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Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Fall

So much time has passed since I last came here to write. 
Life has picked back up again, since September came along. School, activities, and a big one - I returned to teaching after nearly 10 years of a break. Of course I volunteered in classrooms, ran playgroups, was a visiting artist over those 10 years, but I am now a substitute teacher and am keeping busy with 2-3 days of work a week. 
This new job works very well for us, for a number of reasons. The biggest one being the flexibility. I can work the days I want, and be home on the days I want. I have a job that I like, but I don't have to do all the prep, assessment or extra work that teachers normally do. So yes, as you can imagine, we are busy. 
The thing is though, I truly am being mindful of this "busy" chapter that we are beginning here. It's very easy for things to become undone, when we all have to be in different places at once. 
I'm trying my best to carve out down time for us all, to manage the commitments, to prioritize what is most important. 

Things that are important to me are: 

~ family dinners
~ quiet weekends (sometimes that means church, a walk in the woods, time for the kids to play with neighbours)
~ connecting with friends for meals, walks, coffee.... real life connection
~ reading, cooking, being at home
~ picking up my camera to document our days and moments

And so here we are in October. My very favourite time of year. Thanksgiving, deep red leaves, crisp days, burnt orange pumpkins. I wish these days would never end, but perhaps there is a short window, so that we know just how much to appreciate it. 

Happy Fall dear friends. May there be many walks in the woods. May you have a cozy sweater to wrap yourself in. May the air smell of cinnamon and wood smoke. Happy Fall. 


Thursday, August 16, 2018

simple meditations

I used to worry so much about mixing my personal photography work and my heavily stylized client work in the same medium. I thought clients wouldn't want to see my personal work. That it was too real. Too personal. So I kept them separate for a very long time.

My friend Leanne used to tell me (and still does), that her favourite work of mine, is the every day shots that I take. The ones that tell my story. I always agreed with her, yet still, my personal work stayed more private - I was never confident enough to show it in photography groups or on my social media pages.

This summer at Land and See, one of the photographers I was most excited to see was Joni Burtt. She is a fantastic documentary style photographer from just outside Fredericton NB. While she does do client work (families), she primarily photographs her own family- and her work blows my mind away. It's beautiful. One of the many things that I took away from her talk was that she does marry her client work and personal work together. And there is a demand/desire to see her personal work- it is so captivating.

So this summer, and moving forward - I have given myself complete permission to share my personal work on many platforms. I admit, it makes me nervous to put my personal work out there, because this is the stuff that means something to me, but at the same time- that is the point- this work means something to me, and I want to share it with others... because I have put love into it.

I call these simple meditations, because I find the act of picking up my camera and capturing a very brief but important moment, very meditative. I find there is a release of stress and rushing about, when I slow down and take an intentional image. It forces me to stop with whatever I'm doing, and to see things, to see the people right in front of me. 

Here is a sampling of my work from this summer.


one year later

It's the thick of the summer. I've been at home with all three kids, non stop, with very little in the ways of help/breaks, and while this might sound like the perfect recipe for a mama going mad, here I am doing pretty well.

Last year, things weren't quite so even keel. I found myself often panicked. I found myself on edge/angry/nervous... pretty much all the time. When Winslow would have to leave for long days of work, or go out of town for work- I would spiral into a mess of anxiety and depression, immediately worried about how we would get through the minutes/hours/days.

I would busy myself, packing our days full, just so that I would have a plan. The thought of not having a plan freaked me out. Down time scared me. I'm not sure why. I think I just thought the days would crawl by if I didn't plan them out. I was scared of the slowness of time.

Looking back, I can definitely see that this was anxiety/depression. I eventually came to terms with the fact that I need to talk to someone, and I did. That helped a bit. I also decided to stop drinking, as I know that alcohol doesn't help me with my anxiety/depression, it deepens it.

Another thing I did was kick a very toxic friendship to the curb. I had kept this so called friend around, telling myself, I'd be so lonely without her - truth is, I never felt so alone/low/down on myself as when I was with her. I have since come to recognize and listen to that voice inside of me that tells me when someone is worthy of my friendship or not. My anxiety and depression at the time, had made it very hard to know what I was worthy of.

Other tools that I started to pack into my tool box: social media breaks, more Podcasts, picking up my camera and documenting my life - I find this very therapeutic and meditative.

So here I am this summer, feeling so much more calm and ok with long stretches with my kids, and less action packed days. This summer has been one of down time. Yes there have been little day trips and beaches, a few visitors and some camping, but there have also been afternoons of lego, playdates, TV and that's ok! I'm not stressing. I'm yelling less. I'm not in a state of rushing/busyness. It's nice.

I'm not saying that my depression/anxiety is gone forever, but right now, I have seen huge improvements, and the improvements have been made by me. I think there's something important about finding the answers, about searching for solutions, about mapping out your own life. Before, I would have described myself and my life as lost, lonely, out of control, hard. Now I see myself having ownership and responsibility over my own happiness and well being. Such a huge fucking difference. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

land and see 2018

How do I adequately put into words, what going to Land and See means to me? It's really hard to explain it all, but I'll try. 
For 3 days (5 for those that took the whole workshop), I was immersed into a world of photography, creativity, deep conversation, and real connection with other artists. It was an experience unlike anything I've done before. Something so far away from my regular every day. It was pretty damn amazing. 
On a practical level, I was able to work and learn along side some of my very favourite photographers. I was able to shoot one on one with a particular photographer, Joni Burtt, who I greatly admire. As well, I was able to collaborate with other photographers, and it was such an enriching experience. 
On an emotional level, it was quite a profound experience. For 3 solid days, I had the time to create, to be able to listen to other photographers, and just to be able to hear myself think. I was able to write notes about my ideas, things I wanted to remember, and not once was I interrupted. 
Going to Land and See is a gift to me, from my family. Winslow had to take time off from work, and we budgeted our limited resources so that I could go. The children, while sad I was going, were at the same time supportive and happy for me. It truly felt like this experience was a gift to me. 
It was a gift of time. A gift of opportunity. A gift to learn, to expand, to create. As I did 3 years ago, when I last attended, I felt such a huge amount of gratitude for this opportunity to go to Land and See. For some, this type of thing (professional development, workshops, education) is a regular/common type of occurrence, but for me, it is not- and I think, this I why I feel such an amount of gratitude for it all. 
It will likely be another 3 years before I attend Land and See again. The truth is, there are other things that I hope to do over the next few years- travel is one of the main ones. But this time that I had recently, is something that I hope to carry with me for a while to come. While I may not attend this specific workshop again, going to Land and See, helped to get me refocused in my goals (specifically towards photography) and I am going forward with new ideas. I'm excited to see what will come next. 
A selection of some of my images from my time at Land and See 2018, on Prince Edward Island. 

P.E.I. memories

Summer snippets...

Tents with twinkle lights, painting sea shells, camp fires, Mi' kmaq drummers and dancers, watching as many sunsets as we could dip into the ocean, seafood, making memories with family, splashing in the Atlantic, finding sea glass, a date night with hubby in North Rustico at the cutest seafood café, the sounds of waves crashing, heard from the tent at night time.

We had a beautiful time camping in P.E.I., at Cavendish NP with our Ottawa family (Winslow's side). It was just what we all hoped for. We wanted the kids to build beautiful memories together- and that is exactly what happened.