Monday, January 31, 2011

Gerald R. Ford Museum

One of the door handles at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.
Last Friday, in honor of Brian's birthday, we visited the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Gerald R. Ford is the only U.S. President from Michigan, and the only President to serve his country without being elected to the office of President or Vice President.

Ford was a Representative and the Republican Minority Leader when President Richard Nixon appointed him to the position of Vice President in 1973 following the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. When Nixon resigned in 1974, following the Watergate scandal, Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President of the United States. 

During his short time in the White House, President Ford faced the challenge of restoring the trust of the American people. He received much criticism when he pardoned Mr. Nixon. One of his critics, Senator Ted Kennedy, later admitted that President Ford made the right decision in leading the country toward healing rather than focusing on the Watergate scandal. 

President Ford also dealt with the problem of inflation, two assassination attempts, and criticism following his conditional amnesty for men who had dodged the draft. As with all presidents, Ford wrestled with foreign problems as well. In 1975, the United States withdrew from Vietnam, and President Ford anxiously waited for reports as thousands of refuges were evacuated before the fall of Saigon. 

In 1976, President Ford campaigned against Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Carter won the election and Gerald R. Ford's time as President came to the end. 

While Gerald R. Ford's story is fascinating in it's own right, as we wandered through the halls of the museum I was intrigued with the advances in photography. Change in technology was illustrated by photos spanning Ford's ninety-three years of life. First there were black and white portraits from his childhood, then color film shots from his years in the White House, followed by digital images from his funeral in 2006. 

The Gerald R. Ford Museum portrays the life of the 38th President of the United States, but it also illustrates the change--from how the American people viewed the President to advances in technology--that occurred during that lifetime.

Julie's image is reflected as she gazes at a section of the Berlin Wall in the lobby of the Gerald R. Ford Museum.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


You are the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13 NIV

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby holding

We all love holding the baby at church.

Friday, January 28, 2011

For sale

Dad asked me to photograph the truck he is trying to sell. I captured the standard shots--full truck body, odometer, seats, four-wheel drive hub lock-in, diesel emblem. This image, though, is my attempt at artistic truck photography, and the photo that my Dad is least likely to use in his advertisement.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old keys

The piano my Dad learned to play

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Freezing cold

Drifting snow in the ditch opposite our church building
It's always cold in Michigan in the winter. But this past week was COLD! It was so chilly that one of the pipes at Aaron and Lauren Mae's house froze. 

Brian was especially attentive to his animals needs during the cold snap. Animals devote all their energy to staying warm when the temperatures reach the negative digits. Despite Libby's efforts, the chickens' egg production decreased. 

Sunday morning the thermometer read a low of -16˚F. Our country-style church building lacks adequate insulation, and the furnace could hardly keep up during Sunday school. Rather than attempt to heat the entire building in the evening, we met at the parsonage. Along with avoiding numb toes, meeting at the pastor's house had the added benefit of coffee, cookies and popcorn after the Bible study. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

6 of 9

Brian completes homework.
Like all of his siblings before him, Brian is experiencing "the Delta difference." Brian is the sixth sibling to enroll in the nearby community college. This semester he is studying Trigonometry, Chemistry, Government and English. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I have come into the world as a light
so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 12:46 NIV

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011


With its tattered edges, food-splatter pages and fading script, this hand-written cookbook is a piece of art. We discovered this notebook in a box of miscellaneous items my grandpa purchased from an estate auction years ago. I decided to keep it. The compiler of this cookbook would probably be astounded to learn that her recipe book was preserved, not because of the recipes themselves but because of the gracefulness of her cursive handwriting and the evidence of use on the now fragile pages.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Dad holds Betsy's hand as he prays for her, before she was transferred by ambulance to the larger hospital.
A year ago, when I wrote a post from ICU in the early hours of the morning, I referred to the little details and big details that showed the hand of God. Here is a little more of the story.
  • I didn't join my family on Brian's birthday celebration because I had tutoring appointments scheduled. The first appointment was cancelled. Despite circumstances that caused my second homeschool student to arrive late and leave early, we still studied algebra together. The student's mother considered canceling; her decision to continue with our tutoring session was the reason I wasn't in the vehicle. 
  • Since I planned to meet the rest of the family later in the day, Dad suggested I carry Mom's cell phone (I am one of the few people stubbornly resisting a personal cell phone). Using the phone, I was able to contact family and friends.
  • Because school was closed for MLK Day, David Byler was available to drive me to the first hospital. Neither of us knew where we were going, but by following his Dad's directions and the blue hospital signs we arrived at the Emergency Room without difficulty.
  • When Betsy was transferred to the larger hospital, an hour away, the EMT switched on the reserve oxygen as the ambulance pulled off the expressway. Of the four people in the ambulance, Betsy was the only one who knew where we were going. Once again we followed signs, but still ended up at the wrong emergency entrance.
  • The surgeon that talked to Aaron and me in the Emergency Room, after he was transferred to the larger hospital, desperately wanted a plastic surgeon to put Aaron's face back together. He wasn't sure that the plastic surgeon would accept the job, but he did. The plastic surgeon did a superb job!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One year later

Photo credit: Logan Cook
I tend to forget bad things. But I haven't forgotten the trauma of a year ago. My parents and seven of my siblings were celebrating my brother's eighteenth birthday when a vehicle ran a stop sign and struck our fifteen passenger van, causing it to roll. I've relived those moments and remembered the results of that collision every single day since. Over time the particulars may cease to be so vivid, but I don't think I will ever forget the emotions.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter driving

"I wish we had a car," one of Julie's international friends remarked on Thanksgiving. The days were growing chilly, and the girls had to walk to their college classes. Driving a car, they reasoned, would be much safer than walking on icy sidewalks.

We were thankful they didn't have a car! Driving on treacherous roads is inevitable in Michigan in the wintertime.  But the experience often produces a bigger adrenaline rush than riding a roller-coaster at the theme park! Most non-Michiganders (i.e. those from warmer climates) end up in the ditch with the first skiff of snow.

Even those of us born and raised in a state where we store snow-scrapers in our trunks year-round find ourselves in a snowbank all too often. Shortly after rifle season, we polish up our stories of the time we did a complete 360 [the car spun 360˚], or slid through a stop sign,  or got stuck in the driveway. Even the best drivers have winter-driving stories, just as anyone who's passed segment one of driver's training has a repertoire of good (or bad) car-deer adventures.

Snowy roads are a part of living in Michigan. But along with the hassle of scraping windshields and creeping down the highway at thirty miles per hour, inclement weather does have one perk--the occasional snow day from school!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It was good

God saw that the light was good,
and he separated the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:4 NIV

Saturday, January 15, 2011


(a study of hands, black and white, 
and how to entertain oneself on a winter afternoon)

Friday, January 14, 2011


Flakes of snow floated lazily through the air Thursday morning. Though the individual flakes were huge, there wasn't enough accumulation to warrant firing up one of the big tractors to plow the driveway.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More idioms



Can you identify the sayings that correspond with these images?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Any good

I still appreciate the contrast between the movement of MSU's newest graduates, Joel and his friend Shawn, with the static positions of their professors.

"Why did I think that was any good?" I ask myself as I click through photos from a few years ago. At the time I was proud of the images.

Then, I find one or two that I still consider favorites. 

In a few years, I may scroll through my blog posts from this year and ask myself, "What was I thinking?" But, I hope, I will still find a few photos and a few posts that I consider favorites. 

Here are a few of my still-favorite photos from 2006.

The flat, farmland that surrounds the church building is perfect for sighting storms. Here the darkening sky and the movement of the leaves in the tree predicts upcoming drama. 

All I can say is this photo is cute. The tiny kitten could only stare in amazement at Brian's first horse, a stallion named Flash. 

Despite what Logan may believe when I inspect his fingernails at the dinner table, I like to see my brothers get dirty working around the farm. 

This image is one of my favorites because it is informal and black and white. My cousins, Matthew and Nathan, release extra energy before walking down the aisle at my cousin Dalla's wedding ceremony. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

He hears

Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress
and he hears my voice.
Psalm 55.17 NIV

Saturday, January 8, 2011




Can you identify the idiom that inspired each image?  

Friday, January 7, 2011


It wasn't exactly a roasted suckling pig displayed on a platter for Christmas dinner, though it did involve a pig in the dining room.

Wednesday afternoon Libby lined a card table with newspapers and, with laptop and instructional DVD nearby, proceeded to examine a fetal pig. Our homeschool finally produced a student fascinated with Biology. 

I suffered through a crayfish and frog when I was in school, and was solely interested in the photographic aspect of the lab. Betsy, empowered by her anatomy and physiology classes at college, grabbed a pair of gloves and located the chordae tendineae. 

"Anybody want to see 'heart strings'?" she asked.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Through a glass

Stripped Murex shell through a drinking glass       f3.5 1/50 50mm

(the set up)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Pumpkins once again

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Big sister

...little sister and Cousin Brian