Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Photographer's Prerogative

Apparently it was this photographer's prerogative to quit blogging for the summer.  
I mean, it wasn't intentional, but that's what happened.  
Playing Photo 52 catch up today for July, which was a total blur.

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Photo 52, Week 27:  Freedom


On an early July day as I sat talking to a friend near a playground, a guy walked up and got very busy with some chalk.  When we were ready to head out, I had to go see what he had done.  Apparently he was in the business of helping provide freedom from hopelessness.

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Photo 52, Week 28:  Wind

The view from baseball practice.  With my phone.
Not all that I had envisioned for wind, but hey.

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Photo 52, Week 29:  Fur, fins and feathers

All through the winter and spring you cannot miss the birds in our yard.
In the summer, through the leaves, they are much harder to see.
In the middle of the flurry that is July, I was happy for the day
I was paying enough attention to notice.

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Photo 52, Week 30:  Dramatic Light

This week started right out with some great dramatic light opportunities.
This old farm has been preserved as a local public park.  Pretty cool!

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I loved this opportunity as well…

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Dramatic light at golden hour.

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Had to try it in Waterlogue!

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Photo 52, Week 31:  Photographer's choice

Lee went with me to scope out good light for my one-year-old session.

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He was such a trooper!

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Thanks, Buddy!

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The other big July event was Bethany in "Annie".  It was so cute!

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And to top off a super-busy month, there was a grandma in the house for the play,
and also the last day of baseball.
Ben had a family fan club (truly a rarity!), and he put on a clinic out at 2nd base!
Couldn't have asked for them to see him on  a better day!!

And thus ended our crazy July.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Creativity Project: Home

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Home.
For my kids it would be so simple to photograph that theme.
A few shots of our well-worn abode,
the only home they've known,
where we've landed long enough to make many a mess this summer,
but not long enough to clean them up.
Yes, definitely home.
But for one, we weren't HOME when it was time to get ready for this theme.
And for two, when you are fifty-something and have lived in many places,
the concept of home gets a bit more complicated.
You learn to make yourself at home,
wherever you might be.

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When I was fresh out of college, I took a "spiritual gifts inventory".
Kind of like Myers-Briggs for Christians.
Answer these questions and we'll tell you just what gifts God gave you to offer the world.
Honestly, I can't tell you what gifts it told me I had
because I was a little taken aback by the scores in NEGATIVE NUMBERS in two areas of giftedness:

mercy
and
hospitality.

(I dare say the authors of that inventory didn't have those gifts either.  Negative numbers???)
Not long after that, I was reading one of my favorite chapters, Romans 12, in a new Bible.
Believe it or not, this copy had a typo. Look up there at the top of page 845:
"Practice hospitality.  Practice hospitality."
OH!!  So you have to practice!!
(Yes, I do, unfortunately, require repetition.)
Of course back then, I thought you had to have a tidy and beautiful home,
gourmet cooking skills,
and be a dazzling conversationalist.
Nope, nope, and nope.

But eventually I learned that hospitality happens when you help others make themselves at home.

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My family recently vacationed in Chicago.
For a variety of unusual reasons, we stayed in the kind of place
 that equates hospitality with luxury.
Which is pretty much the opposite of us,
although it was certainly beautiful.

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As luck would have it, there was a bit of a mixup when we checked in,
and the staff ended up practically tripping all over themselves to make our stay comfortable.
It was a happy ending, but a little awkward--because to us it really just wasn't a big deal.
They seemed genuinely relieved when we were happy to let it go.
But, knowing they wanted us to relax and enjoy may have helped us do just that.

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Because seriously, I cannot even imagine what possessed my husband to put his shoes up on a white bed.

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Bethany made herself at home--she will pretty much move in anywhere.

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And the hotel had milk and cookies in our room for us--
although we had brought our own.

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The biggest draw to where we stayed was that it was right at a train station.
The attendant made us feel at home when I asked her a question,
and she came over to the map to help us work out the transit stop for our day's itinerary.
(Yes, we know there's an app for that. But that's not how we learn best.)

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Then later, when we stopped to get our bearings, 
a kind stranger noticed, and stopped to SHOW us the app for that.
It was really hospitable of her.

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And so we arrived at Navy Pier.

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Which was beautiful, thanks to all the people who paid attention to detail.

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More about Chicago some other day.
We much appreciated her hospitality.

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Next we went to Rockford, Illinois.
We chose a place a little off the beaten path.

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Talk about attention to detail!

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They catered more to "regular" people like us,
but we still felt spoiled, as they welcomed us to take our time.

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We were among several guests lingering
over good morning food and conversation.

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I have learned that hospitality is a two-way street.
While there are the roles of host and guest,
the truly gracious host not only offers hospitality,
but also acknowledges and receives the gifts present in the guest.
There is a richness when host and guest are free to give and receive from one another.

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Then both can truly make themselves at home.

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I've been graciously welcomed to participate in The Creativity Project!
I appreciate how they've made me feel at home.
Even when my computer crashed this month, and I didn't make the deadline.
If you head over to see Becky at Life With Kaishon, you can still see the whole circle.
Their entries are beautiful and heart warming.

I would love to know--what is home to you?