Wednesday, May 8, 2013


We all have moments in our life that come back to us as brief flashbacks.  Not the major milestones, but those small moments that make up a lifetime.  I have noticed lately that they happen at the weirdest time and are usually brought on by some outside influence. 
The other day I was at a friend’s home and she was using Dove dish soap.  The aroma of that detergent set off a memory.  POOF - I was taken back to my Grandmother’s kitchen, a sink full of dishes after a family meal.  The kitchen, my Grandmother standing next to me, the soap smell combined with the grease aroma from the fried chicken all hit me as if I were actually taken back to that time.  Snapshots of the family gathered together for a holiday, the men going off to hunt, the women congregating in the kitchen.
On the back of our property in Georgia stands a grove of Hemlocks.  On a breezy day, if I stand there and close my eyes, POOF - I am taken back to my Grandparents farm in Southern Ohio.  I am taken to the grove of Hemlocks on a neighboring ridge, the sweet smell of the pines hanging in the air as my sister, cousins and I climb the trees and play the day away.
When I am close to a lake and a breeze comes across, as I feel the warmth of the day and hear the lapping of the waves on the shore, POOF - I am immediately transported to Lake Erie.  The summers of my youth were spent on the Lake.  Quick snapshots of us fishing, running through the park, eating ice cream at Tony’s. 
Sometimes these memories bring to mind simple moments like a picnic in the yard or helping my Dad work on a car.  Sometimes it’s a quick flash of sitting at a brother’s sporting event or holiday surrounded by family. 
The other day I was in the dentist’s office and he had a small fan aimed in my direction.  I closed my eyes and POOF- I was transported to the top of a hill behind my Grandparents farmhouse.  I sat on the tree stump out back and looked out over the back hills.   A cacophony of color shouted out, deep reds, bright yellows and vibrant oranges, the colors of fall.  In my mind, I tilted my head back and felt the cool air tickle my face. 
It seems these glimpses of my youth come more frequently as I get older.  Maybe they are the gifts God gives us to remind us of this wonderful thing we experience called life.  Sometimes…it’s the little things.

Monday, April 29, 2013

To See If I Can

Five little words.  Just five.  I uttered them last week when I felt the need to photograph the full moon out back that was so incredibly beautiful. 
The words?  To see if I can
It was nine o’clock at night.  I sat out back with my camera hoisted on my tripod and tried different shutter speeds, iso settings and apertures.  It was incredibly frustrating.  But I kept on.  I would stop and head into the house every once in awhile to take a break and re-group.  I studied my owner’s manual; I went online to see if there was any information that might lead me in the right direction to capture that one perfect shot. 
One site suggested I buy a telescope and adapter to get the best picture.  I googled.  $1500 and up.   I made the practical decision to try to get the picture with the equipment I already possessed. 
Back outside and tried a few suggestions I had found online.  Manual focus, ISO 100, Aperture F11, Shutter speed 125 and lens set to infinity.  (I shouted, “To infinity and beyond” to see if that would help.) With these settings in place at 11:53 pm I got the shots I wanted.  250 shots of the moon over 3 1/2 hours and I kept 7.  But they were a good 7.
I had experienced an  “to see if I can” moment.  And even though it was sitting in my backyard shooting picture after picture of the beautiful full moon, I thought of something; when I was younger I had so many of those wonderful moments where I stepped outside my comfort zone and stretched the boundaries of my somewhat safe existence. 
Sure I can jump off that cliff into the water below.”
“Let’s climb up the steel trusses of the ranger tower.”
I won’t go into some of the other “to see if I can” moments of my life as some were just too stupid and I would prefer you all think of me as that “grown up” you all know and love. 
These moments might change as we age, maybe they’re not as  physically demanding.  But that wonderful moment when you see that you can learn something new, conquer some fear or just step outside your comfort zone and try, well these moments are priceless.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Love It!!!

Something has been bothering me for some time now.  It has to do with words.  Not the overuse of the word “literally.”  Not the overuse of the words “whatever” or “awesome.”  Not people who say “irregardless.”  Actually, those things really annoy me.  But what really drives me crazy is the overuse of the words “love” and “hate.” 
I was talking to a friend about a new movie and she said, “Oh, I won’t see it. I hate Tom Cruise.”  You HATE Tom Cruise?  I may dislike an actor’s acting style, or their role choices, but hate?  No.  I save that emotion for more serious matters.
Let me give you an idea of what I mean. 
I hate that my Father died so young.
I hate Cheetos.
Do you see the difference?  Can the feelings in these two sentences even compare?
I dislike Cheetos.  I can’t stand Cheetos.   Cheetos are not my thing.
I think maybe this all boils down to my love of words and their true meanings.  We throw love and hate around so casually that they lose their meaning. 
I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.
I love spaghetti. 
I love my children.
I love lattes.
Overuse of the words tends to make the sentiment less.  Less meaningful, less important. 
We need to respect the words.  We need to allow them to express their true meaning.  Because if you stop to think about it there are no two words as powerful as Love and Hate.