In a field near my home, I noticed someone took the time to put a star on top of a tree. A little piece of joy in a field full of weeds, shrubs, and trees. It’s been there for a few weeks and every time I drive by it makes me smile. Yesterday, I finally stopped to capture this star to share the little ways we can spread joy in the world. The wind has caused the star to lean more than when I first noticed, but it’s still holding on strong.
Ever since I became an “adult”, the Christmas season is filled with emotionally difficulties for me. There’s struggle to want to keep the Christmas season about Jesus, yet also getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of parties, gift giving, decorating, cookie making etc. This year has been no different; I struggle to maintain my joy. Part of my problem is my birthday is a week before Christmas. To some people they could careless what day they celebrate their birthday, I however feel it should be celebrated on the actual day or let’s call it something else. Any other day doesn’t hold the same buzz to the actual day. I love birthdays because it’s the one day in which the world gets to celebrate you. There doesn’t need to be a ton of gifts, or parties but to have one day to simply celebrate a persons entry to the world is special. For my kids, we always do something special from the moment they wake up and let them be the star for the day. My husband and I have a more subtle day but it’s special all the same. What happens when you have a birthday near Christmas is everyone gets caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Birthday’s becomes a side note of “oh, yeah, and Happy Birthday.” The focus is celebrating Christmas not an individual. We live in a busy world and I truly try to think of all the other things I am so grateful for so I really never voice this struggle because it seems so petty. Like usual, I smile and move on to a new day. Really the celebration should focus on Jesus, because without Him who am I? Yet I am a sinner and selfish.
Another part of my struggle is living so far from my family, it can get lonely to not have people who share the same traditions and memories as what I did growing up. But as I passed this tree this week I thought, instead of feeling sorry for myself to have to share in Jesus’ birthday and while I feel alone among so many other people, I need to celebrate all these struggles because Jesus understands the struggle too. Jesus came into this world as a baby, needing the help of humans. Throughout His life we don’t read stories about Jesus hanging with friends being carefree and joyous. No, we read stories of Him surrounding Himself with people whom He taught and served. Even as a young child, Jesus was found in the temple teaching, then with the Apostle He taught, healed, and performed miracles. Sure they must have enjoyed each others company but the Apostle always looked to Jesus for direction. Who did Jesus turn to for comfort? Mary and His Father. So I as pondered the lesson of what I need to learn from my emotional struggles, it occurred to me Jesus must have felt lonely at times too. He knew He was to suffer and die, he prophesied it several times, yet His friends couldn’t understand His message.
During Eucharistic Adoration this week, I prayed for help to make sense of my struggles and the Lord helped me to see how I need to be a light of His joy in the darkness. There are so many others who also are alone and struggle during this time of year and every day. Each of us are called to share the Gospels which are full of people who struggle and witnesses to Jesus’ healing love. Driving away from the Church it felt like I heard the saying before, I was then remembered who:
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta lived her life with this thought. The more I thought about this tree and Mother Teresa I realized I too have to be a light in the darkness. God doesn’t let us struggle to succumb to the problems, but to learn to lean on Him and let Him shine through us. When no one else understand, Jesus understand. He understands the struggle so much He took it to the cross with Him out of love. A love so great there is nothing He did not and would not suffer for us so we would come to understand true love. Mother Teresa felt abandoned and alone. YES, can you believe someone who everyone wanted to be around struggled!! She knew she was loved even if she didn’t feel God’s presence. She knew she needed to be the face of Christ for those who had no one. She was obedient in the task given to her and we are called to do the same. If you feel like you are alone in this world, try to understand you are given an opportunity to be a light in the darkness. Turn to Jesus for help, because he is always with you.
“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
― Mother Teresa
Through a simple tree whom one ordinary person felt the extraordinary need to place a shiny star, I found a light in my darkness; Joy in the world. THANK YOU!! I know I will still struggle in life because knowing Christ doesn’t mean life is easy. On those moments when I am all but blown out, I will start again. I will let God breathe new life into me until I am a well controlled fire. There will be old and new struggles to over come, but hopefully, my dim light will continue to shine and grow brighter as I learn to let Christ shine through me.
P.S. I had planned to write this post for a few days, but the hustle and bustle kept me away from the computer. What better day than to post though, after the announcement Mother Teresa will be canonized a saint in 2016.
Let YOUR light shine,
It’s been over two years since I have blogged because I had lost purpose in sharing my photos and thoughts. After lots of soul searching, I feel a calling to restart posting. It’ll be me, my images, my thoughts but with new light; TO GLORIFY GOD IN THE EXTRA ORDINARY MOMENTS OF LIFE.
Over the past few years, I have been struggling to find a reason to want to share my photos and thoughts. Social media popularity made me question the purpose of a blog? Does anyone still read blogs? Writing my thoughts in several places was leaving me feel empty, so I stopped. But now I plan to write the big ideas here. This blog is not to show case how great my life is or is not, rather it’s to let the light of God show through me to those who might be searching for their own purpose. There will be posts of where I find God in my everyday mundane life. We live in a Pinterest perfect culture, I think it’s time we try to take back the life of imperfection, vulnerability, and contentment with who we are today. Looking back at old posts, this site has always been a way for me to find my own purpose, and now that I have found that understanding I am giving my everything to God’s will for me. Hopefully, someone will find the ramblings entertaining or meaningful. Thank you for reading!
Starting on December 8 2015 ending November 2016, Pope Francis has dedicated this next year to celebrate in the Joy of God’s Mercy. Let me start by saying, I have never been this excited for a liturgical year ever!! What better time to start sharing my joy in the mercy the Father has shown me. In order to make sure I do not come across as pious or arrogant, I would first like to ask God to forgive me if any of my writings are way off base/offense to others which I am sure they will be because I have been known to inadvertently offend someone. For transparency, I am a Roman Catholic and I love my faith. That being said, I would like to thank all my fellow Christians who share your faith with the world. It has been through the sharing of many faiths, in person and online over my life, which has helped me to have a personal encounter and friendship with Jesus. It is this very friendship which has given me peace and joy to face all the problems of parenting, marriage, and life with confidence in knowing it will all be ok. I would also like to make it very clear, I am as big a sinner as anyone. I have no special knowledge or education other than what I read, listen to, or have come to understand through the power of the Holy Spirit. This site is solely my thoughts and not that of my husband, my family, my friends, my church, or my religion. 🙂
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Why am I posting this parable for my first post in two years? This morning I was reading through Luke 15. In Luke 15 there are 3 parables of lost people or things. The first being the parable of the Lost sheep. There is also the parable of the Prodigal son. Both of these stories are well known, but as I read through the chapter I was drawn to the parable of the lost coin. Immediately, I envisioned walking outside and finding a penny on the ground. Who doesn’t get excited about finding a penny… “find a penny, pick it up, if it’s heads you’ll have good luck.” Then I made a connection to how we are pennies and God’s mercy is when He finds us, picks us up, and places us gently in His pocket to carry all throughout the day. Who wouldn’t want to be found by God, to be safely surrounded by His love. His mercy is His love. Just as a child is excited and rejoicing in finding a penny, God rejoices when we go to Him and ask for his forgiveness. I say go to Him, because He is always looking for and waiting for us to return to Him.
Pennies seem so insignificant when we only have one, yet if you are short by penny it becomes some what significant to your need. We are the one penny God wants. It can be hard to think God would want us, to love us, but He does. It’s way we were created, to be loved and to love. Let’s think… How many times do we leave a penny in the “leave a penny/take a penny” bowl at a store? Leaving a penny is a gift of mercy and love to a stranger whether you realize it or not, because when someone is in need of help your penny matters. A few pennies in a homeless person’s hands could help add up to a warm cup of coffee and therefore access to a restroom to help them clean up…mercy and love. A few pennies could help build a home, a school, provide food. So as insignificant as a penny may seem one or many pennies together can make a big difference. Each of us make a difference.
May each of us look for the lost coins and rejoice in it’s being found. I pray, for each person who reads this, that they know they are like a penny God is longing to have back in His pocket.
Let YOUR light shine,
As you have noticed, I haven’t been posting on the blog or sharing a lot of photos this past year. Part of me needed a break from trying to capture every moment on a camera, part of me lost inspiration, and part of me simply didn’t want to share every image with the world.
Photography had become a hobby, turned business, turned expectation in my life. There has always been a feeling among those who share images via social media that the more people who like/favorite your image the better a photographer you are. If you were someone who didn’t get a lot of likes/favorites you sucked. It didn’t seem to matter how good you actually were as a photographer, likes=success. Who doesn’t want to be liked and succeed? Over the past year, I wanted to take a step back and look at my photographic vision for me, and me alone. Posting images online is great, but I found the more I posted the more I doubted my work; I compared my images to others. It was easy to get a false sense of goodness when a lot of people liked the images I felt I liked enough to post. Getting a lot of likes/favorites made me feel like I was on top of the World! It’s like being a T-Rex… big, bad, respected (even though it’s because they would eat you), but know their weakness and they crumble. A T-Rex couldn’t even hold a camera for heaven’s sake. 🙂
Having taken a break from posting every image I snap to social media, I’ve learned to appreciate my photographic vision. I have even been able to see my vision in my images. Seems funny to say that, but those who get it, will get it. 🙂 My vision is up close and personal. I don’t shoot with long lenses so you don’t know I’m there, I shoot with the camera in your face. Sure it’s not for everyone, but it’s how I connect with my subjects. It’s a conversation between the subject and me, my camera simply documents the exchange.
With all that said, I encourage all those who are having a hard time finding inspiration in their work to take a step back for a while. Put the camera down and enjoy the world by living in the moment. Take away the expectation you feel others have for your images. Capture truly what you want to capture with a camera for you, not because you want to post it online so other people can like it. A while back someone had posted in one of my photography groups, I believe it was on Facebook, they only shoot 10 pictures a day when on an outing with family. They had stated it helped to balance living in the moment and documenting their family. I loved the idea and now try to do the same thing.
Today, I’m looking forward to the new year, new experiences, new images, and a renewed love of the camera.
Let YOUR light shine,
Woke up this morning to fog and large spider webs throughout the garden. The patience of such a small creature, to build such an intricate trap is amazing. The size of the web was a reminder on the spider which wove it. As I was trying to capture this beauty on 4×5 film, the said spider decided to make known its existence. I have no clue where it came from, one second no spider, the next HUGE ugly-looking spider appeared in the middle of the web. It was then I decided to walk away. No more photos and no pulling the dying flowers on the patio today. 🙂
Let YOUR light shine,
9/11/2001 will forever carry a different meaning for everyone. At first, it was a time of great sadness, anxiety, and many unknowns about the future. Now as I look back I want to remember the day/events as a time when we as a nation came together to love and support our neighbors. It was a time when we showed how strong we are as people, families, communities, and a nation. It was a time I wish we all would remind ourselves of how to give and live everyday.
(The film images taken in a Nikon FM are from last October while visiting NYC; friend and I spent some time at the 9/11 Memorial. At the time there was lost of security to get into the construction site, but once inside there was a sense of calm and peace. It’s a beautiful memorial, one I suggest you see for yourself if ever in New York City. )
Let YOUR light shine,
« Older posts