photography: a contemplative way of seeing life differently

 

Every picture (or photograph) tells a story. But what if we were to simply make one up in response to what we see? I actually do that all the time to some extent, when writing poetry to go with a photograph I have taken.

When using photographs contemplatively, the image itself acts as a prompt to stir contemplation and creativity. Words follow soon after. It’s a kind of contemplative seeing via a camera lens.

And an art I am slowly learning with every photo I take. It’s very satisfying to see more than the image presents itself as. To use our imagination and be able to trace God’s hand at work in what is before our eyes. It requires me to still my soul and focus on the object before me, while I take several snaps from different angles to gain a fresh perspective.

Today I am venturing back into the Twittering Tales creative exercise which my blogging friend, Kat Myrman shares on her site, among her eclectic and delightful offerings! I have written three responses, telling a consecutive story.

God inhabits our life story and seemingly ordinary days, making them sacred by His Presence. Our intentional holy-ordinary seeing helps pave the way for growing awareness of His grace in our lives.

Obscured

Almost obscured by leaves
this sign breathes renewed
hope into her sad soul
signalling a new beginning
where joy and optimism
overcomes pain
©joylenton

(139 characters)

 

We hop

She squirms higher in her seat because, at age 5, she can barely read. But she sees “hop we” as indicator of her family being happier here.
(139 characters)

Secrets lurk within

Hedged in by dense
undergrowth, accessed
by dusty driveway
a house stands proud
looks inviting but is
far from it, for deep
secrets lurk within
©joylenton

(140 characters)

 

This week’s photo prompt is based on the image at the top of my post, courtesy of Leigh Heasley at Pexels.com  If you would like to participate in Twittering Tales, you can find the rules and link up advice here.

**Are you interested in discovering more about the practice of contemplative photography? Here’s a helpful book by Christine Valters Paintner that’s on my wish list! My friend, Kate Kennington Steer has a great contemplative eye. Her Instagram feed is well worth following** 🙂

Gifts of grace

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Day by day we are writing out our story, a living tale of all that takes place and a living testimony of God’s sustaining grace.

A birthing can occur at any moment in hearts receptive to the new and the next and the in-between.

What seems dead can be enlivened and resurrected by His power – brokenness made whole, beauty brought forth from ashes.

Although many days are shrouded and clouded by painful circumstances, God is still writing out His good and greater narrative into the margins of our lives.

Yes, even as we hover crazy-busy on this edge of space, time and eternity and so often fail to see or sense His continual presence.

We need to remember how we live and breathe and have our being in Him and He lives and breathes in us by His Spirit.

Nothing is incidental, or irredeemable. Nothing is forever lost or wasted.

All is gift and all is grace, but we need eyes to see the sacred in the secular and appreciate its daily nuances.

As we listen closer to our lives we begin to piece together the story they are telling us.

Such thoughts are shaping my daily living and making their way into today’s Five Minute Friday poem.

Grace gifts

Each day we are alive is a gift,

an unfurling, unfolding kernel

mirrored in tender bud and leaf,

so our hearts remain hopeful

of seeing a good ending

I long above all to recapture

a sense of child-like wonder,

become captivated, entranced

by delight seeded within

as this daily sacred dance begins

Each moment we linger longer

to appreciate The Moment

will help peel back layers

to reveal a gift of grace,

open our eyes, blinded by

cultural excess, dulled by stress

and wearied by naysayers

For we are the revealers

unwrapping the Gift of God,

the Truth-sayers, the Way-sharers,

keepers of Light and Love who

employ a deeper discerning

as we dive expectant into the true,

hopeful, bright-blue waters of each day

©JoyLenton2015

I’m blessed to be joining in with the wonderful writing-free-from-the-heart community of ‘Five Minute Friday’ writers over at Kate Motaung’s place as we give our best on the topic of ‘Gift’. You’re very welcome to join in. Do hop on over and check out the other posts there. It’s amazing what a rich variety of thought is stirred by a one word prompt!

grace gifts PJ file image

You have a story to tell

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Sometimes our own words come back to haunt us.

Or an annoyingly catchy phrase from a song lingers way too long.

Then there are the words spoken to us, over us and into our lives.

We live and breathe story. Our lives are wrapped up and unfold in it.

The tangled threads of our days are being woven into a greater narrative of God’s design.

He finds ways to bring what we need to hear and heed back to our remembrance.

It happened to me recently. Words hung in my head and called me to pay attention. I found them in my Prayer Journal.

The ‘Prayer Whisper’ below was received over a year ago but it meets me where I am right now as a woman of faith, writer and poet.

And it whispers gentle into my future still hidden in Christ.

As an M.E and chronic illness sufferer, who is still battling a painful past by the grace of God, I need to believe it’s not all about me and my troubles but about how He is bringing me through them.

God calls me to share my pain and the overcoming of it through poetry and prose. Maybe you can do that too? We all need to know we are not alone.

There is hope. You matter. Your story matters to us and to God.

In the sharing of it we are all enriched, encouraged and supported, inspired to believe for good outcomes.

My hope and prayer is that you will find courage to share your story and grow stronger in the process.

‘Prayer Whisper:Your story matters’

You have a message to share. You have a story to tell. Surrender the outcome to Me. All I ask of you is that you are willing to write as I guide, speak as I direct, and listen continually for My promptings. Sometimes words will flow and be written down; other times you wait in faith and trust, with expectancy, and I will provide as you take the first step.

Surrender your tools to Me. Your pen, paper, keyboard, phone or voice. In My hands they will accomplish far more than you can imagine. If words stall and you feel blocked from speaking, do not allow fear to paralyse you further. Continue to believe that I will provide.

There will be seasons of bounty and seasons of fallow. Believe I am in both. Your heart may need surgery. Your attitude and thoughts may need correction. It is necessary to purify and make you fit for purpose.

Then you will come forth as gold and shine with My radiance and glory. I will renew and restore what is broken and lost. You still see holes. I see more areas where My grace can filter through.

Trust the work I am doing in you. Broken, weak and wounded people surrendered to Me are the most beautiful vessels to reflect My Light to others”.

Joining here with Ruth for #letterto ~ ‘Letter to a future me’

And with Jen as we find heaven in the everyday