Real. Amazing. Beautiful. Life.

I was not raised to appreciate the beauty and wonder around me.  

I do not recall being taught that lesson that I hope to on occasion succeed at imparting upon my own children, to inhale life deeply and exhale gratitude.  I came to marvel at life and the beauty inherent within, on my own terms.  I tended my own garden and grew my own soul big enough to learn how to fall in love with each individual moment I'm blessed with in this current incarnation, which when one really considers the blessing of this experience festival we like to call life, it is nothing at all if not far too brief.

I am not writing this to preach to you the benefits of gratitude, though they are many.  

I am writing this now as a reminder to myself to not forget the ongoing practice of trying to be human, well.  The air outside is thick and sticky.  And much too warm.  I am 8 months pregnant in late July in Central Florida and I have been whining too much to myself in my own head space. And worse yet, I haven't been making photographs… or art journals… or really much of anything (aside, of course, from what is sure to be yet another wondrous little human).  I've gotten lazy in my practice of mindfulness and let slip my skills of tending joyfully to the moment I'm in.  I've had a thousand or more excuses as to why I can't… excuses disguising my refusal to create.  Then just yesterday as I sat down to upload my new Facebook timeline cover, I paused to really consider the tagline I chose for my photography. I stopped to really remember why I started making photographs and how much this particular art form has taught me about living well.

Real. Amazing. Beautiful. Life.  

I don't make photographs because the world is experiencing any shortage of images, or photographers. I make photographs because capturing the magic and beauty in the everyday, in the moments that at first glance can look so tragically mundane, is as vital to my being as the next breath I'm going to take. I make photographs as a reminder to myself and to those that view my images, that life is far too beautiful.. and brief.

There will always be something that isn't quite right. It's going to be too hot outside, or if I ever finally get to Colorado, I'm sure it will be too cold.  This city, this state, is going to be too boring. I am going to be too boring. My belly is too big, my body hurts, the kids are too loud, the needs of my family too great, the stack of bills too high, the to do list will continue to grow…  The world is too big, the sky is too blue, the grass is too green. Life is too perfect. right now. in this very moment.  I think today, I'll just quit bitching and get back to living and breathing the beauty.