When life hands you lemons

Written by:

by Jen Royce

Make lemonade right? That’s the old saying.

Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher, or a doctor, and even a race car driver. Who doesn’t look good in a helmet? Life is quite unpredictable and takes turns when you just want to go straight. After I graduated high school I married the man of my dreams. We had a beautiful little girl in April of 2000. Moved around about a gazillion times due to my husband’s enlistment in the Marine Corps.

Then Iraq happened. Life as I knew it was put on hold. I struggled with the day to day tasks, overcome with worry for my husband. Thankfully, he came home to us. Shortly after his return I became pregnant with our second child, Alex. My husband was whisked away again a few short days after his birth.

After his second homecoming from Iraq, we decided that we needed a change in our lives. We moved back to where we were both from (Wisconsin) in 2005. It wasn’t until I returned to my home that I realized I didn’t have a hobby…or anything I really had a passion for. Nothing just for me.

One small stimulus package set out to stimulate America’s economy changed my life. At that point in my life I knew I loved photography. I was always taking photos. I photographed everything and anything just to see the end result. Thumb tacks? Check. Sun glasses? Oh yeah, those vogue well. It was shortly after the birth of our third child Austin that I knew I needed one of those fancy DSLR’s. So when that economic stimulus package came to my mail box…it was mine.

I fell in love instantly. When I had that camera in hand all was right with the world. I felt like I found that piece of me that had been missing. Something of mine, a passion and a drive. I admit, I never sat down with a book or a manual long enough to decipher the meanings of all the lingo that looked like Greek to me. ISO? Not sure, but I know I need to adjust it accordingly to the light available. Aperture? Hmm…you are a tricky one. Open or closed, you confused me.

In between the exploration in my new beloved hobby and three children who kept me busy enough, my husband decided he missed the Marine Corps. So he enlisted in the Reserves. And off to Iraq we go again. We had just purchased our dream home and were somewhat settled. The kids were extremely happy with their new school. I was unsure how well I’d be able to hold everything together. But something had changed in me, and I was tough. I knew over the years I had made plenty of lemonade. So when the going gets tough, we’re going to do it again. And succeed.

Over the summer of 2009 I received a message from the editor of “Museum” magazine asking for permission to use a photo I had uploaded onto flickr.com for their July/August issue. I was stoked even though I had never heard of the magazine. Okay, I wasn’t just stoked I was ecstatic. The photo was of a lemon with water splashing off. I had easily fallen in love with photographing water. It was exciting to be able to catch that one tiny moment in time.

After receiving the copies of the magazine in the mail I was in awe. No matter what magazine it was in…it was my photo. Me, I took that! I was able to share that one tiny moment with others. And it felt spectacular. I have many hopes and dreams for myself. I am continuously learning and growing as a photographer. Though many of my photographs have many things that could be “technically wrong”, I try to remind myself that they are my own vision. My own creation, photography is art. And it is beautiful.

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  • shashi

    excellent writing complemented with amazing photos…..