Ten Days to Serenity

November 15, 2018

Ten days ago, I decided I’d had enough of our dirty, messy house.

We rearranged two rooms. We rearranged wall hangings. For ten days, I took room by room and decluttered. I dusted. I vacuumed. I swept. I’ve kept dishes and laundry going.

Ten days ago, I was depressed. Ten days ago, I decided to do something about it.

I don’t know how to describe the mental headspace having our whole house clean and neat and straight has given me. Serenity is the closest thing I can come to a description. I feel like I can face the world. I am no longer depressed. I feel a sense of pride in my living space and belongings. I feel a sense of pride in myself.

Dining Room
I am under no illusions. I understand habits have to change. I understand that in order to maintain my serenity, I will have to work daily. I am ready to commit to that change. I’ve already kept the sweeping up for a week and a half, almost, daily. I feel ready for this change.

It is almost intoxicating, the balance this clean space brings to my brain. I am thrilled.

Must remember this on harder days.

A New Photography Day

October 31, 2018

I’ve been sitting here for a while, lulled into peace about closing the photography business, happy I am still going to be a hobbyist photographer, and also knowing that the past year has drained much of the joy I feel out of photography.

I recently did a project for an artist friend, taking pictures of her own artwork for use for her website. The project was fun from start to finish. And despite her offering, I didn’t let her pay me. I’d taken on the project because I believe in her artwork and wanted to do my part to help her succeed, and that was enough for me to put my own effort into it. It’s so strange… for so many years I felt like I wouldn’t have “arrived” into my art unless I could sell it for money. But with my experiences since April of 2017, I am coming to see that in placing a monetary value to my art, it limited my photography’s value in my own eyes. Somehow, my photography now feels more valuable to me when I get to choose my projects, for the intrinsic value of believing in the project. I get to control the value of the photography when I choose which projects to take on, and I always crave control.

In that vein, I am going to take on a period of limited use of the autofocus lenses. I am serious about fine art documentary photography, and I’ve been reading about the slow photography movement. Slow photography is about studying subjects and focusing more on the experience of photographing the subject, less on the volume of output. More studied outcomes, less spray and pray. Manual focus requires a different set of skills than simply frenetic looking for the “moment.” I’m interested in learning more about zone focusing for my photos of the boys, for example.

For the next few days, that single 50mm prime lens will be my parents’ Minolta 50mm MD Rokkor-X f1.4 lens that they more or less let me “permanently” borrow. However, Jared let me have my 2018 Christmas present nearly two months early and I now have a Minolta 50mm MD Rokkor-X f1.2 lens on order– a thrift store find at a phenomenal price. When it arrives, it will be bolted to the X-T2 for the next six months, aside from the wedding in December or other projects for friends that may come up. We’ll see what comes out of the project trial.

New Front Door Color!

October 23, 2018

My uncle B is in the process of giving our entry way a makeover. He started with a fresh coat of new paint on our front door. The color is a shade of gray, but it’s called Behr “Intellectual.” I’m so excited. He is also going to paint the trim around the front door.

Old Front Door Color

I didn’t hate the red from before, exactly, but it had faded. And red wasn’t really us. The new is awesome and makes the house look stately, as my mom said.

New Front Door Color

New Front Door Color


wonderful friends

May 9, 2018

mood: happy

I have the best friends ever. I spent time having coffee with a girlfriend and had the best time. I need to remember to have people over to our house more often– this girlfriend hosted me, but there is absolutely no reason I can’t have people over here, too. Need to remember this. It got my day off to an excellent start and now I feel like I can get on with the day relatively productively. I feel like investing in my home and family today, to make our surroundings more welcoming and home-like.

Thirteen Years

March 14, 2018

Our anniversary is a couple of weeks away yet. But this post should come now, in this moment, while I can say these things about my husband.

It’s been nearly thirteen years since we stood in front of God and fifty-eight of our closest friends and family and promised for better or worse. It’s been better and worse in that time. This man never falters or wavers. He is my rock. He is wise enough to understand me better than I understand myself, at times. He is a patient, wonderful father. He is always there waiting, when I need space. I don’t know what good things I did that the universe sent me Jared, but I will be forever grateful that we found each other.

The best decision of my life, without a doubt, was to marry Jared. He is the love of my life. It is a privilege to get to spend my life with him.

The First of the Season

February 3, 2018

“The first of the season,” Jared said, as he presented me with a flower a few minutes ago:

He never forgets the first one of the season.

We don’t have many yard flowers at the moment. In Iowa, the lady who owned our house before us had a yard full of flowers. He presented me with flowers from the yard near daily. At our Villa Rica house, it was the occasional rose from the Confederate Rose plant, the only one that survived of the batch I insisted we plant one year.

It doesn’t matter what the flower is. If there is one, he’ll find it. Today, Feb. 3, the first one of the season, for me. From him.

I’m a lucky girl.

My Own Wedding

November 17, 2017

With several weddings/ engagement sessions under my belt now, I got my own wedding photos out last night.

I love them even more now than I did back in 2005. I recently got to shadow Virginia at a wedding, and I am so thankful we’ve become friends.

For instance, right after we got married I would lament the fact that it was so windy that morning. I used to look at this picture and wish for everything I had that the veil would have stayed down. But now I know if that veil weren’t flying like it is here, I wouldn’t remember exactly how crazy-windy it was that morning after all that rain the night before. I can’t imagine the picture any other way now.

Of course, there are other things I notice about these pictures now, too. We were babies, at least I was. I look so young in these photos. I was 25 which I guess isn’t exactly a baby but I sure wasn’t emotionally prepared for what was about to happen, moving halfway across the country to live with someone I’d never spent more than a full week at one time with. I also think, based on how skinny I was there, that I must not have eaten the full year before Jared and I got married. I mean, I know I was doing yoga religiously every day back then but man. I’d really like to be that size again someday. Not sure I have it in me to do what it takes to get there now, though.

Everyone we knew had to think Jared and I were losing our minds when Jared and I got married. But it has worked out, for better and worse, and here we are twelve and a half years later.

It’s time for new family photos. The last time we had a family session, Oliver was six months old, I am pretty sure. I guess one of the downfalls of being a photographer now is that family photos that include myself are the last thing I really want to think about. It seems like a hassle and while I’ve always hated being in front of a camera, it’s a thousand times worse now.

This is still my favorite photo of Jared. It doesn’t matter what I say to him, I cannot get him to smile like that for me.

This is my favorite photo of the whole bunch, I think. I just thought it was pretty back in 2005, but now, there’s so much more. It’s a candid and those tend to be my favorites these days. It’s black and white, which of course speaks to me. You can see the puddles of water from the massive rain the night before. And Virginia was shooting into the sun, which made those beautiful flares. I didn’t even know she was shooting when she took this picture. I thought we were just talking as we walked to another shot location.

Looking back, I was so worried about the wrong things on my wedding day. I was worried about preserving a dress I’d likely never wear again– I certainly can’t fit into it now. So there are no beach pictures despite the fact that the beach is what I love about St. Simons. Kind of crazy. That’s me, though, when I get uptight and think I want to present a certain image to the world.

What doesn’t show, of course, in these photos is the crazy, messed up mind I had. I had such backwards ideas about romantic love.

These two crazy kids that got married back on April 2, 2005….we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Four pregnancies. Three boys. Health issues. Financial strains. The one constant that I can say through it all is that Jared has been my rock. He still looks at me much like he did that windy day twelve and a half years ago. He’s taught me so much about how to reframe what healthy romantic love should look like in my mind. I’m still learning that lesson.

It’s time to take more photos today of my own. Maybe I will take my camera to O’s school event today. Looking at these photos reminds me that I crave the click of the shutter for the click’s sake alone.

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