Keeping My Eye On The Ball

DSC06334Loving baseball came natural to me. I’m sure there are strands in my DNA dedicated just to this sport. My childhood was filled countless hours at the ball field watching my four older brothers play. As a young teenager, I not only played softball, but also babysat for Charlie Hough; a pitcher for the LA Dodgers. Sitting in his living-room with his little girl on my lap while we watched him pitch in the World Series was a moment I’ll never forget. She turned to me and said,

” Daddy’s working”.

I giggled and said “Yep”. knowing she had no idea just how cool that was.

In High school I played fast pitch and was lucky enough to date one of the best baseball players in our town of Benicia. It was a good thing he loved the game, since I caught a ball in the eye a day before prom, and knew that he wouldn’t be bothered by the ball stitch marks and black eye I adorned along with my formal dress.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to watch a game.  I found myself sitting on the sidelines with my camera, aching to capture the essence of what makes this game so wonderful to me. It wasn’t until I got home and started editing my photo’s that I realized I’d forgotten an important part of my story. It was when I saw this picture, I realized that too often in life, even in my attempt at photography, I take my eye off the ball. I failed to capture an image of the very person who by sharing her passion, made it one of mine; my mother.DSC06280As I looked at this picture, I realized there were 4 generations of baseball fans at this game. My mom was seated behind home plate holding her newest ( at the time) great-grandchild; my dad by her side. Her son-in-law was coaching the team with his oldest son as assistant coach and youngest son playing. My sister was keeping score and seated next to her was my youngest daughter and my sisters first grandson who at the age of two, was already joining in when the crowd applauded a good play.DSC06309

I couldn’t help but think back to those summer years of my childhood and began to wonder how many banana cream pies my mom made; since that was the reward for any home run hit by my brothers, or any member of their team. She was the ultimate team mom, dedicated fan, cheerleader and motivational baker!  That tradition continued as she has watched her grandsons play. Now they are bringing their kids to the game.

I wished I would have realized then that the picture of the evening, was the one I never took. She was the reason I loved this game, and the next time I get to watch a game with her, it will be her image and the essence of her love of the game that I hope to capture. Her cheers still echo in my mind just as they did down the hallway when I was a little girl as she would watch the world series. Her words of encouragement and advice she’d yell to us from the stands are one’s we can still apply as we play this game of life.

“Keep your eye on the ball”.

A gentle reminder for me to focus on what really matters.

I Was Blind But Now I See

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Reading the unrestrained thoughts of others has always fascinated me. The art of blogging has given an entirely new dimension to human expression. Each of us have moments of clarity where our life experiences or observations teach us something or impact us in a way that we can’t help but want to share it with others.

Last year I had a personal shift that’s compelled me to live a life of passion. Losing my vision for several months due to bilateral retinal detachment was devastating. What was even more alarming was to discover I was stuck in a perception of perpetual blindness even after my vision was stabilized. That became my personal wake up call. I discovered in a personal training program; ” The Power of Choice”, that one of the dominant beliefs in my life was that I was broken. Yet as I looked deeper, I was amazed to discovered my capacity.

This was December 2013. Since that time I set a 90 day goal and lead a photo expedition to Monterey bay. I actually started my personal blog as the beginning to that process as a way of recording my reflections as I progressed. My 90 day goal was completed on March 8th, 2014. when I and 29 others boarded a 60 foot yacht and took our first whale watch trip in the ocean as a celebration of the restoration of my vision. One interesting thing to note, when I wrote my initial goal I stated;

“ I want the connections I make on the whale watch trip to lead me to greater opportunities than I can even comprehend at this time”.

As a direct result of my initial goal, I have taken 4 additional trips on the whale watch boat. On one of them I met a research director for Monterey Bay Marine Life Studies. I was invited to work with them and last Tuesday I drove the research boat for the first time as we photo identified Whales, Risso’s and Bottle nose dolphins. I have completed the training to be an educational docent at the worlds largest marine mammal hospital after finding a stranded sea-lion on the beach and have since discovered 3 additional stranded or entangled animals.. This is just in the last 30 days. To say this is well beyond any expectation I could have had is an understatement. At times I want to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that I live in Utah and this year I will be celebrating my 50th birthday.

Pollyanna has always been my go to movie; especially the part where she explains to the preacher about the joy texts in the Bible. There are so many people feeling overwhelmed by the challenges in their lives, or in the world, but if we choose to really look and see, this world is a remarkable place and there are wonderful opportunities for each of us to do something that not only fills our cup, but also overflows and fills the cups of others. As I share my photographs and simple moments of clarity, I hope to illuminate the joy I find in this journey. I am creative by design, living the life I was born to love.

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Living A Viva Bokeh

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Being a self taught photographer was never a badge of honor I wanted to wear. It really was the fruits of my priorities. Up until now taking formal training in photography was simply never the most important thing for me to do. With my upcoming photo expedition to Monterey Bay, I found myself considering my personal preparation. I am leading the expedition, with that comes an expectation of capability or expertise. It wasn’t enough for me to be pleased with the pictures I took, I needed to understand the hows and the whys and what the buttons I pushed, twisted, and adjusted actually meant and the affect they had on each other.

Saturday was probably not the most convenient day in the world for me to choose to take a class. It was after all my husband’s birthday. The remarkable thing to me was that he, as usual, was totally supportive and encouraged me to take this next step. He has always been that kind of guy! ( How lucky am I?):) It made me realize though that rarely do any of us find it easy to make what we really want convenient. We can always find a list of other people’s needs to keep us from taking that step toward living our dream or life of passion. Yet when we go to the calendar, there is already an obligation penciled in and we push that need in us aside until something greater compels us to make it a priority.

For me that something greater has been setting a personal ninety day goal through a training program called “Outlook Development”. (Itsmyoutlook.com) Making a commitment to myself and a team of individuals that are on their own quest provides a level of accountability that truly motivates. We are learning tools to empower ourselves and each other to live our passion, overcome limitations and ultimately live our authentic purpose. This experience keeps bringing me back to one remarkable truth. We each have been created, designed if you will with everything we need to fulfill our creative purpose. It’s a matter of clearing the static, or even cleaning our personal lens, to see the capacity and gifts that have been there all along. For me this week, I was able to see more clearly and appreciate the unconditional love and support that been a constant for me. Not only did he give up the time I spent taking the class, he then accompanied me to a local park where I could practice further what I’d learned. So this year I’ve decided to add to his birthday present. I am going to frame a favorite picture from this weekends photo shoot for him to hang in his office. Each time he looks at it, I want him to know that this weekend wasn’t just about learning the powerful fundamentals of the rule of thirds or controlling bokeh, but me remembering that he is one of those gifts that’s been with me all along.