“What should I blog about?” I asked my siblings.
They gave me various suggestions.
“Yeah, maybe,” I said. “Sometime. That’s a good idea.”
“Do random photos from your phone,” Elizabeth said. “Post every 15th photo.”
“Really? But what if I get really terrible ones?”
“That’s the fun of it.”
And so here they are, the most recent photo taken on my phone and every 15th photo following, for a total of 20 photos. (I could have kept on, but 20 is more than enough for a single blog post.)
Some of the photos mark big events and star days; others are random, the back side of things, wild goose chases. All of them chronicle moments of my summer, starting now and reaching back to about the middle of July. Together they paint a surprisingly complete picture of my life the past few months–perhaps more accurate than a planned blog post could ever have done.
The most recent photo, featured above, was taken a couple days ago by my 3rd grade student Kaitlyn on our way to pick up her friends–my nieces MacKenzie and Madison–for a slumber party.
“The clouds are gorgeous!” I gasped. “Take a picture.”
She did, and then she pointed out the pure white day moon–like a paper cutout against the blue sky–and tried to take a picture of that. The phone beeped and died.
I came home from cleaning one night to find my sister Elizabeth with paint brush in hand and paint tubes scattered around her on the table.
“Picasso!” I shrieked. “Wow! It’s so good! Did you do that just tonight?”
She had, except for the preliminary sketch. In this photo, there is one cheek still undone.
When my friend Deqo came down for a visit, it rained. We canceled the outdoor outing we had planned and made doughnuts instead. That’s Dora, MacKenzie, and Kathy above, cutting them out.
And here’s Kathy and Elizabeth mixing the dough.
And the beautiful Deqo herself, reading to her daughter, Nora, and Dora’s son, Donovan.
That’s Timmy and Benny, riding the old-fashioned carousel at Komo Park in Minneapolis.
Raking hay. I loved the few times I got to do it this summer. There is nothing in the world as peaceful as sitting on top an ancient roaring tractor with blue sky above, warm sun on your arms, the smell of diesel and clover and fresh-cut hay, and acres of empty stretching ahead.
I went to the Junior Fair one Sunday to see my friend Hannah ride horse–but unfortunately I arrived too late. The horse riding was over, people loading up their horses. I took a picture of the cotton candy trailer against the cottony puffs of cloud and came on home.
Soon after the boys–we always call my brothers “the boys”–moved into their new house beside their newly-owned meat processing plant, they invited Mom and Dad and Liz and I over for Sunday lunch. The steaks were delicious.
Remember when I posted all those cozy little photos of my writing hut? Well, this is the hut before I cleaned and decorated. If you could see the photo right before this one, there would be a mouse in it. I blogged about the mouse, too.
Ah. Here is me signing my contract for the book I am writing for Herald Press. I am writing about my life and family here in rural Rusk County, and the title we have now decided upon is Anything But Simple: My Life as a Mennonite.
Yes, it did take more than 15 tries and two separate copies of the contract to get the perfect photo.
Benny’s birthday on July 24. Count the candles to figure out his age.
I joined my sisters Kathy and Elizabeth at Memorial Park one evening. We stayed until sunset.
Same evening, a bit earlier, Kathy fishing under the bridge. This may be my favorite photo of the summer.
Kathy and Elizabeth, still fishing. We spent most of our time yanking caught lines free from rocks, awkwardly retying hooks, and lamenting that there was no Jeffrey to help us, Jeffrey being the experienced fisherman of my family. We did manage to catch two tiny fish between us, both of them not much longer than a finger.
Same evening, heading down to the bridge to join my sisters. Guess I was picture happy that night.
Across the bridge, you can see the Rusk County Jail, where I’ve spent quite a bit of time volunteering as a women’s chaplain this summer. I’ve really really loved my times there. These women have a long uphill road ahead, but I love seeing the hope that comes into their eyes when we talk about the loving heart of God, hearing their stories and their wisdom. I guess I never expected to find wisdom behind bars, but it makes sense they would know a few things–they’ve seen a lot. I love being able to connect with so many special and unique individuals who appreciate my time and my friendship and my words and are hungry to learn more about God.
Spike ball at the Northern Youth Programs base in Dryden, Ontario. My cousin Kenton, who works there as an airplane mechanic, is on the left. And Lanita, who is just hitting the ball, spent a week in Deer Lake First Nation with me, teaching summer Bible school.
Flying home from Deer Lake after two weeks of teaching Bible school, fishing, laughing, visiting friends. This is the the North from the air–hundreds of acres of water and trees, untouched. I blogged about my experiences here.
And those are my 20 photos.
I challenge you.
Post every 15 photos from your phone–whether on a blog or Facebook or Instagram–and paste the link in the comments below. I would love to get a glimpse into the lives of my readers.