Wed

11

Feb

2015

Photo Blog #4 'Endless Horizons'

When I was invited to go on a trip to Slovenia in 2010, I had no idea what to expect. The plan was to meet and encourage some isolated Chri...stians there and discuss the possibility of planning a future music trip with my folk group Slemish.


We flew to Vienna from where our missionary friend drove the three hour car journey into Northern Slovenia, where we would be based for the first few days. I probably slept most of the car journey and when I woke up we were still driving but it was really dark outside apart from what the headlights of the car revealed. So I really had no idea what the landscape was like even when we arrived at our guest house because the pitch black darkness gave nothing away. As I went to sleep for the first night in this dark new country I wondered what the dawn would reveal, but I had no idea that such a spectacular view would unfold

The morning sun beamed early through my bedroom window as if to beckon me to come gaze in wonder at the endless horizons... I was up and out each morning at sunrise for some of the most memorable and peaceful photographic expeditions to discover captivating colours. shadows and landscapes of vineyards, church spires and mountains... and all before the other guys surfaced for breakfast.

 

We met some amazing people in Slovenia, and hopefully will visit again one day, with or without Slemish, but for me the whole trip was worth it even just for the early morning times I spent alone with God and my camera in the shadow and warmth of the rising sun.

 

No matter how much darkness surrounds us or how bleak things may look sometimes, God causes the sun to rise every morning, and each new day is filled with endless horizons of possibility. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor. 2:9)

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Tue

20

Jan

2015

Photo Blog #3: 'Almond Blossom' (Part 1)

Today, 20th January, begins the Jewish month of Shevat. The high point of the month is the holiday of Tu Bishvat, the New Year of the Trees, which coincides with the flowering of the almond tree in Israel.  A few years ago,... just after her bereavement, Julie received the gift of an almond tree cutting from a friend.  With the cutting there was a note for Julie that read 'the almond tree will blossom again'. When it was eventually planted some months later, it didn't have much of a chance to develop because of the very cold winter spell and was assumed to be dead.  Last Spring, however, some chutes appeared and started to grow. In March, on the day before we announced our engagement to the world, Julie noticed that the little tree was covered in green leaves and buds, but no blossoms yet. The very next day, after I had given Julie her diamond ring at a beautiful location in Sussex, we returned home and took some tea into the garden. To our amazement, the almond tree had burst into blossom, and this is one of the photographs I took that day! 
If you think this is a wonderful end to the story, there is more which I will share in Part 2

Sun

18

Jan

2015

Photo Blog #2 'Tranquility'

I remember clearly the very first time I visited Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland. I've always loved forest parks, and particularly those where mountains and water are part of the package, like Donard Park in Newc...astle, County Down, where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. I have many wonderful childhood memories of Saturday outings to places like this where we would go walking, climbing trees, swimming and always finish with a picnic. However, Having grown up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I was in well into my twenties before I ever ventured to the South of Ireland. It was during the first of many visits to County Wicklow to lead worship at a Scripture Union Family Week at Avoca when I discovered Glendalough on a tourist map and decided to go there for an afternoon walk. After a thirty minute drive through gorgeous countryside, we arrived and parked the car in the main (free) car park. It was a lovely day for a forest walk and each step seemed to reveal new views of the mountains on either side, a meandering river and then a beautiful lake, where we stopped to take photos. I really thought the scenery was quite unique and inspiring, but nothing prepared me for the surprising view we would only discover at the end of our 45 minute walk.
The Lower lake was impressive, but when you arrive over the brow of the hill to see the Upper Lake, with the majestic mountains sweeping down, it really takes your breath away. The sense of tranquillity that came on me, I have rarely experienced anywhere else. Last year, I returned to this beautiful place to share it with my wife on our honeymoon, and we learned so much more about the history of the beautiful valley and all those who discovered God in this place centuries before. I will write more about what we discovered in another post. Now may the peace of God surround you as you gaze upon the beauty of His Creation today, if only on this screen and not in the great outdoors!

Tue

06

Jan

2015

Photo Blog #1: 'The Arrow'

One evening I was on a sunset walk at Islandhill, County Down. On the way back from the island I noticed an unusual calm stretch of water reflecting the setting sun. On my walk I had been praying through some doubts I was having about where I should be and what I should be doing with my life. As I was walking, the more I looked at the water, the more I could see a shape forming...

When it clearly became an arrow I sensed that God might be speaking to me in a very creative way. The arrow was pointing directly to the spot where each morning I had been watching the sunrise. It was as if God was showing me that I was exactly where He wanted me to be and that the time spent walking, praying, gazing in wonder and photographing the beauty of His Creation was so important and never time wasted. I believe that's why He painted this arrow in the water just for me. God speaks all the time - you just have to be ready to listen, or in my case stand in amazement at His artistry!

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