Sunday, March 31, 2013


The sun rose this morning at 7:10 a.m. over this sleepy farmland.
I was going to walk to the top of the Sioux Rec Park, but it wasn't to be.
The morning was shrouded, veiled in fog and frost.
I've witnessed and photographed some of the most beautiful, spectacular sunrises in Haiti.
But this wasn't one of them...

or was it?

Even when our hearts are clouded and frosted, when the world seems sleepy blue and gray,
ever adrift in the depths of the sea of forgetfulness...
It's Sunday.
Whether we see it or not, nothing holds Him back.
The Son has Risen.
He shines whether we know it or not.
It's the once and for all most beautiful Son-rise the universe has ever seen.

Shine on me.
So that I might hear, smell, taste, touch, see
and be alive.
So that I might shine like You
as a light upon this world
for Jesus Christ.

He has risen.
He has risen indeed.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I Fail

i fail,
i fail,
i fail,
over and over again.

drive a nail,
drive a nail,
drive a nail,
to the cross of Christ for my sin, and again, and again.

I don't feel like
I deserve you
hanging in my place.
I don't feel like
I'm at all worth
the price that you paid.

What a wretched
man I am!
Who can rescue me
from this body of death?
Only Christ
can set me free.

Thank you Lord for what You did for me.
That in spite of who I am You set me free.
Thank you Lord for what You did for me.
That in spite of who I am you wash me clean.

cause I....

i fail,
i fail,
i fail.

Drive a nail,
Drive a nail,
Drive another rusty nail.

Two hearts beat
within my breast.
One is foul and the other blest.
One I love,
One I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.

The man who said those
words sure knew
exactly what I'm going through.

Oh What a wretched
man I am!
Who can rescue me
from this body of death?
Only Christ
can set me free.

Thank you Lord for what You did for me.
That in spite of who I am You set me free.
Thank you Lord for what You did for me.
That in spite of who I am you wash me clean.

cause I....

i fail,
i fail,
i fail,
over and over again.

Drive a nail,
drive a nail,
drive a nail,
to the cross of Christ for my sin, and again, and again and again, and again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Returning for Sessions

I went up to Palisades with the boy to scout for a location for an engagement session, then Kari came with me to shoot later in the day. 
The geese were honking all around us and the ice was breaking up under the river.  It was a beautiful transition of the season to witness.

To all who don't know, before Bibles for Haiti, we were photographers for 13 years. (

We started out shooting babies, then kids, families, seniors, and weddings for over 10 years now. We'll be leaving in April for Haiti, returning in late July to SD to shoot again. The funds we raise from our shoots go directly towards the work we do in Haiti. If you'd like to book a shoot this summer or fall, please let us know. 
Also, if you'd like to make a donation to Bibles for Haiti, you can do so here:
Thanks for your support!

Here's a few shots from the shoot:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Crusty Chewy Chips of Chocolate Cookies

My girl and I decided this morning we were making 
Chocolate Chip Cookies.
My Mom pulled out a 30 year-old recipe courtesy of her old friend Deebee Worthington and Brainy the Smurf, and we started in.  
I think a girl I used to know named Paula would be proud of her Momma's recipe.

They came out crunchy, yet chewy, and certainly full of chocolate.
Along with their school the kids got to dig into 
cookies for breakfast.

When I was a little boy I got up early one morning to make my Mom these very cookies for her birthday, but since I loved the dough so much, I dabbled and nibbled here and there as I mixed.
All she remembers is me waking her up with one plate and one giant cookie to wish her a Happy Birthday, a sickly green kid with a belly full of dough.  I'd eaten all the rest before 
it ever reached the oven.
So, in honor of my Mom,  today she got a giant cookie on a plate, and once again her boy, and now her two grandkids, 
have bellies full of dough.  :)

Even Jack the Cat bathed in the smell of fresh cookies.

Back to Where the Wind Blows

It's a funny thing when I return to Wyoming and the country where I was raised.  I get even just a peak at those old, frosty, snow-capped mountains and I feel the itch, that proverbial Call of the Wild.  In the quiet of the wind, listening to the snow fall, I feel an inevitable connection.   I can't deny it.  
I tip my hat, turn off the radio, and give salute to all of the fallen soldiers and the thousands of crosses at the Veterans Cemetery, and then begins the hunt. 
My eyes strain for the Wyoming sign at the border, where traditionally I've always given my best YeeHaw, but this time I just prayed as I crossed.  I always search the sky as I pass over that imaginary line, because to me, it really is such a magical place that I expect to see some kind of sign in the sky as I cross the threshold into the Terabithia of my soul.
Always I seek out some hawk soaring across the plateaus, and always I assume that he has been sent there, placed there as a sign to bless my travels.   
I bob and pop my head all over the car, trying to peek around the rolling hills, driving like a drunk down the interstate as I look for the Devil's Tower, and as my dad's friend once called them, the infamous B____y Buttes.   Their real nickname considered by some to be hugely inappropriate, I won't mention here. I will leave it to your own imagination.  I didn't make up the name, I just heard it when I was a kid, and what comment could make it's mark more indelibly on an innocent little boy's imagination than two somewhat irregular, yet massively large mounds standing side by side in the distance, and the burning questions of whether or not they really looked so awkward in real life. 
At the Tower I look for the Great Buffalo, a behemoth of a mountain overshadowing the sleepy town of Sundance. From a distance, my 4th Grade teacher Mrs. Cruise pointed out, it looks like the giant back of a powerful buffalo grazing on the plains.  It always makes me think of Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox.
I look for the field where we stopped to pick up shards of Mica on a field trip, but I'm always disappointed because I can never remember the spot.  They used it for glass in the old days on their stoves.  I've always wanted to grab some for my kids, and yet every year I'm denied. 
Finally comes that familiar smoke-stack, that man-made oasis in the middle of ranch country.  I fix my eyes upon Gillette and the Wyodak coal mine dead ahead.    A coal train slugs and chugs just along the next draw, and the turtle and the hare race for the finish line to the land where I grew up.
I wind down back roads that I remember taking at breakneck speeds in my younger days, and fly past the ranch of a girl I used to date.  I shoot through a tunnel under the railroad where once I parked on the tracks.   I know the feel and tone of each cattle guard.   Then off in the distance I can see those beautiful Bighorn mountains, and that's when I know I've returned.   

I never get to stay long.  Usually just a quick camping trip spotted with fly-fishing and a short visit with my Dad, and then it's back to the world.   But always, every time, a little piece of Wyoming rubs off on me, stays with me, and changes even the smallest bit of who I am.

This trip was a great time of talking with my Dad, and then the chance to see my old-friend and their new baby boy, Kelly Cody.   At 3 days old, I bought him his first present.  A Leatherman Wingman knife and Bible, two of the greatest tools on Earth.  I told his Mom and Dad that the rest is up to them. 

I shot a couple pics of the Tower on my way out, and the claw marks from where the Great Bear tried to climb up to eat the Indians for breakfast, just before they cut off his tail.   Then I turned my wheels back east and began that dreadfully flat and solitary journey across the plains of South Dakota.   

As is usual, I always tell myself that some piece of Heaven will always look like the creek up in those mountains, where the water glistens in the sun and the moose drift through the willows.   I think about when or if I'll see it again, and always tell myself.... Maybe next year....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nothing He Didn't Already Know

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:4-11)

For over 2000 years Jesus has been reaching out to the guilty, the ashamed, the broken, and to everyone unworthy, which is literally...everyone.  In the light of Jesus Christ, when the remembrance of Peter's sin overwhelms him to the point that he asks God's own Son to leave his presence, Christ's response is overwhelmingly revealing of His heart for us.  Jesus wasn't there for the fish and a great story.  From Peter's own failures to the night-long labor in vain, all the way to the hundreds of fish and boats that couldn't hold up under the weight of the lesson, Jesus was laser-focused on the man, the soul in front of him.  Peter's joy is drowned in sudden, knee-dropping sorrow, and the response of Jesus is perfectly exact in the open-heart surgery of any soul becoming self-aware of its own position in relation to the Living God...
"Don't be afraid...don't be afraid."

It was nothing Jesus didn't already know.  Peter's sin didn't send Jesus running for the hills.  He walked with him, waited for him, and willfully rescued this man from himself.  

Were Peter's trials over?  Was he finished with sin from that moment forward? Did he yet continue three years and still deny Christ three times?  Did Jesus leave him then?  

Peter decided he wasn't worthy and couldn't be useful any longer to the world, so he went back to the beginning.  He got in his little boat, he rowed out into the sea, and he fished the night away in vain.  In the morning the resurrected Christ, the true Lover of our souls, the One who sees us for what we really are, called out to him to cast his net on the other side of the boat.  When he obeyed, once again writhed that familiar haul of fish, and once again this man found himself before the Living God...broken as if for the very first time.

Did Christ wait for him along the shore to punish him?
He cooked him some breakfast over the fire - I've always wondered how tasty it must have been - And He spoke the most tender words this man's soul could ever ache to hear...
"Do you love me...Do you love me...Do you love me?

Three times, one for every rejection.
That is the character of my Lord.  The same for Paul as it was hundreds of years before for another broken man, David in the Psalms, the same today for you and me and anyone sinking under the weight and strain of ourselves...

"Because he loves me,"  says the Lord, "I will rescue him."

What choice have we but to allow ourselves to be chosen?  Why wouldn't we follow such a patient love that can reach into the deepest of darkness, into the most miserable of hearts, to salvage the gold, the treasure within.  To be redeemed, or not to be.  That is our only eternal question.