Go ahead and JUMP!

Daily Prompt: Might As Well Jump

by michelle w. on June 18, 2013

What’s the biggest risk you’d like to take — but haven’t been able to? What would have to happen to make you comfortable taking it?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us JUMP.

But the youngest did not jump… 2006 Gesin_264

Meet the Family…

Daily Prompt: Tagline

by michelle w. on June 19, 2013

Often, our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ADVERTISING. 

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If I could choose the tagline I would love the most for my life tonight, it would be Adventure Photographer. Being there, seeing it, and taking beautiful photos along the way to share with my friends. Yes, a person’s life does have many sides to it, like a beautifully cut diamond.  I would also be tagged Father, Husband, Christian, Pastor, RIder… all these things I am. But I would love to do Adventure Photography more often.

Well, it all started at a very young age. I saved, and bought myself this Olympus Trip 35 mm Imagecamera when I was in primary school… I did quite a few hiking trips with it, took it along to horse riding competitions in gymkhana (tent pegging…) It went with me through university.

ImageMy dad was always into photography. He bought himself the Canon A1 35 mm in 1981, he said that that was the best camera of the year. When he died in 1993, I inherited it. If did a fine job for me from then on, I even took a few weddings’ photos with it, I bought myself a Metz CT 45 flash to go with it, and got a very nice Tamron 38-100mm lens when a famous photography shop in Pretoria closed it’s doors…  (Foley & Law)

Then it just started to get too expensive to take film photos, and develop the roll to get a few nice pics. So in 2004 I went digital for the first time. I bought a Refurbished Canon Rebel XT from ebay, and had all the hassle of getting it through the South African Customs.

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Some of the Canon products I have at home…

This camera got damaged in my Aprilia’s topbox, and it nearly cost the same as a secondhand Canon when I repaired it. BUt then the Camino was coming along quickly, and I needed something that could take the punch, handle a few bumps and be watertight for the rain in Spain… I bought myself the Canon Powershot D10.  All my CAmino photos was taken with a camera like this one… Image

Sadly, this camera was stolen from my house, along with it’s two extra batteries that I bought on ebay.  But the thief forgot to take the charger… idiot!

My daughter took the Canon Rebel Xt (350D in South Africa) with her for her course in GRaphic DEsign. But soon she said there is a focus problem. One of the people in my congregation said he is a Nikon fan, but have a Canon 400D body without a battery and lens just sitting at home. He gave this camera to me. I put in the 350D battery and lens, and sent it to my daughter… but still she complained about the focus. SO finally I bought her a brand new Nikon 3100d kit with both the 18-55 and 75-300 lens in it…, now she seems happy. She returned my Canon 400 D, but my Tamron 75-300 lens had a fall along the way- it is wasted…

.In the meanwhile, for my biking and hiking trips I bought the Canon Powershot SX 150 Is camera. It may not fall or swim, but it really does a good job for it’s price- all my biking photos this year have been taken by the Powershot.

Over the weekend I decided I still wanted to try and take decent photos of all the birds visiting my birdfeeders. I also want some sport photos. I looked on ebay and South Africa’s bidorbuy. But finally, over the weekend, i saw a Canon EFS 55-250 IS II lens for a good price at kalahari.net in South Africa. I bought it on Saturday. It arrived today. I am happy again!  (Look on the 400D on the right…)

Some while back I bought the 430 EX flash for my Canons, but my daughter is getting taught that you never use a flash…

So there you have it- my collection from the Canon family. I am happy with Canon, my daughter swears by Nikon… SO that was the advertising prompt for today- product placing might have happened by Canon, but the check did not arrive yet… Maybe they were not happy about the Olympus slipping by…

So sorry for not writing any more brightly tonight, we had that yearly meeting when 8 churchs from a region come together to report on our work… Very tiring indeed… And I still have to do that funeral service on Friday… So this is as good as it gets for today…

Shape Up or Ship Out

Daily Prompt: Shape Up or Ship Out

by michelle w. on June 17, 2013

Write a letter to the personality trait you like least, convincing it to shape up or ship out. Be as threatening, theatrical, or thoroughly charming as is necessary to get the job done.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us UGLY.

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Dear myself,

You have tried your best to Ship Out to the Cape. That wasn’t meant to be.

SO, for heaven’s sake- Shape Up!

In a personality test a few years ago, one of the things said about you was “Comfortable with Chaos” … well, guess what, I am fed up with it!

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Ugly… my desk just now…

Stop talking about it, and get off your lazy bum, and sort out your desk!

And then, go out and do some exercise, it does not help only reading about other people walking the CAmino, or doing some mountain biking, reading does not make you fitter.

So stop the Chaos, and get some order in your life.

Otherwise I am going to Black SAm you!

20 minutes later- after being Black Sammed by myself, I listened…

THE desk is better… 20 minutes later…

2013-06-18 10.24.05But now- How on earth do I get order in my books and CD’s?

And where the **** is that paper I need for this afternoon’s meeting?

I just can not beat the Chaos!

Public holiday- time to grind and weld again…

Today is a public holiday in South Africa. But I still have a lot of work to do. I am responsible to write the material used in our cell groups in church, and this is what is happening in my study…

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The thing is, as a pastor I am a bit traumatized at the moment. There was an ugly car crash on Saturday evening, and a young mother of our congregation has died. She leaves behind two little daughters, and she was a single mother…  This really breaks my heart.  So I am having a hard time concentrating on the little book I am writing for the cell groups.

So, I decided this morning to get out the trusty old angle grinder and welding machine. The last time I attempted it, it turned out disastrous, with metal pieces in my eyes and a good dose of arc eyes thrown in as well. But kiwiskan has inspired me to feed the birds in my garden. I have a lovely view from my study window, why not feed birds there as well? SO I took some scrap metal and started playing with it.  This is the result of this morning’s activity. I had this old bracket for carrying gas bottles on my trailer, and I welded 4 legs onto it and painted it Oxide Red.

ImageYesterday I also looked at an empty Coke bottle, and started playing with a piece of wire, and a copper water pipe bend. This was the result: Image

To console me after the disappointment of not going to the Cape, I bought myself a Father Day gift and can’t wait for it to be delivered: a 55-250 mm Image Stabilized lens for my two Canon SLR’s- that I can attempt to take bird photos when they do come to visit these feeding stations…

This is the view from my home office’s window- just taken with my cellphone. Image

So, in some ways a productive morning, but the cell group guide still needs to happen soon…

Thank you all- My blog passed 10 000 views last night- I am excited!

Stop the Human Trafficking!

Daily Prompt: Bookworm

by michelle w. on June 16, 2013

Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

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I have finished David Baldacci’s The Forgotten in this past week.

It is one of the John Puller series, in which the main character is a CID detective for the US Army.  His aunt dies under mysterious circumstances, and he goes to Florida to investigate, in the ironically named town of Paradise. In the process of digging for the truth, he stumbles upon a large syndicate, dealing in human beings as modern slaves. Beautiful girls gets prostituted, able bodied men gets to be slave labourers, and ordinary people gets to be drug mules.

The book, in my opinion, was brilliantly written and kept me engaged till the last page. It is not that predictable, and have some serious deviations from what I expected. I really enjoy David Baldacci’s writing.

The subject of this book remains a huge crisis to this day. I think it would be heartbreaking to know how many girls in this world has been abducted, got to be hooked on drugs, and then sold off to the slave trade in prostitution.  So many people also disappear in our own country, and one of the biggest remaining mysteries in South Africa remains the fate of the six girls abducted by Gert van Rooyen in the 1980’s. This problem endures throughout Africa, South America, and the former eastern European states.  I think it could well be an international problem all over the world.  Young girls are taken against their will, and their families never have news of their fate again. ANd even worse, in places in Asia girls get sold by their own parents.

This remains, with rape, the most shocking human behaviour I can think about.  The solution lies in every community, caring for every child as if it was their own. And societies all over the world who will not tolerate abuse of any people in their midst. By cutting off the demand, supply should stop.  I wish and pray with my whole heart that this situation will change.

I really believe, on this Children’s Day in South Africa, that every child has the right to grow up free, without any shadow of sexual abuse or slavery endangering them in any way. May we never forget…

Singing in the Rain…

Daily Prompt: Singin’ in the Rain

by michelle w. on June 15, 2013

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RAIN.

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The part of South Africa where I live, can be prone to drought quite often. Rain is therefore always seen as a blessing. Most people have rain meters in their gardens, and it is always a good topic of conversation in our town: when last did it rain (probably February…) and how much rain did you have?  We almost never have some of the English and Irish weather of weeks of rain at a time. Most often it is just a quick thundershower, with one farm gettin 20 mm and the neighbour getting 100 mm… with the question asked around the next braaivleisvuur  “What have I done to deserve this?” (Barbeque- always a social event, to be held as often as possible… a vegetarian in our midst is someone who loves chicken and pork…)

Well… when it rains… it is a good time to celebrate life, as it does not happen very often in the Bushveld.  Then it is time to cancel all appointments for the rest of the day. If it is the end of a long drought one might be tempted to dance naked in the rain… it has happened…  But on a rainy afternoon, it is time to slow down. I love laying on my bed with a good book. Or in the arms of my wife, talking about love…  We love pancakes in the rain (crepes) and hot chocolate.  In a thunderstorm the electricity gets knocked out more ofter than not. Then we love to cook on gas, and sit around candle light with the beautiful sound of rain on the tin roof.  It gets very dusty around here, and when the rain falls, it has such a cleansing effect on human and nature. The dust gets washed off. The air smells clean and fresh. Our plants react to the rainwater so beautifully- immediately every plant and tree just looks much greener and healthier.

Rain is a celebration of life around here. It is a special occasion. Our family in England and Ireland can’t understand it anymore, because rain is the normal weather there. Here- we love rain, we make love in rain, we play in the rain, we dance in the rain. Rain is full of hope for the future, there might be a crop this year…

But let’s go back to a rainy afternoon in 2010, when we hiked as a family with friends the Blyderivierspoort Hiking Trail in the Lowveld of South Africa… The route was badly marked, and the maps were totally useless… this was the weather of the day…

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Young ones in love do not care about weather as long as they can be close together…

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A wet teenage girl can be more dangerous than a grumpy bear in this weather…

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After hours of being lost in the mist we found the hut… my sons enjoyed it a lot…

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It was even raining inside the hut…

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With hot food inside us the songs of lamentations turned into an ode to joy…

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And after a night of rest, we were ready for another day of…

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No, not a river- this IS the road we must travel…

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But- if you continue long enough, by any means possible, you reach your destination…

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They did not mind the rain…

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Neither did he… my youngest…

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Our destination- Bourke’s Luck potholes…

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Do you know how good this coffee tastes if you are wet to the bone, and it is pouring outside? This is fun in the rain…

The Love for Curves… weekly photo challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

by Sara Rosso on June 14, 2013
Curves. I bet you can find curves wherever you are. Show me!
Share a picture of CURVES and explain why you chose that picture!
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The Curve of Family Values in a good friend’s house…
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The Curve of Ancient Holy Architecture- in the Cathedral of Léon… on the Camino de Santiago… Image
The curve in the road ahead… Image
There is the Curves of the sound of Music: a Cello! (fineartamerica.com) and a Guitar (russian.gadgetstudy.com)
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There is the Curves every Biker loves… (beforeitsnews.com)
ImageSara asked to show curves wherever we find them, so I walked into the bathroom with my camera, but my wife did

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not like the idea, I think that is what the little incident of verbal abuse and domestic violence meant. So yes, I am going to show you the curves every  Biker loves the most:  The curves of a woman’s body- the most beautiful curves of them all…
The Venus de Milo (www.teamboyce.co.ukaa Venus de Milo
So yes, this is the Sign that The Rider loves the most:
Curves Ahead…Image
I love Curves…

Have a little bit of faith…

Daily Prompt: In Good Faith

by michelle w. on June 14, 2013

Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FAITH.

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Maybe my regular 3 readers thought that I would write a long long story on this one, being a Christian pastor.  Maybe you expected photos of my church building, or St Peter’s in Rome, or the Santiago Cathedral where the Camino de Santiago ends…  Maybe you expected stories of high church and low church, of Catholics or Evangelicals, or Orthodox or Pentecostals. Maybe you wanted to know who I think is right or wrong, maybe a kick at those damned atheists… Sorry to disappoint you all…

My faith is not about church buildings, or who is right or wrong, adult baptism or infant baptism, I do not care if you have the eucharist with small glasses or big mugs, bread or matsos, I do not want to be the judge over what is sin or what is not…

My faith is a relationship. I believe that Jesus has said it so beautifully when all the religious folk of that time confronted Him in Matthew 22:34-40: My religion is to love God with all my heart and soul and spirit and strength, and my neighbour as myself.   My  faith is about love changing the world, nothing else. No violence in the name of God. No fighting with people who have other beliefs than mine.  No throwing stones at people who society said are sinners.

Love changes everything. God’s love changed my life. And I want to change the people around me with love. Nothing else.

So I dearly wanted to write just this one word, and it would be enough: LOVE!

Ok- a photo of faith- in my church- the remembrance meal the Thursday evening before the Good Friday: Each time you eat this bread, each time you drink this wine, Remember Me! Then go into the world, and love your neighbourImage

 Sorry for the red hue- there was a red spotlight on this table and the photo was taken with my cellphone…  I am not that good in Photoshop to change it…

Person of the year…

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

by michelle w. on June 13, 2013

You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?

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In my life I saw quite a lot of statues for “The Unknown Soldier”- somebody who has died in the service of his country, and who could not be recognized. One unidentified body was buried with the greatest honor to remember all those who died in a similar way for their country. It is good to remember their sacrifice, also as a warning to not do stupid things like starting wars again…

But If I had the chance to pick a person to be nominated by Time, and to get a front page, I would randomly pick: The ordinary woman.

  •  She does not look like a supermodel, she does not even think that she is pretty…
  •  She is a mother
  •  She is a wife
  •  She has her own career
  • She still has to cook her family’s meals
  •  She probably has not reached any of her dreams when she was a young girl yet, and sometimes forget that there was a dream in the first place…
  •  She is the shelter in the storm for her family…

I know this may sound very sexistic. It is not intended that way.  I do not think that is how the perfect woman should be, I am saying that this is the life a lot of women I know are leading.

I have a lot of respect for the ordinary woman- doing all those things, and maybe never even getting a proper thank you. She might think that she is just ordinary, but somebody like my wife, and all the women of the world like her, are exceptional people in my eyes. They deserve much more recognition in life, because they make this world a place worth living in with their love and care…

Even the oldest statue in the world of a woman agrees: They are to be treasured and honored…

THE STATUE OF WILLENDORF

“Willendorf” is the name that was given to the first known human figurine, a woman. The statue was found in 1908 near the town of Willendorf in Vienna. It was carved from limestone and colored with red ochre. It measures 110 mm in height and is dated 30,000 and 25,000 BC.