Bringing It To The Masses – No More Twitter Bashing

Photo by Stephanie Roberts www.littlepurplecowphotography.com

If you have been reading me for very long you may know that I have been following the progress of reuniting a mother with her daughters. Jen Lemen has been at the center of it all working tirelessly to reunite Odette and her girls. News was tight as Jen Lemen struggled through all manner of delays with visas and immigration issues only to be held up by the ash cloud that affected so much of the air travel around the world last week.

There are many who supported Jen along the way in her efforts to bring Odette’s daughters out of Rwanda and back into the arms of their mother. I have rarely been good with delayed gratification and when information about their progress had all but dried up through blog updates and Facebook, I went to Twitter to find some answers. I’ve never been a fan of Twitter believing that there was no information I needed that I could not wait for if necessary. Minute by minute updates seemed on the face of it a waste of time, both for the reader and the tweeter so I while I had an account, I really did not use it … until last night when I became anxious and impatient for information on the final stage of their journey.

Yesterday, I watched as Stephanie Roberts, Dave Lemen, and Jen Lee tweeted the arrival and reunion of Jen and Odette’s daughters. I can’t remember how I first “met” Jen Lemen, it could have been through Shutter Sisters or perhaps Meg Casey who shared a house for a while with Odette and was there to share the joy yesterday with Odette and her girls at the airport.

Twitter made it possible for me to be a part of it all too as it was happening and I found myself holding my breath in anticipation as the updates came in. Seeing the tweets as the van left for the airport and Stephanie’s pictures along the way, I felt as if I had an inside seat as the joyful group made its way from one state and into another for the long anticipated arrival of Odette’s girls.

Once at the airport, Stephanie kept shooting out images and word updates and when the girls I arrived, I cried a few happy tears of my own after reading Stephanie’s tweet, ” They are together ” along with the image of hers that you see above. Jen Lee has a beautiful post this morning that can give more details about Odette’s story and how she and Jen Lemen first met.

I so love happy endings especially when it marks the beginning of something even more wonderful and new. I encourage you to click on the links and read more about their amazing journey … it’s guaranteed to make you smile.

Obsessions In Photography

Chris Sneddon is talking about her recent obsession over at Shutter Sisters today and she’s asking readers to share any obsessions they may have when it comes to photography. Her question made me think about why I photograph what I do. My photography tends to be closely linked to what I write about here on my blog. This would include images that provide a documentary look at topics such as the pasty competition posts from the last few days to photographs that are inspiration for personal essays and others that illustrate the mini short stories I’ve written for TMAST.

I take photographs to tell a story and there’s always a story. Whether it’s real or imagined, mine or yours, every picture has a story waiting to be told. My obsession is in the finding, first the photograph and then the words. I have included a few of the 32,000 photographs I’ve taken in the last two years.  32,000  photographs in two years … does that seem like an obsession to you?

I would love to hear what you like to photograph and if there’s any subject matter you think you get a bit obsessive with when you have a camera in hand.

From A Distance

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Machu Picchu - Morning Light

My tendency in photography as well as life has been to get in close to what is in front of me. I am generally more interested in what is under the surface than the obvious. I like the intimacy of sharing and hearing a snippet of a story will almost always make me want to hear more. With my photography, I have been drawn for years to the details as well, believing I think that on some level getting in close was requirement for communicating the emotion of the image.

Living in a space now with so much wide open sky and so few people has had an effect on my perspective, although on reflection I can see it’s been happening for quite some time. As far back as my first visit to Scotland in 2003, I began to pull back taking in a larger view than before. By the time I saw the sun rise over me in Machu Picchu in 2005, my attraction and need for big sky and wide open spaces was becoming obvious in my photography and my life. While my first tendency is to zoom in tight to see what the people in the photograph are doing, sitting with this image reminds me how small I felt that morning and how peaceful it was to observe from a distance.  

Thanks to Stephanie Roberts over at Shutter Sisters for her inspiration this morning.

A Tender Hello

 

Father & Son Reunion

Father & Son Reunion

In airports, you often see the best and worst of people. Tired, cranky, and sometimes scared, they can be a field of emotional land mines to navigate through as you edge your way past bag drops and security check points. Frequently, it’s the people traveling for business who are at their worst. Believing themselves to be masters of their own universe, they can make life uncomfortable for everyone within hearing range when life changes the plan ever so slightly. I’ve traveled for business in the past and I understand the stress of getting to a distant location where people wait for your presentation. I know what it feels like to sink into believing that a missed flight is a missed opportunity that will be difficult to recover from. Rarely is that the case though. If what you offer is what’s needed, people will still want to hear you no matter when you arrive. 

In the last year, my travel life, business life, and love life have all gone through dramatic changes. Airports look different to me now. Instead of moving at breakneck speed towards departure gates or rental car pickups, I travel for love. Flying these days is about reuniting with family and friends or exploring places I’ve never been before. Since moving to Cornwall to marry my darling Englishman, my life has slowed down to a pace where I can breathe again. More importantly, I can see again. Instead of rushing about with my focus always on the future or getting things done, I have time to see what is in front of me. It is a gift of astronomical proportions and one I don’t take for granted.

It is with these fresh eyes that I captured the image you see above, a father and son reunion at the Atlanta airport taken last March while waiting for John to arrive. Although I was still working ferociously long days through a fog of must do items and endless lists, I was beginning to be able to see more clearly what was happening in the rest of the world. With love filling my own heart, I could pause to recognize it in those around me, even those who were strangers. Like the tender hello of the father to his son, I began to welcome the heart of me, perhaps the best part of me, back home where it belonged.

 

Today’s post was inspired by Karen Walrond’s post over at Shutter Sisters…take a look if you’ve never been before…it’s a good place to look for things you thought you’d lost.

Resurrection Sunday – Ghosts

Resurrection: Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin resurrēctiō, resurrēctiōn-, from Latin resurrēctus, past participle of resurgere, to rise again. 

or this

The act of bringing back to practice, notice, or use; revival

I’ve been thinking a bit about my first blog site where I left a few things behind that were important to me. Intimate and personal, they just sit there now waiting for someone to stumble across them. After reading today’s post by Sarah-ji over at Shutter Sisters I thought a good bit about one sentence she wrote and what it meant to me…it’s a request really and one that inspired me to look back through my memories and resurrect some for another look.

Here Sarah-ji asks, ” Will you share with us today your images of the weathered, beat-up and forgotten that nevertheless convey to you a hope and beauty that’s raw and real? ” I appreciate the inspiration provided by her question today and the gifts for me in remembering what remains raw and real. What about you out there…how about a Resurrection Sunday of your own. Perhaps you can provide a link today to what is “raw and real”, ” hope and beauty ” as Sarah-ji asks or something else. I’m interested in what you have to share today…..

Ghosts

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“Let it go” she said. Standing in the remains of the church on the edge of the rocky coast, I could almost hear her voice whispering to me, “forgive yourself and let it go.”

Looking around the dirty room thick with years of dust, I wondered about the last time someone had sat on the rough pew waiting for the minister to get to the point. Simple in their design, and looking as uncomfortable as the wind felt blowing in through the broken glass, I pulled my coat tighter and considered the history of the tiny church. The room was poorly lit, the shadows in the corners near the old pulpit were scary in the dark space that John seemed to disappear into and out of sight. Nervous and not sure why, I stepped closer to the low light drifting in through the only window not boarded up.

Before when we were still outside, John had pulled on a door that was wedged shut to keep people out while had I hung back thinking about how what we were doing was less adventure and more intrusion. This ruin of a church, isolated and abandoned on the Isle of Skye should have drawn me in rather than triggering my fight or flight response, but as he slipped in past the half open door, I found myself tight behind him not wanting to be left alone, even outside.

Once inside I came part way down the aisle and considered my feet were walking where hopeful brides had walked, one hand lightly resting on their father’s arm anxious to take the final steps that would take them from their parents home into one of their own making. A home and life they would struggle to build with the man smiling and nervous waiting at the front of the church.

Flashing quickly forward I imagined the hardships of life here years ago when this church might have been alive with activity and the energy of the fishing community.

Would the women who married and later baptized their children here also have gathered to mourn and bury their hope along with the men they loved in this little church. What dreams had been lost to the things they could not control. What words had they left unsaid and what things once done could never be forgotten.

I knew then why I didn’t want to go into this church. This building had once been light and bright with possibilities and warmth. It had been a gathering place for worship and reflection, for celebration and for sorrow. Standing in the darkness, all I could feel was a sense of loss and the echo of those who had called this place a sanctuary.

“Let it go” she said, “move on with your life and live well while you can.”

Acts of contrition, reconciliation, absolution, sometimes all you can do has to to be enough….let it go.

 

(Posted originally on August 6, 2008 at http://giftsofthejourney.com)

A Hopeful Heart

Hope pulls the heart of tomorrow into the body of today

-Sri Chinmoy

Keeping Hope Close To Your Heart

Keeping Hope Close To Your Heart

Life isn’t always pretty. For most us, the delicate balance between wishing and believing is stitched together with the common thread of hope. It binds us as a community and a civilization. For some, hope may be all they have. My ivy heart above has fallen away from it’s vine. It lies on the earth, muddied and stepped on, but still with a message for those who would look. The heart can take a serious battering and come back again like the green growth of spring after a winter of bitter cold or a hot summer with no rain. Hope lives in the heart, sometimes a flicker, sometimes a flame, but it’s there, tucked in tight…waiting.

A few weeks ago, I read a little message on Shutter Sisters, one of my favorite places to visit. It was a story about two women trying to win a chance to show those who may have forgotten just what hope looks like. They need a little help from the rest of us…it doesn’t cost anything, but a moment of your time. Please go now and vote here for hope. Today is the very last day you can vote for these two and this project. I know what hope looks like for me, but I’d like to see hope through their eyes and in the eyes of those they’ll reach if Picture Hope is chosen.

 

 

Go now please…if you wait, it may be too late.