The following slide show is the last handful of my photos from our recent trip to New Orleans.
I played a tourist one afternoon, hitching a ride on the “Hop on – Hop off” open top tour bus. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, passionate about the city he calls home and entertaining enough for me to remain on the bus after only one stop at Cemetery No. 1. We began at Jackson Square, driving past the French Market on the outskirts of the French Quarter, to the St Louis Cemetery 1 (the only place I stepped off the bus to walk around and take pictures) through the heart of downtown, beside to the Riverfront and Harrah’s Casino, along Magazine Street, past the Super-dome and Art District, around museums and circling the Garden District.
Although it was supposed to be a warm day (I wore flip-flops as did several other out-of-towners) it was chilly and I huddled in the corner trying to stay warm against the brisk breeze, while insisting on riding on the top so I could view as much as possible. It provided a thorough overview of New Orleans.
The last day, just before we headed to the airport we drove to Vacherie, home of Oak Alley Antebellum Mansion and Plantation shrouded with dark history and breath-taking grounds laden with commanding Oak trees that bend to greet you and form a massive archway over the long, walk way toward the front of the mansion.
One cannot visit the Big Easy and not venture to the historic cemeteries where thousands of men, women and children have been laid to rest, mostly above ground. I strolled through St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 just outside the French Quarter one day as I played tourist on an open bus “Hop on, Hop off” guided tour and then went to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and 2 in the Garden District with my friends the last day we were there.
The ruins are unlike anything you would see even in the most ancient cemeteries. The rows of mausoleums, with wrought iron gates, crumbling bricks and broken tombstones hold a million “haunting” secrets of decades of loss.
When your heart aches for God and your soul becomes desperate and you search within for his voice and the presence of his spirit, you know the height, breadth, width and depth of holy love. Such longing leads to the greatest treasure in heaven.
Born most often from brokenness, the weakness of our humanity becomes fertile ground where seeds sown across a lifetime of searching and seeking come to fruition.
Abundance equated only with tangible blessing often serves to deceive, keeping us distracted, shallow and posturing. Deprivation, fiery trial, loneliness, pain and loss are not punishments – they are the firm grasp and pressing fingertips of a wise, tender yet strong master pottery shaping us into vessels of glory. Continue reading
We returned late last night from 4 adventuresome days in New Orleans. We stayed in the French Quarter and spent portions of each day meandering through the streets on foot absorbing the fullness of the experience. There is so much I could share about this are but I thought I would begin by selecting some of my favorite photos that provide the best overview of this 13 by 6 blocks concentration of history and mystery.
Forgiveness, like a kaleidoscope, looks different with every twist and turn. The results are always beautiful but never identical. The more I’ve lived the more I’ve needed to forgive in myself and others. Things done and said as well as things left undone and unsaid.
Some betrayals are life altering and bend the path in an altogether unplanned direction. Other, more minor indifference’s slowly erode the quality of connection and people fade from our lives. We experience both and a plethora of others across the decades.
One common factor exists: Behavior collides with expectations and people get hurt.
When I think about writing “my story” it’s impossible to not include particular events that I experienced along the way that caused deep sorrow as they were used to move me to rely on Christ alone. Continue reading
I regularly look heavenward. I LOVE the sky painted with thin wafts of thin airy clouds, laden with massive fluffy clouds, capturing the vibrant colors of sunrise and sunset and the of course, rainbows! Each of the photos below were “captured” by my phone – not with my camera. Everyday shots of his powerful reminders of love and affection in one of my love languages. I’m a hopeless spiritual romantic who has no interest in being “cured”.
My “grand prize” came 2 weeks ago. I showed this picture to a friend of mine who has worked in weather for 30 years who had the same awe-inspired reaction I did. She had never seen anything as splendid!
My city is on fire… with the most vibrant color of Autumn I’ve seen in years. Strolling through the neighborhood and feeling like I may be experiencing one of the most visually beautiful days of my life. I can’t help buy wonder if God ever views us with such awe at the beauty of our surrender from one season of our lives to the next; not in defeat but in yielding to the transformation of time.