Tag Archives: holiday

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

Lincoln Thanksgiving Day

God’s divine appointments are always amazing to me. In my normal daily chronological reading through the Old Testament this morning, I ended up reading 1 Chronicles 16, a chapter just about giving thanks, which contains David’s thanksgiving song to the Lord. It was a divine appointment at least for me, and a great reminder that today we give thanks TO our creator and Lord. Not necessarily for what we have physically, but for what God has done in our lives, and yes for the blessings he has abundantly supplied.

Thanksgiving should not be an “American” thing, and when this day was first made into a holiday, Lincoln said as much as well. This is the day for the world to give thanks to God, and in his own words, I give you:

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

he document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

… and so it is today. We celebrate with food and family today, and give thanks to our creator and savior that he is truly Lord over all.


  1. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.
  2. Abraham Lincoln Online: Writings and Speeches

Photos of the 4th of July Fireworks in Auburn from AUO

4th of July Fireworks in Auburn

The Grand Finale of the 4th of July Fireworks in Auburn from AUO

Each year we have come into Auburn to watch the fireworks, but this year we changed locations to the new Auburn University Municipal Airport (AUO) terminal building, and it was a fantastic spot. The airport ended up being a nice quiet spot, for the most part, and we didn’t have any of the chaos around the concert in the park stuff either, which we don’t normally go to anyway. The temps weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be, so it was just an overall nice evening in Auburn this year.

I’m always fascinated how each year is always different. The circumstances of life are different, the location, setting, and the fireworks, all make for a unique experience each year. For some of the previous 4th of July displays in Auburn and elsewhere that include fireworks you can go to those listed below.

Previous 4th of July Displays We Had

Here are some other shots from the Auburn fireworks display, as shot from the roof of my car at the airport terminal. You can click on any of the images below to see the super high res size.

Earth’s Year is 365.2422 Making Today Leap Year Day Since Creation

So today is Leap Year Day, caused by the fact that it takes the Earth 365.2422 days to rotate around the sun, not 365 days of the Gregorian Calendar we use today. There have been a bunch of different people and organizations all over the world that have attempted to created the perfect calendar (Changing Times, Is It Time to Overhaul the Calendar?), but for all of our earthly existence we as humans have never been able to create the “perfect” calendar. This sounds like such a simple thing, especially with all of our computer power and mathematical knowledge, how in the world can we not be able to figure out how to create the mathematically perfect calendar?

The reason why we can’t create the perfect calendar is much easier to answer. God’s creation is so complex, so complicated (to us), that God just didn’t make our solar system divisible evenly. Our calendar is so directly tied to creation that our calendar has actually always been in place since Genesis.

Genesis 1.14 :: 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,t and for days and years,15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

This God did on the 4th day of the creation, yes this was just the 4th day. Man was not created till the 6th day. So we can safely say that the calendar, the mechanism for determining seasons, days, and years has ALWAYS existed, since it existed before man. It was a gift of God. A gift to the man he had not yet even created.

Now look at Genesis 3:17-19. 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Then, go to look at verse 24: “So he drove the man out….”, that is, out of the garden and into the unprepared fields. Then, we move over to chapter 5 verse 5: “In all, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died” (see also God’s Calendar and the Seven Day Week).

So that is how, one the Gregorian Calendar was wrong, but since creation’s foundation, we have always had the perfect calendar in place, God’s calendar, which takes 365.2422 days to rotate around the sun. Since this day only happens, approximately, once every four years I hope you enjoy it, though in reality it has always been in place, so we should enjoy every day God has made, and rejoice in in, right?

I love the photo above, it reminds me of God’s promise, and his creation, and I took it from my back porch. Happy February 29th everyone.

Looking Back and Forward So Happy New Year 2012

It’s that time of year, again. Time for the mark of another year gone, and a new one on it’s way. I have been trying to work my way through Michael Hyatt’s “Life Plan” but am still in the “reading” stage. I have most of my thoughts in place, just haven’t made them into a collective organized format yet.

I use to never make so-called “new year’s resolutions”, and for the most part, I don’t. They are so cliche, and are usually not reasonably obtainable, so I just didn’t make them. I do however set goals, and make continuous strides after them, or adjust them as plans change. That is basically what Hyatt’s Life Plan is about.

Looking back, 2011 was a tough year, but I did do, or continue towards, several things that were on my long term list. I took 67,000 images (that doesn’t include deleted images) in 2011, and trying to look back and pick a “favorite” out of 67,000 shots is impossible. I couldn’t even pick a favorite of mine, so that’s me, sitting in Entebbe Airport, waiting for our KLM flight from Uganda to Amsterdam. My two trips this year to Uganda were marks that altered my direction and focus, and in a strange turn towards the end of the year, helped solidify my reasons for continuing to pursue my seminary work.

Looking at what possibly lies ahead for 2012 is hard. There are certainly highs, and lows, on the way, but I will make the greatest attempt this year to give any worry about those things that make up life’s trials to the Lord once and for all. I hope I will complete the requirements to earn my first graduate degree in seminary, and develop in those areas I have identified for 2012. Most of all, to strive to use the time I’m giving to the very best of my ability. Not doing the things that don’t need to be done, and focusing on those that do.

When looking at the New Year, these two verses stood out to me earlier this morning, and I love how they mold together into a cohesive unit. Matthew 5.6 and 5.48 which says: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Happy New Year everyone, and War Eagle from the Georgia Dome tonight where we will most likely still be when the new year comes to our part of the world.

Come Join The Cornerstone Church Food Drop 2012

This year at our church to celebrate Christmas, instead of doing fancy decorations and traditional garland we have been planning for quite a while now to do a “food drop” for the Auburn area. So if you were to walk around the church right now you will see boxes everywhere. A Christmas tree made out of boxes, presents made out of gigantic boxes, and the filled and returned boxes we started to give out this past Sunday. The way we have tried to communicate this on our own website is that we are never more like Jesus then when we serve others. And throughout the month of December, Cornerstone members and attenders (or anyone who wants to be a part giving back to our community) will be given the opportunity to serve others using a simple box.  We are asking everyone to:

  • Pick up a box and packing list from the Cornerstone lobby.
  • Pack the box full of food for families in Lee County.
  • Return the filled box to the church by January 1, 2012.
  • Saturday, January 7, gather at Cornerstone and pack the SUV’s, minivans and pickup trucks with these boxes and head out to specific communities to pass out these boxes to families in our area. (We will work with the Food Bank of East Alabama to target the communities in the greatest need.)

This is an opportunity to make a tangible difference in someone’s life by offering basic necessities that many of us take for granted. We can make the New Year great for our community with our simple gift of a box of food, and we are trying to have over 1,000 boxes filled by January 1st. For more information you can also visit the Cornerstone Food Drop 2012 info page, or visit Lee’s blog post as well.

If you are reading this and saying to yourself, I don’t go to Cornerstone so that’s nice and all but who cares… well, you don’t have to, but you can still participate. If you are in the Auburn-Opelika area, just come by the church lobby and pick up a packing list and a box and return it before January 1st.

Either way, whether you participate or not, I hope you can make it a priority this Christmas to go beyond the normal gift giving and remember others who are not as fortunate. I love that about Cornerstone, and I love seeing the church be the church. We need to think, learn, study, and understand God’s word, but we also need to go… and do. How can we say we believe what the scriptures say unless we actually do what it says. I hate the commercialization that always goes along with this time of year, but I love this. Hope you will help make it a success as well.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011 from the Farm

Happy Thanksgiving 2011 from down over here on the farm. I love the fall in the south, it is a beautiful 70*F sunny day outside (although it is supposed to be something like 24*F in a few days), and Thanksgiving pretty much always kicks off Iron Bowl weekend. If you are perhaps one of the few unfamiliar with the Iron Bowl, check out the film by ESPN called Roll Tide War Eagle. Can’t begin to list how many things I am thankful for at this point, but for one, we have Deborah at home and feeling relatively well, that trumps most other things on my list right now.

I am extremely thankful for my family, and being able to eat dinner over at my parents house today will be awesome. I took the photo of my mom and dad above this morning, but the normal traditional work is the first shot. Every year on Thanksgiving week we (generally that means my dad) mow the entire pasture for the winter.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and War Eagle!

Labor Day Monday Photo With a Bike Uganda Style

This Labor Day was a glorious day. It rained almost all day today due to Tropical Storm Lee pounding up from the Gulf Coast. For those of us fortunate enough to be able to take at least part of the day off today it was wonderful. For a few shorts minutes this morning I was able to sit on my patio and watch the rain and do nothing. It was great, but a time of solitude took me back to thinking about those in Uganda, many who labor very hard every single day. Matthew says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (11:28), and we came across many who needed a little rest over there, as we all do everywhere. Margin is such an important thing in life. So important in fact that God put it 4th on his important list of things for us to do.

The photo above was so typical of the people we saw in Uganda. Super nice, hard working people, many moving goods from one place to another, by foot. I had never seen so many crazy things being moved around on a bike and moped; like a full sofa, a coffin, a refrigerator, and all kinds of agricultural goods. At some point I’ll do a post with just photos of things we saw people carrying on bikes, for now, this guy is my honorable labor day photo. Something like 50-75 pounds of trees being pushed up a hill in the mud, pretty incredible.

Photos of the 4th of July Fireworks in Auburn

Yes, I know I’m a little late with the fireworks pics but oh well. The fireworks in Auburn were good as always, the only thing that just kills me every year is they don’t go high enough in the sky to get up over the power lines, and I have tried different locations every year. You can see from the grande finale shot above that Alabama Power just had to be front and center, otherwise, I love the shot. Each year they do this outdoor festival thing, which is more akin to thousands of people sitting around in the park waiting for the fireworks, but it is a great opportunity to shoot. It’s always a good show but hours of waiting and fighting the traffic afterwards for 10 minutes of fireworks has me thinking we might try a new show next year. Boston Pops would be cool.

A Much Needed Lazy Day 4th of July This Year

Today was a much needed day to do nothing but sit at home and read and enjoy a day off, so Ebby and I sat out on the patio and read and did much of nothing. Funny, this is pretty much what she does on a daily basis, to her there was no difference today than there was yesterday except maybe more time with me and less time with Deborah. Looking forward to the fireworks in Auburn tonight. If you are in Auburn and haven’t been yet it’s always a good show (see some shots from a previous year). Don’t think I am going to have the energy to post the fireworks photos from tonight after we get home but they will be up in the next few days. Enjoy tonight and get out and see some fireworks celebration in your area if you can.

Starting the 4th of July Holiday Weekend :: Friday Feet

This 4th of July holiday weekend seems to have snuck up on me. I didn’t realize it was the holiday weekend until about mid-week, days just seem to be flying by at such a fast pace, can’t believe we are already basically mid-summer. I tried out some test shots on Deb tonight, something she is always thrilled about. I picked up this used lens (10-12 years old by the serial number) for my Uganda trip. I decided last year that I was going to forgo the big expensive, heavy, pro, zoom lenses and opt for shooting with prime lenses (a fixed focal length lens). They are cheap, fast, and extremely sharp, when you shoot them well.

This is Nikon’s Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D classic prime that came out back in the late 1980′s (see photo below), which converts to about 30mm on my DX crop sensor. Not the best portrait focal length in the bag for a crop sensor but it worked pretty well. Not so sure about the focus, it seems like it might be off front or back a bit but it will do the job. I shot some black and white film with it too but of course I can’t see that yet. It hasn’t been easy getting use to using primes, but it has forced me to look at shooting more creatively. Somehow shooting those big fat pro zoom lenses years back made me lazy. Primes may take a bit more work but I love the end result.

Hope everyone is going to have a chance to relax and enjoy the 4th of July weekend. As hot as it was today we may not leave the air conditioned house until the fireworks go off on Monday. Have a great weekend.