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Catching up with Reverb10!

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Came across Reverb10 the other day and love the idea of reflecting on last year and manifesting the coming one! I have been silent on this blog the last little while because my brain has been so filled with plans for the future I can’t seem to quiet it long enough to write. That and the usual business of a crazy work day at the hospital and family time! I also have a new little project , a tumblog, for capturing the fleeting special moments!

So I’m 11 days behind with this Reverb10 thing and need to do a little catching up! I’m going to try to make it short and sweet!

Day 1 One Word – one for 2010 and one for 2011

For 2010 the word is Closure. Four years and two miscarriages later, we’re done and we’re happy. Another child would have been wonderful but now I am able to see how having one child gives me the joy of being a mother and yet frees me to make a difference in the lives of many! And for 2011, Dream is the word! I am going to Dream big! I have been somewhat of an observer the last five years in my professional world: the healthcare system. And there are so many things that just make no sense! So I am dreaming big about how I can make a difference! That means having big dreams about what my dream job is. I’ve already begun to dream and 2011 will be the year to make it happen!

Day 2 Writing – What gets in the way?

Everything! I am a total procrastinator! I love the idea of writing and I often think of things to write about but when writing doesn’t come easy, which I know is true for most people, it’s so easy to find every reason you don’t have time. Especially when most days the only way I would ever have time would be to either sit down at 9pm after a very busy day or get up at 5am before the day starts. And I like my sleep so that’s no small task!

Day 3 Moment

It was earlier this year when my work day started with a call to the pediatric intensive care unit. There had a been a horrible accident and six year old girl who was to have her first day at school the next day was dying. I spent the day with her wonderful family, trying my best to help in some small way as the day unfolded upon them. It may seem strange that this day made me feel alive but when you confront death and how powerless we truly are over it, I felt a hightened awareness of my life and what is truly important.I felt such a strong desire to not waste one single second with mindlessness and complaining!

Day 4 Wonder

This year I have tried to really live the photographic life. To me that means to take every moment and think about what visually appeals about it, to find WONDER in the cracks in the sidewalk as I walk to work or the young family I drive by walking their kids to school each morning. I can’t always take a picture but I see it in my mind.

And for all you on Day 12! Wait for me! I’m coming!



Written by realmom

December 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

Posted in working mom

time to start again.

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I took some time away from blogging to make  space in my life and mind so I could  jump into the photographic life with both feet. And it’s been wonderful. So much has happened in the last few months to completely confirm that this is the path for my creativity. Summary: possible project at RISD, saw Mary Ellen Mark not once but twice, CE class at RISD, and lots of reading and looking at images online! As I’ve said before, I can’t (don’t really want to) quit my day job but I’m thinking about photography kind of like breathing. You do it be cause you have to, because it feels good. Taking pictures that is the constant behind all the other roles you fill. It is not another role or project but something that sustains you!

My first venture into photography was back when digital was very new. I took a community ed class and everyone was still using film. I have to admit it was very difficult  and expensive to learn!  Not long after my Dad gave me a very nice digital for the time and I just couldn’t put it down.  I was amazed at how much I was able to learn about exposure with the instant feedback. That led to a DSLR shortly after my daughter was born but I was still thinking of myself as someone taking snapshots of their family. Pretty much my daughter was my life and breath not leaving much room to think about anything else! The pictures I took then were for me and for my M’s future. The memories of our time together. I hope I never lose sight of those moments in search of “bigger” moments. When I’m at the end of my life, I know that where ever this photographic life has taken me it will be the memories I captured for my family that will mean the most.

So much more to say about this journey but M has just arrived for breakfast so need to wrap up!

So here’s the latest snippit. I’m taking a class and this week we have to do portraits of someone we know and someone we don’t know very well. And no children which rules out the usual subjects! I really like the challenge of taking pictures with a purpose but I don’t like the time frame. A week is not nearly long enough to do the kind of work I would want anyone to see. Mostly because I really only get one brief shot at it. This will be our fourth assignment and although I’m enjoying it the information is coming much too slowly. I have to remember to pace myself and not lose sight of what is most important in the process! I’ll try to post some of my work from the other classes on flickr this weekend. Feel free to give me a little feedback!

Written by realmom

October 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Posted in working mom

Finding my way

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Over the last month or so I have obviously done little blogging but I have done lots of thinking and reflecting on what it is that I am truly passionate about and whether I am putting my time and effort in the right place. Here is what I have concluded so far.

  • I have a job that not only pays the bills but 80% of the time is very rewarding.  Anything that takes me away from my daughter had better be extremely important.  I found that trying to build a blog was feeling like a second job with fleeting rewards.  The intensity of trying to post every day and comment on other blogs regularly left me distracted and not very available to my family even when I was home.
  • I don’t want to blog with the  agenda of building a business that will make money. Even if I committed every free moment, sure, I might make enough in a year to buy a new camera but at what cost. I have a job with a decent salary so if a camera is so important then just go buy it!
  • I want to connect with real people both online and in person who are interested in a friendship. I don’t want to comment on other sites in hopes they will comment on mine or their readers will comment on mine for the main purpose of building my traffic. I want to connect with  people who I can share with and learn from.
  • I want to be a photographer, no, I am a photographer. There I’ve said it. And I want to be a documentary photographer. There I’ve said that too. If I do anything with my free time, I want to be  capturing real  life in images. Through the last six months of blogging and reading others blogs, many about photography and creativity, I’ve realized what I love about photography is capturing honest moments, the ones that tell a story or ask a question. I’ve found an intersection between my creative life and my work life. Technically I am a clinical social worker but in essence I am a listener. My heart is filled with 20 years of the most amazing stories of resiliency, pain, reconciliation, grief, and love.  These are the stories of real life and I want to capture them in photographs and share them with the world.
  • I don’t need to quit my day job to be a photographer. In fact I really don’t want to run a photography business. I want to take pictures that will tell a story and maybe make a difference.  It will take some time away from my daughter, but I hope she will learn, by my example, to follow her dreams and live life passionately.

And here is the plan:

  • I have a dream and I need a dream team so I am going to seek out real live people in my community who I can share my ideas with, who will encourage me and guide me to realizing my dream and not giving up when I’m feeling like I’m not good enough.
  • I  am going to start blogging again but this time I’m going to blog about my creative journey with little mind to how many people are reading. I hope there are like minded people out there pursuing their own dream that will say hello and share their journey. I hope those reading will encourage me and remind me that I am good enough. I realized how much I need encouragement this past week when I shared with someone what I’m really passionate about and she said, without hesitation, “I think you would be really good at that!”  I couldn’t hold back the tears!
  • I’m going to get a new camera(as soon as I sell my old one!)
  • This blog is going to be about my journey to change the world in some small way through pictures  and not  about building a popular blog. Some of it will stay the same and some of it will change.
  • I am going to stop being afraid of getting out there and documenting the stories of the people living in my community: the struggling family, the elderly, the illegal immigrants, the everyday people, the unemployed, the uninsured.  They all have a story we can learn from.
  • My family will always come first. My husband and daughter are my first dream come true. Time with my daughter will stay my number one priority.  I will not spend my time with her distracted. I will carve out time to pursue this dream and move slowly forward. Some day she will be off pursuing her own dreams and then I can pick up the pace. Hopefully I’ve got another 40 years. I think that’s enough time!

And if you have a small dream whispering in your ear here are some of the people who have helped me realize mine and who I plan to continue to follow until my dream is a reality.

These are folks who will feed your creative soul! I’d give them each a big hug if I could!(look out, Tara, I know where you live!) And a big thanks(I’ve already hugged them a few times) to my husband, my mother, my father, Claudia, Heather, Heidi, and Marianne! Thanks for listening, encouraging and most of all helping so I can have the time to pursue my passions!

Written by realmom

July 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm

What is my story?

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I decided to take a little break from blogging to read a book, well, two books. Unfortunately, I don’t have time really to blog and read! I have piles of books laying around waiting to be read, calling me every time I walk by them! The first book I started is Seth Godin‘s new book Linchpin.  I actually picked it up thinking that it might get me excited about finding a new professional path and surprisingly, it seems to be doing just the opposite! I am taking another look at my present job (primarily because financially I am no where near in a position to leave) and trying to figure out if there is a way to create some new excitement and focus to the work I do there.

The other book is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I have heard that he writes about faith and I am feeling the need for a little centering which for me comes through my faith. I am a few chapters in and so far he is talking about story not faith but I am really enjoying  it. What I’m taking from it  is the idea that discontent with life comes from lack of  a good story.  For example, here I have a full time job and a family but I find myself frequently thinking about photography and blogging. Why? Because my job has lost it’s story, I know how to do it pretty well and I don’t feel inspired or challenged. I love my family and they are my greatest source of joy but maintaining the status quo at home is not enough of a story for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am unhappy with my life but I do feel like I spread myself too thin in search of something and I’m trying to figure out what that something is! Maybe I need a new story, same characters, just a new plot line.

Well, need to get back to reading as my one free hour of the day is almost up!

Written by realmom

May 28, 2010 at 7:13 am

Posted in working mom

Let yourself be silently drawn…

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Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

~ Rumi ~

Posted via web from Real Mom. Real Life.

Written by realmom

May 14, 2010 at 10:19 am

My adorable fire breathing dragon!

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Yes, that’s right! As I write this my beautiful daughter pictured here at a friend’s birthday, is in the next room transformed into a fire breathing dragon by fatigue, the terrible 3s, and plain old stubbornness! She has been yelling through her tears for about a half an hour that she doesn’t want to go to sleep and she wants to get out of bed. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am that she doesn’t realize she could get up and run around the house now if she wanted to!

How did we get to this place, this bedtime stand off? Well, it might have something to do with going  away for a long weekend, where for four nights not only did Mommy sleep in the same bed with her but she didn’t go to bed until almost 10pm (her usual is 7:30pm)! So I am laying here in the next room taking full responsibility and in about five minutes I am going to quietly go in, pick her up, get her to stop breathing fire(hyperventilating) and start again!

UPDATE:  The fire breathing stopped shortly after I picked her up. I put her in her bed, tucked her in and the conversation went something like this:

realmom: (In a whisper) There’s no reason to stay up because there is nothing to do. The neighbor kids are all in bed and it’s dark outside. It’s time to go to sleep. It’s boring at night time.

realgirl: Then why are you up?

realmom:(thinking quickly) I’m just waiting for you to go to sleep and then I am off to bed!(partially true)

realgirl: Can I have something to drink?

By the time I return with a glass of milk she is asleep and it’s only 9pm!

Written by realmom

April 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Time to dream again!

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I want to say it’s time to get back to business but really it’s time for so much more:  it’s time to dream again! This blog represents the me I dream of being: a writer; a photographer; a creative person with the courage to think and act outside the box and make a difference in the world.  It’s also a place where I reflect on the ways I am already living my dream; being a mom. And my vision is that out of this place will come the answers to how I can bring all my dreams together and make a life where I can work passionately in a way that supports being fully present to my family. So even though posting regularly takes a huge amount of commitment and just about all the time I have to myself, I have to get back to it!

I got derailed by the uncertainty of life. My friends death not only brought the unexpected loss of her friendship but it punched me in the gut with all in this life that we can’t control. Why dream when death can come along unexpectedly and paint your world black? I actually had several nightmares in the last few weeks where the worst happened to my daughter (I don’t want to write it out loud) while I stood by watching unable to prevent it. For a time my dreams just felt impossible but slowly that seems to be changing.

Recent events seem to be shaking me by the shoulders and saying “Snap out of it! Shake off the fear and dust off your dreams!” I’m trying to listen to that voice telling me life is to short not to live it to the fullest! And this blog is a big part of doing just that!

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” ~Karen Ravn

Written by realmom

April 26, 2010 at 9:19 am