Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy to Be Alive

You know those moments when you feel so happy to be alive? I am so overcome with that feeling right now. I feel like a little kid hopped up on sugar and I just want to jump all around! But instead of injuring myself (trust me I would haha) I will just share what is on my mind.

I have been a little absent from my blog as of late because life has just been crazy lately. My aunt got really sick and had to focus most of my attention there, while trying to keep up with work, photo projects, building my website, and just keep pace with life in general. I cannot believe it is already the end of September..the last month has been a complete blur! I have been making to do lists everyday and majorly prioritizing because with everything on my plate I know it won't all get done.

But with that said, amidst all the chaos I just feel so much lately like things are coming together. The last few years have been such a struggle with my back pain...completely unable to live my life for 2 years due to debilitating pain had me convinced I could never regain a state of normalcy again. Finally, the pain has slowly but surely started to improve (after no explanation of what it was). I now have a part time job, I have been with my amazing boyfriend Brent for 3 years as of yesterday, I am having so much fun learning and growing with my photography, and to top it off, over the weekend I went on a 5 mile hike - something I have not done since before I was diagnosed at age 12! And although I could not walk for a day after, just the fact that I was able to do something like this is so incredible.

Today was a great day. I photographed Brent's nephew who is now 3 months old and tonight I attended and photographed a beer tasting event which helped both 1.raise money and 2.establish a group of passionate young professionals for PCRF - Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. At one point, I spoke to a mom whose 6 year old daughter is winning her battle against Leukemia. As I shared my story with her and watched her face light up with encouragement when I spoke about how far I have come, it just further cemented what I already know: I absolutely must in some form or another use my story to inspire and encourage current patients and their families.

Despite my years of doubting it was possible, I feel like I finally have my life and my self back. I have goals again. I have dreams, and I have hope for the future. I want to help people, I want to share the beauty of the world through my photography, and I want to somehow intersect the two.

Honestly, it is hard at times not to worry about the future...long term affects of the cancer, how my pain will affect me, etc. But I remind myself every day how life is such a gift and really do my best to focus on enjoying the moment rather than be concerned about what may or may not happen. And as more and more pieces of my life's puzzle seem to fit together, I feel more encouraged and just... indescribably happy to be alive.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Picture Summer Day 24: Barefootin'

No shoes, no shirt, no problems
Blues what blues..hey i forgot 'em
The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom
and no shirt, no shirt, n' no problems
No problems 

-Kenny Chesney

Summer still has that effect on me. I think that feeling you had as a kid, getting a break from school, itching to get outside and play... and even though we don't get those same Summer Breaks, the mental state still seems to remain. The sun on my face, going barefoot...instant calm.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Picture Summer Day 23: Larger Than Life

I love this photo because it says so much. We recently took a weekend getaway to Los Angeles and a large majority of the trip consisted of my taking hundreds of photos, and Brent oh-so-patiently waiting and telling me to come along when I lingered too long. Here we are waiting to cross the street, and as the light turned green, he is grabbing for my hand, letting me know it is time to go...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Picture Summer Day 22: Life is But a Dream

The gleam of Summer with a glimpse of Fall

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago..

It is pretty amazing to think how much has happened in ten years. So much, yet at the same time it is hard to believe a full decade has passed since the devastating tragedy on September 11th, 2001.

I think there is something about sharing what we remember from that day - a tribute of sorts. By recalling our reaction, where we were, and how we felt on that day. This morning I was sitting with my two aunts on the couch watching the memorial they did on TV, watching the names being read of all those who lost their lives on that day. We were all so emotional as we were again reminded of the gravity of that day and how some had their lives deeply changed forever.

I will never forget it. It was only a year and a half after I was diagnosed but I had already undergone all my treatment, I was attending my first year of high school, and I was in a wheelchair at that point.

5:00 AM - woke up with the worst headache I have ever had. Ever. Felt like my head was going to split in two and I still remember the feeling.
5:05 AM - got out of bed, and my dad was already awake. So we turned on the news I popped some advil and sprawled on the couch, completely unaware of what we were about to see. 
5:46 AM - the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center
6:00 AM - call from my mom, she was on vacation visiting my grandparents in New York, her first ever trip to New York!! We received a call from her shortly after that she was fine and a good distance from the site.

I have only had one migraine in my life. 10 years ago to the day. The pain was so bad I was unable to formulate words and I stayed home as we all watched the TV in awe. 

What do you remember from that day? Sending love to all the hurt & loss produced from this devastation. ♥

Picture Summer: Day 19, 20, 21

Day 19: When Order is in Order

I find repeating patterns and shapes very calming. 
When surrounded by chaos, such a visual reminder can provide that sense of order you need. 

Day 20: Spacey
Similarly to a sense of order, choosing to shoot a photo with an excess of negative space calms me. It simplifies the shot, focusing on the subject matter and drawing you in. Looking at a photo with negative space feels like taking a deep breathe of fresh air.

Day 21: Girl Put Your Records On
Rise up this mornin',
Smile with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"

Singin' "Don't worry, about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing, gonna be alright. Don't worry!"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing" - I won't worry!
"Cause every little thing gonna be alright."

Ten on Ten - September - iPhone style

 Life has been extremely hectic, hence the iPhone version this month. I couldn't pass it up! If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it is 1 photo every hour for 10 consecutive hours on the 10th of every month.

Floral Beauties

 Mickey escaped in the grocery store

 After the storm

Tibetan Prayer Flags

 Ohhh clock

 Dog Walker

 Fall is just around the corner...

 Don't worry, be happy!

 Night time drive


To check out more 10 on 10 projects click below.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!
ten on ten button

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Picture Summer Day 17 & 18

Day 17: Visual Interest
We have had really tropical weather lately, so different from the normal end of summer weather. We spent a nice weekend at my mom's house and while we were sitting out at the pool in the warm sun and blue skies, a dark cloud rolled in, poured rain for 10 minutes then rolled away revealing blue skies again. It was so weird! We were all in  our bathing suits, huddle under the little cabana like little kids in awe of the rain.

Day 18: Playtime
I have a wonderful memory of flying a kite with my dad not long after I was sick. I was so bored of being cooped up in the house, and he had the idea of going to the kite store in town, picking out a kite and going to the beach. We finally chose one, can't really remember the shape but thinking a butterfly? We walked down the street and had such a fun time laughing & playing at the beach. This kite was down at the Santa Monica pier and for some reason it made me think of that day with my dad.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Picture Summer Day 16: Summer Light

"When You Possess Light Within, You see it externally." ~Anais Nin

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Picture Summer Day 14: Summer Breeze

We recently took a weekend getaway trip to Los Angeles (more pictures to come). This was the outdoor patio of our hotel and it was so relaxing! Open, bright, with the summer breeze swaying the curtains...I soaked it all in. Turn the corner outside of the hotel and you are in downtown Beverly Hills, enter this patio and feel like you are at a tropical resort! We were only there overnight and it was just the retreat I needed.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Simple Pleasures Saturday #9

Today we came out to my mom and stepdad's house for a visit. Their backyard is tropical and relaxing with a beautiful pool, palm trees, and of course 3 dogs and 3 cats. Above is Bonnie, she's my girl.
The simple pleasures I enjoyed today:
•Playing with their new kitten Lexie
•Cooking with my mom
•Laughing hysterically for the hundredth time at the Flight of Concords "Business Time" video
•Chocolate cherry cake for dessert
•The sound of crickets
•83 degrees in the pool
•Getting teeny tiny kitten kisses
I hope your weekend is off to a great start. What simple pleasures are you enjoying?

Picture Summer Day 13: Juicy Fruit

One of the things I look forward to most about summer is the abundance of fruit. Cherries, berries, peaches, plums, apricots....oh I will miss them come Fall!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Picture Summer Day 12: Simple Solitude

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.  
-Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Picture Summer Day 11: Treat Yourself

It's hot outside! Cool down with a popsicle. My feet hurt from all this walking! Get a pedicure. I'm thirsty! Make a refreshing iced tea. We have too much fruit! Bake a pie. I'm stressed! Sit in the sun. I'm bored! Kick up your heels and read a book. I'm hungry! Snack on some juicy watermelon. Oh the possibilities are endless. Treat yourself to a little summertime joy today while it is still here.
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