Don’t Take a Picture

put away camera

“Why aren’t you taking a picture?” My husband asked me while we were on vacation at a popular destination.

“Because dozens of pictures and videos already exist online of this place. I want to enjoy the moment.” I said.

A memory I have of a relative was always with a camera in front of her face. Dozens of thick and heavy photo albums took up two shelves. Birthday cakes had to be re-blown out because the camera wasn’t ready.  Now social media is replete with good and bad photos.  I try to take a different approach to photography now. Perhaps, at times, less photos so I can enjoy the moment.

Like that scene in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty where Sean doesn’t take a photo of the Snow Leopard. He wanted to stay in the moment. I’m not against social media, but you have to put away the phone when the moment calls for it to sip a glass of wine on a veranda while watching the sun paint the sky in oranges, yellows, and pinks. A person can see a dozen sunsets on social media, but it doesn’t count unless you see it for yourself. Life must be experienced.

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Give Me My Wilderness

Day 1: Writing For The Soul

Denver, Colorado

February 16-19, 2012

It’s no Chicago, but Denver, Colorado impressed me with its energy. I stepped off the shuttle, checked into my hotel, and immediately ventured into the streets with my camera to capture her spirit.

I don’t think I could ever live in Denver, Colorado. Walking as an unarmed woman in the streets gave little comfort when faced by the different faces of the city—the man who called me, ‘baby,’ to the silent figures shadowing the pillars of the capital—the faces warned me to be cautious when venturing beyond the tourist destinations; then, I found the genteel Platte River near Speer Blvd with it’s ducks sitting alongside humans—both like still statues watching the flow of the river in peaceful harmony.

The different faces of Denver beguiled me with it’s quaint shops—namely, The Market on Larimar Street. It’s a place where you can find a chocolate shop, a deli, and a coffee shop in one location crowded by tables and chairs. I spent time at The Market mentally preparing for the Writing for the Soul Conference that would begin that night. I wrote and re-wrote my pitch, and still I felt unprepared in spite of all the work of the past month.

As I leaned back against my chair, I listened to the honking horns, the sirens, and the roar of the cars that kept a steady rhythm. Once I spoke of living on the outskirts of Denver to Tony because the pay is better there, but Denver’s way of life failed to excite me. If I lived within hearing distance of a city, it would need to have mountains around to shield me from the city’s constant light bleeding into the dark sky and fading the stars.

Yes, Denver is exciting to visit, but give me my wilderness. Compared to the skyscrapers a mountain is far more exciting, and the only unfriendly face you’ll find is that of a hungry mountain lion.

Have you ever been to Denver? Describe your experiences.

Peaceful Winter

This week has been crazy!  Time I thought I had free went out the window like a scrap of paper in the wind.  With pen uncapped, I busily work to catch up.  Meanwhile, I hope you like this photo by a dear friend named Gail McNeeley and her daughter, Brianne.  Please leave your thoughts in the comments. You can catch her monthly blogs here.

Enjoy The Moment

Tony and I boarded the pirate ride. This was our second go-around. I loved this ride for its atmosphere. My mind wandered to the conversation behind us.

“C’mon! Jimmy, look!” begged the mother. “Oh, don’t bury your face in daddy’s shirt.”

The toddler whimpered.

“Is he going to do this the entire day?” A male voice, presumably the father, whispered.

“I don’t know.” mumbled mom.

“We’ll take him back to the hotel after this ride. Mom’s resting there.”

“Did you hear that?” the mother said sternly. “We’re going to leave you at the hotel.”

The conversation faded as the boat jerked forward. Tony smiled. I sat back and listened to the water and enjoyed the boat floating along.

Flash!

I blinked.

Flash!

I blinked again.  I tried to clear the spots from my vision.

Flash!

Was it illegal to tear the camera away from the mom and chuck it into the water?

Flash!

This went on during the entire ride.

“Somewhere,” I said when we were out of hearing distance from that family and off of the ride. “She is going to post fifteen pictures of the same pirate ride on her Facebook or Myspace. There will be no people in it. Just ride pictures. You tube and other social networking stuff have millions of the same pictures.”

“No originality.” agreed Tony.

“There was a blog I read somewhere where our society now takes pictures of everything and seldom just sits back and enjoys the moment. We lose the moment because we are busy fumbling for the camera to capture a moment we didn’t allow ourselves to enjoy. Most people will seldom have the patience to look at fifteen pictures of the same ride. Typically, they have five hundred friends and know maybe half of them and tag everyone of those contacts in every photo.”

Tony nodded. “I think back to the Seventies when we had those big bulky cameras. We had to position the flash on it. No one took pictures on the ride because it was too big of a deal to put the flash on and focus it.”

“That’s true.” I sighed.

We held hands. The breeze crept between the crowds. The sunlight bounced off of the Rivers of America. Tom Sawyer’s Island tantalized us to play. I looked at my husband’s profile. He wore a smile on his tanned face. I inhaled the smells of Churros and hamburgers and squeezed his hand. What a great moment to cherish forever!

Let Go

Photo Credit Juli Riches Photography

An espresso machine whirs.  A handful of people walk into Starbucks.  The funny barista cracks some jokes.  Laughter ripples from one person to another adding to a delightfully refreshing break.  I sip my frappacino and languish.  The world is still the same in spite of the rapid movement of politics and the shift of ideas.  People still remember to laugh.  They still wear masks. 

Have I changed? 

A maple loses it leaves, right?

A person in a relationship with Christ changes like the maple.  We shed our old nature and adopt a new nature.  It happens gradually like a whisper growing into a roar.  What a silly girl I was when I committed my life to Christ!  I thought the journey ended there, but Christ does not leave His children where they are in the middle of a desert.  He brings them to the Promised Land.  At least, those who choose to listen.  The Israelites did not listen.  They wandered the desert.  They erected a golden calf and worshipped it while Moses stood on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. 

I have changed. 

A smile breaks my frown.  It is refreshing to step from one place and into another place.  To think it all began by making a choice.  I chose to love.  I chose to clean house and sweep away the darkness.  I chose to make each day count for something.  I chose to stand bravely in the face of fear and I chose to step into unknown territory.  I chose to stand honestly.  I chose to admit my transgressions and repent.  I experienced joy, unconditional forgiveness, and freedom.  It would look strange to lean my head back and throw up my arms to catch the flower scented breeze, but it is reflective of my feelings. 

I have changed.  I am free.  I am loved. 

And the journey continues. 

Where are you in your journey?  Are you still floundering in the swamps of hopelessness?  Are you still carrying your emotional baggage?  Let it go.  Give it up.  Set it free.