Thursday, December 31, 2009

12.31.09 - how to change your blog layout

A screen shot of what the old layout looked like...
(yes its off center, thats what happenes when the picture is to big for your layout)

A few people have asked how I changed my layout so here's what I did.

Pranne Loffer gave me this link this past summer after I asked her the same question.

For the new layout I'm using 900px as my outer wrapper and 900px as my main wrapper with no sidebar. Just mess with all of those numbers and see what each one does and see what you like.

Hope that helps? If not feel free to ask more questions and I will do what I can.

I changed the comment section so everyone should be able to comment now too. (you should try it out!)

Happy New Year!
JIM baker

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12.30.09 - just come home

I saw this video on Perry Noble's blog which was recommended to me by Justin Joyner at starbucks yesterday.

I went up to The Flip Side last night in Bemus to lead worship for the Camp Mission Meadows Staff Reunion. Their theme for the summer was "Now What?!" And 4 months after camp is over the theme really hits home. As I prepared for the time of ministry God led me to the story of the prodigal son.

Luke 15:11-24
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.

What great imagery into the character of God. God does not have his arms crossed, waiting to scold us when we return in repentance from our wandering, He leaps off the porch and runs towards us the moment we are in sight.

Secondly the son, says that he's no longer worthy to be called his son. The father's response? To give him everything that his son deserved, because no matter what this son did, the father KNEW that his son was still his son. I long for us to really know the extravagant love of the Father. And to know who we are as sons and daughters of the king of kings.

"Identity creates destiny" - Kris Vallaton

JIM baker

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12.29.09 - Robert Park... wow he did it.

taken at a Korean-American young adult missions conference 2007

If you don't know what I'm talking about... the article is here.

But basically Robert Park a 28 year old Korean America went into North Korea and was detained. "He did this to bring awareness to the situation in North Korea, alert the churches around the world to the atrocities and human rights violations — not pay lip service, and (to) do something about it," Benson said in Tucson. "Drastic situations call for drastic measures."

Well... you've got my attention. But... what do we do now?

I always knew koreans were crazy. Go to any 4am morning prayer meeting and you'll see. Crazy in a good way. Most of the time. :) I have some Korean-American friends that have done missions work in North Korea. They don't really talk about it much, like its no big deal.

I was thinking just the other day... where are the revolutionary leaders? Where are the people like Dr. Martin Luther King who had a dream and changed history? I don't feel like we've seen a leader like that since, maybe we have and I'm just ignorant to it.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

JIM baker

A quote from Hotel Rwanda.

I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.

Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

I think if people see this footage they'll say, "oh my God that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners.

Monday, December 28, 2009

12.28.09 - provision

jamestown audubon 2008

Matt 6:26 - Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Mark 8:14-21 read it in context here.
14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."

16They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."

17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Twelve," they replied.

20"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
They answered, "Seven."

21He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

* * * * *

Uh, Jesus... yeah... I guess I still don't understand.

I've seen your hand of provision over and over again. Radical miracles... crazy provision. The kind of stories that people put in books.

I knew you told me that I'd have a new camera to go to Africa with, but it just didn't look possible so I began to doubt. But in your PERFECT timing, you gave me a gift, something you knew I really wanted, to celebrate YOUR birthday.

Our financial situation looked BLEAK for 2010, but in your faithfulness, you are providing more than enough.

As a son of God, I don't live under the curse where I sow and do not reap.

I do not even live in sowing and reaping, where I solely reap what I sow.

I live in Your blessing, where Your GOODNESS is made known to me in every area of my life and as a GOOD father, YOU provide for me.*

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matt 6:33

JIM baker

*a Kris Vallaton teaching

12.28.09 - what the blog?!

a gift from my mother-in-law. it has a ball in it that lights up too.

Gary S Chapman tweeted recently a quote that he read in Collide Magazine.

"Use social media because you have something to say, not because you want to be heard."

When I met with Stanley Leary this past summer and we were talking about blogging and push/pull marketing, he said that a blog had to offer people something for people to keep coming back.

Michael Hyatt, whose blog I just started reading wrote a blog entitled "Do you make these 10 mistakes when you blog?" Lets just say if this was a pop quiz... I'd fail. You can see the cached version here since his site is under construction for the new year.

But I've been chewing on all of this, I redesigned the layout of the blog because I want to be a better blogger.

I'm not sure this is at all what Rick Rohlin, the pastor of the church I work at, had in mind when he asked me to start a blog, but this is the result of "Hey Jim, why don't you start a blog."

The only blogs I ever looked at before starting this blog were photography blogs. I guess I did read real live preacher before I was into photography blogs though. The other blogs I've done in the past both had to do with photography. Well over half the blogs I read are photography blogs.
(If you're an avid blog reader check out bloglines, I just set up an account yesterday and am loving it.)

The new layout visually sets it up to be a photography blog. But although a lot of the posts have had to do with photography, it can't be constrained to JUST that. Good blogging would force me to have a separate blog for photography and another blog for everything else, whatever everything else is. Not happening.

So do I blog because I have something to say or because I want to be heard? Google analytics says I had 1472 visits in the past 30 days. 548 of those visits were absolutely unique visits. So I guess people are reading. But that doesn't tell me why I'm writing.

If you're a regular on my blog, what do I offer you that you keep coming back? What are you coming here to see? What do you want to see more of in the future? And if you had to sum up the three things we write/post about what would those be?

(yes WE my wife did post for the first time this month, probably the best post on the whole blog)

Leave your thoughts in the comment section. If you're having problems leaving a comment try using a different internet browser, I know for a fact that firefox has problems with it. If you're a mac user download camino. Its made by mozilla FOR mac.

I don't think I'm ever going to be a good blogger. ;) This was WAY over 500 words.

JIM baker

Sunday, December 27, 2009

12.27.09 - trusty and FAITHFUL

Canon 20d with EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM

EF-S 60mm f2.8 USM and EF 70-200 f4 usm

I woke up to an e-mail Christmas eve saying that someone wanted to buy my photography equipment. An amazing gift because now I can upgrade to PRO gear before I go to Africa in one month.

But I wanted to dedicate a post to the gear that I've pretty much learned to shoot on. My trusty Canon 20d.

Seth and Jamie wanted me to shoot their wedding in 2006 so they fronted me the money to get the gear. At the time I bought the 20d, an EF 28-105 f3.5-4.5 USM II and the 580ex flash.

Its been to 5 other countries with me.


The picture of the 20d has the 10-22 attached. It's the lens that I shoot with most. I've actually realized lately that I'm really sick of the distortion that the super wide gives... but it did pretty good with landscapes. Below is a picture shot at 10mm.

Kailua Kona Hawaii 2008

The 60 was mainly used for portraits and macro stuff. And the 70-200 was used to ZOOM. I've had a couple of 50mm lenses in the past but didn't see the need for one if I had a 60 in my bag.

Its been cool to go and look at professional photographers websites and see that they started out shooting with the 20d too. David duChemin's ebook TEN has a picture on the first page that was taken with the 20d. I just read last night that Jasmine Star started out with a 20d. And one of our friends and supporters and professional photographer Rachel Barker started out with the 20d too.

I'll be sure to give a full update on the NEW gear when it gets here.
JIM baker

12.27.2009 - new blog layout

What REALLY seems to separate the boy blogs from the MAN blogs is simply LARGER pictures. So I moved some stuff around so I could accommodate larger pictures, got rid of the boring sidebar, and am using an awesome pic for our header of Jess and I by Pranne Loffer who was in my school of photography in 2008. Here's another pic that she took of us in Columbia South Carolina this past July. Are you guys digging the new layout? I am :)

JIM baker

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

12.22.09 - Christmas Newsletter!

Hey everyone, here is our Christmas Newsletter...
if you want a copy e-mailed to you so you can actually read it e-mail me requesting one

JIM and JESS baker :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12.20.2009 - Christmas and stuff

Jim and I watched this video clip the other day and I thought it was definitely worth sharing. Aside from the fact that it's an entertaining twist on the typical nativity play, it completely changed my outlook on the Christmas story as we picture it. It hit me when the angels came in... and notice the chorus keeps repeating "i've been waiting my whole life for this one night." I mean, how awesome is that? I have no idea how time works in heaven, but I am of the understanding that heavenly beings are at least aware of the passage of time here, and I bet they were up in heaven watching all of humanity waste away in our own sin and just waiting for the day when we would be redeemed, and then the day came!!! And think of the Jewish believers, the shepherds and even the wise men; all these people who have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of a savior who would bring them freedom. All that time waiting, hoping, and then finally to witness his arrival!

I think that sense of excitement is completely lost on us. I mean, we get jazzed about waiting a year - or more likely - about a month for Christmas morning to arrive and that's usually just so we can eat cookies and receive that expensive toy, phone, camera or whatever we've been wanting for the past six months. It's easy to miss really, because Jesus already came for us. We don't have to wait for anything. Which is actually probably for the best, as we all have short attention spans anymore anyways.

But these people were waiting for GENERATIONS... their WHOLE EXISTENCE for this one thing to happen! And when it does... can you even imagine the party in heaven?!? After all the build-up of excitement, the anticipation of joy... the celebration must have been unbelievable. I bet they danced their halos off. Literally. A completely unrestrained explosion of joy.
I'm all for reverence and honor and respect. But it's an absolute crime to miss out on the excitement of the celebration. Party on, world. Party on!

JESS baker

Friday, December 18, 2009

12.18.09 - Rick Rohlin's fam!

Rick, Sandie, Zachery and Jason all decided to get in on the deal too.



Brotherly love.

JIM baker

Monday, December 14, 2009

12.14.09 - Rohlin Family shoot

So Janie was one of the two people that took me up on my I'll do photography for your family in exchange for support towards our Africa trip deal.

The group shot went MUCH better than I had hoped, I was a little intimidated shooting a group of 14. I used a wingback chair (Stanley Leary
would be so proud) I used my 580ex fired through an umbrella at about 1/2 or 1/4 power triggered via my PW Plus II's. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to light the whole group of 14 with just one light, but I did. This was the biggest group portrait I've ever done and the family did a GREAT job.

Here's a pic of the kids.

Sidique, Jadenne, Rashad and Julie Fofana.

Mike, Lily, Meridith and Megan Rohlin.

Zachery, Rick, Sandie, and Jason Rohiln.

JIM baker

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12.09.09 - pirate duck



What would your life look like if you could stop trying to be something your not and just be yourself?

Be free to be who God created you to be.


JIM baker

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12.08.09 - patience, goodness, kindness

april 2008

God you're so patient. You are the best thing, yet you never force your goodness on anyone. You never demand the respect that You deserve. Why? Is that because you just want people to recognize your goodness on their own? To come to their own conclusion? I guess respect comes in its purist form when its given freely, and not done out of obligation and duty, guilt or coercion.

You were silent as they mocked you and crucified you. You even prayed forgive them father for they know not what they do. You are the king of kings and the lord of lords. You created man, and man tortured you to death.

You did it because you love us. You did it to expose our ugly sin, the depravity of our humanity without you.

God you loved us so much that you made a way for us to walk in relationship with you even though we messed it up. You are the initiator.

Help me to know this love better, and to love with this same love.

JIM baker

Saturday, December 5, 2009

12.05.09 - xmas traditions

some of our Christmas decorations on our mantle

It looks fine in this picture, but on our mantle it looks kind of sad, because the mantle is so big and the things on it are so small. It looks a lot better now that we super glued Joesph's head back on. I said we should probably go buy green army men to protect Jesus and that would make it better but I'm not sure Jess thought that was a good idea.

our advent calender that my parents made for us

While we were in MD over Thanksgiving my parents gave me our own advent calender. It was one of our family Christmas traditions growing up. To take turns each night reading scripture that told the Christmas story and then putting on one of the small ornaments on the tree.

As we were doing the readings that went along with the calender I heard Jess read this statement and I got really excited. :)

"Of the
increase of His government and peace there will be no end."
taken from Isaiah Chapter 9.
(italics mine)

I also heard Dwayne Roberts from IHOP (international house of PRAYER, not pancakes) preaching the other night and he said how sick he is of hearing how we should be "afraid" of radical Islam. He simply stated that our God is so much bigger. Yes and AMEN.

So how is God choosing to increase His government in the earth right now? Through His ambassadors. Do you know who those are?

You and me.

JIM baker

Thursday, December 3, 2009

12.03.09 - what's the point?!

part of my photostory assignment for School of Photography
Kailua-Kona Hawaii 2008

Dude... Christmas is in 22 days. Thats crazy.

Anyway, last monday at Higher Calling I encouraged the kids to ask themselves what is the point in every area of their life. And then ask themselves if the way they were living matched up with that purpose. The room got silent when I asked that about church. The kids got real honest too. It was good for them to just think and answer their own questions. Sometimes you simply have to present a question and let them draw their own conclusion.

At the beginning of the meeting we always share testimonies and two people shared how God had healed them in the past week miraculously. During worship I felt that God wanted to heal people that evening as well. So I went forward and I asked if people who had pain in their body to come forward for prayer.

I prayed for one student's back and asked him if he felt anything and he said no. I then reminded him that even Jesus had to pray twice for a blind man. (mark 8:22-26) So we prayed again and I asked him to test his back out and a grin came across his face as he was moving his back in ways that he could not before without pain.

I came up to another student an laid hands on him and asked him what was wrong, lower back he said. I prayed for him and asked him what he felt. He looked at me surprised and said as I prayed he felt heat running through his whole body and felt his back pop like fifteen times and the pain left.

Jess prayed for a girls ankle and felt tendons moving around as she prayed. She asked the girl if she was moving her ankle and the girl was like no, and she tested out her ankle and the pain was gone. The girl that just received that healing then prayed for another girl with a right ankle sprain that had kept her out of dance and that girl was moving around her ankle without pain and tears in her eyes surprised and grateful at what God had done.

It was interesting to me that it was two lower backs and two ankles that got healed that night. That there was almost a theme for what God was doing.

Christianity isn't boring when we're seeing God do supernatural things in our midst.

JIM baker

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12.02.09 - my life savings, and an update from from turkey day

shot to show texture, hard lighting off camera to left SOP Project 2008

So Jess and I went yesterday to empty out one of those large water jugs that you see in offices, the typical gossip water cooler. I started filling one up with pennies in 1995, for some reason at that age I thought if I saved enough change that someday it could be something that I could cash in if I ever needed it. Well we didn't cash it in because we needed the money we cashed it in because we needed the jug. We're going to use the jug to collect change at our church towards the Africa trip.

Anyway, after a lot of noise and having to have a bank teller come over to take change out of the machine because I filled it to capacity the Warren PA Northwest Savings bank gave me a whopping $49.95. That is 4,995 pennies. I guess I wasn't to aggressive in my saving for the past 14 years. :)

Anyway, thanksgiving was GREAT, we spent time in MD with my parents and got to see my sister, brother in law and niece as well. Ate a lot of Indian food, got caught up on rest, had a great prayer time with my parents.

Mike, Lindsey, Jeannie, Mom, Dad, me and Jess

Put in an 11 hour work day at the office today but they did feed me lunch and dinner so I'm not complaining. I'll update soon about some cool stuff that has been happening this week. If you think of it pray for me I've had a headache and body ache for about two weeks with no other symptoms. It's on and off... not sure what it is. Excederin migraine was the only thing that touched it.

JIM baker