Spring Rains Across the South Today :: Friday Feet

Friday Feet Photo of the Day

Today was one of those rainy days that every time I tried to get out and get something done, it poured. I ended up cutting a few acres of grass, getting soaked in the process, then trying to finish my current book (How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth), but such is the way the weather goes in the Spring in the south. That’s better than not getting any rain at all, which has been the case over the past several years with our drought. Today my iPad and a rainy screened in patio will serve for a long overdue Friday Feet Photo of the Day.

Greyhound MCI-9 Bus Conversion We Called Home :: Throwback Thursday

MCI Bus Conversion Before Painting

The post for this Throwback Thursday is an “On This Day 10 Years Ago” post (from this point forward OTDTYA), which I now realize is actually getting into a time period that is presented on my blog. The very first posts on my blog were in March 2001, which we posted three articles about our bus conversion in the photos above. I still need to go back and post-date some blog posts for that time period to fill in the gaps, but the two shots above was what Deborah and I were doing on this day 10 years ago. After we picked up our used (former Greyhound) bus from Ocala, Florida, we drove it back to Alabama, stripped it down on the inside, and then “shelled” it with plywood (image on the right side at the top), starting a long long long process of converting it into a motorhome we would use and live in for about 5 years.

It was about 10 years ago when we got our first digital camera, an HP Digital Camera 2MP gem, we used until I bought my first DSLR, the Nikon D100 a few months later. These photos were the very first set of images that were taken in digital form. From this period prior, almost all our images are taken, and still stored, on film. One item on my list is to take 1,000,000 photos, and since I can’t count the film images until at some point I can get them all scanned in, this started a count of digital images that still goes on today. So far I’m up to about 350,000 images taken, and it all started about 10 years ago, just about this time of year.


The Power of Words and the Wonder of God :: Review

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God Review

Up for a quick book review today is a book called The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, which I finished up a few weeks ago. This small book (176 pages) was published back in September of 2009 by John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, and Mark Driscoll come together with worship pastor Bob Kauflin, counselor Paul Tripp, and literature professor Daniel Taylor to discuss the power that words have, and how our speak can both edify and vilify our brothers and sisters in Christ.  This book came out of the Desiring God National Conference in 2008 with the same name (2008 National Conference Messages), and each author takes a chapter in their own specialized field to discuss the impact of words on our life, specifically that of Scripture. All in all a great, quick, read for those Christians interested in words.

I will admit that from the start I didn’t expect much from this book other than a good collection of a few sermons, but I was quite surprised by its depth of content and overall usefulness in application. The book isn’t broken up like this, but below are three sections or reasons I found quite valuable, and a book I would highly recommend reading.

  • The Power of Words in History
    The Power of Words takes a great look at the history of words, spoken and written, and how people like Luther and others used their power of words to change the church, even if it was crude at times. It was needed. Look at what Luther was fighting, and we can see that mocking and crude speech like this is sometimes called for.

    Luther argued that his theological opponents avoided the Bible: “I cry: Gospel, Gospel, Gospel! Christ, Christ! Then they reply: The fathers! The fathers! Custom, Custom! Statutes, Statutes! But when I say: The fathers, custom, and the statutes have often been in error; matters of this kind must be settled by a stronger and more reliable authority; but Christ cannot be in error—then they are more speechless than fish. (location 1576)

  • The Power of Words in Application
    Along with the historical look at how we use speak The Power of Words takes a practical approach to our speech today. Scripture has so much to say about how we should speak, and when we should refrain from speaking, how devastating the tongue can be, and how we can use it to lift people up when they are down.

    We foolishly assume that our real struggles with sin are in the areas where we are “weak.” We do not well understand the depth of sin until we realize that it has made its home far more subtly where we are “strong,” and in our gifts rather than in our weaknesses and inadequacies.

  • The Power of Words in Music
    The last section was the most unexpected section, but also contains the most valuable affirmation of music and its importance in our earthly Christian walk. I really didn’t expect a section on music that talked about words and speech, but this section took the book from being a good book to being a great book. If you are at all involved in the music life of the church (and technically we all are), this section should be a must read. Three great points (of many) that were made on the power of music today were stated by Bob Kauflin saying:
  1. There’s certainly a place for expressing our subjective responses to God in song, but the greater portion of our lyrical diet should be the objective truths we’re responding to: God’s Word, his character, and his works, especially his work of sending his Son to be our atoning sacrifice.
  2. We conclude that a certain beat, volume, chord progression, instrument, or vocal style is evil in and of itself. But unless those aspects are spelled out in Scripture we should be cautious about assigning a moral value to them.
  3. An increasing number of churches have adopted the practice of offering different services for different musical tastes. While that decision can be well intentioned, I believe the long-term effect is to separate families and generations and to imply that we gather together around our musical preferences, not Jesus Christ.

Overall, The Power of Words is one of those books that is such a quick and easy read that even if you have a slight interest in how words and speech affect our walk with Christ, you should pick up this book. Each author or contributor adds to the value of this book, and even though you might not agree with everything they stand for personally they have put together a great collective word on the power God placed in the written and spoken word.

WordPress Self Hosted vs WordPress.com Hosted Blog Pros Cons :: Review

Wordpress vs GoDaddy Self Hosted

I know many people will be reading this thinking about if they should switch between a WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org (self-hosted) site, not the other way around. It’s been about a week since I made the switch over from being a self hosted blog (almost 10 years on the WordPress.org codex) to now being a WordPress.com hosted blog, and the move, hopefully the last one I ever make in the hosting realm) has been great.

I had always sorta scoffed at the non-self-hosted WordPress blogs. After all, those were just blogs who couldn’t or didn’t know how to self-host, right? Well, my Rule #29 says I have had a change of heart. I am amazed, to say the least, at the difference between the two options, and while each has their own advantages and disadvantages, WordPress.com has built an enormous community of bloggers based on their hosted platform that a self-hosted blog is completely removed from. This is just the nature of self-hosting, you are on your own, you have full control over all the code, can make any change you want to the php files and so on, but you do give up an incredible community of bloggers.

Below is a list of the fifteen best and worst things about the hosting differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org in no specific order. Which one is best for you would be the one that has fewer cons I would think, but I used a self-hosted (GoDaddy.com) blog for almost 10 years until I found the cons outweighed the pros of letting WordPress.com host my site. After one week on WordPress.com I am thrilled. So if you are trying to decide between a WordPress hosted blog or a self-hosted install of WordPress.org Codex, read through the list below first. Any question feel free to ask in the comment, not a problem.

Pros of Worpress.com and Cons of Self-Hosted Blog

  1. Price, free (this depends on if you pay for custom design, domain, and no ads, which I did, then it’s a wash $90/year)
  2. You do not have to handle any heavy coding
  3. Participation in and traffic from the WordPress.com community like, blogs of the daytags, their reader
  4. Possibility to get Freshly Pressed (Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed) (happened here on October 2012 with this post)
  5. No SQL Database and tables to backup or mess with
  6. You will not get hacked, or you greatly lessen to possibility of getting hacked
  7. You will not lose your data, it won’t get corrupted, deleted, or all around messed up
  8. The UI (user interface) or dashboard is slightly better than .org version
  9. You do not have bandwidth limitations, sky is the limit if your blog gets hammered
  10. You don’t have to handle the upgrades to the WordPress.com platform (that is often a pain)
  11. Never any down time (even though GoDaddy says they never go down, “connection to database” comes up)
  12. Extremely fast server response times in loading the site and saving new posts
  13. You don’t have to deal with GoDaddy.com (exception see #8 below)
  14. Custom domain mapping available (this is a must for me, if this wasn’t here, I’m out)
  15. Customization of the CSS code (this one was also a huge deciding factor for me, but #14 and #15 are not free)

Cons of Worpress.com and Pros of Self-Hosted Blog

  1. You do not get as much control over your own site
  2. Only customization you can do is in the style.css file (that wasn’t as bad as I thought either)
  3. No control over the code, can’t customize php files
  4. No control over the robots.txt file (can’t set/change crawl rates)
  5. Seems to be harder to get Google to index your site (verdict is still out on this one)
  6. Can’t use plugins (I thought this would be a bigger deal than it is)
  7. Can’t upload a custom theme, only options are theme WordPress.com makes available to you
  8. You will still need a domain to host files if you want off-wordpress.com file storage
  9. Price, could possibly be cheaper than the “free” WordPress.com hosted if you only pay for Godaddy.com $5/mth host
  10. WordPress.com hosted pushes ads on your site unless you pay $30/year to take them off (this stinks)
  11. No ability to host your own advertising on the site from third party vendors
  12. You don’t have any type of FTP access to your files, can’t download the wp-content/uploads directory (this also stinks)
  13. Self-hosted is complete and total control over all php files, do as you like
  14. Self-hosted is a great learning tool for customizing php code, themes, design, etc
  15. Self-hosted you own everything that has to do with the content, the files are your files

Photowalk with My Nephew’s First DSLR a Nikon D3100 Camera :: Friday Feet

Feet Reflection in the Pond

I think I was just about as excited as he was. Today my nephew and I made the trek over to my favorite store, Best Buy, and picked up his first Nikon DSLR Camera, a Nikon D3100 that he has been saving and working for (you have to love the lady in the background of the Best Buy shot, she was hilarious). My Friday Feet shot was a play on my previous Friday Feet post with my iPhone (Reflections on the Grey Days of Fall in the South :: Friday Feet), with a slightly different flare since my nephew came with me. This photo essay is basically his first few minutes with his new camera. After we did the grand unboxing we took it out on a Photowalk around the back of the property where there is always something new to shoot. My nephew is long on his way to becoming an incredible photographer, especially in the area of astrophotography, can’t wait to see what he can do with the D3100 since he has been using a Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS and taking some incredible shots with that point and shoot.

This time around we came across this orange blob gooey thing on a Cedar tree I had never seen before (see last photo). Turns out it’s called Cedar Apple Rust Fungus. Also known as Gymnosporangium juniper virginianae by genus name from the fungus Scirrhia acicola. Always something new, and apparently we want to keep the Cedar Apple Rust Fungus away from our apple trees in the back yard, good to know.

Jacob at Best Buy with His New Nikon D3100

Jacob with His New Nikon D3100

Nikon D3100 and Spring Thistle Weed

Spring Thistle Weed

Photowalk in the Woods

Water Lily in the Rain

Cedar Apple Rust Fungus