Reconstruction of the West Liberty Christian Church



We won another victory over the tornado of 2012.

Almost four years after a horrible tornado took our 102-year old building from us, we moved into our new church building.

Previous to this, we worshiped at another church.  I know it was a great sacrifice on their part but they  graciously provided their building to us for about a year.   This was a wonderful act of kindness to a reeling church body after taking a devastating blow.  Luckily we were able to stagger back to our corner and get our wits about us.

We were at this time able to go through the difficult stages of shock and grief over our building.  Also the healing started as we dealt with the emotional attachment to a building that was so meaningful to many of us.  Seeing our children coming to accept the Lord Jesus and go through the act of baptism, walking some of those same children down the sloped aisle to their awaiting spouse, saying good-bye to those who meant so much to us at their funerals was on all  our minds as we started planning for a new building.  We all knew how hard it would be, for we had not planned on bidding adieu to our old friend on the corner of Prestonsburg and Broadway.

We then worshiped in a mobile unit for another eighteen months or so back on our lot.  As we stared at a vacant lot where the old building stood, a constant reminder of what was taken and how much work lay ahead of us as we tried to fill that same lot.

We then built a metal building on the back of our property and praised God there.  We shared this building with the food pantry.  On some Sundays we could smell rotten potatoes or onions or other produce.

Eventually God’s grace and mercy brought us through the storm as He promised.  We had our first service on the first Sunday of 2016.  We were so excited. We moved in before the building would be finished and we are still waiting for the downstairs and kitchen to be completed.

I am very grateful to our congregation for their perseverance and their faith in the one and only Creator.

I took this photo during the construction of our new church building and loved the shadows on a late afternoon.  You can see the domes of two buildings in the background, the dome on the right is atop our old, 109-year old court house.  The tornado weakened the roof and the dome collapsed into the courtroom.  The dome on the left is our new judicial building that was close to completion when the tornado hit.  It had to have major reconstruction.

Through it all, when our faith was struggling and our strength seemed to be fading, God answered our prayers and reminded us that His Grace is sufficient for us.

As I write this, I am listening to a song by Jeremy Camp called “Same Power”.  He sings about “the same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake, the same power that moves mountains when He speaks, the same power that can calm a raging sea, lives in us.  He lives in us.”

I know we have a long way to go.  We still have to pay for this building.   But we have already had one to commit her life to the Lord Jesus and was baptized.  There will be more.  There will be weddings and funerals and memories for the next generations of God’s people, if He permits.  He has blessed His people since the beginning of time and will continue till the end of time.  Then Jesus will usher in His Kingdom and I will see some of those I said good-bye to in that old building.

After the tornado,  I was interviewed by CBS reporter Anna Werner as we looked at the pile of rubble that was the old building and she asked me what it would mean to see a new building standing here.  I replied, “God always wins.”

He has won another victory for our small town.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.



Waterfalls, Morgan County 2011 061 2Water, water everywhere…

My apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  I hope the need for royalty payments  for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner have passed.

This is a sentiment that many of us in eastern Kentucky have expressed over the past few months.  Some were duped by The Farmer’s Almanac website which I will quote, “Summer will be hotter and drier than normal, with the hottest periods in mid to late June, mid to late July, and early to mid-August.”

OK, maybe the “powers that be” changed the season of summer to be from July 24- July 28, because those days were hot and dry, except for the steam that rose out of the swampy goo.

Trying to mow my three acres in this saturated state has become my Waterloo…I’ll let you think about that for a minute.

This summer my grass has been growing at a faster rate than the seemingly, steroid infused mildew that was in the bathtub of my college fraternity house.

Mowing has become necessary again, however I cannot mow.  “Why can’t I mow”, you ask, quizzically.  Because IT’S RAINING!!!  I know you people living in California can’t grasp this concept of rain.  Maybe some pimply faced  intern at The Farmer’s Almanac confused California with Kentucky in the compiling of this year’s almanac.  Somewhere a California farmer is looking for blue mold.

I took this picture of cascades of a creek in the Yocum and Pleasant Run area of Morgan County, KY.  It resembles the water running through my side yard during the last storm.  Shortly afterward, I saw a small Asian boy leading a yak down my street.

My mower has been stuck in mud…stuck in mud…stuck in mud… three times this summer, because you can’t see the water standing in the yard because the grass is so high.  I went to the local hardware store to see if my old Snapper could be fitted with floats like a seaplane.  The amazing thing is I was not the first one to request this.  Since Snapper does not make a hover riding mower yet, I will have to wait for the rain to stop and then send out a dove.

While waiting on my yard to dry, I can always weedeat my gutters.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.

War Creek Road

County Road Curve, Morgan County, KY spring 2005

I was explaining how marvelous my diminutive, relatively new sports car was handling through the curves on Route 519 in northern Morgan County.  My passenger seemed distracted.  It could have been because he was thinking “uh-oh”.

We were driving to school on a Sunday afternoon on our way back to Morehead State University in 1977.  My passenger was a good friend and he was in the right seat of my 1970 MG Midget.  It was his maiden voyage in my British Racing Green classic two-seater.  His mother told him earlier, “I’m glad you are riding back to school with someone respectable.”  These words were spinning around in my thoughts as we were spinning around on the narrow two lane road.

Figure skaters and dancers are taught to keep their eyes moving ahead of the spin so as not to get the “swimmy head”.  As we were pirouetting across the pavement, my eyes saw trees…fence…trees…fence…trees…fence.

Inertia was finally overpowered with the help of the barbed-wire fence we broke through and  the fence post  we nestled up to.

We extracted ourselves from this small capsule, staggering like survivors at Roswell.  The swimmy head trick didn’t work.  We retraced the crash path and saw that we narrowly missed a large crevice that would have completely swallowed up the tiny car and left us on missing persons lists to this day.

This is a photo of War Creek Road taken in the spring.  This small winding road is in the southeastern region of Morgan County in eastern Kentucky.  It is similar to the way Route 519 looked at the time of this story before it was rebuilt. It is typical of the many scenic drives along small country roads  in Morgan County. The views can be memorable… when you are in control of your automobile.

Incidentally, the British Motor Corporation stopped production of the MG Midget in 1979 due to the age of political correctness.  They tried to change the name to MG “Little Automobile” but the body wasn’t big enough to display that many letters.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.


Ezel Presbyterian Church





I was in a testosterone fog.

Like the tops of the eastern Kentucky hills hidden by the fog of this particular winter, rainy, day, my judgement was clouded by the current state of my machismo.  My bravado gauge seemed to be in sync with the RPM gauge on my Fiat X 1/9, both maintaining a level above what could be considered safe at the time.  You get the picture.

I had my new girlfriend, now my lovely wife of 29-plus years, sitting in the orange leather passenger seat of this Italian classic sports car (description may be an embellishment).  Our destination was Ezel, Ky.

I had invited her to come with me for her first trip to Morgan County, my home, to witness her new boyfriend perform the most manly of courtship rituals.  Amid all of the Animal Planet and Nature Channel shows that focus on the singing, dancing, spreading plumage, and so forth found in nature, there is one facet of the male-to-female attraction ritual that never seems to be shown…the male’s invitation to the female to travel a long distance to watch him play in a basketball tournament in a small rural gymnasium.

As if her femaleness wasn’t clicking on all cylinders in the anticipation of watching me display my prowess on the court of the old Ezel High School gym, added to her delight was riding in a car that barely had the weight to stay within the gravitational pull of the planet at 70 mph.  Not only that, but throw into her experience a driving rain and road spray coming onto a vehicle that wasn’t as tall as the semi trucks’ tires I kept passing.  The six-inch Italian wiperblades could not keep the amount of water cleared off the windshield long enough to see the small ponds formed on the rain-soaked Mountain Parkway.  I assumed each episode of hydroplaning that showcased my daring-do car handling ability would further add to her confidence in opting for my affections.

I was thinking none of her past beaus would have been able to deliver an unprecedented afternoon such as this.

Ezel is a beautiful section of rolling hills and farmland in western Morgan County.  Sitting atop one of these rolling hills is the Ezel Presbyterian Church.  It is one of my favorite sights in all of Morgan County.  This church building was built about ninety years ago.

Remarkably, my wife still continued to date me after this inglorious day.  Although since this day,  when we travel there is a constant update on weather changes and road conditions and speed monitoring coming from the passenger seat.

Also my team made it to the finals of the basketball tournament that day so my lucky new girlfriend was able to be impressed by my manliness for a whole day in that gym at Ezel.  We lost in that game, but not before I was able to keep my man from missing a shot and holding him to about thirty points.

I am happily married today because my wife never understood the fundamentals of a man-to-man defense.


If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.


Kellacey Falls



I went to ask my dad for directions to Kellacey Falls in northern Morgan County, KY.   I hadn’t been there in a little while and I knew there was an intersection where I either had to go straight or turn right.  Given my past results on taking true and false tests in school, I did not want to leave that decision at fifty percent.  It always seemed like I gave (or guessed) the wrong answer much more than half of the time on those tests.  I am a statistical marvel, or as my wife says, “It is a marvel at how bad your sense of direction can be.”

My 86-year old father was a rural letter carrier in Morgan County for close to thirty years.   He went past Kellacey Falls every day he delivered the mail.  After getting directions from him, I turned to leave and hurried to the door for I knew what was to come…

“Don’t you dare go by yourself.  Call your brother!”

I did not get to the door in time.

With my 58-year old head hung low, I left that same house feeling as if I was ten years old again.  I knew I had to call my 62-year old brother for security.  Sometimes things get pretty rough going through Tom’s Branch and Dehart.

On the drive out to Kellacey Falls, I was glad to have my brother in the car with me.  It had been too long since we had been together, just the two of us.

My dad called me on my cell phone, which is a marvel in itself, to see how we were. It had suddenly occurred to him that  he had sent both of his sons out into the wilds of Kellacey.  He shuddered to think that not just one of his sons could fall over the edge of the falls, but he could lose both of us.  Our foray into adulthood and past midlife still did not give him the confidence in our ability not to fall off a cliff.  Little did he know that I fell just a few short minutes previous to this adventure, trying to navigate a one-foot step at my house, falling gracefully to the gentle clutches of Mother Earth.  Also little did he know that my protector was at one time on his belly, in the mud, peering over the 200-foot rock ledge proclaiming how high we were.  Some passers-by may have thought “high” had a different connotation.

A picture like this took some planning.

I ordered a remote control device for my camera just for this photo.  I put my camera on my tripod and fully extended it.  I used a 7 mm fish-eye lens.  I set up a step ladder on the edge of the falls and wedged my tripod between the step and the pail shelf (yes that is what it is called, I looked it up).  The tripod with the camera is now extended out over the cliff, so I put a concrete block on the lower step of the ladder to weigh the ladder down so the weight of the extended tripod would not cause this setup to tumble over the edge of the cliff.

At one point, when I was close to the edge, I felt a little tug and looked down. My older brother was holding on to my belt loop…my protector.   Dad knew what he was doing after all.

Of course my protector wasn’t holding on to anything else.

If you like this picture, you can see more of my photos here.




Wrigley Tunnel


We were racing up the steps to the platform.   I knew it would be close.

My wife and I were trying to catch the subway in Midtown Manhattan to go to Battery Park to ride the Staten Island Ferry.

I had been to New York City one earlier time in my life, at a student convention.   This was my wife’s first trip to the Big Apple.    She had on a pair of shoes that were more fashionable than comfortable.    I had some experience on my previous trip with subway doors closing unexpectedly in my face.  I was trying to relay this bit of valuable information between my gasping breaths as I was climbing stairs about ten feet ahead of my lovely wife, who I know was shooting gamma rays at me out of her eyes ala Gort in “The Day the Earth Stood Still”( the good one in 1951 not the Keanu Reeves one).

I ran up to the train, as if waiting would keep the doors open.   The doors to the subway train closed on me faster than a Budapest housewife greeting a kilt salesman.   I turned to see my wife hobbling up the stairs to the platform.  My gentle reminder was met with a  not-so-gentle-use of English phrasing.    We sat in silence for thirty minutes waiting for the next train as I shot gamma rays at her stylish shoes.

My previous experience with mis-timed subway doors was on the previous trip mentioned above.    My buddy and I decided to skip the lectures one day and catch the train out to Aqueduct to watch some horse races.   After a typical day at the track where we both donated money to the state of New York, we headed up to the platform to catch the train back to Grand Central Station.   I went onboard to ask if this train would get us to our destination.  When I was told to catch the next train, the doors closed and separated me from my buddy, who was smiling and holding up the subway map.

As the train pulled away, I could sense the pity he had for me as he was kissing the map.   I was struck at the shock in the eyes of the New Yorkers.   Apparently they had never seen anyone actually guffawing on a train platform.

I have had some really good experiences on trains.   My wife and I traversed parts of Italy on trains and though we were oblivious to what was going on, we were having the time of our lives.

I wish train travel was easier in the United States.

This is a photo of the Wrigley Tunnel.   It was built a few years after 1900.   It had to be built before 1908, the first year of the Morehead & North Fork Railroad.   Otherwise, the trains would have come to an abrupt halt outside of Wrigley.

I took this photo on a cold January morning on the west side of the tunnel to get the sunburst shining through the tunnel opening.   I liked the effect of the fish-eye lens to capture the starburst and long shadows through the tunnel.

The Wrigley Tunnel sits west of Wrigley in Morgan County, KY.   We are lucky that Rt. 711 runs through this tunnel.   It is still being appreciated for its history and connection to a time long ago.   I would have loved to have ridden the M &NF line from Morehead to Redwine.

I bet they wouldn’t have shut the door on my wife limping to the train in her new pair of Parisiennes.

If you like this picture, you can see more of my photos here.


Old Paint Creek School in Winter


Today is one of those days when the snow is coming down,  the snow is coming down,  the snow is coming down.

I am sitting in my office at my laptop writing a blog.   I haven’t been very busy today because, you see… the snow is coming down.

So far today, I drank a cup of coffee…had to pee.   I  went to see a friend at his office because if I am not doing any work, neither should anyone else.    Oh yeah, had another cup of coffee…had to pee.  Went back to the office and listened to a Tim Keller sermon, while drinking coffee…had to pee.   I went home so I could give my bladder a lunch break.

I came back to the office and, lo and behold, I did some work.   I got so excited… had to pee.

I worked the USA Today crossword (in easy mode of course) while drinking another cup of coffee…had to pee.

I participated in a Facebook discussion on Creationism vs Science.   Afterward I was amazed how God created our bodies to expel liquid waste.

Then I started this blog, with another cup of coffee at my side…odds are I won’t finish this before…uh, oh be back in a few.

At this time, I would like to apologize to those who instructed me in the power of the written word and to Johannes Guttenberg, who made this current writing possible.   Especially to those who read this work, don’t worry I will probably have to pee again soon, so it won’t last much longer.

I took this photo of the Old Paint Creek School that sat in Morgan County, Kentucky.   It was a one room school, built in 1900.  It served the students of northeastern Morgan County for ten years.  The original building was about two or three times larger than this present building.  It was also moved to a different location in a roadside park.  It has since been moved again.  It’s whereabouts, I do not know.

I took this photo a few years ago on a day like today.

Evidently, since then, things seemed to have changed with my urinary system.  I don’t see any yellow snow around the school.

If you like this photo, you can see more here.