Category: 99 days of blogging

A Father to the Fatherless

My husband grew up without his dad. The reasons why are complicated and that’s not my story to tell. What is my story to tell is that I grew up with my dad, who is supportive and loving and has always been there for me, even in the darkest moments of my life. 

I don’t know what it’s like not to have a father or a family who cares. Maybe you are someone who doesn’t have a father to celebrate on Father’s Day or maybe you know someone who grew up without their dad.

I’d like you to flip your idea of this day around a bit. Maybe you don’t have a father but you are a father now. Your children are your reason to celebrate. You may think you aren’t a good enough father to be celebrated. It probably isn’t true, because only God is the perfect Father, but if you don’t want to celebrate yourself then celebrate how your children made you a father and how lucky you are to have them.

If you have a father to celebrate today, even if they’re not perfect, then thank them for what they mean to you.

And even if you think you are fatherless, know that, really, you are not. You have a Father in Heaven who knew you before you were even born and loved you even when your earthly father didn’t. 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5
 

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Exploring the ‘cricks’ of New York

I took the kids to a local park last week and we were disappointed when we got there to see the waterfall was only trickling, which is how it usually looks when we visit there. I’ve heard water actually pours from it at other times, but I’ve only seen that once in the 14 years I’ve lived in the area. Apparently I just have horrible timing.

Because there was hardly any water in the waterfall, this also meant there was almost no water in the creek, or as I call it, for some reason, “the crick.”

No matter how “creek”  is said, the children enjoyed playing in the little bit of water that was in the creek bed, looking for minnows, throwing rocks, throwing and digging in dirt and looking at fossils of creatures that had been left in the rocks. They loved simply getting dirty and playing the same way I did as a child – exploring nature without direction and more importantly, without technology.

Whose kid is that?! | Sayre, Pennsylvania Child Photographer

I just couldn’t believe the sight of that tiny toddler body laying flat on her face at the end of the checkout line in silent protest of her unwillingness to move where her mother wanted her to go. Wow. What drama. Whose child was this?  That mother must be so embarrassed.

Oh wait.

That was my child laying motionless and whimpering on the floor at Walmart and I wasn’t embarrassed. In fact I laughed when I peeled her off the floor and gently placed her against my shoulder, only to have her squirm away and back to the floor so she could push the cart by herself, sqwakingin protest if her brother and I tried to help.

I don’t laugh every time Little Miss shows her sassy, temperamental side, which is more and more these days, but I’ve been starting to accept that this is the new normal for a bit as we careen toward birthday number two. The acceptance is coming only through a lot of prayers, many uttered through gritted teeth and beginning with my mom’s favorite phrase “Lord, give me strength.” So far I’ve been able to mostly avoid dragging my hand across my forehead or through my hair like Mom does when she says those words but if you see me one day and my hair in the front is frizzed and sticking up you’ll know it was one of those days I lost sight of some of my resolve and God-given peace. .

Hey, honey, look! A deer! Oh. How did you get down there?

I took the kids for a ride on the golf cart Sunday while we were visiting my parents and thought I broke my 20 month old daughter’s nose at one point. “Deer! Jonathan cried and without thinking I slammed on the brake and then reached for 

Grace sitting on the seat next to me so I could lift her up to see the deer. The issue is, she wasn’t there for me to grab. Golf carts don’t have seat belts and Grace isn’t very heavy so she was in the floor with her face pressed up against the front of the cart. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up this child and expected to see blood gushing from her face but haven’t.

This was one of those times. She had tears and a look of confusion on her face but her smile came back pretty fast as I held her on my lap for the rest of the ride.

Her brother seemed to want to get injured since he thought it was funny to jump off and on the cart while it was moving. The thing cruises along at 15 mph most of the time but I still pictured him tripping and falling under a tire. The one time I didn’t mind him jumping was when he jumped into the high grass to grab me a bunch of flowers. Well, I did mind a little because I’m a mom and of course I thought about how there are ticks in that grass and how he was only wearing shorts.

I’m reading a book by Ken Davis called Fully Alive and I’m trying to follow his suggestions of pushing fear aside and trusting God so I can live life to its fullest but I wasn’t sure if walking in the high, tick-infected grass was living with abandon or just being plain stupid. I prayed over the grass and walked in for a few photos before dashing out again and hoping none of the little Lyme Disease carrying monsters were drilling their heads into my skin. Yes, this is the way my brain works.

I’m working on it, Ken, but old habits die hard.

It isn’t the equipment, it’s the photographer

Many of the forums I’ve visited over the years are filled with photographers absolutely obsessed with lenses. They are always looking to upgrade, add one or talk about how great certain lenses are. I get caught up in it too or did. I’ve become less concerned about my perceived need for a bigger, better lens, especially when I read about some of my favorite photographers and their use of only one camera and one lens for all their images. 

When I think about Vivian Maier and how she almost exclusively used a Roliflex for all her images or Alain Laboile who uses a Leica and a 35 mm 1.4 lens, I am reminded it’s not about the equipment we have as photographers but how we use it. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that if we had a certain lens we could take photographs exactly like a photographer we admire., but we should never hope to take images exactly like someone else because we are not them.

We are each unique in how we see the world. While different lenses can help showcase our vision knowing how to use the lenses we have now can strip away that desire to be someone other than ourselves and instead keep us focused on capturing our world as we see it.

 

This post is part of Melissa Firman’s 99 Days of Blogging.

Finding photo opportunities in unlikely places.

My dad had his knee replaced this week at a hospital about an hour from where we live. My mom can’t get around well and my brother is more than two hours from the hospital but I was able to travel there fairly easily, taking my 20 month old alone with me for the second trip. Since apparently our family doesn’t get out much, the first trip was like a family mini vacation, complete with sight seeing of the country side around the facility. I have to admit I was surprised how pretty the drive there was.

The hospital is located in a tiny Pennsylvania city called Montrose and is surrounded by farmland, cows, hills and trees. You have to drive though some 30 miles of wilderness then boom, there is the town and at the end of it a small hospital on the hill, almost in the middle of nowhere, though there are a few houses near it.

The second trip involved a lot of waiting for Dad to have physical therapy and deal with stomach issues from the pain killers so Little One and I explored the hospital, which isn’t really very active. It’s a beautiful, new building with long, empty hallways. I’m not sure why there are so few patients there, but it could be because the town itself is fairly small.

Of course I couldn’t resist photos of at least one of those hallways, especially when I saw blocks of light illuminating spaces of the hallway from skylights. I used the only camera I had with me that day – an iPhone. Sometimes I find photograph opportunities in very unlikely places. I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse but sometimes I see a photograph in my mind and know it has to be taken.

This post is part of Melissa Firman’s 99 days of blogging and the 100 Days of Summer Photo Challenge.
 

100 Days of summer | Athens PA Child Photographer

I’m always up for a challenge (um…yeah, not really) so in addition to the 99 Days of Blogging, I’m starting a 100 Days of Summer where I take a photo a day for the 100 days of summer. This should be fun!

I’m counting yesterday as my first day so I’ll showcase this photo I grabbed of the kids playing out back before dark clouds moved in. And yes, I kept the snot running from my daughter’s nose in there because I am keeping it real, ya’ll.

 

Late nights and full days | Pennsylvania Child Photographer

Little One either has a cold or is teething. Either way it’s meant very little sleep for me for the last two nights. My dad is also in the hospital after having his knee replaced. Therefore, it’s another day of a photo post for Melissa Firman’s 99 Days of Blogging.

This is my son last week jumping through the sprinkler. This week the weather has cooled down to where I prefer it and the sprinkler hasn’t really been an option.