Flowers are beautiful. If I had a dollar for every photo I have of flowers I might actually have some money…. Seriously, is there anybody who wants to give me a dollar per photo? All Kidding aside, we tend to look at flowers from one direction, the top. Sometimes I think that is how people tend to view most things in life. By getting used to seeing things from one point of view or perspective we forget that there are other ways to see the wonders of creation around us, both physical and spiritual.
In this picture my niece pointed out that it looked like an image from Bugs Life the movie. She was right. The photo has the perspective that a bug might have. It was taken from underneath the flowers. Not an easy task. I basically have to lie on the ground, my face almost buried in the dirt, and then arch my neck up in a very unnatural position, all while making sure the camera doesn’t get dirt on it. So, I look a little silly lying in the dirt. No big deal. The perspective I shot of the flower was incredible. It was just as beautiful as any of the shots I have gotten from the top of flowers. Shot’s like this one have given me the idea that looking at things from perspective of a bug, something small and insignificant can be quite rewarding.
Sometimes we walk around thinking that we are the most important thing around, that our perspective is the only one that matters, but, as silly as it may be, there are usually other ways to look at things. Bugs, after all, may seem small and somewhat insignificant at times, but God gave them a view too.
Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
It’s not! It just isn’t. One moment you are sitting on a flower, soaking up the sun, enjoying a lovely spring day, and in the next moment a windshield is careening at you at 60 miles per hour… or at least it would be if you were a monarch butterfly who happened to venture over one of the many highways right next to that lovely park. It’s not fare! Something so beautiful shouldn’t have to die, and yet, it does. Just like us. We get sick, we get wounded, we fall, we fail, we die.
I do not wish to sound depressing or morbid. On the contrary. My goal is simple. It is to say that though this life is not fair there is hope. There is life beyond this one. That is what I hold on to when I hear about something tragic in my life or the lives of others.
The average monarch butterfly lifespan is only eight months. It is rather short, but it can do a lot in that time. It can fly thousands of miles, pollinate thousands of flowers, and even take a moment to reproduce themselves, continuing the God’s grand circle of life.
With the power of Christ love we have hope that this isn’t it. Even if it’s not fair, even if things fall or fail, we have hope. Jesus is our hope. I write this with tears in my eyes, knowing that a dear friend of mine has lost her father to cancer, but one thing I know, from knowing his daughter, to hearing the testimony of his life, He HAD HOPE, and now he is with the LORD Jesus Christ. Praise God.
O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood. Psalm 71:5
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.
The early morning frost on the delicate petals of a small purple clover flower, appears beautiful. The sunlight streams through the forest trees glimmering ever so slightly on the crystals of ice that fiercely embrace the outside of the little plant. The tiny flower, bathed in frost, looks absolutely stunning, and yet, it is dying. In a day or so, the cold of that morning will have proven it’s power, and the tiny flower will be only a memory, replaced by a brown stubble, a mere shell of its former beauty.
The truth is, death is a part of this natural world, but something about it seems so unnatural, so ugly. Most people don’t like to think or talk about death, others spend countless hours worrying and fretting about it, but that has never changed the fact that we will all die. Will our death be beautiful? Will light glimmer through the joy, the love, and the hope we left behind in the lives of the people we have touched?
When I die, when finally God calls my head down to rest, I want it to be beautiful. I want the light He placed in my heart to shimmer through a thousand tiny prisms reflecting His Glory. The only way to do that, is to live a beautiful life. Join me.
Is there too much gunk in our hearts for them to be pure?
I definitely struggle with gunk, and junk filtering through my heart. Most people don’t know that I like just about every type of music, but one of my favorite types is Hip-hop. Something about the passion, energy, and force of the spoken poetry rhyming with the beet of of a great track, makes me want to dance. It can be so honest to what people really feel; angry, sad, powerful. I love that passionate emotion that is not held back. What I don’t like is the negative messages that are prevalent throughout many of the main stream artist lyrics. To me, it’s gunk. If I listen to it, I find myself wanting to cuss, wanting to be more angry and aggressive, even being more selfish. None of those things are reflected in a pure heart. I want to have a pure heart, even more then I want to listen to one of my favorite genres of music. My desire should be to flush out all of the grit and grime of the world and all of it’s “gunk” and focus on the things that will make me clean.
With that being said, I try my best to avoid those things that are gunky; movies that glorify evil, songs that express hatred, and anything that steals my heart away from truth. Do I always succeed? Nope! Not even close. So, I keep trying. I truly want all the things that are inside me to be clean. Having a pure heart means that I will see God…and WOW, that’s a way better place then any lyrical arrangement could ever bring me.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
To be spiritually broken, what’s that like? In the old testament extreme brokenness was represented with torn robes, sack cloth, and ashes. That doesn’t sound very comfortable, and not easy to hide. That was the point, right? Not to be comfortable but to reflect the pain and grief felt on the inside, outwardly. That way everyone could see how broken a person really was. (Example: 2 Kings 19:1)
It stands as a far cry from today. When we are broken, even over good and Godly things we pretend like everything is OK. We go on like our broken state is just an inconvenience. Wipe those tears away, we don’t have time to have a contrite heart, we don’t want to answer when someone ask what’s wrong. Because our fear is that if we answered, my heart aches for those that have no hope, aches for those who are lost, those being sold into slavery, those who’s lives we can never seem to touch no matter how hard we try. That would be too much to tell anyone and they wouldn’t want to hear it.
That kind of truth is heavy. Too heavy for most people to hear. And so the shades go on over the puffy eyes, the walls go back up, and we hide our brokenness from the world. It’s OK to be broken. And while I don’t see many folks running around in sack cloths anymore, we could all use a heart dose of being laid bare every now and then, and sharing that heart with others.
I love the earth, the beauty of nature all around us. That is probably why most of my photos are of God’s Glorious Creation, in all of it’s spender, mystery, majesty and power. My quote, at least the one I like to use on my e-mail has been the same for years. “I’ll never paint the sky as He who made it”. That’s how I feel about the awe inspiring, and often times breathtaking dance of color, light, texture, and sound that create the ultimate 3D experience known as life.
I have often found myself thanking God for a flower, a tree, or a sunrise, even more likely, a sunset because I don’t usually get up that early. Do I celebrate earth day. Yes I do, every day. Not to preach about how foolish man can be, and how destructive to the very place we live and depend on. I think there are many people who can do that with much more authority then I. Just for the record, I do not hug trees, at lest not many. I prefer to climb them, or sit under their shade.
The picture above is one I captured of something foreign, almost alien, but yet somehow it belongs. It is unique, bold, sharp, and special. Much like most of creation it has a purpose. Mysterious or not, it was made for a reason. My question, however, is…What is that?
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.
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.