Moments – Journeys with the Messiah by Michael Belk

“Regarding that “moment,” the idea for Journeys with the Messiah came to me in 2004 when I opened a gallery in Watercolor Resort in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  It was a peaceful place and I thought we should make it more of a sanctuary where vacationers could come for a moment of peace. Then, a thought came to me, “What if all of the images on our walls were depictions of messages from the Bible.”

A Step Away

A Step Away

Over time, that idea grew. I thought about it, talked about it, but did nothing about it until late 2007 as I was about turn 60 in early 2008.  I asked my wife, “What if I die I and I have not done this? God has trained me for 30 years; given me the talent, the vision and the financial resources; what excuse would I offer?” That was the moment we decided to put my career on hold and pursue this dream that I believe he placed on my heart.

Lighten The Load

Lighten The Load

The project was planned throughout 2008, photographed in late 2008 and released in the fall of 2009. I have not returned to my career as a fashion photographer and Journeys with the Messiah Foundation, Inc has just filed the documents for approval as a non-profit corporation.” – Michael Belk, Journeys with the Messiah – A Fashion Photographer Explores the Modern-day Relevance of Jesus



For more information about Michael Belk’s Journey Project visit his website Journeys with the Messiah.

Let there be light.




Photography is the combination of the photographer’s eye, and light falling on a light sensitive surface or digital equivalent of film. And from this alchemy of human skill, experience, perceptions,  impressions and interactions with technology evolves visual storytelling – often evoking a feeling, which in turn stirs our senses and conjures up memories. What are your feelings and what comes to mind when you see this image?

Oddly enough for me, this image reminds me of when I was a young girl, and what it felt like to fall asleep on my bed under a pile of warm clothes fresh from the dryer with the sun streaming in through my bedroom window.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
― Ansel Adams

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
― Dorothea Lange

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”
― Eudora Welty

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
― Marc Riboud


On my personal walks, I pass by many benches. Most of them empty, lonely, waiting upon some sojourner to pause along their way to enjoy that particular place and moment… to sit a spell… setting aside their agenda other than to give themselves the gift of time to rest, meditate and reflect.

I enjoy taking photos on my walks. Here are some of the benches I’ve met along the way and plan to revisit on future leisurely walks and to picnic. These benches can be found throughout Alton Baker Park, around Discovery Park and along Fern Ridge Reservoir in Eugene, Oregon. The last image is of the bench I pass each lap of the track at the Lorane Elementary School’s sports field.

Oh, the stories they would tell, if benches could talk.


Under a Maple tree near the city park entrance,

sits a nondescript, weathered, plain old bench,

Hundreds have passed by and many to rest

Like mothers with toddlers tying up a loose lace,

Kissing scraped knees or wiping a face,

That old bench is a meeting place Tuesdays

for widows Mildred and Grace,

Who chat over lunch that they take turns to make,

discussing TV shows, world events,

pains and aches,

Then there are old Army pals Walter and Ray, who meet on Thursdays,

Checkers they’ll play,

while reminiscing about those former glory days

Who would know a simple bench with such a history

of events?

A place where love began or love has ended,

Then again sometimes where hearts are mended,

But to most it will only be

An old bench near the city park entrance.

The poet is Nancy Ellen, Crossland USA – reposted from Ellen’s poem is also featured in her book Within These Branches: Poetry of Life and Nature, described as “A journey traveling through the diversity and beauty of nature, the author leads us further into the world’s unique people offering a glimpse of their challenges, hopes and dreams. Appealing to a wide range of readers from teenagers to seniors, the author creates sensitive, honest impressions that are easily relatable to the reader. Reflecting on all facets of life with candor, imagination and a bit of humor, the author’s goal is to present a view connecting the people of the world by a common thread of life uniting us all in compassion and understanding.”


Thank you to my friend Ben DeVries of Not One Sparrow for sharing this wonderful bench story and photos with us!

“This is one of my favorite benches, along my favorite stretch of trail along the Des Plaines river in northeast Illinois. It was dedicated sweetly by a couple who loved the same spot.”

If you would also like to share your bench story or poem, please share it with us using the comment field below.