I haven’t really photographed for myself in quite some time… at least, not like I used to. My camera used to feel like an extension of myself. I took it every where, and I didn’t care how people looked at me when I’d bust it out. I made images I was not only proud of, but that I look back on (still) and remember more than what the image leaves on the surface.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking it with me when I went out. I stopped reaching for it. I stopped charging my batteries and clearing my cards unless I needed them for work. There are some months of absolutely no images with my DSLR on my hard drive.
When my sister died in 2013 my camera, and the images I made with it, helped me work through my grief. I was able to show how I was feeling better than I was able to articulate.
Photography, and making images in general, used to bring me so much happiness. But over the last couple of years I really only made photographs because I felt obligated to. There wasn’t much that really moved me to make images. I just made them out of habit.
2017 was a really tough year, and maybe one day I’ll go into detail about all the ins and outs and how an event that happened early on in the year set the tone for the rest of the year. (But that day isn’t today.) A few months ago though, Nate asked for a guitar… actually, it was probably about the millionth time he mentioned how he wanted a guitar (and to learn how to play)… So, I went one afternoon and bought him a guitar. I video called him after I got home, and had the guitar up on the screen when he answer. The look on his face was priceless, and he said “Where did you get that!?”
I texted him a few days ago and mentioned him practicing for 100 days and me filming him when he practices… (actually the text read 10 days, but I definitely meant 100). So here we are. Both with a project. Him to practice for 100 days for a minimum of 5 minutes a day, and for me to film him.
Here’s to the next 100 days. Well, 97 since we’re technically on the 3rd day of our projects. 😉
I didn’t graduate high school, and I didn’t get my GED until I was 20. That’s a fun fact that not really a whole lot of people know. For a long time I was so ashamed to admit that not only did I quit high school in the 10th grade (the second time), but I didn’t even try to get my GED until 4 years later. I made some really poor choices when I was younger, that is for sure.
After I got out of the service and a few months after I had Noah, I decided to go back to school. I went after my Associate’s in Criminal Justice and I completed my last course just a few months after I had Gracie. I remember receiving the email that I passed my last class, and officially earned my degree. I was so proud of myself. A few months later I was sent the information on the commencement ceremony. I decided not to go because flying with 2 small kids from Germany alone was not only not my idea of a good time, and it was expensive.
About a year or so later I decided to start classes for the Bachelor’s program. I started in psychology and finished about half of the courses required when I took a break. That break lasted a few months when I thought I wanted to major in photography and then business. Why not? I was running my own photography business and those choices only seemed like the logical choices… but I quickly realized that both of those choices were not for me.
So, I went back to psychology. After working with birthing women for a few years, going back to psychology only made sense. I loved working with birthing women, although I did not enjoy seeing the disconnect between the care women receive during the prenatal and postpartum periods. I knew that psychology would give me the opportunity to continue to work with birthing women and work with them in a much bigger capacity.
My last class for my undergraduate degree began in February (2017) and ended in March… and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself. I worked so hard to finish that program. Over the summer I received information on the commencement ceremony for completing my undergraduate degree. I decided to register since the ceremony was going to be held in Miami, just a couple hours from where I live now.
The kids, Nate, and I drove down, and my parents and brother flew in the night before the ceremony. I was totally ok the morning of the ceremony getting ready. I had to leave Nate and the kids in the front of the Watsco Center to check in and wait for the ceremony to start. All the graduates had to get organized by degree, and then we filed into the auditorium. As soon as I walked into the auditorium and realized how big it was, and how many people were in the stands… I quickly thought I had made a huge mistake. Logically I know they weren’t all looking at me, but it definitely felt otherwise.
Although it was nerve wracking and I could hear Nate and my brother from the stands… I’m glad I participated in the commencement ceremony. It marks a significant accomplishment that I made and did for myself.
Hurricane Irma is the first hurricane I’ve been back home for. I started watching her expected path about a week before she actually came through. The last time I was home for a hurricane was 2004, and his name was Charley. He caused a lot of damage in my hometown, and I knew with Irma’s size and the anticipated direction she was thought to take I wanted to stay informed. I thought about taking myself and kids up to my dad’s in GA. After seeing she had been downgraded, and that we weren’t supposed to be in her direct path I decided to just stay put.
During the week leading up to Hurricane Irma, we prepped the best way we knew how. I got a couple cases of water, snacks and other necessary items, Nate and his bosses boarded up our windows, and his mom and I rearranged the garage so my car would fit.
The day before Hurricane Irma reached us was kind of a strange day. The temperature wasn’t awful, and in the morning there was a nice breeze… But as the day progressed, the signs that she was close arrived… the wind was much stronger by the evening and the sky was gray.
We knew with her so close we needed to get all the kids outside to release some energy. It was also my middle daughter’s 8th birthday. I don’t typically do a whole lot on their birthdays other than a gift and a meal at their favorite place, or home made dinner of their choice. But it was a real bummer to not really be able to do much of anything for her that day because of all the prepping and stores closing. She asked for a sushi date, so she and I will probably do that soon.