Finding Oneself Again

I create. It’s who I am.

I’m most content when I’m sitting at my computer editing images, or spreading watercolor paints on paper and watching the colors meld, or drawing with charcoal pencils, smearing and feathering the shadows with my fingers. It’s my own wonderful form of meditation; time has no meaning, sounds fade away, and it’s just me riding the bubbles of ideas and surprises that surface.

This past year, as I grew ill, my bliss blew away bit by quiet bit. Slowly, imperceptibly, the leaves floated from my tree of creativity and an important part of myself became barren. It began with my cancelling photography appointments because I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. Climbing the stairs to my office to edit images or painting in my little studio required too much effort. I thought I was in a funk and needed some rest and to eat better. I never would have predicted cancer and I never would have predicted that a year would go by before I would do another photography session.

When I learned of my leukemia I wanted to document the experience through art. I tried to draw and paint, but the images came out muddy and messy, a reflection of how I felt. I tried to do a self-portrait photography challenge to show my journey back to health, but I lacked the incentive to follow through. I needed an outlet, but anxiety, a foggy brain from the chemo, and depression stood in the way. That’s when my daughter asked me to write. She told me I could use my blog to share my cancer journey and maybe others could relate. Telling stories through my blog kept the creative tickle scratched, and acted as a pin-light in the darkness. But it wasn’t enough.

I missed my camera. I missed my paints. I waited patiently for my muse to return; for spring to bring new leaves to my tree of creativity. And finally, it happened. Penny, a neighbor and friend of the family, has been walking my dog for me. While brainstorming thank you gift ideas with my parents, the suggestion of a pet photography session for Penny’s dog, Millie, came up.

A photography session? Could I do that? Am I ready?

I felt the fog lift, just enough… and in it’s place was excitement.

That’s when I pulled out the camera equipment, charged the batteries, and scheduled the session with Penny. In the days leading up to our appointment, I watched the sunlight as it moved across the garden where our photo shoot would take place, and I imagined the images I would create among the flowers. I also researched and purchased an excellent photo editing laptop, knowing I could take it on the road when I started traveling.

Sunday came and the door bell rang. I felt nervous and excited, and then the photographer in me took over.

“Hi, Penny! Come on outside. We don’t want to lose the light.”

“Let’s put Millie in the basket here.”


“Okay, now just sit on this little stool and, cheek to cheek, look this way.”


“Wonderful! Oh my gosh, the flowers look so pretty. I’ll add even more in post so you’re surrounded by them.”


“Here, Millie, that’s a good girl.”


“Oh, Penny, I’m having so much fun. This is so good for me!”


We laughed and moved about the yard. Quick glances at my camera screen told me I was capturing what I wanted. Joy, and a sense of knowing, welled inside me as my fingers moved quickly across the nobs of my camera, adjusting settings, and fill flash. Nothing was forgotten. It all came flooding back, like an old friend, warm and comforting. That night I edited into the early hours of the morning. I wasn’t tired, but I was inspired.

Soon after delivering the images, another neighbor called.

“We love the photo’s you took of Penny and Millie!  Would you be willing to do a session with us and our dogs? We’ll be happy to pay you.”

And just like that…

Who I was… who I AM… has been restored.

A recent watercolor I created and gifted to my mom.  My muse returns.

27 thoughts on “Finding Oneself Again

  1. Margaret Ann

    Beautiful writing……beautiful photos!!! Beautiful humming bird!!! Beautiful person has her energy back to share with others!! Congratulations!
    Love, Margaret Ann


  2. Margaret Ann Adams

    Sara…I am going to take a chance to tell you I love every word and photo of your new post except for one word …… front of cancer. Could you experiment with saying, writing, thinking THE cancer? And see how you feel. See if it makes a difference. Love, MargaretAnn from my iPad


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jeanne Glasgow

    Sam forwarded your writing to me since I knew you in Eaters’ Digest Book Club. We enjoyed having you as a member and now I have learned that, you not only read, but are an excellent writer and artist. I admire you not only for your talents, but for your determination and courage.
    I’m happy to know you are doing so well.
    Jeanne Glasgow.


    1. Jeanne, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and reach out. I was enjoying the book club and getting to know you all. Then, when the cancer hit, I just couldn’t concentrate to read. I hope you all are enjoying your get togethers! Thanks for the kind words.


  4. Michael Hills

    Our beautiful Sara. Someone who I have always looked up to for her photographic work, her artistic work and more recently her determination and bravery. I am so glad that you have come out of the fog Sara and I am looking forward to service as normal. I always remember looking at your images on 365 every single day and loving the artistic and photographic flair that you treated us all too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Micki Kremer

    Beautiful…words, pictures, YOU! Congratulations on making this journey complete. I agree with another reader…but also find it hard for me to say “THE” Cancer always still comes out “my” cancer…gotta work on that! TY for posting those pictures, too!


  6. Kathy Delgado

    Hi Sara, this is Kathy (last name hidden by admin.) from Book Club. Sam gave me your blog address, I hope you don’t mind. I want to tell you how much I like the photos of Millie. As a dog MOM of two I have taken hundreds of photos of Ziggy & Zoey but none have captured the pure joy of being a dog like your photos of Millie & Mom. If you have time and are interested when you feel well I would love a photo of my special dogs with me. They have been my close companions through illness, depression, and life. I hope you are feeling well and the unpredictable up and down roller coaster of illness is leveling out and slowing down. Your water color is also beautiful. Phyllis told me you liked the orange hummingbird bell, I volunteer at Ben’s Bells and we make them there. I wish you the best always, Kathy (contact info. hidden by admin.)

    On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 5:06 PM, Sarandipity Travels wrote:

    > Sarandipity Travels posted: “I create. It’s who I am. I’m most content > when I’m sitting at my computer editing images, or spreading watercolor > paints on paper and watching the colors meld, or drawing with charcoal > pencils, smearing and feathering the shadows with my fingers. It’s my” >


    1. Hi Kathy. I’m so glad we were able to make the photo session happen. It was great to see you, your mom, and your cute Ziggy and Zoey. I’m editing the photos and am so excited to show you! They turned out great! I’ll send them soon. Lots of love to you! x x x


  7. Harvey Stanbrough

    Sorry I’m so long in commenting. SO very glad to see your muse has returned along with your strength to follow her.


    1. I know you’ve been busy, and I’m glad to hear that your son is doing well and has finished treatment. Way to kick that cancer in the butt! I continue to read your posts, and am always inspired. Thank you!


  8. Nancy Harper

    Hi Sara I enjoed reading hour blog. I am getting an Escape trailer and was wonderin g prepped it for paint and what kind of paint u used. NANCY


    1. Hi Nancy. Congratulations on your Escape! I did a bunch of research on painting the vinyl surface. I read a lot about how it can sometimes be tacky to the touch when painted. In the end, I went for it. It was wiped down with a damp cloth and left to dry thoroughly. Then spray painted using a good quality primer, and then spray painted with high quality latex paint. Be careful with the spraying, using a couple light coats is best or it will run. There’s good flexibility and adhesion. Sure enough, there’s a little tacky feel to it so roaming dog hair from my Yiska wants to stick. But I find that wiping it with a damp, slightly soapy cloth, followed by a dry cloth, cleans it well and pulls up any hairs that stick. Overall, I’m very happy with it, but if you can solve the tack issue by doing more research, I’d ask around. I love how clean and homey it looks now. Good luck and enjoy!!


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