Wednesday, July 25, 2007

sublime

Here are some more incredibly altered photos along with a bit 'o journaling that I did while sitting downtown this past Saturday. Warning: I have been listening to a book on CD in my car the past week or so "Rilla of Ingleside" by LM Montgomery--it's about Anne & Gilbert Blithe's daughter, so that's my excuse for the flowery writing.



There’s something both selfish & giddy about being in myself. I’d like to invite you in, but would you be able to? And if you were, would you understand? Is the same thing that is sublime to me, equally stirring to you?

For instance, if you were to somehow be in my heart & soul right now would you feel, as I do, that there is simultaneously too much & not enough emotion for this moment? Could you listen to the young Asian sisters masterfully playing their cello & violins, watch the delighted & surprised faces of down-towners passing by, feel the gently forceful zephyr of summer lift & toss your hair as carefully, nonchalantly & courageously as that time last summer when an old friend surprised you with a dance that still steals your breath with every remembrance, and not feel that this is, in itself, decadence?



The kind of bittersweet decadence—like the darkest of chocolates—that makes you want to either cry with deepest sorrow or sigh, like after a great thrill that, once over, leaves you breathless. These are the moments when you feel you could die and be perfectly satisfied. And where you want to die because you’ve just glimpsed something so divinely bigger than everyday life that you could no longer bear to live one more breath of terrestrial existence.

That is the excess and lacking hole of emotion in your chest, or gut, or wherever you most strongly feel life. There’s so much more than you’ve ever experienced (or you’ve forgotten how it felt the last time, even if the last time was a mere 24 hours ago—how quickly we forget!). But feeling that “much more” is like opening a door, lighting a match, seeing for a fleeting moment exquisite things & then feeling the vast darkness around it that hints at the possibility of perhaps infinite more of it where that came from. Thus a deep emptiness in your bosom that greedily longs for more of what is already flooding over the banks of your heart in it’s excess.

Guilt is also a part of this pleasure. Could you bear to keep this to yourself & not share it somehow with someone else? Someone special who won’t trample it as invaluable? But we’re back to the main question: how on God’s green earth can I possibly translate the pages of my soul that I myself so little understand in any form that another could read? Oh! But it’s just so much! I think it must hurt so much more in the inability to share it.



My wine colored polka dot ballet flats & jeans with a tiny whole where a spark leapt onto me at a fire-pit party late one night augment the moment. They are doing their darndest to share this with me. But I suppose a shoe, no matter how perfectly polka-dotted, can never really commiserate like a real person.

My mind gathers around it Jo March & Elisabeth Bennett & Anne Shirley—I don’t care if they aren’t real, if you were to smash the first & last together in a divine explosion, you’d actually get me, Joann Renee Whittaker. Certainly they understood moments like these and shared them in their worlds as they could: pen & paper, quill & parchment, exuberance in life, contagious wonder.

chris chabot

I officially think tampering with photos (besides contrast & brightness, B&W or sepia tones) is cheating. However, I've quite enjoyed "cheating" with this new program that my friend showed me. I suppose this is my official disclaimer that the following pictures have been considerably messed with. Sorry if you are now disappointed in me. I must confess, I am as well (and yet perfectly happy--how can that be?).

Last Saturday night a fellow Christian & barista at a local coffee shop blessed Westside with a concert after our service. Make sure to ask me to listen to his stuff if you haven't heard it before...he's brilliant. Anyway, the first is the band basking in the light. The next two are of his daughter harmony enjoying her dad's music.





Wednesday, July 18, 2007

sunsets & rainbows

Sunday night from my deck:

Last night behind the house...
...and in front of the house...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

the insanity that some people call a week

Here are a few pics from this past week:

Since my nephews live 3-4 hours away, or 1 day by plane, I gladly lavished some love on little Ella Block last Saturday night after church. She slept like, well, a baby. A half an hour later I was covered in baby sweat with a little drool puddle on my shoulder, but it was well worth it.


An artsy shot of the callouses on the ends of my fingers after a few hours of worship leading in 180 last Sunday.


If you look closely at this mattress you will see a guitar pick chilling. I don't know if this is proof of my lunacy or intense musicianship (or perhaps in my sleep I take the sheets off my bed and play guitar until I lose my pick?). I discovered it on Tuesday when I removed my bedding in preparation for my lovely moving helpers to arrive.


After a quick moving of my belongings, I got to the church by noon to head out to Elk Lake for a few hours with the rest of the Westside staff and their families. Most of the young people went kayaking, but I stayed on shore and captured some of my favorite ladies wading with the children...


...and Pastor Ken taking a little nap.


Stay tuned for picture of the new palace I just moved into...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

luke & kristin bryan (7.7.7)

This past Saturday (7.7.7) two of my friends, Kristin (formerly Downs) who I lived with last summer & Luke Bryan who has served in 180 & lead worship there ever since I've lived in Bend (he was also a 2nd year CLC student when I was a 1st year), tied the knot.
These are my favorite shots from the event:

Kristin's favorite flowers--Gerber daisies...
The dress (or at least the back of it)...
Kristin's grandma & another relative preparing aisle bouquets...
Tears of joy during prayer right before the ceremony...
A few last minute words from Pastor Steve to the groom...
The kiss...Stephenie approves...
The flower girl had fun with the leftover rose petals...
Stephenie's daisy is hot and tired...
Ella & Gina Block...
Artsy, eh?
Roommates & bridesmaids, Nicolette & Lindsay, basking in the glow of the day...
"Seven more weeks." Josh is getting married to Karlee the end of August...
The first dance (my camera was freaking out with all of the ambient light, but it makes this moment look more surreal & romantic)...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

first friday

If you've never experienced a first Friday of the month in downtown Bend, OR, then you are seriously missing out on one of my favorite things in the world. The first Friday of every month downtown Bend is overflowing with the most unusual combination of people and experiences...young families strolling around, senior citizens dressed to the nines sipping wine at every shop possible & perusing the art displays, people on stilts, lobbyists, hippies, the scooter gang, street musicians, fire dancers, and people watchers (such as myself). I wandered around giggling and capturing via digital camera the sights and now I will share them with you, although it is something you can't fully understand until you've experienced it (and even then you are left wondering if you've stepped into an alternate reality).

Abandoned wine "tasting" cups in the bustling courtyard behind Bellatazza...


Gorgeous central Oregon sunset over downtown...


The orange bandana crew that are huge fans of impeachment...


Sunset over Drake Park...


Geese gathering on the purple waters of the Deschutes...

Monday, July 09, 2007

donald james earl shire

Four years, to the day, that my big sister Kimmie met Andy Shire in person for the first time, their son, Donny, was born on June 29th. I drove over a couple of days later to hold my third nephew. He's a beautiful little guy and I am itching to go see him again soon...





Thursday, July 05, 2007

the pone

My friends have lately been obsessed with the "pone" (aka pony-tail). They've decided to make a coffee table book of the world of pones. This would include pictures and descriptions for such pones as the mullet pone, balding pone, baseball cap pone (where the pone goes through the gap at the back with no need for a hair tie), home-school pone (that reaches past the waist), glamour pone (a little pouf above the main pone), cheerleader pone, etc. Really, there is a variety of pone for every person in the world.

While out at Billy Chinook this past weekend, Casey & Eric decided to experience the power of the pone first hand. I would say Casey's is a wanna-be pone & Eric's is a rat-tail pone...

How would you classify them?


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

playa del carmen (day 6)

On our final day in Playa, we again headed to La Quinta, but this time in daylight, for shopping & Starbucks...
This looks much more scandalous than it actually is. I promise I dressed like an American, not a European...
I was very excited about my first coffee in many moons...although I still was unable to finish it...silly stomach!
Yes, they sold Nacho Libre masks...this is actually how the wrestlers dress down there, but they are certainly trying to capitalize on the success of Jack Black's movie...
Dane, Asi, & Eric parked out in front of the Laundromat that was right next to our final outreach spot. You can also see Jarred in the background, studying for sharing his testimony that night...
Angi. I love her. I'm going to be roommates with her in about a week...

Molly snatched my camera to take this one of me tuning up my poor humidity-warped guitar...

This one's for you, Daddy...now you can say you've been to Cancun...twice...kind of...
They blocked off an entire side street for the outreach that night...the blue van parked behind the stage was our mode of transportation the week that we were down there...
The people from the local church who hosted the event, praying before the outreach started...
Stephenie sharing her testimony. Andrea (our faithful & beautiful interpreter) & Stephenie totally didn't even plan outfits together...
The light that night was gorgeous...this is the street we were ministering on...
Jennifer painting a hand instead of a face for a change...

And my favorite picture from the entire trip. This was taken while Gracie's sister Molly sang a song that she had sung three years ago at their father's funeral...