Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - To Not Forget

How could I forget? I was in Brazil 11 years ago, serving a mission.  My companion and I had just arrived at our bishop's house for lunch.  My bishop said, pointing to his tiny television, "look what's happening in your country!"  We saw the second plane hit the towers, and whatever lunch I could choke down tasted like sawdust.

The rest of that day we caught whatever snippets of news we could at each home we visited, and we were approached by strangers on the street offering solidarity and kindness. Upon arriving in our apartment that night, fears for family and of war became too much and I cried and prayed for God to be with my family, our leaders, and all of those in pain. 

The American Embassy was closed for several days, and we were required to report in each night to assure the mission president that we were ok.  As the time wore on, it became old news to those around me, but I never forgot. 

The trip home to the United States a month after the SLC Olympics was a much different one from the trip to Brazil, with airport security armed to the teeth and stringent customs and baggage checks. As we stepped out onto American soil in Dallas, TX, I wanted to grab a chunk of earth and eat it! I have pictures of some elders actually kissing the ground.  We were so grateful to be home.  I loved being surrounded by my family, by patriotic music and sights, and listening to leaders who for once seemed to be united in a common cause with each other and with the people they were elected to serve. 

I will never forget 9/11 and how my life is forever changed. I know that time and perspective have shifted opinions, new facts have come to light, many lives have been given and lost, and the unity we once felt as a country is in many ways gone. I am still proud to be an American in a time when it probably isn't popular to express such pride and when there are so many things that need to change. I am still more than grateful for leaders who made tough decisions and fellow patriots who chose to follow them and make sacrifices, not only for fellow Americans but for people in other parts of the world who hunger for a particular kind of freedom and who are also our brothers and sisters. God bless all of those whose courage and sacrifice during that horrible day and since have inspired me and have caused my feelings of patriotic love for my country to take deeper root.  I still believe in our country, I still pledge allegiance to our flag, and

I will never forget.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Aaaaannnd we're off?

Ok, here it is. Me getting my feet wet. In a blog. It was not too long ago that I knew I would never be one of those people who blogs about nothing to noone.  Three years of constant picture-taking later, I am at a crossroads: new beginning: or as my dad would put it 'taking it to a new level'. I have just joined a talented and diverse school of artists at Local Colors of Utah Fine Art Gallery, and the variety of emotions I have experienced as I'm preparing my photos for our new location has left me in the same place as when I learned I was voted in. Excited, unsure of myself, stressed, and did I mention excited?

This first post is dedicated to all of the wonderful family, friends and co-workers who have encouraged and supported and endured my incessant photo-snapping/yapping.  You will all endure much, much more I'm afraid.  I also have to mention my paternal grandfather, Howard Gates, whose love of nature and photography has influenced my own, and whose presence and soft chuckle I feel more than hear whenever I put camera to eye and peer through the lens. I will also gratefully mention the complete strangers who are giving me a chance, and whom I hope will soon become friends as we work together to make our gallery the epicenter of local art in Utah.

Hence the blog.

If you're wondering about me, I am a music-loving, family-oriented, shutterbugging smart-aleck with a bit of a mouth. I am addicted to learning, nature, astronomy, sleeping, and oddly enough, office supplies. *shrug* I have an introverted and introspective side, I try to be a good listener, and I hope to one day grow up to be as good a person as my mom. And Dad, I wish you were here to give me your take on my "stuff." I know you would probably be one of my biggest cheerleaders. Now there's a picture ;D

Join me as I learn to take and market pictures like a pro, and feel free to laugh with and at me. There may even be some food for thought in here somewhere.