Tag Archives: friends

::spiritual moments::

I heard a sermon last week in which the preacher was talking about her experience on her family vacation in the Catskill mountains.  She mentioned this moment where she hiked alone to the nearby waterfall one morning, sat peacefully beside the stream, and dove into the clear mountain water. Immersed in the frigid water she felt renewed and refreshed. She said it was a ‘spiritual moment’ for her. One in which she felt complete, and spiritually whole.  She went on to describe what she did next.  She carefully collected small rocks-shiny and colorful, smooth and marbled, and placed them in a bag.  She was trying to gather mementos of this spiritual moment.  Mementos that she could place about her home, on her nightstand, her bathroom sink.  Things that could tangibly bring her back to that place of peace and wholeness, once her hectic life started to crack through her being.

The preacher then began to warn of the foolishness of this kind of living.  She said she felt like the rich young ruler who was storing up his earthly treasures. She told us to be complete people, we need to live beyond those spiritual moments, tuning in to our real feelings and emotions and embracing them when things are hard.  We need to be careful not to idolize good times, and not to limit God to our description of what a ‘spiritual moment’ is.

Although I liked the point she was trying to make about not limiting God to our own version of spiritual moments, I felt hesitant to embrace the idea that we can’t rely on great moments of peace and restoration to help us through.  The past few weeks that’s what I’ve been doing. Trying to suck the life out of this beloved place I call home.  Grabbing up moments and taking pictures as mementos before our trek back down south.

Like gathering green beans with my Grandpa in his garden and canning them back in the kitchen with Grandma.

Feeling the early summer sun beat down on my shoulders while squatting to pick strawberries with a friend.

Sharing a cold drink with my cousin, dipping our feet in the pool while he helps me shell a bushel of peas.

Enjoying a late night piece of pie with good neighbors.

Running through the beloved woods across the street.

Cooking and laughing together in the home of good friends.

Taking my sister out on a Friday night date.

Trekking up to the sheep barn and letting a baby lamb nuzzle up to my knee.

Hiking hills of blueberry bushes and picking peacefully with my family.

Spending the morning exploring the landscape with a beautiful child.

These pictures are my mementos. Beautiful memories I can rifle through weeks from now.

And my freezer and cupboards will be filled with mementos of the richness and goodness of my home that I can eat in the lonely winter months.

These are my spiritual moments.

The moments that get me through.

And if my efforts to grasp onto these people and this place is in vain, then that preacher can call me a fool.



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::EB portrait preview::

This past weekend I attended and photographed Houghton Academy’s graduation ceremonies.  While I’ve been busy editing those pictures, I couldn’t resist posting this preview of a portrait shoot I did last week with our amazing friends.  I’m excited to tell you more about them once I finish processing their shoot.  As this photo shows, nothing has been more beautiful than the late evening summer light up here in WNY.


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I’ve got this friend. We’ll call him E. There are lots of things I like about my friend E. He’s an amazing musician and inspiring lyricist.  He takes big risks and seeks out adventure. He loves spontaneity and embraces people of all kinds and cultures.  But my favorite thing about E, is his ability to share his feelings.  And by ‘share his feelings’ I don’t mean express his political viewpoints in an extremely cultured manner (that would be my friend W, whom we’ll save for another post). What I mean is that E will, at any given moment, look you straight in the eye and tell you that he loves you. Simply because he really does.  I’m sure our friends can recall numerous times where we’ve been sitting around, laughing ourselves to tears and in that moment of silence that hangs after we’ve all enjoyed a round of giggles E will, with a large and poetic sigh, exclaim ‘I love you guys’.

It might seem like a small thing to most, but I find his ability to do this extremely admirable and humbling.  I can barely whisper an ‘I love you’ when my Dad has me in a bear hug, and the anniversary card I picked out for my husband fell into the category of ‘cards for people who can’t express their feelings’. The focal point of the card was about me (as the card giver) always being right (this time in the fact that the card receiver was a pretty cool person). It’s not an easy thing for me to express verbally how I feel about people. But E can do that.  And I like that about him.

That being said…what I can do is cook.  And I find pleasure in cooking for people I love. Although it might seem like a minimal expression compared to E looking you in the eyes and saying he loves you with a straight face, it still feels great to fill bellies and listen to my friends munching and chatting happily from my spot behind the sink or stove.

Last weekend some of our closest and best got together for a big reunion.  Sunday morning I got up early, snuck into the kitchen, and made breakfast for my friends. It’s not as direct as E- but it’s how I tell them I love them.

Bagel Sandwiches:

Bagel sandwiches are simple and quick. They make a great weekend breakfast or easy dinner.  Plus, depending on the ingredients you use, they can combine every food group.  I started by sauteing some chopped red onion in a bit of butter.  Then I whisked eggs, egg whites, S&P and a splash of milk (figure 1 egg for every sandwich) and added it to the onion.  Cook the mixture omelette style.

Since we were in the city I picked up some Wegmans bagels but toasted bread would work well for these sandwiches too.  After cooking the egg simply toast the bagels and assemble with whatever ingredients you have on hand.  I spread cream cheese on my bagel but a hearty slice of cheddar or colby jack would be great.  Spinach, tomatoes, more onion, feta, sunflower seeds, or bell peppers are tasty additions.

Another thing I like about this is that is proves that there are quick and easy ways to eat vegetarian meals.

Pumpernickel is my bagel of choice.


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::family(part 11)history::

Dreamless sleep will fall like a deep, poisoned well
On the steeple birds and this red-light hotel

So lay your pistol down, Granny
The company men never came to you
But don’t unknit your brow, Granny
The mice in the yard ate the potted plants you grew

Pour your bitter tea for our sweet, liquored host
Perfect polished stones but this breeze beats you both

So lay your pistol down, Granny
The duty of men never fell to you
When you unknit your brow, Granny
Your friends, they are jewels, twice as beautiful and few

-Sam Beam

(click for larger image)

…twice as beautiful and few…

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Being a photographer that people know personally is a win-win thing.  Family and friends often look to you to photograph and capture their special moments, and you get to do something you enjoy while gifting them at the same time.  It’s like killing two birds with one stone…or three birds with two stones…or something.

Either way, one of my greatest ambitions for becoming a good photographer is blessing the people I love with good photos.  When my cousin shoots the winning basket, I want to capture the shot.  When my sister graduates, I want to be able to take some great senior photos for her as a gift.  It’s an exciting thing, to bless those around you with your talents and gifts whatever they may be…for me, I hope to be growing in my knowledge and excellence of photography to give my family and friends some great pieces to hang on their walls or file away in family albums.

That ambition in mind, I was pretty excited when Will and Kat invited me to shoot some engagement photos for them.  I’ve known Will since I transferred to Houghton Academy in 7th grade and we’ve been really good friends ever since.  Will proposed to Kat over Christmas break and they are planning to get married in August 2010. He’s currently studying law at Vanderbilt University, and Kat works for Americorps in Buffalo, NY.

Since Will is living in Nashville and John and I are in Savannah, we met up in Atlanta this past weekend and had a great time touring the city as well as taking some engagement shots.

We started in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and things were pretty steamy (literally- I had to keep wiping off my lens because it was fogging up from all the moisture).

The garden was featuring an orchid display which was beautiful and made for a great backdrop.

So sweet.

There were lots of unique plants and textures that allowed me to try some new things.  I had fun trying out different ways to compose my pieces and frame my subjects.

They were great sports, willing to brave the snow (YES we had SNOW in Georgia this weekend!) and let me use this beautiful tree to frame them.

Atlanta was a great city to try some ‘urban-esque’ shots.

Some of you may know, this shade of mustardy yellow is one of my favorite colors and I insisted we stop and take some pictures against this wall.

Their outfits went perfectly with this location, don’t you think?

After some unclear directions and re-routing (we always get lost in Atlanta), we stumbled upon this beautiful Episcopal Church in the heart of the city. It had a quaint garden with this decaying bench, perfect for a shot with Will and Kat’s favorite black and white print- The New York Times.

I wanted to end with this shot because it clearly demonstrates how well Kat knew how to work the camera.  She did an amazing job and really made it easy for me to shoot them as a couple.

It was really great to work with friends on my first shoot. They were encouraging, patient, and allowed me to try some new things which really benefitted me, and also allowed time for some really good shots.

Will and Kat—congrats.


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