7 Beautiful Things

As another week drew to a close, I found myself pondering beauty and wanting to reflect on some of the beautiful things I had encountered in the previous 7 days. Here are the ones that came to mind.

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1. Fall Colors. Autumn in Ontario is almost breathtakingly beautiful during those few weeks when the leaves still remain on the trees and are turning from green to vibrant reds and yellows. Yesterday I made a long drive from the city to the countryside where I’m settling in for a while to focus on some writing projects. Along the way I got to admire so much beauty and to praise God for it. I’m thankful for the beauty of fall even though it precedes the cold austerity of winter.

2. Christ Our Hope in Life and Death. The Gettys have released a new album titled “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” that contains a number of lovely songs. Beside the title track which may already be familiar to you, the songs “Rejoice,” “The Lord Almighty Reigns,” and “Take Shelter” are also wonderful, as is their recording of the classic “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks.” I’ve been listening to the album all week long. (Parents may also want to give a listen to J.J. Heller’s “I Dream of You: JOY” which is sweet.)

3. Ulysses. There was a time when I was adding new apps to my phone or computer on almost a weekly basis. But over time my list of apps stabilized and now I probably add a new one only once a year. One of the ones that has remained constant and which I grow to appreciate all the more as time goes on is Ulysses—a minimalist, full-screen, writing app. There is, to my mind, no app that makes writing easier, more pleasurable, or more beautiful. I never get tired of it and never grow weary of its sheer simplicity.

4. Good Books. I like to read a book or two a week and this week thoroughly enjoyed Al Stewart’s The Manual, an excellent book for men. He confronts unhealthy forms of masculinity and goes to the Bible to show what God says about being a man who is godly, upright, honorable, and distinctly masculine. I highly recommend it! (Ladies, buy it for your husbands and feel free to tell them I said they should read it.)

5. Normal Borders. At long last, Canada has revoked the requirement for non-Canadians to be vaccinated before entering the country and for non-vaccinated Canadians to serve out a 14-day quarantine after entering. They have also removed the requirement to wear masks aboard planes and random testing upon arrival. This means that American friends and family members are finally making their plans to come and visit us. We have missed them! (Strangely, the United States still mandates that foreigners entering the US must be vaccinated in order to cross the border; here’s hoping that long-in-the-tooth requirement will be removed soon as well.)

6. Friends. My small group has just begun to meet again and it was a joy to sit with them on Wednesday evening to talk about life and godliness. I’m so thankful for the gift of friends.

7. Long-exposure photography. Michaela is taking a photography class this year and each week has an assignment meant to display skill in a different aspect of the craft. This week’s assignment was all about shutter speed and long exposures—my favorite kind of photography. She decided she wanted to capture light trails, so we drove downtown to a bridge near Union Station where we could capture trails set against a skyline. Here’s the lovely shot she took:

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A post shared by Tim Challies (@challies)


(For those not familiar with photography, the light trails are the red lines along the tracks—a train’s rear lights that were captured as it passed from the foreground to the background over a 20-second exposure.)