Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

Here are some helpful posts found this week:

Advent–Opening Again to Wonder. ‘Advent is here. Glorious Advent — one of the best times of year to be completely filled with awe. But what do we do when, no matter how many times we toggle the switch, our desire to marvel, or even care, doesn’t turn back on? How do we come to the age-old story grateful and amazed instead of distracted and numb?”

How Much Does a Good Deed Weigh? HT to Challies. “How much does a good deed weigh on the scales of perfect justice? How many good actions does it take to balance against a bad one? What about bad attitudes? If I do a good deed with mixed motives, does it still count as good, or have I ruined it with my divided heart that hides so much selfishness and pride and envy right alongside whatever good I’m trying to do?”

Helpful Things You Can Say to Grieving Parents. “I recently consulted with a few other parents who have experienced the loss of a child and want to offer a few things you can say to grieving parents that may prove an encouragement to them—a flicker of light in their time of deep darkness. These phrases may be helpful to people experiencing other forms of grief, but I offer them particularly for those grieving the loss of a child.”

What the Gospel Says About Your Child’s Learning Differences, HT to The Story Warren. “Reading levels are just reading levels. They are temporary. Learning differences are just learning differences. They, too, are temporary. But our identity in Christ is eternal, and to this we must cling when we are tempted to believe that our academic accomplishments are all there is to life.”

It’s Too Loud in Here, HT to Challies. I love the subtitle: “I feel screamed at all the time.” I love the conclusion.

Two Different Prescriptions. “The Bible draws a distinction between works of the flesh and works of the Spirit. Like our Ivermectin prescriptions, we need to use the correct form of anger, or the consequences can be deadly. Here are three ways to tell which prescription of anger we may be using.”

Does Mathematics=Western Imperialism? HT to Challies. You wouldn’t think so, with math being the most objective of subjects. Nancy Pearcey explains why some think it is and what’s wrong with that thinking. Her explanation of critical theory is one of the clearest I’ve seen.

Thanksgiving Myths Old and New. Some are trying to rewrite the history of the early pilgrims, but original sources tell us about their first Thanksgiving with the Indians and their intentions.

praise, thanksgiving, C. H. Spurgeon

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s are some good reads found this week. Perhaps some might be of interest to you.

How to Pray for Your Child’s Salvation. “Every Christian parent knows this longing for their children. Most would even confess that our children coming to saving faith is, in fact, the greatest desire we have for our children. Yet, we cannot force this faith. We labor for it, we teach to it, we encourage it, and above all, we can pray for it.”

The Antidote to #MomGuilt. “Why are mothers the most guilt-ridden creatures on the planet? I’m not completely sure, but I think the pressure of daily sustaining tiny people’s lives may have something to do with it. The acknowledgment that we’re messing up seems the worst thing we could say about ourselves in light of the weightiness of our soul-shaping, life-preserving occupation. We know that our actions or inactions could set a course for another human that is marked by pain or sorrow or self-loathing or failure, and what if it lasts longer than a lifetime and into eternal torment?”

In Defense of Something Close to Venting, HT to Challies. “Speaking honestly and openly seems both necessary and precarious. So then, how are we to share our stronger thoughts and feelings? Is venting legitimate, constructive, healthy, and faithful? In short, is it ok to “vent?” Scripture offers a nuanced response. It gives permission, admonishes caution, and provides direction.”

An Invitation, HT to Challies. “But for those of you who find yourself playing with words, turning over sentences, creating mounting paragraphs, carrying index cards in your pocket or on the dashboard or atop your nightstand, texting yourself meaningful phrases or ideas, your mind brimming with childhood memories and stories which spark a seeing of the hand of God in the minutiae, I beckon you to write. Our world needs more Christ-following writers willing to swirl truth with beauty.”

Resisting the Pull of Materialism. “Black Friday is coming soon, and I admit: I enjoy it. I’m a proud bargain shopper, and the deals this time of year are irresistible. In fact, the sales have already begun, and they are tempting me to buy, buy and buy some more. But this year, I want to be intentional about resisting the pull of materialism.”

Inter-Generational Church, HT to Challies. “I have come to think it largely a net loss that we segregate ministries based on age, and I am not referring to children’s ministries. . . . Certainly, there is value in likeminded people in similar situations encouraging one another along. The potential comradery is undoubtedly high when I meet with another dad who is going through the same things as me. But on the other side we far too often miss the invaluable outside perspectives, like what my older friend told me.”

Turning the Dials at Thanksgiving, HT to The Story Warren. “It’s Thanksgiving and I’m in the kitchen turning dials, trying so hard to get everything just right. If only I spoke of solely the oven dial—but who can forget the relational dials, the conversational dials, the quick repentance dials, and even the simple act of dialing the number just to extend the invitation. At the holidays it seems there are far too many complex layered dials to turn and crank and adjust just so. It can be downright exhausting.”

May your Thanksgiving preparations go better than this, HT to Linda.

This is a beautiful rendition of “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” HT to The Story Warren.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

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Here are some noteworthy reads found this week.

From Meat to Meta: Facebook’s Disincarnate Dreamworld, HT to Challies. “For those who labour under the Enlightenment (and latterly Zuckerbergian) prejudice that ideal reality is immaterial and universal, the notion that God could have a body is quite a scandal. But it is deeply, deeply good news that the Word ‘became’ flesh.”

Life Beyond the Spiritual Shallows. “There is a depth to God’s character that cannot be assessed with quick glances and fleeting thoughts. We will never become the kind of women who face the lion’s den without a deep understanding of God’s character. We will never know that depth if we cannot find ways to circumnavigate our brain’s wiring and study God’s Word for longer than eight second bursts.”

Should We Pursue Self-Love? HT to Challies. “God acknowledges the reality of self-love, but He certainly does not teach it as a Christian virtue to be cultivated. Rather, it is an existing reality, necessary for our survival, in some respects healthy, but in other ways very much tainted by our sin. Our instinct to take care of ourselves is something we are to extend to others, that we might lovingly take care of them.”

When You Are Wrongly Accused: 5 Things to Do. “What can we do when we are wrongly accused? Either directly or indirectly? When someone we know is telling us we are a bad person, exhibiting bad behavior that we are not responsible for, have ruined something way beyond our control, or have a pattern of wrong deeds and we feel it simply is not true. Before you start responding to their accusations, you want to ask yourself a few questions.”

Two Important Principles for Trusting God: Commas and Periods. “Clearly, punctuation matters when giving instructions. It’s even more important when it comes to trusting God. Understanding and embracing the principles of God’s punctuation can give us peace—and even joy—in the waiting.”

Night Watch, HT to Challies. “Night watch. Our God neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121). And sometimes He wakes us in the night. To watch and pray. I remember when the two emails arrived. One after the other. To our inbox in Karachi. Same time. Same message. Traveling across the world. From opposite sides of the United States.”

Dividing Lines: Beware of “Us vs. Them.” “The Bible separates people into just two categories as well: those who are in Christ and those who aren’t. But this important distinction does not give us permission to attack people who don’t agree with us. In fact, Jesus told a parable about a religious person who did just that.”

This moving video, shared by Lisa, is titled Before You Call the Cops. This man had an experience when, just seeing him, a woman reacted in fear. He encourages us to get to know each other and not fit everyone into stereotypes.

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

Here are some of the most noteworthy reads discovered recently:

We Are All Cultists On the Inside. “Yet a little honest self-examination will probably reveal that we all have a cultist lurking within ourselves. We may pay lip service to diversity, but when it comes down to it we find that our natural instinct is toward uniformity—a uniformity to our own emphases, our own convictions, our own preferences.”

How to Prepare for the Metaverse, HT to Challies. The first time I encountered the term “metaverse” was in the animated film Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse. But lately I’ve caught snatches of news that indicates the metaverse is, or will be, a real-world thing. This article explains what it is and what its impacts might be.

5 Takeaways from the Facebook Papers, HT to Challies. One of them: “A 2018 presentation from internal Facebook researchers, as revealed by the WSJ, showed that divisiveness and polarization increased the time people spent on Facebook, which in turn generates more money for Facebook.” It’s not just our imaginations that FB has turned into a place for arguing rather than socializing.

Does It Really Matter Whether Adam Was the First Man? HT to Challies. “The simple aim of this article is to show that, far from being a peripheral matter for fussy literalists, it is biblically and theologically necessary for Christians to believe in Adam as a historical person who fathered the entire human race.”

Loving the God of Little Things, HT to The Story Warren. “It’s troubling, this idea that one should be cut off from joys of all kinds if one hasn’t achieved the joy of having a family. It suggests both a lack of trust in God to have every person’s best interests at heart, and a lack of the imagination to comprehend all the different kinds of joys God offers us.”

I’m not sure who alerted me to the artistry of Tanaka_Tatsuya on Instagram, but I’ve enjoyed his creations quite a lot. He takes everyday objects and reimagines them in miniatures. He usually shares an overview photo and then one or two zoomed in to the intricate detail. Here’s one of my favorites:

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s my latest list of thought-provoking online reads:

Meditation. “We have an advantage over Joshua in that we have the completed Word of God. God’s inspired instruction to us goes far beyond the Law of Moses. Joshua had a record of the past works of God, His requirements of Israel, and His promises to them. As Warren Wiersbe once noted, ‘If Joshua was able to conquer Canaan having only the first five books of the Bible, how much more ought we to overcome now that we have a complete Bible!’”

Back to the Word, HT to Challies. “I’m just about ready to give up the rational conversational approach to social intercourse and to start quoting straight Bible to people. The further we go, the more reason isn’t working anymore. In these sputtering last gasps of the Enlightenment, language itself is deconstructing before our eyes.”

Sin Coddlers Are Not True Friends, HT to Challies. “The affirmation-only style of friendship looks good on the surface, and no wonder it’s become mainstream. But the result is a reduced understanding of friendship.”

Prayer for the Unconverted. I love this old prayer.

Social Media’s Anger Problem, HT to Challies. “Someone says something online that we find offensive, and we retaliate with a harsh word, a quick jab, or a joke at their expense. What we have done at that moment is allow them to steal our blessing of a quiet and gentle spirit to pay them back for their worthless words.”

I Can . . . Except I Can’t, HT to Proclaim and Defend. “If ‘I can’t’ paralyzes people, ‘I can do it all’ sends them off pursuing the wrong things and forever wondering if they missed their passion.”

How Does God Equip Us? “It’s said that God doesn’t call the equipped, but he equips the called, and, as we reflected earlier in this 31 Day series, everyone is called and everyone has a part to play. So, how does God equip us for what he is calling us to do? The New Testament highlights three main ways.”

An Unexpected Way to Teach Our Children to Pray, HT to The Story Warren. “After years of praying about whatever her eyes land on, she’s getting her first glimpse of the struggle to come to God in ‘the right way.’  And how do I teach her when it’s a lesson I’m still trying to learn myself? Teaching our kids to pray can seem so daunting when we don’t know what to say too. But the beauty of our gracious God is that he doesn’t need our perfectly crafted words. Growing in our own prayer lives has the ability to speak volumes to our kids.”

The Purpose of Christian Books. “Christian books have a distinct purpose in today’s world and throughout history. What some might call ‘preaching to the choir’ is really ‘reminding the disciples about who God is and what he has done.’ Certainly, the Bible is the greatest example of God reminding us. The choir is a forgetful group.”

This is pretty neat: a piano-like instrument made from Popsicle sticks.

(For some reason, the video won’t play here. But if you click where it says, “Watch on YouTube,” you can see it there.)

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

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Here are some noteworthy reads found this week.

The Weight and Wound of the Word, HT to Challies. “Some—perhaps much—of the Bible was given not for our comfort but for our discomfort. The Scriptures are profitable for reproof and correction, after all; they provoke, unsettle, and rebuke us. Far from harsh, this is a sign of God’s love. It is damaging for our souls—indeed, for our humanity—to turn against God in rebellion. The fact that he steers us away from sin and back to himself is evidence of his care.”

Three Unthievable Treasures. “Almost anything we treasure—from people to possessions to abilities—can vanish in an instant. However, Scripture teaches us about a few precious treasures that no thief, con man, devil, or despot can ever take away.”

If Just One Person Returned. “Instead of having us base our confidence on the word of friends or family members, he has us base our confidence on his infallible words. And why would we believe the word of a man if we will not believe the word of God himself? Why would we long to base our confidence on a created being if we will not believe the one who created us?”

The Best Choice: Bringing Christ into Our Decision Making, HT to the Story Warren. “I don’t remember much about registering for baby gear, but I remember crying. What was intended to be an exciting afternoon with my husband turned into a near panic attack. As if carrying a child with an eternal soul in my womb was not weighty enough, I was assaulted with hundreds of secondary and tertiary questions. Disposable or cloth diapers? If disposable, which brand? Pacifier or no pacifier? If yes, which brand? Three hours later, we walked out of a giant superstore far less confident and far more overwhelmed as soon-to-be parents.”

Why I Quit Praying for God to “Use Me,” HT to Challies. “Deep down, for the majority of my Christian life, I have lived, prayed, and ‘served’ because I related to God as my employer, not my ‘Abba Father’ (Gal. 4.6; Rom. 8.15). With God as my divine employer, I could count and quantify my work for him and be the judge of whether I was ‘useful’ or not. Having God as my employer, love, intimacy, acceptance, and belonging were not the name of the game. No. Productivity and getting things done are what was important. Meditation, confession, and repentance were replaced with planning and strategizing.”

A Key Sign You Are Maturing as a Preacher, HT to Challies. I’m not a preacher, but I see a parallel with writing. I used to think I couldn’t write on a given concept in Scripture without studying all the verses about it, and then I felt I had to include all the verses. But people don’t usually read lists of verses. And the more verses or points that are included, the harder it is to process. One’s head starts swimming instead of focusing or discerning a main point. So, substituting writing for preaching, this is a good reminder for me : “God calls us to preach the word, to be sure. But he calls us to preach to people. Real, living people. People with a distinctive set of issues, needs, and problems.”

7 Traits of False Teachers, HT to Challies. “In the same way Peter says, ‘There will be false teachers among you.’ Notice the words “among you.’ Peter is writing to the church and says, ‘There will be false prophets among you.‘ So he is not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.”

These kinds of videos always get me a little misty. A baby gts glasses and sees his mom clearly for the first time. Love how he’s looking all over, taking things in, then he sees her eyes.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

Here are some of the most noteworthy reads discovered recently:

Be a Peacemaker, Not a Peacekeeper. “For a long time, I thought that working for peace meant staying quiet – withdrawing from conflict, brushing aside whatever was bothering me, ignoring my own feelings and opinions to appease someone else, doing anything to avoid rocking the boat. It seemed like the nice thing to do, even the Christian thing to do. But then I realised that it is not really peacemaking, but peacekeeping.”

Things Revealed, HT to Challies. I was pondering this very concept recently. “A lot of us spend our time trying to read that book called ‘The Secret Things’ while all the time the book called ‘The Things Revealed’ is sitting right in front of us. God has given it to us and it belongs to us and to our children so we won’t just read it but also obey it.”

9 Wrong Ways to Read the Bible (And One Better Way). “When we yawn over the Bible, that’s like a severe asthmatic yawning over the free offer of a ventilator while gasping for air. Read the Bible asking not mainly whom to imitate and how to live but what it shows us about a God who loves to save and about sinners who need saving.”

Fading Joy: Am I Seeking an Experience or a Relationship? “Too often we value a feeling over the reality that would produce that feeling. We want to feel close to God without actually drawing close to God. We want the benefits of a close walk with God without the heart change required to walk with God. Many times, we want the outward trappings without the inward transformation. Our need for an experience can become an idol that dethrones God in our lives.”

Teach What the Bible Says First, HT to Knowable Word. “Sometimes, people who are teaching the Bible try much too hard to be brilliant, giving us their own insights into life rather than letting the brilliance of the Bible speak for itself. Let the Bible speak! I would rather hear one halting, inexperienced speaker show me God in a text of the Bible than hear 1,000 polished pastors give me their three-point, alliterated instructions for life, which are often only loosely based on the actual text.”

The Sin of Provoking. “It’s one thing, as Proverbs cautions, to recognize an angry person and beware; it’s quite another thing to provoke to the point of an angry response an individual who is seeking to do right (and then condemning the person for their angry response).” Yes! I am glad to see this addressed.

Bitter Roots, HT to Challies. “At some time each of us is affected by unfairness and hurt. Each of our stories would be, could be, maybe even should be different had people or situations not altered our path. . . . We can choose to replay wrong and rewind hurt. But when I read God’s Word, I come back time and time again to this.”

A Diligent Wife, HT to Challies. “So, I began to pray. For my marriage, yes. But, more than my marriage, I began to pray for my heart. The kids weren’t going to stop needing me. Giving up my role as a Mom wasn’t an option. But neither was quitting on my marriage. How could I be a wife and a Mom? Was it possible to be both? What could this look like, and where was I to start? What needed to change in me in order to invest more fully in my marriage?” This is the first of a 31-day series that looks great so far.

Wanted: Spiritual Mothers. HT to Challies. “The truth is, you’re never too old to no longer want your mom—the mom you may or may not have ever had. One who not only cares for you physically, but also speaks into your life with spiritual wisdom and comfort, who prays for you and builds you up with words of experience and knowledge, who reminds you of how much God loves you and desires a relationship with you.”

Fall color video, HT to Story Warren. If you need a dose of fall color, these drone shots of gorgeous autumn trees will feed your spirit.

Finally, these ceramic masters are amazing, HT to Steve Laube. They make it look so easy. Some years ago, a man demonstrated to our church what was involved in throwing and shaping clay. He and his wife were going as artists to a country that did not welcome missionaries. As he worked, he pointed our various parallels between what he was doing and what God does for us. Though the whole demonstration was wonderful, the one thing that stood out to me was the intimacy of what he was doing. The wheel is almost in the potter’s lap. He’s bent over it, his arms around it. That picture of God as being over us, surrounding us, carefully watching and shaping us, has stayed with me for years.

Something secondary came to mind as I watched this video: creating art is messy before it is beautiful. The artists aren’t bothered by getting their hands dirty or brushing away shavings. They have the finished project in mind.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Laudable Linkage

I was sorry to miss Friday’s Fave Five yesterday. We were out of town for a memorial service for the man who was my husband’s pastor in his teens and college years. His son is my husband’s best friend, and the whole family is like second family to us.

I thought we’d arrive early enough Thursday evening to write an FFF post for Friday, but that didn’t work out. We just got home this morning and had a nap, with more to come, I am sure.

Since I post these links in a draft as I find them, this post was nearly ready to go, minus a video or photo at the end this time.

Carry a Candle. “Because it’s increasingly debilitatingly possible, with the rise of instant global communications and now virtual social outlets, to spend – not just whole afternoons – but whole years of our lives torturing ourselves over the state of nations. Cursing the night.”

I Searched for the Key to Discipleship. “Over time, it became painfully clear to me that the answer to the question of discipleship isn’t as easy as finding the right program. This is something that I learned from our church members by watching them live it out: discipleship isn’t nice, crisp books or carefully planned mission trips. It’s something altogether more intimate, more demanding, and more sacrificial.”

God Is Frustrating, but not in the sense we usually mean the word. HT to Challies.

The Early Christians Were Odd, Too. “It can be disheartening, not to mention frightening, when our culture rejects aspects of Christianity as strange or offensive. When Christians feel isolated and alone, it’s helpful to remember this experience is nothing new for God’s people.”

Is There Such a Thing as Righteous Anger? HT to Challies. “Technically, of course, there is such a thing as an empty gun. But if you think it’s empty and you’re wrong, the consequences can be so tragic it’s better to just pretend that no gun is ever empty, except in very specific situations like cleaning or repairing it. I’m beginning to think we should have a similar attitude towards so-called ‘righteous anger.'”

Do Not Trust Your Anger, HT to the article above. “But unlike our Lord, when we get angry, we can corrupt it. We can complicate our anger with selfishness, wounded pride, impatience, lust for revenge, plus a lot more — and without even realizing it. But surely we can all agree on this: our anger can be good, and it can be bad, and it can even mingle good and bad together. So, we must weigh our anger carefully (and continue to weigh it throughout our lives).”

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

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Here are some noteworthy reads found this week.

On Christians and Vaccines. “Writing about vaccines is going somewhere that angels fear to tread. Last year’s mask controversies pale in comparison to the vaccine discussions going on now.”

Sin Is Death? HT to Challies. “While sin isn’t a substance in itself, that doesn’t make it any less lethal. Sin isn’t just a series or errors or poor judgments with momentary consequences. Sin is taking you somewhere. It’s leading you down a path of decay, a path that ends in spiritual death.”

Relationships 101: One Young Mother’s Journey to Love. “Yet sometimes we find it hard to love anyone, even the most loveable. We may think that God’s greatest command, to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, is also His hardest command. But honestly, the second great command often feels even more impossible. How can we truly love others as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37–40)?”

Peanut Butter and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, HT to Story Warren. “The table is, for many on this broken Earth, a place of struggle. The gift of food itself, in all its savory, salty, sweet wonder, is for many a source of sin or brokenness or fear or lack. The good has become not good, and we suffer for it. The wrong meal in Eden has polluted every meal since, and though we look to redemption, the shadows still lurk.”

21 Things That Are Still True in 2021, HT to Story Warren. “1. God is still God. He is still on His throne, unshaken by what happens. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing is out of His control. 2. Right and wrong aren’t subjective.”

Care. “The cares are valid cause for concern as the world is so rapidly changing,” but “The cares of this world will choke out the Word and cause our lives to become unfruitful.”

God, Don’t You Care? “If God cares, why does the storm continue? Why does he let it get so hard? Why doesn’t he do something?”

What If God Doesn’t Speak to Me? HT to Challies. “Rather than giving directions for receiving prophecy, hearing God speak, or discerning nudges and feelings, the New Testament writers beckon us to immerse ourselves in the writings of Scripture.”

The Hidden Harm of Gender Transition, HT to Challies. “Grace is one of many who have been fast-tracked down a pathway of ‘treatments’ for gender dysphoria, while underlying mental health issues have remained undiagnosed and unaddressed. They are victims of the false claims of gender ideology.”

The Secrets of the World’s Most Famous Symphony, HT to Challies. A video that shares “what makes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony Number Five a musical masterpiece, and uncover[s] the story behind its inception.”

I’ve seen Victor Borge perform this before, but not with someone. It never gets old. HT to Steve Laube.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

I am behind again in my blog reading, but here are posts that stood out to me this week:

Judging the Sins of Our Fathers, HT to Challies. “It should also make us less sanctimonious and more cautious when we judge the sins of our fathers and the systems in which they were participants. Our hands are not so clean.”

Give Me Nineteen Men“: Muslim Missions Twenty Years after 9/11, HT to Challies. “It could not have been a better time to go. Going when circumstances looked so dark made a statement to our new neighbors: we weren’t afraid because we knew Jesus went with us. It also bore testimony that we loved the people of the Arabian Peninsula, and that we had something important to share with them.”

The Americans Who Don’t Want to Leave Afghanistan, HT to Challies. “But there are indeed Americans who want to stay in Afghanistan. I don’t know how many and I don’t know the story of each one. But there are more who want to stay than you might think. Why? Because they love God and they love Afghans.”

Are Pro-Lifers Just “Pro-Forced Birth?” HT to Challies. “Abortion advocates are brilliant at playing word games. Using clever rhetorical moves, they are able to make protecting preborn children look bad and killing preborn children look good.”

Does This Really Matter? HT to Challies. “How we spend our days isn’t just how we spend our lives. It’s how we become who we are and who we will be. It’s not just about what we’re doing, but the heart behind how and why we’re doing it.”

All We Need. “Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about the difficulty of not casting blame when other people let us down.  We came up with a pretty simple prayer from the perspective of frail and fallible human beings who are walking side-by-side along life’s path with other frail and fallible human beings.”

Finalists of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, HT to Laura. These are always so fun.

And finally, I just happened across this video. Having a little fun with the William Tell Overture: