Thursday, December 19, 2013 .posted by Vickie Llorente

The following was written in my journal in springtime this year (and added to in the summer), quietly waiting for the right time to be published. Right now, with all the crazy Christmastime preparations going on, it just felt like the right time...

It's a perfect day. I'm sitting in my rocking chair in my backyard. I've finally finished an 894 page classic novel. The sun is warm on my shoulders. The birds are chirping from all the treetops, communicating all their springtime excitement. There is the most gentlest of breezes rustling through the leaves of our fruit trees. In the burbs, there is so often noises of construction, lawns being mowed, or the neighbors lonely dog howling for its master to come home - but not today. Not this moment. This moment is perfectly still. Peace for my soul. I take all of this in with my eyes closed- my mental picture.

Two weeks ago, I forgot to bring my camera on a hike through the redwood Forest in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was so beautiful and I was so upset with myself for not having a camera to take pictures with. I was afraid I would forget the magic of that beauty. I was complaining to my son and he smiled and said "Take a mental picture". In his smile I saw how much he was enjoying the hike and decided to just take his advice. I let go of my worries and took a moment to just stand still and soak up my mental picture. I took in the hundreds of towering redwood trees, thankful for their solid shade on that very hot day, the sound of our feet hitting the soft trail, how small I felt standing next to the stump of a 1500 year old redwood, and the sound of the creek as we approached it. The children played in the creek and I soaked in their nervous and giddy laughter as they dipped their feet in the ice cold water and walked gingerly over the smooth rocks. Most of all, I soaked in my son's smile and my pride for him - he was thoroughly carefree that day and didn't want me to miss out.

Whether you have your camera with you or not when your next perfect moment happens, take a moment to close your eyes and take your mental picture. What do you hear? What do you smell? How do you feel in this moment? Store it in the album of your soul. Later on, take a moment to close your eyes again and relive it. Make a practice of it and write a about it in a journal or photo album. Those pictures are just as important as the ones your (or my) camera take - and you are the only one who can make it come to life.

by Vickie Llorente of Journey to Memories Photography

The photo above was taken with my iPhone on the 4th of July this year. I have photographed fireworks before and the pictures were amazing, but on this day I intentionally left my "big camera" behind in favor of just sitting back and enjoying the show. The mental pictures are still in my mind - it was one of the best shows ever and I can still hear the pops and bangs of those artful explosives. I took this photo while we were waiting. It is a true "in the moment" photo, taken from exactly where I was sitting of exactly what I was seeing - the simple beauty of the sunset on deep blades of grass. 

Please comment in the Your Thoughts area below and share some of your best "mental picture" moments with me. I would LOVE to hear them!

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