Monthly Archives: April 2013

15 Faces #14 – Pastor & Friend

15 Faces #14

Pastor Ben McEachern is the 14th installment of 15 Faces.  He is my pastor.  He is the pastor of NorthRidge Fellowship, the church that I call my home church.  I think more than just calling him my Pastor, I call him my friend.  Ben has been a person that has been there when I had a hurting heart due to the pains of losing my mom to cancer (and stuffing those feelings), and helped me navigate through other tough stuff in life.  He cried with me, put his arm on my shoulder, and prayed with me.  He was just there.  He didn’t care about my bumps or bruises, he just knew I needed a hug.  So I guess this installment has a little more personal ring to it than the others.  It is a little about me and the impact this man has had on my life, and the life of my family.

So here is a little background on Ben.

Ben is married to Teri, and he is absolutely head over heals in love with her.  He has 4 kids and one grandchild.  In his free time he is an avid sailor.

While I did these shots I had one hand on the mast of his sailboat, to provide leverage for him while he worked on a few parts in need of repair, and the other to press the shutter release.  The sailboat provides a time for him to take a deep breath, recharge.  His life is not as easy as some may think. He pours into the lives of many people at all different levels of need, whether spiritual, emotional, or physical.  He knows this is the call that God put on his life many years ago.  Pastor Ben is the kind of man whose hands are rough from the times where he has helped another in need (he has nailed a few shingles in the calm right after a storm).  You will probably see a tear on his cheek as he has cried with someone who just lost a loved one.  He just loves you where you’re at, and for who you are.

During our time Pastor Ben asked me what I have gained from my 15 Faces series.  I didn’t have to dig too deep to know I have gained a greater glimpse of humanity.  I have been able to see the complexity in a person, the trials that people have gone through, perceptions and mis-perceptions of how people are viewed, that people truly care for you, and they will be there for you.  I have also been pushed well beyond my normal crisp, clean, commercial photography world and into a story telling world.  I have been pushed to see there is beauty in the hearts of people, beauty that will not show on the surface like a Cosmopolitan or People magazine want you to believe.  Oddly enough that beauty is in the strength of a man’s hands that fought for his country, in  the prayers of a couple for their community, and the bread made within the walls of a bakery or the story behind it.

So Ben, I guess I love people a little more deeply! 


15 Faces #13 – A daughter’s perspective.

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This morning, I had the chance to get up before the sun and go with my dad on an adventure. We made our way to Elk River, he talking about how he wanted to created this thirteenth installment for 15 Faces and as for me, I was trying to stay awake. But as we walked down the stairs and into the midst of the creation of artisan bread, I was no longer wishing I was still in my bed. The smells that filled the air, the yeast, the cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, it was invigorating. This is the story:

Long before the sun has even decided to get up, Garrett Jordahl is baking bread. It is his passion. His art. I was in the presence of an artist; a bread artist. Mr. Jordahl has been baking bread since he graduated from high school. He loves it. He does it, not for the profits, but for the quality, for the beauty of it. Eight years ago, he bought a dying bakery in Elk River, Minnesota. Now, he owns a thriving business, Diamond City Bread. As my dad spoke with him, continually asking question to keep the conversation going, Mr. Jordahl continued to prepare his bread, as if by instinct. The motions are automatic: frosting cinnamon rolls, buttering croissants, shaping scones; it is all second nature. As he speaks, Mr. Jordahl often mentions Frank. A man who has no last name but an enormous impact on this business, and especially it’s owner. Frank encouraged Mr. Jordahl to buy the dying bakery. He owns the pizzeria above, and that provides a lot of business for Diamond City. Mr. Jordahl’s credentials? A two week bread-baking course at Dunwoody Institute and a driving passion to create artisan bread for a small town. There are two employees who work here for the pre-light shift. Only two. And as we watched them work, it was evident that they are artists just as much as their employer. They, too have been here for years. This business seems to draw people in, and when they are there, they simply can’t leave. The atmosphere, the art, the people; when you walk down the stairs and into the business, it is impossible to leave without taking with you one of their beautifully created loaves, their masterpieces. This is a family. Diamond City Bread does not bake to make money, that is not its mission. This fantastic bread does do some traveling; many whole foods co-ops stock it, but they bake bread for the love of it. To serve those who want quality. And there certainly is quality created here. You can feel it when you walk in, you can hear it when Mr. Jordahl speaks, you can see it in his hands. Just as much as a painter creates a masterpiece or and writer creates a best seller, Mr. Jordahl and his employees create masterpieces in each and every loaf of bread made. This is an art just a beautiful as any other.

Anna Rose Nielsen

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