Author Archives: ljexplores

My Dad


I said that Inspiration was my word for the year.  There are many people who inspire me to live a better life.  One of those people is not surprisingly my father.  My Dad is almost 92 years old.  He was born in 1920.  He lived through the depression and World War II.  He is one of the few WWII vets still alive.  He amazes me with his gusto for life.  Even now he still gets out into the world, goes out for lunch with friends, is an active member of various clubs in his community and in general is not only maintaining his quality of life but also contributing to the quality of life of others.  My Dad has been an inspiration to me in many ways but probably one of the greatest gifts he gave me is my love of photography.  My Dad gave me my first camera when I was 13 years old.  An old range finder camera he had from earlier days.  My Dad loved photography all of his life and practiced his passion during WWII on the island of Okinawa.  He had a darkroom there under very precarious circumstances and provided his fellow soldiers with snapshots of themselves that they were able to send home to family members in order to let them know and see that they were alive and o.k.  The story behind those darkroom images is unbelievable.  Anyone that know s about developing film and printing can imagine how difficult it must have been to pull that task off.  But my Dad has always been a ” get it done” kind of guy, something that has followed him even to these late years of his life. 

As I was saying, he gave me my first camera when I was 13.  As a result taking pictures has been a part of my life ever since.  I would say that it is one of the things that has defined me.  My life has been full of movement.  I have seen many places in the world.  Wanting to hold onto those places has caused me to record them with my camera.  Looking though the viewfinder has taught me from an early age to look at the world from many perspectives.  To focus on the details of life and to live that one moment, that one place or that one person in an up-close and personal way.  I would have to say that living life with a camera attached to my hand has also taught me a lot about letting go.  With all the moving around that I have done, it is hard to have lots of personal possessions.  Sure I see things in the world that I wish I could have forever but I began taking pictures of those things, places, people and learned that I didn’t really need the things themselves, I just needed to be able to record them so that in the future I could go back to them and re-live the original pleasure they gave me.  Fewer possessions in life means more freedom.  Looking through the lens has taught me to see events and people from all angles.  Above, below, from the side, straight on.  I like to think that this aspect of viewing things from many angles has allowed me to become a more tolerant and compassionate person.

Recently my father has been going through his things and in some way preparing for the inevitable.  I assume that when a person reaches the ripe old age of 92, they in some way realize that their time is limited.  My father, among many other pursuits in life, was a clock collector.  He had an amazing collection of antique clocks.  All kinds, wall clocks, mantle clocks, grandfather clocks, Coo coo  clocks, statuary clocks, pocket watches, etc…   My mother had used them as the central decorating theme in our home and when they were both younger and able to keep the clocks wound, mid-night or noon hour at my home was a thing to behold.  Clocks would be chiming, chirping and bonging from every corner of the house.  Well, recently my father and mother came to the conclusion that it was time to let the clocks go.  They didn’t want us, their children, to have to struggle to know the value and sell each of the clocks.  While my father was preparing the clocks for auction he came across something he had forgotten about….an old photographer’s light meter.  “Wynne’s Infallable Photographic Exposure Meter ”  from 1904.  He set it aside.  It would not be going to auction.  He gave it to me.    In recent years I have had to let go of many things.  Possessions, old life styles, my home and even some friendships.   But my Father has seen me through it all.  Stood by me.  Now as a last gesture he has given me something to remember that it was he who first put a camera in my hand and taught me to see the world.   So many lessons I have learned as a result of that passion passed down from father to daughter.  Last night my father asked me if I believed in the power of prayer.  He said he had been praying for God to let him live just a little longer.  He wants to see me through my challenges and difficulties.  I told him that I most definitely believed in the power of prayer.  But I also believe in all that he has already given me.  I know that no matter what, his lessons will see me through whatever comes my way.

Inspiration: My Word For The Year


I have been absent from my blog for a while.  I guess I hit a creative and emotional block and just needed some time to work through the kinks.  Halloween came and went as did Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  Now with 2012 up and running full steam, I will try to get myself back on track.  In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I have given this year a word to live by, that word is Inspiration.  After a prolonged period of sadness, mourning and learning to let go, I have determined that this is the next step, the way I want this year to be for me and all who are a part of my life.

I began this year crocheting a prayer shawl for myself.  Usually I make these for other people but this shawl is for me, a rainbow of inspiration full of vivid & lively colors.  As I work on it I think of all the things that inspire me;  the dreams I have that still need to be realized, the people who support me in those dreams & all my hopes and desires for living a meaningful life.  I remind myself that fear, anger and hurt are depleting emotions.  They paralyze you and keep you from truly living.  Inspiration is just the opposite, no one who feels inspired can be paralyzed, it simply isn’t possible.  Inspired people are people in motion.  Their excitement for what they are doing drives them forward as they make their heart’s desires happen.  This is my year to attempt to live in this way.  My shawl will help me remember this when and if the paralyzing emotions try to take hold of me.

As it happens serendipity crossed my path recently with the sole intention of reaffirming this plan of action of mine.  This past weekend I was visiting a dear friend from college who I had lost with the passage of time.  She and I have found that we have just as much common ground now, if not more, than what we had way back in college.  She lives in Chicago and we decided to go to the city for a day of art, photography and food.  we happened upon a store that sold beautiful creations from rocks, geodes, fossils and semi-precious stones.  I just had to go into that shop !  The colors and the pieces displayed in the windows called to me.  As we were looking around we both asked questions about different pieces displayed.  We were just about to leave when a necklace caught my eye.  It was transparent but within it held wisps of color…some of my favorites…Purple/amethyst and  turquoise green/blue.   These colors swam in the transparency of the stone like water plants swaying with the tide.  I had to ask about this piece and of course as all stones do, this one too had its meaning, its significance.  The shop keeper explained that this stone represented spirituality, health and Inspiration.    SOLD !!!!

I had just been telling my friend about my shawl and in fact had promised to teach her and her daughter to crochet.  I was feeling inspired just reconnecting with my dear friend.  I had to have this necklace not only because it represented the particular journey I want to follow this year but also to symbolize friendship and the incredible inspiration that a friend can be.  Thank You Marita.

I would have to say that with this one small step, I have begun my New Year.

Hello 47


Happy Birthday to me,  Happy Birthday to Me,  Happy Birthday dear Meeeee,  Happy Birthday to ME!

Well here is my post to welcome my new year.     I googled the meaning of the number 47 and there was some pretty far out stuff but I was looking for the opptomistic side of this new beginning year and what I found that pleased me was:

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, begins with these words…In the beginning….   It then goes on to narrating the beginning of the world as we know it.

Verse Number 47 says simply this:  ” And God saw that it was good ”

I am hoping that this will be a good omen to the beginning of my 47th year…that it will be an expression of this new chapter of my life and that when God looks at my progress he will be able to say ”  It was good ”

For the moment I will begin this new year with a practice I have been following since I began this Self Portrait….

Here it is..produced by pummelvision:    Hello 47

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words


We have all heard this expression before and it is more than true.  However, no picture speaks the same thousand words to everyone.  We all bring to viewing anything and everything something of the person we ourselves are.  As we stand or sit before any picture, we see our own feelings, experience our own intuition, see a reflection of ourselves or we project our own experiences and beliefs onto the subject.

This is a picture of me.  I will say no more.  I am wondering what you see when you look at it ???

Playing With Squirrels


Yesterday I found myself yet another day at dreamland lake.  I had a lot of stuff to think about and dreamland lake is one of my local Meccas for thinking.  The temperatures have cooled quite a bit in recent days but with the sun shining it was a beautiful day to be outside.  I laid my thinking blanket on the ground and layed down to look up into the trees.  This reminds me how small I really am, how big the world really is and how transient life is.  It certainly helps to put problems in perspective.  The beauty of nature just kind of seeps into your mind while you watch the branches sway, it lulls you into a peaceful place, frees your mind a little of the pressures of daily life and if that doesn’t allow for space for solutions to problems to creep in, than at least it allows your mind a parenthesis, a pause from the pressure of worry.  While I layed there watching the trees and the sky, the sun broke through a small gap and I raised my hand as if to capture it and hold it for a while. The act of trying to hold light in my grasp, an impossible task, helped me to realize how many things in life just cannot be controlled, held or owned.  I studied my hand there in the light for a while and thought of all the things I use my hands for and how grateful I was to have hands to be able to do all the things I love to do.  Being thankful for the small things we take for granted also helps us to achieve perspective over the many things in life that are simply out of our control.  It was good to remember these simple truths.

As time went by and I was just meditating in the shade, pondering all these things I am saying here when Nature decided, I guess, that I was getting a little too deep and took it upon herself to lighten the mood.  She sent me a friend to remind me about the importance of play in life.   Out of the corner of my eye I saw my new friend skitter by and I looked up to see him trying to engage my attention.  He was not running away from me, although he kept a watchful eye, but rather doing all that he could to make me take notice.   He was running up the trunks of trees and skittering across the branches that were above my head and yes, he was even chattering at me, almost in a scolding tone if you can believe it !   I almost felt like he was saying  ” what are you doing laying there deep in thought when the sun is shining and the weather is perfect ???  ”   ” Come and play with me ! ”

At first he was skittish.  Staying at a safe distance while chattering away non-stop.

But as I snapped picture after picture of him, he got used to me being there and he got bolder.  He held still and I moved in closer.

We played like this for quite a while going round and around the trees of Dreamland lake, he chattering away and me obediently following and snapping pictures.   I don’t know what he was saying to me..but he definitely did not want me to be laying there deep in thought instead of appreciating the beauty of the day and the opportunity to play.

Then……..He got bored or tired of the game, I don’t know which.   I guess there is a time for everything.  A time to play and a time to rest.

So I left him to relax on the tree branch and thought how unfair it was that he pulled me out of my state of meditation only to then bail on our game.  🙂  But with a renewed sense of purpose and energy I walked back into real life and went to photograph the ducks.   They had been squawking at me all afternoon anyway so I decided to give them the attention they had been seeking.

When I left I remembered trying to hold the sun in my hand.  That was impossible but equally impossible was holding onto melancholy while surrounded by so much beauty and life.  I learned this from my friend the squirrel.

Spotlight: Alex in Wanderland


I woke up this morning to be reminded of another friend that is following her passions in a very exciting way.  Her name is Alex and she recently graduated from college.  With that done and behind her she set off to make her dreams come true.  She combines her skills of Diving, Travel and Photography to see the world both land and sea from her own very unique perspective.  She funds her work by teaching diving classes all over the world and getting freelance underwater photo jobs.  She also has her own travel blog that I am sure appeals to other young travelers looking to see the world on a shoe string budget.  She is living the dream.  Her dream.   I Love it !

Spotlight: Vinnie and Feed The Homeless Block Party


A little bit ago I was talking about opportunities that come our way and often go unnoticed.  I have made it my passion to not allow this to happen to me and I am LOVING it !  There is a man named Vinnie here in town, he and his wife own a BBQ restaurant, for 10 years now they have made it their goal to sponsor a block party to feed the homeless.  Vinnie works hard to get the funding for this event by also sponsoring a Father’s day car show where all the proceeds go to the block party.  He also has gotten local people to come and offer their hearts, hands and services to help make it all happen.  My friend David Lee offers his DJ services for music and audio for the performers that come to entertain and through his involvement is how I learned of the event.   My contribution is actually very minimal, I just go full of enthusiasm and support for the event.  I help where and when I can and if nothing else I am a smiling participant in all the days events.  I feel happy and fortunate to be able to be a part of it all.  This is Vinnie:

The Block Party took place on a beautiful August day , the weather could not have been more pleasant.  I sat down in the middle of everything and got my camera out to record all the smiles that were absolutely everywhere.  The event ended with many people receiving blessings from the different groups of young people that came to provide their own unique kind of ministry.  They blessed me too and I truely felt blessed.  I didn’t know any of these people and I don’t know how well they may or may not have known one another but the fellowship that was being experienced there that day was Amazing.  It reaffirmed my conviction to not let opportunities pass me by where I can see humanity at its absolute best.

100 Pictures:  Here are a bunch of the pictures that I took that day.  There are many, as they scroll by you may not want to see them all but pause your busy lives for just a few images and see what I saw that day.

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