Call me goofy, but when I heard ‘making pickles’ was on my mom’s list of ‘to-dos’ with my boys during our visit, I immediately got excited to photograph the event.  I just love telling stories {complete stories} with my camera.  I love the challenge of trying to tell the stories of our family without the need for words.  I love words, too … I love writing.  But using just the camera is a fun challenge. ;)

So just a bit of a back-story before I hand the mic over to the photos.  My dad wanted pickles, so they planted cucumbers.  Lots of them.  And when I came to visit, I brought a bag full of large cucumbers from my best friend and when my dad saw them he remembered eating refrigerator pickles as a child.  I told him my best friend has a good recipe for them, he asked me to get it, she texted it to me, and that was the start of our first day of making pickles.

But actually, before we got started on those, Kaden spent time amongst my parents’ plants, searching for the little cucumbers that we would can and make into real-deal pickles, on our second day.

Onto the refrigerator pickles, with Grammie and Kaden….

And then they had to sit in the refrigerator for 1 week, which meant we didn’t even get to try these little yummies.  Sad.

Onto Day 2, and making real-deal pickles, with Doot, Coop, and Grammie….

{She got this recipe from YouTube}

And there you have it.  Pickle-making in pictures.  In-case you were ever curious about how those cucumbers became pickles. :D

But, you know, really, this wasn’t only about pickles.  It was about 3 wild little boys, happily helping their Grammie with a project like this.  I love pickles, but they could have been pickling beets (which I do.not.like) for all I cared and I still would have been documenting away.  It’s about the story and the relationships that are part of it.  I’ve heard a lot lately about people struggling with photographing their everyday because it is so much of the same thing.  “Mundane” is often used.   But there are always stories there to be told and once we get over thinking that every image needs to be monumental, the clouds part and opportunities await.

Pickle-making isn’t monumental.  But the relationships, the participation, the slowing-down-to-do-something-together, is.  I hope that I convey my passion about that perspective in every photo-story I tell.  ♥

 

{And if anyone ever asks for the recipes, I’m happy to track those down and post them as well.}

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  • Auntie Dianne - I did get to taste them and they were yummy! Lindsay’s friend Becky tried to steal a jar to take back with her to South Carolina :)ReplyCancel

It is getting increasingly hard for me to keep my blog posts current … that’s what happens when A) you feel like you need to blog everything you shoot and B) you shoot a lot!  Oh well …. I suppose that’s an alright problem to have, and I know eventually I’ll hit a wall with shooting, I’ll get caught up on blogging and then I’ll be searching for stuff to blog about.  Maybe …

So!!  This is a flashback to our time at my parents’ from the end of August.  We’d gone to the Great Wolf Lodge (here, here, and here) on our way, and then kept on up North to land at their house for 5 days.  Usually when we’re there at this time of year, for this annual trip, we pack our days with outings.  But this year, Gage asked, “Would it be okay if we just stayed around Grammie and Papa’s house more?”  I love that kid.  A home-body after my own heart.

So that’s what we did.  Played there, at the park, with cousins and family.  Went swimming.  Made pickles (more on that another day!).  Rode bikes.  Decorated the driveway with chalk.  Simple, fun, stuff.  Honestly, it feels like forever ago that we were there, though it was only a few weeks ago, and I am grateful to have these photos or I may have forgotten what we did all together!  

An even bigger flashback to grade school with a little hop-scotch!

My nephew, Hank… amazing us with his jumping skillz.

That’s my brother down in the water. .. his expression!!

This was Cooper’s first visit to the pool when he was able to go off the diving board without a floatie.  He rocked it out.

This guy, though, was  too cold.

My littlest nephew, Gideon, was perfectly content just bobbin’ around.

Peaches, please?

One of my Dad’s recent wood projects.  Further beautified by my boys with the nakie troll.

To the park …

And back to the driveway.

When they went to the store with my mom, I told them they could pick out one little fun thing to play with.  This is what they picked.  Who would have guessed it would provide such great entertainment??

More time with cousins …

And more time at the pool … taking advantage of every last minute they were open, with some night swimming.

Ready for some pickle-making tomorrow?? :)

Thanks for sticking with me on my random, all over the calendar-of-events-posting!  I’m happy to know my mom will be thrilled that I’m posting these now so she can also re-live our visit. :) 

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I’m 3 days post-Click Away and my mind is still reeling.  For those who aren’t familiar with Click Away, it was a 3 day photography conference jam-packed full of everything from panel discussions, keynote speeches, small group discussions, photo walks, shooting excursions, on and on.  You can see more about the details HERE.

I want to share a bit about my experience because it was beyond what I had ever expected.

For months, I knew it was coming.  For months I was anxious.  I was ‘working’ at CA between staffing and programs and I have a hard time feeling not anxious about the unknown.  I was anxious because I couldn’t picture the location, I was anxious because I’d never worked a convention like this before … there had never BEEN a convention like this before!  All the months leading up to Click Away, I had my expectations set.  My expectations were little.  Please hear me… they weren’t low ….  they were just little. 

I knew the convention would be amazing, but for me, my expectations were to:

1)  Room with one of my best friends (guaranteed good time!) and reconnect with several others.

2)  To work my responsibilities (and to just be available to help wherever needed)

3)  To meet Karen Russell and Ashley Ann Campbell

That was it!  I didn’t plan on seeing any of Utah, of having my heart filled with joy over meeting 100s of familiar names from our online community, of taking photos, of having Jesus’ presence be loud and clear, of attending classes that would push and challenge me, of having my goals for photography validated.

My expectations were ALL met, and exceed beyond measure.

I know it is cliche to say, but I laughed …  I cried …  my faith was strengthened!  I bawled through Joy Prouty’s keynote speech as she witnessed and spoke Jesus’ name and her plea for simplicity with conviction and honesty.  It was AMAZING and one of my few regrets from the conference was not being able to find her to tell this to her in-person.  To hug her and look her in the eyes and thank her for this gift.  The friendships I have with women whom I share a love of Jesus, photography, family, and fellowship grew.   Plus, I did meet SOOO many women who I have chatted online with for YEARS and finally hearing their voice and laughter and giving them the long over-do hug was priceless.  And even more!  I DID learn A LOT!  Karen Russell added to my mental checklist of how to keep my images of my family genuine and real.  Courtney Slazinik taught me the ins and outs of social media that I NEVER knew (I didn’t know you could schedule posts on Facebook or that you can pin your own work on Pinterest!).  Megan Squires reminded me of the legacy I am leaving for my children, and Elizabeth Gilbert  reminded me that as a child of God, I am created to create and my work does have a place in this industry, even if it is just of my boys.

It was confirmed for me that:

1)  I work for the best employer ever.  Clickin Moms, you rock.

2)  Every single “on-line” person that I had the chance to meet was just as awesome as an “in-person” person.  These relationships we form online are real and are treasured.  But there is nothing like finally meeting in-person.

3)  It is my passion to photograph my own life and no one should feel pressured to go into business if that is not where their heart is.

4)  Again, that hearing someone’s laughter is way better than reading LOL or hahahaha …

5)  The Good News of Jesus should be shared every where both through our actions and our words.

6)  Encouraging and giving to others is the best way to use our gifts.

7)  Karen and Ashley are absolutely amazing.

8)  God created us as relational people and connecting with others who share our passions … whatever they may be … is food for the soul.

I didn’t take many photos while there, so this is sort of a sorry “visual” representation of my time in Salt Lake City, Utah at Click Away.  Most of the time I was either moving too fast, too emotional, or too consumed talking it up to grab my camera.  But, here you go anyway!

Before we went to the airport…

Click Away 2014 - Lacey Meyers

Droppin’ mama off …

Alone …

Two of my lovely co-workers/mentors from CM … Lisa Tichané and Emma Wood

The view from our room ….

Elizabeth Gilbert on the first morning with her Keynote speech …

Prepping for Megan’s live-streaming of her talk … the first of 2 times I listened to it that day!  She is awesome.

That night at the Cocktail Party Reception.  Thank goodness for other people’s iPhones… with Stacey Haslem, Jodi Arego, me and Megan.

And yes …. I DID meet Karen Russell and Ashley Campbell.  I’ve followed both of their blogs for years and now I can finally hear their voices while I read their words.  This was so surreal for me!

Baby Marlo, along for the ride with her mama, the amazing Elena S Blair

From Karen’s presentation that was entirely too good.  She rocked it …

… and we all loved it, and her.

Out to dinner that night …

And since we ate ‘Vegan’ that evening, we spoiled ourselves with dessert room service later that night!

The registration booth …

The one outdoor photo walk I attended, for a little bit.  Watching Carrie Anne Miranda work with her little girls was precious!  And sort of made me wish I could add a few daughters to our brood.  :D

Macro-i-Phone-ography, with Kristin Dokoza…  I love this. :D

And Valerie!  Meeting Valerie, and several other sweet sweet blog readers of mine was SUCH a blessing.  Thank you all, for your encouraging words and now I officially feel like when I post, I’m just chatting with my family AND friends.  ♥

I began getting to the point that I needed to photograph something … someone!  So, I sat Stacey down on our way back to the hotel and snapped a few headshots.

… and also my friend Sarah Carlson obliged my need while we waited for dinner. ;)

After dinner, on our final night ….

{Okay …  I’m starting to get a bit teary just looking through these as I post!}

And, hello iPhone photos …. from our last night hurrah at the fabulous Outdoor Concert put on by Canon.  What a perfect way to end our trip …

Me and Melissa Gibson, captured by our fantastic friend and past student from Mastering Manual Exposure, Casey McCauley!!!  She has a great eye, right??  And her heart is even greater.  <3

The next, and final morning.  SO bittersweet.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait for my flight by myself this time. :)  I was beyond grateful for this quiet time with Megan, Stacey, and Lisa Benemelis.

Kelly Rodriguez gliding by … she was one of the fearless leaders of this entire shin-dig.  Fearless.  And awesome.

I had to take photos.  It was so strange how that need bubbles up.  Stacey, again, humored me!

And Kelly found her way back to us for some chatting …

And then more people came on the glider-floor thing and Stacey humored me, again.

The time came, we all boarded.  I tried not to be sad that Megan, Lisa and Stacey got to fly together. :)

And this was the most I saw of Utah’s geological beauty.

I dozed in and out on the flight, emotionally and physically and mentally drained.  I was excited to be going home, but it was like leaving one life for another and that is never a smooth transition.

These guys made it easier. ;)  They were waiting for me at the airport, and though it doesn’t look like it in this image, they were pretty happy to have their mama home.   Hehehe …

They took me to lunch, my heart was full.  I could hardly make a complete thought in my head, but yep, my heart was full.  While still, a part of it, was still back in SLC.

Totally random, but on our way home, this was our view of the plume from the 36 Pit Fire.  {Please pray they get it put it out soon … the constant smell and haze of smoke at our house from this fire is a reminder to pray for the 800 men/women fighting this fire.  For their safety and success.}

Here I am back at home.  I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but this was a precious, exhilarating, priceless trip for me.  I wish I had not spent so much time being nervous about it all summer long.  I wish I had not let my anxieties make me excited for it to come and go.  I wish I could have had a moment longer with each person I spoke to.  I wish I could have had my boys there to photograph them exploring Salt Lake City.  I wish I could hole up for awhile and just view all the hash-tagged posts from attendees so that the feeling of being there could last a little bit longer.   I wish I could email or message every single person I had the pleasure of meeting and somehow finding the words to let them know what pleasure it was.  I wish there was a definitive date set for the next CA.  I wish hundreds of miles didn’t separate me from most of the women I met.

But again, all of my expectations were met, blown out of the water, and I feel blessed.  So blessed by Click Away.

 

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  • Melissa - Lacey, Lacey, Lacey. <3 What sweet words!! I feel exactly the same as you on my time in SLC. I spent the entire first day and part of the second looking for YOU. Ahh…you're just as precious as I imagined. Such a sweet and gentle spirit that just pops right out at me!! So happy that we were able to meet and hug up on each other. Next time, though, I'm going to stalk you a bit more. Dessert from room service?!?! I need that! hahaha Miss your sweet face and giggle so much! Can't wait until we meet up again. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey Pedey - Well said, Lacey!! I love reading your blog & I sat across the isle from you in Karen Russell’s session, wanted to come say hi & actually meet you in person, but chickened out, haha! So this is me, trying to be brave. Just know you are loved. And maybe next year at CA we’ll meet “for real” :)ReplyCancel

  • casey - Lacey!!! Your words! Oh, boy…you have a gift! You ARE a gift. I may have only had your sweet face in front of me for a few minutes, (and that was definitely not long enough, but I’ll take it) but to hear your voice and actually see your smile was another highlight of this experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…your sharing is healing. It is powerful and beautiful and awesome! Don’t ever doubt what you do, how you do it, or what you have to say! You’re awesome and what you do is awesome, too. Now, as I too am slowly coming down from the high that is CA, I am still reeling and feel the desire to tell the people that have enhanced my life how special they are! Thank you for being you. Please expect an invitation to our fabulous, yet to be named “Friendshop/ Fworkshop”. I would love nothing more than to see your gorgeous face again!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - Lovely recap. It was such a glorious trip filled that far exceeded my expectations as well. While I didn’t get a chance to really chat with you while we were there, I certainly felt honored to sit next to you during Megan’s taping, and to listen to you and Karen during your panel together – thank you for all your hard work in making the event so great. I have so many happy memories of the week – if only the images in my mind could make the photos I didn’t have my camera out to capture.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - First off, you took way more photos than me :) Loved seeing the conference through your eye. It was truly an amazing time and wonderful to see you again and meet a ton of new people. I’m so glad you were able to learn a thing or two from my session. Seriously, schedule…save yourself the stress :)ReplyCancel

  • valerie a. - So fun reading this post, and–surprise! There I am! ha! Thank you so much for your kindness. It truly was a dream come true to meet you! I am SO glad it worked out! You are exactly as kind as I always imagined you to be, and I couldn’t help feeling like I already knew you! So fun. And all of your words about the conference has made me REALLY want to try to make it a priority to go to the whole thing another year. Sounds so great!ReplyCancel

  • Kat - It’s funny how anxiety can draw different our expectations. thanks for being so open about your experience and especially for stopping to give me a hug. :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - I so wish I could have made it this year!! It’s defiantly on my list of things I HAVE to do :) Thanks for sharing your experiences! You’re like, the millionth person I’ve heard gush over Joy and her speech! I may have to pay to download that one :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - So exciting! I’m looking forward to next year, as I was unable to attend. I’m thrilled to hear the our Savior’s name is praised by so many!!! Thanks for all you do- you’re one of many CM folks I hope I get to meet next year!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - This makes my heart hurt…ReplyCancel

We started school yesterday, and I’d like to know what made me think that beginning the day after returning from Click Away would be a good idea.  I’d put it on the calendar months ago, wishing we could have started earlier but I knew myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t have been able to focus well enough on getting school off on the right foot while my mind was preparing for this photography convention.  So I planned to start the day after I got back.  Why did I not know myself well enough to know THAT would be even harder??

I woke up yesterday morning and tried to get back into my routine.  Workout, coffee with my tablet on the front porch, watching the sun slowly light the hayfield.  But my heart and mind were still in Salt Lake City with all the amazing women I spent time with at Click Away.  I came inside from my quiet time, ready to adjust my plan and start school in a few days.  But just as I did, my oldest came down the stairs, fully dressed and told me, “I’m excited to start school today, Mom!”  And his brothers followed behind him, equally as excited.

We moved forward with starting our 2014-2015 Homeschooling Year as planned. :)

I actually think that being fresh off of the convention helped me.  I still sort of felt like I was channeling the motivational, encouraging, inspiring spirit of many of the women I listened to and met.  This led me to not jump right into our lessons, but to have the boys sit on the table and chat with me about our goals for the year.  I told them that my main focus for homeschooling will be our relationship.  I don’t think I’ve ever told them that!  I also told them that this year one of our main focuses will be focusing.   I told them that I would be more focused on our time, that I wouldn’t be answering the phone, bringing my tablet into the room, or zipping in and out of the room to do other things.  I’m a coach, I’m their mama, I’m their support and I need to be mentally and physically present.  And that I expect the same of them.

However, as we talked, one of my boys became increasingly emotional and began crying.  He didn’t exactly know why … this is a little unusual, but not totally,  so I started to handle it as I normally would.  The thoughts and doubts welled up inside me about whether I can do THIS again for another year.  Whether I SHOULD do it for another year.   But my oldest had a better idea.  He just said simply, “Mom, let’s pray”.  So we did.

Our morning was up and down due to these emotions that kept taking over my middle son and when I felt myself getting a bit panicky thinking and …. unfortunately expressing … my confusion and concern, my oldest would just remind me that this was just our first day.  And that we’ll be fine.  I’m so thankful for this kid’s sensibility when mine is flailing.

Upon our completion of the school day I felt such relief.  Yes I had wanted to post-pone, yes we had a rough start, yes I got very stern and a little upset with my middle son when he kept expressing his doubts against himself, yes we took longer than expected and yes, this is only the first day.   But, my goodness, my son encouraged me to pray.  That was the solution HE came up with on his own for our initial struggles.   How encouraging, right!?!

And while yesterday I kept thinking “How are we going to avoid such emotional roller-coasters every day??”, this morning I woke up thinking about how both of my sons ended up powering through the remainder of the day and that we stayed on task despite that roller-coaster and we did it together, with love and encouragement.  Strengthening our relationship.  Recognizing that the prayer my son suggested saying, had been answered.  And I’m really glad to say that that is how our first day of our school year ended up.

 

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  • Carol - My heart smiles every time I read one of your posts . . . you are such an encouragement to so many! What a wonderful example you are of grace lived out & I praise God for all the many ways He uses you <3 Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Wow, thank you, Carol! Sharing is so helpful to me personally and it makes me really thankful to know that it is to you as well! <3ReplyCancel

  • valerie a. - Your son Cooper reminds me SO much of my son! While my son’s emotional nature makes him loving, snuggly, etc. on one hand, many other moments are just plain HARD. Oh how I wish I had a “Gage” in those moments! :) My boy is my oldest, and the example to my 2-year-old, which can also be hard in those moments. It is also hard to know I am trying so hard, and yet to be keenly aware of my own weaknesses in how I sometimes handle those situations.

    What I have recently learned/acknowledged, is that while dealing with my son’s weaknesses/struggles (and struggling with my own weaknesses in how I sometimes handle those situations)I have come to have a depth of relationship with the Holy Spirit that I did not have before. I find myself offering up a silent prayer in my heart throughout the day to find perspective again, to see my son how God sees him, to display self-mastery in how I choose to handle situations, and for forgiveness in the moments when I react without thinking. I have recognized the whisperings of of the Spirit speaking to my heart all throughout the day– softening my heart, speaking to my mind, reminding me of my goals–more than I ever recognized before. I now understand more fully that if we come to Christ with our weakness, with faith and a humble heart, He can make weak things become strong unto Him.

    (Thanks, as always for your inspiration today! So grateful to get to meet you in person over the weekend!)ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Valerie!! Hi! Your words … my goodness. Thank you so much for sharing. You’ve said this so beautifully and I know I will come back to read them for encouragement and humility often. It was SO good to meet you!!ReplyCancel

Here’s our second, and last, day at the Great Wolf Lodge ….

We got there right when they opened and the calmer atmosphere in the park was awe.some.

For a little while, we were able to walk right up the stairs to the inter-tube slides and not even have to wait …

I’m pretty sure the most memorable part for the boys was that my mom and I both had a blast in the water and on the rides with them.  They asked me, “Mom, do you feel like a kid again?!?”  I did … it has been a long time since I’ve felt so young.  Maybe about 25 years?? ;)

In between the fun and all that, I couldn’t help but observe how old my boys seemed.  Gage was confident and excited to venture off to these huge slides, and Cooper was brave to explore, as well.  I was worried about how they’d feel in such a crowded, loud environment, but as always they amazed me.  ♥

Yesterday, I shared what it looked like when the 10,000 gallons dumped on Gage, and here’s a different angle of it.just.dumping.  Every time we’d hear the donging, Kaden would say, “Grammie!  Look!  It’s going to dump!”  We heard that a lot. ;)

This wee one started to show signs of petering out

… but it turned out he really just needed to go on his favorite ride, The Canyon River Run, again for about the 10th time.  He never even complained about the hike up 6 stories of stairs or about the 20 minute wait each time. ;)

These guys loved this … I’m excited whenever they think something challenging is so fun!

“How much fun are you having, Kaden?”

That’s what I thought.

Around lunchtime, our cousins had to head home so that slowed us down and made us sad for a bit…

until we re-fueled with our own lunch.  And then, I put my camera away and just played.  Swam, rode down slides, relaxed in the hot-tub.  Did I mention we had fun?? ;)

But, as much fun as we had, a one night stay was about all I could handle. ;)  I was ready to be able to hear my children talking without them having to yell at me.

100% fun, none-the-less.  And such a great surprise for these boys.  ♥

Thank you for coming along on our adventure!  I’m off to Click Away today and hope to share lots about that experience when I return next week … plus more photos from our time up in Seattle, after this Great Wolf Lodge visit!  I’ll see you on the other side of Click Away, and if any of you are going to be there, I really hope we get a chance to meet!!  ♥

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