Kodachrome

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Today is Clark’s Birthday.  Hurray!!  He’s my fabulous Hubs!  Happy Birthday, Clark!!

It’s easy to remember his birthday because, well, I’ve known him for about 35 years.  I’m also pretty good at remembering birthdays.  Sending out cards is another story.  I tend to either send them out late or not at all.  I’ve had an ongoing deal with myself for longer than I can remember to work on that personal flaw.  Each year when the New Year rolls around I challenge myself to not only send every single person I know and love a birthday card but to also send it to them on time.  And, each year I break that vow.  Not on purpose, but because I tend to be a bit unorganized.  (A sign of creativity I’ve been told – *probably by my mother*)

When I woke up this morning, I put on my robe, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed towards our basement.  I walked down the stairs into the messy, cluttered, musty space under the first floor of our home.   I needed a picture of Clark.  I needed a picture ~ or two ~ of him to post on Facebook.  It’s been a longtime tradition of mine – along with everyone in the universe – to start our loved ones birthdays off on the right foot by publicly posting old, forgotten pictures of them and attaching some sort of sentimental blurb under it.  We plaster these Jpgs (pronounced Jaaayyy-pegs) out onto the World Wide Web and into cyberspace for the whole world to see. Well, I exaggerate.  But if you’ve Googled your name recently you’ll find I’m not too far off on my statement

At the bottom of my basement stairs, I walked back through a slim, cluttered hallway and towards what was once a working darkroom that Clark and I had built in a cut off, private section down there.  I passed up stacks of stored once treasured objects laying everywhere that had once held coveted spots in the rooms upstairs.   I got to the door of the old photo room, opened it and carefully stepped into what now looked like a cluttered room where most of our accumulated treasures from 30 years of marriage had landed. I looked around and thought to myself, good grief, we’ve become hoarders…

There were boxes and boxes of photos in that room which were saved in their original envelopes and stuffed into drawers.  Jammed drawers that you could barely open up because there were heavy stacks of boxes upon boxes filled with junk and memorabilia crammed all over the place.  The walls were also filled with cabinets that held a bonanza of old photo albums.  Eventually, I got down to work and started searching for a few pictures that were Facebook worthy.

Not too far into my task I became unfocused as I sifted through what seemed like a million unorganized photos.  It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re looking at a photogenic history of your life.  The sentimentality of the task pulled at my heartstrings.  I started to examine the content of the piles of photos I was sifting through rather than finding photos of my hubs.  Photography sure had changed…..

  • The Selfie – Those popular self photo’s taken with smart phones and hand-held digital camera’s, which are usually flattering and an attempt to *appear casual*  had definitely not made it onto the scene yet.  It seems that back before the digital age and social media, people took more pictures of the world around them than they did of themselves. Clark, being the nature lover that he is, seemed to be fascinated with landscape photos.  I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at.  He also shot tons of photos of birds…..and animals at Zoos. But, no selfies.

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  • Photo Bombing – When I did come across the occasional photo of Clark from the olden days, I noticed that a few had some pioneer photo bombers in the background!  They were different though than the photo bombs of today where the pranksters purposely put themselves into the view of the photograph with a goofy smile or waving as to tell you that they’re back there and they GOTCHYA!!  These photo bombers were mostly elderly Aunts, Uncles or family members simply misplaced in the backdrop of the photo.  Often funnier than the bombers of today.

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  • Hairstyles – They will always give away what decade you are looking at.

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  • Labeling Photo’s – I was always told to label the back of my photos with names and dates because one day I’d forget that information.  I scoffed at that bit of advice knowing I’d never forget people or names or places.  So, I didn’t label anything.  And, for the life of me I could not place who half the people in the photo’s with me were.  We must have been close pals though because mostly we were hugging and laughing together.  Huh??

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After a few hours of walking down memory lane, I had finally found a handful of pictures that would work as a tribute to my Hubs.  They were awesome photos and during a time when we first met and started dating.  His hair was long and he sported a thick, full mustache.  He wore t-shirts with pictures of rock bands on them and cut off, frayed jean shorts.  He drove a convertible and had a wild streak in him that caught my eye right away.  These days he’s traded in that youthful attire and look for work slacks, ties and weekend golf shirts.

It was odd-looking back at those old photos.  It’s odd how you don’t realize how much you age and mature from year to year until you look back.  It hit’s you then and you think solemnly to yourself, wow, I’ve aged….  You wonder where the time went.  How did thirty years fly by so fast.  And, were the memories recorded in those old, treasured photo’s really as glorious as our minds would love to convince us they were?  Or, is it true what they say; that it’s fun to remember the way things used to be, but the way things used to be probably could never live up to how we recall them.  We tend to glorify the past with fabulous stories and timeless photo’s that make you think ‘all the world’s a sunny day…’


The Wand of Narcissism

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This afternoon while skimming through Facebook, I ran across a link that directed me to a blog post which was written by a talented young lady, Kristin.  She just happens to be the younger sister of my beautiful Daughter-in-Law.  Kristin is traveling and studying overseas in Spain. She’s enrolled in one of those student/class exchange programs from the college she attends.  You know, those amazing programs where you get to travel the world while taking classes at an institution that is affiliated with the college that you are attending.  And, she takes full advantage of traveling the world on her weekends while living temporarily abroad.

When I was her age and in college, these programs were not as popular nor taken advantage of nearly as much as they are today.  Things have changed.  The world seems to have become smaller.  Or, perhaps it’s just that the young adults of today’s world have more opportunities laid at their feet and are far more likely to follow through will well thought out plans because of their fierce independence and higher education.

I like this.  I have adapted to the way the world has changed since I was a twenty-something.  I encourage my kids (all twenty-somethings) to travel.  It not only opens your eyes to new experiences and different cultures, but it also opens your world to new possibilities.

After reading through some of Kristin’s posts, especially the one that I am introducing to you here, I am more convinced than ever that through the experience of travel & education, young adults grow and mature in ways that benefit not only themselves but also society.  The beauty of all of this is that you don’t have to travel across the ocean to experience the blessings of travel.   Your world could be opened up simply going ten miles from where you live,  crossing a state line – or traveling to the village closest to you.

 


Selfies with Camels

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Kristin

I am writing this after 20 minutes checking myself out on social media. See this past weekend I went to Morocco and got amazing pictures so I naturallyyyy posted one to Instagram right away (go give me a like if you get the chance;)).   BUT WAIT- that was just an addition to the ones I was tagged in on Facebook. There was also the new profile pic I updated of my bestie and myself last week- that’s when this continuous clicking happened and the self-stalking binge started. These twenty minutes consisted of checking who liked what, guessing how people perceived the pics, and even assessing myself for many reasons but mostly to see how I came across and what people might think of me.

…………………LIKE WHAT??? I reread this sadly true paragraph and can’t help but feel shame for how narcissistic and self-centered the last 20 minutes of my life were. Twenty minutes of my life I will never get back. Twenty minutes of my life that could have been spent doing something way more productive or meaningful or touching. From conversations with friends and observations around me I can bet that MANY other people have been in this same situation.

We take selfies, have personal agendas, and feel an overwhelming need not only to talk about ourselves but also somehow bring us into any aspect of conversation. The selfie stick, deemed “the wand of narcissism,” has become so popular that museums across the country (for example the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the MFA in Houston) have banned its presence.

While listening to a sermon about spiritual maturity, a point that was made really stood out to me- “We are all born narcissists and learning to grow out of that is at the heart of our spirituality.” What exactly does this mean? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that everyone needs their own personal time and space- it’s vital to one’s sanity and something I am a strong advocate for. But when 20 minutes of my day consists of looking at myself on social media, something’s wrong.

Confidence is cool and self-love is a must. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself- everyone should! When we love ourselves we can notice the God given gifts we have. However when we use this realization for self-promotion, narcissism and self-centeredness take over.

When we learn to grow out of our narcissism, our spirituality can flourish. When we lose that blinding interest in ourselves, we start make room for an interest in others.This also happens when we liberate ourselves from our selfishness sometimes even just by becoming aware of it. There’s a quote I love that says, “Love is to reveal the beauty of someone to himself or herself.” When we stop obsessing over our own beauty and vanity, we have room to love and appreciate others. This promotes change and in comes Buddha:

Buddha

Realizing these self-obsessing habits is the first step for a narcissist. It’s something I struggle with and am trying to work on day by day. So next time I find myself beginning a self stalking binge on social media I’ll click my home page and go give some likes or a genuine comment. It’s all about baby steps…

In the meantime, here are some pictures of Morocco, including a selfie with a camel:

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reblogged from JOY by KristenBuehler11