A Blank Page

My boss, Vince, saw it first.

“Hey! There goes a piece of paper blowing around! Wonder if it belongs to somebody?”

I turned to look, the white catching my eye, a full 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper that came to rest on the pavement outside the office.

“I’ll go grab it!”

My curiosity was piqued. Was it anything important?

I got to it before another autumn sweep of wind picked it up again. It was blank. Not one word written upon it.

I reached down and carefully picked it up, nodded, smiled, and brought it into the office, where I placed it on my desk. Took a quick photo with my phone.

Turns out that blank sheet of paper belongs to me. A gift with amazing possibilities-  to boldly take me to places no woman has gone before…

The countdown begins…3…2…1

I hope you find your own blank sheet of paper today.

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Lyrics from the song “Unwritten”

“I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten”

The Field

The parable, in its original telling, goes like this:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”  – Matthew 13:44

Here is my version of that parable:

I saw the field.
I thought, at first, it was only a dream…

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There I ran through the long grass and wildflowers with abandon.
There I laid my head down in confident safety.
There I believed I could do anything.

One day I woke up and knew the field was real, and the price to buy it would be great, all that I had.

I took the risk.

I bought the field, with great joy.

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Enter

I ran my fingers, fanned out, down the length of the fence, past the open gate, getting up close. I stopped. I took my index finger and placed it at the pinnacle of the sharp point. I held it there, as I slowed my breathing. It didn’t hurt. I was okay. 

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I continued walking, head held high, anticipating something I knew awaited me just around the corner. I’d been here before, many times, but I was afraid to enter. Not anymore. I began to skip, quickly, ready to see, ready to lay hold of the treasure.

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I could see him just on the other side, through the shiny black bars, and I gasped with delight. He’d been waiting for me, patiently. To come, To enter, To simply be myself. This was my moment. And it was also his. Just a kiss, only a kiss, was necessary to bring him back to life.

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 I didn’t hesitate. My fingers touched lightly the ornately carved handle. I applied pressure, down and then back, pushing the gate wide open. His hand was on his heart, and so was mine, but soon, our hands, like our hearts already, would be locked, together, forever.

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Longing, when it is allowed, can become something more.

Faith

Why is it that tragedy can lead some people closer to believing in God, deepening their faith, while it may cause others to completely forsake any belief in a higher power?

Personally, I have found tragedy, struggle, and failure always draw me deeper, exposing a raw need I have within to find solace and safety through a being I believe much larger than myself, yet also abiding within me.

Have I prayed prayers that have gone unanswered, at least the way I prayed them?

Yes. So many times.

“I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I’ve been closer to him for that reason.” — Elie Wiesel

Have I been angry with God? Absolutely. And unlike many who feel out of respect they must mask that anger or frustration, I don’t. It all comes out, and it isn’t nice the way I say it, and just in the venting there is a sense of acceptance, an understanding of love towards me and for me that helps me move ahead.

These photos speak to that place of finding my redirection through faith, a girl’s faith that believes in the power of prayer and community and most importantly, love and acceptance, of myself and others.

Walls and doors and windows can keep you from entering.

Or they can also protect you within.

That’s how I see faith, my shelter during the storm as well as my shade when the sun is high.

How do you see God (or not) in the light of your life experience? Please feel free to share your thoughts. All views and ideas are welcome here.

 

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Baptism

On my post for June 16th, 2014,  I introduced a red balloon, my inspiration for a series of photos I will be sharing over the next couple weeks. I hope you will follow along as it leads me to share words and stories each day, with what I consider some of my best photography to date. Thank you, as always, for being here… with love.

Baptism

Just two little girls, in the backyard, playing with a steel tub and some water from the garden hose.

“I’ll fill it up.”

“No, let me get in first. Then let the water run over me.”

“Are you sure?”

I knew my sister pretty well. We were only a year apart in age and I was the older one. She didn’t like getting water in her face, not even in the bathtub.

Next thing I knew, she was already squeezing her nine year old body into the tub.

I went and turned the hose on. It was a really hot day in New Hampshire, sticky and uncomfortable. I touched the water as it poured out onto my hand. Warm at first, but then cold, just like the ocean waters I was already learning to dive quickly into when we visited the beach.

My sister usually entered the cold ocean water slowly, shivering as she went.

“Come on, what are you waiting for? I’m hot!”

I knew she would probably scream, but she was asking me for it, after all. This sounded like way too much fun.

I brought the hose with the water  towards her, laughing to myself, giving her one last warning.

“Are you sure? The water is cold.”

“Stop asking me!”

And just like that I put the hose about a foot above her head.

She surprised me. She didn’t scream. She did catch her breath for a moment and push the flowing water and her hair out of her face. I pulled the hose back.

“No, keep doing it. It feels so good!”

A few minutes later it was my turn. It was an even tighter squeeze for me, but I managed, my kness pushed tight up against my chest.

I closed my eyes. I heard the water running out of the hose as my sister got ready to baptize me. I tilted my head back just as she placed it over my head.

The tingling started on my face and went down my back.

I smiled as I felt the splashing on my forehead.

“My turn again!”

We kept taking turns, baptizing each other, over and over, until it was time for dinner.

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Mended

My angel fell – again.

Just as I pulled my journal out
the one that says
dream  believe  discover

the other writing books, mine
the daisy journal, advent reflections,
little girl lost, a horse story
slanted, off balance

they hit her and as she
fell the top of her
remaining wing
broke off flying across
the room, my room

It didn’t seem fair.

I cried.

Several days later
I made a decision.
I moved her. To my jewelry box.
I searched for
and found
the broken tip

both wings now
broken
yet still
she holds the
book
her writing, her story
firmly in her
hands.

Nothing has been lost. Only found.

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“Would you pick me up some glue?”

I put her back
together.

It was hard
the broken pieces
were so heavy
and though the
glue was super
I had to
lay her down,
put her to
sleep.

She awoke,
mended
her visible
scars, a sign
of what
she learned
about failure
and the hope
it
brings.

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Colorful Candy + Snow

This past week a community I belong to on Google+ called Women in Photography had as its weekly photo theme “colorful.”

So I had this grand idea. To take a bunch of colorful paints and go out and paint the snow, then take a colorful photo to submit. Brilliant, right?

So out I went with this colorful array of paint on this colorful paper plate, brush in hand, ready to create a snow masterpiece.

DSC_8923Except there was one major problem. The snow did not have a crust on it, but was, instead, soft and powdery. As I put the brush filled with paint onto the snow it simply absorbed it.

I came into the house laughing. My daughter, Lisa-Noel, looked at me, wondering what is that crazy Mom of mine up to now?

In between my giggling I told her,

“Well, my attempt at painting on the snow was an epic fail!”

All she could do was laugh with me.

But I was not ready to admit defeat, going into the kitchen, looking around, hoping to find some colorful inspiration to transport outside for my photo.

That’s when these candies caught my eye. And the rest, is now photographic history! Mine, at least.

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Just after I shot these photos, Lily, my golden retriever, who kept coming close to sniff the candies, darted to meet someone pulling into the driveway, knocking all the candies into the snow. I took another photo. I liked it- thank you Lily!

DSC_8932My daughter and I both agreed when I showed her the photos- the glistening snow as a backdrop gave a magical quality to these pictures.

I do believe in magic… winter snow magic… don’t you?