Put a Frame Around It


I spend a lot of time creating things. Some days I catch myself wondering if it’s a waste. Why do I write the words and melodies, snap the pictures, write the blog post, or dream about the book I’ll finish one day? I don’t make a dime. I am certainly not a writer in demand!:) And yet… I think creating is a big part of what I’m called to do.

For any of you who have read my blog, it will come as no surprise that I found my answer in a Frederick Buechner book.  I have always felt a deep connection to Buechner’s writing. He gives words to the thoughts that swim between my dreams and my waking – things that drive to the very core of me but I cannot name. 

This quote from The Remarkable Ordinary sums up why I wander in the woods and struggle with my pen and paper.

“So, art is saying Stop. It helps us to stop by putting a frame around something and makes us see it in a way we would never have seen it under the normal circumstances of living, as so many of us do, on sort of automatic pilot, going through the world without really seeing much of anything.”

That is why I wrote this post, why I get up before dawn and ignore mosquitos, heat or cold to take my photos, why I spend hours trying to get a melody just right. First, it is for me. It is my way of telling my heart, “STOP! Look at this. Really look at this.”


Then I share some of these things with you so that you might say to yourself, “STOP! Would you look at that? What a wonder!”  I don’t want you to look at my photo of the moon and say, “Look at my friend’s post. She is a great photographer.” My hope is that you think, “I can’t believe she saw that in Magnolia, TX. Hey, I can see stuff like that, too!”

Next time you see a beautiful moonrise, consider that no one who has ever lived or who ever will live is standing in the exact spot as you, at that exact time, with the specific memories and emotions and dreams you bring to the moment. That moment is a gift from the universe, from The Creator, in my opinion, for you and you alone. 

When we create, in our feeble attempt to capture this magic, we get to participate in the divine dance. We are framing tiny miracle moments.  If my art influences a handful of people and deepens their desire to find their own such moments, I am contributing to the very work of creation – I am bringing wonder, love, and peace to the world in a way only I am equipped to do.

You and I are also works of art. As we expand our ability to pay attention to nature, we begin to see each other through new filters. More from Buechner from his book  Whistling in the Dark:

“So we are to see each other like that, as Jesus sees us, framed as if each one of our faces is seen by him.”

I hope for anyone who reads this, that you might have eyes to see the love infused into the corners of creation you encounter. And may we all see each other – and ourselves – as the spectacular works of art that we are!


8 thoughts on “Put a Frame Around It

  1. This is so beautiful, Alyson! I love your thoughts, photos, and yes, they inspire me to stop…..breathe…..and appreciate God in new ways. So you are achieving your purpose, dear girl! We are about to go to CO for a much needed pause – we haven’t had true vacation in several years….and warfare surrounding us has been extremely intense of late. We need refreshment, renewal……fresh air to breathe! And CO has always been the place that my soul feel renewed….healed. So I can’t wait to get there! I’d appreciate your prayers as we go…..that John and I will feel God’s deep, tender touch in places that desperately need it. And for our daughter, Courtney, who just lost her husband and then was involved in a serious accident last week……the final straw for her fragile heart. Praise God, she doesn’t have broken bones or serious internal injuries, which is miraculous given the impact, but she is beat up, extremely bruised/sore, neck, spine issues, and she has been dealing with chronic brain issue ever since a cerebral leak and 2 bouts of meningitis within 6 weeks about 6 years ago, leaving her with chronic severe headaches and nerve pain. Head guys in neurology at Methodist/med center have been trying to resolve that ever since with no solution yet. And she has a special needs child who was very demanding with 2 parents, now left with 1. All to say, a pretty perfect storm for her, which affects us as well.

    Sorry to dump…….just feeling the load this morning and your writings touch my heart. Thank you for listening 🙂



    • Oh, my dear, dear friend. So much packed into that response. My heart aches for you and John and your daughter. I am so thankful you took the time to let me in before you depart. I am, right now, putting a reminder on my phone to pray for you each day.


  2. That’s a worthy calling for sure. I heard my husband telling my kids the other day – I know you may not like those people, but remember that they are made in God’s image. They are people, just like you. That should affect how you treat them. It seems like a simple thing, but when you think of framing their faces and seeing them how God sees them, it is powerful.


  3. I agree!! Just yesterday, I found myself in a conversation with a new neighbor. I framed her face and thought of her as God’s unique creation. She is already beautiful, but seeing her in that frame was marvelous. It was a whole different kind of beauty.


  4. GRRRR – I just wrote a long response to this but it got lost. I get so frustrated by technology….
    anyway, this is the post I saw first yesterday on Twitter. Funny, I am familiar with wquotesform Buechner but did not realize that he was a) contemporary and b) a theologian. I have requested one of the only books the county library has of his (ABC’s of theology or something like that) . I looked on Amazon too and might buy a used copy of a more recent one. Any that you might recommend?
    I grew up solidly entrenched in what I came to think of as the cult of Catholicism. It was, for me, a sharp and dark world and when I went off to college I pushed it all aside. I still can’t go there much but I have a tremendous appreciation for holy people, Jesus included, and all they can teach us.


    • Oh, wow! I think you will love his books. Hard to choose, but if I would recommend reading a fiction work (Book of Bebb, The Final Beast, The Storm, Godric, and Brendan were my favorites) and Secrets in the Dark, which is a wonderful collection of sermons on various topics. You can dip in and out of that one. If you read them, I’d love to hear your response. Thanks for connecting.


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