Life 103

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

gertrude's rose

Today, I made myself leave home to find a quiet place to listen. Fortunately I have friends in high places that let me keep a key to our church and the back row of the balcony suits me perfectly for times like this. My friend Gregg (who I saw this morning and am sorry to report that he couldn’t keep that makeover up on his own so has let himself slip back into ordinary) recently asked me what I’ve been hearing from God. As usual, he is full of very good questions.

I told him that God has been elusive. Quiet but not in a bad way. My fault, not His. Last week I was thinking about writing a book titled, Listening: When all you can hear is an inner cacophony of gibberish, heckling and childish chatter.

So this evening, I sat with Gregg’s question in our empty sanctuary where you can actually physically feel the quiet when you still your mind and body enough. I asked God if he would repeat some of the things he’s been telling me lately because I might not have been paying close enough attention the first time. He mentioned a couple things then I thought about my last post where I said I had been connecting with creation and something deeper than words through photography.

This week I worked out a deal with the hospital gift store manager to sell some of my photo cards (blank cards inside with a picture pasted on the front – like you see in coffee shops everywhere for a couple dollars). The deal is this…she will buy them from me, I get reimbursed for my costs, and the profit is donated to the Family Friends program. The hospital doesn’t get anything. I don’t expect to raise our whole general operating budget this way but it’s very cool to be supported by my employer like this and finally get to do something good with my pictures other than look at them myself. My dad even made me the perfect wooden box to display them in. How much do you think we should charge?


Last night I printed out a proof sheet of the digital pictures I plan to use for this new venture. Gertrude's rose (above) is one, a few more are on Flikr if you’re interested. Putting two and two together, I started to think really hard about what many of my recent pictures say and what they hold in common. Long story short, what I see when I look at them all together is joy, light, contrast, openness, purpose, beauty, vitality, life, power, frailty, mystery, awe, ease, and depth. But most of all, joy. Then while I was busy being impressed with how good God is and thinking how incredibly visible he is in my pictures, he said, ‘Kathy that’s you too. You are those things too.’

How cool is that? Now, in the moments when my melancholy traits and migraine headaches collide like they did this week, I will remember something else God mentioned this week, 'Don't dwell on the pain and forget to live.' I have the sense that those traits of joy, light, contrast, openness, etc, have been above, below and around me all along. How nice to know that they are accessible when I am at my weakest and most pathetic.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Lately I've been having fun with our new camera and macro lens. Photography for me is a way to notice and appreciate creation and connect with something deeper than words. I've been short on words this summer so instead of writing, I've been wandering around in the yard and pasture with camera in hand.

Yesterday I saw a flock of western bluebirds move through the back yard. On their way to somewhere else, they dropped in to hunt bugs in the grass for just a few minutes, talking to each other the whole time. Last week I went for a walk in the trees and startled a barn owl on the edge of a meadow. I couldn’t find her nest but I know I came close because I found brown and white feathers all over the ground under the trees right in the middle of our property.

I’ve been noticing feathers everywhere lately, in the garden, on the sidewalk, in the flowerbeds, in the grocery store parking lot, on a friend’s sidewalk. They remind me of God’s promise to us three years ago when we hit a bump in life’s road. That summer I found a little red and white feather in the grass and felt these words of reassurance from God himself: “I will take care of you.” And he did. Still does.

Today after church our family is going for a day hike in the Columbia Gorge. Last night was the first time in over a week that we were all together.

Summer is like that.