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 November/December 2015 Issue

Order a copy of the November/December 2015 issue, “Mystery,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.

Photographers: Do you pray with your camera in your hand? Join us in the Advent Photo-a-Day practice.

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sunrise

“This photo was taken at Muley Point in southern Utah. I call it “The Top of the World.” From up on cliffs, one can see Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, the Valley of the Gods, and the Gooseneck!”

– Ara Gureghian, about his photo on p.3. Ara was born in France sixty-eight years ago, arriving in the United States at the age of twenty-eight by way of Egypt, the Middle East, and Africa. He and his pit bull, Spirit, rescued each other in 2001. Since then, they have been camping on the road full-time, seeking answers to life after the passing of Ara’s only child and precious friend, Lance. For more on the continuing adventures of Ara and Spirit, as well as more wonderful photographs, see oasisofmysoul.com.

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hummingbird

“I went out to Seattle to attend a wedding and ended up purchasing a new zoom lens for the occasion. The zoom allowed me to capture this image of a hummingbird approaching a flower. There is nothing that speaks mystery to me more than an amazing hummingbird!”

– Beth A. Richardson, about her photo on p. 5. Beth got her first camera when she was in fifth grade. She follows in the footsteps of her dad, a United Methodist pastor and avid photographer who set up a dark room in the guest bathroom of the parsonage. One summer when she home from college, her dad took her to the camera store to get her first SLR—a Pentax ME—which she still owns. She loves to pray with a camera in her hand—whether it’s her Nikon D90 or her iPhone. “Praying with a camera in hand helps me see things in a different way than I do when I’m just walking down the street. It makes my seeing full of holy moments. Taking pictures is about my favorite activity.”

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pages

“While looking for a special subject for a photography project, I pulled out a collection of family books. Before I realized it, I had spent quite a lengthy period of time thoroughly examining and photographing the books in various compositions. The time I spent with the books was rich, nearly meditative. I photographed the handwriting on the inside covers of the books and the notes made in the margins of the pages. I photographed the worn and frayed bindings as well as the illustrations on the pages. And, of course, the rich color and texture of the aged pages also became a subject. As the saying goes, “The more you look, the more you see.”

– Sue Henry, about her photo on pp. 12-13. Sue is a fine-art photographer, retired music educator, and professional musician. She has been studying and practicing photography for a number of years, receiving instruction in photography from well-known and talented Western Kentucky artists. Sue has also attended photography classes at the Paducah School of Art. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, spending time with her three grandchildren.

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field

“There is nothing more peaceful to me than rising before dawn and sitting in that place to soak in the smells, waking sights, and streams of light as dawn begins to break. This particular morning I was with a group of friends, and the only sound that was out of the norm was the clicking of camera shutters. Not a word was spoken for over an hour. It was magical and joyous!”

– Susan Hay, about her photo on pp. 16-17. 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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full moon

“This image was captured at Little Mulberry Park near Dacula, Georgia. I had finished a photo session for a couple, and just before dark, we saw a gorgeous moon rising behind the pine trees. The husband gently pushed his wife in a swing in the children’s playground, while I captured the moon rising on a perfectly clear night. The presence of God hovered near.”

– Marie Nease, about her photo on pp. 24-25. 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 her family. Marie has published articles and short stories and enjoys expressing herself through creative writing and poetry. She is a mother of four wonderful young men and grandmother to six. Marie lives near the mountains in Cornelia, Georgia. Visit her website, wingdreamer.com.

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aura

“A white rainbow? White is not the definition of a rainbow! Throughout our life on the road, Spirit and I stopped at Pizmo Beach, CA – the same beach my son, Lance (who has passed away), and I used to sit on. I think this was his portal. The state ranger even stopped when he saw me take the photo and said that in all his years on the beach he had never seen such a thing.”

– Ara Gureghian, about his photo on pp. 28-29. Ara was born in France sixty-eight years ago, arriving in the United States at the age of twenty-eight by way of Egypt, the Middle East, and Africa. He and his pit bull, Spirit, rescued each other in 2001. Since then, they have been camping on the road full-time, seeking answers to life after the passing of Ara’s only child and precious friend, Lance. For more on the continuing adventures of Ara and Spirit, as well as more wonderful photographs, see oasisofmysoul.com.

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snowflake

“This is a real snowflake. It was captured in an outdoor setting when I lived in a colder climate than now. The flake was caught on a glass slide, and the camera was set up on a tripod outdoors in the cold, so the flake would not melt before the picture was taken with a strong macro lens setup. This is difficult to do, and there are a lot of failures while trying to get a good shot. Even a little warm breath on the slide with the snowflake on it will ruin the picture.”

– Dan Wray, about his photo on pp. 30-31. Dan teaches religion, philosophy, and English at the college level. He also serves as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Badin, NC. Dan lives on a farm in the Piedmont of North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. See some of his work at his website: danwrayphoto.com.

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pink sky

“This image was captured from the apartment village where I live in the Northeast Georgia Mountains. It was an incredibly beautiful, colorful and stormy sunset. I must have taken fifty-plus photos! I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds me.”

– Marie Nease, about her photo on p. 36. 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. She 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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icicles

“It was a magnificent ice storm in the middle of a blizzard . . . wonder everywhere!”

– Marianne Saieg, OSF, about her photo on p. 40. 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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frozen berries

“Frozen, yet thawing at the same time—beauty in abundance in a tiny berry.”

– Marianne Saieg, OSF, about her photo on p. 41. 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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flight

“Each March 400,000 to 500,000 sandhill cranes make a migration stop along a thirty to forty-mile stretch of the Platte River in central Nebraska. The Rowe Sanctuary, run by the Audubon Society, has many bird blinds by the river. The Rowe staff led us to one of the blinds in the early morning before the sun rose. It’s challenging to get good photographs without any sunlight, but I thought I might be able to get some interesting motion shots. As the birds took flight, I photographed them. A few shots came out with interesting results, and this is one of them.”

– Pasquale R. Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 48. Pat ia 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.

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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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