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02.10.10News

Share Your Heart Contest Finalists!




W
e have three finalists for the Share The Heart contest. Whew ... was it ever hard to narrow it down to only three! In fact, we could not make the final decision. We got it down to six stories then had to ask for help from a third party. It was really tough! All the stories were great, some made us laugh and some brought tears to our eyes. We wish we could share them all with you.

Before we share the three stories for you to vote on we'd like to say, from the bottom of our hearts, a BIG heartfelt "thank you" to all who participated by sharing your story.

Okay, drum roll ........

But wait, do you need a reminder of how this works? Leave a comment on our blog with your vote. You can invite friends and family to vote as well. The story with the most votes wins (or the person that wrote the story wins, you know what we mean). The winner will be announced on Valentine's Day. Easy enough? Let the challenge begin!

Drum roll .......

Wait, wait, wait ... hang with us, be sure read each story. We know it's a long post but hang with us and cast your comment (vote).

Now, for the top three stories ... GO!

Story A
This story involves the unlikely combination of a squirt gun and a box of doughnuts.
I had my eye on an attractive strawberry blond who was serving as a temporary typesetter where I worked, filling in for a woman who was on maternity leave.
My job was to bring copy for her to transcribe. This was back in the Neanderthal age of computers, way before there were Apples and Dells. I’d spike my typewritten copy on a hook on a wall behind her, and it was her job to type my copy onto something that resembled tickertape, which in turn was placed into another prehistoric computer to produce copy that could be pasted up and composed for publication.
In any event, this daily sequence put us in constant contact. She’d occasionally complain that I was giving her too much work. I told her it was her job.
It was an odd way to flirt, and we’d been bantering like this for weeks. Clearly, I was smitten, but I didn’t quite know how to ask her out. And I wanted to get this one just right.
One day there was an open box of doughnuts at her work table. I spiked my copy as usual, said something clever to her (she said I was being “smart,” and not in the intellectual sense of the word, either), and I was about to reach for a doughnut when I was momentarily distracted by someone behind me. When I did turn back to grab my doughnut, the box was gone.
She had a sheepish look on her face.
“Who took the doughnuts?” I asked.
“What doughnuts?” she replied.
Keeping a man from his doughnuts is never a good idea, but I figured I’d take the high road on this one, so I turned and started to walk away.
That’s about the time I felt something uncomfortably wet strike my neck. Then again. And again.
“What the heck…” I thought, and turned. There she was, wearing a self-congratulatory grin on her face and holding a squirt gun in her hand. Her co-workers were laughing, and one of them even applauded.
Well, that did it. I walked away without saying anything.
But I was in a panic. Her time with the company was running short, down to just a few more days, and I was still looking for a way to ask her out.
So I sat at my typewriter, grabbed a sheet of paper (which serendipitously happened to be pink), and, in the best formal business-professional English I could muster, asked her for a date to Kyoto’s and a movie. I put the note in an envelope and took it back to her.
She opened the envelope and a hint of fear instantly ran across her face.
“Is this a pink slip?” she asked.
“Just read it,” I said.
She did. She smiled. She said, “Yes.”
We were married just a little over a year later.
And that was 30 years ago.

Story B
Children and mothers never truly part - Bound in the beating of each other's heart.
Charlotte Gray

She is my mother, the greatest influence in my life. Not only as a mom but also as a best friend and sister I never had. She has taught me to always try my best, to treat everyone equally, to not give up when things get hard. She tells me to at all times be honest because in the end, lies always hurt more. When I make decisions and she doesn't always agree with them, she makes sure that I know that she is behind me all the way because she wants me to always be happy. She has taught me right from wrong and the significance of self-respect. Cancer is an illusive illness that has amazing ways of surprising the people that it afflicts and their families. You will see my family was no different. In May 2009, I heard six words I never wanted to hear from my dad “Ashley, your mom has breast cancer.“ As that moment in time stood still and I was numb with fear. I had no idea how much our lives would be changed forever. At a moments time, my world came crashing down. The thought that this spiteful disease could take away someone so close to my heart was sickening. I knew my mom would be strong because she was already successful at disguising this diagnosis during my wedding. I knew in my heart there was something on my mom’s mind during my wedding but I brushed it off by thinking this is her only daughter getting married and she is grown up and on her own now. Hopefully this will be an end to one tough journey in her life and the beginning of the next chapter. You should never take your parents for granted. My mom instilled this in me as a child. But as I grow with age I realize the numerous sacrifices my parents made. At the time I may not have always been appreciative. In the last year especially understand this and I am very appreciative. At a moments time this can be taken away from you. I hope that when I am a mother I can instill the things I learned from my mom. I will close with one last thought about my mother. My mother is more than what a mother is supposed to be - she is what every mother should aspire to be. My mother is who I hope to be one day.

Story C
My Job Is Dear to My Heart

At the nursing home where I work, I'm daily confronted by sights that are unspeakably sad. But surprisingly often, there are also scenes that bring tears to my eyes for their astonishing beauty. I want to stop in my tracks, circle my forefinger and thumb over my eye and frame the image in memory. I'll stand there wishing I were a photographer who could capture these images to inform and surprise the world. For who knew there could be as much beauty in a nursing home as in a museum, a cathedral or a garden?

I’d like to photograph Corrine with her daughter. Corrine suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. One time I asked her if she'd like to go listen to some music and she replied, "On this planet?" I usually don't laugh at such lapses in cognition (or was it?) but that one had me chuckling. Corrine's daughter doesn't laugh though. She battles the foe of dementia for her mother with the strength and determination of a prize fighter.

She constantly talks to her mother about family and friends, local and world events. To hear only the daughter's side of the conversation, you'd think Corrine was busy whipping up dinner back in her own kitchen.

I overheard one of these one-sided conversations a few days before Christmas. Corrine's daughter was showing her gifts that were going to be from Corrine. The daughter held up a scarf and asked, "Do you think Aunt Martha would like this one? Good! Let's wrap it for her." I can't begin to describe all the love in that, but a photograph might capture it. You'd see the sweet yet steely desperation for normalcy in the daughter's eyes—the entertained but somewhat vacant look in the mother's. You'd see this woman courageously fighting to keep her mother with her one more day and you'd feel blessed to witness such determined love.

And then there's Ira. He's so frail and slow and bent over that you wonder how he even takes care of himself. Yet you can set your watch by this man. He comes to feed his non-responsive wife each meal as he has done every day for three years. Ira should be on magazine covers like a sports hero; paparazzi should follow him around to show the world how real men keep promises. Ira is a quiet soul; he doesn't converse much with staff or even look around. With head down, he walks straight to Rosemary. Three times a day. I’d like to record this image—Ira walking toward his wife.

Last Christmas, a bunch of rowdy kids from the YMCA sang Christmas Carols. Their performance was lovely in all its spontaneous glory—like a field of wildflowers on a breezy day. There was one little girl whose straight red hair was cut in a pixie. She smiled a lot and added hand motions to some of the words—just whenever the spirit moved her. What a little character. What a unique expression of God's goodness.

The scene I most wanted to capture was when their leader said, "Okay, tell everyone bye." The crowd of 25 kids charged out into the wheelchairs and started hugging people. The old faces beamed and grew younger behind the embraces of this wild and happy choir. I even saw overjoyed tears wetting the cheeks of the ever-silent Molly after nuzzles from the feisty strangers.

This crazy little thing we call "love" is the most powerful force in the universe. It's the only power on earth that "never fails" according to Saint Paul. Maybe it doesn't always change things exactly like we want. But change things it most certainly does.

* All names have been changed to protect privacy.

What does the winner win? Remember the last post about the contest? The winner wins either a B&W session with an 11x14 portrait included OR a matted and signed B&W fine art print.

Cast your vote by leaving us a comment. Winner will be announced on Valentine's Day!







 

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