Happy Friday (or should I say Phriday)! Welcome to the 18th installment of Phrase Art Phriday, where I share my own photography overlaid with an inspirational phrase or thought.
The path of life will have weeds. Period. This photo was taken on the side of my house several years ago. I love the way previous owners of our home at some point in its 160 year history took broken chunks of marble and inlaid a mosaic path. Though I love the path, when I looked at the photo recently all I saw were the weeds. They became the focus and I cringed at the sight, feeling somehow guilty for not being a better caretaker. Then I reminded myself that I have many good qualities and gardening/landscaping just doesn’t happen to be one of them. But I digress. What you can’t see in the photo is what lies at the end of the path. It’s something that gives me great joy each and every spring. At the end of the path are four big healthy peony bushes. Pink peony bushes that yield lush beautiful blossoms every year. What is noteworthy is that those same four bushes sat in a dark wooded area on our property for years, never growing beyond a puny size and never producing flowers. When my husband showed them to me one year I suggested we move them. So he dug them up and planted them in a sunny place on the north side of our house. From that time forward the bushes thrived. The first year it blossomed it was exciting to see what color they would be. I was thrilled when it produced blooms in the perfect shade of pink. The peonies now reside at the end of that mosaic, weedy path and will remain there as long as we are here. It’s their right path.
An unknown future can be a scary thing or it can be an exciting thing, depending on one’s perspective. When there are things in my life that look bleak and I don’t know how everything will turn out there is only one way I can keep out fear. By trusting in One I do know. Navigating unfamiliar territory is much less overwhelming when I remember that my future is in His control.
One thing that is so unsettling about the unknown is the lack of control that one feels. I’ll admit it ~ I can be a control freak. I am a very logical person and I often have a very good rationale for doing things the way I do them. I think things through to the possible outcomes before pressing forward. But I am learning to let go of my preconceived plans and the need to know what’s next. No, not in every area of my life but in a few. I am learning that if I stay narrow minded as to what and how I think things should happen I may very well miss something better. But by yielding control and trusting God who holds my future, I can rest in the knowledge that He knows the desires of my heart and wants to lead me in the very best plan for me.
I’m not afraid to try things. Just not without a good amount of pondering (a.k.a. analyzing from every angle). But I’ve learned that I can measure, and calculate, and think a thing to death and still not get the results that I expect. How much easier it could be if I could lean completely on someone who knows the way. I count on my Garmin to get me to unknown places, boy do I! With my GPS I can now experience so much more than I could when I had to rely on my (non-existent) map reading skills. I was limited by my poor sense of direction, and confined to a smaller world. Literally. Could the same be true of my life as a whole? Am I experiencing a pitifully small existence because of a skewed sense of direction? If I stop trying to analyze and control every twist and turn and instead live by the grace and direction of God will I experience more than I could ever imagine? There are countless adventures waiting. It’s time to trust with wild abandon.
I don’t know if it’s the extra hour of daylight that spring brings, the warmer weather or the anticipation of seeing flowers and trees in bloom, but I am feeling totally energized and optimistic about the future. I feel like I could sprout wings.
Like many of you, I suffer from the winter doldrums, causing me to feel lethargic and unmotivated during the second half of the winter season. I have to pray my way through it every year. When spring rolls around I feel a huge sense of relief, like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, on the threshold of reawakening, the air is ripe with potential. I’m giddy! I’m ready to breathe in the fresh spring air. I welcome the renewal of all things green and pure. I watch the robins. I hear their song and bask in the rejuvenating melody. I listen and believe. I will fly again.
This week’s phrase art photo is a picture of a bird I created from a dollar store bird, tissue paper, velvet ribbon and wire. I think I might make another and share the how-to in a future post.
Comparison. Deciding if we measure up based on our assessment of other people’s merit, and whether we think we are better or worse than them. It sounds silly when put that way and yet it’s a trap that most people have fallen into at one time or another. Many times we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
I can be happy and content with what I have, what I made, where I am one minute. Then moments later after viewing images on the internet of other people’s creations, locations, etc. I can suddenly feel deflated.
How wise Mark Twain was to boil this important truth down into one sentence. Nothing can rob us of our confidence like comparison. The reverse is just as unhealthy. If I feel good about myself because I have determined someone else to be inferior, well that’s just not right!
The photograph I chose for this week’s Phrase Art Phriday is one that I took in 2007. I was right in the middle of the antiques business at that time. I had a large collection of vintage hats, many with lush embellishments like velvet flowers, beading, feathers and fur. I enjoyed displaying them in my rented space and most of them sold fairly quickly. The two hats in the photo are quite plain compared to most of the ones I had. I loved the one on the right because of the blush color ~ a color that’s hard to find in just the right shade. It’s displayed on a bowling pin. A humble pedestal for a modest hat. It would surely get lost amongst a display of more elaborate hats. It wouldn’t “measure up.” But set apart on a tattered bowling pin with simple surroundings there is nothing out shadowing it. It is lovely just the way it is.
Welcome to Phrase Art Phriday #13. In this series I share my own photography overlaid with a favorite phrase or thought.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of imperfection. Just take one look at my jewelry designs or the way I have decorated my home and you will see that I have an appreciation for the “well-worn”. Pieces with flaws have character ~ a crack here, some fading there, chippy peeling paint ~ none of these qualities are off-putting to me on the right piece. In fact it is often those very flaws that endear me to something.
Mirrors are one of those items that are, to me, better with imperfections. The natural ghosting that occurs over time speaks volumes to me about the transformation that occurs in our own lives as we grow and change. Yes, our appearance changes. Slowly but inevitably beauty fades. The youthful face, so fresh and new, like the shiny, bright mirror finish is an undeniably pleasant vision. The older, care-worn face on the other hand, with years of life and experience showing up in the form of creases, shadows, and fading brightness has a beauty all its own. Just as the ghosted mirror has a mysterious factor about it, the wrinkled face has untold stories of depth and secrecy.
The peeling paint is reminiscent of the battle scars that shape our characters over time. No one gets through life unscathed. Without the peeling away of our outer layers, brought about by circumstances that cause us to reach deep down in our souls and lay aside our selfish tendencies, we would remain shallow individuals with one-dimensional lives. Pain, disappointments and hardship mix with all the happy times of giving, sharing and discovery to create the “texture” that keeps our lives from being flat and dull.
I have long since sold the mirror in the photograph but I have a few other misty mirrors gracing the walls in my home. When I look into them, I will remember that I don’t have to be perfect. I will embrace the beauty of imperfection.