Posted in 10 on 10

10 on 10 February: Pennsylvania Winters

This is part of a monthly blog circle where we feature ten of our favorite photos from either one day or simply ten recent images we have taken. Find the link to the next person in the circle at the bottom of this post.

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Well, winter continues in Pennsylvania. The cold. The snow. The slush. The cold. Did I mention the cold?

Yeah, so it’s been cold and this week we were hit with a “snow storm” that actually turned out to be only about 5 inches of snow.

Well, combined with the two inches we got a couple days before it was about 7 inches total this week.

My family and I are definitely looking forward to warmer weather, but the kids had some fun in the snow while we wait.

To continue the blog circle, click on Penelope’s post at PK Photography.

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Posted in in case you missed it

In case you missed it. January 28 to Feb. 4 update

I rambled about various things this past week – from faith to photography to early pregnancy loss to the 13 years I worked in small town newspapers. Something for everyone? Well, almost. I didn’t ramble about cooking, guns, or politics, so not quite something for everyone. 

So in case you missed it, here is a link to the posts from this past week:

HOTHEADS, HOMICIDAL LUNATICS, FORGOTTEN SOULS AND GUN TOTING REDNECKS: OR THE 13 YEARS I WORKED AS A SMALL TOWN NEWSPAPER REPORTER PART I

A LOSS IS A LOSS NO MATTER HOW “SMALL”

PEACE

Posted in 10 on 10

10 on 10 for January

Good light is hard to find in our house at any time, but it’s even worse in the winter. Luckily there seems to be one or two pockets of light to be found in at least a couple locations in our house. For this months’ 10 on 10 I thought I’d share ten images taken in those pockets of light. This post is part of a monthly blog circle. To continue the circle, following a group of photographers all sharing ten images from either a theme or a day or simply the previous month, follow the link at the bottom of this post.

To continue this blog circle visit Nikki Gould’s beautiful work!

Posted in personal musings, Storytelling Photography

The star

They carried the star up the steep, snow covered hill because the truck’s tires spun and sent the hunk of metal skittering sideways toward the old dirt road. In the end they left the truck in the field and slid the star, made of wood and strands of Christmas lights off the roof. Their breath steamed patterns out in front of them as they walked and the sun, a misleading sign of the outside temperature, cast long shadows onto the untouched surface of the snow that fell the day before.

Ropes were looped and tied and hooked on a pulley, the ladder was climbed and the star was hoisted with a couple reminders from father-in-law to son-in-law to “be careful of the lights! You’re hitting the lights on the tree!” But finally it was high enough and nails were hammered in to hold it in place.

Dad built the star several years ago and put it at the edge of the woods, at the top of the field and where people driving by on Route 220, across the Valley could see it. It has become a beacon, you could say. A beacon of good will, or peace, or joy or whatever it represents for each person who sees it. It can mean a lot of things for a lot of people but for Dad it is a sign of hope and the real reason behind Christmas. After all – isn’t that what the birth of Jesus was all about? Bringing hope to a hurting, fallen world?

So on this little hill, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania my dad hangs his homemade, 50-some pound star, and with it hangs a little bit of hope – hope for health, for peace, for love for all, hope for the broken, the weary, the shattered souls.  And it reminds us who is the hope of the world.

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Posted in authentic, everyday musings

Find time for your soul

There is usually at least one big blow up from me at bedtime on school nights and it’s usually directed at the 3-year old who thinks bedtime is playtime. I know it’s my own fault for trying to put two children with an eight year age gap to bed at the same time. I know it’s my fault for not remembering she’s three and that winding down to the point of relaxation can be hard for a toddler.

And I know it’s also my fault for not finding a little more free time for myself where my soul can be still and listen to my heart. 

After I’ve stomped away to pout and decompress in the bathroom on those crazy nights, I usually remind myself of all these things I should remember.

She’s exhausting and frustrating but I would never give up the playful moments we share between somewhat tired and incredibly exhausted nor the quiet moments when she finally gives in. I love to hear her and her brother’s giggles and watch her jump “jus’ one more time,” for the tenth time.

I love to feel her body tiny, warm, solid and completely surrendered to relaxation and rest against me. The moment I look down and see her eyes closed and her face relaxed is  full of internal elation because once she’s asleep I can have a little bit of free time for myself, if I’m not too tired.

Many times the free time I do find myself with is so short I try to do too much – watch a show, edit photos and write a blog post all at the same time. In the end I often find I have accomplished very little and my head is a jumbled mess of thoughts and sheer panic that I won’t have time to do all I need or want to do.

My goal this next year is to choose one task I want to finish in that golden hour between when the two of them fall asleep and my eyelids won’t stay open anymore.

Today I chose blogging during her nap. At bedtime it may be catching up on a favorite show (of which I have only a few) or reading a chapter in a book or listening to a podcast. Whatever I choose I am grateful for those little moments of mental rest when my soul gets some much needed attention.

How do you step away to recharge your soul?

Or do you?

If not, make that your goal this week. Find time to make space for your thoughts, your feelings and for your soul to breathe.

Posted in authentic

When you forget why you wanted to create art | Athens, PA photographer

I often find myself over looking an image in my archives and it’s usually related to where I am in my photography journey. 

Sometimes I toss it aside because my focus that week is stock photography and I think, “That’s not going to sell.”

Sometimes I file it away because I think “That’s not what every other photographer is doing. No one will like it.”

Sometimes I overlook a photo because I forget why I started taking photographs in the first place.

I started to take photographs to document my life, my vision, my view of the world. 

I started taking photographs to document moments for my family and for others. 

I never started taking photographs so someone else would like them or so I’d fit in with a bunch of photographers I have never even met. 

So why do I find myself deciding what image is worthy based on what others might think?

Because I want to fit in?

 Because I wanted to sell? 

Because I wanted validation that my art is worthy if others like it?

That I am worthy because others like me?

What a stupid way to create art.

What a stupid way to live a life. 

This week I’ve been going through old images, wondering why I never edited them. I’ve been picking treasures out of my digital folders, editing and saving them.

These images may not be treasures to anyone else, but to me they are everything.

To me they are a link to what is most important, to the moments I knew I’d want to remember in the future, not the moments I hoped someone else would say they liked too.

Posted in 10 on 10, personal reflections, Storytelling Photography

10 on 10 January | Pennsylvania Photographer

It was like she had found the most exciting location in the world the way my daughter stomped her tiny 15 month old, boot-clad feet in the mud puddle in the park of a city we’d visited for the day.

We hadn’t brought extra socks so her dad and I wavered between telling her and her brother to stop playing with the icy water and not wanting to squealch their childhood fun.

Water splashed out onto the brick road and up her legs and she threw her head back and giggled.

And when she giggled her brother laughed. But with the laughter I remember tension and sadness because I didn’t let my nine year old splash as much as he would have liked. He was wearing his school shoes and we didn’t want him to get them wet and dirty.

I’m not good at being a strict parent. I’d rather be the parent who has fun and lets my children have fun, unless they are risking their safety.

I remember my son’s sad, disappointed expression on his face, the way he looked at his sister, as if to say “she can stomp in the puddle, why can’t I?” Looking back I wish I had let him stomp in that puddle. The fun of splashing with his sister was much more important than his shoes, which, if we had had to, we could have found the money to replace.

I look at these moments that leave me with a twinge of sadness as learning moments. The next time we’re near a puddle I’ll let him jump in, as I always have before and did one day after school, ignoring the other parents watching as my son jumped up and down and sat in the muddy water of a deep puddle.

Life is too short to worry about mud covered shoes and too precious to give away moments of pure joy and laughter. (Even though his shoes are these really cool light-up Batman shoes and I’d hate to have had them ruined with the muddy water, so, yeah, maybe it was OK to say no this time. Ha!)

This post is part of a blog circle with a group of other photographers. We post 10 photos on the 10th day of the month. To continue the circle visit Katie Brenkert!