I was born in Topeka Kansas along with three
brothers and two sisters in the early nineteen fifties
in what would be considered today as a rural area.
Growing up there was wonderful, however,
because within walking distance of our home, were
forests, rivers and ponds that were just waiting to be explored. I spent many carefree days
going out on the sand bars of the Kansas River, climbing nearby cliffs along the railroad
tracks, building forts and hunting frogs and crawdads in the local ponds. Mom wasn’t too
keen on us wandering all over the area at such a young age, but dad understood the
adventuresome nature of boys and gave us plenty of freedom. In 1960, though, we moved to
Southern California in an effort to provide a healthier environment for my brothers, who
suffered from asthma, and to provide for better job opportunities for my dad who worked in
I remember those early trips to California and especially the sections through Colorado where
I was overwhelmed by the mountainous terrain. I would have my father stop the car now and
then just so I could get out and climb to the top of some nearby hill. Even in California, I
would have my dad drive around looking for just the right palm tree so I could climb it.
Climbing seemed to be in my blood. I loved it.
In 1977 I married Marleen, and life with one another started out carefree in those early years.
We spent many wonderful days backpacking together, and I think we hiked out of nearly
every trial head in Yosemite Valley. We even did some climbing in “Joshua Tree” and other
areas. She also accompanied me on the summits of Mount Whitney and Half Dome. Marleen
was and always will be the perfect wife and companion for me. We have been on countless
outings together, and we continue to share a mutual love for the outdoors.
It was during my early twenties, that I bought my first SLR camera, and it quickly became a
passion and wonderful way of sharing the sights that I experienced in the great outdoors.
Marleen and I had three children together, and they have been a great blessing to us. But
during my thirties, mountain climbing and photography had to be put on hold due to the
pressures of young children, and the construction business I was involved in with my dad and
brother Chris. But the years continued to fly by until one year, an event took place that would
change my life forever. Business had been very stressful that year, and one day while driving
to a job site my brother Chris pulled his truck over to the side and called 911. He thought he
was having a heart attack, but it turned out to be a severe anxiety.
I was hoping for a speedy recovery for him, but things just got worse. I tried to help him all I
could, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, it got so bad that he couldn’t even come to work
any longer and I began to think he was done for. But one day, out of the blue, he surprised
me by showing up for work. I asked him how he was doing, but he skipped the formalities
and began to tell me about Jesus. He told me that Jesus had helped him get back on his feet
and about how the Bible had played an important role in his recovery. He also encouraged me
to read the Bible and went on to say that it would change my life.
I could hardly believe what I was hearing and responded by telling him that, although I was
happy about his recovery, I was not about to read the Bible. He didn’t press me any further
that day but didn’t give up on me either. About once every week he would ask me if I had
read the Bible. “Start with the Gospel of Matthew,” he would say. After a few weeks of
listening to him tell me the same thing, I got tired of hearing it and decided to find the Bible
my mother had given me so many years ago. I ended up locating it in the garage buried along
with some other books, and from there, took it and placed it on the coffee table in the living
room. I figured that one evening or another I would pick it up and read it just to get him off
my back. So one day I did just that. I picked it up and began reading the Gospel of Matthew.
After reading the genealogy of Jesus for a couple of minutes, I stopped and said to
myself…….”Just as I thought……a bunch of meaningless words.” But by the grace of God it
didn’t end there, because during the pause I prayed the first genuine prayer of my life. The
prayer went something like this: “God if you exist, and the Bible is true, I pray that you would
open my eyes so that I could see and understand it.” After that I continued to read for about
an hour or two and with the help of God came to the following conclusion. “The Bible is true.
Jesus is who He says He is. And I am a sinner in need of a Savior.” I then went into my
room, closed the door and fell to my knees. I at that point, asked Jesus for forgiveness and
asked Him to come into my life and make me a new person.
As the days went by, I couldn’t get enough of the Bible and I read it from early evening until
well into the early morning hours. My brother was right. The Bible had changed my life. God
had used it to bring me into a saving relationship with Jesus and I began to tell my wife and
anyone else who would listen all about my new found Savior. In the years to come, my wife
and all our children became Christians, praise be to God.
I still mountain climb today, but photography has become my primary tool of choice for
sharing God’s awesome creation with others, and I am thrilled to be able to share these
images with you here at Rhythm on the Rock.
May God so richly bless you in all your journeys through life,
©Rhythm On The Rock Productions
Rhythm On The Rock Productions
On January 14, 2009 (due to breast cancer), Marleen
French had gone to be with the Lord. Her Christian
influence and faith had great impact on countless life's
and continues still to this day.