Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Journey

by Carol H.



Many thanks to the Life Sisters for including me in this wonderful group as a regular contributor to this awesome blog! So excited to be here. As a first post, to get acquainted, I thought I’d share the story of my journey that has brought me here.  My first encounter with hands-on photography was back in 1977 when I was given a camera as a birthday gift. A couple of years later I decided to take a photography course at the local college, which is where I met my husband. He was there studying photography to become a "serious professional". I was there to learn to take good pictures on purpose. We were married a year later. As the years passed, with work and raising a son, I found less and less time available to develop film and make prints so I put photography away and took up quilting and gardening.

The desire to take photographs again was always in the back of my mind and then a significant event in 2011 would bring that desire to the forefront. In March of 2011 I was laid off. I was a risk manager for a construction company, whose revenues had been declining for some time. I was given a nice severance package, and I thought, great…the gift of time to get back into photography! Right after being laid off I decided to get all my medical exams out of the way before jumping behind the camera. That was my plan. I always make plans.

One of those exams was a mammogram. They found something. They did a biopsy. The cancer was very, very small so only a lumpectomy was required (thank God). However, the cancer tested HER2 positive….very rapid growing. I would need 3 months of radiation and 1 full year of chemo. "Life is what happens while you are busy making plans". John Lennon's quote rolled over and over in my mind during all of this. I quit making plans. I kept telling myself "you can't commit to this or that because you don't know how the chemo will affect you through the year." Kind of a sad time really until one day, while in the chemo treatment room surfing the web on my iPad, I ran across a website…Kim Klassen Cafe. Her writing was so uplifting and she announced a new yearlong course she was offering called Beyond Layers. At first my usual "not now because of chemo" voice spoke when I thought of signing up. But then another voice from deep down spoke to me saying "if not now, when?" I signed up right then and there. Through Beyond Layers I learned about Shutter Sisters and eventually attended Shutter Sisters Oasis in October of 2012 where I met some of the lovely Life Sisters.

Today I am still trying to take good pictures on purpose. I take pictures every day. Some with my big girl camera (a Nikon D600…my new love!) and some with my iPhone (totally love the iPhone and am rather addicted to the many processing apps available.) I still quilt and garden and I also have a blog… and now I am also here, Focusing on Life, Focusing on Gratitude… with you. Such a rich, beautiful life we have, don’t you think?

What does your journey look like so far? What brought you to photography, to this blog? We would love to hear your story. Perhaps you have a picture that speaks louder than words. We invite you to share your story here in the comments section and/or share travel images of your journey on our Flickr group HERE or on Instagram…please hashtag #focusingonlife. Until next time…

27 comments:

Robyn Greenhouse said...

Carol, Thanks for sharing your journey. Sounds like you found Kim's uplifting words and class just at the right time!

CarolHart said...

Thanks so much Robyn for your kind comments and for stopping by FOL!

Dotti said...

Carol, I am so happy that you're here with us, one of us. Your journey here was a difficult one but I do believe it's given you purpose, something we all need. It was because of Kim's "if not now, when?" post that I found the courage to fly across the country by myself and go to Oasis with people I'd never met in person. What a fantastic experience! And ... I got to meet you, so neat. Welcome, welcome, my friend.

CarolHart said...

Thank you so very much Dotti. I am honored to be here.

heyjudephotography said...

Welcome Carol. Isn't it so true that the most difficult things we encounter in life teach us so much about what is important? Your journey here was not an easy one, but now you are right where you are supposed to be! I look forward to getting to know you better. I'm glad we're all on this part of the journey together!

Barbara said...

Carol so nice to hear more of your story and to know you better. You are a light to anyone that meets you and have been lucky to do that.

http://vivhalliwell.com said...

Hi Carol So nice to learn more about you.. I too have gone through radiation treatment though not the chemo. I am so grateful that I found all the great FOL girls and the groupies maybe one day we will all meet wouldn't that be grand ?

K8 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K8 said...

Hi Carol - thanks for sharing your story. So good to see you here. It's so cool seeing familiar names/faces...this world wide web connects us all so easily. See you in the KK group! :)

Leigh said...

What a bittersweet journey that led you back to photography! I am so happy that you have joined us!

terriporter said...

Carol, a warm welcome from all of us, and now you are one of us! I am so happy you chose to tell this story here. We all travel different journeys to where we are now. I loved Kim's "if not now, when?" statement and I'm sure it reached many more people than she realizes. So happy we "met" online and then met in person. I know the rest of the Life Sisters join me in sending you a warm welcome. So good to have you here!

CarolHart said...

Judy, Barbara, Viv, Kate, Leigh, and Terri - all of your kind comments have struck an emotional chord in me this morning. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You know, a year ago I would have scoffed at anyone stating they have formed friendships online, but I have to say it is true. The world wide web can be a positive force connecting like-minded souls. So happy to be connected to all of you!

kelly said...

hello carol. thank you for sharing your powerful story. gosh i can think of a million things that i think, 'well once i get done with ____ i'll get to that.' you've really inspired me to stopping waiting until everything gets done. because the truth is really that it never will - something else will just get added to the list. :)

so happy that you joined this wonderful group of ladies and looking forward to getting to know you here. love, kelly

Cathy said...

Our journeys are very much alike. Thank you for sharing your story here with us. It is so fun to see you here in this space!

CarolHart said...

Kelly, thank you so much for leaving a comment and sharing your story. You definately need to just go for it!

CarolHart said...

Dear sweet Cathy, so glad you stopped by. You know, you and I really do need to get together, especially since we're living in the same state. Perhaps meeting somewhere in the middle this Spring? Or maybe I could entice you to Seattle - I know you love this town. Take care. xo

Karenmarie63 said...

Your journey/story is inspiring, Carol! I'm happy to be introduced to this blog. I'm trying to "find my path", so to speak,..I doubt myself a lot. I hope to start a blog one day, and I've got to get past "if not now, when?"..!

AFishGirl said...

Thank you for all that you wrote, the honest story of your journey. I look forward to seeing you here.
Pam

radish38 said...

I continue to be amazed by the Internet and the possibilities of it. I am amazed how you knew someone on line three years ago and they pop back in as if nothing has changed. I do hope to meet you sometime in person. Look forward to your journaling and photos.

Carol said...

I'm late jumping in today, Carol, but my welcome is no less sincere. What a difficult journey - I hope we provide a soft landing! Can't wait to get to know you.
Hugs,
"the other Carol"

Jeanne said...

Loved hearing about your photography journey, and hope everything with the cancer stays perfect! Lovely photo!

Cheryl said...

A beautiful and brave post Carol...love your photo and love the title of this blog...
Focusing on life Everyday...sounds so good to me...since my word for this year is Focus...amazing how often it comes up...
Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

Such a terrific way to start! What a journey you have been on! Life happens in spite of the best plans!
I'm right there with you being addicted to the processing apps out there for iPhones! They are such fun and can make some beautiful pictures!

Welcome!

xo,
Linda

geetlee said...

Hi Carol,

So excited about this beautiful new journey for you!! :) You write beautifully! Thank you for sharing your journey so far. You are so brave and so amazing. I admire you so much!

I picked up the camera after moving to the U.S. It's been an intense love affair ever since :). I hope to one day make a career out of it but I keep putting it off (too much fear!).. I'm working on it though.

This is a lovely blog. I will keep visiting.

Many hugs,
geetlee

Elke Sewoester said...

So good to see you here and hear your story after enjoying your work on IG and Flickr for a while. Looking forward to your posts

Kim Stevens said...

A big cyber hug for you Carol . . . it seems through this difficult journey that you were just meant to be here, right now! Welcome, my new friend and sister! xo Kim

stephmull said...

Thanks for sharing your story and so glad to have you as part of our little group!

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