Thursday Thanksgiving

I mentioned Monday (or was it Tuesday?) that I spent the weekend in Bennetts Point with Mama. It was a “girls’ weekend.” Mama wanted to check up on the place down there, visit with some friends, and attend the community meeting to see what was going on. She also planned to attend services at the new community church, but it is not yet ready for occupancy. We had hoped to take pictures of the new church, too, but the weather interfered with that project!

It has been a long time since Mama and I have had some extended one-on-one time. You know, she has always been my parent, but also my friend. We connect on many levels. She enjoys reading; I love to read. She has been crafty in her years—sewing, knitting, wood working, some painting. She loves to learn stuff. She is interested in many things. She has taught me much about being independent. I think she was a women’s libber before it was popular! I could easily picture her as one of the original suffragettes!

Daddy was often on the road for his job through the week. He worked construction as a laborer, foreman, and finally job superintendent, until his retirement. That meant he often went where the work was—Owensboro, Kentucky; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; various places in North and South Carolina and Georgia, leaving Mama to raise three children and keep the small farm going. I learned a great deal about being independent, making decisions, and being strong from Mama during those years. Even during these last months of Daddy’s life, Mama was strong. She told me that she had been preparing herself to be a widow for the last thirty-five years or so, ever since Daddy was diagnosed with cancer the first time in 1976.

This week, I am thankful for Mama’s presence and guidance, and most of all, for her love and support. I am thankful that she “gets” me, even though I am sometimes the “odd one out” in my family. She understands my introversion (my brother is the same. It’s my sister who is the extrovert!); she gets my need to create things. She knows who I am perhaps better than I know myself sometimes.

Mama is not exactly camera-shy, but she does not like us to take her picture unless she is ready for it, so I don’t have a candid to share from this weekend. But I do have one image that I love. The bottle bush at the end of the driveway is still blooming in November. There were maybe a half-dozen “brushes” still on the bush. And they were such a vibrant and deep red. (I wonder if they would grow this far inland. I know the oleander that grows around the house at Bennetts Point does not like the Midlands of South Carolina. Mama tried to grow one at her house in Peak.)

Beauty is all around us in all places and in all weather. It just takes us being wide awake to the world.


(I “messed” with the editing. The red is more muted in this image, and a little “bluer” than it was in real life, but art is about vision, and this is what I “see” in my head.)


Thursday Thanksgiving

After a month of worry and sorry, it is time for me to pick myself up and change my attitude. St. Paul writes frequently that no matter what the circumstances, we should give thanks. So, I am making my thanks public—on Facebook. Each day I am posting one thing for which I am thankful. Since today is September 3, I am posting my Day 3 thanks here in this space.

Day 3–#RiseinGratitude Yesterday didn’t happen has planned. I should be used to that since the last three weeks have gone nothing like I had planned, but God has a way of intervening sometimes. Yesterday, I felt like being creative. Creative for me often means pulling out my camera and going for a long walk to see what there is to see, to receive (as Christine Valters Paintner says in her writing about contemplative photography) images. In doing so, I see how great my/our God is. What a masterful Creator He is! I did not walk, but I opened some images I had taken two weeks ago and played with editing and artistic choices. Not only did I satisfy that emptiness that lack of making art created, but I also reveled in the beauty that God places in the world. We may have lost Eden in the Fall, but God constantly reminds us of what Paradise is. Just look at this beautiful morning glory! Do you see the hearts? God loves us so much that He reminds of His paradise!#BEDIP


Photo Journal

Wednesday Photo Journal #2

This past week was beautiful for the most part. We had a few thunderstorms and some much needed rain, but Saturday was typical South Carolina summer—hot and humid. I went out with the camera for a few minutes to walk around the back yard and to check out the secret garden that is so secret, it doesn’t know it’s a garden. I am not the one with the green thumb here. Most of my “garden” is in planters—one red-orange hibiscus, some white and purple verbena, dianthus, and lavender (which is not blooming yet). Over in the other garden, I have sown a variety of wildflowers, but they have not matured enough to bloom yet.

The last few times I’ve gone out to ramble with the camera, I’ve taken very little gear with me. I choose a lens before I go out. This time, I chose the Lensbaby double optic with the Composer Pro. I took the macro filters with me to use—if the spirit moved me. And it did for a few images, but not many. One of the things I like about the Lensbaby double optic is that it is like shooting with an 85mm lens. It is a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, but my Canon 7D is a crop sensor. I almost get the effect of a macro lens without the filters. The two filters are 4mm and 10mm each. I think I mainly used the 10mm.

Here are a few of the images:



I have been playing around with the Topaz Labs plugins for Photoshop. I especially like Simplify because I an achieve some painterly effects, as I did on these first two images. The old barn is on my father’s-in-law property. I have been photographing this old barn for a while now, and each time I get a different effect. for this image, I chose to use a watercolor effect. It needs a bit a tweaking yet, but I like of like it. (I even cloned out a building on the right side of the image so that barn would be the star.


I love the texture of hibiscus. You can see the veins in each petal.


I tried to create a vintage look for this rose, but as I wrote last week, red is a difficult color for me to photograph well and to process well. I think I may tweak this image more and use the Topaz Labs BW Effects. I love the Opalotype effects. I think that would give the image a vintage look. What do you think?



Even though I walk around the back yard and the ponds frequently, I always see something different, something new. That’s what I love so much about contemplative photographic practices: it’s all about seeing the world through eyes that are wide-open, receptive to possibility.


Seeing Red

No, I’m not angry. It just seems that everywhere I look this week, I see red and variations of red:

IMG_6050 A new hibiscus for the secret garden that is so secret it doesn’t know it’s a garden.

IMG_6055 Some dianthus

IMG_6064one of the buds on the red knockout rose my mother gave me for Christmas two years ago

IMG_6043one of the bottle brush bush blooms at the “retreat” at Bennetts Point

See? I told you, there is red everywhere this spring!