Day 31: Beauty in a broken world

Year in and year out, the church calendar marks the passage of time. For many of us, we’re approaching a second Easter when we will not gather in our sanctuaries. And I think that’s why it’s especially important this year to hold on to traditions at home. For me that includes Easter decorations.

Easter eggs, one with lilies and one with dogwoods, painted by a friend who’s a cameo artist

Several Christmases ago, I shared photos of a Christmas jar with the star, the wise men, and the little town of Bethlehem. After my friend who painted the jar saw the post, she invited me to her house and asked me to pick out Easter eggs for my husband and me. I cherish these Easter eggs and delight in displaying them each year.

The egg with the lilies has a verse painted on the back: Luke 12:27.

Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither labor nor spin; but I tell
you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Consider the lilies
Thanks to all of you who followed along with this month’s blog series and shared your images of beauty with me. I hope that even as the series draws to a close, you’ll continue to consider the lilies and all the other beauty in our broken world.

If you see something beautiful, I hope you’ll share it on Instagram (or your favorite social media platform) and tag it with #beautyinabrokenworld.

Day 28: Beauty in a broken world

How do we find ourselves at Palm Sunday again? Western Christians celebrate it today, and I wanted to give a nod in today’s photo to what is always a hard week for me. I love Easter, but Palm Sunday always leaves me a bit sad. Sure, there’s Jesus’ triumphal entry riding on the donkey with crowds waving palms and shouting His praises. But the days between Palm Sunday and Easter are not jubilant. The crowd turns. One of the men closest to Jesus betrays him. Jesus ends up on a cross, dead. It’s a comfort, in a terrible week like that, to have the Easter message to hold on to.

Resurgam: I will rise again.

A sign above a door at Mission San Juan Capistrano

As I’ve done each Sunday in this month-long series, I’ve stepped back into the past by wandering through old trip photos. I took more traditionally beautiful pictures during my visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano several years ago. But this photo’s message is the most beautiful I could choose for today and for the week ahead.

Join me in the hunt for beauty?
Where do you see beauty in a broken world? Want to add your own images during what’s left in the 31-day journey? If so, feel free to comment below with your Instagram handle, and tag your Insta posts with #beautyinabrokenworld. You’ll find me there @pixofhope.

Tree signs for Holy Week

If you’ve followed this blog for a number of years, you may recall my tree signs series from California in 2015. Well, a few weeks ago, as I walked through a park near my home, I noticed someone had started putting up tree signs here, too.

I took it as a nod from God, a call to notice messages of calm and hope and peace during this truly hard time. While we are keeping our physical distance from one another, a neighbor in my community is trying to connect with us all through these signs, and I want to pay attention to that person’s blessing.


The last one here, this cracked tile, landed right on my heart. In a time when so many of us feel a bit (or a lot) broken, when we stumble for prayers, when life feels too difficult, this beautiful, cracked prayer sits quietly under a tree’s branches.

It’s Maundy Thursday today, and so I wanted to share these tree signs with you, partly as a reminder of the Easter promise that’s coming Sunday, and partly to help us remember that even in broken times, God is with us, and God hears our prayers, be they fractured or whole.

Courage, my friends. Do you have a short prayer or song that’s sustaining you during these challenging days?

Road trip across America: A memorial for Holy Week

Oklahoma City marked our midway point of the trip from California to North Carolina. So it feels appropriate, here in the middle of Holy Week, that I share with you a memorial that carries its visitors from horror to hope. After all, that’s what Holy Week is all about: a walk through the horrors of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion to the hope of Easter’s empty tomb.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial sits at the site of the former Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and serves as a reminder of the unspeakable terror that, on April 19, 1995, killed 168 people, including children who attended a daycare on the building’s second floor. The memorial is somber and serene, a way to honor those lost and to remind us all that life continues.

9:01 marks the moment before the explosion.

A reflecting pool leads across from the 9:01 gate to the 9:03 gate, a time that marked the moment when healing would have to begin.

A field of empty chairs, nine rows for the nine floors of the building, with smaller chairs for the children killed.

The small chairs for the children were the hardest for me to see, especially for the same last names on some of the chairs and the knowledge of what that meant for those children’s surviving families.

The Survivor Tree still stands, and though not yet blooming when we visited, it has just recently begun its springtime renewal.

I recommend watching a video of the outdoor grounds of the memorial, whether you are planning a visit in person or simply want to make a virtual visit. You can also follow the memorial on Twitter (@OKCNM), where they have just this morning tweeted an update on the Survivor Tree.

I’ll leave off today with a wish for your journey toward Easter to leave you filled with hope.

The Easter legend of the dogwood

My mom and I were discussing dogwoods recently. They’re the state flower for North Carolina and the state tree/memorial tree/floral emblem for several other states (Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia).

We’re fortunate to have two pink dogwoods growing in our yard, and they’re in bloom right now, just in time for Easter.

Have you heard the Easter legend of the dogwood? I thought I’d share the version I’ve always heard with you today, this Wednesday of Holy Week. Perhaps you’ve heard a different version? Or never heard the legend at all? It goes a little something like this … Continue reading