Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How much is just enough?

When it ceases to be fun, that's when you know you are done.

I don't know if that's a famous quote or maybe it was just said by me, but it perfectly explains how I feel right now. I'm really uninspired with my photo project. The quality of my photos is not good (really, really not good). I think because what started out as a fun project has now become a chore. It's like a job now. And not even a good job! So I'm stopping.

I know this decision comes just four days after my previous update, but it's time. I've been on the verge of stopping for a while now. Today just seems like the right day to do it.

I think it's important to say stopping and not quitting. After all it was MY decision to start, so it can be MY decision to stop and at any time. I honestly think that starting another year photo project was not a good idea. I started my first photo a day project almost two years ago. I met my goal and completed a full year. It was great! I got better at photography. It felt creative and inspiring. And looking back now, that's when I should have just stopped. 

But it wasn't all for nothing. In everything I do, I try to learn something and grow within. Here's what I've realized through this journey:

1. Photography is NOT my passion. If it were, I would still be energized to keep going and take a brilliant photo every day. I just don't want to anymore.

2. I'm a perfectionist. Did you notice I said "brilliant" photo? I strive for perfection. When that's no longer apparent or achievable, I stop. And it's hard, really hard, to get a brilliant photo EVERY DAY! Some days you just can't. Yet I would post something every day anyway because it was a daily project! I didn't feel like I could miss a day even though some days I probably should have.

3. I have a short attention span. If it doesn't keep me engaged and interested, I'm done! Plus, I had already met my goal of one year. Thinking I could complete two years was really ambitious.

4. I like round numbers. Just a random thought, but it's true. I'm stopping at photo 140 because it's a nice even number and just feels right. 

5. I was doing this project for the wrong reasons. This is the biggest thing and most important thing that I've learned. The photos I would take were shared on Facebook, on this blog, and on Instagram. Why? Not because I have a photography business. Not because I was trying to gain exposure for monetary gain. No, I believe I was seeking attention, and it became addictive. I can become so easily addicted, and social media is easily addicting! But when you post something to see how many likes you can receive, then you're sharing for the wrong reasons. 

Therefore, I'm switching my focus. My kids are getting older, and I'm not getting any younger. I will be sharing less on Facebook, less on this blog (which is down considerably anyway), and less on Instagram. Sharing milestones is one thing. Sharing something daily???  I've had enough. Time to stop.

One last video to share. The photos I included in this video are my favorites from the 140 photos I have shared from the project. There's some real gems in here, so I'm thankful for that. Hope you enjoy it.

And my photo taking days are NOT over. Heck no... just scaled back. Waaaaaay back to just enough. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

At the midpoint...

I'm mid-way through the month of May. The sun is finally shining, and it's Graduation weekend at Mizzou. Perfect time to give you an update on how my photo project is going this month, right?

It's been a challenge finding interesting things to photograph that begin with the letter M. Some days have certainly been more interesting than others. And some days, well... I've gotten a little distracted. But here are days 1 - 15 for you:

I have 230 days remaining in this photo project. That seems like a lot, doesn't it? And by the way, that's the number of days remaining in 2014 (in case you haven't made that connection yet). It's fun to come up with a monthly theme, but that's also been defeating the purpose of just shooting whatever I want when the moment comes. So... June will have NO THEME! The kids will be ending school. We'll be taking a little vacation as a family. And life is about to slow waaaaay down. I'm really looking forward to some relaxation.

Hope your month is going well. Stay tuned for the video wrap-up at the end of the month!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Day Santa Stopped Being Real

I knew this day would eventually arrive. I just didn't think it would arrive so quickly. I've always been careful and a little bit sneaky because I've wanted to keep the magic alive for as long as I could. I love the magic of Christmas which includes Santa Claus. I would wrap the Santa gifts at work in a different paper than all the other gifts, and I'd keep that paper hidden. Or so I thought... I wasn't really prepared when my youngest child asked me THE question last night...

"Are you and Daddy Santa Claus? Because I see that wrapping paper with all the rest of the wrapping paper.... Santa used that same paper! Don't you lie to me!"

Yep, there's the wrapping paper. And ouch! Don't you lie to me?

I didn't want to hear that accusation because I've never viewed it as a lie. Santa is magic. You know, he's like a card trick, an illusion, smoke and mirrors. Not a lie. That's how I have always felt about bringing the spirit of Santa Claus into my house every Christmas. But she saw it as a lie, and I couldn't have that. So I told her...

"Mommy and Daddy play Santa and buy the gifts that you've received from Santa. But I don't want you to think we have been lying to you. Santa is the spirit of Christmas - love, hope, giving, and joy. Santa is magical!  We give those gifts as Santa because it's fun. We love to see your face light up on Christmas morning. And as long as you believe in the true spirit of Christmas, you'll continue to receive gifts from Santa. Let me ask you this... What if you never received a gift from Santa?"

She really didn't like the thought of that. She realized that it's better to have experienced the magic than to have never experienced the magic at all. But I could tell she desperately wanted Santa to be real. For nine years he was, and she was sad to hear the truth. I have to be honest; I was sad too. My little girl is growing up. Will Christmas be as magical as it was before?

I think so...

"And one day you'll be Santa for your kids, and you will absolutely love it. You'll teach them to believe in something they can't see. You'll teach them to have faith. You'll teach them about giving from the heart and love. And those are the most important life lessons you could ever teach your children. Santa may not be a real person, but what he stands for is absolutely real."

She gave me a hug and told me she wished she could stay little forever. Oh sweetie, you have no idea how much I wish that too.


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