Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Purple

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Purple

Purple 

**I’m going to introduce my blog post today as being very (very) personal. I’ve been made aware that sometimes, my circle posts have touched a nerve as I often write about what is important to me and that I want to share. As I never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, please know in advance that this is personal, and that if you choose not to read it, I am perfectly fine with that. This is relevant to my life, and to many others, and I want to use my time and this space as a way of sharing what’s on my mind. If there’s anything I share that ever makes you uncomfortable or that you disagree with, please know these are my feelings and opinions, and if you’re in the circle or not, this is not something that you need to read…it’s just something I want to share. I would never, ever consciously hurt anyone with my writing or with my opinions or feelings, but as I know I have in the past, I wanted to be clear that this is personal. 

All that said, I am going to share my images first, and everything after the “purple” images is personal.
Just…me sharing…about me.

I actually love the color purple! This month it takes on a special meaning, and I’ll get to that. But when I saw the theme, I knew exactly what I would post as these images stand out to me. I love freelensed-reverse macro, and it’s been a technique I enjoy using and sharing with others. These images are are definitely from the archives – I think from two years ago! I think it’s about time I go take some more…

This one is amazing. Just…wow. I remember the morning that I captured this! 

The flower actually looks like this…it’s really small still, but close up in the above picture…it just looks amazing to me!

I’m a fan of all of the ways freelensing can alter a subject.

The above image, and the next two are from the same subject, just framed slightly different and with the focus shifted some. 

Do you have a favorite of the three?! 

Something I love about purple show different the shades can look. This is a bit more pink/purple (fuchsia, maybe) but I still love it. Or, maybe I’m just color blind. Either way, I love this capture, and am reminded that I need to print it! 

My sweet son gave me this and I had to capture it during one of our family sessions! 
 

And, I’m starting the personal part…

Why it works? Well, just like with my diagnosis, the purple comes in many shades. I feel like my diagnosis makes me feel like I’m a bit inconsistent. Some days I’m this super hard working mama and wife and can tackle so much in an hour! Other days (more often than the other Super Shelby Days) I’m…a patient. Taken care of by my family while in bed, with the understanding that it’s just a bad Fibro Day. There are tons of other shades of purple (or of me) in between, but those are the biggest ones. There’s also the purple feeling. As in, bruised. Most of the time, my body feels like a giant, purple swollen bruise. You just can’t see it. Most people say I hide it pretty well – but my family – they see a different, painful side of me.

All of that to say…when I wrote the following, it was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, and I posted to my personal Facebook page — this post has a bit more depth to it, but again, being my space to share, I wanted to spread awareness about this disease and my journey with Fibromyalgia. As I’ve gotten older, the need has come up for me to share a bit about my diagnosis with Fibro, as well as several other “unseen” medical issues. Whether with friends or family (when I fall asleep on couches) or with clients (when I have to explain my two-week-long “Fibro flare”as the reason for a later than anticipated gallery), it’s become increasing clear that I need to be open.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when I was 26, after four full years of trying to find out what was ‘wrong’ with me. I was constantly tired, diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which, trust me, I get sounds like a cop-out) a couple years before then. But despite the pains, from my shoulders/neck through my legs, nothing was diagnosed through [very poor med-clinic] “testing.” I believe my pains and fatigue really started when I was towards the beginning of my Freshman year in college — I was going through a lot, in general as well as medically, and of course, there were some underlying issues. However, at the time, I just felt…lazy. Like, my body just didn’t want to do anything. I slept – a lot. I remember trying to figure out my life and I even remember losing friends through this process. Through college, I did what I could to stay active. After college, things were even more difficult and finally, in 2006 after being told that the facility on base couldn’t “treat people like [me]” I received, for the first real time, off-base care. And finally, real testing (blood work for specific diseases and to rule them out, several X-rays on my back, and a thorough physical exam – probably more, but I can’t remember it all) my doctor suggested a word I had never heard before – Fibromyalgia – and arthritis (in my spine – it WASN’T in my head!). He was fairly confident in my diagnosis, but referred me to a rheumatologist, who confirmed it after more testing and ruling out.

The desire to share on a wider scale was prompted a little over two months ago (despite the diagnosis from over a decade ago), when I went to see my doctor about a few things. To my surprise, she told me that her PA suggested that I was depressed, which was not at all what I went to see her for. As we talked more, she said something that took me very much off guard. I’m fairly confident I’ll never forget the meaning in her words (as best as I can remember the point):

“Shelby, I’m going to be honest. I think you need to talk with a therapist. I don’t believe that you have accepted your disease, and the prognosis of it. You keep working to get ‘better.’ You have a disease – you aren’t just going to get better one day.” 

Well, a few of you know how well I took that conversation. Cliff Notes version – it didn’t go well (a few days’ worth of tears may have been involved). I thought long and hard about what she said and the impact of those words. She’s right — I DO keep trying to get better. I don’t know if she’s right about me not getting “better” — I hope that I do one day! But Fibro, at least for me, is a very cyclical disease…and since my diagnosis (and years before then), there hasn’t been an end to the symptoms. 

Pain —> Fatigue —> Lack of Activity —> Lack of Interest —> Depression or Sadness —> Pain From Inactivity and Depression —> Fatigue…

Anyways, in my head, that all makes sense, so I hope that makes a little sense to everyone else. But, the point is, I’m in pain and am tired pretty much every single day (tons of other things too, but those are the highlights). The simplest things, like getting out of bed and showering, are often the only things I manage to get done in a day (and, sometimes, I don’t manage that). Some days/weeks are better than others. I am beyond thankful to have a supportive husband who does everything he can to help me through it, and who has for as long as I can remember. It hasn’t been easy on him or our family, but I’m beyond blessed with Jason and my children, who truly understand what I go through on a daily basis. Without them, I don’t know how I would be able to handle this – they do so much to help me on a daily basis. I’ve also been blessed with many friends who, thankfully, accept me as I am – sleepy, painful me – and who help as they can, even if it’s just listening to my sadness when discussing how my day didn’t turn out how I imagined because I’m still in bed. 

Please, for anyone who has an invisible illness, know that you aren’t alone. People are out here who understand, and are more than willing to help as we can. For those who know someone with an invisible illness, whether it’s Fibromyalgia or any of the various illnesses out there, please listen. We do not want to feel like this. We want love and support, and the understanding that some days, our best might only be a shower. Other days, we can tackle the world (or at least the laundry) — but our illness is still there. Pray over those with these illnesses – that one day, maybe there’s a cure.


Obviously the above isn’t mine, but it was found on one of the many pages that I am a part of to understand more, and to see if new cures or research is coming out. It is so accurate in what it says, and I hope that anyone who reads it will understand. Many thanks to “Fibro Ramblings” for this great graphic.  

I’m going to end with two images that symbolize to me what Fibro has done to my life. 

This one…well, it hits me hard. I actually did this for another self-portrait project that Photography By HeArt released last year. 
I think the meaning is evident, but, this is me, feeling many days like I fail those who mean the most to me. I do the best I can with what I’ve been given, and I am so thankful that they love me and understand me regardless of my shortcomings. I couldn’t love my family any more – they are my rock.

The image below was done as an “Inspired By” series, also from Photography By HeArt. This was from the Inspired By: Francesca Woodman series, and this is the result I was hoping for when I captured it. Again, I don’t think words are needed. This is how I often feel with Fibro. Trapped. Trapped in a body that is failing me, and me desperately trying to get out.

 ~Shelby 

Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Liz of It’s Still Life by Elizabeth Willson (Facebook page).
Click here to see Liz’s take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Black

Black 

It’s mid-April, and to be honest, the idea of capturing “black” this month seemed ironic. Or, is it? 

We all think of the pretty pastels of Easter and the bright colored blooms of Spring during this time. But today, on Good Friday, I thought I’d also mention that out of the darkest day on Earth has come the most vibrant and beautiful, and purest forms of love. Now, not to be too emotional about this, but wow. Just to think of the contrast of that moment, from darkest, sunless, colorless moment on Earth has sprung life everlasting.

So, in choosing images this month, I chose to find images that had that stark contrast of black and dark vs. light and bright. In my style of photography, can be found fairly frequently, as the play of shadow and light is one of my favorite things to capture in an image, regardless of what it is I’m capturing. I also threw in a couple black and whites because they are from recent months, and, in my mind anyways, they highlight that emotion and moment of the image. 

Silhouettes are among my favorite, favorite, favorite things to capture, and thankfully my little apprentice captured this beautifully this past weekend, as I’ve always wanted a good one of my husband and myself! 

 

Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Nikki Smith of Nikki Smith photographer/storyteller (Facebook page).
Click here to see Nikki’s take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Green

Green

Yay!!! It’s March! I absolutely LOVE the month of March for a couple reasons. First, my handsome little man’s birthday is this month…three days before his Mommy’s birthday! That was an awesome 30th Birthday present seven years ago! But also, we have a few awesome traditions. The first we started when my daughter was itty bitty — we always wear our green and head to the zoo on St. Patrick’s Day! Last year, we made a valiant attempt, but unfortunately it was the first year that it didn’t work out. Daddy got off work later than we anticipated and the zoo closed earlier than we thought (it was only right before 4 pm!). But because it was slow…they weren’t allowing people in. So, we took pictures outside the zoo for our tradition, and I’m sure we treated the kids after that! This year, we’ll be heading home from our AMAZING Spring Break vacation on St. Patrick’s Day (details likely in an upcoming blog 🙂 ). The second tradition we started a few years ago with all the fun that comes with elementary school and learning about Dr. Seuss’s birthday! Now we make our green eggs and ham and yummy treats for the classes…and this is what I’m blogging today! We’ll be headed on our vacation tomorrow, so I’m posting early and sadly, this is the only green I got a picture of. I’m still happy as it still captures this stage in my son’s life.

Enjoy our “Green Eggs & Ham” treat via pictures and maybe think of us as you start up traditions for Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick’s Day next year!

Our version of “Green Eggs & Ham” as treats for his classmates.
Delish, too!!
Square pretzels, white candy wafer, green M&M.
And the littles love to help out!

I think he was proud of his accomplishment.

He is a super generous child, he loves giving.
And, I’m not sure where that light soft halo is coming from, buuuut, it’s pretty cool. I think.
Just very unexpected.

And ready to put them in little baggies!

Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Nikki Smith of Nikki Smith photographer/storyteller (Facebook page).
Click here to see Nikki’s take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Red

Artists Inspired Blog Circle – Red

Beautiful…Red. Loving…Red.
You know, as I’ve gone through these past few months of blogging the colors, the one thing I can reflect on about myself is that I’m not very traditional! This month, I guess I’m a little traditional writing about “love” and “red”…but otherwise, you won’t see a lot of red in this post either! To be 100% honest, I’ve been sick with the death plague (also known as strep throat and an ear infection, coupled with some laryngitis for fun, which I graciously shared with my daughter, so she’s home with me today) and the pictures I had hoped to take I didn’t quite get to. So, in Shelby Procrastination Style, I searched for something that I hoped could fit anyways! And to be honest, I’m glad I did. There are some days (okay, nearly every single one of them) that I feel like a failure as a parent. But in truth — the way I see these pictures in this very moment, I feel that my babies’ Daddy and I have to be doing something right. If there’s one thing I think we’ve done right, it’s showing love to our children. We aren’t model parents, we mess up regularly (daily or better for myself), but at the end of the day, despite our flaws, I KNOW that our children know how much we love them. And, I’m taking this crazy high positivity with two things in mind: one, I’m on hydrocodone for the cough/fever/pain issue, so I could be a little off, and two, thankfully she isn’t a teenager yet and hasn’t started hating us (recently, anyways).

So. Red. Here is my interpretation for this lovely month of February! Our family is big (BIG) on traditions, and one of them is our Daddy-Daughter and Mommy-Son Dates!
My husband has been taking Caroline out on dates since she was five, I believe. If I was more together, I’d try to find those pictures to share…they are ADORABLE, and as I recall, there was quite a bit of red in her dress that year. But, my husband always comes to the door, knocks and she’s always surprised as he brings a corsage and asks for her hand. This year, we were all running a little late, so I had no idea he had gone out to knock, so I was fumbling to get my camera together. She was still getting ready (typical girl!) and thankfully he’s always been a patient man through the years and waited for her to finish up. I got just a few pictures of them before the went out to dinner (Saltgrass Steakhouse…seriously…he hasn’t even taken me there yet!) and to the Valentine’s Dance. Regardless of what they do, they always have a blast together, and if you can’t tell by these images, they are pretty smitten together. I adore how much love I can see in these images!

Knock, knock…

Oh my word…I need this one framed. Now. 

I always feel like they have a secret language between them or something…and this image just makes my heart happy. They adore each other!



Red!! I found some red…Mommy did her nails earlier in the day, and coincidentally, she chose red, with silver sparkles!
And then…those RED lips! We put a little gloss on them since she is growing up!

The rest of their evening was wonderful, from what I gather, and they enjoyed lots of talking, and dancing. And most importantly, when Mommy came home with Tyler, they were both already in pajamas and playing the Playstation! I’d say that is total date night success for those two!

So, while Daddy and Care were off doing their thing, this little man and I had a date of our own to get to! A little back story — Tyler LOVE painting my nails. I think he’s always been sad that that’s not something he can really take part in (getting his nails painted) so now he asks to paint them all the time! Well, since I was painting Caroline’s nails, I let him paint my toenails. He loved it (and they turned out REALLY well). So he was already super excited and after doing nails he got changed into this outfit on his own so he could take me out. After he ran Caroline’s sweater out to her, he came to the door, and closed it while he was still outside…and then knocked. Melt my heart that kid is a fast learner!

After he walked in, he gave a frowny face — because he didn’t have a corsage or flowers to give me. So, he ran off to Caroline’s bathroom, and came back with a beautiful purple hair flower, which he placed in my hair and that I wore all night. Precious child! Here’s me, on our date night!

As I finished up my pictures, he picked up my camera bag/purse and put it on, and held his arm out for me to hold. I can’t even make this up! He did this on our last date too…gah! I love this little boy so dang much!

At Panera, before we went to the movies. This is our date night dinner most of the time. He always gets an “everything bagel” with cream cheese.
I could just sit and watch him all night.

And, my little gentleman…always trying to open doors.

This is the last of my pictures, but we had a wonderful night watching A Dog’s Purpose (okay, we both bawled). He also serenaded me on the walk to our car and in the car on the way home to Caroline’s honor choir music. This kid has some game. Girls better watch out!

Thank you to all who have come to check out the blog! I hope you enjoyed my quickly put together interpretation for “Red” and I hope to see you back here next month!

Next up in our Artists Inspired Blog Circle is the talented Nikki Smith of Nikki Smith photographer/storyteller (Facebook page). Click here to see Nikki’s take on this month’s theme – I assure you that you’ll love it…she’s one of my favorites to follow!

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

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