Seeing the world through a lens

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Dear Jerry,

Photography has always been one of my favorite things  to do. Since I  was little, I have loved to take  pictures of  anything and everything. It is almost like an  escape for  me. I get totally relaxed  when I spend time just outside  taking pictures. Being able to find capture the beauty in everyday  things is a wonderful blessing and  one I think  we should all take advantage of to some extent.

Camera’s allow us to capture emotions. Love, life and laughter are all things that we are able to get a snapshot of and cherish. It enables us to hold tighter to memories and relive them in a way we couldn’t possible have before the camera was invented. 

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I am constantly learning how to take better pictures. My picture taking preference is scenery but I am working on improving my portrait skills.

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20140130-223816.jpg One of my goals in life is to always keep  working on my photography and build up a  side business being a photographer. Right now  one of my next steps is getting a camera with  inter-changable lenses. But until then, I will  keep improving and enjoy capturing beauty in  its many different forms.

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What I would say to you, is take the time to capture moments. You don’t have to be able to take fantastic pictures or even be an aspiring photographer like me. Whether it means pulling off to the side of the road to catch a pretty sunset, standing in the pouring rain juggling an umbrella and camera, or something as practical as grabbing a shot of your child playing in the dirt outside; Take a few moments now and I promise you won’t regret it later.

Hannah

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Being a Pianist

Dear Jerry,

I am going to tell you some about being a musician. I play piano, synthesizer, acoustic and bass guitar. When I was almost seven, my parents took me to my first piano lesson. I was slightly happy and slightly bothered about it. I think I was mad because I saw this activity as a completely unnecessary addition to what I THOUGHT was a crowded and busy schedule. I was a little six year old boy so I fought multiple times over those first few months over WHY I had to do this. I cried and moaned and fussed but my parents never budged from their position. I eventually realized that piano was not going to go away and I grudgingly accepted piano as a part of my life. After about six years with my original teacher, I was getting so good that my parents moved me to another teacher. I have been with this teacher for about four years. Piano is now an integral part of my life and I cannot imagine my life without it.
After about seven years of playing only piano, my parents signed me up for guitar with our music pastor, and I have been spasmodically progressing in skill. This was about two years ago. Since the bass guitar has the same fingering as the acoustic guitar, I learned that as a side project. The first instrument I played in a group setting was the synthesizer. I started playing the synth on Wednesday nights for my church worship band. The synthesizer is more commonly known as the keyboard and it is used as a filler instrument for the small breaks in the musical phrases. It fills in the harmony to add a sort of background ambience to the music. After playing the keyboard for a couple of months, I asked to be “promoted” to the piano. I was given the O.K., and my teacher and I started to work on several songs that were scheduled to be played in two weeks. On that day, I felt nervous and excited. I was pumped full of adrenaline and I played very well. I was very happy with the experience.
I would not ever give up being a musician for several reasons. One, how many guys my age can play a hard instrument well and stick with it though all the difficulties? Not many, and I play because I could if I wanted to, make a living out of it. Two, I play because I love it. I truly do enjoy most of the time that I spend practicing and improving my skill. For me, it is not wasted time. Three, I play because I can. There are not many people who have the ability to play the piano well even if they wanted to. The piano is a very hard instrument to play. I am not saying that because it makes me look better. I am saying it because it is true. I am determined to use my gift of music and to not let it go to waste.

Sincerely,
Zachary.

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Looking to the Future

Dear Jerry,

As you may know, this is my last year of school and it has been a crazy one so far.
When you are younger people are always asking, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Then when we get a little older and into middle school they change the question to, “What do you want to do with your life?” And finally when we get into high school they change the question once again to, “What are you going to go to collage for?” These questions didn’t always scare me but as time passed I kept getting a little more nervous, because in all honesty, I had no idea.
Last year I had decided that I wanted to go to collage to become a nail tech, but I finally realized that I didn’t want to do that because I was passionate about it, it was because I thought I HAD to go to collage. The pressure was getting to me and I felt like time was passing far to quickly. Until one day, my awesome teacher put a crazy idea into my head that I had never even thought about. She told me to think about going to collage to become a sign language interpreter/educator. At first I thought it was such a crazy idea, but then one day I finally realized that it is something I really want to do.
Now I am looking at going to FGCU next year and am finally at ease with what I want to do. The moral of the story is that, don’t let anyone pressure you into thinking you HAVE to go to collage. Do what you are passionate about and be your own person. Also, listen to those crazy ideas people give you, because you never know what will come out of them.

-Maddy

It’s that Frozen time of year

Dear Jerry,

Well we knew it had to be discussed sometime; probably the most asked question across the country in the past few weeks. From Cape Coral to Detroit, it is being sung, stated, hummed, and shouted. What is this ever-increasingly asked question, you ask? I will tell you, but first…

Jerry, do you want to build a snowman?

(Ha! Just kidding, we’re in Florida.)

Disney’s movie Frozen, has exploded the cinemas since its release date in November 2013. This heart warming tale about family, true love, and sacrifice has quickly become a favorite to children and adults everywhere. After I watched it, it made a rapid ascent as my favorite Disney princess movie (though the classics are still close to my heart). But it was unlike almost every other Disney movie I have seen.

Frozen was able to live up the musical “bar” that Tangled had raised pretty high. The catchy tunes are being sung well after the movie is finished. Having Idina Menzel star in it was probably one the best decisions Disney had ever made. Just sayin’.

I loved the way the characters were portrayed. They were REAL. I was able to understand the loneliness that Anna felt, the fear that consumed Elsa, the way Olaf felt real longing, Kristoff’s independence; they all were things that were relatable. Plus, sarcastic reindeer? I’ll leave it at that.

The storyline. I’ve always loved the Snow Queen story and to be honest I didn’t even realize that Frozen was based off of it until after I saw the movie. But they honored the original story very well while still adding some fun new twists.

Olaf. No more needed.

So after what I’ve told you, you would think it’s a pretty good flick right? Probably worth the few dollars it costs to go see it. But I saved the best for last. Here’s the kicker: take away the music, the funny characters and the storyline and I would still say Frozen is a movie worth seeing just because of one scene that they put in it.

I don’t want to give away the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it (which I hope you will remedy after reading this). But there is one part at the end, where one of the main characters is in deep trouble and the only solution that this person knows will fix it is an act of true love. (Hint: true loves kiss. I see where you’re going with this, Disney.) So this character is upset and confused because what they thought had been true love turned out to be a lie. They said they don’t even know what true love is anymore. And here is where Olaf jumps in. (Did I mention I liked this little guy?)

He says, “Love is putting someone else’s needs before your own.”

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This is Disney we’re watching right? You know the one who has written hundreds of stories about “love at first sight” or “true loves kiss”. Needless to say, I was shocked. And incredibly impressed. Disney went against so much of what has almost been their “motto” for a long time in order to throw in this little gem about real honest to goodness love. And I’m afraid people might miss it. The movie goes on to conclude with a special twist that even further cements Olaf’s revelation. You’ll have to watch it to find out. 

So go, sing the songs to death, and quote the quippy one liners, but make sure you don’t miss the real life lessons you can find in this movie. Take the time to talk about them with your kids, friends and family. I think you’ll find that it makes for a good spring board into deeper beneficial conversations.

– Hannah

Public school vs. Homeschool

Dear Jerry,

As you may have already known, I have been a public schooler my entire life up until this year. Both homeschooling and public schooling set their goals in teaching their students well and helping them become successful in their later life, but as one who has experienced both ways of education I can boldly say they have two whole different teaching methods. I was a very smart student since early elementary school mainly beause I had a nanny who taught me lots before I even started kindergarden which put me ahead of the game and by the time I hit first grade, everyone knew I was a smart cookie. As time went on and I hit middle school, school started getting pretty rough. The objective of doing good in school and participating in girlscouts, and attending all the meetings took a toll downhill because there was something that got in my way: boys. From then on coping with the issue has become an ultimate goal, pretty much my goal to make it through the day without stirring trouble. I’m here to tell you that public school was never a big help with kepping your head straight, distractions were always lingering your way and tension was always stirring between fellow classmates. Going to a public school has just become a social club and here and there you would find a straight a student like me but its getting rarer by the year. Juggling both my school and social life became quite a chore which made me always stress. That season in my life as a middle schooler was a bit hard and a common question I was always asked is “how do you do it?” I never really knew what to say, besides “I manage.” A characteristic about myself that I am very thankful for is being able to balance the time I have with different activities equally, and my hard work ethic. Being a very popular girl in school since early on spiritually never helped me. I have to be straight forward with you and say, its for sure that public school is not the environment for a christian. Each year both I and the few christians I knew and communicated with have noticed my faith leaving and the ways of the world taking over in my heart. Though I still am facing many challenges today, I am very thankful and proud to say I am a home schooler. Im glad I made the transition and started the road to recovery now, though I regret not doing it earlier. I have to admit, when I was in eighth grade and my parents told me that they were going to put me in homeschooling, I was furious. All my life I was a public schooler and then all of a sudden I come home and my parents say that I need to enjoy my last few days in public school because they are going to be my final. I did not take it very well. I was caught in with the ways of the world and I took part in the stereotype for homeschoolers. I thought I was going down a road of social suicide. Boy was I wrong. Homeschooling is far from social suicide; in fact it’s a very social place. You get to interact with others, you just don’t have the extra drama to deal with. Life as a homeschooler is awesome, I find myself liking it more every day because I am learning a whole lot more and I have more opportunities to help others in the process. One Room particularly has been a great help in my life and with the help of my two very good teachers-Miss Sarah and Mrs.Becca. I have learned so much already and I am continuing to learn more and more. If you’re in public school, they give you assignments and you better hope you know how to do them because if you don’t your grade is going to plummet down south. I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity to be part of One Room Learning and the way I am taught is just such a help. I wouldn’t want it any other way, because I am happy where I am.

Sarah Jasmine

Our Field Trip

Dear Jerry,
A couple weeks ago, One Room learning had our very first field trip! (Sorry you didn’t get to come, but we were worried you might be confused as fish food) We went to the Florida Tampa Aquarium on Friday. We were able to go with some friends and had a blast! Group 1 was able to see so many of things they have been learning about in their Marine life studies. We compiled some of our favorite things about the day to show you:

• Touching the string rays
• Baby seahorses
• Seeing all the fish from Nemo
• Color-changing jellyfish
• Taking pictures with the fish
• Hurricane Stimulator
• Spotting a crack in the tank
• Having a stare down with a gator
• Bio-luminous sea anemones
• Goliath Grouper
• Floor to ceiling 500,000 gallon aquarium tank
• Happy blowfish
• Touching a sea cucumber
• Scavenger hunt (Group 3 won)

We had so much fun Jerry! I can’t wait to tell you about the next field trip we take. (Maybe you can sneak into a backpack)

– Hannah

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Last Year of School

Dear Jerry,
This year is my last year of high school, that’s right, I’m a senior! Since this is going to be my last semester of high school, I have been reflecting a lot on the past 3 and a half years. All the ups, and all the downs, have shaped me into the person I am today. So I thought I should share a few lessons I have learned along the way, to help those who are in the middle of it and think they will never see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lesson 1: (Homeschooler’s) Stick to your schoolwork! You may think slacking back a little will be fine, but it hurts you in the long run, and catching up is not fun at all. So do it all when it needs to be done, so by the time you are a senior you don’t have to catch up and you can enjoy your last year.

Lesson 2: Make friends, you can never have too many of them. You never know when you will need that ear to listen to you, and they will need you too. When I moved down to Florida from Michigan, the friends that I made along the way, we’re the thing that strengthened me, and helped me to have fun, when I had forgotten how too.

Lesson 3: LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS! They know what they are talking about. Just trust me on this one.

Lesson 4: Keep trying new things, you never know what you will be good at until you try it! It could be a new sport, or testing your artistic abilities, or maybe even a new language. You would be surprised at the hidden talents you have.

Lesson 5: Try your hardest in everything that you do. That includes your schoolwork! And if you are in a sport, that means you are not only doing it for yourself, that means you have a team that is counting on you to do and be your best.

Lesson 6: Have fun! We are only in high school once, and time truly does fly by. So live life to its fullest, and honor God in all you do!

I hope this helps all those high schoolers out there that may be a little stressed because we are starting this new semester. Only a few months left of this school year, let’s try our hardest, and have fun doing it!

-Maddy