“One of the main things I’ve learned from all the deaths I’ve experienced is that the sacred fabric of our lives is not woven of what I call ‘flashbulb’ moments, but rather of the million tiny moments, of kindness, of regret, of loneliness, of Love. Value those moments. Celebrate those moments. And value and celebrate the ordinary miracle(s) of your life, those blessed moments of exchange with those you Love. They are precious. And so are you. Never forget that.” ~ Mary Carroll-Hackett
Stacy Yelton says two things will melt a man; puppies and babies. I think she’s right.
“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.” ~ Jane Austen
Wally loves being at Eric and Bree’s house, although he missed his friend Pothros who had to cross the rainbow bridge some months ago. Nevertheless, he had enough fun for the both of them. All my besties love dogs, and dogs know when they’re with good people. That must be why Wally smiles so much.
“Choose happiness, not success, as your life’s goal. If you become successful but aren’t happy, then what is the point? ~ Haemin Sunim
Stacy and I drove north. Leeza Gordon drove south. We met outside Owensville, Ohio at The Rookery, home of Eric and Bree Chapman. I had one of the most important conversations I’ve ever had with the power couple of Titus Road, and as we drove away I knew all was right in my world this very moment. I am so grateful to them for their friendship
“Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, magical, person that you are.” ~ Mandy Hale
Friday is great because it’s Friday, but this Friday was extra great because I got to see lots of people I love, meet two new people I loved right away, and listened to some inspiring thoughts by Jad Abumrad, founder and co-host of the popular NPR program RadioLab. I had a wonderful lunch with Gail Kennedy who introduced me to an absolutely delightful Kevin Dearinger, actor, writer, and all ’round awesome dude. I was so enthralled with our conversation that I didn’t think to snap a pic. If the day had ended there it would have been a great day, but that was just the first course.
Crystal, Judy, and I made our way to the Jad lecture when Ruth and her friend Chuck sat down behind us. We were having a great time socializing before the lecture when suddenly Josh James sat down in front of me. The NPR station where he is a reporter moved to an off-campus location so I don’t get to see him as much as I used to and it was a real treat to spend a little time with him. As a bonus, he introduced me to his mom! Like Josh, she’s totally adorbs. We had a great conversation about everything from rotten politics to Uber. I met two new awesome people today and I got to hang out with even more awesome people throughout my day. I must be living right.
“Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone.” ~ Unknown
University Archivist and friend extraordinaire Ruth Bryan put together a demo table for Curiosity Matters. Most of the stuff was paper-based like photos, maps, letters, that sort of thing, but she also brought along the old bell from Memorial Coliseum. It was the bell they used during the basketball games. For those who aren’t familiar, Memorial was the gym for the UK Wildcats Men’s basketball team before Rupp Arena existed. Lots of famous players have run her court. When the bell was donated, Ruth did an oral history with the donor, M. Ward Crowe, because he had come by the bell in a round about way and he had plenty of stories about watching games where it was used. That’s Ruth: always connecting the dots and doing right by the University.
“Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.” ~ Unknown
Remember I said last week was super busy? It was a good busy with five photo shoots in six days. One of those shoots was a fun event the Libraries co-hosted with a number of other departments on campus called “Curiosity Matters.” It was an afternoon of engaging talks, exercises, and demos like virtual reality. The event was held election day, and since Abby Bartlett went with her mom to vote that morning, she came to Curiosity Matters with her mom in the afternoon. Ever since giving VR a test drive, I’m told she’s been asking for it for Christmas. I don’t know how much these gadgets cost, but I think Bryan and Jen are plotting to make it happen. We all got quite the giggle as I stood directly in front of Abby as she appeared to swipe at air. VR was great fun for her and it was entertaining for the rest of us, too. I hope Santa will take that into consideration.
“We often live as if our happiness depended on having. But I don’t know anyone who is really happy because of what he or she has. True joy, happiness, and inner peace come from the giving of ourselves to others. A happy life is a life for others.” ~ Henri Nouwen
Aurora’s older sister Juni (Juniper) joined in the photo fun. She started off a bit shy. My lens has a way of seeing what she thought it couldn’t see. Isn’t it adorable? She was sure she was hidden. Some kids could care less about a camera, some can’t get enough of it (they’re annoying), and some take a little while to warm up. Heck, some adults do, too, but I can usually wear them down if given enough time. Juni’s reluctance was not unusual, and when she decided to come alive, that wasn’t unusual either. I think it’s equal parts trust and attention. Most kids want attention but they want it on their terms. They’re also unsure of people they don’t know well or activities they don’t understand well. Once she figured out it was okay to be herself, well, I have a lot of great pictures of Juni from that day. I hope someday she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
“Don’t sell yourself short by thinking you are only your body or your personality, no matter how intriguing and dramatic they may be. For behind them, there lies a more profound part of your true self.” ~ Ram Dass
You might recall that Sunday before last I mentioned photographing Melissa Snow-Groves and family. She just had her second baby, Aurora, in late September and they wanted newborn photos. I don’t do newborn photos, and we were already three+ weeks late, but we gave it the ‘ol college try anyway. Immediately I regretted not having a macro lens, and when I said so, Melissa suddenly said, “I have one and it’s a Canon!” First: wow, what are the chances? Second: game changer. I’m still not a newborn photographer – those folks have got an incredible system that’s tough to emulate without a lot of practice – but I would take pictures of a blank wall if that’s what David and Melissa wanted. That they would let me practice on them at such a crucial time in their second child’s life is really touching and I was, and will always be, honored they let me be part of it. This particular shot is stylistically different for me but I like it and now I’m totally sold on adding a macro to my arsenal.
“Train your mind to see the good in every situation.” ~ Unknown
Two weeks ago today Tanya Comingdeer and Marilyn Craig were enjoying a second day of music and fellowship at the 2-Pony Ranch. These women worked their butts off to make that weekend happen. They cooked, they cleaned, they tugged and pushed and pulled and carried and worked up a sweat to make sure everyone had the things they needed. I think I’ve said before, on that Sunday, I had one of my classic nasty migraines that kept me in bed most of the day though I did make myself get up and go out for most of the music. As the sun began to set I returned to my convalescent room and drifted off. At some point I either dreamed or heard a real voice outside my door say something like, “Okay, girlfriends, the place is clean.” I awoke Monday morning to find that, indeed, the place had been cleaned and then realized the voice had probably been real. Angie said Marilyn and Tanya had done the work. If that’s not incredible love and devotion I don’t know what is. I am so, so, so, so, so fortunate to know these women and count them among my friends, and I’m eternally grateful they look after Angie and each other.
“If we could look into each others hearts, and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” ~ Marvin J. Ashton
I knew it was going to be a great night when I walked in to find colleague, friend, and fellow drummers Kathryn Lybarger and her husband, Jack Schmidt (bottom photo), preparing to perform as part of the drum line performing the part of the Borneo Drummers from Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (I think that’s what they said, I didn’t catch all the details). Well known Lexington drummers David Farris, Tripp Bratton, and Dave Hamon were also part of the line (below). But it was Kathryn that inspired me. Every time I see a photo of her playing drums, usually as part of the March Madness Marching Band, she’s all smiles just like the photo above. Drummers who smile while they play bring a little something extra to the song, a certain joy that otherwise remains hidden. Omar Hakim, Simon Phillips, and Carter Beaufort all smile when they play and their tracks always sound extra joyful.
I’m really proud of Kathryn for taking up drumming. She’s never afraid of trying new things, in fact she loves trying new things, and she’s really taken to drumming like a duck to water. She and Jack have been playing for several years now and I hope they continue. Drumming in good for the soul and so are smiling drummers.