The Beauty of Naivety


Scallop Shells

When I was a little girl, my grandpa visited one summer. He was a carpenter by trade, restoring older homes and building new ones.  Like most contracting work, his job was seasonal, so every now and then he’d travel to our state for a visit.

One summer he visited for a few days before he took a long road trip. Shortly after hauling his suitcase into his room, he came out to where I was sitting on the couch.

“Here. I brought you something,” he said, plopping down beside me.

He handed me a big, bulky lump wrapped in newspaper. I peeled away the paper and found the most beautiful sea shell I’d ever seen. Its insides glistened with a pearly lining–blue and pink areas that sparkled in the light when I moved it back and forth.

“Put it up to your ear,” Grandpa said with a grin. His blue eyes crinkled at the corners. He reminded me of someone who had a secret to share.

I heard a muffled sound that grew louder when I shifted the shell against the side of my head.

“What do you hear?” he asked.

“It sounds like a roar,” I told him.

“Exactly!” he said. “That’s the ocean you hear. Listen and you’ll hear the waves crashing to shore.”

Naivety is a beautiful thing when you’re a wide-eyed third-grader. I must’ve sat there twenty minutes with my ear glued to that shell. I closed my eyes to picture the scene, and could see the ocean just as surely as if I were wetting my toes in the surf.

Today I photographed shells. Funny how memories like that roll back when we least expect it.

It’s a Small World

1 Comment
Click image for print info

Click image for print info


Every year, I look forward to getting up at dawn and joining hundreds of others on a dew-dampened field. There we watch crews prepare to launch colorful hot air balloons.

This year I sat next to a lady in her eighties, who was comparing the event to her childhood.

“Never saw this type of thing when I was a girl. Riding the train to my grandmother’s…now that was a big deal.”

She got me thinking about how the world has shrunk since I was a child. I can’t remember the last time I went anywhere without seeing someone texting or talking on a cell phone. The world is connected 24/7 and it takes seconds to send an email or text between home and Wherever.  It’s an exciting age we live in.

But sometimes I wish, just for an hour or two, that we could travel back to a slower pace, when people talked more and texted less. Wrote real paper letters with postage stamps, and waited eagerly for a reply.Apps were unheard of, and the thought of calling someone moments before taking off on a plane was out of the realm of possibility. People watched tv on tv and kids played in the dirt instead of on iPads.

Technology has shrunk our world. I use it every day for my art. Before art, I worked on my Mac, cranking out book manuscripts for my publishers. I’m not against technology. In fact, I like the idea of posting an image on Facebook that relatives in Germany or friends in Virginia can enjoy. I like knowing that friends are just a click away if I have a problem to discuss or a note of encouragement to send. It’s been a blessing to watch people come together in prayer for a young mom who was comatose for ten days, or for a little boy born with serious health issues. A real community is thriving online, and there’s something for everyone.

This great big world doesn’t feel so big anymore. Yet, we’re still wired for hugs. Handshakes. Up-close-and-personal eye-to-eye conversations.

When’s the last time you unplugged for an entire day?  I personally can’t remember, which makes me think it might not be such a bad idea every now and then.

Chain Links

1 Comment
Set of 4 Chain Link art prints

Set of 4 Chain Link art prints – click image for details

Chris Tomlin is one of my favorite musicians. This set of prints reminds me of this song.

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing graceThe Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures[2x]
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace