More from Susan Maas

October 28, 2017 by Susan Thogerson Maas (Oregon)

Ever since I was a child, I have loved spending time outdoors, enjoying God’s creation. My third grade teacher introduced our class to birds, and I became an avid birdwatcher. When my older brother had to make a wildflower collection for biology class, I became intrigued by the beauty and variety of plants. My first camera led me to a lifelong hobby of recording the beauty I saw in God’s amazing world.

Nature brings me closer to God. The vast vistas of a mountain range and the roar of surf pounding on a lonely beach show me God’s power. The intricate design of a wildflower or a butterfly’s wings demonstrates how intimately God is involved in the details of this world. And a robin’s song as the orange sun sets on a summer night feels like God wrapping his arms around me.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (Romans 1:20 NIV) God’s glory is demonstrated in nature, and I love being surrounded by it.

With my camera I try to catch a glimpse of that glory—both in the majestic and in the more everyday pieces of nature. Although I rarely succeed, the dream is for my photographs to be like little windows into heaven, drawing people toward the God who made and sustains us all.

Nature is a part of much of my writing, as well, from my personal blog to the children’s books I’m writing. God whispers to me through the waves, the clouds, the plants and birds.  I listen and try to put those feelings into words that might bring a little joy and inspiration to others—and maybe lead a few more people out to the woods to get in touch with God.


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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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We have small groups and an occasional Sunday class that uses the material for Bible study. We also have a Wednesday night group that reads all four of the lectionary passages and then follows lectio divina methodology in discussing and applying the passages. The Disciplines help in each of these as part of individual devotions but also as material for these group discussions. Our Pastors also preach the lectionary and use Disciplines to help craft the worship experience. It is also a part of our recommended discipleship pathway for all congregants. Many people in the congregation tell me how they love the devotional and it is helping them in their faith walk. Read more...