|Posted on September 19, 2011 at 9:00 PM||comments (0)|
It's a fall tradition in St. Louis. The crowds don't need directions. The park is crowded, streets are bumper-to-bumper and everyone knows which direction to look. Scroll through photos of the Balloon Glow and the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.
The balloon glow happens before every balloon race. This year, more than 80,000 people saw 70 balloons light up underneath the fall sky. This event is particularly popular for photographers.
With a little heat, a ballon takes flight. The race is always on the third Saturday in September. Since recorded weather history, this is the best weather weekend in St. Louis.
There is nothing like being surrounded by huge colorful balloons. They come in several different sizes and shapes.
The star attraction of the balloon race is the Energizer Hot 'Hare' Balloon. At 166 feet, the bunny is taller than the Statue of Liberty and its ears are taller than the Presidents' faces on Mount Rushmore. The balloon is powered by double burners to produce 30 million BTUs per hour. That's equal to the heat of 5,000 gas grills.
I shot this while flying above Forest Park. It was my first time floating in a hot air balloon and the feeling was extraordinary. I can check 'flying in a hot air balloon' off my bucket list. The Great Forest Park is the largest single day balloon race in the country.
Pilots come from all across the world to fly their balloons above the St. Louis cityscape. I had the pleasure of flying with Denis Sutter. His family has particiapted in races all over the country and has gone through three hot air balloons. Their next race will be in Albuqureque, New Mexico to attend the largest balloon race in the country.
All good things must come to an end at some point and I know from my breif knowledge of physics that whatever comes up must come down. Turns out, we landed in a vacant lot near a house, bringing the whole neighborhood to life.
|Posted on June 13, 2011 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
I wanted to share with you a few pictures from my brother's wedding. Mandi and Steve got married June 11, 2010 on North Captiva Island in Florida. I will explain all the details in a future post.
|Posted on April 5, 2011 at 8:53 PM||comments (0)|
Broken. Shattered. Injustice. Welcome to St. Louis! These aren’t the words many expect to find in a travel brochure, yet these words describe the reality, the unreported truth of a divided city.
I spent my Spring Break volunteering in St. Louis for an organization called Citylights. The organization hammers in the importance of bringing back justice to the poorest neighborhoods in St. Louis. Through a variety of work projects, Citylights hopes to “mend cultural and ethnic divisions” through reconciliation, love and servanthood.
I have lived in St. Louis for about 17 years. During this week though, I felt like I was learning about the city as if I was stepping off a plane for the first time. I knew St. Louis was divided physically (St. Louis City and St. Louis County) and racially, but I never knew the extent of that divide. According to Business Insider, St. Louis is the #6 most segregated city in the United States.
On our first day, we drove throughout St. Louis learning about its history and the decline from the glory days of the 1904 World’s Fair. We visited the St. Louis Basilica, Soulard Market and drove past several abandoned buildings and factories near the riverfront and throughout St. Louis’ northside. One particular abandoned factory, the former site of Carter Carburetor, impacted me the most during that tour.
The factory shut its doors in 1984 leaving toxic waste and other pollutants to seep into the ground and across the street. The Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club is one building that is across the street. The EPA is working towards demolishing the plant, costing the federal government an estimated $27 million.
But this site and many other areas around St. Louis have been slow to gain any significant progress. The white population has escaped westward leaving the aftermath (crime and abandon buildings) to the predominately poor African American population. The spotlight on these neighbourhoods has been dimmed.
Leaders of Citylights and their associated churches, most notably New City Fellowship, are trying to combat this exodus and return to the city. They bring with them education, opportunity, diversity and most importantly hope.
The glimpse of hope is small, but it has the potential to grow into something amazing. We can change St. Louis and repair the shattered glass. It won’t happen over night and money won’t fix the problem. But knowledge is the first step into getting through the door. Now, we just need to keep moving forward.
|Posted on January 6, 2011 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
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|Posted on August 26, 2010 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
Ashley is practically a sister to me. We grew up together in the church, swam in the pool during Missouri’s hot and humid summer days and slid down her hill during the winter. She would pick me up after cross country practice and join our family for countless barbeques and meals. We travelled to Minnesota on a mission trip and helped distribute Thanksgiving baskets close to home. Our families were always together.
You can imagine how hard it was to see her walk to the aisle. All of our adventures, our laughs and cries were soon going to be shared by a man who loves her the same. They will no doubt create new adventures, new laughs and even some sad moments along the way. They will bask in hot summer days and travel the world to places near and far. They will experience all of this as a couple, without me and without her “brothers”.
Like her mother, father and sister we too must learn to let go and watch from a distance. She will always be a sister to me and the memories will always remain. I am extremely joyful for both Ashley and Tim on their marriage and pray that their relationship grows stronger with time. Both are strong in their faith and understand that life is a little easier when you have someone by your side. During the darkest times of our lives, God carries us on his shoulders. Ashley and Tim can follow God’s humbleness and carry one another when the going get’s rough.
Congratulations Tim and Ashley! Instead of loosing a “sister”, I have gained a “brother”!
|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 5:34 PM||comments (0)|