Friday, January 8, 2016

Manifesto for Saying Yes

I've been reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, and I am encouraged by his notion of how play and a sense of fun can be blended into the serious side of life . . .  so that I might rejoice in the thing that God has made me to be.

An artist delights in her work.

Recently, someone asked me, "What do you do with all those pictures you take?"  Followed closely by "Do you get paid to take them?" At first, I was taken aback and did not know how to respond. The questions triggered a defensive feeling. I gathered my courage, giving the only answer that felt right, "I take pictures because it makes me happy. It's fun."

The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.  – C.S. Lewis

In keeping with my word of 2016, kindness, I'm establishing boundaries and setting some guidelines for what I'll say yes to.

Yes  . . .  
. . . to a camera that goes with me everywhere, everyday.
. . . to pulling off to the side of the road and making the picture my heart tells me to make.

Yes  . . .
. . . to adventure, exploration, discovery and wonder.
. . . to travel by foot whenever I can and fresh air with deep breathing.
. . . to making things.
. . . to learning from others.
. . . to passion - for the pen with the perfect nib, a homecooked meal, a new houseplant.

Yes  . . .
. . . to old-fashioned mail.

Yes  . . .
. . . to friendships that bring out the best in both parties.
. . . to helping someone else.
. . . to books and music and museums.

Yes  . . .
. . . to letting go of old habits.
. . . to waiting and stillness and quiet and boredom.
. . . to valuing myself and my time.
. . . to being fearlessly authentic and transparent.
. . . to asking for help.

My personal philosophy of fun rests in laughter and ease and the spontaneity afforded by a looseness of schedule. If it makes me feel light and happy, it's fun. And while I realize that not every day can be fun, I'm surely seeking more fun. And places where photography is encouraged.

I am hopeful with anticipation and positive expectations. And I hope you are, too.

P.S. If you aim to bring out the best in yourself and your work, visit Brenna Layne and her wise words on living an unmistakable life. And if you'd like suggestions for thoughtful and compelling reading that might help you to grow closer to Christ, check out this booklist from the Unedited Movement.


  1. Yes! I am nodding my head in agreement. As always, your photos make me want to jump through them into that moment and the beauty.

  2. enjoying your wonderful photos...they are a joy...

  3. I love your optimism and you always inspire me. I love visiting you.

  4. Yes to all of this! A big YES to making images! And that equals to FUN and Happiness!!

  5. Once again, dear Donna, your post is a brilliant spark for thoughts and reflections.
    Your pictures are not only beautiful (i.e.the setting sun coloring the electrical lines in fluorescent red...) but they are also charged with deep meaning and cleverly connected to your words.
    You amaze me with the ability you have to be so honestly and transparently insightful and clear-sighted with yourself and to put things into such significant words...
    I agree totally with your philosophy of saying yes and to be happy... but I find it hard at times to feel happy and light in the turmoils of our world...
    Thank you Donna for sharing your optimism and your enthusiasm... for me, it's a lesson to be followed...

    1. Odile, I don't know you, but I surely would like to! I read your comments every time with a mixture of wonder, amusement, and joy. You have such a beautiful way of expressing things, of standing in your own truths while inviting others to do the same. No wonder you're Donna's friend--I see those same traits in her blog entries and photographs.

  6. A perfect answer to her question..."I take pictures because it makes me happy. It's fun." and that is all that matters! wonderful positive post for the new year.

  7. Agree Agree AGREE. So perfectly put Donna, you always seem to find the secret message to this question in why we take photos. Yes I should be printing out more and intend to but if they sit on my hard drives that is ok for me to. No worries I am a gal that just wants to have fun, find the wonder in my camera. Not to hurt anyone but also to be kind to myself.

    Oh love the images and I think I will come and steal that frog!

  8. YES to all that you've said here, and to every lovely, evocative photograph, saved for yourself and/or shared.

  9. I look through your images again and again. Each one delights for different reasons, touches a different part of my imagination. I have to say 'old-fashioned mail' is my favorite, although I love each one. Your words are the icing on the cake! 21015 was a year of growth and strengthening for you, I think. I can't wait to see what 2016 brings! Blessings on your weekend, my friend.

  10. Well, it's a resounding "yes!" from up the road, too, to join in with everyone else! My favorite photo is the phone wires catching the evening sun . . . and the lines we all draw between them and each other here on your blog.

  11. Amen to the looseness of schedule. I have a hard time letting go and being free even on my "work days" but it is something I will continue to work on this year. I have been reading like a crazy women as of late, the one benefit of winter in Michigan.

  12. I loved this blog . As always I get filled here Donna. Way to go and so well done. What an inspiration you are. So real and so true.

  13. Wow Donna, I cannot believe how closely our new year projects parallel each other so much..Your manifesto is so wonderful, so well said and resonates with me. I didn't say it as eloquently as you did but I could feel every "Yes" that you spoke of. You use words so beautifully and passionately. I love visiting just for that...but maybe those words are so passionate because you speak from the heart. I to, am looking at this new year ahead as a time to sort of re-connect with myself. Saying no more often, even to myself. Putting me at the top of the list instead of at the bottom, as if I have to earn free time for reading and writing. Not any more...reading and writing first and them maybe laundry and cooking. It feels good. I'm not overloading this year with classes either...whatever comes my way that pleases me is what will get done. Thank you so much for posting these wise words. Each time I'm at a crossroads I'll think of you and this post and choose the "yes" that means the most to me...xo


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