A free printable 8×10 or 5×7 Harry Potter art print for your home.
We’re big Harry Potter lovers in our house. I’ve wanted to add some Harry Potter inspired art to our home since we moved in. This has always been one of my favorite quotes from the books. Since I know a lot of my friends are also Harry Potter fans, I thought I’d share it for anyone else who wants to add it to their home!
Dumbledore Quote Art Print
I’ve made these available in both 8×10 and 5×7 sizes. If you’re printing at home, you’ll want to use the crop marks to cut these down to the correct size. If you send it to a printer, they’ll cut it to size for you.
My daughter goes to a small preschool in our neighborhood and they are having their Christmas party tomorrow. (Note: We feel SO lucky to have a small, safe, mask-wearing preschool opportunity right now.)
I had purchased candy canes for her to give to her classmates, but last night, I decided they needed to be cute. And, bonus, my daughter LOVES coloring right now, so she got to customize them for her class!
Here is the Cricut project link so it’s already set up for you if you have a Cricut.
If you have another cutting machine, here are two SVG files for the print layer and the cutting layer. You’ll need to add a line on the penguin’s left flipper for the candy cane or you can hand cut that with an exacto knife.
Back in March, we went to the doctor for a 10 week pregnancy appointment and found out our baby’s heart had stopped beating at about 8.5 weeks.
This song has been on my mind whenever I’ve thought about our miscarriage since then. Now and forever more, the memory of our baby will be in my heart.
It’s really important to me that you know why I’m sharing this now. I want anyone else who experiences this to know they’re not alone. I needed and truly relied on dear friends who I knew had miscarried before or who had experienced pregnancy-related heartbreak. And, though I wished they’d never had to experience any of that heartache, I have been so incredibly grateful for their understanding, support, and love.
I think miscarriage needs to be talked about more. We need to know how common it is and eliminate any shame and secrecy involved. But it’s also a personal and intimate experience that nobody should feel obligated to share about, you know?
I’ve been fairly open about my miscarriage in personal conversations with friends, but I wanted to wait to share here until it felt right. One thing I’ve learned about grief (I mean, and life) is that so many things can be true at the same time. You can feel joy and still feel sad, for example. You can be hopeful and heartbroken. And you can be so incredibly grateful for people who care and also too tired to carry the weight of all the “I’m so sorrys”. And that is all okay.
My physical miscarriage experience
After finding out at our ultrasound that our baby had stopped developing, my doctor prescribed misoprostol— the medicine that helps your body complete a miscarriage.
From what my doctor had said and what I’d heard from a few friends, I anticipated being in a lot of pain with a lot of bleeding within a few hours after using the medicine. But three hours later, I found myself Googling and texting friends to find out if it was normal/okay for it to take longer. (I’ll save you the Googling: It’s not common, but it happens.)
The medicine is supposed to work within about 48 hours. I only experienced minor cramping and had only passed a few clots. I wasn’t sure if I had passed the baby though. When I went in for my follow up ultrasound, I learned that I had what they call RPOC (retained product of conception) and though I had probably passed the baby, there was more I needed to pass.
We went through the steps for my doctor to get approval for a D&C surgery (not an emergent surgery, so it required approval in our new COVID-19 world), but ultimately decided we wanted to try the medicine one more time before heading into surgery. So, I tried the medicine again. My results were similar to the previous time. But having seen my follow up ultrasound images, we knew there wasn’t much left to pass and my doctor and I both determined that it was likely that I had passed the RPOC.
After that, I had my blood drawn every two weeks for the next month, and then finally took a pregnancy test six weeks later — all to confirm my HCG levels were really dropping and my body was recognizing that I wasn’t pregnant any longer.
One of the harder physical challenges of miscarrying was my body still thinking I was pregnant. I should have been moving into 2nd trimester at this point and getting more energy and less nausea! But instead, I was no longer pregnant and I felt very stuck in the first trimester twilight zone.
My first period after miscarrying
When I got my first period following my miscarriage, I was prepared for it to be heavier. I was not prepared to finally experience the amounts of pain and bleeding I expected when I had taken the miscarriage medicine a month before.
I woke up in the middle of the night with cramps so painful I couldn’t move or breathe. I was having contractions/cramps that felt like being in labor. What happened next is kind of a blur, but I can tell you there was a strange popping sound, very large clots, and “blood flowing like water” — a description I had read a lot in my Google Miscarriage 101 course. The popping was a shock though. I’m grateful for mom forums and blog posts with similar stories because that wasn’t something I learned about on any professional medical source. (But my thoughts on the lack of credible miscarriage education are for anther day.)
The next few days were awful. My body felt weak and I experienced multiple moments where I thought I might pass out. I considered teaching my almost two year old how to call her dad or grandparents from my cell phone in case I did pass out, since it was just the two of us at home.
But as awful as that was, my body finally felt like it was completing the miscarriage process and moving on. Until that moment, I had felt stuck in that first trimester twilight zone. And I felt like a miscarriage imposter. Like I hadn’t experienced a true miscarriage and my body hadn’t done anything right, so I didn’t belong in that club that nobody wants to join. But I wasn’t pregnant either. And I hadn’t healed either.
I wouldn’t wish that pain or bleeding on anyone, but I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude that it finally felt like my body was doing what it needed to do and I could move forward.
Exactly a month after we found out we miscarried, I headed into town for one of my blood draws and then we went social distance shopping at Home Depot for supplies for a yard project. I was feeling the weight of grief and blood draws and a recovering body a lot that day. I went to hunt down (and sanitize) a shopping cart and spotted this little succulent. The pale pink felt like the perfect soft squishy baby color and, though I’ve never been much of a plant person, I needed something sweet, tiny, and alive to bring home. I don’t know why it felt so significant, but this little succulent is still in my kitchen making me smile.
Moving forward from miscarriage
Once my body felt like it was physically moving forward in all the ways I couldn’t control, I realized it was time to move forward in the ways I could control. I started with therapy.
Through my husband’s employer, we have access to what is referred to as “solution-based therapy”. I’m incredibly grateful for that access to therapy subsidized by the company, but my husband reassured me that if that wasn’t the right fit for me, we’d budget for therapy that was. Solution-based therapy is intended to be shorter term therapy where you focus on solutions and moving forward, instead of a long-term therapy relationship where you dig deep. (For the record, I’m a fan of both varieties.)
Lucky for me, this turned out to be exactly what I needed at the moment. The therapist I worked with provided a lot of validation, education, and solutions on how I could move forward and heal. She also helped me recognize that I was experiencing Parent Burnout. Which wasn’t necessarily caused by miscarrying, but miscarriage emotions sure were a lot on top of many other things I was going through– including burnout.
We talked a lot about the difference between self-care and self-maintenance. She said “You need a hobby that fulfills you that has nothing to do with work, parenting, or your marriage.” And I immediately said, “Well, my work IS my hobby! I design and I’m very passionate about it! It’s a creative outlet!” And she helped me understand that I truly needed something else.
She referred me to this article about self-care that has become a very valuable resource for me. Since our therapy session, I’ve put a lot more effort into true self-care. I’m taking an iPad lettering course that truly is just because I love it and want to improve my skills– not for work (even if it does benefit work down the road). I’ve also been walking on the treadmill three times a week and binge watching shows that I enjoy. (1 hour of my show! And my toddler playing mostly independently and not touching me!)
Healing from more than miscarriage
I don’t think I realized how much more healing I had to do. (Still have, grief and healing are both ongoing processes.) But I feel more like myself than I have for a long time, even prior to becoming pregnant or the miscarriage. So, for that, I’m grateful. I’m not grateful we lost our baby. But I do believe in silver linings. And I’ve learned that more than one thing can be true at once, like I mentioned before.
I can be healing and heartbroken. Grateful and grieving. Moving forward and always remembering. Supporting others and being supported.
I’m also grateful for the support I felt and continue to feel as we’ve shared this news with people we care about. When we first found out, we told only the people who had known we were pregnant– our parents and a few of my closest friends. As they prayed for us and cared for us, I genuinely felt some of the weight of my grief lifted. As if their willingness to share in our sorrow truly helped share some of the heaviness of the grief. And though the grief feels less heavy as time as passed, I continue to feel the strength of others as they tell us they care.
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There are two things I could spend hours downloading – fonts and Procreate brushes. Even though I already have a ton of brushes and I’ve made some of my own, I can always find more I’m excited to download and try! When I share videos on Instagram and TikTok, I often have people ask which brushes I’m using and which Procreate brushes I love best, so, here is a list of my top five favorite brushes or brush sets I’ve downloaded.
My most-used brush when I’m lettering in Procreate is my custom round brush. I love using this round brush for digital lettering because I love lettering with an actual round brush + watercolors in “real life”. I created this round brush set with three different round brushes that are perfect for lettering.
When I was about 14, I remember doodling in a notebook during a choir practice. One of the tenors leaned over to me and said “Wow, you should design fonts.” I smiled, thanked him, and kept doodling whatever I was doodling.
Years later, I now know that what I was “doodling” is actually called lettering. Lettering is a form of art that basically means drawing letters instead of writing letters. I spent a lot more time doodling letters and words than I ever spent doodling people, places, or things. My chemistry notebook from my Junior Year of High School has some really pretty lettering of words like “barium” and “molecules”.
It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I started investing in more “advanced” markers, pens, and tools for lettering. One of my favorite things about lettering is the fact that there is SO much you can do with inexpensive tools. Grab a pencil or ballpoint pen and you can start right away. However, if you’re ready to experiment with new lettering tools, I’ve got a list of favorites for you to start with and most of them are under $15.
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Tracing Paper – Good paper is always my first recommendation. Using printer paper can shred the tips of your markers, so it’s important to use smooth paper. Tracing paper is an inexpensive way to go!
Marker Paper – Marker paper is a step up from tracing paper. When I’m just practicing, I love to use one of these two types of papers.
Crayola SuperTips – These are the perfect place to start if you love the look of brush lettering. The tips of these markers offer great angles for downstrokes and upstrokes.
Tombow Fudenosukes – These come in both soft and hard tip. They’re a great place to start for brush lettering.
Tombow Dual Tips – These are my personal favorites. I love the larger brush tips and the variety of colors. The non-brush end is a nice round marker tip. It’s labeled as “fine” but it’s somewhere between a Sharpie and a fine point Sharpie. I think it’s the perfect size.
Micron Pens – I love having a set of these in a variety of sizes. These are fun for a variety of lettering styles and for embellishments and floral frames around your letters.
A Round Brush and a basic watercolor set – I learned that it was easier to manipulate the style of my brush lettering with an actual brush. Once I found my groove with a brush and watercolors (you can practice with these on watercolor paper or printer paper), I was better at using the brush tip markers.
One of the best things you can do is to just become familiar with how the markers and pens work and what kind of strokes you like. Seriously – just have fun. Once you’re more familiar with the tools, then it’s time to start with tutorials and finding your style.
I’m working on a whole series of Lettering Love posts. Comment below and let me know what you’d like to learn next!
Today is a pretty special day for me. If you’ve never heard of Bowling Ball Day, welcome. 🙂 It’s likely that that means we’re new friends. Here’s the short version: 10 years ago today, a bowling ball fell off the top of a flag pole on my head. And I’ve celebrated this day ever since.
It was March of 2007, my second semester of college. I was visiting some friends in Tremonton for spring break. My friend, Christina had suggested that we go to a privately owned park called “Marble Park”. She insisted the barbed wire collection was a must-see. So, we went. The park is a sculpture park featuring a lot of cool things: swings made from old tractor seats, chairs made from barrels and wheels, and the infamous barbed wire collection. We decided to gather the group together for some pictures. We all climbed up onto three platforms. My friends Ashli, Mac, and I stood on the middle platform which had a flag pole coming out of it and was about 5 feet tall.
Ashli and I on the platform with the flagpole.
While taking the pictures, we noticed that the flagpole was kind of wobbly. It had been cemented into the platform, but looked as though it had come loose over the years. Mac started pushing on it, and just as I said (teasing, of course) “wouldn’t it be funny if I fell off?” a bowling ball fell from it’s perch on the top of the flag pole and onto my head.
If you look at the top of the flagpole in the background, you can see the bowling ball in its prongs.
I was knocked unconscious and fell off the platform. (This is a good thing because otherwise, it’s likely that I would have tried to catch myself and could have broken my arms.) Once on the ground, I regained consciousness, had a seizure, and threw up. (Lime green throw up, because I’d had Jones Green Apple Soda. TMI? Sorry.) My friends called 911 and explained that I had been hit on the head. “By what?” the operator asked. After looking around to find the culprit, Ashli eventually said “Um, a bowling ball.”
I was taken in an ambulance to the Bear River Hospital where they were worried about my spinal fluid leaking into my brain, so I was then lifeflighted to the University of Utah Neuro Care Clinic. One of the few moments of all of this that I actually remember happened in the helicopter. I remember watching the propellers start to spin, and one of the paramedics closed the door on my arm – so my arm was trapped between the door and my stretcher. I looked up at him and said “um, my arm…” and they quickly opened the door again and placed my arm on top of me.
The physicians at the Neuro Care Clinic determined that I had a severe concussion and my skull was fractured from front to back. You know how babies’ skulls are in two parts when they’re born and that’s why they have a soft-spot? I essentially just broke that open again. After four days in the hospital and eight staples in my head, I got to go home. I was on Loritab for a week, and then I went back to school. A few weeks later, I went to have my staples removed and the doctor told me I was doing surprisingly great and the concussion was gone. To this day, the only lasting damage is the quarter-sized scar on top of my head.
So, that’s the story of Bowling Ball Day. I love celebrating this day because it makes me feel special. Knowing how many people came to visit me in the hospital, prayed for me, took pictures with posters and sippy cups (long story) for me really just warms my heart. And knowing that, by some miracle, I didn’t die – that’s something that makes me feel things I’ve never been able to truly explain. Some of it is simply gratitude for the blessing of being alive and for feeling like I have a purpose for still being here. And also, in many sacred ways, this experience brought me closer to God. I believe in angels. The ones here on earth and the unseen angels that I believe were there 10 years ago.
Oh, and also, it’s pretty funny. I mean, who does this even happen to?
I was never asked to a dance in high school. Looking back, it’s definitely not a big deal. But then it was. I remember watching my friends get asked to dances and wondering if anyone would ever ask me. One dance, Homecoming maybe, I remember sitting at the computer near our front door the night before. Just in case someone decided to ask last minute. The phone rang, my parents told me it was for me, there was a male voice on the other end of the line who said “Elise. This is Harry Potter. Please stop being so obsessed with me.” Click. Needless to say, I didn’t get asked to Homecoming at the last minute. (I also didn’t stop my Harry Potter obsession.)
Like I said, in retrospect, those dances weren’t a big deal. I turned out pretty alright even without a pretty prom dress. But if I could go back in time and hang out with 17 year old me on the night of the dance, I’d bring her a giant bag of caramel kisses and we’d have a heart-to-heart where I’d hopefully convince her a little bit earlier in life that her worth wasn’t defined by how many boy’s choice dances she was asked to.
That’s the cool thing about perspective, looking back, you understand a lot more than you did in the situation. I like to go back and read my high school journals sometimes. I’ve learned to skip over the pointless pages of American Idol updates (although it is kind of fun to remember how many times I managed to vote for Clay Aiken and Carmen Rasmussen in a single night.) My favorite pages are the ones where I was convinced that I was “in love” with so-and-so for whatever reason it was that day. It would be embarrassing to admit how many last names I’ve sampled my first name with. (In gel pen, naturally.)
I’ve come to love writing an awful lot. I also like to think I’ve become a bit better at writing since my high school days. My notes app on my phone is full of half-completed blog posts and stressed-out word vomit sessions. I’ve also learned to write when I’m feeling happy or grateful, so that I can remember those things when I’m not feeling that way later on.
Anyway, here’s the point of this post.
Months ago, I went on a really good date. There actually wasn’t anything particularly special about it, mostly just that I had a good time, felt comfortable with my date, and felt some sense of potential. I try to begin and end dates with a prayer so, when I got back from this one, I was expressing gratitude for the date and felt like I should write what I was feeling. I pulled up my beloved notes app and wrote something that has been a real blessing to look back on since I wrote it:
“I think this is what hope feels like. A moment of believing that everything I’ve always dreamed of could actually come to be. I feel like spinning and screaming, the lights all seem brighter, I feel like every part of me is smiling.
I also feel this fear of ‘what if I’m wrong?’ and ‘what if I get my hopes up only to get them crushed?’ But something tells me that no matter what happens, this feeling of bliss and hope and ‘maybe so’ has a lot more to do with truth – it doesn’t all rely on ‘what if yes’ or ‘what if no’. I am valuable not just because tonight I feel valued, but because I am.”
I actually feel really vulnerable sharing that note. Because, spoiler alert, not much more happened with that guy. And since nothing happened, it seems kind of silly that ‘every part of me was smiling’. But I’ve had this note on my mind all day and I’m kind of impressed by what I seem to have understood the night I wrote it. Today, as I’m writing this blog post, I am valuable. Even though nothing progressed the way I hoped it would when I was all twitterpated that night, that simple date taught me something that had always been true all along.
And it’s true for all of us. We are valuable. We have infinite worth that is not defined by whether or not we are going on dates, or our marital status, our employment/education status, or anything like that. That’s something that has taken me a long time to understand. And somehow, separating those things in my mind has made all the difference.
I have this conversation nearly every day: “Hey, Elise, how are you?” “I’m good! Busy, but good!” And the other day, as I said that, I realized just how monotonous it is. I seriously say that every time. And yeah, I’m totally busy. In fact, every night as I fall asleep I think “Does everyone else do fine with just 24 hours in a day? Maybe they’re not sleeping. Do people really get bored? Maybe they only sleep four hours a night?” and then I fall asleep before I can finish that conversation with myself. So, hey, I’m busy. And I’m stressed. And I’m never sure I’m doing enough. And ‘real life’ is tough.
And this is where I’ve lived mentally for the last year or so.
So, last Sunday, as I rattled off my “Busy, but good!” answer about my life, I followed it up with, “Maybe I should stop saying that. Maybe right now is normal and I should just embrace it and let this be normal and let more than this be ‘busy’.” And then within a matter of hours I was feeling overwhelmed about life again. That night, I went to the Christmas Devotional that the LDS church does every December (it’s a favorite) and all the talks were about the silent night when Christ was born and the peace that can come into our lives when we rely on the Savior and the promised blessings that come from His teachings and His life.
And I remembered that the message I have continuously received over the last year or so is this:
So, I’ve been studying peace. And I could probably write novels about all the cool connections I’ve found and things I’ve learned (and probably, someday, I will) but I’ve also found some other cool things as I’ve read articles and talks about peace.
Everybody is seeking it.
Each article seems to have a story that goes like this: “There was a time in my life when I was struggling with (sin/loss of a loved one/divorce/heartache/medical challenges/etc.) and my life felt like it was in turmoil and everything seemed wrong and I didn’t know what to do and I had unanswered questions and I felt really alone.” And those are the stories that are used to illustrate peace.
I’m not finding stories about people who have lived a struggle-free life. I’m not finding stories about people who just have never had reason to worry about anything. And I’m definitely not finding stories about people who didn’t ever doubt or have questions. The more I blog and the more I open up about insecurities or questions on my blog, the more people I meet who say “I went through the same thing!”
I’m pretty sure this study of peace is going to be a lifetime thing. I kind of think that the blessings of peace come more from continuously learning than from mastering it. So, don’t expect me to be an expert any time soon. But here is something I definitely know: peace is available to everyone. Always. And some of that peace comes from realizing that you aren’t the only one. You’re not that “mistake” who has all the questions and the doubts, you’re one of us. And none of us are mistakes. We’re humans who are learning and I’m pretty sure the learning is the beautiful part. Opening up and letting others learn with you – that takes talent, because vulnerability sure likes to feel scary. But on the other side of that vulnerability is a life filled with peace.
I’ve mentioned in recent blog posts that life has been hard for me lately. Honestly, it’s difficult to explain why it’s been hard because it’s a lot of things and it’s a lot of mental things. It’s dating, it’s work, it’s self-esteem, it’s acne, it’s growing up, it’s not wanting to grow up, it’s a whole lot of learning things about myself that I didn’t realize before, it’s failure, it’s overcoming weaknesses and discovering new ones, it’s healing, it’s holding on to hope, it’s letting go of things that need to be let go of… and that’s just the beginning.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, that challenge has a label. It’s google-able and people have heard about it before. They may not understand what it’s like to go through that trial, but it’s something they’ve heard of before. When someone has cancer, you can post about that on Facebook and ask for help – and thank goodness for that! I’m grateful for the lives that have been blessed and the prayers that have been answered because we know how to ask for help when someone has cancer.
But that’s the thing. Sometimes we have trials that aren’t google-able. Sometimes there is no easy label for why life is hard. Or maybe it’s something private that you don’t actually want to talk about. I know some brave people who talk about their challenges with infertility. I think people who share their struggles with cancer are incredibly brave too. I also have learned that sometimes there are brave people fighting silent battles that they don’t understand, can’t label, or aren’t really prepared to open up about. Sometimes there are battles that are so innately internal that you really can’t tell people about them. And the more time I’ve spent thinking about this “silent battles” concept, the more I come to realize that a LOT of us are going through these times in life and maybe we don’t know what to do.
I feel weird telling people that life is challenging right now and not being able to really fully explain why. I tell some close friends/family a little bit, but there are so many deep factors to why life is hard for me right now and I don’t even understand half of them. So, hi, life is hard. I’ve got a whole lot going on inside of me and I’ve got no label to tell you why.
But I want people to know that my life is hard. I feel selfish just typing that. The phrase “misery loves company” comes to mind. But I think it’s much more than that. Honestly, I think sometimes we need to cry out and say “Hey! You people that care about me! I am not sure I’m okay right now and I need help.” Actually, I think we spend a lot of time crying out messages like that – I think our bodies know how to get that message out when we’re not ready to admit it. I’m sure you’ve seen lists of “signs of depression”. They’re filled with things like fatigue, over eating, under eating, insomnia, over sleeping… you get the point.
I think the world has taught us one giant lie that needs to be torn to bits and destroyed forever. That lie is this: “Asking for help is not okay/means I’m weak.” Perhaps it’s phrased differently in each of our minds. Any way you say it, it’s a lie. We were put here on earth with other compassionate humans for a reason. We can ask for help. We were born into family units with people who love and care deeply about us for a reason. We can ask for help. It’s OKAY to not be okay. It’s OKAY to let people know you have flaws. It’s OKAY to need help.
I let myself do this thing where I say “I’m fine, it’s okay, I’ve got this” for a long time until I’m crying in my car on the way home from work and it’s all I can do to think of something I might be able to eat without feeling like I’m going to vomit. I’m learning that I’m allowed to ask for help before I reach this point of desperation. I can tell someone I’m struggling before the tears come. I’m allowed to get support from friends and family any time I want. I’ve learned that all you have to do is ask. People LOVE you. They want to support you and help you be okay. We’re not here to work through all our challenges alone. It was never meant to be that way.
Ultimately, I’ve also been learning how to turn to the Savior. It’s okay to need Him. It’s okay to ask for divine help. In fact, we are promised “ask and ye shall receive”. He wants to run to us, to succor us, to heal us and bless us. I think I re-learn how much I need to rely on the Savior almost every day. In my favorite Holland talk of the day, Elder Holland says “When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way.” Up and out is exactly the way I feel like I need to go.
I also want you to know that I am okay. I have moments where I want to scream out and cry out and tell everyone that I’m not okay. Those are real. But I also have wonderful, blissful, joy-filled moments where I feel peace and I know that I am okay and that things are going to be okay and I know I’m on a beautiful path. I’m finding that there is a lot more joy in the struggle than I ever believed there could be. Slowly, I’m starting to realize that there is a lot to be learned from the hard times and even from making mistakes. I have to remind myself, but I think that deep down I actually do know that being vulnerable, taking chances, going off of gut feelings and moving forward (even moving forward feeling like you have little to no sense of direction) is a lot more like progress than staying safe in your comfort zone and not ever risking anything. And through all of the scary, vulnerable, not okay moments, it really is always going to be okay.
A picture is worth a thousand words, yet somehow, without words, nobody could ever understand exactly what this picture means to me.
 Most of the nails are not all the way in the board, but that rusty nail is the one that towers over them all. Welcome to my life as the tall girl with acne. When I took this picture, however, I focused on the rusty nail because it was beautiful. It stood out. It has tone and color and texture. It tells a story. And in its weathered, beaten state it still retains its metal core and holds strong. Perhaps, sometimes, we’re meant to be a little weathered and beaten.
 Look at that focus, the clarity, the perspective, the lighting, the composition. Think of the training behind this picture: which lens to use, which f stop to choose, which angle to shoot from, where to focus, how to focus. Some of it is left to chance opportunity. How did I spot that nail? How did I happen to find it during such ideal lighting? I’ll let you run with the billions of life analogies that can come from photography on your own.
 The place where this photo was taken, Wheeler Farm, holds so much of my childhood. We often passed it on the way to my grandparent’s house, we’ve had family reunions there, I went on field trips there, and one time during an Easter egg hunt I got “lost” in the woods with my cousin, Ashley, and we found a mysterious plastic egg filled with a creamy white substance. (Let’s just say that shaving cream is less appetizing when you think you’re getting marshmallow cream.)
 The day this picture was taken was an incredibly happy day. It was a warm Sunday afternoon. Nothing but sunshine, the cute boy I was dating, a camera, and endless photo opportunities. For a while after that boy and I broke up, I couldn’t look at this picture. No matter how proud I was of the quality and beauty of the picture, it reminded me of a happy time that I wasn’t having anymore, because I attached that happy time to that boy. He was, of course, a big reason for that happiness. But, my happiness didn’t end because the relationship did. There is beauty in happy memories, in fresh starts, even in being single. With time and learning, this picture has come to represent hope. A wonderful boy loved me once and it wasn’t right. Someday, a wonderful boy will love me again. And someday it will be right.
Not even half of a thousand and not even half of what the picture means to me.
Or what it means to you.
Maybe it speaks to you differently.
Maybe it doesn’t speak to you at all.
Isn’t it beautiful to know that somehow, even though we all have separate brains, life stories, experiences, and emotions; through images and words we can share and experience life through others?
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