Monday, May 25, 2009

America The Beautiful

(lyrics by Katherine Lee Bates;
music composed by Samuel A. Ward)

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

A Little Bit of History....

The lyrics to this beautiful song were written by Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) an instructor at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, after an inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado, in 1893. Her poem, America the Beautiful first appeared in print in The Congregationalist, a weekly journal, on July 4, 1895. Ms. Bates revised the lyrics in 1904 and again in 1913. In addition to those changes in the words, it is notable that the poem was not always sung to the tune presented on this website ("Materna," composed by Samuel A. Ward in 1882, nearly a decade before the poem was written). In fact, for two years after it was written it was sung to just about any popular or folk tune that would fit with the lyrics, with "Auld Lang Syne" being the most notable of those. The words were not published together with "Materna" until 1910, and even after that time, the tune to be used was challenged to some degree.

We sang this song in church yesterday and I am never able to make it all of the way through. I do ok until I hit the third verse and then I fall completely apart. I think of the "heroes proved" that I know. Not the least of which is my older brother Brian. After High School Brian left home for the Air Force Academy. Only the very best are accepted there and then they are put through the toughest training experience while also being held to Ivy League academic standards. He took 2 years off to serve a mission and then returned to the Academy after going through the rigorous admissions process all over again, where he finished his degree and graduated as an officer. He has served in Afghanistan and Korea, he has spent years both being trained and training. He is an amazing officer and a fantastic soldier. Even more than that he is an amazing dad and husband. I think my brother is a hero.

But I also think his wife is a hero as are his children. They bravely watch their dad and husband leave for weeks, months at a time to parts most dangerous not knowing for sure that he will come back. My Sister-in-law loaded kids up to and from school everyday, she cleaned house and made meals, fulfilled a calling, comforted her children, prayed for her husband, and worried night and day. But she was proud of her husband and supported his commitment to help others. My nephews and niece had dad miss things, worried about dad AND mom, went about their day to day responsibilities and helped mom as best as they could.

It is heroic to me to share the ones we love with the world as a whole to promote freedom and opportunity to those who can't fight for themselves. So this memorial day I am thankful for all the men and women of the United States Military. Including those who don't wear uniforms, the wives, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends who sacrifice their time with their loved ones so that others can be guaranteed long, happy, safe, fearless lives with theirs.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wanna take some pictures?

Ok , for everyone who has been asking about pictures: For the month of June I will be doing 1 to 1.5 hour shoots, editing approximately 20 shots, and then putting ALL shots (edited or not) onto a disk and providing a release so that you can order prints wherever you'd like for $45. This helps you get pics and me build a portfolio. Let me know if you're interested.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Having fun!

So I have gotten to do some pics lately and I am loving it. I have created a photography blog where I have been posting my favorite shots. The link on the right side for Live Shots will take you to it. So go, check out the pictures and tell me what you think!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vote Early and Vote Often!

Frosted Flakes has a program called Plant a Seed where athletic fields are nominated that are run down and in need of some help for a complete rebuild courtesy of Kellogg's and Frosted Flakes.  Winslow's Multi Purpose fields are in a sad state, there are holes everywhere, the infields are hard packed clay, and the grass is mostly a sad patch of cleverly mowed weeds.  These are the fields we use for the city soccer leagues, Little Leagues, Men's League Softball, Co-Ed Softball, and the city Lacrosse team.  Someone nominated our field and by some amazing chance we made it to the top 100 semifinalists!!  So here is what you can do click on the link below and vote for our field!  You can vote 1 time per day per email address.  Voting started today and will be open until May 31st.  So vote early and vote often, Winslow deserves this!