reflection, Scenery

Diversity

Kiawah Island

There are many things that I really enjoy taking pictures of, and birds would certainly be on that list. I’m not certain why birds fascinate me but two obvious things come to mind. One is their ability to fly and the beauty of flight. The other is the amazing diversity of birds.

There is also an amazing diversity among people. We are experiencing a time when this is a source of much pain. Let us pray that it would rather be a cause for celebration.

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reflection, Scenery

Peace

This is another photo from this week at Kiawah. When I look at it, the word that comes to my mind is “peace.” Certainly, this is a peaceful scene but it goes beyond that for me. It connects me with many happy memories from past vacations here.

Peace is so much more than the absence of conflict. It is more like an experience of true contentment.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

John 14:27

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reflection, Scenery

Calling

This photo was taken earlier this week at Kiawah. It was not the first time I had seen so many birds gathered at this particular spot. There is nothing obviously different about this spot, as far as I can tell. Which makes me wonder why all these birds have gather here. Something must be attracting them.

In our lives, there is something similar which I would label a “calling.” God often leads us by placing desires in our hearts. These desires may make no “sense” from a worldly perspective. But they lead to fulfillment as we recognize the unique set of gifts/talents we have been given.

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reflection

Focus

This photo was taken using one of the features on newer iPhones. In Portrait mode, you are able to create an image with an object (or person) in focus and the background blurred. In this case, I wanted to highlight the berries. The restaurant we had just eaten at in the background.

While I like visual effect created, it implies the berries (not edible I was told) are more important that the restaurant. In life, we often choose to focus on things that are not of value.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Philippians 4:8

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reflection, Scenery

Perspective

This photo of Landscape Arch was taken a couple of years ago at Arches National Park. It is a good example of how perceptions depend on your perspective. I think it is hard to get any real idea of just how high and long this Arch is. There is no real sense of depth/distance and nothing in the photo gives a sense of size.

Landscape Arch has the longest span of any natural Arch in the US (290 feet) and is 77 feet high. Amazingly, at the thinnest point, it is only 6 feet thick. You can no longer walk under the Arch because some large chunks (over 30 feet long) fell off in the 1990s.

It is also hard to gain perspective on the problems and challenges that people face in their lives. It’s easy to assume that someone “has it made.” Little do we know the difficulties they may be facing. Thankfully, God not only knows the challenges each of us face, God provides what we need to face them.

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reflection, Scenery

The Wind

This photo was taken on our last morning in Jamaica. This spot is one of my favorites at Galina Breeze, especially to watch the sunrise. We had a couple of days with beautiful sunrises, then 3 or 4 in a row that were very cloudy (ie, you couldn’t even see the sun rise). On our last day, I remember looking out our window and commenting to my wife that it should be a good sunrise because there were no clouds overhead. When we got down to the “beach”, there was this dense haze on the horizon. I can’t remember ever seeing so much haze there before.

After we got home, I began wondering if the haziness had anything to do with the winds. Every morning, it had been unusually windy. So much, that it was actually comfortable (whereas I usually sweat through breakfast). A quick internet search found that the source of the haze was …(dramatic pause)… dust from Africa. Blowing across the Atlantic sea into the Caribbean.

I certainly didn’t need a reminder of the power of the wind, but it was a nice reminder of the positive effects of the wind. God’s spirit is described as wind many times in the Bible. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as a cooling breeze. Refreshing.

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reflection, Scenery

Impending Storms

We were in a relatively small boat down in the Virgin Islands when we saw this storm in the distance. It reached us a few minutes later, but fortunately, we didn’t get too wet.

I must confess, I have mixed feelings about rain and storms. I know that we need rain. Thousands of people die each year around the world due to drought. On the other hand, we’ve recently seen the effects of too much rain with flooding and crops being ruined. There are many things in my life with obvious issues involving too much, too little. Like work. Too busy and I feel overwhelmed. Not busy enough and I get bored. Or people. When I have no one to interact with, I feel lonely. In a large gathering, I sometimes feel the need to find a quiet space.

We often hear about moderation but the word I prefer to focus on is balance. Finding the “middle ground.” While there are plenty of things we can’t control (like the rain), there are plenty of other areas where God leads us to find the balance between enough and too much.

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