Cassie Jones Photography » Art, Life, and everything in between

A Painted Ceiling

When I went to Italy, a lot of things happened.  I woke up on the plane thinking I was blind when really, the eye mask I forgot I had on was to blame.  I debated which cord to pull, which button to push or which leaver to turn to flush a toilet and ended up calling for help from the front desk of our hotel by, obviously, pulling the wrong one.   I ordered champaign for breakfast instead of orange juice by trying out my Italian skills.  And, I walked around San Gimingnano with a hole in my pants.  Because, you know, I wanted to make a good impression.

Fail.

But, while in Italy not only did I make some fun memories, make friends with an old man in a church and try liver (because I mean, you only live once, right?) I also got to see something I’ve wanted to see my whole life.

I’ll never forget the first time in Art History class I studied the ceiling.  In fact, it was the subject of an entire exam.  And me, being the nerd I am, loved every minute of it.   Michaelangelo Buonarroti– he lit a fire in me that could not be quelched.  My love for art and history kept me captivated to this one work.  And I knew that someday, I wanted to see it for myself.

After spending hours zig-zagging through the Vatican, a small corridor leads into my favorite room of all.  Not because of it’s gold lined ceiling or because of it’s historical artifacts– but the story behind the painting covering the ceiling.  And the man behind the story. And most of all, his words.

 ”The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and miss, but we aim too low and reach.”

“If I am more alive because love burns and chars me,
as a fire, given wood or wind, feels new elation,
it’s that he who lays me low is my salvation,
and invigorates the more, the more he scars me.”

“With few words I shall make thee understand my soul.”

“It is necessary to keep one’s compass in one’s eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.”

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.”

– Michaelangelo

Photo explanation: That’s my head.  There’s a sign and two gaurds in the chapel that say “No Photos!” –complete with exclamation marks to sound extra viscious– but I snuck this one.  You know.  To be dangerous. :)

 

sharetweetpinemail

The Grudge

It was the horror movie I went to see with my friends when I was seventeen.  We took up a hole row in the back of the theatre and laughed and whispered so much I don’t think any of us actually watched it.  Partially because we were cool like that.  And partially because one of our friends dropped one of those gross pickles from the concession stand on an old woman’s hair who was sitting in the seat row below us.

It’s the part I played in a skit at church camp.  I had scary makeup done to look like a ghost and a friend of mine drug me around the stage for the better part of fifteen minutes to prove a point.

And it’s also something I’ve struggled with.  Not just in every day life.  But in photography.

Most of us have been burned by someone before.  But when it happens, the fact that everyone goes through it doesn’t make it feel one ounce better.  It hurts.  And it hurts bad.

Not only does a burn hurt your feelings and make you cry, it also takes a good one-two punch at your confidence.  And if your confidence has even one tiny piece of strength missing, well, your jenga tower is falling down.  And it vanishes like an apple in the vanishing cabinet at Hogwarts.

A couple of months ago, I was flipping through my journal, I came to a certain spot and my fingers traced the jagged edges of a torn out page where I’d written my hurts.  What I thought to be then, as the end of the world.

My mind raced back to that day and my heart felt a jab of pain as it sunk low into my stomach.  It never goes away.

But in it’s place sat a small, folded up piece of paper with words written on it, ink smudged by tear stains.

And his words rang back in my ears.  ”I wish I could just forget about it, but I can’t,” I told Rusty through broken sobs.

“You can,” he said.  ”If you choose to.”  That night, he told me to replace the memory with something beautiful.

So I ripped out the pages.  And replaced it.  With something beautiful.

It’s easy to hold on to things. To let them fester.

And it’s hard to forget about the anger and the hurt.  To let go of the grudge.  And forgive.

Grudges, they weigh down a heart.  Tear apart a soul.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget it happened.  Forgiveness means you forget by letting go of the pain and love them because you choose to.

You see, that’s what makes forgiveness so beautiful.  It’s a choice.

Every person that has hurt me has grown me.  Every person that has hurt me has spurred me forward in my dreams.  I love them because I choose to.  And I forgive them because I choose to.  And when I bask in my happiness — I’m thankful they kept me fighting harder, stronger, and without giving up.

Today, you can let go, too.  Because you choose to.  It’s the harder thing to do, for sure.  But what joy fills the soul when you replace hurt with something beautiful.

Here’s one of my favorites from a New York trip 5 years ago.  :)

sharetweetpinemail

Holli True - Beautiful post! :) I needed this today so much more than you know! Thank you for this! For being you! For being a guiding light in my life!! :) You are simply amazing and you have blessed me in so many ways. Love you, girl!

Pom Poms

I was that kid.  Pom poms on sweaters, braces, frizzy hair that was neither curly nor straight,  a knack for finding the floor with my face and not even close to being considered for a sport.

I was the choir kid.  The kid that skipped classes to paint murals in the school.  And the kid that on a typical friday night was painting in the floor of her bedroom.  I was picked last for basketball every year and my t-ball years– well, those are just too dreadful to even dredge up.

I had no idea how to be cool.  Clearly.

I did, however have the nerd thing down pat.  :) Because if tripping were a sport, I’d no doubt be inducted into the hall of fame.  And have a trophy.  And a thousand wheaties boxes with my face plastered all over them.  I’m that good at it.

Which brings me to today’s randomness.  I was beginning to think that when I got the braces off, started straightening my frizzy hair, and stopped wearing pom poms on my sweaters, things would change.  This week, I realized I was wrong.

1. I tripped a record breaking six times yesterday.  Over nothing.  Cracks in the pavement, beware.  I’ll find you.

2. I sent a voice memo to a showiteer friend, mis-typed the wrong number and got a phone call from a Tyrone.  Apparently, he loves Judy Garland, is in his 60′s and my voice memo made his day.  Awkward.

3. I still have my trapper keeper.  True story.  Even worse, I wish I could carry it.  Everything in one place? Yes, please.

4.  I have exactly 72 pens in my desk drawer. Just one drawer.

5.  I currently have over 250 books on my “to read” list.

6. I have an affinity for office supplies.

7. I may or may not still own a Hanson Mmbop cd.

8. I wear a retainer to bed.  Very attractive.  Even better, I have a lisp when I talk in it.

9. I have an entire closet full of craft supplies.

and finally, 10. I have every note/card ever given to me.  ** True story** about a month ago, I was going through them, and I found a 100$ bill.  So SEE !? Keeping things really CAN be beneficial!

This is usually the part where Rusty rolls his eyes.  :)

So, what ever you are — embrace it.  Own it.  Rock it.  Because I personally love being a nerd.

 

sharetweetpinemail

Ashley S. - Let’s change the title of this list: all the reasons why Ashley, and so many others, love you. So, don’t ever change – I love you too much this way…and I can always count on you for a laugh. ;)

No Regrets

Someone asked me this week about mistakes.  What mistakes I’d made.  What mistakes I regretted. And to be honest, I’ve made quite a few.  But I don’t regret a single one.

“Mistakes are not to be confused with failure.  Mistakes are the point in which you pick up, dust yourself off, and try again.” I wrote that in a blog a few weeks ago.  It was something that I learned the hard way, after years of confusing the two. Failure is the point in which we give up.  Quite trying.  Where as  mistakes are the things that make us grow.  The things that humble us. The things that make us real.

Failure is a choice.

As I look back on my journey, I not only remember the good times, but see that the mistakes I’ve made were a greater step towards success than my triumphs.  They were the thing that kept me fighting harder.  Something that reminded me that the things in life worth fighting for are never easy.  And my dreams? They are totally worth the fight.  Struggles and all.

But that’s not to say I don’t cry over them.  That’s not to say that they don’t hurt. But it’s the hurt that keeps me moving.  That teaches me not to take happiness for granted. That makes my victories even sweeter.

Without hurts, there would be no true happiness.  Without struggle, there are no dreams achieved.

So what do I do in those times of trial?

First, I pray.  It’s the most comforting thing in the world, to have God on my side– to feel His arms wrapping around me.  Giving me peace.

Second, I’ve done well to write about it.  I can look back through journals and notebooks and see tear stains on pages smudging the ink– and also pages when smiley faces and capitalized words with exclamation marks taking up a whole line.  This way, I never forget how it felt.  I never forget where I’ve been.  And I never forget what I’ve learned.

Third, I figure out how to change them.  I make a game plan.  Much like how the Razorbacks look at the past years’ games against Alabama and decide how they’re going to improve.  How they’re going to do it differently.  I write these down.  Next time, I’m bringing the black paint for under my eyes to really show my problems who’s boss.

Fourth, (and really these are in no particular order — except for the first — it’s always my first step) I talk to Rusty about it.  Talk to your husband.  To your wife.  To yo momma.  Your friend.  Whom ever you hold dear.

And finally? Believe in yourself. Believe in the walk towards victory and take one day at a time.  Pray about it, write about it, talk about it, get out the black paint and make a game plan.  But believe in the triumph.  Have a bit of faith.

After all, if a bit of faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain, imagine what you can overcome.

Are you struggling?  I’d love to pray for you.  Send me an email or a private message and we’ll walk it together. With love. And with black paint for our eyes.

And because a post just isn’t peachy without a picture:

sharetweetpinemail

LaDonna Jackson - Well said :-)

What We Remember

Sure, on our way there, we got separated.

The restaurant didn’t have our reservation that we’d made.

One of the kids bonked their heads.

I ran into a column.  (Not surprising.)

I got walked in on in the bathroom.  (Also not surprising.)

A tropical storm hit while we were there.

The corsage wouldn’t stay pinned.

It rained.  A lot.

But none of that matters.

Because in our hearts we’ve hidden away the things that we’ll remember.  The laughter.  The memories.  And the stories we’ll tell about the time Mars walked in on Cassie in the bathroom at the gas station in Hope.  And the time when we surprised aunt Laura not once but TWICE for her birthday.  Meeting Capone (the humungous horse dog.) Caleb telling me all about the Harry Potter books I’m reading.  Teaching Michael how to take a picture. Rusty carrying Savanna on his shoulders and buying Joe a Joe’s crab shack t-shirt.  Rocking Rebecca to sleep.  Putting together gift bags into late hours of the evening.  Playing the “guess what this item is” with the scarves.  Aunt Jenny wearing the scarf on her head.  Seeing Aunt Laura with tears in her eyes. Singing happy birthday.  Tickle fights.  And more love than a heart can hold on to.

And if walls could record memories, I can only imagine that the walls in the house this weekend have just seen their best ever.

sharetweetpinemail

Clara Carroll - Looks like the Jones family enjoyed being together – there just isn’t anything better than family time!