Tag Archives: Christmas

Grandkids Here

Grandkids Here

Two of our grandkids are here tonight.  Jennifer and her two are flying out of Rochester so she asked if I’d drive them to the airport and then store their car here.  I’m always happy to oblige and see them.

We stayed up talking until after 11pm.

Earlier in the day Elizabethe and I saw the Last Jedi (VIII in the Star Wars Saga).  It was good. I enjoyed it.


While out we did some Christmas shopping.  It was stuff for each other.  She only asked to go to Wegman’s, so I guess I’m getting food for Christmas.

I came up with some fun gifts for her, but I can’t talk about them in my blog because she might find out.  I saw one, and thought if I give that to her she’ll think it is more for me.  Ah, but I have a plan.  When I explain why it is for her she’s going to like it.

Doll Corner

So have these two dolls.  They are kind of like a Barbie and Ken, but more poseable and realistic.  I’ve been using them as painting models.  I got this idea to build an 18×18 inch corner for posing them.

I stopped at Home Depot to see if they carried (or if they even make) the stuff I’d need.  The DO!  They make and carry the components so I bought them.  $21 worth of raw materials.

Upon getting home, I checked eBay to see if anyone makes what I’m going to build.  There are a few, but the cheapest was $170!  Some were in the $600 range!  This will be cool!

Over 2000 Years Ago

Over 2000 Years Ago

Trent and Liz Sutton spoke in church today.  Both gave excellent talks.  Sister Sutton’s talk caused me to go back and reflect on what it must have been like on that first Christmas night over 2000 years ago.

I imagined being an observer based on what I know…

That First Christmas

It was the lambing season, and so shepherds were busy on the plains of Judea west of Jerusalem.  Being early spring, the night chill had them clustered together for warmth.

Not far, in a town in the District of the City of David, a young couple settled for lodging in a manger.  She was about to deliver the Son of God.  Her and her espoused husband, Joseph, had been visited by an angel who prophesied the birth of this child.

As she went in to labor, the night grew dark.  Darker than ever.  The shepherds watching the flocks strained their eyes to keep  watch over their flocks.  This heightened their senses and made them anxiously watch for predators among their sheep.

Lighting the World

As Mary bore down and pushed, the baby’s head crowned.  The baby emerged and the darkness veiling the earth broke as a new star appeared in the heavens, exactly over the little grotto wherein the manger sat.  Light not only filled the heavenly sky, but also that dark covering was filled with the Light of the World.

About the time the shepherds saw the star angels appeared before them.  Because they went from this deep dark sky to seeing these bright beings descend from above, their already heightened vigilance caused them to fear what was happening.

“Fear not!” said the angel, “for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Then, something that has never happened before or since occurred.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The shepherds, all witnessing what just happened discussed among themselves what they should do.  Without haste, the shepherds began their journey towards Bethlehem.  There they found Mary, Joseph and the newborn King.  Because their hearts were filled with joy, finding the Promised Messiah, they went off telling others and inviting them to come and see over 2000 years ago.

copyright 2017 db walton

A Savior is Born

A Type for Us

This is a type for us.  The darkness that night was a lack of light.  That darkness was broken at the birth of the Savior with a light from a new star and heavenly beings.

The world today is full of darkness – a lack of spiritual light.  That darkness will be broken when the Savior returns.


We fed the missionaries tonight.  I made a chicken in blush sauce, spinach and brownies for dessert.

We learned Sister Packard is going home this week.  As a result, she will not be here for our Christmas breakfast.  We’ll miss her.  She’s been a cheerful influence.

A Month Before Christmas

A Month Before Christmas

It’s a month before Christmas… and no, I’m not going to attempt to make some silly poem about it.  However, it is one of those days when I do not want to go to any stores or malls.  That’s crazy.

Elizabethe and I went downstairs and took inventory of our food storage.  I think I should make a list of things to prepare during our 3 months of no grocery shopping.  For example, what can I make with _______ (fill in the blank).

While taking inventory I discovered a can that had been dropped, and the dented area had rusted all the way through.  Thus, it is important to check your food storage.  I also discovered the mice chew through the plastic containers of bullion.   We’re transferring it to glass jars.

Two Days Before the Shoot

It is also two days before my next shoot.  When I have slow days I like to get ready for the next shoot.  This usually means cleaning up after the last shoot.  That means finding things I misplaced during the last shoot.

Nobody makes studio organization stuff.  Camera bags are meant for organizing on-location shoots, but nobody… I mean nobody makes organization stuff for your equipment in the studio.

But then, amateurs support the photography industry these days.  They spend the money on equipment, however, they don’t have studios.  It’s a Catch-22 for those of us who do.

I have this idea for a studio organization system, but the manufacturing of a prototype is beyond my skill set.  It would even work for an in-home based studio.  (I also have an idea that would revolutionize lighting.  Hmmm… How do I get the attention of Canon or Nikon, or one of the big flash manufacturers?)

2016 Missionary Party

2016 Missionary Party

There are about 60,000 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving throughout the world.  These young men and women leave their homes for 18 or 24 months.  They serve at their own expense, and volunteer their time and talents.  At the 2016 Missionary Party today I had the privilege of photographing the group serving in the New York Rochester Mission.

Being away from home for Christmas, many for their first time, is a hard thing.  This little Christmas Party eases the pain of being away from friends and family.  I’m glad they do this each year, and I’m happy they ask me to come photograph them.


copyright 2016 db walton

Christmas Party Mission Picture

Elizabethe and I stuck around so I could grab a few candid photos.  Their gift exchange is always funny.  My favorite was a Barry Manilow album.   (It’s funny to me because I think he’s a cheesy performer.  I used to joke I suffer from Manilowphobia.)

Getting Ready

Getting ready for Christmas morning was the next task on the list.  One of our roomers wanted to fix Christmas Eve dinner, and asked if I’d make a dessert.  I made a chocolate mousse.

After dinner the topic of Israel came up, so they asked if I’d show them a slide show.  We spent the next 90 minutes looking at photos of Israel.


Rouge One

Rouge One

Elizabethe and I went to see Rouge One today.  This is one of the Star Wars installments that takes place before Luke Skywalker when the Deathstar was a new creation.  It was good.  The best part was the re-programmed droid named K-2SO.  Talk about a funny character.

We went to the 11 a.m. showing in Pittsford.  I did some shopping at Trader Joe’s for the missionary breakfast Christmas morning.  We also stopped at Wegman’s to pick up the remaining items.  (While we live off our food storage from 12/1 to 2/28, we make an exception for the Christmas breakfast with the missionaries.)

Last night it snowed a little.  It was just enough to leave the driveway covered in white, but not enough to require shoveling.  Aside from that, it is COLD today.

Don’t Understand

I don’t understand my fellow church members who think excommunication for being an apostate sympathiser as being a form of censorship.  I read a blog the other day (which I will not post a link to*) that wanted people to solicit the church to publish excommunication proceedings.

First — the Church doesn’t work that way.  By “that way”, I mean through pressure of public opinion.

Second – Excommunications are not for public spectacle.  To do so would violate the sacred trust between clergy and members.  It would lead the embarrassment which would lead to a discouragement of confessing one’s sins.

Third – Sympathising with apostate groups is a matter of personal repentance.  Left unchecked, how long will it be before the sympathiser joins ranks with the apostates?

I remember a home teacher my mother had who was active, on the high council, and left the church.  Why?  Because of his sympathy towards a group who felt the church should be more cerebral in its teachings.  He and the group he associated with felt the church spent too much time talking about faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and not enough time intellectualizing the eternities, creation, and other mysteries.

It doesn’t really matter what apostate group it is, the bottom line is the same.  If it pulls you away from activity in the church, then you’re missing the point of the church.  The church is for the perfecting and unity of the saints.  Excommunication allows the individual time to repent without bringing further condemnation to him/herself.

*It’s my policy to not share links to articles that are grossly erroneous or written to deceive.  Yeah, call my policy censorship if you want, but I don’t sympathise with those who actively try to lead others astray — whether intentionally or ignorantly.

Class Cancelled

Class Cancelled

Class cancelled this morning.  Nobody registered.  I thought it might work out that way, but such is life.  The day after Christmas (note to self) is a bad day to schedule a new camera class.  I think in the future I’ll schedule it for the first Saturday after New Year’s Day.  No more “class cancelled”.

Because class was cancelled I had the morning free.  My daughter and her husband want me to photograph their family, so it all works out.  Spencer (my son-in-law) came out to the studio and got things set up for me.  All I had to do is hold the tiny remote and push the button thanks to his help.

We had Christmas dinner today because nobody was hungry enough for dinner yesterday.  We baked the ham, made scalloped potatoes, baked some butternut squash and made a salad.  It was a nice Christmas-day-after dinner.

Jennifer’s family packed up to head back to Pennsylvania because they have church assignments tomorrow morning.  It was sure fun having them here for Christmas.

I warned my grandson that if I find any Nerf bullets I was going to put them in my Nerf gun.

“You don’t have a Nerf gun Grandpa,” he said in disbelief.

I went out to my studio and grabbed my Nerf gun.  I returned, picked up all of their stray Nerf bullets, and demonstrated that I not only have a Nerf gun, it also works.

He laughed.  I’m not sure if he was laughing because Grandpa has a Nerf gun, or if I’m a good shot.  Either way, knows I’m serious about keeping any stray foam bullets.  (He probably didn’t recognize it because I had painted mine to look like it was made of gold, bronze and silver with a Steampunk theme.)

copyright 2015 db walton - class canceled

The Nelsons

With the house all quiet again, Elizabethe and I settled down for the night.  Class cancelled for the night.

Day After Christmas

Day After Christmas

It’s the Day After Christmas and I realize more than ever that people are so quick to equate love and happiness to things and gratification.  Yes, it is an exciting holiday, but have we already forgot?

One man said it right on his Facebook post.  He said, “You can’t have ‘He is risen’ without ‘A child is born.'”

While others are so very excited to share their windfall of gifts.  Pictures of children with toys.  Adults with their toys.  Yet others are more excited to share pictures of rich foods.  Everyone is excited about what they ‘got’ for Christmas.

One post was of a sign that read, “Until further notice, celebrate everything.”  It deserves a slight smile, but there are many things that are not worthy of celebration.  For a few months, many retailers are relieved they don’t have to worry about offending someone by saying, “Merry Christmas”, or offending others by saying, “Happy Holidays.”  Whatever the cause for celebration, I hope we haven’t already forgot.

While I lay waiting to go to sleep last night, I thought… when did the world change so drastically?

I know some argue it has been over time.  When I look at things today compared to the 1960s, the 1960s were a time of innocence compared to now.  Yet, last night I watched a TV show made in 1999 and it was so innocent compared to 2014.

What happened?

Right after 9/11/2001 there was a short period of time when it seemed much of the world was turning to God and prayer.  Then, almost over night, it seemed like that all stopped.  Much like how people quickly forget God after Christmas day, it seemed that a nation slipped in to darkness after a short period of gratitude and prayer that followed the tragedies of that day.

I think the only way peace can come back to the world can be compared with what happens at Christmas time.  For a short time, people think of Christ, they try to be nice to each other, and then the day after, it is back to old habits.  We always hear at Christmas time things like, “Try to make every day like Christmas day.”

I’m all for that.  Let’s try to make every day like Christmas Day.  No, I’m not talking about presents and commercialism, I’m taking about being kind and caring and remembering what is important.

Someone once said to make a marriage successful you need to put your spouse first.  I disagree, and I would go so far as to say, to make your marriage successful, to make your friendships successful, to make the world a better place, put God first.

Let’s roll back the clocks a few hours to a time in the last few days when you each of us thought about that special event over 2000 years ago when a small child was born.  His teachings changed the world.  His gift to mankind changed the world too.  Let’s try to remember all of the time, every day, throughout the entire year and years to come.

Barbershop in the Morning

Barbershop in the Morning

Barbershop in the Morning is a good way to start the day.  Just remember to warm up the vocal cords first.  The guys gather at the house bright and early this morning and we ran through our Christmas number.  I could only stand a once-through because … well… I didn’t warm up.

After the guys left I sat there with my Dremmel tool making holes and notches for my little charging station.  When I went to use the holes for zip-tying the power strips to the little bamboo tray Elizabethe pointed out that there is a wall between the holes on the power strip.

Ooooooh, SHOOT.

She was right and I goofed up.  It was then I remember her giving me some 3M Command Strips.  These things are like industrial strength Velcro.  I used them to secure a couple of the power strips and it is going to work.  The only problem is I had 4 strips (2 per strip) and I’ll need another 10 or so.

Some $30 later I have enough 3M Command Strips to complete the project and more.  (I figured I’d get more as they are quite useful.  Why not use a pair to stick my remotes to my strobes?  Lens caps to their lens?  Etc.)

When cleaning plastic to adhere something to it I find acetone works the best.  Alcohol won’t clean off the mold-release agent used with some plastics.  Acetone will.  Of course, you are permanently going to bond this 3M stuff to it, but that’s the point.

When it was all complete, I stood back and looked at it and thought, “This isn’t a pretty sight.”  But, at least it is functional.  The small tray can be moved from place to place so wherever I go I can charge my batteries without worrying about forgetting a charger… or two.  (When I’m up to it, I’ll take a picture of it and post it.  I’ll probably post it on my U-Made Facebook page.)



copyright 2014 db walton

My Charging Station

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking Stuffers

It’s that time that we buy stocking stuffers.  Because we’re empty-nesters, we put together stockings for the full-time missionaries serving in the Palmyra Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is a tradition we started a few years ago and one of my favorite traditions since being empty-nesters.

The tradition dates back to Christmas of 1976 when I was serving a mission for the LDS Church.  The saints in Littleton, Colorado, invited all the missionaries in the Denver area to come enjoy a dinner.  At the end, Santa came and gave us all stockings.

The stockings were filled with stuff missionaries use and need.  I remember getting a set of fingernail clippers.  Mine had recently disappeared and so this new set meant a lot to this missionary who was 1000 miles from home.

The next year, 1977, they did the same thing.  This time I was expecting it, but it still meant a lot to me.

So, that is the Walton Family tradition here in Palmyra.  We feed the missionaries breakfast, and then present them with their stockings and watch their faces as they empty the contents.

I won’t write about what we got to place inside the stockings, but I think they will enjoy sifting through the contents.  If it helps them not miss home too much we’ll have done our jobs.

Home Tour 2014

Home Tour 2014

Tonight was the Christmas Home Tour 2014.  We had lots of people come to tour the house while I sat that and watched them funnel through.

We had a bit of excitement and learned a lesson. One of the candles started a fire.  It was one of those store-bought decorative candles with a glass hurricane cover over the candle, and a floral arrangement around the outside.  Some how, those fake plants around the outside caught fire.  The house filled with smoke and they almost had to discharge an extinguisher to put it out.  I will NEVER use a candle in an unoccupied room again.  That was too close a call.  Fortunately, we had just had the batteries replaced in the smoke detectors.

Needless to say, feeling a bit helpless and upset about the near catastrophe, I had to keep reminding myself to be thankful and grateful it wasn’t worse.

Elizabethe gave me my birthday present tonight.  It is a TT850 Neewer Flash.  This is a VERY nice flash gun.  It’s 100% manual, which is okay, but it is built like a $600 flash.  In fact, it is the best made flash I have ever handled.  The cool thing about this flash is it is the only flash that uses a rechargeable lithium battery.  It also has a remote available that will control multiple units.  If this thing works well, I might order two more.  (Oh, they are only about $120 each.  For the price of one Canon flash, I could own 5 of these things.

I’m going to let the battery charge over night.  (Oh, and it came with the charger too.)

Most of the time electronics made in China are pretty cheaply made.   This thing feels luxurious.  When I was a kid, cheap stuff came from Japan.  Then, the Japanese started making higher quality items.  Looks like the Chinese are starting to make quality stuff.