Photo-shoot with Max Retriever

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord… – Psalm 96:11-12

– Typically, Max fails to cooperate with the camera

So the other day I was outside shooting some photos of the amazing hydrangea blooms (Creation Shows up for Worship), and chatting with Max (as I do), and he said something along the lines of, You know flowers aren’t the only beautiful things in the garden...

Then I reminded him about the strong anti-paparazzi feelings he has so often expressed in the past.

And he said something about, But my public

To which I responded, “Word.”

Then we fist-bumped and for the first time in forever he just sat there, looked into the camera like he was channeling Ben Stiller in Zoolander, and posed.

So much beauty and wonder

I’m sharing these today because I actually agree with Max; it is not just the flowers. There is so much that is stunningly beautiful in this world; and what we have to do is to keep our eyes open to the wonder, and keep our hearts connected to the gratitude.

Interestingly in my experience beauty and wonder both increase in response to a grateful heart.

– Max the Golden Retriever

If you are still looking for flowers, however, some of my best photos of the year are in this collection from the church Rose Garden this weekend (Let God Wash Over You…).

Regardless – Golden Retrievers, Hydrangea, or the Rose Garden – I cannot help but smile. And smiling is good for everyone.


life Living Gratefully photography The Pets

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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