Wednesday, April 30, 2014

not the center

I was told to read this yesterday and give my thoughts.

I have a few, but it doesn't matter because it may be best just to wait a couple of decades and do a where are they now update to find the gentlemen have her tied up in the basement while they have a keg party upstairs.

I mean I hope not, but…

Today I am grateful for our kids and how they teach us.

Or at least that's what I'm writing since they're here to take over.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

shall overcome

Grand Oak Bluegrass Gospel Hall

Today I am grateful to hear the birds singing, to see the trees still standing and to know there is plenty of work to be done.

The music this morning is an old favorite.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Slater's light

The money for this job went to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 
I didn't even touch it because I knew I didn't deserve it.

Today I am grateful for how incredibly generous this world is.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

as wise as I am going to be

One day, if you are as lucky as me, you will have some someone call you and ask you the same question you asked me. And on that day you will listen to all the answers some someone will give you. And you will feel a little fear because for those huge questions you don't have answers except to say, That question you're asking, I'm sure glad you're asking it.

Today I am grateful for the question.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

and for my next trick

How did she test the water?
Front flip. Of course.

steps. dots. reality checks.

Crazy has places to hide in.

They are photos of a group of students who were selected by their peers to represent the most, the -est.

It is a beautiful day.
We are on a trail by a lake.

I don't know it yet, but I will soon be thinking about what we tell these students, our kids, when they graduate.

Of course, everyone has read this commencement speech. My kid did, and the only thing we've had to add since then is that sometimes the most important person in the room is not the image of your idealism. It is the person who signs your paycheck and working to live and living to work are two very different things but knowing the difference will help keep you sane.

Today I am grateful for the reminder that some jobs are just a dot and that is the beauty of them.

Friday, April 25, 2014



How many photos do I need to repost before I just go?

Which reminds me.


Today I am grateful to be included.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Today I am grateful for those who listen and encourage and nurture the people of this world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


You're never alone on a sunny day.

Today I am grateful for time to reflect.

Monday, April 21, 2014

sans distraction

What I miss most is being in love. Just this morning. Today will be different. Tonight there will be something else to distract me. But now. Right now. I miss what that felt like.

Today I am grateful I can remember.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Little Bird

It is an email, something I almost miss because of my inclination to immediately trash most correspondence in my personal account these days. Because I don't own a cell phone and I don't text and I don't know how to handle the onslaught of most social media I now embrace being a relic. Oh, how I long for the good old days when we spelled entire words and sent stories and a new message was from an old friend.

It is an invitation, not to save 40% or show my support or sign up to meet for the 5K because I am an organ donor. Seriously. I am not showing up to that. I am not standing, walking or picnicking with my take whatever is left peers and being gassed for my you better get it now liver. I already know my value to you. I am not falling for that. 

It is from a blogger, an authentic, not for profit, appropriately personal letter. I am honored and humbled and can't help but think this is just what I needed. A space. Assignments. Other photographers. Stretch. Study. I have to get back to that. Of course the answer is yes.

An I am so very grateful for your kind invitation, yes.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

small world, big problem

The girl in the blue shirt calls him bald. He's not bald so he calls her stupid.

We don't call people stupid, the teacher says.

But she

No buts. You know better than to say that word.

Another mark beside his name.
One more and he goes to the office.
Nobody wants to go to the office.

Jamarcus and Willie tell him, Boy, don't let that girl beatchu. She ain't worth it.

It's unfair, he tells them as he puts himself in the corner.
Tears streaming down his face, he rubs the top of his head.
I'm not bald, he thinks.

Today I am grateful to know we all learn and experience tells us we can't take any of this personally.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

unanswered prayers

Today I am grateful for silly conversations with my Dad and the knowledge I would have missed the one we had last night if I had been on that boat.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


He serenades me with his ukelele.

Today I am grateful for the ability to dream on a cold morning.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Today I am grateful for a Sunday afternoon drive.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014


At the end of the best day possible you realized you forgot what  you had been working for because you were working so hard to get the next thing done. In the last hours of ohmygosh the show is tonight you did your best to make everything as perfect as possible, but, as usual, there was self doubt. There was the forgotten, the concessions you made in the hope you would know better next time.

Maybe you would.

Maybe not.
Because at the end of the best day possible you were reminded of what you had been working for because you saw the smiles. You witnessed the pride of a person who may never catch the winning touchdown pass or be crowned the winner of the next beauty pageant, but, by your account, the feeling looked just the same.

At the end of the best day possible you sat exhausted on a couch and watched as a young man pulled out his guitar. A wind blew through the shop. The music began and he and his Mama sang a song.

At the end of the best day possible your muscles ached but not near as much as they would burn the next morning when you woke to remember all those best possible moments.

And you think, that was yesterday.
Just imagine what today could bring.
Even better than that. The possibilities of tomorrow.

Today I am grateful to be a part of this best possible community.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

the lab

lab partner is unimpressed by antics

I am obviously still testing for the exception to the rule we become who or what we are fighting.
Be assured, all results are consistent with the initial experiment years ago.

Today I am grateful for the reminder I am not here to tell you what to do.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Russia's Got Talent

Last night:
It is a beautiful show. Dr. Olga Lutsenko is soft spoken and kind and I just want to hug those little Russian children who created the works above. If you're interested, the show will run on the second floor of the Meridian Museum of Art until mid July. Kate Cherry, the director the museum, teared up when she tried to convey what this series means to her.

The wheat from the chaff. 
I get to decide. 
You get to decide. 
Free will is a beautiful right.

Research notes:

Dr. Olga Lutsenko

"The Russian Minister of Education asked Dr Olga Lutsenko, a leading educational official with the Academy of Educational Sciences in the USSR to develop a program for teaching morality in Russian Schools. In her research, she began reading the Bible and was spiritually transformed. She has developed the program of teaching values based upon the Bible throughout Russia and the Ukraine. Over 25,000 teachers have been trained in her methods. Her teaching organization is called the Global Kindness Foundation.” 

The Kindness Foundation

"The Kindness Foundation is classified as a non-partisan, non-sectarian Christian education society.Teaching Biblical morals and values in Public Education in Russia brought a strengthening of the culture through the re-emergence of traditional Biblical principles when it was adopted in 1993. Using the model which Kindness helped develop and implement in Russia, a few years ago, Kindness began focusing this strategy in Ukraine through a signed agreement with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education to provide Bibles, Biblical lesson plans, teacher training and resources directly to their Public School System and is now promoting this effort to all countries."

Putin, Buchanan
Oh look, politics and egos and control and using God to debase another human being or a whole nation of them and haven't we seen that before. Not going to source this. You should have no problem finding their political rhetoric if you would like.

American History

The men who fought the Revolution may have thanked Providence and attended church regularly—or not. But they also fought a war against a country in which the head of state was the head of the church. Knowing well the history of religious warfare that led to America’s settlement, they clearly understood both the dangers of that system and of sectarian conflict. Source

Further Reading (not mandatory, of course)
The Bible (oddly a free digital book to internet subscribers in the United States of America)
John Shelby Spong's Living in Sin
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

Today I am especially grateful for the thoughtful men who founded this country.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014



Today I am grateful for writers who challenge us to be who we say we are.

She is still one of my favorites after all these years.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Student Work

Providing instruction to a group of teenagers can elicit an existential crisis. 
I have never had anyone look past me so thoroughly. 
The experience is perfection.
Everything I learned about this student and her classmates, I learned from their work.

Today I am grateful to see what our kids are saying.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

art meets heart

Wyatt by Josh Miller

Something about remembering what our souls already know.
That we are here to love, he says.

Today I am grateful for a steady rain.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

from the bottom of the pool

Today I am grateful for the morning.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

repetition in color

The students are preparing for a show so we sit and brainstorm names until we decide it is becoming an exercise in saying words with different accents. They sign out their cameras, and we walk out the door taking the same path we have so many weeks before.

Find something new.
Look at what you see but differently.
Everyone has looked down on a flower.

Even my most avid student is tired of hearing the same thing over and over.
They are completely bored, and I have to admit I am, too, until I realize what we are learning.

Today I am grateful for the limits of space and time, for the drudgery of having to work at something, for how every no can lead to a more gratifying yes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Woodstomp by Josh Miller

Dear Sir/Madam/Non-Gender Specific Person Holding Press Pass Rights:

I wish I could tell you that it would benefit you to have me holding a camera at your band's show tomorrow night. That my photographs will be some amazing representation of the sound, the soul, the passion. That what I will capture will be something you have never seen before. That I don't end sentences in prepositions. That I will tangle words together in such a way some top magazine will want to run a feature of your band's story. That as a result you will get calls from cities and festivals and massive amounts of money will begin flooding toward you.

I wish I could.

What I can tell you is that I typically crumble under the pressure of wishing I could do that for you. That it is likely my words will be thrown into a heap of discarded attempts because I know someone could do so much better than me. That my equipment is one of the best things I have going, second only to my neurotic obsession to get the perfect photo. That I don't use any flash. That I can blend into the walls. That I am paying for a ticket anyway and listening to live music without my camera is simply impossible.


May I have a press pass, please?

Sincerely/Rock On/Best Regards/Pleadingly,
Shea Goff

Today I am grateful for someone who understands what photographing live music means to me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


You know that friend you can call and it doesn't take long before you're both losing your breath laughing on the phone? That's when you know it's better than alright.

And I didn't even have to lie to myself.

This morning I am grateful Kim still answers the phone after all these years.