You are part of the story

first bam everBefore there was Now You there was 52 Weeks of BAM.   Four years ago in May of 2010 there was a group on Flickr created by a talented and insightful woman named Tiffany. It was during this time I began to feel connection with other women from around the world. It was a time of transformation. She created a movement, she did! I had joined Flickr in September of 2009.  I had been posting little tad bits of my life here or there and pretty much daily. I began to notice there were groups, Bench Monday, Facedown Tuesday, and Fence Friday. I noticed there were sort of relationships being formed within these groups. I knew a local photographer who dissed Flickr, she said it was too clicky (giggle….get it clicky) So she wasn’t into it. I can see how she may have felt that way. In the beginning I would be lucky if one person looked at my photographs or even left a comment. Yet I would notice within these groups people seemed to have these strange relationships, like they knew each other or something? I didn’t really understand or get it, until 52 Weeks of BAM came along.

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I joined. The timing was just right. I had just turned 40 and I had just lost my grandpa whom I adored. It was a very emotional year of grasping the fact he was really gone and also tripping out that I had entered a new decade. Week by week I would take a self-portrait.

being carefree in front of abbieIt was so WEIRD turning the camera on me. I had previously been all about the family, the kids our trips and even on our trips there was an obvious absence of me. Sometimes motorcycle man would say “here let me take a picture of you and the kids” and that was always nice, or I may remember to use my timer and take a family shot but more times than not, the kids and Rich outnumbered me in our photographs. And honestly it was a slight feeling of being transparent as in, not being a part of, but more like being an observer of.

after 2 nights in the hosptial with littlest girlI’m sure I’m a typical mom. We put our family before us. It’s a natural thing to behave this way. It’s our honor to be a mother, we should get a badge for it for sure. But Tiffany she began to tweak the way I viewed motherhood.

after I found out they think I need to see someoneI began to think back at my own mother. I have vivid memories of my mom. I can close my eyes and see her and even remember her scent. When I was a little girl, she smelt like green apples and her eye tooth sort of popped forward before she got braces as an adult. She had silky blond hair and she always looked gorgeous, she was in charge of her figure. She worked out in tights and leotards at the gym, she did aerobics and drank tab soda. She had a really clean house and worked full-time and volunteered at my school. She was basically a rock star and my inspiration of what a woman was capable of, which pretty much meant I could do anything, she owned her own business too, so not only could she cook from scratch, sew my clothes and be a terrific mother, she could have a career too.

me and herBUT I also wished she had taken more pictures of her and me together and especially I wish there were more images in print of her. She IS a radiant woman with a down deep belly laugh. Can you imagine had she been in a group like this the images that may have happened?

wordsToday, I’m just looking back. How it all began and how awkward it felt in the beginning to turn the camera on myself. And in this practice I realize it IS an art, it’s not about “oh look at me! I’m amazing and adorable” It’s about capturing a mood, what was happening in that day? The proof, I was there, I was fully present.   And sometimes the moods are not good. And yes, many mainstream every day women may think this strange what I do but I’m not mainstream and I’m rather proud of that little fact.

Please remember.  You are not transparent.  You are not on the outside looking in.  YOU are a part of the story.

So what do you do with a radish?

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this is my compost bowl.  I cheated and made that radish into a heart, but that leaf is for REAL!

I put the question out to the universe, well actually more like the world-wide web, which is really just narrowed down to my readers which is under 100, but still I put it out there and one awesome person gave me an idea.  Her name is Connie and she is another fellow blogger who takes pretty pictures of things she sees and quilts!!  Yes QUILTS.   I admire the  quilters out there so much.  You should visit her quilt gallery on her page.  So pretty!   Anyway she told me I could make radish chips.  She even briefly described how to do it.   So I did it!  And those radishes did not go to waste, I ate every last bit of them.  Even the burnt ones…that’s another story.  I left to go get the littlest and only girl and left the boys in charge of taking them out.  Let’s just say the photo speaks for itself.  They tasted far better than the end result appeared.  I also got to thinking, these radishes have to have some good quality to them right?  So I googled it and found THIS, and it’s pretty cool.  These red root plants are really good for you!

And what would my blog be if I didn’t take pictures of every last thing I do.

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I had these already for 3 days and accidentally left them in my fruit bowl so the leaves got really wilty but I just rinsed them off and the red part was good to go

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I got really crazy and sprayed these with coconut oil, sprinkled sea salt then cracked pepper

IMG_6216See what I mean about the burnt ones.  They tasted good to me, like really way better than I expected

Be still and listen, you may be surprised in what you hear

I only took two images I can even share, neither that spectacular and both with my iphone.  As I sit and wait for my youngest to get out of school. I may crack open a book (more rare) I mostly just scroll pictures on IG.  That’s the real honest truth.  I’m a photo junkie and I need to get my inspiration, my fix of goodness from around the world.  I can be having the crappiest day, filled with cramps and lady issues and be the crankiest person on the planet and then I see my “friend” who lives in Dublin and is in the hospital because her bloods too low and she has a fever and she is undergoing chemo.   And already I have seen other friends even closer that have had that same battle and then I see someone post a little heart and dedicate it to that friend who lives in Dublin and is battling cancer and is having a crappy day in the hospital.  I decide, why not?  Why not send this stranger friend some love from way over here, as I sit waiting to pick up my youngest girl.  I bet Vanessa just longs to pick up her boys from school today, but she is too busy battling with cancer and she has to depend on her husband and family to join in and help a mother out.  Then it gets placed right back into proper perspective.

WELL WISH

I have also been paying attention from afar as a young couple sleep day and night at the children’s hospital while their little boy also battles cancer and their lives are turned upside down, yet in all of that they still have such joy, they instead find it as an opportunity to share God’s great gift.  It’s amazing to me what people can teach me.  They have no idea.  Sometimes we don’t realize people are paying attention or even watching the things we do, the things we can do to make a difference.  It’s important to share even when we don’t think anyone is listening, even more important to “do” it matters.

Have you ever got a little thought, or tug at your heart.  Like a little voice telling you, you ought to do this or that?  Easy to ignore and much harder to act upon.  I call that the Holy Spirit while others may call it intuition or the universe speaking to them.  Whatever it may be…I have always found that when I actually act upon it, the most unexpected results may occur and blessing begin to happen.

“There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do”   Albert Camus (the guy who wrote one of my favorite books ever….The Stranger)

BAGI leave you with the soccer player who finds a brown paper bag most interesting

It arrived and not only that….it really is time for CHANGE

My very first MOO order!  What is Moo you might ask?  Well it’s a printing company that makes your things look extra special.  I had no idea the post cards I ordered would be so top notch.  The quality far exceeded my expectations. (and Colleen if you’re reading this, Moo wraps their pretty packages in a purple ribbon) IMG_5957Now I realize why they cost so much?  I had been working on my order for over two months just waiting to have extra money or a deal of some kind.  I finally got 25% off last week and pulled the trigger and even at that they were more money than I thought I should be spending.  But then I had a realization.  How will I get myself out there if I don’t put a little money into this to begin with?  Lilly was telling me that if we get a few little post cards out on art walk night people are more apt to spend a little bit of money on something like that rather than an entire piece of art.  I decided to plug my blog on these post cards as well.  Because for me, more important than the everyday moments inside my four walls in within the perimeter of my yard, and I keep thinking “who would want this as art in their homes or work spaces when it’s just bits and pieces of things I think are important and photo worthy?” So more than getting my photographs out there I enjoy writing and having my photographs accompany my thoughts.  I have always wanted to be a writer since I was young.  I just find writing much easier than talking out loud.  So more than the art I can make with my prints, and now wanting to experiment with wood transfers I want to be able to encourage other gals who are just like me, busy moms who have small breakdowns every so often. All of us moms no matter what stage can encourage and support one another.  The younger moms who I learn from because now days they seem so innovative and far more equipped with tons of information, even more than I had and the older moms who give me their wisdom and assurance that it will all be okay someday.

I also have to stop thinking things that are so negative about me.  That CHANGE word is everywhere right now, my workshop this past week and a HUGE topic last night in my two-hour class.  If I had only an idea it would be my word for next year, it’s no longer an idea, it’s a certainty.  CHANGE is my word, as I’m reminded by Sandi our super cool facilitator, that it will not be overnight, and it will take lots and lots of practice but if I acknowledge I need to change and make steps towards this…it will eventually happen.

MOO CARDSNo it’s not your eyes, it’s not quite straight, just tilt your head a little;)

VOTE!

I’m cracking up at the pole I posted.  So I have 28 votes, that’s mind blowing to me also that 28 people voted, that’s enough for me only I do need more because as of right now it’s a deadlock.  14 people voted for one thing while 14 others voted for another.  If it stays that way I will have to flip a coin and either way be ready for CHANGE, BEcause both ideas involve change.

Mad Men

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My mom and sister are completely into Mad Men and they were talking about it the other night at dinner and got me all interested.  This weekend I had a chance to watch one episode from the first season and I was tripping out!! So much smoking and drinking and sleeping around in 1960’s!  Of course how would I know this being born in 1970 myself.   I think I’m slightly intrigued.  I think I may watch some more and see what this show is all about.  Have any of you out there watched this show?  I feel a slight bit sheltered.  I made a little mad men girl character of myself, slightly curvy of course!!  I’m still wondering if this show is a true reflection to that time period at least in the executive ad agency city sort of way?

Hope you all are having a great week.  Tomorrow is mid week.  I actually went to bed at 9:00 p.m. last night and slept through the night minus the 1:30 a.m. tap to our bedroom window because first-born forgot his house key.  But then I was able to fall back to sleep without a hitch.  Woke up rested however the morning I can’t say went smooth.  Abbie is not a morning person, need I say more.

I had a visitor last night in my dream

Have you ever had one of those dreams, the kind where you get to visit a loved one who has already moved on into the next life? When I have this kind of dream, I don’t want to wake up.  I want to stay there.  Hang out for a good long while, ask some serious after life questions. What’s it like, what’s your soul been up to?  Last night in my dream my grandpa made an appearance.  When I woke up this morning I wrote the dream in my journal because I didn’t want to forget.   On May 6, 2010 just three days after my 40th birthday I lost my grandpa.  I found him again last night.   I turned around in that cabin’s old dirty kitchen that needed the walls painted badly and he was there.  His warm approachable face was smiling back at me, arms outreached for one of his strong, meaningful hugs.  I lingered in this hug last night just a little longer because I have missed him so much.  He wore a light blue, crisp dress shirt and black slacks.  I had conversation with him but sadly I can’t remember what we talked about.  My grandma she was there too at the cabin but she couldn’t see him. Only I could see him.  I could hear him, I could feel him.  Thank you grandpa for visiting me in my dreams last night, I have missed you so very much.

me and gramps

Shortly after he passed I began to notice white egrets or some call herons. The strangest sighting was in my backyard one morning, one landed on my rooftop and I had never seen an egret land on my rooftop or be anywhere near my home.  The white egret just stood there, prehistoric, and wise looking.  Standing still for a moment then flew away.  Now when I spot an egret, a white one.  I think of him.  For a while after he passed I would visit this one little park and try to find the one egret that lived there.   I would get so excited when I would find him just standing in a shallow pool of water. I would sit still for several moments just watching this bird.  My grandpa had a fountain made of egrets. The fountain is still there with my grandma.

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