Recently, I took pictures of where my grandparents and aunt live and in the area surrounding it. I grew up in this area and it was fun to see this area in a different way. I am so used to seeing it, I forget how beautiful it is. They live in Lancaster County, PA.
This is the home that my aunt owns and my grandparents live there with her. The last two photos are looking out their back yard.
The animals got in this photoshoot also. They have a beautiful blue parakeet who was not sure of hearing the shutter of my camera go off when I took his picture. The chickens’ names are Henny, Penny, Kacka and Becca. The sheltie, Dusty, was not too impressed that I wanted to take his picture.
These flowers are from their yard. My grandmother owned a greenhouse for years. Her flower beds are beautiful every year. The pink cherry blossoms are the trees pictured in the first set of photos.
This is the one-room school that my mom and all her siblings went to school. My sisters and I almost went to school there. The last photo is of the outhouses at for the school. There is no bathroom inside this one-room school. I joked with my aunt that these look luxurious compared to the ones that were there when I grew up.
This is a view of the backside of the home farm where my mom grew up. My grandfather farmed this land for many years.
This is the house where my grandparents moved to after they moved off the farm. This place is only a mile or two from the home farm and about a half a mile from where they currently live.
Of course, I had to add a horse and buggy picture to the collection. The people that own this horse and buggy are Mennonite not Amish.
I added some landscapes just to show the terrain. It was fascinating to really look at the landscape and see all the hills that we live in.
These random farm animals were striking a pose at the right time for me to capture the beauty of them.
I look forward to doing more of these types of shoots. Just to really look at the beauty that I live around. It is so easy to think that other places are more beautiful than the place we live in but I think each place has its own beauty we just have to look for it.
Total cases: 492,416
Total deaths: 18,559
(According to CDC, on 4/11/2020)
This week the statistic of the COVID-19 pandemic hit me in a new way. Prior to this week, they were just a statistic and sad to say they were not much more than that. I look at this number of deaths this is 18,559 people who have died since January 21, 2020(that is only 81 days). There is a person with a name, a family and a life behind each number. A person is a person no matter who they were or what they did. They are still a person that God created to be on this earth for a time. People matter to God so they should matter to us.
There are people who will argue that this statistic is inflated or incorrect, that some of those people died of something else but tested positive for COVID-19 or let us not forget the numerous conspiracy theories that are out there surrounding COVID-19. Can we stop arguing?!? The fact is that 18,559 people have died in the United States in 81 days! This number does not include the people who have died that are not related to COVID-19.
Let that sink in for a little. 18,559 people have died in 81 days in the US.
How does this not bother us? How does this not sadden us? How is this not like a sucker punch to our gut when we hear it?
Can we put aside all politics, conspiracy theories, etc? And mourn with the people who have lost loved ones?
Most likely these family and friends will not be able to say goodbye to their loved ones for a while due to the funeral being postponed. Meanwhile, they continue living life feeling and seeing the void their loved one left behind. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how that would feel, how it would be hard to face each day and how they feel when they see us arguing about where COVID-19 came from or who is responsible for it. At this point, in my opinion when we are pointing the fingers to someone else we are forgetting what is important. Reality is that we are in a health pandemic worldwide with a highly contagious virus. And we all have a responsibility to respond wisely and do our part to help minimize the spread.
While I am on this soapbox, I am going to share something else that I have seen that sends me from zero to one hundred. Some Christians have claimed that this is religious persecution because we are not able to gather in our churches together to have church.
First, this is not religious persecution. Our governing authorities have put things in place to protect us. And we as Christians have a responsibility to follow what our authorities ask us to do. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 The government authorities have not taken away our religious freedom at this time in the United States.
Second, the church is more than just a building. We(people) are the church, not a building. This pandemic has caused Christians to look at how we do church and why we do it this way. It has caused a pivot in churches. Most churches are holding services online. Most of my family is Old Order Mennonite and they have held church services in a building for many generations. They are now doing a hotline call where their congregation can call in and listen to the message. They do not have internet and/or TV so doing church online is not an option. This is a monumental change for this church! This would have not happened if they did not need to think creatively on how to provide a message for their congregations.
Can we put ourselves aside and think of others during this time? This will look different for each person.
It might mean that you stay home and practice social distancing.
It might mean that you wear a mask when you go grocery shopping.
It might mean that you find creative ways to connect with others. Such as phone calls, video calls, send snail mail, etc.
It might mean that your business pivots to be able to continue to serve your clients.
It might mean you work from home now.
It might mean that you no longer have the distractions that you had and you have no excuse not to do the thing you have been putting off.
It might mean that you support essential workers by staying home. As they are putting their life on the line to make sure people have what they need or the care they need.
Recently, I wanted to try more of a fashion shoot rather than a lifestyle photoshoot. My friend agreed when I asked if she would model for me. We actually switched services. Miranda, my friend, became my editor for my Rocking Chair Stories Session and I would do the photoshoot for her. Miranda has this big and unique personality. She tells stories with lots of inflection, accents, and gestures. Honestly, the first time I met her, I was not sure I would be friends with her because I thought she was way over the top. It is a good thing that we don’t go by the first impression. Because I learned that at times she may be over the top by my standards but that is what makes her unique. There are so many other things that make her an amazing person and friend.
Miranda loves the people in her life deeply. She is on the quest for truth and authenticity especially in her relationship with God. As big as her personality is, she has this ability to be still and present where she is at. Miranda has a maturity that most 19 years do not have. Her style reminds me of the 1980’s and 1990’s with a modern twist to it. Miranda fit right into the vision that I had the photoshoot. The clothes she wore were all clothing she had in her closet.
We met in Lancaster City, PA on top of the Duke Street parking garage to begin our shoot. The parking garage had some great options for the photo shoot. After we were done at the parking garage, we got in my car and drove to the Lancaster County Court House. (Which when we go there we realized that we could have walked there from the parking garage.) At the end of the shoot, I found this alley beside the courthouse where we finished the shoot with a few alley shots. We visited La Dolce Vita Courthouse Bakery on the way out of town to take home some awesome baked goods for later on.
The Coronavirus has completely changed our lives in what it seemed like an instant. In these unprecedented times, take a few moments to document what you are seeing and experiencing in words and pictures. If you are home with your family, take a few photos each day of activities that you are engaging in. And you don’t have to be a professional photographer or own a “fancy” camera to do so. Just take photos with your cell phone to document what is happening in your life and in our world. You will be happy that you did. You will be able to look back at these photos and it will remind you of the memories that you made at this time. Heck, maybe make a photo album out of it. You could call it The Corona Chronicles.
Here are a few tips for you to be able to capture your photos.
I know this can be daunting to remember all this when you are taking a quick picture with your phone. Don’t get caught up trying to remember all this. Just take photos! Document what you are experiencing on your own or with others(family, friends/roommates). There is so much that we can take photos of during this time. Some suggestions are: what social distancing looks like for you in your home, your children helping you cook dinner, when you go for a walk look at the things around you, cute things your pets do, etc.
Give yourself grace as you are learning to take photos. You will not be at the level as a professional photographer and that is ok! You don’t need to be a professional photographer to be able to take good photos of your Corona Chronicles.
Lastly, I would love to see the photos that you take during this time. Tag me in your photo on social media or send me an email(firstname.lastname@example.org) with your photo.