Monday, February 17, 2014

God Keeps His Promises

Sunday evening, Heather and I were driving back from Austin. We were somewhere between Brady and San Angelo and I'm watching the western sky. There was the sun, making its way down, but off to the right of the sun was a big bank of clouds. And they were moving towards the sun. I told Heather there was potential for a sunset, but it appeared those clouds would block it in the end. She looked over and agreed.

We drove on....we sang songs...and I continued to eye the sunset. It appeared to us that the sun was below the horizon already. That bank of clouds thwarting the beauty that could have been. Somewhere along the way I commented it was probably for the best...with my camera not operational, it would be frustrating to come across a scene I couldn't capture on film.

Then...suddenly...there was a gleam of sunbeam...and we realized the sun was indeed still above the horizon, just hidden by those clouds. Then quite quickly, the dull, blunted clouds gave way to perhaps one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. It was as if God was showing off, since I had doubted the possibility just moments before. We drove on for what seemed like forever with me hollering, "just look at it, Heather....". The sky changed colors, the colors swept over us for a while, giving depth to the clouds that had threatened to drown it in the beginning.

I told Heather...and it was true...that it was almost painful to not be able to take any pictures. I did make her pull out her iphone and shoot a few.

But I also thought of the deeper lesson...even when things look bleak and impossible, God can reach in His pocket and pull out a beautiful miracle just to prove us wrong. Funny how He always has that answer!!

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

No where to turn.....

I feel exposed.
I feel my crutch is broken.
I feel there is no escape suddenly.

What tragedy has pushed me to this point? Wednesday night I was out chasing the sunset......I hadn't even heard it calling my name, but decided to give it a try. I found the shot. It was so predictable....a windmill....wide-open spaces....just begging me to shoot it. I get out of vehicle....I frame it just right....I push the button. Instead of the comforting sound of a successful moment was more of a "cluck" sound.

Suddenly, the world began to spin out of control. My vision narrowed to where all I could see was the screen on the back of my BABY! "Error 30...cannot continue shooting". Nooooooooooooooooo.

Now, the next hours were spent whining, searching (google, of course), bargaining, and yes, praying.

All this over a camera? Let me try to explain....

My camera....and my escape. I love shooting moments for people. Family shoots....senior games....capturing kids as they spin and giggle. Those shoots, though, have to be planned. I have to have people who will seek me out. Since returning "home" to West Texas, I've struggled with the business. In all honesty, I haven't put myself "out there" enough. My shortcoming...something I am working to remedy. So, when "people pictures" aren't possible, how do I satisfy my creative urges? Well....I get still.....and quiet....and I wait. I wait for the call. The call that says, "grab your camera and chase". Chase the sunset. Chase the beauty of this land.

And I usually obey the call. At times my riding partner is my daughter Heather. She often has one question before we leave, "do I have to get pretty?" No, usually not. Recently, my son has been riding along. He and I tend to talk on these drives. Something I love! He sees photo ops and points them out to me. He and I share that. Heather and I talk, too. And sing. We sing loud and sometimes off-key. And giggle.

But with no camera, there is no way to answer the call. So I sit. And sulk. And wait for a calm moment to try out the You-tube tutorials that may...or may not....fix the issue.

So, I truly do pray there is a quick fix...or that our tax refund will cover a camera...or that I will be able to sleep through the moments that call me to come capture them.

In the are a few shots from my recent shoots.....

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Who says you can't go home?

Big news with our family...we are moving out west! West Texas, that is. It's "home" to us....

That a hard one to define at times! I grew up all over! People hear that I moved during my 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th grades, and I often get asked if my dad was military. "Retail....same thing" was always my answer. It was just natural to us. was sad each time we left, but there was always excitement to come!

My husband's family WAS military...then later on they just seemed to move with the my family. Because of this nomadic way of life...and thanks to the good Lord's hand in our lives...both families wound up living on Ann Drive in Big Spring, Tx. Mark was my paper-boy. The rest is history. But bottom line is that we both graduated from "dear old Big Spring High"...a year apart. Interestingly...almost immediately after we finished high school, our families left the area, making visits "home" few and far between.

College came next...then jobs...then transfers and more transfers. When we moved from the Galveston area to Central Texas area, I used to claim we were trying to get back to west Texas and just stopped along the way. Then we "settled" in Lorena. My "Mayberry". The kids made friends, Mark got involved in local government, I proceeded to photograph all the small-town moments that I love so much. We were content.

Then along came opportunity. Which meant moving back "home" for us. But wait! Home? We have no family there. Close by, but not THERE! And sure, we have some friends there...but would they accept us back? Did they even know we left? We were just kids then. Now we are old! We are different people. And so are they. And what about the friends here? They haven't known us as many years, but they know the "grown-up" us that we have become. They have been there through our trials and tribulations. Will they miss us? Even notice when we are gone?

I don't know the answers to these questions. But I do know that "social media" has already helped us out. I have kept in touch with a lot of friends from West Texas and those are the same people I'm turning to with questions about the move...the for me....etc.

My kids...this will be rough on them. I know that. I struggle with that. But they are being so brave about it. I have been reminded that THIS is their hometown...something I understand. Something I already miss. But there will be contact...daily....with everyone we are leaving.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Do I Do What I Do?

I am awaiting Friday night like a kid awaits Christmas morning. The first Friday night football game of the season! When I think about the game, the excitement in the air, the sounds of the crowds cheering, it's almost as if all is right with the world.

How can that be? I grew up with a football crazy brother, but rarely paid any attention to it. Cowboys rule! Big Spring Steers rocked (even if the stats didn't always reflect it...). But still....I barely knew a touchdown from a.....a.....hmmmmm....field goal.

Then two years ago, I ran across a photo from Friday Night Lights...the movie. I've actually never seen the movie. I've always claimed I didn't HAVE to see it...I LIVED it. Grew up in west Texas in the 80s, Big Spring to be exact, and our team played Odessa Permian. Even then, I loved the atmosphere...the crisp air...the friends laughing and cheering. Yes...even sitting close to my date and holding hands. It was all magical.

When I saw that single photo from that movie, my mind started whirling. What a powerful shot. What memories it evoked. The sounds, the sights, the smells...they all came about in that one shot. I wanted to TRY to do what I capture the moments myself.

Within days, as luck would have it....I heard "The Boys Of Fall" by Kenny Chesney on the radio. I was on the access road heading north...then on the bridge...then driving up I-35, listening intently, turning it up louder and louder. Then my plan started evolving. I just wanted to step outside of my comfort zone a bit...just wanted to try my hand at shooting a game. It was....sorry for sounding so sappy....a "calling". So I made my contacts and arranged to shoot my first game. I WAS HOOKED!

Once I got past the embarrassment of feeling like I was "on display" on the sidelines, it was pure adrenaline rush. My GOAL is to preserve these moments for these guys....OUR guys. I don't worry about getting the perfect action shot....though I will shoot for those, and celebrate what I capture. Mostly, though, I want to capture the passion these boys have. The cheers, the tears, the leaps and hugs. All of it requires PASSION for the game...passion for the team...passion for their school.

And if there is one thing I know that these teenagers CAN'T know is that they are making memories they will cherish forever. Even the tears will carry a memory...and hopefully a story to be retold!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012


It's been a while....again....since I last blogged. Geez...that sounds like a confession or something..."Forgive me readers, for I have sinned....." question is....are there any readers even out there. Ha

Craziness has been the word of my world lately. May, of course, was filled with the end-of-school stuff. Seemed like a new awards ceremony every evening. Like a bad mom, I didn't even take the camera to some. Plumb wore out.

A few weeks ago was one of my favorite activities....THE KOSSE RODEO. I prefer the small town Texas rodeos. Not the huge productions. Problem is that small town usually equals low lighting situations, but I've learned to deal with it!

ANYWAY....this year I got brave and got up into a booth right above the chutes on Saturday. To me...that was like winning the super bowl! I think, perhaps, that the rodeo workers have about decided I am a stalker. I swear, I'm not! I just love to capture those moments. Those guys (and the majority ARE men) LOVE what they do. From the kids to the stall cleaners to the rodeo clowns. They enjoy the work, and it shows.

There is a photo somewhere in my world of my Grandpa riding a bucking
bronc waaaaaaaayyyyy back in the day. It fascinates me! That was probably what got me started in the pursuit of rodeo photography...that photo.

I may never get the perfectly clear shot of the bull bucking "just so"...but that's ok. I like to shoot for the FEEL of the event...the feel of the tradition...generations following generations....history!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Music and Memories

For the past week or so, I've been in a bit of a contemplative mood, partly brought on by music. I've been spending some time tweaking my music collection, making playlists to fit my every mood. When I think back over memories, there is usually a soundtrack playing in my mind.

I love hearing a song and instantly be delivered to a moment....a memory. My daughter humors me with this. I feel like Sophia from "Golden Girls".....I'll say, "picture it....Big Spring, Tx, 1987..."

Then there are songs whose words conjure up an image.... "Later on we'll sit around,
Bellies tight from supper, Telling all them stories That we just can't get enough of, And somewhere in an honest laugh, It'll finally hit me that I'm Home". The first time I heard this Tim McGraw song, I fell in love with it...especially the phrase "somewhere in an honest laugh......". In MY mind....I picture 518 Elm, my dad, uncles, aunts, cousins, sitting around telling and retelling stories. "Honest laugh"? What a perfect description...

Another of my favorites....."If Heaven" sung by Andy Griggs....Written by Gretchen Peters...

"If heaven was an hour, it would be twilight
When the fireflies start their dancin on the lawn
And suppers on the stove, and mammas laughin
And everybodys workin day is done

If heaven was a town it would be my town
On a summer day in 1985
And everything i wanted was out there waitin
And everyone i loved was still alive"

Perfect....when I hear these words I can "feel" the scene....

What songs bring back memories for you?

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Story....

Last year, I posted this story that told a bit about my daddy's wallet.

To recap it daddy died in January of last year. He died suddenly in his his job, as he was about to head home. While he sat there in his truck for the short amount of time before a co-worker discovered him...someone stole his wallet off of his body. read that correctly. Evil exists among us. But let's not dwell on that. That person does not deserve my energy.

From the beginning, I "knew" we would get the wallet back. Somehow....some way...! I pictured it showing up on Christmas Day...a "Christmas Miracle" is what I envisioned. And since he died in January, I figured we had 11 months for the wheels to get in motion for this miracle.

But then, last March 17th...St. Patrick's Day...our miracle came brother got a call that the wallet...and its contents....had been found in the middle of a work yard at a recycling plant. No explanation of how it got there....or where it had been for two months....

But it was there! see....I was right to believe in miracles...I just didn't put enough faith in the impact of my Irish roots!

Christmas has the traditional reading of "The Night Before Christmas" and the telling of the Christmas story.... For as long as I live I will likely tell my "St. Patrick's Day Miracle" story to any who will listen! And even to a few who just can't get away fast enough!

Wear green on Saturday!! I know I will!

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