Tag Archives: motherhood

Overcoming the time excuse

I used to say I didn’t have any time for Photography. Last week I sorted through my Photograph archives from the past 10 years. I captured thousands of images. The only thing I didn’t make time for was doing the kind of Photography I wanted. I’ve never stopped taking photographs, but I have let time stand in my way of using a lens to capture the things that strike me as beautiful.

This was captured with my purse camera while playing at the park with my kids, and is one of my most popular prints!

Now, don’t get be wrong here. I really enjoy photographing my son’s birthday party or a picnic with friends, but I’m usually pulling double duty – snapping some photos and serving a salad. But, what I really love is being totally focused on capturing beauty be it a Bride’s face when she first see’s her Groom, or a vividly colored Fall leaf on the ground.

As my life has grown, the things I wanted to photograph 7 years ago has expanded. Now it includes nature, and details and above all beauty I see every day. The sunlight touching a fresh new Fern is as stunning as the glimmer in a New Born’s eyes.

How to you make time?

Here is how I’ve allowed myself to “find the time” for photography…

1) Got a Camera?  I carry a camera with me all the time. I do not own an iPhone. Anyone who does, has no excuse not to take photographs on their lunch break. My phone camera is made by Microsof, ‘nuf said. So, I carry a Canon Coolpix in my purse every day.

2) Anytime, anywhere! Use your camera every day. I find some times at home to pull out my Cannon Rebel, and capture something staged in about 5 minutes to highlight a particular subject. The camera in my purse captures wonderful images, too, but is sometimes lagging. The point is to shoot often, and keep at it. You never know when you’ll walk into a stunning scene.

3) Schedule an appointment with your camera. Sometimes you really need more time with the camera to get into a groove or set up something ornate. I have found that just an hour is plenty of time for me to capture at least one or two images that make me smile.

4) Make time when it appears. I leave uploading images and editing to my spurts of free time – whenever I have it to spare, I use it on Photographs. Sometimes it is hard to wait for that window of free time, but usually I’m so busy with life stuff and kids that I have no trouble waiting a day or two.

So, what is standing in your way? Is it thinking about how little time you have to spare? Stop. I was there, and it didn’t help me find any time at all. I just had to start making time where ever the opportunity presented itself, then after getting into that mindset, the time became more abundant.

A note on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day!

I was eating lunch with my childless friend and her husband recently, and I found myself venting about the rough week I’d had with my 3 and nearly 5-year-old. At the end of my rant, the husband said, “It must be kinda neat to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”  At that, I felt a slap of guilt for venting about a few bad days when there are so many good days to appreciate on the road of Motherhood.

Being a Mother has taught me more about myself than any other experience. Even if I need to vent once in a while, I love every unpredictable moment of it. Motherhood is truly a privilege to be such an integral part of the future.

So, dear Mothers, no matter where you are or what kind of day you’ve had, enjoy it. You are doing the most important job in the world.

Birth Day: A Letter to Iris

I have a wonderful, large extended family. On one side of my family, there are 23 cousins in my generation including step-cousins and spouses with 13 second cousins and counting. This week is full of Birthdays. On Monday a new little cousin was born at home in a water birth. My heart is full of joy, brimming with emotions: excitement, empathy, and a tinge of sadness that I am past that chapter of life – no more babies. My daughter was born at home 3 years ago.

A big brother kiss during her first 6 months!

To commemorate the occasion, I want to share a letter to my daughter. She makes me want to be a better person. Her brother initiated me into parenthood and has taught me innumerable lessons; but, Iris has pushed me even farther than I thought I needed to go.

Dear Iris,

You are my Rainbow, cheerfully embracing life with sheer delight. From the time you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep, you seem to not want to miss a moment. You are full of enthusiasm, wonder and spontaneity.  As a 3-year-old you are no longer a baby, but a girl. When I look at you now, I see glimpses of the woman you will one day be.

You have taught me by example to dance, anywhere, anytime, whenever the music compels you.  I have told you a few times when it seems inappropriate or simply precarious while out at a restaurant or in a parking lot. But, I love it when you listen to your heart and want to stop and dance!  I have even joined you in public places, forgetting my feelings of embarrassment or clumsiness.

Your favorite playground activity: swing!

You narrate, question and observe details of every day living. This past year, your vocabulary and voice have blossomed. You have started to tell me stories, about your dreams from the night before, or made up phrases that sound like you are from another planet. You also make up songs and sing them whenever you want. I love them, but again find myself reminding you about appropriate timing. Not everyone at the Post Office wants to hear you sing about the letter W. But, I really do even though I have to ask you to wait until we are in the car or walking home.

You have shown me that our bodies are resilient, and what you eat makes all the difference in your health. I have started to learn more about health to help you, but I am also helping myself, Dad and Cooper. I have a good reason to experiment in the kitchen, and savor the process. Thank you for helping me discover this.

You love and adore your brother. The last few months you have started to miss him terribly while he’s at school, but battle him fiercely for his attention and participation in whatever games you want to play. I knew this was coming. But, now you’re also competing against him for little things, like getting ready for bed, or to get shoes on to leave the house. Everything is turning into a race.  Sibling rivalry is a normal development. I hope that one day you realize that you are perfect. There is no need to compete with your brother!

A free spirit, no longer a baby, a girl.

You are fiercely loved by your Dad and me. We cherish you. Your brother loves you.

Thank you for being yourself each and every day.  I am excited to see who you chose to become this next year. You will always be my little rainbow, reminding me to stop and be present in the moment.

Love,

Mom

What Does Mama Do?

Walking with my daughter. Photo by Casey Margell
Walking with my daughter. Photo by Casey Margell

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mothers lately. I know four who will become a Mother to 3 children in the next 4 months. One of them is a blogger I admire. The others are part of my very large extended family.  Add to that a dose of Spring and curious little ones who have wondered where babies come from, and you have the prompt for this post.

At dinner a few weeks ago with my husband’s family (he’s one of 4, plus two spouses and his parents, and it’s a big table), my Father-In-Law went around the table and announced what everyone had to celebrate. He actually decided that each person would ask, then announce what the person sitting next to them had to share. Everyone cheered as we heard things like, “Steven got a new job,”  “Jennifer moved back from China and started her own business,” you get the picture – these are high achievers with Big Things happening. I started to feel really anxious because I had nothing to announce. Nothing quite as exciting or “high achieving.” As chance would have it, my 2-year-old had the duty of announcing my achievements. She didn’t really get it. So, she was asked, “What does Mama Do?” “Mama makes dinner!” she said in her sweet, excited little voice. Everyone cheered. It was sweet, but still left me feeling lame.

This week, I’ve been working on finding my focus for this blog. Yesterday I worked through “10 Ways to Find Your True Passions,” worksheet. As part of the exercise, I have to ask some friends or family what they think of when they think of me, or what I am good at doing. So, I asked my husband. His answer, “The things I am not.” True, but not what I was looking for…then, our 4-year-old decided to answer while drawing a picture nearby, “You take care of us!” True, and sweet. It was the sweetness I needed to hear. It reminded me that making dinner IS important.

All parents are important whether they are the ones who give birth to us or chose to raise us.  So, please don’t feel left out if you are not a birth Mother. One of the most inspiring mothers (and couples) I know have chosen adoption, and blog about the adventure.

Mothers hold a special place in our lives, in history, really. What do you love about your mother? What have you learned? What can you appreciate now that you didn’t at first?

Portrait of my Mother.

My mother has taught me many things both on purpose and by example. Things I do now like create new recipes, try new things, make gifts are because that’s what my mom always did. Her example showed me how.  She was once a house cleaner, and ran her own business. From her I learned at a very young age how to sweep, and clean a house quickly. I had really high expectations of myself as a result. While single and living alone, I would thoroughly clean my apartment every week. Once I had kids, I had to start letting go of dusting every week and clutter crept in and multiplied. One lesson she recently taught me was to be like a Mary not a Martha.

During a visit for a few days, my mom told me to stop cleaning. She said it in a kind way. Something like, I know I taught you to keep a clean house, but something I’ve learned is that it’s more important to be a Mary, not a Martha. Then, she reminded me of the parable in the New Testament of the Bible. From my memory and paraphrasing, it goes like this:  Jesus had stopped to visit two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus had a story, a message he wanted to share. He sat to talk. Mary sat at his feet and began listening. Martha was a good hostess and went to the kitchen to prepare whatever it was they ate. She started to grumble to herself and ask what in the world her sister was doing…it seemed like nothing! Then, Jesus called to Martha asking her to just sit and listen. So, I’ve been trying to take that lesson to heart and not start doing the dishes immediately after a meal. To be present, sit and listen to guests, to my family is really more important.  I don’t want my children to say that Mama does the dishes. Make dinner? Yes:)

Egg card made from lots of dots and love.

What Mama-wisdom do you have to share? For every comment I get answering one of the questions in this post, I will send you an old fashioned paper card. It will be an original creation using my new found love of dots, like the one here on our Etsy Shop or to the left.  You can use it to send your mom, or someone special. And please tell me what your favorite color is. I’ll email you for an address so the whole wide world won’t have the info.

<3 Moms everywhere!

p.s. I remembered two blog posts I must share – messages that speak to my heart and to any new Mother:

Sometimes we forget how powerful our words are. This blogger is a Christian, but this post is not a Bible-thumping exercise. It is a powerful message culled from the movie, Monsoon WeddingWhat We Sometimes Forget to Protect Our Kids From

The importance of imperfection for those striving for natural living, complete with curse words (the author doesn’t hold back from being her true self) – A Love Letter to New Mamas

Dressed Like A Mama

Walking after my little "Robin" girl at the park.

Several months ago my cousin told me, “You’re not dressed like a Mom.” I asked him how I was dressed, and he said, “Like someone kinda young, like in their early twenties.” This is funny because he is 21 and I’m 28.  For reference, I was wearing dark pink leggings, a jean skirt, a black and white striped tee shirt and black Mary Jane shoes.  I felt pretty in that outfit, like I had actually dressed like I wanted to and not like I threw on clothes in a hurry (which has been standard practice since having kids).

Before I had kids, I had a pretty good sense of my own personal style. I felt confident when I got dressed. I had fun.  I have never felt such a conflict of self image in fashion before becoming a Mama. My physical dimensions have changed so much over the past two pregnancies and even now, nearly three years since our second daughter was born I find that I only have two or three pairs of pants that fit at any given time.  I actually wear holes in my jeans from kneeling on the ground or playing on the floor with the kids.

Last week, my self image doubting set in and I thought I needed some new clothes. Two pairs of pants don’t really fit, again.  And, it’s cold. I was cold, and cranky.  I wanted clothes that fit. I wanted to be warm and enjoy walking in the brisk winter mornings with lined pants, nice boots and a thick sweater.  But, I did not want to go shopping.  I did not want to have to look at clothes and deal with people.  Instead, I sat myself down with a hot pack, some tea and thought about all the things I have to keep me warm and clothed that I do like. I have more than enough in my closet.  I just need to start wearing skirts again.  The next day, I dressed up on purpose, and made the effort to work with what I have in my closet.

This week, I stumbled upon The One Dress Protest via one of my favorite blogs, RowdyKittens, which inspires me as I try to embrace a more simple life with less stuff.  The One Dress Protest is a project of a twenty-something woman to wear one dress for a year.  Why would she do that? Well, she calls it her “fashion fast” and is using what she has to protest the garment and fashion industry as well as challenge herself.  While I don’t feel compelled to join her protest, I do appreciate the values and points she is trying to make. It makes me question how my self confidence is tied to what I wear. I’m still sorting out what style I have, and to simply feel confident when I get dressed.

For now, I’ll enjoy my jeans with holes in the right knee.  And, lucky me, it’s still kinda in fashion to wear torn up jeans. For added warmth, I’m now wearing them with those dark pink leggings underneath.  Because, nearly everyday brings me to my knees as I dry some tiny tears and comfort my little kids when they fall down running around.