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Looking for my Phojo

I am struggling to find my phojo.

It began fading while I was preparing, packing and moving to Virginia. Moving consumed so much of my energy that my photography dwindled to an occasional shot of my cats or moving boxes. I have some nice shots that document our life at that time but I sincerely regret that I did not have time to haunt my favorite photo places one more time. There is also a growing list of places that I had intended to get too in Arizona and photograph but due to health, money or time, I never got the chance and that haunts me.

The drive out to Virginia was horrendous. It is a whole other blog post. We spent four days in the car. Sleep. Eat. Drive. We made no stops in hotels or touristy photo ops. We just drove, juggled our resources and did our best not to yell at each other. By the third day, my body completely gave out. I could not stay awake for one hour unless I slept two. It was two days of sleeping and trying to stay awake long enough to drive. Nothing would keep me awake but, again, that is another post. Needless to say, I did not have time for photos.

Now, the first few months here have been a deep struggle between health and settling in our new place. I’ve had a few opportunities to get out and shoot but, well, I just don’t have the motivation. I have no interest in anywhere. Whenever, I ask around about places to shoot, I get a Civil War Memorial or a cemetery. I have no interest in shooting a cemetery. It’s just creepy and gross. Civil War…I’ll pass…I have too much anger and too many issues over southern history to spend my days photographing it. Just typing that sentence makes me angry.

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I miss the Salt River, the wild horses, the cacti, the canyons…I miss shooting Arizona. But, I am here not there. I am trying not to complain. I am trying to be positive. I am trying not to cry all day. I am trying to keep looking ahead and moving forward. So, I have stopped photographing Virginia because, because I am furious at it. I left Virginia in 1993 and I never intended to return here. I never intended on moving to the east coast. Ever. Period. Forever. I hate it here.

But I am here. I miss shooting. I am taking lots of photos of my kids and the cats. A more intimate look at my life right now while I sort out this anger toward Virginia and the south…

I can’t believe I moved here.

Jamie

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Relocation Campaign

In 13 days, I will be moving to Lynchburg, Virginia. It’s a long, stressful story as to how we are getting there but we are going. In fact we are going if we have to sleep in our car and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for days. We are going even if we don’t have the money to go.

DSCN2255crop However, since the idea of pb&j for days on end is not appetizing for an untreated diabetic, we have started a Go Fund Me fundraiser. Please click on the link to ready our whole story of how Lynchburg, Virginia came to be our destination. Donations are immensely appreciated!
Relocation Campaign with Go Fund Me

 

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Where are you?

Sunday, December 17, 2018

It has been a long time since I have had time or energy to write. The seasonal job proved to be more than I anticipated. It was a tremendous struggle to work the job and complete the temporary assignment. The job itself was not difficult but it was physically demanding. I spent many nights in pain, unable to sleep and barely able to function for days. I am happy to say that I did fulfill the job assignment and it ended on a good note. I am now in recovery mode physically but happy to have seen it through to the end.

I thought a lot about writing, photography, crochet and moving while I was shipping out all those custom order Christmas cards. I find it humorous that some times an easy way to identify what is important to us is by the things we miss in life. If we do not miss some thing, it must not have been that important. Photography, I knew I would long to do again. There is never enough photography in my world. Crochet, was a bit of a surprise but I do find it relaxing. I also enjoy making practical and useful items. Blankets, scarves, hats, those sort of things. Writing. This one really surprised me because for the most point I have fostered a love/hate relationship with writing. It is something that comes natural to me but I have resisted it with a fierce determination for the majority of my life. I often have words, sentences or paragraphs rolling through my mind. I think about words just like I see photographs. Typically, I push them aside till they fade away into oblivion. I was caught off guard when I discovered that I actually missed being at home pounding at the keyboard. I literally stopped in my tracks when the desire to go home and write filled my mind and heart. So, here I am.

Moving.

Moving has been an adventure in my own mind. It always is though, isn’t it? Relocation, whether from one house to the next or one city to the next, it turns everything upside down. My decision to move proved to be no different. In the past few weeks, I have researched a variety of cities, in a few different states for a kaleidoscope of reasons. I’ve been to Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. I have scoured coastal cities, mountain towns, bustling downtown neighborhoods and quiet college towns. I have cried a little, laughed much, wrestled with anxiety and had a few “hell no’s” for good measure. I have crunched numbers until my calculator up and walked away disappearing forever.

Through all the researching, discovery and indecisiveness, where have we landed?
Arizona.

The thought of leaving Arizona proved to each of us that this magical state we live in is indeed home. As I explored the idea of living anywhere else, my mind quickly focused on counting the days till I could get back to Arizona. The more I considered leaving Arizona, the more I realized that I just wasn’t done here. There is so much more that I desire to do and see here. I would often tell myself that adventure lies anywhere but my heart just could not let go of the fact that I wasn’t finished here. As the weeks hurried by it became very evident that we wanted to stay in our home state of Arizona.

And where is Arizona? Believe it or not, that is only about 99% decided, maybe 98%. There is a slim chance we may only move a far as a different apartment in Chandler. We are however aiming for Prescott or Prescott Valley area. We’ll know in 12 days if we make it.

Be Brave.
Jamie Christine

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Morning After Doubts

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I can not speak for everyone but whenever I make a huge life changing decision the morning after is always filled with doubt. I think it is pretty normal, pretty human thing to do so I do my best not to beat myself up when I find my mind swirling in doubt and confusion. I wake up in a panic, often mumbling out loud, “Did I do the right thing? Is this the right choice? Is this a mistake?”

Here’s the thing…
Personally, I think doubt can be useful when used in the right way. I think it is healthy to examine our choices, sometimes we have to do it multiple times. I think doubt causes us to do that provided we stop, control are racing thoughts and re-evaluate our decisions. Every time we have normal doubts then we are being presented with an opportunity to adjust our course or continue forward in our choice. It is important to recognize it as an opportunity to pause and search with in our hearts, minds and desires. Are we headed in the direction we want to travel? Is the life we wish to build?

I know that people say not to doubt, however, I think, that there is no harm in asking the important questions of our choices because we are responsible and accountable for our choices. Every decision we make defines the road we traverse on and manifests our lives. Our choices create our lives so why not take a few minutes, a day even, to re-examine our decisions because they are changing your life.

I think fear is a far worse culprit than doubt. Fear can seize our minds to the point that we never even make a decision. We just stop or even worse, we fear our choices which results in never taking a step. It is okay to use doubt to re-evaluate our life path. It is not okay to live in fear of our life path.

For myself, I asked the necessary questions this morning. I looked within again and said, yes, again. If I don’t seize this window of opportunity, I may regret it. I don’t want to look back on my life and say, “I had a chance to know you, to value you, to love you but I let fear of change stop me.”

Twenty years from now, I won’t regret the decision to move.
Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Moving Monday

Good Morning! It is still morning right?

I am in the midst of trying to get myself on a new sleep schedule for my job that starts on Friday. Things are a little topsy-turvy at the moment, however, by week’s end they should be a touch better in the sleep department.

Sunday was an eventful day of decision-making at my house. For a few months now we have known that when our current lease is up in December that we would be making a move. I even started sorting through items, using up the food pantry and managed to get one box packed. Just one. My point is we knew were moving. Where we were headed to was a great mystery. Until yesterday. After months of scouring the country and cities galore we have, unanimously, settled on moving to the east coast. The state of Maryland. City? We are currently investigating, Salisbury, MD. Its location suits many of our needs and desires.

Yes, we are leaving Chandler, Arizona. Leaving my beloved west. I am already crying at the drop of a hat when I think of leaving my home. There is a good reason though. Family.

I left the east coast in April 1993 at the young and tender age of 22. I was living in Richmond, VA. I had two boys under the age of two. I was about to be evicted from the worst part of town. On a whim, I called a high school friend in Washington state. She said I could live with her mom. Within a few weeks, I sold what I could, packed what I couldn’t and headed west in Cheverolet Celebrity. I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Kent, Washington. I was there for five years when another friend, said, “Move to Arizona. We are here and you have no one there.” So, on a whim, I did. In May of 1998, I left rainy Washington for the Arizona desert.

I’ve been here almost 20 years. I’ve raised my boys here. I’ve buried one of them here. I have learned to love, laugh and live in this magical desert. Anyone who says there is nothing in the barren desert has not the eyes to see it. There is beauty beyond measure here and community that is welcoming and uplifting. Arizona is my home. I miss it already and I haven’t even left yet. So why leave? I know you are asking that question. I’m asking this question.

One word, family. I am relocating back to the east coast to be closer to family because I wonder a lot about dying. If I were to die suddenly, what would happen to my boys? Since they were raised in Arizona, they really don’t know any of my family closely. If I died, they would be alone, just the two of them. That is the last thing I want.

A second reason is what if other family members died and I never saw them again. I would be devastated. I suppose getting older and wrestling with death a few times can result in a person making decisions we might not have made before. If we suffer enough loss, we come to know how loss often shines a huge spot light on what is truly valuable in life, people. Not the weather. Not your job. Not your difference of opinions. People. Family. They are what matters most.

And so, with those raw and emotional thoughts rolling in my mind, heart and spirit, we are moving back to the east coast. Life is an adventure!

Wow, T-minus 59 days and counting.
Be brave.
Jamie Christine