The Gift of Boredom

I think often about the type of life I want to craft for my family. I love the word "craft" in describing what I'm trying to do, because it denotes something handmade. Something with a lot of heart in it. Something made out of love.

In this fast-paced life we live today, it's easy to be caught up in so much. So many good things. There's work, because we need to eat and clothe ourselves. There's education and things we need to learn. There are hobbies and passions to keep kindled. There are fun places to go, friends to enjoy, sports teams to join, book to read, movies to watch. Whew, there's so much to do!

We can become so over-stimulated we become bored. Or we can be so busy that we never have a minute to ourselves, and when we do, we don't know what to do with it. What do we do in those free spaces?

Some months ago I was over at a friend Kelly's house for dessert and coffee. Something she said rang in my ears, long after we left the conversation.

"I want my kids to have the gift of boredom," she said. She went on to say that her kids won't necessarily view it as a gift, but it is.

I love that. And I nodded my head in affirmation. I want that gift for my kids too. And along with that gift comes the gift of time: time to explore, to create, to think. Time to run around outside, free of inhibitions. Time to use their imaginations, to throw rocks into a creek and go exploring in the woods. Time to get dirty, find pine cones, look at leaves.

That's the way I grew up, but it's fast becoming unheard of. A distant way of life long ago. But I want to work to create space for the gift of boredom.

What about you? How do you create space for your child/children to explore nature, engage their imaginations, and play?

Two of Twelve

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2012-02-28_001

I'd been hoping to capture a snow picture this winter, but there's been such a lack of snow! We've barely had a dusting! With February quickly slipping away, I tried to think of a fun way to capture our family this month. The opportunity came last week. Josh, my husband, came back from a business trip from San Francisco, California. We were all tired from the long week and ready to relax as a family. So, we had a family movie night! We picked up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from the library and settled in for a cozy time together.

I had to use what I call my "junky" lens (my kit lens) because it's the only one I have wide enough to capture the full story. I hope to replace it with a new wide-angle this year. My kit lens always produces an image that looks grainy to me now that I have nicer glass, but I like it when I processed it into a black and white image. Reminds me a bit of black and white film.

Multitude Monday

It's been a very long time since I've participated in Multitude Monday. But I've still been counting my gifts! Actually, I'm attempting to "re-count" my gifts. I started counting thankfulness before I ever started participating online with Multitude Monday. I didn't number them in my journal, I've only ever numbered them here. So, I'm sure I'm way past 1,000 at this point. I'm attempting to go back and number them all, and once I'm caught up, to start numbering them in my journal too. Because what I share here is only a selected portion. But here's what I'm thankful for this past week. And I have a lot . . .

565. Clean floors, rugs, slipcovers. 566. Soup and popovers. 567. Audio books. 568. Being more patient with the boys.

569. Josh's safe business trip to San Francisco. 570. That while Josh was gone everything went smoothly. 571. Watching Duncan and Owen push mini grocery carts around the grocery store. 572. Josh being able to come home one day early! 573. A family movie night watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 574. Recchiuti chocolate from San Francisco, so amazing!

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IMG_0272

575. That the book I bought for Lent arrived on Ash Wednesday, when I thought it would be late. 576. An evening with my sister over for dinner. 577. An evening of delicious food and great conversations with friends. 578. Sharing and looking through wedding albums, remembering with thanks how blessed I am to be married to such a fabulous guy!

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IMG_0274

579. A sunny Monday. 580. A trip to the duck pond, playing at the playground, a little walk on the trail. 581. Feeding the ducks. 582. Re-discovering an awesome soccer field that would be great for spring-time play: balls, frisbees, golf.

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IMG_0276

One of Twelve

I was inspired at the end of last year by Jamie to take 12 pictures of our whole family once a month for the year. I thought this was a great idea, considering most pictures don't include me in them! The above image was my first attempt last month.

It was a Sunday afternoon towards the end of January and we decided to take a walk on one of our favorite trails. I planned to take the picture on the trail and brought along my camera and tripod. By the time we found a good spot to take it the kids were starting to get a bit cold and cranky. Later, the reason for this was made more clear when one of the boys woke up from his nap with a fever. So clearly they weren't all feeling that well.

This picture doesn't meet my perfectionist standards, but it does capture one of the things we love to do as a family, going on hikes and walks in nature. And that's why I'm doing this little project, right?

Cars on the Floor

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2012-02-21_001

The light was coming into the kids' bedroom so warmly, as it does in the morning. The boys were playing with their beloved race cars on the rug that has roads printed on it. They used to be obsessed with trains. Now that seems to be waning and it has become race cars. Lightning McQueen, Mater, and gang being their favorites.

Sometimes, I can view their toys as "a mess" and "in the way." Our house is small and they usually are playing in the main living areas: the living room or kitchen. They love to play where I am.

But I wanted to take a moment to view their toys as beloved; to remember this stage they're in. What better way to remember my children than by taking pictures of not just of them, but of the things they love?

Remembering Him {Ungrind}

I cut dogwood limbs from the tree in the front yard. Knobby grey buds are still tight, not yet ready to open. Taking my distressed blue stool that my husband found discarded along the side of the road, I tuck it into a corner of the dining room. Pulling my earthenware pitcher down from the shelf, I place it on the stool. The dogwood limbs go into the jug, along with some water.

The branches are now ready to decorate. We’re getting ready for Easter.

I’d already downloaded Ann Voskamp’s An Easter Devotional: Trail to the Tree from her blog. I’d cut out all the reproductions of great master’s paintings and mounted them on some card stock. Then I’d punched holes and strung ribbon. Ornaments depicting the various scenes of the Passion were ready and waiting to be hung on the dogwood branches.

In the evening we read Scripture that pertains to the Passion and hang the corresponding “ornament” on the tree. My three-year-old boys look forward to examining the pictures and taking turns hanging the cards on the tree.

It’s our first time celebrating Lent.

Continue reading at Ungrind . . . 

Do you participate in Lent? If so, how are you participating in Lent this year?

Valentine's Day Tea

I love Valentine's Day. Growing up, it was a tradition that we would have a Valentine's Day Tea. I've continued that tradition with my own little ones. This morning we made heart-shaped sugar cookies, my favorite treat to make for Valentine's Day. Then, after lunch, I made hot tea and pulled out the cookies and a dish of Valentine-colored M&M's and we had a little party. We also shared our homemade Valentine's Day cards with each other. Afterwards, we read the special Valentine's Day books I'd found at the library about St. Valentine.

What are your Valentine's Day traditions?

New Logo, New Blog

January has been a month full of photography business projects. First up is my new logo. I have to say I love it. I had a vision in mind and was so happy that I was able to execute it. As you see, the colors have remained the same, but everything else changed.

As I approached redesigning my logo this time around, I was in part inspired by Jasmine Star who wrote in Exposed that "a strong portfolio with solid imagery is important. Vitally. But, The defining marker of a website is personality. . . . In other words, Be You. Do whatever it takes to showcase who you are, what makes you tick, and everything that makes you different."

This logo is me. Totally. It's not that the other logo wasn't me. It's just this one is more me. It captures my love of nature, my love of detail in the dragonfly, and an earthy quality that I try to capture in my images. I'm going to be doing a few things differently this year in how I approach my work. Starting with this logo and this new space for my photography.

And a few words about this new blog. First of all, I'm still in the process of customizing it. So be patient as I make changes, add links, and make it fully my own.

Secondly and more importantly, I'm making a big change in how I approach blogging here. I've had two blogs since I started my photography business. A personal blog and a photography client blog. I've thought about merging them into one blog, but this seemed to messy to me. You see I'm also a writer and didn't think that my clients or potential clients wanted to sort through my writing to find photography sessions or share them with others. So I've kept two blogs: one personal, one client-centric.

However, my personal blog is now going to become my writing blog. What's the difference? It will still be personal, but the point will be to share my thoughts, my faith, and my published writing. That doesn't mean that there won't be pictures on that blog, there will, but the focus will be writing. This space is now going to become my photo-centric blog. Meaning it will no longer only showcase my client work, but will also showcase images that are personal in nature, my family, and so on. If my family and I go on a fun trip and I post pictures from it, they're going to end up here, instead of on Dancing by the Light as they would have in the past.

I'm doing this in part to share more of me in this space. It also makes more sense to me as to the purpose of the two spaces. Also, often weeks go by between clients and I think this space is forgotten about. I forget about it sometimes! Okay, not really, but you get the point.

I'm a photographer. But photography is one of many things I do. I'm also a wife, mother, and writer. And this fall I'm going to be adding homeschooling teacher to that list as well! As I continue my photography business, I will be careful to not overload myself. I want to give myself completely to each of my clients, taking on projects that interest me and work with my style. I want to be able to give my complete and full attention to working with each family and/or individual to produce for them a custom and personalized experience. That means a lot of preparation before the session as well as processing the images afterwards, consulting during the ordering process, and so on.

So, I won't take on as many photography sessions as many photographers who do this full time and have all their kids in school, because that's not how my life is organized. But I will, in general, take on as many as two sessions a month and am committed to producing a custom experience and beautiful images and prints. I'm really looking forward to the sessions I'm already in the process of planning, as well as doing some personal projects inspired by friends and literature.

I can't wait to share it all with you this coming year in this new home for my work!