Spring means...New things are coming.

There seems to me that I have so much content in my head but can’t find words to share the impact that grief and loss have had on me during spring this year. The ending of cool weather and the start of warmer weather brings with it an array of different and complicated emotions.

Our son Alex set off on his journey on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) just as Spring was launching and has been on the trail for over a month so far. Most of our correspondence is via text message with our ability to track him via global navigation. We also have been able to FaceTime with him and that was one of the best gifts my husband received for his birthday. (LOVE TECHNOLOGY) Spring brings with it celebrations of birthdays, Easter, and this year one of the best super blooms in California history. There have been engagements and birth announcements. I’ve been busy with photography and just a feeling of excitement. Yet with those feelings comes the overwhelming sense of what is not…

I recently was reading the results of taking the Enneagram test and although the language is different then other personality tests (I’m a 7) much of the content is the same. I love people, fun, and things that aren’t rote or routine. I love to laugh, meet people, I can be passionate and if not tempered that passion can become a tangent. I’m learning to quiet the busyness in my head to tap into the creative part of me. All this to say not much about me has changed. The only difference is most of those traits are now filtered through grief and loss. I’m feeling like so much of my life has been about others and now that I’m older and possibly wiser I desire to have a purpose. To look at the world through a different lens and to serve my community in ways that make the world a better place.

So part of what spring has done for me is it has helped to shape some of my next steps…these actions look more like a pebble than a stepping stone and they’re the things that are moving me forward. There is still a pause in me…it comes with the territory. My family~John, Alex and Evan have always been the people who’ve propelled me…to hold me…to challenge my thinking when I get to deep into my head. Now I just have to step into what I’m supposed to do. I’m a little scared. I’m actually really petrified, but I’m at a place where as of today I’ve experienced my most significant loss. Loss changes us…well it has changed me. So as I look for those things that inspire me towards purpose I bring along with me the brokenness that is my heart. I look for a way to find comfort in the mission that God is calling me to.

Post Script~Many of you may know that our son Alex is raising money for Donate for Life West as part of his journey on the PCT. In addition to that April is National Donate Life Month and he wants to raise awareness about organ donations. I’ve added the link to the GoFundMe account below. Please donate if you can.

https://www.gofundme.com/PCT-NDLM?sharetype=teams&member=1914332&pc=ot_co_dashboard_a&rcid=009a7141efd04e32b1b79026faa2e765&fbclid=IwAR2b_ZljQYTMg4zIIl8PNeKJZZHOxu-IMH3GAbPP8JoBqQLcKc_FoQwai8s

Photography as my Canvas...Painting My World

It was four years ago this last week that I wrote the following post on Facebook:

"I have been thinking a lot about this season that God has placed me....from leaving a job that has been the source of ministry and connection for me for over 12 years, to a position that stretched me in ways that I did not think possible....being allowed to spend time with a dear friend before her home going, to feeling the emptiness of not only the holidays but many areas of life without that dear friend....visiting my ailing parents, return from that visit only to have my mom fall and injury herself, celebrating the holidays with my husband and kids, turning around and going back to my parents only to return to say good-bye to my father in law...Monday I step into a new job...with new possibilities and opportunities that are far reaching...Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!!! I am very grateful for this time that God has reached down and given comfort in a way that has changed me.

Those life events set me on the path to photography as I began taking lessons and to see the world through the lens of my camera. It was honestly a hard season. I had no firm purpose. I was without direction. Many of those feeling came from a place of fear...lack of experience...and pride. I was starting a new job and a new hobby both of which I lacked the experience but my enthusiasm was unbridled. I have never gone into situations where I didn't have some knowledge of what I was doing and although I had a great deal of experience with my new job the environment was new and unexplored by me. My thoughts in that were I can love people anywhere so as long as I had that mindset I'd do my very best to love people. How could I go wrong??? The photography was just something I thought I would do to pass the time. To be reflective and it didn't cost much but time and brain matter. I jumped in with both feet and I've not looked back.

Which brings me back to the original Facebook post...Evan has been gone 1 year, 3 months, and 4 days ~ my Dad 1 year. During this time but really just recently I've felt a lack of purpose and direction. Reflectively, as I look back at that post many of the same feelings of that time come back to me as I've taken this "pause" to just ponder what God is calling me to do in this season of grief, loss, and reflection??? I know that there are several things that have been made clear in regards to both my vocation and photography but until that time that it is all made clearer I will continue to pause, ponder and pursue. How are you seeing your world???? What canvas are you using??? I'd love to hear from you.