Saturday, August 27, 2011

no words.

A week ago today, my dear mother passed away.

A Saturday morning. On 20 August 2011.

I knew it was coming, but at the same time I was blindsided. Not expecting it. Thinking it would be a long time coming still. And I wish I had been correct.

My mind is still reeling.

I spent most of each day since then crying uncontrollably, until Thursday morning.

I do not know what happened Thursday morning, but it was different.

Wednesday night, I went through what had become my usual ordeal of inconsolable crying. I cried out to Jesus, imploring him to take the pain away. I just can't take it anymore.

And He heard my cry. I haven't cried inconsolably since that night. Thursday morning felt different. Thursday felt different. Thursday night felt different. The same goes for Friday. And now, Saturday. A week later.

Yes, I will cry again. And again after that. And again still. I know this. But the past few days, I know the Lord has shown me just how real and close his mercy and care are. The ache is still there, but the sting is not.

How long will it take the ache to heal? That I do not know. I told my son Sunday night, August 20 next year will most likely still hurt a lot. But I suspect that five years from now it won't hurt as much. Ten years from now it may hurt even less. And twenty years from now, August 20 may not cause me much heartache at all.

Of course, I am speculating. Hoping. But I know through this and past experiences that the Lord is all about removing stings. Healing aches. Binding wounds, and restoring broken hearts. It's his business.

He is the one I can count on always. When I feel like my photography sucks, or when there are times like these when I don't even care whether it sucks or not--I just don't want to touch my camera ever again.

Because it feels like photography, with all of its virtues and promise, brings to remembrance everything. Even the painful things.

But Jesus doesn't remember the painful things. If he removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more, that is a good indication to me that he wants my heart to be refreshed with the wonderful memories.

He is the one I on whom I can always depend. When the music fades, or when there are times like these when I feel like it isn't healing or soothing, but it is only turning the knife.

Jesus never turns the knife. Jesus only heals. Only soothes. Always. If he gives me a song at a time when I have no desire to write ever again, that is a good indication to me that he wants my spirit to be comforted with his words.

He did give me a song. Monday night.

you see my tears
one by one
slowly they fall into space
you catch them
in your hand

you hear my cry
sorrow inside
every stream on my face
you watch as they dry

and then you say, "my love...
nothing is in vain
your tears are not wasted...

I hold them here
one by one
although darkness to you
I turn them into light

ashes surround
final it seems
and in the blink of an eye
I turn it into joy

and give it all to you...
nothing is in vain
your tears are not wasted..."

As much as I love remembering (it is a motto of mine), all I have wanted to do is forget.

The Lord is gently reassuring me that it is okay to remember.

Friday, August 19, 2011

the ianisms.

Years ago, back in 2006 (oh my gosh that was FIVE years ago!), I wrote a post listing some of the funny things my oldest son had said. Take a moment if you have the time and read it (it's short). He always said hilarious things, and still does. I call them Bobbyisms.

Well, now my five-year old has been saying more and more funny things himself. I can't call them Bobbyisms, because his name isn't Bobby (haha). I call them, Ianisms.

My little Ian is a fairly precocious five-year old. Not any more precocious than the next kid, but precocious enough. He can (very carefully) read full sentences, add small numbers on his hands, and draw Transformers. He loves watching movies and playing video games. And the great Ianisms of 2011 that have come forth from his mouth have been nothing short of priceless. A sample:

"It's starting to rain, so now the zombies are going to come out." (I have NO idea. Haha)

"'Heck no' rhymes with 'techno!'" (Informing his big brother.)

"I want a turntable and some Deadmau5 records. And some Thor toys." (Announcing to his brother what he wants for Christmas.)

And, the other day, I was getting on to him about finding his socks. We were getting ready to leave the house, and he still hadn't found them (he tends to take them off and leave them in random places). This is an unfortunate routine that we have every day. He told me, in a very exasperated tone, "I can't find my socks! I've looked everywhere!" To which I replied, "Well, you obviously haven't looked everywhere because there's one of them right there on the floor in front of you!"

He looked down, saw the lone sock, and said, "Oh." Then, picking it up, he slowly backed out of my room, let out a nervous laugh and said, "Awkward."

I laughed. Out. Loud.

As I said in my post five years ago, a merry heart does good like a medicine, and my son's an excellent doctor.

Make that medicine double dosage, from two heart specialists.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

an unlikely anniversary.

Somehow, whenever I take a break from blogging (whether planned or otherwise), I always manage to make it back on the anniversary of the very day that I started this journal in the first place.

Most of the time, I do think of this blog as a personal diary. That is not to say that I do not appreciate all of you, my tens of readers, because I really do. I am grateful that there are people out there that want to read what I have to say and converse with me, through comments or emails. You guys are blessings.

But sometimes, I don't have much to say.

Or I do, but I have no idea how to say it.

So, I wait.

And that is how this blog is very much like a personal diary for me. When I was a little girl, I had a diary. There were periods of time when I was writing in it daily, recording every little thing. And there were other periods of time when weeks would go by before I would open my little diary again, for whatever reason.

And so, I faced July with almost no desire to ever blog again. My desire to even take Niki out of her bag and shoot waned as well. As a result, there are some weeks of my Project 52 that I missed.

I was entrenched (joyfully) in weeks of rehearsals for a show that I performed in at the beginning of this month. Weekly rehearsals they were. Two, sometimes three times per week. And I am surely glad that I was involved in that show, because singing gives me such joy and always takes my mind off of everything.

What did I have my mind on? I can't really say, because I don't really know. What I do know is, for the better part of the summer, from July on, I was dealing with depression.

I haven't felt depressed like this in years, since college. Depression was something that I had overcome and been completely free from all this time, so when it reared its ugly head I was quite frustrated. There were a few outside factors I guess... health problems with different members of our family, but that was nothing new. Work was dry the whole month of July for my husband, which was trying and annoying to say the least. But again, that wasn't something we hadn't dealt with before. I usually love summers because I love having a break from all of my teaching work (except for homeschooling which we do year-round), and last summer was so glorious I was looking forward to another season of lazy days, long nights, and lots of photographs. But this year was inexplicably different.

I'm still not one hundred percent, but I am feeling better than I was. I've sat and questioned, then questioned again, then again still, how much I truly love singing, if I should continue to use my camera, if I am raising my kids right, if we're ever going to "move on up" so to speak, if I'll ever write another song, if I am reaching any of the kids that I teach, and a few other things. Silly questions, yes, but ones that I was considering quite seriously. The answers seemed to weigh heavily on the negative side, and even through the praying and worshiping and throwing myself into my singing, I couldn't seem to shake this heavy feeling of disappointment.

I still can't explain why this feeling appeared or why it is only now beginning to disappear. I also know that I haven't communicated any of this all that effectively. Up until now, my thoughts have been even more random and jumbled. I'm not doing the best job of getting things off my chest I guess.

I haven't quit my Project 52. I still have a few weeks worth that I hadn't shared yet, and will slowly get those posted and get back on the grind. If nothing else, I know that there will be a new opportunity to finish a complete project 52 next year! Ha.

Monday, June 27, 2011

project 52, week twenty-two.

Well, the minute I think I am getting back on track, it turns out it is sidetracked (yet again) that I am actually getting. 

I spent this past week and the week before getting my youngest son seen and scheduled for dentist appointments. (Week Twenty-Three will include pictures from a lovely summer afternoon that we spent at the lake, the day before his cheek swelled like a balloon.) Three days in a row of medical/dental visits, including x-rays and a week's worth of antibiotics and monitoring before another dental visit this past Friday, which got rescheduled so that he can actually have sedation instead of just laughing gas (he needs to have two extractions). So, the blogging again took a back seat. Photos, however, did not.

Self-portrait. Sort of. My three-year old daughter took this. She wanted to.

My son and I went to an art exhibition in the city.

The great weekend began with an outing at a lovely river and park. This covered bridge went over the river.

The iPhonearoid of the week is here.

And the Weekly Vlog is here. I actually posted it a day late, but that way I was able to get a little bit of footage from the rehearsal for a show that I am in.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

project 52, week twenty-one.

Well, praise the Lord! I am finally getting around to putting up the photos from Week Twenty-One. Having that ordeal with the lack of space on my hard drive really set me back a couple of weeks ago. It took me over a week to get enough files deleted to free up more space! And once the space was finally free, I was not all that motivated to blog. But I've got to get back on the ball so I don't get overwhelmed with photos that I haven't posted yet.




The iPhonearoid of the Week is here.

And the Weekly Vlog is here. I'm pretty proud of this one.

And now, to get weeks twenty-two and twenty-three posted...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

the lazy days of summer. or, what i've been doing the past two weeks, since it clearly isn't blogging!

Does summer do this to you?

You wake up, planning to do all of these extra things in addition to your normal agenda/plans for the day, and at the times when you could get to those things, you just don't? Because hey let's go to the park? Or hey let's watch a movie? Or hey let's take a nap? Or hey let's sit and look out the window for a minute, then go outside and frolic and do nothing? Or hey let's go to the lake? Or hey let's take a nap?

Well, that has been my life the past couple of weeks. I have all photos and videos available for the last couple of weeks of my Project 52, yet I have been to darn lazy to actually post them. I have had little to no motivation to blog. Soooo different from last summer, when I was in the midst of all of these creative projects and blogging so much it seemed (a 365 project will do that).

So, my sincere apologies to you guys! These last couple of weeks have been busy, but a different kind of busy. A busyness of just living, making the most of my free time. How have I made the most of it? By schlepping my oldest son to all of these different parties/get-togethers/social activities three times a week the past two weeks, taking my kids to the beach, healing sunburns, rehearsing and leading worship a few times at my church, trying to catalogue quickly this bevy of creative ideas scrolling across my head, teaching voice students, and going to rehearsals twice a week for a show in which I am performing in August. (My weekly vlog for last week is actually a snippet of my music rehearsal for that, so you will hear me singing when I post it this weekend.)

And even dealing with an unfortunate tooth infection. (My five-year old son has to get some teeth removed next week.)

And yes, taking photos and videos all along the way.

I will spend the weekend getting the rest of my Project 52 posts up, then next week I hope to catch up on all of the lovely blogs that I love to read and follow. In the meantime, I am about to head back out the door with my family to a three-hour rehearsal in the city, while they will be across the street at a music and food festival.

I will definitely be getting back on my regular posting schedule soon, and catching up with you guys and finding out what you have been doing via your lovely blogs. I hope your summer is going swimmingly.

Much love.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

project 52, week twenty.

Hallelujah! It looks like I'm in the clear to get these next couple of posts completed, because I've apparently FINALLY cleared enough space on my computer. So, although Week Twenty was two weeks ago, HERE IT IS!


My son, during two of his three performances.

And his turntables.

The iPhonearoid of the Week for Week Twenty is here.

And the Weekly Vlog is here.

Gonna take my tired butt to bed, and get Week Twenty-One on the blog tomorrow. Then I'll be all caught up.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

project 52, week nineteen.

Week Nineteen.

After a harrowing week of what seemed to be endless deleting of files, I have finally cleared enough space to at least complete this one week. I actually enjoyed looking back and remembering what I did two weeks ago, since I had already forgotten!



The walls of Passion City Church.

My iPhonearoid of the Week for Week Nineteen can be found here.

And, the Weekly Vlog is in two parts.
Part One is here.
Part Two is here.
You don't want to miss this vlog. It's the best one I've done so far this year. Very emotional, but POSITIVE.

Off to do some more deleting, so that I can (hopefully) get Week Twenty posted tomorrow.

Night, folks.

basic space.

Ahhhh. My lovely tens of readers. How I've missed you.

What have I been up to, you ask? Well, a lot's been afoot the past couple of weeks. Not the least of which is my son graduating eighth grade and becoming a high schooler, officially. I am officially homeschooling a high schooler. Now I've got to think about transcripts and credits and accreditation and stuff for real. Oh lawd.

And the past two weeks have been rife with activity. Rife. With. Activity. Four end-of-year presentations, two graduation ceremonies (some of my students graduated this year), an awards ceremony, a homeschool-day outing, three last-days-of-school (with events), and parties. Sigh.

It's been great fun, but tiring.

And yes, I still took pictures. And videos.

Which brings me to a song that I like. A lot.

It's a song by The xx, called Basic Space. I've loved it for several months, along with several other songs by this group. But the title is quite a propos to this post, and my small blogging hiatus.

Squishy, my Macbook (her official name is Elaine. Long story...), has been sorely lacking in basic. space.

I literally worked on clearing space on her all of last week. And yes, I have an external hard drive, but I hadn't actually been about the business of deleting files off of my computer after I had backed things up. Soooo, I could not upload any videos or photos until I had done so. As it stands at the moment, I have done so enough to get ONLY Week Nineteen blogged this evening. Which means that I have some more deleting to do before I can blog Week Twenty. And I am actually ON Week Twenty-One. Gaaaahhh.

But I will be the most determined worker bee and get it done, and you will have Week Nineteen to read tonight. Yay.

In the meantime, I leave you with some other 'basic' things... basic goals of mine for this summer.

  • make an art canvas with (or without) my son every one or two weeks
  • get back to my regular art journaling that I was doing last summer
  • make tons of great food utilizing as much of this magic sauce as I can
  • walk off some pounds and get in better shape
  • make music, then make more music
  • read daily
  • journal daily
  • pray daily (though that is a perpetual goal/habit, not just for the summer)
  • keep remembering. With Niki. Because as I've said before, I love remembering.

I hope all of you out there in Blogreaderland are gearing up for a splendiferous Memorial Day. Much love.

[Oh, and if you've never watched any of my weekly vlogs before, you won't want to miss Week Nineteen. It's in two parts, and it's the best one I have done so far. I talk about my wonderful Master's Academy students, and how God used them at the end of the year to bring healing to my heart. Trust me; it's good. Really good. Unless you don't like to see people cry, ever. In which case you shouldn't watch it.]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

project 52, week eighteen.

I've got a lot to say on this post. Forgive me if I ramble a bit.

As you know, I've been having many ups and downs emotionally since the beginning of March, when I had my mother admitted into hospice care. (She refused to go back to dialysis at the end of February). I have been so moved by comments and well-wishes that people have given me. It may not seem like much to you, but it really is encouraging, and I appreciate it.

In addition to truly learning to live day by day for a completely different reason than ever before (every day that I do not get a call from the nursing home is a good day), I have really fought a mental battle... since the beginning of Spring... fighting the urge to relegate this taking pictures thing to a hobby and shelving that hobby. I have been frustrated with my lack of creative motivation, and I know that said lack is due to having my thoughts elsewhere. It's been kind of difficult to focus on getting out with Niki and enjoying time when my mind is on counting down the minutes of each day and getting to the end with a "Whew. No phone call. Thank God."

But I love photography too much to quit. And I feel like I have something different to offer, so I am going to keep pressing until I push through. If weeks go by without a photo gig I won't sweat it (though I LOVE getting hired to take pictures, and expect to see a lot of work this summer); I will continue to nurture my relationship with my non-human bff. This Project 52 has been my saving grace the last month or so, as it has saved me from halting my photo-taking altogether.

Speaking of mothers and creative motivation (sort of), my son wrote me the most amazing note on Mother's Day, which, by the way, was a wonderful day. To say that I needed to hear this (or read it, rather) would be an understatement, and I have read it over and over again since he posted it. Before I share this week's photos, I am going to share with you all how wonderful my son is (sorry about the smaller font)...

"What can I say? I could say that you are an amazing mother. I could say that you are the greatest mother that anyone could ever have. I could say that you are blessed. Well, I can say these things because they're true. You are such an amazing person. You're full of talent, wisdom, and kindness. I see why every single one of your students enjoys you. They appreciate your kindness; they appreciate the fact that you care about each and every one of them without leaving any out. On top of this, you have an amazing gift of flourishing creativity which leaves people in awe and makes them want to have the same thing. Then, you have amazing character which completely influences your students, who want you to influence them. I know that maybe it might not seem like it, but your students love you. More than you can know. How can I say this? Because I AM one of those students. But I am also your son, so...

Whether you realize it or not, YOU inspire me everyday. You encourage me to be confident in who I am. You encourage me to work hard. And you encourage me to love. If it weren't for you, I probably wouldn't have known what "love" is when I did. You're such an amazing mother. Every time mothers day comes along, I always cherish the good memories that we have had together. And I cherish the good times we have had as our family has grown. You have been such a blessing to me. Even though Mother's day comes around only once a year, I sincerely cherish you every single day. I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother's day. ♥"


Oldest son on stage, with his hair hiding his face.

End-of-year drama performance (one of several) at Master's Academy Woodstock.

My iPhonearoid of the week is here.

And my Weekly Vlog is here.

Have a great week, folks.

project 52, week seventeen.

Well, it has been an eventful couple of weeks.

Right after I said I would get Week Seventeen posted forthwith, I experienced a surge in oh-my-gosh-I-forgot-we-have-such-and-such-tomorrow-night-gaaahhh-I'll-be-getting-home-late-AGAIN activity, for several afternoons and evenings in a row.

Folks, I've been beat. Like, for real.

The pictures and videos have been sitting on my computer and iPhone, waiting patiently to be shared. Luckily, they aren't upset with me. I hope you won't be too upset either.

Buuuut the good news is, I'm posting TWO blogs TONIGHT! Then I'll be back on schedule! Yay!

So here goes.

Me. It was taken by my husband.

Several family shots. Because we had some fun times this weekend.

And. Out in the city.

My iPhonearoid of the week? You don't want to miss it.

And you don't want to miss my weekly vlog. (It's my son being a street performer for a few minutes!)

motherhood photo challenge.

This is me, being proud of my son. Plain and simple.

This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces Photo Challenge.

Monday, May 02, 2011

project 52, week sixteen.

This week went in by in a blur. Or, more like a puff of smoke. Like the puff of smoke that's left when the Road Runner runs off from Wile E. Coyote. I don't remember much of what happened, except that my son was in a play, we went to a Good Friday concert and nearly froze our butts off (in almost-May, in Atlanta) enjoying the great music, and some other stuff.

I took some pictures.

Selfie. My poor finger. It's healed up now.


At the Good Friday Concert.

The iPhonearoid of the week can be found here.

The Weekly Vlog can be found here.

Until next time, folks.

[Due to a broken wireless router, I did not get this up when I said I would. Bought a new router yesterday, and so my internet connection is back up consistently. Week Seventeen will be up tonight or tomorrow.]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

project 52, week fifteen.

Well, the good news is I have all photos and videos done to be completely caught up with my Project 52 posts. It's already after eleven though and I am trying to keep from falling asleep here on the couch, so I think I'll do this post tonight and save the other one for tomorrow.

We've been running like maniacs the past couple of weeks. Last weekend my son had a formal, and this weekend he was the lead in a play. He had tech rehearsal for the play every night this week. We're all exhausted.

I did get some nice photos last week (the week leading up to the formal).



My little one, fishing for the first time.

Out in the city.

My iPhonearoid of the week is here,

and my Weekly Vlog is here.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, April 18, 2011

project 52, week fourteen.


Sooo, last week came and went, and my Project 52 post did not materialize for you guys.

So, fourteen weeks into this thing, and I'm behind.

I have all of the elements and had them together last Sunday night. I just... didn't... post it.

I've been lacking a little in the motivation department.

Not sure why... it just feels like I've been moving in slow motion since last week. Getting a call from the nursing home about making funeral arrangements (just in case) did NOT help. Ugh.

But, regardless of how I felt, I still hung out with Niki, and we still took pictures.

Yep. Sometimes I fail to help Niki out and what I end up with is crap. And sometimes I just don't even feel like any do-overs.

Ahhh. But my kids. They make every day bright.

And that's saying a lot, on days like these.

And here is the Weekly Vlog.

(I have everything finished for this week's post as well, but will probably post it tomorrow or Wednesday. Bear with me; I'm getting back on track.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sigh. Well...

Tonight marks the sixth evening in a row that I have been out doing something and getting home dog tired.

All of the elements for my Project 52 post have been ready since Sunday, including my crappy self-portrait (and trust me, it is CRAP), but I had technical difficulties getting my weekly vlog to load on Sunday. And I have not tried to reload it since, thanks to being out every evening.

Soooo, in lieu of a crock pot Wednesday post (since I won't be cooking tomorrow), I'll take tomorrow evening, my first evening home in a WEEK, to get that post finished and up.

And I'd also like to say thank you to so many of you who have spoken kind words to me. You are all such a blessing.

I'm off to sleep. A deep sleep.

-natty posted this using BlogPress from her iPhone.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

food. and acceptable, happy mistakes.

Okay. So, recap.

I did actually cook a meal in the crock pot. Last Wednesday. (Tonight, I did what has become a very good stand-by in my house: whole roast chicken.)

I made barbecued pork ribs.

I didn't take any pictures due to being in a MEGA-hurry. But I got the ribs, along with a large onion cut into large sections, and some random (really random) spices I had laying around in my cabinets, a bottle of Cattlemen's Barbecue Sauce, either Kansas City style or Memphis style (can't remember), and probably half a cup of water, into my pot and cooked it.

It was great. Country-style ribs are also a great stand-by in the crock pot, just like pot roast. Here is the recipe from the last time that I cooked them.

And now, pictures.

I am going to confess something to you. This year (so far), it seems like my personal photographic output has been made up of a lot of... duds.


Soooo, I have learned, very quickly, to go back over the images I have shot and study them a little more carefully, with the objective of maybe finding something that is salvageable, or something that I actually connect with emotionally.

And yep, that was an awful sentence. It happens sometimes with me. Sigh. Back to salvageable, emotionally-connected duds.

 (For some reason, the photos in this post are showing up distorted and I do not know how to fix it. They are not appearing the way they normally do in my posts. And THIS is why I am desperately seeking a new blog design so that I can show my images full-size/full-resolution/allofthatstuff.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

project 52, week thirteen.

Hallelujah, I finally got this done.



Haven't posted a good sign photo in a while.

And an old shack.

Be sure to check out my iPhonearoid of the Week.

And don't forget to check out my Weekly Vlog.

Have a lovely Spring week, folks.