Tuesday, July 3, 2012


For the last few months I've been 'participating' in a 'photo a day' challenge. It's a personal challenge but it originated from another blog and a list of topics for each day of the month. It's been a fun and creative way for me to document my life through a frame of reference given through a list of topics. One idea for each day.I take a picture and then upload it to the crafty app 'Instagram.'

I've taken a few of my very favorite pictures by looking at my life through these pre-determined themes. This picture was taken with the theme 'bathroom' in mind...I took a picture of a grouping of plants out in our backyard. How does this relate to a bathroom? Any bathroom? Well sometimes, uhhh a lot of times, it's just easier for these four nature kids to pee on a plant. For the neighbors that care, we have some good barrier trees giving us privacy. For the neighbors that don't, their kids know that routine. So...when the topic of 'bathroom' came up on the 'picture a day' challenge, I knew right where to go, pun intended.

This is another favorite of mine. The topic was 'shadow.' I have an affinity for trees, especially 'tree of life' images. Years ago we received a beautiful metal tree that hangs on our back patio. I'm not sure how I came to the idea of photographing it as my 'shadow' picture but I did. The sun was coming in our front door so perfectly. I just propped-up the sculptured tree and took the shot. Teh tree shadow against the hardwood floor - yum. I just love this picture.

Some pictures can be very meaningful. Actually, it's what I find 'challenging' about this kind of challenge...taking a topic and transforming it into something deeply meaningful. A picture that will ignite memories and emotion. Or, perhaps, a picture that is a statement. A statement or icon that encapsulates a philosophy that I/we live by. This next picture is a statement about our food philosophy. If I could have taken a picture of our farmers market, I would have combined the two. It's taken our family about three years to make this change from box-store foods to locally produced. We eat approximately 80-85% locally grown. Our meats, milk & eggs come from a local farm. Our seasonal fruits come from a local farm. Our seasonal vegetables come from our backyard. There is meaning and purpose in our choices for food. I love this picture because it answered the topic 'where you shop.'

And isn't 'meaning', and finding it, what life's all about? I try to find it in everything - good and bad. When I was terribly sick for four days, barely making it out of bed for longer than an hour, I reflected back and thought...'How brilliant! This illness gave me time, permission actually, to sit and color quietly with the kids for hours on end. It gave me an opportunity to ask for what I needed, and then receive care & compassion from my husband...without the guilt a young mother can feel when she's asking others for help.' Meaning is everywhere, just waiting to be interpreted. And it's the interpretation that can grow us or kill us. I could have been pissed about getting sick. It was the first long weekend we've had with Adam in months. He had four days off in a row and I was sick for each one of them. And it was Fathers Day, no less. We missed a party. We missed a nature hike. I missed playing in the pool. But for all these misses I gained some perspective - coloring and laughing are a priority, clean laundry is not. Being a role model for my kids about of healthy self-care is a priority, playing martyr and complaining about it is not. I don't feed a cold and starve a fever - I don't even know what the hell does this means? You follow your body and if it's hungry, you eat. If not, you don't. I lived off of watermelon and fresh cherries for four days. And hot water with a little lemon.

Meaning is everywhere. It's one of my most favorite internal exercises - finding meaning. It's difficult to do sometimes, especially when there is tragedy. And I consider my life void of many tragedies so perhaps this is why I have an easier time coming to meaningful conclusions. Or perhaps the void is due to my perspective...I see few things as tragedies; is this why I haven't experienced many? There are opportunities for growth and learning in every experience. Even the miserable ones. So, in my moments of despair &/or negative thinking - in turn, destructive thinking - I dig deep and see how different the composition of my life would be without said experience. Life is a living, breathing, force to be reckoned with - when I fight it, I become tired & exhausted. I do better surrendering to the journey. If I hold on too tight, my hands just end up bruised and blistered.

Ella & her wood-polishing work
I'd like to continue sharing some of photo challenges with you. In case you are curious about it for yourself, I follow the blog fatmumslim and she publishes the 'photoaday' challenges each month. Maybe it'll spark your creative side. In the meantime, here are two pictures from yesterday - topic was 'work.' the kids did a lot of 'work' yesterday.
Oliver doing silver-polishing

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I really enjoyed this post as well. I can so relate to what you are saying about meaning. and how all experiences are opportunities for growth or learning.
    Once again, I am so glad you shared your blog on shine with unschooling. I look forward to reading more!