Visual Psalmists

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Beautiful photography — visual psalms — grace the pages of Alive Now both in print and on our website. If you pray with your camera in hand, join our Visual Psalmists group on Flickr. (flickr.com/groups/visual-psalmists/).

Behind the Photographs in the May/June 2016 Issue

Order a copy of the May/June 2016 issue, “Wholeness,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.

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support

“I was at a peace rally of older women in Utrecht, Holland. They stood in the cold for hours, pleading for an end to nuclear weapons. Many needed support from each other just to stand.”

– Jan Phillips, about her photo on p. 3. Jan is a writer, musician, and photographer. She is the author of ten award-winning books, which include many of her photos. Jan leads retreats and presentations, which are multimedia, multisensory events that connect the heart and brain. She uses images, music, poetry, and storytelling to evoke deep, nondualistic creative thinking and expression. janphillips.com

Jan is cofounder and executive director of The Livingkindness Foundation.

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indigo bunting

“This photo was taken from a photography blind placed close to these plants where songbirds were feeding. An electronic flash was used on my camera.”

– Dan Wray, about his photo on pp. 10-11. recently retired from teaching religion, philosophy, and English at the college level. He serves as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Badin, North Carolina. Dan and his wife, Leslee, live on a farm in the Piedmont of North Carolina. They have three adult sons and two teen daughters. See some of Dan’s work at his website: danwrayphoto.com.

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shadow portrait

“No story here, really. This photo was taken as part of a series of images for a client. I love to play with light and dark, shadows and sun in my work.”

– Lauren Richwine, about her photo on p. 14-15. Based in the midwestern United States, Lauren is the photographer and creative force behind Portrait of a Lady, a business designed to help women tell the spirit of their stories through conceptual photography. See Portrait of a Lady on Facebook.

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pincushion blossom

“I love walking through the parks in San Francisco. Living near Golden Gate Park, I regularly visit the arboretum. This photo of a beautiful pincushion blossom is filled with hairy twists, plastic-like whirls and a strong candy color.”

– Dianne Griffin, about her photo on pp. 24-25. Dianne was born in Kansas City, Kansas, where the endless flat plains left their mark on her vision. Her dynamic household growing up consisted of grandparents, an uncle, five siblings, cousins, a collection of wild snakes, and a revolving door of her father’s employees. This cast of characters honed Dianne’s sense of humor and helped her to develop the skill of observation.

Dianne has been shooting, producing, and directing documentaries for over twenty years. Her work spans a rich range of productions, from feature documentaries to her own independent projects. Dianne’s newest documentary collaboration, Painted Nails, is currently playing on the film festival circuits. For more information, go to  DianneGriffin.com.

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Hallett Peak

“It was the first weekend of October. The previous night, the higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado received a significant amount of snow. I decided to get up early the next morning to photograph the snow on Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. This shot was taken just as the sun began to strike the peaks.”

– Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 28-29. Pat is an award-winning photographer who worked as a newspaper photographer before joining the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru), where he worked as a photojournalist with their magazine, Worldwide Challenge. He now has a ministry called The Creation Speaks, which explores how creation speaks to our heart, soul, and mind about God. Pasquale approaches nature as an artist and not as a scientist. He looks at how it touches our soul on a theological level and our hearts through its majesty, mystery, and beauty.

Pasquale teaches photography at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Metro Community College in Omaha, Nebraska; and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, with his wife, Patti; their two children, Talitha and Pasquale; and their dog, Montana.

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dawn

“This photo was taken at dawn from the top of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. More color, more light, and eventually the city of San Francisco shown as the morning unfolded into day. This scene reminds me of a 1970’s music poster that, as a teenager, I pinned to my wall.”

– Dianne Griffin, about her photo on pp. 30-31. Dianne was born in Kansas City, Kansas, where the endless flat plains left their mark on her vision. Her dynamic household growing up consisted of grandparents, an uncle, five siblings, cousins, a collection of wild snakes, and a revolving door of her father’s employees. This cast of characters honed Dianne’s sense of humor and helped her to develop the skill of observation.

Dianne has been shooting, producing, and directing documentaries for over twenty years. Her work spans a rich range of productions, from feature documentaries to her own independent projects. Dianne’s newest documentary collaboration, Painted Nails, is currently playing on the film festival circuits. For more information, go to  DianneGriffin.com.

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crabapple blossom

“The image of the pink cone flowers was taken at the Mauldin Gardens in Clarkesville, Georgia near where I live. I volunteered in the garden in the spring of 2015. Mauldin Gardens is a quiet refuge I return to again and again to wander, take photos, and pray. I’ve started creating a series of “Layers of Life” images taken in the gardens.”

– Marie Nease, about her photo on pp. 32-33. Marie is a six-time award-winning member of the Roswell Photographic Society. Her expertise in photography is mixed with a passion that can’t be tamed. The love of photography spans multiple generations in Marie’s family. Marie has published articles and short stories and enjoys expressing herself through creative writing and poetry. Marie is a mother of four wonderful young men and grandmother to six. She lives near the mountains in Cornelia, Georgia. Visit her website, wingdreamer.com.

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bee

“I took this photo in a flowerbed on our little farm. It took many attempts, holding the camera with flash while chasing bees around to finally catch one in focus while in flight.”

– Dan Wray, about his photo on pp. 34-35. Dan teaches religion, philosophy, and English at the college level. He also serves as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Badin, North Carolina. He lives on a farm in the Piedmont of North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. See some of Dan’s work at his website: danwrayphoto.com.

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Protea

“This is a Protea, a South African plant that is sometimes called a Sugarbush. The velvet blossoms are large, and this pair suggests they are friends taking in the light and refreshments of the day.”

– Dianne Griffin, about her photo on p. 40. Dianne was born in Kansas City, Kansas, where the endless flat plains left their mark on her vision. Her dynamic household growing up consisted of grandparents, an uncle, five siblings, cousins, a collection of wild snakes, and a revolving door of her father’s employees. This cast of characters honed Dianne’s sense of humor and helped her to develop the skill of observation.

Dianne has been shooting, producing, and directing documentaries for over twenty years. Her work spans a rich range of productions, from feature documentaries to her own independent projects. Dianne’s newest documentary collaboration, Painted Nails, is currently playing on the film festival circuits. For more information, go to  DianneGriffin.com.

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mystery flower

“What is this exotic-looking flower? I love nature’s astonishing abundance! The great creator has a wonderful sense of humor and the steady hand of the finest artist. This little attention-getter popped up in my garden one day and made me exclaim “Wow!” Miracles certainly are everywhere!”

– Nancy Terzian, about her photo on p. 47. Nancy is our art director and graphic designer. She has designed several book covers and interiors for Upper Room Books as well as other clients via her Nashville-based design studio, Buckinghorse Design. Before starting her own business ten years ago, Nancy was the art director and designer for several magazines in the San Francisco Bay area, including Yoga Journal, Electronic Musician, and Frisko. To see some of Nancy’s other design work, visit facebook.com/BuckinghorseDesign or her website, nancyterzian.com.

Nancy is a singer/songwriter who has two solo releases under her belt—Violet and Traveling Light. She is also a nature lover, runner, and yoga enthusiast.

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scarred tree

“My contemplative camera
captured what my heart could not.

O Great Spirit, I yearn for you
across the rocks and emptiness …
the hollow places
that have not yet found their sacredness.

O Gracious God, see into the places
yet unrealized in my short sighted vision….
Cast your passing hand over me.
Linger here with me.”

— Marianne Stieg, OSF

– Marianne Stieg, OSF, about her photo on p. 48. Marianne is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Joliet, Illinois. She is a spiritual director, retreat facilitator, teacher, and photographer. Marianne explains, “Photography and spirituality are my passion. I find the two to be complementary and nourishing to the spirit. A photograph exclusively captures a single moment, an image in time, a memory. It is my desire to bring life to images all around us. Spirituality feeds this vision.”

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Gordon Hayes May 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

How I love this magazine. It nourshes my life. I sit and read, reread, meditate on its messages. I especially love the Household of God issue. I love seeing photos of all God’s children, reading about all the international faith journeys with the feeling that each of us is part of a web of God’s light. Thank you, staff of Alive Now.

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Beth Richardson June 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Jennifer,

How we loved getting your comments. Thank you so much. I’ll pass your words on to the rest of the staff.

Blessings,
Beth

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Brother Camillus, OSB July 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Love the publication. I’m passing this site on to others in my community

In Christ,
Brother Camillus, OSB

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Beth Richardson July 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

Brother Camillus,
Thank you so much for your post and for sharing the site with your community.
Blessings!

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David Wegmann July 6, 2011 at 6:33 am

I enjoy the upper room, I look forward to reading your new publication

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Beth Richardson July 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

David, so glad you have found us!!
Beth

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Ernie Farrar July 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

This looks like a great site for deepening our faith journey from thought to action.

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Beth Richardson July 8, 2011 at 8:18 am

Welcome, Ernie!!

Blessings,
Beth

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Joyce Kaiser July 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I have always liked Alive Now and especially this one for July/August 2011. There is so much to learn, read, soak in, and apply to my own life- I have a purpose ahead of me and I am excited.

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Beth Richardson July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am

Thanks, Joyce, for your comment. I’m pleased that you are liking the July/August issue. Blessings!

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Mel Ridgway July 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Beth,I told you that you were in my prayers at SF and will continue. What really touched me during SOULfeast as you led into worship with your clear voice piercing the air for singing “O, God, our God, we search for you as in a dry and barren land”. What a blessing that set the stage for Trevor’s message. Lake Junaluska was as far from a dry and barren as God was everywhere. Thank you for sharing your gift leading us.
Mel Ridgway
Jacksonville, Florida

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Beth Richardson July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi, Mel,

It was so good to be at SOULfeast with you. Thank you for your prayers — at SOULfeast and continuing. They mean so much.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to lead worship and to hear Trevor speak. What a great week.

Many blessings,
Beth

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Cheryl Lyon July 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I love this concept of “visual psalms.” I like to paint “word pictures” with my meditations, but I will be playing with adding “visio divina.”

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Beth Richardson July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi, Cheryl,

Very wonderful thought — to do visio divina!!

Blessings
Beth

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Lorraine Romero July 28, 2011 at 6:42 am

I was in my doctors office and read a copy of this magazine. It is beautifully written and I found some comfort in passages that were contained inside.
I cannot afford the subscription at this time but I am so glad there is a website I can go to.

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Beth Richardson July 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

Hi, Lorraine,

How cool that you found us in your Dr.’s office! I’m so glad that you found comfort in the pages of the magazine. I’ll be looking forward to having you here at the website. Take good care.
Beth

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Beth DeLong July 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Hi Beth!

I have enjoyed your photos in the SightPsalms daily emails. Thanks so much for your contributions and for sharing your talent through the eye of the camera. I enjoy snapping away myself, and the wonders of nature continue to amaze me on a daily basis.
Now I am intrigued with AliveNow’s visual images.

Thanks again,
Beth

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Beth Richardson August 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Beth,

Thanks for leaving this note. I really enjoy looking at the world through the eye of a camera. Have you joined the Visual Psalmist’s group on Flickr? We would welcome you.

I’m so glad you are liking Alive Now’s images.

Blessings,
Beth

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Anthony J. Butler August 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Beth,

Greetings from Ireland. May I offer to gift a subscription to Lorraine? I hope she would not be offended. I gift it as my own thanks to God this night. Bill me please if that is ok with Lorraine.
Rev, Anthony J. Butler

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Beth Richardson August 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Hi, Rev. Anthony,

Thank you so much for your generous offer. Our staff is attempting to contact Lorraine about this. Thank you so much for your active prayer.

Blessings,
Beth

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Monique August 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I bless the very day i came across this amazing magical magazine.Thank all for your most extra ordinary words,they touch my heart to the core and they were an awakening and so rich and meanful to my soul,mind and heart.Thank you all so much.

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Beth Richardson August 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hi, Monique,

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! Thank you for being on this journey with us.

Blessings,
Beth

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Nancy C. Hardin September 13, 2011 at 12:21 am

Thanks for the wonderful chance to practice the audio lectio meditations on the Scriptures. I especially like that they continue for one week. It really gives a chance for several things to jump out at me. I especially enjoy the different timbres and accents of the readers.

I am a Lay Hispanic Missioner and the idea of “hospitality” is dear to my heart. The people who search me out remind me of the true meaning of hospitality when I visit a family and they bring the one chair in the house for me to sit in and offer me a drink of water.

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Beth Richardson September 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Hi, Nancy,

I’m glad to know how you are using the Audio Lectio. I’m so glad you are enjoying the different voices, too.

Thank you for the vision of hospitality that you painted with your story.

Many blessings,
Beth

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Debra Hosmer September 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

Thank you Lord for another day. I ask for prayers for Theresa Buhr my boss who is in the hospital. That she will heal. And for my son who has the demon alcohol freezes him in his tracks. I thank you Lord for all your help and for the inspiration of Alive Now.

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Beth Richardson September 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

Praying for you.

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Marcia the pianist October 19, 2011 at 7:10 am

I have enjoyed Advent, and the daily devotional. I’d like to get Psalms too. No more pieces of paper to deal with!

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Marcia the pianist October 19, 2011 at 7:25 am

I tried to sign up for Visual Psalms. Can’t do those letters and numbers to verify. I would have enjoyed it.

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CAROL November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

PUT ON YOUR MAILING LIST

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Beth Richardson November 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

Hi, Carol, were you wanting to receive our daily emails?

Thanks for your interest!
Beth

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Rose Salyers November 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I’ve always enjoyed reading alive now. am glad my church provide us with this magazine free for church workers. I always read the Upper Room Discipline & Alive now for meditation ever since that way back issue about “Doors” as I could recall.

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Beth Richardson November 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi, Rose,

I’m so glad to know that your church provides Alive Now. THank you so much for visiting the website!

Blessings!
Beth

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Yohana Siera November 21, 2011 at 1:06 am

this is my first time to read about this article. I am totally love it.
i love to know how God make a miracle to other that give me more spirit in God.
Oneday, i hope i can meet these extraordinary people and sharing with them..

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Beth Richardson November 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi, Yohana,

Thank you for visiting the website. Many blessings!
Beth

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Mechelle Stockett December 31, 2011 at 11:23 am

Your Alive Now magazine says that we can share our ideas and writings with the Alive Now community. How is that done? I don’t see a place for it on the website. Thanks for your reply.

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Beth Richardson January 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hi, Mechelle,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! The Alive Now community gathers in the Daily Reflections area. Here’s a link! http://alivenow.upperroom.org/category/daily-reflections/

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Many blessings and Happy New Year!
Beth

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Kim Jenkins January 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

Just wanted you to know what a blessing this publication and website are to me! I have just today discovered Visual Pslams and it has encouraged me to purchase a much needed camera that I have been thinking about over the past few months. This discovery today is truly a GOD thing….I have struggled most of my spiritual walk with what I refer to as organized prayer and with the help of Alive Now I am realizing that our lives are to be continual prayer and worship….God wants to be part of EVERYTHING we do! Also, I have recently adopted my three great-nieces and since they have come into my life I am realizing how important it is to have pictures for them to have as they grow. I have been using my camera on my cell phone but it has not been giving me the quality I am looking for, so like I said today was A GOD thing! It has been confirmed that I do need to make that investment in a good camera.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers….My grown children (Zach and Bonnie), as well as my three girls…Tiana, Emma and Breezy!

New Year Blessings!

Kim Jenkins

Please keep me and my babies in your prayers….

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Beth Richardson January 5, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hi, Kim,

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your life and your calling to get a camera. That’s wonderful. You and your family will be in our prayers.

Blessings,
Beth

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Diane Scott January 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

Dear Beth,
I have followed you through Advent and have been incredibly blessed as I have shared with others your thoughts and prayers. It’s almost sad to have it end. Yet, I am over-joyed that it never ends in the heart and spirit of God’s children.
Love and blessings to you,
Diane

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Beth Richardson January 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

Hi, Diane,

Thank you for going on the journey with me during Advent and Christmas — and for taking the time to let me know. I’m so glad to “meet” you.

May you take God’s presence with you into this new year. Many blessings … and thank you.

Beth

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Kate February 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thank you for these photos! My only complaint is that I have spent the whole morning reading and writing after your site sparked my interest in one of your photographers! I’ll be back!

http://attendanceplease.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/surviving-desolation-two-artists/

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Beth Richardson February 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi, Kate,

We’re glad we could provide you some entertainment. 😉 Thank you for the link to your post. We’ve also fallen in love with Ara and Spirit. Glad you found the video. We’ll look forward to seeing you back here again.

Blessings,
Beth

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Kelly Clark February 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Alive Now has been an important element in my morning meditations for a number of years, and I have occasionally visited the website. Only today, have I found–much to my delight–Behind the Photographs. This adds another deep dimension to the poetry, prayers, and stories found in my favorite publication.

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Beth Richardson February 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

Hi, Kelly,

I’m so glad you’ve found this page and the stories. Hope it continues to enrich your meditation time.

Many blessings,
Beth

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Molly June 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I have been a printed word person most of my life, but these past years, I have become more and more aware of visual influences in devotional life. I love the pictures in Alive Now and the Visual Psalms. I find such stimuli everywhere now. In this collection , I found the P 36 photo from Jackson Deparis, brought back moving memories from a novel by Chaim Potok called ,” My Name is Asher Lev”, which had a great impression on me a few years ago. It was interesting that , when I read the article in Alive Now, opposite the picture, I saw it differently. But when I saw the photo here, it really hit me.
Thank you for the way you expand our perception and challenge our thinking. And I thank God for the limitless ways he has of drawing us closer.

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Beth Richardson July 2, 2012 at 11:32 am

Thanks, Molly. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I loved that book by Potok …

Blessings,
Beth

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Annemarie Haner September 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm

PERHAPS THREE YEARS AGO, SHORTLY AFTER RETIREMENT, I WAS STRUCK DOWN WITH LATE ONSET MANIC DEPRESSION WHICH HAD KILLED MY MOTHER. I PHYSICALLY SURVIVED, BUT SOMEHOW THE ILLNESS SEEMED TO COMPLETELY SEVER MY DEEP FAITH. A BELOVED NIECE WANTING TO HELP, SENT ME ALIVE NOW!. AFTER PERHAPS THREE ISSUES HAD ARRIVED OVER THE COURSE OF 6 MONTHS, I SAW ONE, AND PICKED IT UP. IT WAS VISUALLY BEAUTIFUL, AND BOTH KIND AND GENTLE. IT BECAME A VITAL PART OF MY NOW COMPLETE RECOVERY. I WILL NEVER AGAIN TAKE FOR GRANTED THE FAITH I SO CHERISH. AND I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR WONDERFUL MAGAZINE, WHICH I OFTEN SHARE WITH OTHERS.

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Gina Manskar September 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Thanks, Annemarie. We are praying for you.

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Nancy Terzian September 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hi Beth,
Just taking a few minutes to look through this visual psalmist section of the web site. I love it! It’s so fun to read about the photographers and their stories behind the photos. More please!!!
Nancy

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Donna M Korba, IHM June 26, 2013 at 6:38 am

Beth,

I was introduced to Alive Now back in 1988 by another sister in my community who had been a faithful subscriber for years. I have a collection of magazines to which I often return for inspiration and insight. It is not by chance that the issues (with their meaningful themes ) seem to arrive at the precise moment when my heart thirsts for some gentle inspiration. I often give Alive Now as gifts so to spread the word!
As an artist, I am particularly grateful for the current issue on Creativity.
Thanks. Blessings. Keep up the wonderful ministry!

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Kathy Martin November 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

Dear Beth,

I was introduced to Alive Now through my church and use it quite often in my counseling practice.
Today, as I sit with my dear cousin and reflect on “Peace” I am ever so thankful for this publication.
Blessings and Peace-

Katherine Martin, M.A., L.P.C.

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J DeShong April 11, 2014 at 7:10 am

This is a marvelous site. Thank you to all the contributors for their visual psalms. Praying for you as you come and go in all life’s moments.

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Joyce Kaiser October 4, 2014 at 7:43 am

Oh my! How marvelous! What fantastic “captures” of nature, people, and just all of the photos. I have been a photographer ever since college which was ’72-’76. I have always admired photos, and I get ideas of objects to try to take for myself. About 10 years ago- I became the #1 photographer for a small, local newspaper and I was known as ” the best photographer.” Then I moved to a bigger city due to my health….and this website “fires” me up to take more photos. I just turned in 4 photos for competition for a 2014 calendar….it would be my awesome Lord’s doing, and a great honor to be featured. So now I pray every day for the possibility. Thank you for the challenging photography thoughts for me in this website. Bless you!

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Gordon May 18, 2015 at 11:23 am

I like to read the Bible ever day it give me inspiraltion. I read the upper room , today. and a couple other ones,

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Larry Dyer December 24, 2015 at 6:04 am

Beth, So great to have met you at SOULfeast Mary Hubbard at First UMC South Bend, IN about recordings of their Celtic Worship. I would think that some would be on their website. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you continue to spread the Holy Spirit. …….led…..

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Larry Dyer December 24, 2015 at 6:05 am

…….SOULfeast 2015……..

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