practice daily

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85mm, 1/250, f2.5, ISO 250 | my home

Daylight was ending and I hadn’t picked up my camera all day.  I grabbed the cut flowers from the entry table and set out to the back porch.  The pink hues from the setting sun saturated the light.  I was grateful that I had kept the commitment I had made to myself another day.  Practice every single day.

I know what to do

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1/200, f2.2, ISO250, 50mm | my home

The thoughts rolling through my head-

I want them to lift me,

point me to my goals,

feel my successes,

and have a vision greater than today.

Instead, they are-

shielding me,

protecting me,

keeping me safe.

But safe is boring.

Being unseen is diminishing.

I am ready for more.

Ready for…

“I can”

“I know what to do”

“life is amazing”

“I have beautiful things to offer the world.”

I know what to do.

every single day

I attended a violin senior recital last Friday.  5 seniors were performing solos of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with an orchestra accompanying them.  Each performer was FANTASTIC! As the 4th senior came to stage and played her first note, I knew something was different.  She was phenomenal.  We were mesmerized, truly blown away.  After arriving home we read her bio in the program.  It stated, among other accomplishments, that she practiced every single day for 7 years.  Remarkable.

I have given the same assignment at the very end of every photography class I have ever taught.  This assignment is more important than fstop selection, shutter speed choice or the ISO level.  It is more valuable than the equipment you own.  Sometimes I am really good at it, and other times; due to fear, apathy and distraction, I run the other way.  When I have given this assignment to my students they have been in an all day workshop, brains overloaded with knowledge.  I ask them to raise their right hand and promise to practice every day for at least 30 days.

But what if it was…

a year…

two years…

ten years…

a lifetime…

I have recently begun a new daily practice.  I am committed to pick up my camera every day and take at least one photo.  I have this image to thank for that recommitment.  I wouldn’t have had my camera with me without my new goal.  I wouldn’t have seen the subtle light settle on the fence after Sunday dinner at my parent’s home.  I wouldn’t have asked my daughter to stand in the light.

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1/640, f2.5, ISO 250, 85mm

 

the exit interview

iso400 35mm f2.8 1/160

It was the last day of my mission in the Argentina Rosario Mission.  I sat across the desk from my mission president, Jorge Ventura.  He asked me a question in Spanish- “do you know how to find a husband?”  I wasn’t sure what he meant or how to respond.  He filled the silence with profound wisdom that I will always be grateful for-

“Hermana Miller, tiene que casarse con alguien que no tiene miedo de trabajar y no tiene miedo de sacrificarse.”

Translated: “Sister Miller…marry someone who isn’t afraid to work and isn’t afraid to sacrifice.”

If you know Danny at all, you know that I followed that advice very carefully.  I am so grateful that my girls have him to learn from.  They see him work long days and come home with a smile on his face.  They see him frequently offer to help neighbors and friends.  They see him care of rental property that we have worked hard to obtain.  They have been given the privilege to work there.  They like the money they can earn…but what is even more valuable is the lessons of work and sacrifice they are learning by being at his side.

I will always be grateful for my mission, but especially that wisdom I received on my last day in Argentina.