Category Archives: Musings
In late December my friend Julie and I were talking about what we wanted to accomplish and try in 2012, we both named renewing our creative spirits as a big priority and desire. In one short conversation we decided to support each other in our goals and do a weekly photo blog. One photo a week, each month would have a new topic, and by years end we wanted to have a story. Thus, week:month:year was born. Julie is an Associate Editor for the Daily Kitchen at the Huffington Post, she joins me in the ranks of not having a full-time job as a photographer. We are friends because we made individual decisions to attend graduate school at the same place at the same time. Without that decision about life direction I never would have met Julie R. Thomson, I am so very happy we both decided to pack our bags and head to Athens, Ohio in the fall of 2006.
Julie teaches me to enjoy daily life, to laugh about small things, to relish moments others over look, and to never forget life is a journey, and that journey should be fun. Julie has many goals and desires, but she isn’t about to lose a day of enjoying life in hopes of one day being able to gain something more. If we spend our days always reaching for something more, than what are we stepping over during the charge to the top?
Week, Month, Year, I invite all of you to look in and see what Julie and I come up with during the next 40 something weeks. Our rules are simple: each month has three words to describe what should be photographed and each week we must post a photo in the vein of those three words. That ends the rules. We strive not for greatness or awards, we strive to regain our creative self and reach inside our souls daring to ask, “what’s next?”
Our weekly photo posts can be seen at http://weekmonthyear.tumblr.com/, new photos on Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s.
I’ve had these four friends for over a decade (yes ladies, it has been that long), I met them while I worked at the graduate studies office at Bethel University. They have been my co-workers, my mentors and most importantly, my friends. We have all been through quite a lot in the last 12+ years, both happy and sad. You name it one of us has probably gone through it, with the exception of prison time so far we’ve avoided the big house, thank you Lord. We get together a few times a year to chat and laugh about it all, or cry it out and give each other lots of support and love. It dawned on me the last time we all saw each other I have never photographed them, not once. Now how do you have friends for so long and yet have no photos of them and still call yourself a photographer?!? I let them all know ahead of time to come prepared for a photo shoot, and as the cries of “Oh no, I look horrible,” came pouring in, Ruth reminded us, “well in ten more years, we’ll think we looked pretty hot back in 2011.” So let me introduce you to these women I know.
Heidi is the organized, “has it all together”, mother/graphic designer of us all. During my undergrad years as I watched many 20-year-olds getting married she gave me these words of advice, “You can get married young and grow up together, or you can grow up, become who you are and then get married.” She grew up first and is very glad she did. Still happily married with two cute kids, she has had the adventures of postpartum depression and having her appendix burst while at home. She knows how to live it up! Full of cheerful smiles and a never ending positive outlook not much can stop Heidi from caring about those she loves. And I am yet to see her disorganized, though she swears she is, yeah right Heidi I’m not buying it.
Sticking with alphabetical order we arrive at Maggie. Maggie is the quiet one. She is shy when you first meet her, but opens up once you know her. Maggie is sweet and gentle to the core, I’m sure she feels bad every time she kills a mosquito. Maggie has learned what strength and determination are over the last few years while she fought through a painful divorce, that included major financial woes and a bitter custody battle. In the end the sweet gentle one stayed sweet and gentle, got her name back and is still shy when you first meet her. Maggie makes me proud in the way she proves the loud and boisterous are not the only ones who succeed in life. The quiet one in the corner will stand up for herself and will not give up on who she is, no matter the battle.
Which brings me to Ruth. Ruth has been a very close friend all these years. And after 12 years I was finally able to move into a new apartment without calling her crying about living in a new place! She’s that friend to me, the one to call when life has beat me up. I have so many memories of Ruth I could go on for hours, instead I’ll share this story. Ruth helped me move to Athens, OH for grad school. She stayed a couple days helping me unpack in my new place before flying back to Minnesota. As we got closer and closer to the airport my eyes filled with tears knowing she was leaving and I would be all alone in this big world. She got her bag out of the trunk, gave me a quick hug and said, “Bye, see you in 11 weeks!” Then walked into the airport. She knew a long, tearful goodbye would not help me get back in the car, instead she knew I needed a kick in the butt to drive home and start the next chapter in my life. Ruth is loud, outgoing, full of laughter and loved by all who know her. She has run the gauntlet of international adoption twice after excepting the news she’d never get pregnant. A musician by trade (first album releasing in October!), Ruth is a goofy woman who I’m never afraid of being myself around. And if you ever want to laugh it up, give Ruth a call, she loves to laugh.
And finally, Sherrie. Sherrie is a writer, who has lots to write about. After moving with her husband to Minnesota from Brooklyn she finished college, got a Master’s degree, adopted twins and then one day decided her abusive husband had to go. So she packed up the car with her kids and some clothes and off she went into her new life. Her new life that took a big fight, many sleepless nights and a whole lot of faith to build up anew. She is now waiting for her first novel to gain a publisher while completing a second Master’s degree and raising two almost teenagers, oh and after years of denial she finally excepted who is she and loves spending time with her girlfriend. Sherrie is sweet and gentle like Maggie, and no matter what you throw her way she will continue on her journey, knowing one day she will get to sleep in again! Sherrie has taught me artistic goals and aspirations do not expire at thirty. You can still reach the goals you had for yourself at twenty-five when you are fifty-five, age matters not. Keep pursuing your dreams, keep moving forward, and always be yourself. For in losing yourself you lose everything. And Sherrie is above all else, herself.
They have families and careers, they do a thousands things every day. They answer to mom, wife, girlfriend and sister. Yet it is who they are that inspires me the most. They are talented, beautiful, kind, intelligent, giving, wonderful people. When I want to give up and throw the towel I in, I remember what each of these women has gone through and overcome and I reach back inside myself and try again. I proud of them all, for all they are and will become. So to Heidi, Maggie, Ruth and Sherrie thank you for being my friend and showing me the way, you truly are the greatest women I know.