My Mind, My Desktop

Organization is the most comforting word to me. When my life is organized, I can see more clearly, I can focus on the present and plan for my future. In my mind, I see my life, my calendar, my everything as a desktop on a computer. Neatly organized folders, labeled and arranged in an systematized fashion, each folder containing exactly what I need to be accomplish a task, complete a goal, plan a trip, and keep it altogether without losing myself. When my life glitched it was pandemonium in my mind. I found pieces missing from folders, unlabeled folders, things I have never heard of showed up and everything seemed to be floating in a gentle breeze that often changed direction. Suddenly I could not breathe.

As time went on, I found ways to slowly gather the pieces of my life as they drifted by, taking small breaths as I decide where to start. It took me time, courage and love to see that it is safe to change my desktop. Recycling what was holding me back, making new folders as I discovered new pieces and fragments of me that had been missing for years, and taking what I was holding onto tightly and putting it back into place. Everyday breathing more deeply, more completely.

My desktop isn’t in perfect order, but its close. I’m organizing my life a little bit more every day. I have discovered that I need people in my life. I have learned it’s ok to accept help from my loved ones. I have decided that it’s alright to be a single mom.

I have found happiness among disarray, although I am looking forward to my life returning to it’s organized state a little bit more every day.

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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.  

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.

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.