Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning WHAT IS IT?

Good Monday morning, friends.  It's time to play!

In order to play:

  • 'like' Deana Graham Photography page on facebook and find others to do the same!
  • check out the mystery photo for today.
  • take your guess as to what it really is and message me on facebook or send me an email (
  • remember not to take your guess on the facebook wall as folks will see it!
  • Tomorrow morning, I'll announce the winner (chosen at random - from the correct answers 
  • The winner will receive one free photo session (valued at $150)
Here is your mystery photo for this week!  

Happy guessing!

Friday, April 27, 2012

List 16 . . . 7 things I've never told anybody

We're getting to know each other better.  It's time to deepen the relationship.

I'll go first.

Here are seven things no one knows about me:

  1. I have a Ped Egg.  There, I've said it.  I bought it a few years ago in the checkout line at Wal-mart.  And, though it hasn't as much as been removed from its plastic shell, I have one; and I think it's important that you know.
  2. I like John Denver.  I really do.  I might be the only person who continues to watch the special, in its entirety, they always replay during the pledge week on PBS.  I know the whole thing . . . I know the part where the ex-wife gets a tad emotional and I always tear up at the end when it's just John and his guitar in that empty auditorium and he sings sweetly about his friend, This Ole Guitar.  And my children were adept at Country Roads at a very early age and knew just when, on a car trip, to begin its verses.                                                                                                                             And, while we are still here at number 2, I should mention a couple of other things.  When I sing Anne Murray, I am a total star - really.  You wouldn't believe how well I can hold my own.  She is my rock star moment; that's how very cool I am.  Believe it.
  3. I once believed in Zima - I really did.  It was my drink of choice.  I'm divulging here, people, one layer at a time.  I'm exposing, being vulnerable, telling the truth, setting it free, shedding the hard, protective exterior, inviting you in.
  4. If I could, I would travel everywhere by motorcycle.  Everywhere.  I know that motorcycles are not safe and I know I'm a mother and I know that I just cannot do that - but let it be known in the world of 'Press Pause' that if this bright and wonderful world was perfect, I would arrive everywhere atop a motorcycle.  Amen.
  5. There is a stack of books beside my bed; I imagine that there is one beside yours, too.  The titles are varied.  Some of the books I have read, some I have not.  Some of them are the books I continue to reach for, rereading favorite sentences, again and again.  Some, I don't.                  The title of one of the books is Sink Reflections 
  6. In my youth, the tender years of feeling my way along, step by step . . . I left my curling iron on for four years.  I did.  I'm sorry you're having to read this here, Dad.  I'm sorry.  I left it on for four years, and I loved it.  I loved that it was toasty and ready each time I reached for it.  I'm not at all sure why, but it never burned down the house.  It made bruisy, brown mark on its corner of my pale yellow desk, but it never started a fire.  I would not do it now, but I did it then.  I did.  I came and I went.  I lived and I learned.  I laughed and I cried.  And, all the while,  that mid-size instrument of destruction, never let me down.  
  7. I worked at McDonald's.  I did.  There, I've said it.  You know.  I wore a doo-doo brown polyester 2-piece pant suit that made me look like a dream.  I longed to work in the back, to fry up the burgers and be the one to use the magic water to bring the freeze dried onion kernels into the day, but I never got the call.  I was destined to work with the public at the counter.  Fish Fillets and coffee to the saltier among us and McDonaldLand Cookies for the kids - I passed out tray-sized portions of the American dream, day in and day out, for four months.  Then I reached the summit.  I got the call.  I went to Chic-fil-A.

There friends.  There you have it.  I have peeled away seven layers, wiped free the shroud of darkness and exposed myself.  I am voluntarily chipping away at the hard exterior that protects me from your sneers.  It is freeing.  I am lighter.  I am better now.

What do you need to release?  What do you need to admit?  Let it out.  Let it go.  Travel no more with the weighty drain of secrets dragging along behind you.  Release.  

We are Anne Murray, we have Ped Eggs and we will accept you.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mountain Memories

My husband and I just returned from the mountains.  We were fortunate enough to cash in on a most wonderful Christmas present from my Dad and stepmother - a fabulous gift certificate for AND the offer to take care of the kids for three nights!  Can you believe it?  We are lucky.  We are loved.  We are thankful.

If you missed my post on THE GRAHAM PACKING ABCs, follow this link.  You don't want to miss this helpful tutorial.

We opted for a cabin, tucked deeply in the woods, and it was the right choice.  It afforded us some time to be quiet and to rest.  We were even (involuntarily) afforded an entire break from the internet, as the wireless access we were promised was not to be.  At first, that was frustrating.  I wanted to spend a few moments each day checking on emails and I wanted to keep posting on the blog.

After a while, though, I began to realize that I was actually thankful for the forced break.  I guess we need that from time to time, huh?  Yep.  I'm not sure many of us would be disciplined enough to make the break ourselves, so Im grateful that the break was made for me!

Now, I'm back in the real world, and most of me is happy to be here!  While we were gone, I decided to keep the camera in the bag for a break from what I do most, but I couldn't help snapping a few photos on the phone.

So, today I hope you'll enjoy a few snapshots from deep in the Cohutta Wilderness, brought to you by me, Pop and Baba and an old iphone . . .

And now, we must announce the winner (chosen at random from the correct answers) to Monday's WHAT IS IT? contest!  I really tricked a bunch of folks this time!  I think I may have received the most varied guesses ever this week!  Thanks for playing.  You can try again next Monday!

This was the photo . . . 

And here is what it is . . . 

A huge congratulations to Denise G.!  Way to go!!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Packing ABC's

As you may have noticed, I'm a bit behind on the blog for today.  Tim and I are actually away in the mountains and the internet set-up has fallen 99% off of the brochure's claims.  Oh well, it is glorious and quiet and mountainy.  We've made a quick drive 'into town' for a short reconnection session and then it's back to nature. 

Since we are away until tomorrow afternoon, yesterday's WHAT IT IS photo contest won't be ending until Thursday morning.  Tell your friends - make your guesses - go ahead - you might win a free photo session!

Check yesterday's post for the photo and directions.

Today I'd like to pass on a bit of wisdom.  I used to travel a lot - really.  Tim and I each traveled so much before we ever met, that we have spent the last thirteen years reminiscing to each other about the trips, as we continue to pay for them.  Good times.  I don't regret a single trip, though, to be sure.  Traveling changes a person; I've said that before.  You can't go anywhere without a bit of it sneaking into your new ideas and beliefs about our awesome world.

You might remember that, early on, I promised not to be a blog with too many 'how-tos' that only serve to make each of us feel more inept than before - remember I said that?  I promised I wouldn't share any scenes from our home that claimed to be our usual Friday night 'farm to table' meal, where I've photographed myself starting the seeds in a bright, beautiful window, the children and I working the fields out back, the family sitting sweetly together as we knit our table linens and then multiple photos of the luscious dinner, with every color in the rainbow represented in the vittles and family members of all ages enjoying one another under the stars, as tiny, muli-colored lanterns dance in the cool breeze. 

Right, I won't do that, I promise.  I will not make you feel bad.

But . . . I must share with you a simple travel tip.  We have utilized it this week and it only takes a second or two of your precious time.  I know many of you may be stifled by old packing lists that you labor over for days and days.  Leave all of that, friends.  Leave it.  Kiss it good-bye.  I've got the trick for you.

When going away for a few days, simply find your trusty cooler.  Make sure it is relatively clean.  Next, bring it into the central-most section of the home.  Begin to throw things into it, only being careful that nothing is squished beyond recognition.  After all, there is no use taking something on your trip if you cannot identify it when you are at your destination.

One of the best things about this trusty travel trick is that you are able to mix toiletries with kitchen items, cold things with room temperature things - this makes it very easy. 

You may attempt all of this on your own, or you may follow our lead for the first few times.  Please don't feel that you are limited to our list; trust yourself to choose the right cooler items and go for it.  You can do it!  It may take a bit more unpacking time when you finally arrive at your destination, as each item goes in a different room - do it anyway, though.  It's very liberating.  And, we found that all of these items get along very well on the trip!

If you need suggestions, please print out and utilize this handy checklist I've created.  After a few trips with the cooler method, you'll be on your way to complete autonomy with your packing rituals.  Pass the word.  Grab your cooler and a bunch of stuff.  Hit the road!  What's stopping you, people?

(this may be copied and kept on the refrigerator for future travels)
Cooler packing method checklist:
  1. shampoo
  2. carrots
  3. sunscreen
  4. coffee filters
  5. microwave popcorn
  6. toothpaste
  7. Irish Spring
  8. vodka from the freezer
  9. freezer cold thingies to keep cold stuff relatively cold
  10. bug spray
  11. pistachios
  12. any random snacks that have been in the pantry for a while and continue to be by-passed by hungry children
The rest is up to you.  This tutorial is open-ended.  Take the information I've given you, glean what you can, and adapt this to your family's needs.  There's nothing stopping you from the freedom you'll receive from the cooler packing method - go for it!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning WHAT IS IT?

Happy new week to all!

Today's photo comes at the suggestion of my son, Harry; who saw it and exclaimed, "Mama, this is perfect for your blog!"  I could not resist that!

Check it out, friends, and see what you think it is.  You might win a free photo session (which is a $150 gift).  You may check out the details of a session at .

To enter the contest, send your best guess in a facebook message or email at  Please do not write your guess on the comments on facebook, as everyone will see it!  In order to be put in the drawing of all of the correct guesses, you must 'like' Deana Graham Photography page on facebook.  It's easy, friends!  Take a guess!

Friday, April 20, 2012

List Fifteen - 25 Books I Wish I Hadn't Read Yet

Would you agree there's something special about your favorite books?  They're like friends, really.  I can't stand to finish a book that I have loved because I fear I'll miss the people so much.  (I'm not good with good-byes.)

It's been a while since I have fallen in love with a book, and that got me thinking.  I began to ponder   how much fun it is to be in the middle of a wonderful book; how grand it is to be surprised and entertained by something new.  Then I began to think back about books that "I wish I could read again - for the FIRST time."  I don't mean that I'd like to read them again - maybe I would, but that's a completely different thing - that's not nearly as special.

These are a few of the books I wish I had yet to read . . .

  1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  2. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  3. To Dance with the White Dog by Terry Kay
  4. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  7. Dark of the Moon by Janice Daugharty
  8. Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  9. Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
  10. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  11. One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty
  12. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
  13. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  14. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  15. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  16. Traveling Mercies:  Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
  17. Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress
  18. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray
  19. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  20. Leaving Church - A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
  21. Having Our Say:  The Delaney Sisters First 100 Years by Sarah Delaney
  22. Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams
  23. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
  24. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  25. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
What's on your list?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meet the Blog Staff

You all have been so supportive of this blog and my dive into this creative adventure - I'm eternally grateful and thankful for your presence, your reading and your comments.

It dawned on me recently that you all should meet some of the other individuals who do so much to make 'Press Pause' work five days a week.  Something like this just cannot be done with one person, and I want you to meet the other folks who work behind the scenes.  It's about time!

Allow me to introduce you to the folks who make it happen:

Meet Sadie - she is the blog's Executive Producer.

This is Sadie - she is our staff yoga instructor and fitness guru.

 This is Sadie - she is our night shift security patrol.

Please meet Sadie - she is in charge of odor patrol.

This is Sadie, our staff childcare operator.

Let me introduce you to Sadie, our Editor.

And this is Sadie, our Assistant Editor.

Meet Sadie, our Management Consultant, who likes to have her paws in a little bit of everything.

This is Sadie, our Chief Executive Officer, with a nose for business.

And, last but not least, let me introduce you to Sadie, our Office Manager.  

Suffice it to say that without the hard work and dedication of these special individuals, this blog would not be possible.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet, sweet smiles . . .

Meet my precious friends, Gavin and Gracie.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again . . . I am a lucky photographer!

Often I find myself photographing folks I know well, and these two I have known as long as they've been on this earth.  I've been fortunate to share many special moments with these two precious souls - I've laughed with them and learned with them.

I adore photographing children and anticipating what they might do next, what will make them laugh, when they will glance at one another.

Children keep things moving; and young ones with this much personality are a blast to capture in action!

(I just couldn't 'erase' this scuffed elbow - it seemed to lend to the personality of her look!)

This shoot was made even more special because of what this sweet Gracie was doing the following day  - she was hours away from having her hair cut and donated to help children going through cancer treatment.

Portraits of children are made in the eyes, and I love Gracie's eyes in this photo.  Each time I look at this photo, I find myself drawn right into those familiar, beautiful eyes.

Those eyes . . . again.  I feel like Gavin could start talking to me when I see him here!

I love photos that seem life-like.  This one did!  I have seen Gracie make this face so many times; and when I look at this photo, I feel like I can hear her giggle.

I like that!

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