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Exploring and taking pictures of God's creation helps one see and appreciate the beauty of God's handiwork. There is amazing beauty all around us if we just take the time to look.

“What time is your race this weekend?” I asked my wife, Julie. “I think it’s at 8:00 a.m.,” she said. Since we like to get there an hour early, and it takes an hour to get there, I’ll be getting up at 5:30 a.m. to be ready in time. “Are you coming with me?” she asks. julie is a runner and since the places she runs at always tend to be in interesting locations, I courteously oblige when she asks if I want to go with her. “Sure, honey...I’ll go,” I answer. I mean, what kind of husband am I anyway?

We arrive at the location of her race on a beautiful late May morning. The weather is perfect and we’re by the college campus of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is right along the Mississippi River. I have lived in the suburbs of the Twin Cities for all of my 50+ years yet I have never been here before.

Oh, did I mention that I brought my camera with me that morning?

I have had the opportunity to ramp up my love for photography in the last year or so. I have always loved taking pictures, but I’ve invested in a new camera, new lenses, some studio gear, and software.  I’ve taken the time to learn about each of these more in-depth. Because of the time I have invested in taking and processing photos, I have a new appreciation of seeing the beauty in the small things…the everyday, the common. It makes me more in awe of God. There is beauty all around us if we just take the time to look.

I saw Julie off at the start line, and wished her well on her 10-mile run. And off she went. Let me see, 10 miles, that means I have about one and a half hours with nothing to do. Wait, I brought my camera! Maybe I should look around for some good photo ops. Not like I had an ulterior motive or anything.

Since we were by St. Thomas University, I wandered over to look at some of their buildings. The University was founded in 1885, so it has plenty of history. I’ve never been on the campus either, so this was all new to me. I walked along Summit Avenue and spotted a beautiful old Seminary that I took a few photos of. I ventured back toward the river and eventually discovered a deep ravine that funnels a small stream into the Mississippi River. It was difficult to see because the ravine was deep and the foliage was thick, but I was intrigued by what sounded like waterfalls below.

Obviously, there was only one thing to do….

Since I had about an hour left, I had to go investigate! I made my way down the ravine and it got colder the farther I went. I made my way to the bottom and just stopped and looked.  Absolutely beautiful! I took it all in (and also took a few shots), and then began to trek back up to the top. Along the way, I stopped every few minutes to pause and appreciate the beauty.

Photography has really made me slow down, stop, and observe. By doing so, I have seen beauty that would typically go unnoticed. I have ventured into areas that I have never gone. Places close to home, places in the wild, places in the city. It seems like I’m discovering my birthplace for the first time. For example, there is a beautiful prairie park that is only ten minutes from where I live. I “found” it last year, and have gotten off the beaten path and taken time to look around. My God, the beauty!

Well, I scrambled back to the finish line and watched Julie complete her race, and took some photos of her finishing (because I am also creating memories of her and her races). She did well and I was happy for her. We left, and then stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast on our way home. You guessed it, a place we had never been before either. It was awesome.

When we got home, I processed some of my photos and reflected on the day. I was happy. I saw things that I’m sure no one else has seen. I don’t mean they have never seen the eyes of man, but these things have never been seen with that particular light, that sun angle, that cloud cover, or that exact foliage. In other words, it was totally unique.

My experience made me think of God and the wonder of His creation. It is a gift waiting to be unwrapped. In the midst of the busyness, it is there. In the backyard, it is there. On the way to work, it is there.

Sometimes God can seem far away. Sometimes He can seem distant. Sometimes He can seem absent. But, He isn’t. Far from it. He is there in everything you see. If you take the time to look, you will see Him through His beauty. So, I encourage you to stop and look around. Slow down during your busy day and look up, and down, and all around. And finally, get off the beaten path and see things for the first time.  Take a new way to work, go for a walk, or explore the area where you live. Your eyes will be opened and I guarantee you will see God in it all.

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Author Biography

Jon Larson
Web site: cfaith
I am a father of four and husband to an awesome wife. I have been called to work in the Information Technology department for Living Word Christian Center and cfaith in Minneapolis, MN since 2001, and I oversee them both. My goal is to use technology to make real connections between people.

About Us

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