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

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


"Aim for success, not perfection. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person."
     How often have you been awake BEFORE the sun rises in the sky.  Months ago, I spent time with Friend Annee at her beachfront condo in Ocean City, MD.  I knew I wanted to be awake to see the sunrise on the ocean my internal alarm clock woke me to this sight.  WHAT?  I always knew that the sky could be magnificent after the sun went down and the clouds lit up, but never did I realize that the same thing happened early in the day before the sun rose on the horizon!  What a gift?  When we talk about it is in all of its glory!?!
    Life's journey is full of twists and turns and if we flow with them, we will float along on the gentle - or not - swells of the water and be guided in the directions we need to go.  Why am I saying this now?  It's not a new thought but lately I have been struggling toooooo hard to figure "IT" out.  What is it?  Where am I going?  Why the struggle?  I talk about BEING STILL , Seeing and Listening yet I actively engage the mind, body and spirit and forget to take the time to BE with ME - to be still, go inward and receive whatever it is I am searching for.
   Here's one way for me to do that...yes - the garden and our flowers.  Have you ever gone really up close and personal with sunflowers?  Have you seen the perfectionism...and their center?  Are we really any different?  We are perfect at our core - trust and believe...and be patient!!  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Excitement, Joy and Curiosity!!

Just the other day, the BE STILL and SEE photography group gathered to learn, share and have FUN.  That we did.  Little Friend captured this view of me.  It gives me pause to think about who I am and what brings joy to my life.  It's LIFE - learning and curiosity.  I want to know what is going on - what everything is all about - and I am often seeking out new knowledge because maybe - just maybe - I will learn something new that will make the journey - the puzzle of life - come together in a different way. 
    I look at my life as a puzzle - there are so many pieces - facets maybe - and as I gather in something new - zap - it falls into its place in the puzzle!  WOO HOO as I have been known to say lately.  The puzzle is never complete - now I am thinking that the solid outside is complete - and much of the inside too but...always one more piece floating in front of my face and wanting to be understood and/or to have her place.
    Today I was reading yet another article about diet/nutrition and a concept I knew about but well, could learn more clearly.  I wrote about this to a friend and she wrote back - no I don't know about that and am not sure I want to.  Gave me pause - she called it TMI!  Huh?  Then I thought - too much information!!  Gosh - in everything that I do, that describes me - looking for more information for clarity and understanding.  No wonder my brain is tired sometime!! 
   So I give myself pause and will go back to reading the Shambhala magazine that came today about finding your perfect self - and realizing that it already exists!!
   Oh - and a picture that will go to the gallery show in the Fall.  I love this for its simplicity!  Possibly I need to just sit and gaze at it and learn more of the lesson of perfection...and simplicity!?!?!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eyes to Their Souls...

It all started out when Friend Bob and I were talking about BE STILL and SEE Photography and how it resonates with us.  "Let's start a group and see who comes?"  First meeting three months ago brought over 20 curious photographers.  In the next few months, there has been a solid core of unique divergent individuals who continue to come together, explore and have FUN together. 
    Friend Bob sparked Emma's interest when he sent out a link about photographing hands.  Emma said that sounded 'cool'.  So we suggested that we needed to play with that at one of our next meetings.  Then Friend David suggested that it was fun to take pictures of all kinds of body parts - well those that are external, easily visible and tasteful, of course!!  Today we met and brought our cameras to see what we could see. world was wide open and we laughed a lot at what we were all doing.  Our little kids were definitely playing and that was GREAT!!
   I sat and watched everyone, seeing how I could best "SEE" them.  I knew it was their eyes - and after all - isn't that one of the ways that BE STILL happens?  We look with a clear vision and an open heart!  It was fun to put the pictures together and create our group.  Today we decided to continue - to present challenges to one another and to learn and grow and create with one another! 
   It's a great thing to bring together a group of very different people with a common interest - in this case photography in many of its variations - and watch how the group evolves. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sisterhood and the Flowers

It's not everyday that I see something on Facebook that truly captures my attention - and my heart.  Today Little Friend posted this picture from yet another site - Wild Woman Sisterhood and my heart melted.  I looked at the photo and could see myself right there in the garden.  Then I stopped to think who would be beside me - a sister from my birth   family?  A friend - or different friends who have traveled/journeyed with me at different times in my life??  I am thinking it could be any and all of the above.
   It gave me pause to think about the flowers - all related and so different as well.  It's what gives me such pleasure to recognize and acknowledge that.  Yesterday I received an email that 'labeled' me in a way that was definitely in the eyes of the person who sent the message.  I wrote back and shared about perceptions and how they are not often accurate except in our own eyes.  I won't get a response from the sender, yet I just wish that the message was heard.  I hope he recognizes that we are all as the flowers - alike yet so different and that it is our vibrancy - or quiet presence - that completes the garden...and life!!
   Friend Lillian reminded me of Don Miguel's Four Agreements - again #2 - Don't take it personally - so when I am labeled, I need to let it run off my back and not go into the usual obsessive thought mode!?!  Right?!?  Sure...still takes practice though.
   Today I will just go out with the camera and cherish the small things and the beauty in everything that I see around me. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Awesome in Her Details

It's like a new lease on life - looking at what really matters to me - then going back to what I have loved and seeing it from a new perspective.  One very hot summer's day, we were at Grounds for Sculpture - taking pictures of the magnificent water lillies.  All of a sudden, she just came and landed on a rock and stayed to visit.  Then she was fascinating - up close and personal, she is more awesome.  Mother Nature gifts us with way more than the beauty of the flowers and we have to just BE STILL, awake and aware to stop and be present.  Nothing more to add - just bunches of gratitude for my newfound understanding of what makes my heart sing!!

Details - Patterns and Perceptions

Ever since the photography exhibit opening the other night and our visit to Meadowbrook gardens, I have been reflecting on what it is about my photography that makes the process special to me!  Well...there is one answer - the process - the being - the seeing - gong out and discovering.  Then there are the little things - I know there are folks who take pictures of magnificent landscapes.  I got for the little bits and pieces that make up the whole.  I talk about going 'into the heart' and listening to the plants and flowers.  I know in my own heart that each plant has her deva and she tells me how she wants/chooses to be seen.  Some of you may resonate with these thoughts...some of you might think otherwise.  For me, what matters is staying strong in my ways of being and doing.  For too long, it was always important what others would think.  Was I dressing correctly? ( Little Friend asked me about 'proper attire' for the photo opening.  My response - wear what expresses YOU and that you are comfortable with.)  Did my hair look ok - truth and honest, I love the way it is - me- curly and natural.  I have been told it is not 'age appropriate' - hey when am I going to let those words go?!?
    Anyhow - back to my own way of photography.  I went to the bookstore yesterday and found a new magazine/book about Macro Photography.  I subscribed again to Nature Photographer and ordered the back issue with the macro article.  And truth be told, I am succumbing - just a tad - to develop some UNDERSTANDING of how the camera works (Even thinking of looking for notes from Friend Bob's course years ago with the technical chart - hey a girl just has to understand right?!?!?)
   So for me - it's in the details - and the dance of Little Light

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Choices..In the Sandbox...or Not

So each and every single day, I have choices of whether I want to play in the sandbox with my friends...or BE STILL with myself to make choices about what brings JOY , PEACE and FUN to my heart!!
Isn't life in the slow lane just wonderful!?!  Why do you need to rush and stress...where are you going...and in the end, won't you end up at the same place but without the possibility of regrets??  Awesome!!

BE STILL...a Way of Life!!

When I think about "IT"/The Element - Ken Robinson's concepts that I hve been sharing, I have tended to go into a black/white dichotomy - either you find your Element or go through life without passion.  I have been thinking that there needs to be ONE driving factor in my life that is the be all and the end all that makes me want to spend indeterminant hours pursuing.  The past day has given me pause to step back and look at me, somewhat as an outside observer.  When we went to Meadowbrook Garden/Nursery yesterday, I totally found my heart dancing with glee as we drove up and saw the amazing wildflower garden - planted with care yet a riot of flowers and colors.  I had to get right out of the car with my camera and go close - stop to smell the flowers and see their riot of colors.  There is a passion! 
   There were lillies - over 6 feet tall - awesome and stunning.  We decided to go and see what was for sale to bring home - found this Stargazer with her friend the black swallowtail.  Jodie, the garden guru, shared that this flower was the favorite of this butterfly.  Guess the butterfly has found its Element?!?  Still thinking, do I have to settle for one passion??
Bill took the time to stop and smell the flower.  Gave me pause again to realize that this is what life in retirement is all about.  Giving ourselves the joy and yes the permission to go out and see what the world has to offer us without a time schedule that causes us to be frantic and/or stressed.  (Good thing, because the traffic getting to and fro Abington,PA is abysmal). 
   During the day, I got a text from friend, Lillian about the tomatoes from our garden and the food I had prepared for our shared dinner.  She said that she could feel my energy in the food!  I thought about that too - it's another passion - food and nutrition - discovering what ingredients are healthy and how to prepare them.  This too is a BE STILL moment - preparing food takes conscious thought and a loving heart.  Then we are nurtured by it and life is good.  When we rush and pick up the processed 'stuff', well, it's pretty dead energy.  Thanks for the insight.
There is yet another photography and how I do it.  Last night, Friend Bob was one of the artists at a local gallery with photos on exhibit.  Bill and I joined the group of supporters and got to see so many expressions of people's visions.  For me, it started me thinking about the "being good enough" theme.  Oh how did I compare with what they were all doing?  I could see my work and relate it to what they did.  I felt good about that.  I even talked to Ed, the gallery owner, about putting some of my work in the show next month.  He said, "Sure I have been hearing about you from Bob!"  In conversation, Bob and another guy, shared info about another photographer who does the flowers/nature/macro work that I love best.  I came home and looked him up.  UH OH...the comparison/good enough demon showed his ugly head again.  Then I had a talk with self...IF I had the arm long list of equipment that he had - including a few dozen software programs used to manipulate pictures, then maybe - oh maybe my work would look like his.  Then, well, it wouldn't be mine would it??  So I am coming to think about who I am and what matters most to me about my photography.  It is still the BEING STILL and seeing - nature that brings joy to my heart.  This morning I said to Bill that I wondered if I had to learn some software programs so I could 'play in the sandbox".  Bless my husband, this is how he responded - and I leave you with his thought - so fits with my be your own unique individual.....  I have to paraphrase...
     If you

      Stop and reflect on that - be your own individual - fiind your own a purist and present yourself as you choose - the goal is not to enter contests and be chosen for prizes by the 'experts' - the goal - the Element is to do what briings JOY and FREE SPIRITED Exuberance to my heart and to live each day to the fullest.  IF I compare myself to others, there is always the chance tht I won't feel good about SELF and life is to short to dwell there.  So happy day...I am going to discover how to make a wonderful wheat free bread that tastes good.   It's a passion - nurturing ourselves with goodness  - BODY, MIND and SPIRIT!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hungry for Change...and Self

Here is the Hungry for Change quote that I couldn't get into the blog yesterday.  If I type continuously and don't at all try to edit this, it will work.  That takes perseverance and determination.  Someone recently called me stubborn - I suppose that word could be synonymous with the others but not as positive to me!!
   "When you take care of yourself, something powerful happens.  You realize you're precious.  You fall in love with yourself and that love shines through you and overflows to others.
    Lovely.  When I think about change and all that has happened over the years, I think about the birth and life cycle.  In a few days, it will be 23 years since these little girls were born into our lives.  It was a total joy and blessing to be engaged in their lives (as much as they would allow!) and watch them thrive, grown and develop into the talented and loving young women that they now are.  Happy Birthday to Rebecca and Kathryn.
   Now the cycle has begun again with the birth of our grandson.  There will be constant changes daily as he is loved and nurtured and he thrives!  Yet another blessing.
    I go back to the quote from Hungry for Change - WHEN YOU TAKE

Taking Care with LOVE and COMPASSION!

Meet Book Woman by Kiki.  She has been hanging on the wall in my office for years and well, she is me!  It's fun to sit and look at my alter ego - also fun to have the balance of the window to look out to the garden and see the beautiful flowers!!  I have purged so many books over the years and many of my early childhood ones more recently, but there are always more to buy, borrow and read!  The challenge is to look at the collection and ponder which direction to go first?!  Funny I was reading an article in Scientific Mind last night about boredom.  I just can't conceive of being bored!  There is so much to learn, so much to read and so much growing to do.  What I have to do though is admonish myself to Sloooooooooooooow down and let them be.  What I have to do more is realize that after all of my years on this earth plane, I have within me more info than I can even begin to process.  What I have to realize is that I have to learn to TRUST MYSELF to know that so many of the answers are within!!  Trust...balance...and a love of learning. 
   Here's a quote I wrote down from one of those books - Hungry for Change cookbook (p.77

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To See Ourselves As Others See Us!

 Yesterday I got the garden...I was on my way to the pool for warm water exercises and just stopped for a second to look at the cutest little white flower in the front garden.  It was all soft and furry and fuzzy and I wanted to capture it for the Garden album.  I tried and nothing I could do could get a clear picture of her.  All I heard was "I WANT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PICTURE TOO!!"  It her neighbor the bright orange marigold and she was talking to me loud and clear.  WHAT??? you are...a together portrait.  It's a lovely combination - bright - vivid - warmth - exuberance and soft, gentle, peaceful.  As the day went on, I ketp thinking about those two flowers and their differences and realized that they had chosen to be together in the garden and share in my visions.  OK.  As usual, I reflect on that for more meaning and relate it to a message for my life!!
  Here is my very early morning take.  It's about me - the issue I often write about - self acceptance and belonging.  It's not just about me but probably resonates with most of you too - truth???  There's an old issue that keeps surfacing - wonder howmany of us have the same experience - over and over again until we 'get it right?"  This is who I am - or who I think I am.  This is how the world sees me - or how I think the world sees me.  Then there is yet another reality.  There is another way to see myself and to understand how the world truly sees me.  The amazing thing is that the other way is much the more positive wayand in my subconscious that give messages of 'not so good' yet I hear loud and clear, "When can we get together?"  "I need my Martie time"  "You know so many people"  "You have so much to share"  "Your work is so creative and beautiful"  "You are talented"  I continue to look over my shoulder and wonder who these people are talking about?  I need to come to the realization that she is NOT over my shoulder but within.   Am I the cute frilly white flower or am I the marigold.  Do I need to compare? Or do I need to choose which one I am cause I am NOT one or the another but both are a part of me!!  Does it really make a difference?  NOT AT ALL...the challenge is to know that within lies the pot of gold - not over the next hill or in make self look "better'in relation to others. Within is the pot of gold and the rainbow - the gentle spirit that is full of zest and life and love.

  Now consider the hydrangea - we could think it strange that there are both purple and pink flowers on the plant and no blue!  For a few years, this plant gave us nothing but green leaves.  Bill was about ready to take it out and I begged for another year.  Now, she produces and is prolific and gorgeous.  Another lesson huh?  Mom always called me a late bloomer - is the hydrangea too a representation of something within me?  Maybe so.  So I am multifaceted and brightly colored and gorgeous like the hydrangea.  These are all BE STILL moments and on reflection, there are sooooooooooo many lessons that come from the flowers and other plants in our garden.  How to really recognize,learn and pay attention to that?!?  Simple, just stop and PAY ATTENTION!!   (NOTE: for those of you who read the original - these words were just blank white they are real)
   Now it is time to go and settle in and read The Element by Ken Robinson - friend Bob just sent me "IT" and a laundry list of possibilities as I discover my Element and begin to manifest it.  Hey - think about it - aren't I already engaged in the process with this blog and facebook page.  Fancy that!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


She was born a looooooooong time ago, Barbara Martie.  She was bright and curious - talked really early, wanted to know and explore everything and just full of life and spirit!  Early on in life, she lived with folks who didn't know what to do with her.  She was very different from them.  What's a girl to do?  She wanted love, acceptance and approval, so she tried really hard to be just like "them".  It made her sad and her spirit went into hiding for a long time.  She learned to be the 'good girl' and for 'creative' activities, she did paint by number and jigsaw puzzles.  Something was missing but who was she to know about that?  Who was there to be her role model or guide her into real expression??  Sometimes snippets showed when she moved away from the tribal environment but often she was just shy and didn't really know her strengths, skills or capabilities.   Twenty one years into her life, she became a kindergarten teacher and realized in many ways that if she had to engage 38 five year olds, shyness was NOT a tool that worked with that lively group.  Then there was another group - same size - in the afternoon!!  Come out and play Barbara Martie.  She tried and was successful in many ways, but something was missing.  Going back to the tribe, she was too loud, too energetic and yes folks, too emotional!!  BOO HOO!! 
   One day she was riding down the road and heard this voice say, "I'm Filaree!"  HUH???  What?  I am Filaree; your guardian angel.  How fun was that thought - and a vision of Filaree?   In the meantime, Barbara Martie took another step toward freeing the spirit and just became Martie - legally too!! She started being creative and crafty and opening up to her spirit - slowly because she didn't quite believe she had it in her.  Her quilt group decided to create crazy quilt Guardian Angels and Filaree came to life with the face of little Barbara Martie, complete with the long blonde curls!!  The vision - long blonde curls, flowers in her hair, long skirts and peasant blouses - was everything free and spirited.  Martie was growing into Filaree and into accepting herself in all her beauty - still is to be sure!!

Then life begins to expand in so many ways!  Martie walks away from her work of 11 years in 1996 (about the 50 year old mid-life crises time) and wonders what's next?  She discovers Early Head Start, the Program for Infant Toddler Care, being a consultant and  then an Infant Toddler Specialist with Zero to Three.  It's here where she begins to meet true like minded souls - people like her who are open to reflection, communication and experiencing life through the eyes of the children and caregivers with whom they work.  Several of this group are still dear friends even though their work together has been over for three years.  One of the friends, rather like a daughter in so many ways, has a daughter of her own and this is where the FREE SPIRIT emerges in yet other ways for Martie.  This little girl, Ivy is her name, has an imagination and a spirit that is so alive, energetic and exciting.  For Martie, well, it's life at its best to spend time with this child and her mom.  It's a wide open way to look at the world - and here is Ivy at her latest FUN -
                               International Mud Day at

FREE SPIRIT be continued...getting messages about Sir Ken Robinson, The Element - discovering your passion, spirit, element and creativity.  Also going to explore the issue of Creative Self with Transition Network peers.  Let's look at this discussion as the next steps in being present and discovering SELF!  More to come!!  Will it be photography?  Will it be quilting?  Will it be writing?  Will it be a combination of many things?  WHAT?!?!?
And remember too, this new grandmother will explore all over again how it is to be a developing child!!  Welcome Sean Edward - 5days old.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Perfection...or not...Acceptance...YES!!

The only perfection we have in life is the imperfection and beauty of Nature that we are gifted with daily.   Recently, a quilting friend and I were gifted with a weekend stay in Villas,NJ.  We were spending our days at a Quilt/Fiber show at Cold Spring Village.  After a full day of fascinating conversations with most interesting people - adults and children alike - we were relaxing with our Key West Tacos and watching a Hallmark movie.  I looked at the clock, looked outside and realized that we knew how the movie would progress and end - so predictable - but would never be in this space and time again with a beautiful evening to watch the sunset on the Delaware Bay!  Hey, want to come?  And my mid 70s friend had her shoes on and tied before I finished my question!  Off we went.  We found a path to to the beach amidst all of the big private houses with their private walkways.  This view is what greeted me as I walked the path tothe beach.  I could have stopped there and headed home but I just knew there were more gifts over the ridge and down the steps!  Onward!!

Careless abandon!!  These flip flops said just that to me!  The sun was shining on them and agreeing with me.  I sat on the step and watched the families come down to the beach and immediately kick off the shoes.  That's more of the perfection of imperfection.  They wanted to romp in the sand and feel it between their toes and they had to be barefooted!  Just did!!  I love what these shoes represent to me - the life lesson they shared.  Just do it - don't think about it - just do it.  Kick off your shoes and go for it!  The sand, the water and the freedom were so there for the taking!!  WOW and if we had sat and finished watching the Hallmark movie, we would have missed out on so many of the synchronicities of life's learninig laboratory!  As an aside, we watched another one when we got back after dark - yep, we could have written the script for that one as well!!

Nature, beauty, sunset and now a QUILT?!?  It's connected folks and that the beauty of life - everything is so connected - you just have to have a mind like mine that creates those scenarios all the time.  A few years ago, I found these hearts and flowers patterns on the Internet (always a great source of inspiration) and decided to just stitch/embroider them.  There were 12 - monumental task to be sure, but in the spirit of life and Lao Tzu, I decided to take the first step and JUST DO IT!  Wow - I finished them and had them at a quilt meeting.  "Friends, what should I  do with these?"  Oh crazy quilt to be sure, Martie was their response. Then I asked the group to share pieces of red materials for me to use and they did!  With the combination of my stash and theirs, forward momentum continued.  Then I finished that part of the twelve squares.  Again, back to the friends - what to do - and since we were meeting at Quilted Treasures in Atco, NJ, Lynn just happened to have the perfect fabric to pull it all together! 
   Why am I sharing all of this?  Well it is about ACCEPTANCE!   I do some crazy quilting because I like to stitch.  This past weekend at the quilt show, I received so many compliments and affirmations for my work that it totally gave me pause and filled me with lots of amazement ...and gratitude.  I reflected on some of the work I have done over the years and realized that I have my style and I do nice work!  Why does that surprise me?'s about acceptance - self acceptance huh?  The realization that I take wonderful pictures and love my photography and now the knowing that I have some really great and creative quilt work as well - all hand stitched.  One ending to the story, although the chains of connections could well be never ending.  My friend Pat was working on a red,black and white quilt as she lay in the hospital last Fall.  I loved her and her work.  We did a tribute to her and her work at the quilt show.  As we set out the quilts - finished and unfinished, we realized that her last pieces were both finished and unfinished.  The unfinished squares - can you believe there are TWELVE of them - just the same amount as my red work squares and the same size too ?~?  Now, they will be the back side of my quilt and my memory/connection to a dear friend.  Isn't life amazing in its perfection/imperfection and our acceptance of it all??