Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year, A New Beginning

Hello old friends! It has been too long. The blog is back and made visible, although many of the pictures are not viewable due to Flickr's infamous update which has rendered those old links invalid. I may update here from time to time, but my energy going forward will be in a new space and I'd love it if you would visit me there.

Its very new and needs a lot of fixing up, but here's the link:

The Creative Contemplative

I'm easing into this and I'm not certain how frequently I'll be posting, so be sure to like the facebook page and subscribe to the blog, so you will get updates.

Happy New Year to all! It is great to be back. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Flower Art Finale - To Everything There is a Season

The journey continues

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Victor Frankl

Sometimes I think I chose the wrong word for this year.

My word was calling, and while being mindful of that word has opened my eyes to many new and promising possibilities, the overarching theme of the year can be summed up in one word.  Change.

When I began blogging a little over a year ago, my primary motivation was to connect with others through photography.  I was going through some "stuff" and in finding an unexpected refuge in photography I also discovered solace in communing with others who were doing the same. In particular I was drawn to the Shutter Sisters community message and mission.

This intention to connect was fulfilled quickly as blogging introduced me to an even wider web of photographers/bloggers who seemed to run in the same circles.  Most of them were women but I also met some fine gentlemen as well.  Through various memes, linkups, and challenges the circle grew larger and larger.

The journey into community came full circle when I finally met Tracey Clark, founder of the Shutter Sisters and the rest of the sisters at Oasis just a couple of weeks ago. 

The leaves had already begun to change and fall when I traveled to what was a  literal Oasis of Summer right in the middle of Autumn.   When I returned to my everyday "real" life here in Tennessee, the landscape of my world was also in the process of changing in many ways beyond the bare branches and leaf strewn paths. 

I was facing an office move shortly after my return from Oasis, and as the Director of Operations for my company, this move involved more of my attention than just packing up my desk.  I wanted to share more about my experience, but I was thrust into a whirlwind of long exhausting days with little energy to reflect much less write about it.

On the same day that we were set to move our offices, I got a cheerful call from my baby boy saying "Mamma, I'm officially out of the Marines."  I knew the call was coming, and I even knew the official date, but it was still a significant moment I will never forget.  Just this time last year, he was fighting in Afghanistan and I was reflecting here about the moment he said, "Mamma, I'm a Marine."

Of course, he'll always be a Marine as will his older brother. Once a Marine always a Marine. But for the first time in six years I will not have a child serving active duty. That's quite a shift.

And the fact that these two "changes" happened in the same day was more significant to me than one might think.

When I started the job I have today, I was still a single mom with two teenage boys at home.  The old office was the place where I went every day as I dealt with my first born child leaving the nest, and  then the next - both to the Marines.  It was where I occupied myself through two thirteen week boot camp experiences, and held it together through one Iraq and two Afghanistan deployments.

I saw all this change coming and yet it blindsided me as well. Even my daily commute has shifted significantly and all of a sudden it seems like I woke up in someone else's life.  This feeling is further fueled by the loss of my relationship earlier this year that pretty much obliterated a dearly held and long hoped for vision I had of the future.  The context of my work place also plays into my grieving process as my relationship played out from beginning to end against that backdrop.

I would never have imagined one year ago what my life looks like today.  Roll that back to seven years ago when I first walked through the doors of that old office building and I'm astounded at how differently everything turned out from what I expected.

That's neither bad nor good, really.  It just is.   I have faith that it will all work out for the best in the end. But, from where I stand right now there is a lot of soul level work that has to be done as I move into this next phase of my journey - sorting out what to take with me and what to leave behind.

To that end, I am here today to announce that I'm taking a hiatus from blogging.  I'm not sure when or if I'll come back to it, or in what form. It is not a decision to I came to easily as this experience has been so positive for me and it is hard to walk away from such an investment of time and energy.

But, concerns surrounding personal privacy and the privacy of others make this an inappropriate forum in which to sort it all out. Plus, I just need to refocus my energy right now and I need to create more breathing room.

Ultimately, my primary purpose of making connections through photography has been achieved and I invite you to stay in touch. You can email me at I'd love to hear from you.

Before I go, I did not want to leave last week's Flower Art Friday winners hanging without their moment in the spotlight. We had some beautiful fall color in our gallery last week and the top three were simply stunning and a reminder that change can be glorious.

Thanks so much to all of you who made Flower Art Friday such a beautiful and bright spot in my week. You've inspired me so.




Congratulations Winners! Here's your badge


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Snapshot & a Song - Oasis Playlist

"Went to the desert on a mission
To have a vision or write a song...
Somethings gonna happen to change my world."
Palm Springs - Jill Sobule*

Before I went to Oasis, I created a playlist of songs for my morning walks and the plane. I like to do this for vacations or other special times that I'll want to evoke memories later as I reflect on my experience.

When chosing the songs I deliberately mix in old favorites, new music, and "themed" songs that fit with the occasion,and also try to choose songs that speak to whatever I might be going through personally at the moment.

This particular list also includes several artists who will be on the Cayamo music cruise I'm taking in January. I've indicated those with an asterisk.

California - Angel Snow

I Tried Going West - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Beautiful Dawn - The Wailin' Jennys

Love of our Lives - The Indigo Girls

Polaroids - Shawn Colvin*

Sunburn - Michelle Malone*

All This Time - Sara Watkins*

Down to You - Bonnie Raitt

Roll Like a Big Wheel - Joan Osborne*

Worth Fighting For - Sarah Siskind

Goin' Where Leavin' Takes Me - Liz Longley*

That's it for me this week. Before we link up, here's the rules.

  1. Please give credit to the songwriter and/or group - preferably with a link to their website
  2. Link to your blog post or flickr page, not simply to your blog.  
  3. Tell us a little bit about your image and the meaning the song holds for you (more of a guideline than a rule, but it would be nice if you would
  4. Include a link back to my blog, and using my badge would be especially cool

snapshot and a song

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