Raised Up

This entry is a little weird because I still haven’t figured out how to write about my grandma’s death. It happened suddenly, in a matter of hours, last summer on the eve of our family reunion. She was there, with us, and then she was gone; her body was empty.

But we were still there, on a trip that was planned around spending time with my grandma, who’d organized the reunion and whose birthday was the following week. And because my grandma was, well, my grandma (you could say a lot about her, but never that she was anything but completely genuine and wholly herself), everything around me — the notes she’d left scribbled around the house, her world map dotted with pins that covered every continent but Antarctica, her bookshelf of games we’d spent hours playing together on cool summers nights, after dishes and before Who’s the Boss? — all of it was her, but she would never be there again. It was there, in the basement of her house, her home, that I first began to realize she was gone.

It’s a very odd thing, because the whole experience was, and is, full of sorrow — my heart cannot compute that she will never “surprise” us for Thanksgiving again (is it really a surprise if it happens on a yearly basis?), or that she won’t meet her great-grandchildren (not here, anyway) — and yet, from the moment she began to slip away, I’ve felt God’s hand shaping this story, and I’ve seen the beauty in His sovereignty, in life and death.

You see, my grandma’s body was empty because she wasn’t there. She’s with God. And since her passing, I’ve never felt closer to eternity. And while it might sometimes be easier to dwell on the years we missed out on, I find comfort in the memories of the years we had, and, more than that, I can’t help but be overjoyed for the years to come.

– – –

The first night in her house, I pulled out my camera and took pictures so I wouldn’t forget.

– – –

My grandpa came down this past weekend to surprise my brother for his graduation (he actually pulled it off) and spend the holidays with us, and with him he brought a box of games. It’d been months since I’d thought about those games, or that night, but in an instant I was back — back to the basement and back to those late summer nights with my grandma.

Again, I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures.

“What are you taking pictures of the games for?” my grandpa asked.

“These are the games we played when we were little. These games are my childhood!” I said.

But the truth is, in a way, through my memories, these games are my grandma.

– – –

This is the message my grandma left behind, taped on her fridge.

Family Hands

My dad, worn out from an afternoon of yard work, and my grandpa, relaxing after his 34-hour drive from North Dakota, dozed off on the patio in matching wicker chairs, in the exact same position. Obviously, I had to take a picture.

I Heart You, Internet

As I’m sure you can assume, I spend entirely way too much time on the Internet. Not as much as I used to — I basically spent sophomore year of high school to sophomore year of college on forums, LiveJournal, and Yahoo! Messenger — but still a lot. But, hey, I work on a computer; I can’t help but get a little distracted sometimes.

Here’s some stuff I’ve come across/revisited recently.

BONLOOK / I actually just discovered this tonight, but I’m suddenly wishing for a new pair of glasses. These are the kind of glasses I always want to try on but never actually see in stores. Even better, they’re all awesome and affordable (that irresistible combination that draws me to IKEA on the weekend, even though I know better). We’ll see how generous Santa is this year, I guess. I’ll let you know if my relationship with this site gets physical.

PHOTOGRAPHY NOW / As I’ve mentioned, my knowledge of photographers outside the world of weddings is fairly limited. Not intentionally, I just lack the formal education and haven’t taken the initiative to learn more (bad, I know, but I’m still trying to figure out how to simultaneously be a good husband, spend enough time with my family, serve at my church, work a full-time day job, build a photography career, and sleep). One of my professors showed me this site last year, and I’ve repeatedly come back to it to look through its overview collection. Striking imagery, for sure.

30-DAYS-IN-A-ROW BLOGGING CHALLENGE / I came across this challenge via CreativeLive and considered taking it on for all of about 30 seconds, after which I realized how much I value my sanity, at least for the moment, and quickly decided to stick with my M-W-F schedule. That isn’t stopping me from checking in on the participants, though. I’m excited to see the content they manage to produce over 30 consecutive days (I start getting a headache just thinking about it). And, dude, they have to be serious entries. None of that one-poetic-photo stuff I’m overly fond of. Not only that, but there are consequences for being a slacker. It’s like boot camp meets reality TV for creatives.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed that peek into how I waste my time.