Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #806 – Texas Tea

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Black gold, Texas Tea

A regular staple of the West Texas landscape.

I feel such a hypocrite to complain of what the whole process does to our mother earth,

as I sure expect it to be there when I fill up my thirsty Chevy truck.

monos en theos…†…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #805 – The rails run both ways


Across the street from yesterdays “Sunset Motel”, and looking west instead of east, there was a whole different view.

The rails do run both ways. Just be sure to remember to look both ways before crossing!

monos en theos…†…jim


Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #804 – No Vacancy


There is little to compare with West Texas skies.

The wind rattled the old sign

Thunder shook the ground

I strived to capture a lightning bolt

I grew afraid, cowered in the truck

Added the lightning via the safety of photoshop.

Everything is not as you see…monos en theos…†…jim


Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #802 – I can almost smell the popcorn.

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As much as we sometimes feel we wish we could, you cannot go back.

But ever so often, in spite of the absolute clarity of that truth, we get a brief moment in time that we can almost feel that we have.

The Texas theatre in “downtown” Sweetwater TX is one of those places.

Driving by in late dusk, it was hardly possible to not stop.

I was lazy and didn’t even bother to pull out my tripod. I rested my Nikon against a light pole for this 2 1/2 second exposure.

Who says you can’t go back, I could even smell popcorn!         monos en theos…†…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #800 – Where is that light @ the end of the tunnel?

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I don’t know that I have had the death of anyone close to me effect me any more than that of Robin Williams. I am right now in a small West Texas town on a work assignment. While getting coffee this morning the breakfast bar was a buzz with “smart ass” comments about his suicide. Sadly,red necks trying to be funny rarely are.

I wanted to scream something, but the words would not come, only tears. It made me so glad that I do not live in this part of Texas any longer.

I came back to my room and the blog below was in my email. Had to share. It is said with words that I can’t find right now.

Reblogged form Inspired RD:

I’ve been coming across some incredible posts on depression and suicide since the tragic death of Robin Williams. I wanted to share some of them with you. Please feel free to leave comments with other links you have found helpful this week.

Thoughts on depression, suicide, and being a Christian by Nish Weiseth

But there’s another kind of evil lurking around the halls of the depressed, and it’s the belief that those who are stricken with depression (or any mental illness) are suffering because of their lack of faith in Jesus. “If only you’d pray for more joy,” people say. “If only you’d ask God to take the pain.”  Or, “Is there unresolved sin in your life?” Or how about this one, “If you’d just meditate more on God’s Word…”

Folks, saying someone is depressed or suicidal because they aren’t praying enough, are self-absorbed, sinful, or don’t have a deep enough faith? It’s abusive. And it needs to stop. Now.

The depressed Christian: Why the dark night is no measure of your soul by Megan Tietz

In that season, I went back to my roots: reading the Bible, praying, singing songs of praise, trying to keep gratitude lists. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how often I cried out, I couldn’t force my mind to course-correct. I was acutely aware of how broken my brain was but felt absolutely powerless to fix it.

And yet in the midst of that dark time, my heart absolutely thrilled with joy. Watching the boys sleep next to each other, tucked into each other because that’s how you sleep when that’s all you know – it made my heart crack wide open with joy. Silly conversations and long hugs from my girls, giggly text messages from my husband … yes, there was light and joy and love and moments of clarity in the midst of those hard, hard days.

Why “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” Is A Lie by Carlos Whittaker

Imagine for a moment…
You are surrounded by every single person in the world who loves you.
There is a celebration of who you are and there is a huge party happening.
Everyone is waiting to talk to YOU and tell you that they love you and you are amazing.
Sounds awesome huh?

Now imagine you are in a space suit.
You can barely hear what anyone is saying and although you are being hugged, you can’t feel anything.
In the midst of not being “alone”…
You are alone.

In which depression is NOT your fault by Sarah Bessey

Since the tragic death of Robin Williams, I have seen some terrible, misinformed, and abusive bullsh*t online about depression and mental illness. This normally wouldn’t be enough to make me type as passionately as I am right now but this stuff is coming from a few vocal and influential Christians. I see it being shared around on social media like candy. And it makes my blood boil and my heart ache.

I hate to think of my beloved people reading that kind of damaging stuff. Heaping condemnation and guilt and fear on the heads of the suffering is akin to tying a millstone around someone’s neck. This is a heinous and evil thing to do.

Robin Williams’ Death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish by Dean Burnett

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.

Find your light. Rinse and repeat…†…monos en theos…….jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #795 – BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER!

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We had seen the green highway sign that read ➞ Carpenters Bluff 4 miles. I did a google and saw this nice looking old bridge spanning the Red River into Oklahoma. Hey being a photographer, it looked a place to go.

The journey started easy enough. A nice little adventure we hobbits thought.

Now I am from West Texas. The roads there are straight. You can see for a long way and navigational turns hardly ever require you to remove your right arm from that manly dangle across the seat. About a mile into the route this little car came upon my bumper. I am from West Texas,  I am also comfortable with space. This follow vehicle had the drivers side mirror hanging with baling wire. The otherwise pleasant (I am sure) young lady was a girl of many talents. She had a Marlboro in one hand, cell phone in the other, texting of course. She also had a big gulp that she somehow was working. And she was a bumper rider.

This road proceeded to become nightmarish in it’s 90 degree turns. The big reflection in my little mirror remained a constant too close size. I swear I took a quick glimpse in the mirror as we were making a right turn and both my dogs were still leaning right from the last left turn. I kept looking for a place to pull off but every turnoff was marked with a bullet hole  ridden “no trespassing” or “don’t even think of turning here” signs.

We pressed on and I kept pressing pedals trying faster and slower. The multi tasker seemed oblivious to my existence. Just as I was thinking I needed a Xanax, a road going to the left appeared. Relief.

We made a faster than comfortable left and I was ready to get some blood back to my knuckles. My wife is afraid of heights and does not have a fondness for crossing old bridges. I hear this drawn out “honey” moan from her as I see that the “nice looking old bridge” looms dead ahead. No one mentioned it had only one narrow lane. I start to pause to collect myself when I get a flash of lights from my mirror. The girl of many talents has also made the turn and is itching to be in Oklahoma.

We reluctantly start over the bridge. I am sure the view of the setting sun on the Red River is nice, but my eyes never wavered from the sagging wood planks and missing or rusting guard rails. With a sigh and a pulloff we rested safely in Oklahoma. The girl gave a friendly wave as she raced on to her next victim.

Now the only thing left is to turn around and repeat the process.

When you come to a bridge over troubled waters, don’t overthink it. Just consider yourself blessed to have the bridge…†…monos en theos…jim






“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.”

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

In moments of praise our scars disappear!   monos en theos ††† jim




“There are some things that you can fulfil with money, but at the end of the day these are not the things that make you happy. It is the small things that make life good.”

Sebastian Vettel

You can make the end of the pretty from wherever you are…..monos en theos ††† jim