12 on 12: family time

My family recently traveled to Northern California for my cousin’s wedding.  It was nice to have a quick, mini vacation with the family.

I packed a few cameras for the trip, but the only camera that made it out of my bag was my Polaroid One Step.  It is so simple to use and I can quickly and easily share the images with the people that are with me.

Because the wedding was in the heart of some of California’s wine country, we decided to do some wine tasting while up there.  It was a beautiful day driving through grape vines and tasting some lovely wines.  We drove home with three cases full of our favorites.

The wedding was beautiful! It was everything you imagine in a wedding- full of romance, full of family, and full of fun.

It was so romantic, it got our little family in a romantic mood.

Sammy’s girlfriend couldn’t come up for the wedding, so she got a sweet kiss from dad.

It was a marvelous time with my family.  I sure do love them.

My friend, Alison, has twelve images from her blog from last month. Click on over to her blog here– you will not be disappointed.

 

fall retreat

This weekend, Alive & Well Women hosted a beautiful day retreat and I was so blessed to be there.  Spending the day with other women creating, resting, asking, and laughing is just what my soul needed. It was what we all needed.

In the morning hours, we had an hour and a half to be alone in the beautiful Monrovia mountains to read, sketch, and write.  Surrounded by the beauty of Mother Earth, taking in all of her offerings of the day, my body settled and felt embraced in Love.  I wrote one of the offerings below and wanted to share it here.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Surrounded, by Staci Kennelly

I am surrounded
by the gentle breeze,
by the smell of sweet sage.
by the sway of the golden grass.

I am surrounded
embraced, but not captive,
held, but not bound,
possessed but not owned.

I am surrounded.
Surrounded.
Surrounded.

Enveloped by the gentle yielding of her lavish bosom,
breathing in the sweetness of her bountiful grace,
allowing my soul to bend and sway in her liberating love.

I am surrounded.

Darkness Cover Me, by Sara Thomsen

Darkness Cover Me
like a blanket of night
Oh, cover me lightly

Shadows gather around me
Deepening darkness,
Whispering softly

Holy Maker of Moonlight
Singing through starlight
Keeper of all life

Hidden Seed deep in the dark soil of the earth
Fertile Ground, Womb of the Night, bring us new birth

Don’t forget to take time for yourself- whether you write, walk, laugh, or simply nap.  If you are in the Southern California area, I highly recommend following Alive and Well Women (click here for link) to receive information about their events.

 

deep breaths

I am taking deep, life-giving breaths today.  With each breath, I am feeling all my feelings from anger to sorrow and with each exhale I am reminding myself that there is strength in hope and power in love.  I will not let any of it be diminished- my anger, my sorrow, my hope, or my love.

Take a few moments for your own soul today. Remind yourself of your strength and power.  Breathe in. Breathe out.

Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, —
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.

 

 

 

Blessed Longing by Goethe

Tell no one else, only the wise
For the crowd will sneer at one
I wish to praise what is fully alive,
What longs to flame toward death.

When the calm enfolds the love-nights
That created you, where you have created
A feeling from the Unknown steals over you
While the tranquil candle burns.

You remain no longer caught
In the penumbral gloom
You are stirred and new, you desire
To soar to higher creativity.

No distance makes you ambivalent.
You come on wings, enchanted
In such hunger for light, you
Become the butterfly burnt to nothing.

So long as you have not lived this:
To die is to become new,
You remain a gloomy guest
On the dark earth.

autumn begins

“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.”
― Joan Chittister

This Saturday is the Autumn Equinox, when the sun will move from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern and our days here in the Northern Hemisphere will begin to be shorter.  While we will not enjoy the length of days that summer brings, there is something about the autumn light that my soul loves.  I long for the break of the heat of summer and crave of the gentle warmth of the autumn sun and her cool, slow nights.  As the days become shorter and shorter, I am reminded how much work can be done in the dark. Autumn reminds us to let go and to rest.

With each leaf that falls, Mother Earth reminds us that we must let go of what is no longer giving us life. With each day that holds more darkness than light, Mother Earth reminds us of the deep places in us germinate better in the stillness of the dark.

Let go.
Be still.
Rest.

What are some things you need to let go of? How can you bring more moments of stillness and quiet into your life? Can you commit to a more scheduled time for deep rest and sitting in the dark places of your heart?

I am leaving you with a beautiful prayer from Edward Hays.  As we Autumn begins, may you hope for the hidden promise that will be ripening within you this season.

Dance with delight, O flame of autumn fire,
as the Earth, spinning and leaning away from the sun,
begins to cool from the summer heat.
Speak to me of the promise hidden in this season of autumn.
For spring is seeded in this season of completion,
just as the giant oak exists within the acorn.

Autumn fire, orange and yellow sacrament of the sun,
light up the darkness with your dancing.
Your power is seeded in the ripeness
of the fruit and grain of this harvest season.

Great is God, whose heart is the shrine
wherein lives this whole universe;
great is your heart, my Beloved,
greater still is your unceasing love for me.

May my love for you enflame my every word of thanksgiving
to reflect the golden beauty of autumn
that the Earth dons once again.
Amen.

Edward Hays, from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

 

My dear friend Melissa is also writing some thoughts about beginning on her blog. Please click here to read more. 

the Rolleicord V

I am enjoying getting to know my new Rolleicord V. I love how light it is and that it comes equipped with its own little case.  I have noticed that is exceptional at capturing light and will be metering more on the underexposed side. I took it out to the Huntington Library and Gardens and shot a roll of Kodak Portra 400 and Ilford XP2 400.

Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

Rachel Carson

Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.

Gretel Ehrlich

I have a friend that is an amazing photographer and is also posting 12 images today. Really, go check out Alison’s blog.  You can thank me later.

a new beginning

There is something about the turn of the calendar, the newness of the first of the month.  What are you about to begin? What is about to be birthed within you?

I am thankful for John O’Donohue’s poem, A New Beginning.  It is a true blessing and guidepost.  May it strengthen and encourage you as we begin, either for the first time or the hundredth.

Rolleicord V | Agfachrome RSX II 50, expired

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time is has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.

Rolleicord V | Agfachrome RSX II 50, expired

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with the energy and dream
A path of plentitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Rolleicord V | Agfachrome RSX II 50, expired

 

 

first roll

My sweet husband gave me a Rolleicord V for my birthday.  I took my youngest daughter out to shoot a test roll.  In honor of her coming out this year, I pairing the images with some of my favorite LGBTQ poets.

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
– Oscar Wilde

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

The Journey
Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

“Please remember, especially in these times of group-think and the right-on chorus, that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.”  ~Alice Walker

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

To all those still living with the secret of who you really are, I pray you will find a safe place where you can be fully you.  We need all of your true, queer, and beautiful self.