Thankful November 16th: Food

I always like to joke that without food, I would die. I suppose for me, the real truth is that I would die a little inside if I couldn’t cook and bake. I love making good food for people I love. And I love watching them enjoy what I’ve made. My mother and both of my grandmothers were very good cooks, and I learned some fun recipes and technics from each of them. Now I get to bake and cook for my husband, who isn’t a finicky eater, but always goes out of his way to praise whatever I make for him.

Thankful November 12th: Work

Four years ago, my husband left the structural engineering firm he was working at so that we could open a firm of our own, Realize Structural Engineering, Inc. A year and half later, I left my full-time job as a technical writer to work part-time as our office manager and HR department. It’s been a crazy ride, but it has also been so worth it. These photos are some of our recent projects.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to build our own company with our own standards and mission statement.

Thankful November 11th: Veterans Day

Today, the United States of America honors its veterans. Many other countries are celebrating Armistice Day and Remembrance Day today. One of my grandfathers served in World War I (yes, I’m old), several of my uncles served during the Korean Conflict, and many more nephews and nieces have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. As a nation, we can never thank them enough. The gratitude of the nation should never be in doubt.

So, thank you to everyone serving to keep our country and our world a better, safer place.

(The images are from the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii.)

Thankful November 7th: Photography

I love taking pictures. I love taking pictures of people. I love taking pictures of places. I love taking pictures of abstract things. I just love taking pictures. My love of photography started with I was very young. Starting from about age 7, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you, “A free-lance photojournalist for the National Geographic Society.” And I knew what that meant. My parents had a subscription to the NGS, and each month I would pour over the photos from around the world of amazing places and cultures. I got my first camera when I was about 10. I took a photography class in 9th Grade where we learned all about light, f-stops, aperture, and how to develop your own black and white film (yes, film). I got my first really good camera when I was 23, and I loved taking black and white slides. My first trip to Europe (when I was 26), all of my photos were slides. Crazy, I know. But now, with everything digital, most photos are shared online and shown in a new form of slide show. I was just ahead of my time.

Recently, I’ve delved in portrait photography, and it’s been a blast. Weddings can still give me some anxiety, but it is so much fun to capture moments and memories for people.

I had a hard time deciding what photo I would include on this post. I decided to use the first photos I posted when I started this blog seven years ago. I still can’t believe it’s been that long. What an amazing adventure!

A Photo a Week Challenge: In the Neighborhood

I realized that I haven’t taken many non-travel photos lately, so I stepped out my front door and took this picture this morning.

I really like my neighborhood. We have great neighbors, the area is relatively quiet, and there is a wonderful park with a walking trail at the end of our street. The elementary school is just behind the church on the corner, and kids are usually out playing after school when the weather is good. During the holidays, people deliver neighbor Christmas gifts, and the youth take one evening a couple of weeks before Christmas to deliver Christmas cards for anyone (you do have to address your own cards) to anyone in the neighborhood. People out walking or driving wave to each other, and regardless of your religious status (or lack thereof), everyone is welcome to come to the big neighborhood block party every September at the local LDS Stake Center where the congregations (known as wards) in the Stake (six to eight LDS wards in an area) take turns providing the barbecue meal. It’s best when the Tongan ward is in charge and we get a luau!

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

Thankful November 4th: Russell

When I found my husband, I really hit the jackpot. I was in my early 40s. I had never been married and had reached the point where I was fine with that. Funny how life has other plans for us sometimes. We met doing a play at a local community theater. I was the music director, he was a bass in the chorus with a small speaking part, and when the show was over, I took him home and kept him. That was almost 12 years ago, and I now can’t imagine my life without him. And while he is the first one to admit that he isn’t perfect, he is perfect for me.

Thankful November 3rd: Wonderful Parents

My parents are wonderful. My childhood was somewhat amazing. We didn’t have much money (my dad was an elementary school teacher when I was younger and finally retired from the United States Department of Agriculture; my mom was an office manager), but we always had enough. My mom and grandmother made a lot of our clothes, and friends would ask me where I got many of those clothes. My father was a hard worker. When he quit teaching, he took whatever he could find to support his family before getting a job with the USDA Arial Photography Field Office. I had more than one friend tell me that they wished they had grown up in my family.

But more than just providing for our physical needs, my parents instilled in each of their five children a love for family. When we could afford to travel, we drove across America seeing amazing things, learning crazy travel songs, and playing every travel game you can think of (license plates, alphabet match, I see). My parents also loved each other fiercely. They loved holding hands, sitting next to each other, and sharing a quick kiss no matter who was watching.

When my father was at the end of his life, my mother did everything she could so that he could stay at home and not have to go to assisted living. When it got to be too much for just her, hospice came in the mornings to help, and we took turns helping her at night. Dad didn’t always remember which of his kids was there helping, but he always knew when my mom was near him.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a wonderful example of selfless love and devotion.