Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"For I know the plans I have for you,
declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope."

- Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Instagram and Photography and Noah and -

Used by Permission, GraphicStock
Social media is what it is and I enjoy using it for different purposes, personally and professionally.

As a photography and writing business owner, it's an excellent way to share my work with many diverse people from many areas of the country and even the world.

Sometimes, though, I can be a bit slow in embracing new technology and new gadgets.  I think it's more that I want to be sure I am getting something I can use, incorporate easily into my workflow, and have good reason to use the technology, device or app.

I say all that to share this, as far as social media, I have gotten into Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger - from The Dog's Paw, Blogger - Lenses in Bloom, Pinterest, YouTube, and Flickr. Now, several months ago, I started using Instagram- from The Dog's Paw.

Instagram - from The Dog's Paw is going to be a bit different.  I will be sharing my photography skills using my Android phone- which is still a work in progress.

If you know me very well, you know I don't like to do what everyone else is doing or does.  I'm kind of a nonconformist.  I don't seek that, it just comes naturally. Having said that, Instagram will be where I share my journeys with Noah and my wife too. You will see photos from all over the place as we head out for vacations, railfanning, nature walks and hikes and just "going for a ride!" It will be a fun ride and I hope you join us.

Please join our adventures by following us on Instagram - from The Dog's Paw! See you there!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Early Spring Skies"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Sometimes I am just not as brilliant or on top of things as I wish I was. What? Yeah, it seems that I have a lot to learn as I meet people in this universe in which we live. What am I talking and writing about?

A few weeks ago, my wife and I embarked on a cruise which we’d been anticipating for quite a while. It seems that whenever I travel, I overpack. I take too many clothes and too much stuff to do should I have time and so on. So, determined to avoid this, I packed only what I thought I would absolutely need on this trip.

As we travelled to Fort Lauderdale, everything went as planned. It was becoming an awesome experience together as we celebrated 20 years of marriage.

We arrived a day earlier than the cruise was to leave in order to allow time for whatever to happen. It worked well and provided us some “breathing” room for a delay or two.

On the day we were to travel from the hotel to the cruise ship, we met a couple in the hotel lobby breakfast who were excited to be going on their cruise. It wasn’t on our ship or with the Gospel Music Celebration Cruise we had chosen.
"Boarding"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I noticed the couple seemed to be very happy and cheerful. However, when we shared about our cruise, they seemed to not know what we were talking about or maybe wondered why we would take a trip like this.

As I paid more attention to the lady traveling, I came to the conclusion that she has some sort of cancer diagnosis. Of course, I couldn’t ask her as I did not know her. I determined this by the hat she was wearing- I've seen it way too many times over the years.

We joined them later in the morning on the shuttle from the hotel to the cruise ship. Once again, I noticed that she seemed a bit concerning but was going on a journey with someone she loved.

Later in my journey, my heart ached as I realized she didn’t seem to know God. I don’t judge someone so I don’t know for sure but gathering from some comments and actions, I wondered.

I wish I hadn’t left my Gospel Tracs at home as I could have given her one and I wished that I had said more about God in the brief time we had in meeting on this earth.

I don’t know her diagnosis or what time she has left on this earth, but I do know that with God in her life, she would experience His Awesome Presence in the most difficult of times.

While God doesn’t always choose to heal our physical needs, He does choose to help us through them or will use them to reach others. God isn’t a crutch to help losers that is often portrayed in media but a True Help in many different times of trials.

Do you know God? Have you met His Son Jesus Christ who died on a cross for your sins so that you can have eternal life with Him in Heaven and not in hell for all eternity- which means forever and ever?

If you have not, please follow these steps to doing so- 

(C) Allen Pearson
If you would like to learn more, please visit Peace With God!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday's Foto! A Trip to Horseshoe Curve

Railroad Altoona PA
"A Trip to Horseshoe Curve"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
My wife, dog and I headed to Altoona, PA once again this Spring to visit my favorite train watching location which is Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, Altoona, PA.

The day was absolutely perfect!  We arrived around 11 a.m. and stayed until 4 p.m. seeing around 10-15 trains in that time period. The weather was sunny and warm.

If you enjoy watching trains, this is the place to go.  Be sure to visit the RailroadCity website for seasonal operation dates and times, do not use the website found through Google Maps as the times are incorrect. My heart stopped when I found the site and thought it was closed after driving all that distance.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
"Finally, be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of
his might."

Ephesians 6:10, ESV

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday's Thought

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

The Resurrection


16 "When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him."
 - Mark 16:1-6

Today we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. He was crucified on Good Friday for our sins and rose on Easter. He paid the ultimate price for our sins -death- so that we wouldn't have to if we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior.

Sometimes I have a difficult time believing someone would do that for me.  It's part of my nature to analyze and think about things much further than what I should- in some cases.  This is one of them.

Whenever I question, I chat with a buddy of mine or read something written by Billy Graham, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, or Jack Graham. These men have written incredible books and devotions which remind me that we have to have faith! Belief in God and Jesus Christ requires faith. So, I focus on that- keeping Jesus in my mind while many other things try to get my attention.

God's Gift of Salvation is available to everyone and anyone who is willing to accept Him. There is no price, there is no work required or initiation or anything like that- just to have faith. Interested in becoming a Christian and learning more about Him and the life He has for you?  Follow these steps:

Admit
Admit that you are a sinner, just like everyone else born into this world, until we  confess to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness:

"(23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
 (24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
-Romans 3:23-24, ESV

"(23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 6:23, ESV

Believe
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

(16) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16, ESV 

Confess
Confess your sins in a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:

(9) "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. "
- Romans 10:9, ESV

(13) For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  
 - Romans 10:13, ESV

Pray
"Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. 
I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. 
Jesus, come into my life and take control, 
forgive my sins and save me. I place my trust in You alone
 for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."

Amen

So now what?

If you prayed this prayer with your whole heart and believed what you did, you are now a Christian.  My suggestion is to find a local church and become involved.  Talk to the pastor about this experience and ask him to teach you where to go or what to do next.

If you are not familiar with a local church, a few excellent resources to get you started or who can follow up with you are:

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Southern Baptist Convention

Southern Baptist Conservatives

Church of the Nazarene

In Touch Ministries (Charles Stanley)

Turning Point Ministries (David Jeremiah)

PowerPoint Ministries (Jack Graham)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
"even as the Son of Man
came not to be served but to serve,
 and to give his life 
as a ransom for many."

- Matthew 20:28, ESV

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Spring in Walney"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Today is Palm Sunday.  The day before Easter that begin Holy Week. It is the day Christians remember and celebrate as the day Jesus entered in Jesus entered into Jerusalem as Savior and King.  As he rode a donkey into town, a crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road.  They shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

This time of year causes much reflection for me.  As I think about Palm Sunday and Easter is all about, I have a hard time understanding why someone would die for me so that I could have eternal life in heaven.
"Spring in Walney"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I've had the blessing of being brought up in the church.  My father was a Minister of Music and my mother say in the choir.  Each of them did many jobs in the church throughout the years. We were there every time the church doors were open. Of course, as a young boy I knew this is what we were supposed to do and really didn't rebel too much from it.

In my early teen years, I began playing the organ for church services.  I loved it and practiced and practiced and should have practiced even more.  As an organist, I was blessed with the ability to play music by ear which made it easier to read the words to the songs and sing along with the congregation and choir specials.  So, the works of those songs repeated much of the truth of the Gospel.

As the words of the hymns and choir specials recounted through my mind, I was constantly reminded of how Christ died on a cruel cross for my sins.  The music played and sung on Palm Sunday was usually more of a "mourning" or "sad" song less celebratory- Easter was definitely a celebration.  Even as I've aged, and am not playing the organ at church, these songs go through my mind as reminders of what Christ did for me-

Ten Thousand Angels 

1 They bound the hands of Jesus 
in the garden where He prayed;
They led Him thro' the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin;
They said, "Crucify Him; He's to blame."

Chorus:
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, (alone), for you and me.

2 Upon His precious head 
they placed a crown of thorns;
They laughed and said, "Behold the King."
They struck Him and they cursed Him
and mocked His holy name.
All alone He suffered everything. (Chorus)

3 When they nailed Him to the cross,
His mother stood near by;
He said, "Woman, behold thy son!" 
He cried, "I thirst for water," 
but they gave Him none to drink.
Then the sinful work of man was done. (Chorus)

4 To the howling mob He yielded;
He did not for mercy cry.
The cross of shame He took alone.
And when He cried, "It's finished,"
He gave Himself to die;
Salvation's wondrous plan was done. (Chorus)

Author: Ray Overholt, 1980

If you are wondering about the Palm Sunday and Easter season- what it all means or what its all about, be sure to visit a local church this coming Easter to learn more. 


If you would like to learn more about God's Plan of Salvation for man, please visit Peace With God.

#easter, #jesuschrist, #palmsunday, #holyweek, #godsword, #eastersunday, #godssalvation, #salvation, 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
One of my most favorite Scriptures is:

"but they who wait for the Lord
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with 
wings like eagles;
they shall run 
and not be weary;
they shall walk
and not faint."

- Isaiah 40:31


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday's Thought!

"As the Deer"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I Ask for Mercy

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” - Luke 23: 42-43

The Polish astronomer Copernicus, through his writings and education, changed the concepts of what men think about the universe and how the universe runs. He was a brilliant man. But when Copernicus came to die, he did not see himself as an astronomer but as a sinner in need of forgiveness. He asked that this epitaph be inscribed on his gravestone: “Lord, I do not ask the kindness Thou didst show to Peter. I do not dare ask the grace Thou didst grant to Paul; but, Lord, the mercy Thou didst show to the dying robber, that mercy show to me. That earnestly I pray.”

Do you want that today? Do you want the mercy that God showed to the dying thief? He will show it to you and save you today.

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers and to learn about salvation, please visit Assurance of Salvation.

Devotion used by written permission of Love Worth Finding.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday's Foto! Railroad Signal at Dusk

 
"Railroad Signal at Dusk"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Sitting by the railroad tracks at one of my favorite locations to watch trains go by, I captured the awesomeness of the "Railroad Signal at Dusk."

Prints and other products can be found in my Railroad Gallery.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Railroads and Photography


"CSX in Marmet, WV"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
A different post for me to write and share with you, however, after seeing some antics near the local train station where I volunteer and while watching trains, I decided to share this information with you.

As a photographer specializing in dogs, cats, gardens, and horses, my clients are never near the railroad tracks.  The noise would be way too much for the animals. However, I am a huge railfan. I enjoy sitting in "legal" locations watching the trains go by.  Sometimes I photograph and video them for my use and maybe clients.  However, I never trespass on railroad property to get a photograph of a train or the railroad tracks or anything related to the area where the tracks are.  Not only is it dangerous, it could be fatal.

A few weeks ago, I saw a man stop his car on the railroad tracks to photograph.  He left his car on the tracks while he got out to photograph.  I was floored.  I thought "really?" I couldn't believe what I was seeing. While I am not sure his thinking for this, his activity was illegal and very dangerous.
Used by Permission, Operation Lifesaver

Not too long after, there was a man walking his dog on the railroad tracks.  To me, it was a case of cruelty and unconcern for his dog, much less himself.  He was too far up the tracks to say anything and in a location not easily accessible.

Have you ever taken a good look at railroad tracks? You can find photographs everywhere online to do this. If you look at the railroads tracks and the beds they are on, there are numerous places where an accident could happen if you were surprised by an oncoming train or, worse, misjudge its speed.  The rail, the ties, the spikes, the rocks, just to name a few can cause problems when you are in a hurry. Or, maybe not in a hurry but you trip on something.

As photographers, we must obey the laws. Not only to protect ourselves but our clients, future clients, and anyone who will see our photographs. Since many photographers get their ideas from other photographers work, we must set the standaard of NOT shooting on the tracks or railroad property.

I have taken an extra step in my railroad photography.  If I photograph something which looks like I was on the tracks to capture it, I include the statement, "Photographer NOT on Tracks" as you would see on a photo of a Thoroughbred on my Instragram-from the Dog's Paw.

After the incidents, I found information about photography and railroads at Operation Lifesaver and am sharing some tips from them-

As Photographers, we must follow these safety tips-
  • Trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
  • An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train's distance from you - and its speed. 
  • The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property.
  • No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
  • People mimic your behavior when they see your photos on the web and social media.
"CSX Coal Train in Marmet, WV"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

"I have said these things to you,
that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world."

- John 16:33, ESV

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday's Thought

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

"Whoever confesses
that Jesus is the Son of God,
God abides in him,
and he in God."

- 1 John 4:15, ESV

The truest blessing in this life is following Jesus Christ and being a Son of God. My life has been one of contentment and happiness while going through many life's events. 

As I've gone through life, I've noticed everything seems to get more complicated and complex. However, God's Gift of Salvation to us never changes and it's probably one of the simplest things we can do, no complicated complex secret code which only the brightest and smartest can figure. 

We simply Admit, Believe, and Confess, A-B-C- as illustrated in the following graphic- 

(C) Allen Pearson
If you would like to learn more, please visit Peace With God

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Planning to Create A Wildlife Garden

"American Robin Looking for Worms!"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Now is the time to finish up the sketches and plans for your wildlife garden. You’ll want to break ground as soon as possible whether you do the work or hire someone.

A wildlife garden is a different than others because it will have a more natural design and is very beautiful in the native landscape.Where other gardens tend to have a specific design where plants will go, the wildlife garden allows a more natural flow to it.  Think about those walks in the woods or trips to the mountains, God didn’t place plants in a 1-2-3 order- think how boring that would be- and He knew it would be!

Research local Botanical gardens and go visit one or two.  Take a long leisurely stroll around to learn what you would like in your backyard.  I went to Green Spring Park in Alexandria, VA and to a local park when I could get back to nature and lean what I like about what I saw!  In one wildlife garden I created, I had a dry stream bed to help with drainage with a wooden bridge crossing over it.

When you look at the space in your yard where you be creating the wildlife garden, you need to consider many factors:

  • Wildlife- what type of wildlife are you likely to see in your yard looking for food and water?  Do you want to feed a specific species like birds and butterflies or do you want to feed every critter which comes by? 
  • Keep in mind, if you have children, you might not want to create a garden which could attract skunks or possiums or snakes.  My yard is next to a few where snakes reside so I don’t create rock piles which could cause them to nest and too much excitement for my heart. 
  • Remember, some species of wildlife will come back to your yard repeatedly for food.  If you do not want them to start, do not start feeding them. 

  • What type of garden area would you to create?  Do you want to have a meadow of wildflowers, a pond, a dry stream bed or a mix of them all.  
  • Do you want to incorporate trees and leaves like you’d see along a trail in the woods in your garden?
  • How much space do you have to use from a wildlife garden?  Can you fit all your favorite items in it or do you need to par it down?

As I love nature, enjoy being in the outdoors as much as I possibly can and love hiking through the woods, I decided to create a wildlife garden.  This one is my third and will be the best of what I learned from the other three.

"Wildlife Garden"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
"Therefore do not be anxious 
about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be 
anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day
is its own trouble."

- Matthew 6:34, ESV

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Billy Graham preaches the Gospel
during his Crusade in
Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 22-26, 1993"

(C) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Used by Permission

Do You Need to Repent

Jesus told the truth about repentance. He said, “Unless you repent, you will perish” (Cf. Luke 13:3).

Have you repented? Repentance means change. I change my mind about God, about myself, about my fellow man. I change my way of living. But on my own I don’t have strength to change. I can’t change. I can’t become a Christian. Why? Because I’m “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

God has to help me change. He has to help me repent. And I have to say, “O God, help me to repent.” Not only do we have to repent, but by faith we must receive Christ into our hearts as Savior and Lord.

Prayer
Dear Lord, please show me anything for which I need to repent. I want to be fully surrendered to You as I trust You entirely. Please show me how to do that. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

To learn more about God's Plan of Salvation and repentance, please visit Peace With God!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

"Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away."

- Matthew 24:35, ESV

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday's Thought

(C) Allen Pearson
"But, as it is written, 
'What no eye has seen, 
nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, 
what God has prepared for those who love him' "

 - 1 Corinthians 2:9, ESV

A place I look forward to seeing. Heaven. I cannot imagine what it will be like as the Bible says it's beyond our comprehension or imagination.  Too incredibly awesome to explain. In some of my "daydreams," I've wondered what about it though. Having quite a creative imagination, I've dreamed God has created, a camping tent next to a lake with a mountain view and a forest surrounding it.  All the animals and critters God ever created will be all around me for my enjoyment. This would be heaven for me- and, I like to think that's what God will create for me.
 
Now, Jesus and Worshipping Him forever will be what I am looking forward to the most. I dream of a Worship Service much like those I experienced as a child at Virginia Campmeeting many years ago- only it will be much better- which is even hard for me to imagine as those services were beyond awesome back then.

Though heaven, and what it will be like isn't why I've served God over the years, it's because I've wanted to serve Him. I was introduced to Christ as a very young child.  I accepted Him as my Savior and have believed in Him since that early age.

Throughout my life, I've had God's Presence taking care of me throughout many situations- many that I didn't even realize He was there.  He has guided my steps, ordered my life in a way that I could never have done myself and been as happy and content as I am.  He has always taken care of all my needs. Note "needs" not wants as there's a huge difference.

If you are searching for happiness and contentment for your life, follow Jesus. Follow God. And don't look back.  If you would like to follow Jesus, please do the following-  

Admit
Admit that you are a sinner, just like everyone else born into this world, until we  confess to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness:

"(23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," 
-Romans 3:23-24, ESV

"(23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 6:23, ESV

Believe
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

(16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16, ESV 

Confess
Confess your sins in a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:

(9) "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. "
- Romans 10:9, ESV

(13) For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
   -Romans 10:13, ESV

Pray
"Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. 
I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation 
and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. 
Jesus, come into my life and take control, 
forgive my sins and save me. I place my trust in You alone
 for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."

Amen

If you would like to learn more, please visit Peace With God.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday's Word

(C) Allen Pearson
"But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses
us from all sin."

- 1 John 1:7 ESV

Monday, March 6, 2017

Timeless Thursday! Nature's Fire?

"Nature's Fire at Walney"(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
A few Spring seasons ago, I was walking around the Walney Nature Center in Centreville, VA.  It was a cold Spring morning and I had to get out to see what I could find to photograph in the natural world.

When I turned around the building to head out to my car, I saw what looked like a stone wall on fire.  The incredibly beautiful Forsythia was in bloom showing off its brilliant color!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"The end of the matter; 
all has been heard.
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man."

- Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday's Thought - A Great Need for Christ!

Used by Permission, ChristianQuotes.info
For me, this says it all-

I have a GREAT NEED for Christ;
I have a GREAT CHRIST for my need-

- Charles Spurgeon

I began my Christian walk at a very young age since my parents were Christians and active in their church it was almost like I had no other choice.  But, I did.  No matter how much my parents loved me, they cannot save me nor can they make me become a Christian or get saved. All they can do is expose me to Christianity and try to live the example- which is something they did.  

Growing up, I was a church organist where I played for many worship services, revival meetings, weddings and a few funerals.  I loved the music of the church.  I went away to a Christian college where I learned there is more to the Christian life than what I learned in the early years of life. 

While in college, I grew concerned that I wasn't really saved the first time at the age of 6, so I rededicated my life to Christ and began a new journey.

After college, I returned to the area where I grew up as I had a part-time job in my field of study and was going to work until it became a full-time one. To help a friend with the church he recently became the Pastor, I accepted the church organist position.

As I've gone through life, I can't say that I've always known that God was there at particular moments though there are plenty of them where I knew He was. However, I know with no doubt that God has always been there.  As there is no way that I could have ever planned events in my life to turn out as they did.  

My wife and I went through about an 8 year period where we cared for our parents medical care and the like. There were hospital emergencies, serious medical issues, and at least one death a year. For a while, I began thinking "who's next?"   It was the most trying time of my life and, sometimes, my marriage. However, there is no way I would ever want to go through those years without Christ in my life.  He didn't make it go away but allowed me to learn more about Him and how He cares for us.  The peace, love and comfort that passes all understanding is well beyond my comprehension and ability to even explain- but as the song goes, "I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now!"

Throughout my life, I have seen where I have needed Christ.  From just to have Him in my life- to at the controls so He is orchestrating life- not me.  I would mess things up horribly.

I am thankful for parents, family, friends, and church members who took the time to introduce me to God's Plan of Salvation- His Love for me.

Have you met God? No, I mean really met God? Not just said His Name or talked to Him when you needed something.  Have you had a serious prayer with Him about His Plans for you and about Salvation?  If not and you want to learn more, you can visit Peace With God or read through this graphic which explains the steps to Salvation and to get to know God! 

(C) Allen Pearson
I pray that you too will find God!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Timeless Thursday! The Burning Bush

"The Burning Bush!"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Several years ago now, I went to the Meadowland Botanical Gardens for a photography class with one of my favorite photographers.

As I came around the corner of the Visitor's Center to the garden area, I saw these bright colored blooms, which I later determined as berries, coming up from the snow bank.  Intrigued, as it made me think of Moses and the Burning Bush, I took a walk over to the area where this bush was growing.  It still looked like a burning bush though I have no idea what type of bush it was.

 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life."

- Proverbs 4:23

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday's Thought - Valentine's Day

Used by Permission, GraphicStock

With Valentine’s Day this past week it’s a great reminder that I have been blessed with in this life is love. My parents loved me, sometimes my brother did- it depended on whatever was going on at the moment- my grandparents loved me, my aunts and uncles did too. Everyone loved me though I wasn’t always aware of that growing up- not because they didn’t express it many times over.

When I was just a young spat, back when we used stone tablets and chisels to write with, my parents and church family taught me about God’s Love for me. God loves me more than I could ever express in an article. God loves you too. It’s the greatest gift man could ever be given.

As I grew up, I began to understand, somewhat - as I am not a theologian or Bible scholar, God’s Love for me. I became a Christian at any early age and followed Him throughout my life. I am not perfect and this isn’t without many goofs on my part either. Now, some 50 years later or so, I look back and see many blessings that God provided to me over the years without my asking- it was out of His Love for me.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve had a perfect, no problem life. Quite the contrary. But, as I look back through the struggles and rough times, I can see where God directed my life in ways which were the best for me. There’s no way I could have planned my career, marriage, and other life events like God did and is still doing. I am amazed at His Love for me. You can find the same Love.

God gave his Son for us so we can have eternal life in heaven with Him. He made the ultimate sacrifice of love- giving His only Son, as written in:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
- John 3:16, (ESV)

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Christian or God's Gift of Love, please read through this graphic. 

(C) Allen Pearson
For more information, to learn even more, please visit Peace With God.


Used by Permission, GraphicStock

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Native Plants- Do They Sound Foreign?

Quercus Alba White Oak
"White Oak (Quercus Alba)"
(C) Plant NoVa Natives
Do you want to help the local wildlife but are afraid that would mean planting a scruffy garden full of strange-looking plants? Have no fear! You can create habitat using familiar plants in traditional landscaping settings.

"Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia)"
(C)  PlantNoVa Natives
Shade Trees
Planting a shade tree provides an enormous amount of habitat. The White Oak (Quercus alba) is the hands-down winner in supplying food for the caterpillars that songbirds need to feed their babies.

Shrubs
Covered with clusters of white and pink flowers in May, Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) will satisfy your need for old-fashioned foundation plantings.

Ornamental Trees
What could be more traditional than Virginia’s state tree? The flowering dogwood (Cornus floridus) has berries that feed the birds.

Perennials
Anyone who has gardened – and anyone who has not – looks forward to the profusion of yellow flowers in late summer provided by Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida). Add garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) for that English cottage garden look. Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum) tops it off in this photo
.
"Do Native Plants Sound Foreign?"
(C) PlantNoVaNatives
Ground cover
A carpet of blue in the spring gives way to a carpet of green the rest of the year with creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).

All these gorgeous Northern Virginia native plants attract wildlife and add sound and lively movement to the visual beauty of your yard.

About The Author:
This guest post is sponsored by PlantNoVaNatives. 
























Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God,
and I will praise him,
my father's God, 
and I will exalt him."

- Exodus 15:2, ESV

Monday, February 13, 2017

Railroad Photography: Horseshoe Curve and Norfolk Southern

"Horseshoe Curve and Norfolk Southern"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Having an artist eye, loving being outside, and add trains to it all, you've got the foundation or a start for being a Railroad Photographer. At least so I think.

I had an opportunity last October to go

The interesting part for me, is that I have tried several times to capture the huge diesel train engine in an artistic perspective without even attempting or deliberating trying to do so.  I went to Horse Curve in Altoona, Pennsylvania to watch trains, photograph a few and capture a great image of a Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred coming through.

"Horseshoe Curve and Norfolk Southern" is my attempt at capturing an artistic view of the Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred going through the mountains.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday's Thought

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

No greater gift has man ever received than the forgiveness of God.  All we have to do is ask Him, believe and accept.  

If you would like to learn more about God's Gift to you, please visit Peace With God.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Vigalence and Common Sense in Photography

"The Selfie Moment"
(C) Toni Hukkanen, UnSplashed
Did you know that photography can harm you? Maybe even cause your death? I’d not really given much thought to those direct questions until someone lost their life by taking a selfie at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, India. It seems someone wasn’t paying attention to their surroundings and fell off a cliff. Further, you can get wrapped up in what you are doing and have an accident too.

I was surprised at this since I would think you’d look around and be familiar with your surroundings when photographing. However, I don’t usually take selfie’s and generally do not photograph humans. Whenever I have and left my camera on selfie-mode, I scared myself the next time I used the camera- so only a few selfies here and there- even at that I know what’s around me. Most of the selfies I do are when my dog is in the backseat of the car and we’re heading out.

Also, there are many factors in my life which cause me to pay attention to the surroundings and know where I am walking, where I am going, and where I went. As a nature photographer, you learn to recognize animals and how to “greet” them or not- as is the case with many animals, and you learn to watch for changes in the terrain so you don’t hurt yourself. Should you get into a situation where you need to get away or back off, as with a snake or bear, you don’t want another problem.

As a dog photographer, if I am not photographing in my outdoor studio, and am on location, I scout out any danger points near me. One of my favorite locations to photograph dogs was at the Cabbel’s Mill and Walney Nature Center along the Big Rocky Run. The only real dangers was the stream that could ruin my camera. There were a few places where I could hurt myself by falling off a steep hill but these weren’t accessible.

My point? Don't hurt yourself while photographing. Be aware of your surroundings.  Be careful when you photograph and where you go.  Be alert!



 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Timeless Thursday! Icy Reflections

"Icy Reflections"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reerved
I created this image at the Walney Pond, Centreville, VA.  I was walking through the park on a cold winter day and noticed the reflections of the tree hanging over the pond in the ice.   The designs in the ice caught my attention too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson


"And my God will supply 
every need of yours 
according to his riches
in glory in Christ Jesus."

- Philippians 4:19, ESV

Monday, February 6, 2017

Photographing the Seasons! Winters Skies

"Winter's Skies"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
In the winter months, it seems the skies clear out and you can see into the incredible universe of the heavens God created.

On clear days, there's the infinite blue which has no end.   On cloudy days, there seems to be a depth in the universe as different levels of clouds pass over as shown in this photograph.

The winter is an especially great time to see the beauty of clouds and the heavens as there is no humidity which allows the beauty of the heaven's depth.

The same can be true, occasionally, in early Spring and late Fall.

The next time you go out, take your camera with you, and look up into the clouds and heavens, obviously NOT at the sun, and see the beauty of God's Heavens.  Photograph what you see.  

Just as a reminder, never ever look directly at the sun through the lens of your camera or stare at the sun with the naked eye.  Doing so, can cause blindness and other vision problems. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Billy Graham"
(C) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Used by Permission

Have You Surrendered Your Will? 
by Billy Graham

From His very birth, something about Christ inspired allegiance, loyalty and homage. Wise men brought Him gifts. Shepherds fell down and worshiped Him. And angels, knowing more than men that He was truly King, became celestial minstrels before His manger throne. Herod, realizing that there is never room for two thrones in one kingdom, sought Jesus’ life.

Does Christ reign in your heart? Is He Lord and King? Thousands of people who have their names on a church roll have never surrendered their will to Him as King. You may believe in God and the church, and even in Christ, but you have not surrendered your will to Him.

As Jesus came to the age of approximately 30 years and began His ministry, His claims upon people’s lives were absolute. He allowed no divided loyalty. He demanded and received complete adoration and devotion. Men and women left their homes, their families and their businesses, and gave themselves in complete obedience to Him. Many gave their lives, pouring out the last full measure of devotion. We cannot understand Christ until we understand that He was—and still is—King.

Prayer
Dear Lord, I confess that I have sought my own way so often. I surrender to Your way and Your will now and ask You to help me follow You with full devotion. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

To learn more about God's Plan of Salvation, please visit Peace With God!

(Adapted from “The Birth of King Jesus” in the December 2016 issue of Decision magazine)

Used by permission of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association