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 2015 Issue

Order a copy of the March/April 2015 issue, “Brokenness,” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Download the digital edition.
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bird

“Like many of us, I love observing birds and their activities. This capture is from one such bird watching trip to a sanctuary in Rajasthan, India.”

Savvy Gulia, about her photo on p. 8. 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

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puddle

“Every summer, Richmond invites local artists from around the world to participate in the “Richmond Mural Festival.” While wandering around one of the mural sites, I stopped to take a picture of the puddle. It had rained and the light was just right. I liked the way the clouds were reflected in the puddle. If you look closely, you can also see the shape of a face in the right-hand section of clouds.”

Kelsey Grupp, about her photo on p. 9. 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. To learn more about her and the projects she is working on, go to kelseygrupp.com.

Aside from academics, Kelsey is also a dedicated student-athlete, representing the VCU Women’s Track and Field team in the pole vault. In her free time, she enjoys pursuing personal photography projects.

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web

“This is from one of my most recent visits to Mussoorie, Himachal Pradesh. This was clicked on a cold, yet beautiful, rainy morning. This spider web catches water droplets from rain. Such macro shots urge me to view our nature’s intricate patters so closely.”

Savvy Gulia, about her photo on pp. 16-17. 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

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nest

“It’s so easy to focus on what’s empty, what’s not there. Instead, why not pray over that space and imagine what God could put there? That’s the story of redemption and it’s waiting to ring out loud and true in each of our lives.”

Lauren Richwine, about her photo on p. 18. Lauren is an artist, photographer, and writer. When she isn’t changing diapers or cooking, she is the creative force behind “Portrait of a Lady,” visually telling the stories of women’s spirituality and beauty. Lauren lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband, daughter, and sister. See Portrait of a Lady on Facebook

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tilting house

“This house was a location I scouted for Godfrey Reggio’s film “Visitors.” Located in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans this picture was taken in late 2010, five years after Hurricane Katrina.”

Craig Aspen, about his photo on pp. 20-21. Craig has had his photographs published nationally. As a musician, he is a member of the roots rock band, The Believers. In 2010, Craig took a year off from music & photography to help produce a film for acclaimed filmmaker, Godfrey Reggio. He recently started his own production company, Wild Magnolia Films.

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foggy road

“While visiting my elderly father in rural Illinois, I woke up one morning to discover a dense, heavy, low-hanging fog that created a mysterious and moody atmosphere. Having grown up in the small community, I felt comfortable driving the back country roads leading to the old family homestead some ten miles out of town. As I headed out the door my father said, “Be careful. Don’t get lost in the fog.” Little did I know how insightful his advice was. The fog did indeed present challenges in navigating the otherwise familiar roads. More than once I questioned exactly why it was that I wanted to go exploring in the fog. When I processed my images, I knew the answer.”

Sue Henry, about her photo on pp. 24-25. Sue is a fine-art photographer, retired music educator, and professional musician. She has received instruction in photography from well-known and talented Western Kentucky artists and has attended photography classes at the Paducah School of Art. Sue continues her education by surrounding herself with photography books and examples of the works of others, attending photography workshops and seminars with nationally recognized photographers, and taking advantage of a multitude of online learning opportunities. 

She 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 sometimes be 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.”

Sue currently resides in the greater Nashville, Tennessee, area, where she enjoys all the benefits the area offers. She loves spending time with her three grandchildren!

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Harriet Tubman sculpture

“When I visit New York City, I often take the express bus from La Guardia airport to 125th street in Manhattan. I love to walk around Harlem because of its wide sidewalks and lovely brownstones. On a walk a few years ago, I noticed a film crew at St. Nicholas Avenue and 122nd street. As I got closer, I saw what they were shooting: a large bronze statue of a solitary woman, with a greenish patina. I began to see the raised images in her full skirt: shoe prints, keys, faces, chains.

The plaque beneath the statue displayed the title of the piece, “Swing Low,” and the name of the sculpture, Alison Saar. This is a heroic depiction of Harriet Tubman. She is known for her work with the 19th century “underground railroad,” which was the system of moving slaves from the Southern states to freedom in the North the days before and after the Civil War.”

Mark Allan Peterson, about his photo on p. 31. Mark’s forty-five years of peering through a camera eyepiece have led him to the conclusion that surprise and beauty are much closer to all of us than we might think. His many thousands of film and digital images are the product of assignments to shoot music album covers, school groups, home building, public events, outdoor art, travel, hospitals, medical instruments, churches, weddings, political rallies, and sports. Ever curious, Mark’s artistic motto is: “We overlook the commonplace at our peril.” teaches religion, philosophy, and English at the college level. He also serves as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Badin, North Carolina.

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driveway

“The road through the woods at night is actually our driveway lit by the headlights of the car.”

Dan Wray, about his photo on p. 33. 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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chapel windows

“I have visited this stone chapel numerous times, always finding the chapel doors closed, yet never having found them locked. Sometimes I am greeted as I am entering by someone who is leaving. And on occasion someone I will find someone inside exploring the surroundings. The chapel beckons a quietness, a reverence as the light is filtered through the multi-colored glass falling on pews and the stone floor in many hues of color. Sometimes I wonder how much of God’s light filters through me in its many different shapes and hues.”

Susan Hay, about her photo on pp. 34-35. 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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sunset

“My wife and I live in a fairly rural county, and occasionally we go out for a drive just to spend some time together. We will sometimes find a spot along some back road where we can stop and pray. There are lots of cattle ranches in the area, so there are many places where you can watch the sun set across a pasture. I like to take the time to do that.

In Psalm 27 we are told to “Wait on the Lord.” My wife and I have gone through many struggles and it is so hard to wait for relief. Yet we trust God’s word to be true, so we wait. The blessing will surely come, like a bright sun sinking into a vibrant shade of the color of the Creator himself!

So we watch the sunset. And we pray and thank God for the blessings we have even in the midst of trials. His promises are good and they give us the strength to echo David’s words,”I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord.”

Kevin Main, about his photo on p. 36. 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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driveway

“This photo was taken from the deck of our home during a violent storm.”

Dan Wray, about his photo on p. 41. 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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sunset

“Watching the sunset across a pasture.”

Kevin Main, about his photo on p. 43. 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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hoarfrost

“Sometime in late February or early March, dozens of bald eagles gather at Lake Manawa State Park in Iowa. One cold morning in late February I drove to the park hoping to photograph some eagles. I didn’t see many eagles that morning, but I did encounter an incredible hoarfrost spread across the ground and on the trees. I didn’t get any great photographs of soaring eagles that morning, but I definitely got some awesome landscapes photos of a winter wonderland. Sometimes God doesn’t give us what we want; we get something better.”

Pasquale Mingarelli, about his photo on p. 48. Pasquale 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 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.

{ 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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