Posts tagged Ulysses

A Real Book, a Real Conference and Heaven

This morning I enjoyed the supreme luxury of sitting in a hotel room after attending a conference yesterday. I presented on a topic that is very close to my heart, interviewing grandparents in order to capture the history before it is gone for good. Those who are older are perhaps closer to heaven than us middle aged, baby-boomer types. Though we never know when our assigned time to join God will be. I talked a bit about Writing Teacher’s Privilege, kind of like “White Man’s Privilege” where we can see into the hearts of our writing students through their compositions.

The privilege that I supremely enjoyed was to sit down with a book I have wanted to read for some time, “Heaven is for Real.” By some strange series of events, my husband borrowed the book from someone else and hadn’t gotten to it yet. I popped it into my suitcase knowing it would be a very quick read. I am glad I did since I also knew I would have some down time. I was expecting a good cry, that didn’t happen. But I did feel my faith in God confirmed.

Now, I am very interested in going to Ulysses, KS this summer for my husband’s class reunion. Those who have read the book already, will know why I have this sudden interest. With fair certainty, I am convinced that a photo in the book, that was taken in 1943, was probably done by my husband’s dad, a professional photographer. Strange that a book from a 4 year old’s perspective can have such an impact with TRUTH but that is what I had as a “take-away.”

Heaven is a real place and not everyone will be going there. I went to my sister’s Bible study the other night and we talked about that as a prevailing philosophy that everyone has this erroneous notion that ALL people, whether they believe in God or not, will end up in heaven. In the U.S. we already are enjoying so many of the privileges and luxury of heaven, we live in a Disneyland. Therefore, I’m not sure why people can assume that they will get more of the same, only better, once they die. For many people in the world who struggle in poverty or in modern day slavery, heaven is a hope for them to get away from the sadness and sheer misery they live in, day in and day out. Who will tell those who have NOT heard the Word, the good news, the gospel?

My husband and I do not know if we are going to Ukraine or not, things are on hold because of what the guy in Russia does. God knows the outcome there. The little boy in the book says there will be a final battle “Armageddon.” My husband and I have been there in Israel, it is called Megiddo, in the northwestern part of the country. It is amazing what we have seen with our own eyes, the physical location of this last great battle. I do believe it is around the corner. I believe Jesus is coming back soon and very soon.

Funny what a book, a conference that forced me away from my day to day activities will do to make me think of heaven. Indeed, a better place for those of us who believe in what Jesus did for us. According to Coulton Burpo, He has “markers” on His hands and His feet. God bless him and his family for bringing these truths out in a story that is sweet and sincere and TRUE!

“Here I am Lord, send me.”

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Scanning Kazakhstan’s past, a worthy pursuit

I’ve been scanning hundreds of old photographs from my hometown in Minnesota. What was written on some of the postcards or back of photos is very revealing of that era.  Some are short notes that have the brevity of a Twitter message. What some of the photographers wanted to be known for is also interesting, stamped boldly on the back.

I have three scans that I did that I’ll show  in this blog as I wonder how much was photographed of Kazakhstan.  I know that Max Penson was a Belorussian Jew (1893-1959) who went to Uzbekistan to do B&W photos of what was supposedly the “happy” Uzbeks.  I think he caught on that not all things were rosy as he was instructed to depict through his camera.  His artistry is amazing nevertheless and I’m glad someone has taken the time to scan many of his photos.  Google his name to find them.

Tonight on PBS there will be a four hour documentary about the “Dustbowl” by Ken Burns.  My husband’s dad, my father-in-law was born in 1899 took many photos of his Kansas town of Ulysses, KS.  The NY Times article shows one famous one he took and is featured at the beginning of the article (skip the advertisement).  It shows Main Street in Ulysses, looking north.  His parents’ photo studio is on the left hand side.   Two of these pictures of his dad’s were often published with the caption, “Daylight to Darkness in 30 seconds.”

Finally, I wonder how much of Kazakhstan was photographed.  I know that I scanned LOTS of antique photos while I was teaching in Ukraine from my students’ family albums.  I’m thinking that there were hardly any happy pictures to show of Kazakhstan when one third of the country was under the gulag penal system in the 1950s and 1960s. Political dissenters were sent to the Karlag in the Karaganda area not far from the capital city of Astana which used to be named Akmola and then another Russian name before it took on Astana.  Watch, I bet “Astana” is a place holder name for what it will probably be changed to…the current president’s name of the country of Kazakhstan. You got that bit of news free here on this blog.
Notice the advertisement on the S. Johnson stamp about this photographer is able to take shots at children and nervous people.

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