Archive for the ‘General’ Category


Shooting Portland at night

   Posted by: Mark

Portland is a beautiful city. A few weeks ago Dad and I got to head down to the eastern bank of the river to take some full-city shots just after sunset. It was cold and windy, but we had fun. So this past Friday night, we got right into the downtown area after dark, and walked block upon block shooting what we could find. The time with Dad was such fun, and as a bonus I was able to find some pictures! The weather was about as perfect as we could have asked for, and we both noticed there seemed to be an unusual quietness about the streets. We got to walk, talk, and snap the shutter for about two hours, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

As always, click on any of the images to go to Flickr to see even more pictures.






Project 365

   Posted by: Mark Tags:

Late last year my sister mentioned she was going to participate in “Project 365” this year. I remember seeing something about it a while ago, and thought it sounded like a great idea. It’s pretty simple: take a picture a day for the entire year (and post it online). That’s about it, though you can read more here if you’re interested. Focusing on this through the year encourages more consistent camera carrying, develops more familiarity with the camera’s capabilities, and I’ve already seen that it forces new perspectives on things that might otherwise be uninteresting.

Anyway, I’ve been having fun with it. I really am going to try to grab a picture on each and every day. I may not post on the same day I take the picture, but I do intend to capture something every day.

Amy’s is doing it too. And so is Dad. They’ve got some great shots already, and we’ve barely started!

You can see my progress so far this year by clicking here.




*Post updated to include a link to Dad’s pictures here and above — more photo goodness!


Christmas card 2008

   Posted by: Mark

We tried for weeks to get pictures of the kids that would be good enough to send out this year on our Christmas cards. And it wasn’t until we decided to have fun doing it that we finally captured some good pictures.

We (I) missed sending out announcements about Jeremiah’s birth, so we opted to do a bit more for Christmas cards this year. I put together a background, found some great resources with Amy’s help, and sent the order off to Whitehouse Custom Color for press-printed 5×5 tri-fold cards on their watercolor paper. We’re immensely pleased with the results!


The full layout above is the inside of the card. The three laying flat are the outside flap, inside flap, and back of the card respectively. The card reads “Merry Christmas! Jesus, the founder of our salvation, the radiance of the glory of God is the One who’s birth we celebrate! Love, the Norwoods”

Despite much proof-reading, we noticed after we received the order shipment that we (I!) forgot to put the year on them. We have the kids’ ages on the back, but not the year!

Here are the full original layouts (click for larger versions):





   Posted by: Mark

I woke up Thursday morning, looked out my window to see what kind of weather would appear for my birthday, and what did I find?




I have my suspicions, but will keep them quiet until the local police, FBI, and Homeland Security investigations are complete…


Room with a view

   Posted by: Mark

Sometimes the view from my home office window is relaxing, with hummingbirds and pretty flowers. Other days, well…



For the love of popcorn

   Posted by: Mark

We’ve used a WhirleyPop popcorn maker for a long time and have been overwhelmingly pleased with the results. But we thought we’d try a slightly more convenient method to make popcorn, and purchased an electric unit from West Bend.

The first batch of popcorn, using the 1/2 cup of kernels and about the same amount of oil as we used in the WhirleyPop, was really bad. It was soggy and the popped kernels were small. I called Dad, since he and Mom have one of these things, and he gave some suggestions. So tonight we tried a couple more batches. I used the same amount of popcorn, and about six times the oil (!!), and the results were definitely much better. But still not WhirleyPop quality: the popcorn was a bit too tough and rubbery. So the results are, after three batches, we’d rather risk the unproven side effects of cooking with aluminum and eat great popcorn than risk the proven effects of too much oil with not-quite-great popcorn.

But that’s not the point of the post. This is:


On the tracks

   Posted by: Mark

We took a walk last night up to a set of rarely-used railroad tracks not too far from our neighborhood. My patient wife let me take some time to get some pictures. I have a lot yet to learn about Photoshop editing, since there are some things I want to do with these that I can’t quite figure out yet. But until I do figure it out, I’ll keep practicing!





Forced to shoot

   Posted by: Mark

My sister is ever the motivator. She pushed me to go out last night and shoot 15 pictures. Of anything. Anywhere I could. Just make it work. I took about 20 shots, and though most were junk, I did get a couple that could be edited to something “not so boring.”




Luther on Kingdoms

   Posted by: Mark Tags: ,

During our trip to Ohio, I had opportunity to read some of Martin Luther’s writings. I brought a copy of “Three Treatises,” which ends up not being all that focused on theology proper, but was a highly enjoyable read. The first treaties is An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate. This was written in 1520, and Luther was apparently quite aware that his relationship with the Catholic Church was damaged beyond repair by this point (by this time in his life Luther had clearly proclaimed his questioning of papal authority and numerous specific practices of the Church). Even in his written word in this essay it is possible to see the passion he must have had regarding the comprehensive lack of discernment and holiness in the Church, and specifically in the person and office of the pope.

There were numerous passages in the essay that were noteworthy and concise enough to quote, but one related generally to politics really jumped out at me. He was crying out against the actions of Rome (referencing the Church) in its dishonorable acquisition of the Roman Empire from the Greek Emperor, and then his giving it to the German Nation in order to establish a “Second Roman Empire” under his own rule. Luther’s statements are still relevant today:

For the Lord God it is a small thing to toss empires and principalities to and fro! He is so generous with them that once in a while He gives a kingdom to a knave and takes it from a good man, sometimes by the treachery of wicked, faithless men and sometimes by heredity, as we read of the kingdoms of Persia and Greece, and of almost all kingdoms; and Daniel 2 and 4 says: “He who ruleth over all things dwelleth in heaven, and it is he alone who changeth kingdoms, tosseth them to and fro, and maketh them.” Since, therefore, no one can think it a great thing to have a kingdom given to him, especially if he is a Christian, we Germans cannot be puffed up because a new Roman Empire bestowed on us; for in His eyes it is a trifling gift, which He often gives to the most unworthy, as Daniel 4 says: “All who dwell on the earth are in his eyes as nothing, and he has power in all the kingdoms of men, to give them to whomsoever he will.”

This is indeed a good reminder that it is God who gives and takes kingdoms and establishes rulers. Beware of those who suggest that God is any less capable of or active in doing this in a democratic republic!


Home again

   Posted by: Mark

We just got back this morning from nine days in Akron, Ohio, visting Tami’s family. We stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Rhodes (with John, Tara, and four girls, too!), and got to relax a bit. There are so many things to post about, from the airports and plane rides, to the 60th anniversary party, the annual July 4th picnic, Wall-E, and more. I think I’ll create separate posts over the next weeks with pictures, but for now, here are a few of the 700+ images I captured:










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