Every year some of my blogger friends and I get all cocky and decide that we are going to participate in NaBloPoMo; a month of blog posts. EVERY DAY. We start off with such great intentions….I’m not sure any of us have actually made it all the way through. But we are hard headed and we try again, each November…and sometimes in between.
What I have learned over the years however, is that dedication to writing starts off roughly. I stumble through a few posts and then, after torturing you, my lovely readers, for roughly 8 days… I start to get my groove back. I’ve gotten compliments time and again from people who say how much they enjoy reading what I write….when I get to that place. And I always vow to stay there….and yet… I never do.
So here we are, November 1st.
I need to get my groove back.
I’m not going to do NaBloPoMo…not officially. But I am going to try to post each day this month. This time I’m going to jump on the “Thankful” wagon and post each day about something that I am thankful for. Through this year my “Small Things” has sort of morphed into things that I appreciate …. and it makes me happy to post those things. It makes my day happier when I spend time thinking about them.
So let’s give this a go, shall we?
I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing women who have granted me the privilege of their friendships. I have friends far and wide… some who I speak with daily…and some who I speak to randomly throughout the year. They all hold a special place in my heart…and each of them holds a different place in my heart. I am an incredibly lucky woman to have a place in the hearts of this many incredible souls…and to be able to house them in mine as well.
Tonight however, on my first night of publicly proclaiming my grateful, thankful heart…. I am thankful for a very specific four amazing friends. These four women have taken a very raw piece of me and wrapped me in their love, they have poured their courage into my heart and they are using their strength to hold me up…to help me stand tall with my head held high.
Thank you.Read More
What a beautiful day for Thanksgiving in Nebraska! We had so much family come together and had such a great time. I had so much fun taking pictures and playing with my new speedlight flash. Right before sunset we decided we would grab those last rays of light and take a family picture outside. I set up my tripod and my schmancy new flash. We set the self timer, I jumped in the picture and….. voila!
I took this picture with my Nikon D3100, an 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, my SB700 flash and the self timer. (Let it be known that I use my 50mm f/1.8 so often that I was struggling for a minute with zoom and focus!!) I set the white balance to “cloudy” which made the really rich, warm colors of fall stand out. I cropped the photo a bit and used Pioneer Woman’s Color Boost in post-edit.
SuperGirl: “Mom, you know what that is? It’s where they make clouds and blow them up into the sky.”
34 years ago another little girl riding down the highway with her Mom had an awe inspiring revelation and exclaimed: “So THAT’S where they make the clouds!!”
Like mother, like daughter.Read More
I remember reading a parenting book when I was pregnant with SuperBoy and what resonated with me this idea:
As parents, we want to encourage our children, build their self esteem and make them realize that they can take on the world; do whatever they want to do. Consequently, we too often don’t allow them to fail. We also get busy and frequently offer “blanket praise”… a “That’s Great, Honey!” Kids eventually realize that no matter how far out of the lines they color, we will say “That is amazing and beautiful!” The book went on to teach that not only can you be honest with your kids (gently and with a kind heart, of course) but that when you are praising them, be specific. Make your compliment or praise unique so that they realize it is not that blanket statement: “I really love the way you made the whole picture purple! It reminds me of grapes and those are my favorite fruit.”
I’ve tried very hard to adhere to that idea. To take those few extra seconds to be specific, to truly appreciate what they’ve done rather than spitting out a rote compliment.
Recently in a parenting group I attended at church it was suggested that while sharing with our children how proud we are of them, ultimately their self esteem must come from themselves….they need to be proud of themselves. (Well, duh. I hate it when something obvious finally becomes, well, obvious.)
So I readjusted my mindset and made a determined effort to say “You should be really proud that you chose to follow directions and get your room cleaned” … (or other such daydream material).
A few weeks later I had the revelation that while I was headed in the right direction…I was still telling them what to be proud of. The idea of pride in one’s own work was there…. it was however ultimately provided by me.
As being a parent is a very obvious progression and work in progress, I made another adjustment to my “style”.
Now, at the end of each day, I ask my two big kids, “What have you done today that makes you proud?”
I was stunned the first time I asked this question and got blank stares. They didn’t understand what I meant. *deflation of self-proclaimed master parent status*
We talked though what they did in the day and eventually landed on what they were proud of. Now SuperBoy(5) gets it and is starting to provide a quick reply. SuperGirl (3) still has a rough time with the definition of “proud”; she seems to think it means something she likes so I often get the answer “The dessert we had after dinner….”. I’m getting good at redirecting: “You mean that you are proud of yourself for making good decisions so you got to eat some yummy dessert?”
“NO! I mean the dessert!”
Okay. We’re all learning.
What Have You Done Today that Makes You Proud?
I raised three beautiful children.
I’m becoming so engrossed in my new photography obsession. I LOVE taking pictures, exploring and learning about the way light works…. I definitely have found a new view of the world through the lens of my camera.
One thing I am NOT good about is having my own picture taken.
Outside the realm of my discoveries in photography I am, like most most moms, always behind the camera during family events, play dates…. in daily life. I don’t end up in the pictures; and most of the time that is fine by me. What inevitably ends up happening is that if I DO end up in the photos I am:
There are times when I think about what my children will have to look at when I’m old and I cringe. I have pictures of my grandma from when she was younger and she is beautiful. Flawless. And those pictures are in the days of pre-post-editing. I have almost no pictures of my own mother and this makes me sad. I want my kids to have pictures that remind them not only of what we did in our lives….but of me enjoying our life.
What’s a girl to do?
Oh, wait. I have all of these amazing friends who take amazing photographs.
Last weekend I worked with 4 blogger friends who I adore, trust and with whom I can generate amazing ideas and content.
After re-tweeting a “Before and After” photo shoot on Twitter the other night, Sandie came to us and said: I need to practice my portraiture and I want to try out something new. I need guinea pigs and you all are it.
So along with writing, learning, and sharing over the weekend….we had some photos taken. In clothes that fit. Fully showered. Make-up and hair that was done with purpose and skill. (Did I mention there are no kids on this trip?)
The catch? We were doing “Before” and “After” pics like the ones in the links above.
I was terrified.
But I made the conscious decision to let that go. I was with people I love and trust. The pictures aren’t going to be risque … they are meant to be beautiful.
There is no reason that I shouldn’t love having some pictures of myself. So I committed to loving them.
And love them I did.
There are many pictures from the shoot…and from pictures my friend Kristen took of Sandie taking pictures of me…that I love just as much because they remind me of how much fun we had.
And I’m going to post them. Soon. (Along with pics of the beautiful B & B we stayed in …)