I never know what I might capture when I hold my camera near the wet sand and blindly capture my intended subject. It is a freeing way to photograph a subject (despite the peripheral attention needed to keep track of the incoming tide). But almost always something special happens when I have done my best to fix my settings and then swing my camera low to the ground, press the shutter button, and ultimately surrender to the outcome. Even the imperfect, out-of-focus, becomes beautiful.

 

A few days ago I listened to an actor talk about his craft during a lengthy interview. He was asked how much of his work depended upon being prepared or relying upon plain old intuition. He gave the audience this little gem (my paraphrase): Some actors may have a natural intuitive instinct about them to be great performers, but this is more a rarity than a common occurrence. I have found that when you have done the hard work at learning your craft you will find that when you arrive at having to play a certain role you can let go and have faith that the intuitive part is freed up to do its thing. The result is often not something that you could have even planned. In fact, it is often better than what you could have contrived had you relied upon the technical formulas of the craft.

I think I am learning this is what faith really looks like as it is played out in my life. Yes, sometimes it requires giant leaps into the unknown, when I am brought to a place where my efforts and logic are turned upon their heads and I choose to surrender to making a choice to take the hand of God and follow him. But honestly, in my lifetime I have only experienced that kind of faith two or three times. They are imprinted upon my soul as life changing moments, with a clear before and after. The rest of my faith journey has been learning what the actor shared….that I can spend a life time leaning on the “auto” function, settling for mediocre auto-like results, or I can put my mind to doing my part (which entails hard work, effort and discipline) so that God can do his….which is often watching me do more than I ever thought I could.

 

If, in the acting world, intuitiveness is refined by hours of hard work, then I think that in my daily life, faith is exercised when I trust that God can use what I have. Of course he is known for working in us despite what we have or do not have, the work we have done or not done, but how much more of an exciting and abundant life can be mine when I watch him lead me into places where he and I can work together. Where I can know that I have done my part and then have faith that he will do his.

Makes me really ponder over what work I need to tend to knowing that he has been patiently waiting to work with me, and through me, all along.

 

 

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I woke up Monday morning with a desire to walk the grounds of the San Juan Bautista Mission so I packed myself a lunch and my camera and set off for the morning. I have visited this mission several times so I know my way around the grounds and have taken many pictures of it, however this time I decided that I would focus on capturing the small details that caught my eye: the light, the shadows, lines and shapes, colors. I am drawn to elevating the sacred in the unseen. I believe that the beauty of life can be found in the smallest of details and we miss so much of it as we scurry along our paths. We default on the chance to discover how much we can actually be satisfied by simply opening our eyes and giving our attention to the things that cry out to be noticed.

 

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So, my friend, may the details bless you today. As you trod along your own path, may you make it your mission (pun totally intended) to pause and give yourself that chance to discover that you do not need wealth, possessions, a large home, a bursting wardrobe, a successful career, a busy busy schedule to experience abundant life, delight, contentedness. May you ask for the eyes to see the beauty that is already around you, waiting to be noticed, waiting to give you something far more simple and pure and life giving.

And here is my promise: the more you look for beauty in the details of life, the more beauty will find you. After a while, one day you will find yourself noticing the light flittering through the leaves on a tree, or the shape of a shadow on a wall, or a softness to a corner of a room during a certain time of day. You will wonder…Is this new? Has this tree always been here? Have I never seen the dust dance on the rays of the evening sun before? Have there always been that many birds in the sky on my morning drive to work? Have I never noticed the rich patina on my rusted watering can? Have the bees always buzzed so loudly in the tree out in my front yard? Why am I so giddy about the green spring buds on the trees or spotting a family of quail on my morning walk? Has the dusky hour always been the color of lavender? Or the winter light whiter and softer?

The answer is yes and yes and yes! All of it, yes. Because when you choose to find beauty it finds you and it wakes you up from that blinding, egocentric slumber that we all fall prey to when we get lost in the lulling rush of life. Beauty expands the eyes of your heart to see and receive all that you have been missing. I call it the law of beauty and I have seen (and experienced) what it can do to a human heart. Praying you discover the truth of it on your own if you have not already. I rarely hand out promises (my kids know this to be true), but this one I can guarantee will work its magic in you.

 

 

….whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely (precious and beautiful), whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things….and the peace of God will be with you. Philippians 4:8,9

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  • Heather M. - yes, i agree. it’s amazing the beauty you see when you open your eyes to it. these photos are just gorgeous, t. i love seeing what you see.ReplyCancel

  • michelle - Did you steal an orange? I totally would’ve been tempted to steal an orange. But I wouldn’t have, because I would be plagued by guilt.

    These photos are so lovely. Everything felt quiet and peaceful as I looked through them. Thank you for taking the time to see the details and pushing us to do the same.

    xoReplyCancel

  • stacey - These are so beautiful. And I love your words.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - I love this! I agree, details, the small things & that it’s not about the “materialistic big things” that complete someone (at least, not for us).

    This is making me want winter to be over with!ReplyCancel

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I put off washing my car for weeks, praying for that rain we so desperately need. But when the weather guy predicted no rain in the seven-day forecast….

*****

Time Stamp is a photo project my fellow photographer friend, Stacey, and I are challenging each other with over this coming year. To see what she was up to at the same time, click here.

And to read more about our Time Stamp project you can click back to our first post here.

Happy weekend everyone!

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  • Jean - the other day, i went at 3pm and decided i was not going to wait behind 8 other cars and said, screw it. i’ll wait another day. :DReplyCancel

  • andrea - And now I have the song At the Car Wash in my head. :-) cool shot!ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda Steed - this is AWESOME!ReplyCancel

  • michelle - Please don’t think I’m weird but this photo makes me winter heart happy. The sunny yellow and sudsy water makes me look forward to summer. WEIRD. ;) This is what happens when a girl has been socked in fog for WEEKS straight.ReplyCancel

  • Juliette - ha, I love it! I’m totally going to have to try this shot myself sometime.ReplyCancel

  • Heather M. - Such a cool shot! I love these peeks into your everyday life, T.ReplyCancel

  • stacey - I love this!!ReplyCancel

  • time stamp: 1:00pm » Stacey Montgomery Photography - […] To see what my friend Tracey was snapping at the exact same time, visit her time stamp here. […]ReplyCancel

Last week the weather reports were predicting an amazing weekend of weather, especially along the coast. We piled into the car after lunch on Saturday and drove to Point Lobos Reserve just south of Carmel. As you can tell by my husband’s summer attire, the weather was just as the weather people predicted: amazing. The coastline was awash with a beautiful misty spray, every color was saturated as if on steroids, and off in the distance we could spot the sprays of the grey whales migrating their way down to Baja. We explored some of the trails, climbed a few trees, and stayed until sunset. Everyone still in the park found a place along the bluffs and settled in for the show, which was beyond beautiful. Afterwards we trekked back along the trail in the dusky glow of the left over sunset and made our way out the park to find some dinner. Driving home I felt a peaceful content. These kinds of days are my most favorite.

Taking a time lapse video of the setting sun….

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  • Heather M. - Oh what a gift to have this time together in such a beautiful place. I’m so glad you were able to go. Simply breathtaking!ReplyCancel

    • tracey - And you’ve been in some of those spots, H! We went there last year!ReplyCancel

  • stacey - These are absolutely gorgeous. Breathtaking.
    And I love seeing M holding dad’s hand.ReplyCancel

    • tracey - I know….I love that she still loves to hold his hand. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - SO beautiful! I SO want to see those whales in these pictures, and keep looking for them. But, even without whales they are amazing. By the way, I still read your blog. That makes six! ;)ReplyCancel

    • tracey - Thanks for keeping on coming back, J! :)ReplyCancel

  • michelle - So beautiful. I can imagine the roar of the water and the whistle of the wind. The warmth of the sun. What a perfect place to spend time together.ReplyCancel

  • Mom - The views are amazing. I always felt you could see the circumference of the earth, or all the way to China! Long time since I’ve been there, but always remember how breath taking it is. xomomReplyCancel

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In the depths of every human soul rests a deeply rooted need and longing to be known…..to be acknowledged, to be seen both physically and intimately, received as worthy despite our flaws, validated as lovable.  The manifestation and satiation of this need may fall along a spectrum of extremities but it is there nonetheless. I see it in the way people chase after popularity and that “look at me!” celebrity status. I see it in the tears of a child who feels rejected by his peers. I watch it in the passive aggressive behavior of a hurting soul who cannot find the bravery to express the need with real words. I have also seen it manifest itself in grand displays of wealth or in the manipulating for power.

I feel the need rattle inside of me when I see others succeed, receive praise.

I feel its subtle whisper in my envy of others.

I sense it in a perceived rejection.

I watch it flutter off my gossiping tongue.

I see it written in my anger and frustration when my idealistic projections of what I think my life should be never materialize.

I find it attached to the heals of my personal fears.

I often find it embarrassing to watch people work soooooo hard to fulfill this need while living in complete unawareness, or denial, of it. They construct clever excuses around the why’s of what they are doing. They blame others, they justify their behavior, or they give in to a hopeless depressive despair over their hurt from a need gone unfulfilled.  I find it even more humbling when I realize that I, too, have carried the torch of prideful denial around my own personal struggles. Oh how easy it is to spot this struggle in others yet fail to recognize it in my own life!

I read a quote somewhere recently that it is a foolish thing to fool others, but criminal to fool yourself. While it is not a crime to experience that need to be known, for I believe we were created with that longing along with all of our other basic needs, but where we go to fulfill that need and how we get there is what can cause us to step into foolish, criminal territory.  The older I grow, the more I see how very true this is. When we are dishonest with ourselves about the root of our struggles we reveal ourselves to be the prime suspect in a crooked scheme to cover our tracks. Though we may attempt to point the finger somewhere else, we actually become our own villain in a woeful tale of deception.

So here is what I am learning about the path to wholeness: every struggle I wrestle with always brings me back to this place of needing to be known. My hurt reveals it. My words and actions reveal it. My thoughts reveal it. My insecurities reveal it. And the single most important action I can take when I am struggling with something is to crawl back to the starting place and do the work there. I call it the knowing-place. Heal the knowing-place and you alter the course of your actions, your relationships, your perceptions, your health, and your ability to experience joy.

I do not know what your knowing-place looks like, what stories it can tell, what wounds it wears, or even what actions it takes to guard and preserve itself. But I do believe that your knowing-place is just like mine: it was created by a God who knows it better than we do. He proclaims our knowing-place unconditionally and intimately loved and worthy because even before our birth we were seen, we were known, and we were loved. In other words, that need in us to be known has already been fulfilled, should we choose to cling to the truth of it. So whatever has affected your knowing-place in this earthly life to cause you to find yourself doing things and struggling with things you cannot seem to conquer, that place can be mended. And she is no fool who chooses to crawl her way back to the beginning and bravely begin the healing there.

 

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

 Psalm 139

 

 

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  • Georgia B. - i’m a bit stunned as i read this. it’s as though you were sitting in the kitchen with mr. B and me tonight, listening to everything i spilled out in tears to him, and then you wrote to me about it to encourage me back to the beginning… the knowing place. i simply love this.ReplyCancel

    • admin - G-the Spirit has a way of giving us what we need when we need it. I am so happy that you found it in these words. Hugs,TReplyCancel

  • Jenny Sims - Very well said. I agree with you that at the root of everything is this basic struggle (and the struggle to cling to the solution that is already given us). There are seasons when it feels unfairly hard to keep that knowing-place healed, when life seems bent on undermining God’s truth. But whoever said it’d be easy…
    This reminder is beautifully written and timely. <3ReplyCancel

    • admin - J–loved your words “when life seems bent on undermining God’s truth”. Yes, ’tis a daily struggle! But we cling to the truth bc if it were easy we’d never be in need of a great God!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - Yes. We all want to be known. And seen. And heard. And loved. The life long longing.
    Beautiful Tracey. Crawling back to the begin for healing – yes. It’s been a slow crawl this past year.ReplyCancel

    • admin - And a slow crawl is better than no crawl, A! I’m right there with you!ReplyCancel

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