Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Does The Word Mean - The End

The book is closed.
The last chapter finished.

The book was opened about a year ago. The reading was slow; only one chapter read a week. The title of the book is Consolations, The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, written by David Whyte. Little did I know when I joined a group of photographers and writers how challenging this project would be or how much I would come to love it. I didn't know that it would take me out of my normal nature photography into a whole new world. A world where I began to look at common, ordinary words in different ways. Whyte's book is broken down into 52 chapters, each one features an ordinary word. I would read his words (many of which I didn't totally agree with and some I didn't even understand), mull his thoughts over in my mind, do a little research, and then decide how I could represent my feelings about the word in a picture. Finally, I had to actually find and take that picture. We have reached the end of the book and here is the last seven words.

* * * * *

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."
~ Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl

* * * * *

the warm sunshine on my shoulders
the soft breeze on my face
the wet grass beneath my feet
the rough bark beneath my fingertips
I touch and I am touched by God's creation.

* * * * *

Unconditional means not limited by conditions. Can we love unconditionally? Yes, I think we can. Love is a choice. Unconditional love takes that love even deeper. It means never questioning whether we love someone, even when they are unlovable. As a wife, mother, and grandmother I know what unconditional love is. I know they love me and I love them. It is a constant and it will always be.

"When we make the choice to fill our heart space with unconditional love, our world blossoms into a beauty far greater than we have know."   ~ Rio Godfey

* * * * *

One heart is open, filled with love.
One heart is hidden behind cold, hard doors.

* * * * *

In her book Daring Greatly Brene' Brown defines vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure." When the artist painted this mural on the side of a building he was putting his art in a very vulnerable location. He didn't know how long the wall would stand or how long it would be before the paint faded. He probably didn't know it would be attacked by nature. When we honestly put our words, our art, or ourselves out there, we become vulnerable. We risk hurt, rejection, or criticism. It takes strength and courage to let ourselves be seen and be heard.

"To be alive is to be vulnerable."
~ Madeleine L'Engle

* * * * *

I confess! I withdraw from noise, people, and the busyness of every day life. I don't withdraw to hide, but for inner peace. I must find time each day to withdraw in order to let my thoughts become still.

* * * * *
I read somewhere that "every single thing you do is your life's work." I've tried to do my work with a positive attitude and with joy. Right now, in this stage of my life, my work is to be a loving wife and make our home comfortable and peaceful, to be an example to my children and grandchildren, to help care of my dad who has Alzheimer's, and to pursue my love of photography. My work in photography is to glorify God the Creator of our world and to share the beauty of nature with others.

We have reached the end of the book. The project is finished and I'm proud to say that I didn't miss a week. I am already missing the project and those with whom I've shared part of myself each week. I want to say thank you to Kim Manley Ort for being such a wonderful leader. I'm looking forward to see what she comes up with next!


  1. Cathy, I've loved following your journey through this book. With each post you've inspired me and made me think, and have amazed me with the perfect images you've created to illustrate each word. You've created a lovely body of work with this project.

  2. Your whole journey has been uplifting and inspiring Cathy! Thank you for sharing it.

  3. I can't pretend that I made it past the first 4 or 5 weeks, but I read your posts and really admired the work you did! Congratulations to you on work well done!!!

  4. Just beautiful images to express how you feel about the words we were given to ponder and illustrate.
    That first image of tranquil water is one which speaks to me particularly - especially because we're going through a very hot spell indeed.
    I hope you are keeping cool!

  5. Wow, what a great thing to have done- beautifully photographed & beautifully explained.

  6. Good for you Cathy for finishing this challenge that ended up being something you really liked and didn't expect. That is nice when that happens and I encourage you to keep going with this because I know I always enjoyed seeing what you were seeing in your mind with the words to photos. Have a great day Cathy

  7. I've so enjoyed watching your challenge this past year, Cathy! Your photographs are so lovely and I thank you for sharing them with us! The quote from Ann Frank is so special and is exactly how I feel--nature brings me such solace, too...

  8. wow, what a commitment and journey!
    Well done!
    These are beautiful rich images with wonderful quotes. Thank you for your message on my other blog.

  9. Beautiful photos and those quotes are really thought-provoking.

  10. What a beautiful post, Cathy! Your images and words really moved me. Good for you for sticking to this project -- we can see it had an impact. Well done!


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