Thursday, April 7, 2016

F Is for Focus

One of the things that drew me to my husband Chuck is his skill as a photographer. We share a love of photography, and he has shared with me so many tips to improve the quality of my images. One of the lessons I've learned is about focus. Determining the focal point when setting up a picture can make the difference in capturing a great image or just a so-so shot. 

There was a time when I appreciated shooting a picture that wasn't blurry, but now I want more than that. I want a strong focal point in my picture, and I prefer to have the other elements softly focused. 

Life is like this, for me. I used to be just grateful if things didn't feel like they were falling apart. I would have lists of things to do, without prioritizing what I wanted to get done, and just start plowing through tasks. At the end of the week, I would wonder where all of my time went, and sometimes I was sad to realize I'd missed out on some of the more important things. 

My priorities have shifted, and there is more time for me to consider what is truly important. 

My husband. 
Our children.
Our parents and siblings.

People over things, I constantly remind myself. Chuck has helped me focus on people, and I am not talking about portraits. I'm talking about keeping life in perspective, and putting less emphasis on the stuff that can clutter our lives. 

When friends and family come to visit, and I start fretting about making the house presentable, or what we will eat, he reminds me that the people visiting aren't coming to see the house, and are not concerned about the food. They are coming to spend time with us.

It is too easy for me to stress about cleaning the house, and trying to hide the fact that we actually live in our home. Not only do I want every floor mopped or vacuumed, and all traces of dust removed, but I will double check to ensure there is no trace of trash in the waste basket. Who does that? Do I really think people will think less of me for not disposing of that one wadded up tissue?

People over things is a good mantra for me, whenever I feel stressed. I love people. Stuff is pretty much the source of my anxiety. Basic sanitation is always a good idea, but beyond that, none of our guests are coming for the purpose of a white glove inspection. Thank goodness. 

When I look back at the big picture of my life, I want to see that I captured a great image, not a so-so shot. To have good memories, I need to focus on the people, so that the things around them blur softly, and are not the focal point, which is just the way they should be. 

Several of my friends are doing the blogging challenge with me. We have quite a variety in our group. If you enjoy intelligent, witty, thought-provoking writing, trust me; you'll love the way these powerful women write.

The Vast and Inscrutable Imponderabilities of Life by Antonia

Writing the Life Chaotic by Deb

Faith, Hope, Laughter...and Happily Ever After by Laura

Pushing the Bruise by Ros

Creative writing by Valerie


  1. This is SO "right-on" I have to comment, Denise. Live and learn, I guess. When my husband passed a few years ago we had so much STUFF. None of that mattered to me at all. I had two houses, 6 floors total and several barns full of stuff and it became a huge burden. All the children (14 living) took a few things if they wanted them. The single "things" I commandeered were tools only because I overheard an argument that to me spelled future division of family. So, better to be mad at Mom and love your brother and I stored and sold every tool to a business. Selling everything off paid my house payments month after month because renters did not so that also became an unexpected blessing. I now live comfortably but very simply. Somehow, I still own both houses and payments have been resolved. All of this on less than a $1,000 a month income for over three years. The point of this whole dialog is that the "stuff" I have left would fill a pickup bed---but my family is still intact and each growing in their own direction rooted in our family love. The most precious memories I cherish are of moments with people I love, pictures that remind us of those times, and the present pictures that keep our future growing. My motto is "Love never fails". Thank you for your blog and the important reminder.

    1. Beth, I always love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for the thought you put into your words today. You have an important message for us.

  2. People over things! Indeed!! Great principle to live by, on many fronts! I used to take photos of buildings and landscapes when I was traveling. I used to get mad when I couldn't get a shot without people in it. Then I realized that the main pictures everyone wanted to look at were the one with people in them.

    1. I ALWAYS want MY people in the pics, other folks, not so much. Chuck wants whatever occurs organically in his shots, whether he knows the folks or not. Lol.

  3. Amen to that. People over things has been my mantra for many years, though I am in close quarters who see this balance the other way (things over people). You and I share the same focus to our lists. I also have a focus on speaking the truth but not fighting or engaging with others in ways which are pointless and manipulative and that has been interesting as I watch people shift to my new clarity. I think I'm going to get a big ass t-shirt emblazoned with the message "people over things" and we all need that reminder. Great post and much enjoyed.

    1. I don't know if I need a t-shirt that I can't read the reminder on...or just sticky notes all over the house!


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