The “Why” of Photography

My grandest hope for the photos that I create is to have a feeling of service, healing, happiness and purpose...that the photo I create live on to become a legacy photograph for the family to share and pass down to their loved ones.

This is what I honor and cherish about creating photographs: that my work will live on to be valuable for generations to come.


On Food: Think Differently

Food has a dual purpose for the body. It is not what you may expect it to be.  
One is to prepare us for what will come in our future.  The other is to help us respond to what has happened in our past. Food is the fuel for how we choose to live out our purpose. 
Do you eat to nurture your future? Or do you eat to hide from your past? 
Food is conflict.  Food is temptation.  Food is delicious. Food is a blessed sacrament.
Have you noticed how food has evolved into things that we no longer recognize as food? Read the label on the side of the box and see how many words you can visualize as food?  Have you noticed that disease transforms into illness without understanding the root cause? We seem to understand how we get a cold or a flu or an infection because those aliments seem to be aligned with the seasons of nature.  But cancers, auto-immune and neuro issues are not of the nature of seasons. They are more of a mystery of transformation.  Is there a connection?
Food is confict.  Without conflict there is no story to our own life.  Conflict is what teaches us to grow into what we are supposed to be.  Food is a daily conflict that the majority of us struggle with.  We wrestle between what we want to eat and what we should eat. Why is this endeavor so hard? 
It is no longer a mystery to me on why God chose “food” as the source of the original temptation that would lead Adam and Eve to being kicked out of the Garden Eden. 
Today we are “the lost” trying to find our way back into the garden. I mean that both literally and figuratively.  Food: the eucharist is the giving and receiving of the divine in our life.  Food is the blessed sacrament. Food is holy communion. We need to understand that food is more than just for our taste buds; that it is our connection to being divine, daily. 
For 5yrs I have been putting off writing this post.  Why? Could I be honest, 100% honest with you the reader and myself for that matter?  Food is a consuming bugger of a thought process for me.  I eat for pleasure, I eat for taste. I eat to kill time, I eat because it's there, I eat because my daughter didn’t finish her plate.  I eat because it's medicinal, I eat because it's fuel.
It has taken me years to learn this “fuel” lesson.  Food or fuel? What am I placing into my body?  Everything we place into our body has purpose.  We are conscious of this in so many other ways...soap, shampoo, sun screen; we only place a product on our body if it has a purpose.  Why not take that same outlook to food? 
Is it fueling my health or is it fueling my illness? 
Food can have a profound effect on our healing and our lifestyle, especially when living with a chronic disease.  With that said, living life with a chronic disease is tough enough and sometimes you just want to have a cheeseburger and enjoy.  Chronic disease can take many things away from you and at times all we have left is the pleasure of a good meal. 
Somewhere around 5 or 6 years ago I went to a nutritionist.  My health improved dramatically.  I did not get cured but I got much better. Then life became about choices between the food that I loved, the food of my past and the food of my future. It became believing in food as a fuel for medicinal healing. 
Integral food? Food for goodness, truth, beauty, perspective: that is the outlook on food I wish to influence you towards.  You need to eat. You need to enjoy the food that you eat.  You need to have an integral purpose to the what, how and why of your eating habits. 
Food is consciousness...and sometimes if we are lucky a  shift happens…..



Current Reading: 14 Minutes by Alberto Salazar
Current Music: The Reflection by Keb Mo
Sounds: Dishwasher
Mood: Not good!
Smells: Coffee
Temperate: 57 degrees 
Thoughts: Why?



 “She will stay with the mystery for as long as she can, until the glory takes her home.”

Those were the words he spoke as he lovingly looked upon his mother lying on her death bed.  “She is ready to pass, comfortable with what will come next.”

He is tall with black skin, old rough hands, deep voice that sounds akin to a Shakespeare being performance.  He will sit in vigil at her bedside for the remainder of her breath.

The conversation goes on to discuss his mother's favorite book of the Bible “The Book of Ester”. The Rabbi who is with us smiles as he hears her choice.  He reminds us the book of Ester is the only book of in the Bible that does not mention the word God in any form.  That is the mystery, he tell us: to see the presence of God when there is no mention of him. The word Ester in Hebrew is literally translated to mean "mystery", he tell us.

This gentle lady lies asleep, curled up in the fetal position as we are having this conversation. Her breaths are shallow followed by a long pause before the next breath. Before her illness she lived as an elder in her church.  Today she is at peace with the mystery of God. Today “The Glory” is waiting for her.

I’m seated across the room from her and her son.  I listen, smile politely and in my mind I am framing up a photograph that I will never get to take. I think about how important this photo could be...what it could have meant.  If only.

What is your legacy? Will this photo be of service? I think about this when I take a photo.

Will it live to be shown at the time of death?  Will it live to be shown at the great-grandkids' wedding table? Photos are powerful tools of healing. Every funeral, wedding or family gathering that I attend the first thing I do is look at the photos that are being displayed.

At most funerals and weddings there is a table that shows the generations that have passed onto the glory. I see the legacy that is left to comfort, heal and bring smiles to the family members who gaze upon them.

This is what I honor and cherish about photography; that my work (if it's good enough) will live on to be of service for generations to come. I love this feeling.

The true death is the last time that your name is spoken out loud and the last time a photo is set out in remembrance of you.

What is your legacy?


Race Day Report ~ Jason’s Jog

                          ( photo by ???? If you know who took this pic please let me know so I can give them credit)

Sunday June 3, 10 am and I am on the starting line. This is my favorite moment on race day.  I scan the crowd to see the who's who of runners.  Here I stand with a collective group of runners all running toward the purpose of doing something good. This race felt extra special for me.
This race day report started months before race day.  I had the opportunity to have a networking meeting with the race organizer Sarah Mayer.  Our meeting was not about the run but a business to business networking meet up.  A mutual friend suggested we get to know each other as possible referral resources.  After a few e-mail exchanges I am sitting in a coffee house having a conversation with Sarah.  
It started off like all networking meet ups.  This is what I do, this is what she does, this is how we can help each other's businesses grow.  Then the conversation quickly changed.  I’m not sure how, I think maybe she noticed my toe shoes and asked if I ran. 
We talked about our love for running.  The fun and craziness of a race crowd.  Our mutual passion bordering on obsession for running.  I tell her about life with NMO and she tells me the story of her pregnancy….
“I was 20 weeks pregnant when I found out that my son had a birth defect that is fatal in fifty percent of the cases.  My husband and I were told that our unborn son had a birth defect known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia or CDH for short.  We had never heard of this defect; it sounded foreign to us.  Little did we know then how acquainted we would become with this acronym. “
Today her son is a happy, healthy toddler.  A true success story.  
Sarah decided to do something for her son and all children living with CDH. Once a year she will organize a charity run.  I was hooked; there was no way that I was not going to to be part of this race day.
10K race:
We are running around the lake at North Park.  My decision before the run was to just have fun, not to run hard.  My knee is about 90% better from the Pittsburgh marathon.  I did not want to have a set back on my recovering knee. I told myself that I would take it and easy. I ran with a friend and made a couple of other friends along the way. Conversation while running is a nice thing for me, it made the race go by quickly.
First aid station was at mile marker 2. My hardest mile behind me, no knee pain and nice lady handing me a cup of water. 
The race goes smooth.  The weather was cool and sky was blue and I ran with a collective group all running towards the same goal.
I crossed the finish line at 59 minutes and  high-five the runners that I ran with.  We congratulate each other on a job well done. 
I go over to the race tent and grab an orange slice and a cup of gator aid. 
A day later I receive a Facebook note telling me that I have won for my age group.  Suffice it to say, there is not much competition in the 40 to 45 age group. There was only one other person in my age group and for all I know he could have been a walker. There will be no victory lap for me…..
One thing that does feel really good about the win is...I won on the day that all I wanted to do is have fun and help raise some money for a good cause….and for that I feel great.

To make an online donation to Global CDH in the name of Jaxson's Jog, click here. 



Conscious Consumption

Social transparency, that is the new catch phrase that you will be hearing about.  Marketers, News personalities, media analysts, politicians (hopefully) and preachers will stand on their pulpits of influence sharing their thoughts on this old idea (something we used to call ethics).

What is social transparency?  Follow the lineage of how our/their dollars are spent? Are we doing good with our dollars? Is the business that we buy our products from doing good? The easy answer for most people is either “no” or “I don’t no” or "I don't give a damn how they are spent.”

Consume consciously; I like that idea.  About 7yrs ago I made the shift in how I think about food.  Is this food good for me? Does it create beneficial health? Does it create disease? Is it damaging to the earth? I made the jump to become a conscious consumer of food.  As Michael Pollan famously said, “eat food, mostly plants”...that works for me.

After reading Information Diet by Clay Johnson the shift of how I consume media became fully aware to me. I had no idea just how far down the rabbit hole I had fallen.

Junk info TV is not an epiphany to anyone, we all know that there is a Republican news channel and that there is a Democrat news channel.  We all know that Facebook is collecting data on us to sell to companies so that they can target their advertising dollars.

Do we know what all this consuming is doing to us?

Over-consuming food creates obesity, disease and early death but can overdosing on junk media kill me?

I decided to try an experiment in my home.  First thing I did was get ride of the TV that you can see from the kitchen table (no leap of genius there).  That is the TV that would stay on in the background most days with a cable news channel playing. Second thing I did was limit my time on social media.  Giving myself only ten minutes in the morning to post blog updates to FB and to answer any tweets or FB mail that may have come in previously.

Day nine into my experiment:

I noticed how difficult of a time I had trying to avoid using FB or watching cable new channels.  This scares me! I’m I addicted to junk news and social media updates? For the past week I used both of them sparingly, only giving myself permission to use FB in the morning for photo-biz and half hour of news media while doing yoga.  It wasn't an easy vice to put down; thank God I never became a smoker.

The biggest hurdle by far is to get FB off my phone.  This is where it all started for me.  Every time I pick up my phone, there it is: the FB icon telling me to check up on the “whatever” of the moment. This needed to stop! I went into my phone settings trying to find a way to turn off FB notifications, no luck.  Went into my FB account and disabled updates (at least I thought I did). I no longer get updates on my computer, but they still came through to my phone. Next I deleted the FB app on the phone.  Then I deleted FB on my list of active accounts that my phone had access to, still no luck.  It's a pervasive bug in my phone.  This is not good.  Why can I not free myself from FB without having to de-activate my account?

This brings me back full circle to social transparency and how I hope to consciously consume media...

What is to gain from consciously consuming media? Perspective! True self-understanding perspective.

Many times in the past year I have written and re-written the sentence, “pulled together for a common purpose, not pushed together for a common enemy." That is perspective.

I do not wish to see the world as a consumer.  I wish to see it as as a member of the human race.

After days of a junk news sabbatical and days of abstaining from the social media influx, this is what I have learned…..I have more time to make art! That is a good thing.

P.S. I still can not get the FB icon off my phone...HELP!