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"I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to 'cut back.' From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible."
(Erma Bombeck)

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Saturday
Jul072012

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" - John Lennon

I was pleased to learn last month that one of my tulip photos (above) was selected as a finalist in the Skagit Valley Herald newspaper's “Colors of Spring” annual contest—nice surprise!

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been writing on my blog. But it's not for lack of creativity. No, I have been creative out the kazoo lately.

For one, my job with the community college has required me to interview at least one person a week, write profiles, and prepare newspaper ads about them. And I love it. Sometimes I'll be sitting in the middle of an interview with someone and I'll think to myself, “Wow, I really love this.”

You see, I've always loved biographies. They were my favorite books to read in grade school. I still love them. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I love looking at a life over the long haul, being inspired by the choices that people make and comforted to learn that they fail and have bad things happen to them, just like me.

But mostly, I like being inspired by them. I mean, I've read about serial killers before and it's not the same. I read Devil in White City, and, although it was certainly a great read, I had to put it down for awhile after I read about the serial killer. It just depressed the heck out of me.

My favorite person to read about is Abraham Lincoln. I am totally inspired by his life. He had so many awful things to overcome: he wasn't attractive, he was poor, he was married to a person who made his life miserable, he went through horrible depressions and had nightmares about his future, he lost his son while living in the White House, he lost election after election . . . and, he was assassinated.

Yet, he's one of the most admired presidents in our history. He kept on going, running the race, if you will. He persevered. I just don't have words to describe how much I admire a guy like that.

So, back to my interviews. Forgive me for sounding all “woo woo” about it, but I am honored to be allowed to interview people. I ask them questions about their affiliation with the college, but when I interview people, I try to get to what really makes them tick. Why did they make that decision? How did they feel about it? What do they consider their greatest challenges or rewards in life? Would they have done anything differently? To me, it isn't about their education or even their career. I want to know who they are underneath all of that.

It takes awhile before people really open up to me. It might not be until the last five minutes of the interview. I like to record the interviews using a small tape recorder so that I can focus more on our conversation and less on my note-taking.

I love the moments when they travel back to some earlier memory and their face lights up and they are really engaged, as if they are re-living the moment for me. On one of my last interviews, I was talking to a man who works at an airfield. He is the general manager for a company that fuels corporate jets and caters to the crew and passengers. He was in the Navy during the Vietnam War and spent time in many places around the world.

He told me about how his dad could never understand his attraction to flying. His dad was a Navy guy, too, but didn't encourage him to fly since he was an engineer. When I asked about why he loved planes and flying, he said he remembered the exact moment when his passion was ignited. He said that he was in the third grade, in the library, and he picked up a magazine called, Flying. When he related this to me, he held up his hands as if he were opening a book and his whole face lit up, just like when he was a kid, I imagine.

I love those moments and the privilege of having another person share them with me.

And then there's wedding planning. Wedding, wedding, wedding. I have been blessed to take a two-month leave from my job so that I can prepare for my daughter's wedding and, hopefully, take a mini-vacation the week after, before returning to my job at the college.

With the wedding coming up, some time to actually get something done, and the prospect of having a job to return to, I feel more excited about moving forward. If you will recall, I went through a rocky first few months of 2012. I was diagnosed with glaucoma in January and, due to complications with the eye drops used in conjunction with my contacts, my corneas were nearly ruined.

In between all of the appointments, I had two laser surgeries (one in each eye), to try to lessen the pressure. My corneas appear to be healing, thanks to the use of steroid drops for the last several weeks. Honestly, I have avoided going to the dentist and all my other regular appointments because I'm so tired of doctor's offices!

Not to mention the saga that played out over a three-week period last April when I faced the prospect of Stage IV cancer and had a bone scan and MRI done on subsequent weeks while waiting to find out the cause of my rib pain.

After the emotional roller coaster ride over the last few months, I think I hit a wall. After I was given the good news from the last MRI, I just felt like, “Doctor says I'm not going to die just yet. I'm going to plan a wedding now.”

I'm tired of thinking about cancer, worrying about it, wondering if it's going to get me in the end. I'm facing forward, albeit feeling about 20 years older than a year ago at this time. That's a story for another day. Suffice to say that the medication I'm on to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer basically makes me feel like menopause on steroids. I'm seriously contemplating asking to be switched to another, possibly less effective drug. I'll see what the doctor says. However, I'm not quite sure that quality of life is all that when you're talking about staying above ground.

In June, I completed a graduation slideshow for a client who won my free Facebook give-away. It was a fun project and the icing on the cake was to know how special it was to the family. They thanked me profusely and gave me rave reviews on Facebook and my website. It confirmed for me that I'm on the right path with my business—I love doing this kind of work and blessing others with it. I pray that more clients will come my way.

I am also excited about an upcoming senior photo shoot for a friend's daughter and recently had a request for a quote on wedding photos. I never thought I would ever want to do wedding photos—I find the prospect terrifying, actually. But, after taking photos of my daughter trying on her wedding gown, and then for a small church ceremony for a couple of friends, I thought, “Hey, this is kind of fun.” Maybe I'll start with a small, backyard type of wedding and see how it goes.

I designed my daughter's wedding invitations and RSVP cards and they were mailed out earlier this week. Next comes a reception book (similar to a fancy yearbook) and the “pièce de résistance,” a reception slideshow for the wedding. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that the end result will be what I have imagined in my head!

Anywho, all that to say: I've had many outlets for my creativity lately--writing, photography, graphic design, and videos--but my blog has suffered from lack of attention. (Wow, when I just read the previous sentence, I was almost impressed with myself for working all that in between my doctor's appointments.)

The one creative challenge that I have not enjoyed is looking for the elusive (and perfect) mother-of-the-bride dress. The choices range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Seriously, what the heck is that all about? Either the dresses for women my age are completely unrealistic--who do they think I am, Bo Derek?--with their minimal chest coverage, or they look like they were made for Aunt Bea (no offense, Frances Bavier).

I haven't mentioned the impending transition of my daughter graduating from college, getting married, and leaving home after living with us for nearly 22 years (all scheduled to happen within the next seven weeks). It's all a bit much to contemplate. I've noticed that lately, I don't spend much time pondering things. I just go with them.

I kind of miss the pondering part of my personality, but it's easier to get through things this way. So many things happening and so many emotions tied up in them. I sometimes feel that I just want everything to slow down so I can take a breather. But, there will be plenty of time for that when I'm in the grave.

“Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.”  Yep.

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Reader Comments (1)

Great post and update, Dana! Your world sounds a lot like mine, though my children are a bit younger. Sorry about your medical challenges. It is times like these that the Lord can really teach us to rely on him. I hope they lead you closer to Him.

Love, Julie

July 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Paine

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