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With the passing of his mother in 1986 and his father in 1987, their loss forced Howard to consider his own mortality, his spirituality and how to fill the void that was left in his life. For his mother, the church was the doorway to spirituality and held the answers to many of the needs we all share. For his father, nature was the pathway to a relationship with the Almighty. For Howard, it was both. While he found the formality of church services to be a necessity in his life, a small pocket Bible and nature became a source of greater inspiration. This Bible would accompany him on many of his runs; and, sitting in the park or cemetery afterward to read it, was a much needed and spiritually fulfilling experience.

As time passed, these inspirational resources became even more significant to Howard. Nature photography became the lens through which his professional aspirations were to redevelop and more importantly, how he began to see God more clearly. Photography became a mechanism for Howard to portray the beauty of our country’s vanishing landscapes. His hope was that these images might engender in others a deeper respect and commitment to their preservation. More importantly, he hoped to inspire others to contemplate more deeply the God who made it all possible…….that their encounters with God’s Word and nature would be a source of spiritual sustenance. Still, it was not until he himself faced cancer in May of 2001, that he deepened his commitment and urgency for them both.

In an effort to merge this relationship, Howard sought the thoughtful assistance of his friend Rev. Eric Park and selected certain photographs to be aligned with biblically-based messages of inspiration. Most people recognize the necessity of good stewardship when it comes to our natural environment and ultimately our survival. Protection and conservation are paramount. While that is a message of great value for this world, nature guides Howard to a message of greater value for the next. Nature has been for him a conduit to the One who makes everything possible. He writes:

“Whether in the wilderness or my living room, when I contemplate the awesome mysteries of nature, the existence of God is no longer in doubt. And, when contemplating Jesus, His sacrifice for us and the salvation He offers, my purpose in life is no longer in doubt.
My goal in ‘Combining God’s Word with God’s World’ is to create a palpable daily reminder of who He is (the omnipotent Creator) and how it is we should live. (by His Word) While I continue to strive to be the best I can be in life, I have also come to realize the most important things in life are not ‘things’ ..…rather, it is to please God. May it be that way for you”.

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