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Posted on 10. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
I marveled when I found this little nest today, tucked snugly in winter’s now barren branches. The leaves must have been green, full of spring’s promise, when she first laid the pieces together so very carefully. I doubt she had the smallest inkling that her nest would someday be empty, hollowed out with the imprints of her young still lining the bottom. Her only thought was to build, to nurture, to protect, to feed.
I know what an empty nest feels like. I have spent many days flying and fluttering around this small protected space. I have also taught my children to fly. It’s what mothers do. But still, I keep coming back here, to this little nest that I nurtured for so long. When pondering this sweet nest today I thought of these things, and about how God places seasons in all of his creation. This mama-bird’s nest is intricately made. It is beautiful, but it wasn’t the nest that she cared deeply about. It was her birdies. I doubt she is lamenting her empty nest now. She has left it for another family to use, while she soars into her next season.
May I learn from the birds today. God has wonderful things for me yet to do.
And you too. Find some wonder when you can, and you will find God.
Matthew 6:26 ~”Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” (The Message)
“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” ~ G.K Chesterson
Posted on 07. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
(Okay, get ready for a lot of pictures! This wedding was so beautiful, that is was very difficult to narrow the photos down for this post. But I tried!)
People often say that weddings are beautiful. However, I must say that the word beautiful just doesn’t seem to cover Rachel and Dimitri’s wedding. We will also have to add exquisite, romantic and dreamy. Oh my goodness, dreamy! From Rachel’s stunning vintage-styled dress to the intricate floral arrangements (full of my favorite flower, Peonies!),to the amazingly styled reception by Gloriosa . All this in the rustic and elegant setting you can find only at The Inn at Serenbe.
Add to that the sweetest couple in the world, Rachel and Dimitri. I just love them. You may remember seeing there engagement photos. We took a little day trip to Serenbe for those as well. Rachel and Dimitri chose to do a first look, and I am so glad. We captured some really sweet photos of them away from the busyness of the day. Just loved that.
Thank you so much to Sterling Graves of Andrew Sterling Photography for second shooting this wedding. You are so wonderful to have around!
Well, enough of my rambling. I know you want to see their photos, so here we go!
LOVE YOU RACHEL AND DIMITRI! (est. November 10, 2012)
Posted on 05. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
When I opened the door to let my puppy Janey out this morning I knew it immediately–there was treasure to be found out there in the frosty earth. The sun was just coming over the horizon and it seemed as though diamonds were coming to life at my feet. Giggling, I raced inside to slip jeans and a jacket over my flannel pjs and grabbed my camera. Janey and I were off to an adventure.
The mirth of God was nearly tangible. I could sense his joy at my seeking. It was as if he was saying, “Have you seen this? Come look over here!” Could it be that creator God was enjoying being sought as much I as I was enjoying searching for him? Yes, I do believe so! Of course he loves for me to seek him, and of course he longs for me to enjoy his beauty. His wonders. Just think of it! Did he have to create something so delicate and lovely as frost? A reminder to us as it glistens at first light that his mercies are new every morning? How he loves us. How many other wonders am I sleeping right through, stepping right over?
I cannot wait to find out. I am coming out of my slumber with each revealed wonder.
Before long I was lying down in the grass on my belly, laughing with Janey tugging at my red toboggan. The cold seeped through my jeans and I felt alive. I conversed with God as I took photos of the shimmering landscape, whispering “So beautiful, Father,” and ” That’s amazing, Lord,” over and over. My spirit felt his approval and fellowship.
After a little while it was time to come in from the cold, but my spirit was warm and contented. Janey and I retired into the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee and a bowl of fresh kibbles. Guess whose was whose?
I am so grateful that God met me in the morning frost for today’s wonder. Did you see him too?
Psalm 13:14 ~”… your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Posted on 04. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
This is the view from our tree swing in the woods when I let go, dogs chasing, me giggling, the wind in my hair. I find my childlike heart and everything feels upside down, and yet makes sense all at the same time. My mind lets go and I forget what needs to be done. I am just there, spinning like a little girl.
Oh the wonder of finding childhood again! The world becomes a watercolor palette, with colors mixing and mingling into beauty. In my quest for wonder, for the face of God, I cannot forget to laugh and dance.
And spin free.
“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” ~ Albert Einstein
Psalm 126:1,2 ~”When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.”
Posted on 03. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
If I am still I can hear them. The spoon chimes are singing again. Their soft tink-tinking soothes me. There is a set in the tree by the drive and a set in the garden, placed lovingly there by my husband who knows what I love. All they need is a little breeze and they are off again chattering and cooing sweet sounds into my world. They remind me of God. In fact, nearly every time I stop to listen to them I think of him, how he is always present, always singing over me. How their sweet rhythms arrest me.
These little spoons earned a spot on my wonder project because they help me to pause and think of God and who he is. Tonight, as I watched them dance agains the colorful sky I thought of his faithful and gentle ways. He never changes. He is delightful in every way, always singing a love song.
If you listen, you can hear it too.
Zephaniah 3:17~ “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (NLT)
Posted on 02. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
It has been a tough day, I’ll admit. Sometimes sadness just chases me down. Truthfully, this is one of the reasons I started this project. I know the battles that I face on a daily basis, and I need so very much to find God and hear his voice. Upon waking today, because of this very project, I asked him, “Will you show me the wonder? Open my eyes to you?” I don’t want to strive, but I do want to seek. I want to walk, dance with my eyes wide open. I want to see God in every place he can be found. Like the blind man who called after the Lord on the road in desperation, I also want to see. I want to see!
I know he is here. I have seen him in blades of grass and towering trees. He has taken my breath away with the last light of day, and given me the giggles when he catches me by surprise. I laugh at his goodness.
Today was no different. There, in the grocery store, sitting meekly next to the green grapes were these brilliant red currants. I gathered them up and gazed at the delicate globes. So beautiful! I have never seen red currants before. On a whim I placed them in my cart and finished my shopping. I forgot all about them until I was unpacking my groceries. I held them up in the afternoon light, and there it was. The wonder. I was in awe of the detailed artistry of my Father. Each tiny currant was so perfect. If I were not seeking in this way, I may have dismissed this feeling. I may have missed a gift from God. Seemingly so insignificant and yet so amazing!
I take so much for granted. Not today. In my quest for sight, for the ability to see the wonder, I stopped right there and photographed their sweetness. These lovely currants were a love note from God. ” Don’t give up! I am here, and I love you.” he says to me through their brilliance and beauty.
Do you see it too?
Psalm 40:5 ~”Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”
Posted on 01. Jan, 2013 by maryanne.
Here, in this little corner of my world, I want to set aside a space dedicated to the art of wonder. This year I hope to seek out and marvel at the magic that God has hidden for us like treasure in the crevices of what we often deem mundane. I need this for myself, to awaken my heart to its childlike faith and curiosity. This will be a weekly project, and possibly an every day one. I am excited to do this and share it with you!
I need the wonder. And it is here.
Do you see it too?
Psalm 65:8~”The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.”
Today I found it in the rain.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats
Posted on 20. Dec, 2012 by maryanne.
Sometimes it seems like the rain will never end.
Sometimes we are so soaked with grief that we cannot find the light.
It has been two weeks since my brother was admitted into a hospital in Ohio with what they thought was the flu and pneumonia. Two days later, he was in a medically induced coma, a respirator and a dialysis machine. My mom called me in tears because she had been notified that they were concerned for his life. He was in grave danger. She flew out to Cincinnati the following morning. She is still there, waiting. He was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease. I thought that went out of date with my high school biology textbook.
I cannot explain this heaviness, this weariness of the soul. I have lit candles and hung lights hoping I could drink their warmth into the soaked and cold places. The lights do help. I sit on the stairs and peep at our beautiful tree through the bannister, like a child on Christmas Eve. My heart longs for the magic. I cry my own tears and whisper prayers to the Father of Lights, and I know he hears me. He is in the darkness and the light. He does not change. He is in that room with my brother when he is all alone, singing over him. I believe this.
My brother. How I love him. He is my only brother. When I was a little girl I thought he could do anything. I laughed at his jokes, and listened admiringly to the songs he wrote. The years have taken him far away from me most of the time, but he is my brother. My only brother.
When the kids were little they called him “Uncle Dan the muffin man”. He carried them on broad shoulders and seemed larger than life to them. To me.
The day before he got sick he called me just to chat. We talked for over an hour about things that mattered. He listened as I shared my heart with him. He is a good listener. That was on a Tuesday. The following Thursday he was calling 911 from his apartment because he could not stand up or breathe. I am shaken about the uncertainty of this life.
But I am not shaken about God. Or that he is good. Whatever happens, God is good. I know this. I believe this.
I cannot begin to thank all those who have prayed for my brother. On Facebook alone I believe hundreds of prayers have been offered to God on behalf of my brother. Thank you every one, who has whispered sweet prayers for him.
Today we received the good news that Danny got his respirator out and came out of the coma. He is now speaking and beginning to recognize people. We are so very grateful.
Sometimes it does seem like it will never stop raining. And then God surprises us. Tonight I walked outside after a full day of rain. I was surprised to see the clouds had broken as the most amazing sunset covered the horizon. It looked as though God had taken all the sadness of the day and pulled its heaviness into a corner of the sky, filling it with his light. It was brilliant and beautiful.
Only God can make something beautiful out of the darkness. And he is doing it again.
I am so grateful and I will continue to believe.
Psalm 18:28 ~”You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”
Posted on 29. Nov, 2012 by maryanne.
I adore Autumn. Nearly every afternoon in this season, I step outside my farm front door to this. Oranges and reds, purples and gold against the clearest of blue skies. I catch my breath and raise my hands to the sky in worship. “Oh….” I exhale again as the light catches the limbs at magic hour and I am done in. I see the heart, the hands, the face of my Father God in his creation. I whisper his words back to him, whichever ones come to my lips first. ” The heavens declare the glory of God,” or “the Lord is my light and my salvation.” He is. He is the light and my salvation. His light is my salvation. It is burning in my heart silhouetting my frame as his sun does the trees. It is magic hour in my heart.
The wind rushes through tugging fragile leaves to freedom. Sometimes letting go is the clearest path to exquisite joy. Clinging no more, they fly like kaleidoscope fragments into the open air. I watch approvingly, as tension and fear melt into exhilaration and joy.
There is nothing quite like Autumn light. I am filled with wonder at its unique beauty. Soft and yet piercing, it slants the horizon with deep shadowy shapes and golden hues. Can you see it too? Does it make your heart ache in awe? It is a gift and I have held my eyes and heart wide open to receive it.
Almost every day, just outside my farm front door. The goodness of God humbles and delights me continually.
James 1:17 ~”Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Posted on 21. Nov, 2012 by maryanne.
These are the Anderson kids. I love them. I have been photographing them for too many years to count for their annual Christmas card. Their mom Kelly is one of my closest friends, and I wouldn’t trade this time on their little farm in the country for anything. This is my two hours with them, capturing giggles, bubbles, muddy jeans, brother squabbles, and now a princess in the mix. You may remember Emily Grace from my blog here and here. She is quite the character. See how she has grown! A flower in the midst of a cloud of boy-ness.
I hope you enjoy seeing their photos as much as I enjoyed spending time with them.
Here’s to another year of friendship, Anderson family. I look forward to a lifetime to come.