Photography is a way to be creative, capture moments that matter and freeze time. I feel like I have my own little photography museum as I have over 50k photos that I have kept and cataloged over the years. No telling how many shots I deleted. All these photos represent a moment in time, a moment in someone’s life, a moment in my life and that makes them all special in one way or another. There are many reasons why I love photography and there’s no way I could share them all, so here’s a sampling of some of the top reasons.
- Infinite Possibilities – Every day is different, which means every photo can be different. You can shoot a sunset everyday and never get the same shot.
- Beauty in Everything – Whether the day is sunny or cloudy, beauty can be found in anything.
- Emotional Response – Photography has the ability to evoke emotions in others.
- Reason to Travel – There are so many places worth exploring and photographing.
- Expression – Allows you to develop you own style so you can express yourself through your images.
- The Perfect Shot – there is nothing more satisfying than getting the perfect shot.
- Relaxing – Although photography can be stressful if is also relaxing.
- Storytelling – a photo can tell a story without a single word.
As I look forward to 2018 and all that we have planned I wanted to step back in time and do a review of 2017 as we had a great year.
January started with us in a small-town east of Tallahassee, Florida called Quincy. We were staying at a campground right next to Lake Talquin. It was quiet and serene, and we could see the lake right out our front door. We loved that we could walk down to the marina, climb into our boat parked in the boat slip and take a ride out on the water. Sometimes we were greeted by an alligator or two, but if you didn’t bother them, they didn’t bother you. I caught several bream and Greg was always good for a bass or two on each trip out.
This month marked my 50th birthday. Not a birthday I was really looking forward to, but the alternative would have been much worse, so I took turning the big 5-0 in strive and kept right on going. In addition, Greg had surgery this month which required a stay in the hospital for several days.
This month brought us a brand-new baby and little Miss Ryan was born on the 28th in Louisiana. We left Florida around the 20th to make the trip towards LA to be there for the birth and for me to stay a few weeks after to help if Momma needed help. It was great being there and seeing that sweet baby so soon after she was born. It’s always an experience seeing the birth of a newborn baby.
After the baby’s birth, the plan was for us to move to Texas so about three weeks into April we headed for the Lake Fork area in Alba. It’s a very small town in the middle of no where land of BFE as some people would call it. We found an RV/Tiny House park right on the water. Unfortunately, our lot was not right on the water as you had to own a tiny house to live right on the water and we had our big rig, so we stayed in the middle section. It was always quiet and nice being that close to the lake.
This month meant going back to work to earn a little money for me as I decided to go back to work for a little while. I had to drive a little over an hour one way to each day and it didn’t take long for that to get old.
We spent as much time as we could around the rain on the lake enjoying the fishing. Other than that, the month of June was not very exciting.
I took a trip to Louisiana this month to see the new baby and to be in attendance for her christening. The weekend also marked the third birthday for Jackson, so I was able to do things in one month on the same weekend. The drive there and back was long, but so worth it to be able to hold my babies again.
This year seems to be the year for surgery and hospitals for Greg as he had hernia surgery this month. While he was in the hospital I worked from my hotel room in between visits to the hospital and Greg’s parents came to the house to babysit the fur babies for us as the hospital was an hour and a half from home and too much to drive back and forth every day. He was there for about 5 days.
Greg came home, but ended up back in the hospital with complications twice before we finally got him on the right track and healing. He ended up with a wound vac that would take him seven or eight weeks before he would heal. With all that was going on with Greg’s medical issues and issues at work, I ended up quitting my job this month.
We spent the entire month with a home health nurse visiting three days a week to replace the wound vac and make sure Greg healed correctly. We couldn’t do any fishing and the weather was mostly either windy or rainy so even if Greg had been feeling like it, fishing wouldn’t have been possible.
Time to celebrate turkey day and we did just that. We had ham, turkey & dressing and all the trimmings. It was a nice celebration. Greg finally got healed and got released from the surgeons’ care. We have a lot to be thankful for and grateful that he made it through this year.
Wow we made it to the last month of the year and boy was this month a busy one. I took one weekend to go visit the grandbabies in Louisiana and celebrate Christmas with them. Greg road with me so I wouldn’t have to do all the driving myself and give me company. We also took the fur babies. Then I took a weekend and flew to Florida to be with two other grandbabies to celebrate with them. It was go, go, go. The week after I returned from FL we drive to Tennessee to put our boat in storage and within a week of getting back we were loading up the fifth wheel and heading to Tennessee to start a new chapter in our life.
Neither of us were happy with life in Texas and it just never felt like we could make that home, so we decided to move back to Tennessee where it all started for us back in 2014 in Nashville. Although we didn’t settle in the city of Nashville, we are only about 45 minutes away in Clarksville. Greg lived here back in the 80’s and late 90’s when he was stationed at Fort Campbell, so to him it feels like he’s returning home. I’m looking forward to going back to work and then buying a house. We are putting our RV back on the market and hoping that someone will want to buy a great rig and give it the proper road time it so deserves.
Here’s to 2018 and all that it has to offer.
Another Christmas has come and gone and this one was much different from last year. Last year we were in Florida and it was around 60-65 degrees; however, this year we are in Texas and it never reached 40 all day.
I have so many memories of Christmas’ past and the traditions that I shared not only with my children when they were growing up, but also from my own childhood. I can still remember getting my Baby Alive! And playing with her for hours and hours and getting Barbie dolls and make up dolls, an Easy Bake Oven and more. One of the items I remember the most is all of us kids getting a go-cart when I was only five years old. My siblings were nine and eleven, so they could control the pedal and steering better. Within the first week I had already hit the side of the brick house and broke the go-cart to the point that dad had to get it welded back together. That would not be the only time I done that. Once I got it down pat how to drive it, it was a blast especially driving through the cow field trying to avoid cow patties.
Our family tradition was waking up very early and opening presents. Us kids were always up by 5:00 am and we were done within the hour. Some years we were up even earlier, and Mom would try to make us go back to sleep. Yea right! They only one who went back to sleep was her and dad as us kids always started playing without toys.
Once we got up we were off to Granny and Pops house to spend the holiday with all the cousins and aunts and uncles. It was always fun to play with our cousins and every year we got the same thing from my Granny…handmade panties for the girls, socks for the boys and handmade silky pillowcases for the parents. It never failed that the panties would be too big, but we never said anything as it was special for Granny to have made them. All the family drew names, so we could exchange gifts and only have to buy for how many was in our own family, so we always had to buy for five.
When I had my kids, I tried to instill some of the same traditions with them along with a few of my own. The one thing I always insisted on was getting each child the same number of gifts and making them open them one at a time, so I could see what they got and from who and, so I could take pictures. I was always a big picture person long before I got into being an amateur photographer about ten years ago.
The one tradition I miss the most is all of us being together for Christmas. It meant so much to me as a child to spend the holidays with my extended family and I done that with my kids until their father passed away and then it seemed like Christmas was never the same. In the last ten years I have not once had all three of my kids home for the holidays and it really hurts that the one tradition I wanted to carry on forever for my kids and grandkids will never take place. There is too much hurt feelings and family issues to keep this from ever happening.
If you have traditions that you share with your children, try to keep them alive as much and as long as possible.
I did get to see my grandkids for Christmas, but it required me traveling to each of their homes this year. I drove to Louisiana the first weekend of December to spend time with Jackson and Ryan. They were so adorable as always and I couldn’t believe how much they are both growing up. I made thirty-six-inch pillows for each of them, so they would have pillows to lay on the floor. His had dinosaurs and each side and hers was made of navy blue on the top and bottom and pink and white chevron around the edges. I added HTV vinyl that said, “little princess” to one side. Other than the pillows, they each received clothes and he got some sea animals. I usually leave the toys to mommy and daddy to get. I made cookies with Jackson while I was there and got as many kisses as I could from Miss Ryan. It was an enjoyable visit and as always, I look forward to seeing them all again soon.
Nana with Ryan (L) and Jackson (R)
The third week of December involved a plane ride to Florida. I flew out of DFW in Dallas to Tallahassee. It was a straight flight, so it didn’t take too long. This visit was to see Colby and Madison. I couldn’t believe it when I walked in a saw Colby. He’s a couple weeks shy of being 14 and he has sprouted up in the last few months. He’s taller than his mom, almost as tall as his dad and way taller than me. Miss Madison is a little firecracker. She was full of energy and played with me more in three days than she has in her entire life. They both received clothes and then Madison got a baby doll and Colby got headphones and a necklace. We went shopping, had pedicures, a great family night out and much more. It was hard to leave, but I was ready to get back home.
Nana with Colby and Madison
I made it back home on the 18th and I was ready to see my babies, which happen to have fur. Daddy said they missed me because every time they heard a noise they ran to the door to see if I was coming home. I always love my visits to see the kids, but I miss being at home as well. I’m hoping I can get everyone to my house next year (if we have a house bought by then), but it might mean having one for a few days and then the other for the next few days. Time will tell as we have a whole year to figure it out.
If you have family traditions, please share especially if they involve adult children and how you celebrate the holidays with them.
In the next few days we will be headed to Tennessee as Greg and I move our home on wheels to a new location. We’ll be in the town of Clarksville, which is about 45 minutes from Nashville where we met three years ago. Life will be changing once again as not only are we moving, but I will be going back to work as well. Wish me luck on that one as I must find a job.
Greg & Anna
I love to photograph my grandkids or any kids for that matter as it is one of the best ways to capture the innocence of a child. It’s like when they learn to talk, you never know what might come out of their mouth. Well the same can be said for when you photograph them, you never know what you might capture.
This past weekend I took a trip to Louisiana to visit my youngest daughter to share in the joy of her upcoming baby, who is due at the end of the month. My oldest daughter was also there with her two kids so we got to enjoy a little mini family reunion.
Because of my love of photography and because I had yet to get photos of these three together it was time for a photo shoot.
Oldest – 13, Baby girl – 3; Baby boy – 2
This brother and sister have a special bond and considering the 10 year age difference it makes their bond even more special. I hope they stay as close as they are now for many years to come.
Baby boy is all boy and as adorable as he can be. He can talk up a storm and is on the go from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed. I pray that he will accept his little sister into his world with the same love and devotion as the two above.
Sometimes the pieces of my life include memories of a lost love who I still miss, grieve over and sometimes hate for leaving me and our children to coast through this world alone. Although the second of February marked the ninth year he’s been gone sometimes it still feels like it was yesterday.
When I met the wonderful man who I am married to, Greg, I had been a widow for six years. My children were all grown ranging in age from 22 to 32 and I had no plans to remarry although I had been dating for several years. I mainly missed the companionship of a man. I had accepted the cards that had been dealt me as far as being a widow, but that need to have someone to share my day-to-day life with was real and something I missed more than anything. All of my kids lived in another state and had their own lives and relationships when I remarried, but to them I should have stayed a widow forever. A piece of advice never in your state of grief promise your children you will never remarry cause those words could bite you in the butt later.
Widowhood wasn’t something I was prepared for although I knew was a great possibility the day my husband had transplant surgery. Prior to having the surgery he had gotten real sick and we were told without a transplant he would surely die. With a transplant the odds were more in his favor of living a long life. We did prepare for the inevitable, although we were really hoping and praying for a good outcome. It was not until three days after surgery that he slipped into a coma that would change not only my life, but the life of our kids forever. The turmoil we all went through during the six weeks he lay in a coma was more than I thought any of us could bare. I put up a brave front for my children, two of which were still in high school, but I was hurting more than I ever really let on. I put the pieces of our shattered lives back together the best I could and carried on. I had too for the sake of my kids. I returned to work after being off for eight weeks only to walk out on a job I had been at for five years. It would be four months before I would even consider going back to work.
I was depressed and most days I didn’t do much more than feed my kids. Most days I wished it had been me that had died. I hated my husband for leaving me alone to deal with the aftermath. Eventually I realized I had to go back to work, for financial reasons more than anything else, as my kids depended on me to take care of them. I know I let them down and I have said I’m sorry more times than I can remember, but it’s not enough.
Our youngest daughter graduated high school, then went to the local community college, which led to her moving out. Our youngest son graduated the following year and joined the Army National Guard during his senior year which would have him leaving for basic training in the summer after graduation and then a tour in Kuwait. Knowing that both of my youngest would be on their own and I would be left totally alone with an empty nest I decided to move out-of-state to start over. And start over I did. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee with nothing but the contents of my house and a car. I moved in to an apartment with no job, no friends and no family.
It made me have to survive on my own. Something I had never experienced in my whole life as I’ve been a mom since I was seventeen so I went straight from my parents to adulthood. I never experienced life without a man until my husband passed away. The experience made me stronger in some ways and weaker in others.
Stronger in the fact that I learned how to do so much for myself. It took three months to get a job, but I did it. I made new friends and I done things I never dreamed possible. I proved to myself that I could make it on my own. Weaker in the fact that I hate being alone. Loneliness is very real and can be very scary.
The loneliness is what lead me to Greg, but when we met I had no intentions of getting married. I kept telling myself I would be okay with just living together, but I knew deep down I would never feel comfortable doing that and even though my children were not happy with my choices, I needed to do this for me. In the three years we have been together so much has changed where my children are concerned, but I do not regret my choices.
With all that being said, I don’t think we ever quit grieving for those that we’ve lost. The way we deal with the loss and grief is what matters. I will always have the memories and stories of the times we spent with our children, which carries me through the tough days.
As I look at my future I know I will survive whatever is thrown at me. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful grandchildren and a future that includes making wonderful memories exploring this beautiful country as we RV all over the country.
The month of December brings us to the end of another year. This year has had its ups and downs. January started with me taking a part-time job as we sat in Tallahassee trying to decide if we were going back on the road or staying put. It didn’t take but about six months for us to decide that what we really wanted was to be on the road travelling, so off we went. Our first trip was only for a couple of weeks to Louisiana and back to Florida. Come July we began what was supposed to be a 4 month trip to the New England states and back along the eastern coastline. This marks the second time we have tried to visit the eastern coastline and had to cancel and head back home. The first time being back in 2015 when we first began our full-time travel.
Our journey north started out good and for the first couple months we really enjoyed all the places we got to visit. The most memorable being our trip to Niagara Falls, followed by all the covered bridge sightings. Our time in the North Carolina mountains brought us or at least me some scary moments on the trip up and down the mountain, but nothing that I wouldn’t attempt to do again as the sights were beautiful and seeing the elk was more than worth the drive.
Unfortunately in September we were hit with a big setback when Greg had to have emergency surgery. Thankfully he is doing good and we are hopeful that in February he will have a second surgery to reverse part of the first one and once recuperated we will be back on the road enjoying this beautiful country. After two attempts of trying to see the east coast, we are going to forego that area for now and head west. We want to view some annual lots around Lake Fork in Texas, where we hope to settle one day, before heading to Monterey, California.
While staying in Florida, I was able to see two of the grandkids at Christmas time. I visited the one who lives in Louisiana right before Thanksgiving and since his mom is expecting a little girl in April, I decided to forego a trip back there until closer to delivery time.
Greg and I spent Christmas day out on the lake as we have a great RV spot on Lake Talquin that is known for great bass fishing. We try to go out in the boat at least once a week at a minimum.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and we wish you all a very Happy New Year!