How to Get Along With Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces

Getting Along Does Not Mean Loving

The fun of astrology is that it is not an agreed upon science, nor a religion, but somehow parts of it grab most of us. That’s the fun of it, and that’s our short hand way of figuring out our loved ones and also chatting about this mystery subject. Since this is an art, along with the blending of astro talk and ancient texts which speak about the signs, there is no absolute fixity about this topic. However, there are elements of the sun signs which apart from subjective experience do tend to shine a light the way we manifest our characters in this earthly realm.

The Point of this Article:

There are tricks to getting along. Let’s not talk about beating them in an argument, tricking them into romance or dominating them. Let’s just talk about getting along. It is, in a sense, what life first asks us to do, and in a way, its the hardest thing we are asked to do, especially with certain sun signs.

The “Getting Along” Intuition –

I will cover the other signs in other articles, but the intuition involved in Getting Along with the various Sun Signs has to do with picking up from each Soul what is the main tune that they are playing. What is the main message beaming out of their eyes? Look for the core of what a Sun Sign is and then observe them playing their song and manifesting themselves in their particular unique ways. Once you have a fix on that, then ride along with them and appreciate them for what they are and see how it plays out in the external world. Then your patience concerning that perceived reality allows you to envelope them with a bubble of tolerance. This all ends up benefiting you, as you make your way through the field of human relationships. Let’s take a look at Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.

Capricorn – The Mythological Goat Creature Who Is About Climbing the Mountain –

Make no mistakes about it. Capricorns are complex achievers. The word “achievers” is the key one. They want to ascend. If you are in the way, they will ascend over you with a quick wit, a put down, a bit of ironic humor about sex or some other human activity. They want to look down on everything by the end of their lives. They believe in climbing the mountain. Little mountains, medium mountains, giant mountains — they want the sense of achievement, no matter where they are. People can mistake them for being overly serious, but then they have some of the best senses of humor in the zodiac. They are cutting and funny and think the whole of the human condition is somewhat laughable. In that laughter lies the core of their secret.

Their secret is that they are in a kind of constant puzzlement over why they are so caught up with climbing the mountain. Who said they had to climb the mountain? They don’t know. Like the Blues Brothers, they are on a “mission from God”. Capricorn knows they have this mission, but darned it they aren’t in a puzzle about who gave them this programming. If they were not burdened with this hard wired aspect, life would be so much more simple. And so, as they meet you, they could be hard to get along with. If they do not see you as important to their interests, they could look right through you. Its not that they can’t be engaging, funny and almost wildly clever, but if you are not on their radar screen, they might just not even see you.

So, in order to get along with Capricorn, (if its important to you), let Capricorn figure out that you are superior, smart and worldly wise. Then they will start to respect you. If you engage them with the same clever and ambitious style that they carry with them, they will enjoy your company and put you on their map. Most of what I am saying is below the conscious level. It has to do with what drives the Capricorn upward and onward. In order to get along with them, try to see the path they think they are on. Don’t dismiss achievement. Don’t be unfunny. Don’t think sex and cute tawdry stories are dumb or drab. Be ready to giggle and nod a knowing nod. Then be willing to drop back to just plain old achievement, because that’s where they are.

Aquarius – “I don’t think, I just know. And since I know, realize, its good for you.” –

A true burden can be to be born with the idea that you know what’s best for humanity. That is over stating this issue for humor, but the Aquarius, the Water Bearer, does have to carry around this barrel of water to let it flow down upon us all. In the midst of all these pictures, its important to get an image. The Aquarius is an odd sort. Its hard to get a fix on them because so much of what they conclude is intuitive, rather than all thought out. Yet they have the supreme confidence of the Intuitive. It kind of goes together. If you are going to be intuitive, you had better be confident about your intuitions. Since you did not THINK it all through, but rather KNOW it to be true, you had better have a sense of surety about it.

Aquarians can be extremely impersonal on the one-on-one level. If you are trying to get along with them, you will have a warm sense of mild success, as they look into your eyes. You can feel like they are almost loving you. Then they will turn away suddenly, look at someone else, turn back and ask: “What was your name again?” That’s what its like getting along with an Aquarius in the beginning. In this sense Capricorn and Aquarius are somewhat alike. The Aqaurian will be warmer, but they will be distant, whereas the Capricorn will be colder, but closer in engaging you as a person. But the same sense of “Am I really here?” will probably occur to you. Aquarians can be almost everything at once. Its hard to generalize about their personalities. They can be ingenious, smarter than even they know, and remarkably humanistic in their approaches. Consequently, they can be revolutionaries just because its the best idea going. The best example of Aquarius in action was Abraham Lincoln. He came up with all of the controversial and humanistic and powerful ideas in ONE HEAD, and knew he was right, and then stayed with those positions. That does not mean he does not have his detractors. But Lincoln was the classical Aquarius.

Get along with them by not trying to get along with them. No, really! The more impersonal you are with them, the more they will respect you. The INDIRECT approach is the best with Aquarius. Don’t abuse them or insult them, they won’t know why you are being lowered to a more common level. Keep your sense of perspective. Act a bit like a philosopher and you will make the Aquarian’s head turn. Of course, what is probably already obvious, you need to make them feel like they are wise, big minded and truly far-sighted. They want to be smarter, yes. But they want to be wiser, more than anything else. They must feel like they have good intentions. If they do something wild and out of control, realize that in their heads they are fixing some unseen problem that mankind carries. All humor aside. Take Aquarius like they think they are. They are not going to change their minds. Do not ever expect them to change their minds.

Pisces – “Understanding and Empathic. No Wonder its hard to be Happy.” –

Like the Capricorn, the mythological image is more than a Fish, but we will stay with the Fish, like we stayed with the Goat. The Piscean individual has got the subconscious world pretty close to the surface. They understand so many things at once, that often they can not express it. They have empathy to spare, but sometimes not too much sympathy. In the bigger sense of the word, they see it all and feel it all and comprehend it all. But by the time it gets to their “noggen”, it concludes in a general sense of pity, love and malaise. A Pisces has probably come from a complex past and is down here to kind of sum things up in this life time. They often are going in different directions at once, but that is because they deeply know that duality means that opposite directions end up in the same place, on the other side of the globe. So much of what Pisces knows and feels and comprehends is below the verbal level. So often you just look in their eyes and come up with whatever your best impression is.

A Pisces is often very easy to get along with, as long as they are not depressed or overly self-involved. Their self-involvement often comes not from true selfishness, but rather in trying to sort out their interior oceanic emotional and psychic world. So you can get along with Pisces. They are disarming, warm, mellow and sweetly engaging. If you just smile and enjoy their company, you will be able to get along. Occasionally, ask how they are doing, and they will see that you have real concern.

A friendship with a Pisces has to do with whether you share values and issues and a meeting of the minds exists. If you get an “unevolved” Pisces, they can be awash in feelings of sadness, and use differing drugs/prescriptions and other substances to bring them from one state to the next. Pisces carries a warning. Sometimes FEELINGS can be destructive. There is not an inherent value in psychic or subconscious insights. Its what you do with them. We have our marvelous brains, so that we will not be drowned in the emotional electronic circuits that play themselves out in our craniums. However, the fully conscious mature person with a cosmic sense of things can be incredible marvelous company. A Piscean can be a friend that will stick with you forever, just because you are a friend. A Piscean can be offputting if overly involved in their internal process, but a true easy to get along with member of the zodiac if you wish to.

The Study of the Gothic Element of Madness in Poe’s Selected Works

One of the main features and themes of Poe’s Gothic stories is the theme of madness. In defining madness in Gothic texts, traditional psychoanalytic approaches provide familiar and problematic answers. If according to Botting (1996) Gothic signifies a writing of excess (p.1), then madness is thoroughly a Gothic concern since it exceeds reason. Gothic does not merely transcribe disturbed and vicious or horrifying worlds: its narrative structures and voices are interwoven with and intensify madness they represent. Poe’s “heroes” have obvious flaws or rational strengths that never allow the victory of insane perception over reality. But he loves the exploration of imagination and the power of bringing the effects into artistic existence. Madness in Poe’s Gothic tales is being studied in two ways: mental alienation and madness doesn’t versus reason.

Mental alienation

Though madness and mental illness are brought together in the field of insane and excluded languages, madness and mental illness have no relationship in literature. But in three separate circumstances Poe’s narrator of the “the Fall of House of Usher” refers to Roderick as a ‘hypochondriac’. At first glance it seems odd that he should do so, because he never states his slightest doubt that Roderick is really sick: definitely upon greeting Usher, the narrator is shocked by his friend’s ‘altered appearance’. This contradiction is explained while we come to understand that, the narrator who claims he has some knowledge of ‘the history of mental disorder’ is using a medical term. In fact he correctly diagnosed Roderick’s combination of physical and mental complaints as symptoms of hypochondria, a melancholic disorder which has been discovered for centuries and was widely known and discussed among physicians in Poe’s own time. In Poe’s time the doctors viewed a broad relationship between mental alienation and the imaginative insight. But they in no way distinguished between hallucination and the possibility that the Romantic imagination could break through the bounds of ordinary perception to a higher order. The moment of Romantic triumph, in which the individual imagination succeeded in idealizing the real, was in medical terms, the moment at which a nervous disorder turned to complete delusion.

It could be said that there is a connection between the imaginative power which characterizes people like Usher and the actual madness. There is this possibility that Poe saw a connection between creativity and madness. The puzzle which Poe’s Gothic fiction seems repeatedly to pose is that described by the character of “Elenora”:

In “Elenora” as in “Ligeia” and “Morella” the rebirth or the reincarnation of the beloved suggests that the Romantic idealist may, mad though he be, finally achieve some success in his quest for a higher meaning. If the rebirth is actual and not hallucinatory, then the protagonist imagination succeeds in idealizing his early mistress: if his beloved indeed passes through the tomb, then his sensual affection is transmuted into a bond with the supernatural.

In fact it is in the framework of this connection between madness and idealizing faculty in stories like “Elenora” and “Ligeia” that we can most profitably examine the role which Roderick’s hypochondria plays in “The Fall of House of Usher”. Like the narrators of these tales, Roderick is a madman whose imaginative powers may actually increase as his mind sickens; and as in the other fictions the idealizing capacities of those powers are seemingly confirmed by supernatural events reaching their climax at the end of the tale and involving, although in Usher’s realm, the family mansion plays a part as well, the apparent rebirth of a woman to whom the madman has been closely allied. Usher’s superstitious impressions concerning his ancestral home and the sister he entombs within are thoroughly in keeping with the symptoms of hypochondria. Early in the story he refers to those symptoms when he tells the narrator that he dreads the future, “when he must abandon life and reason together, in some grim phantasm, FEAR”(p.202). When Madeline struggles up from the bowels of their conscious dwelling and Roderick rises to meet her dying and deadly embrace, then the two are at once fulfilling the dark fate of the family line and experiencing the ultimate crisis of the family illness. With the death of the twins their sympathetic mansion sinks into tarn: in keeping with its disorder the house of Usher has finally surrounded to its own worst and most fascinating- fear.

Thus what the narrator tries to do is to comfort and rescue Roderick from an illness in which the exterior self has been lost to the interior world of the imagination. The isolation of Roderick’s life from outer reality can be seen in the atmosphere surrounding the mansion which seems to arise from the decayed trees and dank tarn. In this case Brennan (1997) points out: “Poe evokes Usher’s lack of sane boundaries not only through his creativity, but also through his belief that all vegetable things including fungus encasing House of Usher-are conscious of perception and feeling” (p141).

Roderick’s fantasy world is like that of an artist: his music; his literature which deals with extremes of the human imagination; and his art that portrays a vault which is illuminated from no visible source but is “…bathed…in a ghastly…splendor.” Roderick, unlike an artist, has lost control of his fantasy world so that it has become all of reality.

As a result it can be stated that , what happens in “The Fall of the House of Usher” is that Poe explores the inner workings of the human imagination but, at the same time, cautions the reader about the destructive dangers within. When fantasy suppresses reality and the physical self, as in Roderick’s case, what results is madness and mental death. Madeline’s return and actual death reunites the twin natures of their single being, claiming Roderick as a “victim to the terrors that he had anticipated.”

Madness Does NOT Vs Reason

Brewster (2000) in his essay “Gothic and Madness of Interpretation” discusses Foucault and Derrida’s theory of madness. Foucault in his famous history of madness calls madness as a ‘crisis of reason”(p.282). He claims that there is no relationship between madness and mental illness though they have occupied the same place in language. Therefore madness resists the confines of reason. Derrida, however, argues that madness can be thought within reason, but only by questioning or thinking against reason. The difference between Derrida and Foucault is pointed out by Brewster which is worth quoting:

Derrida observes that Foucault’s archeology of this Silence (madness as silenced other of reason) lends over, system or language to that silence, thus repeating the Capture and objectification of madness by classical reason. Whereas Foucault sees madness expelled from the domain of reason, Derrida traces its inclusion in the cogito. (p.282)

Therefore, writing at the edge of delirium is the condition of thinking. Setting out Foucault and Derrida’s terms, it can be said that Gothic fiction produces the crises of reason in association with the crises of madness. As the result, in this theory, reading Gothic means willingly being involved in the delusional systems of texts and to adopt their hallucination in order to overcome and be overcome by their power of conviction.

In “The Fall of House of Usher” the narrator, who is vulnerable to the delirium built by the Usher territory, constantly swings between the perceptible rationality and ‘the rapid increase of his superstition’. In fact his doubts and confusion mirrors Madeline’s physician who seems ‘perplexed with low cunning’. The narrator, a victim to Roderick’s wild influences, is our only sane witness; however his narrative authority turns out of control. He champions the vision of a fictional; tale to alleviate what he believes to be Roderick’s delusional madness, while his own narrative detachment (itself a construction of events) is progressively crossed by his own enthralling meeting with the Ushers. What makes sense here is that Roderick may have deliberately buried Madeline alive, the narrator may be complicit in her hasty burial, but we cannot validate the madness of the Usher household with certainty. The narrator’s mind staggers between objective knowledge and delirium as he escapes the collapsing house leaving the reader in a state of confusion and doubt.

In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator’s distinction between madness and acute hearing ability seems so important to him that the reader becomes susceptible whether he is really mad or not. At the very beginning of the story he says: “…but why will you say that I am mad. The disease had sharpened my senses-not destroyed-not dulled them. Above all is the sense of hearing more.”(p.354). Whether the sound is the hallucination of his own heart beat or the old man’s heart, first heard in reality and then imagined to be heard or that of deathwatch beetling, the fact is that whatever he actually hears, it shows that he is gradually dissociated from reality. In the third paragraph of the story he says:

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen so wisely I proceeded-with what caution- with what foresight-with what dissimulation I went to work! (p.354)

This quotation closely examines what was already discussed about Foucault and Derrida’s theory on madness pointed out earlier. Reading the story closely, two sides of the narrator’s personality is apparently seen; very dreadfully nervous and impulsive, nevertheless he seems to be careful, understanding and scheming. He tries to self-justify all the way through by: claiming that he is not mad, feeling power and triumph on the eight night, getting the support of Death and having agony of being laughed at derives him to confess. It can be concluded that it is still his sense/ delusion of the overpowering ‘social’ that brings him to the first kill, to confess to police himself and then tell the story to “you” as readers. The old man is not the only representative of social authorities; rather the neighbor, policemen, god and Death are also counted as representative of overpowering socials.

In the story “The Black Cat,” Poe dramatizes his experience with madness, and challenges the readers’ suspension of disbelief by using imagery in describing the plot and characters. Poe uses foreshadowing to describe the scenes of sanity versus insanity. He writes “for the most wild yet homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor illicit belief. Yet mad I am not- and surely do I not dream,” alerts the reader about a forthcoming story that will test the boundaries of reality and fiction. The fate of the narrator of “the Black Cat” is very analogous to the one in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. It seems that Poe tries to employ irony and exaggeration to rather cruelly mock his characters’ decent into sanity. Both characters clearly have thought a great about this issue and, by mentioning it in the way that they do, have revealed to the reader one of the important dimensions of their insanity: an inability to recognize it. They wrongfully equate sanity with the ability to appear calm and the ability to make and execute plans. Both characters pretend to be sane and rational at the beginning of the story; however; they are broken men, babbling their confessions to the policemen. In “Tell-Tale Heart” nothing of the objective nature seems to cause such transformation, it seems only from his extreme hypersensitivity, while in “The Black cat” the narrator’s situation aggravates in the course of the story by his declining nature and the escalating affection of the cat. Poe expresses his early attachment to the cat and dramatizes the character changes he experiences when he writes “our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character-through instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance-had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse “He warns the reader of new events in a cynical tone and implies the beginning of the madness he denies. Poe first illustrates this madness when he uses imagery to describe the brutal scene with the cat when he writes “I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!” following the course of events Now the reader has crossed over the line of reality versus fiction. The author continues to illustrate the inconceivable story when he describes the scene after the fire that destroyed every part of the house except the one wall that was still standing. He writes “I approached and saw, as if graven in bas- relief upon the white surface the figure of a gigantic cat and there was a rope around the animals neck”, leading the readers to join the madness and believe that this was the same cat that he had savagely destroyed earlier that same day. By using descriptive details, he allows the reader to feel the horrifying experience of a man who believed he was free from the evil of madness. The story ends after utilizing every inch of suspension of disbelief the reader can afford. He sums up the plot of the story when he writes “the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman,” implying that the cat had induced the same torture on him that he had brought on the first cat.

Works Cited:

Botting, F. (1996). Gothic. London: Rutledge

Brennan, M.S. (1997), The Gothic Psyche: Disintegration and Growth in Nineteenth-Century English Literature .Columbia: Camden House, Inc.

Brewster, S. (2000). Seeing Things: Gothic and the Madness of Interpretation. In D. Punter (ED.), A Companion to Gothic Oxford: Blackwell. (pp.281-293).

Installing Fencing Around Your Home

If you are thinking about installing fencing around your new home there are a few things to think about before you do so.

1. What is the fences purpose?

2. What types or styles of fence do I like?

3. What type of fence will do the job I need it to do?

4. What will it cost?

5. Can I install it myself?

6. AND most important, do I know where my property lines really are?


Post hole digger, long handled pointed shovel, string line, measuring tape, power saw with plastic cutting blade, extension cords, concrete mixing tub, 4′ level. A tripod and level can be rented and if your property is sloped, will come in handy to keep lines of fencing level as you step down (or up) in different areas, safety glasses and good work gloves. A wrench is necessary to tighten clamp bolts but a good ratchet and socket will save a lot of time.


Fencing with all appropriate fittings, caps, rails,etc.

Concrete Redi-mix, (bagged)


Paint or stain for wood fencing

Few wood scraps for temporary braces.

There are many, many types of fencing available today including chain link, wood, aluminum, plastic, PVC to name just a few. All are fences but have differing abilities to do different jobs. If you are putting a fence up to contain a 150 pound pit bull, a soft plastic roll type fence sure wouldn’t work. If you are putting a fence up to protect your garden, soft plastic roll fencing or chicken wire fencing may do the job. Determine what the fence is for and that will lead your to the types of fencing available for your purpose. For our example, let’s say we are putting a fence up to protect an in-ground swimming pool. Several fencing types will work well for this application. Chain link, steel, wood and PVC all come in high strength materials. An in-ground pool requires a 48″ high fence minimum in most states and when these types are checked, they all come in that height.

PVC fencing comes in various heights, is strong and durable and provides vertical slats that are acceptable for a pool fence. Although high end on the price scale, PVC fencing has a long life and requires little maintenance other that occasional washing. This fence has locking gates, finials, corner posts and other decorative accessories that can be added to create a beautiful fenced in area by your pool. DIY Self installation? Most handy homeowners can do this work and with a little time and care can create a nicely finished product.

Wood fencing comes in many styles and heights. Panels are generally 8′ in length so help will be needed to handle these large pieces. Wood fencing requires support posts set in concrete and can be modified by cutting and re-nailing for odd shapes and obstacles.

Chain link fencing comes in galvanized (gray), black and green wire colors. Plastic coated types are also available. Chain link comes in rolls ranging from 4′ to 12′ wide. Top, middle and bottom rails may be required to support the fencing and keep it straight and taut. Fencing is held to steel upright posts set in concrete, with heavy gauge wire loop ties. A special tool is required to bend these ties. Another special tool called a “come-a-long” is required to stretch the fencing tightly between posts before tying.

Different gauges (thickness’) of wire are available and you get what you pay for. Thin wire types will have a shorter life span than heavier wire. This fencing is not cheap to buy or install so invest well for long time use.

Soft plastic roll fencing generally comes in 4′ wide rolls. Steel or wood support posts are required for mounting the fence. This type fencing is considered temporary use only and is seen often at construction sites and along highways. Fence posts can be driven in with a sledge hammer and may have pre-made hooks on them to engage the holes in the fencing. This fencing is inexpensive and considered disposable. Wind does a real mean job on this fence and requires high maintenance.


Layout-Carefully layout your fence line so you can measure the length, corner posts, gates, etc. that you will need for the job. Gates comes in 3′, 4′, 6′ and 8′ widths. Larger widths are available by special order. WRITE down the measurements. Do not try and remember when you get to the store. With your measurements in hand, get a beverage and we will figure out what you need. Corner posts are easy to count. How many corners have you put in the fence? Let’s say 4 for this example. Write down 4 corner posts. Gates. How many do you want and what size? Is there lawn inside the fenced area? Do you have to go inside with your lawn tractor to mow? Make sure at least one gate is wide enough.

Ok, we decided we need one 3′ gate for a sidewalk and one 6′ gate for mowing, cleaning, etc. WRITE it down on your materials list. In our example our fence is 36′ long on each side to form a square. Gates are one in each of two sides. Therefore, the other two sides need 2 x 36′ of fencing or 72′. WRITE it down. One side has a 6′ gate so 30′ of fencing is required. The other gate is 3′ wide so 33′ of fencing is required for the last side. Now add all the fence figures together and we find we need 135′ of fencing required. Posts-If we know the fencing we have chosen comes in 6 ‘ lengths we will need a post every 6′ feet and each side of each gate. A little math shows we need 25 posts. One post every 6′, plus one extra to hold the 3′ gate. WRITE it down. You will use approximately one bag of bagged concrete per post for anything over 4’ high. These are your basic materials plus some misc. nails and scrap lumber for braces are also required. Go purchase your items and place in the area they are to be installed.

Pressure treated fence posts come in both round and square shapes. Lengths generally vary from 6′ to 12′ long. Why so long? If you are installing a 6′ fence you will need to bury at least 3 feet in the ground to support it. That means a 9′ post. Posts come in other wood types as well. Cedar, redwood, and willow posts are still available in some areas. Willow posts if left untreated can re-root and create a “living” fence in wet areas.


Do we have all our materials? OK let’s go. Starting in one corner, dig your first post hole.

Don’t cheat. A shallow hole will weaken your fence and shorten its life span. A 12″ wide hole is acceptable for fence posts. Now continue down one side of the fence line until all the holes are dug. If you are using a pair of hand post hole diggers, your arms are now worn out. If you are using a power post hole auger that you rented, it should make short work of this chore. Place your two end posts in their holes. Plumb them using your 4′ level and install two temporary braces on each to hold them plumb. With this done I’m going to save your some work here. Pour a bag of the bagged of concrete into each hole DRY. OH, OH. Where is the concrete? You didn’t get it? Did you write it down? If you look back I didn’t tell you to. OK. Go get the concrete, you need a break anyway. Seriously, it is a good habit to start to write down all the items you need before you go shopping. It saves a lot of time and extra trips.

OK now with a dry bag of concrete in each hole; hook up your garden hose without a nozzle. Start placing water on top of the dry concrete and by using your shovel to prod the concrete in an up and down motion and pushing the hose in and out of the concrete it will mix right in the hole. Don’t make it too wet. Somewhat soupy is fine but try not to separate the ingredients with too much water. There are several brands of redi-mix bagged concrete available and they will all work this way.

You can now start on the holes for the 2nd side while the concrete dries for the first two posts. Perform the same function with the next corner post and the 4th post until all corner posts are set in concrete. Go back to your first two posts. Using your string line, tie it to the first post and run it to the next corner post and tie it off making it as taught as you can between the posts. MAKE SURE THE STRING IS TIGHT AGAINST THE SAME SIDE OF BOTH POSTS. If you use the inside or outside it doesn’t matter as long as they are both the same. Now you can install the mid posts without a lot of measuring. By simply pacing the post against the string, you will have them all in the same line. Check carefully that your spacing is correct between posts. The posts may be off center of the holes but that’s OK. With all the posts in on one side, pour them in concrete. Try not to leave holes open overnight both for protection against rain and children or animals falling into them. Work your way around your fencing until all the posts are set.

Fencing-Each type of fencing has its own installation methods.

Wood fencing can be cut with a hand or circular saw for both height and length if necessary. Use good quality galvanized nails or screws to affix the wood panels to your posts. Nail at least 12″ on center to assure good support for the panels. Wind can cause severe damage to a fence that is not nailed properly. Keep the panel tops level. Nothing looks worse than a fence with sloping or uneven tops. If the ground level changes, make a step in the top of the fence to accommodate the slope, but in all cases keep the top level. Many states have laws regarding who gets to “see” the good side of the fence. In my area, the rear neighbor sees the bad side; the side neighbors see the good side. The front usually has the good side to the street for appearance. Your locality may have its own local laws governing this and front yard fence heights. Check first before your install your fence.

Chain link fencing has a different set of installation rules and different equipment is needed to do the work. Post setting is basically the same except the posts are steel.

Ask your retailer for post spacing recommendations for the height fence you purchased. After setting the posts and pouring the concrete, you must unroll the fence alongside the posts. Slide in an end bar which is a flat piece of metal the height of your fencing. Carefully standing the end of the fence up against the first post, place end clamps around the post and the end bar and insert the supplied bolts anchoring the fence to the post.

Now when you stretch the fence, you are really pulling on the post and the bar not on the fencing itself.

Wire ties come in differing lengths and gauges. A special wire tool is available that will bend the loop around the chain link. Ask your dealer. Pliers can be used but are lot a harder. Invest in the tool.

Once you have the chain link fastened to the first post, you must stretch the fencing to obtain a taut condition between the posts. Chain link does stretch and will sag if not pulled tightly. By using another end bar, insert it at the other end of your fence run, at a corner or at least several posts away from your start point. Wrapping the come-a-long around the post and hooking to the end (termination) bar. By cranking the come-a-long up tight, you will pull the fence taut from end to end.

Available at hardware or tool stores, Come-A-Long will hook to the post on one end and the hook will connect to the end or termination bar for pulling. By cranking the handle, you reel in the cable pulling the fencing taut.

Once you have the fencing pulled tight, you can start installing the wires ties on the intermittent post, tying the fence to the posts. Using a minimum of three ties per post, place one on at the bottom, middle and the top of the post. Once all the posts are tied, you can carefully release the come-a-long and move on to the next section of fence. Corners are a bit tricky to get the fencing tight but after a few posts are done, you will get the hang of it.

Remember-Each time you end the fence, you must install an end or termination bar. A four foot fence requires at least three clamps per bar. If your fence is in excess of 4 feet, you may want to install a top rail to keep the fabric from bending or bowing between posts. You may of course use one on a 4 foot fence as well but it is generally not needed.

If your fencing is for security or around a pool perhaps, you may also want to install a bottom rail to keep unwanted intruders from bowing the fence and slipping underneath.

If your goal is to keep rodents from your garden, you can bury a foot or so of the fence fabric below ground as many rodents burrow only a few inches below grade.

Plastic or PVC Fencing- These fences are generally high end (costly) products but due to their long lasting appearance and very low maintenance, are becoming very popular to day. Unless you enjoy staining your wood fence each year, this may be the way to go.

Installation is basically the same as wood or chain link as far as post installation goes but extra care must be the rule when handling and screwing the sections together to avoid marring the PVC finish. A goof here in cutting or scratching the finish will be long lasting.


If you are placing your fence around your garden or pool, chances are you will not encounter a conflict with property lines. However, if you are installing a property line fence, MAKE SURE you know where the property lines really are located. Bushes, tree lines or stone walls are NOT a good and reliable indicator of property lines. You may have been mowing a section of lawn for years but that doesn’t make it your property. You may have just been being nice to your neighbor all those years.

I have heard over and over how someone is sure that is where their line absolutely is only to find out after they install the fence that their neighbor sues them and has it removed. Survey maps will show the shape of the property and location of adjacent streets. Most will show accurate locations of corner pins.

Property corners (usually a steel pipe or concrete monument) can be located from your site plan or survey map DO NOT GUESS where your property lines are located. Have the lot surveyed and legal corners markers set. This way your investment in your fence will not be wasted.

Fencing is usually a multiple weekend project but with a little care you can have a beautiful finished project and save a great deal of money on labor.

Facebooking, Which Dancer Are You?

Returning to social media and Facebook theme, we highlight further insight into Facebook. There is a new dance that we could compare to the Waltz, the Samba and such classic human movement concertos we define as dance.

Facebook has choreographed a few new dances, although we have personally witnessed movements similar to the Pas de deux and the Bop. One conjures up images of a Nureyev and Fonteyn classic.

Facebook dance movements can be classified as such:

1. A member is on chat merrily chatting away until one logs-in, then whoosh, they miraculously dissipate and have the audacity to take an encore by peeping ten minutes later and immediately dissipating again, instead of soaking up the rapturous appause. This new dance lacks elegance and style and is akin to the Bop.

2. Member is posting away and commenting and "liking" until you log-in, then their fingers are frozen, and once again whoosh they dissipate, now Facebook has a generic time stamp, and the like they just clicked on says – "30 Seconds ago "This is called the Ghost Dance.

3. Thirdly, they later send you lame messages, "oh gosh I just missed you, wanted so badly to chat" This dance is called the "Bollockero"

4. This is a personal favorite Facebook dance, it is called the marathon dancer, they are always on chat at three in the morning and again at Midday, low and behold, their icon appears on the left with a green illumination marker as testimony to Their chat status. Not even Nureyev had this kind of stamina. One can check for signs of sweat on their brow, there is never a trace of it.

5. Finally, there is the "cause" dancer, who collects silver plated gold hearts, purple hazed gemstones, diamond toothy smiles, and then the sweetest one of all "the happiest Facebook character on Facebook." This dance is so elegant that the intrinsic movements are barely discernible and the participant sweeps their page with such grace and demeanor that choreography is indefinable. More commonly known as, "Pass de Award Dance."

The Facebook dance academy is a burgeoning institution, the familiar jive we reverted in the fifties and sixties has become the 'Duck and Dive' of the millennia.

Which dancer are you?

In conclusion, one aspect of Facebook that should be an improvement is the good old Profile Photos; Photo-Shop has never had such great use as it previously enjoys. Profile pictures exude a youthful and spiritual character of all Facebook members.Please use Photo-Shop but be cognizant of your own restrictions, collections and clients alike will look out for any anomaly.

You do not want to look like a prize turkey the day before Thanksgiving, lest you want to stir up the ire of the American Humane Association, rather be the splodge of cranberry on the lily white damask linen, or this is an artistic or Jackson Pollock undertone To your character.

Perhaps if Facebook introduced a swimsuit version to their profile picture, honesty and sanity would wish. Imagine a swimsuit photo of Mark Zuckerberg in his bathing trunks on a frosty wind swept Chicago day. I would wager a dime to a dollar that Marks own team members would not recognize this edition of his profile photo. Preferably, I would prefer a photo of my neighbors' wife in her swimsuit best!

Insight Into Professional Photographers Pricing

Some Insight Into Professional Photographers Pricing

If you talk to many professional photographers, you will get considerably different stories when it comes to professional photography prices and services. With so many new digital photographers in the marketplace, there can be a lot of confusion regarding what a true professional photographer is and what they can do for you.

People call photographers all the time to ask questions about prices. In all too many cases, hiring a photographer comes to down price. Potential customers look at sample photo galleries online to decide what level of photographer falls into their budget.

Many calls and emails we receive regarding professional photographers are asking about event photographers, wedding photographers, senior portraits and family portrait prices. There are so many variables that go into a shoot such as location, the travel involved to get to a photo shoot and the length of the shoot itself.

“Professional Photographers” can have prices as low as $50 for senior portraits or $5000 or more for a wedding photographer. The “cheap photographer” may not be the best bet because someone working for $50 probably isn’t a true professional photographer. Many of our customers are really confused by the prices associated with photography so I have tried to shed some light on the subject here.

Your buddy with his $500 Camera is Not a Professional Photographer

A professional photographer is not your neighbor who has made a trip to the camera store and bought what they think is the latest and greatest DSLR camera. Even if they have the best professional photographer’s camera, that does not make them a professional photographer. If you decide to go that route, you may regret that decision and you can’t re-shoot a wedding and senior portraits are images you will have for a lifetime.

Using an experienced photographer is the best way to go. Also, keep in mind that there is time involved. Even if you only need one shot, it will take time to find the best shot, ensure the best lighting and in the case of senior portrait photographers, wait for the subject to change outfits.

Another thing to keep in mind is the cost of professional photographers’ equipment. Good companies only use high quality DSLR cameras, specialized lenses, professional memory cards, and lighting along with the customized software for image processing. Professional photographers’ customers benefit from the latest professional technology being used in the photographs.

Something else that falls under the time umbrella is the time it takes to produce the image. Some things that go into a photo shoot are; setting up the equipment in advance, downloading the photos and going through them after the shoot, digital touch-ups to the photos, deciding which photos are best for prints, burning the photos onto DVDs or CDs, sending them to the lab, and many, many more things.

I think most would agree that there is a great value you get from working with professional event, school, youth sports, senior portrait and wedding photographers.

Keep in mind that true professional photographers shoot for a living. Photographers should be trained professionals who then go through specific training and shoot methodology before they are able to work for a studio.

The Cost of Photography Services

Whether you’re a Marine Corps Unit looking for a Marine Corps Ball photographers, a senior looking for senior portraits, a couple looking for a professional wedding photographer, the big question is always: How much is a professional photographer going to cost me?

There are a few things to ask yourself when choosing a professional wedding photographer. Is there a price value on your wedding night memories? Most customers say no. What about senior portrait prices? Senior portraits are another important part of a person’s life, signifying moving from one chapter of their life to another. Isn’t it worth paying a bit more to hire a true professional senior portrait photographer to know you will have great photos to cherish for a lifetime? The price of the photos could range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the photographer but the value sometimes cannot be measured.

When choosing a professional photographer for your photography services it is best to make your decision based on value, not just the cheapest price. Think of it like you would consider any other important purchasing decision.

Pricing for Event Photography

Something to think about when considering event photographers is event photography pricing. Event photography covers a wide range of photography services, thus the pricing for event photography services will vary depending on the type of event. Many event photographers charge Marine Corps Units just to come out to do their Marine Corps Ball photography. In 99% of the cases, good companies do not charge the Unit to come out for their Marine Corps Ball. They make money when Marines and guest make purchases. In most cases, good companies actually donate fundraisers to the Marines to help with the costs associated with their Ball.

With event photography for corporate parties, there are many different pricing models that come into play. Many companies hire a photographer for a flat fee based upon the number of people at the event. In some cases, companies pay for a specific number of photos in advance. One customer knew they were going to have 100 couples at their event and paid us up front for 1 5×7 for each couple and allowed them to purchase more if they wished.

When considering an event photographer, think about if you want on-site printing or prefer to have the photos shipped directly to the customers. All of these things play a significant role in the cost for your event photographer.

Why on earth do most Wedding Photographers Prices vary so much?

With most photographers, once you throw the words “wedding photographer,” prices go through the roof. The reality is there are a vast majority of wedding photographers whose prices are extremely high. As a matter of fact, Wedding photography in general can seem overpriced at times. You may Google “Wedding Photographers” and find the website of a photographer whose work impresses you…until you see their price. Then if you even think about keeping the original images, or negatives, the prices can be insane. That is why good studios now have “Keep Your Image Pricing” for senior portrait and wedding photography. Digital photography has revolutionized the industry and many of the wedding photographers out there haven’t come along for the ride.

A good, ethical photographer’s goal should not be to just part you from your money! Professional photographs are a wonderful way to capture your memories. Choosing the right photographer is important and the photos they take can be priceless.

You should never be pressured into paying more than you can afford to pay for wedding pictures, but you shouldn’t assume they are a rip-off or some sort of scam. After the guests are gone, the gifts are opened and the honeymoon is over, aside from your marriage, your photos are what you have left. Good professional photographers will provide you with photos worthy of becoming part of your family’s history. To learn more about our wedding photography service visit our wedding page.

Photographers do a lot more than just showing up and taking pictures. Below is a list of just a few things that are relevant to ALL professional photographers.

Expenses Incurred by Most Professional Photographers

Advertising – While it is nice to get referrals from existing customers, typically that don’t bring in enough revenue to support a sustainable business. Advertising is expensive. Web advertising can range from $100 per month for a small photographer, up to a few thousand dollars a month for a larger photography company. Other advertising costs include print ads, ads on event planning websites and Google AdWords and other pay-per-click advertising. At any rate, you can be assured that 99% of professional photographers spend a considerable amount on advertising which has to be paid for.

Taxes – Just like anyone else, photographers pay taxes on their income. Not only do they pay income tax, they also have to pay sales tax. For school photographers, event photographers and youth sports photographers it is really cut and dry, you pay sales tax based upon the tax rate for the area in which you shoot. For our studio, that is Temecula, the Inland Empire, Riverside County, Orange County and San Diego County, basically all of Southern California. That takes an average of 8.75% of their fee right off the top of the sales amount. In some cases, in many areas of the country, California included, wedding photographers are required to pay sales tax even if they are charging a flat fee for their service. Many photographers think that sales tax doesn’t apply to “photography services”, like wedding photography or event photography where they get paid a flat amount. In most cases they are wrong and can run into trouble with the government if they do not comply.

I personally know of a case where a San Diego event photographer did many of her events for a flat fee and thought she didn’t have to pay sales tax. When she was audited, she had to pay sales tax for a considerable amount of her previous events, which nearly put her out of business. Think about that when you are considering a photographers price, as much as 40% in some cases could be being paid in taxes! So if you are paying someone $1000 fee, as much as $400 of it could be going to the government.

Equipment – Professional grade, DSLR camera bodies cost as much as $5,000. Lenses are typically more of a cost for a photographer because they need many of them to get the right shot. There are special lenses for portrait photography, event photography and all sorts of specialty lenses that photographers carry in their bag to make sure they have most potential shots covered. Professional photographers’ lenses can EASILY cost $1,000 or more. Some lenses can cost as much as $5000 or more depending on the type of photography they are designed for. Professional sports photographers’ lenses are a small fortune.

This equipment wears down just like any other piece of electronics (that is what they are these days, electronics). High volume photographers can wear out cameras in a couple of years. The average life of a camera is 100,000 to 150,000 shots. At a large studio, just in youth sports photography and school photography business, studios may photograph as many as 50,000 kids per year. At 2-3 shots per child, you can see how fast that can break down equipment. With wedding photographers it isn’t quite that bad, but a wedding might have as many as 3000 shots taken, which can still add up quickly. Add to all of that thousands of dollars in lights, flashes, tripods, camera bags, memory cards, batteries and the hundreds of other miscellanies items that professional photographers need and you start to get an idea of how expensive being a professional photographer can be.

Insurance – For sports and school photographers, liability insurance is a must. It is recommended that these types of photographers carry at least 2 million dollars in liability insurance. Equipment insurance is even more expensive. A large photography company could have $100,000 worth of equipment or more, which is a few thousand dollars per year to insure.

Other costs that effect photographers pricing

Sales and Prospecting – For school photographers and school photographers, the vast majority of their time is spent is sales, marketing and prospecting. This involves a lot of time. Just finding prospects that they can market to takes hours out of every day. Once a prospect is found, time is then spent trying to make contact and set a meeting to present their products and services. Driving to the meeting and meeting with customers can take an entire day. For wedding photographers, time is spent with the customer before the wedding then again after the wedding showing the finished products. If you add to that a custom wedding album, you can see that the majority of professional photographers’ time is spent doing everything but taking pictures.

After a shoot, many photographers hours editing, color correcting and touching up images. For youth sports and school photographers, there will be HOURS of data entry of the customers’ orders. Unlike photographers who only shoot weddings or senior portraits who typically deal with 1 customer at a time, youth sports and school photographers deal with thousands of customers a month in many cases. Additionally, youth sports and school photographers have multiple “layers” of customer interaction. For youth sports photographers, their main customer is the league or organization, who makes the decision on which photographer to choose, but the customers who make the purchases are the parents in the league. A good studio will also assign a dedicated customer manager to each league or school to make sure they have everything they need to make sure their picture day is a success.

Talent– True professional photographers are artists. Anyone can learn the ins-and-outs of a camera and memorize all of its functions. Professional photographers have a “photographer’s eye”, which enables them to see the right shot and take it. Really good images aren’t just properly exposed, they are something to remember.

We hope this article helped shed a little light on the things to consider when comparing photographers’ pricing.

Power Ab Workout – Isolation Training

The harder you train your abs is more important than how long you train them. Go for "the burn" occasional, but if your stomach muscles feel uncomfortable for more than a couple of days, you probably have gone too far.

If you find yourself in a confined position and you only have a few minutes to train your abs, it is a good idea to try this quick, 15 seconds ab-toning circuit. Circuit training is moving from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible. Hold each position for 3 seconds.

Lean back until you stomach muscles contract, but do not touch the back of your chair. Then, without rest, bring your right foot off the floor and you right knee towards your chest. Do the same with your left leg. For the final exercise, press your right forearms into your right armrest. Do the same with your left forearms.

In 15 seconds, you have worked all of your ab muscles. If you have more time, simply do another circuit of the same routine. Three sets would be perfect.

Perform 3 ab isolation exercises 3 times a week. Target each muscle with a specific exercise. Do 3 exercises per workout – one for your front abs, one for your side abs, and one that targets all of your stomach muscles simultaneously. Mix and match your ab workouts to fully facilitate your workout. Your abs love to be challenged from different angles and intensities. Always emphasize perfect form to maximize your progress and minimize soreness.

If you are a person who extremely lacks time, put our ab isolation exercises together into a floor circuit workout when you are at home or in the gym. This method of training keeps your heart rate up so that you tone your abs and lose belly fat simultaniously.

Lie on your back and do a set of ten perfect crunches. Then, without any rest, do a set of ten reverse crunches. Turn over on your stomach and hold a plank for 10 seconds. By now you might need a breath, so take a thirty seconds break and a sip of water. Then lie down on your side and hold a side plank for ten seconds. Switch to your other side and hold a plank for ten seconds.

Just as you get bored doing the same things over and over, your abs do get bored too. When you do not add anything new to your ab-isolation exercises, do not expect to see any visible improvements. Adding one new ab-isolation exercise each month will ignite your progress.

British Virgin Islands to San Blas Archipelago – Preparing for the Pacific

A shining morning arrives and early, she slips out of her berth and noses around to the fuel dock to receive a belly full of that awful and smelly but necessary diesel. She casts off again and suddenly, there it is, with her nose heading south west and feeling it in every fiber of her hull, the route home to New Zealand, that jewel of the South Pacific the crew have been babbling on for about months.

A sparkling cerulean Caribbean sea and a fresh breeze on the port quarter inject her with infectious excitation, transmitting to her crew so that everyone is in singing high spirits and looking forward to piling on as many seas as she can before nightfall on this first day . She feels the urgency and with some tweaking of the sails, she lifts her skirts, settles in serious intent, and leaps forward at a cracking eight knots. She revels in an impossibly blue sea and rattles the topping lift to alert the crew of the arrival of the first batch of dolphins, seeing them on their way and blessing their voyage – a good omen. Sleek and big and black and white, these fools of the seas play with her, frolicking out, near and under her keel, one moment rushing full tilt at her sides, then turning abruptly to skim along within millimetres, using the water pressure between them And her hull as a cushion, then charging out ahead to leap yet again in their joyfulness. Diamonds arcing through the sun each time they exit, they finally tire of this pedestrian behemoth with three idiot grins hanging over the side, and head off somewhere looking for a more mobile playmate.

Long, hot, humid days follow as she heads down into the cauldron in the south west corner of the Caribbean Sea known as Panama. Visions of swamps, mangroves and mosquitoes along with stultifying heat are conjured up to play upon the imagination of her crew. The fine wind holds and our ship bowls along making an extra thirty nautical miles a day due to that union of her shaft and that object of her desire, the shiny new brass feathering propeller. She is surprised and very pleased with the difference it makes and shares this with the captain who now thinks he is so clever! The following
Wind pushes her along, dragging her own micro climate with her creating a kind of vacuum, so everything above water level is cooking, including the crew! Coleridges' famous lines from the 'Ancient Mariner' float up in the haze:

'All in a hot and copper sky,

The bloody sun at noon,

Right up above the mast did stand,

No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship,

Upon a painted ocean '


How to paint a picture with few words? Although a lengthy poem, Coleridge says it all about the Doldrums, in this short passage.

Life on board is molded into a routine and one day runs into another, smoothly, seamlessly, like a never ending Mobius Strip. The Captain, lounging languidly in the cockpit, shaded by the awning, glances lazily astern and suddenly leaps bolt upright, staring into the water where the fishing lure is swimming some one hundred meters in their wake. He can not believe his eyes as a huge darker blue shadow angles up toward the lure, gives it a little nip, disdainfully turns, and sinks back into the depths. Several pounding heartbeats later he is able to splutter a shout to the others, who pour out of the companionway to see what all the fuss is about. Seeing nothing and believing the Captain is going delirious, despite his postulations concerning a monarch marlin, they retire once more below – poor fellow! However, he knows, as does she, that indeed it was a large billfish of some kind, as its' gleaming bill had cleared the water whilst it inspected the lure. He put it down to curiosity and added it to his store of knowledge on pelagics.

Brilliant green flash in the last of the suns early evening rays, flinging off rainbow droplets, each a prism of color, signals a solid strike on the trailing lure. In comes a beautiful 7kg Mahi Mahi. These gorgeous fish, when first out of the water, are a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors, sometimes blue, sometimes green and / or gold – hence the Spanish name for them, 'Dorade'. She is quickly filleted and placed in the ships refrigerator in preparation for dinner. Sibling crew announces dinner with a couple of strikes on the ships bell, and our crew tuck into the 'catch of the day' with relish. Served up with straw potatoes, slivered carrot, tomato, red pepper, salad, hot bread and a glass of chilled chardonnay her crew will enthusiastically quaff it all down, relaxing in the cockpit in the last soft glow of the tropical evening, distant pink and Rose cumulus stacked to the ceiling – could there be anything more enjoyable?

'Why do they have to go to those lengths to feed themselves?' She wonders when all she needs is wind in her sails.

With Cartagena sunk astern and well across the gulf of Darien, she alters course a few degrees to port to intersect with the San Blas archipelago. This little forgotten corner of the globe interests her immensely. Early morning with the sun behind and rolling gently on the moderate swell she approaches the first bunch of islands cautiously. At this point only palm trees are visible. Gradually other landmarks slowly rise out of the sea to reveal more small islands, white beaches and some tiny buildings. Many reefs are also visible, darkly lurking under the surface to catch an unwary visitor. Her crew are being extremely cannisticated because the charting in this area is inaccurate at best, and whilst she knows the way in, she let them practice their connection skills. There were going to be many more situations similar to this, once they entered the Pacific and sailing among those South Sea Islands. Beside, it made them feel good and brave them bragging rights at the next nautical bar they happened upon. Dropping anchor over her nose in Porvenir, just fifty meters from the Custom house, she comes to rest. That was about the amount of their harbor – a small pond encircled with jagged reefs. However, the ground is good with the anchor holding well.

Extract from my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship' Tere Moana '

Article 7: Christmas Gold in Tonopah, Nevada

Weather forecasts in Reno warned of a snowstorm down to 3500 feet beginning at noon on Saturday. I’d driven up the day before and was now checked out of my motel and waiting for my daughter, Heather, to take her math final at 2 p.m. before leaving on Christmas break from the University of Nevada-Reno. She and her college buddy, Brittany, would be heading back with me to Las Vegas for the holidays. We were crossing our fingers that the forecasts were wrong.

The temperature dropped and light flurries began. I went to the corner gas station for a cup of hot coffee. On my way into the store I spied a young college kid sitting Indian style on the cold pavement by the newsstands just outside the doors. He politely asked for any loose change I could spare. I gave him what I had–not much at all. Inside I was pouring my coffee into the cup when I overheard one of the employees say to the other, “There’s some kid outside. I’m going to tell him to move on.” I felt badly about their lack of sensitivity, especially in this cold weather. I redirected my attention to a sale rack of hats and gloves and grabbed a set for myself…purple for wisdom would do nicely, I thought.

I got in my car with strong desires to find more change for this young man. He was still there–evidently he’d come up with a reasonable excuse for being there and hadn’t been shooed away after all. I was relieved. But search as I may, I couldn’t find any more change in my purse or in the car. I know! I’ll pull some money for him from an ATM. Checked my watch. Yes, I’d have just enough time. I was off to the nearest bank drive-through and just obtaining the cash when Heather called. She was done with her final. I told her I’d meet her at her dorm in a couple of minutes.

It was snowing harder now. I drove back through the gas station and slowed to a stop to where the young man could see me between the parked cars. I rolled down my window and motioned him to my car. “Me?” he asked, pointing to his chest.

“Yes, you,” I smiled. He came to my car and I extended a twenty dollar bill. “I hope this helps. Merry Christmas.”

He beamed with delight. “Oh, thank you! Thank you. I’m going to go get something to eat!” He literally ran to the doors of the gas station. I batted back the forming tears, choked back the swelling lump in my throat, offered a silent blessing on him and drove on to the dorm.

By the time Brittany and Heather had cleared their possessions out of their dorms and loaded them into the SUV–including lacrosse sticks, snowboard, two computers, other paraphernalia and at least 100 pounds of dirty laundry each–we were ready to head out of town. The snow was sticking and the roads were covered and slippery.

A couple of cars had slid into the ditch between the highway. Tow-trucks were already on the scene helping them out. But something worse had happened further on, beyond our seeing. One fire truck, then two. An ambulance and police cars. We were still inching along at about 5 miles an hour. Fernley was a long ways off.

In the other direction there was no traffic at all. Logic dictated that there must have been a bad accident there which had closed down the highway altogether in that direction. A few minutes later and we watched a snow plow make a path for the ambulance on the Reno-bound side of the highway. Whoever had been hurt was now headed for the hospital. We were grateful for that. More calls home.

It took 2 hours to get to Fernley. The five-car pile-up we saw was enough of a warning to everyone not to take chances. All drivers were giving one another lots of distance and space for safety. Every once in a while some know-it-all would go by at an unreasonable speed. We saw several fishtail skid marks in the snow of their lessons learned.

Alternate 95 was virtually untraveled and unplowed. Remnant paths of cars gave indications of lanes. It was a tense, long drive. Brittany fell asleep. Heather kept me company. With my eyes glued to the road, I was able to enjoy several hours of her tellings of college life. That was why I had volunteered for this road trip–once Heather gets home she is always so involved with her siblings and friends–I seem to miss out on the one-to-one conversations which bring connectedness. I’d really been missing Heather. This was bittersweet–I was getting all the lowdown, but at the same time I was stressing over the drive. I was grateful for her insomnia.

From Fernley to Tonopah we drove an additional 6 hours. It was as bad in Tonopah as it had been in Reno. I felt blessed that we’d traveled thus far without incident. Heather and I had formed a routine of communication. When lights would appear in the distance, she would call out “Snowplow” which meant to slow to a crawl because we’d soon be in a white-out as they drove by, blinding us with the offspray of snow. I’d give her a heads-up on cars coming up from behind so she wouldn’t think I’d dozed if she heard repetitive thumping sounds from shoulder grooves when I’d scoot over to allow for passers. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were getting good at this, but we’d quickly come up with survival skills. It was a team effort.

In Tonopah we stopped at the gas station, hoping to get hot beverages and hopefully information on the storm. Here we would make a decision on whether to push on through or get a hotel room for the night. The fellow was more than a little strange. Not at all what we needed at a time like this. He was very non-committal in his response but admitted he’d heard that “maybe” the roads were a “little” better just past Goldfield.

“How far is that?” I asked.

“Half an hour,” a flat response.

“Normally or in weather like this?” Brittany pinned him down.

“26 miles.” His compassion was incredulous. He actually watched us shop as if we were going to steal something from his store. I went to the car with my coffee. Heather and Brittany returned with the tale of his accusation that their ten-dollar bill was counterfeit. We shook it off.

“Well, girls, whaddya think?” I was taking a vote. We all agreed to press on past Goldfield and get this trip over with. The thought of a hotel room and waking up to tons of snow and needing to buy chains, etc. was not appealing. We were ready to be home.

An hour later we saw signs for the Goldfield cemetery. Then a deathly dark and silent town. One lone patrol car stuck its head out of an alley and then turned the other way. We rounded the 20 mph 90 degree turn at 5 mph and headed out of Goldfield. Then we saw the multi-colored emergency lights ahead.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” Heather snapped. “Are they actually pulling someone over in this weather?” We were showing signs of fatigue. As we passed by we saw that the truck and the strobe lights of the Highway Patrol vehicle were pointed towards the fields below.

“I’ll be someone went off the highway and they’re looking for them,” I feared aloud.

Eyes back on the road, it wasn’t more than 15 seconds later and everything went white. I slowed the car to a stop as quickly as reason would allow. “That’s it. We can’t travel in this!”

The girls agreed wholeheartedly. Fear was now our companion. We maneuvered the car around on the highway–there were no other cars or lights anywhere in the vicinity. Our only relief on our way back was the dark humor we enjoyed about the sinister laughing of the gas station attendant carving another hash mark into the backroom once we’d left.

Goldfield had zero accommodations which meant we’d have to retrace our journey from Tonopah. There was a Ramada there on this side of town. Still, it was 26 miles. Again. It was the longest 26 miles of the trip–in the wrong direction. Disheartened and beat we drove silently to Tonopah. I watched the odometer countdown the miles. We were almost there.

We got ourselves a room. The front desk lady was so nice and understanding. She gave us a special rate and let us know that she’d been watching the storm on-line and that it wasn’t clear until 60 miles out of Las Vegas. We’d definitely done the right thing in returning. Check out wasn’t until noon and there was a restaurant where we could get a good, hot breakfast in the morning. We retired quickly, completely spent.

Being the early-bird that I am, I was up at 7:30 a.m. I took a peek out of the black-out drapes to see it had stopped snowing. However, there was about a foot of snow on the ground and the roads weren’t plowed yet. I had no idea what awaited us. I grabbed a book for reading and Heather’s cell phone to make calls–I wanted to let the girls sleep a couple more hours. I would definitely need my morning time today–my “alone” time, as I affectionately refer to it. There was still half a trip to make.

Downstairs in the lobby my spirits picked up a little. This hotel was so nicely decorated–old western antiques everywhere. I was getting that “Nevada” feeling. It’s a wonderful feeling that you don’t really get in Las Vegas. These small towns, and even Reno, have a wonderful flavor all their own. You feel a part of their culture and a part of their history. It was a nice feeling of belonging. I was glad we were here. It felt safe and familiar.

These feelings were only enhanced as I addressed one of the waitresses in the restaurant. Could I buy a cup of coffee? I’d be back later for breakfast with my girls.

“Oh, here. Don’t worry about paying for it now–you’ll be back later. You can go relax in the saloon for privacy.” What a sweetheart. I actually stayed and chatted with several of them for a few minutes. We talked about the storm and I told my tale of woe of the 8 hour drive the night before. They were so kind. I felt encouraged.

In the Saloon the old West theme was continued. I was wishing for a pair of cowboy boots and a hat about then. Different employees came and went, taking care of their early morning duties. Each would stop and tip their hat, say good morning and comment on the weather. I settled in at the unattended bar with my book, phone and cup of hot coffee and directed my attention to the TV mounted up high above the bar.

The Wizard of Oz was showing. Now the thing about the Wizard of Oz is that it holds an especially significant meaning, not only in my life in general, but very specifically with my company, TellingTouch. So much of my inspiration for TellingTouch has come from the rainbow, and as a result, Somewhere Over the Rainbow has become a song I listen to on an almost-daily basis. This was so unusual to see this movie playing…now. I empowered it with meaning and decided to direct my attention to its message. (The November 20th launch date and subsequent update for the Christmas holidays had worn me out…I needed to quit resting on my laurels and get back to work. Unfortunately, my self-talk hadn’t quite done the trick. I was still unmotivated. Perhaps The Wizard of Oz would provide the right alchemy.)

Interestingly, one of the fellows stopped by to tell me that his daughter had played a part in The Wizard of Oz on Broadway. We chatted for awhile and then he went on with his work. I picked up with Dorothy meeting Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Lion. I thought to myself, Brains, Heart and Courage. Consider a focus on those attributes to motivate you.

I hadn’t noticed until he spoke, but a local patron had arrived and seated himself around the corner of the bar from me. “It’s nasty out there!” he declared. “Nasty!”

“Yes,” I chimed in agreement, “I traveled eight hours in it last night.” Our discussion on weather ensued. We chuckled here and there. His name was Ron. Ron was probably in his late 50’s, about 5′ 10″ tall, average-frame and wore a long beard. He was clad in jeans, boots, flannel shirt and jacket and wore a knitted hat. He was pleasant and laid back. I was enjoying our conversation. He recommended that I check in with the Highway Patrol before heading out. He gave me walking directions–they were just around the corner from the hotel.

Then Ron told me that he’d walked over here to the hotel–that he used to have to use a cane and before that a walker. In fact, the doctors had said that he’d never walk without one of these aids. He’d proved them wrong. His condition was the result of a beating. He’d only been out of the hospital for 2 months now and that after having been in a coma for five and a half months.

He had my full attention. “My God! What happened? Why were you beaten?” my face scrunched in envisioned pain and disbelief.

Ron told me how a newcomer to town had taken a liking to one of the gals in town, which was a friend of his. In speaking to her one day, Ron had unknowingly offended this fellow, who then hunted him down in the middle of the night and beat him mercilessly–beginning with a forceful blow to the back of his head with a 2×4. That rendered Ron unconscious, but the beating continued. Both jaws were broken, all of his ribs, his spleen punctured. He’d been pronounced clinically dead four times during his hospital stay.

As I sat there stunned at his telling, Ron told me how he’d gone to court recently and that his perpetrator was now serving a 20 year sentence on one count and a four-and-a-half year sentence on another charge. “He’ll be away for a long time.” Then Ron lowered and shook his head continuing, “I just don’t understand. He ruined my life. All for talking to my friend. I just don’t understand.”

I felt compassion for this poor, hurting man. “How are you doing now? Are you in pain? Have your injuries healed?”

“Oh, I won’t take all those medicines they give me. The government sends someone in to clean my house once a week. And I have friends here. The thing is though–my memory was affected. I can’t remember things–long-term, short-term. I just pace back and forth turning on the TV and then the radio and then the TV and then the radio. I just can’t figure it out. Why am I still here?”

It was a rhetorical question and yet it begged for hope. I was trance-like, amazed that I would be so favored as to have this man pour out his story to me. My whole vision of TellingTouch, its mission, came crawling up my back. “These are the real stories of life–these are the Tellings–this is why you have created TellingTouch. These stories need to be heard.” I was listening with my soul now. I stared at Ron. I wanted to cry. I wanted to thank him for his taking time to tell me his story. I wanted to make it all better, but I couldn’t. I could only embrace this tremendous compassion and let it settle in my soul.

“Well, Sweety, thank you for listening to this old man’s story. Now you be sure and check in with the Highway Patrol before you head out of town.” He rose from his chair to leave.

“I will. Thank you, Ron. And, Ron, just keep doing what you’re doing–you’ll figure it out.” We smiled and he left the Saloon.

It took several minutes for the emotion of the moment to pass. I just sat there. Then I looked back at the TV. Dorothy was in the field of flowers with her companions. She was under the spell and had fallen asleep. It began snowing That is how she awoke. It was snowing. It was snowing. Eight hours of snowing, sleeping, awaking, getting back on course, remembering one’s purpose. Snow. I was awake.

I walked to the Highway Patrol offices which were locked up, but one of the patrol cars was pulling into the lot. I waited and spoke to him. He told me the roads were pretty good now and that the snowplows had gone through a couple of times between Tonopah and Goldfield. I went back to the hotel to rouse the girls from their slumber. I actually ran into Ron again in the hallway.

He smiled, “You’re an angel.”

“Oh, no, not me,” I laughed.

“You know, I should tell you. I’m an ex-convict myself, having spent many years in prison,” he shook his head, then looked up at me. “I just want to do good with my life now. When I was young, I was quite the hoodlum.”

My wit couldn’t resist, “All it took was a smack upside the head with a 2×4.” We nearly died laughing. His was a good, robust, from the gut laughter, which I was grateful for–sometimes I open my mouth and insert my foot. We hugged and said good-bye for the second time, but not the last.

While the girls got ready for breakfast I found Ron and his friend, whose nickname is actually “Angel”, who had now joined him, in the Saloon. I’d been hoping to locate him once more–I’d brought down a gift from my bag for him for his home. I had a rainbow sun catcher and a set of Mirror Talk affirmation clings with me. I’d packed them uncertain as to why or to whom I would give them. The wording on the sun catcher said, I’ve traveled to the rainbow’s end and have found not gold, but you, my friend. Now I knew who they belonged to. Ron was so delighted with my gifts.

Angel was such a doll, and it was easy to tell she truly cared about Ron. The three of us talked and talked. She provided more details of his story–how she’d longed to go visit him in the hospital and how she’d flown across the room when she first saw him again just a few weeks back…how her little two-year old daughter, Summer, absolutely adores him and giggles and smiles whenever she sees him. As Angel spoke, she’d reach out occasionally and pat Ron’s leg or lovingly pinch his cheek. He was touched by the attention and care. We both saw the tear form in his eye just then. She reached up and wiped it away. That damned lump in my throat was back again. I thought to myself, Ron is loved and he loves. That’s the most wonderful reason to be alive. He just hasn’t remembered that yet, but he will. He will.

Well, the girls and I finally got on the road again after a good home-cooked breakfast. This time roads outside of Goldfield were actually clear. Heather even gave me a break and drove part of the way into Vegas. I got a chance to rest and look out the car window at the scenery–beautiful snow-covered mountains, baby-blue skies and puffy white clouds. As I drifted off to sleep I thought to myself, maybe the gas station attendant wasn’t so sinister after all–perhaps he was just on a different time table than us–a little out there in the future. Or maybe, just maybe, his timing was just right.

How Safe Are Dental Implants?

Modern technology plays a part to see that you are perfectly safe with an implant. A good implant can last for up to 15 years if it is maintained properly. if you have a bridge over natural teeth they normally last for around 8 years. In fact if you take car e of your teeth properly and maintain proper oral hygiene these implants might even last longer. It is recommended though that you see your dentist regularly and get the implant checked up at regular intervals.

Can I clean the implant? Is it difficult?

Cleaning the teeth around the implant is as similar to cleaning regular teeth. The same level of care is necessary as you would your natural teeth

Quick treatment

In fact the treatment associated with a dental implant is not long at all. The procedure can be completed in 2 or 3 visits to the dentist and rarely four visits. In fact in this the first visit is to determine whether you are suitable to have an implant. A CT scan is normally taken to check if you are suitable enough to have a dental implant. Very often the implant procedure is done in the first visit itself. You might need to go again a second or third time only if there are some other procedures which need to be taken care off. If so, after that, the implant can be placed and it normally takes around 2 hours.

Material used

Implants are placed in the jawbone so that they integrate with the tissues and if placed well they form a perfect base to fix crowns, fixed dentures and bridges. In fact, Titanium or titanium alloys which are used to manufacture implants are considered as the best material which does not get rejected by the body’s immune system. This testifies to the fact about safe dental implants are in this present age.

This Suffering Servant Is More Than Able to Meet Your Specific Needs Today

A few days before Jesus went to the Cross there were Greeks who asked Jesus’ disciples, “We would see Jesus.”

Many want to see Jesus. Many would like to see Jesus Christ to see if this Jesus Christ, the Son of God is real. Are you such a person?

You may have heard a lot about this man Jesus Christ, the Son of God but you may never have met Him.

Might He manifest Himself to you as you read through this brief article!

I have been reading and studying Isaiah Chapter 53 where we read about the coming of Jesus Christ into our world and how Jesus Christ would do His most significant and important and vital work.

There was a boy at school who read the lesson in the days when there were daily School Assemblies in Scotland and he said, “We read from the Gospel according to Isaiah”. Some cringed, but then one Christian teacher said afterwards, “What you have just said is far truer then you realised.”

This Chapter, Isaiah Chapter 53, has had such an influence upon the New Testament writers, and it is a most quoted passage.

The apostles used these sentences from Isaiah frequently, and Jesus must have used these words from Isaiah time and time and time again.

Even on the Emmaus Road the risen Jesus refers to the Suffering Servant mentioning, have you not understood that?

Isaiah began back in Chapter 42 to speak of this coming Suffering Servant.

This ‘suffering Servant’ is a shadowy figure to begin with. Isaiah gives us four poems or songs, about the coming Messiah, but Isaiah is now given a fuller revelation of this ‘Suffering Servant’.

This fourth Song we read of in Chapter 53, although it really starts in the closing verses of Chapter 52. Do read it and read it slowly and read it carefully.

There are five sections or stanzas.

It begins with the exultation of the Servant, and ends with the exultation of the Servant.

Check out Chapter 52 verse 13 and then the closing sentences in Chapter 53. It always pays to check out what is in the Word of God.

This amazingly prophetic passage has a shape, similar to what we have in Philippians Chapter 2 and also in John Chapter 13 in the Upper Room, where Jesus Christ stoops and does the job which nobody else would do.

He had come from God and was returning to God, and in the middle, He takes the role of the lowest Servant in the household, and He washes feet.

He had been exalted and following such service and ultimately death, he would again be exalted.

The Servant’s triumph is wholly unexpected.

Look at my servant who acts wisely. He is to be so marred and disfigured.

We do not ask, is this He who was to come, but is this human?

‘Sprinkle’ which is used in verse 14 is the language of Leviticus, speaking of sacrifice and forgiveness, and God is speaking here of salvation going to the nations and not just the Hebrews.

This is radical. This is revolutionary. This is Isaiah, and this is all being prophesied some 600 years prior to Jesus being born in Bethlehem.

Read the Scripture text. Meet the risen and living Jesus. Follow Him faithfully, and loyally and lovingly and obediently, and receive all that He has for you.

Equal Justice

There were two battles against the Japanese for the Philippines during World War II. We lost one and won the other. Though the War officially ended when the Japanese surrendered in 1945, the United States Congress decided it was too costly to recognize the Filipino soldiers’ contributions to the war effort by passing a law denying them the same benefits as all other American military personnel. Sixteen million Americans served in World War II, and Congress thought it would cost too much money to include Filipino soldiers among those eligible for benefits of the G.I. Bill. Money should not even have been a consideration. Though Congress has provided limited legislation admitting its dishonorable act, this shameful injustice is still in effect after nearly 65 years. House of Representative Bill #491, the Equity Act of 2001 would have overturned the Recession Act of 1946 which denied Filipino soldiers the benefits received by all other Americans who served in the military forces in World War II.

Democrat and Republican representatives alike, running for re-election in 2002, publicly announced their support of this legislation. Obviously, public announcements of support by incumbents were idle promises. American voters, which include increasing numbers of Filipino/Americans, have influenced limited but inadequate congressional legislation that has occurred. Congress must overturn the Recession Act, thereby providing nothing less than full restitution to Filipino veterans. What are some of the arguments against overturning the Congressional Act of 1946, signed into law by President Harry Truman?

First, the Philippines was a colonial possession left over from the Spanish-American War of 1898. Secondly, Filipinos were not American citizens as were the soldiers from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts or Kentucky. Let’s examine the relationship between the Philippines and the United States for the last 112-113 years and take a look at these arguments. By federal law, the Philippines was a commonwealth of the United States. It came into legal existence as such because of the Tydings-McDuffie Bill, passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 which granted absolute and complete independence to the Philippines by 1944 (actually 1946 due to Japanese occupation), and it provided for an interim commonwealth supervised by the United States, with a Philippine president elected by national vote, and a constitution. A constitution was adopted in February 1935, approved by the United States President and ratified by a plebiscite of the Philippine people in May 1935 with Manuel Quezon as President.

So what is a commonwealth? “A commonwealth is a body of people in a politically organized community that is independent or semi-independent, and in which the government functions by the common consent of the people. United States and the individual semi-independent states are thus commonwealths, although Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts and Kentucky have officially designated themselves as such.” On July 26, 1941, President Roosevelt signed an order nationalizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and appointed Douglas MacArthur as Commanding General of the United States Armed Forces Far East. By United States law, the legal status of the Philippines before, during and after World War II was a commonwealth, and its citizens were, therefore, entitled to the same benefits as citizens of all United States commonwealths.

Another argument is, Philippine independence took place on June 12, 1898, when it declared itself free of Spanish rule. This date was officially recognized by President John Kennedy in 1962. Could his action have taken place because of empathy for the Philippine people, or was it a smoke screen to offset mounting political heat for restitution of the injustice to Filipino veterans? Some say that the declaration of June 12, 1898 does not prevail over actual achievement of independence which occurred, according to law, July 4, 1946. The latter view does not hold up when compared to the American Colonies declaring independence from England on July 4, 1776, but achieving it only after surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. The United States must be bound by laws in effect during World War II in its relationship with the Philippines.

What was the practical military value of Filipino soldiers’ war efforts? Sixty four thousand Filipinos and twelve thousand Americans of other ethnic backgrounds surrendered at Bataan in April 1942, and another fifteen thousand on the Island of Corregidor a month later, having held off the Japanese for five months without re-supply of food, equipment and ammunition, or reinforcements from the United States mainland. Contrary to popular believe that we were invincible, the United States did not have the wherewithal to re-supply or reinforce the Philippine defenders. Though it can be argued that the Japanese had no plans to invade the United States mainland or the Hawaiian Islands, who knows what they would have done if they had been able to capture the Philippines in a few weeks instead of many months? Japan could have used its forces wherever it chose. That delay gave the United States time to re-build its woefully weakened military forces.

Finally, the moral issue. Filipinos were subjected to the same harsh brutal treatment as other Americans during the infamous Bataan Death March. Can anyone deny the fairness of restoring full veteran benefits to Filipino soldiers the same as those bestowed on all other American military veterans? Despite news stories that attract public attention, there is an abundance of human-interest features waiting to be told that deal with this grave injustice. It is imperative to seek the viewpoints of Filipino veterans and highlight their stories now. They do indeed fit Tom Brokaw’s description of, “The Greatest Generation,” but they are not going the live forever.


Transformation – The Power to Change Us

Have you ever had an experience that was so powerful that it changed your life? I have-that's why I'm able to stand before you today and preach the good news. Jesus had several powerful experiences, including his Transfiguration, which we heard about in Mark 9: 2-9.

Transfiguration is a believer's spiritual transformation into the image of Christ. Mark's version of the transfiguration story offers a glimpse of Jesus' divine nature and his radiant, divine glory. He radiates light from the inside. In the future kingdom, Jesus' glory will not be veiled. It will shine like a thousand sons. No one will be able to mistake it.

Moses represented the Old Testament law, Elijah represented the prophets. Together they represented the Old Covenant. In Old Testament scenes where God revealed himself, human audiences were often at a loss for words. Peter was also at a loss for words, so he said the first thing that came to his mind. Mark argued that Peter sounded out of great fear. He was scared by what he saw.

Holy moments can do that to us. Words can bring healing, and the right words at the right time can bear holiness, light and life, but words said quickly and too easily can distract us and allow us to avoid whatever it is we might feel in the words that were not said. In cases like this we have the ingredients we need for Christ's glory to be seen and transfigure the time. Then we can see Christ's glory in our ordinary time. As long as we continue to do ordinary things, Christ will be present. As long as birth, deaths, hope, despair, courage, fear and faith are with us, Christ will be with us.

Peter was amazed by what he saw. He did not want to leave. That's why he offered to build the three Shelters. God had to bring Peter back to reality by telling the disciples to listen to Jesus. You can not really blame Peter for wanting to stay on the mountaintop. All of us have had mountaintop experiences that we didnt want to see come to an end. These experiences could be anything from the birth of a child or grandchild, our wedding or any other life-changing event. They provide stability and assurance that our world is intelligent, orderly and has value, if only for a short time. The problem is that we can not stay on the mountaintop. The past can never be preserved, and we as faithful people must live in the present. We have to come down and get back to the mundane reality of everyday life. It is in everyday life where we have to do the work God has given us to do.

There was an expectation among the Israelites that Elijah would appear just before God sent the Messiah and restored the reign of the Lord in Israel. Moses promised the people before he died that God would send a prophet like him at a time in the future. That moment happened during the transfiguration, and the disciples were scarred as they saw Jesus for who he really was. Their physical sight cave them the gift of spiritual reality, and it was too much for them. Something very powerful and life-changing was happening before their eyes.

Jesus' glorification is like dessert that is served as part of a meal. It has to come at the end. Jesus glorification needs to come after his suffering and death. If we start with the desserts, we may never get to salvation events. If we focus our attention only on the desserts, we will find a lot of people who are pretending to be Christians, not really believing in or serving Jesus, not really willing to deny them and carry their crosses, but seeking an escape from their problems .

The cloud confirmed that Jesus' transfiguration was a re-enactment of the Covenant given to Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24. Moses and Elijah conveyed the law, but Jesus was the law. Peter would remember this event years later because it revealed to the disciples that Jesus is the son of God. This experience is not meant to diminish the importance of the law and the prophets. They work together and with the revelation of Jesus as the son of God. Moses and Elijah were important, but they are not as important as Jesus.

Jesus bought help from the scriptures for understanding his life and mission. He knew how to listen to them and how to interpret them in relation to what they said. For him they were not merely sources in the present. They spoke of God as our creator, sustainer and redeemer, the loving giver of bread and forgiveness and protection from evil; The one who calls us into relationships of love to him, our neighbors and ourselves.

At the Transfiguration, Jesus had a visionary moment in his life where he knew that his life had a meaning. There are times when we can have the same type of moments in our lives. We may not be able to pinpoint the exact time of that moment, but we know that our lives have a meaning and a goal. We know that God has a purpose in our lives, a destiny in this world, and we have surrendered ourselves to a purpose that is larger than us. This vision allows us to see beyond any obstacles.

When Jesus came to earth, he did not give up his silence. He shrouded his glory and laid away the privileges of his deity. Why? So that he could serve us and save us. He modeled what it was like to be a servant. We are to follow his example. If he could lay aside his divine privileges, then we can lay aside our own needs to put the needs of others first.

Jesus told his disciples not to reveal what they had seen until after his resurrection. They would not be able to understand what had happened during his transfiguration until after death and resurrection. They may have even tried to bring on the kingdom primarily themselves. When Jesus was transfigured, the disciples saw the glory of Christ as God's son. Christ's death and resurrection put his transfiguration in its proper context. Jesus and his disciples will end suffering and death, but their final destination will be glory. This story offers hope. Jesus struggle does not diminish the confidence of his promises, including the promise of a future with him. He promises to be with us during the difficult times in our lives.

Anyone who rejects the Messiah rejects God because God sent the Messiah. Peter, James and John saw Jesus' glory and his greatness over Moses and Elijah. They also hear God authenticate Jesus as his son. Jesus alone will walk the path of suffering for our redemption. This knowledge was reserved for Peter, James and John. They needed to prepare for Christ's death and resurrection. They were overwhelmed by the prophecies of Christ's suffering, and they needed to see what Christ meant by his power and glory if they wanted to break the world's hold over their lives. They could not end the cross or hate the shame that awaited them as well without they shared Christ's vision of joy. They saw the glory of his sinlessness, his sonship and his suffering. They learned that every word Jesus spoke bore the glory of the truth of the Gospel.

Peter had a problem with this. His confusion was the reason why he offered to build the three Shelters. Peter was scared, and most of us would probably also be scared if Jesus had taken us up to the mountaintop. God had to reassure them by telling them to believe Jesus. He reassures us today by telling us the same message-believe Jesus. He makes our lives simpler. He helps us avoid mistakes. He helps us to inherit a heavenly treasure. He helps us experience joy. The only way we can experience this is to study his world. We can listed to CDs and great preachers and read books, but they can not take the place of reading the Bible.

Mark's Gospel is all about the cross and suffering along with the glory of Jesus. The vision of Christ in his glory in the transfiguration is an encouragement both to Mark's audience and to us. Only after Christ's death and resurrection can we understand that the Jesus at the transfiguration is the same Jesus who was crucified — and that's the beginning of a wonderful story. Mark's version of the transfiguration is a transition from the season of Epiphany with its emphasis on the power and presence of the good news of salvation through Jesus to Lent, with its emphasis on Jesus' journey to suffering and the cross.

The transfiguration had several purposes:
1. To see God's Kingdom coming into power.
2. To connect and contrast Jesus with the law and the prophets.
3. To point to Jesus as the one what the prophecies expected.
4. To connect Jesus with "mountaintop experiences" at down times.
5. To show Jesus as a divine being.
6. To show Jesus' coming martyrdom.
7. To show the disciples their blindness.
8. To allow the disciples to hear God's declaration that Jesus is his son.
9. To usher in a new commandment from God-that is, to listen to Jesus.
10. To remind us that there is a time for us to speak and a time for us to listen.

We want an encounter with God, but we often fear him at the same time because we are afraid of being changed or transformed. Standing in God's presence gives rise to a feeling of reverence that is similar to fear. We are small in the face of God's ministry. The God who stuck fear in the heart of Peter is the same God who heals the sick, frees the oppressed and forgives sinners.

We are called on to create an environment in which God's glory can be revealed and celebrated, and in which our understanding and experience of Jesus can be deepened. We have to get people to see that the only God that is important in their lives cares deeply for them and for us and allows his son to take our place of punishment that we know we deserve, to die for us and rise again to give us Life.

What keeps God from getting through to us? Are we so certain that we know the end of the story? Are we so busy that no one can get through to us-not even God? Stories like the story of the Transfiguration bring us closer to God and draw us farther away from the world. We need to figure out how to listen for God's voice among the noise of our worldly lives. We need to listen as Jesus tells us to get back to reality and do the work he has given us to do. Only then can we move forward in our Christian lives.

The Difference Between Photorealism and Hyperrealism

“Hyperrealism is a genre of painting (and sculpture) that resembles a high resolution photograph and is a fully-fledged school of art that evolved naturally from Pop Art, which led naturally to Photorealism.

Consequently, Hyperrealism is effectively an advancement of Photorealism. However, whereas Photorealists reproduced photographs so exactly that the human eye could not distinguish between the original photograph and the resultant painting, Hyperrealists took the techniques employed much further in that they developed ways of introducing narrative, charm and emotion into their paintings – which from a distance look like photographs but which when examined more closely are clearly nothing of the sort.

The term “Hyperrealism” was primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 2000s.

It evolved from the word Hyperealisme, which was first used by Isy Brachot in 1973 as a French word meaning Photorealism. It was the title of a major catalog and exhibition at his gallery in Brussels Belgium in that year. European artists and dealers have since used the word Hyperealisme to describe painters influenced by the Photorealists”.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines Hyperrealism as an “American art movement that began in the 1960s, taking photography as its inspiration. Photo-realist painters created highly illusionistic images that referred not to nature but to the reproduced image. Artists… attempted to reproduce what the camera could record. Several sculptors… were also associated with this movement. Like the painters, who relied on photographs, the sculptors cast from live models and thereby achieved a simulated reality”.

While the Encyclopaedia Britannica is satisfied with placing Hyperrealism in a semi-historical context and leaving it at that, Wikipedia goes further into defining the difference between Photorealism and Hyperrealism: “Hyperrealism”, it says, “is contrasted with the literal approach found in traditional photorealist paintings of the late 20th century. Hyperrealist painters and sculptors use photographic images as a reference source from which to create a more definitive and detailed rendering, one that unlike Photorealism, often is narrative and emotive in its depictions… The photorealistic style of painting was uniquely tight, precise, and sharply mechanical with an emphasis on mundane everyday imagery, as it was an evolvement from Pop Art.

Hyperrealism, on the other hand, although photographic in essence, can often entail a softer and much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living tangible object. These objects and scenes in Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a new reality not seen in the original photo. That is not to say that they are surreal, as the illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality.

Textures, surfaces, lighting effects and shadows are painted to appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself”.

Many artists, dealers, gallery and museum curators confuse the issue because there is no static definition of Hyperrealism. Consequently, photorealist artists are often described as hyperrealists – and vice versa. The true hyperrealist, however, is no mere copyist. The true hyperrealist recognizes that despite the extraordinary technical skills required in photorealism, (which are no less when creating hyperrealistic paintings, there is little point in merely reproducing a photograph as a painting; why not merely print the original photograph larger, he argues.

Instead, the hyperrealist interprets the reference photograph – or in many cases multiple reference photographs – and with the use of artistic licence, and specific and highly individualistic techniques of colouring and detailing, is able to add charm, emotion and ‘soul’ to his paintings, thus giving to his works a mystical, even magical quality that simply does not exist in photorealistic paintings. It is for this reason that hyperrealism is considered an advancement on photorealism.

Rekindling The Holiday Spirit

The Holiday season will soon be upon us. And for many it will be accompanied by a hectic pace, bah humbug attitudes, or the holiday blues. Already, spouses are beginning to cringe at the thought of spending a portion of the holiday season arguing with the family or spending long hours traveling to have dinner with relatives. Visions of children being out of school for three weeks, with the weather turning too cold for them to be outside, has some parents shuttering in anticipation. For many people the holidays have lost their appeal and the reason for the season has become wrapped in frustration, greed, and disappointment.

Is it time to rekindle your holiday spirit? Are you in need of bringing some life, meaning, and enthusiasm to you and your family’s holiday season this year? If so, you can begin by implementing a few of the inspirational ideas suggested below.

1. Slow down and enjoy the moment.

Repeat the following phase 20 times a day to yourself beginning on November 15 and continuing through the New Year, “I relax into the flow of life and I let life provide all that I need easily and comfortably.” Do this faithfully every day and you will be amazed at the results.

2. Donate some time and energy to a charity.

Giving brings out a special part in all of us. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or help deliver food baskets. Your giving will be rewarded with inner feelings of peace and comfort.

3. Make your own holiday cards to mail to friends and family.

Involve your entire family in designing and coloring a holiday picture for your card. Agree on a saying or text message you want to add. Take it to a Kinko’s or Office Max and have it made into your personalized holiday greeting that includes envelopes to match.

4. Take a unique and creative holiday picture of you or your family.

The popularity of the serious family photo used on a greeting card seems to be increasing. As a fun change of pace, why not surprise your family and friends with a unique or silly photo of you and your children? How about a group picture of the family’s bare feet or a close-up picture of each family member’s bellybutton with a contest to see who can match the bellybutton to the right person? The idea here is to be creative and have fun.

5. Bake cookies or bread and make a personal delivery to a few friends.

Bake as a family. Wrap as a family. And deliver as a family. The personal delivery adds a connecting link from your family to the recipient. It is an effective way to remember that being with someone is as important as doing for someone.

6. Record 5 holiday songs sung by the family or kids and send it to Grandma.

Grandma, Grandpa, or Aunt Julie will enjoy singing along with your family’s rendition of some of the holiday classics. You never know, your family could be the next Partridge family.

7. Give a turkey or ham to five needy families.

Find a need and fill it. Your heart will be filled along the way and your children will learn a valuable lesson in charity.

8. Read a variety of holiday stories.

Change your family bookshelf around so that the holiday stories are visible and available for easy access. Read a different children’s holiday classic each night. The oral reading will benefit your children and as an added bonus, you just might be whisked back to your childhood, recalling the same stories being read to you.

9. Clean out the front hall closet and give last year’s winter wear to Coats for Kids.

Do this activity with your children. It will help them develop the charity habit by seeing what they have and how they can give some of their time, energy, and possessions to help others. A related lesson will occur later. You can help your children see how giving creates space to new things to come to them as well.

10. Attend a holiday concert or festival of music.

Holiday music fills the heart and soul with memories of childhood, friends, family rituals, and special events. Allow your heart to open to the music of the holidays. Let it sooth your soul and be moved by its presence within you.

11. Invite another family over to watch a holiday classic on T.V.

This is a fun and inexpensive way to gather for an evening. Pop some corn and take time to have each person share when they remember seeing the show for the first time.

12. Get out old holiday photos and make a picture time line to display with other decorations.

See how far back in the family’s history you can go with pictures of the holidays gone by. The kids will love seeing all the “old” pictures of you and your holiday guests will too.

13. Make your own ornaments.

Decorate pine cones. Shape Play dough and let it dry. Make chains of green and red construction paper. Buy Styrofoam balls and paint them with glitter, glue, and string. Decorate cookies. The ideas are limitless, flow with it.

14. Go on a “light seeing” tour.

Jump in the car with the family and go on a neighborhood “light seeing” tour. When you get home encourage each person to talk about which light display was liked best and have them tell why. Take a different “light seeing” tour each night.

15. Write thank you notes for neighbors who have decorated their house in an inspiring way.

Many people decorate so that they can bring pleasure to those driving by. Share your appreciation. Let them know how their efforts lifted your spirit and brought joy to your holiday season.

16. Make your own wrapping paper.

Trace cookie cutter shapes onto to large sheets of white paper and color and paint the shapes as desired. Or cut sponges in holiday shapes and sponge paint designs. Use that paper to wrap your holiday gifts.

17. Tell stories of family traditions.

Children love stories and story telling is a powerful tool for helping children learn to read and write. It is an excellent way to stay preserve family traditions and increase the joy of the holiday season.

18. Decorate a tree outside for the animals.

During the winter months many animals find it difficult to locate nutritious foods to eat. By stringing orange rings, apple rings, and carrots and placing them on a tree outside you create a beautiful tree that helps the wildlife survive a difficult time of the year..

19. Create a countdown ceremony that can be followed each evening.

This ceremony can be as simple as following a countdown calendar and opening the next window to lighting a candle and having a special reading that holds religious or spiritual significance to you or your family. The key is making the countdown an event that others will look forward to at the family moves closer to their main holiday celebration.

20. Give the kids disposable camera’s and allow them to take one picture each day from December 1st to January 1st.

Finding the right picture to take can be a learning process for each person young and old. Encourage them to search for something that is meaningful about each day on a personal level. Follow up in January by printing the pictures. Each person can then create their own countdown calendar to use during next year’s holiday season.

Remember, it is you who creates the reason for the season. It is up to you to take charge and design the holiday season you desire. Happy Holidays!

Hotel Safety for Your Next Business Trip or Vacation Get-a-Way

From a business trip to the next weekend get-a-way, personal safety and security should be on your mind. It can be especially challenging when your flight was delayed, the taxi cab line was never ending and all you want to do is park, check-in and get to your room as fast as possible. But wait… take some time now to think about your safety with these easy but life-protecting tips…

Checking in…

– if valet parking is available, use it. If not, park by the lobby doors and ask for a hotel escort into the parking lot or garage. A small tip to the person assisting you is well worth to protect your safety.

– travel the lot to park in the most safest space possible. Check to make sure no one is loitering and where you park is well-lit. Try to park as close to the lobby as possible.

– take out all personal items, laptops, electronic devices, money or any other valuables out before you or the valet parks your vehicle. Take items with you or lock them in your trunk.

– when registering, use only your first initial and your last name. Use your business address and phone number.

– request for a room not on a first or second floor (more thefts occur on these two levels especially if there is a sliding glass door, window or balcony) and available with an inside corridor. If the hotel has many buildings, get your room within the main building of the hotel.

– ask the front desk attendant to write down your room number, not said out loud to have bystanders overhear what room you are in.

– ask the hotel staff about the safety of jogging nearby or walking from your hotel to nearby restaurants, movie theaters or the parking lot. They are often the most reliable source of information about the neighborhood. Don’t hesitate to ask about transportation shuttle services and escorts to your car or room. If you inquire about or walking areas at the front desk, verify the employee giving you advice has knowledge of the area.

– if your room key is labeled with the room number, take care not to let others see that number. Safeguard your key at all times. Especially in public places. Don’t leave it at a restaurant table, by the swimming pool, bar or gym. Don’t give it to others. Don’t leave it in the room or in the hotel room door.

– do not draw attention to yourself by wearing large pieces of jewelry or flash large amounts of cash.

– keep an eye out for your luggage both to and from your hotel room.

– locate all fire exits, fire extinguishers and elevators.

– Do not use the stairs to get to your room. Always take the elevator. Any secluded part of the hotel is never a good idea to be in i.e. stairwells, parking garages, dark hallways etc.

During your stay …

– make sure the windows and the between-room door are all locked.

– use all the locks on your door every time you’re in your room, especially the dead bolt, flip lock or chain at night.

– put all valuables in the room safe and make sure it is one that is bolted to the floor. Never leave jewelry, credit cards or cash lying around your room.

– if someone knocks on your door, don’t open it right away. Keep the door shut and use the peephole and ask the person to identify themselves. If you don’t know them, don’t open the door. If they claim to be hotel personnel or security, call down to the front desk to make sure the hotel sent them. If their story does not check-out and there is no reason for the person to be there, tell them to go away and then notify the front desk.

– Consider purchasing a portable room alarm. They can hang on the inside door knob, or a floor device that sounds an alarm if your hotel door is opened. To get these room safety devices, go to they’re small and easy to travel with. They can fit into a pocket or purse.

– always leave the ‘do not disturb’ tag on the outside of your door.

– When leaving put the lights and the T.V. or radio on to let no one know you have left the room and it is unoccupied.

– if you loose your key, report it immediately to the hotel’s front desk and ask to be moved to another room.

– immediately report any suspicious activity to the Hotel’s staff.

When you check-out…

– search through your belongings to make sure all forms of I.D. are safe and nothing is missing with personal information on it.

– request an escort to your vehicle in the parking garage or lot.

– check the inside of the vehicle before getting in.

By following these hotel safety tips, you can increase your protection from a personal assault or theft. Making your business or vacation trip safer and being less of a target for a criminal.