Digital Nature Photography- Book Review

I love nature and there are some really beautiful places all over the world.  Pictures are one of the ways we can remember these beautiful places and take them with us when we’re someplace else.  Pictures can also transport us to places we’ve never been and show us things we otherwise would never see.  While in Australia Ryan and I took a lot of pictures but we also just tried to absorb where we were in the moment.  Once we get back to Australia, we (mostly Ryan:-) are looking forward to taking more pictures and sharing them with family, friends and supporters.


With Australia in mind I pick up this book called John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography.  John Shaw put his experience with nature photography into words but he didn’t forget to include pictures.  This book includes lots of beautiful images that are all labeled where and how (lens, shutter speed, etc) they were taken.  The chapters are practical, easy to read and run the gamut from getting started to types of gear to image composition.  Just looking through the book is interesting and I look forward to seeing how Ryan puts the information to good use in the future.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Praying For Perth

Even though Ryan and I are on this side of the pond, we still have a connection to the people and places in Australia, specifically in and around Perth.  We are intending to work with a team that is already there on the ground.  Berenice is a wonderful artist who uses a wide variety materials as her canvas.  Everything from egg shells to doll heads.  Her work isn’t just interesting to look at, it has a story behind it.  She also uses bones.  Yes, bones!  You can see one of her works HERE and although I did not contribute to this work, I did collect bones for her while I was living in PNG.  I also love that she uses and plays with language. Check out more of her art on her website: berenice rarig- artist.


Art can be ministry and this is very evident in Berenice’s latest work.  She is praying through the Perth phone book.  Each name gets prayed over, written out in beautiful script and collected together in little books.  Since artwork is a process for Berenice, I’m sure this work will evolve as she works her way through the alphabet.  She has reached the Ds and although it is a long and hand-inking process, the power of prayer is at work here.  Once completed Berenice can say that she has prayed for everyone in the city by name.  How awesome is that!?

Loving and Learning- Aboriginal Culture

While Ryan and I were in Perth, we stopped by the Aboriginal Cultural Center in Fremantle.  While there we got to look at original Aboriginal art, talk to the center volunteers and I signed up to receive their cultural program schedules.  The program schedules are based on Noongar Seasons and it is currently Djeran.  Each email I get is a reminder to pray for the healing and learning that is still taking place in Australia between the Aboriginal and the white community.


This season there are art and language classes as well as events geared towards reconciliation.  May 26th is National Sorry Day, a nationally recognized day in Australia, which gives people the chance to come together and dialog about steps that can be taken towards healing from the Stolen Generations (Aboriginals forcefully removed from their families and communities).  For this day the center will be having a workshop and exhibition.

Just reading about these events gives me something to look forward to, as well as reminds me of some of the challenges we will face, once we are in Australia.  I also follow Fremantle Aboriginal Events on Facebook.  I know we won’t be living directly in Fremantle but we will be close enough to participate in some events and use this center to continue learning about the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal culture past, present and future.

Nature of Language

languageartLanguage and art are linked/connected/interwoven in many lovely ways.  This artist, José Parlá, has united art and language in a very beautiful and thought provoking way.  Understanding the artist’s process can often make the art come alive and become even more beautiful.  View this VIDEO to hear his inspiration and see his work in progress.  The picture and the video can be found on the blog posted by GRAFFUTURISM.

The Spirit Moves- Yes it does!

This is just a brief overview of this past weekend in South Carolina.  The conference will be the subject of my November Newsletter so I look forward to sharing more with you after Ryan and I have had more time to process the experience.

IMG_9898Day in and day out, the Spirit of the Lord is moving.  Interactions with the call to go has many different manifestations but every Christian is called to respond.  As Giotis, a pastor from Greece, pointed out- It’s about ordinary people, living ordinary lives with Gospel intentionality.

IMG_9897This weekend was an amazing mix of reunions, soul stirring worship, face to face team time, vision sharing, encouragement and receiving nourishment from the word of God thanks to some great speakers.  The music was led by Kevin Twit.  If you haven’t listened to Indelible Grace, which was founded by Kevin Twit, you should!  Check it out on their website Indelible Grace Music.

IMG_9893One of my favorite things this weekend was being able to spend time with my friend Shannon.  Here we are pictured enjoying the falls in downtown Greenville.  Shannon is currently raising support to work with the Perth team as a visual artist.  You might have heard me talk about her tea bag art but if you follow her blog Yellow Brick Studio then you will be able to track her progress and see parts of her latest work which includes lots of paper straw covers!


Book Review: The Culturally Savvy Christian

The Culturally Savvy Christian by Dick Staub is “a manifesto for deepening faith and enriching popular culture in an age of Christianity-lite.”  It is about understanding the culture around us without being negatively influenced or impacted by the same culture.  Staub encourages artists and other creatives to seek a deeper relationship with God, living in His transforming presence and only through this being able to come alongside and impact culture for Christ.  But this book is not just for artists.  It is for anyone who is frustrated with the the christian church extremes, either cutting ourselves off from the world or conforming completely.  It is for anyone who wants to know how to encourage artists and other creatives in the church.  It is for anyone who believes that we serve a creative God and that He created us as creative beings, in His image.


The part of this book that really resonated with me is the idea of language being important.  We all know that language is not just limited to verbal communication.  Staub explains that we live in this world as ambassadors for Christ and in this way we need to be able to speak the language of the people around us.  Visual art, music or anything else creative can be an important means of this communication.  But Staub also emphasizes that the ultimate end is to glorify God.  Staub is practical and insightful while maintaining a clear Christ-centered focus.

The Culturally Savvy Christian is definitely worth reading, discussing and seeking to implement into today’s church life.  If nothing else is achieved, my hope is that the reader would come away understanding their need for and desiring a deeper understanding of scriptures and intimate knowledge of God.