my tree on slide film

I love the Japanese Maple tree.  I have done post after post about this beautiful tree. This season I shot a roll of slide film of just my tree in bloom.  The slide film, Fuji Velvia 100, did exactly what I hoped it would: it brought out all the beautiful pinks and purples. Here are 12 of my favorites from the roll.

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

For Longing,  by John O’Donohue

blessed be the longing that brought you here
and quickens your soul with wonder.

may you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

may you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

may the forms of your belonging – in love, creativity, and friendship –
be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

may the one you long for long for you.
may your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

may a secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

may your mind inhabit your life with the sureness
with which your body inhabits the world.

may your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.

may you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
may you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Prayer is not a request for God’s favors. True, it has been used to obtain the satisfaction of personal desires. It has even been adopted to reinforce prejudices, justify violence, and create barriers between people and between countries. But genuine prayer is based on recognizing the Origin of all that exists, and opening ourselves to it. In prayer we acknowledge God as the supreme source from which flows all strength, all goodness, all existence, acknowledging that we have our being, life itself from this supreme Power. Once can then communicate with this Source, worship it, and ultimately place one’s very center in it.

~Piero Ferrucci

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

Canon 1N | 35mm | Fuji Velvia 100

 

My talented friend, Alison, also has 12 images she is sharing with us today.  Please visit her blog for a treat.. and maybe some baby toes!

a fearful thing

My loving, kind, hilarious, and talented brother took his own life this week.  Why and fuck are two words I continue to say at least once an hour.  The tears flow as I think of his beloved wife and the days, weeks, and years ahead of her. My heart breaks as I think of my other two brothers that are grieving their best friend and faithful companion.  And I fall into a puddle of grief as I imagine the heartbreak of all our parents.

Why?

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Why?

When I was little, we would go to the beach and play in the waves.  Sometimes a wave larger than we were expecting would crash over our heads and take us under the water.  Sometimes we would swallow large amounts of salt water.  Others, the wave would tumble us into the sand and we would be dragged along the ground.  Others, the waves would be so strong, we would be tossed like a shirt in the washer and not know which way was up.  Most of the time, the wave would give us all three in one swoop.

This is how I experience grief.  I will be doing a simple chore, and suddenly, like a wave, I am taken under by sadness.  A memory of a happier time or the idea of my brother being this sad and hopeless will pop into my head.  Sometimes I simply weep, others I fall to the ground into a puddle of sadness.  Occasionally, the grief feels so deep and overwhelming, it reminds of tumbling in the waves, being hit by the sand, not knowing which way is up.

And just as suddenly as it all came on, I am back to swimming through life, knowing that the next wave will be coming- not knowing how strong it will come on nor how hard it will tumble me about.

As I swim and wade through these waves of grief, I catch my breath and try and soothe my tired and wounded soul.  I try and find moments of hope, quiet, and gentleness.  One way I find that is through poetry. It helps to hear the words of the broken hearts that have gone before me.

‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.
A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –
to be,
And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
And a holy thing,
a holy thing
to love.
For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.
To remember this brings painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

Tis a Fearful Thing
~Yehuda HaLevi

 

Your body is away from me
But there is a window open
from my heart to yours.
From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.
~ Rumi

To live in this world
you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods.”

Go out to the world and love each other today.  Be kind.  Be gentle. Be love. Be you.

yellow

This month, the ladies and I decided to look for yellow.  I was sure I would find some yellow in my own yard.

Sometimes it was obvious.

Sometimes I had to really look close.

Sometimes it was under my feet.

Others it was hiding behind some green.

But my favorite was when I found it against some purple.

Go searching for some bright and happy yellow today! You may be surprised where you find it.

Click on to Vanessa’s blog to see where she found yellow.

 

singing bowl

I can’t seem to get enough of Malcolm Guite these days.   I discovered him because of a sermon I heard him preach. I then listened to many of his teachings and sermons, still not realizing what a gifted poet he was.  While listening to a podcast of him being interviewed, I finally caught on to what I had been missing!

There are two poems I have reading again and again.   I am sharing them here for a couple of reasons. First,  I want to remember when and how I fell in love with this wordsmith.  Second, I wonder if there are others that would enjoy discovering this talented man.

Singing Bowl

by Malcolm Guite

Begin the song exactly where you are,
Remain within the world of which you’re made.
Call nothing common in the earth or air,

Accept it all and let it be for good.
Start with the very breath you breathe in now,
This moment’s pulse, this rhythm in your blood

And listen to it, ringing soft and low.
Stay with the music, words will come in time.
Slow down your breathing. Keep it deep and slow.

Become an open singing-bowl, whose chime
Is richness rising out of emptiness,
And timelessness resounding into time.

And when the heart is full of quietness
Begin the song exactly where you are.

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

by Malcolm Guite

Bystanders and bypassers turn away
And wipe his image from their memory
She keeps her station. She is here to stay
And stem the flow. She is the reliquary
Of his last look on her. The bloody sweat
And salt tears of his love are soaking through
The folds of her devotion and the wet
folds of her handkerchief, like the dew
Of morning, like a softening rain of grace.
Because she wiped the grime from off his skin,
And glimpsed the godhead in his human face
Whose hidden image we all bear within,
Through all our veils and shrouds of daily pain
The face of god is shining once again.

I just purchased his book, Waiting on the Word, for this Advent season. If you are also reading this book or would like to join me in reading this book this Advent, please let me know.  I would love to have companions on this journey.

deep breaths

On some days this world seems harsh and unloving.  We have forgotten to listen to others, ourselves, and the Love that holds us all together.  I have been sitting quietly with myself and reading some of the mystic mothers that wrote about our God… and writing prayers of my own.  May you sit with these words with deep long breaths… giving your precious soul a break from the harshness of this world.

I Am That
Julian of Norwich
I am that.
I am that which is highest.
I am that which is lowest.
I am that which is All.

Consumed In Grace
St Catherine of Siena

I first saw God when I was a child, six years of age.
the cheeks of the sun were pale before Him,
and the earth acted as a shy
girl, like me.

Divine light entered my heart from His love
that did never fully wane,

though indeed, dear, I can understand how a person’s
faith can at time flicker,

for what is the mind to do
with something that becomes the mind’s ruin:
a God that consumes us
in His grace.

I have seen what you want;
it is there,

a Beloved of infinite
tenderness.

Gentle Mother
Staci Kennelly

O powerful, voluptuous, and gentle Mother
who has filled the world with beauty
Open my eyes to behold your gracious hand in all thy works:
the warmth of the morning sun
the cool in the long shadows of evening
the predictability of the changing moon

Hear me as I rejoice in your whole creation including my own heart
Help me as I remember your intimate warmth and constant compassion
Hold me as I rest in the sureness of your devotion and love

5 on 5: July

I have been in a major photography funk.  I missed last month’s 5 on 5 and am barely making it this month.  The only reason I have picked up my camera is a weekly blog I do with my friend, Meg.

To be honest, I have been so deep into the funk, I haven’t even paused to ask why.

Then, I opened one of my birthday presents last night; it was a new scanner.  And I remembered.  I still haven’t scanned all the rolls from our trip to Iceland in February because our scanner has been broken.  Not being able to scan film made me not pick up my film cameras and not picking up my film cameras has put me in a major funk.  It is a whole “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” situation.

I am so thankful I have a friend in my husband that sees me sometimes better and more clearly than I see myself.

This weekend I will be scanning film. I am so excited to re-live my Iceland trip and be reminded why I love photography so much.

For now, my images from An Ordinary Grace will have to do.  They have, after all, reminded me each week that I see with a camera and must take at least one photo a week.

Head on over to Vanessa’s blog to see what she has been up to this last month.

quiet beginnings

This morning I went out to check on my tree.  She is beginning to bloom and in the soft pink light of the morning, she is beautiful.  As I was outside capturing her first blooms, I reveled in the quiet and the stillness of the morning.  I took deep, healing breaths.  I inhaled the new and freshness of the day and exhaled the worries I was trying to bring to it.

And with each breath, I felt God there with me reminding me of his care, his love, and his delight in my delight.

startingtobloom

There is nothing magical about solitude
that makes God suddenly appear.
God is everywhere all the time.
It’s just that most of the time we are so busy
with everything else that we don’t notice.
But by practicing the discipline of solitude,
we are creating a space in our lives where God can be with us.
~John Michael Talbot

startingtobloom-3

With all the misunderstandings, yelling, fear, and outright hate that is circulating our country right now, we are all in need of some quiet and stillness.  I wonder what would it look like if we were grounding ourselves in love.  Each day, I am discouraged and feel an anger at injustice rise up in me.   I must remind myself to find a place of quiet and inhale hope and compassion and exhale contempt and fear. And while I don’t want to live in a cloud of denial, I do not want to allow hate and fear penetrate my heart so that my heart is full of hate and fear.  I want the fight for justice and righteousness to be backed by a great and sound love.  While I am surrounded by cowardliness and ignorance,  I want my heart to remain strong and kind.

startingtobloom-5

This is not something I can do on my own.  I must have the help of the Great Mystery to protect my heart from hate and fill it with an unending love.  I go to back to him again and again and ask for help.  Help to keep my heart resilient, soft, and gentle while facing wickedness and iniquity.  Help to keep fighting for those that are meek and poor in spirit while also being a peacemaker.  Help to speak out against injustice while also being merciful.

startingtobloom-2

I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything that separates
me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that stands in the way of
my seeing you, hearing, tasting, savoring and touching you;
reverencing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence
and, as far as possible, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself and earnestly desire from you. Amen

St. Peter Faber

I have been praying this prayer from St. Peter Faber.  It has helped me start each day with some stillness and grounding.  And from these secure foundations, I continue to fight on the side of love, for love, and with love.