If you wouldn’t want grandma to see it…

Heat of the Moment AbstractJune 14, 2017… Another disturbing and sad day for national news. First I want to say my thoughts and prayers go out to all touched by the shooting in Alexandria. I don’t want what I’m about to say to take away from that.
In reading what the news media/whoever was able to recover from the shooter’s social media pages, it struck me that what they found there was actually pretty common given the mental and emotional mindset of the current political landscape, the one that has been decaying for a couple of years. Even politicians and presidents practice very little restraint when it comes to blasting off on social media. A lot of what they said they found on the shooter’s page seemed pretty mild when compared to some of the things that have caused me to unfollow personal pages as well as even unfriend  some in the last year. Sadly, taken out of context, those words and similar words or memes on your page can be construed as threats, calls to violence and inciting violence. (even if all you did was share something that someone else posted)
The point that I’m trying to make I guess, is that we all have an opinion – we all have things that make us angry – we all want to be heard and considered. That doesn’t mean that it always belongs on social media. I personally try to follow the social media rule of “if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it then don’t put it there”, but it isn’t always easy to do.
I miss the days when you had face-to-face conversations, when we actually felt responsible for what we said because we were physically exposed…eye to eye and toe to toe.
Also…I’m adding a picture because…well, nobody reads anything without a picture anymore 😉 FYI…the title is ‘Heat Of The Moment’

Wise words I found under the clutter on my desk…

I will often read something that I think is worth remembering. When I do, I usually write it down somewhere. Sometimes it gets added to the post-its lining the bottom of my monitor, and sometimes it gets lost in the clutter.

As I was re-arranging the clutter today, I ran across these wise words, scribbled on the back of an order form. I vaguely remember reading an article…one of those motivational ones…and writing these few lines down.

I’m glad that I found them today. Today I needed to see them again and I still  think that they are worth remembering!

“I can’t.” (YES YOU CAN.)

“I don’t know how.” (Then learn!)

“I’m not good at this.” (Then practice!)

“I’m afraid.” (That’s okay, bravery is being afraid but moving forward anyway.)

“I’m embarrassed to ask.” (I bet you’re not the first person to ask.)

“It’s a stupid question.” (I bet somebody else wants to know, too.)

“They’re so much better than me, I’ll never be as good as they are.” (No, you’ll be as good as YOU are.)

As much as I would like to take credit for these pearls of wisdom…I can’t, (I can’t even tell you where I found them) but I will accept the credit for recognizing good advice when I see and hear it.  I’ve struggling recently with feeling a bit stagnant in my art, and feeling a bit – well more than a bit, terrified at the current state of our government, and saddened at the lack of concern for the kind of world we may be leaving future generations, and well…feeling angry.

After re-reading the above wisdom and doing a little soul searching on a day when I was ready to crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after me, I’m instead going to pull on my big girl panties, set my somewhat square jaw in a determined expression and let my light shine!

P.S. I’ll let you know how it goes!Let It Shine

An Unscheduled Trip to the Store

Those of you who have been my friends on here for a while know that I rarely post anything long and wordy. It takes something fairly monumental…like a screw in a tire or a list of self-improvement suggestions to move me enough to get up on my soap box. Well friends –I’ve been moved, so either skip this or settle in for a bit, the choice is yours.

My husband and I had planned to pick up a few groceries together this evening, sort of an old folks date-night. Just before noon today, I suddenly had to go get groceries. I mean I simply HAD to, didn’t comb my hair, no changing clothes, just grabbed a baseball cap and the grocery list and ran out the door. It was lunch hour, traffic would be heavier than at other times and drivers would be in a hurry, but still I just had to go to the store. Why? I wondered that all the way in to town.

As I turned onto what is usually an extremely busy road, I thought how very strange it was that at high noon, my car was the only one visible for blocks. An empty street with nobody in sight…I might normally step it up just a little because, well hey…just human nature. But I didn’t, if anything I was under the speed limit, driving like an old woman hauling a load of eggs and china. Hang with me friends, the unscheduled trip to the store is about to make sense.

Up ahead about a block, something bright blue appears to roll into the street. As I get closer I can see that it is toddling. Dear God in heaven, yes, it was a baby…a new little walker barely toddling. I slammed the car in park, jumped out and ran toward her with my arms stretched out. She smiled and reached up to me so I scooped her up. I had left my car door open in my panic. In hindsight, the open door was a good thing, since I hadn’t turned on my flashers. The door effectively stopped traffic.

By this time, another car has arrived and stopped traffic from the other direction and a neighbor has come out to help keep traffic back while we try to locate Momma. I am NOT letting go of this little girl until her mother shows up and I can’t put her in the car with me to move it (that wouldn’t be smart), so we blocked traffic. After what seemed an incredibly long time, a woman burst out the front door of a nearby house screaming at the top of her lungs and wearing nothing but a towel.

Every Momma and Grandma fiber in me wanted to hang on to that baby-not give her back to the woman who had let this happen-but I handed her to her mother, because that is where she belonged.

Yes…her mother “dropped the ball”. But who of us hasn’t at least once. The absolute terror on the young mother’s face told me all that I needed to know…she loved her child…she was not uncaring, drunk or drugged up. She had a moment of poor judgment, probably thinking that a sleeping baby would stay that way long enough for her to take a shower.  She was wrong. I doubt that she will make that mistake again.

What I’m not sure of, is who was supposed to learn the most from this experience, myself or the baby’s mother. Was it angels watching over the baby, or was it angels watching over me? Probably both. I feel certain that I was pushed by a loving Hand to make that strangely timed trip to the store.  The driver stopping traffic from the other direction wanted to see the mother strung up-at the very least arrested, so the mother was lucky that it was me who was put in the right spot at the right time, and not the other driver. Traffic is normally heavy and fast on the road that I took, but not today, so I feel that same Hand’s influence there.  I tend to let my mind wander and perhaps have a heavy foot when I drive, but not today. Again, I was being guided.

By telling you all about my trip to the store, I hope that I have accomplished a couple of things. I hope that parents and guardians will remember how very quickly even toddlers can move, how adventurous and creative they can be. And… I hope that we ALL are able to recognize the push of a loving Hand when we feel it and that we respond.

I know that I will be more receptive to it after today.

If you’re still with me, I want to thank you for hanging in there. After I stopped shaking, it was important for me to share this. Blessings on you all, LeeIn His Hands finalSharing my piece from the ‘Best Friends Collection’-“In His Hands”

A New Verse

new verseWhen I saw the old piano, I knew that it was perfect for the words that were rolling around in my head.

Not long ago, I made the decision to make some changes in my personal and business life. After much consideration and way too many nights with too little sleep…tossing, turning, and thinking, I decided it was time to spend more time with family and friends. And, I decided that it was time to get back to my fine art roots.

For several years I owned and operated a photography studio business. The studio had been such a huge part of my daily life. It became a priority in such a way that I found that I was missing way too much…scheduling family around business instead of the other way around. When a talented and energetic and yes, young photographer inquired about buying some studio equipment from me, it was just the nudge that I needed to make the decision. Instead of some…I cut her a deal on all…she took me up on it, and we both looked forward to what the future held for us.

I do miss the families who became friends over the years…many of them returning year after year for portrait updates. I miss rolling around on the studio floor with the little ones…coaxing those amazing smiles and expressions out of them. My corporate and commercial clients not only became friends, but were a huge part of keeping the studio afloat financially. And the wedding clients…well, nothing is more beautiful than love.

Today I sit here in the office and glance to my right…there it is, that huge, open, airy space with lots of light…the empty studio. In a couple of days, this piece of my history as a photographer will slowly begin to disappear from view as the contractors begin the work of turning it into something I’ve never had before. It will become the new master bedroom, complete with bath and walk-in closet. I’m excited, but it is a bittersweet excitement. There will be no going back.

I don’t promise to “wow” the world with my incredible art, although hearing a “Wow!” now and again never hurts the artistic ego. What I do promise is that I will laugh more, love more, hug my family and friends more, and take each new day as, well…a new day!

At the risk of sounding cliché…time marches on, life and priorities change and so… Today I will listen to an old song, and I will write a new verse.

A Hawk takes a Photographer Under its Wing

It’s been a month since a clutch of Cooper Hawks spent a week learning to hunt in the yard around the house. It’s been 3 weeks almost, since all but one left. I watched it for a few days and had a really uneasy feeling about it, so I called the Raptor Rescue people. It seemed unable to hunt well enough to survive, so I began hand-feeding it to supplement the small frogs that it was catching. It was gentle and respectful and so was I.

The Rescue folks assured me that it was a molting adult, probably a parent of the clutch and in no danger. They left without it. The hawk seemed to attach itself to me in the days after that. Wherever I was…there it was. It positioned itself nearby when I was working in the gardens and actually would follow me as I mowed, reaping the harvest of grass frogs the mower scared out. This hawk would actually run to me as I walked toward it, and during our many one-sided conversations it would cock its head as if listening hard, and when I asked, “Do I know you?” it slowly bowed its head and then looked up and looked me straight in the eye. Mind you, I was sitting on the ground only a few feet from it at the time, so it wasn’t something that I only thought that I saw.

Two days ago, I noticed that it seemed to be failing and could no longer fly. I upped its diet of raw meat and hoped for the best. The Raptor Rescue had already turned it down so I didn’t call again. I decided that for whatever reason, this beautiful creature had chosen me to end its days with and so I would try to protect it during the process and ease its way as much as I could. Yesterday it positioned itself in the shade, not far from where I was working near the pond. It appeared to be in some pain and had its head lowered most of the day, but would look at me when I talked to it. It was too weak to eat. I knew the end was near. I only wished that there was more I could do beyond keep the vigil. This morning it was over.

I put it in a clean box, put the box on top of some pine boughs in the burn pit and lit the fire. It felt like the right thing to do. My fear was that it wouldn’t burn, that there would be some horrible, sad remains, but it completely and totally disappeared. I stood there with the dog…watching. As the fire caught, a beam of sunlight shifted down through the trees and spotlighted the small fire and the smoke. The box burned quickly and I could see the shape of the hawk. The smoke began to spiral straight up…it had been going sideways. It looked like a slowly turning tornado filled with little curlicues moving thru the shaft of sunlight. I was in awe. It was over quickly, not a trace remained and the fire seemed to put itself out.

The hawk seemed to have been sent to me. It would have been ungracious, disrespectful even, not to have paid attention…not to have learned from it. I’m grateful for this thought provoking experience, this deepening of understanding and enlightenment, and hope that I in some way proved myself worthy of the opportunity that one of God’s creatures chose to give me.

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“A Morning Hike”

A New Dawn Photography-Steven Reed

Silence is a loud sound I notice as I tread quietly on the soft mossy trail, that my headlamp lights up in front of me. Much different than the trails I’m use to in the Rocky Mountains back in Colorado.

Soft Trail

I stop to rest and found once I quiet my mind and opened my senses that I was able to hear and feel the silence, and it wasn’t so silent after all. I could hear and feel the lite mist falling, I can hear the slight breeze stirring the branches of the trees, causing the heavy drops of rain to fall and hit the ground make a quiet splattering sound. And when I really listened I could hear the distant sound of the waves hitting the shore and in the background I hear the mournful sound of the buoys letting the ships know where danger is.

Then I realize the light is…

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