Monthly Archives: February 2009

tonight: anticipation

sometimes stillness breeds expectancy silently
and the noise all around stops
because glory is happening
heaven’s reaching into hearts right now
the quiet of that tenderness
awesome and full pierces
and transforms
towards wholeness

this is wonder.
this is beauty.

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today: ashes

Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.
Genesis 3:19

The minister at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington where I attended Ash Wednesday services today said that our lives are windows to or paintings of the Kingdom of God. That resonated. I rarely attend services with traditional liturgical trappings, but whenever I do, I love the connectedness with the church throughout history. Today, the emphasis on fasting and repentance to begin preparing our hearts for Good Friday and ultimately Easter made me contemplative. I suppose that’s how it’s supposed to work.

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As he crossed each forehead with ash, the minister quoted Genesis 3:19, and as I knelt at the altar, I thought about what it means to be human. I returned to my seat and thought about what it means to be fallen. And the significance of the words the minister had said started to play about my heart.

Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.

We are but dust, yes.
Dust, with life breathed into us.
By the living God.
And so we are but dust, yes.
But something more.
We created are the ones
He called good.

I thought about Jesus a lot today. Here is God who was willing to become dust, and when he returned to dust, he overcame death. The extent of the love of God is vast, unfathomable and perfect. His great love saved humanity before any of us were more than Creator’s dream. That is the story of redemption.

Contemplating this Lent season has made me want to do the disciplines of self-examination and prayer and fasting well. Because I want to see and understand and grow as a follower of Jesus.

I knelt again during communion as the minister explained the sacrament, thankful. The cross on my forehead washed off after my run, the external symbol gone. And so the season of Lent has begun, and we are invited to cut back for a little while in preparation for the feast. We are invited to recognize we are returning to dust… but with great hope breathed into us by the giver of life. And so we lift our lives as prayers, as thank yous.

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tonight: running along well enough

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pull on some shoes and just enough clothes
today the sun shines bright and cancels wind’s blow
today shoulders bare and a pair of shorts will do
today fall in and out of step, one-two, one-two

put out distracting thoughts as brain clears
today in this moment all you are is here
today round the corner and today see the grass
today newborn green testifies old winter cannot last

breathe now deeply, pull from lungs’ reserve
today creation calls out: beauty can be learned
today everything is better now as you are done
today, again, thankful, for this afternoon run

My runs are healing, filling, worshipful and wonderful. I crave running like air and food. Running is like another bestie. Some days it tells me the truth about the world better than anyone else. Maybe that’s because on a good run, my head clears and my heart pounds. It is the best kind of fully alive I know. Some nights (tonight) I go to bed already anticipating the next day’s run, a hunger birthed not out of a gnawing stomach but out of aching desire. Again, that anticipation? The best kind of fully alive I know.

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today: on becomming a photographer

“Some photographers take reality…and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.”
-Ansel Adams

Photojournalism 1, a mandatory course for University of Texas at Arlington journalism students, put a camera in my hands and required a bit of education about the tool in order to graduate. So I learned my way around a camera, kinda. I am still learning.

A few months after that class, I went to Ireland, an e-bay camera in hand… and I took photos.

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A few months after I went to Ireland, I went to Africa, aforementioned camera in hand… and I took more photos. I loved those photos. I love them still.

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When I got back from Ireland, I snapped some photos of a friend’s baby. A friend of that friend viewed those photos. She called me. Would I photograph her three-month-old son? Amber was already doing photography and knew her way around her camera far better than me. She encouraged me to go for it. She would help me edit.

Nervous, I said yes. And then I got to meet Max…

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I saw Max, my first little photo subject, the other day. I photographed him and his new baby sister, who is now the same age as Max was when I met him. I blogged some of their photos on the Fly blog.

Before that first session, Max’s mom, Lauren, knew I was a newbie photographer. She hired me, because she believed something about me that I didn’t believe myself at that time. She believed I could capture something of who her little guy was as I pointed my camera. In so doing, she gave me a gift.

My life is full of crazy turns and seemingly random events that have led me to the page I am on. Becoming a photographer has been one of the sweetest, most amazing pieces of my story. I love that I get to work with one of my best friends. I love that that work is seeing people as they are and often at their best: loving each other.

God knew this piece of my destiny was in me when he brought me back to Texas. He knew when I met Amber so many years ago. He knew when I continued a journalism degree that I wasn’t sure fit. He knew when I went to Ireland and Africa, camera in hand, with determination to bring a few visual memories home. He knew when Lauren called me after seeing some of my photos.

My sister Debo helps out with Max and his sister on Thursdays, and she took this photo of Max and I at the end of the session. I am going to hang it on my wall to remember that God’s dreams for us are bigger and better than we can hope or imagine.

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Max reminds me, in the form of one tangible, vibrant little boy, of God’s kindness. Seeing him every few months creates in me a hunger to see others and tell their story, with photographs and words… as a way of saying thank you to God by showing off some of the beauty in the people he’s created.

today: slumdog

“I am Wolverine.”
-Hugh Jackman

Sometimes Hollywood gets it right, and the movies take you somewhere and show you something about life and entertain you…

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Slumdog Millionaire grabbed me the first time I watched it. It immediately went on my top 5 list. The second time I watched it, I took my camera and snapped these shots. I don’t know about the legalities of doing so… but I do love these photos.

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Here are my other top 5… they don’t really come in any particular order, although Momento is my all time fave. Besides that and Slumdog Millionaire there is

Field of Dreams
and
Amelie
and
Once

They all move me.

I was so thrilled for everyone involved in Slumdog Millionaire tonight. I was also happy that the best picture category had more redemptive films than last year.

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I kinda felt like it was written. If you haven’t seen the movie, this is written: go see it. Ignore the hype and watch it and form your own opinion.

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I don’t think you’ll regret it.

photo challenge week 3: baby

“If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.”
-Vincent Van Gogh

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Joni is in California this week photographing a brand newbie… so we selected babies with an emphasis on interesting composition for our photo challenge this week. I loved this one… b/c I love those tiny hands and feet.

today: just one…

…photo that I love…

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It’s a sweet, good gig,
this life, most days.
And me, I’m thankful
and amazed.

That’s all.