Ohhh Noooo!

My com­puter died!!!!

Alas and alack! I am slowly get­ting a new-to-me com­puter loaded with my files. It is good to have a back-up file handy.

I hope to get new pho­tos up soon. Please come back to check soon.

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The Cross Should Be Ugly

The Cross Should Be Ugly


I wrote this poem recently and placed it over a dig­i­tally cre­ated cross. It seems today that all the empha­sis is placed on the eter­nal life we have believ­ing in Jesus. Peo­ple may have for­got­ten that Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for our sins, our sins that we do today. Some­times it seems peo­ple treat Jesus like a “Get Out of Hell Free” card in the game of life, as though we can do any­thing we want and Jesus will snap his fin­gers and all is fine. Jesus is so much more than that! Remem­ber, Jesus CHOSE to walk among us as human to feel what we feel, to work, laugh, play and cry with us. He showed us how to live with God and with each other. He CHOSE to suf­fer and die for us. Let us remem­ber the high price Jesus paid, and let us do our best to live as he lived. Instead of look­ing at the cross as a pretty sil­ver or gold pen­dant, let us remem­ber the pain and death and take the chance to change our lives into some­thing that Jesus finds truly valuable.

(The Cross Should Be Ugly may be pur­chased from Fine Art Amer­ica and through Red­Bub­ble ( http://www.redbubble.com/people/dfedeler/works/11544451-the-cross-should-be-ugly-by-deb-fedeler ).

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Ta-da-da-daah Announcing!


I have joined the ranks of artist belong­ing to Fine Art Amer­ica. This is a site where peo­ple may buy qual­ity prints, cards, and posters.  You can see my work at http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/Fedeler/all

Bet­ter yet! You can visit the new “Shop via Fine Art Amer­ica” page found on the Menu bar. This page links directly to Fine Art Amer­ica, and you will be able to make pur­chases with­out leav­ing Fedeler Mule Farm Arts.

I don’t have all of my old pho­tographs and draw­ings at Fine Art Amer­ica. If you see (or have seen) an image that you would like to buy but it isn’t on the “Shop” page, please email me at fedelerarts@gmail.com. Please include the title of the image (if pos­si­ble) and/or a detailed descrip­tion of the image. I will do my best to put the image into my Gallery at Fine Art America.

Of course, you may still order prints and cards through Red­Bub­ble at http://www.redbubble.com/people/dfedeler/portfolio.

You may have noticed that images have changed as well. I am work­ing to make my site smoother to use. I am not a com­puter geek in any way, so my progress is slow. If you have sug­ges­tions which could help me, please email me at fedelerarts@gmail.com or write a com­ment. I have sev­eral options of view­ing images on dif­fer­ent pages. Please let me know which view method you prefer.

Thank you for vis­it­ing my site. You really make my day when you do!

Deb Fedeler


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Learning As I Go

I am learn­ing all the time. Even at my advanced years, (a friend con­sid­er­ately reminded me of my upcom­ing _0 mile­stone birth­day) I still learn some­thing new nearly every day whether I am aware of the les­son or not.

For instance, my car sud­denly started reg­is­ter­ing 20 mph higher than I was dri­ving. The dis­crep­ancy was less at lower speeds and increased as my speed increased. I had acci­den­tally hit a curb 2 days ear­lier, but had not noticed any prob­lem with my car. We had dense fog (dense enough for an advi­sory), so I won­dered whether mois­ture had got­ten into some thingy some­where. (Note my use of highly tech­ni­cal ter­mi­nol­ogy.) I stopped by my mechanic’s shop as I was dri­ving through town on another errand. He seemed stumped as to the cause, and I made an appoint­ment for a cou­ple of days later to have my car checked out.

Out of curios­ity, I searched “speedome­ter too high” on the inter­net and scanned a cou­ple of arti­cles on the sub­ject. Var­i­ous peo­ple of var­i­ous com­pe­tency in auto mechan­ics sug­gested look­ing at the speedome­ter cable, the speedome­ter cir­cuit board, and a cou­ple other areas. Then I found an arti­cle that said to check if the MPH/KPH but­ton was pushed so that the car was reg­is­ter­ing the met­ric units.

Ding! Ding! Ding! A bell went off in my head. (Per­haps this is why some call me a Ding-a-ling.) I knew my car had such a but­ton that would be easy to acci­den­tally push; although I had never “acci­den­tally” hit the but­ton in the 10 years I have dri­ven this car. Sure enough, the car was in met­ric mode and was show­ing me KPH. I pushed the but­ton and, Wha-la! (Voila?) the car was reg­is­ter­ing the proper MPH that I am used to see­ing. I can­celled my appoint­ment with my mechanic with a feel­ing of pride in find­ing the prob­lem, but also a lit­tle sheep­ish in not see­ing the KPH lighted on my dash­board instead of the MPH. Ah well, if it hap­pens again, I know where to check.

I have also been amused by the human mind’s predilec­tion to think that expe­ri­ences always repeat them­selves. This isn’t sur­pris­ing since sci­ence is built on the repeata­bil­ity of exper­i­ments. For instance, we know that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahren­heit repeat­edly. (Yes, I know it varies with salin­ity, but let’s keep this sim­ple, eh?) How­ever, when try­ing to pho­to­graph wildlife, a great many fac­tors are involved and the like­li­hood of see­ing an ani­mal in the exact same place mul­ti­ple times is pretty low.

For exam­ple, I pho­tographed an owl in a cer­tain tree by a creek once. Now every time I go by that tree I expect to see the same owl. I know it is silly to expect an ani­mal to spend its time in one spot just so I can see it again, but I still look. (No, I have not seen any owl in that tree since.)

I walked with a friend through Lake Meyer Park near Cal­mar, Iowa, and I wanted to go past a cer­tain tree because we had pho­tographed a chip­munk play­ing on its roots sev­eral weeks before. She asked if I really expected to see the ‘munk again. I said, “No,” but still wanted to walk that way. Lo and behold, I was able to take this picture.

Chipmunk on Tree Root

Yes, indeed. I saw a lit­tle chip­munk in the same place I had seen a chip­munk ear­lier. The same chip­munk? Most likely not, but pos­si­ble if its home is in the area. The odds against see­ing a ‘munk in the same place again should be very high. We had a good laugh over this after we took our pho­tographs. But, I must admit (sheep­ishly), I do expect to see a chip­munk in the same place the next time I go to Lake Meyer.

Ah, the won­ders of the learn­ing mind!

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Hope for America


Like this Blue Jay, I have at times sat down to think about life, painful though think­ing  can be to me.

Amer­ica seems to have dropped into a deep, dark val­ley. Wild shoot­ings, out of con­trol deficit spend­ing, divi­sive rhetoric, a per­va­sive feel­ing of enti­tle­ment are just some of the prob­lems we face today. Some­times I feel as though a great, heavy, black weight is crush­ing me to the ground.

And yet, I know there is light and hope. I meet and talk to peo­ple every day who shine like fresh day­light. These peo­ple are:

  • Hard work­ing — They under­stand that things don’t just hap­pen. Reach­ing goals require work, sweat, and toil. It takes time and effort to do a job well.
  • Respect­ful — My Webster’s Dic­tio­nary defines respect as “an act of giv­ing par­tic­u­lar atten­tion: con­sid­er­a­tion.” Peo­ple lis­ten when oth­ers speak, even if they don’t agree. Words like please, thank you, excuse me, sir, madam, and miss are com­monly used. We pause our actions when another per­son talks to us, and, con­versely, they will wait patiently for us to fin­ish our tasks before they begin speaking.
  • Inde­pen­dent — They want to “make it on their own,” even if it means doing with­out the pretty “toys” that they see other peo­ple have. There is a quiet pride in being able to stand on one’s own through the tough times.
  • Think­ing — Their minds are always at work plan­ning, ana­lyz­ing, work­ing to solve the puz­zles of life. This keeps ideas fresh and new. They also know that new ideas pre­sented to them need scrutiny with a crit­i­cal eye before being accepted.
  • Moral — As defined in Webster’s Dic­tio­nary, moral means “of or relat­ing to prin­ci­ples of right and wrong in behav­ior.” It is too easy to jus­tify our actions at the moment of choice. Moral­ity must be built on higher prin­ci­ples like “Treat oth­ers as you would want them to treat you.” The Bible is a good source to under­stand how we are to behave.
  • For­giv­ing — For­give­ness is a bless­ing to both the wrong-doer and the wronged. The wrong-doer is freed to live a life bet­ter today than yes­ter­day. The per­son hurt is freed from the weight of hatred and pain which can harm and dis­tort one’s soul. Every­one involved can ben­e­fit from forgiveness.

Many other pos­i­tive traits also enlighten our world. Now is the time that we need to allow these traits to become bea­cons of light. A bet­ter life is real­ized when peo­ple as a group live accord­ing to a higher code of con­duct. Like King Arthur’s knights, we can take pride in stand­ing up for truth and fair play. Like Jesus’ dis­ci­ples, we need to not only teach how God wants us to live, but we need to live how God wants us to live. We can live in a bet­ter world, but we are going to have to work for it; it won’t just happen.

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After the Ice Storm

Iowa has returned to win­ter. On Jan­u­ary 27 we had a pretty big ice storm come through our area. A thick layer of ice, about a third of an inch thick, cov­ered every­thing. Know­ing that this can cre­ate some won­der­ful scenes for pho­tograph­ing, I headed out­side with my camera.

This was the view from my deck.


This was the view from the bot­tom of the deck stairs.


This was the view from the end of the sidewalk.


Just kid­ding, I didn’t fall once (which is sur­pris­ing since I usu­ally end up on my back­side when there is any amount of ice around), but I did get out to take a few pics. Unfor­tu­nately, we had heavy fog after the storm, but I did man­age to find a few pho­tographs out there.

Icy Clothespins

These are the clothes­pins on the line in my back yard. I loved the lit­tle ici­cles com­ing off the end of the pins.

Ice Covered Broken Branch

The ice-covered this twisted end of a bro­ken branch. The ice made the reds of the wood brighter.

Thick Ice on Wood

Wow! What won­der­ful lines and curves!

Ice Covered Arborvitae Leaves

Arborvi­tae leaves are inter­est­ing in and of them­selves. Add a lit­tle ice and they become beaded jew­elry.  I do worry about the trees dur­ing and after an ice storm. Only a bit of wind will break off limbs, branches, tree tops, and even cause whole trees to top­ple. Thank­fully, we did not get any wind (hence the dense fog) so the trees are all fine.

Today we are hav­ing a win­ter storm. For­tu­nately the storm appears to be about over here.  I also would like to tell you of a fine per­son who used his pickup with a blade on it to open my drive. I can’t recall his name just now, but he did this with­out any word from me and left before I could get out there to thank him. There is hope for Amer­ica as long as peo­ple like him exist. How won­der­ful it is to know that peo­ple will help one in need with­out expect­ing any reward. God bless him and America.

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Gun Control — A Different Point of View

The shoot­ing in Con­necti­cut has once again brought out a cry for stricter gun con­trol. The gen­eral out­cry seems to be for more laws, more restric­tions, more of our free­dom taken away. I will instead begin a cry for respect for others.

For the past 20+ years I have watched the peo­ple of our nation become self-centered and mean. First I saw peo­ple goug­ing con­sumers and destroy­ing small busi­ness. When ques­tioned about the moral­ity of their actions, they would just shrug and say (with a wink and a nod) that, “It was just busi­ness.” Sadly, they were able to make money with these kinds of actions, and many peo­ple started to copy them. How sad that money should be placed above care for peo­ple in value.

Then came movies about “mean girls” that became inex­plic­a­bly pop­u­lar. Even talk show hosts became meaner and more ugly with their jokes. The one late show host whose open­ing mono­logue I once enjoyed turned to this road of mean-spiritedness. I stopped watch­ing him because it sad­dened me to see a great come­dian turn to such a base and ugly style.

Today it seems that a great many shows on tele­vi­sion are about irre­spon­si­ble sex, vio­lence, and mak­ing cruel and demean­ing com­ments to oth­ers. They say that it is ok to be dis­re­spect­ful to oth­ers as long as you get what you want. Com­mer­cials tell us it is ok to do things in Vegas that we wouldn’t be caught dead doing any­where else. Com­mer­cials also tell us it is ok to be self-centered and buy our­selves presents at Christ­mas time. Christ­mas is about giv­ing to oth­ers self­lessly. God showed us this by send­ing his own son to Earth as a way to bring us closer to him. Giv­ing to oth­ers is a moral val­ued not only in the Bible, but also in many sec­u­lar writings.

Self-centered ego­ma­nia is not con­ducive to a healthy soci­ety. I repeat: Self-centered ego­ma­nia is NOT con­ducive to a healthy soci­ety. Most peo­ple are good, hon­est peo­ple who are try­ing to do the best they can. Being con­stantly exposed to abuse, whether phys­i­cal, ver­bal or sex­ual, causes depres­sion and can cause a per­son to lose him/herself. I know because I went through such an expe­ri­ence after I went out into the “real” world to work after college.

I sud­denly found myself sur­rounded by peo­ple who told me I was going to fail, that I was a screw up, that I was crazy to do the things I do. I was ill pre­pared to han­dle a con­stant bar­rage of neg­a­tiv­ity after grow­ing up in a car­ing fam­ily and friendly com­mu­nity. Cer­tainly I had had to deal a few peo­ple who were mean, and I learned to han­dle such occa­sional times. How­ever, when the abu­sive words and actions came so con­sis­tently at me, I devel­oped an over­load of anx­i­ety. I found help at the right time. My fam­ily stuck by me despite my neg­a­tive atti­tude, and God sent me some won­der­ful peo­ple as friends who also helped me to find my real self again, a per­son who is ten­der, car­ing, and want­ing to help oth­ers when possible.

But what about peo­ple who don’t have a family’s sup­port or friends who can teach them about real friend­ship? What course might their minds take when it appears that no one will help them and they are con­stantly told they are no good? Peo­ple will come to believe what they are told, and, sadly, they will come to act in such a neg­a­tive way as well. I think we can see from recent head­lines what can hap­pen. Not all will cap­ture head­lines by shoot­ing guns at oth­ers. Some will kill them­selves, and some will treat oth­ers as they have been treated, and many will sim­ply exist, giv­ing up any attempt to try for some­thing better.

We can not allow this to hap­pen any more. We must make changes in our soci­ety. How? Some have sug­gested ran­dom acts of kind­ness, doing a good deed with­out expect­ing any­thing in return. This is fine as far as it goes, but for it to be a great idea, acts of kind­ness can­not be ran­dom. Acts of kind­ness must be a way of life! We need to live kind­ness 24/7. How?

  1. Treat oth­ers as you would have them treat you.
  2. Be polite.
  3. Take time to lis­ten to what oth­ers say, don’t assume you know what they are saying.
  4. Offer to help some­one who is strug­gling, even if it is only to hold a door open. If they decline your help, say, “OK, maybe next time.” and leave it there.
  5. If what you are about to say some­thing that will hurt another, DON’T SAY IT! The old adage, “If you can’t say some­thing nice, say noth­ing at all” is very wise.
  6. Take time to try to see a sit­u­a­tion from the other person’s per­spec­tive. This is not as easy as it sounds. To do so, one must try to find the reason(s) why the other holds their point of view. If you can find the rea­son, you are usu­ally less likely to treat the other per­son as useless.
  7. Don’t join any­one in treat­ing another per­son harshly. Try to stop it if you can; oth­er­wise, walk away. Do not sup­port bad behav­ior by stand­ing next to it. Bet­ter yet, sup­port the per­son being bul­lied and help them to get away from the bully.
  8. The Bible has many exam­ples of how to treat each other, espe­cially in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Lis­ten to the words of Jesus to learn how we are meant to treat each other.

One more secret I will share with you. When you give another per­son respect, they will usu­ally treat you with respect. Many times in my life have I given a per­son com­monly described as a loser respect, and they have treated me bet­ter than oth­ers. Not every­one will respond pos­i­tively, but the major­ity will.

Chang­ing back to an atti­tude of respect for peo­ple is going to take time. This is some­thing that will take daily prac­tice, every minute of every day. Don’t despair if you fail to be kind all the time. We are, after all, human and will make wrong choices some­times. Just keep try­ing to be bet­ter today than you were yes­ter­day. If we can become a nation that is more pos­i­tive toward one another, the chances that guns will be used against peo­ple will diminish.

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Wonderful Gift

I went out for a walk through my par­ents creek pas­ture a cou­ple of days ago because the sun was shin­ing after sev­eral gray days. I was just get­ting under­way when I heard a group of crows mak­ing a racket just a lit­tle north­west of me. I kept my eyes and ears open as I walked. Finally I saw a large bird in a tree. I tried to get a pic­ture, but the tree was some dis­tance away. I was able to tell that the bird was an owl, most likely a great horned owl judg­ing by its size and length of the ear tufts. I tried to get closer, but the crows caused the owl to fly deeper into the woods.

So I went on to find other pic­tures. I had not gone far when I came upon this.

History Written in the Snow

The par­al­lel lines on the right side of the pho­to­graph appear to be from the tips of the wings drag­ging through the snow sur­face, and the other marks are most likely from the bat­tle between the owl and the prey. This is only my sup­po­si­tion, but hav­ing seen the owl, it makes sense to me. I also assumed the crows were mak­ing the racket as they tried to take the prey from the owl.

Why do I con­sider this a won­der­ful gift? Before I go out on a photo shoot I ask God to guide my eyes, my ears, and my mind to find what He wants me to pho­to­graph. I count see­ing the owl and find­ing this bat­tle­ground as an answer to my prayer. This is not the first time I have found some­thing won­der­ful after ask­ing for God’s guid­ance. I got pho­tos of an 8 point buck, won­der­ful sun­sets, beau­ti­ful images of new life in the spring, flow­ers I never knew existed, and much more after sim­i­lar prayers.

I don’t really deserve such won­der­ful gifts, but God loves me and is will­ing to help me find the beau­ti­ful and inter­est­ing in this world. In fact, God loves me so much, he sent his own Son into this world to die and rise again just so I can live for­ever with God. The truly won­der­ful thing is that God has done this for all peo­ple. God loves you, and wants you to be a part of his fam­ily as well. Just open your heart to God’s love, and He will do the rest. And don’t be shy about ask­ing God for won­der­ful gifts, but ask Him to keep your eyes, ears, mind and heart open so that you can see the won­der­ful gifts he will send to you.

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I’m Back!

Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, I have not be abducted by aliens from outer space. I still have a great inter­est in pho­tog­ra­phy and have many images to share.

I was busy this sum­mer work­ing for Maifeld Land­scap­ing out of Sum­ner, Iowa. Some­times I worked in the office on the com­puter, and some­times I worked on site. I have learned a great deal this year about patios, plants, plant­ing, and anatomy. I found that I have mus­cles I didn’t even know existed. The good news is that those mus­cles did not kill me, but have instead become stronger. This did not come with­out com­plaint (me to my fam­ily, my mus­cles to me), but the pos­i­tives gained far out­weigh the tem­po­rary negatives.

Amaz­ingly, this is a life les­son for me. I don’t know what I can do if I don’t try. I have doubts about how much I can do. Some­times this pre­vents me from try­ing some­thing new. When I can get beyond the doubts, how­ever, and attempt to do what I don’t think I can do, I find that I can often do what I thought I couldn’t! (Did you fol­low that?)

I guess the point is that if I don’t try new things, how do I know that I can’t do them? There is also a stigma about fail­ing these days that pre­vents many peo­ple from try­ing to do new things. What I like to think, how­ever, is that even if you fail at some­thing, at least you tried, at least you made an attempt to do some­thing more! That attempt, in and of itself, is a vic­tory to be proud of!

So I proudly hold up my aching mus­cles (slowly, painfully but proudly) and say, “Yes, I can” or even “Yes, I tried”. Then I take ibupro­fen, fall into bed, and dream about the next feat I shall try to accomplish.

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Why Do I Take Photographs of Nature?

The Carnegie Cen­ter in New Hamp­ton, Iowa had a recep­tion for the three artists (includ­ing me) in their cur­rent show, “Three Women and Mother Nature”. I had thought that we artists were going to have to stand up front and talk a lit­tle about why we pho­to­graph nature. We didn’t have to, but I hate to have all the time I put into writ­ing down some notes go to waste, so I will tell you my thoughts on the subject.

My plan was to get up front, strike a dra­matic pose, look off into the dis­tance and say, “Because it’s there!”, and sit down. I would do this know­ing that Juanitta would give me a dirty look and know­ing that I would have to get up and say more.

I have always loved being out­doors, feel­ing the sun and the wind. I even enjoy play­ing in the dirt. I grew up on the farm work­ing with cat­tle and pigs, pick­ing up rock, bal­ing hay, and learn­ing to how nature does what it does through inter­act­ing with it and observ­ing it.

In school, I really enjoyed sci­ence as a method of learn­ing to look at things closely, try­ing to fig­ure out how things are made and why they work the way they do.

I also grew up draw­ing all the time. I would draw just about any­thing I could see, but early on my atten­tion began to focus on nat­ural things (as opposed to man-made items). Details were (and are) very inter­est­ing to me which I sup­pose is an exten­sion of my inter­est in sci­ence and how things work.

I received my first cam­era I think in my early teens. I also took sev­eral courses in pho­tog­ra­phy while attend­ing Uni­ver­sity of North­ern Iowa. These courses fine-tuned my eye. I began to under­stand why cer­tain things attracted my eye, and I was able to take bet­ter pho­tos because of this.

But this was (gasp) 20 years ago. Why does nature still hold my inter­est? Nature is full of life and change. It’s life forms range from sin­gle cell organ­isms to truly huge and com­plex ani­mals and plants. The inan­i­mate parts of nature, like rocks, sand and water, are also fas­ci­nat­ing. Nature is an inex­haustible vari­ety of shapes, tex­tures, col­ors, lines and forms.

There are many beau­ti­ful sub­jects in nature — flow­ers, sun­sets, and birds to name a few, but there is also beauty in things not “nor­mally” con­sid­ered beau­ti­ful. A big old tur­tle with 3 inch claws has beauty in its solem­nity and steadi­ness. Dead plants that have shed their leaves can now dis­play the grace in the curve of a stem and the mar­velous intri­cacy of inter­twin­ing vines. How can I put into words the won­der that fills me when I see a shed snake-skin or an empty cicada exoskele­ton cling­ing to a tree?

God has cre­ated a world full of good things, not just beauty, but energy, grace, sim­plic­ity, mind-boggling com­plex­ity, straight­for­ward facts and elu­sive mys­tery. We humans have cre­ated a painful, stress­ful life by chas­ing after things we don’t have. While I want my pho­tog­ra­phy to bring a smile and enjoy­ment to peo­ple, I also want peo­ple to think about what we have, the won­der­ful gifts God has already given us. I want to encour­age peo­ple to look for the good in life, even in unex­pected places. If we can learn to find the good in the nat­ural world, maybe we can start to find the good in our­selves and in each other. Just think where that kind of think­ing could lead us!

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