Blog Archives

How do I pick? …HostelBookers #7 Supershots Challenge

Leave it to a friend to remind you to take some time to reminisce as well as get you back on track with something that is important in your life yet you always put off for another day.

Last night I received a tweet from @tweepwife (www.lifecache.ca) challenging me to search through the thousands of photography files that have built up on my hard drive and participate in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots.

What I found through the search was that I love my photos and sharing with others should be something that I dedicate more of my time to. What I also determined was narrowing the choices to only seven was hard!

So I limited my choices to those taken in past the 18 months and this is what I’ve decided to share as I walk down memory lane….

1. A photo that… Takes my breath away

This photo is a moment I captured when my father-in-laws barn burnt down. It takes my breath away for a few reasons. First the colours & composition just worked. It showed the viewer exactly the intensity that those of us present felt at that moment. You can feel the heat, power and allure that a fire of this magnitude creates. The living body a fire becomes is breath taking and every time I see this picture, I am reminded of that fact.

2. A photo that… makes me laugh or smile

The moments I cherish most as a parent are those I see the true love and devotion my kids have for one another. When they give each other a hug of support or take the time to sit and read together. Or, as in this photo, when they take each others hands and together run into the world full of hope, love and excitement. Catching these moments on film are few and far between but when I do, it allows me to relive that feeling of pride as I sit back and smile in reflection.

3. A photo that… makes me dream

What makes me dream isn’t the actual photo but the subject it highlights. For those of you who know my family, one of our goals is to change the way the world sees my daughter. To change the preconceived notions surrounding Down Syndrome and all individuals our society deems “less” in some way. Everyday I see the beautiful smile, bright eyes and determination in the face of my ladybug and I remind myself that together will meet all of her challenges head on. We will build her up and make all her dreams come true. We will strip away the labels and show society that she and all of her friends have something to share with this world. That is our dream.

4. A photo that… makes me think

To appreciate the true magnitude of this image, click to enlarge

Our family had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC last year. During our tour of the area we showed our children many monuments and buildings of significance. My son found the Korean War Monument most preeminent but for me Arlington Cemetery gave me the greatest pause. The vastidity was overwhelming and I spent much time thinking of the individuals & families who suffer as a result of the hatred within our world.

5. A photo that… makes my mouth water

Last summer we visited Nashville for a conference about Social Media & Agriculture hosted by AgChat. Before we departed this lovely city we took some time to visit the local farmers market. The colours, the smells, the freshness of the produce touched every sense as we walked through the stalls. This is just one of the numerous images from that day that, as farmers, we felt showcased the value of agriculture as well as tempted ones taste buds to reach out and grab a bite!

6. A photo that… tells a story

This is a photo that I’ve shared online before but that captures a very precious story for our family. My husband was raised on a dairy farm. He spent his whole life around cows and as a family we had hope to raise our children the same way. Unfortunately, that dream will not come to fruition as the dairy portion of his family’s farm was retired last July. Prior to that our kids spent many hours in the barn helping with chores and acting as the “Welcoming Committee” to new arrivals. Having this moment with our girls and a brand new “steaming” calf captured on film is priceless and is a token for them to remember being a part of their family’s history.

And finally my last pic for this challenge.
7. A photo that… I am most proud of (My National Geographic shot)

First, I need to clarify… I don’t necessarily believe this is the photo “I’m most proud of” but I could see it in a National Geographic spread. I wanted to include this image in this challenge because it’s different than the others I’ve shared and, in my opinion, the movement, colour and composition are bang on. I was thrilled with this shot and wished at the time I had a magazine to share it with. This photo was taken on our Floridian vacation in one of the perfectly lit Sea World Aquariums. Jellyfish always seem to draw me in with their fluid movements and gracefulness and this picture captures that for me. I find these exotic creatures fill me a calmness few other things in this hectic world can and I’m grateful to have this photo to remind me of that feeling.

As I bring this post to a close I would like to thank @tweepwife for getting me back to my blog and my photography. This challenge reminded me that I have passions of my own and I need to take the time to embrace them again. To fill my soul so that I may fill others.

And now, I spread this challenge to others. – I have choosen seven bloggers (instead of the requested five) to give it their best shots in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots:

My choosen Agriculture reps include…
@JPlovesCOTTON from http://janiceperson.com
@kmrivard from http://kellymrivard.com
@AR_ranchhand from http://agricultureproud.com

My choosen Down Syndrome reps include…
@CarrieWChildren from http://www.carriewithchildren.com/about-carrie-with-children
@DownSideUp from http://www.downssideup.com/

And two extras who I would like to represent Huron County with the brightest lights…
@sarahnadian from http://atransparentlife.com/
Melissa Wormington (who’s not on twitter but who’s blog should be seen by many!) from http://melissawormington.blogspot.ca

Go to it girls and guy! Show the world what you’ve shot!

Jen

Illness, Commitments, Loss and Indifference

I started off this year with high hopes of writing often. Photographing everything and documenting all our highs, lows and daily grinds…

Ya, that didn’t happen.

So what did? Life, I suppose, but that’s no excuse.

I started off ok but then January 25th my youngest got sick and then, shortly afterwards, I got sick.

Now I don’t mean I had a cold, or a headache or anything minor that I could or should have pushed through (although, I did try to for the first 5 days). I mean I got sick. Pneumonia to be precise. Three full weeks in bed with the inability to move, eat or even get myself to the washroom. Ya, sick.

Then, a week after I first got laid up, my little ladybug got sick. First with pink eye, then with an extreme asthma attack, followed soon after by pneumonia. Ya, that’s just how we roll around here. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another! Anyway, pneumonia isn’t fun for anyone but for my ladybug it can be very dangerous. She has very narrow airways and any kind of congestion is bad but once it gets to the pneumonia stage she’s walking on thin ice.

But I’m sick, remember?! Step in my husband Wayne.
Let me premise this with the statement that Wayne is a fabulous father. Helpful. Loving. Engaged. But when it comes to the medical knowledge of our kids, well, that’s my department. Wayne does not do doctors, hospitals or needles… EVER.

But he stepped up. He held down the fort so to speak. He came through when the chips were down.

Even when, just as I was starting to get some wind back in my sails, our youngest fell to the virus in our house, Wayne held strong.

Fast forward to the end of February – we’re all run down and still coughing but life is starting to return to normal. Wayne takes us to Ottawa with him while he attends a conference. We visit friends. We visit museums. We rest.

Then my mother delivers some tragic news. My Aunt Lynn (a fabulously positive and determined women) passed away. After successfully beating cancer twice in her lifetime, complications arising from her third fight took too big a toll on her body and she could fight no more.
We were on our way home from Ottawa but Wayne couldn’t attend the funeral. He had commitments he couldn’t postpone or miss so I took the children on to Midland alone. Still recovering from being sick, I tried my best not to cough on everyone and not to spread pink eye that was still circling through my children over and over again.

When we finally returned home, much delayed and fighting exhaustion I was indifferent. Lost. I felt disconnected from everyone and everything. I couldn’t get motivate. I put on almost all the weight I had lost prior to getting sick. I couldn’t write, tweet, or engage.

I celebrated my thirty-ninth birthday during this time. I wasn’t depressed about my birthday (I don’t get to worked up about my age, my son turning 8 soon is another story!) but still so indifferent.

In comes March Break. Usually I am not a fan of March Break but this year proved much different thanks to the weather.
I am a sun girl and this week has offered up weather that literally makes my heart sing! We’ve been outside everyday soaking up the rays. We took a trip to the Welland Canal. We’ve walked on the beach. We’ve started our seeds for our garden.
Things are looking up!

So, although I did completely dropped the ball on my New Year’s Resolution and even though I’m not a fan of excuses, I’m going to let myself off the hook for the past (almost) two months and try to just get back on my horse.

How have your new years resolutions been going? Anybody else dropped the ball? Are you going to start over or give up?

Merry Christmas from the Blacks….

For those who don’t know, every year our family dog, Shakespeare, takes on the monstrous task of writing our family Christmas Letter. This year is no exception. However, he’s taking a different approach this year in order to save a little cash and a whole lot of trees. This year’s letter has gone digital!
Shakespeare has hit the internet with his own blog, “Shakespearean Greetings“.

To all our friends and family, I hope you enjoy Shakespeare’s maiden post and stop by often to hear all about our comings and goings from the dog’s point of view.

Merry Christmas!

Ok Twitter, show me what you’ve got!

For those who dont know, I’m a city girl who married a farmer. I’ve never claimed to be all knowing about agriculture issues (marketing is my cup of tea) but I like to think I’ve learned a lot in the ten years I’ve lived here.

Wayne Black

My husband, Wayne Black, was born and raised on the family dairy farm and continues to follow his family roots. That being said, Wayne isn’t “just a farmer”. (Honestly, I hate the term “just a farmer” just as much as I hate the “I’m just a mom” statement. The skills and importance of both professions is highly underestimated – but that’s a blog for another time.)

Why I say Wayne is more than “just a farmer” is because of his involvement with the industry & our community off the farm.

His credentials include:
> Past president of the Huron County Federation of Agriculture (HCFA)
> Current Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)
> Youth Director on the Agriculture Adaptation Council (AAC)
> Current participant in Advanced Ag Leadership Class 14 (AALP)
> Economic Development Blueprint Taskforce
> Deputy Warden for Christ Church Port Albert

Plus, he is a fabulous husband, father and cash crop farmer who is out there everyday on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn speaking out for farmers and opening the lines of communication between farmers and consumers.

But now, Wayne has a new goal for himself.

On November 20-22, at the annual OFA Convention in Toronto (DoubleTree by Hilton), Wayne will be running for the organizations’ President position and we need your help!

I’m going to be blunt (some would say bias).
I think Wayne’s the best person for this position and his voice in the industry should be enough to win him this election BUT, there are “expectations” from the older generation that we need to provide for them to consider voting for Wayne.
In other words we need to provide a fully stocked hospitality suite to “convince” them that Wayne is the man for the job.

So we’re going to play the game but we want to do it on our terms.

We want to provide catered #LocalFood, #LocalWine and highlight our #LocalFarmers and #LocalBusinesses. We believe in the power of #SocialMedia and we want take this opportunity to introduce the OFA community to our network.

With all that being said, what does any of this mean to you?!

We need help to pull this off!
As always in our world, money is tight but we want to do this right.
We want to find a local caterer who will use local food.
We want a suite that will welcome ALL delegates.
We want to be fresh, young, innovated but still responsible and strong.
We need a suite that will showcase Wayne as an influencial voice in the province and will allow him the opportunity to introduce some of his supporters and network.

We need ideas!

Yes, I’m a city girl but I know very little about hosting a hospitality suite for farmers. My idea of a fabulous party is CocktailDeeva teaming up with Mabels Labels to create MabelBliss…. but that idea together with rum drinking farmers doesn’t quite blend! So please, if you have ideas, suggestion, or if you know someone who could help, let me know.

Let the ideas flow!

Dear Blog,

Purple Hyacinth "Please Forgive Me"

I’m sorry. I haven’t meant to neglect you. I didn’t mean to leave you unattended for so long.

The real world became very overwhelming during the summer and, as hurtful as it is to hear, you weren’t my first priority. Oh, who am I kidding, you weren’t a priority at all!

In my defense, I thought of you often. I had stories to share, titles to entice, subjects to dive into all swirling around in my head.

To prove my intention to do right by you, I have a list of headlines & activities that I’m sure you would approve but alas, the articles were never shared. The sagas never revealed. The adventures never told.  I beg your understanding.

My kids were home for the summer. My calendar was full to the brim. There were trips to the pool and journeys to far off lands. There were traumatizing acts of nature. Food to be processed and stored. Ultimately, there were people who I love dearly who needed me. Priorities.

But I’m here now! My family members are back into their routines.

My case load has lifted (as lifted as it gets).

I still have my list and I’m ready to share.

I do care passionately about you and your well-being.

Please forgive my absence.

Jen

 
Here is just part of my “LIST TO WRITE” that accumulated over the summer.
I get so many ideas in a day, I’d love to hear what you’d be interested in reading about.
• Our trip to an Egg Farm.
• Down Syndrome as a derogatory comment ?!?!
• My husband – my biggest supporter and critic all in one.
• Miss May
• The disappearance of the Value of Community
• Music Therapy, Brain Gym, Body Talk – the other therapies
• Three Kids, One Husband, A Van and Two VERY DIFFERENT Trips.
• Kentucky State Fair
• AGCHAT – Nashville will never be the same….or is that WE’LL never be the same.
• Stress and Irrational Fears
• FUF3 – Our home town is getting destroyed and we’re living it online, 1,100km away with Twitter
• Farmers Feed Families
• Chili Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Apple Sauce and Salsa!
• #140 Conference Ontario – Don’t Think, Dream Big & Do it!
• You’re only a big deal if you’re a big deal at home first!

Summer Fun!

A Loss and A Gain with the Help of Social Media

As a lot of you know, last week I stalked the SM forums to ask, plead and beg for everyone who follows me to vote for a picture I submitted to a Huron Tractor (John Deere) calendar contest.

The photo I submitted - "Heading to the Barn"

The contest opened in April but I didn’t get involved until May 11, leaving us way behind the leader in the vote department. Luckily, this contest wasn’t just about the votes, they were also using a panel of judges to determine the winners.
The contest allowed people to vote each hour and each hour found me sending out pleas to everyone who was online to take a moment to vote. “Please vote, did you vote? If you did vote don’t forget to go back in a hour and vote again!” I was driving people crazy, I’m sure.
Considering we had 6.5 days and the leader had 21 days to vote, I think Twitter and Facebook proved their power.
Our average was 166 votes a day and the top vote getter had 67 a day. We totalled 1081 and they got 1407. That’s impressive!
Now, like I said before , there were judges involved in the decision process so when the final choices were revealed, my picture was not one of the winners and, for the record, I’m ok with that. I like most of the chosen pictures (you can see the winners here) and the images that beat us in the voting process were not selected, for that I am grateful. They were bad pics. #JustSaying
Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all the people who voted, RT, passed our plea on to their friends and family.

We may not have won a lawnmower or got my photograph in a calendar but you did show me the power of Social Media, love of family and friends, and the benefit of a little OCD behaviour.
Thank you to you all.

Oh, and just for the record, I think it would have made a great cover!

What do you think?

My idea for the Calendar Cover.

A great man was born this day…

John Stanley Green

 

April 13, 1922, the day the world was first introduced to John Stanley Green.

A wonderful, thoughtful, loving man – who cherished his family and was a true friend to all who met him.

He was a son, brother, friend, husband, father and grandfather.

He was gentle and kind. He was determined and stubborn.

He was a veteran. He was an employee and boss.

He was an artist, carver and photographer.

He loved life and all that it brought to him.

He was a dreamer. He was a believer.

 

 

Popa & me the summer of 1979, I think.

 

He was my rock. My favourite. My biggest supporter. He was my role model.

He was my grandfather but really, in my heart, he was my father.

 

On this day I celebrate the gift that was given to the world and all who knew him. I celebrate the fact that he was a part of my life.

On this day, I miss him with every ounce of my soul and am grateful that I can see him everyday in the eyes of  my children.

Love you Popa, Happy Birthday.

An explaination with an introduction…

I’ve been asked a couple times, why “a bear, a ladybug & a peanut…?!?!” ?

Well, let me explain with an introduction…

 

 

A bear

 

A ladybug….

and a peanut…

 

 

…add in farmer Wayne and my hairy beast of a dog, Shakespeare, and our family is complete.

My world. My life.