For the past few years, since the passing of my Grandmother, we have held an annual chili cook-off for our big family celebration. You see, when my Grandmother held Thanksgiving in her home, it was a grand affair. All the siblings and cousins and children and grandchildren and friends would come and fill up on all the delicious food and deserts that had been lovingly prepared. I believe we all hold those memories dear to our hearts. That’s why it was a hard decision to figure out what to do with Thanksgiving once she had travelled on to her heavenly home.
The idea of a chili cook-off was suggested. We are a competitive bunch and with the added desire to continue to be together for the holiday the 1st annual Chili Cook-off was held. And it was a hit. So we have continued the tradition each year, with the exception of last year. It was a joy to be together. There was chili and deserts and an axe contest and forest adventures and round robin ping-pong and bluegrass music and fellowship and love. And it was perfect.
Egg Photo Challenge – Possibly the best artistic decision I made in 2021
Back in March, I was feeling creatively dry. I’m sure it had something to do with all the instagram scrolling and because of that comparing myself to others and feeling “less than”.
*10/10 would not recommend.*
But, with that came a desire to restart all of those creative juices and the only way I could think to do that was to challenge myself. I had seen photography challenges, but I wasn’t inspired by any of them. So enter the egg challenge. I made it up. I tried to think of something easily accessible, something people typically have around the house.
It’s simple, yet difficult to make interesting. And that as it. The decision was made and I made a list of photography styles and techniques and got to work.
For the first half of the month, I off and on dreaded my daily egg photo. I would wait until the very end of the day (like 11:15) to take and photo and edit it. Then, something changed around the middle of the month. I was actually looking forward to the egg photo. I was thinking and planning what I was going to do that day. I was researching editing techniques. I was learning.
I learned so much in the month of March that it has spilled over consistently into my current style of editing. I would still be in my funk if I hadn’t been tired of where I was as an artist.
So this is my encouragement to myself and to anyone else that may read this. Challenge yourself to grow and learn. Never stop.
This lovely little backyard wedding was full of love, full of hope, full of a bright future. A small gathering came together on a sunny Saturday afternoon to celebrate the love these two have for each other.
Jimi’s grandmother officiated the wedding and her daughter was the flower girl. Her great-grandfather played a song on the guitar that he wrote for his wife. Bubba’s nephew was the ring bearer. And people from all over the country came to witness this union. It was so lovely.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Every wedding I have photographed is the same. Everyone seems a little hectic before the main event. Trying to finish up last minute details. Trying to make everything as perfect as possible. And then when the ceremony starts, there’s this calm. Finally, the moment these people have been waiting for has arrived and all those little details that felt like they needed to get done aren’t important anymore.
It’s a beautiful thing to witness. They declare their love for one another. You can feel their joy as it spills through everyone. Those little details that seemed so important at the beginning aren’t even a thought anymore. Only joy. Only hope. Only a new future joined together.
Jimi and Bubba’s full album can be viewed here. Jimi + Bubba
This chair sits in the corner of the room. It isn’t a sitting chair. It’s a decoration, a piece of art, a collaborative effort between both me and my Dad. When I found it at a thrift store it was a cheap little thing with a wonky leg.
She doesn’t know any of that. She just decided she wanted to look outside. So being the independent thing she is, she moved it to the window and climbed up.
My initial reaction was to move her. My second reaction was to grab my camera. The window light was so lovely and I just couldn’t resist trying to get a few photos of her.
I’m glad I went to get my camera. She’s all smiles and attitude and hair in her face. 50 percent of my day consists of putting her bow back in her hair that she just ripped out. Her little personality is blossoming more and more every day and these photos really give a sense of what she is like right now in this stage.
A mess. She’s a funny little mess and I can’t get enough of her.
My initial reaction was to move her. My second reaction was to grab my camera.
The biggest problem getting my new website up and running, illustrating new designs, or editing photographs hinges on me getting in my own way because of Perfectionism. (I gets a capital P because it’s a key character in my life.) I recently watched a Skillshare video that, I can’t be certain, but I was written and recorded specifically for me. It was all about self-sabotage and overcoming perfectionism and silencing your inner critic. And when I was watching it, I was thinking, “How did she get in my head? I feel seen.”
Since then, I have watched it a few times to encourage myself to keep moving forward, to keep taking steps towards the goal, to do the next thing.
That video encouraged me to truly get started on creating a space for myself and the things that I can offer.
I love when artists encourage other artists, share wisdom, and learned skills that have helped them through road blocks. I recently stumbled upon a YouTube account, Andymation, an animator (who has worked on numerous animated films), but specifically creates flip books for his YouTube videos. They are fantastic and I have learned a lot just by watching a few videos. One in particular stood out to me because he was having trouble getting started.
Yikes. That hit home.
He said, “I think the biggest part of creativity is stepping forward and starting something.” Then he put his pencil down and began to draw.
He didn’t say it had to be perfect. He didn’t say it had to be some magical experience. He just had to get started and creativity bloomed from that.
Isn’t that the truth, though? Just get started and stop thinking through all the ways it won’t work.
This morning I woke up at 4:00. Eleanor was crying and wanted to nurse which rarely happens now that she’s a year and a half. I went to bed early for me last night, so I suppose my body was ready to be done sleeping after I got her back in the bed.
I find that when I get up early it helps me to start brewing some coffee and read a Psalm first thing. I like Psalms because they are so uplifting. I love starting my day with encouragement. It helps me do my best concentrated work.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalm 1:3, KJV
You see, I’ve been trying to set up this website/blog for about 6 months. It hasn’t progressed mainly because of my fear of failure/imperfectionism. I have been chipping away at it for about a week now with much frustration and little success. This morning, however, I was able to figure out a front page layout that I love. It feels like me. I still have a lot to do, but that small win has given me momentum.
After everyone began to wake, the momentum began to fade. Throughout the day, I can find moments to concentrate but it’s nothing like that early morning time. Most of my day is consumed with momming. As it should. (Eleanor is currently crying on me as I write.)
All of this is to say I do my best thinking in the morning. In the quiet. And I need to remember that more often.