Weekend Photo Challenge: Solitary


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Solitary“. After much deliberation (and annoying my brother), I decided on this one.

This picture was taken on a missions trip I took to Latvia in 2007. Where we were staying was a mere 50 yards from a beach running along the Baltic Sea. Being so far north, the brilliant sunsets would last for several hours on into 11pm. And those sunsets were so brilliant.

One evening, after dinner, I went out to beach on my own. They had these tall jungle gym sort-of things dotting the beach for kids. I was able to climb up one of them and sat there for a couple of hours taking pictures. I saw this one older gentleman appear on the beach and just walk: hands folded and his mind deep-in-thoughts. I (creepily) watched him for some time, fascinated by his gait, wanting to know his thoughts.

And so, to me, this pictures captures the beauty, contemplation, weightiness, and depth of solitude. I need moments like these to stay sane, and I hope to channel this man’s practice  for years to come.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekend Photo Challenge: Everyday Life (a double-header!)


This weeks’s WordPress “Photo Challenge“theme is “Everyday Life”. The challenge is to find and create beauty from people doing the most everyday things in their lives. I’ve chosen–not one, but–two (!) pictures for this week.

The first picture above (be sure to click it to view it full-size) is of one of my very best friends during a trip she made to Philadelphia a few years ago. This is one of those friends that you immediately connect with and can go years without talking to, and yet can pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.

She had visited Philly and I had just finished showing her and a couple of our friends the campus of my seminary. We then went to a local pizza shop called “The Pizza Box” that us seminarians would frequent between classes.
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Weekend Photo Challenge: Near & Far


Last week, I introduced a new weekend feature on the blog where I post a picture of mine and talk about it as a part of WordPress’s weekly “Photo Challenge” (see the bottom of this post for more information).

This week’s theme is “Near & Far“. The challenge is to use perspective to create a three-dimensional space in your two-dimensional photo and “literally suck in the viewer”. So’ I’ve chosen the above picture.
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Weekend Photo Challenge: Free Spirit (a new weekly feature)


Today I’m introducing a new weekly post I’ll be doing. WordPress, the site that hosts this blog, has a weekly “Photo Challenge“, where bloggers are tasked with finding (or taking) a picture that captures a certain theme. See the bottom of this post for more information.

As my Facebook friends know, I do love taking pictures and trying to make them as beautiful as possible. And so, when I saw this today, I decided to begin this weekend featurette. The “challenges” are posted on Fridays, and so I will post mine over the weekend. Some weeks I might take a fresh picture, other weeks I’ll try and find an old one. I’ll post it, and tell a little bit about it.

Today’s picture is a really special one to me.
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slightly new theme on the blog. tell me if anything’s wrong.


Hey I just switched to the updated version of the WordPress theme I’ve been using for a while. Little things are different like the header images are a few pixels thinner (I like that change) and little frames are around every image (I’m still warming up to that one). If you see any other weird formatting things I’m missing, or something is messed up, please let me know.

The blog in review: 2011


This is a little set of statistics that WordPress sent me concerning this blog (you can see last year’s here). I want to thank all of you for a great year of writing, engaging, and exploring. I look forward to seeing what 2012 brings.

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2011, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Crunchy numbers

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

In 2011, there were 88 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 388 posts. There were 129 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 58mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was March 8th with 240 views. The most popular post that day was Welcome to the new blog design!.
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Welcome to the new blog design!


Say goodbye to that header above. You are now looking at the brand new redesign on this blog. It’s the first facelift this site has received in about five years or so.  Let me get you acquainted. First, the biggest change is that there is now a “front page” to this site. Going to the main URL for this site, https://paulburkhart.wordpress.com, you will no longer find a simple blog. You will find a brief intro to the site (and myself), the featured most recent post, a summary of other recent articles, and a list of my favorite posts that have graced this blog. To get to a more “traditional” blog view of the site (with a full, more comprehensive sidebar of links and resources), you now need to click “the Blog“.

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Good News: Blogging is Dying!


According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, as discussed in The New York Times yesterday, blogging is declining among those age groups that originally led to its popularity.  Apparently, between 2006 to 2009 blogging activity among those between the ages of 12 and 17 feel by half.  Even among my own age group, the 18-to-33-year olds, blogging activity has dropped by 2% in the past couple of years.  Considering that almost 505,000 post were published just today and just on the WordPress blogging platform, 2% can add up to a lot of posts.

The article goes on to say that these younger bloggers have moved on to using Twitter to share things they find interesting and Facebook to share their “original” thoughts with the world.  Using a blog has just become “another step” in communicating ourselves that these kids find unnecessary and unappealing.
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pardon the dust…


This morning I got an email from WordPress (the blogging platform I use) saying that in two weeks they will be retiring the blog theme that I have long used.  They said they would be replacing it with the theme you see on the site right now.  So, I went ahead and switched over early.  It doesn’t look very different, but it does come with a lot of different options and the coding behind the site is sort of different so font sizes and element spacing is a bit different.  It may take me a few days to fix the new issues and pick what settings I like and such, but I should be good to go pretty quickly.  Secondly, the header you see at the top of the page is the new default header for this theme.  Do you like it? I can easily go back to my original header which is the picture you see at the top of this particular blog post.  Thanks for the feedback and the reading.