Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wow... I finally have my new blog up and running, on my new web site,

Come visit me. I've missed you.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Winter to you all!!

Blogger is being a little bratty and won't let me upload any more photos. I'm hoping to switch to wordpress soon.

I did make a special little greeting for you all to wish you a very happy holiday, but we'll have to settle with a link to Flickr for you to see it.

It is my greatest wish that so many of you find yourselves in the loving embrace of families and friends this winter season. I wish for you some peace of mind and heart, a slice of wonder, and grand hopes for well lived moments. With love and gratitude to all of you who stop by here and make my life fuller and bigger because of it, Happy Holidays!

xo Rachel.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Today, while waiting at a red light, the boy (6.5 years) and I were noticing how a lower level of clouds was moving very fast across the sky, and a higher band seemed not to move at all. There was some silent admiration for a second or two and then he said, "I like being alive Mommy. I like my life." 

Yep... that's it right there. That's everything I need to hear, for a very very long time. I cancels out millions of I'm bored, and No one is being nice to me, and I never get to have fun.

I got a little choked up and he asked why. I said, "I work very very hard to make sure you have a good life, a life that makes you happy. That's my job. When you say that you like your life, it tells me that I'm doing a good job." It's the tip of the iceberg of the truth really, but it's what I could say in the moment that he would quickly understand. 

I struggle every moment of everyday to bypass my demons, to think through my every thought before it leaves my mouth, to accommodate  support, stimulate, enrich, and just plain keep up with a boy who is so different from me (who needs constant contact and almost constant conversation). More than one onlooker to my life has said it seemed precariously close to parenting a legitimately "special needs" kid. It does feel that way sometimes because his needs are so great and so very different from my own. But, what I do for him is likely no more than what every competent mom out there gives. I see it in the faces of the women I know who are moms of my son's friends. I see it so clearly. They give until it hurts, and that is just the beginning. 

They and I do it to give our kids what we had, or what we wished we'd had, at their age. We want to give them everything they need for a great life, now and later. Many of us have been running on empty since their births, some of us since our birth. But we find it in us to give, and in that giving we grow deeper, wider, stronger, and greater. And sometimes something is said, or something is given back that feeds us like the purest nectar of life... and we know it has all been for them, but for us too. They are never completely separate from us. They are of us. Our hearts beat in their chests. 

I like being alive Mommy. I like my life.

everything I need to hear.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

People Are Amazing

Twice this week my son, the six-year-old love of my life, picked up trash he saw on the street and took care of it. The first time was in the neighborhood surrounding his school. The second was on the street in front of our home. 

He didn't make a big deal out of it. It was a wrong that needed to be righted. There was some head shaking and disbelief that anyone would be so careless but that was more about him trying on a new kind of morality than a self-congratulatory, attention seeking endeavor.  He's a pretty sensitive kid and has been thinking a lot about actions and consequences lately. And we've been focused on personal responsibility for a while too. But, these are pretty standard things for a child to be figuring out. And, while I'm fairly bursting with pride over him taking it upon himself to pick up after strangers for the betterment of his community, I realize it may just be a phase, and it's not like he's saving the whales or anything...

Except that.... WE ARE WHAT WE DO

Check them out. They are an AMAZING project that encourages small actions in everyday life that, when combined with others' action, equal change, progress, a dent in issues that overwhelm us all. 

By the light they shed, I find myself weak in the knees that my son, my boy, did something for the pure good of it, and that matters. His easy action may have planted a seed in anyone who might have seen him. It planted a seed in me, to support him (instead of wincing at that Gatorade bottle being thrown into the back of my car - jeez, who knows where it's been) and see the pure beauty of one little act. 

If we are what we do, my son is kind, observant, concerned about his world, thoughtful, generous and giving of himself. Even if it's just a phase, or a developmental curiosity, he is all of these beautiful things because of those acts this week. And he may be some not so beautiful things others weeks because of choices he makes. But all in all, I'm willing to bet on his open heart, and I'm looking with eyes wide open at how terribly much the small, good things, add up. 

Instagram treated photo of my son, taken on my iphone this summer

Friday, September 7, 2012

People are Amazing

This video, which is a history of the world in 2 minutes 10 seconds, was put together by a high school student. There are some culturally biased choices in terms of what was represented, but I still find it amazing that he put this all together so elegantly. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

making more room

The other night I put aside all of the shoulds and todos, and I worked on something just because I wanted to. I followed by muse, my flow, my intution, my desire... whatever it might be called, and I made these:

It's funny to me that these came out the way they did. They were taken in the dead of winter in 2009, but processed in the summer of 2012, during one of Seattle longest stretches of no rain (40+ days) and I can see the influence of the sun. The whites are brighter, the black and blues crisper. They of course do say winter, but most of my winter influenced pictures are a lot more grungy, less contrasted, and murkier. It will be interesting to see if this is really the influence of the sun and if I go back to murky later as the mist, fog and clouds descend. Or, is this the natural evolution of my style that will persist? Time will tell. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

People are Amazing

People are Amazing is a new tradition around these parts which I'm really loving. It's keeping me balanced and humble. More about all that here.

This week... it's Jonathan Russell, from one of my favorite bands "The Head and The Heart" singing one of their new songs "Chasing A Ghost", who is amazing me. 

I love the passion with which he sings this song, the crescendos, the fortepiano (correct me if I get the terms wrong. It's been a long time since high school marching band), the singular romance the man has with the song. If you hear the more album ready version, as always, is clearer and easier to hear... and it has passion, along with layers of voices, layers of other people's passions about the song... but it misses the intense love affair between one man and his poetry (I don't actually know who wrote it but you know what I mean. When someone's poetry inspires something like that kind of singing, it becomes their poetry too).

Friday, August 24, 2012

School House Craft Conference

I'm getting very excited about the upcoming School House Craft Conference happening here in Seattle next month.


I was lucky enough to find out about it last year in time to attend the very first one and I have to say I wasn't holding out huge hopes for a stimulating, let alone constructive, experience. It wasn't personal.  I didn't know any of the organizers then. I guess it was mostly a knee jerk reaction to the fact that it was something put together by well meaning individuals and low profile groups as opposed to some giant, corporate machine. Old assumptions die hard I guess.

I smile now at myself. I have such tremendous respect for the handmade, small creative business, independent artist, movements. I LOVE the story of creative types of all kinds just doing what they love to do, telling their stories on blogs, and selling their work on once tiny upstart venues like Etsy, all the while unconsciously innovating and paving the way for thousands of other creative types to embrace their passions and gifts. I LOVE the way it all evolved. I LOVE that brilliant minds too introverted to shout from soap boxes have voices and are heard because of blogs, because we need them, their minds, their passions. I LOVE that handmade has strengthened the desires to act more locally, to support artists of all kinds, to see the value in objects made with true care and true quality of time and material. I LOVE that handmade has offered up support, information, instruction, and hand holding that we all sometimes need to brave the doubts in our pasts and try to make something of our own. I LOVE that handmade has reminded us that it is okay, no - it's good, to mend and make due with what we have.

But I digress......

That first School House Conference was amazing and it changed my life forever. I know of at least one person who ended up with a book deal as a direct result of attending that conference. Nothing so dramatic happened to me, but as my personal growth style would dictate, the information slowly seeped into my being. I began to take myself more seriously and to use the tools I gained to bolster that seriousness with things I could actually do to go from sitting still into movement.

I started a product photography business. While that is a work in progress and I am paying my dues, learning quickly how to do it better, it has given me a sense of legitimacy as a photographer and creative professional. I'm not making bank. I'd be surprised if I were making any kind of profit right now. But, it feels good to be on that road, to be paid to do what I do. There is a kind of pride in that that's hard get any other way.

I haven't given up on my first love, the more artistic photographs that I love to make. I'm gaining confidence there too, in part due to SHC. It's just a more mysterious route to success there. 

So, I'm getting excited for this year's conference. There will be many familiar faces and new ones too. The class schedule seems to hold much promise and my only apprehension this year is in deciding which classes to choose. They all look so good.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

People are Amazing

All too often I find myself shaking my head and just really wondering what the hell is wrong with people. Politicians often inspire such as response. Sometimes it's other drivers, other parents, facebookers, etc. If I'm not careful, I begin to see them everywhere, whether they are there or not. I start to shaking my head all the time. My criteria becomes less and less well defined. It all declines into habit, which devolves into a general decline in my view of the world. (I don't enjoy that. It's not the world I want to live in.) And when all of that begins to happen I coincidently start to forget all of the little and big things that people do everyday that make them amazing in a very good way. 

So, in an effort to remind myself just how intensely creative, innovative, generous, talented, ethical, happy, peaceful or just plane good people can be, I've started sharing examples, once a week, here. I hope you like them and see some of what inspires me in them. 

Like I said, I find these people amazing for all kinds of very small and sometimes very big reasons, and you might not agree... and that's okay, because I think diversity of opinion is one of the truly amazing things about us human beings too. Evolutionarily we are all so in the same boat; survive, procreate... but we constantly reach beyond that toward individualism, and then back to communion with each other; recognition of the self as unique and then the rejoining of mutual minds, mutual spirits, to feel part of the whole again. It's all so amazing to me. 

The first week I shared a video of Bryson Andres playing electric violin on the streets of Spokane, Washington. Aside from his obvious talent for playing his instrument, I was vastly impressed with his ability to think beyond the traditional use of his talent; to arrange, play, record, and accompany various parts of the score he played without written music before him, while on the street, playing for strangers in the cold. And then there is that beauty that comes from sharing one's gift with equal opportunity, for free, for public consumption, for the joy of it. 

The second week I shared a video of a boy who can do amazing tricks with a ping pong ball. Theres nothing too terribly meaningful here except that for me, having a son who is only a few years younger than him, it's really hard to imagine the amount of concentration and extent of his understanding of physics that were required to do what he does. I hope he loves doing it (I can't imagine he'd very good at it if he didn't), and if he does how beautiful is it that he found such a thing to love, so early in his life, upon which he may build any number of rich futures. How beautiful it is that he has parents who see the talent and passion he has as a good thing, a thing worth nurturing.

This week's video is a little bit more straight forward. It's about physical and psychological awareness, about strength, reaction time and the amazing things a body can do.

*I don't think these amazing people will always show up here as videos from youtube, but right now I'm going through my reserve of them.