The Familiar

This photo was taken as we were approaching to land in Athens. Athens is near the center of the photo. When I took the picture, my focus was on the city and how it seems to be creeping up the bordering mountains. I didn’t notice the layer of white near the top of the photo until I was editing it. My initial thought was that these were mountains, maybe even the Alps! But on closer inspection, I realized they were “only” clouds.

Why do I find it disappointing they are not mountains? Maybe clouds seem more common or ordinary. While there is comfort in the familiar, excitement often lies in the unknown or at least the less known. Conversely, there is a tendency to fear the less known. May we be grateful for both the foreign and familiar.

God in all things


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


Savor the Gift

This photo of the sunset was taken shortly after we arrived at Mykonos on our 3 day cruise last year. We were happy to get there in time to see a spectacular sunset, but subsequently we were mildly disappointed that it was hard to do much exploring of the island once it got dark. Adding to our disappointment was knowing that people taking the same cruise closer to summer would have additional daylight.

So it was definitely a glass half full/half empty experience. Focus on what we were “missing out on“ or simply savor the gift of a beautiful sunset.

Often in life, it is tempting to wish that we had met someone sooner or tried something sooner or were even living in a different era. And yet, we can be certain that God does not make errors in where (and when) we are placed. Savor the gift.


Looking Back

This photo was taken looking back as we left Kusadasi on our recent trip to Greece (with one day in Turkey). The wake leaves a clear sign of where we came from.

As we bring 2018 to a close, there is value in looking back and reflecting on the past year. To see where we came from and how we got where we are.

It was a good year; it was a difficult year. We welcomed our third grandchild (good); we watched our son move to Philadelphia (difficult). We said goodbye to the Grand Poopah (difficult); we celebrated Marylynn’s retirement (good).

In life, as on a cruise ship, knowing where you came from doesn’t tell you exactly where you are going. But it does give a sense of direction.

Blessings to you in the new year!



This is a photo of the island of Patmos, which was one of the places I was most looking forward to seeing on our recent pilgrimage. There is a cave on Patmos believed to be the location where John received the visions recorded in the book of Revelations. We were able to visit this cave which is now enclosed within a building.

Patmos was not at all what I was expecting. It was a bigger island and much more populated than when I thought it would be. We were told that the island shuts down from November through February-March.

I never thought about the Book of Revelations as anything but a book of prophecy. However, it seems clear that it was written as words of both encouragement and warning to the early Christians suffering persecution.



This is a view of the Corinth Gulf from the city of Delphi. Delphi was the home of the famous oracle, who was consulted by famous leaders from around the world for several hundred years. The oracle was always an older woman, chosen from the peasants of the area. She sat on a tripod over an opening (“chasm”), from which fumes would arise and put her into a trance. Her utterings were then interpreted by the temple priests and were stated almost like riddles.

Obviously, we take a different approach to discerning God’s will today!