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 March/April 2016 Issue

Order a copy of the March/April 2016 issue, “Doubt,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.

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forest mist

“It was a beautiful afternoon as a group of us headed into the valley for a photo outing. No more than fifteen minutes after we arrived it began to rain. And not just a gentle rain, it poured buckets for about thirty minutes, then a steady drizzle. The decision we faced was to wait out the rain or move on. We waited.

As I walked back to our car, I happened to look up behind me and saw this wonderful fog/mist that had begun to form in the trees.

What had begun with a dismal start turned into wonderful photo opportunities as the warmth of the earth and the cool of the rain worked their magic in all that surrounded us. I go out on photo adventures with an expectation of what I will see. More often than not, I receive gifts that far exceed my expectations if I slow down and pay attention to all of my surroundings.”

– Susan Hay, about her photo on the cover. Susan devotes much of her spare time pursuing her passion and interest in photography, which has increased her awareness of how photography helps us “see God at eye level.” She also enjoys leading retreats and workshops for persons of all ages on photography as a spiritual practice.

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woman in white

“I photograph people in nature and try to show nature’s magnitude and grandeur compared to our smallness. I aim for a metaphor in order to have the image speak for itself. This photo means to say that there are modern-day prophets and we are still in the desert, in the wilderness.”

– Jan Phillips, about her photo on p. 3. Jan Phillips 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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ice on branches

“This photo was taken one icy morning in Kearney, Nebraska, on the edge of town. The ice smoothed the sharp edges of barbed wire and made the cedar trees glisten. The sunrise in its pretty pink and peach hues on such a gloomy, harsh morning reminds us that there is hope. Even in the darkest days, the Creator is still creating. Warmth and light will come again, and life will be renewed.”

– Barbara Bennett, about her photo on pp. 10-11. Barbara is an amateur photographer living in Gladstone, Missouri. She often carries her camera on morning walks to capture the reawakening of life in the sunrise, listening for life lessons from the Creator. Barbara attributes her love of nature to growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Sand Hills of western Nebraska.

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snow-covered leaves

“While on a quest for a snowy wildlife shot, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the snow clinging to the dormant vegetation at Fontanelle Forest in eastern Nebraska. The beauty of the details of the scene drew me in. I had to try to capture that simple beauty in a photograph. Images like this always seem to have a simple emotional message that touches our hearts.”

– Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 12. 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. Pat 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.

Pat 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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rugged shore

“Florida is known for its beautiful, sandy beaches that stretch for miles and miles. Don’t go there hoping to find boulders and rugged outcrops. Except for one spot. I wanted sunrise beach pictures with rocks, so it was off to Blowing Rocks Preserve. My son and I planned the trip so that we would arrive just before sunrise. The preserve doesn’t open until 9:00, so we had to go to a county park about a half mile down the shore and walk back up the beach. We walked past the darkened beach houses and hotels, and I wondered if anything all that rugged awaited us. As we got closer, we could hear the water ramming up into the rocks before we could see it. We started taking pictures as the sun came up. I came away with some good shots, but what I will remember best was just spending time with my son, enjoying God’s creation.”

– Kevin Main, about his photo on pp. 14-15. Kevin is a landscape photographer whose photos have appeared in a variety of places, from scientific journals to religious publications to art fairs. His love of God’s creation is also beautifully expressed in his children’s book, I See You There: My Father’s Love.

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Carabou Lake

“I was vacationing in Northern Maine at a friend’s camp on Carabou Lake. It was a rainy day, and we were stuck indoors for a while. So I took this photo toward the lake through the trees.”

– Dan Wray, about his photo on pp. 24-25. 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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crabapple blossom

“This image was taken at Mauldin Gardens in Clarkesville, Georgia, near where I live. I believe it is a crabapple tree bloom. I volunteered in the garden in the spring of 2015. Malden 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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tree bones

“The old dead tree is right behind the learning center at Archbold Biological Station, where I work. Before the buildings were completed, we burned the area under the tree to reduce the amount of burnable fuels close to the building. My executive director made it clear that she didn’t want the tree to get killed by the fire. We were very careful to make sure the fire was low intensity around the tree, and after the burn we put water around the base of the tree to limit smoldering. We did a good job, and the tree was fine. But God had other plans. About a month after the fire, lightning struck the tree and killed it. I guess God was saying we should go ahead and plan things and do things to the best of our ability, but always remember that God makes the final decisions.”

– Kevin Main , about his photo on p. 36. is a landscape photographer whose photos have appeared in a variety of places, from scientific journals to religious publications to art fairs. His love of God’s creation is also beautifully expressed in his children’s book, I See You There: My Father’s Love.

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contemplating

“Seth (the man in the photo) and I crawled out of our tents well before dawn arrived at the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado. We hiked a half mile down from our campsite to the shores of Turquoise Lake. There we watched and photographed the predawn sky light up. Soon after, the light began to hit the mountains across the lake. I photographed both the predawn show and then the light hitting the mountains. To create a little more human interest in the image, I asked Seth to go stand on the rock. The result was this photograph of a man contemplating God and the beauty before him.”

– Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 37. 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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red door

“Several photo friends and I traveled one day to a small town in Tennessee to photograph an old, abandoned hotel. The hotel was at one time on the edge of the U.S. frontier and a staging ground for soldiers on their way to fight on the New Orleans front in the War of 1812. The long-vacated place was filled with intriguing remnants of a former age. If only walls could talk.”

– Sharon Brown Christopher, about her photo on p. 48. Sharon has resumed her interest in photography (first sparked in the age of Brownie box cameras) with the open space and time that comes with retirement. With photography as an expression of her Christian practice, she seeks to see as God sees and to invite others through her photographic images into seeing God’s presence in all of life. Rooted in Nashville, Tennessee, she is honing her vision and skill through ongoing study and adventures launched with camera in hand.

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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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