Fall is officially here. October is officially here. I can’t believe how fast this summer flew by. And everyone says that. Sometimes I wonder if there is a time warp or something. It’s kind of fun looking back over the pictures I took this summer, a lot of which I never culled, edited, or shared, and remembering what a great summer it was, easily the best summer I’ve had since we moved here. It was a summer spent outside, spent sweating and working hard and getting sunburned and sore and hiking and reveling in the delight of family and friendships and new adventures. It was a summer of change and newness, starting with getting certified as a Type II Wildland Firefighter at the end of the spring, taking shifts at the fire station, learning about plants and greenhouse care while working at Dakota Greens, exploring new places in the Hills. We enjoyed a litter of growing kittens, unusual quantities of rainfall, massive numbers of wildflowers, and a greenness of the landscape that persisted all summer long. We enjoyed a few family outings, which are rare these days due to Grandma’s poor health, and Sarah and I enjoyed a drive out in the Medicine Mountain area, and found fireweed on Odakota Mountain. I spent some lovely time with the friends God has blessed me with, hiking and exploring and sharing life together.Greenhouse work was a source of joy this summer – early mornings weeding and maintaining the gardens at Prairie Berry Winery, hot days sweating in the greenhouse, cool and rainy days cozy in the greenhouse, days watering and caring for plants, watching flowers bloom and bring a rainbow of colors.As wonderful as the summer was, it definitely had its share of struggles. I tend to struggle with feelings of depression and overwhelm, and I’m in a place in my life where loneliness is a very real thing, and I have to remind myself that God IS good, and He DOES love me and have a plan for my life. I have to remind myself of that, and often forget to. That’s when I start getting depressed and discouraged.Rarely do I get out my camera or work on blog posts when I’m feeling down – Depression tends to shut off both of those things. And years ago I decided I didn’t want to journal my negative feelings, but only the encouraging things. I’ve had people question me on that, since the negative IS a part of life. Very valid, absolutely. God uses what we perceive as negative experiences to sharpen us, to refine us, to make us more like Jesus, and those things are worth remembering. But for someone who has no trouble in general remembering the negative, I don’t need any help with that, or any assistance in going back and reliving my discouraged feelings! I’d rather document the joy.And there is a Biblical principle in this:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8
Now the flip side of what I just said is that I could and should proactively choose, in the midst of feeling discouraged, to do those things that remind me of God’s goodness and the joy of life, but sometimes that’s exactly what the struggle is, and exactly where I fail. But the Christian life is about growth, and I hope I am growing in that area.But what I love about photography is that what I remember through the photography are the things that delighted me. I don’t remember what overwhelmed me, and I don’t remember why I was struggling or even if I was struggling. I don’t even remember how hot and sweaty and tired I was when I took certain photos, and I like being hot and sweaty and tired. I just remember the delight, the friendships, the beauty. How wonderful. My photography generally springs from joy or results in joy, and that is what I see reflected in the pictures when I look back over them.So enjoy these little glimpses into my joy-filled summer, as I enjoy sharing them and reliving them myself. So much beauty, so much peace, so many new things, so many blessings.So long, summer. Howdy, autumn. The year is wearing on, and winter is just around the corner. A wonderful time of year.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11