Any of us who are over 30 have met a person with a large, possibly annoying and frustrating, ego. I know I have, and when it has happened, it has made me wonder – “Why is that person like that? Do they really think they are that much better than everyone else? Or, are they trying to make themselves feel better about who they are or what they’ve accomplished.” As I was reading the Parade this morning I read an interview with Piers Morgan. Piers is an Englishman who is going to replace Larry King as the night time talk show host on CNN. Piers is known for many things, one of which is being a judge on the TV reality show America’s Got Talent. He was hired for this role by Simon Cowell of American Idol and is often compared to Simon. When asked if the two are really alike, Piers responded “I think we’ve both got big egos. Which are always, of course, driven half by supreme self-confidence and half by supreme insecurity.” I don’t think he could have said this better. Piers’ comment made me think – “how can I raise my children to have self-confidence and humility – no big egos?”
No matter the success, or how it is achieved humility is critical for happiness and the development and maintenance of relationships. Big egos can destroy personal and professional relationships over time. It is important for people to recognize natural gifts and enhance them through hard work while staying grounded in the realization that without others, our successes would be minimal, and our lives would be empty.
My neighbor’s daughter is one person that I have had the pleasure to get to know that will be an example of achieving great success while remaining humble. This young girl is very intelligent. Not only is she naturally gifted, she works very hard to maintain and further develop her knowledge. She doesn’t take her gifts for granted. Looking at her or speaking to her you would never know how gifted she is. She has a natural and simplistic beauty with no pretensions. This young lady recently went to her first high school dance and she graciously let me take photographs of her. She didn’t need “fancy” to be happy. She didn’t need to be overstated to look beautiful. She was stunning with her simplistic, youthful embellishments. I enjoy watching her confidence with being herself and not conforming to what her peers are doing just to be like others. This self-confidence is a gift just as her intelligence and talents are gifts. The beauty of it is that she keeps life simple, and remains humble.
Today’s image is one that I feel is priceless. My grandmother is 87 years young. She never ceases to amaze me. For the most part she is very healthy. She is starting to become more fatigued – tires easily, and may be a little forgetful at times, but her general state of health is good. In fact, she went bowling Tuesday, driving herself in the snow, hosted cards yesterday afternoon, and will bowl again tomorrow. In October she came to visit with my mother. While here, she measured Gracie’s foot with her hand. At the time I was taking a photography class and therefore always had my camera in hand. I feel so fortunate to have been able to capture this moment when young was touched by old. My grandmother loves the little ones and her gentle touch demonstrates that.
I love generational images – hands, feet, faces. Young skin is so smooth and soft, fresh and naive. Skin of elderly people is wrinkled, rough, worn looking, but yet has a unique beauty. For those of you accompanying me on the journey of aging, you might think I’m crazy to say that wrinkles are beautiful. But, each wrinkle is a badge of honor resulting from life experiences; repeated smiles that eventually left their mark, frown lines that couldn’t be avoided because life just happens and loss is experienced, concentration lines because life is full of difficult decisions and stresses. Each year is a blessing affording us with all varieties of experiences that result in the overall image of who we are. Wrinkles are what others can see and should be worn with pride as they represent everything that was felt by the heart.
ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY ROBYN GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY BUT ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
Well, all of the anticipation of yesterday was not misspent. What a glorious sight this morning to wake up to the new fallen snow. It was so crisp and clean and perfect, with the exception of some rabbit tracks. Seeing the tracks reminded me of Watership Down by Richard Adams. He is an amazing writer and this particular novel reminds the reader that he, Adams, has an incredible imagination and a real talent for putting the vivid details of it into writing. If you are a person who enjoys animal tales, you would enjoy this book.
When I speak of imagination I can’t help but think of my daughter. She has an imaginary friend, who has friends and family and a very extensive life. Let’s just say that if Gracie has heard anyone say anything about anyone or anything, the imaginary friend experiences it in some imaginary form too. Not exactly sure where she gets this gift, but I can say that this morning as I was contemplating getting out from underneath the warm covers and listening to my husband remove snow with the snow blower I was imagining what beautiful images might be awaiting me outside.
So, before the kids were awake this morning I snuck outside – not before bundling up – with my camera in hand to see if I could get some fabulous images of the snow before it was tracked by the kids and Daisy. Unfortunately our yard is not what you could call a landscape photographers dream. However, I was able to capture a handful of “keepers” and will share a couple of them here. The best images of the day were probably of the children playing and sledding in the snow. I won’t post them all today, but you will probably see them over time. Be patient with me…I want to keep you guessing as to what might be coming next. 😉 As if I know before I sit down to type…..
In the above image, the sun was just rising in the sky. I underexposed the image a bit so that the tree would look more like a silhouette. The sun and shadows, which you can’t see in this image, were simply gorgeous. In the first image below you see my trio playing in the snow. I love the rosy cheeks. Joshua was prepared for sledding with the helmet on! Gracie and Sam didn’t put theirs on until absolutely necessary. (Yes, I am one of those over protective mothers – but in a good way!) In the second image below I captured the magic of an icicle hanging from the wreath, which quickly melted once the sun shone directly on it.
We have a lot of excitement and anticipation in our home this evening. It is snowing!! Will there be school tomorrow? Or will the kids get to hear the those much anticipated words ringing in their ears – “No school, it’s a snow day”! Honestly I’m not sure who has more excitement, the kids or me. Snow is very nostalgic for me and it brings back so many fun memories – sledding, snow men, hot cocoa, bon-fires, ski trips with family and close friends, and the warmth of the fire while cuddled under a warm blanket with a good book. Today’s image is a reminder of warmth. Is there anything warmer than a child’s bright eyes, rosy cheeks, and drooling smile? Whether young or old, little ones warm the heart and make people smile.
I was recently very honored to have been asked to second shoot the Nutcracker Ballet Dress Rehearsals for “The Dance Theater of Pennsylvania”. This experience gave me a huge boost in confidence in my abilities and really broadened my experience and technical skills. In photography, as with many art forms, there will always be more to learn, but I’m very thankful for this particular opportunity to learn while capturing life, beauty and art. If you are ever given the opportunity, I highly recommend this production. The sets are incredible, the costumes magnificent and the quality of the performances extraordinary. Not being a dancer, the grace and poise of the dancers amazed me with every turn, jump, point, or move. They have incredible strength and stamina and their dedication to ballet was evident. Periodically I will post images from my recent experience with the ballet. I hope the images give you a flavor for the production, or perhaps inspire you or your little one to dance.
My son, Samuel, received a gift card to Game Stop for Christmas. It is like money just burns a whole in this child’s pocket – he can’t wait to spend it! He asked me to take him to Game Stop today to use the gift card. My husband, John, said “Sam, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.” John knows that video games are my least favorite past time. With that, Sam asked John, with great urgency, to take him to spend the gift card that might have disappeared into thin air if not spent today. When he came home he had a “Donkey Kong” game. I suppose it is the latest and greatest edition of “Donkey Kong”, but it brought back childhood memories. We didn’t have a game system at home growing up – my sisters and I were too active, or too involved and not interested, or my parents felt the same way about them as I do, or maybe they were just out of reach financially, not sure – but we played the games at my Aunt’s house when visiting. So, needless to say, “Donkey Kong” was not a foreign name to me and I thought “how nostalgic”. The moment of nostalgia reminded me of the days gone by when kids played “pick-up sticks”, board games, marbles, cards, or “Yhatzee” – remember that one? I remember playing it with my grandmother at her kitchen table.
A friend said to me yesterday that her children were having a “video game withdrawal day”. I loved it! They were “just” playing yesterday; building with Legos, playing trains or kitchen or store. In other words, using their imaginations. I’m so thankful that all three of my children do prefer to “just” play and use their imaginations or run around outside as opposed to playing video games all of the time. Of course John and I steer them in that direction, but we think it is important and I hope that all of you are able to encourage, or perhaps convince, your children to do the same in 2011. Encourage them to enjoy the world around them and use it to create fun. There is so much of it to be had!
Some of our favorite family games and past times include: dominoes, “Yhatzee”, puzzles, playing any sport outside, hiking, or just cuddling up with good books.
ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY ROBYN GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY BUT ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
Joshua has been studying the Revolutionary War at school. As a result, we recently went on a Revolutionary War Adventure around Buck’s County. This image is of the Stovers-Myer Mill. It was in the same family for almost 150 years and was built prior to 1800. It was originally a grist mill, later converted to a saw mill. We think the stone in the image is an old grinding stone.
When my father was alive one of his hobbies was reading. He was also a man with great faith. The combination of these two things resulted in him reading the Bible front to back 13 times. This number does not include the years he read just one testament or the other . This fact about my father always inspired me. Thus, I’ve attempted a couple of times to begin this task – making the effort during the first part of January, usually the first two to three days, and failing miserably. This year however, I am taking on the challenge with some friends from church. It is almost like a “double dog dare” to do this. Now I feel pressure to succeed. I now have accountability. With that said, as I was reading this morning I came across the following verse: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8. As I thought about this verse I couldn’t help but think of the image I have of my sister on her wedding day. After all, marriage is one of the greatest commitments of love one can make.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest
fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light,
not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves,
‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your
playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing
enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel
insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the
glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s
in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we
unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence
automatically liberates others.”
Used by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech
I saw this quote today and it really moved me. My neighbor and dear friend gave me an orchid for Christmas. The meaning of orchid includes love, beauty, luxury and strength. The quote above reminded me of the orchid. Be strong and let your light shine. For you never know when your inner beauty and strength will move someone in a life changing way.
Daisy’s expression says it all….back to reality today. Vacation is over and we’re all back to the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. The boys were not ready to go to school this morning. Gracie on the other hand couldn’t wait to go to school and show her friends her Chicago Bear’s Jersey. God bless her she has no idea that her friends are Eagles or Giants fans and don’t even know who the Bears are at the ripe old age of 3. It is so obvious her life it centered around her brothers. Daisy was “pouty” wishing someone was around to throw the ball, or to steal food from. I was sad to see the kids go back to school, but the peace and quiet around the house was ever so pleasant for the few hours it lasted. I’m hoping all of you had a good day getting back in the swing of things. Enjoy your week!