It is hard to believe that 2013 is 1/3rd of the way over. 4 months have passed, and it seems like the year just started.
We went to the temple this morning and noticed all of the new temple missionaries. I think the temple president said 15 new couples have arrived in Palmyra. That’s like adding 1% to the population of our little village.
One of the new couples are from St. Louis and they know a family I taught when I was on my mission. The funny thing is, the couple I taught on my mission are coming here next month. When I told this new missionary that, he was quite excited that he would get to see them.
It is a small world.
Our flowers are blooming and the yard now looks like spring. Here’s a little peek…
I had one after another portrait session today. It was a head-shot day for a local networking group. It was fun. I just wouldn’t want to do this all of the time, but it is fun to do once in a while. In fact, I think I’ll start scheduling them one day each month.
Elizabethe got some help from Sisters Davis and Jones on the yard. They pulled weeds and planted bulbs. The weather was nice for it. Mid-60s and overcast makes it nice for working in the yard.
I won’t go in to all the details about our Priesthood lesson today, but this much I will say…
The Book of Mormon teaches that contention is wrong. To contend about evidence of the book is opposite to the spirit of the book itself. Teachings of the spirit come with their own proof. Sometimes, those proofs are not presented at the same time we receive our spiritual confirmation, but in time, they do come.
For the person who feels they have physical proof, that’s fine, but where does that put them when someone else presents evidence of the contrary?
For the person who has spiritual proof, they are in a better position. So called physical evidence may change as technology advances. Just look at the number of people who have been cleared of wrong-doings because new technology has provided DNA evidence showing they didn’t commit the crime. Likewise, those with spiritual proof may have to wait through periods where science simply isn’t able to come to a conclusion at this time. What science today presents as a theory can change tomorrow with advances in technology.
The real proof is in the reading, pondering, studying and praying.
We’re all entitled to our theories as to what evidence exists, but if we leave it all up to evidence, we are missing the purpose of the experiment. (Read Alma 32 and Moroni 10) The experiment, when skipped, leaves too many gaps and unknowns. The actual proof is in the experiment.
Last night, I received two phone calls. The first was from a man I met in 1977 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The other from a friend I made while working at AT&T.
In 1977, I was a Mormon Missionary serving in the Colorado Denver Mission, and stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My companion and I had an old Temple Square visitor’s slip. Every time we went by the house, nobody was home. Every time we were on that street, we would stop and knock, and nobody would answer.
A member of our church lived next door. We were at his house having ice cream (he kept a freezer stocked with ice cream just for the missionaries), and as we were leaving, we saw a lady pulling in to the driveway of the house.
We immediately ran over and introduced ourselves and asked if we could share a message. The lady politely explained she was in a hurry, but she’d love to talk to us.
After that initial contact, we went back several times only to be told, “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go to…”. She had kids that were involved in after school activities, and a husband who worked for the railroad, and so it was going to be difficult.
Finally, one night we saw her car in the driveway, and we stopped and a man answered the door. We told him who we were and I was fully expecting to be told, “Buzz off”, but he invited us in. We taught them, invited them to be baptized, and they accepted.
This was the start of a friendship that will last for the eternities. I remember the feeling I had when I was asked to give their 7 year-old daughter a blessing because she was feeling left out because everyone else got to be baptized. That single event prepared me so much for fatherhood responsibilities.
Over the years, I have connected with their family several times. Last night, Brother Gerle called to say they would be in Palmyra at the end of May. We invited them to come stay with us. It will be really nice to see them.
Here’s a related video… (click here). When I watch this video of my friend Al Fox, I am reminded of people like the Gerle’s. There is a connection between a missionary and the people he/she teaches. And, there is a connection between the convert and their missionaries. It is a relationship that cannot be explained in words. It is humbling. It is joyous. It is one of gratitude.
The 2nd call I got was from a lady I worked with at AT&T. We shared a passion for mountain bike riding and fish tacos. She called to say they want to come out and spend a week with us.
Elizabethe and I bought fabric for one of my projects. (see http://projects.dbwalton.com ) Since we were near Trader Joe’s, I had to stop and buy some goodies – S.F. Sourdough Bread.
We then had dinner at South of the Border in Newark, NY. Perhaps I’m spoiled having actually dined in several regions of Mexico, or perhaps I haven’t tried the right item from their menu yet, but it just doesn’t feel taste like Mexican food. This is not to say their food is not good. Their food is fresh, but the seasonings do not remind me of Mexican food.
The new owner of South of the Border also owns the Pontillo’s further east on 31 in Newark. We met him briefly. They were quite busy so he didn’t have time to hear about Get It Done on 31 ™.
I think I’ve got my spring cleaning done. The studio floor painting is done. I’ve moved a lot of clutter out of the studio. (I might be moving some more stuff out. Take that back… I will be moving more stuff out.) The studio feels more inviting now.
I’ve got a viewing screen on the wall where I can now let client’s see what the unprocessed pictures look like immediately after the session. My plan is to move one of the bistro tables to that corner with a couple of chairs.
This morning’s Tri-County Networkers meeting had a presentation about the new health care law. By the end of the presentation, I do not know a if a single person was pleased about what we learned. At one point, I thought I read that the most someone will be fined is $695/year if they refuse to go with Obama-care. That’s not the case. It can be more than 9.5% of your annual income. So, if you make $50,000/year, that’s $4,750/year.
There were other surprises… like a 6 month waiting period to make sure you don’t have pre-existing conditions if you change jobs. If you cut employee’s hours, they will take the hours and add them all up, divide by 40/hours per week. (In other words, that’s not a loophole, which sounds good, but the fees and taxes being placed on businesses is very scary. Big businesses might be able to afford it, but mom-and-pop shops… they may not survive this.)
It sounds like the real winners in this law are huge businesses with huge group policies and people on welfare. On the other hand, it sounds like the real losers in this law are the small businesses, sole-proprietors, people who may lose their job/coverage and have a chronic illness, and anyone who makes enough that they don’t qualify for welfare.
Aside from our regular weekly meeting, the Roc Ref Net had an open house tonight. I find it interesting that there were overlaps on accountants, financial advisors, and travel agents. And, although we only allow one business for each business type, this seems to be a well kept secret among photographers.
No complaints here.
There was a video guy there who does mid-range productions. I was glad to see him there. There are a lot of hacks out there, just as there are hack photographers, but I seldom run in to someone who is at the higher end of the scale when it comes to their product(s). I checked out is web site, www.fishandcrown.com, and his work is pretty darn good.
The mail today contained an envelope from Keys Energy. Inside was an issue of Sigma IGM Magazine (http://www.sigma.org/) with a corporate portrait I took of Keys Energy’s president, Jonathan Williamson on the cover.
This has been quite the year for publications: The Friend (every issue thus far this year), Church News, Professional Photographer Magazine, and now the IGM magazine. It feels good to have my hard work paying off.
D. Brent Walton is a photographer, artist and author residing in Palmyra, New York. His photography studio specializes in portraiture and weddings. His trademark, db walton – CAPTURING BEAUTY, describes his passion. You can see his work, and read about his projects at the following links:
Elizabethe and I attended a session at the temple this morning and it was so busy, I think every seat was filled. I guess the L.D.S. tourist are starting to arrive in Palmyra. Imagine my surprise came evening, when we returned to work in the temple, to find it was terribly slow.
Between the sessions, it was mostly catch up on e-mails and stuff.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to my daughter Natalie. She turned 25 today. It’s hard to imagine that she’s 25. They grow up quickly. It was 7 years ago that Natalie and I took our first trip to Palmyra. Look how that turned out.
Church today felt a little empty without Frank. As I approached the organ I realized Frank wasn’t going to be coming up and say, “Do you have some numbers for me?” (Frank would post the hymn numbers each Sunday morning.)
Marj was there in her usual place, and one of the sisters in the ward sat next to her instead of Frank. From where I sit on Sundays, I could always see Frank. He always listened with real intent to whomever was speaking, and quite often, Frank’s eyes would fill with tears as the Spirit would testify of the truths being spoken.
In priesthood meeting, Frank always sat in front of me. Although there are no assigned seats, many of us would sit in the same place. Today, his chair sat empty. Brother Ingold even commented, “Thank you for leaving Frank’s chair empty.”
Frank’s in a beautiful place, free of pain and the cares of this world. I will miss you Frank.
Sisters Madsen and Andersen came to dinner tonight. I prepared dessert first, and looking for something to go with the dessert, I decided to make a Thai inspired beef stew. The dessert was coconut rice with nectarines that Elizabethe canned last summer.