Visual Psalmists

56 comments

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 July/August 2015 Issue

Order a copy of the July/August 2015 issue, “Happiness,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.

woman at sunrise

“Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Humpback Rocks, a very short and scenic hike in Afton, Virginia. In the wee hours of the day one morning, my sisters and I hiked Humpback Rocks to catch the sunrise. After reaching the summit of the mountain, I took this photo of my sister, just as the sun began to rise.”

– Kelsey Grupp, about her photo on the cover. Kelsey is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) studying mass communications with a concentration in creative advertising. Upon completion of her degree, she hopes to become an art director at an advertising agency. Aside from academics, Kelsey is also a dedicated student-athlete, representing the VCU Women’s Track & Field team in the pole vault. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys pursuing personal photography projects. To learn more about her and the projects she is working on, go to kelseygrupp.com.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

stained glass

“This photo was taken in Chester Cathedral in late 2014. It is of the specially commissioned millennium window. In person it is truly immense to see. I think that it is a location well worth traveling to visit.”

– Eleanor Lenore Bennett, about her photo on p. 3. Eleanor is a sixteen-year-old, internationally award-winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland Trust, and Postal Heritage. Her photography has  been published in The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News website, and on the cover of books and magazines in the United States and Canada.

Eleanor has shown work globally in places like London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, and Australia. She was entered in The Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition (2011) and was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus-run “See the Bigger Picture” global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, 2010. Be sure to check out her portfolio, eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

purple palette

“This photograph was created while touring the art department of Texas Southern University with artists from The Art Project, Houston (a therapeutic art and economic empowerment project with men and women living on the streets of Houston). At the time I was serving as director of the project.

I was captivated by this palette and remember telling myself one day I would spend hours in front of blank canvases with palettes just like it, living out my heart’s desire. This photo was my screensaver for about a year, a vision board of sorts drawing me into a conversation with God about the life we would continue to co-create.”

– Lanecia Rouse, about her photo on p. 3. Lanecia is an artist who has served in ministry with the United Methodist Church since 2002 in various roles—as a solo and youth pastor, an artist-in-residence, and project manager of The Art Project, Houston. She currently resides in Houston, Texas where she continues her ministry as a writer, artist, photographer, speaker and workshop leader. larartphotography.com

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

cartwheel

“The Richmond Mural Project is an annual event in the summer that brings in talented artists from around the world to create murals in Richmond, Virginia. This is a photo of me doing a cartwheel in front of one of my favorite murals that was created during last year’s event.”

– Kelsey Grupp, about her photo on p. 3. Kelsey is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) studying mass communications with a concentration in creative advertising. Upon completion of her degree, she hopes to become an art director at an advertising agency. Aside from academics, Kelsey is also a dedicated student-athlete, representing the VCU Women’s Track & Field team in the pole vault. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys pursuing personal photography projects. To learn more about her and the projects she is working on, go to kelseygrupp.com.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

elephant

“This was taken at the city zoo. Other than staying in water, taking mud baths and then covering themselves with sand is an activity that elephants enjoy most. Mud baths give the elephants relief from sunburn. I was lucky to be present with my camera at this time when I could capture the joy of this majestic creature.”

– Savvy Gulia, about her photo on p. 14. Savvy a freelance photographer living in New Delhi, India, decided to pursue her dream of being a photographer a few years back. Most of her images are about people, capturing life in their seemingly negligible moments. Her pictures provide an opportunity to absorb a gesture, a smile, or a frown through her vision. Savvy’s forte is travel photography, but when not traveling, she enjoys capturing portraits too. Read more about her at savvygulia.wordpress.com

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

across the tracks

“I LOVE yellow! It’s so cheery and sunny. Yellow flowers make me happy! This image of swamp sunflowers was captured in my Mom and Dad’s garden in Meansville, Georgia. They call it Big Sky Gardens. It’s a place I find peace. Walking with Mom in their garden brings sweet joy into my life on a regular basis.”

– Marie Nease, about her photo on pp. 8-9. 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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

kites

“I was teaching a photography class in upstate New York when we accidentally happened upon a big Kiting with Kids Day event at Maple Ridge Farm in Lowville, New York.”

– Jan Phillips, about her photo on pp. 10-11. Jan is an author, creator, and workshop facilitator who ignites original thinking and inspires action. Her retreats and presentations 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. Jan is cofounder and executive director of The Livingkindness Foundation.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

ocean wading“This was a beautiful day with a close friend of mine. We could not stay out of the water or stop laughing all day.”

– Caroline Catlin, about her photo on pp. 24-25 . Caroline is a senior at Wesleyan University, studying psychology and photography. She hopes to find a way to combine the two in the future. Caroline grew up splitting her time between her home in Lincoln, Vermont and working at her family’s summer camp in the Adirondacks.

She describes her experience of photography this way: “If poetry is the linguistic form of putting something small into a bigger picture, I think that photography is the visual form of doing the same thing. To me, things make more sense when I see them from behind a lens.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Bell's Bend

“Bells Bend is one of middle Tennessee’s hidden treasures, that last large tract of undeveloped land in Nashville/Davidson County, surrounded on three sides by Cumberland River  Since the closure of a small ferry from West Nashville, this still rural-community has been isolated from the rest of the city, accessible by only one road off the Ashland City Highway.

In 2008, a large developer threatened the area with a multi-billion proposal to build a “satellite downtown” that would have been connected by a large bridge dumping traffic right into the heart of Bend. I’ve known about Bell’s Bend for as long as I’ve lived in Nashville. When I first heard of about the proposed development, I started going out there as often as I could to document the area—either to provide support to the conservation effort, or to provide a record in case that effort failed.  Fortunately, the proposal was rejected by the city zoning board, and this farm at the end of the road into Bell’s Bend still stands today—at the edge of a public park where an office tower might have been built.”

– Paul Schatzkin, about his photo on pp. 36-37. Paul is an author, entrepreneur, and photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee. For more about his work, go to cohesionarts.com.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

plant

“This is the aloe vera plant in my back yard bathed in light.”

– 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, most recently, Traveling Light (2014). She is also a nature-lover, runner, and yoga enthusiast.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

sunset

“A Nashville treasure… another sunrise.  Somebody asked me once, “which do you prefer, sunrises or sunsets?” To which I replied, ‘Well, generally speaking, I’m already awake by sunset.'”

– Paul Schatzkin, about his photo on p. 48. Paul is an author, entrepreneur, and photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee. For more about his work, go to cohesionarts.com.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

{ 54 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.

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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!

Reply

David Wegmann July 6, 2011 at 6:33 am

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

Reply

Beth Richardson July 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

David, so glad you have found us!!
Beth

Reply

Ernie Farrar July 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

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

Reply

Beth Richardson July 8, 2011 at 8:18 am

Welcome, Ernie!!

Blessings,
Beth

Reply

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.

Reply

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!

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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.”

Reply

Beth Richardson July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi, Cheryl,

Very wonderful thought — to do visio divina!!

Blessings
Beth

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

Beth Richardson September 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

Praying for you.

Reply

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!

Reply

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.

Reply

CAROL November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

PUT ON YOUR MAILING LIST

Reply

Beth Richardson November 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

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

Thanks for your interest!
Beth

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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..

Reply

Beth Richardson November 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi, Yohana,

Thank you for visiting the website. Many blessings!
Beth

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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….

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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/

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

Gina Manskar September 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Thanks, Annemarie. We are praying for you.

Reply

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

Reply

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!

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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!

Reply

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,

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }