Life is Grace

I am changing my blog’s name to fit the direction I want to take it, and my writing. There will still be plenty of photography, and if anyone should be interested in making a purchase, just click on “Gingerfancy Photography” above the blog header. To read more about why I am changing the name, and how it fits with the past history of the blog, please keep reading. Also refer to the pinned post at the top of the blog, the quote by Frederich Buechner.

Welcome! I’m Barbara and one thing I want to make clear straight away is that I am determined to live a full, generous, and creative life, one filled with love and laughter, despite chronic pain and disability. This is a good time to plug in one of my favorite quotes, by Joseph Campbell:

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Continue reading “Life is Grace”

in remembrance 

For All Souls Day, some flatlay collages and family photos in loving and grateful remembrance of my beloved family and friends now home with God, especially my grandparents, my Uncle Al (who died in January), and my amazing, wonderful parents. 

Eternal rest grant unto them, Oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace . Amen.

and again, and again…

Orlando, Istanbul, Bangladesh, Baghdad, and on and on…and now, again, France, on Bastille Day. The murder of innocents all over the world goes on.

But as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only love can do that. 

Hatred cannot drive out hatred: only love can do that.

Let us all, each of us wherever we are, spread some love to all around us. And remember to hold your loved ones close.

bone-deep gratitude

“If the only prayer you ever said in your whole life was ‘Thank you’ that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)

Today on Facebook a friend posted in gratitude on the fourth anniversary of his heart and kidney transplant. Definitive proof that miracles happen everyday, to people we know and love.

A smaller miracle happened to me, recently, when I had my first foot surgery. My midfoot was a mess–there are a lot of small bones and cartilage in that area–and so my surgeon had quite a bit of repair work to do, culminating in a fusion stabilized by several plates and screws. Lisfranc fractures are by definition nasty and complicated to fix.

I knew about most of this prior to the surgery, although I didn’t appreciate just how much skill would be needed to fix this mess and how lucky I was to have to surgeon I did.

What I did not realize, however, was that I would receive the following notice in my post-surgery information packet:

Dear Patient:

During your recent surgery, you received a tissue graft from MFT. [Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation] This graft was made from donated tissue (bone, tendon, ligament, or skin), which is now your own. The tissue was donated at the time of the donor’s death. Many donors and their families choose donation so that they and their family member may matter in death as they mattered in life. Today, you are a recipient of this gift.

I am able to walk again only because some thoughtful, generous person and their family chose to donate part of their body after death. It really is that simple: it was a nasty break that couldn’t have been repaired without donor bone chips.

And I love my walks, need my walks. My walks keep me sane. They clear my mind and lift my mood, they keep me connected with nature, with God’s creation. And of course walks are terrific therapy for fibromyalgia.

I’m in the process of writing a thank you letter to the donor family to tell them just how much their gift has affected me. I’m planning to send them some photos me at some of my favorite places to walk: Lake of the Isles, Dorothy Mary Park, The Stone Arch Bridge, Minnehaha Parkway.

I keep looking at my foot and thinking about what a difference a few chips of bone have made.

And I’ve emailed the MFT to let them know that I am interested in being a donor. I’m already an organ donor, but until my surgery, tissue donation had never occurred to me. All of my life I’ve wanted to make a difference…perhaps this is one chance to do so.

If you are interested in becoming a tissue donor, or finding out more about the program, contact the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation at linkinglives@mtf.org or call them toll free at 855-554-LINK (5465).

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seeing with new eyes

The technology, speed, and busyness so prized by our Western culture foster a habit of blindness. For all the bustle, a dreary sameness comes to mark the places where we live. We forget that there is a vast depth beneath the apparent surfaces of things.

The eye of aesthetic spirituality sees more than other eyes. Art in general, and photography in particular, helps to facilitate this awakening by granting epiphanies through its transfigurations of the ordinary. We come to know more than what appears within our line of vision.

–Christine Valters Painter, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice

There is great truth in this. I know I have come to see the world differently since I started photography…I was so blind to all of the beauty around me, in everyday things I never saw before and completely took for granted.

I remember when my mom had cataract surgery, a number of years ago. It was a joy to drive her home afterwards, for she was like a small child again, exclaiming that she’d forgotten how beautiful the world was, how lovely all of the colors were; my mom was experiencing the world in a completely new and unique way, at the age of 76. Cataract surgery–having the film removed from one’s eyes–is a prefect metaphor for a new way of seeing reality. A way of seeing with wonder and amazement.

That’s how I feel when I am  photographing, for instance, purple flowers from a five dollar supermarket bouquet. Take, for instance, the lovely flirty ruffled curve of their petals, their soft, velvety textures, their gorgeous deep and rich purple tones…I live my life immersed in beauty, chronic pain and depression be damned! The ordinary is indeed transformed.

Photography has helped me to be grateful for the beauty of this glorious, fascinating world God has given us. Sometimes just the act of photographing a flower, a sunset, the smile on my husband’s face (oh my, do I love his dimples!), becomes a prayer of gratitude in itself.

What about you? If you like photography, do you find it has changed the way you see, and participate in, reality? Or is there another spiritual practice that transfigures your world, your everyday experiences?

 

 

 

 

 

pray for paris, but remember

PRAY FOR PARIS

yes, pray for Paris
but remember
before They attacked Paris
They bombed Beirut
They brought down a Russian airliner
They killed one hundred in Egypt
They have slaughtered thousands in Syria and Iraq
and they are not done yet
so pray not just for Paris
pray for Our entire broken, bleeding, world
for We are all in this
Together

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A to Z Challenge

 

 

I think my migraines have totally addled my brain. I’ve had them all week, just when the A to Blogging Challenge began. I couldn’t find my blog on their Linky list, so I think I might have been removed for not posting. I DID post briefly yesterday about the Challenge, then removed my post because I thought I’d been taken off of the list; I just happened to look at my stats today, however, and I had five visits to that post yesterday. So. I will do the Challenge, starting today. I have to post every day this month except Sundays. So I will post today, starting with “E” and my theme is Healing.

I plan to recount my journey, post about where I am now, and add photos, other images, and quotes (I love quotes, especially poetry) along with a heavy dose of spirituality, the occasional prayer, some tips and tricks I have found that help. I should note here that I am writing about healing in general but also specifically about my struggles with severe PTSD and major depression, along with back surgeries, cervical spine disease, infertility, chronic migraine, and last but not least, fibromyalgia.I also hope to begin a resource list.

I am going to go ahead and post the badge and links to the Challenge even though I might not be officially a part of it. I am looking forward to discovering new bloggy friends from the list (the one I don’t think I am on anymore, lol). I also hope to post a couple of times the first few days to add posts from letters A to D. And next year, hopefully I will be more together and start blogging with “A” on April 1st!

And hopefully, even if I’m not officially part of the Challenge, my posts might help some of my friends out there who are going through a rough stretch.

God’s laughter

 God’s laughter emanating from the sky

LAUGHTER CAME FROM EVERY BRICK

Just these two words He spoke
changed my life,

“Enjoy Me.”

What a burden I thought I was to carry–
a crucifix, as did He.

Love once said to me, “I know a song,
would you like to hear it?”

And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore
in the sky.

After a night of prayer, He
changed my life when
He sang,

“Enjoy me.”
(St. Teresa of Avila, 16th century mystic, saint, and Doctor of the Church)

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