Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Few of my Friends

*** Friendly Caution: Dani is steppin' up on the old soap box. ***

"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:
but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

-Proverbs 13:20

Someone once said, "you are who you will be one year from now, except for the people you meet and the books you read." I completely agree, other than perhaps adding "the things you watch" because TV and movies play a big roll in our culture as well.

Often, when I meet someone, I eventually get around to asking them if they like to read. It's probably because I've always loved to read, from my earliest childhood, so when I meet a fellow bookworm I feel the little warm fuzzies coming on and I settle down for a happy talk about favorite books, authors and genres. (Spell check just caught me spelling "genres" as "gonres". Way to prove my literacy, eh?) When a person tells me that they do not enjoy reading, I feel a genuine sympathy for them. Perhaps it's not something they can help; I wouldn't know. But I do think that by missing out on the world of books they are missing out on a great treasure. I don't by ANY means even pretend to be a GREAT reader. I know many people who read deeper books, and many people who read a greater quantity of books. But I try, and I hope to improve with time. And here is one of the greatest reasons why I think reading (and specifically biographical reading) is so important:

Through books, I have met countless men and women who I otherwise would never have known existed. I have kept company with the likes of Patrick Henry, John Eldredge, King David, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Charmichael, C.S. Lewis, John and Betty Stam, Jesus Christ, George Washington, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Oswald Chambers, Brother Yun, Randy Alcorn, and Dr. Seuss. (*cough!* That last one was a joke, in case you're wondering.) Years ago I forced myself to start reading less "fluff" and concentrating more on deeper reads; books that made me think, or introduced me to men and women much greater than I'll ever be. I did not enjoy such reading at first, but as time went on I developed a hunger for it. I wanted to be bettered by the books I read instead of merely entertained by them. It is a way to "walk with wise men", as the Proverb says, and I'm deeply blessed and grateful for how God has changed my life through them.

I believe with all my heart that those who neglect to read after Godly men and women from the past or present will miss out on a great deal of spiritual character that they might have had the chance to cultivate.

For example, it wasn't until I "met" Jim Elliot through his journals that it really occurred to me what a life lived to the hilt for God's glory was all about. For some reason, it was his life in particular that really struck the chord for me. I saw through his journals the inner workings of a man close to my age (younger than me now, in some of his entries!) who did not write pious thoughts to be admired or to teach others, but as a way of releasing the deep gush of spiritual passion that welled inside his heart. In his blunt, blundering way he wrestles and romanticizes and cries and exults on these pages, and refused to settle for anything less in his life than full surrender and delight in God. Had I not read this book, I would not have known him. And my own heart would probably never have been pricked by what I LACK in comparison to him. And this is just one book among a few million.

Today I was thinking about a friend of mine. I was praying for this person and ...well, sorta worrying about them, to be honest. And I thought that, if only this person would read some good biographies, I think perhaps they'd be drawn above who they are now to a higher plane of spiritual awareness and desire. Realizing, of course that the Bible is the #1 Book to change anyone's life and purify the soul, I think that adding some study of the lives of great Christians would give a "shove", a practical and applicable eye-opener.

In closing, I will try to say this concisely: Choose to walk with great men, and they will rub off on you. Choose to walk with mediocre men, and that is who you will become. By default, we tend to "compare ourselves by ourselves"... look at those around us to gauge who we ourselves should be. I challenge you, and I challenge myself, to begin more actively searching for great men and women who we will study and pattern our lives after. Men and women who will shame us with their passion and dedication and heart for God. I guarantee that a year from now, we will be changed for the better.

(Jim ElliotAnd if you'reJim Elliotlooking around for someoneJim Elliotto start studying, I'll doJim Elliota bit of research and tryJim Elliotto think of a recommendationJim Elliot.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Goooo Lance Mackey!

LANCE MACKEY WINS: Tacky, maybe, but here's a repeat of my post from last year, since he won last year too. ...And the year before. :)

1,100 miles of untamed Alaskan wilderness trail.
16 dogs.
One man.

Congratulations, Lance Mackey!
Winner, for the 4th consecutive year, of the Iditerod Dogsled Race in Alaska!!

With Noah at the finish line in '08

It's harder than you might think to photograph a moving dogsled team at night. (Especially if you have my luck with photography.) So I'm not sure why National Geographic wasn't interested in the ONE PICTURE I got of Lance Mackey's sled dogs coming in to the finish line. Perhaps they weren't impressed with my photography? Snobs.

Lance at the Finish Line, under the Burled Arch, with the dog he chose to wear the rose wreath. (This is the dog he thought deserved the most credit for his win.) The picture is bad quality, but it was dark and there were a ton of people so I couldn't get close.

My bro Nathan and I on Subway Hill, waiting for a musher to pass by.

This gives you a good picture of Front Street, the street the finish line is on. These two mushers were within seconds of each other.

This is my calm, "I am so incredibly hyped to be here but I'm trying not to act like a giddy tourist" smile.

"Aww, forget it... Giddy Tourist. "

6:00 pm Tuesday-

As I type I'm watching the live Nome Alaska web cam and listening to Nome radio, where the Two Nates (my brother and bro-in-law) are announcing the end of the Iditerod! Looks like Mackey is going to be the winner again, 4th year in a row! MAN I wish I were there!!!! I can feel the electricity in the air on Front Street!!
To see a live web cam of Nome, click here. Pretty neat; it updates every 3 seconds. Below you see another web cam, which shows front Street and the Burled Arch, where the race finishes.

I know a lot of people don't even know what the Iditarod is. But once you've seen this unbelievable race, it completely captures you!

Friday, March 12, 2010


I took this series of pictures at the park in Wadsworth today.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A random ALASKA post...

...Just because I've got Alaska in my blood now. :)

First item of business: Amy will probably kill me for this, but you guys have to check out the Adcox's blog (click here and leave them a comment to let them know you stopped by!). They're dear friends from Nome who I miss VERY much! You know those ridiculously talented, original, artsy people whose association makes you realize that the creative side of your brain is made out of PlayDough? Amy and James.
So James just completed a beautiful mural for the school in a village called St. Michaels. I'm astounded by this talent and I wanted you to see it too. Mom, Carlee and I were gazing at his mural in awe and agreed that we're kind of amazed that we know this guy!
And check out their little fellow... Amy told me that in 20 years I can marry him. (Nice to have such a good lookin' backup plan.) ;)

I also want to mention that the Iditarod sled dog race is going on AS WE SPEAK. I'm pretty disappointed that I won't be in Nome to welcome the winner... I was really hoping I would be but the Lord had other plans. At any rate, rest assured that you will hear the outcome of the race when it's over. Right now Jeff King is in the lead and Lance Mackey, the winner from the past two years (and the very same Lance Mackey who just happened to slap my, MY hand as he crossed under the finish line two years ago.......!) is in 8th place. Needless to say, it ain't over 'till it's over. Click here for the Iditarod web site.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Meloncholy. MELON- COLLIE.

Get it, guys!?

It really doesn't hold the same sort of punch when I have to explain it, and I am very exasperated indeed. Even my own mother didn't get it! *sigh*
(Haha!) :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sometimes it just really seems like life is sad. A few moments later I can forget why I even felt that way. One moment you're giddy with excitement, or doing just fine, and in the next your heart is burdened and heavy. It's easy to dismiss those feelings as unimportant, or wallow in them. Both extremes aren't very Scriptural, I guess. But tonight I remember what I read in a Bible Study this Summer... what did David do when his soul was heavy? He encouraged himself in God. Instead of allowing his emotions to control his faith, he spoke to himself and demanded that his emotions be under the control of the Holy Spirit; subject to the joy of God rather than the despair of man. (Psalm 43:5. below.) Lately I vacillate between the two extremes about as often as a yo-yo vacillates between north and south. And I remembered this tonight: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

...Just reminding myself.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Of Glaciers and Stars

Today I stopped by and happened to see some pictures they've posted from the Hubble Space Telescope. Psalm 147:4 says "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names". No wonder it is only the fool who can say "there is no God" (Psalm 14:1).

When I see pictures like this, it's hard to remember that each of these stars may easily be bigger than planet earth; some of them are many times bigger. Size like that is almost frustrating, because it's impossible for me to comprehend. It reminds me of when I was in Alaska, and I stood in a giant bowl created by glaciers. Surrounded by the glaciers and the mountains they created, it was impossible to fully understand how giant it was and how tiny I was. Mom and I decided to try to hike to a glacier we could see, and I figured it would probably take us about an hour; maybe a little more. Until I spotted a group of hikers on the edge of the glacier. They were almost invisible, they were so tiny. Smaller than ants, winding their way across the snow. I realized, then, how huge what I was looking at would take most of the day to even reach the base of that massive mountain of ice. That put the entire valley into perspective, and my heart did a flip as I realized just how small and insignificant I was in that one valley- then the whole state- then the entire globe. For a moment, I got it. And then the feeling vanished. We humans forget our insignificance, our smallness, so quickly. In reality, I think our minds are just too small to hold on to it. We see these pictures of outer space and say "Wow. Pretty neat." But if we could somehow for a moment understand the hugeness, the vastness of it all, it would literally take our breath away. We would have to worship. But as it is, the audacious human race continues to enjoy the breathtaking handiwork without crediting the Creator. Every glimpse of His creation should inspire awe at Him, but it's not like that. If Fox posted a song or artwork without crediting the designer, they'd be sued. But not so with God's handiwork. For a time He allows us to ignore Him. But He won't forever. Some day He WILL hold us accountable and when the human race claims ignorance He'll point to the stars. He'll point to the glaciers. And if you are one who has chosen to ignore God, with a sinking heart you'll know then; you are without excuse.

And to think: still, in mercy the Architecture of it all stoops through the stars to notice us; minuscule specks on an infinitesimal planet suspended on nothing among the endless galaxies. He deserves to be worshiped and adored with all of my being!! He deserves for my life, each moment, each breath, to be lived for His glory alone. I'm ashamed when I think of the greatness of God and my ignorance of it.

"Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on Earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, smile into His eyes -- ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself."
-Jim Elliot


Orion Nebula Star V838 Monocerotis Galaxy Cluster 1E 0657-556Hubble's Greatest HitsHubble's Greatest Hits