Today it’s all Karma!

Dear Friends:  It’s time to meet another regular reader/commenter on this blog.  Today you’ll meet Karma.  Or Karen.  We’ve even talked on the phone a few minutes ago–trying to figure out the logistics of posting some of her beautiful photos.  Visit her blog Karma’s When I Feel Like It Blog often!  Please welcome her kindly…  Thank you,  Kathy

When Kathy first asked me to write a guest blog for her, I was quite flattered. I’m terribly new to the blogging world, having just begun my blog this past April.

I asked Kathy a bunch of questions: Where will I write it? What would I write about? Why did you choose lil’ ol’ me? She patiently and kindly answered my questions and then I contemplated. This seemed like the correct thing to do when composing a blog post for Kathy.

After contemplating for a few days, I opened my email program and decided to trust my most tried-and-true blog writing method (and one that, if I am not mistaken, Kathy also uses from time to time) of letting the post write itself. I’ve experienced this phenomenon more than a few times since April, when the post just starts to write itself in my brain and out it flows. I hoping it will work satisfactorily as I write today.

My name is Karen. You may have seen me commenting here and on some of my other favorite blogs as “Karma.” That handle developed a couple years ago before I began my own blog, but commented on other favorite websites as “karmardav” – each set of three letters being the first three letters of my first, middle and last names. In response to one of my comments, someone once shortened my user name to “Karma” and I liked it!

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, photographer, gardener, dancer, quilter, reader and blogger. Each of these roles, I believe has had huge influence on the person that I am today, fulfilling different parts of me at different times in my life.

I do not consider myself part of any organized religion, but I still believe I am a spiritual person, with a soul that will probably continue to seek and question my reality for the rest of my life. I love to laugh, to make others laugh, to create, to please others, to be praised. I delight in each and every comment left on my blog.

A brief bio: I am living in the same small town in Western Massachusetts that I grew up in. My young parents moved us to the small suburb to escape the concept of “bussing” that was happening in the city they grew up in – meaning when I started school, they didn’t want me sent on a bus ride half-way across the city to another school so that each school would be racially balanced.

With the exception of the first three years of my life before my parents moved, and a tumultuous five years after I graduated high school until I married and moved back here, I have lived here all my life – 33 of my 41 years. I call myself a “townie.”

In high school, the very same high school that my older daughter now attends, I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I had the most inspiring, wonderful, woman for a history teacher who led me to this decision. I completed my student-teaching experience in a high school setting teaching social studies, and left not so sure I wanted to be a high school teacher!

Today, when I look back, I think this may have been because I was slightly intimidated teaching 16- and 17-year-olds at the age of 21. The seeds of doubt, however, had been planted. I worked as a substitute teacher by day and waitress by night in the years before my daughters were born.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with them for four years – then I began to feel the need to work outside the home. Although it was a bit of a commute for not much money, I found a spot I loved: Old Sturbridge Village. I worked with the kids who came on field trips, giving tours and teaching special activities and was surrounded by wonderful people who loved what they did. And it made me realize that yes, I did still want to teach.

I enjoyed this style of teaching for six wonderful years, but as I mentioned, the commute was long and the salary was low. In 2005, gasoline sky-rocketed to $4 a gallon and it was time for me to find work closer to home. I started the position where I work today – a paraprofessional or teacher’s aide in a middle school one town over from where I live. I enjoy my job very much, but I am still waiting to fulfill my dream of being a teacher in my own classroom, the one in charge of the class. Unfortunately, openings that I would be interested in having are few and far between: middle school social studies teacher in a nice suburb not too far from home.

Some say I need to “pay my dues” to get what I want, meaning go teach in the city of which we are a suburb. I decided long ago that was not the place for me. Does that make me a bad person or less true to my desired position? I hope not. My husband is a police officer in that city; I know too much.

Speaking of my family, they are my heart and soul, my reason for being, my joie de vivre, my glue that holds me together when I feel like I am coming undone. For what I lack in my professional life, I make up for a hundredfold with these wonderful people:
Picture Fall, Day 24
Hubby and I have been married for 18 years. Sarah (left) is 13 and Meghan (right) is 15. There are also furry members of our family:
Picture Fall, day 20
Teddy is a one-and-a-half-year-old collie and Daphne is a five-year-old golden retriever. Cedric, our nine-year-old sweetie of a kitty, wouldn’t be happy if he was slighted in the photo-sharing:
IMG_0595

The year 2010 brought two events that find me where I am today in the blogosphere. As I mentioned earlier, I started a blog. I wondered if anyone would read it.  One of the main reasons I started a blog was because of the wonderful and kind Scott Thomas of Views Infinitum. Scott’s bi-monthly photo assignments inspired me to want to share my photos in a more regular way.

In 2008, I completed Project 365 but only shared them on Flickr. I enjoyed the sense of community there but decided I wanted more space to share my way. After writing a guest blog or two for my sister’s blog, I realized how user-friendly WordPress is and took the plunge and started my blog.

The other momentous event of 2010 was my purchase of a Canon Rebel XS dslr camera. I’d been thinking about making a purchase of this sort for quite a while. I’ve loved taking pictures for a long time – since getting an old-fashioned Polaroid camera for my 14th birthday. I have stacks of photo albums in my house, neatly organized chronologically. When digital photography became prevalent, I jumped in with both feet.

The Rebel is my fifth digital camera over the course of the last dozen or so years. I hemmed and hawed and dragged my feet over making the purchase. I consulted with Scott and several other photo-bloggers whose work I admire. I had the Canon vs. Nikon debate. Ultimately, I chose the Canon Rebel, the entry-level DSLR, because for the price I was just barely comfortable spending, it had the most features I felt that I would use. These days, I am deliriously happy with my purchase and any sense of buyer’s remorse has headed for the hills. I’ve discovered, however, that the DSLR carries with it a small caveat (Kathy can probably back me on this) – lens desire! These cameras are made to work with a multitude of lenses designed for different picture taking situtations. Once one becomes comfortable using the lenses one has, one desires to branch out and try even more lenses in even more picture-taking situations! A bit of a viscious circle!

I feel my photography skills have improved greatly through not only this new camera, but from taking the time to learn about it, read, read, reading about photography on blogs and in books, and from the feedback I get from the folks who comment on my blog.

Kathy asked me to share some of my favorite photos in this guest blog. That is a difficult task for me. I’ve decided to share a few photos of some of my favorite topics for photography (besides my family and pets):
IMG_0582

Rainbow

IMG_1405

IMG_1399

Sunset at Hills Beach

Thank you, Kathy, for the opportunity to introduce myself to you all and for your very thoughtful blog posts and sharing of yourself the way that you do.

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About Karma

I am a happily married mother of two teenaged girls. I live a pretty average life in a pretty average town. 1 cat and 2 dogs share our home. I love photography, gardening, dancing, quilt making, and the Boston Red Sox!
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36 Responses to Today it’s all Karma!

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    I like the mums, thank you for posting!

  2. Emma says:

    So nice to meet you! Your photos are gorgeous!

  3. Marianne says:

    Hi Karma,

    It is so very nice to meet you and to hear about your life! Your photos are spectacular. It’s hard to say which ones I like more. The rainbow is awesome as is the sunset or is it a sunrise? They are all gorgeous.

  4. Susan D says:

    Hi, Karma Karen! What a delightful blog! You write well, making it easy to walk right into your life. I admire your holding out for your own classroom in your own environment, yet still contributing your joy and skills to the students you serve. You and your family are lovely, and I can feel your embrace around one another. It’s a delight to gaze at each of your photos. They tell their own stories, and are wonderful. Such a nice way to spend a slice of Saturday afternoon, basking in the words and pictures you share. A little like enjoying the aroma of fresh baked bread. Thank you!

  5. holessence says:

    Karma – I’ve often seen your comments on Kathy’s blog and am tickled pink to finally meet you. I LOVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS! I actually drooled at the floral and butterfly. WOW!

    You have a beautiful family – the photograph captures the clarity of their love for you.

    You’re an animal lover and a teacher — clearly top-shelf energy — it’s a pleasure to know you.

  6. Karen? What are you doing over here? :)

    Thank you for mentioning me and for your inspirational comments on my blog over the years. It has been a delight to help and watch as your photography has grown and now to see and read about it on your blog. Digital photography brings out the most creative parts of us and your work is not exception.

    • Karma says:

      Hi Scott! :-)
      Thanks again, Scott, for sharing so much of yourself and your skill. I made my way over to Kathy’s blog, and many others, because of your site as well. I love feeling like a part of this community. Thank you for the kind words.

  7. Pingback: Hope You’ll Have a Look! « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

  8. Andrea says:

    Gorgeous photos Karen!!! Do you remember what lens and settings you used for the butterfly photo? It is gorgeous. Also, you’re 100% correct to stick to what you want for teaching — it will come when the right position for you is open and you’ll be delighted!

    • Karma says:

      Glad you popped over here, Andrea! I didn’t remember the camera settings, but luckily Flickr (the photo hosting site I use) does: f5.6, 1/200.
      Thank you – and I hope you are correct about the teaching job.

  9. Dawn says:

    Hi there Karen! Nice to meet you and your family. LOVE your photos! I’ll head over to your blog to read more…

  10. Hello Karen. :) It’s great to meet you and to read your story. Isn’t this a great idea that Kathy has, to introduce her friends here?

    I absolutely love your photos! No favourites, they are all so stunning. Photography is on my “list of things to get into”, as I currently have an extremely basic camera, which never quite captures the beautiful-ness of all I see. I’ll refer back to this post when decision time comes for a good camera.

    How wonderful to finally see the face behind the hair-flip! This is such a warm, friendly post, something like meeting you and your family over coffee. Thank you for sharing your life. :)

    • Karma says:

      Hello, Joanne. Thank you so much – it was definitely a wonderful idea that Kathy had. That Kathy, I believe she is just full of them! ;-)
      I wish I could sit down and have a cup of coffee with so many of the great folks who comment here.

  11. Colleen says:

    Hi Karen, it’s such a pleasure to meet you! I have much admiration for teachers and would have been ecstatically grateful to have had someone like you teaching in our boy’s school when they were young.
    Your photos are stunning and like Joanne, felt like I was meeting you and your family in a very warm and friendly setting. And a special hello to Cedric. He’s gorgeous!
    Thank you :)

  12. Robin says:

    It’s nice to formally meet you, Karma, and get to know more about you and your history. :)

    The photo of you and your family is still one of my favorites. There is so much joy and love radiating from it.

  13. Hello Karen ! It is very nice to meet you here and know more about you. I love visiting your own blog and admire very much your photos, the way your present them. No favourite here, I like them all because they are part of you and show your love of life, family, nature, furry companions and more. Lovely flashes into your life that make it a wonderful patchwork. Thanks to Kathy to have allowed this moment of sharing.

    • Karma says:

      Thank you, Isa. That is so sweet of you to say. I like your reference to it being a “patchwork” – appropriate from one quilter to another!

  14. Kiah says:

    Karma, so lovely to meet you on my mom’s blog! Your photographs are beautiful; It’s inspiring to see you learning and following your passion.

  15. Karma says:

    Hi there Kiah! Thank you very much.

  16. Kathy says:

    Thanks again, Karen/Karma! I have absolutely enjoyed having you as a guest blogger. It was interesting to learn so much more about you…and now every time you comment here everyone will know exactly who you are! I also want to mention how your wonderful photography and blog has been part of my incentive to buy a new Canon Rebel. You have done a wonderful job…both here and on your own blog. It is so appreciated.

    • Karma says:

      Thanks again, Kathy, for asking me to guest blog. It was great fun introducing myself to your readers.
      We are now twins in both camera and blog theme! ;-)

  17. Cindy Lou says:

    How delightful to really ‘meet’ you, Miss Karen…..since I just started following your blog, it’s really nice to know more about you. And the rest of the photos that you added – wondermous!!! I don’t know if I could pick a favorite if asked. From one teacher to another, I send wishes and blessings for the perfect job – that school will be a lucky one! :)

  18. milkayphoto says:

    Hi Karma! Wonderful post! For someone like myself who has been following your blog, it was good to read all about you in one conhesive post. I think I had most of the pieces but now, it all makes sense! I do hope you get to fulfill your dream of teaching your own class. With your patience and determination, no doubt you will get there! Hugs! :-)

    • Karma says:

      Thank you, Tracy. Believe me, there are days (today included, :-( ) when I feel my patience could be running out. It was really nice to have been given this opportunity to share of myself.

  19. photobyholly says:

    Karen, thank you for sharing your post with me, I enjoyed reading it! It’s so wonderful to be able to get to know the people behind the blogs!! I agree with what you said about craving new lenses! I was pretty certain I’d be happy with the kit lens for quite a while, until I started seeing exactly what kinds of photos could be produced with certain lenses… but I am getting a new one for Christmas, I can’t wait!! :)

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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