Around The House

our space

I belong to a really great photography group on facebook that is centered around storytelling through images. Unlike other groups I am a part of I have never seen a picture that makes me scratch my head or gringe…it is full of really talented people. One of the features on their blog is an hour by hour photo challenge. That’s right. Forget about your 365 daily or your 52 weeks thingie. One photograph every single hour.

I haven’t done it. Yet.

I want to, but I just haven’t. I haven’t ever done a 365 but I have done multiple weekly projects. I even did a first week of each month project one year. This is different though. Storytelling, whether in words or with images, needs to be cohesive and sometimes I feel like I am jumping from one thing to another thing all crazy like. I mean, I can point my camera at something every hour and click the shutter button. But thinking through the shots and stringing them together with a flow and a story…that requires thinking a little differently.

But I did realize that I take random pictures around my house on a fairly regular basis. Maybe because of color or the way the light is hitting something or just because it somehow holds meaning in my day.

This is pretty much where every day begins for me. I get up and first thing is push a button to get the coffee going. While it brews I typically feed the cats and give them fresh water, maybe start laundry and unload the dishwasher. But when I hear that final gurgle and swoosh my feet immediately bring me back to this spot.

I also try to get my bed made as early as possible. I just feel like I have accomplished something with it done. But I will confess that it doesn’t happen until later in the day. Even much later. Once I finished putting the throw pillows on it literally as Rob walked through the door at 5:30. But if it gets made it’s a win, right?

Sometimes, I might just grab the camera because I have noticed a spot in the house that I particularly like the look of or maybe something I don’t usually notice. In the past year or so I have managed to keep several different houseplants alive and that makes me happy and I like the look of live (non noise making live things) in our space.

Laundry. Man, I do a lot of laundry. There are six of us living here at home and the towels alone can really pile up up! I used to hate laundry but then I learned to see it as a sign of God’s providence and care for my people. We have what we need. Actually more than we need. I came to view it as a blessing (that can sometimes get out of hand) and one that has a beauty all its own.

Food. You have to know that food pictures are going to be a part of my random shooting. Yesterday, we enjoyed the company of some dear friends that visit our area once a year. It is always such a sweet time and one we really look forward to each summer. We made kabobs and while they were on the grill my friend picked some basil from our garden and proceeded to concoct a delicious chimichurri sauce to go with our meal. She didn’t even bat an eye when I told her to hold still so I could grab my camera. The light was just too good to pass up and the colors all looked so pretty.

She added some lemon zest too and it was so tasty drizzled across the skewers and on top of the rice.

I realize that a year from now, even a month from now or probably by next week if I am being honest, no one is going to be recalling these particular pictures much. But I will remember things whenever I do come across them again…the joy of friendship, the kindness of God in meeting our needs, the simple pleasures of a good cup of coffee and delight in keeping a houseplant alive.

Stopping for a moment to grab my camera to take those pictures helps me cultivate a way of looking at my world with eyes that find beauty and a heart that finds thankfulness.

And that’s gotta be a good thing.


Backyard Update

Our little green square

It has been a few weeks since I shared about our backyard shenanigans so I thought I would give you an update. I just cannot help it! Things are growing and sprouting and blooming and everyday is a different canvas of color and beauty.

We planted three crepe myrtles and didn’t expect to see much out of them, or any of the things we planted really, because it was so late in the year but low and behold we are being so very pleasantly surprised. The bright red blooms are such a fun pop of color along the back fence.

Oh my goodness, I cannot get enough of the hydrangeas either! I think I will definitely be making some fine art prints with some of these.

Even the African Iris’ have bloomed twice!

Rob and I typically start our mornings outside these days and despite it being the middle of July it is quite pleasant. We sip our coffee, listening to the pool fountain and when the breeze blows the sound of the big beautiful windchimes he surprised me with dances across the air. Inevitably, one or both of us will get up and wander over to the vegetable garden and poke around some, pulling weeds here and there , or exclaiming excitedly over some new growth or seed that has borne fruit. Someone once said that if you ever want to experience the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. I have been far more pleased and enamoured by this work in our yard than I would have thought possible. There is a vaguely remembered childhood happiness that reconnects with my adult self…something about playing in the dirt and the satisfaction of connecting to the earth. Alfred Austin, an English poet best known for his works celebrating nature, was on to something when he said, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” In these trying times of ours, rabid with anxiety and uncertainty, I highly suggest growing something, anything. Even if it is just a potted house plant. You will be much the richer for it, I promise.

Sorry for the philosophical rabbit trail! Now onto the beauty of our vegetable garden. So far we have only harvested a few cucumbers that have been delicious, I might add. But we have been delighted to see our eggplants and peppers producing even if we haven’t reached the point of eating them yet.

I’m in the garden with my camera multiple times a week. I’m fascinated by the seemingly secret world that goes unnoticed unless one is looking for it. Everyday there is growth and change and something new in the ancient act of death out of life.

For sure there is hard work involved but it is a sweet labor that brings about a goodness that touches on all areas of life.

The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope. ~ Wendell Berry