How it 'Works'

If you are new to my blog, the following may be helpful in order to understand my general writing approach. I utilize several kinds of ‘features,’ or columns.

Most often, I post pieces I call From My Nature Journal. These are essays from an actual journal I’ve kept for many years. When I see something in nature that inspires me spiritually or reminds me of a spiritual parallel, I like to write about it, keeping many of these written out in longhand in a handmade, old fashioned leather-covered journal I bought at a craft sale. I’ve actually filled the old thing up with about a hundred of them by now, so the newer ones stay on my computer. I guess some of them might be akin to the parables of the Gospels, and, though certainly not as pithy as Jesus’ stories, the practice becomes a way for me to be attentive to the messages the Creator sends through his creation. Click on the bold type early in this paragraph to see a random sample.

Less frequently, I take several other approaches, and, as above, you may click on the bold type for a sample:

·      Photo of the Month -- This feature takes little explanation; it’s usually just a photo (or several) of something my wife Gail or I have taken recently, or one we took in the past about the same time of year. I will also write about the photo’s subject or context. On rare occasions I may use a photo someone else took, especially if it’s a famous one, but then I will always reference it.

·      Blowin’ in the Wind -- The most eclectic of my columns, this is a feature consisting of an assortment of nature writings I come across – hymns, songs, prayers, Bible readings, poems or other things – pieces I may not have written but that inspire me. I trust they will do the same for you. As with my photo of the month, I will include some commentary as well.

·      Resources – These are pieces I have written, or written about, that are resource-like in nature. In other words, they may be a spiritual exercise or prayer that a person or group can use during a devotional time or a personal or group retreat. They are not essays, per se, but intended to be employed as a spiritual activity at a special and set-apart moment.

·      Quote of the Month – Over the years, I’ve collected hundreds of quotations and excerpts on the subject of nature/creation from both well-known and little-known nature writers, theologians and ‘saints.’ Again self-explanatory, this column features one or more of these, with a comment about the person(s) quoted or the context from which they spoke. It will usually include a photo of the person I have found online.

·      On the Journey With… – Finally, a column I’ve added more recently, and one I hope to share more often, is guest written. I have begun to appeal to family members and friends to share essays about an experience in creation they have had that has been inspiring, or how nature has been for them, as for me, a spiritual pathway to God. It’ll only happen as often as I can convince someone to share! So if you want to take a try at it, or if you’ve done some writing like this in the past, be in touch with me and let’s see what we can do!

Though for my first three years writing this blog I wrote nearly weekly (actually about four times a month, taking a break on the rare month with five weekends), I decided of late that I just couldn’t keep up that pace with all the other things I have going in my life! So now I write every other week, and this has been much more manageable.

And the tabs? You’re familiar enough with them to have entered this page; perhaps you’ve looked through some of the others across the lower masthead, perhaps not. Why this Blog? brings a reader back to my very first post several years ago, in which I explain my reasons for writing. About the Author is the barest of bios, but which can still personalize the writing in such a way as to bring a personality to the page. Resources, as noted above, will include the posts I write or share that offer some sort of a spiritual exercise, or devotional practice, that may be experienced by an individual or a group. Feel free to copy and use them whenever and wherever you’d like. Index is something I update every month or so, adding minimal key words that can help someone go back and find a post they’re interested in seeing again. And The Music is something of a specialized index for posts that have combined a love for nature with a love for music, another of my ‘spiritual pathways.’

Finally, beyond all this, each blog usually contains links (always bolded and colored) that can be hit to go deeper into a blog’s subject, and the photographs I include can be enlarged for greater clarity by clicking on them.

One quirk -- unfortunately, there must be some kind of data limitation on my blog server as my site ages, as I sometimes find that older posts have lost their photography. This is particularly awkward in one of my photos of the month! But I also regret it in relation to my other posts because I always choose them to supplement the text. I'm not sure what I'll be able to do about that, if anything, but am working on it.

There you have it, a pretty pedestrian little primer on the methods to my madness. But for me, it's all about this:

I lift my eyes to the mountains -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1, 2)

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