Project 52 #15: Pebbly Beach

This was a beautiful, restful place to end a very, very busy Easter week. The morning had been wonderful, with the Christians of our community uniting in a truly joyous celebration of the resurrection. An outdoor sunrise service at the park, a fabulous brunch potluck, an indoor service with the beautiful ending of a baptism, dinner with friends, a community egg hunt, all of it so good—but now, we were tired.

I needed the sound of the waves more than I realized. Picking my way along the beach in search of colors and shapes and forms of life, a slow and silent pastime, was incredibly restful and rejuvenating. Far out, flashing rich brown against the blue, two sea lions were traveling south, and up the shore a few friends gathered peacefully around a crackling fire of driftwood, contentedly watching the sun turn the snowy peaks across the strait pink as it sank in the west.

I suspect that’s why Jesus’ disciples, too, headed to the sea after all the drama of the events leading up to His death and resurrection. Being human, I can only imagine how stimulated and drained and emotionally exhausted they were after the incredible lows and highs of the previous week. They did what we all do when we are spent—they went back to the familiar things, to the soothing rhythm of the wind and the waves, and the things they could do without thinking too hard, like fishing. Maybe for some of them, time alone and in the outdoors was what they needed to sort their thoughts out (there had to be a crazy amount of them running through their heads after the week they’d just been through!) and make sense of it all. I know I’m like that.

Today, I was grateful to be reminded that HE PAID IT ALL and IT IS FINISHED.

“But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:37)

No more striving of mankind necessary. Hallelujah!

P.S. If you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!

Project 52 #12: Huckleberry Blossoms

The last time we took a walk along Gravelly Creek, it was a winter wonderland.

But in the golden hour of this glorious clear spring day, when the last rays of the sunshine were slanting low along the singing water and through the stately cedars, I saw the huckleberry bushes in all their fairytale spring glory for the first time.

Even this tiny spider (normally not one of my favorite creatures!) on her web seemed ethereal and lovely, like gossamer lace amidst a thousand shimmering translucent bells dancing along the shadowed forest floor. Perhaps the fact that the sun pierces here so infrequently was what made it all so magical.

This week I’ve been reading through the book of Deuteronomy, and I had a couple thoughts about it.

First, the long lists of laws and sacrifices can seem burdensome (and praise God, those sacrifices are no longer necessary now that we are covered by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus!), however if you were to sit down and read through the current laws of your state or country, you’d likely feel the same way or worse. Like: wow, that’s a lot. How am I supposed to remember all that?! Even the laws strictly concerning driving are overwhelming when you’re trying to take a driver’s test!

But some of those lists of detailed rules were really only there for clarification, and for the benefit of those who would keep the order and judge between cases, the “law enforcement”, if you will. Ultimately, all those laws pointed directly back to the basic principles of the ten commandments, which in turn, as Jesus pointed out, are summed up in two, of which one is ultimately the greatest. So it was really quite simple: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind (and your neighbor as yourself).

Second, the call to holiness is not a burden, it’s an honor. Just read these two parallel passages and think about the language of privilege used in them:

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:2)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

P.S. If you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!

Project 52 #11: Fish Egg Weather

And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent me.” (Mark 9:36-37)

I was thinking about this passage in light of being a mother this week, and also with the other children God has placed in my life—my children’s friends, the kids I babysit, the kids we meet at church and community activities and the grocery store.

Would my interaction with any of these little ones change if I was really, truly taking this to heart? Would yours? Something to think about.

About the photos: I’m sorry if how I titled this post made you think you were getting pictures of fish eggs, and now you are disappointed. Perhaps that will happen eventually, but for now, let me introduce those of you who aren’t from southeast Alaska to what is locally known as “fish egg weather”. It is the time of early spring which coincides with the herring spawn, and is known for crazy weather switches all in one day. You know, those rain turns to snow turns to sunshine kind of days. We have morning rainbows, followed by the first flocks of spring robins arriving in mid-morning snowstorms, followed by a beautiful afternoon of sunshine. (That was a true story, by the way.) It’s very confusing, but also very hopeful because it is the Beginning of Spring.

P.S. If you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!

Project 52 #8: Snow, Ice and Sun

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:6-14)

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this passage in Matthew just “happened” to be a part of my Bible reading plan this week. As we hear real, live reports of war in our world, it is a great comfort to know that God is in control and no matter what happens, in the end He is the victor.

Meanwhile, I pray for our brother and sisters who must suffer and rise to challenges that I have never dreamed of, living in the sobering reality that this world will never know true, lasting peace until Jesus is King.

P.S. Need a little reminder of spring for these last days of winter? I recently found a post full of springtime photos and a few thoughts on transition from 2021 that I never got around to publishing in the flurry of getting ready for our move. I hope taking a peek at it will bring a bit of extra beauty and encouragement to your day!

Project 52 #6: A Short Hike

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

Reading this passage this week got me thinking about what it means to deny self, and that led to thinking about the current cultural emphasis on “self care” that I’ve noticed lately.

Here’s the question I’ve been pondering: Can the idea of “self care” coexist with Jesus’ call to “deny ourselves”—or are these two diametrically opposed to one another? And: Is there Biblical support for the idea of “self care” or is it a completely anti-Biblical idea?

I came up with a few answers of my own…but what do you think?

About the photos: We got out and went on a hike near Control Lake, my first since injuring my tailbone. I was moving pretty gingerly, I’ll admit, more paranoid than usual of slipping on ice or mud, and we turned back once the snow on the trail got knee-deep—but it felt really, really good to be out in the wild again, listening to the eagles call and looking for signs of spring.

P.S. If you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!

Project 52 #5: Change of Plans

I had other plans for this week. But I guess Joseph did, too.

I was going to go take pictures of the beautiful fresh snowfall. Instead, I slipped on it on my way out and ended up on the couch with a severely injured tailbone.

He was going to obey his father’s request to find his brothers and bring back a report of them. Instead, he ended up in an Ishmaelite caravan, bound for slavery in a faraway land.

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20)

Sometimes it’s really hard to see the good. Sometimes, as in Joseph’s case, you don’t get to see it for years, but when you do, it’s big.

But sometimes, it’s just counting the little things, like finally being able to read that new book that’s been sitting there untouched since Christmas…or having plenty of time to finish my homework for ladies’ Bible study this week…or being blessed by someone thoughtfully dropping by a crockpot full of spaghetti…or my husband buying me sushi…or an unexpected opportunity for ministry that I wouldn’t have had time for otherwise.

What ways have you found the good in the midst of the bad this last week?

P.S. If you haven’t read the story of Joseph in awhile, or maybe ever, do yourself a favor and go read it in Genesis 37-50. It’s one of my favorites.

And if you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!

Project 52 #4: Rolling Mists

Watching the rays of the sun rise up through the dark, burst through and dispel the morning mists across Thorne Bay is one of my favorite things ever. If I can, I always pause what I’m doing to watch, because watching the light win is motivating. It’s a good way to visualize how my day as a follower of Christ should be lived:

Victoriously.

Triumphantly.

Actively remembering that no matter how much evil seems to loom large in the world around us, someday Jesus is coming and then the darkness will be conquered forever.

“So it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,  and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matthew 13:40-43)

P.S. If you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!

Project 52 #2: Oak Trees and Great Grandparents

About the photos: What do oak trees and great grandparents have in common? They’re both in Minnesota and not on Prince of Wales Island. Also, they both symbolize wisdom, resilience and longevity.

We lost one grandparent last year, so we treasured our recent time spent with the three that remain all the more. I never knew my great-grandparents. Someday my kids will realize how blessed they are, but for now they’re just busy soaking in the stories, games and cooking lessons.

What I’ve been thinking about this week: “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee and will bless thee. For unto thee and unto thy seed I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father. And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Genesis 26:3-5)

Wonderful to think that because of that one line “in thy seed [Jesus!] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” and also because of what Paul later wrote: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galations 3:29) —even I, now thousands of years and on the other side of the world away, have a part in that blessing!

P.S. I took pictures for this project, but had limited internet while we were traveling and was unable to post them. I’ll be playing catch-up for just a little while, then resume weekly posting thereafter! Also, normally I will be posting one photo per week, but since we were traveling and I took more pictures than usual, you get a few bonus shots!

If you’re new here, this is part of my Project 52, in which I commit to taking and posting a photo per week for the duration of 2022, along with sharing a favorite verse and/or thoughts gleaned as I also read through the Bible in a year. I’d love to hear what stood out to you in your personal Bible reading this week in the comments!

Project 52 #1: Home for the (Delayed) Holidays

About the pictures: In spite of cancelled and missed flights and stolen phones, we made it to Minnesota to celebrate a belated Christmas with both of our families. These were taken at my family’s home, the house I grew up in. Story times with grandpa were a highlight, as were snow time with the aunts and uncles and my brother’s crab Benedict.

The verse I spent time thinking about this week: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Why is that we’re so quick to feed our bodies liberally, even excessively, but so willing to leave the very essence of ourselves, our soul, malnourished and shriveling away in starvation? Here’s to a year of being well-fed and satisfied on the Word of God!

P.S. I took pictures for this project, but had limited internet while we were traveling and was unable to post them. I’ll be playing catch-up over the next week or so and resume weekly posting thereafter! Also, normally I will be posting one photo per week, but since we were traveling and I took more pictures than usual, you get a few bonus shots!

If you’re new here, this is part of my Project 52, in which I commit to taking and posting a photo per week for the duration of 2022, along with sharing a favorite verse and/or thoughts gleaned as I also read through the Bible in a year. I’d love to hear what stood out to you in your personal Bible reading this week in the comments!  

Project 52 2022

Every once in awhile, I enjoy challenging myself with a joint photography and Bible reading project (like the “Savoring Summer” challenge I did while reading through the book of Romans). This year I’m going to try something a little more long-term, because I want to re-read through the Bible in a year, something I haven’t done in a little while! So I’m going to do what is often dubbed a “Project 52”, which is simply committing to take and publish one photo per week for an entire year. With my weekly photo, I will include a verse or two that were the highlight of my week’s reading, and possibly accompanying thoughts if I have time and feel so inspired.

Anyone else want to join me and help keep each other accountable? I’ll personally be using the Old/New Testament plan from Bible Gateway if you need somewhere to start—or they have several other options like reading straight through or chronologically! (And if you have an entirely different goal for your Bible reading this year, I’d still love to have you share in the comments what you’ve been reading and learning!)

Let’s encourage one another to get into the Word and stay in it this year!

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)