Throwback Thursday: Animal Kingdom

From May 1st, 2008.

A several of years ago we had Disney passes. Took these pictures on one of trips to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It seems like the smallest of the parks at Disney World however it is actually the largest. The African Safari takes up most of the land for the park.

Africa from Disney\'s Animal Kingdom

Taken in the African part of Animal Kingdom.

That tree is actually a person.

This is one of my favorite shots. Look closely the tree is really a person.

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest during the construction phase.

TDZ Retrospective: Love Not Fear

love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. — Issac Watts

What if our response to God was motivated by love and not fear? Instead of being afraid of hell or being zapped by a vengeful distant God, we would be overwhelmed by the depth of God’s love.

God’s righteousness demands a penalty for sin. However, God’s love provided a path of redemption.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11, New International Version, ©2011)

Personally, I remember being drawn to God by a strong desire for a relationship with God rather than avoiding God’s judgment. I wanted a relationship with him. If we are motivated by God’s love for us then serving Him becomes something we want to do rather than have to do.

Throwback Thursday: Wind Turbines

First posted Jan 16th, 2009.

Energy has been the major industry in west Texas for decades. Until recently it has been primarily oil and gas. One of the most notable sights on our trip west were wind turbines interspersed amongst the pump jacks. Took this shot between Kermit and Odessa, Texas.  It took the first one using black and white settings on my camera.  I adjusted the others using illumination and photo effects in Corel Paintshop Pro.

Origninal using black and white settings on my camera.

Original using black and white settings on my camera.


Used time machine effects: Daguerreotype

Cross Process

Time Machine Effect: Cross Process


Illumination Effect: Sunburst

TDZ Retrospective: Teachers That Made a Difference

Originally posted February 10, 2011.

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post. Today I want to write about some of the exceptional teachers I have encountered either as a student or educator.

My third grade teacher, Mrs. J was one of those teachers who made learning fun.  She had the ability to keep students on a wide range of levels actively engaged in learning. She used many life lessons and practical things to teach not just books. She instilled a thirst for learning and encouraged independent learning. After the school year started a new building opened and our class moved to a new room. One of the activities was to paint our classroom. Our class spent time researching the perfect paint for the classroom. We selected a color that would  keep the room bright. We even had to figure out how many gallons of paint would be needed. For her my learning disabilities were just minor hurdles. Instead of focusing on my bad handwriting she had me work on activities to improve my fine motor skills. Our class had desks with the chairs attached that spun around. At times it was impossible for an extremely ADHD child like myself to sit still. Mrs. J would allow me to move to a table at the back of the room or even sit on a special carpet square on the floor.

In upper elementary school music class was a haven from a school day that was at times unbearable. Mrs. T made music class a fun place. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t write or had a hard time sitting still. Mrs. T encouraged her students to participate. We had to participate in class talent shows periodically. In one, my “act” failed miserably. Of course, my classmates responded by laughing and making fun of me. Mrs. T quickly stopped it and proceed to praise my effort to try something different. This was not the only time she encouraged me to try something different or encouraged my creativity. After turning in a poorly written report for class she had me stay after school to fix it. I expected to be yelled at or punished. By this time in my school career I really didn’t try because I had learned  that no matter how hard I worked my teachers would rarely give me more than a passing grade.  Instead Mrs. T took the time to help me put together a good report. She  believed I was capable of more and was smart.

In high school I had three teachers that recognized my potential and would not allow me to slide through class. My high school keyboarding teacher had a reputation for being very tough. She was notorious for sending unsatisfactory progress reports home. I had a rough start in her class. Mrs. H was constantly on my case about not working.  I did well on the knowledge  part of tests but poorly on the performance part.  I tried to explain that I had a problem with coordination. Mrs. H decided to call my mom. It was after this Mrs. H became determined to help me pass her class. She was not required to stay after school helping me complete class assignments.  Mrs. W was another teacher that teamed up with my mom to help me not only pass her class but graduate.  I learned a lot from Mrs. W. She often modified written assignments allowing me to complete them orally.  Mrs. G, my senior English teacher and speech coach, tried to convince me that I could write. By the time I had reached my senior year in high school I avoided anything that involved writing at all costs. Getting words on paper was not a pleasant experience.  At the time I couldn’t understand why my usual B’s or C’s on writing assignments were not acceptable. It seemed futile to keep revising and rewriting papers because I was not capable of writing.  Oh, I just want to say Mrs. G you were correct I can write.

One of the best teachers I have ever had was in graduate school. Dr. B is able to relate her subject matter that is interesting. Sometimes I would become engrossed in the lectures that I forgot to take notes. While she demanded excellence from her students, she also truly cared.

I believe that the Big Guy is one of the best natural teachers I have ever met. The Big Guy never intended to become a teacher. While in graduate school (the first time) he took a job teaching part-time at the school where I was teaching and loved it. The Big Guy has a way of making learning fun and interesting.  He is not afraid to try new and creative things in his class. He is fun to watch because it obvious that he actually enjoys imparting knowledge to his students.

TDZ Retrospective: Fortress

Castillo de San MarcosOriginally posted January 9, 2011.

Built between 1672-1695, the Castillo de San Marcos is still an imposing structure.  It was built by the Spanish to protect the town of San Augustine. It was constructed from coquina and built in a star shape. Despite numerous assaults and the town changing hands the fortress was never conquered.  One purpose of the fort was to provide a place of refuge and shelter during enemy assaults for towns people. During one attack by the British each day the Castillo was bombard by cannons from ships. Each night the Spanish troops would remove cannon balls from the fortress walls.  Each morning the fortress showed no visible damage.

As Christians, we have a fortress that is stronger and safer than the tick walls of the Old Spanish fort.  God wants to be our refuge when bombard by the enemies attack. Of course, God’s desire is to have fellowship with us in the times of joy and celebration as well.



1 I love you, LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me

6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears

Psalms 18:1-6 NIV