Cloud Bursts

Cloud Bursts

Today we had a couple of huge cloud bursts.  One was around 3pm, and the other was around 6pm.  The latter one occurred while I was at the temple.  A group of youth came in soaked to the bone.  Someone commented, “It looks like they already have been baptized.”

copyright 2015 db walton
Puddles During the Down Pour

I stood at the doorway to my studio with my telephoto lens and took some pictures of the big drops splashing in the 1″ deep water.  I wasn’t about to leave the studio in this down pour.  The water was too deep and coming down too fast.

The rain did make the plants look nice and green.

copyright 2015 db walton
Rain on the Plants

During the evening storm, you could look from the temple and see the rain coming down in the foreground, and steam rising from the Sacred Grove.  Even later, on our drive home, the steam was creating tule fog along Stafford Road.

Garden Weather

Garden Weather

If ever you could call something garden weather, this is it.  It has been tropical rain forest weather this this summer.

The down side to this damp warm weather are mosquitos.  I went out to pick some peas and was attacked by the little vampires.  They are quite thick this year.

That gives me an idea… a hula-hoop with holes that you pass over your body while it sprays you at 360-degrees with DEET.  I know my wife would appreciate that.

The kitchen is undergoing a deep cleaning in anticipation for our Pageant guests.  The place smells like pine sol right now.  But, that smell goes away quickly.

After Elizabethe got home we went to the Joseph Smith Farm where the sister missionaries are teaching one of our friends.  It was a great discussion followed by some blueberry bread I had made as a treat for after the meeting.  Time flew quickly, before I knew it one of the sisters announced that the site closes at 9pm and we need to leave.

We’re only a little over a week away from Hill Cumorah Pageant.  People are already descending on Palmyra to help with the setup of the stage and technical aspects.  The first Pageant performance will be July 10th.

copyright 2014 db walton
Hill Cumorah Pageant

If you plan to visit Palmyra for pageant, make your room reservations!   Lodging is scarce.   We actually have a couple of openings, but don’t think you’re going to find something once you get here.  Call now!  (315) 359-5280.

Who Am I

Who Am I

Who am I to disagree with God?  Who am I to think I know better?

As a Christian I am taught the first and great commandment is to love God with all my heart, might, mind and strength.  The second commandment is like it — to love my neighbor as myself.  All the commandments are based upon these two commandments, including the 10 commandments.

The first three commandments (of the 10) have to do with loving God, and the 4th is a commandment to worship him on the Sabbath day, and to take one day off a week to rest from our labors and to allow others to rest.

The 5th commandment is to live in such a way that you do not bring disgrace to your parents.

The 6th deals with taking life – no murdering, no abortion.

The 7th deals with sexual relationships.  Anciently, it meant no sexual relationships outside of marriage between a man and a woman.  Latter-day prophets uphold this definition.  Sex is to only be between a man and a woman who have been legally married.

The 8th deals with taking what does not belong to you.

The 9th deals with lying.

The 10th deals with wanting something you cannot have or that doesn’t belong to you.

None of that has ever changed, or ever will change.  So, when someone says I need “help to overcome” my religious beliefs, it isn’t going to happen.

A couple of scriptures came to mind while I was listening to the Priesthood Lesson today.  The first scripture was…

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)

We’ve been placed here to have joy.  Notice, it doesn’t say “fun” but “joy.”  The difference is fun is entertainment, and momentary.  Joy is a state of mind that is eternal and lasting.

The second scripture was…

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth… (Gen. 1:27 & 28)

This made me think that the most joy in life comes through procreation, raising those children, seeing grandchildren born to your offspring, and if we live long enough, seeing great grandchildren born and raised.  Everything else is temporary and simply entertainment, not joy.

We watched this video, and it says it all about joy…

Finally, as a Christian, the Apostle Paul said it best in I Cor. 11:11…

Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

I was taught the purpose of this life was to come here to earth (yes, I believe we lived, with God, our Heavenly Father, before we were born.)  Our purpose was to come and gain a body, keep God’s commandments, and to live by faith.  With that purpose, comes the charge to find a mate, marry, and raise children.  That sex is reserved as a two-fold purpose between a man and a woman who have married.  That purpose is to strengthen the man-woman bond in matrimony, and to become partners with God in creating life.  It is then our duty to teach those children, love and nurture them so that they can grow and repeat this process.  Thus, finding joy in our posterity.

I was taught that any other use of those procreative powers is a sin only surpassed by the taking of innocent blood.  That the misuse of those powers brings misery, unhappiness, and that it ruins relationships and destroys families.

I will continue to treat others with kindness even if they live differently, but please, don’t ask me to deny the teachings I’ve been taught since childhood.   While you may choose to deny the existence of a God, I know the God whom I worship and I am trying to live by his laws.

It Had to Rain

It Had to Rain

It had to rain today.  I was thinking I could go for a walk, but no, it had to rain.

There’s a lot of social media fallout from yesterday’s Supreme Court decision.  But what amazes me most is the pure ignorance regarding the commandments.  I’m amazed even more when it comes from active members of the church.  I question… don’t we sit in the same meetings?

Facebook has a “celebrate pride” app they put up to turn people’s avatar in to a gay-pride color scheme, and people are behaving like this is the greatest thing to happen.  While others are busy posting rebuttals to the ruling.  Either way, it is a ruling that is dividing the people.

One Christian man wrote about his feelings.  He said he loves the sinner, as he has been taught, but cannot love sin.  He went on to say he has several gay friends, but he cannot condone homosexuality.  A friend of his posted back asking if he knew that he was, “calling homosexuality a sin.”

Uh, yeah.

The man replied to his friend with a huge list of scriptures.  And, of course, this leads to the never ending barrage of, “well the Bible says…” and they list things like eating pork and killing certain people, and so on and so forth.

I don’t need to justify my religious convictions.  I believe in a God who sent his Son.  His Son established a church lead by prophets and apostles.  They are the only ones authorized to speak for him in our times.  They have very clearly stated that homosexual activities are sinful.  There’s no debate.

Being sinful then, there is no celebration and the only pride precedes the fall.

Traditional Marriage

Traditional marriage… well… let me state that it is disheartening that we even have to preface marriage with the word traditional.  But, traditional marriage is the only form of marriage with any future – both in God’s eyes and in society.

 

Sad Day in History

Sad Day in History

I find it a sad day in history.  I saw this based on the actions of the Supreme Court of the United States.  It is based several facts, not just one single notion.

I’m going to restrict most my comments to a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon — it being a type of things that are to come, and a warning voice for the 21st Century.

The first thought about their ruling on ObamaCare and gay marriage was, when did they become a legislative branch?

I remember being taught they can only interpret the law, but here, they are dictating the law to states that in many cases have chosen otherwise.   Their ruling also tramples sovereignty of the states, the voice of the people in those states, and seems to lump us in to one huge state – not the United States, but the Supreme Court’s State.

I find that disturbing.

While many celebrate their rulings, I’m reminded of Alma’s talk to his son Corianton – especially Alma chapter 41:

Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.  And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin.  Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.

(emphasis added)

One cannot substitute sexual sin for “love”.  Wickedness never was happiness, nor is it ever love. Nephi, son of Helaman (Helaman 7:5) wrote:

Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills

And, from Alma 10:

Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices—yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.

There are several cases where the voice of the people chose righteously, but then the courts chose iniquity.  In either case, I believe it is setting us up for some troubled times.

To go on the record, I don’t hate anyone.  I do have an abhorrence of evil (or sin as it is also called).  Over and over we read in the scriptures that God sends calamities to deal with the world when it becomes ripe with iniquity (sin, evil).   I believe in the doctrine of forgiveness, and while I work at being a forgiving person, I hope my friends who do not believe the same as me will understand why I cannot, will not, rejoice over todays SCOTUS decisions.  To me, rejoicing would be as abhorrent as getting excited about someone who over-doses on heroine because it made them feel good.  It goes against everything I’ve been taught to be good.   I hate smoking, drinking, drug abuse, adultery, yet I have friends who engage in some or all of those activities, and in spite of their vices, they are still my friends.

Latter-day prophets and apostles have voiced their warning too:

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

On a brighter note…

The Book of Mormon also tells us if we’re found doing what we should be doing (keeping God’s commandments) we need not fear as we read in 1 Nephi chapter 22:

Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. …

And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded. But it is the kingdom of the devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh—

While the righteous need not fear, the calamities will have their impact.  Loved ones will be lost.

Conclusion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I belong, issued this statement today:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.

The statement was followed with a reference to this document:  The Divine Institution of Marriage

Old Photos Restored

Old Photos Restored

Old photos restored look so nice.  It is one of those things in my business that brings me satisfaction.  It is fun to take something broken and fix it.

I got another restoration job today and I’m looking forward to doing it.  I’ll post it when it is done if the client allows.

I spent some time in the village today.  We have tour busses arriving regularly this time of year.

When I got home, two couples were at the house asking to see the house.  I gave them the grand tour and they said they will contact us as to when they will be here next.  Sounds like they will probably stay with us.

Cyber House Cleaning

Cyber House Cleaning

It is time for some summer cyber house cleaning.  I’m not talking about cleaning up my hard drive, but cleaning up my social media accounts.

Most social media accounts refer to it as “my profile”.  My house is exactly that, it is my house.  Why should my profile be any different.

I will not allow certain activities under the roof of my house.  I’m very clear that I don’t allow drinking, smoking or illicit drug use.  People using foul language in my home are asked to stop, and if they continue, I tell them to leave.  Why should things be any different in cyber space?

Too many immature folks think it is okay to resort to name-calling in cyber space.  I believe some of them don’t even realize they are doing it.  At the same time, many of them wouldn’t have the nerve to speak to someone like that in person.  The ease of hiding behind that electronic barrier must make them feel powerful and smart.

Part of my reason for house cleaning is having been suckered in to contentious arguments.  I have to remind myself what Benjamin Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

The other part is I’m tired of putting up with abusive people.  Once such person sent me a private e-mail berating me for a comment I made on a photography group about RAW and JPEG files.  His reason for messaging me privately had nothing to do with photography and had everything to do with berating my religious beliefs (which were not even part of the discussion about RAW and JPEG files.)  It was uncalled for, and a personal attack.  Others will repeatedly stalk postings in an effort to exert their opinion and attempt to tell you every reason why you are wrong and they are right.  (I often want to reply back and say, “You don’t wear arrogance well,”  but that would only fuel their puny fire.)  I have no use desire to associate with cyber bullies.

Notifications are pulling me away from my work too often.  A while back I changed what I was notified about, but I still get too many notifications from people who post immoral and offensive materials.  (And, if they find my posts offensive, perhaps they too should unfriend me and spend less time reading what I say.)

Someone commented that comments to my blog don’t immediately appear and they were upset about that.  Well, I don’t live my car unlocked with the keys in the ignition either; I hope that doesn’t upset them too.  Again, this is my blog.  It’s my personal (but publically accessible for reading) journal.  If I let ever post immediately appear you would find posts about get-rich-quick scams, male enhancement drugs, and other stuff I don’t want appearing on my blog.    My blog is my record of my thoughts and activities that I want to share with friends and family and interested party.  It isn’t, in itself, a social media forum or chat room.

So, likewise, my social media pages are going to be cleaned up in an effort to keep things civil.  This will mean some deletion of “friends” who have a hard time keeping not tracking dirt into “my profile”.  But, it is my cyber space and it has got a little cluttered.

Elder David Bednar last year at Education Week gave a great talk on this.  This is part of my effort to follow his advice more closely.  (click here)

—–

Today was a very busy day starting with an early morning haircut followed by other meetings.  One such meeting had some no-shows which was very frustrating.    In my 15 years in business I think I have only missed one appointment because I failed to write it in my appointment book.  In this case, I have no idea what happened with the representatives from this company.

Most of my afternoon was spent working on a painting for a client.  The client has commissioned three small paintings, and this is the last of the three.  I love the feeling when a projects comes to a conclusion.

Came dinner time I was just wiped out and ready to call it a day.

It Is Finished

It Is Finished

I heard the most ridiculous thing on the radio.  A Christian radio program had some guy who claimed when Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ he meant we no longer need to abide by laws or ordinances.  He went so far as to specifically single out the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy.

That left me thinking wow!  So, this guy believes the 10 Commandments are no longer necessary.  While he didn’t go through each of the 10, he specifically said there is no need to honor Sabbath day observance.  It only stands to reason he implicated the other 9 in his statement that we “no longer need to abide by laws”.

While I know there are those who believe that once you confess Jesus all of your sins will be forgiven.  While I believe that Jesus atoned for our sins, I also believe one can’t confess in hypocrisy.  For example, Jesus specifically said if we do not forgive others we will NOT be forgiven.  That’s just one example of the conditions of forgiveness.

The guy on the radio kept repeating the phrase, “It is finished.”   It was as if to make a point that we are to simply give up and do as we please as long as we accept Jesus.  And, if it was finished, why did the apostles continue on teaching and BAPTIZING.  Yes, that was another one, while not specifically mentioned by the guy on the radio, that we don’t need to do.  He specifically said there is no need to perform ordinances.  He didn’t specify which ones, but he did say ordinances are not necessary.

Huh?  Again, what were Peter, James and John doing after Christ’s resurrection?  (See Acts 2:38)

So, contrary to what the guy on the radio said, I was off to the temple tonight.  It was a nice evening.  We were busy and got a lot of work done.

You see, as far as I’ve read, baptism is necessary, and what type of God would keep someone out of heaven because they haven’t been baptized?  Instead, he instituted a plan where those who died without baptism can have that ordinance performed by a proxy as there are no baptisms performed after this life.  This is no guarantee the spirits of those deceased will accept the baptism.  They still have their agency, but at least the ordinance has been performed and it is now up to them to confess Christ and accept the baptism.

 

 

Solo to Watkins Glen

copyright 2015 db walton
The Falls in Color

Solo to Watkins Glen

In spite of my best attempts to find someone to go with me, I went solo to Watkins Glen.  I took over 320 photos.  Many were long exposures in color, others were infrared and some pinhole.

copyright 2015 db walton
Me at Watkins Glen

And, here’s an infrared from my X-T1… amazing what that camera can do…

copyright 2015 db walton
Infrared Photo of Watkins Glen

It was a delightful sunny day, and there were LOTS of tourist at the glen.  Most of them were middle school students on a field trip along with several groups of Chinese tourists.  At times, I would have to wait for the crowds to pass to take the picture, but because some of them, like the above B&W infrared were very long exposures, people tend to blur away.

I took two trips back to the car to exchange cameras and/or lenses.  That equates to three trips up the canyon.  Yes, I got some exercise, but I also got some great shots.

Here is a pinhole shot I took.  The problem with pinhole is you can’t see anything through the viewfinder and so you’ve got to kind of work blindly.  If you notice, the pinhole and the infrared are shot near the same location.  Both were about 30 second exposures.

copyright 2015 db walton
Pinhole Shot of Watkins Glen

A lot of people think because a pinhole is so small the images are razor-sharp.  Well, they aren’t, but they do allow for some VERY long exposures.  (The above was about 30 seconds.)

Finally, at about 2:30pm, I decided I should get some lunch.  I went to the Burger King just the other side of the river and they are CLOSED!  Instead I ended up driving to Geneva and going to Taco Bell where I waited for nearly 20 minutes for a couple of tacos.  (Yeah, they were back there yacking and texting.  I think if I owned a franchise the rule would be no phones on your person while working.)

One last stop before I went home and that was at Hill Cumorah.  I spent some time chatting with the missionaries there and got a couple of good photos…

copyright 2015 db walton
Sisters Showing the Map of the Trails

Summer and Fathers Day

Summer and Fathers Day

The first day of summer and Fathers Day — both.

My head is killing me and it was all I could do to make it through church today.

I heard from several of the girls today, as well as grandchildren.  We had some nice chats on the phone.   And, I called my own dad.  He seems to be doing well for 82 years old.  They are getting ready to go on a trip to China.

Other than that, I took things easy as I really want to be in the proper frame of mind to go to Watkins Glen tomorrow (my Father’s Day gift to myself), and to shake this headache.