Monday, October 31, 2011

Steve's Digicams - Be Yourself

My article for November is up at Steve's Digicams. This article, entitled "Be Yourself," touches on the uniqueness that makes each photographer their own person.

As always, you have to read the article at their website.

Be Yourself

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

*Don't forget my blog posts from 2009 are now available as an ebook! Life, God, and Photography Volume 1.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Heroes

Too Many Names, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall
Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall


Following the recent death of a well known sports personality, a local reporter chose to use the word "hero." Her use of this term has bothered me ever since.

I'm sure this person was a standup guy. He may have done a lot of things for the sport, and it is certainly sad that he was young. Yet it is not his fame or his money that makes him a hero. He is more a hero for being a father and a husband.

Even that is not enough. There are bad fathers and horrible husbands. We hear about them on the news every day. Instead, it is the behavior, the moral standard, of the father or husband that makes the difference.

You see, hero is a serious word that should carry with it the gravity of its application. It should never be applied lightly. Instead, it is earned, and often through great sacrifice. To assign the word "hero," requires respect for the person so named and for the deed they have done.


Names, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall


Today I visited the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall in a nearby city. It is by far the saddest place I have been. There are 58,220 names on that wall - men who were either killed or are missing in action. However, you cannot stop there! What of the deaths from a multitude of other wars? These figures reach astronomical proportions. You cannot wrap your mind around it. Yet the truth is simple, these men are heroes. By giving their lives, they earned the respect to be called by that name.

My father served during the Vietnam War. He was fortunate to remain in the United States. He made a statement as we stood there that struck me to the heart.

"There but by the grace of God am I."

You see, these names on the wall are more than national heroes. They are personal heroes. They are people - fathers, husbands, uncles, nephews, brothers, and sons. More important than what they did is who they were to those who loved them the most.

Some people say, "It's too sad. I can't go there and see that." Then they go about their merry way and forget all about it.

But I say, "How can I not?" How can I not honor the men that these names belong to by the simple act of my being there. It is all I can give, and yet it will never be enough.


Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

*Don't forget my blog posts from 2009 are now available as an ebook! Life, God, and Photography Volume 1.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Five Things To Know About Job

1. He repented.

Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:6 AMP)

2. He prayed.


So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; and the Lord accepted [Job's prayer]. (Job 42:9 AMP)

3. He was restored.

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10 AMP)

4. He was blessed.


And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. (Job 42:12)

5. He lived a long life.


So Job died, an old man and full of days. (Job 42:17)

Go ahead, compare yourself to Job.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life and Death In Rebel Prisons by Robert H. Kellogg

640-DSC_0785

Originally published in 1865, this book is not one you would pick up at your corner bookstore. It's not even one you'd come across in a general book search. It was recommended to me as a "must have" for my recent research on the topic of prisoners of war.

I found this copy through Abebooks.com, one of the best websites for locating obscure books. When I purchased it, I had the option of buying a newer reprint. However, I chose to spend my dollars on an original printing although it is in terrible shape (and was sold to me as such). To hold something from that time period in your hands is quite something, and for it to be a book so meaningful to its author makes it more sobering.

Robert H. Kellogg was Sergeant-Major in the 16th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteers when he was captured by Confederate forces during the American Civil War and taken prisoner of war to the stockade in Andersonville, Georgia. As General Sherman approached the area in his march through Georgia, he was moved through Charleston to another stockade in Florence, South Carolina. (The Andersonville camp was emptied at this time and all prisoners were sent to other areas.)

It was through determination and faith that he survived his experience when so many did not. This book details his experiences and the suffering of all those who found themselves in his shoes.

You cannot read a book like this without a great deal of thought. It is a weighty subject. From the opening lines of the book:

"No chapter in this history of our unhappy civil war, is so well calculated to enlist the sympathies of the people, as the one enumerating the sorrows of our brave soldiers who have been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the enemy, as prisoners of war."

To his statement at the end:

"As we conclude the sad story of suffering in which our youthful soldiers have borne so conspicuous a part, we are compelled to pause and admire their noble endurance, ther cheerful sacrifices, and patriotic devotion to country amid want and hardship. They deserve a rich and lasting tribute..."

you really get a feel for the author's heart. He wanted everyone to know and no one to forget. It is sobering to realize that at the war's very end, he already felt this way. You would think that four years of civil war, a war that affected every household, would have driven it into their thinking permanently.

The language of the book is a bit flowery, as it tends to be during that time period. However, it is also truthful. The author tells of the great deprivations the captured soldiers were forced to suffer. One cannot realize, given our mentality of today, what is like to have nothing, barely even clothing to wear. The captured soldiers were given no housing. Rain, cold, sun, it all fell on them equally - nothing was provided as shelter. They were given a small stipend of food - most of the time this was cornbread made from corn cobs, sometimes rice. It was always uncooked. They were required to find their own fuel and light their own fire. They were given no fresh water and though they could buy soap, there was no where to wash. On rare occasions, they'd have beans, which were usually full of bugs, and even rarer, meat. They were never given vegetables.

As a result, scurvy was rampant. Other diseases also took their toll - dysentery and malaria were common. Gangrene was another problem. Robert Kellogg himself almost lost his hand to it. He had developed a sore on it which became infected. At one point, the surgeons decided to amputate (that being the only alternative to sure death) and he was taken in before his surgery and left to watch another man have his arm removed. Kellogg was wide awake at the time. In the end, the surgeons decided to give him another chance and he survived his experiences with his hand.

There was very little medical care. In the map of both prisons, an area is labeled "hospital," but this was not at all what we think of in this day. The author very plainly states that most went into the hospital to die. There wasn't any more shelter there than anywhere else, nor more food, nor more clothing. You laid on the ground, and if it rained you got wet. If you couldn't walk, you laid in the wet. Due to Union blockades, medicines were hard to come by, and prisoners were on the bottom of the list to receive any. As a result of the lack of knowledge of that day and the lack of supplies, many men died. Kellogg states it became easier to die than it was to live.

It must be stated that of all the prison camps, Andersonville is by far listed as the worst. Many refer to it as America's holocaust. Robert Kellogg became convinced in his stay there that their deplorable treatment was a deliberate act on the part of the Confederate government to "destroy them." This has been much debated since then, but I submit we should stop and listen to the words of a man who was actually there.

Half of the author's captured regiment died in Andersonville within seven months. He speculates the death figures from Confederate camps across the south to be some 74,000 men. That figure is staggering to me! He also comments on how local women would come to visit the Confederate soldiers only to stand and stare and laugh. Outside help was strictly forbidden.

Now, I do not expect people to run out and buy this book. It is not light, easy reading. But how could I not with my words honor the author and all those he watched suffer and die.

I'd like to end with his own words.

A leaf of a geranium, withered and faded, lay upon the table as I sat musing upon these things, and the fragile thing, broken from its stem, suggest points of contrast between itself and that living, breathing plant of human society, which had been torn from the place where it had been wont to grow, and made to droop and die in consequence. A fragrance, rich and sweet, came from the crushed and bruised leaf, more diffusive by reason of pressure, and it raised the inquiry, whether there might not be, after all, holier and more blessed influences attending the hidden properties which a mighty power had wrung out of the heart of the nation, that would have been apparent if it had never been subjected to such a process?

The delicate juices which conveyed such odor to my grateful senses, were as a voice that told how the country had been enriched by what had been evolved in the struggle to which it was called, and how individuals had been blessed, because the springs had been touched which opened the cells where the most precious incense was stored.

Altogether, it whispered of the power and blessedness of sacrifice, for it made manifest the value of those costly offerings which have been laid upon the nation's altar, and which so many have thought to be in vain. It invested the sighs, tears and groans that have been involved, with a peculiar sacredness, for they have no unimportant mission to perform in creating the more fragrant atmosphere which is to surround the people of coming time."

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Steve's Digicams Article, October 2011

In this article, I go through the thought process behind making a memorable photograph, throwing in a little humor along the way.

The Thought Process: Creating Memorable Photographs

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Dear Reader

This piece was written for the Grace & Faith 4U Blog. It received such a nice reception that I wanted to also post it here. It is not di...