Monday, October 9, 2017

What about God's Kingdom?

The Kingdom of God!  Is it a place or is it a state of being or is it both?  What a rich experience it would be to actually live in the Kingdom of God here and now.  I believe that is God's intent - to draw us into an existence of internal serenity while the outside world screams in disquiet and upset.

Personally, to believe that I am one with God - that His Spirit and my own are joined in union, then I do not need to wait until death to encounter His Kingdom.  The more that I become aware of who He is and what His provisions are, the more I want to live in that Presence of the I AM.  Who would not want to live in His Kingdom, where one can experience....
                                                   -  peace instead of discord
                                                   -  love instead of detest
                                                   -  forgiveness instead of blame
                                                   -  grace instead of dishonor
                                                   -  mercy instead of condemnation
                                                   -  hope instead of despair
                                                   -  respect instead of contempt 
                                                   -  faith instead of fear

Imagine that all these Godly forces reigned within hearts - what a different world we would live in.   A fairy-tale world you say??  It can happen in my world, my personal universe, if I want God bad enough in my life to make a difference.  It is possible to wrap yourself within the Spirit of God and enjoy His Kingdom, while the world rages around you in its turmoil.  Every morning of every day is a fresh beginning - a fresh footing to begin anew in a force of life that the Kingdom of God offers.



Come, join me again at the Turn-Up Patch on Monday, October 23.   I leave you with a reminder out of 1 Corinthians 4:20..."For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power"....


Monday, September 25, 2017

The Awesome Tetons!

I recently had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Teton Mountains in Wyoming several weeks ago.  We left eastern Oregon under the haze of smoke from wildfires throughout the state and was dismayed to find that the drive through Idaho and into Wyoming was the same in the encounter of smoke!  Wildfires have played havoc throughout many states obscuring the skies and the smell of smoke in the air - one of the consequences of damaging fire upon our once beautiful forests.  I took the photo below to illustrate this disheartening fact...


Thankfully, the smoke cleared the day before we left and I was able to capture a little of these majestic mountains and surrounding scenery.  I was overjoyed to see that the smoke and clouds had cleared enough to take some photos and gaze upon commanding views....




While at the campsite, we were treated in seeing a few moose wander through the grounds.  Since they are used to humans, they didn't cause any harm although humans could get a little excited at seeing such wildlife.   Buffalo were in abundance just a short drive from where we staying and that was a thrill.  They cross the highway just as we have deer and elk who do the same thing in eastern Oregon.



These are just a few of the many pictures that I took on the Jackson Hole Wyoming adventure.  It was difficult to choose which photos to post since there is limited blog space and the ones you see here are just a sampling.  As it is with most photographers, many shots are taken but few are chosen to publish.

Come back and visit me at The Turn-Up Patch in two weeks, on Monday, October 9th.  Let us all be mindful of the sights and sounds that make up God's exquisite handiwork in His creation in this universe.   It is comforting to note what our dear God has in His mind in His glory for us... "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him....1 Corinthians 2:9


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Photographing God through the camera of David LaBelle

I would like to share an article with you written by David LaBelle entitled "A Visual Love Letter".  His words echoed my own heart regarding the God we see in His boundless creativity that exists all around us.  I contacted Mr. LaBelle and it is with his permission, that I share his article with you.  Please read his column in its entirety for an insightful perspective in his words of photographing God....

       "For 50 years, I have dreamed about photographing God.  In the past, I even kidded that when I died, I wanted my family to place a Nikon F camera loaded with 100 ASA film in the casket with me.  I figure I won't need a fast film with a high ISO because there will be plenty of light, and I'd sure like to be the first to photograph heaven.

       Indirectly, from the first days I picked up a camera, I have tried to photograph God by photographing His creation - be it the natural wonders of the world or the wonders of human creations.  Just as we photograph stunning rock formations in Utah, Arizona, Colorado or South Dakota - whose majestic cliffs have been shaped by countless years of breathing winds - we photograph an invisible God by photographing the influence of His Spirit on His creation.  

       Each of us carries the genetics - the DNA of our father.  I realize I must walk softly and carefully with this subject, and do so with sensitivity, recognizing there are many who do not share my beliefs.  Please accept that this column is not meant to be a sermon, but a personal observation and ambition.

       I do not mind admitting that when I witness humbling acts of altruism and love, my throat tightens and my eyes fill.  In these quiet acts of compassion, I see my God every bit as much as when I behold a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  I have always been drawn to these genuine, not performed, moments.  In them I see the goodness of mankind and the loving influence of God.  In these mini stories, I feel the greatest joy and hope for humanity. 

       While some are drawn to photographing action sports, portraits or nature, I am drawn to quiet relationship scenes of love and compassion - things I often lack in my own life, but continually aspire to own.  My wife and I try to make pictures that reinforce the beauty and love of God on His creation, and try to avoid promoting the opposite.

       For me, life looks very different at 65 than it did at 25  I'm confident it is a natural thing as we age to grow more introspective and more deliberate with what time we have left.  In my youth, life was a smorgasbord and, like most, I wanted to sample everything.

       I have loved many types of photography - from sports to nature, breaking news, celebrities and even some fashion - but lately, more than ever, my heart seeks to capture and share positive pictures that reinforce love and goodness and encourage hope, while glorifying our Creator.  It isn't that I have not always tried to do this from the time I picked up a camera, but now with the acute recognition of the limited time I have left on this earth, there is an urgency not present 25 years ago.  I am forever reminded and keep this passage from Psalm 90 on the sleeve of my heart:  "Teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom."

       I photograph God when I record the golden morning light raking across the red earth or prairie grass of Oklahoma, or when evening clouds turn from white to yellow to crimson.  I photograph God when I see birds drink the dew of the leaves or eat the crumbs left by man.  Mostly, I photograph God when I see His Spirit working in the lives of His children.  I don't always love as I should, but often what I see through my lens challenges me to love more purely.  I wish every photograph I make to be a visual love letter to my God." - David LaBelle

photo by David LaBelle
David LaBelle had a caption written under the above photo which states..."I watch for small, quiet moments that speak to the goodness of man and individual character rather than loud, decorated "religious" acts often performed to be seen.  This tender scene of a young man walking two elderly women to their cars from a restaurant is such a moment."

Thank you David LaBelle for allowing me to share your wonderful thoughts on "A Visual Love Letter".  You can learn more about this international photographer, teacher, author and lecturer at his website at http://www.greatpicturehunt.com/


Please join me in two weeks at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, September 25....
 

Monday, August 28, 2017

A WOW of an Eclipse!

Today's post reflects the experience of the eclipse that occurred in our area just one week ago today.    Preparation for the influx of visitors began months ago throughout our communities within the John Day valley.  Since we live in the proportional eclipse path in eastern Oregon, it was a thrill to be able to witness 100% totality just from our own backyards.  Motels were booked, camp-sites reserved,  grocery stores and restaurants stocked, eclipse glasses in supply, emergency personal prepared for the event.  New friends were made and pleasant exchanges occurred with those who came from near and far to be a part of this celestial happening.  

Since we are privileged to witness many glorious sunsets and sunrises, it is hard to chose a favorite.  However, it seemed significant to take this photo of the sun setting behind our hills the evening before the eclipse.  God, using His creative force in nature, was preparing.



With family, friends and visitors gathered to enjoy this much anticipated happening, we had a pre eclipse treat when our local resident flew over the valley in his ultralight plane.  It is always special to see our flag flying overhead, as Dave Traylor takes his aircraft and his patriotism to the sky for all to enjoy..


The process of the eclipse was approximately two hours from start to finish.  The eclipse in totality was around 2 minutes, 8 seconds during which time the countryside grew dark and a chill was in the air for the lack of momentary sunlight.  As this stage was occurring, you could hear boisterous cheers from the people gathered in town and in nearby camp areas.  An expressing word in amazement by all - WOW!  

I took a chance on a photo shot since the brilliance of the sun was hidden except for the halo effect behind the moon.  I was so pleased with the resulting photograph as my Nikon camera had no special filters and limited in zoom power.  It is the one and only camera shot taken and I share it with you, my readers....


The power of God can never be underestimated and this is just such an example.  Scientifically, it is explained as to the material conditions that cause an eclipse phenomenon.  But it is one such miracle of life in a cosmos that appears endless and one that our own earth is a part of.   We cannot forget to factor in the Alpha and Omega, the existence of the completed One who is all and in all - the I AM.


Please join me at The Turn-Up Patch for another post on Monday, September 4th...


Monday, August 14, 2017

Legend, Fact and Beauty of Multnomah Falls

Recently I had the pleasure to visit Multnomah Falls.  I have often seen it from a distance driving on I-84 heading east from Portland to Eastern Oregon.  So often we are in a hurry driving from one destination to another, time isn't taken to stop and enjoy beauties of nature.  On this occasion, time was taken to stop and enjoy this well known waterfall in Oregon and of course, for photographic opportunity.

A little background first....  The name Multnomah is a Native American word that has been eluded to mean "downriver".  History records that the Multnomah people are a segment of the Chinookan peoples who originally lived near the Columbia River.


It is a two-tiered waterfall that is 611 feet high and located on the Columbia River Gorge near the I-84 Freeway.  The upper fall plunges 542 feet and the lower fall is 69 feet which makes Multnomah Falls the highest waterfall in the state of Oregon and the second highest in the nation.There is a legend attached to Multnomah Falls.  Keep in mind that legend means a traditional story or tale that has no proven factual basis....
According to Wasco legend, the daughter of Chief Multnomah sacrificed herself to the Great Spirit from the top of Multnomah Falls.  Tribes along the Columbia River celebrated the marriage of the Chief's daughter to a neighboring tribe.  The happiness didn't last long, however, before the area experienced an illness that affected all of the tribes along the river.  The medicine man claimed the Great Spirit told him all of the tribe would die unless the Sprit received a sacrifice; the Chief's daughter's life.  The Chief wouldn't allow it, but when the daughter saw the sickness affect her loved ones, she willingly left in the middle of the night to go to the top of the cliff overlooking the Columbia River.  She threw herself off the cliff.  When the Chief found his daughter's body, he prayed to the Great Spirit for a sign that her spirit was well.  Water began pouring from the cliff and became known as Multnomah Falls.

An interesting legend but here is the simple fact about the falls...  The Multnomah Falls water is supplied by natural underground springs that originate on Larch Mountain, which is an extinct volcano where the falls are located.

Below are several closeup photos of this enchanting water, mesmerizing in its tumbling fall....


I thought you might be interested in just a few facts and photos of Multnomah Falls.  It is just one of many sights of beauty in the diverse scenery from the west coast to the eastern region of Oregon.  There is a quote by Russian poet, writer and painter Mikhail Lermontov who compared waterfalls with human soul - "Many quiet rivers start from noisy waterfalls, but none of them jumps and does not foam up to the sea.  But it is often a sign of great peace of mind, and hidden forces..."

Join me at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, August 28th.  Until then, here is another thought to ponder on by Benjamin F Sullivan... "God is discovered entirely through creation - the brilliance of a sunset, the powerful roar of a waterfall, the symphony of sounds you hear in the heart of the forest, or the vastness of space and its countless stars.  God is the mastermind behind all matter - every earth shattering scientific discovery and mystery that is yet to be unraveled was dreamed and enacted by God."




Monday, July 31, 2017

Pathways

We have all heard reference to personal journeys of life that are made up of pathways in experience and choice.  It appears like a solitary walk since we are mostly aware of self in the drama of life.  And for those who believe in Divine Presence,  it becomes a faith walk and solitary is no more.  Awareness opens into a path that is not only human but graced with a power beyond oneself.  Psalm 16:11 says... "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  There is comfort knowing that you are not alone.

We cannot travel a personal journey without encountering others - fellow sojourners. I came across this saying by Thomas S. Monson that expresses this reality and is a good reminder of the love commandment...  Love God, Love your neighbor, Love yourself....



Come!  Journey to the The Turn-Up Patch for a visit on Monday, August 14.  See you then....


 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Daily Delights

The miracles of God in nature never cease to amaze me.  Daily, there is a fresh find to inspire and to delight.   As an example, this critter was discovered in a nearby field just waiting to have his picture taken.  Upon closer inspection, found out it was a marmot... a fancy name for a woodchuck also labeled as a land beaver.   Oh, what big teeth you have.....

 Or, how about this profile....

Or, better yet, how about full front with these great digging claws that make huge ground tunnels.... 


So that was my marmot adventure.  First time we've seen one on our property during the many years lived here.  He wasn't a bit afraid and made a type of chirping noise at us.  Our dog, being curious, tried to get a closer look but the marmot stood his or her ground and wasn't going to be run off by a giant four legged canine.

From critters to storms, I close this post today by a picture I took the other evening of storm clouds splashed with early sunset colors.  Another daily delight....  How great is our God!  Scripture in Revelation 22:13 says it best... "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."



You are invited to the next post at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, July 31....