I Will Always Love You….

My girls (my great nieces) are growing up so very fast, the oldest one just turned 13 in May. An actual teenager in Earth years but she has one of those old souls.

She is so wise for her age, wiser than me some days, as she proved to me today as we had a conversation driving up the road.

We were doing a photo shoot for her new CD. Everybody’s first response is that she is beautiful. She is, no doubt about it; she is gorgeous. She is also, smart, talented, funny, goofy, wise beyond her years, a loving person who wants to see good in everyone. She is strong in her faith. She will not do anything she finds distasteful. She is focused. She is driven. She will not put her name on something she is not proud of. She is so much more than what people see.

They simply do not know her like I do. She always tells her other sisters that I love her more because I have loved her longer. I love them all, in different ways. They are all so very unique. They all have their strengths and very singular personalities. I give them the attention each needs. It’s just that right now the focus is on the older one getting her CD done.

We were alone on one of my favorite crooked country roads. It is the second round of photos for the project.  Her parents leaving her in my care,  had left us  to do what we do because they had to take care of some other things. We were fighting for time, there was a thunderstorm not so far away.

We did the shots and as always, I had music playing from an old cell phone. The song “Forever Country”, which is a mashup of some classic country songs sang by some of the greatest voices from the past and the present,  came on. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9gAXwYZtfk

We were looking at the shots we had just taken, she has to proof each of them. As we stood there flipping through pictures, we began singing along with the song. At the end of the song the last song they blend in is “I Will Always Love You” came on. As they began to sing that part, she laid her head over on my shoulder and sang to me.

Of course, I cried. In that moment, I knew that I was loved as deeply and as innocently as anyone could ever be. She wanted nothing but to in her way tell me she loves me. She does all the time but that time was a little more special than all the times before. No one saw it, no one was supposed. It was a moment but one that I will hold in my heart forever.

Motivation Level Zero…

I am a person who likes certain things being on schedule, other things I am a  go with the flow kind of girl.

On Sundays when I am not working, I go to church. So every other Sunday I go to church. Yesterday, they were calling for slick roads so church was cancelled.

It threw me off my schedule. I am 48 years old. I was born on a Wednesday and I was in church on Sunday. It is a major part of my life. So missing church makes for a long Sunday.

According to my “weather mom” who gives me the daily weather update when she calls me, the snow was supposed to come in the afternoon. So, I laid on the couch and watched some classic comedies.

Afternoon came, the snow did not. I only wanted to do one thing. That didn’t work out. There were things I could have been doing, there were things I should have been doing. I could be working on some of my projects. I could be editing photos.  I should have been working on my taxes. I could have eaten. I laid on the couch.

I didn’t want to move from the couch. I am not one to lay around and just veg out. So, I wondered am I getting sick? Is something wrong with me? Why do I not want to get up? So I watched “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”, ” The Incredible Mr. Limpet”The Shakiest Gun in the West”, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”…IMHO one of the funniest movies of all time. I just laid there and watched movies all afternoon. I didn’t speak (verbally) to anyone until late that evening. NOBODY!!! I never heard my own voice for 12 hours.

Of course working night shift, after the sun went down, I decided I wanted to get up off the couch. I went to working on some of my glass projects. I talked to a friend on the phone who called me. I ate food.

I just need to let everything rest if only for a day. Sunday is the traditional day of rest. Maybe in my own way, I was doing exactly what I needed to do. Today, I was much more productive and more adventurous with some of the glass I was fusing.

So maybe I need a day of zero motivation to rest my mind and my body.

Two Anxiety Attacks In Two Days…

I haven’t felt the greatest the last two days. The flu bug has hit my workplace with a vengeance. I have been doing what I know to do to ward it off, extra sleep (which is hard to do when you work nights) and work your schedule fluctuates it is hard to get the rest you need on a normal basis.

So yesterday when I woke up in a cold sweat, I could feel it coming on. The it, wasn’t the  flu, it was an anxiety attack. I worked my way through it. I washed a few clothes. I cooked. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t eat but I cooked. I did a photographic experiment, that totally worked. I did anything to stay busy. I didn’t say anything to anyone about it. I just dealt.

At one point, I knew my grandmothers spirit had stopped by for a minute. I smelled her. Funny thing, it was while I was cooking. I was making enough food to share with my person, hoping to see him and surprise him. That did not happen. The reason I think she stopped by then was because cooking was her love language. She would cook for those she loved. If she knew you like something she cooked, she made sure you got plenty of it.

Finally, I sat down and had a good cry. I got up, I came to work and once here, I was able to manage it.

It was very busy last night. So, I didn’t have time to validate what was going on inside. I need to handle the external so the internal needed to hang on. I wanted to laugh so I watched some youtube videos of the Little Rascals. Hopefully, the urge to laugh would drown out the negative feelings I was having. I actually took time to draw how I was feeling on the inside.

Today, I woke up and started to piece together a jewelry piece I have been working on in my mind for several days. It wasn’t working out like I had thought. I felt the anxiousness coming back. This time I approached it much differently. I sat. I closed my eyes, I listened….to the sound of cars on the highway outside my window. There was life outside what I felt at this moment. I heard the air cleaner in my living room humming. I heard the faucet in my kitchen dripping. I heard the ice in my ice maker drop.

After sitting there listening to the sounds of my life, how my house sounds when I am not there; I opened my eyes I looked around and saw my nice clean living space, I saw one of my mantras hanging on the wall, I saw a painting of my reconstructed heart that I had painted several years ago. I saw how the light from the lamp beside me played on the dvd cases across the room; just anything to connect me to the present.

When I got ready to come to work, I put some of my favorite items underneath my uniform, pulled on my fishnets and slid into my favorite cowboy boots. It made me feel better.

I know what has set this off, my concern is how I react to it. I think today turned out much better.

If I Could Photography Anyone In The World….

This is a list of people I would like to visually tell their story and why…..

There will be men, women, living people and those who have transitioned, there will be couples. The list will mostly be people you will know, if you follow country music and Hollywood stars. The person I would love to photograph most though, you may not know his name yet, but I sure do.

So let us get started…

Men:

Albert Einstein: One of the smartest men who have ever lived. I would like to photograph him as he sits and contemplates the universe and all that is in it.

Benjamin Franklin: Inventor and statesman, if not for Franklin, there would not be some of our modern conveniences. He invented bifocals, discovered electricity, day light savings time was his idea. I would like to see him taking time to create something never created before.

James Dean: That laid back sexy style he had.

 Josh Lucas and Blake Shelton: For their dimples. I would like to get them to smile and take photos of their dimples.

Kevin Costner and George Clooney: Their style and class.

Luke Bryan and Jake Owens: Their smiles. They have great smiles.

Trace Adkins: His mellow voice, his ponytail and his beard and he is quite funny in interviews.

Matthew Mcconaughy and Robert Downey Jr. : Their attitude that they are going to be who they are and screw what everyone thinks of it.

Sung Kang: The clean cut, quite guy off the Fast and Furious movies. He doesn’t say a lot but you know there is something deeper inside.

Johnny Depp: The introverted thinking type. He has that brooding look that women find appealing.

Now for the females:

Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock: Just down home country girls that made good. I would like to get them back to their roots and see if we could just hang out.

Reba McIntire: Her strength. Many years ago, all the members of her band were killed in a plane crash. She lost some of herself during that time but she came back even stronger.

Dolly Parton: Came from very humble beginnings and did exceptionally well. She never forgot where she came from and made a way for people in Eastern Tennessee to be able to make an honest living.

Shania Twain: Simply because the music she has recorded has spoken to me on so many levels. She is my shehero.

Audrey Hepburn: Quiet Introvert, yet from photos you see of her, she has a playful side.

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett: Their comedy. I love their faces when they perform. They are comedic geniuses.

Grace Kelly: Simply put, for her Grace.

Couples:

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman: Because they have FUN!!! They don’t take the fact that they are both famous bog them down.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill: For their loyalty. You can tell the way that they look at each other that they truly love and are utterly devoted to each other.

Now having said all that…..

Looking back at this list in the males, I see my person. He is smart, funny (oh how he can make me laugh),  he has a great smile, dimples (although he denies that), great eyes, a ponytail, a beard, has style and he is so gentle with me (now that is class),  he has that attitude of I am going to do me, he is a thinker, and an inventor/designer. He is that quiet, thinking person who sees far more than he ever says.  And his voice, we won’t talk about what happens to me physically when he says my name .

Looking at the list of females: I somewhat see myself. I am a country girl who would like to go places, yet my roots run deep. I have had to conjure up more strength than I ever thought I could. I can be quiet,  funny, playful, graceful or tough.

So maybe the person I would like to photograph most would be him because if you take all the reasons why I want to photograph all the others, well they all tie back into what fascinates me about my person. Those things I find so wonderful about him, those things that make him sexy as hell.

The couples listed…. well that is what I want in life. Fun and loyalty.

I didn’t really think about it until I was typing this blog. I looked at images of these folks last night and I made a list (yes, I am a list maker) of why. As I was typing it, I saw the similarities between what I  was seeing and who I see it in. Kind of funny where your heart goes when your mind wanders. That is HOME!!!

My World in the Palm of My Hand…

We all are attached to our mobile devices.

How many people will leave home without their cell phone? I am totally going to date myself here, but I remember the days when there wasn’t such an animal as a cell phone.

I remember when the bag phones came out. My late husband was a supervisor in the job in which I currently work, when we were dating and he had to have a bag phone in the Corsica he drove to make sure he could be in contact at all times.

So needless to say, I have see the evolution of the cell phone.

I am one of those dinosaurs that still talk on my cell phone…Oh My Word…using a phone to talk; who would have thunk it ? I am just one of those people, I want to hear your voice and I want to feel that connection.

Just today, I had to turn around at the shed below my house, why…..because I left my cell phone. This is my connection to the folks outside these walls for the next 12 hours.

Tonight, not being awake long enough today to get something to work on during my down time, I have been talking with others, listening to music, playing a game and looking through the photos on my phone. All 2,000 photos on my phone. I have needed to do this for a while to clear space. I am very selective about the photos I delete.

Why, you may ask, because images are the stories of our lives without using words.

As a photographer and having lived my own life story, I know how important photos are. They stop time. They capture those moments the can never be re-created. It is important to protect those images.

As I scrolled through the photos I saw images I have sneaked around and taken of my person because he doesn’t like to have his photo taken.

I saw pictures of my girls as they are growing and changing. They go from them just being themselves to now that they are older they pose. The hair has to be perfect and the cheesy grin has to be exact. Pictures of my great nephew the day he was born.

Pictures of my mom before she had her surgery and the change I see  in her since.

There are pictures of me and my person taken on a road trip by this dude we had only know for a few hours. It is one of my favorites (favorite enough it is my background)  I would like to have more photos of us together.

Pictures of the last Christmas lunch with my former co-workers and the fun times we had.

There are photos of clouds, butterflies, sunrises and sunsets and other things I see in the beauty of nature and there are photos of the jewelry I have made.

Then there are the selfies. Now, I know there are two camps on selfies. Here is how I see my selfies and I can only speak for me.

I am at the point in my life where I don’t see the person I used to see. Back in the day. you couldn’t have made me take a selfie. I didn’t like what I saw. Now, I like what I see. I am not talking about the outside.

What I see when I see a selfie is a woman who has grown from grief. Someone who was brave enough to make a change when her life was just an existence. Someone who loves her person so deeply that when she does take one of these photos she looks at this magic box in her hands thinking he might tell her she is beautiful. That she is his and he is proud to have her.

I see a woman who is not afraid to take risk where once she was a girl scared of her shadow.

I see a woman who has a heart for those she loves. She is  strong but tired; someone who is truly happy again. And honestly, when I think I look good, I want to capture that moment and the true smile. So if selfies serve a purpose in your life, go for it.

If you have tons of photos on your phone, I suggest you take a while and just scroll through them and relive those moments. It is a mobile scrap book that connects to the web.

What a great time to be alive, when you can carry your world in the palm of your hand.

I Talk to Butterflies…

It has been kind of a tough week.

The place I was displaying  my jewelry suddenly shut down. A board I have bent over backwards to help I was asked if I wanted to be reelected. I have been trying to get off it for more than a year. So no. I went to a viewing for a former co-workers daughter and was reminded of how short life can be. And also realized that my former co-workers sort of see me leadership roll. I had to deal with some of my not favorite people to get a lead to get my work into a local craft fair. I found out that one of my photos is being displayed in a store front in town without my permission.

My sleep pattern is all to hell-o. I have been dreading this week at work. It had not been a great couple of days.

Yesterday was nice. I got to spend some time with my person. We had lunch. Just time to be together with out someone walking into our conversation.

To talk about plans and what I am learning on a new subject that I am studying. I know I sounded dumb to him. He knows way more on the subject than I do, I remind myself that I am just learning.

As we were standing outside the restaurant, we were talking and suddenly, as huge butterfly flew right toward me. Now where we live it is pretty late to see butterflies. It was a straggler.  Not thinking about it, I did what I always do. I said “Hello Friend”. It is what I do.

I have a special connection with butterflies. They serve as a source of inspiration to me. They helped me to tell my own life story.

I didn’t think anything of it until I heard him say, “she just saw a butterfly’, it was at that point I realized a woman had walked out of the restaurant and apparently thought I was talking to her.

OOOOOOPPPPSSSS!!! Needless to say I was embarrassed. I am not going to say I was embarrassed that I paid homage to one of the things that inspire me, I was just embarrassed that this poor woman walking out minding her own business now probably thinks I am a loon and of course that my person saw her see my weirdness.

That’s fine. I knew what I was doing. I believe that if you honor things and people in your life, you are honored in return.

Today was a complete turn around. I got things done. I got some new leads on some things. I slept. It was a new day.

Did the butterfly have something to do with it? I don’t know. I am just glad I got to see the straggler and that on it’s journey to where it is going, I got to say hello, if only for a moment.

Surprise me….

I am a person who likes surprises. Good surprises.

I like flying by the seat of my pants and not having plans.

When I am working on a project, I like to be surprised by what is going to come to life.

I like simple surprises like a picnic. Calling and telling me to come pick  you up or that you are coming to pick me up and we are going to  a place we have never been before. Just the two of us free wheelin’ down the road. Stopping at some little out of the way diner and just sitting and laughing and eating pie.

Picking me up after work and having a breakfast picnic as the sun comes up before I go home to settle down in my bed.

Just picking up the phone and calling me to tell me that you miss the sound of my voice.

Telling me things you have never told anyone.

Things that don’t cost anything or much. I don’t need a lot of money spent on me. I just want to be surprised. Now that would make me smile.