“Love Bravely” quote above by Kevin Adams
For almost seven years, I’ve been writing down the moments of my life — the good, the hard, the funny, the profound — moments when the veil thins and I glimpse the holy, breathe in the eternal, humbled and awed and incredibly blessed.
I’ve been writing for most of my life. It’s how I think, process, begin to understand what I feel and why.
But it was Dottie Schimpf, pastor’s wife and parish nurse, who invited me to write an article every month for the church newsletter, North Shore Church News, in November, 2007, who unknowingly opened the first door of this journey.
Months later this blog was born through the mad, angst-quenching, technical skills of Ross Mongin, after a late night brainstorming session with my cousin Susan, who’d quietly registered the domain name before I could change my mind.
And the second door opened.
Along the way, I’ve been encouraged by organizations such as Christian Writers, The High Calling, and Tweetspeak Poetry. I’ve written for We Used to Be You and Servant Sisters, and had an article published in The Congregationalist Magazine.
I’ve shared my photography with The High Calling and a number of beautiful online communities. And recently, I’ve joined Outside the City Gate to provide photography for their new e-book, and with Beth at Simply Beth to provide images every few weeks for her Sunday community.
God began unlocking the last door at For the Love, where I’d unintentionally hijacked a conversation, realized, and apologized, and Kelly tenderly said, “No. Don’t apologize. Your story’s inspiring. Thank you!”
Inspiring? I thought. I’d have used almost any word but inspiring.
Later that day, Erin had looked across the table during a breakout session and said, “You love words.”
Yes! I thought. Yes! Yes, I do love words.
For almost two years, the words had clogged in my throat, the emotion a little too close, a little too raw. So I’d spilled into image what I’d been unable to pour into words.
I’d come to For the Love in part because I’d longed for validation as an artist. Longed to know if my photography was just a “great hobby” or might one day be good enough to sell. Uncharacteristically, and with all the courage I could muster, I’d asked Jeremy, owner of Jeremy Hess Photographers if he would take a look at my work, just a few pieces, and give me his honest opinion. He did. I wish I remembered his words. They spoke life and surprised me. In a good way.
Yet while I don’t remember Jeremy’s exact words, I do remember that moment, the encouragement, his challenge to grow in intentionality, to “ask God what He wants you to see in this image,” to become as proficient with each of my lenses as I am with my macro.
There at a photography workshop in the rolling hills of Oregon, I remembered how much I love words. And something broke loose. Maybe the words weren’t gone. Maybe the photography was more than a hobby. Maybe they were two pieces of the very same puzzle.
Light began to glint from all edges of the door.
Then last night, my friend Pamela, who’s been encouraging me to write a book for years, suggesting options, possibilities, and opportunities said, “You need to write your story. It’s powerful. You have so much peace. Your life is hard. I can’t even imagine. And yet you are so filled with peace. Why do you think we all want to spend time with you? The harder your life is, the harder you lean into Jesus, and it’s beautiful.”
I sat across the well-worn, wooden table from my friend in tears.
And the door swung wide.
For nearly seven years, I’ve been writing moments. Stringing them together. Word by word by word.
The story of our lives.
A journey. Led by God. With light enough for each new step.
Moment by moment by moment. Word by word by word.
Life through a macro lens.
This morning, my husband, who believes in me far more than I have ever believed in myself wrote, “I wanted to ask for your prayers and encouragement for Cindee as she sets out on a new adventure. Because of the encouragement from a few [at For the Love] like Kelly and Erin about her gift with “words,” and the encouragement of a friend back here at home, Cindee has decided to finally — I’ve been trying for quite some time, but unsuccessfully, to get her to — write a book…AMEN! Thank you to each one of you who shared your hearts, encouraged my beautiful wife, and gave her that extra bit of hope and love that she needed, and God so perfectly set in place.”
So…I’m writing a book.
Opening my heart and sharing the story of our lives. Weaving together the moments already written. Fleshing them out. Inviting you in. Living these next months intentionally, through all the lenses in my bag, and loving bravely!