What is Your Life’s Motto?

I have been thinking about this recently and asking myself this exact same question. Truthfully, everything I have written about up to this point, is straight from me and my thoughts. Continuing on with that trend, I must say that I spend a significant amount of time reflecting on life and the people in my life. How can I be a better husband, a better father, a son who makes his parents proud, a better friend, a better photographer, and an all around better person? These are all things I brainstorm quite often!

What is my life’s motto? What will be written, visibly or invisibly, on my tombstone? When I was in the military, we were always told to leave our current duty station “better than we found it.” It always sounded so cliche when I heard it, but it really has taken on a lot more meaning to me personally; more than it did the dozens of times I heard it in the past.

My goal in life is simple. Leave this earth better than I found it. Leave my small community better than I found it. Leave my friends and family better. Every single day, strive to end the day better than I started it. Is it that simple?

I stumble a lot. It happens. I mess up, fall into a ravine of self pity, and eventually climb and pull myself out. Of course it isn’t simple, but it’s not unattainable. I pick small things, like writing a blog or making a podcast, that somehow might impact someone else. I give a photo away that means a lot to me but more to others. I send a message to someone that might feel abandoned. We have all been there. I choose to respond with kindness to those who may not deserve it in that moment. We have all been there as well.

Bottom line, I make a conscious decision daily, despite my own shortcomings and failures, to make today better than yesterday. To be a better version of me than I was yesterday. To make those moments of reflection moments I can smile about and not moments I’m ashamed and afraid to confront.

I just try and be better and hold myself accountable to that.

Making It Count, Part II

If you read the first chapter of a book, then skip forward and read the last chapter, everything that happens in between is just filler “stuff.” Ever heard the saying that it doesn’t matter the date you’re born or the date you die; everything happens in that little space in between? The hyphen is the most important part on a tombstone? Let’s talk about that.

We know the first chapter and we definitely know how our book of life will end. No matter what we do to try and change it, facts are facts and our last page will end like everyone else’s. But what about all those chapters in between? That’s where the truth is. That’s where our legacy, our dreams, and our impact is. Imagine a book with the first and last chapters written. All the pages in between are blank and just waiting to be written. That’s what we have folks.

All the people I walked amongst in the cemetery the other day filled their pages. Some didn’t have enough time to complete their story the way they would have liked to, while others had an ample amount of time to write a series of books. We can’t choose how much time we have to write our pages. That’s not up to us. But what we can decide is how those pages are filled.

What’s in your pages right now? Are we still trying to rewrite the first couple chapters? Are we trying to cheat our way out of the last chapter? Are we allowing someone or something else to write all the meat in the middle for us? Or…are we picking up the pen and choosing our own story? Are the pages filled with stories of courage, resilience, and impact? Or are they filled with fear, doubt, and isolation?

As I wrote yesterday and the day before, we have one chance to make it count. Nobody can force us and only we can allow someone the ability to steal it from us. Don’t waste an opportunity that is fleeting each day. Don’t abandon what many wish they could go back and rewrite, only to reach the last page and it was too late. Go ahead. Pick up your pen and begin writing.

And as for the ducks, yes, I was able to sit and get some shots of them while the sun was setting.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this. I would love to hear from you and if this small series encouraged you. If you can, please leave me a comment below. Also, make sure to hit the SUBSCRIBE button so my posts are delivered right to you! Thank you again.

We’re Alive, They’re Not, But We Have This In Common.

A cemetery located in Queensbury, New York at dusk.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Abraham Lincoln

I went for a walk yesterday. I’ve been on a mission to try and lose some weight before winter, and it was a beautiful fall day for a walk outdoors. I wanted to check out a pond that’s located inside a local cemetery, and take the opportunity to photograph some of the ducks and geese there. As the rain is falling here in Warren County, NY and a whopper of a rainstorm is inbound for our area, I am glad I took the opportunity to get out yesterday.

I started with a short walk around. Have you ever walked around in a cemetery? It’s quiet! I mean, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you’re there, it’s quiet! Walking around on the narrow blacktop road, it was like walking around inside of a public library. You pass people but you greet them and in return are greeted with a head nod. Maybe it’s something about cemeteries that keep people quiet. Like if you smile or speak more than a couple words to those you don’t know, you’ll be perceived as disrespectful. Needless to say, I had a lot of time to think as I walked around.

Without coming across sick, morbid, sinister, or any other choice word, I want to ask a very real question. What does every person in a cemetery have in common? Other than the obvious here folks. Think a little bit outside the box on this! What does everyone inside a cemetery have in common with everyone outside a cemetery?

They all, like us, had or have one shot at this life. There’s isn’t a single person buried in a cemetery that had a redo. There isn’t one single person that had multiple chances. They had one life. From the moment they took their first breath, until the moment they took their last, each and every person (like you and I) had or has one shot to make it count!

Making it count…

For the next couple of days, I’m going to dive a little deeper into this thought. Tomorrow, in Making It Count, Part I, I’m going to talk a little further about my experience while walking through this cemetery yesterday evening around sunset. I can tell you I wasn’t alone. I’ll tell you what I heard and what I felt. On Friday, I’ll wrap it up in the second and final part with what I left the cemetery with.


Hey, hope you enjoyed today’s entry. I only know you’re here if you drop me a note below, leave a message, give this a rating, subscribe, and so on. Basically, I only know you’re here if you interact with me! Go ahead!

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The Journey Begins

Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do.
Nadia Comaneci

You’re reading the first of what may be many entries. What you’re reading right now is the beginning of a journey. My exodus. Although I may not be a published author or very eloquent at putting my thoughts down and expressing myself through words, writing has always been good for me. It’s allowed me to process emotion. My daughter is great at drawing, while I on the other hand, am still stuck on stick figures.

So why a blog?

Honestly, I need something to get me through the cold winter months while photography season is slow. Writing is therapeutic and I hope it is able to reach someone else.

What can you expect while you read our blog? To be quite honest with you, I don’t really know at this moment. I know, that isn’t exactly a clinching statement that makes you want to come back and read more. What I can tell you…what I can promise you, is that anything I write and that you read will be real. No hidden emotion, no hidden agenda, no ulterior motive behind the words; just real emotion from myself to you. You can expect to read about some of the veterans I come in contact with through the “Faces of Veterans” photography project. You can expect to read random thoughts to different things happening in my life and around the world. While this isn’t a blog focused on politics, it is a blog of emotions and feelings about all the madness and darkness in our world today. It’s my answers to those things; an attempt to shine a light into the dark shadows that try and envelope you and I on a daily basis. Again, I can’t guarantee much, but I can guarantee my truthfulness and the passion I put into photos, will be put into writing.

Thank you for embarking on this journey with me. I hope that my words will reach someone who is searching for answers. I hope that even just one of my entries will reach one person. Please feel free to place your comments below and I will do my best to answer any questions.

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