2 years ago a group of six photographers, including myself began what we called "The day in the life project." If you're thinking it is what what it sounds like you're probably right. Our task was simple- document an entire day once a month for a year. I didn't complete it two years ago so I'm excited to give it another go in 2016. It's not easy having your camera attached to you for an entire day, especially when you're capturing just the day to day "boring" stuff. That is half the battle, really. The other half is most certainly an internal one. "Jamie, don't make your life appear as if it's something it's not," I say to myself. "You don't have it all together so don't make it look like you do." This is my own personal internal battle. Throughout a day of shooting I have to ask myself repeatedly, Is this the real Ronning family or the Ronning family I want people to think we are? Now for those of you reading this I certainly don't believe that people long to see or are even interested in the inner working of my family life. I think I used to think that. Because I'm the first to admit I gravitate towards that kind of pride and arrogance. But now, I see it simply as an opportunity to experience a deepening level of gratitude for my life and family. My dear friend Kandice posts a photo every Monday with the hashtag, #mundanemondays. Her photos are often of her two little ones. Maybe it's an image of them looking out the window for the garbage truck or playing in a giant cardboard box. Whatever the case each image has a unique feeling of peacefulness. Really the word that comes to mind is contentment. There's that word. Contentment. Always seems to pop up these days. And here is Kandice capturing the simplicity of her life and it shows her desire to stay present in the moment. To fight for contentment. And it's beautiful. You see within marriage you sacrifice so much. When kids come along you sacrifice what feels like 1,000 times more. Day in and day out consists of meal planning, cooking, cleaning, driving, running errands, sibling arguments, yelling outbursts (from mom and kids), messes, budgets, car issues, you name it. Every day I have to make the choice to do it all over again. I have to choose to sacrifice. Overtime life can really feel less gratifying, less rewarding, less glamorous. So I turn to discontentment. But I don't want to marinate in those feelings for so long that I deprive myself of the beauty within the day to day, the mundane. Because I believe contentment resides within the fabric of my heart when I choose to experience gratitude for all the things that come with this motherhood stage of life, the good and the bad. Before I know it this season will be gone as fast as it came. So therefore, as clumsy and difficult as it may feel at times, I choose contentment. I choose gratitude. "We might as well stop resisting it," my husband says. "And start embracing it."
So here is Day In The Life- January. A typical and not so typical Sunday consisting of family breakfast, church, and a long and restful afternoon of celebrating great grandpa Paul's 76th birthday with family. Then return home for a dinner of peanut butter banana sandwiches for the kiddos, a frozen burrito for mom, and top off the night with some light viewing of Making a Murderer before the start of a new week. I think he's innocent.