Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

  When I was a kid, my Dad would sit and read National Geographic magazine.   I loved to look at the photos and dream of one day being able to not just see the places, but shoot them for others to see and share the wonderful world I dreamed  was out there.

  Several years ago I made plans to go see and shoot Caddo Lake (nature, swamp and gators and stuff).   We had a cabin on the water and guide to take me out in the swamp.   God had other things (family issues) that we needed to attend to that week, so not then.

  Fast forward to this year - The past 5 years had been the hardest times of my life,  I was laid-off from my job. I sent out 50 resumes plus and no response. I was feeling total loss.  We shared in adult bible class that we needed friends and help, but no one called.  They said, “we will walk thru this with you,” but no one came.

 My last day was to be the 24th of November on the 22th I got a call from another division that they were trying to get me transferred to them.  God had a plan, I needed to just trust Him not people.

   All my life I have tried to please people, not knowing if I was doing what God wanted or if I was just doing what people pleasing thing needed done next.

   I was picked up by the best division at 3M in Austin.  They had to extend my release date till December so all of the interviews and paper work needed to complete.   My new supervisor, like my wife,  believed in me with no doubts.   She walked with me, but she new things were still hurting from the past. 

  The one thing I still needed was to learn to like me and do something for me,  (God is smiling at this.)

I have been sharing a photo a day now going 900+ days.  Even in the dark days I still wanted people to see what a wonderful world we live in.  God has given me such a desire to help people see with their own heart what they have around them that is so good. 

  So one more time I got a cabin and a chance to shoot Caddo Lake (nature, swamp and gators and stuff).   I got a guide.  I asked the people we were renting the cabin from to recommend someone.  They gave me the number to call, R.L. Spencer  “Broken Chains Prison Ministry”.  I asked for a price for a 2 hour sunrise tour.  He said he just takes donations and whatever money he receives, he uses to buy bibles that he gives away in his prison ministry.  We make a date for Thanksgiving morning at 6. He has 2 boats on small swamp thing and a pontoon boat 27’. I was planning on Karen going with me (she is and always will be my best friend).

 Thanksgiving morning at 4:45 Karen said, “ Mike please go without me and Rusty, this is just for you.  I will love the pictures you bring me back but this is your time your National Geographic time.  This what I want for you.”   I said, “Thank you”  and Karen and Rusty walked me to the Dock at 6. 

R.L. Spencer is what I want to be like when I’m 70 years old. He has a warm heart, bright eyes, and a love for sharing what God has made in this wonderful world.  He said his swamp boats lights need work, so he was taking the big Pontoon boat and Karen and Rusty should go with us. This was a God thing, because I wanted to share this special moment with the 2 things in my life that mattered the most, Karen and Rusty.  Karen went and Rusty too.   Rusty found a spot next to R.L and Karen and did not move even with the duck hunters (he hates loud bangs). 

 The morning is cool and clear say 50ish, There were some cloud wisps.  And  then the sunrise -what color - as if this one is just for us and I’m sure it was. Red, blue, orange, yellow!  And to see it reflecting out on the water with the huge Cypress trees and Spanish moss,  water birds, ducks, fish jumping, and great herons.  The colors are so rich.  I’m at the front of the boat tears running down my face because this is really happening and Karen is with me experiencing the best moment of my life because this is just for me.

 We turn the boat to go up some tree lines looking at all the red color of fall the sunrise has lit.  As I’m shooting I see a gray old cypress tree with Spanish moss hanging from it.  Someone nailed a piece of wood to it.  I took one shot as the light was perfect ,  as we were moving pretty fast to a open part of the lake.

 We came in about 8 that was good.  R.L. had ask us to come to Thanksgiving lunch with them that they were serving the town of Uncertain, there at the marina.

  Well, I was complete.  I got my National Geographic moment.  As I’m looking thru pics back at the cabin and I find the old gray cypress tree with the wood nailed to it. When I zoomed in I could read the sign. Someone had carved it years ago. It said “Welcome To My World” and it was signed it in small letters vertical “JESUS”.

  At lunch, R.L.  said grace and came over to welcome Karen and I and introduce us to his wife and others.  I asked him when he put the sign up, as his family had owned the property since 1917 and that all he ever wanted was to share what God had created there on the lake.  (Caddo lake is one special place)  He said, “What sign?”  He had never seen it before.  He knew where he took us and was going back out to find it.

 “Well I was complete.  I got my National Geographic moment.” and came to be the most  memorable THANKSGIVING of my life, because it’s not about me. It’s about sharing life with the ones that love you. It’s about giving yourself over and over again to living life in a world that we are just passing thru for a small moment in time.  This is His world and I’m so blessed to share what I see and my heart.

I’m thankful for family, even the issue 5 years ago when this trip was to happen.  And I know that my trip to Caddo happened when it was supposed to happen,

To quote “Steven Tyler –“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”

Thank You my family. Please look around and see what life has for you.

Mike - kinda old and gray with things hanging and stuff about like the gray old cypress tree

Cat,  there are no words
Larry Q.  thanks for calling 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The word for 2012 is Peaceful.  We at Mike Lambert Life Photography will be traveling the roads of Texas looking for pictures that tell a story of PEACE.  Peaceful defined by is:
  • untroubled by conflict, agitation, or commotion 
  • of or relating to a state or time of peace
  • devoid of violence or force
  •  not argumentative, quarrelsome, or hostile  
We ended 2011 with a road trip through the Big Bend Area of Texas.  If you have never taken a trip to that area it is so worth it.

1250 miles of Texas Roadways brought peace to the end of our year and renewed us to begin 2012 with anticipation of the Good that will come with a new year.  
The first leg of the Journey included a night's stay in Del Rio.Our trip led us through Marathon and a visit to Eve's Garden Bed and Breakfast. We will tell you more about this adventure on another blog post later.  Next we went to Big Bend National Park.  A night's stay in Terlingua's Ghost Town and a Meal at the Starlight Theater where we ate some of the best Chili we ever had and Chicken Fried Antelope.

After leaving Terlingua we drove through Big Bend Ranch State Park.  According to the Park Rangers , the River Road is one of the most scenic drives in the Nation according to National Geographic.  We have to agree.  It was well worth the trip to drive this 50 miles of road from Lajitas to Presidio.  AMAZING!!!  MAJESTIC!!!  were 2 words that kept coming to mind.

After leaving the park we drove the long way back to Del Rio through Marfa, Alpine, and Marathon.  Spending the night in Del Rio, we made it back to Cedar  Park to spend a day at rest before New Year's Eve.

Here are Mike's TOP TEN pictures from the trip.  ENJOY!!! 

We pray that each of you has a PEACEFUL 2012!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Journey into the Past

Sunday is the best day to explore little towns for pictures.  The shops and businesses are closed and traffic is at a minimum, so it is possible to get shots of buildings and other interesting things without an unwanted person or vehicle in the shot.

On occasion, though, we are lucky enough to meet someone who is adds memories to our expeditions.  Such was the case in Luling.  We stopped at a little farmers market next to the railroad tracks.  Most of the shops were closed.  One that was open not only had interesting merchandise to photograph, but the shop owner was friendly and very conversational.  We will call him "Mr. Luling" and he will be the memory we carry from this quaint little town full of welcome and unique pictures.
 Having lived in Luling his whole life, he talked to us about some of his experiences.  His family farmed the area for generations.  We talked about the watermelons he grew.  He told us about the pumpkins he sold in his shop.  We have never seen so many varieties in one place.  Did you know there were "Blue Velvet" pumpkins or "Turban" pumpkins.  We didn't until this day.  Did you know pumpkins could grown to over 1000 lbs?  We didn't.  And the biggest Watermelon grown in Luling took 2 men to carry it.  We didn't know that either.

Before we left "Mr. Luling" he asked if we had ever been to Zedler Mill.  He said it was an old mill that the city was restoring down by the river.  He remembered going to the mill with his father as a child to pick up cotton from the Gin.  He told us that it was a great place to take pictures, so that was our next stop.
"Mr. Luling" was right!  It was a great place to take pictures.  One that I am sure we will visit again with the coming of each new season.  All the buildings are being restored, but in a way to maintain their dignity.  There was dam and a place where the water wheel used to be.  Perhaps the next time we visit we will see a new water wheel in place.  We love the old buildings.

We took pictures of all the old machinery that was used many many years ago.  We love to capture the beauty and workmanship of items that were crafted by hand, rather than mass produced in large factories overseas.  Can you imagine the lives of the people who used this steam engine on a daily basis.  No flipping a switch to turn on the electricity or turning a key to start the engine.  It all required manual labor.

A wonderful day spent exploring a small town in Texas ended up being a Journey into the Past.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Picture Pickers

Have you ever watched the television show American Pickers on the History Channel ?  If you have you will understand how we find our pictures at Mike Lambert Life Photo.  If you haven't, then let me tell you a little about it.

Mike and Frank are too men who deal in old things.  They call it "Rusty Gold".  They travel around the country visiting people who are collectors.  Sometimes they have made previous contact with the people they visit, but often they just drive the country side looking for interesting things and knock on doors to introduce themselves.  They know what they are looking for, but often something catches their attention out of the corner of their eye and they just know it is something they must have.

Mike Lambert Life Photography finds their art in much the same way. A camera is always in reach, whether they are driving around the country side, on vacation, walking down the street, or in a state park. Mike has an eye for the unique. Mike has an eye for the beautiful. And Mike has an eye for what can capture your emotion.

The picture above is a prime example of Mike's eye for a picture.  Traveling down a TX Highway 29 at 65 mph, Mike spotted something along side the road.  When it was safe to do a turnaround he went back and took this picture.  The tiny tattered American Flag was caught in the branches of a tree. 

No one really will ever know how this flag got there.  No one will ever know how many hands it passed through on it's journey to the tree.  Did a little child wave this flag while she walked in a 4th of July parade?  Did an Army wife hold this flag in her hand as she waited to welcome her husband home from his tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan?  Did it just grace the front yard of a veteran who wanted to show his patriotism on a National holiday?  Or was it attached to the antenna of a cowboy Cadillac as it drove down the Texas Highway?  How did it become so tattered?  How did it end up in the tree?
These are questions only your imagination can answer.

This little flag speaks of our strong country.  Many times we think America is tattered because of crime, the economy, or the decline of values our great country is founded on.  But, alas, our flag and our country still proudly wave for all to see. No mattered how tattered this red, white, and blue flag is still thing of beauty and a thing that still evokes our love for our country.  This is the meaning of FREEDOM!!  Long may she wave.