lightsabers and luminaries

by | Dec 25, 2015 | midwestern words & images | 2 comments

light sabers and luminaries

Since this past fall, Nicole has been doing her hair in a French braid. Growing up, her mother would do her hair, and continued to do it even as Nicole entered high school. It seemed sitting there half asleep in the bathroom was enough to pass the craft along, and somehow she was magically able to do it by herself. At first Nicole questioned if she was a little mature for braids now, but since seeing the new Star Wars, braids are forever! So once again, on the busy night before Christmas, it was the chosen up-do for time with family, God, friends, Santa and oh, right….5000 luminaries.


christmas 2015 full moon

A paper bag, some sand, and a candle. So simple – Light the Lake With Us began this year between two neighbors. The holiday season is filled with messages of excitement and joy, yet many people struggle with stress, loss, and depression during this time of year.

Crystal Lake Luminaries

With a rare full moon and the absence of wind, the night felt spirited. The community seemed to be in sync and all began placing the luminaries out earlier than the instructed dusk. Neighbors helped out neighbors with placing and lighting, then waited to see if Light the Lake With Us was worth the precious time we all did not have, especially on a holiday. As lighters gave out, we all took notes for next year’s improvements with laughter, saying “Wicks Up!”

Ozment Family 2010 Village of Lakewood Luminaries

joffrey ballet costume

Neighbors walked or drove the streets, some for hours into the darkening night. After everyone was asleep in her house, Nicole took her camera and tripod outside to walk and photograph the lingering magic. She wasn’t even past her mailbox when a car stopped and a woman rolled down her window asking, “Can you tell me what this is all about?” Nicole let go, dropping her usual mystery and said, “As a matter of fact, I can…” It was a stroll that Nicole will remember, just like the times she would sneak away from her innkeeping days to photograph Venice, California.

2010 Melrose Lane Luminares

Crystal Lake beach seven

crystal lake night

It takes time to create long exposure photographs. She was at beach seven, focusing on the luminaries far across the lake. It was getting colder and then, Jill who started the idea with Nicole appeared with a glass of wine.

The streets were busy but cars drove with awareness while some even went old school with their headlights turned off.

Broadway in Lakewood

lake avenue lakewood

Sometimes you don’t realize how close you are as a community or neighbors. The luminary project being rekindled, just like her braided hairdo, was a holiday gift given and received.


  1. Jacolyn Eggert

    Simply beautiful!

  2. Rebecca and Jim Heisler

    So beautiful in so many ways. We did such a relatively small part, but we’re thrilled to be a part of this community –and inter-generational—experience. Thanks to Our Community for making it possible.


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Welcome to the Chelini & Oeffling creative blog, Life in This Moment, a window to life and work from Chicagoland artistic collaborators Nicole Chelini Ozment and Linda Oeffling. We work together in digital design, photography, dance, art glass, and more. Associate designer Nicole Rhino participates with concepts and copy editing. Click on the blog titles to leave comments, share and shop. We will never show or share your information. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. lifeinthismoment



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