Saying Hello – A Surprise From Paris!

 

Carolyn & Kim In Paris

Carolyn & Kim In Paris

Just imagine you’re finishing up your day…wrapping up a few things and taking a last look through your Google Reader to see if any of your favorites have posted lately to their blog. Last night I doing just that when I noticed that Carolyn from My Sydney Paris Life had a new post. Clicking on it to check her location, she and her partner Clive have been on the road and in the air for the last few weeks and it’s been quite interesting to share their journey so I was curious to see what fun they’d been up to. I was quickly intrigued to see the heading, ” To Elizabeth, from Paris.”  I didn’t automatically assume the Elizabeth was me as there are a lot of Elizabeth’s out there…even Elizabeth Harpers, but it was a message for me though and very sweet. If you go here, you can read about the details.

I’d like to add that one of the very best things I found through blogging is the friends I’ve made along the way. Blogging is like hunting for treasure without leaving your home and “meeting” people like Kim from Sassiland and Carolyn from My Sydney Paris Life enriches my life in many ways. I was really touched that they were thinking of me as they gathered together to meet in person. I hope next time I can be there too.

I Can’t Believe She’s 35!

 

Jennie & Elizabeth 1974

Baby Jennie With Elizabeth 1974

Almost 14 years separate us in age. Born on Easter Sunday, my youngest sister was a surprise in many ways. My dad, having remarried when I was 12, never expected to have more children than the two he’d had in his first marriage to my mother. I know my stepmom was as surprised as anyone when she found herself sitting in her doctor’s waiting room with women much younger and their developing belly bumps. In 1974, women who were 40 or older were more likely to be planning for their first grandchild’s arrival than a baby of their own.

So it was that Jennie, not Jennifer like so many girls born in the 70’s, came into my life. You could say she was a gift from the Easter bunny having arrived on the day when children wake to find surprises left by the fluffy symbol of Easter. Her maternal grandfather called her Bunny right from the start, making it a special nickname that only he would use in conversations with and about her.

I moved into their new baby household when Jennie was about six months old, stretching the limits of what my stepmom had probably planned for her life when she married for the first and only time at 38. Looking back, I am amazed at how well she handled all of unexpected  changes in her transition from single working woman to new wife, before all too quickly being called on to mother an infant and teen.  

Jennie, having been born to older parents grew up almost like an only child. While I was around and involved, I was a teenager after all and pretty well focused on my school and social life. Jennie and I played together, but I don’t remember having had too much required of me…as in no forced baby sitting or sulking about it as I can recall. I remember building her a little puppet theatre and covering it with a hideous pink fabric left over remnants of the 60’s… found somewhere I can’t remember. I made puppets and stories to go with it forcing her to endure and participate in my first playwriting experiences. (Sorry… no pictures seem to exist of the theatre to share.)

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Jennie was my model when I tried my hand at 17 with my first forays into posed portrait work. She was such a good sport especially since she was barely four at the time this poor quality image was taken.  

 

Jennie At Four

Jennie At Four

Joining the Army at 18, I was a visitor mostly after that, a sister who sent letters or gifts from other countries with occasional visits home while on leave. During the 5 years that I was away from Georgia, Jennie changed quite a lot during that time growing out of her little girl self of four into a more outspoken performer of nine. By the time she reached high school she was performing in musicals, sometimes winning the leading role. She began college as a performance major, but changed directions along the way, moving towards a degree and profession aimed at helping others.

 

Miranda Wearing Jennie's College Cap On Graduation Day

Miranda Wearing Jennie's College Cap On Graduation Day

After a few difficult years of helping children through Family and Children’s Services, she returned to school for a master’s degree in community counseling and added a certification to it that would enable her to provide counseling and support to children in a school setting. It’s there she seems to have found her home working with children who frequently need a listening ear and directional support. She spends her days in a rural setting where some of the children come from difficult home situations. Jennie’s quick to recognize a need where someone else might overlook it and at times has gone so far as to buy shoes for a child who didn’t have any they could wear. She does good work there making sure all of the children have equal opportunities for success along with a bit of nurturing and acceptance they may not receive at home.

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Jennie with Mitzi - At Home In North Georgia

It’s hard to believe that she’s 35 today … Happy Birthday Jennie!

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.

Shades Of Grey And In Between

 

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Many things are not as black and white for me as they appear to be for others. Faith, acceptance and unquestioning belief come so easily to some providing a foundation that guides them in all ways. My own thoughts, especially at this time of year when Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, drift back and forth through non-committal shades of grey. I feel as if I am Thomas reborn at times…I know I’m not alone though and this song captures much of what I feel on this day and most days.

The song’s worth hearing…take a listen, when you have a moment.

Doubting Thomas

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.