5-Minute Friday: GRASP – A Photo Essay

I am sitting on a porch, in a beautiful wooden rocking chair, overlooking the Frio River in the Hill Country of Texas. Gathered at a Writers’ Retreat are about 70 people, here to learn more about the creative process, to eat well, watch a little rain fall onto a drought-prone stretch of chapparal, and to marvel at the goodness of God. I am at Laity Lodge for the second year in a row, delighted to be among such good company, with time to laugh, converse, think–even to write. So, this week’s 5-Minute Friday will look a little different than most. I’ll write first and then give you a 
brief photographic overview of our trip out to the canyon yesterday. 
 Please come on over to Lisa-Jo’s fine blog, where over 200 folks join in the party each and every week. We are to write for 5 minutes, no editing, no over-thinking -just whatever comes out of our fingertips. It’s great fun and often more than a little revealing.
Five Minute Friday

It’s hard to get from Santa Barbara CA to San Antonio TX.
It requires an overnight stay near LAX,
getting up at 3:45 a.m.,
going through airport security before one is fully conscious,
flying one hour to Phoenix,
walking miles through the airport to another terminal
to board another plane for 2 hours to your final destination.
Then you wait for your van-load of compatriots,
some of whom you actually might recognize,
and drive for 2 hours away from civilization
to this amazing place.
I’ve been here once before,
so I know what to expect.
It’s an enriching, challenging,
welcoming experience to land in this space.
And I cannot quite grasp the words to say why.
We’re singing with a a grammy-winning worship leader,,
listening to a PhD in neuro-biology tag-teaming with 
a film critic, learning how to write a good sentence
and just sort of spreading out on the inside of our souls.
Funny stories, serious questions, shared struggles – 
all of it makes for an enriching, encouraging experience.
There is freedom in this place,
there is welcome.
There is beauty, silence, companionship when desired.
And there is a sense of God’s smile everywhere you look.
I sat on a bench by a jogging trail early this morning
and just listened for about 5 minutes.
Do you know what I hear?
Only a far away bird song.

THAT’s what this place provides that 

so few places on this earth can – 

the sound of good silence.


Driving away from the airport.
The contrast of brilliant light and pouring rain off in the distance seen 360 degrees around in Texas.
What you might expect to find in Texas actually can be found in Texas.
Something about these mailboxes seems representative of the wide open spaces and ranch land of this part of the world.
Turning off the highway to the dirt road leading down to the HEB Foundation Camps.
A lovely harbinger of good things ahead.
Reaching the river road that leads to Laity Lodge
This is the only way in and it’s remarkable.
The rainbow almost spanning the canyon carved by the Frio.
Looking out over the Frio right after our arrival at about 6 last night.
Hopeful reflections of beauty to come. Thank you, Lord.

Get a personal letter from Diana twice a month

Sign up for *More Wondering. . . * a monthly personal letter from Diana to you, available only to email subscribers. As thanks, receive a copy of Diana's new ebook,30 Ways of Aging Gracefully.

powered by TinyLetter

To receive blog posts in your inbox, sign up below.


  1. “spreading out on the inside of our souls.” Love that, Diana.

    So glad you all are together for these days. Soak up some of that Frio rest.

  2. What a beautiful landscape! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. I’m glad we’re here, too. T’would be even better if you were here, too.

  4. You’re welcome, Jessie. Thanks for coming by.

  5. Well, and you know I’d love that, right? Traveling last week, traveling next week. This week I had to stay home. I’ll get my Laity rest-fix vicariously through you all. 🙂

  6. So happy you’re safely there. Rest and soak it all in Diana.

  7. Thank you, Linda – wish you were here with us!

  8. Wow, that rainbow!! And I latched onto the same description that Lyla noted.

  9. Hey there! Thanks for your prayers, Ann – if we can’t have you here with us, we’ll gladly celebrate your prayers on our behalf. We’ve had drain for the last 12-15 hours – amazing.

  10. Oh, just, *sigh*. Look at that beautiful rainbow. What a welcome. Sweet. Praying for you and all who are being held by the canyon this weekend. Sending love.

  11. We’ve had rain, blustery wind and only a tiny bit of sunshine – very different from last year, but really refreshing. Wonderful line-up of speakers/workshop leaders and great people to talk with in between. I’m exhausted but deeply grateful. And I wish you were here.

  12. I am so glad you caught those clouds with your camera! And I didn’t even know there was a rainbow.

    I just admire people like you who travel so far to come. Thanks for your prayer this morning. All is well at this moment.

  13. Ah, good to hear this…well, read it, at least. I’m stuck in the airport in SA, due to fog in San Fran, where I’m supposed to catch my connector to LAX. Sigh. Maybe I’ll be here another night, who knows???

    Praying for you every time I see your name, dear girl.

  14. There’s nothing like time away with kindred spirits and the beauty of creation. Beautiful photos, Diana.

  15. The mailbox stands are smiling!

  16. It looks, and sounds, beautiful! Hope the fog didn’t hold you up too much on the way home.

  17. That last bit: “Do you know what I hear? Nothing. Only a far away bird song.” Oh, the whole idea of “good silence.” I loved this, Diana. So much. I hope your weekend was full of that good quiet and good company, good writing times.

  18. Deep sigh…

  19. Thank you for stopping by, Annie. And yes, the weekend was rich – both with good silence and a whole lot of wonderful noise, too. I hope everyone has the opportunity to attend Laity Lodge someday. It is a totally unique place in the world.

  20. You’re right, Monica. I hadn’t noticed it – but yes, they are, indeed. :>)

  21. Thanks, Patricia. It was such a rich time.

  22. Ummmm…..let’s make that RAIN and not drain. (Tho’ there may have been some draining going on…)

  23. Glenda Childers says

    Glad your weekend was great … cause you worked hard to get there, eh? You heard Lauren Winner … I love her book “Mudhouse Sabbath.”

  24. It turned out not to be the fog but runway construction at San Francisco and too much incoming traffic in LA. So I was about 90 minutes behind schedule, but I got to my daughter’s and will be home tonight. Hooray!

  25. It was great – and yes, I did work hard to get there…and to get home again, too. Lauren was terrific – she’s a great teacher and an interesting person. Also a fine priest and celebrant of communion, which we did together yesterday.