Category Archives: from the heart

an afternoon with Christmas Tree Santas

I was introduced to Christmas Tree Santas at a small community fundraiser – I was so moved by what they are doing that I offered photography coverage of their 1st [of 3!] Christmas tree giveaways this season. I think that I fit into the category of most – thinking of those in need at the onset of holiday season – donating coats, canned goods, or Christmas presents for children of local families…and the regular deposits into the salvation army bucket every time I pass one. so it never occurred to me that the seemingly simple process of purchasing a Christmas tree could be out of reach for those fallen on hard times. and how the absence of that tradition could create a more difficult holiday for the children of those families. Christmas Tree Santas estimates that they will give away 500 trees this month in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Georgia. they work with local agencies to determine those in need, and the families are given vouchers for their tree and also leave with a stand and a bag of ornaments. on the day of our 1st snow, families were  greeted by santa, candy canes, trays of cookies and treats, and lots of amazing volunteers that gave hugs, helped to select trees, ran chainsaws, and tied trees to cars. and the cars………they just kept coming……..a reminder to be thankful for what we have, and for what we are able to give. there was a bit of magic in the air blowing around with all that snow and I was truly moved by the spirit of Christmas.

nikon F100 | 85mm 1.8 | kodak portra 160 | film processing + scanning donated by The Finer Image

 

 

the house that built me

This is the “story behind the story” of my first piece with Eat Boutique – a farm-to-table, concord grape editorial. It’s a story that has roots and a process that I have been meaning to revisit for years.  I lost my remaining grandparent just over a year ago – my paternal Grandfather, in his late nineties.  Many of my childhood memories circle around my grandparents and their home…I think of them often and when I open that door, the snippets of a life gone by rush the memory gates.  Concord grapes grew on their property – and in the years when there was a good harvest, the bushel baskets came out of the basement, the grape picking commenced, and jelly and juice making followed.  I can picture the baskets still, the apron, the stained hands, the worn linoleum in their kitchen, and feel the comfort of home – all like a warm blanket.

In the spirit of my childhood, I headed out with my mother on an hour’s drive to a farm at the end of a tree-lined and winding New England country road. We spent an afternoon picking off the vines – humid air filled with the aroma of concord grape.  Harried jelly and juice making ensued.  Tired feet, bug bites, irritated voices, a sea of canning jars, stained everything, a steam-filled kitchen and then – a beautiful yield of jelly and juice, made by my very own hands.

The memory gates opened again, and all of this left me longing…longing for a time when simple homes and simple pleasures were a mainstay…when camping was the only summer vacation and collecting stickers reigned supreme…when you played outside until it was dark and Wednesdays were for beef stew…when you missed the bus, you walked, and when you wanted to ride, you mucked stalls to earn it even when the wheel barrel was bigger than you…when solid values came first and there was always a parent home after school…when Dads made all things safe and Moms made everything all right…when bread baked in the oven and jelly boiled on the stove…when Nanny & Grampy were just a short car ride away and the grapes still grew on the vine.

I know they say you can’t go home again,
I just had to come back one last time,
ma’am I know you don’t know me from adam,
but these handprints on the front steps are mine.

If I could just come in,
I swear I’ll leave,
won’t take nothing but a memory,
from the house that built me.

- Miranda Lambert

click *here* to visit the Eat Boutique post featuring “all things concord grape” + the recipes…

harbour island, bahamas no.1

love surround me with all your reach
now while we’re here alone
now are bodies are ocean and beach
blessings of waves and stone

- ben taylor

I feel like I’ve been to the moon and back.  We eloped on the intimate Harbour Island – a very small Out Island in the Bahamas… complete with all the rustic charm frequently found with small island living. We stayed in the Cricket Pavilion on Hibiscus Hill…. designed & owned by India Hicks, the Pavilion was perfection.  Just steps from a beach of pink sand and an ocean of turquoise with gentle breezes – it was bliss at every turn.  Even an evening of heavy tropical rain was enjoyed on the porch, by candlelight, with a glass of wine and a little David Gray.

We married in a little pink church – the oldest in the islands – it was beyond words – beyond all expectations on every level.  My husband amazed me and I am forever grateful for what we experienced.  After a very intimate ceremony, he surprised me with an over-the-top dinner for two, back at the Pavilion.  Hundreds of white blooms and candles covered the home, inside and out… and a Bahamian band played as we dined by candlelight on the porch, complete with a British-trained private chef.  Just us.  I would not have wanted it any other way… those moments were ours, and ours alone… I wouldn’t trade any of them for a windfall.

I found it impossible to leave my camera in the bag – I so enjoyed shooting some of our details… more Harbour Island posts to follow.  We were blessed  to have Patrick & Rachel Moyer join us for a couple days – shooting some film & super 8.  I will share some of their work soon…..