Photo Friday: Growing in Rocky Places

072116 hen and chicks

Trying something new here — Photo Fridays.

In the midst of the politics and the violence all over social media, I am weary, and my shoulders are struggling with the weight of the world’s brokenness. Maybe your shoulders need strengthening, too.

I needed to be reminded of this: beauty is still out there in the world, too. Hope is there, too.

These hen and chicks gave me a burst of courage. In the midst of what seems like an inhospitable environment, on a hot and dry rock, of all places, they hang in and keep growing.

In the face of what seems impossible or unbearable, may you and I find the strength and courage to keep growing and loving instead of giving up in defeat. May we lean into the discomfort we feel because of the world’s brokenness, rather than slinking away and hiding from it.

Even if evil seems like it’s winning, even if the challenge seems too big to tackle,  let’s be stubborn like these hen and chicks.

Advertisements

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring.

I had a few spare moments to hike with my camera this morning, and here’s a few of my favorite snaps from the trip. Pasque flowers are still my new favorite this year.

Spring flowers are popping up!

Happy Spring, everyone!

In spite of the snow in Minnesota this morning, the crocus, iris and pasque flowers are opening up! I was thrilled to get outside with my camera, even if I got snowed on before I was done with my adventure. I’m a bit obsessed with pasque flowers right now. I love their fluffy fuzziness that glows in the light!

Here’s a few of my favorite photos from this morning.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

121815 How Can I Keep From Singing

In other years, Advent marked my favorite part of the church calendar. All the anticipation and hope made me eager for Jesus. This year I’ve followed our Christmas preparation traditions, and the emotions and the “feels” of Advent have seemed empty.

The world seems especially violent this November and December; I know it is almost always violent, but somehow the weight of the evil seems much more pervasive. Maybe I’m just paying more attention rather than burying my head in the sand.

And as I sat through a choir concert last week with J and my mother-in-law, I found myself tearing up as I heard Robert Lowry’s hymn How Can I Keep from Singing at the close of the concert. The choir’s singing filled Orchestra Hall with hopeful, worshipful song. As they sang the chorus, “No storm can shake my inmost calm while to the Rock I’m clinging,” I felt God’s warmth with me.

Even as life feels uncertain, even as I’m not sure how some things will shake out, I’m still hanging onto Jesus with a death grip.  Jesus is worthy of that trust, and I can be confident, though waves crash overhead and storms arise, Jesus won’t drop me either.

Though I’ve only heard the words and tune of the hymn once, they linger with me on repeat in my head. And in the repetition, joy and hope bubble up from some mysterious place. How can I keep from singing?

Photo + Wisdom from Kosuke Koyama

Truthfully, we sought out the holiday train so I could put this quote and photo together. I’ve been struck by the vividness of the imagery in this Koyama quote I jotted down a few years ago. I wanted the electric lights and train together behind his words. Beyond that, I struggle with the image and quote.

Maybe the experience makes the words ring more truthfully — not because I experienced them lived out, but because I experienced the opposite. Waiting for the train and watching it pull in was not full of Christmas spirit, generosity or self-denial. Rather, people shoved and nudged their way past to stand in front of those who arrived before them. Families grumbling back and forth over others crowding their space. Me first. Me first. Me first. And I was sadly part of that bitter, selfish cry as I got aggravated with all the phones obstructing my photos.

Lord, have mercy. Teach me to walk in your ways Jesus, instead of mine.

121715 Koyama Train