The earth sings out

The earth sings out and fills my thirsty soul with beauty, leaving my heart and mind stunned, quiet and thankful.

Taken with my iPhone 8 yesterday evening during our annual church retreat in northern Minnesota. No filters. No editing.

Beauty

Donna and I took a walk through the Minnesota woods along the St. Croix River last weekend. I enjoyed trying to capture some of the autumn beauty through the lens of my camera.

Beauty like that is good for the heart and soul.

IAFR Conference

Most of the IAFR team converged on Minnesota for a few days to retreat together this past week. It was a rich time of reconnecting, worship and learning. I am so grateful to be part of this amazing fellowship of the Highway.

Back to work

We’re so grateful to have seen 5 moose while recreating up north. I was delighted to get a photo of this one doing what moose do.

The clean cold northern air and the winds through the pines were just what I needed!

The northern sky was also spectacular.

Now it’s time to get back to work!

Weeds

I pulled weeds from today. Lots of them. Wild garlic took over the ground under a row of pines in our yard and it had to be uprooted one at a time – most of the time I got it roots and all.

Now my back and thighs are telling me that I shouldn’t have been so aggressive.

It may not sound like a vacationy thing to do – but it is a helpful exercise in unplugging.

Getting ready to head into the northwoods…

Unplugging

It’s time to take a break – unplug and head into the northwoods of Minnesota. It’s been a long time since my last vacation and I’m feeling it. I’m tired.

Creativity is low as is mental dexterity. My heart is feeling the weight of the race and I’m thankful that I have the ability to pursue re-creation and rest like this. I don’t take it for granted.

I plan to take my camera and capture the impossible beauty of the tall pines and endless waters of Superior. If I see a moose or a wolf, you’ll be sure to hear about it!

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters,
He restores my soul
.”

Psalm 23:2-3

Amen.

Cattails

I’ve taken the days off between Christmas and New Years and have taken several walks along the wetlands and in the woods near our home. The cattails always catch my eye as they add gold to the whites and blacks of winter.

An unexpected visit

Photo: Bruce and Janet McNicol with Donna and I today sitting on our “Wes and Judy Roberts Memorial Sofa”.

We got an unexpected text last night. Bruce and Janet McNicol were in town and wanted to see if we were free to connect. Indeed we were.

It was really good to reconnect with them in our home this afternoon.

We were first introduced to each other by our friend Wes Roberts sometime between 1995-1996. Bruce was working on some life-changing training with Bill Thrall and John Lynch. They had founded the Leadership Catalyst. Ascent of a Leader, TrueFaced and The Cure are a few of the books they’ve published over the years. The Heart of Man movie 🍿 is a penetrating expression of some of their work (although is wont be easy for you, you MUST see it! – it’s available on Netflix).

Bruce is one of the few men who have left a permanent mark on my life for good. I’m not the same person I was because our lives crossed back then. Thank God.

I hope God has graced your life with a Bruce too.

Friendship

Photo: Stephen and Tim heading into the sunrise to find breakfast this morning

I’m thankful for the chance to have had breakfast with Tim Barnes and Stephen Freed this morning. They are two of the finest people and leaders I’ve served with in my 38 years of ministry.

Friendship is essential to life.