Blog.

Fantastical Food Pt. 2.

If you haven’t read last weeks post, I recommend going back and doing so for some context. 

      A trend that I’ve noticed in many peoples’ lives is that if they were brought up with any sort of extremes in their life, almost inevitably, they’d flip the opposite direction as a teenager or young adult. I’d like to think I’m exempt from this paradox but in many regards I’m recognizing it in myself. Fortunately, I was raised in somewhat of a balanced home (yes mom and dad you guys did great, give each other a high-five or something) so the effects are minimal and due to my inquisitive mind I’ve learned from wise people to always question both sides of any story. Essentially, I think that’s how I’m at the point I am now; always questioning and increasingly aligning with the minority within the social circles I’m part of. Maybe I just need to find different circles but even in high school when everyone partied and thought it was ‘cool,’ I thought it was a waste of time and money. There’s a plethora of other examples of this in my life but it seems consistent throughout the years. I’m aware, or more so cautious, of the reality that I could just be a contrarian, always wanting to go against the social norm, but when it comes to forming an opinion on important matters I think it might be an asset.

     As I mature I’ve reflected back on events that have occurred throughout history and more times than not travesty followed right after something that should have been intensely questioned, simply wasn’t. I’m sure you could list a surplus of case studies so I wont get into it but if that’s the reality shouldn’t we oppose the set standards more? With all this said, I want to get back to the topic of food and hope you’ve been reading everything I’ve said so far with our western perspective of food in mind. As Wirzba adamantly opposes in his book, Food and Faith, our western culture has diminished food into nothing more than sustenance that we need as cheaply and quickly as possible. Before this period of rethinking food I would’ve aligned with the default consumerist mind set of food only existing as fuel for our bodies to use up and burn. It was also due to Food and Faith that I made the connection that since food is one of the most intimate things we experience it should be observed with more reverence. Not only do we ingest matter that has been grown from the earth but also for people who eat meat another being is consumed. A creature that inhaled and exhaled, ate, and existed in many of the ways we do. I don’t recall what context I heard this thought, but why do we decide that eating cows, pigs or chickens is entirely fine but then dogs and cats are off limits. Why is it the cows and pigs get the duty of being perpetually killed to be mindlessly consumed? I don’t have the answer, even though I’m sure there might be one, but I’m unsure if ethically we can justify the treatment of millions of animals being grown for us to devour.

      I want to continue with these food posts while I’m thinking through a lot of the things I’m writing about but they take a lot of time due to the amount of thought I have to exert. If you have any comments, questions or insight I’d love to hear them. I should also mention that I’m currently trying out vegetarianism to see what that would look like and possibly understand things a little better so if you have any advice or personal experiences send me a message. The images below are from a fun day hike I did with Paul in the beginning of winter at Elbow Lake and wedge pond. I don’t think I mentioned it but last weeks photos were from Crescent Falls. Thanks for reading and I truly appreciate your time of sharing these thoughts and ideas I’m working through.

Fantastical Food Pt. 1.

      I want this post to be one that I can look back on in 10 years and think “Wow I’ve grown and developed so much since that time.” In reality what I want and what happens are two drastically opposing things that seem to be hyperbolized when it comes to serious matters. The topic of this internal conversation, or obsession, I’ve been anxiously, analyzing for the past few months is a simple four-letter word. Like many people who share daily life with me, you're probably perplexed as to why this substance, or sustenance, that comes in endless conceivable forms has been on my mind for so long and taxing my perceived understanding of the world. Well there’s one person who initiated this contagious, curiosity that has now turned into a reformation of colossal magnitude. I suppose it’s somewhat like the oddity in life where whenever you buy something, a new car for example, you then notice that same one exponentially more than before. Similarly I’ve noticed, or maybe even subconsciously brought about, the conversation that was introduced to me by my wonderful friend, Michael. Only a few months ago my entire understanding of food was challenged and I reluctantly let it infiltrate my mind.

      After a few initial conversations with Michael, discussing some of the more entry-level aspects of Food and Faith by Norman Wirzba, I was determined to read the book for myself. I fully understood the potential of a slow mindset shift regarding food but I didn’t anticipate the metaphorical wall I soon hit. Before I go on about the innumerable paragraphs within Wirzba’s book that left me stunned, I want to elaborate on what might have brought me to this point. As many of you might know from reading my previous posts or seeing my photography, I really enjoy nature and feel intimately connected to my spirituality when amongst it. Just a quick clarification, I believe in Jesus and identify as a Christian but seem to be constantly learning what exactly that means or looks like to live. I feel as though I could go down an entirely different rabbit hole reflecting on the progression of my faith, but I’ll save that for another day. Anyways, ever since I was young I’ve felt connected to nature and have wanted to immerse myself into it. Living in a wealthy province, thanks to oil, has resulted in what some might categorize as an unapproachable opposition to my somewhat instinctual desire to preserve and aid in the health of the natural world. Majority of people in my hometown would probably think I’m just some hippy, millennial who doesn’t know reality and just wants a utopia that isn’t possible. I guess to an extent they’re right, but what reasonable person wouldn’t want that? Due to some of my frustration with the unquenchable consuming nature of people in the Western world, I wanted to learn more about the side that isn’t pro consume. As one might speculate, that lead me to learning about minimalism, tiny homes, ecological issues, countless documentaries on preserving wildlife and nature, and even some directly aimed at anti oil messaging. Just as I would with any dichotomy of views, I wanted to hear both sides of the stories being told. In this instance I grew up hearing one side without any contrast but definitely can’t pinpoint what exactly informed me on the pro oil and consumer mindset. Likely it was a just a slow infusion of information over the years from passive sources. I don’t blame anyone but that’s just the way it was in my town. Everyone had to have their big trucks, massive homes, quads, enormous campers, and the list goes on. Another realization that might have come from my Christian upbringing was that I simply didn’t want the pressure of limitlessly climbing to bigger and better. It just seems dismal.

      Dismal. What a great way to end the first segment of this post! Thanks for reading this far and I’ll have the other part up next Tuesday so be sure to subscribe so you get it sent right to your email. I’d love to get some feedback on this weeks post since it was the first time in awhile that I’ve dug deep into something’s I’ve been pondering. Oh and the photos below are from a really fun camping trip at Crescent Falls during Autumn! Peace.

The Art of Thought.

     Travel Update: This is my final week in the Caucasus! I have the opportunity to go to another village tomorrow that wasn’t expected until I found out Saturday. As excited, as I am to continue traveling in Asia this upcoming month I will miss the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know and love here. They have done everything to try to make my experience a good one, filled invaluable with learning and self-discovery. In a week I’ll be catching a flight to Thailand to go to a media conference where people all over the world come to learn and share. Following this, I’ll meet up with Celine to see the organization she’s been with and all the wonderful work she’s done! I’m not sure how the Internet connection will be so I may not be able to write for a while. Maybe the post below will be long enough to keep you reading and thinking for a while though! Enjoy!


     You may think that the title of this post is cliché, lame, or boring but it’s relevant to the photos posted and what I’ve been pondering lately. Before I get into my thoughts, the images below are from when Celine and I had the privilege to go out to a village where I took an abundance of local food photos for yet another minority people group. In addition to having the always-riveting opportunity to go to new location, Celine was able to witness what a lot of my work has been comprised of. Now to get to what I’ve been thinking.

     Throughout my time in the Caucasus I’ve had a lot of time to think. Thinking of where my future is going or where I want it to go, thinking of what I believe, thinking of what others believe, thinking of how what I believe influences my daily life, and thinking of how privileged I am to dwell on these thoughts. Each of these thoughts could merit their own post but this one is going to be more about how people think and what I think could be signs of our primitive minds pushing through. I know it might be a touchy territory to enter if I paint various ideologies with a broad brush but bear with me.

     Being a frequent listener of the Bad Christian, Pastor With No Answers, Don’t Feed the Trolls, and The Liturgist Podcast’s I’ve somewhat become accustomed to trying to relate or justify personal positions that are contrary or analogous to their proposed viewpoints. Depending on the Podcast I’ve been relating to many of the points being made and now that I’ve started reading R.C. Sproul’s book “The Consequences of Ideas” it has made me look at the core of how we come up with our ways of knowing. Often online or even in person you get into conversations where people get infuriated merely because you differ in unessential opinions. Seeing that there are very few absolute truths that our finite minds can grasp I find this so amusing.

     Recently I came to the position that people who are easily angered and outburst either verbally, physically, or emotionally are essentially resorting back to humanities primitive ways of communication. Rarely do you see people of truly high intellect bursting out in raging fits or being violent when their ideas are opposed and when you do I think there is often mental disorders or barriers at play. Now this statement in itself may invoke a bit of anger in you but I encourage you not to smash your computer . There is obviously a difference between being passionate about your position and angery. Often it’s difficult to differentiate between these two when there is public forum but in intimate situations between two close people the difference becomes obvious.

     This past weekend I had to defend my character when it was being inaccurately presented to an audience that could drastically affect my professional relationships and future. Initially, I was infuriated but after seeking other perspectives and wise counsel I was able to turn from a raging outburst that could’ve occurred if I were to refute the claims immediately. Admittedly, I could feel my emotions getting the best of me but by the time I replied I was seeing clearly and capable of accurately presenting a rebuttal. Far too often, with the internet being a primary source of communication, people of all ages say things that they wouldn’t say in person and it immediately, negatively impacts how all bystanders perceive them.

     I want to conclude this more extensive post by encouraging all of you to analyze how you are thinking and how that influences the way you deal with conflict or disagreement. Do your primitive emotions exceed your logical mind more often than not? What are some things that trigger your emotional reactions to erupt? Keep these things in mind the next time you see something online that enrages you or you strongly agree with. I would love to hear your thoughts on what I‘ve expressed in the comments below! 

Old Ways.

     One of our last adventures while Celine was visiting was venturing into a historical part of the city to walk along the cobblestone streets observing the small shops selling their trinkets.  Throughout our walk we shared a lot of laughs and good conversation that I had dearly missed while we were apart. It was so refreshing being together, just the two of us, in a quiet subsection of the bustling chaotic city. After looking around and seeing some of the iconic attractions we decided to go for lunch at a quaint restaurant that cooked local dishes. To say the least, the local dishes, that I’ve had before, were prepared exquisitely this time and really were the best quality I’ve had since arriving here. You might think the photos of Celine are of her drinking nice red wine but it was freshly squeezed pomegranate juice that was equally desirable as the rest of the meal. Part of having the local restaurant experience is that there is a language barrier and to our surprise that glass of juice was quite pricey just as the rest of the meal was (in comparison to other food here), which might explain why it was so delectable.  

     After our lunch we went for a walk down a very modern boardwalk, which seemed to juxtapose the old streets we just came from. In retrospect of this outing I’ve been thinking how the ancient architecture and old style of cooking has been preserved and much like the fundamentals of cooking or architecture our ideologies follow the same suit. As a young person I find myself in constant realization that the generations before me have ideologies and ways of thinking that differ greatly from my own at times. This insight often occurs in times of conflict or disagreement. The scenario is often that I think I know best but the old dogma that another may hold contrasts mine so greatly I become confounded as to how society evolved in such a way to produce two significantly differing thought processes. My conundrum is to know when I should pursue my own understanding, or trust the apparent wisdom of the older person, to ensure success in the situation at hand. As I regularly pray for wisdom I wonder if there is a reason why I have differing thoughts or if they are even valid when put up against the ‘tried and true’ ways of previous generations.

     What are your thoughts on advancing ideologies, not including ones from scientifically proven ones? Have you experienced this situation in the work place or in daily life with family maybe? Let me know how you handled this. Also I’m writing this at a time where I’m not currently directly working with anyone where this is happening. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos! They are some of my favorites considering I didn’t go with the intention of shooting photos. 

The Four Letter 'F' Word #1.

Warning: Before you look at the photos go grab something to eat or have something ready because hunger may be induced.

Food…

     This four-letter word influences so much in the world. When we masticate succulent, savory, or sweet sustenance it literally alters our perception of the reality around us. Eating can make us feel blissful or without it we can become irate. We can become exhausted due to too much or too little. We can even end up six feet under from consuming superfluous or miniscule amounts. This phenomenally diverse and varying substance that we call food shapes cultures around the world and following suit the people here have a distinct culture formed around the molecular compounds that make construct their local dishes.

     While taking photos of food for a people group’s calendar I have had to attempt to adjust to the routines and practices performed in the local’s homes. Upon arriving you sit down for some tea and a conversation that can last up to an hour. Following this you may proceed to the purpose of the visit, which for me was to photograph a dish that was prepared by the local family. My allotted timeframe was often rushed since the people observing were always eager to ingest whatever my subject was. Due to this it forced me to sometimes work a little quicker than I would’ve liked and not always getting an image I was happy with but merely what I could get in those circumstances.

     However, on this trip to a town comprised primarily of this specific people group I managed to return to my element of telling the story that was occurring in front of my lens. Below are my favorite images from that story and some of the delicious food we ate afterwards. I would tell you the exact names of the dishes but it might give away the people group and location. The first platter is like a pizza with egg, cheese and some other flavoring. The other circular one with designs on top is a doughy, sugary dessert that is eaten with tea made from some berries in the region. Lastly is the massive quantity of bread that is special to the people group and highly revered.

     The next post I will elaborate on the process of getting some of the food shots and have more from this trip as well as other shots that will be in the calendar. Thanks again for all your support and prayers!