Baby it’s cold outside! Woke up this morning to below freezing temperatures and a cold water faucet that would not run. I walked out into our garage and the cold air stole my breathe away. My first thought is the same every year at this time…Why do I live here?
Of course living in Iowa is more than just cold winters. Like a lot of people I don’t think I ever truly appreciated this place I call home until I left it. As a kid I dreamed of moving away to places that had anything but corn fields, gravel roads and small towns. I have since lived in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Chicago and Kansas City. All great places but funny enough, they all had their own short-comings. Minneapolis is beautiful but man is it cold there! Phoenix is definitely warmer but I’m really not a fan of year round sand. Chicago…I adore Chicago and I miss it from time to time but it’s just as cold as Iowa and it’s big, maybe too big for me. Kansas City was another great city but just never felt like home.
There are many other places I would love to see and would consider living but I know now that this will always be home to me. This is where I grew up. This is where I enjoyed the freedom of playing with neighborhood friends until the street lights came on. Where I fell in love for the first time and where I experienced my first broken heart. This is where my babies were born and it’s a place I would recommend for any growing family. So for now, I look forward to these winter days when I can stay in my pajamas and slippers and enjoy this place I call home.
Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end or lost my vision, I’m posting this picture because it is a perfect representation of this past week…a little chaotic and blurry.
I started my New Year with a resolution to not only do this blog and do more with my photography, it also included wanting to improve other areas of my life. The hard part of making resolutions is that change does not just happen. It requires determination, hard work and unfortunately, living with the here and now. I know anything worth having is worth waiting for and that in the waiting we discover who we are. The challenge is that we may not always like what we find.
Thankfully I have a beautiful family to go home to each night and some wonderful friends who make me laugh until I cry and remind me that a bad day or a rotten week does not hold a candle to an evening spent with people we love and respect.
As you’re leaving your driveway have you ever considered the roads that you travel and all the places they can take you? Ever think about all the roads you don’t take and what might be down them?
One of my favorite things is discovering a new way to work or the grocery store. I know people who are perfectly happy taking the exact same route every time, to every place they go but I wonder if they know what they’re missing. Some might say…they’re missing stop lights and extra traffic. I say they’re missing the guy on the corner, standing on his little ladder, waving flyers and preaching with all his heart the love of God. Or the charming little brick-a-brack shop with plastic vines strung around the windows and odd shaped glass bottles lining the sill. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but these are the people and places that make life interesting and add a little color to our world.
Every road I take may not always lead to some cool discovery, and plenty of them have led me to dead ends and heartbreak but each one is a new possibility. If you’re a creature of efficiency and habit, I commend you. I know I could use a little more practical in my life. But consider, if you will, taking a new road just once. I can almost guarantee that it won’t lead to anything earth shattering but if you open your mind, turn on your favorite music, roll down your windows and look around, it could make you smile.
Spaghetti squash is quite good! Just do not be afraid to season it. I think maybe can I understand why some people are so passionate about their cooking. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s more the fact that I’m just not very good at it. And by not very good, I mean I stink at it. I ruin more meals than I get right and I’m forever shocked that I have not yet burned the kitchen to the ground. I once tried to make macaroni with the macaroni still in the strainer.
After a very long, and very difficult day of being pleasant to people who were anything but pleasant to me, I honestly had hoped to come home, eat whatever had hopefully already been cooked and crawl into bed. Instead I walked in the door right at dinner time to find my husband and my son working on math homework. Yuck!! No cooking going on there, aside from perhaps a little smoke rolling out my frustrated sons ears. (Poor thing inherited my non-mathematical ability.)
So, I did what any mother would do. I threw a little tizzy-fit, in my head of course, and then set about coming up with the quickest thing I could make that required little to no skill. As I stood staring into our refrigerating hoping for inspiration or a microwave pizza to appear, the bright yellow squash that I bought in a moment of weakness caught my eye from the counter. Uughh…I’ve never made spaghetti squash before and while it did not seem over complicated it felt like it might be a stretch for my limited patience. Eyes back into the refrigerator…man, there’s the salmon I thawed out…that really needs to be eaten soon before it goes bad. Then again, with me cooking, letting it rot might be the more humane thing. Again I see the squash and the brightness of it makes me smile a little. Okay, fine…I settle on lemon peppered salmon and garlic & butter spaghetti squash.
At some point in between mincing onions and tossing the successfully roasted squash with butter and garlic, I found myself humming and actually enjoying the slight chaos that was my stove. I over-cooked the fish but the flavor of the seasoning was delicious and despite the fact that it could have used more salt or something, I discovered that I really liked the squash. So here’s to one successful meal down and hoping that the next one is not too far off.
Life is full of disappointments. I have heard and witnessed the truth of this statement since I was old enough to understand words. It is a simple fact and the fact is, it does not get any easier to accept. It just becomes more…familiar, less surprising.
Tonight I was early for an appointment and decided my time was best spent working on a shot for my blog. As I meandered around my favorite part of downtown I could feel the stress of my day melt away with each click of my camera. With my time running out I began walking faster but was stopped short as I passed in front of this window. I instantly had a shot in my mind that I thought would be perfect. After getting permission, I took several quick shots and hoped that I was able to get the one I wanted. I headed off to my appointment, smiling to myself and lost in a familiar day dream of wishing that I could just walk around all day taking pictures.
I did not get the shot I had hoped for. Far from it. While I still am grateful for those magical few moments that I was able to get caught up the world inside my lens, I was sadly disappointed in the results. This is not what I had hoped to share with you but as I sat here looking at it I began to look closer, and as I looked closer I was able to see things that I did like and started separating out the parts that needed to be fixed. I was reminded that though we might have disappointments in our life, it’s how we recover and what we learn that really matters.
Whether disappointed by others or by my own self, I never look forward to these moments, or lessons in life. But I do appreciate the opportunity for growth that they bring. I also appreciate that they make we want to try harder and be better. I’ll make it back to this charming restaurant and I will get the shot I imagined. I just need to have faith and practice a little more.
The first Monday of the new year was not a dream come true but then most days are not. Maybe we put too much pressure on these unsuspecting days, after all they have no idea that they are anything different than the Monday before and the Monday before that.
So, to overcome the ordinariness of today I took a detour on my way home hoping to either discover a whole new world or…this. Forever on the look out for old barns and such I get almost giddy when I come across these pieces of history. Sadly, corn cribs like this one, along with barns and other farm structures that use to populate the country-side are disappearing as the demand for housing and developments increase.
As a child I thought it a cruel and heartless joke that fall would strip the trees bare only to leave them naked and exposed to the harsh bitterness of an Iowa winter. I was a sensitive child, prone to finding and “adopting” any lone stuffed animals left on the store shelves. Deeming them misfits and in need of a loving home.
I do not have a great many talents but the one thing that I think I bring to my photography and has probably been the driving force behind my passion, is an ability to see the beauty in almost anything. Even in the mundane and ordinary. While I would never accuse trees of being mundane or ordinary, I remember dreading the ugliness that I felt winter brought to them.
It was just a few short years ago, shortly after I began taking photography seriously, that I noticed a decided change in my attitude of winter in general. With it came the realization that even in their barrenness, trees possess a deep and inspiring beauty all their own.
Today, as I made a quick run into town to return library books and grab provisions for the week, I found myself doing a u-turn to capture this shot. I’ve probably seen this tree a couple dozen times and thought about getting a shot of it but today it simply could not be passed up. It reminds me that everything has a season and everything is beautiful in its time.
2016…I’m torn between clinging to days gone by and wanting desperately to just simply move forward. As I have entered my middle ages and my children continue to grow at the speed of light, I long for purpose and simplicity. I also find an unrelenting need to overcome my fears and live the life that up to now I have simply dreamed of.
It is with that persistent need in mind that I am choosing to enter this year with fierce determination. However, I do choose to remain cautious and not dive headlong into the murky waters. No, I’ve made that mistake before and have learned that sort of irresponsibility is for those with nothing to lose. I choose to instead to hang my feet over the proverbial side and let them flutter in and out of the water as I enjoy the refreshing coolness and allow myself to become acclimated to it’s temperatures.
But that cautious attitude does not mean that I am any less petrified. I am not a spotlight seeker. I prefer to mingle about the edges and take in the charm of the scene. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to photography in the first place. It allows me to be a part of the story and focus in on the details without really being noticed. I have been taking pictures for several years now and would not consider myself to be an amateur but I am self aware and know that I have a great deal to learn before ever considering myself a professional. Being willing to put myself out there is another step in the direction that I feel my path is leading me. While it is a tentative step, I am beyond excited to start this chapter in my story.
Over the next year it is my hope to share that story through this blog. Each day will be a photo of something that represents either where I am, what I have learned or am learning about my craft or maybe just a moment captured that warrants being shared. This is My365…