Saying Goodbye

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Quote of the Day:  “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  ~ Seneca

Today the small child will say goodbye to her beloved pony, Hailey.  There is so much I want to say about the journey of this child and pony, however, I am too teary eyed to type.  So, what I will say is “thank you, Hailey Duck” for making such a remarkable impact on my child.  For teaching her courage and determination and for allowing her to achieve such great successes by working so beautifully together with her.  You showed her you CAN reach for the stars and, in doing so, get a little slice of heaven.  A piece of my heart breaks today.  You will, forever, be missed.

Sand Castle Virtues

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Quote of the Day:  “And the sand castle virtues are all swept away in the tidal destruction ~ the moral melee.” ~ Ian Anderson

I wasn’t so sure where I was going to take the Journey this week.  I was busy with shooting, editing, child and traveling.  In the normal course of a week, I generally have my ideas formed by Tuesday and crank something out by Wednesday morning.  As it happened, Wednesday came and I had nothing.  So, I walked on the beach for inspiration and took this shot.   I was mesmerized by the sand castle.  I had posted a shorter version of this quote earlier in the week on my personal page ~ “and the sand castle virtues were all swept away”.   Coincidence?  I think not.  Perhaps just a simple reminder that everything is as it should be.  What’s great about song lyrics is they are wildly open for interpretation.  So…my blog, my interpretation :).  I am fortunate to say that my sand castle virtues have not be swept away.  Time has only made them stronger.

As I photographed the sand castle, I had an “aha!” moment.  I angled my camera to capture the castle with the ocean as its background. However,  I was inundated with tourist standing on the other side to snap a shot.  I was fortunate enough to catch this lovely moment with the young boy running towards me.  However, the tourist kept coming; paying me no regard.  I was irritated and becoming very disenchanted  with the moment.  Defeated, I surrendered and walked to the other side of the castle to try to get a clean shot.  This is what I captured.  I still favor my ocean shot, but, am glad for my irritation with the tourists.  I’m sure they were having similar feelings about me as I blocked the view of The Del.

Gravity of Time

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Quote of the Day:  “Time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older, too.” ~ Stevie Nicks

I’m feeling nostalgic today as I turn a year older and the small child graduates from Third Grade.  They say that your past comes back to you as your child journeys forward. Perhaps it is because we feel so intrinsically close to our children, that we not only want to share our joys with them; but, also share our pain and hardships in order to protect and guide them.

As much as I try not to do it;  it is very hard not to compare our lives; the similarities and the differences.  It was 1972 when I graduated from Third Grade.  My parents split that year and we shuttled between Germany, Cleveland and Ohio.  I was a straight “A” student (tickets to the Big Red Machine to prove it:), the best speller in the Mrs. McConnaughey and Ward’s class and the most terrified child on the planet.   It wasn’t easy trying to figure things out when you are eight going on nine years old.

As I look at my beautiful child and reflect on her Third Grade year I feel a sense of relief and gratitude.   Relief that history did not repeat itself.  Gratitude that I was able, for my family’s sake, to remain an optimist about love and life.  And a certain feeling of honor and ownership that I am able to share with her knowledge about worlds that are not so perfect.

I always accused my Mama as looking at life through rose colored glasses.  Thank you, Mama, for leaving those glasses on the nightstand for me. I promise I will leave them behind for the small child; however, I think she was born wearing a pair of her own 🙂

On June 8, 1963, Herta Renges Craft gave birth to the last of  her six children.  Thank you, Mama, for the gift of life, the gift of contentment and 48 happy birthdays!!  xoxo!!

Peace in Silence

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Quote of the Day:  “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” ~ Max Ehrmann

When I was eight years old, my oldest sister would play her 45 LP records on our little portable record player.  I realize “45 LP” and “record player” mean nothing to anyone born after 1980; however, 45 LP’s were to my generation what iPods and iTunes are to this generation of teeny boppers.

There was one record I adored.  It was mostly a man reciting words to a poem; but, then angelic voices would sing the chorus.  I loved to sing the chorus over and over.  It went like this, “You are a child of the universe; no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.  And whether or not, it is clear to you; no doubt the universe is unfolding as a should.”

As an eight year old, I had no idea that this was not just a popular song recorded by Les Crane in the 70’s.  It was a poem written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann.  It is a poem that has come back to me a various stages of my life and always holds great meaning.  I have carried the same copy of this poem with me from Ohio, to Washington, D.C and, here, to California.  Last year, when my daughter was eight, she found the copy of the poem in my desk.  I read it to her.  She liked it very much, so, I shared how I would listen to this song over and over when I was her age.  She googled it and found the song on YouTube.  She loved it and asked if I would put it on her iPod.   I can sometimes hear her singing, “you are a child of the universe.”   Children follow by example, so, teach your children well.  Oh, that’s a song for another day :).  Here is the poem.

DESIDERATA

— by Max Ehrmann–

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Weeds

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Quote of the Day:  I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?
Willie Nelson

Don’t get too excited.  Just because I live in the Santa Cruz mountains in Northern California, love the show by the same name and find Willie’s quote quite entertaining, todays blog is not about the wacky weed.  I would have to do much more research to intelligently write about that herb.  Today, I simply write about weeds, in general, and the impact they have had over the course of this journey with my photography.

Years ago I decided I wanted to expand my photo library to include the intricate details of flowers and plants.  I pulled out my soon to be favorite lens, my Nikkor 18-55mm and went  for a walk in the forest.  All my flower shots were blurry and uninteresting, however, my weed shots were crisp and lovely.  I began to notice a trend.  Lucky me, I had found my niche in the photography world.  My focus has changed over the years, but, I will always have a fondness for weeds.

Barbie

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Quote of the Day:  “The woman wins who calls herself beautiful and challenges the world to change to truly see her.” ~Naomi Wolf

I’m tired.  I’ve been editing all day.  I can’t even figure out how to turn off the italics on this blog.  With that said, I’ve decided to keep it light.

Hold on to your hats all you politically correct mommy and daddys; I gave my daughter her first Barbie when she was 2.  Yes, according to many of you, I have set her on the path of complete destruction of self esteem and body image.   And, I wasted no time in doing so.

Call me selfish.  I loved Barbie when I was a kid.  I played with my Barbies until I was, embarrassingly, too old to be playing with Barbies.  I don’t think Barbie messed with my self image.  I had and continue to have great self esteem and body image; and, I looked more like Skipper on a good day.  The only thing Barbie did to my psyche was plant the seed of my dream of moving to California.

Barbie has many roles in our home.  Initially, she served as a chew toy for my teething 2 year old.  As the child grew, I couldn’t wait for the dialogs and role playing we would do with the Barbie stash we collected from my childhood home.  She, recently, received the gift of a Ken doll which thrilled me because the communicating and relating could now include boys; the species which she finds utterly disgusting.  However, my daughter wanted nothing to do with communicating and relating with her dolls.  The Barbies are, of course, all horse riders.  There is no dialog exchanged, no dating and picking outfits for the day at the beach.  There is only walk, trot and cantering.  The Barbie townhouse serves as the hotel in which they stay for the horse show.  There is no pink Barbie convertible, only the Breyer Trailer and Pickup which will take the Rider Barbies to the horse shows.  As for Ken, he is the designated Groom.  In his ascot and bellbottoms he mucks the stalls.  Always with a silly grin on his face.

With the addition of our newest baby, the pup, Barbie has come full circle.  She is once again a chew toy.  To the chagrin of the child, anything left on the floor is fair game.  CEO (of a Software Technology Company) Barbie is now missing her nose, arm, leg and some patches of hair.  Oh well, Babs, age gets the best of us all!

I took these shots as I am gearing up for a shoot I will be doing in a few weeks and needed to play with some settings on a new lens.  Chew toy Barbie was handy.

When I uploaded the photos, my mind immediately jumped back to when I was 8 years old.  Oh, the joy and endless hours of imaginative play I got out of these dolls.  It takes more than a plastic toy to destroy self esteem… don’t you think?!

Poise and Grace

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Quote of the Day:  “By “guts” I mean, grace under pressure.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

She arrived at Thermal with no expectations other than to do her very best.  She had dreamed of this moment for over a year.  She practiced and she prepared.  Moments before she headed out for her first jumping round, she looked at me and smiled.  It was a smile that spoke a thousand words.

I watched nervously.  I was not nervous about the ride, because I knew she would put everything she had into it, and my trust of the pony never waivers.  Nervous isn’t even the correct word to describe my emotions. The emotions were full of pride, respect and a knowing that it was time to let go.  She did not need to hold my hand for this one.

When it was over, her face said it all.  I think she felt a little like Rocky after he ran the steps in Philadelphia.  The definition of poise is balance; stability; ease and dignity of manner; self-assurance; composure; the condition of being calm or serene.  Today was share day at school and she wanted to share about her experience at Thermal.  I asked her if she wanted to take her ribbons to show her classmates and she said, “no, Momma, I just want to tell my friends about how it felt to ride my pony in the desert”.  It wasn’t about the awards, it was about the experience.  The poise of this small child never ceases to amaze me.

The definition of poise, the transitive verb, is to be balanced or held in suspension; hover.  This is what we get to look forward to in the years to come.  The poise and grace which this lovely 16 year old exemplifies goes beyond measure.

Haley, thank you for being such a beautiful example of poise and grace!  Good luck this week at Thermal!!  I promise many photos next weekend.