Friday, February 26, 2010

Donner Lake

Just happened on this image Donner Lake, near Tahoe, while browsing photos tonight...and thought I'd share it with you all.  After all, that's what this blog is about, right?  "Discovering beauty"!  So it makes sense that when you visit here, you can be sure of finding some, eh?  :)

I love the mistiness.  The way you can't see it all.  Oh yes, it's pretty here without fog—I've driven by on clear days, and it's a very pretty lake—but there's something enchanting about this particular view.  It speaks to me.  Does it say anything to you?

I'll tell you one thing it says to me: trust.  Sometimes my life has foggy scenes in it.  Scenes that are shrouded in mist...where I can't see the whole picture...where it's a mystery to everyone but my Heavenly Father.  But there is no fog to Him.  His view is perfect and unclouded.

I don't have to fear the fog.  I can't always see clearly, but I don't need to, if Someone Else can.  Someone strong and kind.  Someone very interested in my welfare, who has the power to do something about it.  Someone who is willing to do what's best for me, even though it cost him his very life.  Someone who wasn't afraid of going through tremendous pain on my behalf.  Someone who longs to be with me every minute of the day.  Why should I be afraid, with someone like this as my God?

Earlier this week I asked Him for a verse, and He gave me this one, from the book of Jude:

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling,
to the only wise God our Savior,
be glory and majesty,
dominion and power,
both now and ever. Amen."

May your heart trust fearlessly in His keeping...the one who sees your life with perfect clarity, and loves you.
- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Blake & Jae engagement session

Blake and Jae are getting married in June, and we met this month for an engagement session.  It was a cloudy afternoon with rain approaching, but it held off till after we finished -- yay!

Blake and Jae are so relaxed and natural with each other...obviously meant to be together!  It was wonderful to spend a couple hours with them and get to know them better.  They both love the outdoors, so we hit it off right away.  And they were willing to do whatever it took to get some great photos.  Which we did!  We went to a park outside Livermore and found all sorts of things that made this photog very, paths, green grass, a bridge with cool lines, and near the end of our time together, a beautifully green, ferny, secluded little nook.  It was a magical spot for sure!

For more photos, visit Blake and Jae's gallery here.  For a slideshow, click here.

Discovering beauty...

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Being a "featured soloist"... exciting, amusing, humbling, sometimes hair-raising...and lots of fun! :) I've been a member of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra for two years, as keyboard player (piano/harpsichord) and sometimes French horn. Haven't missed a concert! This weekend was very friend Eri and I soloed in "The Carnival of the Animals", by French composer Camille Saint-Saens. It's a musical depiction of a whole collection of different animals, for two pianos and orchestra. With lions, cuckoos, donkeys, a swan, and even pianists, we had quite the musical menagerie! ;)

It's been very satisfying to play with an orchestra, after struggling with tendonitis for so long...twelve years ago I started experiencing pain in my wrists, and it gradually grew worse till it took away my ability to play (or type or anything involving my arms). But the last five years or so, my arms have slowly gotten better. I still can't practice much, but I can do enough for this! I'm so grateful the Lord has given this much back to me. Losing it was one of the hardest experiences I've ever gone through. But He knew what He was doing...and it was absolutely wonderful to have this chance to play with an orchestra this weekend!

Eri and I, at the Saturday night performance (thanks Chris!)


Flowers from Dad and Mom, after we finished

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous (or not!) shoes.  I can't deny it, I really have a weakness for shoes.  (I mean, hey, Cinderella is proof that the right shoes can change your life. See?)

Next day...getting ready to go onstage before the Sunday night performance in the big Lesher Theater.  All I had was my cell phone but I couldn't help having some fun with its teeny little camera.  ;)

Chris took some photos from the balcony...

Afterwards Eri's two adorable sons, Taiga and Tony, each presented her with a rose :)

Annnnnnd a little more cell-phone-camera fun backstage, after we finished.

That's all for now!  :)  Next post,  back to business -- more engagement photos!

Discovering beauty...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Concert tonight!

I'll post later if I can...hopefully somebody in the audience can snag a photo or two.  ;)  If you're in Walnut Creek and you want to come to a fun concert tonight or tomorrow, check out this link!  Actually, check it out, even if you're not coming to the concerts -- the photographer who took the images on this website is ...ME.  ;)

More later.  After I treat my loyal fans to some ivory-tickling by a fabulous French composer.  Pray for my arms, if you can; all this practice is kinda getting to them....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thoughts on beauty

Last Saturday when I went to Yosemite, I wasn't just looking for some pretty pictures. I was discouraged about a few things, and my heart needed to experience some beauty. It needed to receive the messages beauty brings.

When I'm confronted with God's lavish, generous, wild beauty, it ministers to my heart like nothing else. It speaks of a God who IS beauty. Things like waterfalls, stately forests, massive granite peaks, snow-clad slopes...these are all expressions of who he is. He is perfectly beautiful, and perfectly good. He put us on an earth that is overflowing with beauty.

I love the way John Eldredge puts it: "Is this not God’s prescription for us? Just take a look around. The sights and sounds, the aromas and sensations—the world is overflowing with beauty. God seems to be rather enamored with it. Gloriously wasteful. Apparently, he feels that there ought to be plenty of it in our lives."

"Our hearts need to feed on beauty to sustain them. We need times of solitude and silence. We need times of refreshment and laughter and rest. We need to listen to the voice of God in our hearts as He tells us what we need."

"We need what Beauty speaks. What it says is hard to put into words. But part of its message is, all is well. All will be well."

Isn't that so true? Whether my emotions are up or down, beauty gives me confidence in what He's doing in my life...all will be well. I need something outside myself to give me that confidence. When I'm unsure of His goodness, I have only to look around and see what amazingly beautiful creations came out of His head.

"Beauty is in and of itself a great and glorious good, something we need in large and daily doses (for our God has seen fit to arrange for this). Nature at the height of its glory shouts, 'Beauty is essential!' revealing that Beauty is the essence of God. The whole world is full of his glory. "

"Beauty is transcendent. It is our most immediate experience of the eternal. Think of what it’s like to behold a gorgeous sunset or the ocean at dawn. Remember the ending of a great story. We yearn to linger, to experience it all our days. Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know our hearts were created for. Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. Beauty says, There is a glory calling to you. And if there is a glory, there is a source of glory. What great goodness could have possibly created this? Beauty draws us to God.

"Beauty is powerful. It may be the most powerful thing on earth. It is dangerous. Because it matters. Let us try to explain why.

"First, beauty speaks. Oxford bishop Richard Harries wrote, 'It is the beauty of the created order which gives an answer to our questionings about God.' And we do have questions, don’t we? Questions born out of our disappointments, our sufferings, our fears. ...

"And what does beauty say to us? Think of what it’s like to be caught in traffic for more than an hour. Horns blaring, people shouting obscenities. Exhaust pouring in your windows, suffocating you. Then remember what it’s like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow or a quiet beach. There is room for your soul. It expands. You can breathe again. You can rest. It is good. All is well. I sit outside on a summer evening and just listen and behold and drink it all in, and my heart begins to quiet and peace begins to come into my soul. My heart tells me that 'all will be well,' as Julian of Norwich concluded. 'And all manner of things will be well.'

"That is what beauty says: All shall be well."

All will be well in my life too. The God who began a good work in me (Phil. 1:6) will finish what He started. In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16).  Not just a little joy, or enough to get by -- but fullness. I let His beauty sink in last Saturday...and it brought His comfort and peace.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A day in Yosemite

Anybody who knows me knows I love's one of my favorite places on earth! Somehow, I haven't gotten up there in a few months (not sure how that happened!?!). So when the chance came to go on Saturday, I jumped at it! The weather wasn't too cooperative, but it's always beautiful up there no matter what the weather is doing. So here's my afternoon in photos.

Along the road, on the way there...

Almond orchards about to burst into bloom

Normally, this would be a beautiful view of Upper Yosemite Falls.  Hehe.  Not today!

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful..."  But that's OK...from inside, it's beautiful!  :D

Pretty tree moss

Can't help it!  It's like my camera just takes foot pictures, whether I want it to or not!  ;)

My favorite little chapel in the world.  :)

I just love this place.  And the people there.  Pastor Brent and his wife Faith are dear folks.  If you're ever in Yosemite on a Sunday morning, drop by!  :)  (And tell them hi for me...)

That's all for now folks!  Hope you're all having a great Monday!

Discovering Beauty...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Brent & Chantil's SF engagement session, part 1

I just love engagement sessions! Brent and Chantil's was so fun...we met in San Francisco and wandered all over the Golden Gate bridge area, photographing as we went.  More than once, we spotted a place to take a photo, and headed towards it -- and along the way, found something else even cooler.  (Honestly, I could never work in a studio...why confine yourself, when "all the world's a stage"!)  Besides pretty light (if you know me you know I looooove pretty light!), we found reflections and clouds and cool lines...ahhhh...photographer happiness!

It was fun to get to know Brent and Chantil a little better.  I met Brent about a year ago, when he was in his brother's wedding, which I photographed.  He has an infectious grin and a go-getter attitude.  And Chantil is a beauty!  They clearly think the world of each other, and it was a treat to do my best to capture that in their photos.  So here goes...

(Pretty bridge...the landscape photographer in me couldn't help it... ;)

(with Brent and Chantil, after we finished -- thanks to Britton for helping take this one!)

That's all for now.  Have a great Saturday, everybody!  :)

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brent & Chantil engagement session preview

Last Saturday, I had WAY too much fun with an engagement session in San Francisco!  Brent and Chantil wanted their photos with this iconic SF landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge...

It was a beautiful day.  Talk about made-to-order weather!

Can't wait to share more photos with you!  :)

Off to discover more beauty...

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...  |  |