Petra: The Ancient Stone City


Gem and I standing in front of "The Treasury" in Petra

Many of you know that my wife, Gem, and I were able to visit the ancient city of Petra (in Jordan) in late March as part of our trip to Israel. My photographer wife took some absolutely amazing shots that day, which she has posted in two parts. I invite you to enjoy them here:

Jordan • Petra, Part one

Jordan • Petra, Part two

Demolition Before Rebuilding


For the last few days, our backyard has been torn up. The patio is gone. A slab of concrete that had been severely cracked is demolished. We’re getting a new backyard. It’s a mess, but sometimes it takes a mess to make something beautiful. It feels a metaphor for God’s work in my own soul.

Below are a few images Gem took this morning. As you look at them, do you think of any areas in which God has seemed to be tearing something down before He builds something good?

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And Gem has had fun shopping at Home Depot, looking for some plants to go in this new yard of ours. We’re very grateful for the generosity of our landlord in helping beautiful our space. (We’ve lived here eleven years now…hard to believe!)

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A Great New Photographer!


I’m not at all biased, but my beautiful bride of almost twenty-five years (this coming May 25) started developing her gifts as a photographer at the beginning of this year. What began as a creative hobby has been becoming a growing business. Recently, she and I worked on a logo for her new business, gem helen photography.

ghp_logo_lgIt’s simple and clean. I really like how it turned out. And recently, she upgraded her web site to provide a better setting to showcase her work and serve her clients. You’ve got to go click around a bit. It’s beautiful! (Just click on the image below).

ghp website

If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you’ll see that nearly all of the images I use with my posts have been produced by Gem. I’m amazed at how quickly her skill and her business have grown. I’m truly a proud husband. Here are a few of her images that I have enjoyed recently:

Trees against a clear high desert sky

Trees against a clear high desert sky

Arches at the San Juan Capistrano Mission

Arches at the San Juan Capistrano Mission

An amazing sunset view from our back balcony (Mission Viejo)

An amazing sunset view from our back balcony (Mission Viejo)

Though these are scenery shots, what Gem has been doing mostly is individual and family shots in natural settings (beach, forest, park, etc.). You can see her work on the gemhelen.com site. I hope you’ll visit (and contact her if you’d like for her to take some pictures for you or your family).