swing and latin dancing and take lessons every friday night and attend balls and swing dances. Dancing is a great passion of mine and something I greatly love. I also love art in all respects, theater, sculpture, painting and drawing. I love to study the bible, theology and philosophy and believe much can be learned from looking to our past for answers. I am not yet married am currently "keeping my eyes open" for "her," but realize that I must be patient and am blessed to have the friends and family that I currently have.

Lastly, God is my Savior and worship Him and Him alone.

Monday, May 28, 2007

3-Way Tie - Voting Remains Opened

Hey, Bloggers! We have a 3-way tie so I'm going to reopen voting until Tuesday morning, 9 a.m. Get your friends and family to come vote for their favorite entry!

On this special holiday, let's all pause a moment to remember the fallen heroes. We also need to reflect on a question our pastor asked yesterday - "How can we be Christ's hero?"

Try to make Jesus smile today!

I'll announce the new theme shortly, so stay tuned.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Voting Is Now Open

Good morning, talented bloggers!

We have three entries this week - the photos for two of them arrived at 11:47 last night, and I had gone to bed at 11, so they weren't posted until this morning.

Please cast your vote below. Remember - you can only vote once, and voting closes at midnight Sunday.

Winner will be announced Monday.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Entry: Memories - War May 21-25

This is the second poem submitted by The Philosophical Mind. His first entry is below this one.

Time in the Darkness of Humility

Darkness and shadows surrounding the room



...I look to the blue horizons..."
"I love you"
Hollow inside.
Fearful of meeting my master;
Words of peace and mercy.



Tear drop.
Tear drops.
Pain of love - bittersweet.




I Love, though I doubt integrity."
...It will stop..."
It will stop, because I love you."
Go talk to Him."
"I love you."

Pitch black - Empty, Alone.
Sixteen minutes and thirty-three seconds...


Cold. Tear drop.

"Come talk to Me."
Not Alone.



Nothing to hide.
The Humility of Imperfection-
The Perfection of Humility.


Darkest at Dawn.


Submitted by
The Philosophical Mind

Entry: Memories - War May 21-25


Deep within the shadows of myself
a slumbering enemy awakes.
Unknown to myself all of these years;
my soul trembles and shakes.

Not reckless.
Nor rash.
It knows me in and out,
turning my love into ash.

It walks in and out of my thoughts,
yet my mind seems paralyzed.
Unable to move against it's will.
Damage leaving me traumatized.

Unable to even touch this beast.
Words like silk,
heart like a stone,
leaving me yearning for the pure milk.

A soldier caught off his guard;
fallen without a fight.
Humiliated in the presence of his enemies
and before his Lords sight.

This sorcerery cannot continue.
In His bottle He collects my tears.
Yes, even soldiers cry,
but now I must face my worst fears.


Submitted by
The Philosophical Mind

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Entry: Memories-WAR May 21-25

Wall of the West Bank
by Carolyn Kenney

"For many reasons, we should love." These were some of the first words spoken to our small group by our guide as we began our trip to the Holy Land. We would come to learn more about the people of this land which is so rich in political and religious history and so breathtaking in its beauty.

There is a wall separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem; separating father from son and grandfather from grandchildren. When traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, it is necessary to stop at a checkpoint. The soldiers, who carry machine guns, question everyone. The night our tour group stopped there, they boarded our bus; we showed our passports and shortly left for the hotel.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus walked this land. As He stood here, did He look into the future and see those who would one day visit the land where He lived? Did He see those who would one day breath its invigorating air, delight in its simple beauty and cherish His Presence - still felt here?

One day, we walked to the Gate of Presentation, not far from an area now under construction and which is a source of unrest. Leading to the Gate are the original steps that Mary and Joseph walked when they carried Jesus to the temple as a baby. These same steps were used by Jesus as an adult. As we sat here, our guide told us the following true story:

Neil Armstrong visited the Holy Land. As he sat on these steps, he said, "I walked on the moon. There is nothing there; I did not feel touched. Here I sit where Jesus walked." He had tears in his eyes. Neil Armstrong landed on the moon! However, he was not moved in his heart and soul in the way he was when he walked where Jesus walked. When Neil Armstrong sat on these steps, he felt something stir in his soul and touch his heart unlike anything he had ever experienced.

This country is steeped in religious history not only of the Christian faith, but also of Jewish and Muslim faith as well. It should be a land of harmony, where all people can worship their God as they choose. It is a land for everyone. As we traveled in the Holy Land, we could feel the presence of Jesus fill our spirits.

I have never witnessed a more compelling sight than the sun rising on the Sea of Galilee in the morning light outside our hotel. A friend later told me of a beautiful quote from the theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand which describes this breathtaking sunrise. It reads as follows, "To whom will the sublime beauty of a sunset or a Ninth Symphony of Beethoven reveal itself, but to him who approaches it reverently and unlocks his heart to it?" I pray God’s majesty and love will forever reign throughout this land.

Submitted by
Carolyn Kenney

Monday, May 21, 2007

Congratulations, Rachel Winslett!

Congratulations, Rachel!

Rachel is a 25 year old photographer on the Gulf Coast. She graduated with a degree in Radio/TV/Film in 2005 but photography and videography is her main interest. She currently works part time as secretary at her church, but cares for babies, where she has been for over six years, every afternoon.

While photography is her main interest, she wants to keep it a side job. She has worked with the camera (both video and still) for years and has had numerous jobs with both. Her favorite thing to do with her God-given skill is make video montages, but she has also been asked to be a photographer in a wedding and be the videographer for a dance recital two years in a row.

Rachel is currently single, but her goals for the future is to marry the man God has for her and raise a family, and continue in the photography/videography field.You can visit Rachel on the web at:

Be sure to check out the new theme for this week, and get your entries in by Friday!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vote for Birthday Entries!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Entry: Birthday Memories May 14-18

I'm attaching my picture of my hubby, David, at his 50th birthday party last summer. This picture is of David with a blow-up walker his best friend got him. He is acting the part of an aged gentleman here.

We threw a surprise party for him. While I did a lot of black stuff, I believe there’s so much more life to live after 50, so I splashed a lot of turquoise and purple in there too. I made David barbeque our lunch for us and then he opened some presents.

I am nine months older than David, and for only a few months out of each year we are the same age. The rest of the time I get a lot of “old lady” jokes from him. Being menopausal, I have been experiencing the “joys” of middle age longer than he has, but I can now tease him too.

This past year has found some new “middle-age delights” for David: a pair of reading glasses on each level of the house, waking up with mysterious aches and pains, and for the first time in his life, he had to get up in the middle of watching a movie at the theater to go to the bathroom.

On the way down the hallway at the theater (I had to go too), he turned toward me and said, “Old age sucks.”

So for his party, I was able to find some black suckers that said, “50 Sucks” on them. We had many laughs at poor, old David’s expense, but he was a great sport about it.

We married at the ripe old age of 18, and are about to celebrate our 32nd anniversary together. Who would have thought we’d still be able to enjoy each other’s company so much after all these years? Certainly not our parents, and I hadn’t given much thought to it either.

I constantly marvel at the wonderful man of God David has become. By keeping the Lord in the middle of our marriage, we’ve been able to beat the odds. My marriage is my most prized possession, and I look forward to the next 50 years with my best friend, my mentor, my spiritual leader, and the guy who keeps me laughing. Each day with David is as a refreshing breeze. Words cannot express the comfort I find in growing old together. It is a rare gift that most strive for, but few attain these days.

God has blessed me richly - reading glasses and frequent bathroom breaks included.

Submitted by
Jeanne Marie Leach

Monday, May 14, 2007

Entry: Birthday Memories May 14-18

We recently purchased a house on the river and I invited my special friends (our pastor and his family, and another couple that is like another set of grandparents to me). The theme was A Look Back, as I focused on my childhood memories. The main theme was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I made the cake and had decorations all centered around the theme.

The day was very special to me, not only because I turned 25, but because I got to spend it with some of my best friends and show that it doesn't matter how old you get, you can still let the kid in you come out! We grilled out, had a huge waterballoon fight, went out in the canoe, and enjoyed a great time swimming in the river and fishing for clams! This series of photos was while my friend was running and jumping off of the pier into an innertube. I thought this was a very unique set of pictures, and was pleased they turned out as well as they did, since it was already dark outside. I can honestly say it was one of the greatest birthdays I've ever had!

Submitted by
Rachel Winslett

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Contest Open - BIRTHDAYS!

Send in your birthday photos and memories this week! Share the fun!!

Full details and prizes posted in the right column!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Congratulations, Amy Barkman!

Congratulations to Amy Barkman, this week's photo and essay winner.

Amy Barkman is the Founder/Director of Voice of Joy Ministries 1979, pastor of Mortonsville United Methodist Church since 1998, and member of the American Association of Christian Counselors since 1987.

She’s a happily married mother of three daughters, stepmother of two daughters and proud grandmother of 13 grandchildren.

Amy loves to study the Bible and digging into Hebrew and Greek word studies. She enjoys prayer counseling with people who truly want their freedom to be one with Jesus Christ.

For fun, she loves reading cozy murder mysteries and traveling, especially to England where she’s been twice. She belongs to a Tudor interest e-mail group centered on Anne Boleyn and collects fiction and non-fiction about this second wife of Henry VIII as well as about other English monarchs.

She is also a writer, publishing a variety of pieces; she wrote a newspaper humor column for three years.

Amy says, “Above all I love Jesus and think of myself as one who ‘loves much because she has been forgiven much.’”

Friday, May 11, 2007

Memories: Mothers Entry May 7-11

Whenever I think of my mother, I think of Shakespeare’s line “She should have died hereafter.” She was only forty-eight when she died of a brain tumor on Easter Sunday night in 1961.

Daddy adored Mother and would often hug her and say to us children, “Isn’t she the prettiest thing you ever saw?” I always agreed even though I privately thought that Elizabeth Taylor had it all over her in the looks department. After Mother’s death he commissioned a gigantic portrait of her and hung it over the living room mantel where he would stand and gaze and cry.

I had to tell my brother the news that Easter night; he didn’t say a word but pulled the covers over his head…and remained that way symbolically for several decades.
My sister wrote in her Bible “Mother why did you leave me?” Me? I felt like there was now no place to hide.

Mother was a first grade school teacher who taught in what was known as the “underprivileged” school since most of the pupils lived in the housing project. Each fall she would make a list of what the children wanted for Christmas. Then on a frosty night in December she took her paycheck for that month, bundled up her own children and took us to Frank Sower’s hardware store after hours. Mr. Sower opened the store just for us and we would all scatter to search out the items on the list. Mr. Sower sold her the toys at his cost. Then we took the toys to the Police Station with a list of names and addresses and what went where. The Police would deliver them on Christmas Eve. One of my greatest childhood memories is going to sleep on Christmas Eve picturing the joy of those children when they received their gifts.

Mother was a feisty redhead who freely told us about smoking a marijuana cigarette once in college, about running away from church camp as a teen, and about opening the screen door as a child, in defiance of her grandmother’s admonitions, and yelling, “Come on in, flies!”

She also made sure we went to church on Sunday. If for some reason we didn’t make it to our regular Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning, she took us to a Baptist Church on Sunday night.

My mother was always the life of any party. The party stopped for us, but the Mortuary said her funeral had a larger attendance than any they ever held.

I hated that she died when I was only 18 years old and that my children never knew her. But I’m glad that it was on Easter Sunday because I never think of her death without automatically remembering the Resurrection. And that reminds me that I found my place to hide in the cleft of THE ROCK Whom she made sure that I knew. And because of Him, one day my children will know her.

Submitted by
Amy Barkman

Mother's Day 2007

With the late or lack of entries this week honoring mothers and grandmothers (there's still time - get your entries to me by midnight Friday), I thought I'd post a few pictures of my own. One is a studio picture, the rest I took myself. I'll explain a little about each as I post them.

The first picture is of my oldest son Zach and his fiance Jessica. They've been engaged forever (well, a couple of years anyway!) and they announced last week they'll be getting married in January. Wheee!!! I'm so happy for them, and pray God will pour His abundant blessings on their union.

This third image is in honor of my mother. Growing up, we lived out in the boonies, and had lots of land around us to play on. During the spring and summer, we would traipse all over the world, gathering up armfuls of wildflowers to surprise my mother with - Queen Anne's lace was always a special prize because it seems so delicate and special. It was only years later - late teens, I think - that we realized all of these wildflowers would send my mother into major allergy attacks! Every year, when the Queen Anne's Lace blooms, I think of my mother. I had to send her a photo of it this year when it bloomed in my own new pasture!

We discovered this little lady TODAY - she was laying eggs in our driveway! We're gonna be "grand-turtles!"

And finally, Tim discovered these critters on our patio this week. They look pretty fierce, but after posting to some of my photo groups, and doing some research myself, I've learned these skinks are harmless. They are both the same type lizard; the striped one is just a baby and will eventually have a red face like the one on the left. The funny thing - these were two of the smaller ones. All week long, I'd seen several scurrying around on our oak tree outside the front door, and they were about the size of both of these put together!

So, readers, whaddya think of my photos? Let me have it!

Blessings to you, dear friends. And special prayers going up to all of you in pain during Mother's Day. Sometimes these days aren't full of Hallmark card sentiments - and I truly understand.

Hugs to each of you.

Monday, May 7, 2007

New Theme Posted and New Voting Procedures

The new theme for this week has been posted in the right column. We're celebrating mothers in honor of Mother's Day.

Also, beginning this week, we're changing the voting procedures. Saturday morning, I'll post a poll on the blog, listing all the entrants. You just vote for the entry you think is best. The votes will be tallied online, and the winner will be announced the following Monday.

I launched the Pix-N-Pens newsletter this week. Each month I will list the entire coming month's themes for the contests, so you'll get advance notice! Sign up in the right column of the blog.

Blessings to you this week!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Congratulations, Rachel Winslett!

Congratulations to this week's winner: Rachel Winslett.

Rachel is a 25 year old photographer on the Gulf Coast. She graduated with a degree in Radio/TV/Film in 2005 but photography and videography is her main interest. She currently works part time as secretary at her church, but cares for babies, where she has been for over six years, every afternoon. While photography is her main interest, she wants to keep it a side job. She has worked with the camera (both video and still) for years and has had numerous jobs with both. Her favorite thing to do with her God-given skill is make video montages, but she has also been asked to be a photographer in a wedding and be the videographer for a dance recital two years in a row.

Rachel is currently single, but her goals for the future is to marry the man God has for her and raise a family, and continue in the photography/videography field.

You can visit Rachel on the web at:

Give that baby a big hug for all of us!

New Voting Experiment

Morning, Bloggers. I'm experimenting today with a new voting method. Rachel didn't have competition this week, so she is this week's winner by default. I'll post her picture and more info a little later today, but for now, I'd like to experiment with a new voting poll - so you can vote right here online, rather than sending emails. Take a look, cast your vote, and we'll see how we like it. You can only vote once.


Let me know what you think of this!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Memories: Children Entry April 30-May 4

I have worked in a daycare for over 6 years and have watched babies quickly grow up and move on to other classes. This beautiful little baby is a perfect example of how innocent children are. Looking up at me with those beautiful blue eyes makes me see her innocence. I'm not a great orator and therefore I don't know how else to put this but to say: Life is a precious gift...babies are a precious gift of God. This picture is just a beautiful way to remind us all that these precious gifts of the Lord do not stay little. Let's cherish the memories God gives us with these gifts while they are still little.

Submitted by
Rachel Winslett

New Contest Reminder!

Just a friendly reminder to submt your entries by Friday midnight this week for the Memories: Children theme. Contest guidelines are in the right column.

Thanks for participating!