Friday, April 26, 2013

Words Without Pictures

I left at exactly the right time to arrive at my destination. I turned up the road and immediately noticed a car to my right on the shoulder, hazards slowing time. My eyes scanned the surrounding area, wondering where the occupants were and then I saw. In the median between this way and that way, time most certainly stood still. A young child, maybe three or four, was holding tight to a woman's hand. The woman, crouched down, the child too, looking at a memorial of flowers and a cross, faded and winter-worn.

And then they rose and crossed back over the road to the waiting car.

My mind was digging deep, remembering the news of a car crash in this very spot, one that left a toddler fatherless, about a year and a half ago. It fit, too easily and not at all at the same time.

As I drove on I realized I had turned down the wrong road. This wrong turn gave me a front row seat to this very sad scene that played out before my eyes. For some reason I was meant to see this. And I know. I know why.

I prayed for that young child as I carried on in time to my destination.

"God, please watch over this young one. Tenderly care for and love this little heart."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

To Touch

To see through each other to our hearts and reach to touch with tenderness, this is love.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Light's Presence

The light that bounced off the tips of the tulips and edges of the leaves caught my eye. The shadows remained but the light resonated, deeply.

There have been dark shadows cast with the difficult and tragic events that have unfolded or collided with our lives over the past days and weeks. I think what drew me to the light on these tulips was the hope it symbolized for love and goodness and healing in a world where shadows remain.

What I was reminded of when I looked at these flowers was that shadows prove Light's presence. Something may be standing in the way of Light's reach but Light is surely present. I just may have to move a little to see it or, maybe, sometimes, I will need to get out of the way so another's view of Light is not blocked.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Empty Tables - Full Tables

Walking around the empty tables, I can almost hear the chairs scraping along the floor as chattering patrons get up to leave. Conversations continue long enough to conclude in mid air. And then they are gone.

A scene like this is powerful, easily twigging my imagination and then memory.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Routine

In one of the darkest times of my life, I was counseled to keep some sort of routine. Something regular, normal, each day; this would be a vehicle to move through the stress. It would calm, bring some order into chaos and help me to keep on, keep going.

After immersing myself in the news of the great tragedy in Boston yesterday, I went to bed feeling sad and overwhelmed for those whose lives were instantly changed. I woke this morning and went along with life, my daily routine. I looked over at my husband and saw he was the picture of doing exactly this. He was moving through. The sight of him doing so was calming.


What I realized back in the darkness was this: moving along with the regular things takes nothing away from the importance of whatever else is going on. It just helps us to move, to keep going, to not get stuck.

Monday, April 15, 2013

God Help Us

This morning the big news was the snow.
Not now.
God, please help.
Praying for all those impacted by Boston's horrific events. The reach is far.
God help us all.

Spring is Coming

We woke up to winter today. The snow is still coming down and will throughout much of today.

My tulips sit on the dining table. Even they seem a little down by winter's insistence. Cheer up, my sunny little friends. Spring is coming.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Words Without Pictures - Living With - Living Alongside


I was young, not even a teenager. Standing in the church foyer with people all around, young and old, all, I was alone. Maybe a more accurate way to convey how I felt would be to say I was an imposter; not a real part of the church family because of what we had in our family. I didn't feel like I was like the rest - real.

You see, we had mental illness in our family and people didn't really know what to do with that. We didn't really know what to do with that. Looking back from today's point of view, I can't imagine how they would have known what the right way to be was, what the path through could possibly be, or what the path beside may have been. Who could tell them? Not us. We didn't know.

Even now, with many years having gone by, some strides made in the forward direction around awareness while a few taken away by media hype, I'm not sure society, including the church, knows how best to walk alongside the mentally ill. I know I don't, not the best way, just the best I know so far. And it is the same for all of us, we know the best we know so far.

Our family has certainly had opportunity to learn, share, inform, maybe even educate and we've been very fortunate to have many in our church and community today, want to understand. I am very thankful for this, for these caring people who have loved us well and I am also thankful for any chance to expand understanding. There has been improvement. And there is room for more. For all of us, me included, maybe especially.

My mom suffered many, many years with mental illness. So did we. It is not only the mentally ill who suffer but also those who love them and maybe even those who do not. Its reach is far.

This illness, cruel as it can be with whatever face it shows, does not make those who live with it 'less than'. It took me a long while to learn that. It took my son getting diagnosed with mental illness for me to really know that. He is not 'less than'...nor is my mom. Nor am I as a daughter and mother of those with mental illness. They, we, are made in God's image, after all.

My mom and my son have both taught me much with their struggle through crises and their living with the illness. Their courage and hope rock my world. Their journeys are not without struggle and also not without triumph. Like all of ours.

Sun's Presence

Isn't that just like the sun? On this foggy day, it appeared and disappeared, rose above and hid behind the urban landscape. But it was always there.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

In Your Shoes

Too often I jump to conclusions and am pretty quick to criticize people's actions. Without knowing what experiences inform the person's behavior, I label and dismiss the person as quickly as I do their actions. I certainly don't hear them anymore.

I'm not saying that my goal is to agree with everyone, it's not. I am saying there is a great deal of room for increased understanding that comes from hearing, seeing and loving my neighbor.

At the beginning of this year, instead of making a New Year's Resolution, I chose a word that would motivate me to positive action. My word is community.  It seems to me that hearing, seeing and loving my neighbor would be in line with building community.

Here's to being willing to try and understand what it is like to be in your shoes...and for being willing for you to see my shoes, too.

Here's to community.

In Your Shoes

Friday, April 5, 2013

Back in the 'hood

In between picking up some framed work and heading to the photo lab, I stopped off in my old nieghborhood to take a few pictures. The icy sidewalks slowed me down long enough to remember. I was transported back in time as I looked into my past to see the firemen playing volleyball across the street from our apartment block, the coved ceilings and fake fireplace in another apartment a couple of blocks over, the walks to and from work, crossing the bridge in the bitterly cold winter, the hysterical laughter with my roomies, my boyfriend's Challenger rumbling up the road, going for runs at 2 in the morning because I could (I DO NOT recommend this now) and living off of Chinese noodle packs at 3/$1.00.

I don't have pictures of any of those memories but I will share a few pics from around the 'hood.





Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Direction

I am thinking of taking my blog in a new direction. We'll see how exposed I feel after this post - maybe you'll never see it! Up until now this blog's purpose has predominantly been to show my work and sometimes the how of the photo.

I've been feeling a little restless and unsettled with this format. There is little dialogue or connection with you. I've not invited it. And maybe that is because I want to stay safe. If I don't put myself out there, then I won't get hurt. If I put my work out there and it is not received well, there is some hurt, less than previous to the 'aha' moment written about below, but not nearly the same as if I put me out there.

And so here I go.

Recently I went down to Chicago for an art show. I was honored to have had a piece accepted for a show that is still running until the end of April, Women's Works 2013 in Woodstock, Il, just north of Chicago. This is the piece that is showing.

Winter's Corner
 My husband and I drove down from Winnipeg and met up with my sister, Cindy, and her husband. Interestingly enough, my sister also had a piece that was accepted into the show. Sharing this with her was a great deal of fun! Here is Cindy's piece.

Twilight by Cindy Dyson
 And here we are just outside the venue, The Old Courthouse in Woodstock, Il.
Cindy and I
Bro-in-law Bill and sister Cindy
Winter's Corner and I standing in our little corner.

I had an 'aha' moment while on this little trip. As the days came to an end I became quite aware that the art show piece was just a small piece of the bigger picture, which was a weekend get-away with my husband, sister and brother-in-law...and a life lesson learned.

Rod and I

The show was not the biggest piece at all. It is why we went down but it didn't end up being why I was there, if that makes any sense at all. I think the discovery that my photography does not define me, it is just something I do, was huge. It is certainly something I enjoy to do, but it is not who I am. So now, if my work doesn't sell or gets rejected, it no longer needs to go deep; it doesn't take anything away from who I am.

And even this post, if it is ignored, dismissed or rejected, it still takes nothing away from who I am. So the post will stay and the new direction will continue.

What about you? Do you have an 'aha' moment you'd like to share with me?