Photo Journal: Flowers

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Songs 2:12

… See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Matthew 6:29

Summer to me, besides the beautiful weather is together with the spring the season of explosions of color and fragrance, of amazing flowers that never cease to amaze me, new ones that I had never seen before or golden oldies that look even more beautiful than before.  Hard to beat beauty, truly royal indeed, whether it is a magnificent big flower or the tiniest small one, they all have something of a very special beauty to be enjoyed while it lasts. The good news, next season WILL come, there WILL be a new summer again and again and again in which very often the flowers come out even more beautiful, in which the plant has grown to produce even more flowers.

And so it seems with my Christian journey, one day a blossoming flower the other day withered, just as Peter explained referring to Isaiah:

 “All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
1 Peter 1:24

But like I said there WILL be a new summer, in which like the flowers we come out even more beautiful than last season. Maybe that is what Paul meant when he said:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Photo Journal: A Radical Change of Perspective is Sometimes Needed

We learn to focus on the things that are in front of us and this common human wisdom makes an awful lot of sense. Yet only when we are actually looking and going in the right direction. When our perspective looks beautiful, when what lies ahead of us looks beautiful, it does (as I learnt) that we are looking , walking, in the right direction. Sometimes we need to stand still and reevaluate our focus, our perspective. Are we indeed looking in the right direction, are we going the right way. I was carefully reminded of just that the other day. 

This weekend we spent some time in Le Bons Bay, a small settlement of holiday homes on Banks Peninsula. On the Friday evening walking along the beach there with my oldest son, we looked out over the sea while the sun was going down. As human logic almost naturally indicates our eyes were fixed on the water from the beach to the horizon. And there was plenty of reason to do just that.

However the real visual spectacle was there not in front of us but behind us. It took this 180 degree turn to understand that we were looking in the wrong direction. Looking back from the water to where the sun was going down behind the hilltops, were were treated with this view.



The whole experience reminded me of the New Testament stories of Jesus and the apostles, how they changed radically the perspective on religion, on what the Law meant, on faith, on what it means to be a believer, to live as a disciple.
On many occasions, that requires a radical change in perspective so that His Glory may be revealed through us.

That brought me back to mind the fantastic weekend at Harmony Church the weekend before with a conference lead by Chris Gore and Chuck Parry who were in essence teaching us something similar: a radical change in our perspective of what our identity in Christ means.

Curious now? I suggest you watch this part one and following parts of “Living Unbalanced” and see what it would mean for your perspective.

I guess for all of us it is good to stand still and reevaluate our perspective every now and then.

Photo Journal: Ngarua Caves

On our little break in Golden Bay (north west of the South Island of New Zealand) we took some time to go for a tour of the Ngarua Caves in Takaka Hill.

Takaka Hill is for  marble quarry and for many caves, including Ngarua Caves which are open to the public and feature deposits of moa bones. Takaka Hill, as many other areas in and around the Golden Bay, has also been the location for many scenes filmed for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The caves are located at 2000 feet an d before you enter you can stand back in awe about the views over the bay.

Once in the caves the guide takes you into this amazing world of stalactites and stalagmites: an amazing almost off world experience.

It is not clear who discovered the cave but the signature of H.B. Everett, a 17 year old surveyor’s assistant was carved in the limestone formations.  It was dated 1876 and is the earliest dated signature found according to the guide.

Somewhere during the tour the guide turned off the light and you could literally not see a hand before your eyes. Complete darkness is quite something else.

Absolutely stunning was the view of the “Cathedral”. What no man can design came to mind.

But, enough said have a look below for some more scenes of this marvelous underground world.

Photo Journal: The Mornarch Cycle

We were blessed again this year with a large number of monarch butterflies coming down to lay their eggs here in the garden. It’s a miracle every time to see the eggs  turn into minute yet quickly growing caterpillars and from that the transformation that takes place where the butterfly is a hidden promise within the chrysalis to finally see it come out as a beautiful butterfly.

And how amazing to see how they have sort of become a part of the family and family life. It is very easy to forget how special it really is to have the butterfly land on you and sort of hang out until he’s ready for his own journey.

Photo Journal: My Smallest Audience Ever

We love our animal visitors here and again this year we are pleased with the monarch butterflies laying their eggs and offering us the opportunity to see those eggs turn into the beautiful butterflies.

But as you know I play guitar, and it is always great to play for an audience. But this audience must have been the smallest in size ever. While playing through some new material this moth landed on my guitar and must have been there for quite a few minutes. It was as if giving a private concert. Amazing.

Photo Journal: Porters Pass and Psalm 121

Those that know me a little better know that I am not particularly a fan of snow. When people talk about snow fun I usually start to glare as snow fun used is like a “contradictio in terminus” for me. But, we ended up taking the boys to the snow. All the excuses  could not rescue me and in all fairness, I do not know a child that does not love snow.I tried hard to escape the inevitable, tried every excuse in the book yet to no avail. In hindsight I am glad, since I have to admit that I actually enjoyed being out there in Porters Pass.

And Porters Pass is where we had to go to find some snow. I must say what dd strike me we the amazing views on the way. In Psalm 121 we res how the the psalmist says

I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where shall my help come. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The psalmist looks at the mountains in their majesty and grandeur asking himself where his help shall come from. While fully aware that his help will not be coming from the mountains, they remind him of the grandeur of the One who created the earth, further realizing that it is this same Creator that will be his Helper. What a standard he sets by which to measure the divine resources available to the psalmist.

Now while the previous picture sort of provides a promise (of snow) I was truly blown away by the sights and light once we were up at the bottom of the ski field. I was amazed with the diversity of the views

Or what to think of these incredible Keas as if waiting to be snapped.

And once the sun comes down and is less sharp beautiful sights are waiting to be recorded on the camera.

What an amazing day this turned out to be. More to be expected soon on my flickr photo stream.

And what a great Helper and Keeper He turned out to be: I was surprised by joy in an environment I could not have disliked more. What was a nightmare for the sake of the children turned out to be a fantastic day with great company.Thanks Darryl and Melissa. Thank you God for making me go beyond and teaching me family first and setting aside my selfishness and showing me the grandeur of your creation and how you made a potential nightmare into a nice family day.

At the same time, some are just not as easily impressed lol.

Photo journal: Butterfly Resqued from the Cold

As it has been cold we noticed that the last caterpillars seemed a bit lifeless so we took them in and placed them in our warm home. Three turned out to be beautiful butterflies. The last one, almost as to show his appreciation came out of its cocoon when we were not watching. So here I was on a quiet early morning to find a butterfly land next to the computer on some books only to find it come to ‘papa’ and hang out on my arm for some time. It was a great moment I shared with our adopted butterfly that spend most of the day flying around the house until the sun came through and it was time to go out and have fun. It was a bit hard though trying to get a sharp picture with one hand and pointing towards yourself almost.