Thursday, September 25, 2008

White Crosses

My boy and I were riding our bikes early this morning and came across a local church that is standing up in Brandon, displaying old whitewashed wooden crosses in memory of the 748 South Dakotan children who were aborted in 2006. Just across a very narrow stretch of road on the other side of the display is a cemetery, filled not with wooden crosses, but crosses made of stone. Most are inscribed with the date that someone came into this world, then a dash that somehow represents an entire lifetime, and finally a date that they passed on. Most are decorated and adorned with flowers, frequented stops along life's busy highway for those left behind who choose to remember and celebrate a life once lived.

There's no real difference between the wooden crosses here or the stone crosses there, except that on one side of the road, those crosses are recognized to represent people, human beings who once lived. And on the other side of the road...they aren't. One side was granted the right to life, the other wasn't. Nothing separates them or makes them any less human.

In fact these crosses on this side of the road are an offense to some people. There's no flowers, no mourner to lovingly care for their upkeep. They are so abhorred that in recent years these little crosses have been yanked out of the ground in the night and thrown in the river. Do you wonder why it is that they strike such a tender chord, why some are so unable to stand for what those crosses stand for, why they are more inclined to tear them down and throw them away rather than see them for what they represent?

So what if we could give each whitewashed cross a face? What if we could see the child behind the symbol? Would we be so quick to dismiss them then, to throw them away if we could look into their eyes? If we could hear just one of them speak, just one audible giggle, would we stand up for them?

What if on this busy stretch of road as we zoomed to work we looked over to our amazement at 748 toddlers, 2-year-olds, unsupervised, unchaperoned, with no teacher or guardian in sight? Only inches from the street, would we be concerned for their safety? Would any of us stop to make sure one of them, so young and innocent, didn't wander into the oncoming traffic?

In 2003, the year my daughter was born, there were 819 abortions in South Dakota.
Today, she is 5 years old. She smiles, she cries, she laughs, she loves, she mothers over her new puppy, and she is an amazing speller. She eats up attention and she's an expert at Eskimo kisses. Today she's very excited because she gets to paint her toy horse in rainbow colors.

So today we see these crosses, and hundreds of choices that were made to end the life of a child, and one child who was given another choice, a right to life, just like you. In the image below, what do you see? Do you see one child or two? Of course you see that beautiful little American girl with rights, but do you see the little boy or girl that she's holding onto, that child that wasn't given the choice?

Click here to help make the right choice.

You can also print a copy of this blog to share.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


It's not everyday that a casual guy like me gets to photograph a stunningly beautiful Mrs. South Dakota adorned in over $50,000 worth of sparkling diamonds. Top that with a custom-designed dress created to give the idea of a South Dakota pheasant in flight, and art imitated not just life, but nature. From the eye-popping blues of a pageant gown to the earth-toned, prairie abstract of high fashion to the timeless swimwear in a fresh fire-engine red, we had a blast.
Now that we've talked fashion, let's really talk fashion...

Mrs. South Dakota is working towards volunteering her time for the Alpha Center, and doing all she can to raise awareness about the facts of abortion. This representative of our state, this mom, chooses to stand up for those who can't stand for themselves because she believes a mother and the child she carries should have an equal and inalienable right to life. If you're reading this today, realize that someone gave you that right. It wasn't something you could fight for or earn. It wasn't yours to argue and it wasn't a choice you were given. Someone who loves you chose for you, and granted you passage into a world rich for living. You've cried, you've laughed, you've loved, you've been broken. In short, you've lived richly.

You tell me folks. I'm a down-to-earth, regular joe, so maybe I don't understand the world of fashion... Do we wait until it's fashionable and attractive for us to worry about a child's rights, or do we choose now to stand up for those who can't make choices for themselves? Do we grant them the same opportunities we've had all of our lives? The reality is that America has lost an entire generation to abortion. Over 46 million kids didn't get the memo that their right to life just wasn't fashionable since Roe.
Anyone can argue about why that number shouldn't matter, but if it ever doesn't matter to us then we've forgotten what it means to be human.
Hiroshima and a nuclear bomb killed less than 200,000 and a world war was ended.
Nazi Germany killed 6 million and a world responded in outrage.
Terrorists killed less than 3,000 on September 11th and we responded with a war on Terror. All out war.

Today you, the taxpayer are bailing out Frannie and Freddie by the hundreds of millions over in the housing industry. You're scooping AIG and the investment world out of the ashes with more millions, and oh yes, your taxes are paying Planned Parenthood the same amount, every year, hundreds of millions, to do away with an entire generation of America's kids.

Make sense?

Modern America in a post Hiroshima, Post Cold-War, Post Equal-Rights, Post 9/11 era has killed 8 times as many as all of the above combined.
Over 46 million kids and we're still looking the other way?
What is the magic number that makes this tragedy a fashionable cause America?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Childlike Faith

We've been burning the candles at both ends to catch up after Lifelight this year.
I wanted to post a few images here from the festival for you all to see. There were some special moments, and my hope is that they were captured in the images, so that when you look at them you can maybe see what I saw, a glimpse of the face of Christ.
I witnessed a young woman who seemed alone in a crowd of a hundred thousand people, having a conversation in her heart between her soul and her Creator...

I saw a little girl in wonder. In her daddy's arms, with her own arm reaching up to heaven...

I watched a man get on stage and sing his heart out, offering praise to Jesus in front of a sea of golden faces, with the shadow of the cross casting down upon them...

A little boy had a servants heart, helping his mom and dad with the chair since they had their hands full with the baby...

This man with his shirt spoke one of the most profound statements I've ever seen about abortion...

This young couple's hands, embracing the child inside, spoke volumes more...

People, from the grown-ups to the kids, lifted their hands as high as they could stretch them to somehow bridge that gap between the idea of Today and the reality of Eternity...

One of the singers finished his concert by speaking to the crowd about hunger, handing out packets from Food For the Hungry, each one filled with information on a little boy or girl in need. I watched a regular Joe take one of those packets and beginning learning about the little girl he was going to sponsor, and I saw compassion...

There were folks from all strokes. Some just having fun, some searching, some unsure of what they believed, some even itching for a fight. But in the end, there were only two kinds. Some lost, some found...

And you can call me crazy, write it off to an over-stimulated imagination that I've had since I was a little boy, but I see something in the clouds...

And these were my favorite. It's a story of life to me. In the world, among the hum-drum of a carnival-like atmosphere, we're a hurried people with no time for the Cross. Some not caring, some too busy, some driven by our careers, others just watching as spectators...and then there are the children. Represented to me by this little boy, literally clinging to the Cross.
This is to me a snapshot of the faith.

And when I see this little boy, holding on for all he's worth, I think if only each and every one of us, myself included, could be just like him...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Lifelight 2008

It's still too close to process everything that happened this year, but here is a pan image from one night at Lifelight 2008.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Melissa & Nick

There were so many things that I loved about Melissa and Nick's wedding, where to start is the hard part.
The getting ready took place at the Holiday Inn, surrounded by close family and this amazing hairstylist named Angelique, who owns Platinum Imagination.
Angelique was there for the intimate images with Melissa and Nick, there for the formals and even throughout the ceremony, making sure Melissa was comfortable and looking her absolute best. She did everything in her power to make Melissa feel like a queen for the day, and it was an incredible testament to this young lady's work ethic. She told me that she has a quote that she tries to live by every day. I think it's worth passing on to all of you...
"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with your talent is your gift back to God."

There was plenty of time for Melissa and Nick to meet and share a few moments of peace, just the two of them. We played for a bit downtown, grabbing the trolley on the way by...

It was an intimate wedding. All natural and available light. Less than a hundred people. Quiet, peaceful, full of grace.

The dad's lit the candles from the back and passed the flame down the line of guests, who in turn filled the room with beautiful candlelight. The flame reached the bride and groom and the unity candle was lit.

There were servers from Chef Dominique's offering drinks to the guests as they left the wedding ceremony, while listening to the smooth songs of a string quartet playing in the gardens. It was the second wedding in a month that we've seen the same musicians, playing effortlessly as one.
Instead of your traditional wedding party table, these two sat at a simple round table in the middle of their guests, alongside their own parents and family. Nick's father relived the moments of their past through a slideshow that Nick created and ran himself.

They even had a table for Kari, Melissa and I, with placeholders and all, already arranged, and we were served an amazing meal as guests. I told Melissa not to let that go to her head, as it was only her third wedding with us, and in all my years, a first for us all. :)
At the end of the night Melissa and Nick stood up and thanked everyone who had made the day complete for them, and then took a moment to honor their parents.
Their priority was the comfort and fellowship of their family and friends, and it was a refreshing celebration to see the focus on the things that really matter.