Thursday, September 27, 2012

Turtle Air Travel

Bedlam Is Delivered In Blinks

Nebraska Mountain Range

Getting Lost On Purpose

Fragments of ROYGBIV

To All New And Old Bloggies

So, how can I stay up to date with so many new people following this blog every day? Well, let me tell you how I got a few of these wrinkles and all this grey hair that I am sporting.

First, ... this blog started simply because my family wanted to see some of the photos I had been stock-piling on hard drives for years. I had zillions of photos hidden away that were really only seen by me. Sometimes, I would show some photos to my wife, Susan, ... only if I thought they were good but many times they just disappeared to hard drives never to be seen again. After some arm twisting, I finally figured out how to posted them on a blog. Seriously, ... that's all this blog was intended to be. But, MUCH to my surprise, people started to follow the blog. After a few dozen followers outside our direct family joined the blog, I began to write a little bit. I never thought this would grow to this many followers. With this in mind, let me tell you a bit more of my background.

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in July 1958. My parents dropped me a lot as a baby and I ate more than my fair share of lead-based paint chips.

My parents moved to Chicago, IL so my Dad could attend the Moody Bible Institute when I was about a year old. I had two younger brothers born into the family during these years, Daniel of Oakville, Ontario and Peter of Leander, Texas. After my Dad graduated in 1962, our family moved to Dallas so that Dad could continue his education at the Dallas Theological Seminary and after his graduation in Dallas in 1968, when I was approximately ten years old, we moved back to Chicago where my Dad became a teacher at the Moody Bible Institute.

In 1973, at nearly 15 years of age, our family moved back to Canada where Dad became the Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Oakville, Ontario. I finished high school in Oakville in 1976 and began training in Mechanical Design Engineering in a four year apprenticeship program with Mannesmann Demag and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto.

In 1980, my wife Susan and I were married and our oldest daughter and oldest son were born in Oakville by 1984. I had begun to work with the youth ministry in the Calvary Baptist Church during the early years of our marriage and we later decided to immigrate to the United States as a family of four so I that I could attend Moody Bible Institute and continue employment in Mechanical Engineering in the Chicagoland area.

After three tough years of school and full-time work, we decided to continue down the engineering vocational path. We continued to be active in youth ministry during these years in our church in Wheaton, IL. Several years and another daughter later, we decided to pack up and head North to a town called Woodstock, IL. We began to attend Woodstock Bible Church and we continued to work in youth ministry for a few years. We moved to Woodstock as a result of an employment opportunity with Web Printing Controls that became available in 1987.

We rounded out our family of five with another son and another daughter. Each of our kids were born with about 33 months between them in age. It went girl, boy, girl, boy, girl. Doesn’t that sound orderly? Well, it was orderly ... in a three-ring circus sort of way. We have been witnesses to God’s faithful hand of provision throughout all these years … even when our needs were great. My wife and I experienced 17 consecutive years of high school parenting. THAT’s totally NUTS!

All five of our kids grew up in the same house we live in today. I was employed at Web Printing Controls until mid-September 2011. I am now working for Joule Technologies in McHenry, IL after a 14 month period of unemployment during which we saw God's mighty hand sustain us through the hardships.

Our oldest daughter, Erin is married to Sean, with five darling little girls. They live just a few miles from here. They are doing great at winning the parental job of raising these little girls God has entrusted to them.
Our oldest son, Joel is married to Chelsea, with a newborn boy for his big sister. They also live a few miles from us. It is amazing to see how much these little ones have enriched their lives. They are great parents.
Our middle kid, Tara is a member of the Army's 101st Airborne as a Combat Field Medic. She is our first-born American and is now at Fort Campbell, Kentucky after a year stationed in South Korea. Tara was always our peacemaker in the family. She has recently came home to Illinois from her home in Clarksville, TN with a newborn son. She will soon return to the military to complete her last year of service.
Our youngest son, Kyle recently graduated a Masters Degree program in Engineering Management at Northern Illinois University. I am so proud of his ability to overcome adversity. Kyle worked as a Teachers Aid in AutoCad and SolidWorks while at school and for WT Engineering in Schaumburg in any available free time. Kyle is now engaged to Courtney Bledsoe of Blair, NE and moving to the Omaha area soon.
Our youngest of five, Leah is nearly 22 and still with us. She is now in her third year in our local community college. Leah is very unique and special to us. In many ways, Leah has been the focus of our day to day life. Leah has severe Narcolepsy and through this difficult experience she has been a champion. We have learned so much from her as we have continued to see God’s caring hand help her cope and thrive with the struggle. She has recently complete Nurses Aid training and is continuing down a Nursing path while working with Woodstock Parks & Recreation.

What do I want them to know, when they think of their Pop? I want them to know that I love them! But, ... I want them to know that God loves them way way more than I have the capacity to love.

When I speak of God on this blog … I don’t want you to think I am so heavenly minded that flies don’t land on me. I have had many trials. I don’t know your pain, nor I am able to speak of your struggles … but I DO know pain and struggles. I am not religious in the sense that I am trying to DO something in order to earn heaven. However, I DO know I am going to heaven! Not because of anything I ever did … but because I have simply accepted what Christ has done for me already. I pray that the message of Christ softly speaks to you through the words shared on this blog.

I have never really grown up in the full sense of terms. I have only learned how to pretend that I have when I am in public. And I often disregard any need to pretend. This gives me GREAT joy!

I am a blessed man who has seen some very tough stuff. My wife Susan is my compass during these experiences. I feel like God gave her to me specifically for these days. We have been blessed with 5 kids and their spouses, 8 glorious and sometimes goofy grand-children and great parents who faithfully stayed together during the tough times they encountered before us.

My love for photography began when our oldest child was born. I need photography because it allows we to really get alone with God in my thoughts. Sometimes, I see things that are so beautiful … that even the best of cameras can’t do it justice. When I see things this beautiful I continue to shoot in order to get something … but then I can set the camera down and just watch. These are often moments when I feel the deepest form of worship. I hope you enjoy what you see and are challenged to dig out your camera and take it with you. Only you can photograph your world for those who will follow you years later.

My life dream would be to be able to somehow work teaching others about photography and growing together with them in our love for God! Is that kind of living even possible? Nothing in my life comes close to Jesus. He is my only oar in the water on tough days. I can say that I have been able to live a bit of a photographers dream ... BUT knowing the Creator is WAY more important than anything I have experienced.

I know this sounds strange to many of you. Sorry! But ... I can only tell you what I know from experience. There is a God. He cares for you! He sent His Son, ... Jesus. Believe in Him.

This is a general background that I bring to everything I touch.

Thanks for dropping in on I hope you will tell your friends and come again!
NikonSniper Steve

Fall Winds

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Football Dreams

This is our first grandson, Trevor Calev Baird. Calev was born on September 12. We couldn't wait to get him in a football photo ... so we finally got it late last night. This was his father's Woodstock BlueStreaks helmet. It sure was nice to dust it off for this very happy occasion.
Psalm 127:3 says, "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, grandsons that play football are even way more better."
OK, I changed that a little bit.

nikonsniper PoP-Pop

Arizona's Barren Landscape

Tracks Past Folsom Prison

Sydney Panoramic View

Sunny DFW

Foggy Beach State Park

Barn Legends

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lord Rain Your Goodness On Us

These are the hardest words a man ever has to write.
I need help!
There, ... I said it! That hurts! 
It’s true, I really do need help. This isn’t just a made-up post. After a 24+ year career with the same company, I have now been unemployed for 53 weeks and it appears that help from all those years of paying social security is now over. The world we live in is not hiring.
God has made health care available to us by other means so that isn’t a roadblock to work. I am capable and would gladly forward a resume to anyone who might know of any opportunity to be employed in the Chicagoland area … but folks, I would consider anything, anywhere at the moment.
You could also greatly help me by simply praying for us.
NikonSniper Steve