Monday, April 30, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXX].

There's no picture here today - I'll post one tomorrow.  It's important to say just this:

Today, my wifey and I have been blessed.  We were given a cheque that pretty much covers her visa.  This is huge - it is so much bigger than I can possibly convey in this post; in this blog.  It's ridiculously huge.

We've been praying for God's provision for a long, long time now and to see it happen and to see our prayers get answered is something that has left my wifey and I pretty speechless.

We are tithers.  I'll explain.
I'm the Bible, instructions were given way back in the day as to how to go about providing for the priests in the churches.  In a nutshell, people were told to give 10% of all of their firstfruits - that is 10% of their harvest before they use any of the 90% that they had for themselves; 10% of a herd or flock of livestock before they used the other 90% for themselves; 10% of their grains and fruits before they used their 90% for themselves.

The idea was that in giving an offering - a gift - to God's house (the church), the people would be providing the priests with all they needed - clothes, food, etc.

In a book called Malachi, God says this: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

Basically, God says that the one thing we can test Him in is the practice of tithing - giving the first 10% of what we gain - the first 10% of our increase.

Understand that we don't do this as some sort of warped payment for God's blessing; we don't.  We do it because it's the right thing to do.  We're told to do it.  We're not giving God this 10%, we're bringing it to Him.  The difference is that it's not really ours to give - it's all God's.  All we can do is bring it.  If I borrow your car, I don't give it back as a gift; I bring it back because it's yours.  It's the same thing - I don't give God my tithe, I simply bring it back to where it belongs.

I'll round this up as best I can.

We have been tithing this year on everything we've got.  Whether or not it means we can afford the things we've needed was irrelevant.  The fact that we need money for my wifey's visa has been second to the fact that we want to honour God and do the right thing.  So we've tithed all year.

Tonight, we saw the floodgates open.  We saw the biggest immediate need in our lives met.  And then some.

I cannot recommend tithing enough.  I cannot recommend a life with God enough.  It's the most exciting, on-edge life you could want or ask for.  Man, it's good.

I'm pretty certain that I could have been a little more coherent, so please forgive me there.  If you have any questions about any of the things I've said or if you just want to talk or argue or whatever, then feel free to email me or comment here.

Sorry there's been no picture today - there'll be more than enough tomorrow.  We're just very excited and extremely happy.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXIX].

Well I didn't post a doodle yesterday.  And I haven't got one for today.  I was out all day with a group from church at a place called Devil's Den.  It was really cool.

For today:

I was wanting to find two snakes on this trip - the Milk Snake and the Eastern Hognose Snake.  I didn't find either.  I did start the day off by chasing down this little guy.  Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis - the Southern Coal Skink.  They are fast.

Here are a couple of views from the day.  Devil's Den State Park is an amazing place.  We couldn't see the caves that it's famous for today because there's a fungus that's killing bats or something like that.  I didn't really mind.  It would have been nice to have gone into the caves, but the whole park is beautiful!

Another Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis - this time half way through the hike.  He was chilling out by a crevasse.  I took a few pictures from fairly far off so as not to scare him, but when I went to grab him he stayed still until I had my hand about 3 inches away.  Then he tried to scarper.  He?  Yes.  He.  The jaw is orange which means it's a he who is ...  well...  lonely, I guess.

He obviously thought my finger was competition.  Had he taken the time to glance down, he would have noticed my wedding ring and seen that I was already taken and, therefore, in no need of a mate.  But he's a lizard.  He has a brain the size of a lentil.  So he just bit my finger.

People called him Charlie.

Because I'm English.

And he bit my finger.


To be honest; all of this herping has made me want to search out some good spots in England for when we get back there.  I know we have lizards in my town, so maybe I'll start there.  And end there because I'd have maxed out the species list for lizards to find in the UK.  All this thought of not being able to do this for a while is making me want to find as many herps as possible in the last days we have left here.  Stockpile that feeling of accomplishment when I chase down and catch beautiful snakes and lizards and turtles.  And to a lesser extent frogs.

It's late.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXVIII].

I thought I'd post this now and then either post a picture update later or edit this one and add some doodles later.  Either way here are some photos from today:

I found my favourite turtle today!  Sternotherus odoratus - the Eastern Musk Turtle.  I saw what I think was a cottonmouth swimming in a lake while my wifey and I were eating breakfast.  I went over to see and it slipped under the water a few yards away.  I was looking down at the shallower parts and saw this little guy chilling by the edge of the water.  I had to lie down and lean over a little ledge to grab it, but it was worth it!  This is about as big as they get, I think.  That's right.  Cute pet size.

This was when it was getting a bit more active.  It stayed in it's shell for a while, but it's always just a matter of time until they get used to people being round and venture out.

Yea, my wifey thinks they're cute, too.  Definite pet material.  (Note:  Although this is photographed in the car, we didn't bring this guy home with us.  That's not legal).

Of course, we need close ups.  Peeking out of the shell is a good start.

And then these shots as it got a bit more active.  It was scuttling away pretty quickly, so I didn't get a whole lot of shots while it was out of it's shell.

These turtles are great.  We had a cool time playing with it before we put it back and went about our day.  This afternoon, we relaxed and went fishing - my wifey caught 4 fish!  Very cool.

I'll update the blog again later.  Whether it's an edit of this post or just another post.  We'll see.


Friday, April 27, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXVI - CXVII].

For some reason, I didn't post yesterday.  I think it got pretty late.  But fear not!  Here is a combined post for yesterday and today!

For yesterday:

Photo of a photo!  Of course.  My wifey and I got a strip of photos done because we hadn't up until that point.  I love them and they are great.

My uneducated rendition of the Variable Groundsnake.  I saw a couple of photographs of them the other day and they are tiny!  Really, really small!

For today:

I was messing with this little guy this morning.  It was fluttering back and forth and was fine with me picking it up.  Right now, as I update this and write this and so forth, there's a big green silk moth at the window.  It's like the really beautiful version of a daddy long legs; smashing it's head into the window over and over again.

And then Bubblehead Man.  He's a man with a bubble for a head.

That's it for yesterday and today.  Hopefully we're going to go fishing tomorrow afternoon, but we'll have to wait and see.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXV].

Well now Blogger seems to be against me...  I'm having to download Google Chrome to have it work properly.  I'm not expecting any problems.

For today:


This was actually a pretty cute and funny picture of a toad with a slug crawling on it's head.  But since I forgot to turn the ISO down it's all washed out and rubbish.  There you go.

Although there is little to go by in terms of scale, these worms are huge.  They are a little bigger than the two snakes I've found in the garden!  I've got them in a tub with some leaf litter and my wifey and I will go and catch some catfish with them sometime.  We could quite feasibly use half a worm, too.  Double the fun and all that.

And my drawing for the day is going to be this.  I've already done a fair bit on it today, so hopefully and prayerfully I'm going to get it done by the end of the day. I'm excited to see what it's going to look like once I've taken all of the masking tape off.  I haven't seen it without tape for a couple of weeks.

Once again, I'm resisting the urge to go out and look for snakes.  I'm putting all my hopes into Saturday, when the church group we're with is going to go to Devil's Den for the afternoon.  Apparently there are a good few species up there that I can find, so I'm looking forward to it.  Most of the people that are going will have no or little idea as to which snakes are which, so hopefully it'll be fun for them to learn!  Every day is a school day.

I'm off to finish this mural, get something to eat and then work out.  I'm going out on a date with my wifey tonight and I can't wait.  It's a surprise for her and I think she'll like it  :)


Edit:  On seeing the newer layout upon posting, I really like the fact that there is a comment count - now I don't have to trawl through my posts to see if I've missed anything!  It wasn't that bad when I was posting once every few weeks, but once-a-day posts mean that it's hard to keep track if and when someone comments.

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXIII] and [CXIV].

IT'S MY WIFEY'S BIRTHDAY!  I didn't post yesterday because I'd arranged a surprise BBQ and get together and then today we've been out all day, hence my evening post...  Even though my posts are normally in the evenings, anyway.

For yesterday:

MY BABY CAUGHT A FISH!  We've been fishing on and off all year and it's been fun but my wifey has lacked somewhat when it comes to bites.  Which hurts me.  I like going out fishing with her and I like catching fish, but I don't like catching fish when my wifey's not catching fish.  So I was really happy last night when not only did she catch the first one of the night, but rounded the night off with a catch, too!  Great!

Here's her second one.  Bigger than the first one.  I caught a few perch and two crappies.  Crappies are great fish!  They are aggressive, so they bite well and apparently they taste amazing.  I'll have to eat some before we go.

I made this little car for a kid that our aunt looks after.  It was a father-son project and neither he nor I know where his dad is.  That's sad.  I really wanted to do this for him.  Apparently he loved it, so I'm happy  :)

For today:

It dawned on me today that I have forgotten how alien the roads look over here.  Everything about this picture was completely new to me a few years ago and now I have to wait for a sudden revelation as to how different it is here!  I can see myself forgetting the image of an American road - maybe even later on this year.  It'll be nice to have this as a reminder when I'm sat in my studios on a rainy day in November.  I'm looking forward to getting back into it - no doubt - but I'll miss the big roads and bright signs.

I know it's not a drawing, but I figured today's creative outlet could be photography.  I'm absolutely loving the fact that I have a lot of time and resources and objects of study to indulge in this hobby.  Maybe one day I'll be able to do something big with it.  For the moment, I'm using the computer excuse again, but my computer is not too willing to cooperate on the photo-editing front.  Bah!

Some little critters on the underside of a leaf on the tree in the front garden.  They look like aphids but they get pretty huge (for an aphid).

Another reason I didn't draw today?  My wifey.  I've spent the whole day with her and it is always worth it.  I love drawing but man, I love this gal a whole world more.  Putting everything to one side to be able to spend time with her is always a joy.

I love her so much.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXII]. Part two.

My wifey and I went to look for turtles, but we got eaten up my mosquitos and found no turtles.  We did, though, find and catfish head the size of a dinner plate...  I thought it was a turtle at first, but then I flipped it over and saw that someone took off with the best part.

More pictures for the day:

Who's this little guy?

It's only Storeria dekayi wrightorum, of course!  The Midland Brownsnake.  There's a doormat out in the back garden that I have been checking under for nearly three weeks now.  It's not as big as another one I've found in that spot, but I caught it and photographed this one!  It was a pretty cool morning so this fella was slow to begin with but he soon warmed up and got pretty fast once I'd been handling him for a bit.

Here's a full shot of it.  I really like this shot.

Somewhat blurred.  I've been doodling out ideas for flies that I'd like to try and tie with my friend.  He and his wife call them crazy flies, I call them daddy long legs.  They're crane flies.  I'd think fish would like them, so why not make a fly that looks like one?!  That's how it works.

I'm having a fine time fighting with this computer.  I'm going to post this before I have to restart it.


[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXII].

Day 112 see trees falling and another snake found!

For today:

The first of four trees before it was cut down.

And then as it was falling.

And then down.  Look at all the space!

I'm going to look for turtles with my wifey.  Another update will be later.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting in touch.

Just thought I'd make some of my various outlets known.  I'm (patiently) waiting for the time when I can download the MUSE beta and make a website that will hopefully have all of my stuff in the one place.

For now, though, here's a list of places you can see my work, should you so wish.

There's also another blog that I post to when I can put a couple of hours to one side - 

I'm currently writing my way through a 30 day challenge but instead of days, I'm posting whenever.  When I can, it's weekly.  When I can't, it's whenever.

You can find me on twitter; my name is NotEnoughCharac.  Although at the moment I can't post there because my computer won't load the page properly.  This means I can see (around) the 20 more recent posts and no more.  I also can't post anything because one of the things that doesn't load is the little box that I write in to post things.  Ugh.  But I'm on there.  If you want to follow, just do and I'll be posting again as soon as I can.

I think that's about it.  I have another blog on which I post videos but I think I'm going to try and integrate that into this blog, as I've said before.  One of the reasons I updated this computer was so that it would be fast enough to run the video editing software I got but now I don't even think it's powerful enough to run more than 4 tabs on the internet.  So that's going to have to wait a few more months until I get a newer computer and can edit and upload videos better and faster and better again.  I can't wait.  I've got so many things I want to do it's hurting.  My wifey, some patience and a few camera attachments are getting me through this most difficult time...

Thanks for reading.  I really appreciate it.  I don't say that enough but at the same time I don't want to say it every time because I don't want it to lose it's meaning.  But I really do appreciate your time.  Thank you.


[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXI].

Finally back on track with the blog!  It's been a mad few days and I'm still having to fight with my computer every time I want to do something, but at least now I can semi-constantly post up here!

111 is the emergency telephone number in New Zealand.

Arkansas has a total of 111 reptile and amphibian species.  I like this fact a lot.

For today:

We went to Catfish Hole tonight and I had frogs legs and ocean clams.  Lovely stuff.  Really nice place and really friendly staff.

Detective Froghands.  A detective with frog hands.  A work in progress.

Snake man.  Because Detective Froghands was actually drawn yesterday.

And although not a drawing, I'm making a car out of a couple of boxes and I love it!  I bought a glue gun for it and everything!  I haven't used a glue gun in years and it's been so much fun putting it together this afternoon.  Now all I have to do is paint it and give it to the kid I'm making it for.

I thought I'd flip some racks and things in the back yard and see if I could find any snakes.  I found this little lady instead.  Buh.

As bad as it is, I couldn't help but run back and get my macro extension.  That hourglass shape is too cool to let it go unphotographed!

I'm off to Devil's Den with a church group a week tomorrow.  Can't wait!  I've been told of a great spot to look for snakes, so I'm going to be taking my snake finding boots and my bag of tricks.  Although I don't know what's in my bag of tricks yet.

Better yet - it's my wifey's birthday in three days!  I've got some things planned but I can't disclose them here.  Not until they're done, anyway  :)

Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on.  We're getting ready to leave soon, so that's sort of fun.  You know when you're on holiday and you're getting to the last days and they start to go faster and faster?  Yea, that's how we're feeling at the moment.  So many people to see before we go, so many things to do before we leave.  We're not leaving forever, but we're also not sure when we'll be coming back, so it's a bit sad.  Although we are so stoked to be blessed enough to be able to go back and forth like we do.  I can't wait for my Masters course to start, we can't wait to get involved with the church in Longton again.  So much we're looking forward to and so much we'll miss.  We're are truly getting a good dose of each others' culture and as time goes by we'll be able to refine what we do when we're in each country to get the most out of each visit.

I love it here - I love the fact that I could go and shoot some guns whenever I want and I can go and look for so many varieties of herps when I want (see fact number two for today)!

But I also love home.  It's home.  I don't have to worry about whether or not seeing a doctor will put me in debt.  I guess that's a thing.  There's just something about being home that makes me feel like all is well.  Best country in the world.

I'm going to further plan things for my wifey's birthday and so forth  :D


Friday, April 20, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CIX - CX].

Another two day post here.  I'm consolidating posts somewhat to lessen my frustration with my computer.

Let's see what we've got:

Here's the banner that my images were made into!  This is the last frame from the animation that went from the most destroyed building to the best-looking one.  I think that the series ends on the first Sunday we're back, so I might even get to see it on the big screen!

It seems that the photos I took today have suffered the same fate as the first image in this series - corrupted!  So there's actually no image for today, which sucks.  I'm hoping to go out herping tomorrow (looking for snakes), so I should have a load to show you.  Sorry about today.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CVII - CVIII]. Another for yesterday.

So now I can't access my emails...  I can get into gmail but clicky clicking doesn't work when it comes to opening the emails.  Ugh.

I went out last night with a guy on the herpsofarkansas forums.  Found a lovely lot of creatures - black widow, scorpion, snakes, lizards, turtles.  It was wonderful and I want to go again right now.  Check out what we did:

For yesterday:

Hopefully this is an Alligator Snapping Turtle.  It was a tiny thing that I found under a rock in the shallows of the Arkansas river.

My first bass on a fly!  I caught five perch on one the night before (hooked one by the tail), but this is my most favouritest fish I caught on a fly!

Here's the fly I caught it on!  Big moth-looking fly.  Nice and heavy, so I got a good cast.  Seeing that 'gulp' when the fish took it was an incredible feeling!

Blanchet's Cricket Frog.  I borrowed it from him.  This little fella doesn't grow much bigger than a quarter/10 pence piece.  I was watching them sing and croak while I was fishing and it was beautiful.

This was the amazing view my wifey and I (sort of) awoke to in the morning.  I say sort of - we woke up at about 4 am because we didn't bring anything comfortable to lie on.  We took it in turns to nap on top of three of the pillows we had brought with us.  This is when I got up.  A lovely mist hovering over the water.

I stopped fishing after this guy swam past.  I'd guess the fish like to keep a low profile when there's a beaver present.  One huge slap of his tail on the water when I got too close and he was gone.

An Eastern Musk Turtle.  This is now probably my favourite turtle.  As you can see, it's tiny.  They do get a little bigger, but they're just the right size :)

My beautiful wifey... 's hands.  I wanted a picture and she didn't.  This was our compromise  :)  She's so beautiful.

A Prairie Racerunner that I 'flipped'.  Flipped just means I found it after turning rocks over.  It's easier to say.  Apart from this one time explaining it.  Fast.  Very fast.

A Plain-bellied Watersnake that Mike found.  Harmless but aggressive.  It will strike and bite, but won't do any more damage than drawing blood.

It was a great experience herping and I want to do it right now!