Photography and Inspiration by Steven P. LeFever

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The photograph and poem "Never Give Up" has deep personal meaning to me.

As I walked through Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah, I noticed this small tree, helping to hold the earth together with its roots, helping to changing our polluted air into fresh oxygen, and still providing what little shade it could to anyone, or anything standing nearby in the hot sun. The weather wears away the colorful sandstone and the results can be seen, as it leaves the trees with their roots exposed causing some of the abandoned trees to fall over the rim and into the canyon below.

I looked at how hopeless it appeared, yet realized how alive it still seemed to be. It reminded me of my mother (Donna J. (Enright) LeFever, 6/12/1927 - 2/1/2007), who had been fighting Alzheimer's Disease for many years and was still struggling to hold on to a life and memories that she once knew well. The name "Never Give Up" came to me just as quickly, as the words of the poem I wrote to accompany it. I had no idea how inspiring it was going to be to all who needed to hear it. I now believe that they were inspired words from God.

This photo was entered in a contest with The International Society of Photographers in 2006. Because of this photo, I won the "Editor's Choice" Award, "Photographer of Merit" Award, "Outstanding Achievement in Photography" Award, and it was published in their book called "Distant Visions" in December, 2006 (ISBN 0-7951-5273-6).

It has been sent by friends and loved ones to people recovering from illness, surgery, or injury, and to people suffering from depression. It has been given to single moms struggling to make ends meet, not knowing where the next meal will come from, while still trying to be cheerful and supportive to their children. It has given hope to people going through a rough divorce. It has been given to loved ones, or friends dying of cancer. It has been just the encouragement that was needed to people who were tired, thought that their life was over, and were just waiting to give up and go 'home.' And these few short words have helped some people who were just plain going through a rough time. It has traveled to many countries including, Australia, Africa, Canada, England, Scotland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Japan, China, and at least a dozen states in the USA, and growing all the time.

Each person who sees this photo and poem seems to see something different, but each one seems to see something in it just for them. Maybe you know of someone who is putting on a brave front that could use a little boost from the inside, or maybe there is something hidden deep inside the picture and words just for you. Take a good look; it is there if you take the time to see. Can you tell what it means to you? I truly believe that the capture of this image and the words of this poem are no accident and by no means solely my doing. God has used this picture and poem to help so many people, in so many diverse circumstances, in such a short time…. I think HE planned it all along! After all, in the words of Joyce Kilmer (1886 - 1918), "…only God can make a TREE!" Praise God!

When we go through all the trials and troubles of this life here on Earth,
sometimes we may have to "GIVE IN", but we should "NEVER GIVE UP!"

~ Steven P. LeFever

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