if you have five free minutes…
[found here – Chris Brogan]
Warning. This is a long, but important post.
I remember it so distinctly. The pacing of the halls. I knew I should be in the room with him, holding his hand. He had refused. I had quickly accepted the safe route and thought the world outside his room would be less tumultuous (for me). For that day was the day that Steve would receive a bone marrow biopsy. Rumors of treacherous pains lead me to believe that I couldn’t watch. I felt guilty. Guilty that I wasn’t physically bedside. Either way, pain or not, there was a deeper issue at heart. The results. The unknown outcome. The inability to help. As Steve was experiencing this moment, I was in utter disbelieve and overwhelmed with helplessness. Had I remained bedside during the procedure, I would have worsened the situation. Instead, I chose to roam the hallways in search of some serenity or guidance.
Pacing up and down. Each time, tempted to look through the doorways into the unknown journey that many others had started before me. This was the oncology floor at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. At first thoughts, not exactly a place of serenity and hope. Mixed feelings of intrigue, despair, guilt, and desperation overtook my entire being. The feelings so intense that my heart actually ached. A rare feeling that I had falsely experienced in my younger years. A feeling so strong that it overcomes your entire being. I had heard of people who have collapsed, fainted, or felt dizzy while experiencing this state. But, in the past cynicism had always ruled my thoughts making this feeling seemingly gratuitous and unlikely. However, I was wrong. This time it was unlike any other emotion I had felt. True fear, true despair. For the first time in my life I understood the real meaning of a word. Not only did I understand it, I felt it. Fear, the “feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.” I remember this day distinctly. It was the day I cried, alone, on my home late in the evening. I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive home that day. I knew what it meant to be physically paralyzed by emotion. For someone that has always be in control of emotion, this was unlike anything I had experienced. This day I felt something that only someone threatened with the loss of a loved one, can understand. I felt things like these:
“to feel helpless is devastating”
“possibility of them not being with you”
“every single time they are tired, you have to take it seriously”
“amazed at the generosity of others, but you’d give it up in a second to not see your child suffer”
These are all words spoken by mothers of children with cancer. And, although, I experienced a spouse with cancer, these words resonant with me. As I watched the clip below, I again felt each single word as it is spoken. Throughout the past year, I have met so many amazing people. People that you wish you’d met under different circumstances. We’ve had good friends fight cancer, some winning, some unfortunate and some still fighting. Our very close friend has been fighting Melanoma for almost 2 years now. Originally, not expected to live, he has now had one clear PET scan, but recently reoccurring in his spine and brain. Regardless he has made it this far with the support of others. Friends, family, research and even those he doesn’t know. He emailed me 2 days ago, “life is funny, sad, shocking, raw, amazing, and full of surprises. I love life!!!!” … this just 3 days after brain surgery. He has a true appreciation for friends, family, support and an immense love for his doctors and their dedication to research. I don’t want to get into the politics of health care. But, I do want to address the need for help. Help of people’s daily experiences. Help for research. Help for making people’s journeys as comfortable as relatively possible.
It is with this that I ask for your support. MY DONATION LINK (click here)
Cancer research has helped Steve survive. Years ago he would have passed. I realize there are so many charities in need. But for some reason I am so drawn to one local, becoming International, grass roots charity. Lead by Jeff Castelaz & Jo Ann Thrailkill., Pablove directly benefits Childrens Hospital LA. Unfortunately, their son Pablo lost his battle at the heart wrenching young age of 6. But, they are still so thankful for the treatment and care they received. And, even though Steve is an adult and Pablove Foundation is for Childrens Hospital LA, I feel that any cancer research helps everyone. You really don’t know when it may effect you, a loved one, a friend of a friend. The more we research, we prevail. The more we make families and children comfortable at the hospital, the more they prevail. The more access to treatment, the higher the cure rates. All obvious stuff. All in need of financing. Jeff & Joann deserve your help. They are incredible leaders, fighters, givers and just amazing human beings. They don’t want people to ever have to feel the loss they still feel on a daily basis.
Here are some mothers who unfortunately know cancer. Support them.
You can support below. Jeff Castelaz is riding 3000 miles across the US on his road bike to raise money for Childrens Hospital.
(don’t worry you don’t have to sponsor per mile, but you can)
If you need resources for you or a loved one, go here
And, lastly i leave you with 3 pictures of Steve’s journey
…full of waiting and wondering and unknown
some pain and frustration (sorry the photo is blown out)
And in Steve’s True nature, some laughter.
Thank you. MUCH.
Just thinking today about how much I love the rain. Call me crazy.
It hasn’t rained since Steve was diagnosed.
It felt clean. A fresh start.
With the turning of the seasons, comes the turning of the minds. A revitalization.
I saw this. I’d say it’s straight to the point. AKA poignant. And, although it puts a negative spin on rain, you get the point.
And a picture because lulu always brightens our day when she comes to visit. Even of it’s raining outside and she can’t play. She’ll soon forgot the ‘pain’ once the rainbow comes out.
There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.
Three is the magic number that it takes for the human mind to establish a pattern. In science, DNA has a triplet codon system. In geology we have the 3 basic planes: Above- Surfaced- Beneath. In astronomy we find the 3 types of galaxies: ellipticals – spirals – irregulars. Freud proposed that the psyche was divided into three parts: Ego- Superego – Id. In Christianity there is the trinity. In Taoism, the Three Pure Ones. There are three main Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Some three’s are not so great: 3 strikes and you’re out; In Vietnam, it is bad luck to take a photo with three people in it; Luck, especially bad luck, is often said to “come in threes”; It’s been 3 weeks since my last blog (bad bad bad)
Some three’s just are: The Three Stooges & not to be forgotten The 3 Amigos; Three dimensions to an object: height, width & depth; In Bowling, 3 strikes in a row = a turkey; Life is in three, past-present-future.
Some three’s are good: 3 scoops of ice cream; it’s 3pm and I’m in my pajamas (I’m kidding, maybe); 3 is a magic number; Steve just finished cycle 3 of chemo, off to 4, 5 & 6.
Now you may ask yourself, why I am talking about 3’s (mostly it’s because I like to talk)
I’m sure most of you have heard of Jasmine Star. Well if not, you have now. She recently put on her 3rd workshop (yes i used the number three again). And yes, I tried THREE times to get in. And, as luck would have it, the 3rd time was a charm. And, let me tell you it WAS a charm. But, if I’m being honest (uh oh you say, here she goes…), I was a bit torn about attending due to recent events and my lackluster for pretending to be happy. Consequently, I was scared. Yes, me, I was scared. The Chicken in me knew that Jasmine had such an upbeat personality and massive amounts of energy. How was I going to put a happy face on ALL day. (Luckily she doesn’t offer refunds for wimps.) I woke up that morning, slapped myself in the face a few times and Wahla/Viola, I made that mental flip in my head. I promised myself to practice my own words of seize the day. It helped when I remembered that I’m not the only one. Who better to have as a mentor than someone that has been through a similar (hers definitely a different degree of scary) obstacle.
Even though I only have a couple of workshops to compare, I have to say the Jasmine Star Workshop was worth the wait, the time, the money and the mental energy. It was an all encompassing day, taught by an all encompassing woman. We covered branding and blogging, shooting and processing, client relations and networking. Professionally, I was, yet again, inspired by her work. Personally, I was inspired by just the very presence of her mother (thanks “mom” – you said I could call you that). Romantically, I was inspired by the way she and J.D. care for each other – he constantly made sure she was hydrated. Nothing says true love like hydration. (J.D. thank you for lunch, ice cold water and your kind smile).
I was inspired. I am motivated. (I swear there are photos on this post somewhere, not just ramblings). I am thankful that there are those who not only teach for financial reward, but they pay it forward with 100% of their heart and soul. And even though it was hard for me to get up and go, I think I left knowing a little more of myself.
The Teacher: Jasmine Star
Venue: The Club at Woodbury
The Models: Melinda & Vern
The Flowers: Carissa of JL Designs – seriously see for yourself…
The Beauty: Vivian Tran of All Made Up – i have never seen anything like this before & she gave the girls a lil makeup gift!!!
The Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Seriously, Jasmine has a way of motivating the masses, all the while maintaining a wicked fashion sensibility.
Melinda and Vern. Yep you can see they are still in love after almost 2 years of marriage. (and they are hot hot hot)
She graciously shared her settings while shooting, nurturing “the talent” and motivating the masses. I’d say easy contender for top 10 multi-tasker.
Between the moustache and the sunglasses, need I say more about S*T*Y*L*E*
I don’t think I have even seen a dress this stunning. Yikes!
Melinda (who came to us via my ever so awesome friend Carlie, Go tell Carlie how beautiful she is) was stunning
I really don’t know how to express the simple elegance and amazingness (yes i made that word up) of both the flowers (check out the matching boutonniere) and hair (Vivian, can you come over everyday please and make me look whimsical!??!). I truly and honestly have Never seen such creativity. If you are a bride, these 2 ladies are your golden ticket. If you are a photographer, surround your clients and yourself with greatness, like these…Jasmine, J.D. & Mom thank you again. Even though I was quiet, I had much contemplation, joy and gratitude.
If you’re anything like me you have about 84 blogs in your RSS feeder. Besides all the fun shopping ones, I have photographers ranging from newborns to news coverage to newlyweds. I’ve never found myself to be a person narrowed down to one element in life. It’s hard enough for me to choose between restaurants, the color of my hair and what to wear for the day, but to lock down my photography to one area or type is difficult. I know there are experts out there that will call me naive or foolish, but I guess that’s part of my learning curve. Maybe one day I’ll look back on all this and “call me crazy” (which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary). There are those who preach that narrowing your focus or specialty is important to refining your talent and being clear with your clients. I totally see this point. But, my initial obsession with photography began with the the desire to capture a moment in time or the beauty of a person’s soul while telling a story of their life. To me this applies to all aspects of image capture, from weddings, to birth, to the daily perspective of a child, to my own family, to the beauty in a small tiny flower. It’s my connection with the subject that is (if you must put a name on it), my “style”. My relationship with my client comes across in the images my camera happens to freeze during the moment. While I am mostly a child & budding wedding photographer, I have a longing to travel the world and create social awareness for humanitarian causes as well.
The point of all this is to say, I think I really love photography. Well, I should revise and say I love photography. I love how powerful the medium is in conveying a story. Whether it is a story of love or famine or birth or death, it is a window into the souls of others. A medium that brings awareness to all and levels the playing field of life to reveal the humanity within all people, within in all places of this earth and within all belief and economic systems. It allows people to be seen as human beings. I know that I may excel in one particular area, but overall I love to take inspiration from everywhere, not just other people’s wedding photos (although I do stalk about 56 wedding blogs. i am guilty.)
One of my all time favorite photographers once said:
“ I don’t believe a person has a style. What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them. What is there comes out.” – Sebastiao Salgado
Here are a few photos that have had a huge impact on me. They are NOT my photographs (I wish they were):
by brett walker
Salgado, “Genesis” Project, yet to be released
And Because they don’t all have to be heavy hearted (even though I see joy in some of the above):
Saw this yesterday. Pretty much shows how photographs can tell a story, together: