Monday, October 29, 2012

I Grew Up on This Stuff

For my mother's 60th birthday, my brother and I took her to a concert. Last weekend, from the second row (!), we enjoyed the Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at Edmonton's Winspear Centre. Pretty sure the only thing better would have been Simon & Garfunkel themselves; the concert was absolutely lovely. AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle are talented musicians in their own right, and really kept true to the style and era of Simon & Garfunkel.

I think one of the reasons I found this concert so lovely was the familiarity of the music. I grew up on this stuff. Both my parents--especially my dad--enjoyed the Oldies; music of the 60's and 70's filtered through the house (and car) on pretty much a daily basis. Simon & Garfunkel were one of the top five artists whose music I knew well as a child.

For me, there is much comfort in the familiar. When I am in a familiar space, or hear a familiar song, or am with familiar people, I feel coziness, peace, a sense of 'home'. I have been trying to immerse myself in these peace-filled experiences lately, as I intentionally try to nurture my soul.* With the musical harmony filling my ears, and family in the seats next to me, such was the atmosphere I found myself in last night.

Where do you find your cozy peace?

* Yes, I am well aware that novel experiences and moving outside the comfort zone are sometimes the ways in which our soul is nourished and turns towards the face of God; peace can be found there, too. I am also recognizing that is not currently my season.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SOTC 32/365

SOTC 32/365 by gina.blank
I have been hermit-ish lately. I'm a homebody as it is, but this fall, I have been extra fond of spending my evenings and weekends simply breathing in the quiet space of my house.

I think it is, in part, due to a new roles and responsibilities at work that I have taken on this year. The learning curve is not steep, but it is steady. The work is fulfilling; also full.

So, I find myself even more content to simply spend my evenings at home, and my weekends at a slow pace. I find I am doing less with friends, and of course, because I overanalyze everything, I am constantly pondering if this is healthy. Is this just a season, or a red flag? (And a red flag of what?) Is this a social dynamic I used to embrace that I'm returning to, or is it a social dynamic I'm embracing now as I run from something else? 

I don't have answers.

But my gut feeling (which doesn't get nearly as much a air time as it deserves) is that this is a season.* One in which I am taking my strengths, the things I love to do, the things that bring peace--and embracing them more fully. Drinking deeper of them. And where I am taking the things I don't come by naturally, the things I push myself towards because I feel I must--and not forcing them anymore.

A season of less wheel-spinning and more enjoying the ride.
A season of less run-around and more strolling.
A season of less do and more be.

* Everything seems to be about seasons for me lately. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Leaf on My Shoulder OR SOTC 31/365

It is well-known that summer is my favourite season. All that green, all that life, all that sunshine, all that warmth!

Still, there is beauty in every season. I have always known this, but I find my awareness of this truth heightened in the last year or so. Perhaps it comes with age. Or perhaps because, as a home owner, each season means something different for my space. Or perhaps because I'm taking more pictures. Whatever the reason, this past year, I have really noticed the seasons more, and have been trying to embrace the beauty that they bring. Still, knowing a truth, and believing it are sometimes two different things. For example, you could not have convinced me two winters ago that winter was beautiful. Aside from the bajillion inches of snowfall and lack of sunshine, there was too much going on in my own life to be happy about most of that winter. As another example, several years ago, as I was still fresh dealing with separation from my husband, autumn didn't even register.

I think the beauty we see in the seasons is heavily impacted by what else is going on in our lives. And I think, in part, it might be one of the reasons God imparted a planet in the universe that rotates around the sun such that seasons exist. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Regardless of what else is going on, these seasons happen. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. They may each look a little different from year to year, but the seasons are a constant in a world that constantly changes, in circumstances that are different from one moment to the next.

I mean, how awful would it be if the soft cherry blossoms of spring--or juicy summer berries, or the rich colours of autumn, or pristine fields of winter white--only occurred once, and it was during a challenging time of your life, and you missed it?

I think my sense of hope would dwindle.

SOTC 31/365 by gina.blank I do think that God wants us to marvel in the beauty of each season every year, regardless of our own personal lives. The whole of creation is for His glory--we should always be acknowledging and praising that! And yet, paradoxically, I think God recognizes our brokenness. Our own human nature often gets in the way of recognizing the blessing of creation that He has given us. And so, He repeats these seasons, knowing that we may miss the amazing beauty here and there, and mercifully giving us the next season as an opportunity to praise.

...There is a leaf on my shoulder in this photograph. I didn't notice it until I uploaded the photo onto my computer. And I suppose I could have Photoshopped it out, but the leaf is evidence of leaves raked, rolled in, and tossed. I am enjoying the autumn colours, the autumn sunshine, soaking up His creation by rolling around in it a little. :)

I have a leaf on my shoulder.

Way better than a chip, I'd say.

Monday, October 1, 2012

But I'm Not a Quitter AND SOTC 30/365

I've never been one to give up easily. I value integrity and loyalty, which goes hand-in-hand with persistence and general stick-with-it-ness much of the time. So when I DO have to prematurely terminate a project, a trip, a visit, a commitment of some sort, I do not do so comfortably. And I certainly do not do so flippantly.

I have spent the last month taking photos, consciously working in-camera to avoid the need for post-processing, to enhance my creative photographic skill.

I gotta tell ya, this hasn't been nearly as engaging so far as my first 365 project.

It's not that I don't like working without Photoshop; I certainly don't need it for many of my photos, anyway, and I have surprised myself a few times with what I've been able to pull off in my camera. There is tremendous satisfaction in knowing that what I'm creating is a pure, unadulterated image!

SOTC 30/365 by gina.blank But those have only really happened when I've been purposely out shooting anyway--a photo club event, an autumn walk. I'm not enjoying the days so much where I fly through my work day, get home, and then have to try and find something interesting enough to want to spend time shooting. And those have, unfortunately, made up the better part of these last thirty days.

In short, I enjoying creating great images, but I am not really enjoying this project.

And, okay, even that's not entirely true. It's more like I'm not really enjoying the pace of this project.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the challenge of creating a higher ratio of images that don't require any post-processing. I just don't like doing it every day. There seems to be a subtle qualitative difference in the underlying energy that's going into these photos than in my last project, where I wanted some great compositions, yes, but more than that I wanted this-is-me-right-now images.

So, after much deliberation, I'm discontinuing my photo-a-day project.


I will still continue to make a conscious effort to create photos that I can pull Straight Off The Camera, because like I said, the actual challenge it provides when I am out taking pictures is awesome. But I will not necessarily seek to take one each day.

I need to work at my own pace. I need to work with my creative drive, and not try to force it when it's not there.

Day 31 is coming... just not tomorrow...