Overcome by Ordinary

by | Jun 16, 2012 | Saturday


It is a hard art to learn,

catching quiet

by palms raised

cupped in

air shifting location

here and there like

trying to guess the pattern of falling leaves,

and hoping to feel

the soft descent of moments

when silence slips

between sounds.


This ordinary time is

gifted with days,

weeks of mundane grace

routinely following the liturgy

of hours anticipating creation

tuning its prayer and praise to the

rhythms of incarnate love.


I am used to the uproar,

the Holy drama,

the appetite’s gnarled discord

of fasting and feasting on borrowed time,

the knocking of angels,

the blubbering piety of waiting,

appointed seasons for guilt and grief,

tears of joy and disbelief,

the birth of miracles, the passion of virgins,

the mourning of a love so divine.


This ordinary time is gifted in its quiet, marked passing

Christ slips about

calling and baptizing,

sending and affirming,

pour in his Spirit like water

into broken cisterns,

sealing cracks and filtering our senses,

that we may savor the foolish

simplicity of his grace.

 Passing Ordinary Time by ENUMA OKORO

{Photos taken in Capernwray, England}

I’m cupping my hands to hold the wonder of ordinary.  Won’t you join me?

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  1. Lynn Morrissey

    Oh, can we ever catch quiet, running after its fleetness, grasping at its elusiveness as we might a butterfly, flittering? I love the poet’s idea, and yours, Shelly, to raise our hands, beseeching, and only then will the soundlessness softly sift and descend into our cupped and waiting palms—palms ready to receive, palms ready to revere. Ordinary gifts fill open hands, not those that clutch or claw or clench. And now that you are holding all that ordinary wonder in your upturned palms, it’s really pretty extraordinary, isn’t it? Nothing God makes is ordinary, and that’s the holy wonder of it. Thank you for sharing this lovely poem, Shelly. Have a WONDER-FULL, grace-filled weekend….His grace filling your open palms!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I am late on returning replies to comments but I did have a grace-filled weekend getting my kids off to camp and outreach. And I’m basking in the quiet with my husband, enjoying the gift of time with cupped hands of holy ordinary.

  2. Lynn Morrissey

    BTW, not only are you a gifted stylist, Shelly, but an extremely talented, poetic photographer. Oh my! I stand in silent awe of your photographic art of the heart.

    • lolitavalle

      I echo Ms. Lynn’s comment. I find prose in the perspective or your photographs. They speak of love and peace…… and of the Creator Himself.

      Thanks for letting us see into your own beauty and grace.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Are we allowed to echo in the silence? 🙂 Shelly’s photos *do* tell stories of beauty. Do you all blog? I couldn’t locate you. ~Lynn

      • Redemption's Beauty

        Wow, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you so much.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You are so kind Lynn, thank you. I had the privilege of taking hundreds of photos of my children before the digital age because my aunt and uncle owned Moto Photo stores and gifted me with film and developing for years. I learned so much by practicing and really, the thing I like doing the most is visiting somewhere new with my camera.

  3. lolitavalle

    Absolutely, Shelly. I want to join you. I am raising my arms and face lifted up the heavens…….
    Pour them upon me, my God…. and patch up the cracks of my cistern, to make them hold the living water of grace. Thank you God, thank you.

    Thanks sharing this poem to us, Shelly.

    Have a great and peaceful weekend!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      She is a lovely writer isn’t she? It’s from that book I am enjoying called At the Still Point.

      • lolitavalle

        I’m gonna add this to my book wish list. Thanks.

  4. Diana Trautwein

    So, so lovely – pictures and oh.those.words. Thanks so much for that poetic reflection. That is a new name to me and I’m gonna look it up. Have a refreshing weekend, Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I have seen her name around the Her-menutics blog at Christianity today too. This poem is from that book, At the Still Point by Sarah Arthur. Glad you enjoyed it Diana.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for following this blog. What a privilege it is to have you joining the conversations here.

  5. Sylvia R

    It took my breath away, these pictures interspersed with these words. I guess that’s being overwhelmed, by… something way beyond the ordinary, in the ordinary. Thank you for this.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My husband stopped in the parking of this little church on our way to see a bible school where my sister-in-law went to school. We were trying to get our bearings and it was so still there, you could hear the sheep bahing in the distance.

  6. Sandra Heska King

    Oh. Oh my. Silence slipping between sounds . . . savoring the foolish simplicity of his grace. Cupping. Drinking.

  7. wynnegraceappears

    I don’t think I will ever grow weary of your trip pics. They amaze with their beauty. This is too beautiful in every way. Going up to re-read. Thanks for inspiring with beauty in words and with photography.

    Wishing all glory on this low-humidity Lowcountry Day.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for saying so Elizabeth. I have been a little worried that people might be getting sick of them. There is just so much beauty in every shot, I want to share them all!

      • wynnegraceappears

        And there is…and you should. Keep the beauty coming.

  8. Jillie

    Oh Shelly…once again…stunningly beautiful to behold! The LORD is so good Revealing His Beauty if only we would slow down and look. I am reading Ann Voskamp’s ‘One Thousand Gifts’ and have begun yet another journal in which to keep my own list. I am seeing…really seeing beauty in the ‘ordinary’ stuff of everyday. He is EVERYWHERE! Thank you for your prayers. I KNOW He led me to this book because I so desperately needed it. How ungrateful I have been.
    “Eucharisteo”. The table of Thanksgiving. My JOY is returning. Praise Him!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I am sooo glad you found Ann’s book. It is such a transformational read. I know it was for me. I am on my third time and still feeling blessed by her words. It seems God is doing quite a work in you friend and it is so exciting to be along for the ride. Thank you for letting me be a passenger.

  9. Michelle DeRusha

    Gorgeous photos, breathtaking words. Thank you, Shelly. Joy to you, girl.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Michelle, always love seeing you stopped by.

  10. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    I just watched a program I taped last night from HGTV – taped because it covered Scotland of my dreams. Your photos remind me of beauty there. Oh, beauty that captures me like the wind and soars my heart. (Are these from England?) I more than agree with all the above comments about the artistry in your photos. My favorite is at top. Fairy tale cottage. Yes…loveliness in the ordinary turned extraordinary…

    Pretty new header too! 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I my, I agonized over that header photo so thank you for noticing. I tried about ten photos and you would be surprised how hard it is to find one that fits in that space and looks right. I so hope you get to visit Europe some day Pam. It will make your heart sing.

  11. Lynda Fleming

    Shelly, i read your posts every day and am blessed by them but don’t usually respond. today’s was exceptional and i am hoping your aunt Paula, my dear friend, will paint the first photo of the cottage/church exterior with the awesome door and window. thanks for your faithfulness. Lynda Fleming/ Grand Lake, Ok.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, wouldn’t that one be an awesome painting? And she could do it well for sure. You’ll have to tell her about that one.

  12. Michelle Ortega

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem today. Your photos have captured the feeling of a broken cistern filling with His Spirit *exhales long and slow*

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Michelle, I was hoping for that. Mission accomplished. 🙂

  13. Joanne Norton

    Really neat. Absolutely love the photos. Putting the wording and pics together to “speak” to each other is always a blessing to see. Thanks much.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I am really enjoying the weekend posts, they fulfill a creative side of me. I think about verses and pictures all week and it is fun to see how the Lord leads it all together in the end. Glad you are blessed, that blesses me!

  14. Jennifer Richardson

    yes, cupping my hands with you
    and grateful that I came.
    heart stirred and nourished quiet:)
    thank you,

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jennifer, really lovely to meet you and so glad you stopped by. Hope you will come again for another visit!

  15. Donna

    I love the pairing of the beautiful poem and the grace of the stone church. Ordinary, mundane, and oh so blessed.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      That poem is from a lovely book of devotional reading during ordinary time on the liturgical calendar. It is called At the Still Point by Sarah Arthur, in case you are interested in further reading.

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