A Hike in the Mountains

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“From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work…”

All the quotes are from Psalm 104, ESV.

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“The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted…”

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“The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers…”

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“O Lord, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom have you made them all…”

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!”

The pictures in this post were taken on the Ypsilon Lawn Lake Trail in the Rocky Mountains, at an elevation of about 9,200 feet.

The Scriptures are from Psalm 104 verses: 13, 16, 18, 24, & 35, ESV.

Realm Makers 2015

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The Realm Makers held their 2015 writers conference on the University of Missouri, St. Louis campus from August 6-9.  The Realm Makers are Christians who write and illustrate speculative fiction.  Speculative fiction refers to stories containing elements that are fantastic, futuristic, or supernatural; in other words, science fiction, fantasy, allegory, steampunk, and time travel.

The reason I enjoy speculative fiction is because it often expresses a sense of wonder.  Children have a natural sense of wonder about the physical world, but as adults we sometimes lose that wonder.  We forget to look around, we forget to notice the immensity of the universe or the smallness of its particles.  We forget the almighty God becoming one of us as a small baby.  We forget the mercies of God.  We forget.  But speculative fiction can sometimes take us outside of ourselves, and help us to remember.

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All the pictures in this post are from the costume awards banquet held on Friday evening.  Almost everyone wore a costume.  I didn’t have much of a costume, but I did have a hat.

During the conference, there was a great feeling of camaraderie, shared purpose, and friendship.  I enjoyed and also benefited from the conference.  Others did as well:

At the costume awards banquet, the Clive Staples Award for best Christian speculative fiction for a novel released in 2014 went to The Warden & The Wolf King by Andrew Peterson.

The Parable Award for Excellence in cover design went to The Ghost Box designer Kirk DouPonce.

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The Jedi Twilek family was chosen to have the best costumes at the awards banquet.  The Jedi-Twilek baby might have won it for them.

God bless the Christian authors.

A Freedom in Summer

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One freedom in Summer is a friend, a mountain bike, long trails, and a warm sunset along the shores of Tennison Bay.

In Christ, every day is its own freedom.  (John 8:36).

Beauty Exists

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Silvery water reflects tall pine in gentle ripples through warm dreamy air.

After taking this picture, I wasn’t sure what to think.  Was it good?  Would others appreciate it?  I sent it to a friend who liked it a lot.  Her enjoyment caused me to like it a lot too.  Getting feedback is good for any artist.  Otherwise, the only reaction some pictures will ever elicit is a question: “Is this good, or not?”

Taking pictures for one’s own enjoyment can be a good hobby, but photography, as with any art, is really about communication with others.  Art should be a communal experience.  I’m not sure if the picture above communicates anything deeper than that God is good and beauty exists, but at least we can share that pleasant thought together.

Beauty exists whether we perceive it or not.


Notes:

This post was originally published in 2012.  For this re-post, I increased the size of the photo, modified the wording slightly, added new tags, and changed the title.

The picture was taken at Hartman Creek in Wisconsin, and it is now one of my all time favorites.

God bless.

Go Hiking

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If the weather is right, get outdoors, and go hiking.  Enjoy what God has made.

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God made the outdoors, it’s the best artwork around, and we can live right in it.

And don’t leave your friends (or family) behind.

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These pictures are from the Ypsilon Lawn Lake Trail in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

God’s blessings to you.

The Days of Old

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I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.

I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”

Then my spirit made a diligent search:

“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.

— Psalm 77:5-12, ESV.

Let us appeal “to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”  God has never forgotten us, and he never will forget.  From the beginning in Eden, the Church existed.  The Lord was with us then, he has been with us ever since, and he will always be with us.

He protects us with wonders and mighty deeds:  His promise, his incarnation, his life, his cross, his death, his resurrection, and his return will endure forever.  His mightiest deed is our salvation in him.

Planned Parenthood Haggles Human Body Parts

This is the second video, and words still cannot express the horror.

Planned Parenthood is vile.

Who sells human body parts to pay for a Lamborghini?  Should we be surprised at the allegation that Planned Parenthood is selling human body parts?  Planned Parenthood’s

profit margins depend on women availing themselves of its child-killing services.  Its business, quite literally, is death…

An industry that feeds on suffering and death will inevitably attract some sociopaths.  Nice, normal people don’t typically choose to make a living by crushing babies and haggling over their organs…

But you don’t need an accountant to confirm the most significant discovery.  These people are monsters.  Planned Parenthood is a refuge for the sort of people who chat about the “crunchiest” way to kill a baby while they enjoy their lunch.  Worse, this isn’t just some nasty, private fetish.  Your tax dollars are paying them to do this!  Everyone cool with that?

— “Are Pro-Lifers Gloating About The Planned Parenthood Sting?
The Federalist.

For further reading, click here to search The Federalist for their latest articles on Planned Parenthood.

The Courage Award

True courage faces reality.  True courage does not deny reality.

He did not have the courage to be a man.  He did not have the courage to be what he was.  He did not have the courage to face reality.  He did not have the courage to be himself; so he hid under a facade, a new name, a new face, a new gender.  Ashamed of who he was, afraid of who he was, he hid.

“I am a woman,” he said.

“We admire and award your courage,” they said.  “You denied reality, and sacrificed your own body on the altar of idolatry.  That took courage.”

And so one lie betrothed another.  The ultimate act of cowardice, running from oneself, denying one’s own body, is called “courageous.”  Only a culture possessed of hellish madness could engage so brazen a lie.  A lie against nature, a lie against the very self.

You couldn’t face or accept your own body, so you hid, you ran away; and they called you “courageous.”

Madness.

Planned Parenthood Selling Human Body Parts Video

Words cannot express the horror.

Planned Parenthood is vile.  Monsters.  Mengeles.

Taxpayer funding of P.P. must stop.

For further reading, click here to search The Federalist for their latest articles on Planned Parenthood.

Physical Books

Ashlee Willis has published a delightful article about her love for physical books called, “Paper and Ink: 3 Reasons I’m not an eBook Girl.”  She followed that post with another featuring phenomenal pictures of old books from Ireland.  One can almost feel the texture and breathe the old book scent right through her pictures.

She loves physical books because they are real.  They appeal not just to our intellect, but also to our senses.  We are real.  We are physical bodies, and our physicality has purpose.

We are not just spiritual creatures.  God came in the flesh.  (1 Timothy 3:16).  God gave us sacraments.  (Luke 22:19).  God redeemed our bodies.  (Romans 8:23).  God did this because he loves who we really are.  We are not ghosts in machines, but rather we are bodies and spirits united as one.

Further, because we are made in the image and likeness of a maker, we can make.  We can create stories and characters through physical words and books.  The physical expression of ideas is what makes them communicable and real.

Just as there is pleasure in the physical sensation of reading a book, I imagine an author must also feel pleased to hold their first book.  Writing a novel often takes years of effort.  So there must be some satisfaction in interacting with that first physical copy.

Here is a Facebook post with a picture of the very first physical copy of my brother’s book, The Death You Deserve:

May God bless the Christian authors.