I remember a time in my life when I would rise before the sun, seek out the perfect place to watch her stretch out her warmth and hug the sky with her vibrant colors. Watching the sunrise and her colors moving across the sky until they faded leaving behind just her warmth, brought a calmness to me, assuring me that with another day came promises of happiness and joy. I found myself repeating this ritual in times of my life when I needed to feel peace and warmth. If I wasn’t up early, I was chasing the sun to the end of the earth where she would kiss the sky good night, lingering her descend with a trail of colors.
Now I begin my days with hugs and end them with kisses from my children, sometimes unwillingly but always with the same peace I once chased. My days are filled with chaos, joy, homework, dishes, service, love, late night ice cream, and often falling a sleep exhausted on the couch as soon as it’s quiet. Although my life has been redirected many times and I stopped chasing the sun, I still pause and reflect on her beauty in a grocery store parking lot, in the car on our way to home from a long day, or wherever I am. I want my children to recognize the beauty all around them that God created for us. I hope someday they will chase the sun and enjoy the promises she brings everyday.
I still find calming peace and happiness in the sunrise and sunset everyday.
Sometimes I have subtle reminders that my children can feel the tension that comes with dividing a family. Every once in a while I have an intense reminder. Maybe that comes from having a teenager in the home. Maybe it’s because it’s just hard. I wish I knew the right things to say to my children when I see that they are struggling, or hurting. Seems like under these circumstances sometimes there is no right thing to say, so I don’t say anything. Instead I wake up at 3:12 A.M. to go buy milk, make banana bread bundt cake for breakfast, or squeeze fresh orange juice. Sometimes I might make their beds or let them stay up an extra hour for a family movie. I’m making this up as go, and sometimes I make mistakes, all the time I show them how much I love them.
Showing my children that I love them and I’m here for them makes me happy.
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.
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.
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 think the most beautiful creature God has created is the male peacock. The brilliant colors of his feathers are stunning. The length of his tail as he lays resting under a tree, awesome. The full fan of his vibrant feathers as they stand erect, showing off the beauty and basking in the attention is positively astounding. The beauty of this bird has inspired me and my happiness. I choose to surround myself with brilliant greens, rich blues, deep purples and touches of warm gold and oranges in my home. Ironically I have found peace in resting quietly surrounded by these bold and brazen colors.
Recently I have started to visit a near by park where peacocks freely roam. Bringing berries and grapes to feed them as I enjoy watching them rest under the trees, run from excited children, and saunter while showing off their beauty.
It has become a happy place for me to visit.
*photo credit goes to my son, who sent me this picture he took at the Idaho Falls Zoo while visiting his grandma.
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…