Dear 91 photos,
I sat down at the kitchen table today with the wind blowing the curtains just right. Gentle enough to soothe, but yet enough of a roar for the wind to not let me forget it was there. The sunshine dappled in, flitting this way and that as it does in the fall. My coffee was near, my camera full to the brim with photos from the past few weeks. To completely set the mood (as if the sun and wind and coffee weren't enough) I put my favorite Spotify station on and clicked my camera on.
It is a sacred act, this turning on of the camera. It is much like opening a book and watching wonderful words tumble out or putting a new cd on, knowing the lyrics and melodies will sink into the nooks and crannies of the best part of your heart and soul. Photographs do that for me. I especially love when I have a full camera, because it means my mind and eyes and soul are working as they should. It means my emotions are checked in, feeling all the feels.. Please notice, 91 photos, that I didn't say it means my emotions are perky, happy, and rosy. They run the full gamut, just as God intended.
Today as I clicked through each photo I did as I always do-I gave myself a split second or two for a response. I don't know how to explain how my heart talks to my head about which photos to keep and pair up with words, but somehow it just does. You, my dear 91 photos, are what stayed. I continued to edit each of you, eyes filling with tears occasionally but more often than not, my smile beaming. I debated stopping right there, simply plunking each photo into its proper blog post and moving on with my day. And then I began to wonder-do they know what gifts these are? Do they know how funny life is? How good God is?
I was driving down the road a month ago, at almost dusk. I was praying aloud because I happened to be in the car alone. This is a rare treat for me and I have a feeling God enjoys the sound of my voice just as much as I enjoy his company. We were chatting, God and I and then suddenly a spider-web on an old, country fence caught my eye. It was glorious, simply stunning. I began to pray this prayer aloud-"Father, I don't know why you've given me these eyes to see, but boy have you ever! Do you think, out of the hundreds of people that drove past here today, anyone else noticed the web? Thank-you for giving me eyes to see, the different, the lovely, the beautiful, the little bits of rosy in the everyday routine. It is a gift. It is such a gift. It is a gift."
That day and this one, I couldn't stop repeating that to such a good God. He has given me such a gift to notice. When I say "gift" I imagine your brain thinks I'm saying I'm talented. Yet that's not what I mean at all. Our family is in a different season than we've ever been in, where growth abounds like never before. It started with our adoption journey, which we thought was the end of our growth. We didn't know it was only the beginning. We've seen too much and know too much and are called to too much concerning the poor in spirit and orphans and just people in general to act like our story is already over. We have maybe just dipped a toe in the water of what God has for us, what He has for us to minister to those around us. We are forever changed, forever undone, forever feeling hope and happiness and heartbreak all at once, usually all within the same day.
I imagine stepping into this calling to care, without the gift of noticing and I just can't do it. It is because of having eyes to see and documenting the God-beauty that is tucked into the very nooks and crannies of life that I am able to walk straight into the depths of darkness and shine a light. I have learned no matter where I go, there God is. I am convinced that nothing can separate me from the love of God.
So this little gift, my friends, is what I carry with me. Not a gift from me to you (although I truly hope my words and photos do speak to you), but instead a gift from God to me.
Over the next week or two, as you stop in and read the blog and see photos on everything from food to art to crafts to the farm, I want you to remember 91 photos, that you are my gift. You aren't simply "pretty photos", but instead represent the deepest marrow of my bones.