Tears Of The Rose

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Tears Of The Rose” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The gray sky continued to drizzle rain into the mountains throughout most of the Fall. As I softly tread the wet ground the rose hips catch my eye. The raindrops hang like tiny crystals catching the light of sun.

The longer I looked the more they resembled Christmas decorations. Rose hips were popular winter decor in Victorian times. Especially in rural areas where fine blown glass was not as easy to come by and in a time when plastic decorations were less prevalent if they even existed. ( officially, plastic was invented in 1907 but wasn’t widely used until the 1960s).

Trimming the tree and brightening up the home was a family activity. Instead of a wreath made of plastic pine needles real evergreens were hand crafted fresh every year with the process being a bonding experience. Embellishments often included the bright red berries of roses, harvested nuts and various other fruits. The shared life experience with friends and family was part of the gift and not just the acquisition of stuff.

It comes to mind now that perhaps the droplets that hand so delicately from the red berries are tears. Perhaps the rose misses taking it’s place in the celebration and the families that brought it into their homes for the holidays.

We live in a world where the wonders of technology enables us to do things that our ancestors couldn’t even comprehend. Don’t let it take away from the experience of life. Do things together.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Forage Friday #38 Mistletoe

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image was taken just for Forage Friday. All of the photos are my original work and are available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

While mistletoe is not known to have ever caused human death it is toxic and is likely to make you very sick. I normally wouldn’t include such a plant in a Forage Friday post however it does have a market value as a Christmas decoration could feed you indirectly if you’re crafty enough to collect it and transform it into decor to be sold as such for a profit.

Throughout the Appalachian Mountains the bare branches stand out in contrast to the sky. However, along the Kanawha River some of the trees still have thick green clusters of leaves that seem to form lose spherical shapes in random locations in the trees. In winter this is the tell tale sign of mistletoe.

As stated in the warning above mistletoe has no food value. It is a parasite to the tree that hosts it and often causes deformation of wood. It’s peg like root grows into the cambium layer and diverts nutrients from the branches. The white sticky seeds are toxic except to birds. In fact, the only thing that mistletoe has going for it the culture that’s provided a niche for it to fill.

I have done a little research on the origin of mistletoe as a Christmas tradition and following is a very abbreviated layman’s version of the tradition of kisses under the mistletoe.

Well before that famous kiss between mommy and Santa Claus the mistletoe plant was a symbol of love and benevolence in the Norse cultures. I know that Thor gets all the Press because of Marvel’s Avengers and Stan Lee’s wonderful imagination but back the Baldr ( Sometimes spelled Balder) was the big hero. In the Norse mythology Baldr was a god with a pretty impressive talent. He was invulnerable. So much so that the other gods made a game of testing their weapons on him. However, Loki managed to learn that Baldr’s one weakness was mistletoe and depending on the version of the story struck him with either a dart or an arrow made from mistletoe. Which of course lead to Loki being asked to leave the party in an unceremonious manner. Everyone was bummed out over the death of Baldr including the mistletoe. So the Norse gods struck a deal with mistletoe. ( everything in Norse mythology has a personality) Mistletoe would promise never allow itself to be used as a weapon again ( in spite of the fact that it is a poison) and in return the gods would make it a symbol of love.

Then in 18th century England (and presumably because the myth had gained some resurgence ) a “game” was created where merrymakers were allowed to steal a kiss from any girl caught under the mistletoe. There also seemed to be a rule that for each kiss a white berry was removed from the sprig and once the berries were all gone the kissing game was over.

I have tried to learn how the mistletoe tradition made it into the Christian traditions of Christmas. As the church began to adapt it’s own versions of the pagan holidays many the elements were converted and assigned an alternative myth. However, mistletoe seems to have been more tolerated than adapted and therefore I could no alternate myth.

I did mention that if you’re crafty enough to make a kissing ball that mistletoe might provide a little extra holiday income. I couldn’t find any special instructions for preserving mistletoe however Southern Living magazine recommends harvesting the sprigs with a shotgun. Now I like to shoot guns but I’m going to recommend that you use a pole pruner so as not to have little holes in your decorations. 😉

I did a quick check on Amazon for a mistletoe kissing ball and an 8 inch diameter plastic kissing ball was priced at $12-$15. My gut feeling is that a well made natural mistletoe ornament should be worth at least $25 and there’s plenty of craft shows and farmer’s markets to sell them in.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

The One True Gift

The Most Recognizable Christmas Decoration is of course the Nativity Scene itself. When I was a kid it was just as common as the Snowman and Santa Claus are today. Every village square and every church yard displayed a large manger scene with livestock, wise men, shepherds and angels. Almost every home had a rustic miniature nativity that seemed to be either on the coffee table or the large stereo cabinet in the living room.

The secular world certainly has lots of questions about where Jesus was born, how he was born and they’re quick to point out that December 25th was not his real birthday. Yeah, we knew that already. And it doesn’t matter. My faith is not in the date. My faith is not in how many wise men actually showed up. It doesn’t matter if he was born in a manger or under a tree and then brought into the manger later. My faith is in the identity of the child who was given out of the love of my creator for all of mankind. My salvation is in the fact that Jesus was both God and Man and that his innocent blood would be shed thirty three years later to bring reconciliation between us and father God. It’s just that simple. And, if I can just hold on to the truth of why we celebrate and who we celebrate then it truly is Christmas every day.

Normally I end my blog post by pitching my business and instructions on how to contact me or follow my page but tonight I wanted to take a break and just give you something from the heart. Tonight’s image is untitled and not for sale. It’s simply a confession of my faith. That though Jesus Christ I was reconciled unto God almighty. There’s a Christmas gift for ya. From reconciliation to redemption and the things God has in store for the believer beyond this broken world.

Merry Christmas friends and may God bless us every one.

Tomorrow night there will be no post. I’m taking Christmas Day off to spend time with family. My next post will be on December 26th.

The Long Night And Meaning Of The Lights On The Tree

Recently I made the comment that I was more excited about the 21st of December than I was for the 24th or 25th. The 21st of December is the longest night of year. And, when the dawn breaks on the 22nd the light returns to planet Earth. Most people are aware of the winter solstice and how the early church decided that it was just perfect for celebrating Jesus’s birthday.

Saint John 1:4-5

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Simply put, the lights on a Christmas tree represent Jesus Christ as the light of the world.

The Appalachian Winter is one where we can have snow or rain or both for Christmas but the darkness of December is a constant. The steep incline of our hills and low angle of the sun makes the normally long night even longer. The darkness like sin seems to suffocate you. It brings a coldness that seeps into very core of your being. But just when you think it’s going to be dark forever the light breaks over a distant ridge and the cold night begins to retreat. The light returns and with it comes new life.

As I’ve studied the deeper meanings behind our Christmas decorations I’ve come to understand that the Christmas Tree itself is a microcosm of the Jesus experience. We can decorate the tree with all kinds of trinkets and bobbles and assign different meanings to them and make it a beautiful and artistic expression of our Christian faith but it’s when the lights are turned on that it comes to life and brings us joy.

So, that’s the meaning behind the Christmas lights. It’s the expression of new life coming into world and the exit of the long dark night.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is untitled but is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click the picture of the bell below)

(Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

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I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

All About The Christmas Holly

Well by gosh by golly, tonight’s post is all about holly!

One of the more familiar icons of the Christmas season in North America holly is a direct analogy to Jesus Christ.

Obviously the red berries are said to represent the blood that was shed for the remittance of sin. Only innocent blood could break the curse of Adam.

The prickles on the leaves are in relationship to the crown of thorns. In Roman Times the highest honor a leader could receive was a crown made from the grass of the battlefield where he had just gained victory. Because the thorn is a symbol for the curse of Adam a crown of thorns could be seen as a symbol for Christ’s victory, awarded to him by the sinners who He was born to save.

Holly is evergreen representing eternal life bestowed upon us by Jesus.

The wood produced by holly is white and symbolizes purity.

On a side note, if you want to have pretty red berries on your holly tree you need two trees. Holly comes in male and female trees. Holly grows wild in my area and before I understood why I would be disappointed to see one without berries.

In addition to that, one of my Forestry instructors would tell us that “holy wood will guide you right”. The wood is very fine grained and somewhat oily. Because of this it was once used to make guide pins for saw mills.

Even though Christmas holly is evergreen there is a type of holly tree that is deciduous. It has bright red berries like it’s festive Christmas cousin but the leaves turn bright yellow in the fall and drop in winter.

The berries of all hollies are poison but beautiful to look at making them great landscaping for the drab backdrop of winter.

That’s pretty much it for holly as it relates to the Christmas season. I hope that you have enjoyed this post.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

Ring this bell for Facebook

Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Christmas Holly 2018” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click the picture of the bell below)

The second picture is titled “Deciduous Holly 2018” and is also available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.

( just click the picture of the bell below)

(Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

About That Ivy On Your Antique Decorations

You really couldn’t find a better symbol of resilience than English Ivy. Not only is it evergreen it seems to thrive wherever it puts down roots. I had always noticed that in some older Christmas decorations that English Ivy seemed to be present but I really didn’t know why. Here in the Southern United States holly and Mistletoe are staples of Christmas decor. So much so that unless you are an active observer you might mistake the Ivy for stylized holly. But it’s not. As I started to dig a little deeper into Ivy as a Christmas symbol I learned that it’s use peaked somewhere around the year 1200 Anno Domini. Like all Christmas symbols it has roots in paganism but then if people can be converted then why not symbolism? But I digress. The Christian symbolism of Ivy at Christmas is that of the believer. Like the Ivy the believer thrives wherever he/she is planted. Like the Ivy the believer is evergreen in having eternal life. And like the Ivy the believer must have support. English Ivy must have a wall or something to hold it up in order to reach the heavens. And the believer must lean on Christ throughout his/her life.

The next time you are pulling out those antique Christmas decorations look closely at the filigree. For years what I thought was holly turned out to be English Ivy.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

Ring this bell for Facebook

Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Ivy On The Old Church Staircase” and is available for purchase by using the ContactForm on my website.

(Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

My Last Christmas Wish of 2017

I have one last Christmas image to share this year.  This is a photo of the holly tree in my parent’s yard.  I used an out of the box filter to make it look like a painting.  Evergreen trees are a symbol of immortality.  Over the years I have come to learn that the secret of the evergreen trees is constant renewal.  As we exit the Christmas holiday and head into the New Year my last Christmas wish is that we are renewed in body,  mind and spirit.