Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm 'Lijah and I'm a Big Man

Look at my toof! No, really, it's in there.

And my beard. You have to look close!

I have a nice big belly so I can roar like a big man.

But I still laugh when mama tickles me.

People say I'm cute, but I wish they would say "handsome" instead. I'll be sure they know that when I can talk.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Surrounding foothills viewed from the top of our neighborhood (click on the image for a larger view)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Joshua aka. "Buddy"

I was going through photos from the past few months and ran across this photo of my classy little brother Joshua. He's such a character - I can't wait to see him in a month and a half!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

As many of you know I like to break the trend of 20-something bachelors who eat mac-and-cheese and chow on potato chips and microwave meals through their single years. I really enjoy good food - not just eating it, but making it too. And now, I'm expanding my horizons a bit further, and trying my hand at food photography.

My motto is, "It doesn't have to taste good. It just has to look like it tastes good." Generally the food I photograph does taste good, but you'd be surprised at some of the tricks pro food photogs use in their line of work. But I can't reveal the trade secrets...

Below are some recent samples of my work. As I have time, I intend to add more photos to the collection - deserts, more fruit, NY Strip Steaks with creamy bourbon cheese sauce, grilled honey-ginger-glazed corn on the cob...but I digress.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vintage Coffee!

I recently picked up some more photography gear, including an umbrella (the reflective type used by photographers, not the kind you take out into a rainstorm), a soft-box, and some stands. Most of the guys I room with were out today so I had the apartment all to myself for a few hours this evening, giving me the opportunity to completely rearrange the dining room table and spend some time photographing...what! Here are some of the best shots.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sun-flare Photos

I have a penchant for using sun-flare as a creative effect in my photography. Here are some photos I took in Sunriver using that technique.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunriver Photos

Well, Blogger has been giving me errors every time I try to upload photos, so I'll just link over to my Picasa albums where you can see a sample of the images I shot on our vacation. Over all, I shot about 1300 photos (and could have taken far more...), but here are some of the best.

Sunriver Vacation Day 1

Sunriver Vacation - Day 2

Sunriver Vacation - Day 3

Sunriver Vacation - Day 6

Sunriver Vacation - Day 7

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sunriver: Day 1

One week ago today, our family returned from one of the best family vacations ever down in central Oregon! Grandma Berkompas graciously pulled everything together months ahead of time, and was incredibly generous as we all gathered around her and the rest of Dad's side of the family to reunite and enjoy a week of fellowship and fun.

The place we went to holds special significance to us and the rest of the Berkompas family. Ever since I can remember, our family reunions have always been held at Sunriver Resort in central Oregon, and for good reason! It's beautiful, rustic, fun, warm, up in the mountains!... We all had a wonderful time, and a thousand thanks go to Grandma for making it happen, and the Lord for blessing our travels and time down there!

Some of you may have followed me on Buzz during the trip (click here to follow me), in which case you saw the photos I was posting at the time. I will be posting many of the same photos here on my blog, but this time with captions and explanations (where necessary!), as well as some video clips.

Jeremy being his usual, playful self!

Aimee and Kaylee getting some fresh air at one of the rest stops along the way. It was about a 4-5 hour drive, so the kiddos needed several chances to get out and, as Joshua would say, "stomp around."

It takes a lot to take a family our size on vacation!

We were driving along and just as I was drifting off to sleep, someone shouted "whoa!" and everybody looked out the window to see that we were crossing a bridge over a huge canyon (huge for this area at least). A minute later we stopped at a nearby rest stop, and walked over to have a look. It turns out it was 300 feet deep.

We had barely settled in, but Kaylee was already enjoying herself. She's such a cutie!

Overall, the first day was fairly uneventful. The Lord gave us safe travels and our little caravan made it safely down to Sunriver. We all got unpacked (read "we began trashing the place" ;) and settled in, Jonathan and I set up our computer gear on the kitchen counter (that's what they're for right?). We were ready for a fun week ahead!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coming, Coming!

If you've seen Disney's Jungle Book, it will give the post title more context... ;)

Anyways, more posts ARE coming. I just have to get our apartment organized first. By the weekend, I hope to post a short series on our family vacation down to Sunriver, OR, complete with photos and stories.

Thanks for bearing with me over the past few weeks!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Post-Vacation Reluctance

Now that we're back from a fantastic family reunion down in central Oregon I have to reconcile myself to the fact that next week I'll be back down in Texas, and will have to re-adopt my "normal" schedule and pick up habits which were put on hold for vacation.

I'm not sure I'm looking forward to life going back to "normal," because being home still seems like it should be normal...

On the other hand, I am looking forward to buckling down and getting a bunch done in the next 6 months. Big plans!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Sluggard’s Farm and the Strenuous Life

Life has kept me on my toes lately! Just as my grandpa used to say “your life will never be less complicated than it is right now.” It seems that every new day brings something new, and there are already so many things that demand time in my schedule, i.e. cooking meals, cleaning the house, exercise, study, reading, blogging, photography, chatting with family and friends…etc.

Most people who know me will attest to the fact that I like to lead a busy life, in fact, I thrive on busy-ness. But just because I enjoy it doesn’t mean I have it easy. In fact, it seems like the more productive I want to be, the less I actually get done. Have you ever felt that way?

It would be so much easier to just relax and take life day by day, moment by moment, right? Don’t do today what can be put off until tomorrow…

Actually, Scripture commands the opposite. In Proverbs 24:30-32 we find a poignant example of the Lord – through the words of Solomon – condemning sloth.
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.”
—Proverbs 24:30-32

The Sluggard’s Farm

Charles Spurgeon preached a short sermon on the passage above, and as I read through it there were a number of points that really hit home for me. I attribute the majority of the following thoughts to Spurgeon’s sermon, The Sluggard’s Farm.

In his sermon, Spurgeon addresses several types of lazy people, the first being those who are spiritually lazy. We might describe them as “hyper-Calvinists,” those who believe that man is not required to labor for the Lord in converting and discipling sinners. They are led to this belief by acknowledging God’s sovereignty but denying man’s responsibility to fulfill the Lord’s commands (i.e. the Great Commission).

To quote Spurgeon,
“Do-nothingism is their creed. They will not even urge other people to labour for the Lord, because, say they, ‘God will do his own work. Salvation is all of grace!’ The notion of these sluggards is that a man is to wait, and do nothing; he is to sit still, and let the grass grow up to his ankles in the hope of heavenly help.”

“The sluggard, whether he is sluggish about his business or about his soul, is a man void of understanding.”
As a dedicated Calvinist myself, I certainly don’t question the crucial doctrine of God’s sovereignty, but Spurgeon has a point. We are called to “labor in the vineyard” and pour out our lives for kingdom service, not sit around and expect the Lord’s blessing on our idleness.

Spurgeon then goes on to describe the man who is practically lazy, who thinks he is “cultured,” “educated” and all the rest, and yet never actually does anything important.
“Friend, if your knowledge, if your culture, if your education does not lead you practically to serve God in your day and generation, you have not learned what Solomon calls wisdom…”

“Wisdom ploughs its field, wisdom hoes its vineyard, wisdom looks to its crops, wisdom tries to make the best of everything; and he who does not do so, whatever may be his knowledge of this, of that, or of the other, is a man void of understanding.”

“Having opportunities he did not use them, and next, being bound to the performance of certain duties he did not fulfill them.”
Speaking of the man in Proverbs 24, Spurgeon says,
“He was not a sickly man, who was forced to keep his bed, but he was a lazybones who was there of choice.”
This is Not Beyond You
“You are not asked to do in the service of God that which is utterly beyond you…”
When we’re idle, it’s almost always by choice. We knowingly neglect what we ought to prioritize, thinking that there will always be time for that later (right now I just want to enjoy myself!), but we need to shake ourselves of that lie and realize that we are not guaranteed our next breath, much less another day, month or year.
“A Christian sluggard! Is there such a being? A Christian man on half time? A Christian man working not all for his Lord; how shall I speak of him? Time does not tarry, DEATH does not tarry, HELL does not tarry; Satan is not lazy, all the powers of darkness are busy: how is it that you and I can be sluggish, if the master has put us into his vineyard?”

“No rest can come out of an idleness which lets ill alone, and does not by God's Spirit strive to uproot evil. While you are sleeping, Satan will be sowing.”
I hope these thoughts from Spurgeon have encouraged and counseled you as they did me. Just so you know, I hope to write a follow-up post which addresses the other side of the coin – rest.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Medieval Festival

Last Saturday, some friends hosted a "medieval festival," where most everybody came dressed up and got to enjoy the debut of a massive 30' tall trebuchet, archery competition, sword bouts, a whole roasted pig, short messages on medieval warfare and chivalry and more!

I wasn't able to come in costume, but that's fine because it would have presented a kind of conflicting image don't you think? A guy in his tunic or baggy trousers with a sword on his belt and his trusty, period Canon 7D in his hand... ;)

I had a blast, and I know everyone else had a great time too. Enjoy the photos. Later on I'm hoping to put together a short film using the various clips I shot during the evening. You'll get to see the trebuchet fire, some very spunky young ladies tear into a poor pinata with a plastic sword, boys practice their archery and more!

For Dad


There's so much I could say, but it all comes down to this - if it weren't for the grace of God and you in my life, I wouldn't be the man I am today. Being away for so long has only deepened my appreciation for you. I don't think I had any idea how much you sacrificed (and continue to sacrifice) for us. In the words of Edgar Guest:
We little guessed how much he did to smooth our pathway day by day,
How much of joy he brought to us, how much of care he brushed away;
But now that we must tread alone the thorough-fare of life, we find
How many burdens we were spared by him who was so brave and kind.
Though I know you're always there for me, things have been different with me being away, and I can't even begin to express how I miss you and appreciate you as I have begun to heft the burden of making my way in this world. When it comes to being a dad, you're my hero!
The glory of children are their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6b)
I pray for many more years of us fighting the battle together. Stand strong, and always know that I love you!


Psalm 37 - "Trust in the Lord"

This morning, in preparation for the preaching of the Word, we read Psalm 37. I've always loved the Psalms because of the beautiful way they express a vast array of human emotions, cataloging the authors' struggles, trials, blessings, and victories. They also work very well adapted to music (which makes complete sense since many of them were intended to be sung). Every time I read through the book of Psalms, several stand out in a way that I haven't noticed before, and this was the case with Psalm 37 this morning.

The broader context of this Psalm deals with our temptation to fret at the seeming prosperity of the wicked. Our tendency is to adopt a myopic view of life, that is, to live "in the moment" and lose sight of God's eternal promises. This inevitably leads us to trust in our own strength, which then leads to hopelessness because we are so weak and powerless. But here the writer assures us that "evildoers shall be cut off," and "those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth." (vs. 9)

There are several verses which are particularly beautiful and encouraging to me. Though I don't find myself in the same situation as David - with men seeking my life at every turn - there are more than enough things in my life which cause me to worry and lose heart, and it's during those trials that I need to adjust my perspective, to view my situation the way God would have me view it.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him...(vs. 3-7a)"

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now I am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." (vs. 23-25)
I looked up Matthew Henry's commentaries on these verses and thought it well-worth sharing.
"To delight in God is as much a privilege as a duty. He has not promised to gratify the appetites of the body, and the humours of the fancy, but the desires of the renewed, sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and serve God. Commit thy way unto the Lord... Cast thy burden upon the Lord, the burden of thy care. We must roll it off ourselves, not afflict and perplex ourselves with thoughts about future events, but refer them to God. By prayer spread thy case and all thy cares before the Lord, and trust in him. We must do our duty, and then leave the event with God. The promise is very sweet: He shall bring that to pass, whatever it is, which thou has committed to him."
The moment we lose sight of God's sovereign hand at work in our lives is the moment we begin to lose hope. We open the floodgates of uncertainty and anxiety, and it doesn't take long at all for us to become miserable and desperate. But the man who has a constant apprehension of God's sovereignty, His benevolence toward His elect, and His eternal promises which cannot change, is the man who is abounding in hope and joy no matter what his circumstances.

Wait on the Lord (vs. 34), trust in Him (vs. 3), delight in Him (vs. 4), commit your way unto Him (vs. 5), rest in Him (vs. 7), and "thou shalt be fed," and "He shall give you the desires of thine heart." (vs. 4)


Part of what inspired me to write this today was listening to A.W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God on the way up to church. I highly recommend the audiobook, available here, or find yourself a copy that you can mark up and highlight. It's an excellent book!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Coastal Photo Expedition: Part 6

I'm back from my temporary blogging hiatus. I still have a bunch of shots from my trip to the Texas coast last month that haven't been sorted through, so here are a few more that I thought you might enjoy.

If you haven't been following the photos from my "Coastal Photo Expedition" you can catch up by reading these posts:

My Texas Coast Photo Adventure: A Sneak Peak

Coastal Photo Expedition Part 1
Coastal Photo Expedition Part 2
Coastal Photo Expedition Part 3
Coastal Photo Expedition Part 4
Coastal Photo Expedition Part 5



Green Heron

The Beach

Beach Houses near Port Aransas