June 25, 2015

Mornings, and Afternoons, and Minutes and Years.

I've been taking more photographs again; everyday ones with my phone camera. It's my go-to connecter to the moment. My reminder to take in all the little things,  my best hope of remembering any of it, and to just keep appreciating the minutes that we are afforded in each day. Again and again, and the wearing of the repeated days. The rhythms are so reliable they blur time as much as they provide stability and stave off chaos. 

Like this day pictured below, where her legs suddenly grew a mile, and her skirt was way too shirt, and her shoes were way too grown up, and she was smiling on the swing like any other time when she was still just a babe.

And holy moly, the girl child just grows up so fast right before me and I ache for it all to slow down, as I find myself twirling the hair that is looping down out of her still-a-kid pigtails. And then the very next day, it's all straight and long and she looks way too many years older than her age. 

But just the other evening, she still crawled all of her sprawling limbs into my lap to decompress and discuss her day. I know that I will not forever be this lucky to have such transparent access to the inner workings of her days and thoughts and feelings, yet I know she already keeps so much in her head and heart that I can never fully know. That mystery of person-hood. As much as we share.

She wakes up a little girl, and by afternoon she seems a teenager. Occasional moments I watch this fluctuation within minutes and hours. This babe. This grown girl. This babe. This girl becoming woman.

This good friend, and deep thinker. This silly girl so bent on being so serious and all grown up. And her smile that sneaks across her face on occasion, such unsuspected and overflowing joy. That look that reminds me she is still a child.

These tiny moments where she'll still play with her doll, but then at the same time she'll be tenaciously practicing her flute, mastering another song, holding her notes longer and taking fewer breaths. 

So fast and relentless is time, but slowed by day with waiting and so many little joys of dreams [even tiny ones like owning your very own copy of Anne of Green Gables] coming true and lessons being learned along the way of grace, and generosity, and service.

Lessons we all get to practice and learn together. Again and again and again in every minute we are afforded, all stacked up neatly into years on top of years.

June 1, 2015

Waiting for it.

Sitting on the edge of the porch. About to attend his shadow day at a new Elementary School. And the car has a flat tire. Add it to the long list of things we are waiting for right now.

It's a quiet and hopeful season, but an exhausting one also. So many little things up in the air. It's a great reminder of how royally blessed we are. To be resting in so many good things, gratefully, yet expectantly hoping for what's ahead. A lesson in how to be still and content in our circumstances, and at the same time clinging to the promises for our future.

It's raining in Cleveland, but the clouds are sure to break as they always do, and give way to the glorious sun. In the interim, we are waiting and looking forward.

May 27, 2015

Because it Doesn't Come Easy.

Sitting a few rows back from the front, we awaited the start of the 5th grade Spring Band Concert. Isabella is already on stage, in the first flute chair, and is quietly beaming with anticipation. Tonight, she will be part of a small flute ensemble selected to play Ode to Joy together.

The irony is not lost on me. This hugely deep thinking girl in this tiny frame is playing Ode to Joy, when she is one who struggles more than anyone I know to have it. She's got amazingly high expectations for herself and others, and she is one hard working little lady committed to be excellent at all she puts her fingers and her mind to. I've heard her practice Ode to Joy some one million times, getting it just right again and again and again and again. 

So when she played the piece with the four others who have only practiced the song as a group a mere handful of times, I was not prepared for the silence that befell upon the audience. They hit every single note together with heart and dedication. And I teared up as I listened, in complete awe of this growing up too fast young lady. She is going big places. She is absolutely determined to settle for nothing less. And I'm so glad I get a front row seat from which to cheer her on.

April 8, 2015

Stepping Out, and Believing in Balance.

We had a bit of a bicycle boot camp over Spring Break. Resolved to leave our training wheels forever in the dust, the Craunlets together navigated the act of finding balance. It was a wild ride to say at the very least. The days were at times competitive, then compassionate at others. There were many ups and downs, but no major injuries sustained. And alas, we now have two confidently biking Craunlets.

Concurrently to helping and encouraging the Craunlets in their efforts, I was working on developing a new print and learning how to fold a bird in origami as part of the new piece. 

Holding the back of their seats to steady their balance on their bikes, and pushing the Craunlets off to experience the increased ease of balance with speed, I remembered a recurring dream that I have been having of flying. It's an oddly comforting dream. I am low on the horizon, and then I catch wind beneath me, and I soar. I feel so alive, and free, and am almost always taking flight over water, seemingly reinforcing the abandoned need of the ground. It's odd, but I never consciously realized that I have had this recurring dream until this last weekend.

It seems learning to ride a bike is a lot like learning how to fly. Taking risks often open us up to vulnerability and injury, but if we keep showing up and stepping out–dusting ourselves off when we fall–we can find our balance and excel. I love how the lessons that I am trying to teach the Craunlets on one level, are so transferable to a lifetime of learning and trusting.

February 18, 2015

The Big Ten.

Well good grief, this girl turns ten today.

This crazy passionate, deep thinker is ten today. Ten years of rocking our world for the better every single day. She's a quietly serious introvert with a lot of walls, yet has the sweetest heart and is the truest friend when you are lucky enough to be let in. she's wise beyond her years, and makes the best observations and witty contributions to our conversations.

Per usual, I begged her for a fun day-before-your-birthday photo session. There's something so important to me about capturing that very precipice, the accumulation of a full year, and the wild anticipation of the next. A sort of annual marker.

We celebrated her birthday quietly with family over the weekend, with a fabulously frozen cake on a very frigid day. The birthday girl requested a Strawberry Angel Food Ice Dream Cake. 

It's an orange-infused angel food cake, torted into three layers. Strawberry ice cream is slathered in between the rings of cake, and fresh whipped cream frosts the outside. All is frozen, then sliced and served with mint-infused macerated fresh strawberries. Beautiful, like Isabella.

Happy birthday, Isabella! I am proud to be your mama.

January 30, 2015

My Hands are Tired from all the Clapping.

These two Craunlets of ours make my heart swell. 

Isabella's first band concert was last night; she's quite the beautiful and budding flautist.

Nathaniel earned the Honor Roll again for 2nd quarter, and proudly accepted his certificate this morning.

I tell ya, it just undoes me as these two little people continue to excel in what they put their time and minds to. It is such a great joy to be in the audience and clapping. So proud of these two, and excited to continue to cheer them on as the grow into the people they were created to be.

January 12, 2015

365 Days.

Last year I resolved to participate in a photo-a-day challenge. Every single day of 2014 I captured a picture. I thought optimistically, that this would be a fairly simple task. I take a lot of photos. 

What did I learn? Some days I don't want to take photographs. And lots of days, the Craunlets would like it if I took a few less photos too. 

I learned that I drink a lot of coffee. Delicious and beautiful cups of coffee at local coffee shops. I'm spoiled.

I saw also through my archived year of photos, that I go on a lot of dates with my husband. Sometimes it feels like we don't, but with our monthly day dates that we started this year, coupled with our fairly frequent evenings out -- the Mr. and I have a pretty regular date life. I like that, and I deeply love that man. And as it turns out, we drink a good amount of coffee together also. And beers.

Many engaging sub-threads developed which could easily become photographic typologies in and of themselves. There was the Nathaniel who reads all the time series, also a weekly teaching/printshop chronicle began to evolve, as well as regular documentation of my studio practice in progression. Those last two are serving as subtle nudges to keep up with my art website and blog this year. Really, I'm committed.

What did I love about this challenge? I began to look for and see light differently. I saw beauty in many small details, textures and colors in my daily life. Sometimes I didn't know exactly what it was that captured my attention for the daily shot -- but it was somehow beautiful, like this street shot I took one random fall afternoon while waiting to pick up the Craunlets from school:

I love that I finished. I am so proud that I stuck to it, even once the luster of the new project wore off, and the year continued. Day by day, I captured a shot again and again and again. And I am also glad that it is finished. It's a bigger than I would have anticipated relief to not be daily concentrating on whether or not I have captured a photograph. 

Now all that is looming, is to finally post-process the high resolution photo files, and then I'd also like to put together a small photobook and get it printed. It's a motivator to design and print a book. Baby steps. 2015 is a moving it forward year.


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