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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

I love spring.  The bursting forth of new life thrills my soul.  The awakening of the countryside from the drab greys and browns of winter to multi-colored flowers set against the backdrop of green simply makes me happy.

We recently experienced the birth of our 4th grandchild.  My wife helped with the delivery and today Lilah Joy is 7 days old. We actually have two grandchildren now who were born on Good Friday.  Jasper Leland was born on Good Friday 4 years ago.  As I held Lilah last night I couldn’t stop thinking about what a precious gift I held.  As she lay restfully sleeping in my arms she was totally at peace.

I was reminded that this is what God wants for each one of us… to rest in Him, to put our trust in Him, to be His child and be at peace.  Holding this precious child and considering the amazing love God has for us was both humbling and inspiring.  Roman 8:14-17 comes to mind.  We are His children and He wants to be known as our “Abba”, our Daddy.

It seems appropriate that for most of us Easter corresponds with spring.  Jesus’ resurrection marks the ultimate of new life.  There are a number of ways that Jesus coming to earth, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His resurrection changed the world forever.

There is salvation.  The price for our sin has been paid and we can enter into a right relationship with God as our Father through what Jesus did on our behalf.

There is freedom.  The power of sin is broken because of what Jesus did.  We can experience freedom from the dominating and destructive habits of our old self because of the cross and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit given to each one who accepts God’s gift of salvation.

Oh, and there is purpose.  We no longer are subject to the whims of a fickle nature.  We are called and equipped to live a life that has God-ordained purpose.

There is praise overflowing.  God gave us new life to live in Him and to live for Him.  Our lives are testaments to the one, wholly, and Holy Other.  God is worthy of our constant praise.  We do this best by living in close communion with Him and responding in prompt obedience to His nudges.

Yes, spring has sprung.  The tomb is empty.  And there is new life… radical…rich…full… abundant new life available to all who trust in and give their lives to Jesus – the lover of our souls.  Rejoice my friend.  He is ALIVE!  And so are we.  Death no longer has a hold on us.  Neither does sin, at least it doesn’t have to.  The only power sin has left is the power we give it.  Let sin no longer reign in your body, but live your life totally immersed in Jesus and His saving, cleansing, healing, delivering power.  Again I say REJOICE!

Be blessed today my friend as you bask in the new life Christ Jesus provides.

As a new grandpa’s prerogative, I included a few pics of our new grand-daughter who helped inspire today’s blog.

 

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At some point in our lives, most of us want to hear God speak directly to us, directly into our life situation.  I am convinced that intimacy with God is our highest calling.  What Adam had in the garden before the Fall is a picture of what life in Christ can become… intimate, familiar, loving, without secrets or shame, the PERFECT relationship.  But for almost all of us we are still a long, long ways from it.

If intimacy with God is our highest calling, then why do we struggle so with achieving it?  Why is it that we don’t hear about or see where God is speaking to people regularly?  Why does my prayer life feel more like a one sided conversation than a dialog?  Why is the silence so quiet?

A conversation this weekend has brought this question into my spirit and I have been wrestling with it for three days now.  While I suspect there may be other reasons, I have insight into some of the reasons and a path through a season of silence that may be beneficial for you.

Let’s begin with the order of priorities God has for us.  The most important thing God has for us is to know Him.  That is priority #1.  Not knowing ABOUT Him, but knowing Him.  He sent Jesus to earth to engage humanity face to face, skin to skin, heart to heart.  Jesus’ life on planet earth was brief – 30 or so years, but in God’s providential plan, He inspired the writing of the Word which not only fleshes out the “God Story” for the billions of us who did not get to know Him in the flesh, but creates the pathway to meet and truly know Him.  Also in His plan, Jesus’ resurrection means Jesus is alive.  If He is alive then He is knowable.  At my conversion, I believe Jesus was right there with me, talking to me, offering me life in Him.  When I accepted, He placed His Holy Spirit within me and I was changed.  I know it.  I felt it.  Others saw it and commented on it.  It really happened.  Now humanity’s enemy, the bible calls Him Satan, has periodically tried to convince me otherwise.  Most of His attempts have been to get my eyes off Jesus, my spiritual ears from listening to the Holy Spirit, and my actions away from intimacy with God.  Those times I have been diverted, quiet ensued.  This brings me to the first reason we may enter a time of silence in our relationship with the Lord.

Spiritual warfare is a reality.  The enemy actively fights against God.  The children of God, believers who have been saved through faith in Christ, are at the frontline of that war.  There are many similarities in warfare we see and what goes on in the spiritual realm, but I want to focus upon one aspect – communication.  Knowing the battle plan and keeping in touch with command is vital in battle.  This is often hard to do, particularly when the fight is intense and the din of battle drowns out all other sound.  Spiritual warfare will have times when we are getting hit with any number of  assaults.  The good news is our Lord God is the ultimate Commander in Chief.  He has both a plan and resources to win the war and bring us through the battle.  When we are in the battle, we may not clearly hear Him, but we can trust Him.  We make our requests, we hold our position, and we do what we know from His Word we are to do.  In the absence of a clear word from the Lord, we trust the Word of the Lord and the last thing He told us to do.  And we hold on.  We also look for reinforcements.  This would be Godly friends who can come alongside us in the fight.  Ones who will join us in the battle.  Ones who will also be communicating with our Commander, the Lord God Almighty, about our needs.  Scriptures for this are 2Cor 10:3-5 and Eph 6:10-18.

Reason 2.

On-going sin.  Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins – all of them.  God in His wisdom has given us a role to play in our salvation.  We repent – we turn away from sin and turn to God.  There are many things that can be said about why sin is such an evil thing, but for the sake of this discussion I’m going to focus upon just one aspect.  From where we stand sin lies in the opposite direction of God.  If we choose to run after sin, we are turning our back on God.  Have you ever noticed the orientation of our ears?  They are cupped forward.  This allows the capture and amplification of sounds in front of us.  This also provides a degree of shielding from sound waves coming from behind us.  This is a physical picture of a spiritual truth.  When we turn away from God, it becomes much more difficult to hear God’s voice calling us back to Him.  That which we are facing grows louder and more strident.  The voice of God grows harder to hear.  And God seldom shouts.  Hopefully I can come back to that theme in another post.  God can and will shout, but it is the exception rather than the rule.  His gentle whisper and subtle nudges are the norm.

The remedy when on-going sin causes us to lose awareness of God’s voice is simple, if not necessarily easy.  Cease the sin immediately, repent, confess, and seek the Lord’s help through Godly friends and counselors who can help you take your next steps.  In this I have seen an accountability partner provide tremendous benefits.  God works through His people in the healing process.

Reason 3.

Emotional wounds not dealt with.  My understanding of God is that He has saved me utterly and completely.  My experience has been that in a few cases God walks me through the healing of damage created by sin, my sin and the sins others have done to me, over time.  Although I have been a believer for 30+ years, there are still times of periodic cleansing, teaching, and healing that He does in me years after I felt Him power-wash my soul.  I am getting into an area that still holds a degree of mystery for me, but I have seen this at work in my life and in others.  God will choose to heal some things from our past years into our walk with Him.  The forgiveness has long since been applied, but sometimes God wants to heal the scars.  In some cases our stuffed hurt actually encases a bit of poison that must be removed.  If the Lord wants to do the healing, our role is to allow Him, the Great Physician, to do surgery.  Covering it up, holding it in, saying it doesn’t exist does not further the Lord’s work in this area.  Giving it to the Lord, confessing and lifting it up to Him, is the right thing to do.  One of the areas I have seen this frequently take place is for people who have been victimized by sexual sin.  Opening up about this to a caring and wise counselor is a one of the most benefical steps in the healing process.

Reason 4.

Our unrealized expectations of God leading to a “God Grudge”.  An unfortunate situation often occurs when a person comes to faith.  A well-meaning soul will tell the new convert something like, “You are changed and your life will be rich, full, and exciting because you are a Christian.”  While there are many blessings that come with being a Christ-follower, absence from life’s difficulties is not one of them.  In fact, when we immerse ourselves into living a fully surrendered life we will experience times of need that lead us into greater dependence upon Him.  Sadly many believers reach a point where their expectations are not met, but rather than seeking Godly counsel, they bottle up the disappointment and trudge on.  Over time and as more unrealized expectations occur, a God Grudge develops.

I have seen this and been fortunate enough to speak words of encouragement to people to help them identify the source of their grudge and help them take it to God.  He already knows we are holding it.  He just wants us to admit it and then give it to him.  I can think of five situations where the persons took this step of faith and within a month a break-through in the natural realm of a long-standing problem was manifested.  Intimacy requires honesty.  God can handle our honesty.  We just need to be open to what He has to say back to us.  Psalm 51 resonates for Reasons 2 – 4.

Reason 5.

Disobedience to what the Lord has said.  I know that disobedience to the Lord is sin, but I want to zero in on disobedience to God’s personal word to us.  I shared my most poignant and painful example of this in a post last summer. https://areliablefaith.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/responding-to-the-nudge/.  In this story I share how I rationalized my way out of obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge and the consequences were significant.  This example and some lesser periods of waffling when presented with promptings from the Lord have clearly shown me that quiet ensues when we ignore what the Lord tells us.

Our Pastor has shared this with us as well.  “Have you done the last thing I told you?”  This is the question the Lord has laid on his heart when he has tried to maintain a dialog, while not being fully obedient to the last thing the Lord told Him to do.  I admit to the same thing.  A few years back I went through an extended time where the Lord repeatedly brought the same scripture to my mind as I prayed.  It wasn’t until I obeyed the practical application of that scripture that my prayer life moved forward.

God is not into superficiality.  There is no façade that works.  Obedience is essential if we desire unhindered dialog with the Lord.

Reason 6.

We are to wait.  This one is perhaps the most common for me.  And it really only becomes an issue when we get our priorities backwards.  At the beginning I said our #1 priority is to Know the Lord.  For the finite to know the Infinite takes all our life and at the end we will still fall far short of knowing God fully.  But that is what God desires and has called us to.  Part of the process for getting to know the Lord is that we walk in our second priority which is: Know and Do the Things God Wants Us to Do.  Life spent being where God wants and doing what God created us to do is a life well lived.  However, our “doing for God” can usurp our first priority – Knowing God.  When this happens we can get out of the Lord’s whisper range and we can move into the realm of silence.

I have fallen into this pit more than once.  I am an active person.  I also tend toward being a workaholic.  I struggled to type that because in my mind I am just thorough, but my wife and others have pointed this out with enough examples that I cannot deny it.  It is not uncommon for me to get involved in a good thing but fail to take the time to validate it against the Lord’s leading.  Being over-committed to good things invariably leads to being under-committed to the best things.

The solution here is pretty simple.  Make the #1 priority the #1 priority.  Isaiah 40:31 is on the spot.  “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  The shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not grow weary.  They shall walk and not faint.”

If we seek first God and His righteousness, then we put ourselves in position to hear, to learn, and to move when He says move.  For me waiting is manifested in a number of ways, but let me share my primary few.

1) Rising early with the bible, a cup of coffee, and a heart to enjoy anything new that I perceive is from the Lord.  This may be a new insight in the scripture.  It could be a person the Lord brings to mind that I pray for.  It is often an idea that rumbles around in my Spirit picking up scriptural ties that becomes a blog post.

2) Attending worship with the sole intention of lifting up adoration and praise unto the One Who is worthy of every last bit of praise I have to give.  There was a time in my life when I had to listen to a number of praise songs, concentrating on their lyrics before I moved into deep worship.  I seem to have moved to a place where I come expectant and ready to commune with the Father in worship.  This is awesome within our church, but it now occurs regularly whenever I listen to praise and worship.

3) Serving others has become a source of blessing for me.  I have found that in praying for and caring for others, I become more sensitive to the Lord nudging me, prompting me, leading me.  I know Who the answer is and so in listening to others in need, I am open to the Holy Other speaking life and hope to them.  Sometimes it may be through me.  Sometimes it may be through another in the conversation.  But I have consistently seen the Lord minister.  My role is to simply wait, be open and receptive, and do or say what I believe He leads me to do or say.

4) Out in nature – particularly at sunrise or sunset.  For this one I generally am simply swept up into the awesomeness of Who God is… Creator, Sustainor, Artist, Master Designer, intimate Friend, Loving Father – and worship ensues.  The utterences of my heart flow unbidden to the throne of grace.  Sometimes I sense something specific in my Spirit.  Always I receive the Lord’s refreshing.

 

I know this has been a long post.  I hope and pray it has been encouraging for you.  The Father loves you and He has a message for you.  Seek Him and He will speak to you.  Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

In closing I share a few of my favorite pics from my sunrise and sunset devotions.  Be blessed my friend and allow the Father’s blessing to flow in, through, and around you to in rich abundance.

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Sunrise over Crater Lake, Oregon.

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Crater Lake, Oregon

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East Rim of Crater Lake at Sunset

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Alpine-glow on Mount Rainier, Washington.

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Update South Carolina Foggy Sunrise

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Radiant!

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The heavens declare the glory of God.

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The best man can do is but a glimmer compared to the beauty the Lord bestows on the canvas of this world. View across our front yard.

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Sunset on Ruby Beach, Washington.

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Ruby Beach at Sunset and Low Tide

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Splitting the Sky

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Rows in the heavens

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Sunrise in the South Pacific.

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Darkness tried to hide it, but the Light cannot be contained!

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Sunset over the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

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Sunrise over Mahon’s Pool at Maroubra Beach, Australia

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Sunset over my backyard this past Sunday.

Pretty Place, Camp Greenville, SC, Oct 16, 2015 (47)

The reason for our hope. Pretty Place, Camp Greenville, SC

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Our trip was a nine day road trip from the SeaTac Airport just south of Seattle, Washington to San Francisco.  The route was plotted out to be 150 – 250 miles driving a day with 3 or 4 highlights visited each day.  We were blessed with good weather the entire trip.  We were also able to visit several touted sites without too much competition from crowds.  I took about 3000 pics and I am going to share about 15 from each day of the trip over the next couple of weeks.

One of my goals was to catch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible.  I knew ahead of time I would be alone for the sunrises.  My travel buddies are not as enthusiastic about seeing the break of day as I am.  I have already posted pictures of Day One and portions of Day Six and Eight in previous posts.  Check out Lesson in Love and Justice on Mt Tamalpais for Day Eight and Walking Among Giants for Day Six.

This was our itinerary.

Day One – Tacoma, Washington to Seaside, Oregon

Day Two – Seaside, Oregon to Portland, Oregon

Day Three – Portland, Oregon to Bend, Oregon

Day Four – Bend, Oregon to Crater Lake, Oregon

Day Five – Crater Lake Oregon to Klamath, California

Day Six – Klamath, California to Fort Bragg, California

Day Seven – Fort Bragg, California to Novato, California

Day Eight – Novato, California to San Francisco, California

Day Nine – SF to Home

Without further ado, here are Day Two Pics.

From Seaside we headed south a little ways to Cannon Beach and then Hug Point before backtracking and taking highway 27 into Portland.

Haystack rock at Cannon Beach. Note the person on the beach in front of the rock to get the scale of the rock.

Haystack rock at Cannon Beach. Note the person on the beach in front of the rock to get the scale of the rock.

 

Tide pool at the base of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Tide pool at the base of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

 

Cannon Beach at Low Tide. It was mid morning and low clouds were still hanging around.

Cannon Beach at Low Tide. It was mid morning and low clouds were still hanging around.

 

Lots of cool sea creatures live in the tidal zone like this anemone.

Lots of cool sea creatures live in the tidal zone like this anemone.

 

Another view southward on Cannon Beach. We drove about half of the Oregon Coast on the trip and this is fairly indicative of what it is like.

Another view southward on Cannon Beach. We drove about half of the Oregon Coast on the trip and this is fairly indicative of what it is like.

 

Haystack Rock was alive with Sea Birds. This gull was fluffing up it's nest. There were also dozens of cormorant and puffins roosting on the Rock.

Haystack Rock was alive with Sea Birds. This gull was fluffing up it’s nest. There were also dozens of cormorant and puffins roosting on the Rock.

 

These gulls did a dance for about 30 seconds when one flew in. They alternately bobbed and sang to each other. The term "Love Birds" came to mind as I watched.

These gulls did a dance for about 30 seconds when one flew in. They alternately bobbed and sang to each other. The term “Love Birds” came to mind as I watched.

 

View of Haystack Rock from the south. These are called Sea Stacks. They are the harder rock that stands longer while the softer rock and soil is eroded by years of pounding surf, storms, and winds.

View of Haystack Rock from the south. These are called Sea Stacks. They are the harder rock that stands longer while the softer rock and soil is eroded by years of pounding surf, storms, and winds.

 

In the days before modern roads, the coast at low tide was the road. At Hug Point the rocks extended out into the sea so they carved this road into the rock for the Mail Delivery carts. The road hugged the point here.

In the days before modern roads, the coast at low tide was the road. At Hug Point the rocks extended out into the sea so they carved this road into the rock for the Mail Delivery carts. The road hugged the point here.

 

This steep sided cove is really cool. Those are two sea caves behind Lisa. At low tide there is plenty of space here, but at high tide the water comes up into this cove area, continuing to erode the caves further.

This steep sided cove is really cool. Those are two sea caves behind Lisa. At low tide there is plenty of space here, but at high tide the water comes up into this cove area, continuing to erode the caves further.

 

Another interesting phenomenon was the almost constant swirl of wind in the cove. The onshore wind hits the steep sides and spins a whirlwind which creates this pretty spinning patter in the hard packed sand.

Another interesting phenomenon was the almost constant swirl of wind in the cove. The onshore wind hits the steep sides and spins a whirlwind which creates this pretty spinning patter in the hard packed sand.

 

View from back in one of the Sea Caves.

View from back in one of the Sea Caves.

 

Another Sea Cave view.

Another Sea Cave view.

 

The coastal mountains strain off a lot of moisture coming in from the Pacific Ocean creating numerous streams back to the sea.

The coastal mountains strain off a lot of moisture coming in from the Pacific Ocean creating numerous streams back to the sea.

 

My trademark - I take pictures and leave cairns.

My trademark – I take pictures and leave cairns.

 

It was late morning after visiting these two beaches so we decided to head inland.  The Rice NW Rock and Mineral Museum was right on the way so we decided to check it out.  This is in the family home of the Rice’s.  They were geologists who gathered hundreds of rocks and minerals over their lifetime from all over the world.  Their focus was the Pacific Northwest, which apparently is a rock and mineral gold mine (do you even have to ask if the pun was intended or not?)  It was a fun visit and surprisingly comprehensive.  Check it out on TripAdvisor which is where I found it.

Fossilized wood of a variety of species.

Fossilized wood of a variety of species.

I had no idea how beautiful a slice of petrified wood could be. These are as much pieces of art as they are rock specimens.

I had no idea how beautiful a slice of petrified wood could be. These are as much pieces of art as they are rock specimens.

The Rice family collection is the basis for museum, but there are pieces from many of their peers and friends.

The Rice family collection is the basis for museum, but there are pieces from many of their peers and friends.

 

The Alma Rose is one of the centerpiece exhibits. The museum was informative and entertaining.

The Alma Rose is one of the centerpiece exhibits. The museum was informative and entertaining.

 

On to Portland.  We checked into our hotel and immediately headed into town on the MAX, the Portland Light Rail system.  Our destinations were 1) the Saturday Market, 2) The Japanese Garden, 3) the International Rose Garden, and then dinner at the City Grill.

 

The MAX lightrail system in Portland.

The MAX lightrail system in Portland.

A couple hundred vendors with almost anything you can imagine for sale. Did I mention that Oregon has recreational marijuana sales. There were plenty of shops offering medical and recreational MJ for sale.

A couple hundred vendors with almost anything you can imagine for sale. Did I mention that Oregon has recreational marijuana sales? There were plenty of shops offering medical and recreational MJ for sale.

 

These are the some of the street people semi-stalls. These were not part of the official Saturday Market, but they tried to take advantage of the crowd. There were large numbers of homeless in this area. Between the marijuana, the unwashed bodies, the multiple open air grilles of a variety of ethnic food choices, it was unusually aromatic.

These are some of the street people semi-stalls. These were not part of the official Saturday Market, but they were positioned just outside the market and took advantage of the crowds. There were large numbers of homeless in this area. Between the marijuana, the unwashed bodies, the multiple open air grilles of a variety of ethnic food choices – it was unusually aromatic.

 

There were plenty of musicians ranging from some fairly elaborate bands, to this semi-organized group, to homeless people playing percussion on assorted buckets and cans looking for handouts. Variety was definitely the watch-word.

There were plenty of musicians ranging from some fairly elaborate bands, to this semi-organized group, to homeless people playing percussion on assorted buckets and cans looking for handouts. Variety was definitely the watch-word.

 

Falling water in the Japanese Garden in Portland

Falling water in the Japanese Garden in Portland

 

One of the peaceful ponds in the Japanese Garden.

One of the peaceful ponds in the Japanese Garden.

 

The American Bonzai was the special exhibit in the Japanese Garden. This tree is over 100 years old.

The American Bonzai was the special exhibit in the Japanese Garden. This tree is over 100 years old.

 

The Japanese Garden is located inside Washington Park on the slopes west of the city of Portland. From here you can look across downtown Portland to Mount Hood.

The Japanese Garden is located inside Washington Park on the slopes west of the city of Portland. From here you can look across downtown Portland to Mount Hood.

 

The International Rose Test Garden was an absolute riot of color. Surprisingly only about 1 in 10 of the roses were fragrant. But almost all were rich in color and in full bloom.

The International Rose Test Garden was an absolute riot of color. Surprisingly only about 1 in 10 of the roses were fragrant. But almost all were rich in color and in full bloom.

 

We unknowingly arrived in the midst of the Rose Festival.

We unknowingly arrived in the midst of the Rose Festival.

 

This rose was so beautiful and luscious looking it made me think of a milkshake. I'm not sure why.

This rose was so beautiful and luscious looking it made me think of a milkshake. I’m not sure why.

 

There was bed upon bed of roses of single varieties, but I was drawn to this bed of a mixture of award winning roses of a palate of colors.

There were many beds of roses of single varieties, but I was drawn to this bed of a mixture of award winning roses creating a palate of colors.

 

One small section of the garden was an English style tea garden where I spied this Calla Lily straining toward the late afternoon sun.

One small section of the garden was an English style tea garden where I spied this Calla Lily straining toward the late afternoon sun.

 

There were hundreds of people wandering through the gardens snapping pictures of all sorts. There were prom pictures, wedding pictures, family photos, tons of "selfie with rose" pics, and of course lots, of couples-in-love pics.

There were hundreds of people wandering through the gardens snapping pictures of all sorts. There were prom pictures, wedding pictures, family photos, tons of “selfie with rose” pics, and of course lots, of couples-in-love pics.

 

It's funny, we left the Rose Garden with it's thousands of gorgeous blooms and yet, I think I like this simple magnolia bloom just as much.

It’s funny, we left the Rose Garden with it’s thousands of gorgeous blooms and yet, I think I like this simple magnolia bloom just as much.

 

 

We got lost a time or two, but handy signs like this one helped point us in... many directions at once. So we sought some advice from a guy who looked like he knew the place pretty well.

We got lost a time or two, but handy signs like this one helped point us in… many directions at once. So we sought some advice from a guy who looked like he knew the place pretty well.

 

He didn't say much but fortunately he was pointing the way to the City Grille. A great dinner and a million dollar view from the 30th floor.

He didn’t say much but fortunately he was pointing the way to the City Grille. A great dinner and a million dollar view from the 30th floor.

 

View over the Willamette River toward Mount Hood. This was from the City Grille on the 30th floor of a bank building.

View over the Willamette River toward Mount Hood. This was from the City Grille on the 30th floor of a bank building.

 

It was pretty late as we headed to our hotel a few blocks from the Portland Civic Center. Proud of this shot which was taken at night without a tripod.

It was pretty late as we headed to our hotel a few blocks from the Portland Civic Center. Proud of this shot which was taken at night without a tripod.

I hope you enjoyed day two.  Stay tuned for Day Three which will have the Columbia River Gorge and pics of the second tallest continuously flowing waterfall in the United States.

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This post and some of the subsequent posts will be a little different from most of my posts.  I mentioned in my last post that my wife and I, along with our oldest daughter and her husband, made a trip down the west coast of the US.  Photography is a primary hobby of which also spills over into some of my work.  I would like to share some of the best photos from that trip.

The Mouth of the Mighty Columbia River. This is arguably the most dangerous river entrance in the United States. This view is from North Head Lighthouse.

The Mouth of the Mighty Columbia River. This is arguably the most dangerous river entrance in the United States. This view is from North Head Lighthouse.

 

Cape Disappointment, North Head Lighthouse. The "youngest" of the two lighthouses. Only 118 years old. Warned ships coming from the north of the dangerous Columbia River mouth and shoals.

Cape Disappointment, North Head Lighthouse. The “youngest” of the two lighthouses. Only 118 years old. Warned ships coming from the north of the dangerous Columbia River mouth and shoals.

 

This tenacious tree has laid claim to what little soil exists on it's personal island apart.

This tenacious tree has laid claim to what little soil exists on it’s personal island apart.

 

Raven harassing a Golden Eagle.

Raven harassing a Golden Eagle.

 

That Golden Eagle has a 7 - 8 foot wingspan.

That Golden Eagle has a 7 – 8 foot wingspan.

 

Coast Guard Severe Weather Training Station at Cape Disappointment. Hundreds of shipwrecks with over 700 lives lost in the waters off Cape Disappointment. Hundreds saved though due to the efforts of the Coast Guard teams here and from Astoria.

Coast Guard Severe Weather Training Station at Cape Disappointment. Hundreds of shipwrecks with over 700 lives lost in the waters off Cape Disappointment. Hundreds saved though due to the efforts of the Coast Guard teams here and from Astoria.

 

Ilwaco, Washington viewed from Cape Disappointment.

Ilwaco, Washington viewed from Cape Disappointment.

 

Plants I pay good money to plant in my garden grow like weeds in the Pacific Northwest. Beautiful shoulder side bed of Foxglove.

Plants I pay good money to plant in my garden grow like weeds in the Pacific Northwest. Beautiful shoulder side bed of Foxglove.

 

Astoria and the Astoria Megler Bridge, the final crossing of the Columbia River before the Pacific Ocean.

Astoria and the Astoria Megler Bridge, the final crossing of the Columbia River before the Pacific Ocean.

 

Astoria Column on the brow of the highest hill in Astoria.

Astoria Column on the brow of the highest hill in Astoria.

 

A wider view from the Astoria Column out the mouth of the Columbia River. Cape Disappointment, Washington in the far distance.

A wider view from the Astoria Column out the mouth of the Columbia River. Cape Disappointment, Washington in the far distance.

 

Necanicum River with Quatat Park on the right in Seaside, Oregon.

Necanicum River with Quatat Park on the right in Seaside, Oregon.

 

Statue of Lewis and Clark overlooking the beach at Seaside, Oregon at "The Turnaround". Marks the spot, theoretically, where the Corps of Discovery viewed the Pacific and then turned around and headed back to report to Thomas Jefferson.

Statue of Lewis and Clark overlooking the beach at Seaside, Oregon at “The Turnaround”. Marks the spot, theoretically, where the Corps of Discovery viewed the Pacific and then turned around and headed back to report to Thomas Jefferson.

 

The beach at Seaside, Oregon. Wide and sandy at low tide on this relatively peaceful Friday night. Showers came through earlier and other than occasional fog, we enjoyed good weather the rest of the trip.

The beach at Seaside, Oregon. Wide and sandy at low tide on this relatively peaceful Friday night. Showers came through earlier and other than occasional fog, we enjoyed good weather the rest of the trip.

 

Sunset approaches. View from Sunset Boulevard in Seaside, Oregon.

Sunset approaches. View from Sunset Boulevard in Seaside, Oregon.

 

Final shot on Day One from the Water's edge in Seaside, Oregon.

Final shot on Day One from the Water’s edge in Seaside, Oregon.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures.  We were just getting started and we had already seen some really beautiful sights.  The Golden Eagle at Cape Disappointment was the highlight of the day for me, but there were even better sites and inspirational moments ahead.  Check back in a day to two to see pics from Day Two.

Until then, May the Lord Bless you with the fullness and richness of His love.

 

 

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I was at my parent’s home in Northeast Georgia this week when a snow storm hit.  They got 6″ of snow overnight and the morning dawned a crisp, clear winter wonderland of snow and sun.  I got my camera and hiked around in the woods and then hit the roads to see what I could see.

IMG_3662I was out in the snow the night before and I enjoyed the intense quiet of a world muffled of sound by the blanket of falling snow.  I had the feeling of being in a majestic cathedral empty of anyone except for the Ever-living One and myself.

IMG_3667As I slowly walked through the woods that morning I paused thinking I would again be surrounded by silence but instead I heard the sounds of a forest coming awake.  IMG_3685The birds were calling, in the distance a dog barked, and interestingly, every few seconds I would hear a rustling and a gentle whoosh.  I paused to ascertain the source of the sound and finally I saw it.  IMG_3712From the very tops of the trees, where the sun was just hitting, a clump of snow would release and fall to the ground.  The clump did not remain a clump for long, but usually struck a lower branch and burst into a fine powdery cloud floating to the ground.  IMG_3694If I was facing the sun the cloud of snow dust became a cloud of sparkling diamonds fluttering to earth.

The worshipful feeling was again strong as I enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation without manmade sounds other than my sometimes labored breathing and the click of my camera.  IMG_3722It’s amazing how majestic the mundane can become when it is clothed in a fresh mantle of pure white snow.  It reminded me of what Jesus does for us when we give Him our lives and put our trust in Him.  A holy exchange takes place.  We give up our sin-stained outer garments and we put on a robe of Christ’s righteousness.  From Isaiah 1:18 we read, “Come now, and let us reason together says the Lord.  Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”

IMG_3738I walked through the woods and along the road simply praising and clicking, praising and clicking – it was glorious.  I had in mind to try and get a view of Yonah Mountain, a local peak that is a few miles away from my parent’s home.  While I didn’t succeed in gaining a good vantage point, the search took me throughout the neighborhood and to many great pics.IMG_3754

As I stood at the end of the road with fields on either side that were surrounded by trees weighed down with snow another lesson came to mind.  IMG_3798I was still mindful of the whoosh of snow as a tree would shed it’s burden so I was watching with camera ready to catch the event.  I am sure I was comical looking to anyone watching.  I would be pointing at one area waiting to catch the snow just as it released and I would hear the whoosh off to my side.  Whirling to the sound I would snap a picture of a branch devoid of snow and whatever snow cloud had existed had vanished.  Of course you know what happened right after I turned… that’s right, the snow whoosh would occur back where I had been pointing just a moment before.  That lesson was that patience and trust are two key attributes I still lack.

Looking at the rows of trees bent over from the weight of the snow I thought how they represented people weighed down with the cares, worries, and problems of life.  I had even seen signs where some had broken limbs and suffered damage due to the weight.  IMG_3818As I stood watching and waiting, I realized the magnificent sunshine was melting enough of the snow in the trees that the burdens were slipping off all around.  As the upper limbs became unburdened, they stood up a little straighter and reached a little higher as if offering uplifted branches in thanks and praise to the sun that had set them free.

I realized we are the same.  We are often burdened by the difficulties life can bring.  But Jesus promises He will never leave or forsake His own.  Whatever challenge we face, we can do so knowing that the Lord of the universe is with us in the midst of it.  And just like those trees along the field we just need to patiently trust in the Sonshine to relieve us of our burdens.

I smiled and headed for home, happy for the lessons in the snow and somehow walking a little lighter realizing that a little more of my cares had melted away too.  While I wasn’t going home with the great shot of a snow whoosh, I had a reassurance of the Lord’s tender care for me and for you that was so much better than the perfect picture.

But just for good measure, the Lord provided a great opportunity to catch some snow whooshes in the final walk home.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and lessons as much as I enjoyed getting them.

IMG_3831IMG_3832IMG_3833IMG_3834

Here are a few other of my favorite pics from my walk in the Sonshine and Snow.

IMG_3724 IMG_3730 IMG_3732 IMG_3743 IMG_3750 IMG_3774 IMG_3825 IMG_3830 IMG_3835 IMG_3840 IMG_3843 IMG_3847 IMG_3858 IMG_3865 IMG_3867 IMG_3871

Be blessed today and be a blessing.

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