Monday, July 29, 2013

My Feline Friend

Cats!  You either love 'em, hate 'em or tolerate 'em.  Since I am a cat lover, I wanted to expound on the marvels of this four-legged furry, purry critter that can be as aloof as can be needy.  They can pendulum swing from craving attention to 'leave me alone'.  These feline friends can lick your hand or claw your hand, depending on the mood.  They can ignore you if they are busy doing other things, like sniffing obscure smells that only a cat can detect.  You can be subject to a dirty look, if you fail to have their favorite treat on hand.  

...can't see me!
...not a happy day!
They love to play hide 'n seek, thinking you'll never find them, not knowing that their tail gives them away in their hiding place.  These furry critters sleep most of the day (and night), waking up in spurts of energy, only to succumb into another naptime.  They become alert to any type of moving meat; whether it is bird or mouse, even a young rabbit at times.  Their prowess of hunter kicks in as they begin the hunt. After a fresh kill, they are proud to bring it to the doorstep of their human family, as if to say...'I brought you some dinner tonight'.  And then they wonder why their owner displays such horror at such a find!  When in a playful mood, cats love to chase and jump, entertaining themselves with a tiny ball until boredom sets in and it's 'game over'.... time to groom and nap.

Cats instinctively know if you are having a bad day and curl up nearby as if to say,  'I care'.   They can be soothing as you pet their coat of soft fur, a simple action that seems to exude peace.  Cats can find their way on your lap, in your bed or curled up beside you in your favorite chair. They can stealthily  climb up onto the top of your printer or the back of your office chair and lay there watching you work... and wonder... why humans stare so intently at this thing they call a monitor screen.  Then tired of waiting to be noticed, compete for attention and walk across your keyboard causing distress for the owner and satisfaction for the cat. 

Some have learned to ride in a car or truck and consider it an adventure; others have to be put in a cage, which usually means a trip to the vet.   They roll over and are extravagant in showing off their furry bellies, stretching out with four paws in the air, waiting to be touched.   Their sandpaper tongue can lick your hand in appreciation of you, their human friend.  An outstretched paw with sheathed claws can reach out to touch your face and gently pat as if to say, "I love you".  Or they can simply stare.'s looking at you!
Their hearing is more sensitive than humans or dogs and a cat can see about six times better than a human at night, according to cat trivia.   I pay attention when my cat sits up and takes notice without a sound... her body language tells me she is in tune to something that I cannot hear or see. 

The photos that you are viewing are of  my cat 'Turnup', for which this blog is named.  As I mentioned before in my very first post, she came to us abandoned, scared and starving.  It seemed logical to call her Turnup since she just happened to turn up at our home, which has become her patch of territory.  We have become the best of pals and I count her as a little gift which God sent my way.   I found out that she is a Maine Coon, a particular breed of cat that is affectionate and cat-smart.
...she thinks I'm smart!
Living in the country, often domesticated cats (and dogs) are dumped by the side of the road and left to fend for themselves.  There may be a few who wander from their home and become lost, but that is rare.   Most often, owners abandon them for whatever reasons they use to justify this action.  Few make it; they most often are a victim to the elements around them, which include predators, environment and starvation.  Some become wild in the process of survival.  Instinctively, they look for a lost semblance of being fed and you may find one at your doorstep for a handout.  And then it becomes another person's responsibility for choice as to what to do with the critter at your door.  I found this poem which was written anonymously.....

A Cat's Prayer
I hope I'm not asking too much, Lord
All I want is a home of my own
And to know when my next meal is coming
Instead of the scraps I get thrown.

I've been out in the cold for so long now
Coping as best as I can,
But it's not so long I've forgotten
The touch of a soft caring hand.

I really don't want to be greedy
At the moment I'm all skin and bones,
So would it be too much to hope for
That someone will give me a home?

...welcome home, Turnup!
I love stories that are happy and/or have happy endings.   In this day of advanced technology, we become instantly aware of so much tragedy, inhumanities, war and crisis of every kind throughout the world; it's good to come across stories and video clips that bring a smile.  I'd like to share with you three such stories, which are delightful to read and to watch.  Actually, it's four since you just read about Turnup's happy ending.   Click on the links and give yourself a lift for the day by checking out these current Internet cat sensations:

1.  Momo, the swimming cat, in High River, Alberta in Canada
2. "O2 - Be More Dog".... a funny video clip.  You'll have to see it to appreciate it. 

3.  Grumpy Cat's interview on ABC News 

Join 'us' next Monday at The Turn-Up Patch!


Monday, July 22, 2013

...And "So God Made a Photographer" (Part II)

Welcome back to Part II of ...And, "So God Made a Photographer".  I am constantly amazed at the diversity of subject matter in scenery, humanity and nature. And within that particular diversity, how a person with a love for photography, can 'make it speak' according to his or her own eye and style.  It has been said that we can all view a mountain and see different perspectives of that mountain from physical sight to the spiritual.  Building on that premise, there are countless opportunities awaiting discovery that surround us every day, not only in the field of photography, but life in general.

If you tuned into my post last week, you saw the talented work of Fr. Julian Cassar and Terri Metz.   Today, I am pleased to present the work of two more friends who are also family - Matias Trejo, son-in-law and Joseph Loudermilk, brother-in-law.  I do encourage you to click on the photos to enlarge for greater viewing pleasure.

Joseph Loudermilk  was born in Canada, raised in Alaska, had college days in Oregon with career moves in California. He is an architect by profession. Interested in photography from a young age, Joe developed his own prints, learning darkroom basics.  He had his own darkroom where he self-taught how to craft black and white prints from a 35 mm camera.  Progressing to digital camera, he presently does his work primarily in Adobe Lightroom and continues to specialize in black and white prints.  He is an Ansel Adams fan, who was a famous photographer of iconic black and white images of the American West.  Joe applies Ansel's musical analogy in photography:  The "negative" is the musical score and the "print" is the performance.  Joe states: "I love creating the emotion of the performance when I am post processing my images.  Think of all the different ways a piece of music can be performed by a different artist.  The same is true when developing an image.  But you also have a good image/'score' to have a good performance." 


In using his creative skills, imagination and artistic talent, Joe's architectural background serves him well in his dramatic style of black and white photography.   I was only able to present a few of the many images that he has taken because of space in this post.  However, Joe will send you a PDF portfolio of additional images that can be viewed on your computer by contacting him at:   
You can link up with his photography website at:   

Matias Trejo De Dios  originates from Spain, raised in Northern Africa and has been part of the Northwest since 1995, living in Oregon.  He is a creative producer of various forms of media including video, still photography and graphics.   Matias also does Journalism, TV and radio in Spanish within the states of Oregon and Washington.  He has a focus in the Latino Market as a business consultant in the areas of Marketing and Technology.   Matias has an innate ability for bringing out the best that a subject offers. He uses the mediums of light and texture to emphasize a 'story within a story' in an image, whether it is a photograph or a video production.  His artistic talent and eye for design, combined with creative and technical skills, facilitates him well in producing quality work.   Matias is a worldwide traveler and has taken many unique shots introducing the viewer to different cultures highlighting aspects that unite human beings.

The following link is to a video that Matias produced in an interview with Toshi Onizuka, a Japanese flamenco guitarist in the United States.  For those of you who understand Spanish, you will enjoy watching the video.  For the rest of us, who don't understand, you can still enjoy the setting of artistic play of light and obvious camaraderie between the two men in the appreciation of guitar expertise. Matias describes Toshi Onizuka as "one of the greatest exponents of the fusion of flamenco in the United States".

And aren't I the fortunate one to be blessed with such talented family members, Matias and Joe, as well as my friends, Terri and Fr. Julian.  I learn much from their work and admire their creativity through the art of photography.  Thanks to each one of you for allowing me to share your images with my readers around the world.

See you next Monday at The Turn-Up Patch!

Monday, July 15, 2013

...And "So God Made a Photographer" (Part I)

Photography is a wonderful tool for making a memory, documenting history, telling a visual story and is used as an expression to capture life in all its forms.  In this day of the digital camera, photographers have increased in leaps and bounds, producing shots to the amazement and appreciation of fellow photographers and viewers alike.

There are professional photographers who have the equipment and background who are hired to do studio shots for magazine layouts, weddings, portraits, and natures stories and make their living solely on photography.  Most of us are amateurs or semi-professionals who enjoy photography as a creative tool to express life  around us.  I would like to showcase four such photographers who have the ability to uniquely communicate their world in their individual style. They all have different professions but each conveys their love for the art of photography through their pictures. Since I know them personally and admire their photographic talent, I wanted to share their work with you, my readers.  Fr. Julian Cassar and Terri Metz are featured in today's post. Next week's post at The Turn-Up Patch will feature two other photographic artists whose pictures I'd like you to see.   I can only exhibit a few of their many beautiful photos because of space, but I hope you will check out links to their work as listed further on.   I encourage you to click on the photos for greater enlargement and viewing pleasure.

Fr. Julian Cassar  is a Catholic priest by profession and pastor of St. Francis De Sales Cathedral in Baker City, Oregon.  Originating from Malta, Fr. Julian began his pastoral ministry in New York and presently serves within the Diocese of Baker in Eastern Oregon.  He is skilled with a keen observation of God's beauty in nature and shows versatility and perspective in subject matter.  Fr. Julian often encounters wildlife for photo opportunities on his travels to and from his mission church in Halfway and in the surrounding scenic area of Baker City.  His timeless images are diversified and distinctive in portraying life from a heart that views God in His creation through the eye of a camera lens.


This last photo  was taken by Fr. Julian when he visited Rome and the Vatican.  It has a story to it as to how a photograph can be noticed throughout the world.  He placed this photo on his blog last year and a publishing house from Brazil discovered the photograph and became interested.  Since they were planning to publish on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican Council II, they asked Fr. Julian for permission to use his photo as a front cover to the book.  He was sent a copy of the Brazilian book with the text in Portuguese. You will find more of Fr. Julian's photography as well as informative and inspiring posts on his blog.  Also, you can read his complete biography at: 
The below link will take you to St. Francis De Sales website, which includes many of his photos:

Terri Metz  is another friend who is a fine photographer.  Terri was born in Buffalo, New York and currently resides in California.  She has been involved with photography from a young age since her father was a photography teacher.  She would carry his cameras and accessories to his classes and be able to sit and observe her father teaching others.  Her interest grew through the years as well as the styles of cameras, which passed through her hands ranging from an early Kodak Brownie to present day digital.  She captures unique photos, which exquisitely tells a story, whether in human, animal or nature form.  She also is a versatile artist with a camera and has a talent in communicating a photo in her own authentic style.


Terri succeeds in creating interesting images in sharing her world in her own way.  She looks for bits of forgotten history in the unique landscape of the backcountry of California, as well as local subjects and scenery to photograph.  Her newest interest is taking portrait shots of pets and children in natural environments.  
You can see more of Terri's photography at her website:
You can also find Terri's work on Facebook:   Special Photography by Terri Metz

This video is presented by Santa Fe Workshops and they dedicate it to the photographer in all of us.  The words ring true as to its message.  Credits are given at the end of the video, including the photographers whose work was used in the video.  The above clip compliments today's post as well as the up and coming Part II of  ...And "So God Made a Photographer". 

The above video can also be found on this link:

See you next week at The Turn-Up Patch for Part II ......

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rainbows in Life

The last few weeks in Grant County have given us a variety of weather and heavenly sightings.  There has been snow in the higher elevations, cloudbursts of rain in the valley; cold enough weather to turn on the heater and hot enough weather to turn on the air conditioner, along with experiencing a current heat wave.  We've had a supermoon and multiple rainbows to view. All in all, life has not been boring in this part of rural Oregon.
Mt. Vernon Rainbow
To see the sky sliced with color is beautiful.  It is always refreshing to gaze upon a rainbow, which touches the earth from the sky or fashioned as a bow bridging heaven and earth. It is one of God's creative wonders which graces the sky in the midst of dark clouds and rain.  These moments of color usually occurs near the end of a storm.  An analogy can be given that when we experience storms in life, we receive personal rainbows with the colors of ...
- hope, for a brighter tomorrow
- faith, to believe the storm will pass
- fortitude, for courage to endure 
- wisdom, for greater insight
- strength, for resilience in pressure
- peace, in the absence of fear
- assurance, not alone through the storm

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
(*see below for video clip information)

Thank you, Father of Lights, for being with us through all the storms that come and giving us rainbows to begin anew for fresh starts in life.

Scripturally,  there are several references to a rainbow.  It is significant, as God's covenant with Noah that mankind would not be destroyed by water again with a global flood. (Genesis 9)  Scripture also reveals to us that the rainbow is a symbol of Christ in Ezekiel 1:26-28.  In Revelation 4:2-3, John saw Christ clothed with a cloud and a rainbow on His head.... both symbolic of faithfulness and grace. 

Scientifically,  a simple explanation of how a rainbow is formed is a result of the play of light through droplets of water, with light refraction and reflection producing the rainbow.

The rainbow has been used as a sign of a new era and a symbol of peace, love, and freedom.   It also has had legends written about it.  I discovered this delightful  'Legend of the Rainbow', which is based on a Native American Legend.  It is profound in its simplicity of message.......

Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.
GREEN  said:   "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."
BLUE  interrupted:   "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."
YELLOW chuckled:  "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
ORANGE started next to blow her trumpet:   "I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no-one gives another thought to any of you."
RED could stand it no longer he shouted out:  "I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."
PURPLE rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp:   "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey."
Finally INDIGO  spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: "Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening, thunder rolled and boomed. RAIN started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, RAIN  began to speak:  "You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."  Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.   The RAIN continued:
"From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The RAINBOW  is a sign of hope for tomorrow."   And so, whenever a good rain washes the world and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.   - a Native American Legend

  Photo taken by Kyle Sullivan on the Cheechako Ranch near Dayville, Oregon

(*) The beautiful video "You'll Never Walk Alone" presented in this message is by Giulia Zarantonello.  Susan Boyle is the artist singing this lovely song.  It was written and composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, commonly referred to as Rodgers & Hammerstein.
You can also view at:

Until next Monday, have a great weekend and may your days be filled with rainbows.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Identity of the American Flag

On July 4, 1776, two hundred thirty-seven years ago, the Declaration of Independence of the original thirteen colonies was signed. Independence was claimed from Britain and Democracy was born. Today's message honors Independence Day and the American flag, one of the most significant symbols of Independence.  

The flag of the United States is displayed in all possible ways on July 4th.  Here in the John Day Valley, we are treated to a skyward "fly-by flag" carried by an ultra-light plane over our area, which is always a thrill to view.  Of course, there are buildings, homes and streets in the local towns, which are generously decorated with the red, white and blue.  There are flag representations in parades, rodeos and community gatherings.  Friends and family alike take a day out in celebration and salutation of a defining moment which proclaimed the formation of the United States of America.  (Click on photos to enlarge)   

Parade Flag carried by horse & rider
Ultra-Light Plane flying American Flag

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."    This declaration is powerful when one fully realizes the hallowed significance in its verbal portraiture.  The following 'History of the Flag' information was obtained at this link:

- Colors of the Flag:  Red is for valor, zeal and fervency;  White is for hope, purity, cleanliness of life, rectitude of conduct;  Blue is for the color of heaven, for reverence to God, loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth.
-  The Star symbolized dominion and sovereignty, as well as lofty aspirations.  The constellation of the stars within the union, one star for each state, is emblematic of our Federal Constitution, which reserves to the States their individual sovereignty except to as rights delegated by them to the Federal Government.
-  The thirteen Stripes represent the original thirteen colonies.

The symbolism of the Flag was thus interpreted by George Washington:  "We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country separating it by the white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty."

The flag first rose over thirteen states along the Atlantic seaboard, with a population of some three million people. Today it flies over fifty states, extending across the continent, and over great islands of the two oceans; and two hundred and five million owe it allegiance. It has been brought to this proud position by love and sacrifice. Citizens have advanced it and heroes have died for it. It is the sign made visible of the strong spirit that has brought liberty and prosperity to the people of America. It is the flag of all us alike. Let us accord it honor and loyalty.  (Excerpt from History of the Flag)

Hall of Flags, Chicago O'Hare International Airport
The first time I had ever been to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, this impressive Hall of Flags greeted me.  At the end of the hall, is a large display of the American flag.  I felt humbled when I first saw this huge flag as a welcoming greeter to all travelers, visiting from abroad and those returning home.  There was a sense of pride in viewing this flag as it impressed me of the nobility and heroism that lies behind it in the patriots of yesterday and today.  It is imprinted with the ultimate sacrifice by many; a message of hope for new beginnings; and a sentinel of freedom for its people. Throughout the years, there have been wrongs to right, including times of triumphs and tragedies, glory and shame, indicative of growing pains of a Republic with stars and stripes.

God is embedded in this flag.  He is the integral part of the surrounding whole, which is the definition of embed. The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the U.S. Constitution are referred to as founding fathers or forefathers. They recognized and acknowledged the Creator's Presence and paid Him homage as the Author of freedom.... "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."  Let us always remember to place our Creator where He rightfully belongs, the One from whom freedom flows.  If we begin to worship freedom in abandonment of its Author, the opposite effect of eventual decline is a consequence.

Their is a video presentation of God Bless America (sung by Celine Dione) is by Anthony Cortese.  He published this clip on July 4, 2012 and he wrote the below statement along with the video.  
You can  view at:   
I have included Anthony's tribute, since his words say it best.....

"I still believe in American Exceptionalism; that in all of history there has never been a country like the United States. I believe in our founding documents; that the United States Constitution is the single greatest document crafted from the minds of men for the promotion of individual liberty and freedom. Happy Fourth of July to all my friends and fellow countrymen. There is much for which we should celebrate and be grateful."  - Anthony Cortese

Until next Monday, have a special week and reflect on the God-given freedoms that you enjoy in these United States of America.