December 5

Can you see the eyebrow raise I’m getting here from my friend? This shot will make me laugh every time I see it. And those gorgeous cheekbones. This one is dear to me.

This image was snapped Sunday and posted today. I cannot recall ever doing this for the DPP; it’s just not how I operate normally. But this week is not normal, it’s the week before finals and I’m struggling to keep up with normal life + holiday celebrations + schoolwork. In short, I am not Superwoman and so a photo shot on Sunday and edited and posted on Tuesday will work swimmingly. #dpp2017

December 4

It’s December 4 and we’re having the nicest December weather ever in Nebraska. If you see a plethora of silly “Frost” jokes flying around, it’s because Nebraskans have, apparently, a very cheesy sense of humor and we’re all endlessly excited about Scott Frost returning to coach the Husker football team. Personally, I’m terrified he’s going to fail and then what will Husker nation do? GUYS, BE COOL AREADY. [insert frost joke here]

This week is study week before finals. I may go a bit more silent than usual because it’s hard to find time to study and I procrastinate just as much as the next student.

But first, this little munchkin, holding tight to a fistful of candy, posed for me today. So much love for this cutie. #dpp2017

December 3

Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Connecting the disconnected as we love God, love people, and love Lincoln. I’m so grateful for this space every Sunday morning. The word of God is preached and lived out in warmth and love. Everyone is welcome here. #dpp2017

December 2

This one has my heart.

Also, shooting this series is going to be a lot of fun. #dpp2017

December 1

It’s been so long since I pulled out my professional camera, since I enjoyed looking closely at faces. This medium grabs me and makes me pay attention. It combines my love of people with my love of light and art. All the things come together and the synapses start firing in a different way.

Looking up from a textbook to find a creative task is the most rewarding of moments. Whether it’s baking or trying a new recipe for dinner, shooting and editing the tiny squint lines on a tiny four-year-old’s face or lighting candles for an evening of conversation, those creative juices must flow. The December Photo Project grants permission to stop and notice, to pause and create without guilt.

Let’s do this thing. #dpp2017

Thanksgiving

There’s something so satisfying in the quiet after a party is over. Everything echoes of the warmth and love that existed a few hours before. Counters now clean were filled with platters of comforting foods. The empty sink and wet dishcloths cleaned glass upon glass. The dinner table still bears a centerpiece but now only a few crumbs remain to remind me of the feast enjoyed by all who sat here. Memories of family and laughter and moments are all tucked away in my mind after a good Thanksgiving was held. I’m grateful for this space because it can hold these people. And these people are worth remembering.

December Photo Project 2017

December Photo Project 2017

Oh my goodness, it’s time for the DPP! The only reason—oooooonly reason—I keep going on with this gig is because you all do it with me. Your enthusiasm for it is, to me, like the clapping of hands to revive Tinker Bell on the staged productions of Peter Pan. The past two years I’ve been a seminary student and we all know how academia tries to suck all the fun out of the holiday season. But still, you all clap, and I drag my tired fairy-student self to an upright position and we keep going forward together.

As always I am grateful to those who help me get the December Photo Project off the ground. This year Catherine Biba produced a delightful and fun image for us to use—thank you so much, friend!–and it is my Favorite Web Developer who gets it all up and running. Thank you, my love.

Tomorrow we eat turkey and thank the Lord for his many blessings in our lives, but tonight, we sign up for the DPP. Let’s do this!

Who Am I?

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Running late to a doctor’s appointment, I still had a folder’s worth of new patient information to fill out. A personality quirk of mine is that I enjoy filling out forms, so I was buzzing along at a breakneck pace, answering questions that had obvious answers, until I hit the one that always throws me for a loop. Occupation. My pen hovered above the form, hesitant at even knowing the correct answer. Birthdate, spouse, medication amounts. Those things all have concrete answers, but this one? What did I feel like saying today?

Photographer. No, I’ve reduced my photography work back to the very infrequent photoshoot and am now shooting for the sheer pleasure of it because…

Student. Is taking one class per semester a reason to fill in the blank with this word? I mean, it is a graduate program so it takes up a substantial part of my thinking power each day, but no, this doesn’t work…

Writer. Nah. Writing, too, is now simply for fun. Or for school. But it’s not a paid endeavor. Hmm, are there any paid endeavors for me right now? No, I actually pay people to teach me stuff.

Church volunteer. Probably the truest description of my days, but it feels awfully weird to put that on a form for the doctor’s office.

SAHM.

Those four little letters put together do not make me feel awesome about life if I am honest. When I am dropping off a 7th grader for a large portion of the day, dare I call myself a Stay At Home Mom? It brings to mind bon bons and The Price is Right. Being a woman of leisure who buys only the cutest in athletic clothing, but rarely uses it to work out. It’s perusing Target more times than makes sense, being a lady who lunches, taking luxurious naps after all that exhausting work of shopping and eating.

Uh, wait a minute. I do take naps. Scratch that last one. I also really enjoy lunches. And Target. Okay, whatever.

My fight with the SAHM term is a real one because I find it to be reductionistic. The only word I really love out of the four is “mom.” I’m not really a “stay at home” person and now that I think of it, I might be a very strong-willed adult because, DON’T TELL ME TO STAY AT HOME THANKYOUVERYMUCH. Still, I feel like it reduces me to something I am not, to less than what I aspire to, to less than what I actually do and produce each day. So I will take back the SAHM label and explain a few things about it.

Choosing to stay at home with Livia when she arrived was the greatest pleasure in terms of choices. Before she came, I dreamed of becoming a mother and I was dreamy about what my life might look like as a parent. I could not wait for the gift of a child, and I anticipated our adventures with excitement. It was absolutely what I wanted to do with my life and I was eager to quit working in order to be home full time. Though real life was a thousand times harder than my idealistic dreams, every time I considered going back into paid employment I reaffirmed my desire to parent Livia instead. I felt completely confident in my choice to feed her each meal of her day, to be the one to hold her hands while she learned to walk, to listen to her babbles and then words and then lengthy conversations. It wasn’t that my job was easy—no, the monotonous “at home” work of baby-rearing can be brain-numbing at times and then utterly exhausting at others. Rather, it’s what I wanted to do. I did not want for Livia to spend much time in a daycare; I wanted to be the adult around her for a majority of her waking hours.

The truth is this: I still want to be the adult around her for the majority of her waking hours.

For numerous reasons, it’s important that Livia is educated by other adults, but when she is not at school, I still want to be the person closest to her. I can feel the years squeezing away from us now. Everyone has said these teenage years fly by, and so far they are right. I feel hugely sentimental about my time with Livia—at least when I’m reflecting upon it while she’s away from me. It’s easy to feel the warmth of parenting when we’re in good moments—reading together, cuddling, talking talking talking, driving around town—and much harder when we rub up against personality differences or hard, stressful days. But still, I choose this kid. I’ve got one kid, and that one is enormously special to me.

So there it is. My pen hovers over the line, I curse the way “occupation” hitches me up, and then I quickly scribble “SAHM” and this time I think I threw in a “/student” to make me feel better about the direction of my life. Will anyone at the office even care who or what I am? Will their eyes rest on that line for more than 2 seconds before moving on to type insurance information into their desktop computer? I doubt it. My existential crisis means nothing to them, and so much to me.

We’re Going to the Zoo Zoo Zoo

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In Praise of the Turtle

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Is “turtle photography” a thing? For sure I love serving in the church and taking seminary classes is such a good fit, but oh my goodness, I think I need to be a turtle photographer. The patterns and ridges, the shapes and patterns are endlessly fascinating to me. Doesn’t this creature look ancient? As though he’s seen world events you can’t even fathom?

I’m about to invest in kneepads and a nose clip (it smells pretty stinky near the turtle enclosure), and then beg the officials at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo to let me get in the turtle-y spaces to photograph them.