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The Path

This a view of a slot canyon in the Valley of Fire Park by Las Vegas. As the photo shows, it is impossible to see far ahead because of turns in the path.

And so it is in life – there are often times when it is not possible to see exactly where our path is leading us.

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Birds of a feather

“Birds of a feather flock together”. Not completely sure why that proverb popped into my head when I was looking at this photo. According to the website https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/proverbs.html, that proverb has been in use since at least 1545. BTW, there are hundreds of proverbs listed on that website, along with descriptions of the origin of many proverbs.

Speaking of “birds of a feather”, I’ve come to recognize that I have surrounded myself with people who are like-minded. Not by conscious effort, but nearly everyone I spend time with fits into one of 3 groups: run, church/faith, family. And has views/values very similar to mine. So I am thankful the interactions I have with people of different backgrounds and views who I meet through work and my travels. I don’t want to single anyone out, but if you are reading this and don’t think we have similar backgrounds then you are probably one of the individuals I am thankful for.

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What do you see?

The Rorschach Test is a set of 10 inkblots that is probably the best known of the projective tests in use (in contrast to objective tests). These tests are used to reveal hidden emotions and subconscious attitudes.

This photo was taken along the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail near Mt Rainier back in October. What does it mean if I see a gargoyle in the image of an old tree trunk? Maybe you see a starry night. I doubt that tests like the Rorschach give us more than a small glimpse of the inner person. Rather, we make most of our judgements about others based on outer appearances.

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

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The Desert

This is the view from the end of the Calico Tanks trail at Red Rock Canyon. If you enlarge the photo, you can see downtown Las Vegas in the distance. I don’t think of mountains when I think about the desert. I also don’t think of the amazing variety of vegetation that exists in the desert. Mostly, I think of a desolate and foreboding expanse. It is hard to understand and appreciate something until you experience it firsthand.

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Growing Where We Are Planted

We certainly saw plenty of cactuses (aka cacti) on our trip to Nevada. It is fascinating the number of adaptations they have to survive/thrive in the desert. They are able to absorb and store large amounts of water. They do not have true leaves, but have spines which are actually modified leaves. These spines also serve to deter herbivores. Photosynthesis occurs in the stems. Transpiration, during which carbon dioxide enters the plant and water escapes, does not take place during the day at the same time as photosynthesis, but instead occurs at night so as to limit water loss.

We can trust that God has similarly prepared us for the environment we are planted in, from desert to rain forest.

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The Word of God

I thought I would capture a picture of rain to accompany this scripture, but God sent snow!

Just as from the heavens

the rain and snow come down

And do not return there

till they have watered the earth,

making it fertile and fruitful,

Giving seed to the one who sows

and bread to the one who eats,

So shall my word be

that goes forth from my mouth;

It shall not return to me void,

but shall do my will,

achieving the end for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

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Perspectives

I’ve written before about perspective and seeing different things from different point of view. This rock formation in the Valley of Fire Park provides another great example. From this angle, it certainly is interesting shape. However, if you walk around the other side of the formation (and up a significant hill), you get a much better view of how this formation got its name… The Elephant Rock.

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