My friend, Camille

It’s because of you, 

That I see this the way that I do. 

Not just another annoying mess to clean up, 

But an insight into their creativity and creations. 

You asked, on very short notice, for permission to start taking photos inside our home, before our session. 

You wanted to record life, as is, not necessarily as I wanted it to be seen. 

And you promised me that one day, I would appreciate these details. 

The toys I would have long forgotten, strewn around the background. 

The nakedness of my children, refusing to get dressed for our family session. 

So when I spotted this plastic tea cup hidden behind a tissue box in my bathroom tonight, I smiled. 

Appreciating the imagination that must have gone into placing it there, rather than exclaiming my exasperation at the limitless mess of mothering four children. 

It’s because of you,

That I appreciate my children the way I do. 

And there will never be enough words to say thank you. 

Taryn Segelstrom Boyd

Grace

You are asleep.

But I am awake.

Utilizing the only alone time I have in a 24 hour day to research alternatives and specialists that might be able to help my child.

This is LIFE UNSEEN!

We are all juggling something unseen.

Not all must be shared but sometimes it’s easy to believe all is well, when in reality, it is a-n-y-t-h-I-n-g but.

This is not a cry for attention but a cry for grace.

Grace to all you meet for you CANNOT know what they are battling.

We must give love to heal one another.

And if spreading this message is Elizabeth’s purpose in life, then, Lord, here we are.

The Road Not Taken

Los Angeles. Studio City, to be precise. 

That’s where I was headed in 2005, with a roommate I’d spoken with for months over AOL but had never actually met in person. We had the lease to our apartment and I had a lead to a job as a script-writer with Dreamworks Studio. 

Instead, I pulled the plug two weeks before I was set to move.

It remains to be, the road not taken for me.

In place of California. I lingered on the East Coast taking a room with a family of 6. In exchange for room and board, I provided care for the kids.  As the youngest of 8, I had never had 4 younger “siblings” before and was terrified.  Quickly, I adapted, finding myself taking particular interest in that first grader mastering reading.  

I read the book What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles and shockingly wondered if he could be right- were the childhood games I played as a teacher my destiny?  Had I known and denied all along? 

I moved back to my hometown in my own blissful, 1-bedroom apartment,  and volunteered in the fourth grade classroom at my tiny, private elementary school, just to see if it was worth pursuing.  

And, oh, it was. 

I. Came. Alive. 

Yes, this is where I was meant to be all along. 

Until I had my own four children and stayed home to care for them. I quit my job as teacher and became Mama.

 I started my own blog to continue my pursuit of writing.  

Then a Pandemic hit and again, I became teacher. 

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost
Camille Vaughan Photography

Necessity

Let me guess,

You didn’t want to, right?

But you had to.

Out of necessity.

Yea, I get it.

I’m that advocate, too.

And, likely, over half of those poor bastards you interact with on a daily basis are in the same spot.

Stuck, but still caring.

Trapped, but still loving.

Cornered, but still exploring options.

Always, continuously, every day.

Caring. Loving. Advocating.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Tired, but Repeat.

Exhausted, but Repeat.

No other options so, Repeat.

Yea, we’re tired.

But you know what else?

We’re resilient as hell.

We can see others differently, in spite of.

We can empathize.

We can offer a hand.

We can endure,

Out of necessity.

Camille Vaughan Photography

Appreciate

He said, “I appreciate you, babe. I see you, and I appreciate you.”

After a long day, hell, a long 8 years, there’s nothing that man could have said that would have felt better to hear than that.

It was just the right thing to say.

He wants to be able to take more of the load off of me, but the fact of the matter is, I’m the momma.

I’m the teacher.

I’m the one they want in the middle of the night and, honestly, all day.

No, he can’t be me.

But he sure as hell can see and appreciate me.

And that’s all I need.

Dee Akright Photography

The Ghana Chronicles: 1

“I can’t believe Africa is to our south and that I’m headed home. Soon I will be sitting on my porch swing recalling a dream of mine that once became a reality for a small amount of time.” – July 29, 2000

20 years ago today, I boarded a plane that took me to Ghana, Africa for a month with the American Field Service. I took some time to pull out my memory box and revel in the memories of a defining moment in my life.

What I’ve written in the journal I kept every day is something that I realize now should be shared further. Not everyone has the privilege to live with a host family and experience a new culture in that way. So here’s the first of many to come!

 

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Rain

And then the people said,

Rain! Rain!

What we need is more rain.

After pandemics, murder hornets and riots,

What we need is more rain.

Rain to trap us inside.

Rain to make us feel sad.

Rain to flood our streets.

Rain to remember what we once had.

Rain! Rain!

What we need is more rain.

Rain to grow our flowers.

Rain to make us think.

Rain to wash it away

Rain to begin again.

For when the sun shines once more

We will soak in its sweet rays

Remembering what we’ve endured.

Appreciating what we’ve gained.

Let it rain. Let it rain.  Let it rain.

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