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AE | The Weekend Lens

lego

One of the things I've learned over the last 10 years, through all these adventures in memory keeping, is that my camera can be a refuge.

This past week, when I was feeling particularly out of sorts, I grabbed my camera and started photographing details around here. Life as it is. There's something to that for me - something that seeps into the cracks of my sadness and releases it just a bit.

Often it feels like taking a deep cleansing breath. An opportunity to remember the why.

kids

I'm sure some of you out there stop taking photos when times are hard - I know that's happened to me before too. It's easy to not see anything good in the midst of challenges and struggles that can sometimes be consuming.

life

Picking up the camera and seeing the little details is good for my heart. It's a challenge, a distraction, and a focus on a practice I love.

lego at night

It doesn't change any of the other real things that are happening, but it brings me back to the goodness, the positive, the fullness, the life still moving on all around me.

grandma visit

I hope you had a chance to pick up your camera this past weekend and I hope you captured some images that remind you just how totally amazing life is.

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131 thoughts

  1. Melissa says…
    09/19/2011

    Ali, it makes me sad that your heart is so heavy and that you are hurting so much. Please be gentle with yourself and take care.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Barb says…
    09/19/2011

    Thanks for this reminder. I am having some family difficulties myself and didn't take one photo this weekend. Photography is a joy to me and seeing your images and reading your words made me see that I am only cheating myself. Thanks for your post; I needed it. Know you are not alone and you are in many peoples' thoughts.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Lori says…
    09/19/2011

    Thanks for this wonderful reminder; I was certainly in a funk this weekend too for no particular reason (hormonal? onset of fall? lack of sleep?) and I took my children to do the thing that soothes my soul- we hiked. They are only 3 and 5, but they did amazingly well. We simply walked quietly and used all of our senses to appreciate our surroundings. It was wonderful. Next time I'm feeling in a funk, I will also remember to grab my camera and capture the good stuff around me. Here's to a great week to you and yours!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Jane says…
    09/19/2011

    I said it last week and will say it again...my heart is sad for you. I could almost sense something going on in the pictures of the kids. But I will take this advice as I need it to. I am going to grab my camera today and take the pictures of the day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Wendy says…
    09/19/2011

    This is such a heart-felt post. Thanks for keeping it real and for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. maria says…
    09/19/2011

    I totally relate, I do the same whenever I'm feeling out of sorts. The camera is sort of my best friend. Sending you hugs and good wishes your way.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Kim says…
    09/19/2011

    I've been where you are but never thought to use the camera as a way to soothe myself. I intend to get it out tonight when I get home and use it more often-you've inspired me! Hang in and know there is a lot of love out here for you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Helen says…
    09/19/2011

    Oh, Ali, its so strange to 'hear' you so sad when you are always so positive and inspiring and upbeat. Here's to you using all your strength to be able to get through this and to come out the other side even stronger.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Jenny A says…
    09/19/2011

    Sending you hugs Ali. I don't think I've ever thought of taking my camera and snapping pictures when I've been sad. It's a new perspective that I will keep in mind. Praying that you find strength and peace in this difficult time.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Colleen says…
    09/19/2011

    You have no idea how many times over the years I've turned to your blog for peace of mind and to be inspired, not just in my creative life, but in my personal life as well. Thank you for that. Sometimes it is so hard to see the light in the darkness. For me, that is when it was hardest to reach out. You are a brave and strong woman, Ali. Remember it is okay to reach for love and hope from those close to you. Sending thoughts of peace and courage your way.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Wendy says…
    09/19/2011

    Although we've never met, I find myself thinking of you often and saying a little prayer for you each time I do. I have been in that place too and I know that you are hurting. Please know that there are SO many of us out here sending love and prayers your way.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Jo-Anne says…
    09/19/2011

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, the good and the bad. I apologise in advance for this but pls understand the need for me to say it. I have barely picked up my camera for 6 months now. The end of a 31yr marriage that I believed would last an eternity was not to be. One day I simply discovered why my husband had not been himself for so long - he found someone else to love.

    I spend most days still thinking I am living a nightmare and hope that I will wake from it. Yet life goes on, albeit vastly different to the one that I had. I am not sure when I will be able to pick up my camera again.

    I don't want to look at any photos that will remind me of happy times. The wedding album I had begun to re-do in a beautiful scrapbook sits glaring at me - what the heck do I do with it now?

    I don't want to take pics now that will one day in the future remind me of this daily horror. All I do know is that somehow I will emerge from this a new person. I only hope I can survive until then.

    Reply 8 Replies
    1. Mandy says…
      09/20/2011

      Today is my 14th anniversary. Jo-Anne, it is far from 31 years, but I too found myself in your position. 2 years ago I found out my husband had been having 2 affairs for almost a year. Because of my own beliefs and the way the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, I knew divorce was not our path. Or, atleast I was to fight in the Lord's strength all I could for my marriage. I do believe it (divorce) would've been permissable though, so I don't mean that in condemnation toward you at all. That pain is still raw, and I cannot speak about it on some days, to some people, in some contexts without weeping.

      I feel marked when I was not the one who strayed. I lose hope easily. I fall into depression. Look to the Lord for your peace and comfort. Psalms became my daily cry as I read them aloud to God with all my heart and knew He held me in his hand. My husband and I have been through major counseling and much healing, but it does not remove that part of your life.

      Practically, I had to make sure my priorities were in place and I had a lot of down time to take care of myself on a soul level. Pictures from that time haunt me. I take it in little chunks, one event at a time. I grieve my husbands absence and my own (and children's) hurt and sadness for that time, if I need to. I have resolved that 2009 may not get scrapped, but I still plod forward and revisit the idea when I can. My camera also broke right before he left, and that makes me feel like so much is missing.

      Sorry this is so long, but I had such a strong reaction to your post. Ali, my heart is heavy for you too. I don't know what the situation is, other than the sentence or 2 you've mentioned, but the Lord does. He loves you even more than all of us "bloghounds" ;) and we care so much too.

    2. ShellyP says…
      09/19/2011

      Jo-Anne,
      I understand what you're going through also. I found that the best way to get through all the pain was to focus on "me". My healing came first, then with healing a new understanding of this is what my life is meant to be. It takes time, but you will one day find peace in your life and adjust to the new life that you now have. Take the time to get to know "you" again. After so many years of marriage I had lost sight of the real me. I hope this helps, and please know that you are not alone-there are so many others who have been in your place and willing to help. Prayers to you.

    3. dawny dee says…
      09/19/2011

      pls know that you are being sent much love and wishes for peace. time does make it all better. i read a saying recently "everything works out in the end, if it hasnt worked out yet, then its not over" and your story is not over, you never know what tomorrow will hold for you. keep an open mind and an open heart.

    4. Paula G says…
      09/19/2011

      Hello Jo-Anne,

      I am so sorry for this huge difficulty in your life. Sometimes when this type thing happens it is really the person who left vs the one who was left who ends up with less meaning in their life. Sometimes they are the one who was/is lacking, but we imagine that they went off to a happy life and left us behind. Rarely is that so. Please take care of yourself, talk to someone you can trust to help you through the difficult times. You are worth it!!

    5. theresa says…
      09/19/2011

      your post is so honest and sincere....my thoughts on the wedding album are to put it somewhere safe, for when you can come back to it, it is after all a huge part of your life. postive thoughts and prayers for you.

    6. Christie says…
      09/19/2011

      Jo-Anne, my mother went through the same situation after 32 years of marriage, she was devastated. Eleven years later she has mostly healed and has created a meaningful life, different than expected, but still meaningful. If you would like to chat with her by email, just to exchange stories, I would be happy to set that up christie 327 (at) gmail dot com Sending you big hugs.

    7. dawn says…
      09/19/2011

      I can only imagine the pain your going thru, sending big hugs to you and hope for better days and that one day you will be in a more peaceful state to enjoy your camera again.

      Sometimes it helps to tell the sad stories too.

    8. Laura G says…
      09/19/2011

      grab your camera take a walk through your neighborhood and think of the changes fall is bringing do some random act of kindness for someone else hopefully that will ease your pain for a bit sometimes we have no answers for what happens....

  13. Tina J. says…
    09/19/2011

    Ditto to everything posted in replies already! You're loved, Ali. And you're in our thoughts and prayers.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Sarah R says…
    09/19/2011

    Sending you wishes of strength and peace to help overcome the sadness and difficult times. Having been at a place like that myself, its soothing to have family nearby - so comforting, Im sure, to have your mom with you for part of your weekend. I've realized that even at 34 how much I still rely on my mom for comfort and understanding.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Jonnelle says…
    09/19/2011

    Ali, I hope that you find peace, understanding and relief soon.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Paula G says…
    09/19/2011

    Hoping and praying for you. Feeling your pain in not exactly a parallel way, yet mutual in other ways. Feeling like I've forged a bond with you through this blog and your OLW class, and wanting to reach out and help if there is some way I could. Just ask. Admiring you for the person you are through thick and thin Ali. Prays coming your way, and of course for Simon and Ana too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Jennifer Levin says…
    09/19/2011

    I'm so sorry that you are in a difficult time right now. Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers. You've always been (and still are) such an inspiration to me, and I so wish there words to say or actions I could do to help ease your pain.

    Please remember how much you offer to your children and family and to this world. You are special and loved!

    Sending you a giant, heartfelt hug,
    Jen

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. kelly says…
    09/19/2011

    Ali, the fact that your mom is in the photos brings comfort (the kind that puts tears in my eyes) to me as I know that if I was in a sad place, I would want the strength of my mom to help me through. From what you have written in the past, I know that your mom is strength for you, too. What good advice to work through some sadness with loving attention (through the camera) to the absolute reasons that life is as amazing and wonderful as it is even when it doesn't feel amazing and wonderful.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Andi R says…
    09/19/2011

    Ali, I hope that everything works out for you soon and that you will be your upbeat self again. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I'm sending you a big hug. *HUG* Hang in there, you are doing a great job and don't let anyone else tell you differently. :-)

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. P.J. says…
    09/19/2011

    During this summer with all it's setbacks, I have learned to document the bad times. Flood waters for months have a full album and clean up times are still coming. A job loss has a couple of photos. A bad tumble leaving me with some fantastic black eye photos and a broken nose.
    The SB industry needs to have some disaster/hard times/injury lines for those of us going through bad times. They are a part of our lives.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Allison says…
    09/19/2011

    hang in there. i, too, have found comfort lately in the little joys of life. Sometimes, it's all you need to get through a hard day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Alexandra says…
    09/19/2011

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a really hard time documenting things when life gets challenging - I see now that it can be therapeutic and beautiful in a different, quiet way - thank you.

    I so hope that you are ok - that things will be better and that your heart will be light. So many of us (all over the world) are sending you love and strength - hope you can feel that and that it carries you a bit.

    hugs and love,
    A.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Jen Davis says…
    09/19/2011

    Beautiful photos Ali, I would like to ditto that very first comment. Take care...

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Melissa says…
    09/19/2011

    Ali - I can only offer my love and sympathy to you during this hard time. You are a true inspiration. Your bravery to share this with others though it might not feel like it, is healing. I grew up with my parents / step-parents constantly repeating, One Day at a Time. That is all you need to do. That is all I do. (Ive even found breaking it down even further in truly difficult times - hours, half days, events, tasks, etc).

    Big Hug for you!
    =)

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Laura G says…
    09/19/2011

    hang in there ali! you will emerge from this a stronger person God bless you and your family

    Reply 0 Replies

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