Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mark and Kristin Wedding

This Saturday I got to spend a few hours with my good friend and Sunday School teacher, Mark Ort, shooting a wedding. I love shooting with Mark. Though he doesn't know it he's got great vision for his portraits. Here's a few I walked away with.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Johnnie's Senior Pics

I've known Johnnie since he first entered sixth grade. In the seven years since I've enjoyed the privilege of watching him grow into a young man.

Probably my best memories were seeing him step down from All Star quarterback and point guard and step into a spot on our new soccer team last year. I don't think he realized how different it would be to force him to use his feet rather than his hands for a sport.

Despite the difference he preformed marvelously. He was a pleasure to coach. A joy to teach.

The Sadness

The last few days have been spent packing up the collected material substances of my life. In some ways I don't have much. In other ways I'm surprised how much I have.

My earthly belongings all have been stuffed into one of the following categories:

- Things to take to California
- Things to leave in storage with my parents (thank goodness for their huge garage)
- Things to sell
- Things to give away
- Things to throw away

No, I certainly don't own nearly as much as an average American family of four, but I feel like I own a ton for one guy. Books and books and books . . . Who knew I had so many books? Even after clearing off all the shelves in my living room and bedroom I'm still finding books laying around the house in other corners. Then I remember the shelves of books in my basement. How in the world did I get so many books? I've already dragged eight large boxes to my parent's house. I've sold five boxes at local used book stores with at least three more boxes to sell. These numbers don't even count the ten or so boxes in my basement ready to be thrown into the back of a Uhaul.

As excited as I am about moving to a new place, meeting new people, and learning new things- as much excitement as I feel, there lingers a growing tinge of sadness for all I leave behind. I've lived in the same 70's decor church apartment for seven years now. I'll certainly miss all the little adjustments I made to the apartment.

- The black triangle where the hot iron slid off the back of the toilet and burned itself into the wallpaper.
- The off-kilter line of nails for hanging Ansel Adam's prints.
- The singed window shade just above where I placed a burning candle.
- The stovetop where I forgot I was boiling water and only succeeded in welding the pot to the stove's coils.

Ahh . . . so many memories of almost burning down the place.

No, seriously, I have so much sadness. So much yearning to stay. I'd write more about it now, but it'd only make me more sad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another memorable student quote . . .

Molly W. : "I enjoy having inside jokes between my brain and me."

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Couple More Pictures

Here are a few more from the wedding rehearsal picnic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Matt and Rachel's Wedding

I spent the last half of this week enjoying the southern hospitality of Greenville, South Carolina.

Why Greenville? No, it had absolutely nothing to do with Bob Jones.

Instead I traveled south to be Best Man in my friend, Matt Tuttle's, wedding.

Last night I tried to think about the first time I met Matt. I really can't remember. Sometime in my first few weeks attending Northland Baptist Bible College I met Matt and struck up a friendship that's lasted ten years.

We enjoyed almost every moment this week from setting up for the wedding, to going out for breakfast, to scaring him with the prospects of a wild bachelor party.

In the end Matt and Rachel (formerly Hindman, now Tuttle) had a beautiful wedding. They were wed in a gorgeous Baptist church near downtown Greenville. Matt's fellow music majors sang and played majestic music throughout the ceremony. I didn't lose the ring, for which I was grateful; and the happy couple drove away last night to rousing applause from friends and family.

Ps. I didn't take a lot of pictures at the wedding, but here are a few I grabbed of all the little nieces and nephews running around the rehearsal picnic.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Greatest of these is Love

During the summer of 2001 my sister helped out a couple of her campers by inviting them to my parent's home for the weekend. The two girls had come from the Allentown area and enjoyed camp so much they convinced their parents to let them stay for a second week. Rather than drive out to pick them up only to drive them back to Slippery Rock a day later, their parents asked if they could find a place to stay for the weekend. Keara offered our home.

The girls came home Saturday afternoon with Rob Gouge, Dan Adams, Sara Emorey (Flatt), Anne Gilmore, Keara, and I. We had a blast! Saturday we visited Pittsburgh's famous Three Rivers Regatta. Sunday they went to church. Sunday night we all went dumpster diving. The girls had so much fun that one of them, Shelena, decided to come back to Slippery Rock for several years, and even work there for two summers.

In the summer of 2007 she met a young man named James who was also counseling that summer. One thing led to another, and this weekend they got married. They asked Heidi Howell to shoot their wedding. Since it was Heidi's first wedding, she asked me to come as back-up. We had a blast!

These were just a few of the pictures of Shelena.

PS. Heidi did an excellent job on her very first wedding shoot! I know she'll be hired for many more to come.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Weeping at Dunkin Donuts

No, I wasn't weeping for Dunkin Donuts . . .

This morning found me in the center of PA at the home of Pastor Jeff and Jenn Howell. I'm helping their daughter, Heidi, shoot her first wedding this evening. Poor girl is SO nervous.

A few minutes after 6 I slipped out of the house to have devotions at the local Dunkin Donuts (I may have also wanted to view ESPN.com's highlights of last nights Pens win over the Red Wings).
I've slowly been working through the book Acts of the Apostles (one commentator thinks it should be called Acts of the Holy Spirit). Today I read through Acts 9 where God, in one moment of revelation, forever changes Saul. I read about poor Annanias who must visit the most vehement threat to Christianity and tell him more of Christ. I read how Barnabas stakes his reputation on the conversion of Paul and leads him into the Jerusalem fold.

Finally, I read how God brought peace to the church of Jerusalem, Galilee, and Samaria. What's the big deal about that you ask? Well, at the beginning of the chapter the church had nothing near peace. Saul ravaged their homes! He dragged out men and women, throwing them in jail, and perhaps condemning them to death. Imagine what those new believers were thinking. At any moment their front doors could be kicked in. They might be dragged away. What would happen to them? Stoning? Crucifixion? What might happen to their children? Yet in only a manner of days the worst threat to Christianity becomes the greatest missionary in Christianity.

Isn't that just like God?

Here we sit fearing the worst, while God, ruling from his throne in heaven, prepares to turn our worst for his best.

What made me weep?

I turned to Psalms where I love to invest my summer months. Look at Psalm 2.

2:1 Why do the nations rage [1]
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

God is threatened by no one. He fears not Saul, not Stalin, not anyone! HE REIGNS!
We have only to love his precious Son, Jesus.

Verse 12, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

I love it! We have nothing to fear but God himself. We are blessed. Blessed! Blessed when we find our refuge, hope, and strength and him.

How great is our God!?!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Leaving Soon

Life has become so busy in the last week and a half. One afternoon I was quietly planning a fun, relaxing summer; the next day I began planning to move across the country and take a position at a Christian school in California.

Now not only must I finish my school responsibilities, I must now pack, plan, and pray for the future. That said, I need to keep blogging. I need to have a written record of how God has worked, so that if I ever come to this place again I can see how he worked now.

Here's a little picture I took of the city I have loved so long.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Camping Trip

Just a few hours after school ended on Friday Jeff Gwilt and a handful of other youth sponsors took a dozen guys up to Cook's Forest. We setup tents, cooked dinner, and played some rough and tumble games.

Then, part way through the evening Danny Herman tried tackling a small tree. It fought back and broke his nose. That tree cost me a three hour, round trip drive to the emergency room.

In the morning we enjoyed a beautiful canoe down the Clarion River. I wish I could have brought my camera, but I didn't trust myself with it in the kayak. Oh well. Maybe after I get some more practice.

Before heading home our guys climbed a massive Fire Lookout Tower. Green stretched in all directions.