Wednesday, September 19, 2012

new space

Please visit me in my new space at

Monday, August 1, 2011

a new chapter...

My dear blogging friends,

After two and a half years of blogging in this space, I am picking up and moving on to a new corner of the internet. (You can click here if you want to bypass my long Pen and View good bye letter.) Funny how happy/sad I am about this move. Actually, it's not surprising to me. I am what I call a "slow transitioner". I love to dream about the future, yet I am quite sentimental about change. I tend to turn the page to the next chapter with much thought, reflection, grieving.

When I started this blog it was for two reasons: to document our family life in photos and words, and to improve upon my camera skills. Frankly, I have never liked the name of this blog (I picked it in a rush to just get going with my blog idea) but it grew to settle on me in a comforting sort of way. This is where I penned my thoughts, documented the photographic life of my last few years. It is a journal I will keep forever.

But you see, over a year ago I purchased a new photo space (see, I dream about my future!) in an effort to move towards what I thought I should be, and then Life happened, like happened hard. I had made some plans but I had no emotional space to deal with pursuing anything but the day in front of me, leaving my dreams and plans to sit on the back burner of my heart. I think you can relate.

But as we all know, when Life happens, we cannot assume that we are wasting time/purpose/energy. Life is never wasted; there is always some purpose to the spinning, stalling, struggling of our present moments.

I read this line the other day in Abraham Verghese's book Cutting for Stone: Life: you live it forward, and understand it backwards. How very true this has been for me.

In the past year I have wrestled with myself quite a bit, much of it over what direction I wanted to take in regards to my photography, how I enjoy creating, and what I should "do" with all of it. I realize now that the last year was good in its hardness because it prevented me from making rash decisions about how I should proceed. It also made me reflect on why I thought I should be "doing" anything in the first place. (Why are we so plagued with futuristic living and doing? Is it to settle the anxiety over not being enough in the now?)

So why "do" now? While I believe I have settled a bit into knowing my creative self better, I have sensed in the past two months what I can only describe as a slow "uprooting" in my heart. This feeling of the final words being written on the previous chapter. The bubble (no, the boil) of desire to get a move-on to begin writing the words on the next one. I think this feeling has more to do with my entire life--my family, our direction--than just my own creative pursuits.

I do not want to be Pen and View anymore. I want to be Me. And I think it's now time to get Me settled onto the fresh new page of the chapter because I think more is on the Life horizon.

With that all said, my blogging friends, please join me over in my new space. It is not drastically different than this one here, as I am a simplistic girl at heart, so I hope you like it.

But before you go, I want to say thank you all for the love you have deposited here over the last few years. It has meant more to me than you know.

Off to begin writing the new words on the fresh blank page...

You can follow me at:


p.s. I decided to leave Pen and View up for the time being until I figure out how to archive it to a safe place. And, it's a good reminder for me of what growth looks like when I am feeling stuck in the present. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

solitary perch


I am saying a short and tiny goodbye today. Gonna wade out to that sunny warm rock and perch myself upon it and take a summer breather from the blogging. I have some other "things" that need my attention: other photo stuff, family activities, and my own personal care.  All good stuff, just listening to the whisper in my ear that is telling me to take a little blog vacation.

I will be back August 1st.

Until then,

p.s. One of my favorite things this summer has been to photograph Bean in her pink hat. I bought this pink hat for her several years ago and she has finally "owned" it. Makes me smile. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

summer love: campfire love

Learning to love my video feature on my camera.  In my other life I am a cinematographer.

I love that you can hear the adults discussing a crossword problem in the background. Whenever we go camping we find ourselves around the campfire with a good crossword.

Bean is obsessed with smores. It is her reason for living when the campfire is lit. I cannot even eat my dinner in peace because of her impatience.

I also feel the need to clarify that the sassy girl she is channeling is not her norm. She only surfaces whenever the camera is in her face. Well, maybe she comes out more often. Lord help me. If you listen carefully you can hear my muffled guffaw.


Summer for us = one good camping trip complete with smores and crosswords.  (Even if Queen Sass emerges around the campfire.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a little affirmation

Excavate the depths of my photo files and you will find that most of them are of children.

I love children.
I love to capture their littleness.
I love to capture them unaware, just inhabiting their space.
I love to capture their profiles.
I love to capture their goofy sides.
I love to capture my reflection in their eyes.
I love to capture the proof of their infinite beauty and uniqueness.

So is it any wonder that I am forever trying to throw my photographic arms around them?

This past week my Picture Inspiration assignment was to do a little excavation, to look back at my assignments and show you all what I have discovered about myself through my images.
This assignment was more of an affirmation than a discovery. (Is this really a surprise?)

So today I am showing you what continues to be an affirming, resounding, "yes" in my creative heart: given the choice between a flower, a landscape, a family, a wedding, a baby, or a child, my photographic heart will always draw nearest to the face of a child.

I am a magnet, drawn by the force of their innocence, and charm, uniqueness, and wonder in an unquenchable thirst to capture their worth.

(This is my "niece". She is a ham. A close second to my Bean who is her competitor. She was insistent on me photographing her "O" mouth. So I made sure to get that for her.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

still not yet...

After yesterday's post I stumbled across these two that were taken by my mother when we went down to Santa Barbara for a little girls trip a couple of weeks ago.

I am so glad I shoved the camera into my mom's hands and told her, with much encouragement, that yes she could take a good picture. There was a brief moment that my belief in her wavered when I had to show her a couple of times where the shutter release button was located, and she fumbled to hold the heavy camera. But she did it. She actually did it.

And so as I reflect back upon the post like yesterday's, in which I reveal the slightly elevating panic I am feeling over the growth and loss of my little Bean, I see these pictures...

...and I cry.

...and I melt.

Now I know what it means when others say to their children, you will always be my little girl.

She will forever be my Bean. I know I will always see traces of her underneath her skin, in her eyes, and in the way she loves me.

I cannot thank my mother enough for taking these pictures.

Monday, July 11, 2011

not yet...

Someday she will be too old to play at the park.
But that someday is not quite yet.
I know it's soon, because there is another person emerging from the skin of her little girlness.
This new girl is a bit more opinionated, more--shall we say--sassy, more self conscious.
I need a manual.
I need an orientation week like they have at school.
I need a laser gun that will freeze time.
I need to breathe in, breathe out.

I am not ready for this.
How do you let go of your little girl?

Friday, July 8, 2011

friday summer love: summer camp's smelly success

We picked him up on Sunday after a week away from us at summer camp.
He and his buddy didn't shower, brush teeth, change underwear.
He had a blast.
You cannot imagine what it was like for me to open his duffle bag in the laundry room
and be greeted with the smell.
I actually chuckled.
Apparently he wasn't trying to impress any of the girls.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

linked: hope

Saturday evening I sat out in the setting sun and picked at a sea of never ending weeds. My hands were caked with dirt and the stain of green, so much so that I was surprised at how sore and tender they were the day after. In the middle of my dirty work, the neighbor's sprinklers spurted to life. Because I live in a wind tunnel, I watched the water catch wind and mist everything in my yard. Normally I do not mind this (free water) but this time it happened to water exactly where I needed to be weeding. 
So I sat and waited.
When the sprinklers finished their cycle, I looked up to witness every flower, blade, and leaf dusted with a million, glittering, circles of light. Their delicate glimmering caused me to smile. I imagined this is what pixie dust must look like...

Pulling weeds has always been a teacher for me in the area of my own personal "weed pulling". For example, pulling weeds has taught me that if I fail to pull a personal weed up by its roots, it will always grow back in the soil of my heart. (Such a hard truth, especially in the areas of hurt, anger, and bitterness.)

So here is what impressed me on this day:

As I look back at the moment, I now see that that this is what Hope looks like when I find myself in the dirty work of pulling my life's weeds. There I am, entrenched in the soil, bent over, hot from the sun,  caked with mud, wondering (and whining) if there will ever come a day when I do not have to pull weeds. (Please, don't you just wish you could pull a weed once and then never have to come back again?) In the middle of my labor and toil, suddenly Hope arrives in the form of a million points of Light. Awash with beauty, completely unexpected. It comes in the form of an answered prayer, a encouragement from a friend, a song on the radio, a miraculous provision. All simple reminders from God that I am loved, watched over, and never abandoned to the eternal dirty work of pulling weeds. This is Hope that sustains me.

I believe there is no place of dirt and darkness that Hope cannot invade. No weed-like burden that Hope cannot relieve. Yes, there is an amount of toil that we experience in this life, the pulling of weeds, or the dirtying of our hands in the messes that seem to show up like weeds. But Hope is the eternal flame that God places in our hearts to whisper to us that, though we may have earthly pain and struggles, unanswered questions, our lives are not without purpose and meaning.

We are loved.
We are loved.
We are loved.

Praying that whatever back-breaking, weed-pulling situation you find yourself in, you will, today, experience Hope in the middle of it. That you will look up and see a million points of Light dusting your situation with the promise that you are loved, watched over, and never abandoned to the eternal dirty work of pulling weeds. Praying that this will sustain you as only real Hope can.


Today is a link up day with two of my blogging friends, Michelle and Stacey. Michelle chose the theme for this week, which was "Hope". I have to say, this was hard. I took these pictures above without the intention of capturing "hope". It wasn't until I uploaded that they spoke to my work of "pulling weeds". I "hope" it makes sense to y'all. :)

I am eager to see how the gals interpreted this theme this week!
For Michelle's July 7th post, click here.
For Stacey's July 7th post, click here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

sparkler magic

Every kid should hold a sparkler at least once in his life....

Yesterday on the 4th we were gone from morning 'till night hanging with good friends and eating our way through the day. The weather was beautiful, perfect for a water balloon fight and hanging out on the front lawn. We ended the day with some sparklers that I had purchased at an out-of-town firework stand.
Street works are completely illegal in our part of the state so it makes me sad that my kids have not been raised to experience the once-a-year agonizing wait for the fall of darkness on the 4th, when their father and uncle would drag out the boxes of fireworks to set off in the street. (I always felt that the sun set slower than usual on Independence Day. Anybody else feel that way?)

I am having to create a new kind of 4th memory, so yes, I broke the law, and splurged for some sparklers. I feel quite confident in posting these pictures even though my brother works for the state law enforcement. It's not that he wouldn't turn me in because I am his sister, it's because--ahem, cough cough--he knows what he was doing in his front yard at the same exact time we were lighting our sparklers. If you get my drift? Ok, that's all I am going to say about that.

So anyway, back to the sparklers...

Honestly, night photography is an art form at which I am not very skilled. But my Picture Inspiration assignment this week was to "dig in" and explore another art form, have some fun, get a little messy. I think I was a little broad with my interpretation of this assignment but I went with it. I have always wanted to try some night photography so I decided to make this my "dig in" moment. I discovered how fun it was to play with the settings to see what I could create. It was also fun to watch the kids "dig in" and explore what they could do with their sparklers. They wrote their names in the air, twirled and danced. Here's Bean writing her name on the street...

I learned a little bit in the process of having fun. I learned how to work with my shutter speed, and follow the light and work in darkness, which is tricky. It was a successful "dig in" moment for me.

And a super fun way to end Independence Day.

A happy belated 4th to you all. Hope it was a fun one.