This week our family from out in Colorado came out to see us. We had my son (Bryan) and his wife (Sara), her mother (Karen), and their two previous kids (yes, our grandkids), who are 9 months (Luke) and 6 years old (William), out from Denver to visit with us. It was a short visit, but we had enough time yesterday in the sweltering heat to do some family photography out on the tree swing. This is just a small sampling of photos, but enough to see who the joker is, and who likes sitting in the grass. We haven’t seen Luke since he was born back in September when he looked like this, and they haven’t been to the property since July, when Luke looked like this. It’s amazing to see how much he has grown since then. Tomorrow they fly back to Denver where the air is thin and dry, but Nana and Popo were very excited to get to see the grandkids again for a quick summer visit.
Each year we have come into Auburn to watch the fireworks, but this year we changed locations to the new Auburn University Municipal Airport (AUO) terminal building, and it was a fantastic spot. The airport ended up being a nice quiet spot, for the most part, and we didn’t have any of the chaos around the concert in the park stuff either, which we don’t normally go to anyway. The temps weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be, so it was just an overall nice evening in Auburn this year.
I’m always fascinated how each year is always different. The circumstances of life are different, the location, setting, and the fireworks, all make for a unique experience each year. For some of the previous 4th of July displays in Auburn and elsewhere that include fireworks you can go to those listed below.
Previous 4th of July Displays We Had
- Photos of the 4th of July Fireworks in Auburn (2011)
- 4th of July Fireworks Video from Auburn Alabama (2010)
- Auburn 4th of July Fireworks Celebration Photos (2008)
- Light Painting with Sparklers and Some Low Light Photography
- Do it Yourself Low Light Fireworks Photography
Here are some other shots from the Auburn fireworks display, as shot from the roof of my car at the airport terminal. You can click on any of the images below to see the super high res size.
This is of course the day we said “I DO” to each other, some 19 years ago now. I’m not going to post a ton of photos as I have in the past, but I will share this one random shot above when we were walking away down the isle. On a side note, being able to look back historically at blog posts over a period of years is really interesting. I have posted on our anniversary, only on the odd years, like on year 15 and year 17, and now year 19. I’m thinking next year I will have to break that tradition for our 20th. Have no idea why, but, there you go.
Today is year number 19 and I can honestly say, I love my wife more now than I ever thought I could 19 years ago when we got married. Being married this long the question of the meaning of love gets discussed here and there, and of course Scripture tells us a lot about the truths of love. Paul makes his famous statements in Ephesians that I try to live by as a husband.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she might be holy and without blemish.
and then he goes on to say
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh… this mystery is profound…
That is what marriage is, what love is. God forming two separate and distinct lives between a man and a woman, into one, mysterious union, becoming over time, one unit, with the two distinctions in the past. That may scare some, but it encourages me, and I find it completely true, in all sense of the word.
I am continually amazed at the ability and care Deborah puts into each of her handmade dresses and other creations (see also her Etsy Store). If you are looking for some incredible heirloom quality dresses, or just a casual dress to wear to the Auburn football games (or insert your school name and logo here), I don’t know where you could find a better seamstress (she even creates christening gowns and the like).
Anyway, the above photo was just her latest creation for two of our nieces. Deb worked on these gems for about 3 weeks for a birthday present for Abby and Martha above. I can’t wait to see what she makes next. If you have any thought about getting something for football season don’t wait, there might be a waiting list.
Today is of course Memorial Day and I guess I’m adding to the glutton of Memorial Day blog posts that celebrate the day, but it’s a day worth celebrating. My family celebrated with a meal, pictured in this post along with the photos of my dad and Uncle about the time they were commissioned, and my grandfather who also served in the Army.
Today, our culture seems to have this tendency to sweep death and sacrifice away to the point where we don’t even understand anymore how difficult it was to obtain the freedom we have, and at what price many people paid to give us that freedom. My family has a long list of those who served in the military, going all the way back to the Civil War (with the South). Both my dad and my Uncle (604th Air Force Band), and both my grandfather’s were in the Army, one flew bombers in WWII, and the other (Don Fillmer) was in the European Theater. According to Don Fillmer’s Discharge Papers from the Army in 1944 he was in the 101st Airways Communications Squadron, and was given the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal upon his discharge in 1944.
While I was not in the military, I recognize their sacrifice, and others, who served those of us who now enjoying the freedom and prosperity they fought to give us. I can’t help but think about the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Christ, who willingly put himself in harm’s way, so that we may be able to enjoy an eternal life with God. There is no greater “Memorial Day” celebration than to have been given life through someone else’s death. Our military did that for us for the past 200 years, and Christ did that for us for the past 2,000 years.
We should recognize both for what they are, not hesitating to honor a person, or people, who have given their life, so that we may live. Pictured below from left to right top down is the Fillmer family (Larry, Dale, Deborah, and myself), Deborah, then Allen Fillmer, Donald Fillmer (my granddad), Larry Fillmer, and Les Fillmer (my uncle).
I’m so excited to see my nephew, Jacob, starting his first blog, so everyone please jump over to his newly created blog at www.JacobMarchio.com and add it to your reader or leave him a nice comment on his first post. After saving up and getting his first Digital SLR camera, a Nikon D3100 (see the post here where we went to pick up his camera), he quickly realized that he wanted a place to post his photos other than his Flickr account page where it is sometimes hard to write in a whole lot of detail.
At this point I have helped a lot of people setup a new blog, but I am not sure I have ever had someone this excited about getting started. His blog will generally be posts about his photography and his interest in astronomy, and for his age, he is quite a talented photographer and astronomer. I am really looking forward to seeing how his blog develops over time, I hope you will check it out from time to time as well and give him some nice encouragement along the way.
This is a very late version of Friday Feet today, but it’s technically still Friday. This late post is because We had an incredible, very humbling, Good Friday service today-tonight, (a post which will have to wait until tomorrow when I can get to the images). After finishing up a book review for Liberty this morning, my Friday-day-off became a mow as much grass as can be mowed in one afternoon. That’s not as bad as it sounds, I actually like getting out on the tractor, it gives me an escape of sorts to be able to listen to a book or something like that.
I know many people who do their thinking while they run, or ride, but I do mine while I’m on the tractor. It takes just about as long (that’s a good thing) to ride 30-40 miles, or run 10-15 miles, as it does to mow acres of grass. All that and I have less of a chance to get run over by a passing car too. It’s hard not to think about Holy Week, and the significance of it all, but I’ll elaborate on tonight’s service in the next post.
For now, the grass is green and growing fast, and the garden is about to be washed in purple. Our purple Iris’ (photo below), are about to bloom surrounding our red Double Knockout Roses. You may not look for the symbolic among creation, but I do, and I love the fact that we have purple flowers about to bloom, the day before Easter, surrounding blood red roses… royalty of a King, surrounded by the blood shed for me and you, all displayed in a tiny little flower garden in south Alabama. The larger version taking place on Auburn’s campus is seen just below, but then again, all of creation proclaims the Glory of God (Romans 1:20 and others).
Today is that day, finally, where we get some light back in the day. You rarely hear so many people complain collectively about one thing as you do Daylight Savings Time. I’ve yet to run into someone who loves going back and forth each fall and spring, most would rather just stay on DST to give us a little more light in the day. So why do we continue to go back and forth, messing up everyone’s sleep patterns in the process? I am sure the general population doesn’t think about this, but every time we change, the Church body is the one who takes the brunt of the change on Sunday morning (I’ll forgo a long conversation about that). So why can’t we just do what Phoenix and Indianapolis does; just ignore the change, that would be awesome.
DST is another marker in the year though that reminds us all that Spring is on the way. Today, my photo of the day is my wonderfully photogenic niece, Martha, who makes me forget it is still cold outside right now. If you forgot to change your clock or just slept in today forgoing church, don’t worry, we will hold your spot for next week.
This is an old topic, but one that never goes away, for good reason. Below is basically an excerpt from an assignment in one of my evangelism classes on Servant-Leadership and innovations in the Church, and also serves as a very short review of the book InnovateChurch by Jonathan Falwell. In a three part discussion on leadership, this was topic number one, learning how to minister to the church, but not at the expense of your family.
There are four non-negotiable commitments presented by Jonathan Falwell in InnovateChurch that pastors (and I would add church staff) need to make to themselves, and to God, for effective leadership in the church. As an administrative staff member I will admit, the one I found most difficult to keep is number two: I will not minister to my church at the expense of my family. On the surface, this probably sounds like an easy one to keep, and when I entered into ministry work in 2008 I was committed to this very statement right from the start.
In fact, if your ministry is to be more successful, however that is quantified, it must start with managing your household well. (1 Tim 3.5) There are a few basic things that have kept me focused on the proper balance, or margin if you will. It doesn’t always work in ministry as something, or someone, can always quickly pull you right back in with an “important” issue, or something that needs to be completed right away if you are not diligent.
- It is important to make our priorities line up properly, as stated in InnovateChurch
- We have to learn how to manage our time well
- We have to learn how to focus on a few things we do well, and let the others go
God should be first, our family second, and our ministry third. Saying or writing this isn’t good enough. This actually has to be lived out, and as such, will be proof of its importance in our lives. How are we making God our first priority? How are we managing our household well, and where do we need to change or improve what we are doing day by day.
This means learning how to say no without feeling guilty about saying no, even if it is something important. Often times in church ministry, everything is of the utmost importance, mainly because it is most important to the person asking. We cannot get into the habit of allowing our schedule or calendar to control our life in idol-like fashion.
This means learning how to delegate without looking back. Learning how to give tasks away is hard, especially if they will not be done as well as if we did them ourselves. This includes learning how to enlist volunteers, and building teams of people who can accomplish what we can’t simply because we can’t work 24 hours a day. Rarely is one person only gifted with the ability to do only one task, but God has gifted us with the ability to do a few things very well. This strikes in the face of our multi-tasking 21st century culture, but delegating allows us to focus on those things we can do very well, or are at least our highest priority.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means of course. I do know that when I have built in margin, giving time to my family, I am more productive, and better focused as a staff member. Sometimes that means the most important place I can be, especially in the evening, is in that chair next to Deborah (and Ebby) in our living room.
Happy Thanksgiving 2011 from down over here on the farm. I love the fall in the south, it is a beautiful 70*F sunny day outside (although it is supposed to be something like 24*F in a few days), and Thanksgiving pretty much always kicks off Iron Bowl weekend. If you are perhaps one of the few unfamiliar with the Iron Bowl, check out the film by ESPN called Roll Tide War Eagle. Can’t begin to list how many things I am thankful for at this point, but for one, we have Deborah at home and feeling relatively well, that trumps most other things on my list right now.
I am extremely thankful for my family, and being able to eat dinner over at my parents house today will be awesome. I took the photo of my mom and dad above this morning, but the normal traditional work is the first shot. Every year on Thanksgiving week we (generally that means my dad) mow the entire pasture for the winter.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and War Eagle!