After a month hiatus…the state Constitution

I know…I haven’t posted in a month. Been busy. But I’ve also been taking pictures, just not posting them. Like this one: the original handwritten draft of the state’s constitution!

I had the good fortune of sauntering about the capitol on a day when state agencies were putting on displays for the legislative session…and I have to say, the State Historical Society probably stole the show with this one!

Not only did they have the Constitution (I don’t recall if it’s proper to capitalize it, but I’m such a fan of this sort of thing I’m going to anwyay) on display, but they also flipped through it carefully. Yes, I got to touch it.

Want some preamble? We’ve got preamble. And a little bit of Article I, too! Ah, I miss the fine art of good penmanship…

How about that…this is an incredible piece of history! Only in North Dakota can you witness something this cool. I did keep an eye out to see if Nicolas Cage was lurking in Memorial Hall somewhere…

How’s that for an amendment? This was the first draft, after all. It was written by multiple authors and contains notes of input from others.

Edits. In the days before Liquid Paper, one simply had to cross things out and write in the changes. After all, this is a draft. Or at least that’s how it started out…

And here are the signers. Pretty wild, seeing all these signatures of men who contributed to, and ultimately approved by adding their names to, this incredible document.

Remember what I said about my love of the lost art of penmanship? Look at these glorious signatures. I might have to dig out my old calligraphy markers and give it a shot. They’re certainly all dried up by now.

Needless to say, this made my day. It made my year, and this took place only a few days into 2023! It’s going to be hard to top something like this. Thank you to the State Historical Society for bringing this piece out for people to view! I suppose some time later it’ll occur to me that these are among the most significant photos I’ve ever taken. History is so amazing.

Fort Lincoln at the last minute

This is how deep the snow was at the Fort Lincoln visitors’ center on New Year’s Eve day. I went out to get in my final hike for the 12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge hosted by North Dakota Parks & Recreation, and I picked a fantastic day for it. Not only did I get to make some sort of statement by doing my final hike on the last possible day (one of procrastination, no doubt), but I also got to enjoy the last beautiful winter day of 2022.

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The four most important words you’ll hear this Christmas


Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.

One ubiquitous Christmas holiday phrase is “Peace on Earth.” As the hymn above shows, that is entirely appropriate; however, we tend to assign an earthly context to it by mistake. It’s not about peace between men at all; rather, it means peace between men and God. Those four most important words I alluded to in the title are the last four in the verse above: “God and sinners reconciled.” That is the source of peace on earth.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14)

That peace and good will didn’t transmit from man to man; it came from God to all men. Since the fall of Adam, that peace between God and men did not exist. By giving the gift of His son, however, God was offering that peace and good will to men once again:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

There’s your peace…

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18)

Repeatedly in the Old and New Testaments, the Bible reminds us that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:23 points out that “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We need as Savior, one whose birth we celebrate each Christmas. As the angel told Joseph:

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20)

This was the Savior foretold by the prophets. For example:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

God’s desire is to restore that fellowship and peace, reconciling (see those four important words once again) us to Him through his Son:

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled…”

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I believe what Jesus says in the Bible: “you must be born again.” He means that in order to be forgiven and assured a place in heaven, you must put your faith and trust in Him. We can not do anything to assuage the sin that we carry in our lives; only He can.

By placing your belief and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, acknowledging that He made the only sufficient sacrifice for them on the cross, you can be saved. Only then will you be able to truly partake in that “peace on earth” that the angel of the Lord spoke of when declaring good news to those shepherds.

I love the spirit of Christmas as much as, if not more than, the next guy… but the joy, the spirit, the family time, the celebrations, the lights, the gifts… those are all simply a by-product and a shadow of the joy that God extends to each and every person through His son, the one through whom we enjoy unspeakable joy and peace each Christmas and throughout the year.

Back when snow was AWESOME

Although born a North Dakotan, I grew up in the Rocky Mountains. I love snow as much as I love the mountains themselves. So when I found a couple little pockets of snow at over 10,000 feet elevation this summer, I was delighted. And yeah, I made snowballs. It was a blast.

Like I said, I had to hike quite a ways and to quite an altitude to find snow that late in the year, even in the mountains, due to the past couple of dry years…but it was definitely a mission accomplished.

Now? I’ve actually had enough snow for a while. It’s piled high and deep on all sides of my driveway, and I have some pretty good drifting across my property. I spent plenty of time staying ahead of this week’s storms, clearing the areas I need to clear in between waves of snow so it’s more manageable. But yeah, I’ve had enough fun for now. A White Christmas is guaranteed. Hopefully we can save any future significant snowfall for my next snowboarding trip!

My new favorite autumn spot: Tetrault Overlook

I’ll come right out and say it: the single greatest hindrance to my photography hobby is gas money. More directly, the lack of gas money is an enormous obstacle. So when I got the chance to head to the Pembina Gorge area with my sweetie, I jumped all over it. I had some recommendations from friends, and this one turned out to be perfect…

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