Searching For Absolution


©Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Searching for Absolution

Searching for Absolution

Hatred is one of those powerful, all-consuming emotions that roots itself down into your very soul and darkens all that is light.

I’ve seen it work it’s black magic into decades worth of grudges destroying relationships along the way. Sometimes over even the most insignificant and trivial things. It’s silly rather. I should know. I’ve been there.

It is not a pretty place.

But I find the worst kind of all to be self-loathing. To be specific, of the regrettable and unforgivable mistake variety. We make decisions on a daily basis, hopefully, with the best of intentions. But occasionally, that angel on the right goes on an extended lunch break and we did the unthinkable. Fallible, we stepped off the path and made a huge error in judgement. Huge. BIG.

Then come the consequences and at a great price.

If only someone would hurry up and invent the magic time machine so we can go back and fix our mistakes. Hind sight is always 20/20. But instead, the repercussions of our mistakes ripple through time leaving great damage in it’s wake. There’s no turning back. It’s time to survey the scenery and see if there are any survivors and which mental funerals require our attendance.

And we hate ourselves for it. For the loss. For the emotional destruction. For the relationships that were sacrificed. For our own stupidity. And our own short-sightedness.  Unforgiven by our actions. Searching for absolution. External absolution. Whether from the person we wronged or from God. Often times, feeling like we come up empty handed left to wander through the days with a heavy heart.

And there we stay. Stuck in the past of shoulda, woulda, couldas. Recycling the events over and over again, regurgitating every possible scenario until we’re sick to our stomachs. Dad would say that all you have to do is ask for forgiveness and it will be granted.

For those of us who’s faith may waver with a little uncertainty, and since it’s impossible to turn back the clock and undo the wrong, the first step toward moving forward is to reach down into the black and find internal absolution. To forgive oneself. It’s one of the hardest things to do. But we are all human and we make mistakes. Every. Last. One of us. So forgive. Learn and move forward.

Capable, we are of some of the most unspeakable things. But we’re also capable of love. That reason alone is worth standing up, dusting off the past and starting over.

(Before I start singing…)


This was another creation from the Brooke Shaden Workshop in Salernes, France. Kory, who is always so willing to help out another artist in need by stepping in as a model when needed, makes an appearance here…before he cut off his long hair! Thanks, Kory!



Waiting on Fate

©Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Waiting on Fate

Waiting on Fate

Do you believe in fate? Are we walking down some predestined path or do we have free will to do as we please and make our own decisions? Are they one in the same? (Is that even possible?)

Then what happens when we feel like we’ve lost our way? Do we wait for a sign to lead us in the right direction or do we go look for the path ourselves?

I do believe in fate and faith. I often find when one is on the right path, the doors open easily and welcome you through the threshold. The signs are there. Sometimes BIG, RED and NEON just in case you aren’t paying attention! They come in many forms. Sometimes as an unsolicited call speaking specifically to your strengths when you’ve been doubting yourself and spouting those same points as weaknesses. It’s finding A Call to Heart blog posting in your inbox that touches upon the very thing weighing on your mind and how to combat it.  On other occasions it’s that perfect person presenting themselves in your life to help you make the necessary connection or to assist you along your way. (I love those!)

But solely relying on the signs can sometimes be a detriment. Especially if the signs aren’t presenting themselves loud and clear. Then what? Are we supposed to stand like a deer in the headlights waiting for that car to come crashing into us with that all knowing epiphany? Uh, NO!

I’d like to think that we are given our own special bag of tools, gifts if you will, that make us special and unique. Whether a scientist or an artist, we have a purpose. We are here to serve, to create, to help others, to build, to lead… So when the electricity fails on that neon sign, we have to make a choice as to which fork in the road to take and then start walking. It could be the right decision. It might be the wrong. And sometimes you have to jump from A to B before you can make it to C. Or even D for that matter.  (I would much rather take the long way home than sit in stand still traffic any day of the week.) But I suppose that like a child, we sometimes have to learn the hard way, or make the best educated guess as to what is the right way with our own bag of tools.

That’s where faith comes in.

That’s where free will shines.

And fate is what we make of it.

So you say you’re waiting on fate, but I believe fate is now…waiting on us.

This image was captured at the Brooke Shaden Workshop in Salernes, France.

Jul 25, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Tom Newforge - Good blog. Ever heard of the Price Equation?

Jul 25, 2014 - 5:34 pm

John Sarabia - You’ve come a long way grasshopper!

Jul 25, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Rachelle Garza-Gonzalez - Love it!

Somewhere a Clock is Ticking

©Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Somewhere a Clock is Ticking

Somewhere a Clock is Ticking

There is a thief amongst us. But she is no ordinary swindler.

She confiscates quite easily, almost magically, as if it’s as simple as breathing.

How easily we turn our backs to her, forsaking what is precious. And just like that…it’s gone. Taken. Never to be seen from again. Rich in gold, she is, from our indifference and detachment.

So how does she manage to smuggle what’s right under our noses?


We let her. Willingly. In so many different ways.

By…Succumbing to what is easy by way of lethargy and/or apathy. Worrying unnecessarily about things we cannot control. By allowing those people in our lives, that I call energy vampires, to infiltrate and suck us dry! Finding meaningless tasks to appear busy only to ignore what is crucial. And yes, binging on Netflix.

Guilty am I to all of the above. On more than one occasion. And what do I have to show for it? Really, that’s a rhetorical question, but all one has to do is blink and then it’s the middle of July. Hurricane season. Mother Nature’s leveling field. Two more family members have already passed away. I stop to look in the mirror and don’t recognize that 25 year old staring out from behind the eyes of this soon-to-be 36 year old.

Where did it all go?

I know that age is just a number. I’m old to a teenager but young in the eyes of my parent’s generation. But the truth lies in the fact that we all have our own hourglass. Some contain more sand than others. None of us know the quantity, but we all seem to live like there’s an overabundance. And because of this misconception we become so very wasteful. Then it’s gone. Poof!

Traveling to France, the entire experience from sight-seeing to the workshop, and then again to Texas to visit family reminded me that somewhere a clock is ticking.


Jul 5, 2014 - 4:47 pm

John Sarabia - Not only a great photographer but a philosopher and writer as well…
For WHOM does the bell toll… it tolls for thee…

The Circus

"The Circus"  ©White Sparks Photography - Marisa White

The Circus

The mental debate is ongoing in my head.

Is the grass greener on the other side or are we genetically engineered to want something we don’t/can’t have?

Or are we really content with the way our world keeps skipping along until those life choices, you know the ones we thought were always there for the picking, are no longer available?

I don’t really know what I want. I know I’m being painfully vague, but that’s ok. I’ve thought about it, at length. I’ve tried to ascertain the true nature for these feelings and keep coming up with a bizarre juggling act of considerations. This circus is old and tired, yet it requires frequent visits because the final outcome could be regret.

Regret for a missed opportunity of something extraordinary. For unconditional love like no other. For years of a roller coaster ride of emotions with massive highs and so very deep lows.

Many would say yes! Hands down, the most rewarding ride in the world. It’s one they jump on one, two….or sometimes ten (oh god!) times in their lifetime, willingly! Others just don’t think. Truly. And while I don’t think there’s ever a right time to jump on this ride, I do believe there is a right reason.

And only I (or perhaps I should say we) can figure that out. So we’ll visit the circus again and again until we do.

~This image was also taken at Chateau de Moissac in Salernes during the Brooke Shaden Workshop…at the bottom of a very long spiral stone staircase. I’m certain there were spiders down there. French spiders. Surprises in every corner.  Art is never without sacrifice.

Jun 18, 2014 - 1:10 am

Molly Scott-Bayerdorffer - Very,very cool, Marisa!

Jun 18, 2014 - 1:15 am

Stephen Lippe - As always a most interesting read. You never disappoint. Yes I am sure the spiders sacrificed on your behalf.:)

Pick Out Your Cloud

©White Sparks Photography - Marisa White - Pick Out Your Cloud

Pick Out Your Cloud

Where do I even begin?

A whirlwind swept through my soul and I was transported to France for 10 glorious days. It must have been a dream because here I sit, back at my desk, blazing away at my computer as if nothing has changed.

But everything has changed.

I wish I could pinpoint the exactitude of this transformation or eloquently describe the resulting effect, but that would be selling the whole experience short. Perhaps what I’ve come to recognize is that like seeks out like. (Magnets really have it wrong, in my opinion!) That when a person exudes such a positive presence others naturally gravitate towards him or her. Then you add a spoonful of creativity and the same media output, and voila, a recipe for magic.

I believe Brooke is that kind of soul. Inspirational, positive, sincere and above all else, genuine. These traits, also unmistakeable in everyone else I met on this adventure. The journey to Never Never Land led by Brooke Shaden herself. Only we were in the South of France at this beautiful chateau. Somebody pinch me quick! Despite the fact that we’d traveled from all over the globe, everyone got along. Easily. Like old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years but picked up so effortlessly right where they’d left off.

The Chateau Moissac. Oh the chateau! My God, they just don’t create beauty like this anymore. We all walked in, eyes wide, marveling at the grandeur. The stone, the staircases, the ceilings that reached toward the heavens, the towering windows scattering natural light, the claw-footed bathtubs, rich fabrics…and the smell of fine French cuisine wafting from the over-sized kitchen.

This must be what Heaven looks like. It was SO beautiful. I cried. No shame, the tears fell uncontrollably no matter how hard I tried to wipe them away. It was overwhelming. Fastened with disbelief. Followed by gratitude. And then tied off with love. As corny as that may sound, I can describe it no other way. Emotions are never wrong. They just exist.

We spent half of that day dining outdoors on delicious food, learning how to visualize through fun and bewildering blindfold exercises and then exploring/photographing this giant structure, with surprises lurking around every corner.

Chateau Triptych

I will tell more stories and experiences in the coming days, as there are too many for any one blog posting to hold. I find myself constantly revisiting this place in my thoughts. While wandering through my catalog or even just sitting quietly with my morning coffee.  Again, traveling through some secret portal in my mind, remembering events, days, specifics, jokes, tears and happiness.

Just picking out clouds.