Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running for my life

I've been trying to outrun my depression. It's nipping at my heels, but I've been training, and I plan to keep out of its deadly claws. I have begun my Scripture Journal studies, starting in Genesis, and so much of my topic focus has been on creation. I really enjoy the school work aspect of this type of study, and I think it will work well to help cement my learning.

Over the weekend I ran a muddy, crazy obstacle course 5k, and came home completely wiped out, bruised, and super excited about the one I'm doing in September.

Only a month away.


I was so unprepared for this first one...and now I've decided my goal is to be one of the top three finishers at the next race. I'm not all that fast. I'm not a marathoner. I'm not any of these things. But my goal is to be a top finisher.

Impossible? No.

Probable? Not really.

Am I going for it anyway? You betcha.

The adrenaline and sense of accomplishment these races give me far outlasts anything I've done. I feel like, with each race, each goal attempted, I'm edging a tiny bit further ahead of the depression monster.

You cannot have me, Depression. I belong to Someone Else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Lately I've been feeling the pull of depression, that slippery sliding slope down into bleak nothing for weeks or months at a time. I've been diagnosed with "seasonal" depression, meaning it's mostly triggered by the dark winter months, but over the last few years it seems to have grown into straight up depression. I have good days/weeks/months, and bad ones. There's generally no trigger, no one thing I can put my finger on that I can say "that right there is why I'm sad".

That is, quite honestly, one of the most frustrating aspects of depression. You don't know the WHY (though, it's brain chemistry issues) you just know you're abysmally sad, and you can't do a thing about it. At the same time, each time I feel this sinking, tugging feeling, I scramble for something, someone to blame. My worst episodes were indeed  brought on by life events, and I can at least remind myself it lies dormant most of the time, and the events were simply a vehicle for the monster to awaken. If I don't have this reminder, then when I look at, for example, my parents' divorce as the source of the worse two years of my life, I tend toward blaming one or both of them. Obviously, my depression is NOT anyone's fault, myself included, but it is very, very easy to fall into the trap of laying the blame at the feet of a person.

Credit: Victor Bezrukov

The depression monster often prefers your feet over the feet of others, and thus begins the never ending, self-defeating cycle of self-blame, self-hatred, and horrible self-talk.

I'm back at that precipice, looking for something to cling to, something to blame so I can "fix" it and back away from the yawning chasm.

There have been a number of things that have happened recently that I might be able to throw into the Blame Bucket, among them:

  • Kiddo growing up and going off to camp for an entire week for the first time
  • Realizing that I have a lot of self-worth wrapped up in how I keep the house (which currently is "not at all")
  • Suddenly awakening to the fact that while I still consider myself a Christian, I have pulled far, far away from my faith and my God
  • Feeling Mom Guilt

These are all big things, some more than others, but one keeps nagging away at me, day and night. My faith. Or lack thereof, which seems to be the case more and more.

photo credit: Michael C. of The (Not So) Deep Thoughts of a Christian

I haven't been to a church service in so long that I can't remember the last one I attended. Matt and I help at church every other week, and I do love doing that, but it entails missing the entire service. The weeks we aren't "on", we sleep in and haven't made the effort to attend. I miss it. I miss the connection with others, I miss feeling "fed" in my heart, the music, everything.

I feel this is having a trickle-down effect, I feel far away from Christ, I feel self-centered in so much that I say and do, and I feel that it affects my parenting to a large degree. The other day, kiddo lamented that Matt and I are "too busy" to take her to the park! That one right across the street! I felt so ashamed. Yes, we all three have busy lives, but I should never be too busy to take her across the street to play.

Like much of my life, I want to change this, and I of course want to jump right in, headfirst. I've learned this is a bad idea, and I'll burn myself out on whatever the idea is immediately. Instead, I found a way to incorporate another love that I have with my faith - journaling!

I came across a blog that provides good instructions for beginning a "scripture journal" which I'd never heard of before. The writer is in church leadership for youth, and uses hers in her teachings, and plans to pass them down to her children. They are not personal daily journals, but journals of verses, thoughts and things she's learned as she's studying scripture. I have never felt that I had a solid foundation in the Bible, I've never read the entire book and I feel that's a big failing on my part. There is no reason that I haven't read it, other than it's daunting, and I much prefer things to not be taken out of context as much as possible.

Photo credit: Shannon of The Redheaded Hostess

I will be creating a scripture journal from one of the many journals I have at home, and I will begin at the beginning. I'd like to think I'll study a chapter per day, however I don't know how realistic that is. That will be my aim, with forgiveness for myself if I miss it here and there.

How do you study the texts of your faith?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Black & White Wednesdays - Running

On the way to the gym
I'm in training mode right now, as I have a race coming up on the 28th. It's only a 5k (3.1 miles), but it's an obstacle, wet, muddy, foam race!! Check it out here. I've always loved running, but I've never been a distance runner, only short sprints. I've also always adored obstacle courses.

I remember in elementary school we had field days where we had a full day outside doing all sorts of fun activities. One of which was an obstacle course on a track. I would have run that course most of the day if they'd let me, but they only let us run it twice each field day. TWICE. I still hold some bitterness from that, apparently!!

So, when I signed up for the races I'm doing this summer, I determined I am going to run the extent of them. I started slowly, and in March began with a 5k walk. I've been in and out of the gym and on the street since, working up to running the full 3 miles. My endurance is almost there, and I have a week and a half to this next race. The adrenaline that comes during a race makes me think this will be one that I can run! I love how running feels like flying to me. No matter what's going on, how cluttered or messed up your head is...running clears it up and after a few minutes you're only focused on moving forward and breathing.

Today, on the treadmill, I was zoning out and listening to my workout mix. Normally it's a good background to whatever I'm thinking about, etc, but today was different. Today the music was my motivation, it affected my pace noticeably, and when certain songs came on, I wanted to be this girl:

Alas, I lack the confidence to do this, but man I wanted to! Today was a boogie kind of day for me. Topping it off? I ran more of my 3 miles than I have before!

Black and White Wednesday

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Why did I start this blog?
This thought keeps bouncing around in my head every time I come here to write a post. I know I wanted to blog when I started. I still do. I feel like there's a strong impetus in me that says "let it all out!!" that I can't ignore. Yet, I feel that I lack purpose.

I doubt this blog will have a singular focus, just as I doubt I will have a regular posting schedule. I have always loved writing, as I find it a very creative outlet that is intensely satisfying in a way that many other ventures lack. I still think back to my favorite class in high school, Creative Writing. While it's certainly not the most imaginative name, that class was heaven for me.

We arrived in the morning (it was a first period class), and there would be a prompt on the board. We had notebooks just for this class, and we were to write based off the prompt until the teacher started class. That was usually a 10 minute writing session or so. Talk about getting the juices flowing! I LOVED that class so much. The teacher (Mr. Farley, which always makes me think of the Richard Scarry books) was friendly and fun to listen to, and always had the best prompts. He mixed it up too - half the time it was an image, not words, that were our prompts.

I tried to find my favorite image he used, a black and white illustration (either pencil or charcoal) that I think was from a book, of an ocean liner coming toward you, the viewer, in the center of a city with skyscrapers. The ship was pushing the buildings with its sides, and threatens to overtake the viewer within a moment. Google Images yielded nothing, however I don't know the source material or artist, which makes GIS much less successful!

I miss the structure that class provided, the framework within I had to work to create something. I adore making all sorts of things, but I seem to do  best when given boundaries. Complete freedom to create whatever I want leads to me flitting from one thing to another like a butterfly with coffee! Lest you think me this amazing super woman, when I flit from thing to thing, I don't finish ANY of them. One day I will show you my craft room (aka The Pit That One Dares Not Enter) so you can see the extent of this problem.

It's bad, folks. Real bad.

I have found several places on the web that provide writing prompts, and am sort of hoarding those for the days when I NEED to write, but am drawing a blank. Today was one of those days, until I was reading another blog that posed the question "why do you blog?"

One thing the writer mentioned was needing a goal. This is so true for me! I need a goal in order to be motivated to do just about anything. I know there are some people who do things because either it has to be done, or that's just the way it is. I just don't function that way! I do laundry when I don't have enough clean clothes, not on a regular basis because it needs to be done. I clean our room when I can't freely move around in it anymore, not when it starts to get messy. No, I will not be posting pictures of our bedroom, it's so far beyond embarrassing that there's just no hope. Not even Obi Wan can save our room.

There are many specific things I could list as my goal for this blog:
  • Chronicle of my foray into running
  • Sharing & receiving feedback on my photography
  • Mom/family life
  • Avoidance of becoming a "mom blogger"
  • Brain dump playground
  • Something else entirely that I have yet to think of

Instead, as all these things factor into my life and I hate being pinned down, even by my own goals, these will not be my blog goals. I will have a single blog goal. One that is difficult to pin down, but is incredible when it happens. A goal that I hope to achieve each time I hit "publish" on these posts. A purely selfish, non-world-changing goal.

To be satisfied.

That's it. The glow of satisfaction that came over me after that high school writing class is one that I aim to reach again, via this blog. Simple, but esoteric and elusive. Here I go, reaching for satisfaction.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Giving Hope

In many ways, I'm old fashioned. I love handcrafts, such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, etc. I love the idea of living in the country, growing our own food, though I know my romanticized idea of it and the reality of that lifestyle are vastly different. I prefer the wardrobe of the 40's and 50's. I prefer the transportation (sexy, beautiful cars) of the 40's and 50's, some 60's and the muscle of the 70's.

So, it comes as no surprise to realize that I want to create a hope chest for Little M. She's currently 9, and I have no doubt in my mind that she'll want to be married as an adult. Her personality is one that tends toward needing to be around others fairly constantly and she fantasizes about her future family.

When I Googled images of a hope chest, all the modern ones look like some variation of the box above. To me, that looks like a small casket. Not very hopeful!! Antique chests are more ornate and look like something precious to be handed down, and are far more my style. Something more along the lines of this:

Now to be fair, I don't know what her style will be, and I'll definitely go for something timeless, rather than something that screams "vintage" since she's not always into that. I've looked up what traditionally goes into a hope chest, and find it fascinating.

Often it's household items for the newly married couple, along with precious things from childhood, and handmade linens for the new home.

As Little M loves the lacy things I've made before, I've compiled quite a list of shawls to knit for her, to be kept in this chest until the day it's given to her. There's no possible way for me to make all of them unless I was a retiree or something! I also want to hand embroider some "tea" towels for her, but I'm not sure how that will go. I'm not an experienced hand-seamstress, so perhaps some practice towels are in order first.

Have you given a hope chest? Were you given one upon moving into a new home? Even if the answer is "no" to both of these, what would you WANT to be in that chest for your new home?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


One day I randomly came across this lovely photography blog, Selfie Magic, and I've been enjoying reading through the archives and learning little tips and tricks. The writer of the blog is a former model, and gives little tips and tricks that help, especially with facial expression, to make your pictures look a bit more like WOW and less like "oh, there's that person...again."

I attempted to take a serious self-portrait or two outside in the sun yesterday. This one ended up being my favorite, even though I look thoroughly ticked off!

(c) 2012 Kristin Leamy Photography & LivingFierce.blogspot.com All Rights Reserved
Go on, ask me that once more.

Today, I wanted to do something different. A couple of friends had great suggestions for themes, which I love and plan to use later, but I didn't have time or energy in this heat to set them up. I totally winged it when I got home, and while my first idea didn't pan out...my second did!

(c) 2012 Kristin Leamy Photography & LivingFierce.blogspot.com All Rights Reserved
Oh dear, I'm running amok...again!

If you're interested in cloning yourself as well, check out the post I used to make this on Selfie Magic.

Sadly, she's not posting on the photo blog anymore at this point, as she's had her baby. She's definitely still posting, though, on her personal blog. 

Self portraits are a ton of fun, and definitely an art unto themselves. If you're wanting to start taking some, but need inspiration, one need look no further than Flickr. There are many, many groups on Flickr for self-portraits, and lots of inspiration. For a higher percentage of high-quality work, simply search "self portrait" on 500px.com to see truly sensational work. I find 500px very, very inspiring, and it has become my go-to site when I have a very hazy idea for a shoot. I nearly always find pictures with bits and pieces that I want to cobble together into my own shoot, and they're always incredibly well done.

What inspires you?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fourth of July fun

Starting this blog off with a BANG, here are some pictures from our 4th of July celebration!

(c) 2012 KL Photography & livingfierce.blogspot.com All Rights Reserved
Little M & her cousin Logan blowing bubbles at the parade

(c) 2012 KL Photography & livingfierce.blogspot.com All Rights Reserved
Little M (blue polka dots) & friends, in line for an inflatable bounce house of fun

(c) 2012 KL Photography & livingfierce.blogspot.com All Rights Reserved
Little M flipping through the air

(c) 2012 KL Photography & livingfierce.blogspot.com All Rights Reserved
My first ever successful firework shot!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Obligatory introduction

Starting a new blog feels a bit like being the new employee, walking in on your first day to a room full of people staring at you, waiting for you to impress them. So let me get this out right now: I'm not impressive. I'm not insanely clever, or a genius.

I'm Kristin. I love being a photographer, especially at events. I adore the rush of capturing a fleeting expression, a gentle touch, a glance of love. I have a daughter, Little M, who will probably make many appearances on this blog. Helping me raise my little spitfire is my artist husband Matt, a very talented graphic designer.

I started this blog as a place for me to let it all out. Rambling thoughts, photographs, anything and everything in between will end up here. Welcome, and enjoy your stay!