Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Snow on Tree Limb 2

If my research is accurate, Abraham is the only person in the Bible (other than God) to plant a tree: "Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba" [ Genesis 21:33 ]. Perhaps the Arbor Day folks could celebrate that fact!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Snow on Tree Limb

The original photo below would not have been taken if I had not been on the alert for potential cross images during our walk through the Homestead National Monument of America two weeks ago. When I see strong horizontal lines with contrasting colors and textures, I know I can make an interesting cross--or two--or three--

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Snow on Plant

I love how this little tuft of snow clings so tightly to the brown plant. This persistent bit of snow, probably gone the next day, deserves to be preserved as the centerpiece of a cross.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Snow on Branches 3

Psalm 96:12 says,
"Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy."

A metaphor, of course--not to be taken literally. But still, it's fun to imagine a choir made up of every tree on earth. What a marvelous sound that would be!

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Snow on Branches 2

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Snow on Branches

Photo recipe: take lots of brown tree branches, fold in a layer of white snow, add a clear blue sky, spice with a little imagination, and you've got another cross!

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Snow on Prairie Grass 2

I don't like winter. But spring is my favorite season followed closely by fall, so I always see winter as the price I pay to enjoy the wonderful change of seasons. Southern California and Hawaii and south Florida may be balmy all year round--which has its attractions on certain winter days--but I think that before long I'd find those places boring.

So I'm thankful for snow even though I'm not. Make sense?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Snow on Prairie Grass

Time for a change of pace. I'll get back to crosses from the West, but while it's winter, let's celebrate the snow.

I have many photos from Homestead National Monument of America, just one mile west of our house. But as I looked at my collection, I realized that they're all spring, summer and fall photos. So to fill out my portfolio a bit, after our most recent weekend snowstorm we trudged through six inches of snow both for exercise and for some winter photos from "the Homestead."

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hopi Sunrise 3

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear."

Isaiah 58:8

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Hopi Sunrise 2

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

Proverbs 4:18

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hopi sunrise

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast."

Psalm 139:9

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hopi Land 2

To an outsider like me, this dry and desolate Arizona land doesn't elicit passionate thoughts of belonging and home. But that's because I'm not a Hopi. I saw New Orleans after Katrina and wondered, "Why would anybody try to rebuild here?" I felt that way because I'm an outsider; New Orleans just isn't "home" for me.

The land of our birth forges a strong bond with our souls; of all the wonderful and exciting and beautiful places on earth, there is only one "home." When we get to heaven, we will discover--whatever our homeland on earth--that we are all finally and truly "at home."

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Hopi land

About an hour's drive east of the Grand Canyon is the Hopi Indian Reservation. This is high desert country; at over 6,000 feet in elevation, winters are cold and include snow.

Hopi land is totally surrounded by Navajo land; there are long-standing conflicts between the two groups about land and boundaries. And within both groups, there are long-standing conflicts between those who are open to the modern American culture and conveniences, and those who are committed to the old ways. For instance, many Hopis would not be happy about my turning their land into the shape of a cross.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Navajo Bridge 4

This is the original Navajo Bridge, no longer open to traffic. The dedication of the bridge took place June 14-15, 1929. For such an isolated spot, it was an astounding event. Nearly 7,000 people in 1,217 automobiles arrived for the celebration. Speeches were given by the governors of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and by the President of the Mormon Church. Bands, choral groups, and Native American dancers were also a part of the festivities. It was reported that airplanes flew under the bridge and as Prohibition was in effect, the bridge was christened with a bottle of ginger ale. The bridge was known as the Grand Canyon Bridge for five years following the dedication. In 1934, after great debate in the Arizona legislature, the official name was changed to Navajo Bridge.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Navajo Bridge 3

Though the canyon spanned by Navajo Bridge is called Marble Canyon at this point, this is actually part of the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River isn't quite as deep (470 feet below the bridge at this point) and the canyon isn't quite as wide as it is later on in the more well-known parts of the park.

I am in awe of the engineering and construction skills it took to build this 909-foot-long bridge; that's 3 football fields and 3.9 million pounds of steel over empty space.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Navajo Bridge 2

The word "bridge" may not be in the Bible, but what a bridge DOES is at the center of the Good News:

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility."

Ephesians 2:13-14

Monday, January 15, 2007

Navajo Bridge

Navajo Bridge is the only crossing of the Colorado River for nearly 600 miles. The original bridge (left) was built in 1929. A new bridge (right) was completed in 1995 that was adequate to handle the size and weight of modern traffic. The 1929 bridge is open only to people and horses. The Vermilion Cliffs are in the background.

The word "bridge" does not occur in the Bible.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Vermilion Cliffs 6

The name "Vermilion" comes from Latin vermiculus = small worm, cochineal (which yields a red dye).
Chemically, vermilion is mercuric sulfide.

There: you've got two facts which you will not remember, and which would have no practical value if you did--unless you're an etymologist, a chemist, or a contestant on Jeopardy.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Vermilion Cliffs 5

Since "vermilion" is a shade of red, I've been asking you to figure out how many times, and in what contexts, the word "red" appears in the Bible.

In the NIV translation, "red" makes an appearance 55 times, mostly as "Red Sea" in the Exodus story itself and in the many references later on to that story. But here's a list of the other "reds" with the chapters in which they are found:

Esau was red and his father liked that special red stew. (Genesis 25)
Ram skins dyed red were used in the construction of the tabernacle. (Exodus 26,35,36,39)
The red kite (a bird) was "unclean," not to be eaten. (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 24)
A red heifer was required for a certain sacrifice. (Numbers 19)
Some Moabites were fooled by water that looked red like blood. (2 Kings 3)
Job's face was red with weeping. (Job 16)
"Do not gaze at wine when it is red." (Proverbs 23)
Sins are described as "red as crimson." (Isaiah 1)
Garments are red, as in a winepress. (Isaiah 62)
Red is a prominent color in palace decoration. (Jeremiah 22)
In a piece of art, the Chaldeans are drawn in red. (Ezekiel 23)
Soldiers have red shields. (Nahum 2)
A red horse (Zechariah 1, 6; Revelation 6)
A red sky is a sign of fair weather. (Matthew 16)
The moon turns blood red. (Revelation 6)
Red armor breastplates on horse riders (Revelation 9)
A red dragon (Revelation 12)

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Vermilion Cliffs 4

Are you still working on how the word "red" is used in the Bible? I'll give you another day!

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Vermilion Cliffs 3

Since vermilion is a shade of red, I checked in my Bible concordance to see how many times the word "red" appears in Scripture. In the NIV it appears 55 times. Can you guess--without looking it up yourself--in what contexts it appears?

I'll give you a start--the most obvious and frequent one:
1. The Red Sea

How many more biblical uses of "red" can you think of? [ answers in a couple days! ]

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vermilion Cliffs 2

"Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."

Isaiah 44:87

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Vermilion Cliffs

Like red? Visit the Vermilion Cliffs in northern Arizona. It's a 294,000 acre National Monument that begs to be photographed and explored.

Can you name the 26 shades of red?

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Death Valley 3

This cross is formed from cracks in the bottom of a dry lake bed in Death Valley, California. Were there never any water here, there would be no cracks. So even this dry and desolate cross is a sign of hope.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Death Valley 2

The lowest spot in Death Valley is 282 feet below sea level. By comparison, the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel is 1,371 feet below sea level.

On very rare occasions, the mountains guarding Death Valley from the west cannot prevent rainclouds from entering this deep, dry bowl, and what looks dead is revealed to be full of life, transforming the desert into a vast garden. So may it be with you!

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

Isaiah 35:1

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