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Let the Wise Listen

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This spot along Newfound Gap Road near Oconaluftee has always been a magnet for me. In autumn I am particularly drawn to the colors of the overhanging branches and swift flowing water. This, by the way, is the spot where I broke my arm several years ago as Tropical Storm Sandy made her presence known in the Park. You can believe that I do not hop on rocks the way I used to, but I will still get a shot (if only from a little higher than stream level).

Because of that experience in particular, I am much more aware of the ground underneath my feet. I will not admit to always having steady footing, but each step is much more deliberate around wet, rocky surfaces.

Proverbs 1:5 exclaims, "let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance."

I listen a lot more closely to both Sharon and that inner voice of caution nowadays, and will even turn away from a desired photo just because I know it might lead to another fall.

I have learned over the years that …

Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover

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Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover

Upon initial inspection you might conclude that this is one angry bear, but in reality it is merely eating a walnut -- it takes a lot of work to crack open the hard shell even with a bear's powerful jaws.

Samuel was reminded of this by God who said, "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)

So next time you see someone whose outward appearance would lead you to believe that they are just plain mean, remember that they might just be going through an experience where a kind word would be more helpful than a judgmental spirit.

From what I saw on the road that day, this black bear was much more patient with the crowd of on-lookers than I would have ever been.

Cades Cove, GSMNP

The Bigger WOW

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There is a lot a light pollution in the eastern U.S. so capturing the Milky Way is difficult at best. You can see it faintly as it rises vertically over the Smoky Mountains in Cades Cove.

The Milky Way is estimated to have between 200-400 billion stars, although the number could be as high as a trillion. Yet, God knows each one by name. It should be no surprise then that this same Creator God knows each one of us by name as well.

Psalm 147:4 reads, "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name."

I don't know about you but the size of our galaxy alone is enough to be in awe of God, but scientists estimate that there are at least another 200 billion galaxies in our universe. Wow!

This makes me feel really, really small, BUT I am comforted in knowing that this big God cares so much for you and for me that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we might have a personal relationship with Him. That's an even bigger WOW!

Milky Way Over Cades Co…

A View from Behind

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So, you want to make a living as a wildlife or nature photographer? DON"T COUNT ON IT!

This may sound disheartening to many who, like me, love photography so much that you could see yourself touring the world shooting exotic destinations for National Geographic. Since listening to the pros pour their hearts a couple years ago at the Smoky Mountains Photography Summit, I no longer have this dream. My dream is even bigger.

You see, each of these men -- some with 40 years of great success in photography -- all earn their livelihoods through related or completely unrelated businesses. Most now lead tours, write books, do speaking engagements, and sell a few images. But the competition out there now has made it impossible to rely completely on image sales to make a house payment or even buy a good steak.

So why do they still shoot? --Because they love it. They have all found that shooting for a loving is way better than shooting for a living. They have given their passion some purpose wh…

Displeasing Neglect

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Not a pleasant sight! This once productive gristmill now barely stands on it's own... just a dilapidated shell of what it used to be.

Even the finest house or automobile will eventually return to the earth in a pile of rubble if neglected. What was once valuable becomes worthless. God gives us spiritual gifts, natural abilities and material possessions, not so we can hoard them or hide them, but so we can share them with others. Neglecting to do so is not pleasing to the One who provided you both the resources and opportunities to be a blessing. 

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ~Hebrews 13:16

Reminders

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This one image is a compilation of six photos taken at various exposures combined using HDRSoft's Photomatix Pro.

Ideally I would prefer not to see those light bubble flares but I kind of like it with this shot. I hope it's not too distracting. It was a nice end to the evening as we watched the sun set on the horizon between Grandmother and Grandfather Mountains in North Carolina.

As I look back on vacation's past, I am grateful that it's not all about photography (yes, I said that) but it's about the experiences that Sharon and I have along the way. Photography is just a method to capture and re-live those moments. What makes photography so special is that we were there! We were living it. This is not someone else's memory. It was ours.

Thank you Jesus for giving us glimpses of your radiance each day with the rising and setting of the sun, and every moment in between and following. Thank you for being the Rock that is my firm foundation in life. Thank you for bei…

A Proclamation of Glory

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God floods our world with beauty day in and day out. Do everything possible to prevent yourself from getting lost in the ugliness of bad politics, mind games, gossip, lies, corruption, evil, etc. Open your Bible and embrace the truth, peace, love and grace found in Jesus and in His word instead. Open your eyes to the creation that magnifies its Creator.

God has blessed me way more than I could begin to describe and way more than I probably even realize. If all He ever did for me was lay down His life that I might live eternally with Him in heaven, then that certainly would be WAY MORE than I ever deserved.

David wrote, "You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told." (Psalm 40:5)

Just as the trees shout heavenly praises in their magnificent beauty this time of year, I live to consistently color this black & white world with pictures and word…