Tag Archives: 365 project
Posted on 14. Feb, 2013 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 100mm 2.8 macro, 3.2 aperture, 1/80 shutter, 100 ISO
When I first met him he was a skinny country boy, or at least I thought so. My sister Liza and her husband-to-be, Mickey, brought him home with them to be best man at the wedding. (I was the maid of honor.) He was and still is Mickey’s best friend since grade school — kindergarten, to be more precise.
I knew they were bringing him home. In fact, there was much chatter about setting us up. I had been at work that day, and drove home nervously wondering if they had gotten there yet. I worked as a food server by the pool at the local Ramada Inn. I wore as my uniform white shorts with a white shirt and white, you guessed it, skippies. When I drove up to the house, I saw Liza’s car. I took a deep breath and bounced in the door, as casually and cheerfully as possible. I hugged my sister first and introduced myself to Mickey.
Then, my eyes fell on him. He was skinny, with gentle blue eyes, and a quiet but stable demeanor. His brown hair curled just a little around his ears. I felt rattled already. “Oh hi!” I bubbled, trying to feign surprise that he was there. ”Hey” he answered calmly. He was unassuming and confident. Peaceful. In the world of the boys I knew, this is was an anomaly. I was definitely curious.
When the newlyweds scurried off for their honeymoon, he decided to hang around a little longer. I had invited him to do so, but honestly didn’t think he would. He did. We stood by his little yellow Honda and listened to his and Mickey’s first album that was hot off the press. He put the headphones on my head and grinned. He was so happy to share it with me. Oh that smile. I was so comfortable with him. It was unnerving. In the 24 hours that he stayed, we laughed, listened to James Taylor, drove around in one of our old beat up cars, and he played guitar and sang for me. When he played that night on my mom’s sofa and sang so sweetly, my heart melted. Just a little. Thoughts of our kids listening to him sing and play passed briefly through my mind. Wait… what?
I quickly made myself think of other things.
The next day he went back to Georgia, and I promised him I would write. In fact I told him not to write me first, but to wait on me. Ahem. He still likes to tell that story, how he looked into the deep cavernous mailbox every day, (with echo sound effects and all), feeling so dejected. In his telling of it, weeks, no, months, went by. And, to make matters worse, when I did write him, I typed it. Apparently, that was the most impersonal thing I could have ever done. He, of course, responded with a very personal, handwritten piece of correspondence. I still have it. (He still has my typed one too.) In it, he was funny, thoughtful, and clear about his intentions to get to know me better. He also invited me to come to see him and go to a James Taylor concert. I had been playing JT constantly since he left. But, I turned him down flat.
I had already moved on to another boyfriend by then. Hmmm…
The week before I was to go back to school at JMU, my mom decided to attend a class in Atlanta for a week. It was the very week of the concert. I finally agreed to go. I stayed with my sister, but spent every waking hour with Chris. We explored the Chattahoochee, went downtown, watched a movie together, but mostly we just talked. We talked about everything and nothing. We talked about God and who He is and isn’t. We talked about relationships, (and how I needed to drop my new boyfriend.) We walked in the rain, where he stopped me and whispered, ” Hey, rain looks good on you.” I still get weak in the knees just thinking about it. I probably would have kissed him right then and there if he would have made an attempt.
I could feel my heart burning. Something was so very different about this boy. This man. At the end of the week, we drove to his house in North Carolina and saw James Taylor together. He held my hand at that concert , in the breezy open air. My heart fluttered. In the late night hours we sat on the road where he grew up, the traffic light glaring with two red eyes. The stars seemed to sing. We were together, silent. Hearts content. I could feel mine expanding. Breathing. Coming alive.
Could it have only been a week that we were together? In the car with my mom on the way home to VA, my heart ached. I was changed. When I got home, I broke up with that other boy.
We met the day before Liza and Mickey’s wedding on July 1, 1986. We pledged our love and made our vows a year and two days later, on July 3, 1987.
This year we will celebrate 26 years together. He has loved me second, and that is all I ever wanted — to be second in the life of a man who loves God first. We have learned to walk these paths together taking care of and honoring each other. We try to keep things new while cherishing the old.
I am so grateful that Carolina boy eased his way into my heart with his peaceful smile and reassuring nature. He is mine and I am his.
It will be 24 years this summer since I blushed behind that veil and gave him my heart, my everything. He is my husband. My lover, my very best friend, my confidant. I trust him with my life. He is my North Carolina country boy, and I am his Virginia skippy girl.
Posted on 19. Sep, 2012 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 100 macro 2.8, 4.0 aperture, 1/125 shutter, 160 ISO
It was another hard day. Downcast, worried, and wound tight like a rubber band ball, I finally took my heaviness to the Father. I pulled myself away from tedious tasks indoors and met Him on my front porch as the sun was beginning her descent. The warm light and fresh air worked at the tightened hinges of my heart, just enough for me to breathe out words to Him. ” I can’t… we don’t… how will…?” All my sentences began to sound the same. With one daughter going to Oxford and the other to graduate school in less than a week, we were coming up short again. Again. I had been burying the worry, and somehow decided I would solve it alone. I don’ t remember saying that to myself or anyone else. I think it is a default decision I make when I feel stressed or afraid. No matter. It doesn’t work. I cannot solve it. I thought about my year, the efforts I have been putting into this blog, wondering if I had misplaced my energies and if I should have been working more.
Then I heard it. A simple sentence bubbled up in my spirit. It sounded like the voice of my Father. Quiet, and loving. Clear.
“Sow the seeds you have in your pocket,” the voice said. ” The seeds I have?” I asked. “What seeds? And what good are seeds when we need the harvest right now?”
I thought about my year again. The people I had met, the compassion God was building in me, the love I experienced through giving myself away. “Oh, those seeds,” I answered, finally. I thought I understood, but it seemed so intangible when what we really needed was something tangible, something we could put in the bank. But, isn’t that the way the Kingdom of God works? We believe in the Invisible God. We sow His Kingdom every time we show kindness to someone. We reap a harvest in both the seen and the unseen.
It is a Kingdom with exponential qualities. God’s economy is so different than our own. We do a little bit, with our hearts open to God, and He does everything else. Like the father of the prodigal son, He does not meet us halfway. He comes to us. He runs to meet us, shortening the distance between us and Him with every beautiful stride. That is how God goes about things. Extravagant love. He is so good. Good beyond anything or anyone we have ever known. There is none like Him.
And so, I will do as I am told. I will sow my pocket seeds. The ones He has given me. And I will trust in Him to bring the harvest.
Matthew 23:44 ~ ““The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Posted on 19. Jun, 2012 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 16-35 2.8 L, 2.8 aperture, 1/2000 shutter, 100 ISO
I love this image because of the contrasting colors and textures and because it tells a story. Sometimes all we need in order to see the blue skies ahead is a tool, a reflection. We need faith.
Scripture defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”. In effect, a mirror of a place, time, and circumstance that we cannot see with our earthly eyes. A beautiful reflection of what can and will happen when we believe.
I thought of these things as I prayed over and pondered my friend’s sadness over losing her baby. It is hard. So very difficult to bear. Sometimes we need to hold the reflection up for each other. There are blue skies ahead. The colors and warmth of a springtime wait patiently just below the surface to overtake the cold drab browns of our winter. Just barely below the surface. Can you see it? Almost there. Redemption and glory await. Can you feel it?
Blue skies ahead. Just over the horizon. I will hold your hand while we wait.
Psalm 30:5 ~ “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Posted on 09. May, 2012 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 70-200 2.8L, 185 mm focal length, 2.8 aperture, 1/160 shutter, 100 ISO.A 580 ex ll speedlight flash was used off camera in a 24 inch square softbox
This series of photos was taken of my beautiful Annie last summer in Charleston, SC while I was working on project for a perfume company. While they are a departure from my typical “image of the day” for this project, the things I am learning concerning this season and this shoot are relevant to me today.
Until recently, I have not been able to really look at these images without feeling some level of angst, even though they are of my stunning Annie. They have represented failure to me. Yes, hard to believe. To look at her, standing gleaming in the sun, eyes as stormy and blue as the sea, how could I see anything but her? Her beauty and brilliance?
A large perfume company had found me through Flickr and hired me to do a shoot for their new line, and they wanted Annie as their model. It was incredible, really. I believed it was an opportunity only God could give, so I leapt into it with everything I had. We drove to Charleston, hired an amazing make-up and hair artist, (Miss Ashley Brook Perryman), found a place to stay, and shot on location at Seabrook Beach. I thought we nailed it. I put too much on the line.
Some things should never be put on the line.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my self-worth was part of the tender that was being exchanged. I simply cared too much about succeeding at this job. The client ended up not liking the images. I did not get the job, although I was somewhat compensated for my expenses. I was floored. I cried many tears, and lay in bed night after night wondering what I did wrong. I questioned God. It felt so personal. Why? What did I do wrong? I tried so hard. I thought God was in this. I failed Annie, I failed my client. I failed.
Yes, I did. So?
Just because something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to does not mean God is not in it. My belief that my value was equated with what I did was on trial. Was I going to allow this to level me? The pain was deep, and very real. God was having His way with me, with my heart. I now believe He allowed this string of events to occur for my benefit. He was setting me free, pruning deep into beliefs that have ensnared me my whole life. I thought I was getting my big break. I was, but not the one I thought I was. God was setting me free.
I am learning I am not what I do. But more than that, since then, I am learning to more readily listen to my heart, and trust the God who dwells there. He has created things specifically for me to do, like honor and love Him through my work, but now I know He will only give me things that will be for my good. He cares about my wholeness. The job itself was a good job. It was my beliefs at the time that were all wrong. I believed that the job could speak value into my life, that it could say something important about me. Only God can do that. Once I learn this truth in the small things, perhaps He may give me bigger things to do. But if He does not, than I am still in His hands. He alone keeps me and holds my heart.
I hope I am on my way to understanding these things now. May my whole life be a song for His glory, an image of His beauty. I belong to Him and He may do with me what He wishes.
Psalm 31:14,15 ~” But I trust in you, LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands; “
Posted on 02. Jan, 2012 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 24-70 2.8 L, 6.3 aperture, 10 second shutter with a tripod, 320 ISO
We had a good time shooting this image with Katie, Annie and her sweet friend Kate all helping. (Even though we had a few mishaps.) A couple times they got the numbers backwards and the sparklers wouldn’t light or they would go out too soon. It was a challenge, but we got it!
Here are a few outtakes below
Often is it easier to commit to something than to actually do it. That has been my experience during this 365 project. I am delighted to finally complete this journey. There were moments I was sure I could not do it, but I have finished at last!
It has been both difficult and rewarding on many levels. I know my husband will be grateful I am wrapping it up, so he can see me again in the late evening hours. It has taken hours of my life to process photos, choose them, and then actually write something coherent and somewhat meaningful here on this blog night after night. Yes, I am grateful too. But although it has been a trying task, I am so thankful for how it has pushed me to become better, dig deeper and find more resolve than I thought I had. Most nights I know I crossed over my own limits and found strength that only God could give to complete another post. He met me, time after time, giving me beautiful images to capture and then the thoughts to share about them. I never intended to write about my images. I was just going to post photos, like most 365 projects I have seen. I discovered that I love to write as well and I enjoyed developing that passion during this project. You never know where God will lead you when you embark on a new journey.
I think my favorite part of this year has been the people I have gotten to meet, either by photographing them ( “Hi, can I photograph you for my project I am working on?” so scary) or the ones that have become so dear to me and part of my life by reading my humble posts and emailing me or commenting on the blog. I am so grateful that by opening myself here, I have gained friendships that I would not have had otherwise. I love all of you! Thank you for being part of my little world here.
This year, you embarked on a journey with me.
From that very first day, where I jumped in, and some of you decided to come along. Thank you. I shared some secrets that have helped my marriage shine, on many occasions. I tried my best to show you my best view of hope, and hope in the midst of darkness. Always hope.
I photographed my kids a lot. With their faces painted, riding dirt bikes, drumming with paint, and getting sprayed with water. And so much more. They are good sports. How I love my Katie, Annie, and Johnny.
Thank you for being part of my journey. Thankfully it doesn’t end here. I do not intend to stop blogging. Probably just not every day.
I am excited to see what God has for 2012! He is so good! I have put together a calendar from this year’s project. If you are interested, you may purchase it here, or by clinking the link in the header that says Calendar.:)
In addition, I have posted the images from this year on a Flickr Set, where you can view them all at once.
Blessings my wonderful friends. See you very soon.
Ephesians 1:16-19 ~”I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Posted on 01. Jan, 2012 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 50 1.2L, 1.2 aperture, 1/40 shutter speed, 500 ISO
Everyone has gone to bed. The house is quiet as I walk into the room where our Christmas tree still stands with all her lights shining. My chest tightens as I feel the weight of an ending coming into view. I begin to weep. I am not ready. I brush the soft needles of the frasier fir with my fingertips, as tears smear the lights into a dreamy blur.
It’s not the tree, I know this. It’s what it represents. Time moves on. Things come to an end. I reach up and touch Katie’s ballet slipper ornament. Each one holds a memory, each put on by the hands of those I love most.
I want to hold it somehow, but I can’t. Ornaments have to be put away. Children have to pack their bags and go back to school. Just when I got used to the laughter, the singing, the clinking of dishes in the kitchen and the slam of the mudroom door. I will miss the chatter upstairs of sisters sharing stories, and songs being written on the sofa in the light of this tree.
I am not ready for this ending. Tomorrow we will pack up decorations and discuss plans for a new season. I will write my last post on this 365 project. Time to move forward. I let the remaining tears I have been unknowingly storing up fall onto flannel pajamas and open hands.
I turn off the switch and the tree fades into the darkness. It is time to be brave and trust the One who turns the seasons with His gentle and strong hands.
For what are endings except the edges of new beginnings?
Psalm 33:20-22 ~”We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
Posted on 30. Dec, 2011 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 16-35 2.8L, 2.8 aperture, 19 mm focal length, 1/160 shutter alien B800 bare bulb at 1/8 power
I owe this very challenging project a great debt for teaching me some wonderful things this year. On many occasions, I have had to step outside of my comfort zone to complete my goal for the day. Driven to find the magic, I could not settle for mediocrity. If I didn’t know how to do something I have looked it up, or experimented until I got the effect I wanted. Gratefully, the old barriers that would stop me in my tracks in the past are no longer as formidable to me now. However, the worst (and best) part about that is, new barriers arise when old ones fall. This is called growth. It is often scary and painful, but so worth it. The colors of life grow richer and deeper as I continue to take risks.
I am learning to look fear in the face and move forward. It is a process, sometimes excruciatingly slow, but I am still moving forward.
When speaking with a younger photographer the other day, I encouraged him to never be afraid to experiment with lighting or angles when working with people. They can be intimidating sometimes, but they are just people. The truth is, they win when we take our time to find the magic. The magic presents itself in each of us uniquely. Only we know when we find it. If we skip over the process to cater to the desires of others, not only do we lose, the whole world loses. The magic in you was meant to be shared. It is God’s gift to the world. He will help you find it, craft it, and send it out into the earth.
Wait for the magic. Seek it like treasure. Experiment and work until it is in your hands. Don’t be afraid and don’t give up.
Tonight was a perfect example of this process. This being the last week of my 365 Project, I am feeling a little depleted. As the sun began to set, I knew my time was running out for any daylight shots. I have been sick this week and staying up late to finish my work. Katie, knowing my dilemma, sweetly volunteered to model for me. We headed out to the pasture where we could see the best view of the sunset. I did get the one shot above, which I loved, but I wanted something more. I just didn’t know what. I had the idea to pull the car around and shine the headlights behind her straight into my lens, while continuing to use my studio light. I had to shine a flashlight to find her face as the light was fading fast. The images below are the result. I think we found a bit of magic. Grateful for God’s provision once again, my heart can rest.
It’s a good feeling. Magic.
Ephesians 1:18,19 ~” I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Posted on 30. Dec, 2011 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 50 1.2L 2.8 aperture, 1/320 shutter 100 ISO
It was such a joy spending the afternoon with these two lovebirds, Anna and Adam. I have known Anna since she was three. Chris and I were in her parents’ small group when Katie was born. We have kept in touch with her family over time and she has commented often on my 365 project this year, although she is living in Louisiana. She contacted me last month and informed me that she and Adam would be moving to Korea after Christmas and asked if I would be willing to photograph them before they left. She wanted to be photographed in her wedding dress since she will not be taking it with her. She said she didn’t mind getting it dirty and mentioned horses, and that was all I needed to know. I knew we would have some fun. They have been married two years, but they still act like they just got married yesterday. They were so sweet together.
My girls both assisted me on this shoot and it was fun for all of us. We even got out the the rain-maker in 50 degree weather! They were brave souls. We had horses, old books, beautiful sun flare, feathers flying in the air, and rain falling from a tree. Oh, and an amazingly sweet couple. Sounds like perfection to me.
Blessings, Adam and Anna. We wish you well on your new adventure together. May the Lord bless you keep you. Thanks for spending the day with us and helping me log another day onto my 365 project with your sweetness.
Numbers 6:24-26 ~” The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Posted on 29. Dec, 2011 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 100 2.8 macro, 2.8 aperture, 1/125 shutter, 100 ISO
*This post is dedicated to my friend Mia. She loves tulips because they remind her of growing up in Sweden with her mother, who would set out bouquets of them every Christmas. These are for you, sweet Mia.
I fell in love with these lovely white tulips at my local grocery store this week and brought them home with my 365 project in mind. I wanted to photograph their softness. They have such an ethereal quality. Most of my photos are bright and bold, and I felt a little intimidated about truly capturing the sweetness of these flowers. Still, I wanted to try. I see a lot of amazing soft photography on pinterest but I don’t see that quality in my own work. So, in an effort to stretch myself, I decided to try something a little different with these lovelies.
Aren’t they simply wonderful? Their delicate, almost-sheer petals fascinate me, looking like a veil between earth and eternity. I see my Creator God here, his strength and glory revealed in the fragility of a flower. Even the flowers know how to worship, bowing their heads under the weight of his glory.
I want to be more like them. Frail, and yet made perfect in the hands of my Creator.
Ecclesiastes 3:11~”He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Posted on 28. Dec, 2011 by maryanne.
Canon 5D Mark ll, 50 1.2L, 3.5 aperture, 1/60 shutter speed, 160 ISO
This post is for anyone who is finding themselves on a difficult journey. Some days you may feel like you won’t survive it, or that you just want to quit because you are so tired.
You can do it.
This being the last week of a 365 project, I am feeling like I just may make it now. There has been a lot of crying, some anger, deep frustration, and much fatigue as I have bumped into the edge of myself again and again. There are has also been joy, a sense of accomplishment, a new awareness of what I can do, new friendships and relationships made, and higher levels of learning and vision for my craft.
I am grateful for this project, mostly because I have learned that I can finish something difficult. I will, however, give props where they are due. I am quite sure I could not have gotten past the first week without the encouragement and support of my family and the relationships I have developed through this blog. I cannot count how many times I have gotten an encouraging email or comment from someone at just the right time saying, ” Keep going, you can do this!” Encouragement is a powerful force. And so, I want to thank every single person who has ever commented, on or off my blog to me and encouraged me to keep going. What seemed like a silly project became a powerful lesson in perseverance and digging deeper within myself to stay on course. Thank you, all of you, for being part of that.
You do not have to be doing a 365 project to be in the middle of a difficult journey, however. Truthfully, the places in which many of you are walking may be much more exasperating than a blog project. However, the lessons I have learned during this short (and also very long) year apply to many circumstances. I would like to share a few.
- First of all, place whatever it is in God’s hands. He alone holds all things, and He will be your help and your strength. Pray and ask Him for his help. In His kindness towards me He has shown me beauty in unexpected places over and over again, when I had absolutely nothing. He cares about the details of your life too. Every single one of them.
- Take it one step at a time. You do not have to finish the entire goal on today’s provision. He will give you what you need for each step of the way. I cannot count the times I found fresh manna and new mercies every day.
- Keep walking. Do not quit. Pray, and keep walking. Put one foot in front of the other.
- Receive the encouragement of others. I strongly encourage community and letting others help you. We were not meant to walk this life alone. You might have to reach out to find friendships. Don’t let pride keep you from finding relationship and community.
- Pile up rocks. This is what the people of God did when they wanted to remember the things God had done for them. They would pile up stones in a place where He moved on their behalf, so they could come back to that place and tell their children about the his mighty wonders. We do not have to do this literally, but finding ways to remember and be grateful is good for our hearts and encourages us that God is with us. Sometimes my images can be like this for me. I can go back and say, “I remember when God showed me that when I was at the end of myself.”
- Finally, keep your eye on the prize. Don’t forget your goal and where you are headed. You will go where you set your gaze. Keep your eyes fixed on your goal. I love this song by Sara Groves. It will encourage you if you can take the time to listen to it.
And now, to the finish line!
James 1:2-5 ~”Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”