day 2: love looks like monkeys

It’s day 2 of the 5 day-post-a-pic-and-tell-a-story-about-it  challenge.  I have chosen to organize these 5 days around the theme of “what love looks like.”

It’s quarter break here in the cornfields, so there was a half day of school today.  I took my monkey and part of her troop to the zoo for the afternoon.  The weather was perfect, and the crowds weren’t overwhelming.

Fun fact:  Omaha has one of the best zoos in the country.  

I don’t think I had been to the zoo since my girls were in grade school.  And, today was the first time I wasn’t with a gaggle of other moms, pushing a stroller, or carrying jackets, water bottles, sunscreen, and lunch bags.   The kids went their way, and I went mine, with full freedom to stand and watch the otters, or the new baby giraffe, or the actual monkeys for as long as I wanted.

As a photographer, it was an ideal situation.  Nobody was standing and waiting for me, so I could take time to adjust settings and compose my shots.  (and laugh at the ape who kept taunting another monkey by shaking the branch he was on)

As a mom, it was more proof of the reality that the days of taking kids to the zoo are coming to an end soon.  Sarah will be 16  next year, and they will be driving themselves. We have had lots of fun on all of our zoo trips.  I’m thankful for years of such great memories.

So tonight, I will say a prayer of gratitude for all of the wonderful zoo memories with the kids.  But also, I will  thank God that it was such a nice surprise to get to walk around alone with my camera.  I look forward to more days like today.



day 1: love looks like a butter mold

My blog-friend Tildy over at asked me to join her in a five day photo challenge.  This challenge is to post a photo, and then include a story or poem with the photo.   Thank you, Tildy for including me!  I’m already having fun thinking about the next five days! This shot is the first of five I will take on the same theme of “What Love Looks Like.” It’s a butter mold I bought on an antiquing trip when Bart and I were first married.  At the time, I loved going antiquing.  I loved talking about antiques.  I loved watching Antiques Roadshow. I even dreamt about opening my own antique store one day.  When we had a spare weekend, my first thought was for Bart and me to go crawling through dusty old junk shops, searching for treasures.  And so we’d go.  And sometimes we’d go… and go… and go.

But love looks like a butter mold not because I love antiques.  Love looks like a butter mold because Bart does not love antiques. Bart does not love crawling through dusty anything.  Bart does not love shopping.  Bart does not love spending money on butter molds.  Bart does not love putting miles on his car to drive an hour and a half to some backwards town in the next state, so he can add a butter mold to his collection. Bart does not love collecting things.

But Bart loves his wife.


We’ve called this child “The Contrarian” since she was a baby.  At 10 months, she was speaking in full sentences, using her newfound power mostly to argue with us.  My dad still laughs about how, at 9 months, Sarah declared that a goose in a picture on their wall was a duck.  My dad would say, “No, that’s a goose.”  She’d say “NO!  GUCK!”

The wonderful dichotomy of Sarah Jane is that generally she has a really sweet and gentle spirit.  But when it comes to the truth, she can’t abide discrepancies.   She’s an acute listener, which makes conversation with her both stimulating and sometimes exhausting because she doesn’t miss a thing.  I would say in a world full of people who mostly just want to blather on about themselves and who hear little of what others have to say, Sarah Jane is a rare and special one.  She sure is extraordinary to us, anyway.  I’ll take conversation with The Contrarian over one with A Mindless Blatherer any day of the week.

just enough is more than enough.

The night before a sunrise shoot is a good time to decide on whether or not one should get up and go out and take sunrise pictures.  As the alarm is bleeping in the ear is NOT the time to decide whether or not it’s worth it to get up and go take sunrise pictures.

I let my flesh win out this morning…for 30 minutes anyway.  Oh the mental battle that raged in those 30 minutes! When I finally returned to my wise decision made the night before, I was running very late.  No time to load the gear and drive 10 miles to the optimal spot.  So instead, I just grabbed my iPhone, and drove out to the middle school at the edge of town.

It was totally worth it.  Mostly, because just being there to watch the sun come up is a gift in itself, regardless of whether or not I capture it in an image.    As it happens, I’m actually happy with the image, for the amount of effort I spent taking it anyway.  This is a shot taken 10 minutes before sunrise.  The sky was much prettier before the sun broke the horizon.