Friday, August 31, 2007


"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and all its fullness. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord." Psalm 96:11-12

I went for a ride with my husband on Thursday. He had to go finish up a job in a town about an hour + from here & I love to go for the ride. I took my camera & went walking for a bit while he was working. I was hoping to get down by the creek that was near there, find a shady spot to rest out of the sun and hopefully a scenic spot for a few photos. I couldn't seem to find my way to the creek because it was all private properties. And it was HOT so I wanted to get out of the sun. As I was walking near the back of a school field, still trying to find the creek, I noticed this field of purple thistles and a few other flowers. It was in the shade and sun and there were all sorts of butterflies flitting around.

I have never photographed butterflies before and wasn't sure if I had the right sort of lense to do so. Also, the grass was long & deep and well, I didn't know if I should be stepping in it because there were many types of bees & bugs there too. And my imagination was thinking of mice or snakes. So I took a few photos from the edge of the field but the best flowers were a bit more inside. One step, two steps - nothing attacked my feet. So I stood in the midst of these thistle flowers while the butterflies & bees buzzed & flitted around me and the time passed while I happily snapped away. So thankful for each moment that they came close & posed for my camera. Thankful for the beauty I was witness to.

It was such a beautiful small peaceful place. When I found this verse about the 'field being joyful and all that is in it" I immediately thought of the moments I was standing there in that field. I just imagine that all God's creature have joy & thankfulness. These fluttering insects, as they sip from the flowers nectar, thankful for another sunny day & thankful for the provision of nourishment & beauty! He has created such an amazing place for us on Earth! I can only imagine how much more amazing the New Earth is going to be where we get to live for ever. I think the beauty we see now is just a glimpse of how wonderful it will be!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Friends

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you" Phil 1:3

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you guys are really special to me. You don't know how much your comments encourage me and how much your blogs uplift me! I've been having a bit of a blah week and have had a hard time feeling motivated to blog for the last little bit. Not because of the blah week, but because I've been doing a lot of other writing and feel like I had nothing left over to say in my blog some days. I was uninspired. But I kept reading your blogs & felt so uplifted when my mood was low & my faith was weak! So I thank you, I thank you for encouraging me & inspiring me.

My faith has been waning a bit this week, asking & waiting on things. God is always faithful though. Its easy not to see the forest for the trees. We have forests of blessings but when one or two trees fall, it can feel like the whole forest is falling in on us, when in reality, its just making room for new growth. We just have to give those seedlings of blessings a chance. So that's what I'm doing today. Seeing the seedlings & giving them a chance to grow!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Do Not Fret

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way...those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth." Psalm 37: 5, 7, 9

Its easy to start fretting when things aren't going our way, when things aren't quite like we expected them to be, or when you see someone else having/doing what we want. Its easy to forget that God is in control. Its hard to be patient. Its hard to trust. Its hard not to fret!

Its times like these that we need to take a moment & remember that God is indeed in control and that we have to trust that our lives are in His hands!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Voice of the Martyrs Updates

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"(1 Samuel 16:7)

Prayers for August 21, 2007From The Voice of the Martyrs

PAKISTAN Religious Minorities Told to Convert or Die - VOM Sources:Christians in northern Pakistan have been receiving letters threatening them with death if they refuse to become Muslims. The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in Pakistan report Peshawar's minorities are living in fear after receiving dozens of letters mailed to them in August. VOM contacts report, "There have been numerous threats sent to Peshawar's Kohati area. The letters say if we don't become Muslim we will be killed." Praise God it has only been threats so far. Pray God protects Christians in the area. Pray the testimony of believers in Pakistan will draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Jesus Christ. Psalm 27:1, Romans 8:31

CUBA Authorities Threaten Pastors with Imprisonment - VOM Sources:In May, secret police in Cuba threatened four pastors with 25 to 50 years in prison if they continued receiving financial assistance from international ministries around the world. The pastors were forced to sign documents renouncing the help. The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in Cuba report, "The secret police told them (pastors) that if they did not give up the financial help, they would be considered anti-revolutionary and conspirators against the government. As a result, the pastors are afraid and have not accepted help." Pray for pastors in Cuba as they share the gospel of Jesus Christ while facing difficult conditions. Ask God to provide for the four pastors and their families, and that their lives will be a testimony to nonbelievers. PPsalm 68:19, 3 John 2

LAOS Released Laotian Pastors Express Gratitude - VOM Sources:On August 14, The Voice of the Martyrs received a letter from Laotian Pastor Khamphuy, who was released from prison in May. Pastor Khamphuy wrote, "As one of 12 prisoners released in May, all of us want to express our appreciation for your prayers and support while we were in prison. Our wives told us that you sent help to our families and bought food and medicines for us. Thank you for sustaining our families while we were in prison." Pastor Khamphuy and 11 other pastors were arrested after attending a Christian meeting on November 21, 2006. After the release of nine in May, three pastors still remain imprisoned. Khamphuy added, "Please continue to pray for Pastors Amkha, Bua and Van Thong and their families." The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to continue praying for the pastors in prison. Pray they will love their persecutors and have opportunities to share the love of Jesus with them. Also, pray for God's protection for the released pastors and their families, as they continue preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:8, 1 Corinthians 15:57

CHINA Imprisoned Elderly House Church Member's Health Worsens - China Aid Association:UPDATE: On August 17, The Voice of the Martyrs received information that imprisoned 76-year-old Shuang Shuying is seriously ill, and her family is seeking her immediate release on medical parole. According to China Aid Association (CAA), a letter from Shuying's daughter-in-law, Wei Jumei, reports that on a recent visit the family found Shuying in poor health. Jumei's letter said, "When my family and I visited her, my mother-in-law was extremely sick. Her hands were trembling and she looked pale. Just a few hours of sleep a day has seriously damaged her health. Prior to her imprisonment she weighed 121 pounds, but now weighs 88 pounds. The verbal abuse she gets from fellow inmates and the psychological pressure she is subjected to, have made her miserable. We appeal for her immediate release on medical parole." Pray for the healing and release of Shuang Shuying. Ask God to protect Christians in China. Psalm 118:17, Isaiah 40:31

AFGHANISTAN VOM Calls for Continued Prayer for Kidnapped South Korean Christians: UPDATE: On August 13, two of the 23 South Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban in mid-July, were freed in rural Afghanistan. According to media reports, the two women were handed over to international Red Cross officials. The Voice of the Martyrs is calling on believers around the world to continue praying for the protection and release of the 19 remaining Korean aid workers still being held by the Taliban. Please also remember the families of the two men in the group who were killed previously. Ask that the Holy Spirit convict the hearts of the Taliban and the testimony of these believers draws others into fellowship with Christ. Psalm 91, Joshua 1:9

AZERBAIJAN Two-Year Imprisonment for Baptist Pastor “ Forum 18 News: UPDATE: On August 8, Baptist Pastor Zaur Balaev was sentenced to two years in prison by a court in the Northwestern Regional Center of Zakatala, Azerbaijan. According to Forum 18 News Service, Balaev was convicted of using violence against a state representative. He was accused of holding "illegal meetings under the guise of religious activity without concrete authority and registration." Forum 18 News reported, "He also was accused of attracting young people to worship services and playing loud music at services. Azerbaijan's authorities have changed their accusations since Balaev has been held. Police initially claimed Balaev set a dog on police during a raid on a Sunday worship service. After more than 50 people signed a written statement testifying to Balaev's innocence, the references to the dog disappeared from the authorities' claims. Instead, Balaev was accused of attacking five policemen and damaging a police car door." He was convicted under Article 315, Part 1 of the Criminal Code, which punishes the application of or threat of application of violence, including to a state representative when he or she is carrying out official duties. It carries a maximum sentence of three years. Pray for Pastor Balaev and his family while he is in prison. Ask God to encourage believers in Azerbaijan and for the Holy Spirit to convict the authorities that brought these charges. Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 54:17

PAKISTAN Christians Experiencing Hardship After Red Mosque Attack, Christian Attacked“ VOM Sources:The Voice of the Martyrs has received information that Christians are experiencing increased hardships after the attacks at the Red Mosque last month. In an unrelated incident in July, a VOM contact, who is a Muslim convert; was attacked by three strangers while he was sleeping in a hotel room. Attackers tried to kill him, but God saved his life. He sustained some wounds to his body and they are healing. Pray this believer is protected from future attacks. Ask God to protect believers in Pakistan as they continue sharing the gospel, despite immense challenges. 1 Corinthians 15:57

INDIA Pastor Threatened; Pastor and Wife Assaulted, Imprisoned and Later Released “ VOM Sources:
KASHMIR “ On July 29, five men from the Molvis Al-Hadis Mosque in Baramulla threatened Pastor Bashir Masih, and other believers preparing for Sunday worship. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in India, "The five men threatened the believers and instructed them to vacate the house, which is also used as a house church, within a month since it is located near a mosque." In the past, Muslim extremists have assaulted Pastor Masih's disabled son and Muslim village authorities have allowed extremists to block drinking water to Pastor Masih's home. Pastor Masih was a Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2005. His house church, Shalom Prayer House, was started in 2005. Pray for Pastor Masih's family and Christians in India who remain steadfast in their faith, despite persecution. Hebrews 13:5-6

KARTANAKA “ August 10, Pastor Victor and his wife Glory were released after spending a month in prison. On July 9, the couple was assaulted by a Hindu extremist while they were distributing tracts in the Bijapur District, Karnataka. They were later arrested. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in India, a grocery store owner invited the pastor and his wife to his home and while they were talking, a man entered the home and attacked them. VOM contacts report, "When the man entered the home, he saw gospel tracts and began cursing at the pastor and slapped him. The grocery owner joined the assault and dragged the pastor out of the home and put him on a rickshaw and took him to the police. The Hindu extremist registered a complaint against the couple for inciting religious disharmony." The couple was arrested under section 296 A of the Indian Penal Code. Pray for Pastor Victor and his family and ask God to protect Christians in India. 2 Timothy 1:7

Monday, August 20, 2007

In the morning

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You." Psalm 143:8

I like my mornings quiet. I have a routine, even now that I work from home, that I seem to follow. Get up, pour my coffee, pour my cereal, sit at the computer to check emails & blogs & enjoy my coffee in relative quiet. My wonderful husband knows & respects my love of the morning quiet. If he is listening to stuff on the computer, he wears headphones. Once I'm done my coffee, my computer reflections, my blogging or reading, then I carry on with the day but I most enjoy that hour of quiet. Its not that I'm not a morning person. On the contrary, I love mornings, I love being up & about before most of the world. I'm just not that bubbly, loud, chattery type that most people associate with 'morning person'. I want to slap those types for invading my quiet time. But now that I'm working from home, I don't deal with that much anymore.

Lots of things can easily throw me off my morning & ruin the routine or quiet. For example, if we ran out of coffee (it happens) then my morning would be skewed. Or if I slept in & had to rush to get to work I would be easily irritated. I hate being late for anything. And well, sometimes we all just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

That's why this verse stood out at me this morning. Not that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Everything about my quiet morning has been great. But even when the mornings are wrong or not quiet, I don't have to jump into 'bad mood mode'. (though it can be the easier way out) "cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the know the way in which I should walk" God's already got our day planned out. And if we take the time to listen, we'll see that the way He's lovingly planned it is always better than what we could plan if we listen to ourselves.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Shadows of our Photo Club Outing at Burrowing Owl Winery - Me in the middle

"My days are like a shadow that lengthens... But You, O LORD, shall endure forever." Psalm 102: 11-12

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lift up my eyes

Mt. Rainier & Me

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

You should know by now that this is one of my most favourite verses in the Bible. I feel my soul uplifted when I am in the great outdoors. I can see the distant hills from where I sit in this office out both windows. One of them, the ones behind our house, are mostly shrouded by the great elm trees in our backyard. After fall has done its duty, I will be able to see these hills all winter long. The ones in the front of our house, Anarchist Mountain its called, I can see all year long, even though our house is down in a hollow. Fortunately, the neighbours across the street don't have super tall houses so I can still see the mountains over top. If I couldn't see them I don't think we would have bought this house. I needed to be able to see them. I would have felt clausterphobic if I couldn't.

Sometimes just seeing them out the window isn't enough. As you may know, I love to be out in nature. My most favourite place, where I blog about often & photograph often is Hayne's Point. Though its small, and this time of year, loaded with tourists, I can still find a place of peace & tranquility when I visit there.

Or I drive, I drive to where I can see more. Sometimes I stop, I walk or I hike, but often the drive is enough for me to find my center again.

And, as you know, I love finding NEW places. I love to travel, to road trip & to discover new locations to fall in love with the great outdoors & marvel in creation. There are places of beauty around every corner!

Dry Falls - north central Washington

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Another Washington Road Trip

The mountains called to us this past weekend & we answered.

We loaded the car & headed south. This time we sort of had a destination. We wanted to go see the majestic Mount Rainier in Washington. This beautiful chunk of rock stands over 14000 feet & is covered in snow & glaciers. The trails there were fabulous. Seeing it up close took my breath away! Here's a few photos from our adventure there.
Beautiful lush valleys & forests

Roughly paved paths made it nice for hiking for all sorts of visitors...and less slippery when we got rained on & had to high-tail it back down.

The mountain wildflowers were amazing...and with them the mountain mosquitoes were annoying!

In all her glory...Mount Rainier

Voice of the Martyrs Updates

TURKEY Turkish Prosecutor Demands Christians' Acquittal - Compass Direct News: On July 18, a Turkish prosecutor demanded the acquittal of two Christians on trial for "insulting Turkishness," under the nation's controversial Article 301. State Prosecutor Ahmet Demirhuyuk told the court there was "not a single concrete credible piece of evidence" to support the accusations filed against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal, former Muslims who converted to Christianity more than a decade ago. In court Demirhuyuk said, "There is absolutely no system or practice to consider it a crime for Christians to learn or spread their religion or gather for worship. Exactly the contrary, within the scope of freedom of religion and belief, everyone is guaranteed the right under the constitution and laws of Turkey, to live and spread his chosen faith." Pray the charges against these believers are dropped. Ask God to touch the lives of Christians in Turkey and that their lives would be a testimony to their accusers. Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6,7
INDIA Christians Beaten by Police Inspector; Pastor Beheaded - VOM Sources

KARNATAKA - On July 15, while a group of Christians were gathered for worship in Thadesa, a police inspector assaulted two believers and took them to the police station. The police inspector continued to beat them for another three hours there. Pray for healing. Ask God to encourage believers in India and for their love to draw non-believers into the knowledge of Christ.

MANIPUR - On July 5, Pastor Pau Za Khen, a Burmese pastor of the Upper Myanmar Evangelical Lutheran Church, was beheaded by an unidentified group in the town of Churachanpur, Manipur. Pastor Khen was abducted from his daughter's home by four men on July 4. His decapitated body was found in a field outside of town the next morning. His hands were tied behind his back and he was blindfolded. Pray for Pastor Khen's family and ask God to touch the lives of the killers so they can find forgiveness in Christ like Saul did. Acts 9:1-19, Romans 8:11
CAMBODIA Christian Evangelism Banned - VOM Sources: On July 10, Cambodia's Ministry of Cults and Religions, distributed a directive banning Christian groups from door-to-door evangelism on the grounds that it "disrupts society." The directive also said distribution of religious literature should be confined to church buildings, which can only be built with government approval. Government officials said the ruling was aimed at reducing Christian evangelism thought Cambodia. Pray Christians in Cambodia will remain steadfast in their faith despite government opposition. Pray the testimony of believers will draw non-believers to Christ. Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 54:14
KAZAKHSTAN Home Confiscations to Follow Massive Fines - Forum 18 News: On June 22, a mother and her young child were barred from their home as court executors sealed the Baptist church premises in Shymkent where they live to prevent the church from meeting. According to Forum 18 News Service, the move followed the church's refusal to abide by a court order halting its activity merely because it does not wish to undergo state registration. In Semey, Baptist Pastor Viktor Kandyba, his wife and their 12 children were threatened with the seizure of half their home after the pastor refused to pay a fine for leading unregistered worship. Pray for Christians in Kazakhstan. Ask God to give them courage and encouragement to remain steadfast in their faith despite pressure for authorities. Pray for afety and provision for the families. Psalm 27:1, Psalm 91
CHINA House Church Leader Released from Prison - China Aid Association: On July 26, 2007, Beijing house church leader Hua Huiqi was released from prison after serving six months. According to China Aid Association (CAA), Hua Huiqi and his 76-year-old mother, Shuang Shuying, were arrested in January after being attacked by seven police officers. "While they were walking near a 2008 Olympic hotel site in Beijing, they were kicked to the ground and later taken to the Olympic police station for questioning. Hua's mother was later sentenced to two years in prison. She is being held in a medical center because her health has deteriorated," CAA said. Praise God for Hua Huiqi's release. Please continue to pray for the release and healing of Shuang Shuying. Ask God to encourage Christians in China as they face escalating persecution ahead of the Olympics in 2008. Psalm 103:1-5, 1 Peter 2:24
IRAQ Christian Persecution in Iraq on the Rise - Christian Broadcasting Network News: Christians in Iraq are experiencing a rise in persecution from Islamic extremists. According to a Christian Broadcasting Network News ( report, Reverend Canon Andrew White, an Anglican minister from Baghdad, told a committee on religious freedom that Christians have been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Rev. White said in the last three to four months conditions in Iraq had deteriorated considerably. He added that he was given disturbing news at a congregational meeting this month. "Things are bad for everybody in Iraq. I said to them (church members), 'tell me what has happened over the past week.' And the people went through what had happened, and I realized that 36 of my congregation in that past week and been kidnapped. None of them have been returned," Reverend White said. Pray God protects and encourages Christians in Iraq. Ask God to send the Holy Spirit to refresh believers who face hardships everyday. Romans 8:31, Isaiah 54:17
INDIA Christian Martyred in India's Assam State - VOM Sources: On June 28, Hemanta Das, a Christian convert from Hinduism to Christianity, was brutally beaten by suspected members of a religious fanatic group. Das, a former member of the Hindutva fanatic group known as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, died four days later in a local hospital. The Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India has declared Brother Das the first Assamese martyr. Das was a member of the Guwahati Baptist Church. The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in India report, "On several occasions, Brother Das was cautioned by radical groups of the dire consequences that would follow if he tried to convert people to Christianity." Christian leaders in Assam state say that this murder case has been reported to local police, but police have not yet found those responsible. Pray for the family of Brother Das and for the Holy Spirit to convict those responsible for this attack. Ask God to protect and encourage Christians in India. John 14:27, Colossians 3:15
AFGHANISTAN Two South Korean Christians Killed by Taliban - Reuters News Agency/VOM Sources: The Taliban killed two of the 23 Korean Christian hostages they had been holding since last week. Reuters News Agency reported kidnappers threaten to kill more of their 21 captives if the Afghanistan government fails to free rebel prisoners by 7:30 a.m. GMT on Wednesday. The 23, including 18 women, belong to the "Saemmul Church" in Bundang, a city outside Seoul, South Korea's capital. They were working at Korean Action, an aid organization in Kandahar. Most of the Koreans are in their 20s and 30s, and include nurses and English teachers. Killed on July 25, Bae Hyung-kyu (42), was a pastor and the leader of the group. Shim Sung-min (29), killed on July 31, was a former IT firm employee and planned to go to graduate school. Please pray for a peaceful resolution to this crisis. Pray for comfort for the families of the two Christians killed. Pray for the safety of the hostages and pray for their loved ones at home in South Korea. Psalm 91, Psalm 23

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Its So Dry

"My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word." Psalm 119:25

Its so dry here! We've had another week of hot dry weather after that blissfully cool break with a bit of rain & everything is back to dust. Dust on the cars, dust on the plants, dust in the house. Flowers are drying out & need reviving with a generous downpour from my watering can. Lawns are getting dry and need daily dousing with the sprinklers. Pets pant from the shade, wilting like a leaf. The dirt paths puff in light dust where I like to walk. Its dry! Its dusty. I guess its August then.

My blog has been a bit dry lately. I casually flip through my Bible searching for inspiration. Something that might go with one of my recent photos. When that doesn't work, I search through my photo archives & see if I can find a scripture or thought to go with one. When I come up dry with that, I go & read other blogs & just ignore my own. I don't want blogging to be work so I 'walk away' to read others that usually inspire me.

Its not just blog inspiration that runs dry. I'm not only aspiring to be a photographer but also a writer. I try to write travel articles for a small online travel site. Usually its easy & fun, writing about places I have been. Usually I can't say enough about them and usually, I have great photos to prove it. But even that inspiration is running a bit dry this week. Sort of a 'I can't be bothered to care' attitude when I sit down at my laptop & think I should churn out a couple more articles if I want the experience to eventually be published with the big boys of the freelance writer world. But no, I can easily find an excuse to do something else.

And *gasp* I haven't snapped a photo in over a week. *Really?? you all say in unison* Really! Nothing has inspired me. Dry there too. I keep thinking I'd like to learn more about people photography & bring my camera along everywhere I go but when I try to focus my lens on people, I find more of my shots are of the flowers or mountains behind them, of the texture of the tree I just walked past, of the cloud patterns. Anything but trying to visualize a nice composition with people in it. Maybe it requires more effort, maybe I just won't create a passion for it. But I AM going to try, I just have to not do it randomly and actually set up photo sessions for the friends that are going to be my willing, models.

So in all the dry areas of my life this week, I sought refuge from the dryness, the dust of the earth, the scorch of summer boredom & dove into my Psalms. Though the other areas of my life may be drying up, and I may not feel like doing some of those things, I can't be so lazy that I let my soul & spirit get dry. Where else can I be revived but in the word.

Verse 28 of chapter 119 says "My soul melts from heaviness (and also from the summertime blues) ; Strengthen me according to Your word." and again in vs 50 "This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life." In fact, there are many many verses in Psalm 119 (remember, its the biggest one) that remind us that our help comes from God's word.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" vs 105