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The Gratitude Series: The Beauty of Nature (What are you grateful for today?)

In November, at least here in the U.S., we emphasize the idea of expressing gratitude and being grateful. On Thanksgiving Day, we often go around the table and answer the question, “What are you grateful for?”.

Today, I wanted to share with you something I am grateful for.

I’m Grateful For the Beauty of Nature

I am incredibly grateful for the beauty of God’s creation and the opportunity I have of exploring and capturing each season in photos.

Being outside is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it is walking through the woods, along a beach, or around a lake, being outside is healing and calming for me.

  • When I am stressed, a walk outside helps me to relax.
  • When I am tired, breathing deeply of fresh air refreshes me.
  • When I feel hurried and out of sorts, being outside helps me slow down and feel more centered again.
  • When life feels overwhelming and out of control, a long walk on the beach, listening to the crashing waves, calms me down.
The Beauty of God's Creation, a winding road in fall going up to Loon Lake Oregon
loon lake oregon in the fall

Spending time outside, exploring with my eyes, and my camera gives me the chance to slow down, to see the beauty and the creativity of God’s handiwork.

As I slow down, textures, layers, colors, and small details of His creativity start to jump out of me, elements of my surroundings that I would never notice when in a hurry.

“God creates the beauty.
My camera and I are witness.”
~Mark Denman

The 7-Days of Gratitude Starter Kit

My Fall Photography Field Trip

Each fall, I like to take a photography field trip and dive deep into the reds, golds, oranges, and bright greens that the season brings.

Bailey the Explorer looking up steps covered in gold and brown leaves
red fall trees at Loon Lake Recreational Area

On these trips, it is not uncommon to suddenly feel overwhelmed with the majesty and grandeur of it all.

This year my field trip took a couple of days as I went up into the hills and to the beautiful Loon Lake Recreation Area. The road leading up to the main park glows with colorful towering trees, rushing streams, and small waterfalls, all begging to be noticed as you drive by.

My destination was the Loon Lake campground, but on the first day, the drive was so beautiful I spent most of the morning stopping and jumping out to take “just a few more pictures” as I kept telling Bailey. By the time I got to the lake, the sun was up high, and the light became harsh.

The next day I invited my niece and nephew slumber buddies (movie nights are fun with nieces and nephews :)!) to join me on another adventure.

A quotes by Frank Lloyd Wright, "I go to nature everyday for inspiration in the Day's Work".

My goal was to get up to the lake early and capture the scene in the softer morning light. Totally. Worth. It. We had a blast.

When you have a chance to experience a trip like this, the majesty and grandeur of what you get to see is awe-inspiring. With all the greens, golds, and oranges, it can be a little overwhelming to know what to look at and photograph.

To think that we have the opportunity to serve a God who created seasons, lakes, oceans, sand, rocks, leaves, mountains, beaches, fish that jump, frogs that croak, birds that sing, trees that burst into color, and yes even the spider and the web it wove that you just walked into.

red fall leaves of a tree in fall in Oregon
Golden Leaves of a tree in fall in Oregon

When I start thinking about all of that, I have to pause and spend some time looking around with my head and my heart. It’s a time to be wowed and to give thanks for such an incredible gift of beauty and creativity that He spoke into existence.

When we spend time outdoors, without a word spoken, we see and hear a story being told and poetry in motion from chirruping birds, rustling leaves, scampering squirrels, and streams running over rocks.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Bailey the Explorer in the water at Loon Lake, Oregon
Bailey the Explorer on the dock at Loon Lake

(The dock was pushed off from the beach and did not have easy access, you had to walk through some water and step on a few logs and rocks to get there. As you can see, that fact did not seem to stop Bailey who LOVES exploring the docks – click here to see him in action once he got onto the dock!! He was having some fun.)

While my camera and I do our best to capture and share what we see, it in no way can truly convey what it is like to experience it in person. The wind whispering through the trees, the stillness of no people, the soft sound of a fish jumping out in the water, or the crunch of leaves under your feet.

Make a point of getting outside today, even for just a few minutes, and see the beauty of the creation around you. Take time to look with your more than just your eyes and give thanks to our Creative Creator for such an amazing gift.

What are you grateful for today?

Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal

The Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal, is a 31-day journey filled with simple activities to develop your faith, cultivate gratitude, and nurture your creativity, including:

  • Reading and writing out the verse of the day
  • Keeping a daily gratitude list
  • Tracking prayer requests
  • Journaling thoughts and prayers
  • Creating with simple designs for coloring and space for lettering, doodles, and more

Choose one activity, or choose them all, but keep it simple…and develop a meaningful routine that you look forward to each day.

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