Tag Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

A Season of Love, Laughter and snow

23 Feb

It’s funny how words can have so many different meanings. Season for example, could mean “what’s the weather like” or “what phase of life are you in?”

For this week’s photo challenge, we were asked to share a photo that exemplifies season. I found a photo that captures both the weather and my life, I’m just that good!

Right now where I live in mid-west USA we are experiencing winter. I really can’t complain that much though, Old Man Winter just found us last week and the 8 inches of snow he dumped on us melted three days later. We had one or two days of flurries in November, 50 degrees and green grass on Christmas day and in January there were days I left work and didn’t bother to put my coat on. I hope we are almost done with winter though, I’m ready for shorts and sandals.

On the flip side of the season’s coin, my life has entered a new season. Scott and I are no longer in a long distance relationship, THANK GOODNESS! For the first time, we are living in the same place! It has been exciting coming home after work and finding him there! And learning new things about each other. It’s so wonderful to have him here every single day! I have never felt so happy and full of possibilities. We are also excited because we’ll soon be looking for our own place and traveling to see his family in Chicago in the coming months for his sister’s wedding! So many exciting things in store – I have a feeling it’s only going to get better from here!

A couple laughing in the snow

Photo credit: Photography By Constance

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

24 Jun

When I first saw the topic of this photo challenge, these lyrics popped instantly into my head:

…the silence isn’t so bad, til I look at my hands and feel sad because the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly… – Owl City, Vanilla Twilight

Florida Sunset, Twilight

This is one of my very favorite songs, even if it does make me sort of happy-sad (yes, that is a thing). It’s about all the things that are between these two people who are in love, who for unknown reasons, can’t be together at that very moment in time. I thought of posting a photo of my hand and the empty spaces, literal symbol of the above lyrics. But that seemed easy and sad and  overdone.

There is a lot of between in my life these days – 3 more work days between me and the weekend, 6 months between us and Christmas Eve, 13.1 miles between the start and finish line of the half marathon I’m training for, 7 years between my youngest sister and I, 1 floor between where I’m typing this blog and where my mom is reading her book, just a wall and window between me and the storm brewing outside. Betweens are everywhere I look, but the worst one by far is the distance between me and the person who holds my heart.

…I’ll watch the night turn light blue, but it’s not the same without you, because it takes two to whisper quietly…

And so, it is a photo I took 3 years ago, when we both lived in Florida, that symbolizes the passing of days, years and time between us. That peaceful moment before the sun fully sets and the moon fully rises, in that perfect moment it’s easy to believe anything is possible. It’s easy to pretend he isn’t far away or that it’s lonely or that I cling to my cell phone because it carries messages between us.

This is a January sunset, taken from my apartment balcony on my way to his apartment. I don’t recall what we did that night, most likely nothing more exciting than watching YouTube or a movie and laughing at the other for silly things they did or said. I miss those nights. Those moments. The farthest distance between us was the walk from my apartment to his, a whole 100 yards or so.

Now there are cell phones and spotty service areas, different work schedules, lives, not-so-great internet connections and hundreds of miles between us. Minutes feel like days, days feel like months, months feel like years and years feel like an eternity when the person you want to hold hands with is at the other end of the country (thankfully still the same time zone).

I am thankful for the planes that take me between here and there.

I will close with this, for now, between is a negative, a thing I desperately want to change. But it’s also a positive. The love and friendship and memories shared between the two of us are constantly growing and evolving and strengthening. And from now until the end of time, I can’t think of a better person to fill the spaces between my fingers. ❤

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

24 Nov

Have you ever walked into work and been surprised to see yourself on a poster? I have…. here, take a look!

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I use to work at The Walt Disney World Resort®. My first role was as a Quick Service Food & Beverage cast member at Disney’s Restaurantosaurus  in Animal Kingdom from August 2010 – beginning of January 2011. One night after the park closed and we were cleaning the kitchen, there was a group of us who started singing Christmas songs as we worked, and we sounded GOOD, there were harmonies and flowing melodies! And from there our little choir of Resto Cast Members was born!

We would sign Christmas carols outside the restaurant with the guests at random times throughout the day! Nothing made me happier than having my manager come take over my position so I could go sing! (Have I mentioned I LOVE singing just as much as I LOVE Disney?) Sometimes other cast members would join us as you can see from the picture above. She was a character attendant for Pluto and Goofy and one of the places we would sing was along the path the characters took to enter and leave DinoLand. There was this one time Goofy stopped to “direct” our little choir! It was one of the funniest and most adorable things I had the opportunity to witness. The guests LOVED every minute of it!

My favorite stories though are when little kids would come running over and request their favorite songs just so they could sing with us. My heart swelled every time just knowing this little thing, singing Christmas carols at Disney would be a memory these families would take with them. And I was a little part of that magic.

I don’t recall having this picture taken. And I was honestly shocked when I came into work one morning and I found a smiling, singing me on the wall. But if there was ever to be an unexpected picture of myself hanging for all my coworkers to see, I’m glad it was this one as it so clearly showcases me in my element — singing, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories for perfect strangers. Who could ask for more in a photo?

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

31 Aug

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. – Isak Dinesen

Feet in the Mediterranean Sea

My feet in the Mediterranean Sea at night. The water was cold, but relaxing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a fish out of water. I love being in the water. And to be honest, I’m not sure where this love for the water came from. I can count the number of times I’ve been to the ocean on one had as I have always lived in the mid-west USA…no oceans close by, and no, The Great Lakes don’t count.

The first  time I saw the ocean I was about four years old and I went on vacation with my grandparents to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins who were living in one of the Carolinias at the time. Since I was so young, I really don’t remember much. I’ve been told about the trip and seen pictures but that’s not the same.

I wouldn’t return to the ocean until I was 11 years old during a family vacation to Florida. I remember splashing in the waves and wondering if there were any sharks around (I had this weird fascination with sharks, and I guess on some level they still fascinate me today – but not enough to participate in Shark Week, go figure.)

Up to this point in my life I have only seen the Atlantic Ocean, but that would change with a visit to Northern California when I was 14 years old. I had this image of the beach: hot sand, beautiful rolling ocean waves and the cute surfers – everything I’d ever seen in the movies I wanted to see in real life. Can you imagine my shock when I was informed that was what the beaches in SOUTHERN California looked like. Here’s what we saw:

A beach in Northern California, Pacific Ocean It was so cold in late June that we had on hoodies and long pants! WHAT?! Too cold to swim, too cold to surf, too cold to do anything but dip your toes in quickly just to say you had. But then, when the water comes down from Alaska, that’s about all you can do.

And then finally, FINALLY, I made it out of the country in 2007, at the age of 18, and I found myself on one of the beautiful beaches of Costa del Sol in southern Spain at sunrise.

Costa del Sol, Spain at sunrise I was in Spain as part of a school trip during Spring Break my senior year of high school. A friend and I woke up a couple of hours before sunrise, “snuck” out of our hotel (we didn’t much care for the teacher who was chaperoning and she didn’t seem to care too much what we were doing as her husband and son were also on the trip, so we were kind of left on our own and took full advantage of it) and walked the 3 or 4 blocks to the beach in the dark.

The view was breathtaking. The colors indescribable and believe me when I say the above picture does not do the actual view justice. It was so peaceful sitting on the beach in the early morning hours. We watched that little fishing boat, listened to the waves and soaked in the beauty. As I sat there, it was easy to let go of everything, to stop thinking and just be – be happy, be calm, be at peace for just a few precious moments, while all around us the city was waking up.

I can’t explain the connection I have with the ocean. I love the rhythmic sound of the rolling waves, the call of the seagulls, the song of the whales and dolphins. Maybe it’s because it’s unpredictable, one moment the water is calm and serene, the next hostile and punishing, a mighty power that seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The color is intriguing – deep blues, turquoise, teal and crystal clear. It holds stories, secrets and mysteries in its depths, and wonders we are only beginning to uncover. It’s another world from the one we live in – oh how I long to be a mermaid sometimes just so I could explore and discover what’s really down there. I see the ocean as a reminder that things aren’t always as they appear on the surface – danger or beauty could be closer at hand than the casual observer realizes. It’s learning to recognize the difference that will determine your success and survival.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

11 Jun

For this week’s photo challenge we were to show a fleeting moment..a moment that almost passes before we recognize it’s even there. On The Daily Post blog, the author describes it as those “quiet, precious moments between the ones we love.” I wasn’t sure what moment I wanted to capture, my new nephew smiling and giggling, my dog looking out the window, waiting for his favorite humans to come home, the wonder and excitement of a little kid seeing Disney World for the first time, or the look of love on the faces of an old couple when they think no ones watching. There are so many moments I could think of, but then a summer photo opportunity presented itself over the weekend in a lucky-I-was-ready kind of shot!

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My little sister and I had been sitting on our front porch for maybe 40 minutes or so waiting for this little hummingbird and his friend to reappear. They had been out there all afternoon socializing at the feeder, but you know the moment you want to take a picture, they instantly become camera-shy and fly off somewhere, never to return. Or so we thought…

Macayla was turned around talking to me when this little brave one returned, and I had the iPad ready! I have never taken photos so quickly, and most of them turned out terribly blurry as a result of my carelessness. When Macayla realized I was no longer paying attention to her story, she turned to see what had captured my attention, and this beautiful shot was taken moments before our little friend flew away for the night. But I’m not sad, he’ll be back, they always come back, it’s just a matter of watching and having the camera ready!

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

4 Jun

Signs.Funny, poignant, symbolic, incorrect, informative, foreshadowing…there are so many signs in the world. – The Daily Post

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I was wondering around Lowe’s yesterday after work waiting for my dad to decide what plants we were going to get for our garden. We left with one package of pumpkin seeds…productive trip, eh?!

That’s when I saw this sign, it was plastered EVERYWHERE in the garden section, you really couldn’t miss it if you tried. Now, I know this was meant to get you thinking about the sun your plants need to grow and whatnot, but like most things I encounter, it spoke to me on a whole different level.

“It’s time to shine” the sign read. Shine in what? My career? My community? In my family? In life?

It’s time to remember the person I am and the better person I’m trying to become. It’s time to hold my head up high and say “I’ve got this!” “You can’t stop me from reaching my full potential!” It’s time to be bright and bold and daring. It’s time to get excited and find adventure. It’s time to let the world see that I’m not broken, I’m not defeated, I’m an original, not a copy and I’m not a failure.

It’s time to make everyone notice I’m on the way up in life, it’s time to SHINE!

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

25 May

In the Background: The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us. But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces.” – The Daily Post

Purple flowers in focus as a soldier walks in the background, face hidden

As soon as I saw the topic for this week’s photo challenge I went searching for this photo. It is about 4 years old now but I still get chills when I see it. And to think, this shot was pure luck, no staging, one of those perfect moments forever captured in a still-shot. I wish I could find the file without the added text, but then again it aids in the storytelling of this very special photo. Let me explain…

As I have already mentioned, this photo is 4 years old. I was a sophomore in college and my older cousin, Alan (who I adore and think of more as my older brother because he has treated me like a little sister all my life. I have no brothers of my own and his sister and I are the same age, so we are kind of a packaged deal. He pestered us both, made lots of jokes and had our backs growing up. He’s two years older than me, so you can see the relationship!) Anyways, Alan was graduating from Basic Training in Ft. Jackson, SC in 2009 and I got to make the trip down there with his parents, his sister Manda, future wife Erica and our grandparents. We were all so proud of him! We got to see his base and watch him graduate, it was a very emotional weekend.

And as Alan was taking us around, I was the “unofficial photographer” for the weekend….partly because my aunt was so excited to see him and emotional she knew she’d forget to take lots of pictures to scrapbook and partly because let’s face it, this is me we’re talking about. My camera is an extension of my arm. I hardly EVER go anywhere without it, because you never know when the perfect picture will present itself, which brings me back to my photo for the week.

Alan had stopped to point out something (a building a person, a drill course, I don’t remember now) and tell us a story about it when I noticed these BEAUTIFUL purple flowers blowing in the wind. So naturally, I start taking photos of them. The shots were nice but the composition was all off and that’s when I knelt down and saw it through the lens on my camera, the perfect visual representation of something BEAUTIFULLY STRONG.

Here’s why I love this photo. The flowers are this bold purplish-pink color and immediately the eye is drawn to them. The branches provide beautiful curving, dark contrasting lines to offset the color. And then if you look closely, hidden in the background among the green of the trees and the grass is a soldier in camo, with his face hidden. He could represent anyone’s son, brother, cousin, uncle, father, friend…anyone. I’m glad that he’s out-of-focus because it forces you to really look for him, and once spotted he becomes what your eye is drawn to, the real subject of this photo, the strength and beauty of America. I choose to title this shot “Beautifully Strong” because it’s a beautiful sacrifice these brave men and women who serve our country make. They must be strong in their decision and their families, loved-ones, friends and those left behind must also be strong enough to support them.

How fitting a topic and photo for this Memorial Day weekend, I couldn’t be more proud of my cousin and all my other family members who are currently serving or have served. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to keep us safe. I love you all! ❤