Thursday, October 29, 2009

Give - Updated

In my post yesterday, I revisited the story of seeing a little orphan boy wearing my son's PJs and how emotional that was for me. In fact, lightning has struck more than once. This is a photo of my son in 2004.

Smile_LiveLonger

I photographed the young fellow (below) in June 2009. The shirt is not a coincidence.

Same shirt. Five years later.

Smile_LiveLonger_2

It's a bit faded, but it's still doin' its job. What do ya say we check out our closets this weekend. I'll bet we can find a ton a few things that we don't even touch anymore. Let's take that stuff to The Salvation Army, Goodwill, the soup kitchen or some other outreach program of your choice. C'mon. Let's just do it. It's not that tough. It will make someone's day... and YOURS, too. I promise.

Smile. Live Longer.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Give

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I assisted my friend Lisa as she photographed a special project yesterday. During our time together, she reminded me of this post -- another one of my favorites. As mentioned earlier, my favorites tend to be the ones that help me to "get it right".

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The photo above will look like an ordinary snapshot to you, but it's not ordinary to me. To me, it is one of my most meaningful photographs. It represents a significant day in my life. When I saw this little fellow in his green and white pajamas, my eyes
instantly welled up with tears....and it changed me for life.

This little boy is a resident of the City of Refuge Children's Home. His birth parents are nowhere to be found. By the Grace of God, he has found a home with 60 other children at an orphanage atop the Blue Mountains of Jamaica...safe from the homelessness, violence and chaos of the mean streets.

Oh...and his pajamas? They once belonged to my son.

My wife has given gently-used clothing to the orphanage for years now. The donations have always been a gift of love from my wife. As for me? At the time, I probably viewed the donations as a tax write-off. Thankfully, my heart has been profoundly changed by the most compassionate person I know -- my wife, Kay (below).

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Seeing my son's pajamas on this little boy jump-started something inside me that I didn't know I had. What was once
a tax deduction in my mind, has now become a small but meaningful contribution to a living, breathing child of God. And in the process, I've emerged from my cocoon -- a rebirth of sorts.

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Do you realize just how rich we all are? Even when times are tough, we are richly blessed.

  • 800 million people on our planet will not eat today. Will you?
  • 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Do you?
  • 92% of the world's inhabitants don't own a car. Do you? Maybe two?

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, those who answered "no" will think that you are rich.

That clothing you haven't touched in months...those canned goods that have been sitting on the shelf because they're not your favorite...give 'em up! Chances are you won't miss them. Call a local soup kitchen or an outreach center and drop off your items. We can make a difference! We can help in some small way. Someone needs those things way more than we do. You could impact someone's life today. And ya know what? It will make YOUR day...and maybe even your life.

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." -- Arthur Ashe

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Purple Eraser... revisited

PurpleEraser
I originally posted this on March 17, 2009. Many folks have commented on it, both online and in-person. I have been asked to repost it. Seems like a good way to begin my second year of blogging. In fact, I may repost a few of my personal favorites over the coming days. Some of them are good reminders for ME... to do the right thing(s).
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This little fellow is a resident of the City of Refuge Children's Home. He likes to be my assistant when I visit. Being my assistant means that he follows me everywhere. Does he assist with anything? Not really, but I love having him around. He's a super kid. We've become quite close over the past few years. He calls me "Uncle Dan" and I love that.

When we last visited, my wife asked him what he would like for Christmas. We asked him to make us a list. On the final day of our visit, he presented us with his list. In one hand he had his list written in pencil and in his other hand he had a purple eraser. He first handed me the list... and then the eraser. Then he said, "Uncle Dan, I don't expect you to give me anything on my list. You can erase as many things as you choose to. I would be very thankful if you choose to give me one thing."

Wow.

Clearly, he's not your typical 7-year-old. Four years ago he was a homeless child wandering the mean streets of Kingston...perhaps sleeping under benches and in cardboard boxes. Look at him now. He's teaching Uncle Dan a few things.

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I asked him if I might keep the eraser. I keep it in a spot where I am certain to see it every morning. It is a good reminder....

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

One

One

D2 Photo Journal is one year old this week. I must admit, I never believed it would last this long. It's been an amazing year. In the past year, I have had visitors from 76 countries and 49 of the United States (not sure what I did to upset Vermont).

Some special shout-outs:

1. Thanks, Ron, for your support and encouragement. You were the catalyst that turned my goal into action. Without you, this blog would likely be six months old, not one year. (FYI - Ron would give me the shirt off his back if I asked him - in fact, I think he already has. He's one of the most generous people I know).

2. Thanks, Jay. Were it not for you, this blog would have ended at 100 posts (it's now around 185). Jay talked me away from the delete button a few months back when I figured enough was enough.

3. Thanks to each and every one of you... my loyal followers. I appreciate your encouragement and support more than you know. You have taught me a great deal throughout the past year. I love your heartfelt thoughts and comments.

I cannot tell you for sure where the journey will go from here. If I'm good at one thing in this life, it's challenging myself and keeping my momentum going -- I have always felt that is important. Maybe it's encouraging to note that while I was driving earlier today, I was looking out the car windows to find uses of the number 2.

Peace be with you.


I Can Do All Things Through Christ

Who Strengthens Me.

Philippians 4:13

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Billion to One

CornStalk

I happened to notice this lonely corn stalk in a soybean field last weekend. It was a 240 acre soybean (and 1 corn stalk) field. Talk about being a minority.....

I've always been attracted to farm fields. I find them very beautiful in their own way. My final project in photography school was a photo-essay on farming. I loved every minute of that project and I still carry that wonderful experience with me to this very day. It's become part of me. Maybe you've noticed.

I don't think most people realize the stress a farmer lives with on a daily basis. I can almost hear the farmer's thoughts:

  • Will it rain today?
  • Please, God, let it rain.
  • Will it rain too much?
  • Will it ever stop raining?
  • Can I get my tractor into the fields today? Tomorrow?
  • Will my crop rot in the field?
  • Will the wind blow my top soil away?
  • Please, God, let the wind stop blowing.
  • Can I afford to fuel my equipment?
  • Will the price of fertilizer eat up my small profit?
  • Dear Lord, I'm having trouble making a living.....

And so it goes....

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deep Space Nebula

Steam

Um... I guess it's not exactly outer space. I would love to tell you this was shot with the Hubble Space Telescope, but it wasn't. It is ordinary steam wafting up in our kitchen tonight. A shaft of light (I call 'em God beams) bolted through the kitchen window and the steam seemed to come alive -- it created an amazing scene. Well, at least I thought it was amazing. Understand that it doesn't take much to amaze me. When I see something like this, I'm like a kid high on Skittles.

Like the great Edward Weston once said, "You should be able to turn around and see a photograph. Let it come to you".

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Computer Whiz Kid

WhizKid

This little sweetheart is the son of my office professional. We all met in the studio this past weekend for some photo-fun. I photographed her little fellow for a photo project that we are working on together.

A special family and a special little man.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Little Shacks and Big Sky

LittleShacks

I pass by these little shacks during my daily commute. Last week I saw the farmer milling around, so I stopped and asked him if could take some photos on his land. He was an old-timer...say 80-years-old. A big smile took over his face. He tried to tame his smile, but he couldn't. Then he said, "You can take photos any time you like." It was almost as if my wish to take photos confirmed that he had something beautiful. Intuitively, HE KNEW he had something beautiful, but my question was confirmation and he couldn't contain his smile. I instantly adored him. The whole experience made my day.

I spent 45 minutes clicking away...being careful not to damage his soybeans. I'll drop some prints off the next time I see him outside. And when I do, it will be the best thing that happens to me that day.

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