The next great chapter in America's story

The tears snuck up on me yesterday. I was very aware of the hopefulness and joy that resided in my heart that morning as I prepared to watch the 44th president take the oath of office, but I didn't anticipate how deeply moving that experience would prove to be for me. I sat in the back of a room full of people, hushed and clinging to his every word and reflective pause, listening intently to his sincere call for a life better lived. Slowly, the weight of his words and the gravity of the situation settled into my chest and expanded into my throat, tightening it against the impending tears. Tears that were repeatedly resistant to my efforts to squelch them throughout his speech and the rest of that day. COULD IT BE??? Could we really have arrived at this surreal moment in time, after so much watchful waiting?

Sometimes, in order to protect our hearts, we curb our desire to dream fully, fearful that disappointment is not far behind. Yesterday, as I watched this graceful and gracious new president step into the life of this new calling, I noticed anxiety welling up in me. The prayer in my heart sounding like this ... please, God, give this extraordinary man the opportunity to lead us, as a country and as individuals, to a healthier, more whole place. We hunger for this chance to begin anew! Guide him, inspire him, protect him, walk with him ... he will need Your help in every way.

For my own part, President Obama, I will continue to search the reaches of my own heart for ways that I can support you in your efforts to call this nation into greatness. I believe that, with God's help, we are capable and strong and I will always believe in new possibilities for anyone with a willing heart and a humble spirit. May God bless you and keep you (and all of us!) in these years to come!

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So much snow, so little time

The sky delivered layer upon layer of 'champagne powder' the week we spent Christmas in Utah. On Christmas Eve, we spent a few hours frolicking out in the fluffy whiteness, building a snow man and throwing great, big snowballs at each other every chance we got. It was quiet on the street ... a sort of hushed sound that seems to occur after a heavy snowfall, where the sounds of the world get muted and buried a bit by all the snowy moisture. This scene was punctuated by the shrieks of kids who got pelted with someone else's snowball or lost their balance chasing each other around and unexpectedly found their exposed skin covered with chilly snow.

There was something magical about this space in time ... nowhere to go, nothing to do, except to enjoy each other's company and presence in a playful way. Sometimes when I have moments like this, I imagine having the ability to contain it's sights and sounds in a bottle, only to be opened at a later date when it's sweetness could permeate a gloomy day. One of the many reasons I love photography is that it can do just that for me. It can bring me right back to a day I thought I'd never forget, but unwittingly, almost did. Documenting my life through a lens reminds me to slow down and reflect on all of life's gifts ... and, thankfully, they are many.
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Am I living it right??

This video clip really resonated with me so I chose to post it here. These are a lot of the same thoughts that I've been wrestling with a lot lately (Okay, so really most of my life, but the Christmas season really amplifies my confusion and turmoil in these matters of the heart). Some of these thoughts milling around in my head ... How to live in to God's vision for my life, however counter-cultural that might be. How to strengthen my ability to walk forward in faithfulness and not fear. How to give myself some of the grace, I'm so willing to give others. And the list goes on and on ...
In the middle of these late night 'analysis paralysis' episodes, I always hear John Mayer's voice singing in my ear "Am I livin' it right?" from his Why Georgia Why single. So, WHY Georgia WHY?? 'Cuz that's what I ask myself a lot these days and I'm getting answers of sorts, but they're slow and sneaky in their coming. They arrive from unexpected, surprising people and places and oftentimes seemingly convoluted little snippets of conversation and acts of grace and kindness. They manifest themselves as glimmers of clarity and connection that I recognize have this other-worldly quality about them and I immediately know they are so much more than the 'everyday' jingle jangle. I have so much gratitude for all of those moments God gave me in 2008 and I have a grand hope for many, many more in 2009. HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR to each and every one!!!

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