Last summer he brought home a box of spoons left over from an event at church. I wondered what he was doing. They were just cheap spoons, nothing special. A few days later, I found him drilling holes into the tops of them in the front yard. He was drilling holes and tying them up with fishing line on hangers in the trees. I could hear them singing softly already. “They are for you”, he said gazing straight into my eyes. “I know how you like them.”
He knows me. But how could he have known that these cast off spoons would carry nourishment to so much of me? Their soft tink-tink-tinking in the breeze lets me know God is near. When I hear them I sense his presence. On dark nights when seasons change and I am clinging to all I am losing, they sing. On blustery days when the sky is gray and I don’t think I can do one more day, they sing. He is invisible like the wind but he uses ordinary vessels to be heard and yes, tangibly felt. I am walking through a lonely season but the chimes help me feel I am not alone.
Could he have known that the setting sun would glint on their flat surfaces and reflect heaven here on earth? I walk into the yard and there is glory shining everywhere – beacons of light calling to me to worship. He shines into my mundaneness through these little spoons and they are serving up a helping of life and light. I am inexplicably drawn to them, like the fireflies of summers past. They tell me there is more to the story than I could possibly know. There is always more with God. He is himself mysterious beauty, ever present and always good.
Thank you wonderful husband for loving and knowing me so well. I love my spoon chimes and I love you.
Colossians 2:2,3 ~”My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Janey and Darcy’s litter was 1 week old yesterday. If you want to see the details on the mom and dad and day 1 pictures of the puppies go to this page. These babies are adorable. Look how they have grown! Puppies are in their original birth order.
These puppies are all spoken for at this point, but you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to fill out a puppy application for future litters or to be put on the waiting list for this litter.
I am quiet at home, waiting for Janey’s sweet puppies to come and it has given me time to finally edit our images from this summer’s beach vacation. I can’t resist sharing some of them. These are some of my favorites. I asked Katie and her cousin Morgan to dance at sunset for me so I could photograph them before we left. Sigh. I am so glad they did.
My soul soaks in these images like a cool drink of water. I see God in all his glory. I see dancers, surrendered and bathed in holy light. I see reflections of heaven at their feet.
I see joy.
Let his name be glorified in all the earth. May we sense him supporting us as we clench our toes into the sand, leaping into freedom. May we leave our tethered and tangled worries behind as we surrender to his splendor.
I am taking time to be refreshed in all the parched places today. I hope these images can help you do the same. He is always available to quench and fill.
He is God and he is good.
Jeremiah 31:25 ~”For I will [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.” -AMP
This is the precious McCormick family. Last week I met them at their favorite park and photographed them playing as the sun slipped down behind the trees. The girls were full of wonder and life as they explored the green grass and blew tufted dandelions into the sky. They shared giggles and kisses and string cheese from a picnic basket. It was truly sweet and magical.
It was a lovely way to greet Autumn. Much love to you McCormick family. You are near and dear to my heart.
I took these images of my Annie the week she left to attend Georgetown University. I was weepy the whole week and she was indulging me. “Let’s do whatever you can dream up” she responded when I asked what kind of shoot she wanted to do. I have always wanted to do an Audrey Hepburn shoot. This is the result of our time together that day.
How can you be so happy for someone and so sad to let them go all at the same time? I was truly divided as I watched her car go, getting smaller and smaller on our long driveway. I even texted her an hour later and told her I had changed my mind, that she couldn’t leave after all. She jokingly replied, “okay, turning the car around right now.” I laughed and then I cried again. This is motherhood — pushing them out of the nest, teaching them to fly and then hovering around them as practice taking off and landing over and over again. It is indeed like having your heart walk around outside your body.
This girl. This firecracker of a girl, she has to fly. Holding her back would lead to much unhappiness for all involved. I tease her that she was born with her hands on her hips, giving the nurses orders. She knows her mind and she always has. We have had our battles, that’s for sure. Home schooling this child was a daunting task. Those hands stayed on those hips for years to come. And although we tangled quite a bit over the years, I would not trade one day of it. I would do it all again, struggles and all, and have no regrets about our time together. We became the sand in each other’s shell as God made pearls of us both. I am who I am because of who my children are.
When Annie graduated from Oglethorpe University, she told her daddy she wanted to go to grad school and he asked her where the money was going to come from. She laughed and said not to worry, that she would get a full scholarship. I’m not sure he believed her but that’s exactly what she did. She is attending Georgetown with a full scholarship, including a stipend for living expenses.
Who does that? Annie does. I am so proud of her. She has grown into such a genuine, loving and beautiful young woman. Yes, she still sets those hands firmly on her hips every now and then but it’s usually when she is fighting for someone she loves. She has learned the art of finding strength in her vulnerability. Only God can teach those lessons and there is nothing more a mother could want than for her children to know and serve God. Annie does.
Annie is like sunshine. It is a nickname we share. Therefore when she is gone, the brilliance of life fades a bit. I miss her. I told a friend the other day that the grocery store is the hardest place to go when your kids are gone. I think about all of my babies as I walk the aisles. Every food group presents new challenges. We mothers love to bring home special food items for our kids and to cook for our families. It also doesn’t help that they play nostalgic songs in the produce section. What is that about? Many times, and I am not exaggerating, I have cried looking at cabbage and tomatoes. Annie is especially a joy to shop for. She loves good healthy food and always notices when I buy something just for her. I miss that.
For now I have these images and the sweet texts I receive from her almost daily. She will always be my Annie.
Love you, Bugaboo. You shine.
Hugs from afar,
How I love this image of my husband and my son, standing at the edge of a storm. To me this is what intercession looks like as we partner with God to hold the storms back for others.
I am grateful for the prayers of others. This week I posted a vulnerable story about living with fear and anxiety. I had many kind comments and emails from people telling me they were praying for me. This brings me so much comfort and I am deeply grateful.
When I lost a baby in 2006 my sister commented to me that she believed that when we pray and carry the burdens of others we each actually carry a little part of that burden so the heaviness doesn’t crush the individual who is suffering. I loved that thought. It reminds me of gym class in elementary school where we all held a piece of the parachute so someone could go under it without it falling on them. They could literally run under its shadow without suffocating in the darkness.
We need each other. The storms do come and threaten to carry us away. It is frightening. God has given us the honor of partnering with him to come to the aid of others. Why would he do that? Our God is so mysterious and beautiful. He is always about relationships. When we come before him on behalf of others, our hearts are more entwined with them and with God’s. In this process, he allows us to walk in the fullness of the journey. We learn empathy and compassion. Our hearts grow with love and we step outside our own selfishness. In truth, we are taking part in our own rescue when we ask him to move for others.
Our own hearts are delivered we intercede for other people.
God never wastes anything. He will use any and every circumstance to bring glory to himself and bring us to wholeness.
Who is like him?
Thanking God for the storms and for those who have chosen to partner with him to hold them at bay
He is good.
Psalm 113:1-6 ~
You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!
God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God,
so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent
heavens and earth?”
Last week I brought home an answer to prayer. God gave me Astro, a little Paso Fino horse who is capturing my heart.
I lost my Sammy in June of this year and when I did I lost a horse I could ride without fear. I could go anywhere with him and know he was going to take care of me. He was 27 and tired and very sick. I had to let him go. He was a handsome soldier even in his death. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph him that day, even with my phone. I kept those images sacred in my heart and memory.
Now that my birdies have all flown I am home a good bit by myself. I often find myself clumsily stumbling through my days wondering where to invest my time and focus. In an effort to find my bearings I began looking into my own heart, the one God gave me when I was a little girl. Where did I find joy? That’s when I began to pray for another horse to spend some time with like my Sammy.
Last week I got a call from a good friend and neighbor telling me about Astro. Someone was trying to find a wonderful home for a well trained Paso Fino. I was so excited. I wondered if God was really answering my prayers so soon and if this could be my horse. I brought him home two days later. When Johnny saw his pictures he told me he was looking forward to riding him.
But there is something I haven’t mentioned yet.
Last week I had a panic attack while getting my hair done. I have had panic attacks in the past when I was going through an intense season of grief. This is common. This one jumped me out of the blue in a public place. I had no real warning. Suddenly I could not breathe and began to weep. Fortunately, my friend Tracy was doing my hair and took me to the back and prayed for me. I knew God was getting my attention. There are issues I am not attending to in my heart. I have allowed fear to creep into my everyday life. I have greeted the mornings edged in its shadow and gone to bed weary from wearing it like a garment all day long. It is an underlying current that erodes the structure of my life, eating away at peace and freedom.
I saw all of this in that moment crying in Tracy’s office. I knew I had to attend to these things. I have some ideas as to what I must do but I am still praying for God’s specific guidance.
When Johnny was home this weekend I had a migraine that made me want to hide in bed all day. He gently nudged me and said, “hey let’s go ride Astro and take pictures”. He knows my heart. All the kids came home Friday night, but I am convinced he stayed until Sunday because he knew about my current state. He is my empathetic child. I am so proud of the man he is becoming.
It was not long until I was doing the things I love the most — spending time with my boy, riding a horse and capturing the light clinging to their combined silhouettes.
God is so kind, and Astro is a gift. I will take back my life from the clutches of fear, one golden hour at a time.
I will take my own advice and breathe.
God is good and he will never leave me.
Psalm 94:17-19 ~
”Unless the Lord had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death
When I said, “My foot is slipping,
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
I have known this beautiful woman for several years now. I am honored to know her. She walks in both elegance and joy. When she laughs the whole world changes for just a moment.
I love my friend Sandra.
I had to talk her into this shoot. The truth is, she has not even the tiniest inkling that she is so gorgeous. She doesn’t have a clue. I was determined that I was going to show her. We had photographed her with her precious children in the 90 degree Georgia weather the week before and I had the idea then to sneak her away to my studio for a shoot all her own. She eventually acquiesced when I begged here (just a bit).
I wanted to show her what a classy woman she is so I planned the shoot with the hair and makeup artist myself. I was thinking classic so we stayed with a 60′s Jackie Kennedy style. Of course with her gorgeous lips she looks like Angelina Jolie a bit. I was like a kid. I had the best time planning all of this for her. She was moving back home to Michigan two days after our shoot and I wanted to give her a special gift before she left. She had given Johnny several things from her house for his new apartment so I wanted to bless her in return. She is one of the most generous people I know.
Some of you may know Sandra’s story. In 2011, she and her family were on their way to her first 5K race when they were struck by another driver. Sandra’s husband Glen later died from his injuries and Sandra had to learn to walk again. It is hard to type these things. She has been through so much. But I have watched God carry her as she placed her shattered life in his hands. She embodies the grace that God has wrapped around her life and the lives of her children.
That’s what I see when I see her. Grace personified.
This year, Sandra took the opportunity to publicly extend forgiveness to the woman who had struck her family’s vehicle that day. The video of her doing that got around and Sandra was invited to share her story on The View several weeks later. I was so proud of her. She handled herself with the grace and love that only God can give.
Sandra moved home to be close to her extended family where she can rest in their support as she continues her journey of healing.
I will miss you Sandra. I am so grateful that we crossed paths even if just for a little while. Thank you for your obedience to God and your willingness to live out vulnerability and love. You are a beacon of light and hope for those who are searching for him.
Look how beautiful you are!!!
Also thank you for letting me love you back.
Always your friend,
Mary Anne xxoo
I Corinthians 13:3-7 ~
” If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
Posted on 28. Aug, 2014 by maryanne.
There is a sea of sunshine just outside my front door. My pasture is covered in tiny yellow flowers. Not the pasture to my left, or the pasture to my right. Just mine. When I was pondering this thought out loud to Chris this week, he said “God knows who lives here.” My insides fluttered a bit. The thought of God knowing me like that and gifting me with something so uniquely and extravagantly made me feel a bit giddy.
And surprised. Does God really love me that way? Out loud and in front of everyone?
I have been called Mary Sunshine since I was a little girl. My mom and dad both called me this not really knowing the other did. When I met Chris he soon followed suit. I began to realize that anyone who really knew me, knew my secret nick name. But God? Does he call me sunshine too? Yes, I think he does. To be known and loved at this level is the cry of all of our hearts, isn’t it?
And there is something else. This flower is called bitterweed. Not only does this seem ridiculous to me, but it astounds me because my first name Mary means bitter, with Anne meaning grace. I am reminded of the the beauty that has come from the deep pain in my life –the grace that has washed over me but at a great cost. Does it look like this?
If I am careful to release my pain to the only who can heal me will bitterness blossom into beauty? Yes, may it be so.
Bitterness can blossom into beauty. And my Father calls me Sunshine.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort those who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes
the oil of joy
instead of mourning
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
Posted on 22. Aug, 2014 by maryanne.
Deidrick and Brandi were married on August 16th in St Augustine where the ocean kisses the sand.
Oh this wedding. So special. Chris officiated and I was the photographer. I love working alongside my husband. He cries when the bride enters, always. This wedding was no exception. I saw him through my lens trying to blink the wetness away. Brandi was indeed so elegant and beautiful. But to him it is more than that. He is always thinking about Christ and his church being reunited. The church in all her spotless glory coming forward to the happy groom.
I wept too.
Brandi and Deidrick love each other deeply and they love their God too. Their wedding was full of simple love and beauty. It was a sweet celebration and we all clapped happy when they danced. I don’t know how to share all the beautiful images but I will do my best post a few of the best ones.
Love and blessings, Mr. and Mrs. Deidrick Overby. May you know the rich blessing of living a lifetime of love and the pursuit of a Christ who is returning to gather his bride someday soon.
We love you ~
Chris and Mary Anne