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 July/August 2014 Issue

Order a copy of the July/August 2014 issue, “Transformation,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.
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butterfly

“Each year many butterflies grace the flowers we plant in our yard. One summer I wanted to photograph a greater variety and met a woman who has a very large butterfly garden. I visited her garden a couple times. She had quite a few butterfly bushes. This tiger swallowtail danced on several of the bushes as it sipped nectar from their flowers. The purple flowers on one of the bushes beautifully complemented the yellow colors of the swallowtail. I couldn’t help but be captured by its beauty.”

Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on the back cover. Pasquale 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 (thecreationspeaks.com), which explores how creation speaks to our heart, soul & mind about God.

Pasquale is an award-winning photographer and teaches photography at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Metro Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, and at 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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caterpillar

“”When I visited the butterfly garden, the owner pointed out this monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant.”

Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on the table of contents page.

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beam of light

“This photograph is part of my ‘Pathways’ collection of photos I took preparing for Advent last year. I’ve also been taken with the walking/running paths surrounding Rice University. I had to capture this moment at the perfect time to soak up the natural light.”

Lanecia Rouse, about her photo on p. 3. Lanecia is currently project manager of The Art Project, Houston of Bread of Life, Inc. at St. John’s Downtown Church. The Art Project, Houston is a therapeutic art and empowerment program for men and women living on the streets of Houston, Texas.

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rain

“This photo was taken during a summer rainstorm from my back deck.”

Michelle Hall, about her photo on p. 3. Michelle lives in Nashville, Tennessee and works at the Oasis Center with older adolescents who do not have a safe place to live and/or are living on the streets. At work or at play (and the two often intermingle), Michelle makes sense of her world by finding the beauty in the present situation. In November 2011, Michelle was given a “real” camera and she began literally focusing on beauty by learning photography. This has made her very happy. See more of Michelle’s work at michellehallphotography.com.

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abandoned car

“Bell’s Bend, between Nashville and Ashland City, is Davidson County’s largest remaining tract of undeveloped land. In 2008, the area was threatened with a massive urban development. I started photographing the landscape to contribute to the the conservation effort or to have a record should that effort fail. I found this old hull on one such expedition in the spring of 2009.”

Paul Schatzkin, about his photo on pp. 8-9. Paul is an author, entrepreneur, and photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee. For more about his work, go to cohesionarts.com.

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cupcake

“Last spring, I paid a visit to Carytown Cupcakes, my go-to spot in Richmond, Virginia for satisfying all of my sweet tooth cravings. Upon entering the friendly, bubblegum-pink shop, my taste buds roused at the delightful aromatic scent of freshly baked goods lingering in the air. Now came the hard part. I focused my gaze on the attractive display of cupcakes galore, looking over the vast array carefully. After a moment of inner struggle, I caved and bought three: red velvet, carrot cake, and Oreo peanut butter. I hurried home with the shop’s signature bright pink box, excited to sample my confectionary treasures. Back at the apartment, I decided to take a quick photo of my treats. They were so cute and perfect, and almost too good to eat…almost.”

Kelsey Krupp, about her photo on p. 10. Kelsey is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) studying Mass Communications with a concentration in Creative Advertising. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Kelsey hopes to be admitted to the VCU Brandcenter, a graduate program in advertising and communications. 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.

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blossom

“My wife and I prefer organic produce to conventionally grown produce. Not only do we buy organic produce, but we also grow our own. We tried our luck with an organic apple tree. The second spring we had it, it bloomed quite well and graced us with its beauty. I made sure I got plenty of photographs of the blossoms. Sadly, the photos are all we have left of our apple tree. We do well with our organic garden and berry plants, but not so well with the apple tree. It succumbed to a fungus and died by fall. I’m glad I took the photos when I did.”

Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 14-15.

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stars

“I’ve always been amazed with stars. The vastness of space speaks more to me of the power of God than just about anything. When I go outside on a clear, moonless night I can’t help but look up and stand amazed. To capture that vastness in an image is really impossible. You can only get a taste of it from a picture. I’m fortunate to be in a location where light pollution is not yet a big problem. I would miss the stars if I were in a city or other light polluted area.

“You need especially dark areas if you are taking time exposures. This image is a three minute exposure. I wanted to see some of the Milky Way and also see the star reflections off the pond. Being alone in the darkness taking pictures of the heavens is a great way to ‘focus’ on God! To see God’s true light we need to be set apart – in a location where the lights of this world do not outshine the true light. A nice physical-spiritual parallel.”

Kevin Main, about his photo on pp. 24-25. 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. View more of Kevin’s work at lightingwild.com.
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blue sky butterfly

“My mom and dad’s garden in Meansville, Georgia is the setting for the butterfly on the Butterfly Bush (scientific name: Buddleia Davidii). This image was captured one perfect, blue-sky day in August.

As my Mom and Dad age, their garden isn’t as well tended as it used to be in their younger years. When I recently visited them, I worked in their garden, trimming and cleaning it up after a cold winter. Spring is such a time of transformation that reminds me of the transformation we go through in our walk with Christ! I will always treasure the moments in their garden, even when they are enjoying tending their heavenly garden.”

Marie Nease, about her photo on pp. 26-27. 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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buds

“Early mornings in my garden often serve as a place of quiet meditation for me. As I wander amid the glorious sights and sounds of nature, I also frequently carry my camera to record and preserve that to which my eyes are drawn. This image is one that reflects my reverent awe and respect for the simple beauty of nature.”

Sue Henry, about her photo on pp. 36-37. Sue is a widely published fine art photographer, retired music educator, and professional musician. She has been studying and practicing photography for a number of years and loves spending time with her three grandchildren.

About being an artist, Sue explains, “The Arts have been an integral part of my life from a very early age; first as a musician, and later in life as a visual artist. My passion for finding beauty in what may be sometimes considered unexpected places is very evident to the viewer. The artist’s eye sees colors, shapes, and details often missed by others. Photography is not so much about taking pictures as it is about creating art.”

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sunrise

“Over winter break last year, my sisters and I did a sunrise hike at Humpback Rocks, a popular trail located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Humpback Rocks is a fairly short, but steep hike leading to an amazing view at the top that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was somewhat difficult walking on trail when it was still so dark, but the thought of missing the sunrise motivated us to get to the top as fast as we could. I took this picture just as the sun was making its slow and beautiful ascent into the sky. Getting up early to share this amazing experience with my siblings was definitely worth losing a few hours of sleep.”

Kelsey Grupp, about her photo on p. 40. is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) studying mass communications with a concentration in creative advertising. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Kelsey hopes to be admitted to the VCU Brandcenter, a graduate program in advertising and communications. 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.

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prickly pear cactus

“I took this photo of the Prickly Pear cactus while hiking up a mountain in Arizona, just north of Phoenix. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and the mountainside was covered with Saguaros, Barrel Cacti, Cholla, and many more. My friend told me that the reason some of the Prickly Pear cacti are heart shaped is because javelinas take chomps out of the tops of them!”

Nancy Terzian, about her photo on p. 47. Nancy is Alive Now’s 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 9 years ago, Nancy was the art director and designer for several magazines in the San Francisco Bay area including Yoga JournalElectronic Musician, and Frisko.

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water lilies

“I took this photo of water lilies in the back yard of a family member. I love shooting this subject because it’s a bit of a challenge. The lilies only bloom in the sun and the sun tends to mess up the color richness of photos (morning and late afternoon are the best times for shooting). I happened to capture this image while the blooms were still open and had the added benefit of still water and enough light to make some nice reflections. This is one of my favorite recent photos.”

Beth Richardson, about her photo on p. 48. Beth got her first camera when she was in 5th 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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{ 53 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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