Monthly Archives: May 2015

Footsteps of Paul Part One

Liz and I recently joined a group of folks (mostly from our church) going to Greece & Turkey on a “Footsteps of Paul” tour. The trip was led by our pastor and friend Mike Alexander. This is the first of several posts describing our wonderful trip.

We began our trip at the airport in Myrtle Beach, SC. From there we flew to Philadelphia, PA and transferred to a flight bound for Athens, Greece.

After an 11 hour flight to Athens, we got off the plane only to grab our bags, go through customs and stow our bags on a bus headed for Thessaloniki. We would see our bags again later that evening. We, however, boarded another plane and flew to Thessaloniki where we boarded a tour bus and began the journey to Veria (Berea of the New Testament).

Berea is where Paul and Silas were sent by friends after being accused of treason in Thessalonika. There is very little left of the ancient town of Berea although modern Beria is a thriving city on the same spot. However, we know Paul visited and we know he preached the Gospel to the local community and we know the Bereans were particularly receptive (Acts 17:10-14).

There is a relatively recent monument to Paul’s ministry there, and the iconography is accessible even to people unaccustomed to interpreting it. The central component is a full-scale icon of the apostle Paul standing above a set of ancient steps discovered somewhere in the vicinity of Berea. A separate panel to the left depicts Paul’s vision summoning him to Macedonia, complete with the Greek quotation, “Come to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:6-10). Another panel on the right depicts Paul preaching and the Bereans studying scripture.

After a short stop in Beria, we were back on the road where our final destination for the day would be Thessaloniki, ancient Thessalonica.

Click on any of the images for a larger view:

Mix of old and new in Berea. Taken from inside tour bus.

Mix of old and new in Berea. Taken from inside tour bus.

Plaque near the Bema of the Apostle Paul.

Plaque near the Bema of the Apostle Paul.

Empie Gasque at the alter of the Apostle Paul.

Empie Gasque at the alter of the Apostle Paul.

Greg Hill at the alter of the Apostle Paul.

Greg Hill at the alter of the Apostle Paul.

Mike Alexander at the alter of the Apostle Paul.

Mike Alexander at the alter of the Apostle Paul.

Rosemary Hill at the Alter of the Apostle Paul.

Rosemary Hill at the Alter of the Apostle Paul.

Monument to the Apostle Paul.

Monument to the Apostle Paul.

Mosaic of Paul preaching to the noble Bereans.

Mosaic of Paul preaching to the noble Bereans.

Mosaic of Paul receiving the Macedonian call.

Mosaic of Paul receiving the Macedonian call.

Mosiac of the Apostle Paul preaching in Berea.

Mosiac of the Apostle Paul preaching in Berea.

Mosiac in the overhead the the Alter of the Apostle Paul. Sometimes you have to look up for the picture!

Mosiac in the overhead the the Alter of the Apostle Paul. Sometimes you have to look up for the picture!

Posted in Greece, Paul, photography, travel, UMC

Featured Photographer – Connie Mitchell

One fall day in 2009, I was reading through some of the forums at www.photoshopelementsuser.com when I came across some information posted by a lady from the UK named Wendy Williams. Wendy was telling forum members how she had taken photographs and created some “orbs”. These “orbs” were supposed to look like what you would see reflected in a gazing ball placed in a garden. She also posted a number of examples. Additionally, Wendy posted step-by-step instructions so anyone interested could create the same “orbs”. Well, I was indeed interested. I took Wendy’s instructions and created a few of these “orbs”. I was addicted after the first attempt!

Recently I was asked to speak at the Cape Fear Camera Club in Wilmington, NC. I told them the above story and told them how to make these “orbs” (You can do it too, click on “tutorials” above). Connie Mitchell, one of the CFCC members, recently sent me an example of her Orb work! I think you will agree with me that she has done a fantastic job!

(Click on image for larger view)

Connie-Orb

Posted in Digital Art, Featured Photographer, flowers, Fun Stuff, orbs, photography

Japanese Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle-web

Japanese Honeysuckle is a plant almost everyone knows. Children love it, because they can suck the sweet nectar from its flowers. Many adults hate it, since it grows quickly and can strangle other plants.

Japanese Honeysuckle can be a shrub or a vine. Usually it’s seen as a vine, growing up tree trunks or covering another shrub.

This plant was brought here from Asia and has spread steadily. It is is usually seen on the edges of woods, streams, or roads. It also lives in fields and gardens.

Japanese Honeysuckle has three-inch leaves which are green and oval-shaped. They are opposite, which means two leaves grow as a pair from the same spot on the stem, but on opposite sides.

The twigs of this plant are sometimes hairy.

Japanese Honeysuckle is best known for its sweet-smelling flowers. They are white at first, turning yellow as they get older. Flowers are also in pairs, and each flower can reach one and a half inches long. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, bees, and other insects visit the flowers for nectar. They also help pollinate the plant, taking pollen from one flower to another.

Pollination is how a plant can grow fruit, which holds seeds, which can grow into new plants. If honeysuckle doesn’t get pollinated, it can’t spread and grow new plants.

Honeysuckle fruits are small black beries, about 1/4 inch wide. Many birds eat them, including Tufted Titmouse, Northern Bobwhite, American Goldfinch, Northern Mockingbird, and Eastern Bluebird. Birds help the plants spread by pooping seeds out in new places.
Japanese Honeysuckle is a fast-growing climber. As it gets older, it develops a thick, woody stem. It is very strong and does not break easily.

This vine can climb trees, wrapping itself around the tree and covering branches with its own stems and leaves. If the tree can not get light to its leaves, or if the honeysuckle plant is soaking up all the water through its roots, the tree could die. This makes Japanese Honeysuckle a parasite.

Honeysuckle can quickly smother a shrub and it can cover low-growing plants as well. Many plants cannot compete with honeysuckle.

Some plants that Japanese Honeysuckle is often found near, or growing upon, include: Eastern Redcedar, oaks, American Beech, Yellow Poplar, Sassafras, pines, Sweetgum, American Elm, hickories, maples, Flowering Dogwood, Highbush Blueberry, Greenbrier, and Poison Ivy.

Posted in art and entertainment, brookgreen, flowers, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography