In Living Color

Most of you know that I had surgery a few weeks ago. My recovery is going well. But I’m beginning to lose patience with myself and I’m beginning to think I may never wear pants with an actual waistband again.

So I set myself a goal of walking outside every day and appreciating spring…because, let’s be honest, there’s something about spring. Since I generally share my week with you, I thought you might enjoy seeing my world in living color.

In case you’re wondering, the extreme close-up shots are taken with my iPhone 5S with an Olloclips 14x Macro lens. The rest are a combination of my phone and my Nikon D3200.
The edges of a pink hyacinth. 

Continue reading “In Living Color”

Beauty Behind the Macro Lens

There are times when life gets too big, my vision too full of debris and clutter that threaten to trap me. And I must focus small to get through. The macro shot bringing life down to leaf-sized, manageable pieces. There’s just something about the tight focus.

So I bring you the beauty in the small, tiny veins of a brittle leaf, the light caught in the edges of an evergreen needle, and the rich brown rings on a fungus. May these humble images bring you a moment’s joy for the week.


Winter’s Wonder


There’s a beauty in the starkness of winter. The hard black lines against crystal white brilliance. The miracle of an infinite number of tiny individual flakes seemingly broken off from the white sky and falling to the earth.

But I lose my wonder sometimes in the grey sky and endless stretches of monotone. I might even lose myself on occasion. Trapped, buried, hiding where it feels safe. Inside by myself.

Winter hurts—my hands, my joints, my mind—and I’m tempted to stop there.

Continue reading “Winter’s Wonder”

Beautiful Thanksgiving

beautiful-thanksgiving

A few years back, on a whim, I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. While it might sound drastic, the book changed my life, and set me on a path that led to me starting this blog—finding beauty even when it isn’t pretty.

I’ve spent the last year studying beauty, looking for it in the most unlikely places—a friend’s horrific divorce, a sink full of dirty dishes, the death of a friend’s dad, arguments with my daughter—and mostly finding it hiding underneath life’s debris.

I found that our differences (political, ethnic, religious, etc.) are critical to creating a beautiful tapestry.

I found beauty in nature, in my own failings, when I wallow, and even in coffee.

Fact is, I find beauty nearly everywhere I look, and I am thankful.Tweet This

And that thankfulness truly has led to a better life, even science confirms it.

In the last year, I’ve watched the world shake under the strain of terror attacks, political disagreements, and war. I’ve seen people polarized against each other, and watched as darkness seemed to win. In those times and places, I’ve become more desperate for thankfulness.

And as I’ve searched and poured out thanksgiving, I’ve found it easier to see beauty, and easier to be thankful…and it’s a beautiful cycle.

So this Thanksgiving season, I’m hoping you’ll join me in searching out beauty. It may not be easy—my sink is currently overflowing with dishes, I have to run to the grocery store (again), and my friend’s cancer is still there—but perhaps together we can add just a touch of beautiful Thanksgiving to the world.

Did you like this blogpost? I’d love to have you and your friends come along with me. Please click one of the links below to share with others. Or click the follow tab in the bottom right corner and subscribe to Beautiful. Ugly. Me. I’d love to have you with me. Have a Blessed Week!

Worth a Thousand Words

thousand-wordsFrom the moment my daughter was born, she was most content when not inside. As a baby, the best way to calm her colicky crying was to snuggle her in a bouncy seat under the maple tree or, when it got cold, take her for a ride in a sled.

During her early years, I spent hours in the woods trailing a toddler looking for critters under overturned logs, disguised behind leaves, and lurking in the water. We amazed at how they were created to adapt to their environment and needs.

I started photographing the animals we found and put them into a book for my girl…and those little books became board books published a few years back. (Check out the All About God’s Animal series over here.)

My girl is a tween now and doesn’t need me by her side as she builds tree forts and digs for fishing worms. And so it’s been a long, long time since I hunted the woods, beaches, and waterways for critters and nature to capture on film.

my-girlUntil now. A few days ago, my girl asked me to go take pictures with her. The little dude was at soccer practice and the field is hemmed in with fields and trees—full of natural beauty, decay, and life all mixed together for us to explore. Continue reading “Worth a Thousand Words”

Smooth as Buttercream

There’s Something About Texture

Texture

My boy’s tiny fingers twisted
Through silky dark threads
Knotted, bumpy woven into
Comforting texture.

Enormous flower heads
Delicate as Queen Anne’s lace,
Bobbing approval above narrow cattails
Or dancing radiant under evergreen boughs.

Round, smooth-as-silk berries
Coated intense red,
Tucked safe into thousands of tiny leaves,
And stretched over the rippling water.

Paint trailing under a brush
Light space and dark, starts and stops,
Hiccupping thick layers to mimic reality,

Leaves breathing like velvety buttercream atop
The cricket chirp lays down the ratcheting, rhythm
And a bird’s sharp call jive
Cutting through it all.

Summer Blue–A Poem

Summer Blue

Summer break is still new enough that we haven’t done too much complaining of boredom . . . yet. It’s open and we can sleep in and just breathe for a second. Paint, throw water balloons, read, . . . and go to the beach. Can’t forget the beach, where the sky breathes into the water, which slides into sand.

This unique place is one of our favorite destinations. If you’ve never made it to our neck of the woods, we have, arguably the best beaches in the world. Seriously Western Michigan’s white sandy, fresh water “ocean” coastline has often found it’s way into top mentions right alongside Hawaii, Florida, and the rest. So in honor of Lake Michigan, I give you:

Summer Blue

Continue reading “Summer Blue–A Poem”

There’s Something About Spring Unfurled

It’s time for one of the two Thursdays of every month where I give a nod to the things that make us stop and say, “There’s something about . . .”

1

Spring. The warm air breathes life and this weekend, I drank it in. Weeding, prepping beds, setting up our trampoline, photographing all the life.

Every new leaf budding in a green so hot and bright it nearly melts the frosty morning on its own. The colors seem so out of place bursting above Winter’s dead debris. How yellow stamps out the cold snaps that carry Continue reading “There’s Something About Spring Unfurled”

There’s Something About Tuesday: Ordinary

Ordinary

I can hear the whir of the dryer just under the sound of the kids playing soccer in the front yard. Dinner isn’t made. It’s five o’clock. And I can’t make myself worry about it. I’m having too much fun watching the kids laugh as they chase the ball—my girl with focused determination and my dude with antics and laughter.

The sun is breathing the first heat of spring and my skin soaks it up. Sometime within the last few days the daffodils have shot out of the ground and the buds have tipped, nearly bursting with their glorious yellow skirts. And the robins, frogs, ducks, heron, and other fair-weather friends have returned in full force creating a symphonic cacophony of summer sounds.

I can’t get enough.

Except,

In two months time it will all be so ordinary. And it’s a shame that the wonderful ordinary will go unnoticed.

I’ll be tempted leave behind the wonder when the everdayness wears the glory thin.

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So today, I challenge myself along with you to remember. Remember the blackness of the ant crawling across the sun warmed deck. The fluffiness of the first dandelion gone to seed. The smell of fresh air and dirt stained kids.

Savor today. Taste and see that it is good.

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Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite wonderful ordinary with the rest of us…

There’s Something About Thursday: Ode to Snowmageddon

SnowmageddonBecause there’s just something about snow…

In honor of the snowmageddon* that has descended upon Michigan and graced us with a much-needed snow day, I give you:

The Snowman**

Rigid arms and legs
Six-sided spokes on a delicate wheel
Turning, twisting, charging to the ground
Embracing the waiting sisters
White and smooth in anticipation of being
Collected, rolled, and piled
Sculpted circles stacked
Decorated with stones, carrots, sticks and topped
With a lopsided hat***

*This is what we call 10 inches or more of snow received in 2 days time . . . particularly when it is wedged between balmy 50 degree days.
Please note: If you live in a warm climate, please refrain from commenting so here. We know you enjoy your warmth. We don’t need to be reminded that we are slightly crazy. And because we are slightly unhinged by the wild swing in weather, we might just contract an alligator to attack your front door (if you don’t recognize the reference, please check your Facebook memes. It is, apparently why we live in a place where the air makes our faces hurt.)
**If we’re honest, this is what we all hope our children will be building during their snow day so as not to be attempting to kill one another . . . or the dog, he’s just an innocent bystander. I will, in all honesty, be out building said snowman with them. Because I’m crazy like that. But only I can call myself crazy. I do have that alligator on speed dial. See above if you are confused.
***This most likely belongs to one of the neighbor kids, but I found it in the garage three weeks ago. Since my kids have left theirs somewhere (only the good Lord knows where), it will have to do. Hopefully it isn’t full of critters now making their home in my kids’ hair.