My “Brush with Rush”

I really miss Rush Limbaugh…the consummate broadcast professional. Thankfully, when I did get to speak with him, he did pay me a sort of compliment. The rest of my call was unremarkable, actually…but I’ll never forget how it began.

Regardless of how one feels about politics, it’s irrefutable what an amazing broadcaster Rush was or his impact on broadcasting in general. I didn’t listen every day, even though I was a subscriber, but I’ll miss him forever.

An awkward name unless you’re a Rhinelander

“Worms” seems like an odd, if not insensitive, name for this cemetery on the northern edge of McIntosh County in south-central North Dakota. That was my first reaction when I came upon it. It even conjured memories of Lloyd and Harry’s ill-fated entrepreneurial opportunity in Dumb and Dumber!

This is a tiny little strip of land in a field just north of Highway 3. I imagine it was named after one of the oldest cities in Europe: Worms, Germany. This was the location of the Edict of Worms, where Martin Luther was branded a heretic. And it was the even more awkwardly titled Diet of Worms who made this decision. A “diet” in that sense was a deliberative body, not a food plan as we think of it today. That would pretty gross.

Language over time is interesting, don’t you think?

In honor of Wayne Stenehjem

It was with a heavy heart that I went out for these photos tonight. The state has suffered a tragic loss with the death of Wayne Stenehjem. The capitol windows were adorned with a blue line and the number 5, in accordance with his license plate number (the governor has 1, lieutenant governor 2, and so on).

I’m certain there are thousands of people like me who have considered Wayne a friend…not a close one, but a friend who I’d greet with a smile every time I saw him, who invited me to take sunset photos from his back yard, who actually inspired me with some of his photos of the capitol. It still doesn’t seem real that he has passed so unexpectedly. When I got to this point I remembered that the last time I took a photo from this angle it was to try to replicate a photo Wayne had posted on his Facebook feed.

It’s fitting that the capitol windows would commemorate such a respected public servant, a guy who loved North Dakota and its citizens. It was Attorney General Stenehjem who asked lawmakers to support the idea in 2017, when it was proposed in Senate Concurrent Resolution 4015.

Since 2006 I’ve been eagerly dashing to the capitol at various times of the year to capture displays in the windows of the tower. I wasn’t so eager tonight. It’s heartbreaking for North Dakota, and Wayne’s family in particular, to lose such a truly great guy. I couldn’t miss it, though..he’s a historic figure and leaves a legacy of integrity and kindness we all should hope to possess. I’ll miss you, Wayne.

Rime Ice Redux

Remember when I flooded the ol’ Blog with a ton of frost (okay, Rime Ice) photos? Well, I also shot a little bit of video to accompany those photos. I threw together a simple video containing a few clips with some music to share. I hope you enjoy!

I sure hope it’s 2022, not “2020 too”

I’m breaking in a brand new camera, something I’ve wanted to do for many years. In doing so, I wanted to explore a couple of new angles too. It was -22 according to the display in the vehicle I was driving, and it felt it. I was dressed properly, though, and I had boot warmers and hand warmers too.

One of the cool things about the capitol these days – and I believe it began last year – is the lighting on the pioneer statue. I used to have to position lighting to illuminate the statue, but now it’s got fantastic lighting of its own.

Pretty nice, huh? I’m glad they added this. I wanted a new angle, and I got one. I’m actually surprised I didn’t feature it last year.

Happy New Year everybody! This marks the beginning of my seventeenth year doing this blog, and I hope I get plenty of opportunities to share photos here to make up for the last two years.

The four most important words you’ll hear this Christmas

Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.

One ubiquitous Christmas holiday phrase is “Peace on Earth.” As the hymn above shows, that is entirely appropriate; however, we tend to assign an earthly context to it by mistake. It’s not about peace between men at all; rather, it means peace between men and God. Those four most important words I alluded to in the title are the last four in the verse above: “God and sinners reconciled.” That is the source of peace on earth.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14)

That peace and good will didn’t transmit from man to man; it came from God to all men. Since the fall of Adam, that peace between God and men did not exist. By giving the gift of His son, however, God was offering that peace and good will to men once again:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

There’s your peace…

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18)

Repeatedly in the Old and New Testaments, the Bible reminds us that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:23 points out that “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We need as Savior, one whose birth we celebrate each Christmas. As the angel told Joseph:

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20)

This was the Savior foretold by the prophets. For example:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

God’s desire is to restore that fellowship and peace, reconciling (see those four important words once again) us to Him through his Son:

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled…”

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I believe what Jesus says in the Bible: “you must be born again.” He means that in order to be forgiven and assured a place in heaven, you must put your faith and trust in Him. We can not do anything to assuage the sin that we carry in our lives; only He can.

By placing your belief and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, acknowledging that He made the only sufficient sacrifice for them on the cross, you can be saved. Only then will you be able to truly partake in that “peace on earth” that the angel of the Lord spoke of when declaring good news to those shepherds.

I love the spirit of Christmas as much as, if not more than, the next guy… but the joy, the spirit, the family time, the celebrations, the lights, the gifts… those are all simply a by-product and a shadow of the joy that God extends to each and every person through His son, the one through whom we enjoy unspeakable joy and peace each Christmas and throughout the year.

It was real, and it was spectacular

The capitol Christmas tree is nice, don’t get me wrong here…and it’s decorated with ornaments sent in by folks like you and me. But it wasn’t all that long ago when we still had a real, live, organic Christmas tree in the Memorial Hall each Christmas season.

I remember talking to Governor Dalrymple and his wife one evening when they mentioned that they were receiving pressure about fire code when it came to having a real tree. The writing was on the wall at that point. North Dakota has already managed to burn down one capitol building already, after all. So in 2015, when we got the new artificial tree, it wasn’t that much of a surprise.

Thankfully I took lots of photos of the real trees so I can still enjoy them. And yes, I do still enjoy the “fake” tree every year.