Tag Archives: garden

::spiritual moments::

I heard a sermon last week in which the preacher was talking about her experience on her family vacation in the Catskill mountains.  She mentioned this moment where she hiked alone to the nearby waterfall one morning, sat peacefully beside the stream, and dove into the clear mountain water. Immersed in the frigid water she felt renewed and refreshed. She said it was a ‘spiritual moment’ for her. One in which she felt complete, and spiritually whole.  She went on to describe what she did next.  She carefully collected small rocks-shiny and colorful, smooth and marbled, and placed them in a bag.  She was trying to gather mementos of this spiritual moment.  Mementos that she could place about her home, on her nightstand, her bathroom sink.  Things that could tangibly bring her back to that place of peace and wholeness, once her hectic life started to crack through her being.

The preacher then began to warn of the foolishness of this kind of living.  She said she felt like the rich young ruler who was storing up his earthly treasures. She told us to be complete people, we need to live beyond those spiritual moments, tuning in to our real feelings and emotions and embracing them when things are hard.  We need to be careful not to idolize good times, and not to limit God to our description of what a ‘spiritual moment’ is.

Although I liked the point she was trying to make about not limiting God to our own version of spiritual moments, I felt hesitant to embrace the idea that we can’t rely on great moments of peace and restoration to help us through.  The past few weeks that’s what I’ve been doing. Trying to suck the life out of this beloved place I call home.  Grabbing up moments and taking pictures as mementos before our trek back down south.

Like gathering green beans with my Grandpa in his garden and canning them back in the kitchen with Grandma.

Feeling the early summer sun beat down on my shoulders while squatting to pick strawberries with a friend.

Sharing a cold drink with my cousin, dipping our feet in the pool while he helps me shell a bushel of peas.

Enjoying a late night piece of pie with good neighbors.

Running through the beloved woods across the street.

Cooking and laughing together in the home of good friends.

Taking my sister out on a Friday night date.

Trekking up to the sheep barn and letting a baby lamb nuzzle up to my knee.

Hiking hills of blueberry bushes and picking peacefully with my family.

Spending the morning exploring the landscape with a beautiful child.

These pictures are my mementos. Beautiful memories I can rifle through weeks from now.

And my freezer and cupboards will be filled with mementos of the richness and goodness of my home that I can eat in the lonely winter months.

These are my spiritual moments.

The moments that get me through.

And if my efforts to grasp onto these people and this place is in vain, then that preacher can call me a fool.



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::family(part 9)history::

who were so dark of heart they might not speak,
a little innocence will make them sing;
teach them to see who could not learn to look
–from the reality of all nothing

will actually lift a luminous whole;
turn sheer despairing to most perfect gay,
nowhere to here,never to beautiful:
a little innocence creates a day.

And something thought or done or wished without
a little innocence,although it were
as red as terror and as green as fate,
greyly shall fail and dully disappear–

but the proud power of himself death immense
is not so as a little innocence

-e. e. cummings-


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Being a photographer that people know personally is a win-win thing.  Family and friends often look to you to photograph and capture their special moments, and you get to do something you enjoy while gifting them at the same time.  It’s like killing two birds with one stone…or three birds with two stones…or something.

Either way, one of my greatest ambitions for becoming a good photographer is blessing the people I love with good photos.  When my cousin shoots the winning basket, I want to capture the shot.  When my sister graduates, I want to be able to take some great senior photos for her as a gift.  It’s an exciting thing, to bless those around you with your talents and gifts whatever they may be…for me, I hope to be growing in my knowledge and excellence of photography to give my family and friends some great pieces to hang on their walls or file away in family albums.

That ambition in mind, I was pretty excited when Will and Kat invited me to shoot some engagement photos for them.  I’ve known Will since I transferred to Houghton Academy in 7th grade and we’ve been really good friends ever since.  Will proposed to Kat over Christmas break and they are planning to get married in August 2010. He’s currently studying law at Vanderbilt University, and Kat works for Americorps in Buffalo, NY.

Since Will is living in Nashville and John and I are in Savannah, we met up in Atlanta this past weekend and had a great time touring the city as well as taking some engagement shots.

We started in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and things were pretty steamy (literally- I had to keep wiping off my lens because it was fogging up from all the moisture).

The garden was featuring an orchid display which was beautiful and made for a great backdrop.

So sweet.

There were lots of unique plants and textures that allowed me to try some new things.  I had fun trying out different ways to compose my pieces and frame my subjects.

They were great sports, willing to brave the snow (YES we had SNOW in Georgia this weekend!) and let me use this beautiful tree to frame them.

Atlanta was a great city to try some ‘urban-esque’ shots.

Some of you may know, this shade of mustardy yellow is one of my favorite colors and I insisted we stop and take some pictures against this wall.

Their outfits went perfectly with this location, don’t you think?

After some unclear directions and re-routing (we always get lost in Atlanta), we stumbled upon this beautiful Episcopal Church in the heart of the city. It had a quaint garden with this decaying bench, perfect for a shot with Will and Kat’s favorite black and white print- The New York Times.

I wanted to end with this shot because it clearly demonstrates how well Kat knew how to work the camera.  She did an amazing job and really made it easy for me to shoot them as a couple.

It was really great to work with friends on my first shoot. They were encouraging, patient, and allowed me to try some new things which really benefitted me, and also allowed time for some really good shots.

Will and Kat—congrats.


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in time of roses(who amaze

A few days ago I spent an hour or two exploring the Savannah Botanical Gardens.  I was quite surprised to see how much was still in bloom in the garden, ignorantly assuming that my fall and winter climates would look similar no matter where I live.  The muted gray and brown tones of fall and early winter I’ve grown up with in western NY have not overtaken the scenery here.  Pansies and roses were still in bloom along side small trees displaying glowing golden leaves, hesitantly turning to shades of amber and crimson.

In compliment with my time at the garden, I’ve recently been re-reading a childhood favorite book- The Secret Garden by Frances Hogdson Burnett.  The story revolves around Mary Maddox’s experience growing up in her Uncle’s home, Misselthwaite Manor in England, after being recently orphaned.  She spends her time at the Manor getting lost in a garden she finds and claims as her own.  Mary and her friends care for the abandoned garden, planting and pruning, bringing new life and watching the  garden grow before their eyes.

It’s been refreshing to read a story so pure, focusing on childhood and the beauty of the earth, exploring and learning, reminding me of the richness of simplicity and how awe-inspiring our environment is.

in the time of daffodils (who know

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be

(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me,remember me

–ee cummings

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