three photos for three friends

Once I become someone’s friend I am very loyal to them. This little post is my love for friends who will always live in my heart, celebrating the sweet family that they are. No matter the distance or time between our two little families, there will always be the same spirit of friendship & trust & encouragement.

❤ Happy 5th Anniversary, M & R ❤
May your family’s love always be light spilling from windows into the night,
inviting others in to the warmth you share.

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(^ Possibly my most favorite photo I’ve ever taken.) I believe this photo comes a little bit close to capturing how I see this woman, this dear sister of mine: a classic, essentials-only beauty full of life-giving love & true femininity

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I have glimpsed our Father’s love through this brother of ours & it is sweet sweet sweet

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You never know where the light is going to find you, illuminating beauty for a sweet surprise. I got this photo in the car on the way to the park (where we got the above photos) while this gorgeous, slightly-grumpy little star was strapped into her carseat. ◆

I stand at the shore of a language

I stand at the shore of a language foreign to me
Will I ever swim? I must dive in–

I could just stay in the shallows of greetings,
just get my feet wet with politeness—the ocean water is cold.

But the teacher pushes me in.
Phonemes and syllables and words crash over me,
leaving me gasping for which way is up,

and then comes the heavy rush of a salty sea swell,
rough with unknown grammar—suffixes, tenses, conjugations, and

further out I see them coming–breakers over mysterious depths—
nuance, emotion, history, and culture carried in sounds,
the story of a people in their own words.

I must wrestle the waves for some confidence,
and learn their rhythm in time.

As each wave recedes, hope is left in the sand,
a bit more beaten, a bit more polished.

I stand at the shore of a language foreign to me
Will I ever swim? I must dive in.

 

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One of my fears before coming to this new place was that I would fail everyone’s high expectations of me as a linguist learning a new language. It has been so good to finally be starting, to see months stretching ahead of us here & know that there is time, & that we are doing it together. & Even we together are not alone. The preparation for this place He has done for us, some of which we were completely blind to, blows my mind. For example, on the first day of language learning, we were told that French & Arabic are the largest influences on Turkish—the two languages with which I have spent the most time. This poem is what the process feels like, here at the beginning.

Hope caught in the bushes

Did the mountain’s ancient silence lay too loud for human ears?
Did the frantic inner struggle show as calmly chosen words?
Did the three-day climb in thin air steal their breath & take their strength?
Did the warm torch-fire’s steady glow whisper faithfulness & sight?
Did the boy’s handwoven garment bear his mother’s scent of home?
Did the well-known knife glitter strangely in the far-setting sun?
Did vision cloud & two hearts pound as unceasing nightmare flowed?

& They heard hope caught in the bushes,
Horns of power, crowned with thorns & pain.

We’re weary, searching for hope in the bushes,
Horns of power, crowned with incense & shadow.

Show us the hope caught in our bushes,
Horns of power, crowned with stars & praise.

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Last night I attended with a friend a worship service in a language I do not know. As the sea of unfamiliar syllables poured around me, my brain grabbed at them, trying so hard to ascribe understanding but, of course, simply could not. My craving for meaning was met in a stained glass window picture directly in front of where I sat on the floor: Abraham with the knife raised over Isaac. I thought I knew just what medieval cathedral-goers felt like: pictures speak every language just as the Artist does. It was there I found buried this poem; in my heart was buried this prayer. We are made to see you in our everyday every day, God. Open our eyes to the hope caught in our bushes. ◆

Maternity Mini Shoot: Dreamy Sunset Winter-melt

When family becomes friend,
when visits become stays,
when tears become hugs,
when memories become stories,
when sunsets become backdrops,

Roots of trust grow tough enough for any Winter’s scowl,
& love Springs constant, unfreezing through the cold ◆

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Seven lines, seven images. ^_^ These photos were taken in that Indiana sunset light that always captures me. Maternity shoots are a delight; so much beauty!  Dear A., you are going to be a wonderful mommy. You were made for it ❤ All words & photos by me, K Grace Collins.

Winter Portrait Mini Shoot: Wind-Dancing White Gold

Our boots punched through the crust of snow as we fought the winter wind to enter this field behind her childhood home. The cold stung our faces & the snow crept in between our hems & socks, shocking our ankles to numbness. But I knew it was all going to be worth it when I saw how the wind was dancing in her hair, turning it to a white-gold veil of fine lace strands,  drifting over her European-sky-blue eyes. Goodness! Lady C. is always so easy to shoot. In processing, I found that black & white emphasized that best. Enjoy!bw-claire-1-of-1bw-claire-1-of-8bw-claire-2-of-8bw-claire-3-of-8bw-claire-4-of-8bw-claire-5-of-8bw-claire-6-of-8bw-claire-7-of-8bw-claire-8-of-8

beneath her feet

Brick by brick she built up a tower of doubt & suspicion
Crowned herself with aspen fronds & mounted the stair
Looking down at the ancient ground, she said,
“Thou wilt not hold me; I must live here”

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Earth, too polite to say, “Hiding there, I hold you still…”,
whispered promises instead
“There is a scent you have known since the day of your birth…
The hills still carry the Breath of the One who stays”

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“But I know not this scent & I am too young
for promises predating the dust of my body,
intolerably infant for vows older than the sky…
Your goodness looks on everyone, how do you see me?”

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“You were born small to take part in this grandeur,
your body’s dust is holy for within dwells the Breath.
Why do you tether yourself with fear to your tower,
to this soil you’ll always be bound…

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“Come through richly folded hills of velvet crimson sunset,
quiet fields of graceful glory growing
Even through the deep, hushed lands of weeping
under your feet a steady path will be found

WM (1 of 7).jpg“Freedom awaits, if you would set your feet on the ground…”

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A note on these words’ germination: While hearing Audrey Assad’s song “Good to me” for the first time several weeks ago, the earthy savor of “Your goodness” was so tangible to me. It was only later that I realized there was a conversation taking place, concerning the effect of fear on our perception of the endurance & vastness of His Goodness. All photos & words by me.

The Most Obliging Butterflies

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Flying excited loops, distracted landings, erratic circles, 

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they say, “The flowers

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drenched in sun

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are the sweetest.”

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They tell us, 

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“Follow me!”

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“Come, scruffy robin, from the shadows!”

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“The earth is gold and though we are here but for a moment, we know it is worth savoring.”

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“Look and see! Do you know the freedom in the Gift? How wide, how deep, how far?”

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“The breeze knows it, the grasses know it.”

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“We know it. Our wings flirt with the sun, sipping earth’s dew.

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We land as jewels bestowed, undeserved. Do not refuse what you could never earn.”

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“Let us teach you

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how to say goodbye

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to this golden summer light

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and summer creations so frail.”

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“Caught, visible, for a season,

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time for rest is coming now.”

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“There is no need to hoard! You may gather all you can, yet there will always be more.”

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“We, the secrets in the light, 

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want you to know: it’s all for you.”

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“Our colors, which we are glad to give, will become your memories.”

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“Receive freely in surrender for the next season will bring more of the Gift,

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even if all the summers of time were fit into this day.” 

 These photos were taken with an experimental Lensbaby lens and its movable optic attachment. All the blur / tilt-shift-y-ness you see on my blog is from this lens!

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Everyday Antalya

Morning

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Turkish sky tapestry, threaded with sunrise colors, is woven over

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early visitors to a chilled Mediterranean,

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mountains and minarets,

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rock giants and cliffs,

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as night shadow turns with the earth, to sun.

Afternoon

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Day is welcome,

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and nearby, a local produce market debuts apples, melons, and walnuts pristine.

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Vibrancy blurs by the tram window,

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a sweet delivery has been made,

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and friends meet to chat by the sea. 

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Street cats are fed as community pets,

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and, the president is visiting tomorrow! Flags out!

Evening

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Flowers feel no shame in casting their scent generously over all

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who find rest from the sun’s heat

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and in watching it disappear languidly; permission to relax

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while trails left on the water glimmer like paths to the past.

All photos and words by K Grace Collins 2016, All Rights Reserved.