Iron Mike in War and Peace

Iron Mike at the Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia.

Iron Mike at the Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia.

    Growing up men like Iron Mike were my not just folk heroes, but were real people to admire in my life.  From my adopted Grandfather “Easy” Smith (a five combat jump 82nd Airborne trooper), Uncle Walter Betley (WWII Europe, Korean War, Vietnam), Uncle Bernie (WWII), my DjaDja (WWII USN), my wife’s Granddad (WWII), My Father in Law (Vietnam), my Dad (Desert Storm), my good gunner (SSG Thornburg Bosnia/Iraq/Afghanistant), and countless others I dare not forget in my prayers…taught me about what strength and courage really were.  I also learned in the peace one needs just as much strength.

    Easy Smith, my Airborne Pathfinder friend, told me of his missions and the leadership needed to accomplish them.  He instructed me on the personal trials of fire I would face in combat, and what qualities to try and cultivate in myself to prepare for the supreme tests of leadership in combat.  I was never a great army officer, decent/honorable but not GREAT.  I never faced the test so many of my relatives and friends did. I often wonder if I would pass that test of combat…but in reality my life is still young.  The ultimate test could come at any time in this wild wild west world we live in today.

    Easy told me of his Army career, and then work on the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.  He rehearsed all day, stayed up all night and got very little sleep.  The work was exhausting.  Like many musicians he turned to alcohol and became dependent on it.  He got to the point where one day he had to have a talk with God.  He knew he lived or he died based on his reaction to the temptation from the devil he would deliver in bottle.  He lived if he left the bottle behind.  He died if he picked it up again to drink.

   Easy left the bottle forever that day.  He became an active man of God.  As a God fearing gentleman he mentored hundreds of youth in his third career as a Sheriff’s Deputy in Northern Virginia through baseball, music and church ministries.  If you ever visit the E.G. Smith Complex in Manassas, Virginia you will walk on the grass of my adopted Grandfather and personal embodiment of Iron Mike.

    The men I mentioned above all fought through war, but thrived without conflict by living out God’s commands in peace.  In the list above I know of church councilmen, Knights of Columbus, a man baptized in his Episcopalian faith as an adult, and a non-denominational Christian who raised families with love and taught honor to them.  I am proud to know them, learn from their example, and try to carry it on one more generation.

   While it would be nice to have world peace, I am not foolish enough to think it will come without a miracle of the second coming of Christ first.  Until then I will pray men will continue to be Iron Mike’s in both war and peace.  Just as strong to face a bullet as the challenges of peace.


Christ the Judge in a World of Noise

Christ the judge at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Christ the judge at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

       The world is full of manmade noise. Noise, sounds and vibrations with no Godly organization, only serve to distract us from our ingrained mission of finding and loving the Lord.  This means if we want to draw ourselves to the Lord, we must through force of will, ignore the world’s noise so our souls can make music in harmony with God’s intended design for the world.

     For example, take a look at tomorrow’s March for Life in Washington, D.C.  There thousands will walk as a result of a court decision literally made up from the air the justices breathed, and created with little factual evidence or legal precedent.  The whim of men created “rights” which did not exist ever before, denied the humanity of a child in the wound established with natural law at the dawn of time, and to this day results in the extermination of so many people it is actually fulfilling Margret Sangster’s dream of the ethnic cleansing of “lesser” peoples.  Oh the thoughts of this are nauseating to God fearing people everywhere!

    In the thousands of words the people attending will hear tomorrow, very few will change the hearts and minds of committed abortion supporters.  Why?  Abortion rights supporters will constantly deny the humanity of the child in the womb by shouting their own words over anyone opposing them.  They will continue trying to convince themselves their own destiny must not include the life they helped create.  They know they cannot avoid the consequences of their own actions, but they will shout themselves horse trying to convince themselves otherwise.  In a way it is a perfect demonstration of evil madness to try and deny physical realities in such a way.  The thousands of words hurled by the protesters will only be added noise to these abortion supporters.

    What caused these abortion supporters the most fear?  It is the mandatory waiting period, and ultrasound machine testing.  Why?  Because in the quiet of a doctor’s office, with the noise of the world isolated from the room, the reality of natural law confronting hardened hearts wins over far more souls than continue to deny there is a new life in their womb.  Abortionists loathe the requirement any person listen to the heart beating while they see the face of their child before they kill it.  

    The sound of natural law runs naturally in the heart of the unborn child, and speaks with a clarity to unsettled souls like no other sound on earth.  Oh how I wish we could mandate put the father in the room as well!  Maybe the natural music could save three souls at a time, and help make a proper family.

   So the next time you find yourself lost in a sea of manmade noise, find a place where you can slow down and hear the pulse of life.  Let the pulse remind you of your place in the cosmos as a child called to God.  Then follow the call of this music to build his kingdom in word and deed.  Then maybe it will be easier to get a smile out of Christ the Judge when the time comes to meet him.





Classic Lines

Just too nice not to capture this image

Just too nice not to capture this image

This car sat right next to my booth on Sunday.  It was screaming to be photographed.  This is one of my favorites from the car.  The light and reflection of trees in the chrome makes it almost magical.  Well in my opinion!  I hope you agree.  Any feedback is appreciated.

As with so many cars at the show this one brought back memories for my childhood.  This was the car of the Rich and Famous in my teen years.  I could never hope to own one (still can’t) but they were very refined and lovely cars for their day.  Today they are just plain old classy.


P.S. jpeg HDR conversion, nine shots +/-3EV.  Done in HDR Efex2 by nik.  Color Effex4 chrome correction, and finished in Perfect Effects 8.

Travel into the wild…

Wild forest awaits me...

Wild forest awaits me…

Yesterday I met a young photographer and she showed me some of her urban explorations….pretty cool stuff.  Well talking to her I also made me long to get out a shoot myself.  You know work and play often don’t mix it up very well…and the client projects I did make over the last month were for internal release only!

So after we got home, fed the kiddos and enjoyed a quick date night out I realized I still had some daylight left.  Instead of urban exploration I did some deep forest exploration from my backyard.  I spent the rest of the night playing with development settings, Aperture, Capture One, OnOne, Nik Suite….just to see what I could do.  This is one of the three I liked.  I wanted it to make me think I was really deep in a mysterious woods. I hope I fooled you!

So the moral of the day Bob Coates would say…take some time to play and imagine.  Sometimes it unlocks doors you would not know existed.


PS Fujifilm X-E1, 23mm, tripod mount, Capture One and Silver Effects Pro2.