BE STILL...and SEE Photography

Reflecting on who I am...what is important to me...and the gifts I offer the world, I have reorganized this PhotoSchmoozer blog into separate pages for your viewing. I am about so much...people - relationships - drums and rhythms and especially photography...and I realize that although separate, they are all so INTEGRATED into the Whole of who I am!! It's a very peaceful thought and I am thankful for the intuitive gift to see the connections and the relationships. Enjoy the journey through the blog...and WELCOME.
Contemplative photography is about being totally present and seeing exactly what is before you, without filters or judgment. It is about seeing with your heart.Doesn't everyone see what is before them? Not really. You may see a candle on a table. Do you also see the shadows it creates? Or the reflections that the light casts on it? Or it's underlying shape and form?

DRUMS, Rhythms and Relationships

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Better Late than Never!!!

What is this man thinking???
This is Anthony Asbury, the chef at the 'former' Cafe Lula on Broadway in Pitman.  FORMER??  Yes, as of December 30, 2009, the doors of the restaurant have been closed and the amazingly wonderful food served for 16 months is no longer a reality.  Maybe not for long.  We can only hope that negotiations for a new location are successful and 2010 will open
new doors for Cafe Lula still in Pitman!!
We were looking for a special place to ring in the New Year, 2010 and went in to Cafe Lula to make reservations (embarrassed to say we had never taken the time to eat there in 16 months!!)  We found out that in just a few hours, there would no longer be service here so we promptly made a reservation for that night.  My comment is "Better Late than Never".  It was a totally awesome all around experience from the warm husky British greeting from Louise, better know as Lula to the bright spirit of Anthony and the fantastic service from the adorable Amanda.  We were delighted!  Needless to say, the food and the easy companionship from our fellow diners at close by tables, added to the ambience.  The Harvest Soup, Short Ribs, Lamb chops and perfectly cooked vegetables AND the last piece of an amazing carrot cake. 
We met the couple from Cherry Hill who just got back from a cruise, were successful Weight Watchers 'losers' and were absolutely passionate about dancing.  Then there was the family who was just gifted with the family house in Woodbury Heights - they were renting in Pitman until the house was renovated.  They had discovered Lula's and were regulars.  In fact, the place was crowded with regulars all here to wish the couple well.  The atmosphere was charming - curtains, flowers, and "It's a Wonderful Life" projected onto the back wall.
PhotoSchmoozer is all about dancing with life and affirming people.  This is yet another experience where we had an unplanned and 'perfect' event.  Let's hope that we hear from them soon and can make reservations for opening night in Pitman!!

Discoveries for a New Year!!

I have been struggling a lot this year trying to decide where to focus my energies with the blog/s I write - though inconsistently. How to make a choice and what to do was my dilemma until today. What happened? The other day, I was spending time with my new friend Peggy - personally and professionally. We are working on a project and getting to know one another. WE have discovered that we are in each other's lives for blessings and lessons. For me, I decided a few days earlier to focus on people and their hands - expressions of their individuality. When I saw Peggy take out the lotion to soften her hands, it came clear. Here is my new project and DARE to AFFIRM and PHOTO SCHMOOZER are NOT two separate entities!! See, DARE to AFFIRM is what I totally believe about people and the dance of relationships - valuing and affirming them and "catching them doing something right" and PHOTO SCHMOOZER is the person who makes it happen. What an AHA moment. So this is to say that from now on, my blog will be and I won't write any more on this one! Phew - what a relief. Come visit.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Reach Out and Touch Someone!!

On Christmas Day, I returned to Pitman Manor with Bill and my sister, Lisa. We were invited to visit with the residents on the 2nd and 3rd floors - those who were more incapacitated than our Ladies drumming group but as much in need of the beat of the rhythms of relationships. When we stepped out of the elevator, there were about 15 sets of eyes, each watching us in some way, wondering who we were and why we were there. Planning ahead, I took a CD player and CDs with different kinds of music as well as my Native American drum and some other percussion instruments. Scrap the plans for a group drumming session - remember I said to be adaptable!?! In fact, scrap the plans for a group anything. What happened was a unique connection with each person sitting and waiting. I was undaunted by a nurse's comment that 'they won't respond to you' and brought my heartfelt spirit of belief and compassion to the forefront.
Through talking and gentle touching, sometimes stroking a hand and sometimes a touch on the shoulder, we connected with each person in her own unique way. One woman said to me, "I have never drummed before." That was after she had just stared into my eyes for a long time. Words coming out of her mouth were a surprise but valued! Two things really affected me in very positive ways:
1. Most of the people looked directly into my eyes - I felt like there was a silent soul connection though they could not use their voices/words.
2. I was awed by the character of every one of their hands. Some were gnarled or twisted; some had blue veins or sores; but all were soft and willing to be touched. I realized that I have been taking pictures of shoes for quite awhile and now it is time to focus on HANDS. Here is yet another expression of the uniqueness of individuals. I intend to post more often on this blog and focus on people and their hands - the character of them and what they are doing. Then I looked in My Pictures and realized I have already begun! Let the adventure continue. It's fun to have a focus and a purpose for a project!!

Community of Caring with Drums!!

Sharing...and caring...and building community! It's not about 'stuff' but about being with people that brings a joyful spirit to our hearts. It all started out innocently enough with my being gifted with a purple drum. I let it sit until the time was right and I NEEDED to explore my own rhythms and connect with others to build community. I started out with a drumming workshop. The flyer for this event came into the hands of the Activity Coordinator at Pitman Manor, an assisted living and nursing home. "Would you like to come and drum with the Ladies' Group?" I responded with "Sure, it could be fun!!" One of my drumming friends, Katie, joined me and we went with no expectations. I've learned over the years that plans must be flexible and I must be adaptable. So we shared and we learned so much! Our little group ranged in age from 85 to 103!! Fascinating to me to hear the stories about living in Pitman for 103 years - what was and what is now. We had a grand time shaking and beating and singing too! I always use the term FACILITATOR with my experiences because I have as much to learn as to share. Carrol, the Activities Director, asked how long I had been doing this - "Oh today is my first". "WOW, you are a natural!" We all need affirmations for what we do and I so appreciated the comments. We have begun to talk about becoming 'regulars' there - considering the possiblities of making drums, inviting the men and planning how we can get others involved!! See, I put it out there to the Universe that I wanted to build community in Pitman. Did I know how it would happen? Nope...and that is the blessing. When you are still and watch for the synchronicities, they come - not always as you might have expected, but they always come!!