Tag Archives: photography



I am at that time in December where I start contemplating my New Year’s Resolution. Back on this day in 2012, I decided that my resolution was to write every single day on this kindness blog and I did it. I actually kept it going for two years. Much longer than I had expected to.

As I do every year at this time, I have been thinking about what my resolutions for this year will be. A few choices I have thought about:

  • Lose a few pounds
  • Continue to get to CKO (my latest gym obsession) at least 3 times a week
  • Daily Random Acts of Kindness
  • A photo a day
  • Write everyday again (I really fell off the wagon with this one this past year)

The last few months have brought major changes in our family’s life. DJ is now in the middle of his sophomore year in college and loving it. He’s become so grown up and independent. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. Drew started high school, made the varsity football team, (all 93 pounds of him) and although isn’t loving the academic rigor of school, is starting to find his place there.

Dave has found a steady job that he enjoys. He has found a reason to get up and out every day. He had become quite depressed, rarely leaving our home and it was putting quite a strain on all of us. He is motivated and inspired. He has lost nearly 30 pounds, is getting up and out of the house each day, found a support group and with his transformation we have a happier home. We are all grateful for this.

As for me, I am half-way through my masters program for Restorative Practices.  RP  has “the potential to positively influence human behavior and strengthen civil society around the world.” I am learning so much and enjoying it immensely, but it is a lot of work, hence one of the reasons my blogging slowed down so much last year.

So now onto my resolutions. Every year I vow to lose a few pounds and I do. I just gain them back, lose them again and gain them back. It is always those same five pounds.

I’ve always loved kickboxing and thanks to a trial membership to CKO this summer, I have found a place where I can give an hour a day a few times a week and feel good about my body. I have developed more stamina and strength than I ever thought possible. I currently go at least three times a week so while this isn’t a new resolution, it is one that I just want to continue. If you live locally and want to try out a class with me, let me know. I’d love to show you why I like it so much and get you addicted too!

Daily Acts of Kindness aren’t hard. I try to do this all of the time. I would love to push it towards a “Pay it Forward” program and make it bigger and more widespread – but that is something I need to spend more time thinking about…it is always great when I have time off from teaching, I come up with brilliant plans and then once reality strikes and I am back to work, I run out of time to implement them!

As for a photo a day, I have pinned a bunch of “photo a day” ideas on Pinterest. I use my Canon for my photo shoots and when I want to get really great photos, but I use my phone as well. I don’t need to post them all on Facebook, (I am on there too much already) but maybe the photo a day will help me find a way to write everyday again. I can share the photos here – sometimes with a story and sometimes without – it wouldn’t necessarily be a Kindness Blog, but it would get me back on track.

It has been a rough 2016 for many – the loss of loved ones and celebrities who were icons of our childhood. We went through a tumultuous and bitter election and while my candidate of choice was not elected, he is still my president and while our opinions differ greatly, I will be respectful towards him. Despite this, I cannot condone hatred from others and seeing so much come from this election has been devastating to me. Living in my sheltered bubble here in Maplewood, New Jersey, I had no idea there was still so much prejudice, racism and bigotry found in this country. This is something I wish to see change in 2017. If there was a way to tie this into my resolutions, I would – I just wish I knew how.

We have no idea what the future will bring, but I wish peace, love and a safe 2017 for all of us.





A Part of the Family

photos click

This afternoon, I had the privilege of being the photographer at the surprise party of my very good friend’s father.  It was his 70th birthday.  My friend, who is also named Claire, teaches music at our school.  She and I have become very good friends and have spent a lot of time together.  I know a lot about her family, as she does mine, but other than her husband and children, I had never met any of them before today.  A month or so ago, her mother was looking for a photographer for this day, and Claire recommended me.  I was touched and honored to do it.

Claire grew up in England and much of her extended family is still living there. She has three sisters and all of them have families of their own.  Today, all of them, along with their uncles, aunts, cousins and close friends got together to celebrate this special day.  I was welcomed warmly from the moment I arrived at her parent’s home in Princeton.  Throughout the day, I was able to meet everyone and put faces to the names of all of those she has told me about.  Everyone there was lovely.  They treated me as if I was a guest at the party, not just the photographer.  I learned that they hadn’t all been together at once in more than twelve years, yet the love and warmth for each other was evident throughout the entire afternoon.  If I hadn’t known better, I would have assumed they were together all of the time because everyone was so close and loving towards one another.   The nine grandchildren, ranging in age from 2-18, played together as if they were old friends.

Claire and some of the guests kept jokingly apologizing for their “crazy family,” which only made me laugh because it was as if I was with my own family.  Other than their English accents giving it away, it really could have been one of our family get togethers.  I stayed for hours getting hundreds of photos for them.  Big family shots, group photos, candids… I can’t wait for them to see them all.  My favorite part of taking photos for others any time is when I can warm up enough to those whose photos I am taking to get them to act naturally for the camera.  There was no problem getting this to happen today.  There is so much laughter and love portrayed in all of the photos.  Even some of the youngest family members who started out camera shy, were posing for photos by the end of the afternoon.

When I got home, I told Dave about their family and how I felt like a part of it while I was there today.  Minutes later, I received a text from Claire telling me that everyone there said that I seemed like a member of their family.  Those are always the best photo shoots.  Blending into the crowd and just kind of fitting in. 

Capturing Memories


I have been told that I take A LOT of photos.  I bring my camera along almost everywhere, and if I don’t have my camera, I have my iphone to capture the moment!  It is quite amazing how easy it is with digital cameras. I have thousands of photos on my desktop.

My parents took photos when we were young, but they are mostly thrown in boxes, unsorted and unorganized.  I remember a Polaroid instant camera they had and the flash and pop of the bulbs on their early cameras.   I remember getting my first camera for Christmas one year when I was a kid.  It was a disk camera.  How awesome we all thought that camera was!!  It was so small!  If I remember correctly, I could fit it into my pocket.  I am sure that it is about the same size as today’s smartphones.  I thought that the film was awesome!  Way back then, those little round disks were “so modern and innovative”.

Although at the time, I did not know any different, the hardest part of taking photos was the waiting….waiting to fill up the disc and film, waiting to bring them to be developed, waiting for the developing process…it all took so long!  In college I received a “real camera”.  My first Canon.  It still used film, so I was careful about how many photos I took, always making sure to get the best shot possible.  By then, there were one hour photo shops.  I thought those were the greatest.  I hardly had to wait at all to get them back, but after they were developed,  as I looked through them, there may have been 20-25 really good ones on a roll.  It got quite expensive because I took so many photos.  I spent many hours organizing all of those photos into albums and still love to take them out and go back through memory lane.

In the age of digital, there is no limit to how many photos I can take.  There are times that I will take hundreds of photos before realizing just how many I actually took.  Now the hardest part is going through and choosing my favorites.  I don’t even print them out anymore.  Instead, I go on line and create photo books through http://www.shutterfly.com and in a few days, I have the book mailed to me, organized with stories to go along.  Digital also makes it so easy to share the photos with others.  No more prints to carry around in little photo albums, a quick share on the internet and everyone I want to share them with can see them.

Some would think that it is not necessary to take as many photos as I do, but I admit that I am a sentimental, sappy person.  I want to record everything.  I am creating memories, that I might not remember without them.  I look through the photos on my computer reminiscing often and find my kids looking through the photo books all of the time.  I go back in time when I look at old photos.  I can relive memories that are slowly fading and those photos trigger memories, that I may have otherwise forgotten.

After my mom died, we dug through boxes and old albums to find photos of her.  There were not as many as I wish there were.  When we were kids, she was usually the one taking the photos.  As we got older, she just did not like having her photo taken, so in the thousands of pictures we went through, we were limited in what we could use, but those photos we did find brought back amazing, beautiful, funny and emotional memories of times I don’t think I’d have remembered without them.  Nearly four months have passed since she died and I still have the mounted poster boards in my living room because every time I look at them, they remind me of happy times with her.

Photos might not be able to capture every moment, but they can encapsulate a moment in time that years from now… I can look at… and just be reminded.