Youth Lost

Youth Lost

I sometimes miss those shy, awkward years when I didn’t really know how to be anyone but who I was. The days when I willingly sat on the old skateboard my brother and I shared and allowed myself to be the guinea pig and be pushed down the hill from school to our apartment conveniently located at the bottom of said hill. When I spent my days wearing my brothers hand-me-downs and it didn’t occur to me to care. When I lived for rain and playing in the puddles in my bare feet. When a snow day was not an inconvenience but a chance to finally build the best snow fort on the block. And when summer afternoons brought the sound of backyard baseball games instead of ring tones and video games. So, if you happen to see my wandering around on a rainy day in boys clothes and bare feet, don’t worry, I’m just taking a time out and remembering what’s important. Just don’t let me play with any skateboards.

 

 

Freshman

Jake Peeking

Today was a beautiful day. Perfect weather, bright blue sky, and I had the day off so I was able to spend the morning with my youngest as he prepared for his first day of high school. It was a great morning. He was up early, he took a shower and had all of his things ready to go and still had an hour before we had to leave! I know…in a week I’ll be dragging him out of bed with only five minutes to spare, begging him to take a shower and frantically searching for the math book he misplaced the night before…so I’m soaking this up while I can! It was exactly what I wanted the morning to be, stress-free, fun and easy. We picked up breakfast and I dropped him off at school and even got and “I love you” as he jumped out of the Jeep.

With him on his way, I went mine and headed into town, grabbed a coffee and enjoyed a quiet morning scouting out some possible spots for a senior shoot coming up later next month. As I headed back home I decided to make a quick stop at the Art Center (another possible spot for a senior shoot) and sense I was that close I decided a walk down my favorite street was just the right addition to my day. I found a shady spot to park, grabbed my Ipod and started walking. I spotted a beautiful large leaf on the sidewalk in front of me so I stopped to pick it up and then…there they were…tears and a flood of memories from a previous walk almost 14 years ago on this same street.

That day Amannda, then only 7, and Jake, just a few months old, were with me. We collected several large leaves, a couple larger than Jake’s head, and once we had filled the bin on the bottom of his stroller, we took them all home to make impressions with crayons.

Today as I continued to walk and remember that day so many years ago, I couldn’t help but think about my kids, the paths they’ve chosen and are choosing. The mistakes I’ve made along the way as a mother…and the victories. It really is true what they say…when we are on our death beds I don’t believe we’re ever going to wish we had spent less time with out loved ones. I sincerely wish I had some of that time back, I wish I could take back some of those mistakes and I really wish I understood why I spend more time dwelling on what I got wrong instead of what I got right. Something to work on over the next four years.

Turning the Corner

What Was

I’m finally doing it…embracing this phase of my life! Embracing the changes and processes and being okay with simply being in the moment. Whether it’s a hard moment of questioning my sanity and why I’m doing this, or a happy moment of feeling proud to be finally taking this step, I’m learning to just live in that moment and feel what I feel.

This photo was taken back in June. Today, the barn and everything that surrounded it is gone. As I adjust to my new life, I’m getting use to the new view. I’m a little sad to say goodbye to what was but I’m excited about continuing to move forward.

 

It Might Have Been

What You See (1 of 1)

Every year around this time I begin, what is for me, the daunting task of purchasing next years planner. However, last year I was introduced by a family member to a planner that I love, so this year all I had to do was decide which refill I liked best. With my new planner in hand I sat down with my colored markers and sticker books and started glancing though dates and months and instead of writing in birthdays and anniversaries like I normally do I began thinking about how quickly time is passing and how bad I can be at managing it sometimes. Instead of making a plan and following through, I find it much easier to make excuses; I worked really hard today and now I’m tired, I really want to sit with my family and watch several episodes of Big Bang, the weather is too nice to sit indoors and stare at a computer.

So far this year with life in general and starting my photography business, it has been wonderful and terrible, and crazy and slow, and fantastic and frustrating and to be honest, I’m loving it! Taking the good with the bad is teaching me more than I had imagined about myself and making me better in the process. I was reminded again of the farm that I spoke of in my last post. A year or two ago I never would have stopped and asked to take the pictures and everyday that I drive by and see the now completely cleared space where the barns and outbuildings use to stand, I’m so glad that I did. And it isn’t just about the barns and the passing of time and the changes that it brings. It’s about staring down pride and standing up for what I feel matters and following my heart instead of allowing my fearing of rejection or embarrassment to keep me from reaching out and asking for what I want.

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!'” From the poem Maud Muller by John Greenleaf Whittier.

 

Change

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This past week has brought a new wave of heat, a new project idea that I’m really excited about, an offer that I’m struggling to take or turn down, a mini moment of panic and a slight shift in the status quo. I’m grateful that I have been given the temperament to take most things in stride and with my journey to becoming a photographer I really have found it beneficial to embrace the ups and downs. I knew this would be a difficult process and every bright spot along with every bump is teaching me so much, not the least of which is that change is inevitable, sometimes unexpected and often unwanted.

There is a farm that for the past two years I have driven past on a pretty regular basis. There’s a nondescript house, a few small out buildings and two beautiful, big white barns. One day I happened to notice a large white sign posted along the field of what I assumed was part of the farmstead and I could feel my heart sink. After a little research my thoughts were confirmed. The land had been purchased and was to become part of an industrial park. Almost a year later on my regular drive home I noticed several large land markers scattered around the field and decided that maybe I should get up the courage to ask the owner if I might be able photograph the barns before they were gone.

I was fortunate enough to catch the owner one morning as he was clearing out a small white shed located between the two barns. He was friendly and happy to let me photograph the property but his sad countenance and hunched shoulders said far more.

I returned a few nights later and took as many photos as I could before I finally lost the light. The next day the new owners took possession and a no trespassing sign was posted. The day after that they dismantled a machine shed and knocked over the little white shed. Two days later the whole outside of the larger barn was stripped off leaving it exposed and haunting. I mentioned to a friend that I should stop and try to capture one more photo of it before it was completely gone. As I drove home that evening and was approaching the farm I slowed down hoping to just pull onto the shoulder and get a quick shot but instead I found myself gawking at a mangled pile of wood and sheets of steel. I think I even cried a little.

I hate to see old barns go, especially when they’re still being used and cared for and I’m always enthralled by the progression of it, though most times it has been over several years and the barn is abandoned and rotting. This change, this dismantling has in some respects mirrored my own journey over the past several months. And right now I’m completely exposed and waiting for my corner posts to be knocked out from underneath me. The thing about change is that sometimes you have to let the old be broken down in order for there to be space for the new.

This photo was taken inside the small shed between the two barns. Keep an eye out…I will be sharing other photos of the property in the days ahead.

Tested

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I recently read somewhere that when you decide on a goal or purpose you should be prepared for your resolve to be tested. We all know this to be true. How many of us have made that New Year’s Resolution to lose 15 pounds only to find ourselves two weeks later sitting on the couch, complaining of a pulled muscle, while binge watching our latest guilty pleasure and ignoring the gym membership we so eagerly signed up for? Or how about deciding that we’re going to put “x” amount into savings each month and pay cash for our next vacation but suddenly discover that the price of gas and groceries have increased or something we’ve wanted for months has gone on sale so it would be silly to pass up such a bargain?

At the beginning of this year I made the decision that I was finally going to get serious about starting my own photography business. Over the next few months I took steps to bring that dream to life; quiting my full-time job and finding something more flexible (and less stressful), creating my brand and tweaking my website, talking to other photographers and self-employed business owners, and then scheduling my first sessions. Along the way I’ve had speed bumps and obstacles and sometimes I’ve simply procrastinated due to frustration, fatigue or fear. Funny enough, that’s also when I would come across an interesting webinar about marketing or lighting, or a friend would offer just the right words of encouragement or I suddenly had an entire day to meander the gravel roads of this beautiful state, just me and my camera…and I’m reinvigorated and ready to jump the hurdle in front of me.

Now…today…I’m struggling with my biggest obstacle…fear. As I mentioned, I left my full-time job and took a more flexible part-time position. I love it! The people are great, I get to be creative and when I punch out I can go home and not really give it a thought until I punch back in a day or two later. Thing is, I’m still averaging full-time hours and it can sometimes be very physically exhausting. I’m not complaining at all. I love that I’m moving all day long and not sitting in a cubicle and as I’ve made these changes I’ve still been able to keep up with my financial responsibilities. Something that would be difficult to do if I were working part-time hours. These two things have played a significant role in my lack of energy and time that I really need to be putting into my own business. At least that’s what I tell myself when I go to bed and haven’t taken a single picture, or worked on my website, or written in my blog.

I know I’m being tested. How much do I really want this? Enough to overcome my own doubts and fears? Enough to turn down the opportunity of a promotion at work? Am I really willing to bet it all on me?