Through My Camera Lens

The first time I picked up a camera I was in high school and had just become the new sports photographer for the school newspaper, The Viking Voyager. I instantly fell in love with two things, looking at the world through the lens of a 35mm camera and the sound of the football players’ pads crashing into each other on the field. Using the camera become second nature to me as I learned to adjust the aperture and shutter speed to capture life as I see it. Learning to process film and develop prints gave me the opportunity to show others the world through my camera lens. I was stubborn as technology took photography to new levels of creativity. As I learned to embrace new technology I have grown to love photography more.

Looking at a photograph I can feel the image, the warmth of the sun melting the snow, the hope in the eyes of a mourning widow, the love two people share has they promise to be loyal to one another, or the emptiness of place that was once alive. I can see the color in a colorless picture and feel the emotion in its contrast. I can hear the laughter of children playing, or the soft sounds of a creek trickling water over rocks. I can smell the orange blossoms that surround a country road, or the rain falling on the sand in a dry desert.

I take photographs for me, so that I can capture these emotions, sounds and smells, so I remember they way I feel in the moments that inspire me, teach me and help me experience life around me. I share my photographs so others can feel and be inspired as well. I desire for my home someday to be filled with my photographs, to cultivate an environment that inspires and motivates my children in their lives, and for those that enter my home to leave feeling the world through my camera lens.

Searching for and capturing images that facilitate emotions within me brings me happiness.

Solo Cup Green

I walked into the hardware store with O to pick out the paint for our new living room. I knew exactly what I wanted, Solo Cup Green! I think O came because she didn’t believe I was really getting that color. She didn’t have plans to convince me otherwise, she just stood back watching in disbelief. Her sassy comments about grass growing on the walls and her not helping paint were not unexpected either. I just smiled as I told the gentleman at the paint counter what I wanted. O still in disbelief blushed as the man volunteered to come help me paint, of course I politely declined but in my head I heard myself sing, “oh baby you, you got what I need but you say he’s just a friend…”. I rolled my eyes, smiled and laughed a little at myself, when did Biz Markie get in my head, and that song does NOT even apply here.

I painted all three walls of the living room green that night. At 2 o’clock in the morning, I sat in the middle of the living room in our empty apartment feeling peaceful and exhausted. I no longer felt overwhelmed with emotions about living as a single mom in an apartment. In that moment of feeling sore, burnt out and completely exhausted I realized what was missing from my life. Color! My life had become dull and uninspiring. Solo Cup Green brighten my life again and inspired me to create a fun environment full of color, with happy nostalgic memories hanging on the wall. My living room has become my favorite place in our home. 

 I have found happiness and inspiration in Solo Cup Green.  

Not So Little Anymore

My little boy K is not so little anymore, even though I want to think of him as the same cute little boy I found half-naked standing almost inside the refrigerator looking for some milk, even though the entire box of cheerios was all over the kitchen floor. And that rosy cheeked little munchkin that would roll around in the fall leaves and bury himself. Or one of my favorites, the kooky kid that put googly eyes all over his forehead so he see better.  I am still cleaning up after him, still delight in watching him play, still laughing at his nonsensical ideas; even so somehow, he is not that little boy anymore. I should not have blinked.

K’s favorite book to read is the car manual. He reads it when it is his turn to ride shotgun, and tells me everything I need to know about wearing my seat belt properly, changing a fuse or headlight and reminds me to use the emergency break, especially if I am parked on a hill. Due to the many teaching opportunities I have given him, leaving my car lights on, he can jump-start my car.

This funny, charming, helpful young man makes my heart happy. When away from home he sends me dozens of kissy face emojis and wants video chat with me everyday. He will look for opportunities to make my work load easier by volunteering to cook dinner.

Although he enjoys being the “man of the house” and taking care of the girls, I know that sometimes he’d like to have some boys around too. He mentioned to me on more than one occasion, “Do you think you could marry someone with a son named Jon? It would be cool to have a brother named Jon”. I smiled at his request, happy that he would be okay if I did someday remarry and asked if he had any other requests, to which he replied, “He should also like football, especially the Cardinals”.

This football loving, nonsensical, caring young man makes my heart happy.

Refining O

O is the kind of teenage daughter that makes an already half-crazy, occasionally-befuddled and always-exhausted mom want to applaud her courage, shake my head at her bold personality, and scream at her sassy attitude all in the same day. All of this, her courage, personality and sass if well cultivated and handled with grace and refinement will prepare her for real world experiences, I hope.

I have to remind myself that O’s life has been redirected just as much as mine, maybe even more. I find subtle ways to show her that she can be gentle and softhearted while being bold and strong (with a little sass). O will hold my hand in the car on the way to school and talk to me about her friends and the girls whom are not her friends. She will tell me about her studies and plans for the future and she will even tell me about her latest crush. When she needs time with just mom, she will ask if we can lay in bed and talk. These conversations are the refining moments in her life, when she feels she can share with me anything and we laugh and cry together, and I get a glimpse into the smile and tears of the young women I am proud of.

O brightens my life and I have found happiness in being her mom.

I Am My Mom’s Frweetheart!

My youngest A, is almost 4 years old. She has brought more joy to my life that I realized I would ever need. She was a very unexpected addition to our family and came when I needed her the most. She brakes out into song in the most unusual moments . She runs into a room exclaiming her love for you. Thank yous aren’t always enough, it is often attached to “that’s perfect mom!” She is the chef of silly faces, skilled with screeching voices, and master dancing feet. She’s curious, always right, and full of love. She proudly claims, “I am my mom’s frweeteart!”

One of my most favorite stories of my frweetheart that makes me smile and brings me happiness was when we got our pet snake. Her enthusiasm for this slithering creature is amusing. I was a nervous as I anticipated the first feeding, not sure how A would feel about it. As I pulled a frozen pinkie mouse out of the freezer to thaw A said with a little disbelief, “The mouse is dinner!” My oldest daughter heard this and quickly came into the room, upset that I was hiding pinkie mice in the freezer. A with a very serious voice and one hand on here hip said to her older sister, “O, the snake is fam-a- ly!! The mouse eats cheese, it’s okay!” O, mumbled under her breath, “that doesn’t make any since A” as she walked off. A sighed and looked bewildered as she turned her attention back to the snake, Redd. She noticed I had already put dinner near the snake. Anxious for the snake to eat and concerned he might not fit the mouse in his mouth she cheered him on. “Come on snake, you can do it!” Watching Redd open his mouth wide and swallow the last of the mouse, “Yay! you did it, good snake.”

I continue to find happiness in my frweetheart…

The Beginning

Shortly after I asked my (soon to be) ex-husband for a divorce, I started to look around our home and think about the things we had collected over the nineteen years we were married. The beautiful soft blue sofa and loveseat where we often gathered our children for family move nights; I remembered the first time we saw it and fell in love with the color and style, deciding it was perfect for our living room. However, that round table to right of the sofa, he found that at a consignment store, it is sturdy and worn with a little character, leather inset on top. Not a table I would have looked twice at, but it complements our meshed eclectic styles. The artwork on the wall, that’s all him too and isn’t unique to us. We often found the same red poppy fields in others homes. The vintage camera collection from my early days in the photography industry, that’s my happy place. My adventures in finding the perfect photo that spoke to me is behind some of those cameras others I have only dreamt of using. I always wanted my work displayed in my home and that’s when it hit me. Overwhelmed with emotions knowing that the living room I was standing in was not really mine anymore, I decided It’s time for me to create my own happily ever after.