Light and Dark; Where Hope Shines

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I took this photograph with my iPhone 4s, no filters.

Cape San Blas in the Florida panhandle is one of my favorite places for a long weekend escape. I’m not a fan of the water for swimming, too much mineral stuff makes the water brownish, and frankly, catfish, sharks, and all manner of rays makes it unpleasant for floating in a cheap plastic raft (though ideal for surf fishing).

It is, however, a heavenly place for reflection. For photographing. For amazing sunsets. For long walks, and short walks, and sitting in the surf.

It is a perfect place for prayer.

And a perfect place to count the stars and sift the sand through my fingers and ponder my role in God’s perfect plan.

When I took this picture, I was intentionally noticing the juxtaposition of darkness and light — the shadows that are both a place to hide, unseen, and a refuge, when the heat and the spotlight are too much with us.

There’s a tiny silhouette of an egret in the bottom third of the picture. He’s barely seen in the wide expanse of the sea and sky, but there he is, all alone.

I’ve felt like that sometimes in my life, overwhelmed by the world — the universe — around me, and I’ve felt tiny and insignificant, unnoticed in the infinite sky.

I like this picture because it tells a different story. The egret may be alone, it may be almost lost within the shadows, but it’s there, and so is the sun, peeking out behind the dark clouds. I witness a scene like this and I know that God is present in every place, in every moment.

check out the Catholic Photo Challenge at Steve Nelson’s blog, everythingesteban.

just a regular Friday

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Had breakfast with a friend. Stretched the creative muscles. Bought honey for my honey. Prayed with the monks. Put my pen to paper. Received lovely virtual flowers. Watched an artist at work. Sat in the sun. Chatted with a bluebird. Walked. Sent a postcard. Prayed a rosary.

Breathed.

Deeply.

today’s horror story

kingMy life is ruined.

Ok, too much drama and hyperbole there. My afternoon of gardening is ruined.

Ok, maybe not ruined. But side-tracked. I was walking along the retaining wall  showing Hector, our heavy-lifting-guy some things, and I’m poking around in the weeds trying to find the little lost hydrangea when suddenly he grabs me in a dramatic I’m-about-to-save-your-life-lady-so-don’t-get-hysterical-and-think-I’m-groping-you way.

My hand was a mere inch away from this three and a half foot snake.

That sneaky snake-in-the-grass. I wanted to hack it to death, after I stopped screaming.

Hector calmed me down and pointed out it’s a good snake to have around the house (impossible) and then, fairly sure I wasn’t going to faint, proceeded to chase the snake for more pictures so he could send them to his wife and make her scream.

Because we all know men have a 12-year-old version of themselves ready to play if the opportunity presents itself.

 

Catholic Photo Challenge: Seeing God in the Works of Creation

Please check out this new project by my friend Steve over at everythingesteban blog.

Show us a photo that represents to you God’s presence in the natural world.

 

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Click to make bigger

My husband and I have settled into middle age and the empty nest by picking up a new hobby: gardening. I recently posted on Facebook that it’s a wonder I managed to raise three kids when I killed every houseplant I ever came into contact with, so this gardening thing is, well, comical.

And yet, we have great success. We’ve managed to grow fruits and vegetables in spite of ourselves, and we’re delighting in the beauty of flowers whose names I’ve only just recently learned.

The garden attracks butterflies and birds, and little creatures who help themselves too much to my berries.

We enjoy sitting in the backyard in the early evening waiting for the sun to go down, lulled into a quiet repose. Our silence is broken only by the occasional suggestion to look at a bird feeding, and we quickly return to our quiet state.

I should point out that we’re the ones who are quiet; the backyard is full of life and all the noises and sounds that come with that — but it’s through our interior silence that we’re able to take in all the activity around us. The different kinds of birdcalls, for instance. One of these days I hope to differentiate between the cardinals and the bluejays. I can identify my enemy, the mockingbird, and I’ve even seen some bluebirds venturing into the trees, too.

My husband has worked hard at making this little getaway for us and filling it with a variety of things to both entertain us and beautify the area, but it is the Master Gardener who ultimately put the finishing touches on this, His masterpiece. His loving touch embraced me suddenly and unexpectedly — aren’t His gifts always an amazing surprise?

Last evening, in the dwindling light, a soft breeze came up, carrying with it the scent of honesuckles. It filled the patio with the sweet scent, and it carried me back a million years (or maybe forty) to my childhood. Funny how something like a scent or a sound can do that.

I followed my nose to the source, a wild and messy blanket of honeysuckles covering a little corner of the yard that I’ve remarked is unsightly and in need of attention. God, it would seem, had me covered.

He always does.