Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #854…Making a stand

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At first glance my thought was gez Louise, can’t we cut Jane some slack and just get over it. There seems to be such contradiction in all the messages, and are we listening to our Boss?

Add to that the truck was parked outside a local church food pantry, so the driver was either in line or serving the line.

At least he has an opinion and perhaps is working on change. As we all should be…monos en theos…jim


Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #848…Not taking no for an answer



We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure – all your life.“

– John W. Gardner

I met Floyd while on my  walk a couple of early morns ago. He pulled his faded small sedan along side and proudly proclaimed his 40 years of work experience. He was looking for some landscape work.

I paused, aggravated from the exhaust from his overloaded vehicle. Two younger men uncomfortable weighed down the backseat. I told him I had nothing for him and he politely moved on to any other existing opportunity.

When we arrived home, Floyd was in our backyard. Assessing our overgrown and every prolific crop of bamboo. With loads of exuberance, he complemented my attempts to trim my forest. I was using the dead canes to cover an old chain link fence. Floyd gave me encouragement on my thus far slow progress. He pulled out a small legal yellow pad and scribbled a dollar figure, “that’s what I’ll do it for.”

I thought of the soreness of my back and hands from my last clearing of the cane. While I was pondering the offer, his men had somehow squeezed themselves out of the weathered Nissan. Saws, trimmers, tools and cords had also escaped the trunk with the men asking for an electrical outlet. It was an offer too good to refuse.

Floyd signed the scribbled pad and asked me to do the same. He then laid out specific detailed instructions to his “crew” and left for another job. I shook my head feeling that I had probably just thrown my money away.

The two men set to not only taking out all the dead cane, but also installing it on my chain link fence. In talking to the two men, whose age I could not guess. I figured them younger than their weathered look by the speed of work. Talking to them I found out the younger looking of the two was the other man’s father in law. Oh yes, we all do have a story.

The men worked through the day, filling a trailer with dead bamboo promising to come back the next day. Floyd asked for a whole $20 advance for gas to get home.

Back at work the next day, I had a chance to visit with Floyd. He had a story, a wife dying of cancer, “a tumor the size of a cantaloup, they can’t take it out”. Bills just like the rest of us. Broken tools, a too old vehicle and an even older body, but a firm faith in the Lord (he had on a “I love Jesus” t-shirt). As I lay in bed that night contented with all their work and not a sore bone one, I thought of Floyd. How he was so ahead of me in the game. I don’t think I would have the nerve to just approach strangers asking for work. Touting my ability. I thought of how representative Floyd was in not only resisting failure, but his relying on faith and doing nothing more than asking for his daily bread.

A better man than me!…†…en theos….jim


Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #835 – Let not your heart be bound.

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The old cobbler had believed in something he called “the signature of all things”-namely, that God had hidden clues for humanity’s betterment inside the design of every flower, leaf, fruit, and tree on earth. All the natural world was a divine code, Boehme claimed, containing proof of our Creator’s love.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

Long before I had read Elizabeth Gilbert’s captivating read The Signature of All Things  or had heard of Boehme’s theory, I have always felt that God has left all kinds of messages and clues to life and understanding of having the joy He wishes us to have. We just have to take the time to see.

This image just screamed to me to not let my heart be bound. To live life and to live it to the fullest, just as described in John 10:10.

monos en theos…†…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #825 – OPEN YOUR EYES!

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Do you ever think that God made some things harder to see for a reason?

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”…Yogi Berra

“My eyes make pictures when they are shut”.. Confucius

Ah, from Yogi to Confucius, now there’s a leap.

Open yours eyes!…monos en theos…†…jim




I am sure that I could not count the number of posts that are “arisen” today.

Just as I am sure of the number of followers that had turned their backs on this morning.

I would have been one.

I am one who turns my back even today.

but Ever so often He taps me on the shoulder

And assures me, that He is still here.

I may not stand in a church and loudly proclaim.

Yet in the quiet of a rising sun

He speaks to me

and I to Him.


en theos monos ††† jim


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As I photographer, I have most often looked forward to making images during that “golden hour”. That thirty minutes before and after sunrise & sunset. Recently I have been introduced to “light painting”, which pretty much means bringing my camera out after dark and using flashlights and such to light things that are otherwise unseen.  Last night I was outside looking at the almost full moon and just for the heck of it brought my camera out, cranked up the ISO to 1600 and set about to just see what was out there that my eyes did not see.

Both of these images are not manipulated in photoshop other than some exposure adjustments and running them through some noise reduction software. I was amazed at what there is unseen out there.

It reminded me of laying on my back at night in the back yard as a youngster and staring in wonder at the depth of the West Texas sky. I always wondered where does it all end. Some sixty years later, I still ponder that question, but the answer comes that it never ends,

Enjoy life, see what you never stop to see! en theos ††† jim


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I have been making  sports portraits around  West Texas for the past 20+ years. It has been a wonderful blessing. We have coaches at some of the schools that we made their sports portrait when they were in jr high.

But, I have to admit to becoming a little tired of making portraits of kids holding every kind of: football, basketball,baseball,volleyball, softball or golf ball. Yesterday the first young lady out for track photos came bounding up excitedly showing off her new tattoo.

It was refreshing to see a girl with Jeremiah 29:11 imprinted on her shoulder. I was quickly reminded that I sometimes wander off my path and plan. I become bored with the way I look at things. She refreshed my vision and allowed me to see something different than just another student holding a piece of sports paraphernalia.

She understood Who planned her path and helped put me back on mine.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 

en theos ††† jim


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“Trees have always fascinated me, They are so confident, so sure of their identity.Feet rooted strong in the ground of their birth, they don’t wander off to find out where they came from. Instead as they grow, their roots go farther into the ground where they are and branches reach up higher to God.” Emily P Freeman from a million little ways

The power of words from the observation of a simple tree.   en theos ††† jim

IMAGES OF SMALL – THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #670 – Work your vision with what you got!

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“Everything has it’s wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”
Helen Keller

I sat in the warmth of my home and watched the sunset quickly build. My mind was racing thinking of  where to go to capture the wonder. My mind was a complete blank as to finding a great location. My inner voice told me to just go outside and make do with what you got.

So many times in searching for that perfect place, I have missed the magic of the moment. I donned a jacket and wandered out to my West yard and stole this moment in time. I gave a quick thank you prayer to the maker and relished the chill and calm of the light.

just be where you are ††† en theos †††jim