Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sibling Assignment #161: What I Will Leave Behind

I gave the sibling assignment this week. I will link the posts of my siblings when they are posted.
"When you want to surround yourself with beauty, where do you go? Take five pictures of that place and share your thoughts on it's beauty"

Today I took five pictures of what I will leave behind. We are moving in June and leaving behind beautiful gardens that hold memories, have been perfect subjects for photos, and brought us joy that is immeasurable. Today I took a break from packing up the house to focus on the simple beauty that surrounds us in late April  around our gardens. 
 The combination of a tulip, light, and rain brings the simple beauty of this gorgeous plant front and center. I wish I would have kept track of the names of the tulips of planted. Hopefully I will be able to duplicate them.
 We visited the gardens at Manito Park about fifteen years ago and saw this shrub in bloom in early spring. We thought it was a rose, but knew that couldn't be because of the time of year. I called to inquire and learned it was a Kerria plant.I had to plant some!  Planted in a row they form a hedge that blooms and blooms in early spring. Today ours was in full bloom in front of the greenhouse. Hopefully I can take some starts with me.
 Another tulip I love because of the blurring of colors in the blossom. Raindrops are an extra addition of beauty.
 When I lost my beloved dog Nikki in 1996 my mother gave me a gift to honor her the next spring. This dogwood tree has never bloomsed as beautifully as it has this year. I am blessed with its beauty as I leave it behind ,but hold precious memories of my dog and my mother's generous gift.
Everett wanted a small orchard and the apples have been very successful. There is nothing more striking than the blossoms of apples and a signal that fruit will be on the branches in the autumn months. I hope the new owners of our house love apples.

There will be more pictures as I take garden walks and slowly say good-bye to the gardens at Martin Creek. I am already creating the gardens on Cameron Ave. in my head and on paper.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sibling Assignment #160: A Still Mind

We are back doing our sibling assignments after a hectic time with each of our lives. Brother Bill gave the assignment:

Do you have anything in your life that you've not been doing that you used to a lot more of?  In other words, have you let something important in your life slip away -- maybe not completely, but more than you'd like in a perfect world.

Write about it -- why it matters to you, how you miss it, and how you think you'll go about getting back to it. You will find my sister's here and my brother will post his soon.

Right now my life is very hectic. As a family we are striving to provide support and care for our mother after she had an accident. As a teacher my brain is on overload trying to navigate the procedures and processes for administering a large amount of tests to my students. I am also trying to walk the fine line of pushing more information into my students' minds and just letting them relax and do their best to show 
what they know on the new federal tests. 
We have been working tirelessly to get our home ready to sell. We have had lots of help, but the decluttering and downsizing just needs to be done personally. There have been "discussions" about what to keep, what to give away, and what to sell. There have been numerous trips to the dump,hardware stores, charity places to donate, 
and places that have moving boxes.
I have been educating myself on the world of real estate. I have studied selling houses, buying houses, and all that it involves. I have searched for houses, visited houses, and drove by houses. When we made the decision to move back to my hometown, we knew there would be houses available. 
It was just finding a special one.
What have I not been doing? Letting my mind be still. It was obvious to me this week-end when all kinds of information, communication, and decisions came at me in a short period of time. I needed my mind to be still. My mom has been going to bed very early while healing from her accident. Last night after she was tucked into bed, I forced my mind to be still. I started writing, making lists, thinking, praying, and writing some more. I knew it was what I needed to do.
I also know I need to continue to find time to keep my mind still as we transition into a new chapter in our lives. Sitting in my childhood living room, looking out the window at the house that will soon be mine, finding comfort with the lawn lights and streetlights kept my mind still.
Now I just need to keep it up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sibling Assignment #159: Into The Wild

My sister gave the sibling assignment this last week. I am a bit late posting. "Pick a movie you have watched recently, and talk about how that movie changed the way you look at the world". I haven't seen many movies lately , so I am responding to a movie I saw about a year ago. You can find Bill's here. I will connect Carol's when it is completed.

I read the book "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer after years of being told it was one of those books I should read. It sat on my shelf collecting dust until one day I pulled it down and never put it down much until I finished it. (Let me go on record here that I love Jon Krakauer's nonfiction works. There is not a book of his that hasn't moved me, made me think, taught me about life, or exposed me to a view of the world I hadn't ever thought about. )

As soon as I finished the book I watched the film. I have this thing about wanting to read a book first before I watch the film. I am pleased I read the book first when it came to "Into the Wild.  The book and film did change the way I look at the world.

"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."-Christopher McCandless

The film "Into the Wild" is the true story of Christopher McCandless and his journey of extreme living as he left behind all material possessions and found people and places that changed his life as he prepared for his goal of hiking into the wilds of Alaska. Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, and Henry David Thoreau were his heroes. He wanted to find his place in the world by immersing himself into nature. He didn't pick a pond like Thoreau. He didn't have the experience in the wilds that London had. He was a romantic and an idealist. He took on the challenging, unforgiving wild land of Alaska alone and without much knowledge of this unforgiving state. He found a bus to live in. He ate rice and found food in the wild. He kept journals of his travels, the people he met  and his life living on the bus as he took on  this difficult journey. He wanted to be freed from money, his parents, and all that bothered him in the world. He wanted to feel free.

Why did this movie move me? I admire any person that stands up for their beliefs in such a strong way. I am not adventurous. I am not a person that would walk into the wild for a purpose. I live safe. I am not a rebel. Christopher McCandless was all that I am not, yet I grew to understand him and why he did what he did.  It moved me.

The film also helped me understand how the events of life that are out of a person's  control can send a person on a spiral of discovery as he/she tries to understand what happened. The actions of parents, friends, a sister, strangers met along the way can all impact the journey that follows. Leaving all those people behind can further impact that discovery.

Thank you Sean Penn for taking the book that the events had already been played out in real life and making it into a film that stayed true to the book and brought Chris alive even more that his words in the book. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sibling Assignment #158: It Is Not Just a Camera

I gave the sibling assignment this week. "Write how photography has enriched your life." I will link the other sibllings' posts when done.

“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” 
― Ansel Adams
I really love this quote by Adams. This quote is a reminder of how photography has enriched my life. Photo images are a way of combining old black and white photos in the album at Mom's house with comparable digital images taken more recently to enrich our family history from photo album pages, to antique picture frames, to digital slideshows.

Words in books inspire me to reflect on a sense of place. Whether is it Norman Maclean, Terry Tempest Williams, or Kim Barnes I want to be where they are, I want to capture the images, and bring places to life. I love to study a specific location, look for shadows and light, and take pictures of  a moment in the place along a river, in a meadow, or when the sun is peeking through the clouds.

I can think of a hundred musical arrangements that evoke strong emotions inside me, motivating me to capture images with my camera to match that. I loved it when our sibling assignments in the past included creating photo slideshows with background music. When you string a series of photos together the combining of music is just natural. Here is an example of one put together a few years ago.
 Most of my photos are taken of places vs. people. The only reason for that is the people I love and want to photograph are not around often. When I surround myself with people I love, I can't stop taking photos.

It is not just about the camera. That is why I truly love photography. It is all this: the pictures, words, music, and people of my life. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sibling Assignment #157: The Pinterest Friends I Have Never Met

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment this week. "Write a piece about Pinterest.  What do you value about Pinterest?  How has it made a difference in your life?  Can you tell a story about a particular thing you did at a particular time that went really well because you are a part of Pinterest?  On the flip side, is there anything about Pinterest that disappoints you?  " I will link the siblings' posts when they are posted.

When I began blogging I was soon connected with a circle of friends that shared common interests. One had taught in my same school, but moved on before I met her. We share interests in recipes, decor, photography, and life in general in eastern Washington. Another also grew up in another part of Idaho and we learned we shared a love for vintage art, photography, writing, and blogging. Another moved from Oregon and we love to share books we love and recipes. Another teaches like me and has moved to the west recently and we share the love of literature, teaching, family, and photography. There were northern Idaho friends.  There are more online friends that share similar interests. The other common thread with all these women is we have never met. 

We met as blogging buddies, but now we are on Pinterest together. This is one thing I love about Pinterest. Not only do I have another way of connecting with all these online friends, but I learn more about what they like in the world of Pinterest. When any of the members of  this group of friends posts a recipe, book they have read, or a home decor idea I jump right on it because I know I will like it. I repin what they pin. This has been one joy of Pinterest.

 It has been my dream that one day I could meet all these friends face to face. They have inspired me, challenged me, and made me think. They have shared recipes, tips for the home, photography inspiration, and book recommendations. They had been there as kindred spirits and I have often appreciated them and needed them.