Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Food for Thought

I once read a book about writing. The author said, "when you see yourself as a writer, the whole world is filled with stories to be told." I think the same is true for the moments when I see myself as a photographer. My whole world is bursting with images to be captured.

This is the ordinary beauty that captured me over the past few weeks:

A field trip to a 25-acre green house. It was like walking in Spring for a little while. Baby seedlings and hanging baskets by the acre. It was warm and quiet and sunny. Spring will come!

My kitchen counter was full of texture and flavor. There's been a lot of soup and bread here in these cold, snowy weeks of February. The sun made even this lowly onion sparkle.

The view from two different kitchen windows. Those icicles keep growing and changing. Even winter doesn't hold still. And this Cardinal has been one of many fantastic, colorful, visitors outside my octogon window. This bird feeder was a mother's day gift from a few years ago and it's truly a gift that keeps giving. Just below the window is a Midwestern Bird Guide and just outside the window is an on-going reminder of the tenacity and resilience of nature. It's an entertaining show for just the price of bird seed.

Finally. My friend the amaryllis. She's been bursting out of that lowly bulb and reaching toward the light for about 5 years now! I bring her out of rest in my cool, dark laundry room just after Christmas and she is another green and red reminder that spring will come and from loam leaps life. Again and again. I'm treasuring the light and the green. The ordinary that's finding me and asking me to capture it, to hold on through these last few weeks of winter. To cultivate persistence and gratitude and to find a way to grow.

This is a cool blog I found in the last week. It's been blowing my mind. I added it to my "inspiration" list on the side bar. Take a minute or two to explore and be inspired.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eye Candy

In a sort of nerdy, OCD way... but still awesome.

right here

Friday, November 27, 2009

A time to respond

I don't know about you, but I often feel I can never give back as much as I receive. When I look around at the people who love me, the experiences I've had, the things I have. My heart is full. You may feel the same way.

When I look at the brokenness in the world--poverty and all that flows from it, I also feel like I can never do enough to push back on the tsunami of need.

The answer to both of my problems is the same. Love one person well. Right now. In this moment. That is enough. Those who love me and those whom I will never meet. I can love them both well in this moment. In both cases, responding to their most basic needs with presence and what resources I have does make a difference. I can't fix everything forever but I can do something in this moment. And so can you! Really.

Today, a website is launching. It's called ThereIsEnough.org. It's a giving portal to respond in a meaningful way to the most basic needs in the world. We--you and I--really can make a difference. The resources are there. I just have to open my hands and give what I can today. You can too. It matters. There Is Enough hope, peace, food, water, love.

It's time to respond.

Click here.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thought for the Day

"...I don't think for a minute that a centered life is the solution to all our problems. Rather it is a way to respond to our problems. We don't withdraw from the world to a center. We respond to the world from our center."

-Sue Monk Kidd, God's Joyful Surprise

I've been struggling a bit lately and often find myself going to Kidd's earlier books like this one and Firstlight for perspective and insight.

So I'm sharing it because I suspect I'm not alone and to let you know that I'm in process. The danger of blogs is that they present a very small and stylized snapshot of my life or the life of someone else. Lest you think I think deep thoughts and am stable and happy all the time, let me be clear. :) I do have an amazing support system all around me and know that these struggles are an opportunity to take a deep look at my life and thinking processes and to move in a healthier direction. Course corrections, would be the best way to sum it up.

So, I'm trying to go back to the center. To look around and see how I'm responding to problems and see what that says about my center now and what needs to change.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn joy

Three autumns. I've actually been taking pictures of the kids in this very spot since my oldest was 18 months old and my second oldest was in a car seat. It takes my breath away how quickly they change and grow. To have a consistent background against which to measure their transformation is priceless. Some things change slowly--houses, trees, neighborhoods. Some things change before our eyes. My babies are growing up. I am, too, I guess.

May every season of our lives hold something worth celebrating. May the seasons bring deeper roots, and greater stability against the inevitable storms. May we be truly present in the moment, the hour, the day. To dance in the rain, splash in the pool, dive into the leaves and romp in the snow is to truly live. Let's live today. Really live.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Give Away!

Last week brought an opportunity to visit an apple orchard in our area. I was almost as excited about photographing the experience as I was to take home tons of apples. My neighbor and her little ones and my mom all joined us and it was wonderful. The weather was crisp, we just missed the crowds and the trees were full of beautiful, charming apples. I wonder if they are more beautiful simply being in their natural environment. I took many pictures, but wanted to share something special with you.

This last image of my daughter holding an apple is one of my favorite. I had it made into note cards and I'd like to give a set of 10 blank cards and envelopes with this picture on it to one of you! Please leave a comment between now and Friday at 8pm. I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner and notify you. Good luck and happy autumn!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art and Craft

I'm a recovering perfectionist. Most people that know me well are not surprised by this. As a kid I would only do things that I thought I could do well. If I hit a wall, I'd stop. If I didn't know what would happen I wouldn't even try. Sad.

So fast-forward to a much different season in life. This spring I spent a week in (mostly) silence on a personal retreat. During meals at the retreat center recordings were played on various topics related to solitude, silence and meditation. One day the topic turned to craft and art. The post on quilting brought me back to this idea.

The speaker compared a life of "craft" to a life of "art." The basic idea being that our lives can be a replica of someone else's idea of beauty or a risky and original attempt at our own meaningful expression of a life of beauty. It struck me as thought provoking and I've thought about it off and on ever since.

Here's the thing. Almost nothing in life is "either-or." All or nothing. How can we find our voice unless we follow in the footsteps of other artists? An artist begins as a craftsperson. Not to mention that a craftsperson--someone who consistently creates a similar item is needed and valuable, not second-class. We need both to make our world work. We need to be both. Consistent and brave. Modeling the principals and giving space for new forms of expression.

This is essential as a person. I model my life on the women who have come before me, those who live around me. Yet, I need to be my own voice, my own unique contribution to womanhood. As a wife. As a mother. As a person of faith.

It's just easier to be safe. To pick a safe life in a safe neighborhood. To teach our kids to be safe. It's a starting point, but the next lesson is to learn who we really are and to try to become that person. This is scary. To empower my husband, my children, my friends to live their dreams means distance, risk, maybe failure. The stakes are high. It's understandable to be scared.

People who are afraid do so many stupid things. And that's where faith comes in, I think. Faith, for me, is the balance of craft and art. Rules and risk. Clarity and mystery. It's what moves me forward and calms my fear. It's what gives me strength to listen to a friend or send my husband off on a plane to a canyon in the middle of nowhere. It's what compels me to try to live a life of meaning and purpose. It's what's teaching me that it's paradoxically safe to risk.

Quilting--perfection with all the corners matching and the colors coordinating and the stitches even verses an improvised, off-center gathering of fabric layered and bound. They both keep you warm at the end of the day. Both are needed. Both offer lessons in discipline and beauty.