By the time November 2016 rolled around, I’d been away from my new home in Calgary more than I’d been there. But November would be different: no weddings, no travel, no reason to leave my house except for groceries and coffee.
Sounds a bit like 2020 (hah), except for the giant New Year’s Eve party we held the night before Advent began. I digress.
My heart needed to be anchored in one place for longer than a few days. I needed rest, recovery from a fast paced year of change. Just a couple days after my 25th birthday in June I’d loaded up and moved to Calgary, immediately followed by travelling for weddings almost nonstop the entire summer. I put 10 000km on my car in less than 3 months – and that’s not even counting what I flew or put on rental cars.
Apart from the fulfilling and beautiful work I was honoured to be doing, and the delight in filling an entire house with like-minded Catholic women, the tail end of summer and beginning of fall were fraught with unease. My heart was stuck on something (someone, really) and I knew it wasn’t good to pursue it any further. I asked God to sort the situation out on my end – rid me of my feelings, PLEASE – and, praise be, He did in October.
Which brings us to November.
The memory of November in Calgary – my only one, mind you – conjures up feelings of nostalgia for endlessly sunny days, a snow covered yard, and being tucked into the ultra wide brown fabric couch my sister had given to me the year before. That couch is still in that house. I’ve seen pictures.
God invited me to sit with him each day and write. My writing hour became routine, starting at 1pm just as one of my roommates would be leaving for work. I sat on the couch, computer open on my lap, and let the words go. I didn’t think of syntax or grammar (as much as I could let them go, at least) and wrote whatever came to mind.
But before I started this month-long endeavour to get the words crowding my soul from my heart to my mind to my fingertips, I began with cue cards. Endless piles of cue cards, all with a word or phrase that came to mind to release from myself. I’d examined all these things before, but for some reason they kept coming back; I took it as a sign that God wanted me to see something I hadn’t seen during my previous reflections. Now was the time to dig deep. Deeper.
I can’t remember how much of that writing became public. I think some of the deep stuff, maybe none. But the exercise itself, the discipline of looking at what God was bringing to the forefront of my mind, was a gift. The fruit of that month – of that entire season I call the Calgary Retreat – was evident for a long time.
The call to write like that has been pressed upon me yet again. Just like I remember feeling on the cusp of November all those years ago, I’m excited to see what God does with this time.
Let’s see how it goes, shall we?
"They are beautiful photos and I think you captured our day perfectly! You were amazing and made us feel so comfortable and relaxed, you felt like one of the family! Thank you for making the trip out here, it meant a lot to us!
Thank you Thank you Thank you!"
"But you make them comfortable, too. You move through life with such humility and realness that others can't help but be real in your presence. Being a naturally awkward soul, your patience and easygoing way of taking pictures brings out the best in us!"
“The first time I saw our wedding photos, I felt like I was reliving the day all over again. Looking at them now, I still feel that way. It was a gift to have you as part
of our day, reminding us to focus on the now while capturing moments we
wanted to hold forever. We are so grateful for your gorgeous photos that
help us to keep our wedding day close."