just my thoughts

Leave a comment


Photography is an extension of every thought that I have. – Trent Parke

I love social media.  Where else can you have conversations with people who fire your own imagination to new heights through an ongoing exchange of fresh ideas and innovations?  For years I have watched people online who brought their own thoughts to life through their art, and by sharing their work inspired me to areas of thought I would never have experienced without the exposure to social media.  This has been what has driven and influenced my own work.  I am passionate about art in all its forms.  The one thing that makes being human unique is the ability to experience and enjoy creativity in forms too numerous to mention.

As a child I got that exposure through books, then movies and television.  With the advent of the computer age, there has been a veritable explosion of sharing, at a speed that is mind boggling.  I can’t say mind overload is unique to social media and computers, because even as a young child I would read so much so fast that my eyes would go blurry.  The main difference between past and present is that I am now more keenly aware that there is no way to experience it all.  For someone who loves to see and do new things, this has created anxiety and sadness at times, the fear that I will miss something, the knowing that I do miss so many things.

But juxtaposed against the anxiety and sadness at what I can’t see or do, is the joy I find in everything that I get to experience and learn.  The joy greatly outweighs the negative emotions, and keeps me pushing myself to use my imagination.  The joy that has led me to try to capture my life and thoughts, to share with others, but most especially for my family to have.  I find a lot of comfort in the thought that someday my grandchildren, and their children, will be able to see what I saw, and know me through what I have done.  That is my hope.

It is why I write my thoughts, and put what I see and think on canvas and in photos. It is an extension of me.

Just my thoughts….

…imagine life is good, and it will be… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Leave a comment

my last friday, friday reflection: why do i write?

This week I chose to use the question “why do you write?” as my Friday Reflections prompt.

It’s no secret.  I write for my grandkids first, and family second.  That anyone reads my blog still amazes me.  I mean, how interesting can the things I write about be, really?  Unless you all read it for the same reason I read lots of blogs:

To get a glimpse of how you think, feel, and be a part of your world/life for a brief time.

I was reading blogs long before I was writing one (which is almost 5 years now).  I hope that when my grandkids are older, they read what I have written and say “oh yeah, I remember that!” and that through my words, poetry, and photographs they will remember me, and someday tell their kids about me.  I think of my blog as a series of letters, published publicly, but still so very much like personal letters I would write to them.

I feel that if I capture just a portion of my memories and daily life, then I have left something of myself behind.

As a child I used to think that only people with huge talent, who were creative and famous in their lifetime, really made their “mark” on the world.  Then I read about people like the artist Vincent Van Gogh (who comes immediately to mind), whose talent was not appreciated until after he died.  Now I am not intimating that I am that talented, nor do I expect to be noted for what I have created during my lifetime.  But what I did want was to leave some kind of stamp behind, something tangible that my family could touch, read, feel, to let them know I was here.

And so my blog happened.  I have painted since I was a child, and been a seriously amateur photographer for many years, but the urge to blog surprised even me.  As time went on and my thoughts meandered all over the place, I thought I would eventually run out of things to say.  I have slowed down a bit from that first furor to capture as much as possible of my thoughts, but I still feel the urge to write, except in times of great stress, when my brain just sort of shuts down.  Eventually, the stress passes and my thoughts start to flow again.  Life is dynamic, and so I realize even as I go through dips, that they will pass, and my thoughts will come again.

Writing, for me, is like the ebb and flow of life…

…and life is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


the creative spirit

painted when I was 12 years old

I was asked one time to share what creativity meant to me.  I thought it would be a snap. After all, I’ve drawn since I could hold a crayon, and painted since I was 12.  Art has always been part of my life.

Well, nothing snapped.   I could discuss my life as an artist ad nauseum, but I decided to dig deeper and take you in a different direction.  As I thought about the question, I realized that the answer, for me, went much deeper.
In 1993 I was operating a small manufacturing business.  One day I went to the local community college, nudged there by a friend who wanted to apply but didn’t want to take the entrance exam alone.  The person reading my results recommended I apply to the RN program.  I was ready for a change.
But nursing?  Was she kidding?  I pondered what to do.  While I pondered, I had to take an aptitude test, which was required to ensure you were going into a major that was a good “fit” for your personality.  I took that and scored very high in creativity. No surprise there, since I was born with a pencil in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.  The gentleman reading my results told me I might want to rethink going into nursing.  I can still hear him saying: “nursing is not a career that is creative”.
I didn’t listen to him, and I am so thankful I made that decision.  Sixteen years and three nursing degrees later, I know the truth.  My truth, my belief.  
Creativity isn’t just about art and creating artistic things. It’s about thinking outside the box.    
It’s about taking what you know or learn and making something new.  I consider myself creative and versatile.  I love creating art, needlework, photography, and any combination of a myriad of other media I’ve worked in.  
But being a nurse took my creativity to another plane, to a level that working as an artist alone could never do.  For me, being a nurse was an art.  The art of healing.  
Creativity was the hot pack I made from a wet washcloth in a Ziploc lab specimen bag, heated in a microwave to just the right temperature and applied to an infiltrated IV site to prevent infection and ease the pain of swelling.
Creativity was the armboard I taped to a baby’s IV site to give him the maximum amount of arm movement while protecting the site so he could get the antibiotics he desperately needed.
Creativity was positioning a 98 year old woman in bed to make her comfortable and to allow the bedsores covering her emaciated body to heal.  Positions they never taught me in nursing school.
Creativity was applying dressings that couldn’t be removed by a toddler who had been inquisitive and determined enough to pull a pot of boiling eggs off a hotplate, scalding his face, chest and arm.
Every day of the more than 16 years I’ve worked as a nurse, I’ve been creative.  I’ve problem-solved, listened and suggested, and had ideas that come from a place inside my head that is where my creativity springs from.
Creativity is the space outside the box.  The place where a paradigm shift of beliefs takes you from using what you know, to the creation of new knowledge.      
~cath xo

Twitter @jonesbabie


how do you do, haiku

I’ve been asked more than once how I come up with the haiku photos that I create.  I started thinking about  my creative process, and decided to try to explain how these get from my brain to my blog.

There is no mystery really.  Most creativity starts with a spark, and this is true for me.  Sometimes it is something I see, sometimes something I hear, an emotion.  Or maybe a thought.  It starts small, and grows.

For the haiku I did last night, it started with frustration.  All month, I had been posting every day as part of a blogging challenge.  Then suddenly, last night, my well of inspiration dried up.  I thought about it.  About the fact that I couldn’t think of a single blessed thing to write.  And that was when the first lightening bolt hit my brain.  (That is what an idea feels like to me…a big ZAP right between the ears.)

I would write about not being able to write.  Then I thought about it…(thinking does play an integral part in creating for me).

It needed to be terse.  Brief, and able to convey my agony at the void of creativity…

Now wait, I was creating.  But it wasn’t what I wanted to do…it was a stop gap.  So I could meet my deadline, and not stress over it.

So I thought of the words that would put my emotion into type.  And I remembered how on fire my mind was with ideas at the beginning of the month.  And then I thought of how the ideas had come faster than I could write them down for the first three weeks.  I put the first words down, and started rearranging them and changing some out.  Haiku to me is more than 5, 7, 5 syllables.  It is a feeling, an ability to take words down to the bare bones.  Raw emotion, ideas that are spit into the wind one word at a time, and digested bit by bit as the reader takes them in, feeling the thought of the writer, and understanding.  Haiku for me is an aha! and the best ones I have read can sometimes literally slam me back like a physical blow.

At the same time I was writing the haiku, I was thinking about a photo that would enhance the visuality of it.  It had to be a balance, a complement.  The words and photo must carry equal weight.  As though one could not exist without the other.

Last night, when I first posted the haiku, I used a different image.  But the image I used didn’t sit well with me.  It didn’t convey my anxiety, my frustration.  I thought about it in my dreams last night, and this morning when I got up, I changed the photo.  And knew as soon as I added the words, that it balanced.  And this is what I ended with:

When I finished it, I realized the void in my brain wasn’t empty after all.  In my creative furor the stop gap I was trying to fill the void with, became much more, and I didn’t even realize that I was creating.  It just happened.  I focused on the steps of the process, and forgot my anxiety.  Suddenly the frustration was gone.   And everything balanced for me again.
And that is what haiku is for me.  Balance.  Creativity, idea, construct, all come together in the end.  A piece of my thoughts, to share with you.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie