Landscapes

Out Of Place


 
The last thing I expected to see, on the side of a mountain, on the highest altitude highway in North America, was a fire hydrant. Needless to say there it was. I stared at it and wondered if it had any pressure, and if it did, how did they put the pipes in through solid mountain rock? To say it looked odd would be an understatement. It was out of place.
 
Ever felt that way? I have for sure. Quite often in fact. It is a very uncomfortable feeling to have. When one is surrounded by people they don’t know, in unfamiliar terrain, or circumstances. Personally, I tend to react, like many, by becoming reserved, quiet, and seemingly shy.
 
No matter who a person is, there will probably be a time in their life when they will feel out of place, like they don’t belong. They might feel like they are sticking out like a sore thumb, or like a red fire hydrant on the side of a mountain. As followers of Christ, we should embrace those who feel out of place. Let them know that they are welcome, that they belong, that God loves them. It might make a massive impact, not just on their day, but their life.
 
Thanks, to all those who welcomed me when I felt out of place. You know who you are, my friends. 🙂
 

Nostalgia: Want to Stay On The Mountain Top


 
Who Doesn’t want to stay on top of the mountain? It’s beautiful, The air is crystal clear, one can see for miles all around, and there is a sense of whimsy and freedom, like being on top of the world. Who wants to go back into the valley to deal with all of that mess? I know I don’t. Let the mess stay down there where it belongs.
 
There are times in my life I look back on with extreme fondness, usually at the mountain tops in my life, and for a moment I want to be back there. I am nostalgic for the past. I feel like, in that moment everything made sense, it was perfect, crystal clear, like being on the top of a mountain. Needless to say, life doesn’t hit the pause button, big events like weddings, and close friendships, even church groups, end. We have to move on, we have to grow, and go through the pits and valleys.
 
Every now and then reality creeps in, and I remember, that even in those highs things were not perfect. Like a picture, only what is in the frame can be seen. The shear cliffs on each side, the sharp rocks, the broken hearts are not visible. This picture was taken over 13,000 ft above sea level, next to Trail Ridge Road in Colorado. I definitely felt a sense whimsy, but I think that my lack of oxygen is what caused it. Even though the picture looks pristine it was freezing up there. My hands were so numb they hurt, and I could barley hold the camera. The rocks were everywhere and I was very light headed, so I had to be extremely careful because I could have easily tripped and gone splat. In the picture, however, none of that matters. Just like looking back, all you see is the good, that’s when being snatched out of nostalgia really happens, and one remembers that God made this moment too, and we should not take it for granted.
 
1 Thess. 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
 

You Speak With Thunder…


 
A Storm rolls in off the coast. I can see it coming. Dark looming clouds push forward like powerful whirlwinds rolling toward the land, their seemingly malicious intentions unknown. Massive waves crash against the pier, making this stable, man made structure, look as if it were a child’s set of blocks that the ocean could rise up, grab and obliterate at at any moment. If a person ever wants to feel small they should stand near the ocean when storm is coming in. For me it feels like staring into an eternity of such intense power that I feel small, fearful. I feel it in my core, and I tremble.
 
Can you, for a second, imagine that power. Now think about the power that spoke those infinite waves into existence. The power that carved the very nature of their curve, the power that can speak with thunder & lightning.
 
If a person ever want to feel really small, they should consider God, and tremble.
 
‘Cause You speak with thunder and lightning
Your voice shakes the mountains
The foundations of the earth
All I can offer is this fragile breath
And with each one I’ll praise You
With each one I’ll praise You more
 
Lyrics by TODD AGNEW – THIS FRAGILE BREATH
 

Perspective


 
But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness…
 
I learned about perspective in my high school art class. Props to my teacher Mr VanDam. Ya, his name totally kicks butt. Anyway, basically visual perspective is that everything you see, every line, every angle, everything in the three dimensional world goes to a point in linear space known as a vanishing point. Many of the masters of the Renascence were also extremely good at understanding three dimensional perspective and how to develop the vanishing points so that the paintings had more depth.
 
Perspective in life is not always as easy as tracing lines to a point in a painting. Often times we get bogged down in all of the noise in the foreground, like objects that block lines to the focal points. This can be so prevalent, that we loose sight of what really matters. I recently had someone tell me, in a serious situation, that they didn’t see God in it. At first I was upset, then I wanted to get defensive, but after I thought about it, I realized no one involved, including myself, was having the right perspective. If we seek God first, Look at the point that points to Him, we will have the right perspective, and we will see that He is in and through everything, even the difficult things.
 
Just a cool tidbit of info, if you didn’t know, When Leonardo Da Vinci painted the “Last Supper”, he designed the image so that all of the perspective points pointed to the figure in the middle of the painting…That would be Jesus. Looks like he had the right perspective after all.
 
Matthew 6:33
 

O’ Sinners, Lets Go Down…


 
…As I went down in the river to pray
Studin about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the star and crown?
Good Lord show me the way.
 

O sinners lets go down
Lets go down, come on down
O sinners lets go down
Down in the river to pray
 

As I went down in the river to pray
Studyin about that good ol way
And who shall wear the Robe and crown?
Good Lord show me the way
 
song by ALISON KRAUSS
 

Throw A Stick In It!

What does one do when faced with the unbounded beauty of the natural world, in all the grace and splendor which God created it. Well, if you were my two year old daughter, you would throw a stick in it.

 

On a recent trip to my husbands home state of Colorado we decided to hike from Maroon Bells to Crater Lake. A definite challenge, especially considering the snow on the ground, and my husband carrying our daughter on his back. We finally get there, and well, I brake out the camera…snap, snap snapping away. I was in awe off the whole landscape, it was awesome!!! Autumn on the other hand decided to take a moment and truly experience nature, she picked up the nearest stick, and threw it in the lake…then again, then again. And at that moment, I wonder if God gives a joyful chuckle. Here he creates immense beauty that can hardly be described, cascading mountainsides, crystal clear water, bold blue sky, with soft white clouds. All of that, and the most amusing thing around is a small wooden stick, and the splash it makes in the water, again and again. Wow. I would bet that God delights in that simple pleasure of a little girl that he also created having a blast.

 

I marvel at the simplicity of it all. Maybe, next time, I will put down the camera and throw a few myself.

Alone On This Broke Dock

A lot of times we feel that we are alone, broken, falling apart. When I saw this dock on the side of the road that is what came to mind. It also came to my attention how peaceful it looked, standing out there, the framework still resisting the elements almost as if to say, I still matter, I still exist, I am something real.

 

I don’t know why this wooden dock was abandoned, why no one seemed to care about it anymore. Is is difficult to understand how we can spend so much energy building something up only to let it fall into ruin, but it happens all the time.  In families, in marriages, in our hearts, even in our walk with God.

 

While this dock might be beyond repair, as long as we are breathing, we are not.  As long as we have a heart beating in our chest we are not beyond saving.  Our hearts, our lives can be pulled from the muck at the bottom of whatever pit they lye in and restored. Only God can do this, and, depending on how bad it looks, He might be the only one who wants to.

 

I believe that a photo truly can speak to us. I hope this one speaks to you, and reminds you even when you feel washed up, broken down, and like you are falling apart, as long as you are alive, you matter.