Short Trip to Biloxi, MS – Submarine Reunion and Area Scenes

Hi. Hoping you all are well and being blessed of the Lord.

On Monday, August 8, 2022, we drove to Biloxi, MS to meet with 13 of my shipmates for a short, informal “reunion”.
We returned home Wednesday morning, August 10, 2022.

Submarine Crew Reunion, USS Haddo
We served on the nuclear attack submarine USS Haddo (SSN 604).
This group served together in the 1971-1977 timeframe.
I was onboard from early May, 1972 until June, 1976.

This was taken in early May, 1973 in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
We were on our way back to Groton, CT (home port) after 2 weeks of maneuvers with a destroyer squadron in the Caribbean.

The gathering was held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which is located on the shore in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Front Row, L-R: Jim Lane, Don Payne, Bill Allen, Terry Elkins, Billy Frantz, Me
Second Row, L-R: Geoff Warnock, Dempsey Rouse, John Vaassen, Jocko Adams, Ladd Tomlin, Leon Hallman, Darrell Brown

I am very thankful to have served with these men, Good Guys All!
This picture was taken at the home of Billy and Waynette Frantz, who live nearby in Ocean Springs, MS.
We will ALWAYS be thankful for their wonderful hospitality in hosting the Monday night supper and gathering.

Hard Rock Hotel

The Hard Rock Hotel has two areas: Main building (which includes a tower with rooms, and a casino), and a “Platinum” room tower.
Here are some views of the hotel.

This guitar is the iconic symbol for the hotel and casino
The main building is on the right, Platinum tower on the left.
Main Tower
Platinum Tower
The hotel has a nice pool area with views of the ocean

Our room was on the 7th floor of the main building, and faced the pool and ocean.
Here are a view views from our room (note: the tinted windows created somewhat of a “blue” color to the pictures.)

I think the pilings in the water are remnants of a building that was destroyed by hurricane Katrina in August, 2005.
The tall building beyond the parking lot is the Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino

Here’s Sandra in the lobby area. Note the changing colors of the background “mural”.

Looks like she could “fly away”! 🙂🦅

Ocean Views

Here are some views of the ocean from the pool area and nearby shoreline.

Taken the second day with much nicer weather…

Evening-Night Views
On Tuesday evening, we went to a seafood restuarant, located next door to the hotel parking garage.

The food and service at McElroy’s Harbor House were very good.

After supper, walked around the area for some nice evening views.

Note the moon rising in the upper left of the picture.
A closer view from the previous photo. Note the two sea gulls in the middle-right.

Thankful for the fun time with my shipmates, and getting to see this part of Biloxi.

God Bless!!

From our Back Porch – August, 2022

Hi. Hoping you and your family are well and enjoying the blessings of the Lord.

From our Back Porch
Since moving to our new home, I’ve often created articles showing things we’ve seen from our back porch: sunsets, lake views, geese, and a lone a duck. Our house faces generally west, and we’ve been blessed with some really nice sunsets.
Since this happens so often, I thought I’d start a new series “From our Back Porch” to share what I’ve seen in the recent/current month.
Here’s a report on our “August Sightings”.

Fowl Friends
There’s a family of geese that are seen on and around the lake, including our lakeshore. Sometimes there are 2, 8, and even 16 or so. Most times, they are accompanied by a lone duck (whom I’ll call “Loner”).
They normally stay close to the lakeshore. And… when they see me approaching, no matter how “stealth” I am, they immediately head for open waters. 😮
Twice, I’ve seen a group of our Fowl Friends up closer to the house, perhaps 30 or so yards away. The following is a short photo series showing their close visit on 08-01-2022.

Whoops, they saw me!
A closeup of our Fowl Friends, as they head for the water
Oh well, I can take a hint… 🙂

Sunset 08-07-2022
As often happens, I was walking through the kitchen eating area and glanced out the windows to check the lake, sky, etc. What I saw on this evening was really beautiful!
The following set of pictures offers the sequence of what I saw when walking from the back porch to the lake and back.

My first glance skywards revealed the effect of the setting sun on the sparce clouds
The first of several taken near or at the lakeshore.
I enjoy seeing the sky reflection of the First Heaven!
Note: “Loner” swimming through the reflection (in the middle of the scene)
A closer look…
Beautiful reflection in the little “inlet”!
From along the lakeshore
What’s left of the sunset “lights up” our lake
Thankful for what I was blessed to witness – the Glory of God in His First Heaven!

Praise God – and I hope He blesses You!!

Sunset Views West, and a Visitor – July 27, 2022

Hi. Hoping you are enjoying the wonderful blessings of our Lord.

As you may have seen in past articles, we are blessed to have a nice view over our lake to the west, which includes some very nice sunsets.

Because a sunset can come and go quickly, I have to be ready in case one appeals to my “photographer’s eye”.

On Wednesday, July 27 – I just happened to notice a nice, red sunset occurring.
In this case, I not only photographed from my back porch, but walked down to the shoreline of our lot to catch different perspectives.
I also had the company of an unexpected “visitor”.

This was the initial view that got me interested. Just happened to see this out the window as I was walking by!
From the back patio – over our neighbor Marcus’ home. Thankful to have such good, Godly neighbors.
The lake is just right of the detached garage.
From the lakeshore.
NOTE the visitor in the bottom-right of the picture – a duck who frequents our property.
It almost seems like he was enjoying the scenery as I was…
The sunset was just about over, loved the look of the scattered clouds.
The post in the bottom-right is a corner marker for our lot.
A final look up into the beauty of our Lord’s First Heaven – Thankful…

God Bless!!!

Glory to God in His Creation – Blue Skies in the First Heaven

Hi. Hope you are being blessed of the Lord with His Peace, Comfort, Mercy, and Grace.

I often write about the beauty of God’s Creation in the First Heaven (sky). Most times, it is of the beautiful sunsets we see from our back porch over the nearby lake and beyond.

Howver lately, we’ve noticed the beauty of the daytime white, puffy clouds surrounded by the striking, “azure” blue skies.

Here are some examples seen in late June and early July.

Notice the “popcorn” effect at the top of this scene.
Several types of clouds in this sky.
These views are from the Black Creek Hiking Trail west and upward over the Black Creek (river).
It’s wonderful how all parts of God’s Creation work together to show the beauty and glory of our Lord.
As can be with a photograph, this one doesn’t completely show the beauty of this skyward scene

Praise God for His Creation, and the ability of us to recognize from which it came!

God Bless!!

Beauty in God’s Creation – Sunset Progression and a New Movie

Hi. Hoping this week, you have been blessed of the Lord with His Grace, Mercy, and Peace!

Two topics in this article related to the Lord’s beautiful Creation:
1. Progression of a sunset
2. New movie showing the Appalachian Trail in Maryland

Progression of a Sunset in the First Heaven
On Saturday, 06-25-2022, I was blessed to observe the progression of a beautiful sunset. Here are four scenes as the sun settled in the west.

The thinning clouds overhead and setting colors arrayed in the west
The beauty becomes more pronounced in both parts of the sky
The pending darkness enhances the color
The dark red streaks offer the final color of the fleeting skylight

Scenes like these are a good reminder to a Child of God of His glory, love, and majesty.

Walking in Creation – Appalachian Trail in Maryland
In May, I hiked the next section of the Appalachian Trail, walking north from Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia to a state park in Pennsylvania.
(I provided a summary of this walk in a previous article.)

As with all other sections of the trail as I’ve hiked north from Georgia, I’ve made a movie for my YouTube channel showing what I saw on the trail in Maryland:
Walking in Creation (Vol. 15) – Appalachian Trail (AT) in Maryland

Praise God for the beauty of His Creation!

God Bless!!!

God’s Glory in the First Heaven (sky) – Sunset on June 12, 2022

Hoping the Lord is blessing you with His Peace and Comfort.

As in the past, I love to take pictures from our back porch/patio towards the lake and beyond. On Sunday, 06-12-2022, we had a very nice sunset to view.
Sharing this with you in the photos below…

The lake is a bit low due to the lack of rainfall recently.
But, the reflections are still nice.

Praise God for the beauty of His Creation, and giving us the knowledge it is His…

God Bless!!!

Walking in Creation – Appalachian Trail Hike: Harper’s Ferry, WV to Caledonia State Park, PA (May, 2022)

On May 17, 2022, after a long absence (since September, 2019), I was blessed to return to my journey north on the Appalachian Trail (AT).
My hiking companion (Jeff) and I started where I left off in 2019 – Harper’s Ferry, WV, and walked the trail north through Maryland and into southern Pennsylvania.

This article will provide a summary of the 40.6-mile Maryland section and the 18.3-mile part we hiked in southern Pennsylvania (to Caledonia State Park).

Here are some pictures, showing the highlights of the 58.9-mile hike, which occurred over 5 days and 4 nights (05-17/05-21-2022).


Leaving Harper’s Ferry to cross the Potomac River and into Maryland
Happy to be back on new trail!
The AT footbridge adjoins a train track used by Amtrak and freight trains
An Amtrak train, headed east to Washington, DC passed by not long after we completed the crossing.
There’s an Amtrak station a hundred yards from the AT in Harper’s Ferry
A view of the Potomac River (and rapids) from the trail as it follows the C&O Canal Towpath trail for around 3 miles.
Following the white blazes along the river.
As easy as it gets on the AT! 👍
A nice map at an information kiosk, showing the trail across Maryland.
Note the “You Are Here”, about 4 miles into the state.
Weverton Cliffs (859 ft.), after a short but steep climb up from the river.
This is looking west up river towards Harper’s Ferry.
Note the series of rapids…
Harper’s Ferry is in the middle of this view, in the “notch” in the mountains.
Looking east past the rapids towards northern Virginia and Washington, DC
After Weverton cliffs, the next highlight in MD is Gathland State Park.
A small park, important to the hiker with its restrooms, potable water spigot, and nice picnic pavilion.
The monument in this view is of the War Correspondents memorial.
Blooming azaleas greeted us along the trail in MD in several places.
Crampton Gap Shelter, where we spent our first night
I slept on the deck under the overhang.
A view from White Rock Cliff (1,589 ft.)
Stopped at Rocky Run Shelter for lunch and water.
This is the new version – note the upper sleeping area inside.
This is the old version, still used.
Dahlgren Chapel, completed in 1884
Now it appears to only be a wedding venue
The “original” Washington Monument (1,550 ft.)
View from the top of the monument
Historical information
Crossing Interstate 70
Our home for the night (a rainy one at that)
A damp, foggy start to the day
Reflections of the Creation
Watch your step Jeff!
A nice section through a pasture
The beauty is in the details
Raven Rocks Shelter – Our home for night #3
I had the loft to myself! 🙂
Wonderful views from High Rocks (1,794 ft.)
Note the fog/low clouds at the other side of this broad valley
It was like this most of the way down from High Rocks
More Azaleas in bloom
Arriving at the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line


Beautiful scenery in southern Pennsylvania
Chimney Rocks (1,900 ft.) – First view in Pennsylvania
More rocky trail!
Arriving at Caledonia State Park

Soon, I plan to create a new movie for my YouTube channel showing the AT in Maryland.

Thankful for the opportunity to walk in the Lord’s Creation again.
Lord willing, I will return in the Fall (2022) to walk more on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania! 🙏🙏🙂

A new article on the southern Pennsylvania section will be posted once that hike is completed.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through CHRIST which strengtheneth me.

God Bless!!!!!!

Memorial Day, 05-30-2022

Hoping you had a blessed Memorial Day Holiday.
In this posting, remembering military Veterans who have passed on to be with the Lord.

My Dad, Kenneth Brenner, Sr. US Army Air Corps, B-17 crew, WWII – Europe
My Father-in-Law, Leonard Ward, US Navy, Destroyer, WWII – Pacific
My Uncle Art Cottrell, US Army, 90th Infantry Division, WWII – Europe

Here is a link to a movie I made in honor of Uncle Art’s service in WWII:

My church Dad, Hillman Ryan, US Navy, Assault Ship and Destroyer, WWII – Pacific

May we remember them all…

To end the day, we were blessed with the beauty of God’s Creation in the First Heaven (sky).

Looking east
Looking Southwest
Final view to the West

Praise God!!

Sunrise, Sunset…

Hi. Hoping you are doing well in the blessings of our Lord.

As you may have seen in past articles, we have a nice view from our back porch and patio of a lake behind our house. Our lot goes down to the lake and has a decent amount of lakeshore for us to enjoy.

The past views showed sunsets across the lake and to the west.
Recently, I was able to capture more sunset pictures PLUS a nice sunrise.

(I probably have you humming that song, so here’s the original from the 1971 movie “Fiddler on the Roof”:
You can play it while looking at the pictures below.


Here’s the sunrise, viewed through an upstairs window on 02-20-2022:

A beautiful start to the day


And, a sunset sequence on the evening of 02-15-2022:

A full moon was rising in the northeastern sky
Meanwhile, the sun was setting in the southwest
(Note the low water level. The Lord has since replenished…)
Looking south along our patio
And, northward as well
Sunset + patio lights make for a nice scene…

Praise God for His glory as seen in the beauty of the First Heaven!

God Bless!!

Hiking in Mississippi – Longleaf Trace Bike/Walking Trail

I’m always looking for trails and places to walk and hike in the Lord’s beautiful Creation. And, there are ample opportunities in south Mississippi to do so.

In the summer and fall of 2021, I hiked the 44-mile Longleaf Trace bike/walking trail, which follows an abandoned railroad bed, and goes from Hattiesburg west/northwest to Prentiss.

The area of the trail is outlined above.
This is from a brochure published by the organization “Friends of the Trace”

I hiked each section, up-and-back, in 7 hikes over 3 months. I started at the USM (University of South Mississippi) campus trailhead “Gateway”.
The trail actually goes 3 miles further “south”, through urban neighborhoods to downtown Hattiesburg – ending at the Amtrak station.

I filmed each section and plan to create a few movies for my YouTube channel.

Here are some views of what I saw on the Trace.

The Gateway building is a Welcome Center, staffed with someone to answer questions.
Bikes can be rented there also.
There are “stations” located along the route, usually in a community or town.
Here, the Jackson Road Station is on the outskirts of the Hattiesburg metro area.
A station normally has restrooms, a water fountain, places to sit, trash cans, and pumps to air up a bike tire.
Mile markers are placed at each mile point.
Here: 11 miles from downtown Hattiesburg, 8 miles from the USM Gateway
A typical view along the Trace, nice tree canopy with woods on each side.
It’s not always just trees. Here, the trail opens up to a beautiful farm.
Rest areas are placed along the trail between stations.
They typically have two benches, and a trash can.

From just north of Clyde Depot to Carson, a horse/equestrian trail parallels the bike/walking path. Sometimes, it is in the woods, out of sight of the bike path.
A primitive camp with horse stalls is at each end of the horse trail.
I plan to walk the entire horse trail in the coming year and make a movie of it as well.

Here, the horse trail is on the right, bike/walking trail on the left.

And finally – I generally don’t see many people on the trail, especially the further one gets from Hattiesburg.
But, occasionally, I come across some locals who welcome strangers to their area…


For more information, go to:

God Bless!