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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Breathing new life into old projects

So, this past week another store opened in the old Wegmans that closed near us.  This time it is the Goodwill store.  They remodeled part of the building to be their store.  My wife, Juli and I went there after church on Sunday to check it out.  We left with some small stuff but she also picked up a steamer and I with a 17 inch flat screen monitor($9) woo hoo.  My laptop screen cracked some time ago - so I have had to deal with a big blotch on the screen where the crack is.  I was able to plug in the new screen and walla - big (clean) new screen.  I am on it right now. 
It also means that I was able work on my graphics program at a size that doesn't strain my eyes.  These past few days I went back to some old projects that were in their line stages and scanned and finished them up.  Above is a piece I wanted to do a whole set of cards(eventually).  But the first one was this one of me for a small post card for my business.  I pulled out my old uniform to get the details right.  Thought it turned out pretty cool.

I also redid a piece that I once did years ago when I worked at a sign shop.  I created this as a decal that could be put on a vehicle on both sides(so reversible).  I had the original pencil line drawing so I scanned it in and recolored it.  I have the original digital image some where but at over 1000 dpi so very slow to open and most print shops are not setup for that.  So this one is at the standard 300 dpi. I wanted a fierce look for the eagle.  I do know that there are several vehicles in Afghanistan with this guy on their sides.  I want to revisit this as part of a patch of embroidered on the back of a jacket, heck, even as a tattoo maybe.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Transient Hike

     With Spring finally clawing its way back I have written a new article about hiking.  This time it is about a hike up the Treman Park gourge in Ithaca, New York.  I will often write about nature since I love to hike, but I always try to talk about what it is to Worship God through viewing what he has created.  Notice, it is not worshiping the creation but the Creator.  He is still the center of it all.  It is just how I chose to do it.  John Muir, the man who convinced the US Government to start the National Park movement to preserve wild places,  put it best when he said.  “No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening - still all is Beauty!”  On a mountain side gazing out on Gods creations and sometimes signing is how I most love to worship.  So here is the latest article.

     Ever since living in Puerto Rico the second time I have had a love for hiking. Having developed that passion, now, where ever we've lived I seek out new places to hike. But, ever since living in the state of Colorado hiking has become a means of worship. I do it for the chance to sit down at the end and marvel at and praise God for His creation. Now, as this winter has finally let go its grip for this season I'm anxious to get out and worship God again through His work. While I think about this I'm reminded of one place I have hiked that holds a special place in my heart ever since the first time I hiked it, Treman Falls in Ithaca New York.
      It is a state park in my home town. Over the years I can remember going there in the summers to swim. But, this one time I decided to see what else the park had to offer. It was during the summer of my parents fiftieth anniversary and we had a family reunion. One day my father offered to take my wife and I and several nieces to go swimming. The water was too cold for me so I went for what I thought was a short hike. Treman is a gorge that goes up that mountain for about two miles. There were two trails, the hard one and the harder one. With camera in hand, but not knowing, I took the harder one.
          Like many state parks in New York the trail was well maintained and paved in some places. So there was no problem hiking it. Well, except that it was steep at parts, and very hot and humid. At the very start was a wall of stairs. It took only a few minutes to double over in exhaustion. The humidity made me feel like I was breathing soup. Every pour on me opened up and I was soaked. To continue, I had to keep telling myself,”ten more steps.” A half hour later I got past the hardest part of the climb.
      Most of the trail was in the shade and from that point on it was generally a level walk. From time to time I stopped to take pictures and at one point I waded out to splash some water on my face to cool off. Yet, this part of the hike took me about two hours. So when I arrived at the first bridge across the creek, two thirds of the way up, I stopped to rest. My legs were shaky and the humidity dragged on my shoulders. I wanted to keep going, but my father would be worried, waiting at the bottom, and I was tired. So I decided to give up and go back down.
      While I rested a couple came down from the top of the trail and stopped at the bridge too. They saw me taking some photos and struck up a conversation. For several minutes we talked pleasantries then I said that I had to go back down. They mentioned that the top was not far away and they offered me a ride back down. So, a few minutes climb, or almost an hour or more walking down on tired legs, it wasn't hard to choose. As we headed up I stayed close to them or they to me. At that point it was hard to tell. However, the reward was just a few minutes away.
      The gorge soared up three or four times with each bend in the trail. Each had a set of stairs to climb, but they also had ever growing waterfalls. Finally, at the last turn I beheld a five story cascade of water. It was beautiful, and, it required one final push up the stairs to a stone bridge over the falls. I took a deep breath and prayed “God help me,” and forged ahead. When I got to the top I stopped in the middle of the bridge and looked out. The view from there made my heart skip a beat. In one direction it was like looking down a grand forested mountain, the thunder of the plunging water filling the air. In the other was a small canyon of moss covered rock with trees towering over it. Looking on that canyon reminded me of those opulent Gothic cathedrals reaching high into the heavens. Here though, was a cathedral built by Gods hand. My spot on that bridge being the altar. His presence filled me there and I was overwhelmed with peace, my pain and exhaustion forgotten.

   From there the couple drove me back to the bottom. I found my father there, agitated but relieved. They were waiting on me to leave. After one quick plunge into the cold water to cool off we left. As we drove home I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. “So we do not loose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
      Not far from the end of my hike I wanted to give up. Throw in the towel, as they say. But, just as I made my move to turn back, God reminded me of my goal and offered me what I needed to reach it. When I did, He overwhelmed me with His blessings.
      There will always be those obstacles to overcome in or lives. But, as the famous evangelist George Muller once said, “Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.” Just as Peter did when he kept his eyes on Christ, he was able to walk on water. But, when he looked away he fell into it. So, keep your gaze on Him and when life gets hard, He will be faithful to pull you through.