Soooo...in the past, I've always LOVED doing photo projects and photo challenges.
Photo challenges are SO SO great. They connect you with others who love photography and, at the same time, blossom your inner creative photography skills.
This January I thought, this is the time I'm going to join...since it's been awhile since I've challenged myself with my camera.
I jumped in on Day 4...which was words to live by.
I didn't actually take a picture of words I saw that day, but I did create a picture with a quote I actually wrote down in my iPhone from the movie that had just watched, Now and Then. (Have you seen that movie?? Oh man, I hadn't watched it in forever...first time I've watched it as mom...still love it, but made me cry!! lol)
After I posted this to my Instagram, with the #fmsphotoaday hashtag, I hung up the January challenge on my wall so I could remember what to be looking for each day with my camera.
As I was looking over each prompt for the entire month, I began to shift. I realized that this isn't WHY I take pictures with my camera and it really isn't what I want to do with my camera.
I just LOVE snapping the JOY that fills my life each day. I never have to go looking for it because it always shows up daily.
And when it shows up, I LOVE to stop, snap and SAVOR it.
I LOVE using my camera to help me shift from currently thinking about all the things that need to be done to thinking about all the good, the beauty, the joy, the fun, the happy, the light and the abundance that fills my day.
I LOVE photo challenges because I LOVE photography, but I'm seeing that I'm not in love with them as much as I thought I was. When I use my camera to go looking for things to take pictures of, it's not fun for me because it feels like I'm forcing it.
I hate forcing pictures!!! ;)
It's when a joyous moment stops me in my busy mama tracks that I LOVE photograph!
I just can't force a photo. It's not in me and it never will be. I ONLY capture what I see...as it's happening...so I can savor the FEELING and so that I can remember that there really is SO much more in my life than the to-dos, the should's, the wants and the lack.
Like here, when I was racing to get ready in the morning last weekend, I look over and there are my kiddos stacking blocks together and it melted my heart, made me smile and filled my insides with happy joy.
So I did what I always do...stopped getting ready, grabbed my phone, sat down by them and captured the moment...the JOY! (because, really, it's moments like these that don't last long...ya know, moments when they're actually playing with the same toy...nicely!!)
After picking up my daughter from school this week, I had to get gas. This was the day the US was frozen!! I was SO focused on filling the car up as quickly as I could so I could get back in the warm car right away because I forgot my gloves and my hands were frrrreeeezing!!!!!
Right when I was done and was just about to open my car door (and jump into the warmth!!!!) C starts yelling out "MOM! MOM!! MOM!!"
So I open her door with, I'm pretty sure my grumpy mama face, because I thought she was going to tell me she dropped her snack cup and that she needed me to get it, but, to my surprise, I was WRONG!!!
She says, "Beautiful Christmas trees!!"
I say, "What? Christmas trees!?!? Where????"
She says, "Over there!"
And I look around...a lot...until I finally see them...way over by the hotel next to the gas station. I had no idea they were there!! Never saw them!!
I get in the car and I look over and sure enough, BIG, beautiful Christmas trees. And all thoughts of just wanting to be "warm" were gone!!
If it wasn't for C, I would have NEVER saw them (because, really, as we grow into adulthood it's pretty easy to miss out on the beauty of life because we're way more focused on the thoughts that are playing over and over in our head) .
So, instead of just starting to drive away and saying to her, "Oh yeah, there ARE Christmas trees over there" so we can quickly get home and get lunch going...I stopped and savored the moment with camera. :)
Then while C was eating her lunch and while I was still making mine, she says, "Look mom, I made a monster face!!"
Instead of me just saying, "Oh yeah!" while I continued on making my lunch...I stopped...got my camera and savored the moment and the JOY that filled her and I from her neat little food creation.
Then, later in the week, while cleaning up the dishes from dinner, baby bro found a new thing to do, which made my mama stomach drop, and, yes, I HAD to stop what I was doing to make sure he didn't slip and fall, and, yes, I grabbed my camera because his JOY in doing this filled me with JOY as well and I wanted to SAVOR this moment...this joy...this feeling...through the lens.
He kept doing this over and over and over again and laughing the entire time. And, I was definitely thinking, why, oh why do boys have to climb like this??? Because it sure can scare the shit outta me!!! Thank goodness the JOY took over!! LOL! :)
And, lastly, while walking out on the patio to let Rusty out (which happened to be while the sun was setting...you might have known it was time for the sun to set, but, for me, I had NO idea because I was tending to both kiddos, cooking dinner and at the same time to letting my dog outside so my thoughts and any concept of time were nowhere near my radar) I glanced up and saw the most beautiful winter sky ever.
It stopped me in my tracks and I took a moment to just soak it in...this has always been my favorite time a day...a time that I don't see as much as I'd like.
So I grabbed my camera and savored it even more!
And that's WHY I take pictures.
No more photo a day challenges for me...only JOY pictures a day!! (because, in my opinion, as we grow older, the biggest challenge of all is staying connected to the JOY that life is...kids have NO problem with this connection at all...but, for me, having my camera in hand, makes it so much easier for me to stay connected to it AND actually SAVOR it)
It's when I take pictures like this I feel SO connected to what I love in life and it really does make me see that there's so much more good in my life than bad.
And, honestly, I can only do what makes my heart sing, which by the way, is my new years resolution for 2014...but, I don't do resolutions, so I guess it's my intention...my guide...but, really, just what I'm choosing to FOCUS ON in 2014!
I can only snap what I love...what I see...what makes me smile...and what brings me joy. I don't have to go looking for it because it always...ALWAYS finds me.
And that, my friends, is what you'll be seeing more of here from now on. JOY pictures of the day!! It's the only way I know how to take pictures. ;)
Hope you'll join me! :)
So tell me...
How do you stop and savor the JOY in your life?
Life IS so SO good...SAVOR it up!