Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rest

When my friend Rebecca Pierce, of Rebecca Pierce Creative and She's Building Her House, announced her 2017 Rest & Retreat, I knew it was exactly what I needed.  Some seasons of life cry out for more rest than others, and this season has done that for me.  Then when Rebecca told me I could bring my camera along, I was even more excited about the time.  I love nature.  I love all the pieces that go along with it, and I love how I feel so much more connected to God when I am in it and all other things are quiet.  Taking photos during that time can be so encouraging to me.

So, with my phone disconnected from the internet for a couple of days, and my heart more connected to God, I went on a nature walk during our solitude time.  We were staying in a home in the woods, so I decided to walk around the property.  Early that morning, I had already shot the lake behind the house, and a little exploring seemed like a good fit.


While beautiful, I knew it wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I decided to go on a drive in search of a nature trail that was in the area.  After spending 45 minutes lost and finally giving up, I found the main road and decided to head back to the house.  On my turn around, I saw a beautiful waterfall at the bottom of the hill, along with a pull off that seemed designed for viewing it, so I parked.  But once out, there was no clear spot to see the waterfall.  I decided that even though I felt God tell me to avoid the way I was trying to go, I knew better (God and my parents must both get such a chuckle out of me) and went anyway.  Below is the hill I took to try and get me a closer and better spot to the waterfall.  For scale, those trees at the bottom are probably 8-10 foot tall.

At the bottom, as you might suspect, there was nothing.  My way ended up with no real scenery and a lot of ugly surrounding me (much like life sometimes).  I was in the thick of entangled vines and trees without growth that I couldn't see past.  I know God must shake His head at me like I do at my own children sometimes.  I decided to leave and returned to my car.  As I pulled out of the lot, I drove about 20 feet and saw the sign for the trail I searched for for an hour, hiding off in the trees.  Right there under my nose the whole time, but because I was so set on my own way, I almost missed it.  So much of this journey mirrored my life that I had to smile at how God was speaking to me.

Of course that trail led to the stream that fed the waterfall.  Not just led to it, but allowed me to get in it.  And while I never had a clear shot of the waterfall, I could hear the rushing water feet away.  I sat beside it and talked with God.  I let go of the things that were stopping me from resting - right beside that waterfall.  I let go of the idea that I would be able to have what I wanted - both in my life right now and with getting that shot I was working so hard at - and moved along the trail.  I kept looking back, hopeful that I would be able to see a clear shot, but I never did, which was no surprise.

I walked that trail with my heart more open.  As I walked, I began to hear the slow stream of water.  In the midst of my own desires, I realized that I had missed what I knew God was trying to do - quite literally lead me beside still waters.  It was a beautiful gift to be reminded that God is always with us, even in the thick of things.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  ~ Psalm 23: 1-4

Indeed, He restored my soul during that morning.  I pray that we can remember as we go about life and end up in the thick of things, God is always with us and comforts us in our darkest valleys.

Until next time,



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 5-on-5: April Showers

It's hard to believe that April is here already; I feel like March just sort of quietly sneaked out on me while I wasn't looking.  But, the calendar doesn't lie, so April it is.  And while I am personally struggling and sad with the fact that time is moving along so quickly, as a documentary photographer, I try to do all I can to bottle it.

The teacher in me still pops out every once in a while, and seasons and holidays are still very much a "thing" in my adult life, along with those little sing-songy phrases you know from your childhood.  And  I love to embrace the signs of those things in our lives.  Enter, Spring Showers and a toddler with an umbrella, new rain coat, and some good solid rain.  Bonus, Daddy even jumped in on this one.  Hopefully it brings back some sweet memories of your childhood or your own children playing in the rain.






Before you run off to grab your umbrella and kids to go play in the rain, you gotta quickly swing through the circle. The beautiful work of Jen Krafchik, Chestertown Maryland Storytelling Family Photographer, is up next with her April story.  (Side note: when I timed how long it took me to get through our circle before, it was a big 7 minutes. I know you need a few minutes away with beautiful pictures, so go on then! And we photographers love to know our stories and images touched your hearts, so stop being so shy and leave us some sweet thoughts.)

Until next time,