AdventPhotos2016 – Time

29 11 2016

As a more task-oriented person, I’ve always had a pretty intentional and structured approach to managing my time. I tend to value time by what was completed within it. I order my next year’s Moleskine calendar in September because the possibility of them selling through the print run and me not having my calendar for the coming year makes me break out in hives. I’ve got a daily, weekly and monthly plan, and every year I do an annual time-block plan – all the major milestones I plan to complete, plugged into a set time frame. I just reviewed 2016’s plan so I could set up 2017, and for the 2nd year in a row I accomplished less than half of what I intended to accomplish with my time. Chronic illness doesn’t play nice when it comes to respecting my time. But the longer I sit in this space, the more I come to understand the the importance and value of slow time. Time that adheres to priorities that I did not set. Time that has space in it to see, to listen, to think. Time that sits in surrender to a purpose greater than my own. Time that has learned to rest in the hope of what will be. Waiting time; Advent.

AdventPhotos2016 – Shine

27 11 2016

I took today’s photo at church this morning. It’s Reggie and her foster mom, Connie. Reggie has a clothes esthetic that I happen to quite agree with; shiny is always better. Today her shirt has a blue and silver sequined heart, and the ankle straps on her shoes are covered with silver studs. Last week her shirt said “Glitter makes me smile!” written in glitter, of course. That girl rocks shiny.

There is a difference though, between shiny and shine. Shiny can only reflect light from another source. Shiny is environment dependent. It is limited by what is around it. If Reggie goes into a dark room, her shirt isn’t shiny anymore, it can only be shiny when it’s around light. Shine however, can be a verb. Shine can act on, and change its environment. It is environment independent. When a light shines into a dark room, the darkness is altered.

Connie doesn’t typically wear shiny clothes like Reggie prefers. But, Connie shines. As a point of reference for anyone who has not participated in the foster care system, it is not typically a space filled with rewards, affirmation or compensation. It’s not a space filled with light. Connie chooses to extend a mother’s care and love into dark places where she is not obligated to go. Connie shines when she does the seemingly mundane, unspectacular tasks of washing laundry, shampooing hair, packing lunches, reviewing homework, and soothing troubled sleep. She shines when she sits down to lunch at a Mexican restaurant and orders a big plate of nothing but french fries because she knows that is what Reggie likes, and what Reggie likes matters. She comes into a dark place and rather than being defeated or discouraged by the darkness, she shines; changing that dark space into something that allows a little girl to fall in love with shiny sequins and glitter. Shine enables shiny.

As I light the candles each week on the Advent wreath symbolizing the arrival of The Light, in an environment marked by the darkness of division, fear, hatred, and anger both in our country and around our world; I am reminded that the choice between dependance on the environment around me, or acting on and being an agent of change within that environment is a choice that rests with me.  I want to shine.


26 11 2016

Advent starts tomorrow!! Take a deep breath in, squeeze your eyes shut tight, curl your toes, clasp your hands together, feel a grin of anticipation pull against the corners of your mouth; it’s coming…Christmas! The arrival. Emmanuel, God with us. The birth, christening this life and being with newness. Awakening our spirits to the possible.

I hope you’ll join me again this year in walking Advent through the camera’s lens. I’m including a graphic with the Theme Word for each day. If you want to look and read, wonderful. If you want to participate with your photos, I would love it! Feel free to share them as a comment, or if you’d rather post a link to your blog or social media post just use #AdventPhotos2016 so we can keep them all connected (if you are linking through to a social media post, make sure your privacy settings are “public” on the linked post so we can all see, please.)

I’m so looking forward to sharing this time with you all again!