Flashes of Happy

Life is an emotional two-steps-forward, one-step-back dance right now, so when I’m ahead, I grab my camera and do my best to nourish my soul. This week I was able to take Beth’s advice below and run with it, grabbing some wonderful flashes of happy. Celebrate with me, won’t you?

Flash #1 ~
There’s a new grandbaby on the way! My daughter created the board for the announcement below and brought our precious big-sister-to-be Rae-baby over for the pictures. I don’t usually photograph things that move (and boy did this one move!), but we all had a great time and are happy with the results.

Flash #2 ~
I also managed to make another still life photo earlier in the week. We’ve had a lot of rain and the sun just hasn’t been cooperating with my work schedule, so light is scarce when I’m home. But even though I only captured the single image below, the cheery yellow makes me quite happy.

Flash #3 ~
Did ya see it?! Did ya see it?! Did ya? Did ya? See what? Well Jurassic World of course! I’m a total dork I know, but I actually got a little misty during the fly-overs of the island as the theme music swelled. Twenty years ago I cuddled with my then 6-year-old daughter as we watched part of the original on TV, marveling at the dinosaurs, with a blanket to hide under during any scary parts of course. Oh the nostalgia! 

So did you grab any flashes of happy this week?

Grace,
Brenda


I’m celebrating the extraordinary ordinary today with Barb Brookbank’s Sunday SundriesDo you have something to celebrate? Come join us!

What I Learned in May

Today I’m joining Emily Freeman as we recall what we learned this past month. So, in no particular order…

  • I forgot how much I love to plant flowers. I used to put pots of flowers on my porch each spring, but hadn’t done so in quite a few years. This year I took a trip to the nursery and brought home the beauties above. They’re not much, but they make me happy.
  • Starting counseling in January was a very good decision. This has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but this past month I began to make progress. It’s still hard, yet good at the same time.
  • It is absolutely possible to adore someone you’ve never met. Our newest granddaughter, Eden Rose, was born this month. She and her parents live a thousand miles away and I don’t know when I’ll get to see her in person, but I am totally smitten already.
  • I am terrible at snapchat. The only reason I downloaded the app is because it is my son’s favorite way to communicate, and since he’s the one a thousand miles away with a new baby, well, you do anything to get pictures often. I definitely need more screenshot practice.
  • Fitbit is fun! I love this fitness tracker! There’s just something about reaching that step goal each day. My husband and I even fight over who gets to return the grocery cart to the corral at the store in order to rack up a few more steps. Yeah I know, we’re dorks.
  • I like avocado. Yes, it’s true, I had never tried avocado before this month. After all, it’s green and smushy and green and smushy things can’t possibly taste good. I was wrong.
  • You never know where following a dream might take you. Kim Klassen, still life photography instructor extraordinaire, is holding her first ever live workshop in September! And I get to go! For 4 days! To Canada! Pinch me!

That’s all for this month! Can’t wait to see what June brings.

Grace,
brenda

Coffee & Change

I began learning about still life photography from Kim Klassen in 2010. She truly is an amazing instructor and has given me the tools and inspiration to take my art beyond what I ever dreamed. This month marks the end of Kim’s year-long Be Still – 52 class, and I’ve learned so very much. I can’t believe it’s nearly over! Below is my take on the Week 48 – Coffee & Change prompt.

Coffee and Change

Well, as you can see, I’ve actually done 4 takes. Kim has recently offered for purchase two collections of her amazing Lightroom presets. These presets allow you to change the mood of your photos with a single click, or give you a jumping off point in expressing your own style.

Kim has some wonderful before and after photos featuring  The Studio Preset Collections on her website, along with detailed info on how you can get them.

The mug and plate for this shot came from Pier 1, and that’s actually my personal journal. And yes, I really did drip coffee on it on purpose. But those chocolate gooey butter cookies? I have no idea how they taste because I can’t eat them…sadness. They sure looked good though!

Oh, and I do have a favorite Coffee & Change edit. What’s yours?

Grace,
brenda


Kim Klassen dot com

 Joining Kim today for Texture Tuesday.

Descent

Descent – Haunted, Choked, Strangled, Shattered

Much has happened in me in the month since I last posted. Honestly, I didn’t expect I’d continue the blog, much less share this. Yet here I am.

I created the photo series above a couple weeks ago, during a time of intense depression and anxiety. It depicts my progression…descent…into grief since I started counseling in January.

I don’t have any answers, no resolution to these feelings yet…the process continues. But today is a better day; the anxiety has left and the pain is less intense. I’m grateful for the reprieve and for the art that speaks when I don’t have words.

Grace,
brenda

Celebrating My Art

Bunting Vignette for Be Still – 52

 

(A shout out to Karen at Katie Claire’s Cottage for the tutorial I used to make the paper bunting in this photo.)

I’ve been catching up on my still life class assignments/prompts this weekend. My art truly is therapy for me. It lifts my mood and gets me moving, and refills that special place in my soul that empties when I’m too long away.

Side Light – Organic for Be Still – 52

Just like I need hope, I need my art. It reminds me that there is purpose beyond the get up, go to work, pay the bills, clean the house, do the laundry, buy the groceries, rinse, repeat.

Chippy, new to me table for my own little still life studio space

 

Oh, by the way, yesterday I was blessed to find the perfect table for the corner in my office that I’ve set aside as my still life studio. Both photos above were taken there…so exciting!

So I’m celebrating my new little studio space and this God-given gift of my art today. May your day be filled with blessing and celebration too.

Grace,
brenda


I’m linking up today with Sunday Sundries by the fabulous Barb at Keeping with the Times.com

 

Stages

A week after Valentine’s day I came home from work to find my beautiful gift roses all fallen and wilted.

I’d let the water dry up.

I quickly snipped their stems and gave them water again, hoping they’d revive, to no avail.

Except for one.

My counselor and I have been talking about things I need to spend some time mourning. Consequently, I’ve been thinking about the stages of grief lately. Seeing my roses variously wilted spoke to me of those stages, with the single bloom defiantly, expectantly…hopefully…facing upward. So as the metaphor emerged, I turned the flower toward the light…it’s only true source of hope.

Grace,
brenda

Journaling

I have an on-again/off-again relationship with journaling, mostly because of my perfectionism. I’ll start a journal, keep at it for awhile, but eventually stop. Then because I missed so many days and things have changed so much since I stopped and I don’t have time to fill in all the gaps in the story, I feel I have to start all over. I’m embarrassed at the number of journals I own that are a quarter full.

But…my counselor suggests I journal, so I will try again, and in true fashion I’ve gone overboard…

Okay, so in my defense, this photo came about from a still life prompt in The Studio, but, well, yeah. It’s no wonder I give up…so much pressure to use all these pretty things!

I have two goals to accomplish in journaling: to take time to write what I’m thinking and feeling and mulling over, and to capture my thoughts and other details throughout the day. I have attempted this most recently using digital tools, but it’s just not working for me. So here’s my two-fold plan, totally nabbed from, ahem, inspired by Emily Freeman’s recent post. I’m ditching digital for analog, giving Morning Pages a try in an attempt to corral my swirling thoughts, and using the Bullet Journal method as a daily collection tool. Perhaps I’ll use my pretty things, perhaps I won’t.

Grace,
brenda