Depths of Sorrow, Heights of Joy

“Art also reveals the “roar which lies on the other side of silence.” In other words, artists, by being sensitive to the world around them, also feel deeply the wounds and agony of life along with its explosive potential. To know an artist is to know both the depth of sorrows and the heights of joy. Therefore, we need to consider the arts as a way to value life’s mysterious details and as a way to train our senses to pay attention to the world. The discipline of the arts allows for this luxurious communing to take place in the deeper soils of all our lives. Artists are the conduits of life, articulating what all of us are surely sensing but may not have the capacity to express. But having said”

— Art and Faith: A Theology of Making by Makoto Fujimura

Foxglove in the Summertime

“The beautiful parts of life don’t cancel out the hard parts of life.”

– Emily P. Freeman (on the HopeOligie Podcast from June 2015.)

On the heel of the most magical weekend , I received some sad news. In fact, I received in while in transit .

The grief is layered.

And , like so many things in life, it isn’t my story to tell.

Deeply rooted in my personality to get really quiet while processing. This is not in order to be caught or mysterious. But because at my core, I’m still processing.

But I’m still sad .

We contain multitudes.

And sometimes that means being deeply grieved over a loss of something that you didn’t know was yours to begin with.

And sometimes really beautiful moments can come spring forth from the darkness.

But sometimes the moments take longer than you like. And the unfurling is long, slow and painful.

And as much as we would like endless days of sunshine, we can breathe the beautiful of deeply right to the marrow of our bones even as we hold back the tears that so desperately need to fall.

Because as Emily P Freeman said , “The beautiful parts of life don’t cancel out the hard parts.”

Foxglove is a good reminder of these hard truths. Foxglove, beautiful and poisonous. Helpful and harmful.

We contain joy and grief, wonder and misery, hope and fear, pleasure and pain.

And it is still well with our souls.

Psalm 23

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd,(A) I lack nothing.(B)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,(C)

3 he refreshes my soul.(D)

He guides me(E) along the right paths(F)
for his name’s sake.(G)

4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a](H)

I will fear no evil,(I)
for you are with me;(J)
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table(K) before me
in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;(L)
my cup(M) overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love(N) will follow me
all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

– William Wordsworth

A bouquet of daffodils isn’t quite as magnificent as a whole field, but they do bring me joy on a dreary , cold spring morning.

Prayers Rising like Incense

“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141 : 2 NIV

I’m taking liberties with my metaphor. This is obviously steam and not incense. But I’ve been thinking about the prayers of the saints lately.

Are our prayers rising?

In this time of chaos, I can wring my hands. I can be afraid of what’s coming, or what might (or might not ) happen.

Or I can choose hope. Or I can bend the knee to Christ. I can pray with Habakkuk.

2 “Lord, I have heard(B) of your fame;
I stand in awe(C) of your deeds, Lord.(D)
Repeat(E) them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.”


If I’m honest, I’ve had seasons where I feel as if instead of rising and ascending to heaven, instead my prayers are hitting the ceiling.

I’ve cried out day after day, with no answer on the horizon.

Or at least not an answer that I could easily perceive. At times I am guilty of not giving God the time and space to work. I want healing, rescue , a miracle… and like the girl from Willie Wonka, “I want it now.”

Sometimes, it seems like nothing is happening. Like we keep hoping, keep praying, and nothing changes. It’s easy to give up hope.

I’ve been in the process of looking back over the past few years, realizing that many of the prayers I prayed in that desperate season are being answered now.

I couldn’t see the answered prayers as they were happening. I could only see them months down the road. Once healing had already been steadily underway.

Even though I thought my prayers weren’t going anywhere, God was listening. He was receiving those prayers, as they ascended to Him. My help and deliverance was on the way , even when I couldn’t see because my vision was blurred by tears.

I hope that wherever you find yourself today, you hold on to hope. That you choose joy, like Habakkuk. That you keep your prayers rising .

Chasing the Light

I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.

-Trent Parke, The Seventh Wave

Pensive Puppy

Isn’t she the sweetest? I love how she is griping onto Zach’s hand in these photos.

We are in a very specific season of puppy care right now. Our washer hums all day, and there are quite a few “accidents”, as well as opportunities for us all to practice patience.

I’ve been singing that song from the Veggie Tales version of Esther for weeks …

“ Puppies are cuddly, puppies are cute. They’re never nasty or mean. I’d give a home to all the lost puppies, if ever one day I were Queeeeeeeeen.”

Because, yes, of course Puppies are cuddly and cute. We are halfway through our puppy journey, and frankly I am ready for them to go to their new homes. I have a feeling that some people would be baffled by this. Who could not love adorable little balls of fluff?

Well, I do enjoy them. They’re fun. But they are smelling up my house, making endless messes, and crying at 3 am every morning.

It’s like having a group of babies. But penultimate babies, because puppies are definitely a step down from ultimate.

While they are snuggly and soft and sweet… they aren’t babies.

I’m not a dog person, I’m a baby person. I like actual children over “fur babies” ( and that term annoys me to no end) all day, everyday.

I have been contemplating this recently. How our culture has witnessed a rise in people choosing to not have children, but who lavish love and attention on their pets.

For millennia, children were considered to be blessings- the ultimate goal, the thing needed to make your life complete.

In our current culture, every year or so the news media estimates the staggering cost of raising children.

As if you could some how do a cost versus benefit on something so intangible.

How much does unconditional love cost? What is the worth of being witness to someone’s first word, first step? How do we asses value to another eternal soul?

We can’t , and we shouldn’t.

These puppies are fun. I will look back fondly on this season, as I’m sure my children will.

But the relationships we have with these puppies will not define my life. They could never come close to replacing the love I have for my husband and children. There’s simply no comparison between a dog who won’t remember me in April, and the children that grew from a single cell in my body.

Winter Sunsets and Dependable Kindness

I have a very kind husband.

The kind of husband who has forever changed my view of men.

You see, I grew up with men who equated machoism and control for manliness. Men who were selfish, unreliable. Men who valued status and power and wealth. Men who thought using women was acceptable. Men who were unreliable. Men who never had the courage or guys to dig in, do the hard work, stick around.

Enter Zach.

He’s proven that he will do whatever it takes to make our marriage work, and I’m so grateful. He is raising our boys to be godly men, and I couldn’t be more encouraged. He genuinely adores our daughter, and I’m so grateful.

He’s gentle, but he’s a far cry from being a pushover.

My husband is strong, tough, manly.

But he is also tender, thoughtful, kind, and perceptive.

Day in, day out.


I have a photo session coming up that I’m a little nervous about. It’s a larger group than what I normally shoot. There are some unfamiliar elements in regards to time, place, etc.

Before I could say any of this , he had a plan. He took me location scouting, after putting in a 14 hour work day.

He got out of the truck and tromped around in the snow because I needed a subject to practice my lighting on.

That’s the everyday kind of love that really matters to me, to the marrow of my bones.

He’s on my side. He cares about the things I care about. He is kind.

If I try to thank him, he’ll shrug it off. Say it’s no big deal.

But dependable kindness is the biggest of all deals.

Valentines Day will soon be upon us. This is a good time to remind our children that Hollywood romance has nothing on the Daily Dependable kind of love.