Dreams do come true

WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT

Vietnamese woman-johatcherretreats

Don’t ever give up on your dreams.  Sometimes they come true when you’re not even thinking about them.

Years ago, I was visiting a winery in Napa Valley. In the showroom there was a photographic exhibit of women in India. As I stood in front of each picture, I felt touched and mesmerized by the faces I saw in the photographs.

I wanted to know more about the women and about the photographer who took the photos.  I felt moved and inspired. The colors caught my eye first. The rich intense colors seemed to match the beauty of the women.

I decided then and there that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to make photographs of women around the world.

Immediately the inner critical voices said to me. Jo, you know that’s impossible.  How in the world would you do that?  How could you have the money or the expertise to photograph women in another country?

That was 5 years ago.

As many of you know, I was recently in Vietnam. When I returned home and looked through my photos, I had the most incredible aha moment.

There they were…the Flower Hmong women at the weekly market.  Their ruddy faces, worn by the sun…staring back at me from my computer.  There in front of me were women dressed in colorful hand sewn outfits.

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreatsThese women touched me. I was unable to communicate with them except for when I took their picture, I showed them the digital photo I had just taken and received beautiful smiles back.     [Read more…]

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Things Grandmothers Teach

What I want my granddaughters to know

I am blessed with having two precious granddaughters and a third granddaughter who will be making her debut into the world any day now. There are so many things I want them to know.

Granddaughters and grandmothers have a very special relationship. And wisdom is part of the experience.

I loved my grandmothers. They were both so different, one was a girly type of grandmother and would let my sister and I do her makeup by dabbing rouge on her cheeks, lining her lips with red lipstick and sitting patiently while we combed her hair. 

She had little tea parties for us using her best china. She would serve us saltine crackers spread with butter and cinnamon sprinkled on top.  She played the piano while we danced. Mother Maie taught me about having fun. 

My maternal grandmother was a farmer’s wife.  She was a very busy woman who was always doing things for other people. [Read more…]

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