Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back in the creative groove

Psalm 149:1-3 9NIV)

Praise the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song,
   his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
   let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing
   and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
I need to take more pictures — at least that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. My personal blog, which I now mostly use as a dumping ground for adorable family photos so as not to clog up Facebook and also reach the family members who don’t use social media, has been borderline dormant since the holidays, with the exception of birthday slideshows for the boys. And while I do have nearly a thousand photos in need of editing and posting, I still feel like I’m not doing the same good job of documenting everyday life as has been my style in the past.

Maybe it’s because we don’t have a baby in the house changing every day. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent more time reflecting with words than trying to capture life in images. Maybe it’s because the awareness of the giant backlog makes me hesitant to add to the “to do” pile. Maybe I just haven’t been motivated.

Each time New Year’s Day rolls around I consider tackling Project 365, in which I would take and post at least one photo each day of the year, but so far I’ve lacked the willpower to commit. I don’t miss big events, like holidays, school events or birthday celebrations, but I do feel I’m dropping the ball on the special moments that just kind of happen around the house. But again, with 700 unedited photos since February 6, I’m probably not as negligent as I fear.

Saturday. In the Park. And so on...
Today, though, was a different story. Kristie set up a playdate with some friends at a local park, and I made sure to grab the camera bag as we headed out the door. I was back in my creative element, using the playground like my own personal photo studio. With a quick enough shutter speed I have gotten pretty adept at chasing the boys around jungle gyms and swing sets, snapping at precisely the right moment to catch a genuine smile, a carefree expression or just the right amount of pensive reflection.

Paired with a few great lessons learned from conversations with (and careful study of) the photojournalists I’ve been honored to call professional colleagues, I’m pretty darn satisfied with the fruits of my labor. Not to the point of smugness or snobbery where I feel I’m the best-equipped parent at the park — though today I did see a young couple snapping poorly framed smart phone pictures of a baby in a swing and briefly considered offering to take some “real” pictures and email them later — but it’s more a sense of satisfaction that comes with enjoying time spent with my kids and using my creative talents to create lasting images. It’s like a combo platter of gifts and blessings.

I fully realize the pictures are special because they’re of my kids. I don’t claim to be a genuine camera wizard, just someone who knows how to capture a moment or expression or event that makes me feel like I’ve entered into posterity a memory of my kids I want to keep forever. The experience just fills me with a sense of gratitude for all the good things in my life. My life is not all good things, but the good far outweighs the bad and it is right to give thanks and praise.

The sun, the warmth, the squeals of laughter, the snapshots I know will make the grandmothers smile — it all adds up to a perfectly delightful Saturday. Happy doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.

A prayer for May 18:

Lord, tonight I go to sleep with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and an abundance of joy for a day well spent doing little aside from enjoying my family. Even when we don’t have a jam-packed schedule or a milestone to celebrate, I’m always able to bask in the warmth of a loving family, to appreciate my numerous blessings and to try my best to turn it all back to you in praise. Life is good when I remember what your love really means. Amen.

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