Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cactus from a 99-year-old

Once upon a time, in 1899...a boy named Dave Braun was born to a family living on a farm in the midwest.  He eventually moved to California and became Visitation Pastor at a church in Walnut Creek.  He was serving in that capacity when my family met him.  He was an old man already, well into his 80's.  He'd already reached an age many people don't. Who knew he had fifteen years more to go!

I've never met someone with such a blend of jolliness and reverence.  And such a close friendship with God.  I was just a little kid but I have very clear memories of hearing him pray...and it was like heaven opened and God was there, sitting on His throne in all His glory, listening with great attention to everything Pastor Braun said.  It was like we were listening in on a private conversation.  I've never heard anyone pray quite like that.

When my little sister Amy died, my parents asked him to come when we buried her.  It was just Pastor Braun and his wife, another family we were very close to, and our family.  He looked at the little coffin and said gently, "Ah, what a little treasure box."

Today I looked out in mom's garden and saw a very special flower blooming.  It's a cactus from Pastor Braun.  He had a little garden that he loved, and not long before he died, he gave my mom a little round cactus.  It was a prickly little thing, only about the size of an apple.  It only blooms once a year, and the flowers last just one day.

I don't like cactus...on the whole.  But this one is different because of the dear old man who gave it to us.  It reminds me of him every time I look at it...his sense of humor, his strong farmer's hands, his close friendship with his Lord, his forceful personality and yet sweet submission to everything he received from God's hand, his love for all of us around him.  And those are a precious memories.

Pastor Braun was a tremendous source of encouragement, comfort, and downright fun.  He was the sweetest, strongest old man I've ever met.  He truly "finished the race" with joy.  I hope I can be half as good when I'm that old.  :)

"They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

(Psalm 92: 13-15)

Discovering beauty...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some Texas "lilies of the field"

Hey there faithful blog readers...I have a TON more Peter and Mandy photos coming...I promise!  I'm just trying to crawl out from under the deluge of stuff demanding my attention right now.  Can't be everywhere at once, unfortunately.

So in the meantime here's something pretty to make you happy.  I found these on the way to the airport after Peter and Mandy's wedding.  Chris won the Kind Brother of Photographer Award for the day and stopped the car so I could grab some photos!

With our friend Rob Bennett, who came to Bonham for Peter and Mandy's wedding too.
He's a fellow photographer, and a Nikon shooter, but I don't hold that against him.  :D


And with that...I'm off to bed.  Wish I could sleep for a week, I'm so tired.  Have a great Friday night, folks!  I'll be back in the blogging business very soon with more images of Peter and Mandy's lovely day!

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Favorite photo for today

Working on Peter and Mandy's's my favorite for today.  :)  (Or maybe for this week. Or month.)

So happy for this couple! They are adorable together!

More later...

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Peter and Mandy...coming soon!

I'm working on images from Peter and Mandy's wedding last Saturday and couldn't wait to post just a couple!  More are coming as they're ready.  And yes, there will be a lot more.  It was a fabulous day filled with love and joy and good times...and amazing photo ops!

Discovering beauty...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"You cannot outdream God"

Do any of you get the "Daily Readings" from John and Stasi Eldredge's ministry, Ransomed Heart?  It's a daily email with a short excerpt from one of their books.  I read it during my quiet time in the morning and it's pretty sweet how often there's something in it that speaks directly to my needs.  Like today...this one was just perfect.  And in case your day needs it too, I thought I'd share.  :)

Venturing Forth

It's better to stay in the safety of the camp than venture forth on a wing and a prayer. Who knows what dangers lie ahead? This was the counsel of the ten faithless spies sent in to have a look at the Promised Land when the Jews came out of Egypt. Only two of the twelve, Joshua and Caleb, saw things differently. Their hearts were captured by a vision of what might be and they urged the people to press on. But their voices were drowned by the fears of the other ten spies and Israel wandered for another forty years. Without the anticipation of better things ahead, we will have no heart for the journey.

One of the most poisonous of all Satan's whispers is simply, "Things will never change." That lie kills expectation, trapping our heart forever in the present. To keep desire alive and flourishing, we must renew our vision for what lies ahead. Things will not always be like this. Jesus has promised to "make all things new." Eye has not seen, ear has not heard all that God has in store for his lovers, which does not mean "we have no clue so don't even try to imagine," but rather, you cannot outdream God. Desire is kept alive by imagination, the antidote to resignation. We will need imagination, which is to say, we will need hope.

(The Sacred Romance , 156-57)

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Orphan rescue

Last week my mom and Heidi went out for a walk...and came home with this adorable baby Canada goose!  His parents had abandoned him, and he was frantically chasing a couple geese around the pond, thinking they were mom and dad.  But they flew off, and when the little gosling couldn't follow, Heidi and mom said his panicked little squeaks were just heart-rending.  So they brought him home.  He's been living quite happily here for the past week, hanging out with the baby chicks, eating chick food with them and sometimes sitting in his water bowl.  He's pretty snuggly too.  He likes my hair...must think it's feathers...hehe.  :P


He wasn't easy to photograph -- for such a little thing, he sure can get around on those little webbed feet!

We'll take him back to the pond when he's old enough to fend for himself.'s pretty cute to have this little squeaky morsel of fuzziness living with us!

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Birthday gift for my mom!

There's a certain book my mom loves, called "Tasha Tudor's Garden".  Tasha Tudor was an American illustrator whose Vermont garden is a heaven-on-earth for people like my mom who love growing pretty things.  Every January, when her garden was looking a bit drab, mom used to check the book out from the library, and curl up by the fire and disappear into a happy little dream-world of spring and summer beauty.

Well, this spring her garden has looked unusually outstanding, and every day mom's been reveling in the constantly unfolding variety of lush color.  She loves working with the Creator to design pretty things.  I tell you, it's a feast for the eyes!  She's so happy when she's puttering around in her garden, and justifiably proud of it all.  Several weeks ago she asked if I'd take some photos of it.  Well, of course!  ;)  Can't resist photographing pretty things!

That's when the idea popped into my head—why not design a book for her birthday?  I could do it just like the wedding albums I do for clients..................

And that was the end of that.  :)  After much fun in Lightroom and Photoshop, and not a few late nights, this book was born.

Enjoying her book in her garden.  :)  She loves the book.  She's now a published garden expert, you know.  ;)

Back cover—some verses that are special to her:

I have such a cute mommy!  ;)  She is so precious.

We like having fun. And I think we do it quite well. Hehe.  Can you tell we're related??  ;)


(There were quite a few more in this series...but they got censored... ;)

If you'd like to see the entire book, all the 2-page spreads are in an album here.  Or if you want to see a slide show you can click here.  :)

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Blurriness and a wallpaper

Well, photos of my mom's birthday present will have to wait till tomorrow's post, because today has gotten just too jam-packed.  But meanwhile I thought I'd share my current desktop background with you.  I don't know why I like this photo so much.  It was kind of a mistake -- I inadvertently took a photo while focusing -- but I ended up really liking it.  I think it's just the general blurriness that is cool.  Sometimes things feel a little blurry, you know?  I actually like how it's not really in's pretty in a vague sort of way...

When life feels blurry...remember that it's not really blurry, it's only blurry to you at the moment.  God sees everything in perfect clarity.

As Peter said about Jesus..."Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory..." (I Peter 1:8)

(If you want this for your own desktop wallpaper, just let me know!)

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

And more favorites of Kira!

Here's the final batch of my favorite images from Kira's portrait session.  :)  It was hard to choose...she's such a photogenic little princess.

And of course, Friskia is rather photogenic too.  ;)

Dreaming among the flowers...

I have a weakness for these little violets.  :)

Love that happy smile!

I posted this photo earlier, in color...but the sepia seems to have a special magic of its own.

The End.  Ta-daaaaa!  :D

Oh, and one with her Mona Lisa smile...

If you want to see more, I'll be uploading the entire batch of finals to this gallery tonight.

Next post: the birthday present I did for my mom this week!  I'm very excited to share it with you!!  :D

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy birthday to my dear mom, Nicole!

Today is my mom's birthday!  I've been sitting here for quite some time, trying to think of what to write...and everything seems so inadequate.  I owe her way too much to put into words.  She's spent many years of her life pouring her energies into my life and the rest of my family.  Like the Lord Jesus she loves so much, she gave selflessly, for the sake of those she loves.  If you don't know my mom...I hope you get to, someday!  She's pretty amazing!  :)

You know the photos of those beautiful flowers you see here from time to time?  Many of those are from mom's beloved garden.  She spends every Saturday out there.  (She says it's "better than therapy"...)  ;)

She is a lover of beauty in all its forms.  Along with my dad, she instilled that same love in me and inspired me to go "Discovering beauty".  She loves the outdoors and she's never happier than when she's out in God's creation....skiing, hiking, swimming, playing tennis, and all sorts of outdoor activities.

When it comes to swimming, my mom's a tough cookie.  She can out-swim me any day, much as I hate to admit it.  ;)  Her endurance is something else.

She's also not afraid of heights....eeeyikes!! :D

Dear mommy...have a wonderful birthday, and may God bless you as richly as you've blessed me and everyone else your life touches.  Your sweet friendship with Him is lovely to see.  I'm so grateful for the many ways you have given of yourself for me.  May Jesus delight your heart to overflowing today, and give you many precious times with Him in the year ahead!

(Side note...I really really want to show you the birthday present I gave her, but you'll have to wait till after she opens it!  I'll post photos later!)

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

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Friday, May 7, 2010

More from Kira's portrait session

More of my favorite photos from Kira's portrait session last week...she's such a photogenic little person!

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

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