Journal

What We Remember

Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

What We Remember

What we remember…what we forget…the heart of our mind speak…a source of much joy or tearful regrets…the memories we replay again and again…rewound and reliving…the loop never ends…the good times…the laughter…the smiles shared with friends…some memories we will cherish…from now till the end…held onto like treasure…stored deep down inside…stories we’ve collected…some that we hide…cruel words and poor choices…sorrow and lament…guilt and repentance…locked somewhere within…seeking forgiveness…accepting His love…a free gift for our choosing…bought with His blood…self talk and mind speak…a blessing or curse…hold onto the good times…learn from the worst…focus on family…love and good friends…your children and grandkids…again and again…relive the memories that build you up from within…childhood adventures…a song from back then…a coach or a teacher…your first dance and first kiss…family reunions and camping in tents…a child’s first words…and then their first step…their first day of school…how fast the years went…grandkids that cuddled while rocking them to sleep…now running to the toy box to make you some tea…soccer and church plays…school concerts and events…sports and robotics…again and again…first Beaver’s ball game…meeting their friends…being there for each other…loyal to the end…doing life together with family and friends…a lifetime of memories…the loop never ends…replaying and reliving the stories from within…His love and forgiveness…a gift with no end…

What We Remember

Home On Wheels

Posted by on August 5, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

Home On Wheels

This well worn travel trailer parked in waist deep grass appears to be settling in for a long stay at its final destination point. It left me wondering about the memories shared by a young family making their maiden voyage in their sleek “home on wheels”. Did they make trips to the coast to enjoy the winter storms, the salt air and the crashing waves from the comfort of their wood paneled walls and turquoise Formica counter tops? Or were Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves among the local natural wonders checked off their bucket list of “must see” attractions, each captured in faded black and white photos stored randomly in a shoe box restng near the Mason jar half full of dusty grey volcanic ash gathered on another of their family adventures. With children now full grown and moved on, was this once shiny abode carefully backed into the far corner of the deep narrow lot one last time by the owner who had invested in a dream and now reaped the happy memories of cramped quarters and the cheerful echoes of laughter, forever etched into his heart and mind.

Home On Wheels

Parked and Dusty Memories

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

Parked and Dusty Memories

Parked and dusty memories…stored fondly in a quiet place, reserved for those who’ve touched our hearts and left their mark while passing through our busy lives. Favorite stories…family tales…photos, keepsakes, homemade gifts…young children’s handprints cast in clay. Faded papers…sports events…high school yearbooks…programs from an 8th grade play. Scraps of fabric…quilts and dolls and baby shoes…pocket knives and boy scout books…treasures stashed in every drawer and every nook. Circumstances bring us here…random thoughts and passing years…mixed emotions…smiles and tears. Standing in an empty home filled with 50 years of days now gone…a family scrapbook filled with things…some remembered…others odd and hard to place…years and years of gathered stuff…keepsakes…cook books…cobwebs…dust and endless love. Making choices…what to save…sorting, grouping, scratching heads. Memories triggered by hidden finds…of loved ones passed…a different day…another time. A story shared then back to work…sentimental value measured first…praying for His guiding hand…to make wise choices…to trust His plan.

Parked and Dusty Memories

Safe Haven

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

Safe Haven

“A nest like a home…created with care…stitched together with love…safe haven to share. Built of twigs and soft moss…and white cotton string…a blue strand of ribbon…a few shiny things. Wrappers and feathers…an old lace from a shoe…each patiently gathered…and woven like glue. A collage built with purpose…a young family’s nest…where delicate eggs will soon lie at rest. Created with love…done so with care…a nest like a home…a safe haven to share.”

I have long been intrigued with the concept of “building a nest” when moving into a new space…a home, an office, a work shop, a blank canvas waiting to be “painted” to feel like it is truly our own. I enjoy the hunt for just the right pieces, right colors, textures and elements that reflect who we are, what we treasure and value, taking on a comfortable feel that welcomes us back each time we return. Over the years, my wife and I have gathered an eclectic collection of artwork and pottery, relics and books and photos and “stuff”, with the hunt bringing nearly as much pleasure as enjoying our finds when they reach their new home. Second hand stores, Goodwill and St. Vincent’s, garage sales, estate sales, thrift shops and art fairs…frequently visited, seeking out treasures which capture our eye or trigger an emotion, a memory, a story, a smile deep inside. Their value is personal, based on the connection, frequently measured by the simple sense of pleasure of adding a perfect new “twig” to our comfortable nest. With the passing of time, our nest seems to be shrinking, with more treasures than space, complete with grandparent’s eye glasses specially equipped with large blind spots, unable to see an ark full of stuffed animals, plastic dump trucks and doll houses, pirate hats and eye patches, Polly Pockets and tea sets, Lincoln logs and much more. A once pristine carpet now reads like a road map, with highways and by-ways and spills from last Christmas (and Easter and birthdays and days just because) clearly marked for quick reference, well-known and well traveled…a nest shaped by memories and laughter, a nest we call home. Bursting with found treasures, good times and gatherings, straining at the seams, a comfortable safe haven, well-worn and familiar, the place of our dreams.

Safe Haven

 

Reflections

Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

Reflections

Old friends are like gifts that give without taking…valued and treasured, always there when you need them. They have time to listen and reason, to hold up the mirror, ask the hard questions, to be honest and straight with you without passing judgment. Friendships forged and carefully crafted, shaped and then tested by the unyielding trial of time and mistakes, laughter and fun, tears and frustrations, all in the blink of an eye with the passing of years. Reflections of adventures shared, milestones passed, good memories held tightly, disappointments forgiven, unexpected rough patches, incredible highs and day-to-day experiences which come together to form the tattered and treasured scrapbook of our lives. Trusted friends, like a favorite book, ready to pick up where you last left off with them, when reunited both still on the same page…consistent and true, same story, same author. God gives us choices, who we decide to align with, the handful of close friends, the ones we do life with. Our old friends we’ve chosen, like mirrors on the wall, reflecting our values, our scratches and similar flaws, shared lives and events spent with those who we love, who we trust and relate to, undeniable bond. His love and forgiveness the most important choice we will know. A love given freely to those who would choose Him, the best gift of all. A choice we weigh and freely accept, deciding who we align with, who we select, who we choose to do life with, to trust and respect.

Old Friend WM

Aging Friend

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

Aging Friend

An aging friend with classic lines, grey and weathered, a seemingly proud yet frail stance. I have been driving past this old barn on my daily commute for several years now. Tucked back off the road partially hidden behind over-grown fruit trees and once decorative shrubs, I cannot remember ever having passed by without my eye being drawn to catch a deliberate glance of this old friend with her moss-covered roof and tattered shingles. There is something enticing to me about imagining the storms and events that this old barn has surely endured. It is reassuring to see her still standing on each brief passing visit day-after-day as I go about my routine. Deep inside I know the day will surely come when gravity and Father Time will gently pull her down to rest and sleep in the fields which she has stood guard over for so many years but I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t want it to happen on my watch. Surely if she could understand just how much her presence and her continued strength and brave example mean to me and other daily passersby who catch a glimpse, a fleeting glance, a sign of calm and simpler times when life was not so rushed and filled with expectations, goals and roles and questions why. On a few isolated occasions, I have stopped by the roadside long enough to catch a closer look, to better see and appreciate this aging friend of mine. This visit last spring stays fresh in my memory, when the lilacs were in full bloom, their fragrance drifting in the air. I snapped this photo of the old barn posed gracefully behind the pink blooms which seemed to capture the beauty of her timeless lines and enduring spirit. I have often wondered what stories she may have to tell if only I had the time to get to know her better…to learn about her younger days when children played in the hay loft, laughing and swinging on ropes from fresh hewn beams. As I have grown older and greyer myself, life’s lessons are helping me to better understand how important and meaningful it can be to take the time…to make the time…to spend with loved ones who I have long admired and cherished…who have weathered storms of their own and endured events which they would love to share and talk about if only I could slow down long enough to enjoy and listen and appreciate the stories of their younger days. The gift of time and listening…a loving hug…a story shared…a hand held tight…does she understand just how much she means to me…how much I admire her strength and brave example…her loving smile and sense of calm in the face of the approaching storm. Still teaching me after all these years…to smile and love and to be okay with being scared and shedding tears. Fleeting time to share and hold…to embrace each moment that unfolds. Grey and aging frail friend…I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t want this to be happening on my watch. Aging Friend

Yesterday A Dream Away

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 0 comments

Yesterday A Dream Away

“Yesterday a dream away…a snapshot from another day…a shoebox filled with memories…of Polaroid’s and black and whites…of birthdays past and first prom nights…a lifetime filled with smiles and tears…with children’s laughter…passing years…a snapshot from another day…as close as now…a dream away…

When I first came across this abandoned homestead I could not help but wonder what untold stories it held within. An elegant lady in an earlier day, dressed in a crisp coat of white, adorned with tasteful hints of spindles and trim. Surely a source of wide smiles and pride, a favorite gathering place for family events, where memories were made and milestones came and too quickly went…a child’s first steps, first tooth, and first bike. Summer potlucks out back, cousins laughing and playing, dad’s well-used old truck parked in the shed. I have to admit to being left melancholy by a find like this, knowing that this empty shell once called home now sits abandoned filled with a family’s stories, some perhaps left untold. I glance at this house and have thoughts of the many times that I have sat on the couch with other family members in mom and dad’s home, with the tattered box filled with favorite old photos and the stories that unfold…laughter and sadness, loved ones we miss…a moment in time held there in your hand, emotions relived, captured on film, saved in a placeYesterday A Dream Away reserved in your heart. Snapshots of children, now parents themselves, memories visited from the box where they sit. A simple reminder that treasures don’t last, possessions held tightly, eventually must pass. A difficult life lesson which my loved ones and I are now living out, like so many other families dealing with loss and change and difficult decisions, prayers and requests for God’s tender love. Memories and snapshots stored deep inside turn out to be the real gold, the true source of belonging and happiness and pride, to value and hold on to as long as we can, as long as we share them and tell them and keep them alive. My hope is to leave here with no stories left untold, with loved ones left knowing that I loved them because they were told…

Rusted Tin and Weathered Boards

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 2 comments

Rusted Tin and Weathered Boards

Rusted tin and weathered boards, simple scenes of barns and sheds, winding roads and fresh plowed fields all trigger pleasant thoughts of years gone by. My enjoyment of these unassuming rural surroundings stems from growing up in Willamina, Oregon, a small town nestled near the forest covered coast hills lining the Willamette Valley. My childhood memories bring back thoughts of a community of hard working people…loggers, farmers, mill workers and families bound together by an appreciation for simple pleasures…Friday night football games in the brisk chill of autumn, family reunions and potluck dinners, 4th of July fireworks at the high school field with carefully placed blankets staking claim on favorite vantage points as sparklers dance and darkness falls. Family drives on the rural roads in and around my hometown during my childhood led to my love of many of the local barns and homesteads. The familiar route to my grandparent’s house up Willamina Creek was filled with anticipation, rounding the sharp curve near the old Fendall School building, then passing grandma Dent’s farm with the big barn where memories of exploring the fields with my cousins still live, catching a quick view of Mendenhall’s barn and property across the creek where I first learned to ride on a long wooden sled while stacking hay bales emerging from the dusty, groaning innards of the baling machine towed by a tractor operated by my good friend, classmate, and hay boss…an employee/employer relationship that was the source of some of my favorite escapades as a teenager. Fate smiled on my friend at that young age, placing him in the seat of that tractor instead of perilously bouncing on the slats of the wooden sled eating dust and wrestling hay bales…it only seems predictable that some mischief would ensue.  Fast approaching my grandma and grandpa Blackwell’s farm, I can remember glancing out the side window’s of my parent’s station wagon looking at the bridge that led to the Fendall place. A couple of more bends and there it was…my grandparents home up on the hill near the huge black walnut tree. Memories of riding inner tubes down the steep hill next to their house comes to mind, a fire burning in a 55 gallon drum at the top of the hill to warm your hands before the next trip down…grandma’s homemade chili, laughter and good times shared with family and friends waiting for us at the house. Simple pleasures, simpler times, rusted tin and weathered wood…childhood dreams still live within…just close your eyes…remember when…

Classic Red WM

The Gentle Pull of Gravel Roads

Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio | 6 comments

The Gentle Pull of Gravel Roads

The gentle pull of gravel roads, dust rolling up in the rear view mirror with the welcome sound of crunching rock announcing my departure from the daily rush and noise and mindless push to get from A to B and back again before the car behind me…a welcome detour…peaceful and still. I have learned to gladly trade the few minutes saved on the pavement for the soothing sights and sounds and slower pace of the gravel roads that twist and turn through the rural landscape that lies between my home and my workplace. I have enjoyed the discovery of weathered barns and rusted tin, old farm trucks and rolling hills that quietly wait along the side of winding gravel roads for those who dare to leave their familiar blacktop trails in exchange for a rural route, a glimpse of then, a simpler time. I have enjoyed capturing images of this rural Northwest landscape and sharing it with others. I am pleased to invite you to come along with me for the ride and explore the back roads and beauty that can be found here just off the pavement, around the next bend…my hope is that the gentle pull of these dusty NW gravel roads will bring you back again. Thank you for stopping by… Gravel Road