Thursday, September 24, 2009


For any of you who have checked into my blogs recently, you may have noticed me bouncing from one page to another. I don't want to keep all of my stuff on the same page, so I create another page or blog to keep up with the various things going one.

Well, my most current thing is a page set aside for photos of my family and friends. I normally don't spend time worrying about these photo's, but lately it seems easier to put them on a page where everyone can access them, instead of taking the time to send them to each person individually. There is alot of work in trying to put seperate emails together for just a few photos so this will really save me alot of time.

If you stop by here, take the time to look at my newest page.. I will be adding things as I have time.

Have a wonderful day everyone, and may God Bless each and everyone of you as you go about your day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I will be adding some new stuff to my photo blog as I go along. I have enjoyed what other's have done with their blogs in regards to their daily photos, so I thought I would try that and see what may come of it. I went out today to find some new photo's to work with, and although I took a few different views, only a few were ones that I wanted to post. Call it my "ego" on not wanting to put something online that doesn't look good enough.... I think its an "artist" issue as I know others who have it. Anyways, check out my other blog and see what has been added for the day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This one is for Joseph and Mel:

Yesterday I went out to take some new photos during my lunch hour. I was encouraged by Joseph ( ) as well as Mel ( ) to look for something interesting and just photograph it. I had seen Mel take some photos of a church that she had posted in her blog a while back, so I went off to look at the inside of this church to see if I could take some pictures that were just every day pictures of something I saw.
As soon as I got to the church, the first thing that caught my eye was a dog sitting outside, tied to a bike, waiting for his owner to return from inside the church. Seeing the dog waiting seemed pretty interesting so I took a few minutes to capture the dog in some pictures. Well shortly after I started photographing the dog, his owner came outside and saw me taking pictures and seemed very excited about me having a camera. He immediately came to me and asked me if I would take a picture of him and his dog. I was very flattered and very excited to be able to share my hobby with someone in need. He wanted the picture, and I wanted the chance to share my hobby with someone else, so it was a win-win for both of us. I took several pictures and he thanked me very excitedly, so I told him I would take a couple more of him sitting on the steps.

From: Katrena

To: michaelakraft


Thank you for letting me take your picture. I appreciate when someone wants to share my hobby with me. I included the photo of your dog also, who was the object of my pictures before you returned. Have a wonderful day and may it be full of the Lord’s wonderful blessings. God Bless…



RE: photos‏

your very welcome, glad I could be there to share....

Katrena, The pictures are beautiful. You made our day. God bless you for your generosity and time! The interior of the Cathedral is very picturesque as well. Sincerely, Mike

As you can tell, he enjoyed the photos very much much, so I took the time to send him a few more of the inside of the cathederal. I hope he enjoyed them as much as I did.

I later sent the photos of the inside of the church to Mel, who I knew could use a smile, as I know things have a been a little tough for her lately. She was very blessed by the pictures and I'm glad I was able to share.

The pictures brought up an interesting discussion about the actual designs of the art work inside Catholic churches (in general) and its something that makes me wonder about the reasoning behind it, as well as something that just makes me laugh overall.

The one particular thing that brings this to thought is: why do all of the portrayals of Jesus, Mary and all the Saints etc.. all have a giant, angelic "halo" hanging over their heads. I myself have a hard time imagining all of these people walking around with a halo over them, or for that matter, even an extremely bright glow about them that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Mary was just an ordinary young girl, and I'm pretty sure that even as she grew with child that her body didn't become brighter or stand out more as she got closer to the birth of Jesus, nor do I think it changed after she gave birth to him.

As for Jesus, the bible says he was so ordinary in his looks that He was able to blend in with the earthly people; He didn't stand out in a crowd. He grew up as a carpenters son and only went out to minister in the last few years of His life. Even then, people had to point him when to others. You would think if He had a Halo/bright glow about Him that he wouldn't be able to hide out so well.... ;O)

I realize this sounds funny, but I always pictures that "halo" over their heads as some heaving thing that they have to carry around, sort of like a burden on their shoulders, for all the world to see. Maybe someone another point of view on this, as I said, it just makes me giggle when I see it.... Just my thought!!
Anyways, it was interesting to see how much one hour of my day brought about so many interesting things to see and discuss... Thanks Joseph and Mel for sending me in a different direction with my camera yesterday. It proved to be very interesting indeed!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A few weeks back I had an encounter that makes you think that God put you there for a purpose. Lately things happen like that in my life, and I see the hands of God orchestrated so perfectly, even while I am busy doing my own thing, only partially paying attention to what sort of picture he is painting in my life.

I woke up early one Saturday with all the intentions of going down in to the city to take some photos. I don't like the city, or the crowds they bring, but I felt like I needed to go in and check out the places downtown to see what kind of photos I could take that aren't revolving around the country and the animals.

I am very partial to the park we have downtown, and all the beauty it has in it. I never used to be, but the more I look at it and take photos of it, the more beautiful it becomes. I had been in the park about three hours that Saturday, and was getting ready to take a walk to somewhere else, on my way to cross the street from the park to the city streets to go observe other things.

On my way to the crosswalk area I noticed a man sitting in the grass under a tree. Not unusual, since the park is a home to many homeless, and this situation seemed no different than any other, except for this particular man had what looked like all of his belongings with him. When I say that, I mean all the belongings that might come out of someone who had a permanent residence in a room somewhere. (TV, clothes, personal belongings, a walker, wall hangings etc.)

No one seemed to notice how unusual this was and everyone was walking past him as if he was just another homeless man on the street. The problem was, the tree he was sitting under was on the side of the road right next to the busy street, and among all the other unusual things, it just didn't seem normal, or safe.

I walked up to the man and as he spoke to me, I decided to let a conversation start to see what was going on. He invited me to sit down and chat with him, as if no one else really takes the time to do that, and he would welcome somebody paying attention to him, so I sat down with my camera and started listening to the gentleman talk.

He was a story teller, and proceeded for the next hour and a half or so, to tell me stories of his life. He was a Vietnam veteran who had what I would consider a very hard life. Some of it sounded like he enjoyed portions of it, as any one does when they are young and full of life, but many of the stories took turns that weren't real inviting. One of the things I noticed as he told his stories was the struggle he was having to tell them. He would start, and then forget what he was talking about, and would ask me to "ask a question" so that he could remember where it was he left off. That was one of the things, among everything else, that got me to thinking that he really wasn't supposed to be here, but I couldn't figure out where it was he was supposed to be. My first thought was "dementia" because he could tell the stories, he just couldn't keep them all in line.

Some of the stories talked about his life in Montana where I'm from, so based on that, I paid more attention to the stories he was telling in regards to that interest, to see if I could get something out of him that told me he had family and a life elsewhere. When I reached a point of figuring out a little bit more, I asked him if he remembered his sister's phone number, which he did. Then I asked him what her name was and I wrote the information down and then told him I needed to get going, because I was wanting to go take photos elsewhere.

Before I left though, I tried to get a knife to help him cut the apples that he had with him so that he could eat something, and then decided that he needed more than just apples to eat, so I asked him if he was hungry and would like a hot dog. He was very eager with that idea, so I went and got him a hot dog to eat. He was very proud of being a "veteran" so he let me take some pictures of him and his flag, and the "hot dog" which he was very excited about having at that moment.

Once we got past that point, I made a point of needing to go, so that I could go make a call to see if his family would know what was going on with him, and why he was down in the park with all of his stuff. I called his sister and no one picked up so I started to leave a message, which must have gotten the sisters attention, because once she heard the story, she immediately grabbed the phone. Her reception wasn't what I thought it would be, but none the less, it was someone who knew him and could hopefully help remove him from this situation. (I was really worried about the "street savvy" homeless, who might take his stuff or hurt him, for no other reason than to do just that and nothing more.) I explained to her who I was and why I was calling her, but her reception was more or less, "what is he up to now", and "he must not be on his "medication"", to be out and about like that. She said he got in lots of trouble when he wasn't on his "med's" and has been in and out of problems and hospitals for years. That didn't surprise me, because a lot of Vietnam Vet's are in that same boat, and he seemed no different. However, I told her he hadn't been a problem and that we were having a wonderful time chatting, I just didn't think it was safe to leave him out on the street like this, especially when it could get dangerous as the hours move on from daytime to night, and I didn't want to see him down there any longer than possible.

As I talked to his sister, I asked her where exactly in Montana did she live, as the town didn't ring a bell to me. I told her I have family that lives all over the state, and that I was from there also. She asked me where my family lives, and when I told her where my mom and her husband live, she immediately responded that she knew my mom's husband. In an area where everyone farms or ranches, you know a lot of the people who live in the towns around you, and this just happened to be the case. She lives on a ranch about 40 miles from the town my mom lives in and knows Morris via the work he does. This is where the statement "it's a small world" comes into play.
Once we got the small talk out of the way, she said she would contact the nursing home where he lives to see if one of the people could come down there and get him. She at least understood the urgency of making sure he didn't stay out there any longer than he had too. Besides all the basic problems this guy was running into, the temperature outside was up above 100 and even I was having a hard time being out in the sun. However, I didn't want to walk away until I was sure someone would take care of him and get him back to where he belonged.
I waited until she called me back to find out what was going on. She said his case worker from the home would be down shortly to pick him up and take him back there. But she also noted that he may not cooperate because he is not taking his medication and doesn't want to go back there. She said he had been off his med's for about 3 weeks now, and they may have to take him back to the mental hospital if he didn't cooperate.
I didn't want to see this go any direction that it didn't have to, because at this point, he was being farely reasonable, and was just hanging out enjoying the sun and the freedom. However, I knew it wouldn't stay that way, so I watched him from a distance, while watching for the case worker, and also hoping that a police car would drive by so that maybe we could make this easier than I knew it would turn out.
I went back over to him to check on him and realized he was in need of water and neither of us had anything to put some into. He was to sick to walk to the water fountain across the way, so I resorted back to seeing if I could find enough change to buy him some water, since I spent most of it on the hot dog. I found just enough to buy a bottle of water, which in the park, isn't cheap, and I brought it back to him. He was extremely gracious, and I just hoped it would hold out long enough to get someone here to pick him up.
Finally a van parked across the street and I could see that this lady was heading right for him. She had been through this before and knew what to expect, however, I hadn't, and was unaware of the changes that would happen as soon as he saw her. Immediately he started cussing and yelling at her and telling her in all kinds of ways that he didn't want her around him and that he wasn't going to go back to the home. As she was trying to figure it out, I also tried talking to him, but now that I was on the enemies side, I was also the enemy, and he was telling me to go away also.
At this point, he had put his mind into gear, and was going to leave, whether we wanted him to or not. He got up, got his walker, and headed off towards the area where the children were running through the water. That scared me, because either of them could get hurt, and I didn't want to see that happen. The case worker was trying to follow him and yet still trying to pay attention to all his stuff. I tried to let her know I would take care of it, just make sure he didn't get hurt, because the children were running everywhere, and just beyond them was the steps down to the river.
She decided it was time to bring in help, and she called the cops to come in and help her. It was not what I had wanted to see, as I was afraid they would just put him in jail for the night, and that wasn't any better than letting him stay out in the park, to me it was worse than that park. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but at this point, there was no choice. I had been out here for hours at this point, and I know I was getting tired as well as dealing with too much heat.
Soon several patrol cars showed up and off these officers went to round this guy up. Mean while, I tried to put all of his stuff together in such a manner that it didn't get taken or lost or whatever; and then I just stood there next to his stuff and waited. I'm sure it looked funny seeing this lady who is well dressed, with my camera and gear, guarding this homeless man's stuff.
About 15 minutes or so later, the cops pulled up in there cars and this man was in the back of one of the patrol cars. It must have gone better than expected as he didn't seem out of control or anything; I think he just resolved to being taken back where he started. The good thing was that they told me they were transporting him up to one of the hospitals in town and not to the jail. Thank goodness, because he wasn't doing anything wrong, he just needed someone to help him. The case worker helped me pack up his stuff and the officers helped load it up in her van so she could head back.
I talked to them just enough to let them know where I worked, that I knew their faces from up there, and that I was glad this ended the way it did. They handled it the way I wish all cases could be handled; quickly with no one getting hurt, or having to go to jail. It had a much better ending than I had expected which I was very grateful for. I do wish the sister had been more interested in what was happening, but I know that families go through things like this, and we don't always see the happy endings we want to see. No matter what, I know it had a better ending, from my view anyways, and I was glad he didn't end up staying out on the streets.
Why the home didn't come looking for him as soon as he told them he was leaving and walked out the door, I don't know. But you think it would have been easier to have stopped him in the beginning, instead of letting it get this far. The case worker said they would have come looking for him by evening time, but to me, that would have been to late. I doubt he would have handled the heat that late into the day, and it could have had a much worse ending. The man had dementia, among the many other mental illnesses he had, and to me, why would you let someone leave the building when your dealing with those sort of issues. Some questions you just don't want to know the answers to. It's a good thing he didn't go any further than he did, considering how far he walked with all of his stuff, being in the condition that he was in to begin with, I was amazed he got that far with out getting hurt. Either way, someone was watching out for him, because I knew as soon as I saw him that something was out of sorts, and I think of how many people walked right around him and didn't even notice anything out of place.
There are definitely days when God puts you in just the right place at just the right time, and then waits to see how you will respond................. He is an almighty God!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Extremely Busy

There are days lately when I feel like I can't even find the time to sleep because I have so many things going on. God has been so good to me this summer, opening up doors for me to do the things that fill my heart, while fulfilling His work at the same time. I started out gathering coats and blankets a few months ago, and since starting this, I have seen God turn smaller donations into larger donations and now I have to have someone start to help me, or I'll never find the time to get it all done. I have sorted and bagged a lot of them already, but I have stuff sitting in my hallway, as well as my carport. The connections I have made by going out and talking to people have been great, and God has directed me to Christians who not only need my help, but are able to help me as well. Through this, I see myself growing by leaps and bounds. The once quiet lady who wouldn't talk to strangers, is now walking up and not only talking, but learning to sell my concept of giving back to the community. There has been a lot of reception to this concept, because the economy is so hard pressed right now, but the concept is nothing new. Its something we should be practicing every day as Christians. I see how God is changing my heart more and more as I do this, and others are noticing my changes also. I think it almost worries them that I'm opening my doors to stray animals, and going out and giving back to people on the streets because many people think its just a phase, and once you get over the niceties, then you'll be too overwhelmed and will quit, because its just too much to handle. I don't feel that way, and find it hard to respond when someone approaches me and asks me "What are you doing" as though I've gone off the deep end or something. The great part about this is, that its not me, but God doing all the changing, or rather, molding what He already knew was inside me, to make it better as I go. I get excited when I see Him open doors to places I would never have gone before, and more so, when the person He sends me to responds to me as though they have been waiting all along to talk to me, and they're not surprised to see me show up at their door, even though they've never even met me before. I've met some wonderful people along the way, as well as people who are willing to help only because they think its something the "should" do, not because their heart is really into it. He's shown me how people can be, and also shown me how "I" can be when my heart is not in the right place. I have to work hard not to make this about me, and just sit back and wait on God to open the doors. I find that when I try to open the doors, they are not what they should be and it doesn't work as well. I don;t know what Gods plans are for all of this, I'm just doing the work, and "waiting" on him to open the doors as He feels the need to do so. I finally got a response back from City Hall, in regards to an email I had sent out a month ago. I had completely forgotten about it until yesterday. I was thinking about the clothing I had gathered, but also the fact that I had not gotten as many coats and blankets as I would have liked at this point. As I was thinking about this, an email popped up on my screen in response to the email I had sent out a month ago, and I have been given the go-ahead to have an email sent out to all the departments in the City in regards to doing a summer collections of blankets and coats to be distributed to the homeless in the fall. God is good, and when you wait on Him, He does things exactly in the time that He feels they need to happen. What an Awesome God we Have!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have another link that can be accessed for anyone who might be interested in the photo's I've taken that are involved with the church I attend. Our church was going on a road trip this last Sunday, and I had many things going on, and didn't really want to go. As I sat down and started listening to our Pastor talk, I asked God to let me know if I should take this trip or not, as I really needed the rest, and to just get work done around the house. The answer I got was to put together a photo page for the church photos so that others can access them. So, I guess that meant that I was going on a road trip..... We really had a wonderful time, and the photos were lots of fun, and they will leave memories for those who went. Now that I've started this, I guess I need to keep up on the photos from various events, so that everyone will have a way to look back and enjoy the time spent in worship and fellowship. I hope that others who look at this page are able to stop by and check out the page from time to time, as the picture will change with the events that come up. Our next big one is the church picnic in August, so hopefully it will turn out as well as this batch did. And as I go along, hopefully others will want to add their photos to the batch also.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Our first night serving at City Gate went very well. Most of the group was there before the scheduled time, so we were able to go over things well ahead of schedule. I only knew a few of the people that showed up, the majority of the group came as a family, but not directly from our church.

I'm not so good at opening up to new people, so it was a little awkward for me getting started. Pastor Bob stepped up and spoke, which helped my silence, and then I was good. I shared with the group as much as I could about working there, and then David, who runs the kitchen, came out and spoke some more about his plans for the night. Once we got everyone organized, we settled in to wait for the doors to open.

I had been down there once before, so I knew right away what was needed, and once David spoke and said a prayer, we were open to serving the food. This shelter is unlike the other ones I had served at before, instead of serving them via a food line, we go up to each table and serve them as though they were in a restaurant. We are encouraged to talk with them, and their expectations are high, because they are used to being served right away.

There was 3 of us working the floor, bringing food and drinks to the homeless who came in to eat. It took the other 2 a while to get a rhythm going, so I paid closer attention to those who looked like they were still waiting to be served. I love how gracious and thankful these people are, knowing this may be the one meal they get that day. Some of them seemed like they lived a really hard life, and others didn't seem like they should even be there, but it's not for us to know why they are there, just to serve them.

I really love going down and serving the homeless, so I just sort of float on air when I'm down there. I move quickly to make sure they all have what they need, and then quickly go back to make sure they don't need anything else. I think we moved people through for just over an hour, before it slowed down. It could have been 60 or 70 people, maybe more, maybe less, all I know is we were really busy for that first hour.

Once it started to slow down a little, I took time to get some food and sit down and chat with one of the gentleman that I had been serving that night. He really didn't seem like he should be there, so I just started asking him questions, trying to get some insight into what this person was doing out on the streets. He was very clean, well dressed, and his teeth were very nice, which is unusual for street people. He was very particular about what he ate, and only wanted the healthy food, so I served him several plates of salad. He spoke about living in a homemade shelter, in a back yard of what could have been an abandoned home. I talked about his work, what he done in the past, and whether or not he desired to be working or not. He talked of working to help others, but not of the kind of work that pays money, and yet, he didn't seem to be without, or needing of anything. We talked about Germany, a place that we both had lived at one time, but for different reasons, and different seasons of time. He shared with me how unhealthy the foods I liked to eat were, and I shared with him that I was working on eating healthier, because my son was not a healthy eater, and tended to be a little overweight, so for him to eat better, so must I. I told him the story of how I used to be overweight in my teenage years, until some people I considered "parental figures" shared with me that I was overweight. I took it to heart, and changed my habits that very day. I've never been over weight like that again. I was very blessed to be able to sit and have this wonderful conversation with this man, as though we were friends sharing a cup of coffee and talking about old times. We reached a point when they were closing down to clean, so I had to end my conversation and thank him for his time and start cleaning up.

Now that it had slowed down, I was able to see how everyone else was doing, and the feel in the air was that everyone had had a wonderful evening. We were all blessed by being there that night. I didn't get out of there until well after 9 as I stayed and shared my "flier" that I was passing out to get donations of clothing for the homeless later in the year. I look forward to whatever God has planned for this ministry, serving at City Gate, as well as being able to provide clothes and blankets when the cold weather arrives.