Feb 1 2011

ReayahMail #1

by andrew

We set up email accounts for our oldest son (9) and daughter (7). Our daughter Reayah turns out to be quite the writer (which we already knew from her exploits with pencil and paper). What is particularly fun is to see how the electronic medium captures the way she thinks. It really is quite thrilling and entertaining. So, after receiving the first email she sent to me I find myself compelled to set up a category for her musings and hope to keep up with posting at least some of her deep thoughts.

We can all learn a lot from the ponderings of a child (or at the very least enjoy a good laugh at their simple, amusing, innocent wackiness). I have not modified spelling or wording in any way whatsoever.

ReayahMail #1
(1/30/2011, age 7)

Dad  can you believe I got my own Email?  It is funny that we were in the same house but are sending each other an email.

I wonder what you will send me for your email.  Well you know what you will send. I to can not wait for emails. [ Funnys ] SO my old man you have much in comen.

DO you know that the first thing on earth is underwear?  Ha Ha!


Nov 30 2009

Day 231: Growing and hopefully growing some more

by renee

Some days it’s hard to believe we’ve been living so long in our trailer, as the days have passed so quickly. Other days, it seems like we’ve been living in it too long! We’ve been in Colorado since beginning of October and plan to stay through December. This is our longest stop so far. I think I might be getting a bit antsy, like I’m ready to pack up and get moving again. We’ve been having a great time here with family and met many wonderful new friends. We have had new business opportunities and have keeping busy with the work that has been coming in. We also have some good friends who happen to be family, coming to visit over the holidays as well. The kids are very excited about seeing them again. So am I.

We are so thankful at Father’s provision. He continues to give us what we need every day and every moment. And when I want to run away from hardships, His grace abounds and then I have the patience and understanding I need for the day. I hope I am growing while I’m here. I hope living with 2 other families and learning each other’s personalities is building my character. I hope I am being humble and sympathetic to those around me. I hope I am putting others before myself. I want to grow. It’s not easy, but I still want it. This is great training ground.

There are many blessings being here. One of the things I like most about being here is seeing the mountain range to the west. The majestic, snow covered peaks never get old and still take my breath away. I love that we get enough snow in one snow fall to go sledding and almost get snowed in. Then it warms up, the snow melts and we have more warm days and we can look forward to another new snow fall all over again. I am also enjoying the free babysitting and the many helping hands. The new family Shabbat traditions where together we welcome in the sabbath and set it apart is the weekly highlight. Thanksgiving last week was fun. We shared the meal together with many friends and family and are still eating the leftovers!

There are blessings and challenges wherever we roam. I hope I am embracing and being thankful for both.

Oct 30 2009

Day 202: What a difference the sun makes!

by renee

Boom! Whoosh! Whomp! There are huge clumps of snow and icicles falling off the trailer onto the ground. It’s a bit hazardous coming and going, dodging big clumps of wet snow and icicle drippings. But it’s so warm today and the sun is hot and shining and making the white world sparkling and breathtaking. But today is a different day.

After the snow fall and cold weather all day Wednesday and Thursday, we received about 20 or more inches of snow. We enjoyed the snow but the kids got cold and wet very quickly. However, we soon remedied that with hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace. That was the fun part. The hard part was bundling up the kids just to go the bathroom in the house. Our trailer is not hooked up to the sewer here. We have a small porta-jon, but it fills up very quickly. The other hard part is living in two places at once. Making lunch for the kids in the trailer while giving my daughter a bath and doing laundry in the house. Now today, while it’s warm, I don’t mind it a bit. Running back and forth, spending more time outside breathing in the fresh air, and getting a bit of exercise. It was the last two days that were very difficult (was it only two days? It seemed like a week). With no sun and it being so cold, it was a lot more character building. Keeping the kiddos occupied in a small space for a longer period of time and making sure they didn’t get too rambunctious in the house and cut short their house play time privilege. There are a lot of us and even when we do behave ourselves, we tend to change the sound and space dynamics of a place pretty obviously. Including us, there are 3 family units living in close proximity who all need their own space to function properly and recharge once and a while. I’m trying to be sensitive to others ‘ needs as well as our own.

That;s hardly an issue when it’s nice out, as they don’t need to spend that much time indoors. Today it was 45º F and getting warmer. After a little home schooling, my sister-in-law and I took our kids for a long walk through the snow to Whole Foods. To give them some exercise and sunshine, and to tucker them out so they would have blessed quite times this afternoon. The walk there was great and we had snacks and water in their cafe and picked up a few groceries for the weekend. The way back was a different story. The sun had melted more of the snow and it was a lot wetter than on the way there. My father-in-law had blessed us by bringing us some sleds that he had drilled holes in and attached ropes so we could use them for our tired kids on the way back. We ended up carrying them for half the way but definitely enjoyed them the rest of the way home. The kids were tired and complained of being wet and cold and having to go pee. On the way home, the sled I was pulling tipped over and Zach and all my groceries tumbled into a huge pool of melted snow. A few minutes later, my sister stepped in a big puddle and lost the whole sole of her shoe! We both burst out laughing. The tired kids, the puddles, and more mishaps along the way home could not discourage us. We were determined to enjoy the walk and knew we would be rewarded by a nice long quiet time when we got back.

And that is what I am enjoying right now. With the sun shining in through the windows and warming up our little home, all is peaceful and I am looking forward to taking the kids out again in about an hour or so. It’s been a beautiful day.

Jan 23 2008

[Good Guys…0 | Bad Guys…1]

by andrew

Suspicious Sunset

This was the picture I was taking after bailing off my bike ride home from the metro today when a lady not-quite shouted across the road “Who are you and why are you taking pictures?” About a year ago, when I decided I was going to get serious about pursuing this photography thing that I was enjoying so much, I knew I had a LOT to learn, but I never would have imagined the persecution that would come with it. Ok, I’m being dramatic, because if I had my druthers I’d hardly interact with people… ever… well, there are a couple exceptions, but you get the idea.

I tried to inject a little excitement into my reaction this time – “The sunset! I’m a photographer and I’m just taking a picture of the sunset. Do you want to see?” I approached her and could tell she was starting to let her guard down a little. We chatted for a bit, I showed her the shot, and she explained why she was suspicious even though I had already guessed as much. Apparently that “private” neighborhood (which had the misfortune of being directly under that sunset at that moment) had seen its share of suspicious characters driving through taking pictures of people’s property. I told her I had no problem with her asking what I was doing and said I was sorry to cause her any concern. I hope I left her with the impression that people taking pictures aren’t necessarily up to no good.

It’s not just the terrorists. Other evil morons are picking away at that fabric of a reasonable society through their stupidity, selfishness, and greed. I never blame the people who challenge me when I’m taking photos in public. It’s not their fault. I might hold a grudge for two minutes if they’re rude about it, but I’m always aware that the blame really falls at the feet of those who abuse our freedoms; providing the impetus for authorities to take away (and the populous to surrender) our normal expectancy of independence and openness in our own society. How much sense does it make to give away something so that it can be protected!!!??? Hello? It’s all fine and dandy that our freedom is protected, but when it doesn’t even belong to us any more what good does it do?

I photograph in DC a lot, so these kind of challenges are something I experience often (I’m a little too interested in things other than the monuments to blend in with the tourists). I find it incredibly ironic that some people get completely bent out of shape because I like to take pictures of interesting things in public places when their picture was taken a million times that day by the bastions of security cameras peppering the city buildings and streets. Just look around some time when you’re in a big city: overhangs, street corners, building walls, every dark half-ball shaped thing the size of a grapefruit is a camera, and of course there’s the older, more obvious long brick-shaped ones. Shouldn’t we be objecting to having our picture constantly taken all the time like that? Oh, right, but it’s for our protection. And not for commercial use anyway.

Do I hate security cameras? No. I’m making a point. We are just as quick to throw the rights of others away as we are to throw our own rights away. Sometimes I’m surprised by how quickly that is, that’s all I’m saying. Then again, what if I was a bad guy and Joe Citizen never reported me? There are always so many sides to everything. I guess I just never would have thought that the steepest learning curve in photography would be the people skills (especially when people are the last thing I’m interested in photographing). I want to learn how help people see in ways they’ve never seen before. I’m getting a lot of practice anyway… one day maybe I’ll be able to turn a confrontation into another person’s excitement at opening their eyes wider to the world around them just as easily as I pointed my camera at the sky and pressed the shutter release tonight.