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A while ago while walking to church from my bus stop I turned around to make sure a car wasn't about to run over me (that is a common concern) and I was stunned. What I saw when I turned around was the most beautiful view of the mountains.

Ulaanbaatar is a little city (the biggest in Mongolia) set in the middle of the mountains. It is a rare occasion in the winter that you can see more than 10 feet in front of you. The smog is usually so thick you can barely breathe.

But that day, you could see. It wasn't clear by any stretch of the imagination but it stopped me. Right there, on the side of the road, I stopped and I stared at this beautiful place that I call home.

For a minute I thought to myself , "I wish I had my camera." Then I realized that I was grateful I didn't. Lately I have been thinking about the things that are un-capturable (new word, probably) by a photograph.

I love the idea of filling my heart with photographs that maybe no one else will ever see. It is like only sharing some things with the creator of the universe. Or maybe I just want to remember things a little grander than they actually were. Either way, I want a filled heart.

Remembering that morning brings me to a new understanding of sight. Those mountains were always there. Although they were covered by thick smog, I don't think I was looking for them.

As my love for Mongolia grows with each day I am brought to new realities. I am brought to realities about what it truly means to be living life alongside my brothers and sisters. I have found new realities about God's love for His Sheep and how that translates into my life. I have found a new reality about what it means to live a life of presence.

Through a conversation this morning, I became convicted about my understanding of seeing and hearing God. I like to believe that different and new situations bring us to places where we can better hear God speaking to us. I don't believe that is true. My new reality is that He speaks to us everywhere, we just have to pay attention.

It's like the mountains--they did not disappear behind the smog and reappear when I was paying attention. They were always there. The smog isn't always the only thing blinding us. We have to come to the reality that we are part of the blinding.

I am thankful for the days where I am convicted. I'm thankful that I serve a God filled with forgiveness. I am thankful that I am not only forgiven but free to be changed. I am free to fill my heart with photographs.

I can see the mountains everyday.


  1. Hm.... sounds like a familiar conversation. :)

    Also, sometimes, if we have a camera in our hands, ready to capture those brilliant and beautiful moments, we spend so much time looking through the lense that we miss everything else....

    I'm happy that you didnt have your camera too!

  2. I remember on many different trips I would take picture after picture, but it was the times when I didn't have my camera that the moment was most reflecting and memorable. It made me pay attention to the details and the greatness of the image more...


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bring it on, world.

October 26, 2011.

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I tried. I also had my very first panic attack, too.

It was too much. I couldn't think or breathe. I couldn't cope with the devastation I felt for leaving Mongolia early that March morning. I couldn't cope with no one understanding what Mongolia had meant to me and how it had changed me right down to my bo…