Let me let you in on a secret. Yesterday when it was around 6:30 P.M. and we were at Target picking up the basics, milk, butter, cat food, dog food and lights for our tree, I realized as my stomach felt hungry that I had forgotten to eat lunch. Not only did I forget lunch…..check out what I did eat. Breakfast, black coffee and one glazed doughnut. Lunch a Slim Jim and a few Charleston Chews. And that’s it. That is exactly what I ate all day long. Does that sound nutritious and all kinds of good for my body and my brain? Duh. NO! And I will do this sort of thing on a regular basis when I have “fallen off the wagon so to speak” When I’m on the wagon, I’m insane. I will walk every single day and drink tons of water and eat every few hours but that my friends takes a lot of effort, a lot of thought and I will burn out every single time and especially when I do it 8 weeks in a row. They say 21 days forms a habit but obviously a solid eight weeks doesn’t even seem to work for me.
Trying to find balance is a true challenge for me. And as I type this I realize my word this year should be BALANCE. That’s it. Just made up my mind in mid sentence. My word will be balance. Because as I type this I realize like most of us gals we take it all on, not just the favors asked and the every day kinds of things but then we pile on top of that “perfection” Let’s see if I can juice every single day, buy the best whole foods for my home, cook really healthy dinners each night, keep a clean and tidy house, the laundry, the kids, the animals and hum, lets see if I can work out an hour a day, and pray/meditate and maybe I can even read a book that will help me be a better person, and perhaps I can take a few on-line courses, and write letters to my friends and family, and pay my bills on time and remodel my dinning room, and make really cool things that I see on Pinterest and plant that new garden from seed alone. I would love to learn to stand on my head and be the most romantic and loving wife on the planet. Balance is a great word. It wins hands down and I wasn’t even looking for a word on this particular post. crazy! crazy cool! I found my word for 2015! BALANCE it is. Will you be picking a word for this year? A word to keep you on track, a word to reign you in, a word to grow you a little, a word to make you more aware…just a word. I would love to hear what you might choose.
My friend Michelle just posted the coolest blog post and idea and she is so wonderful, she doesn’t keep ideas all to herself, she shares them and I love that about her. I read her blog post a few days ago and thought it was just the best. So even though we are three days in, we made these little envelopes last night and tucked a note card inside each one with little ideas and random acts of kindness to do throughout the month of December. We made nearly all 31 days of ideas but Abbie only got to decorating 10 of the envelopes so far. She is doing such a gret job decorating these. The cool thing is….our church is also doing something very similar for this month and they have created a calendar with ideas too.
Let me tell you something else too while we are on the subject of perfection or should we say not perfection. Normally, had I heard of this idea three days in I would say, “oh forget it! I’m too late” but this time in the spirit of imperfection I thought, “no way. We are doing this.” It only means we get to open a few on some days until we catch up. That’s not all, normally I would have stayed up till the sun came up until all 31 days were complete and hanging on the string but also in the spirit of not being perfect, I decided we will hang them up as they get decorated and that will be that! Seriously people, this is a big deal for me. I’m just accepting this as it happens and this little project has me already enjoying the month of December. Heck, we are already caught up, we opened up three this morning! Oh, and one more thing, these envelopes, they have a story too! I didn’t buy anything for this project, we had all this stuff already here in my craft cupboard. Those envelopes are 20 years old and left over from our wedding thank you notes!
It was the beginning of 2011 and it was in this year I had begun to form relationships with like-minded photographers on a site called Flickr. I joined Flickr in 2009. I actually “stalked” Flickr for an entire year before I decided to join. I would log on and just browse the main stream. It was so inspiring to see what this world was about. I was totally captivated by Shutter Sisters and the women contributors to this group.
When I finally got the courage to join Flickr I started slow. I would just post things like what I was eating and I was as usual and probably forever will be striving for a healthier life style and so I posted lots of pictures of post work out and my kids of course. I posted lots of pictures of my kids. I would see what other people were posting and I began to see people were not just posting pictures but actually forming relationships? I would see that someone would post an image and receive tons of comments and likes. I have to be honest. It had me feeling as though I was not worthy to even be posting on Flickr. I was lucky to receive one comment or three views. It felt like work. I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be noticed. And I had such low self-esteem and self-worth (still a work in progress) that I felt not even worthy to ever place an image in the Shutter Sisters group, the one group I most admired. Looking back I realize this was the one safe group of total acceptance but I was too afraid to even participate.
I ended up posting a picture or two in the group but it was always far and few between. As I wrote before, things really changed when I decided to participate in a group called BAM, created by Tiff. This is when I began to really participate in the art of self-portraits. Yes art, not like “oh look at me” it was more like, “I do exist.” I formed friendships. They were real friendships, not make-believe. Emails would be exchanged, blogs would be shared. I began to get to know these women and realized, they were just like me. They had insecurities and fears too.
Holly for instance picked up on my “I have to do everything, I have to do everything just right and if I don’t I’m a loser attitude” So she recommended a book called “The Gifts of Imperfection” Holly, she seemed like she had been on her journey longer and she seemed secure and she was for sure a good listener and had insight. So I took her advice and ordered the book. I read the book. I loved the book. And now a few years later, I have forgotten this book, the words in the book. Someone will say “I’m taking Brene Browns class” and I will say “Oh, I read her book, the Gifts of Imperfection” like this is some amazing bit to add to their comment. When I have forgotten the words, I have forgotten the practice. I have decided to re-visit the book because I’m not exactly sure why it’s taking me so long to calm down, to realize I don’t need to do everything, I don’t need to be perfect and to be just exactly “right” to begin my journey. I just need to begin ready or not and mostly NOT because I can’t grow if I don’t try. So that’s all. Just reading this book again and felt like revisiting how it all came about. I also want to say, I’m happy to be a part of this community and if there is anyone out there who just looks and doesn’t feel worthy, please know you are. You are completely worthy, you are worthy to contribute, you are worthy to show your art, you are worthy to speak your mind. You just have to begin.
Juxtaposition. I have seen this word a lot in the photography world and I knew what it meant simply by seeing examples through the years when other photographers place two images next to each other for comparison or contrast. I have been working with my cousin for…eh hum…cough, cough….a few years now on a project I call “coloring with Miss Moonspinner” Basically a few years ago I picked us both up a big box of crayons and we were to pick a crayon out of the box and seek out that color. At first we were ON FIRE, we cracked the first several colors out. Then we became just a tiny bit relaxed and we share this trait she and I where we are not in any big hurry for things so we would laugh about how we have been carrying cadet blue around for, well….at least a year now. Last week she sent me her version of cadet blue. I thought, “Oh man, pressure is on. I now need to go seeking my cadet blue. “She isn’t placing the pressure on me, nope. She truly wouldn’t mind if it took me another few months to find the perfect cadet blue match up! But then I saw in my fall project our assignment this week is to present a juxtaposition. SOOOOOO I present to you cadet blue along with a few other of my favorite match ups from the last few years. In a snail’s pace we will finish because we have made that promise to each other that we would at least finish the box of crayons. And although this isn’t two photographs that I took to compare and contrast, it’s a project I hold near and dear to my heart and I’m big on community and working together. Working together for ME, is far better than working alone. I take it as opportunity to grow by learning techniques from others and hoping I too can inspire them every so often. This is why I also love working with Christina on this fall project. She has introduced me to new books, new apps, and even photo language I wasn’t exactly familiar with. Working with other creatives is a win/win for me.
this is called timberwolf and what you can’t see but I know is, there is a tiny chip of paint missing on the fender, it looks like a dot here but it was a dark pink heart and if you notice, Miss Moonspinner had pink hearts on her timberwolf colored knee socks. It was perfect!
This is turquoise blue, I nearly had a heart attack when I opened my inbox to see her photo, it was a turquoise glass container that spilt out shiny silver glitter, my shot is Miss Moon Shadow in the pool with her shiny glitter skirt and turquoise top, the water in the pool also reminds me of the translucent vase the glitter is spilling out of. We never discuss our ideas. We just take picture and match them up. I’m always happily surprised when they go together so well.
This is black! Isn’t is just so wonderful? I think so, all the way down to her mickey mouse band-aid. In these match up’s she will always be the photo to the left and I’m to the right. One day, we will complete this project and in the meantime we will have tons of fun matching our images together. I wonder what amazingness Christina came up with?? Let’s go SEE
I sure love that he jumps with me. that he lays on the groud with me and takes my picture in the dirt, that he suggests I climb on top the jeep for my facedown and then gives me a peace sign in his reflection, that he will jump real high and play air guitar, that he is my partner in so many ways, like all the good ways. He is my motorcycle man whom I adore with my whole heart.
And if you scrolled this far you will find out….motorcycle man fixed our plumbing last night after work. He got home crawled under our house and worked on our plumbing for about two hours. He fixed it! We got showers last night and we could use the toilet! He finished the job and he was so filthy dirty and as he was getting ready to take a shower he said “I wish a big tall, icy McDonald’s coke would be sitting right there on the counter when I get out of the shower, just sounds so good right now” That’s all he had to express, his true desire for a bubbly coke and lets face it, McDonald’s in my book is terrible however they have the best soda’s on the planet. So when I got back from McDonald’s, this is what I saw…..and he swears this spray paint will peel right off.
I tend to write about things that are happening in my real life.I suppose my blog is like therapy in a way.Last night wasn’t our typical Monday.We had some guests!When I heard our cousin Matt was in town and wanted to visit, I was so happy.I wanted to make him dinner and littlest and only girl wanted to make him cookies.And Uncle Don came too and so we had a nice conversation and the lasagna…it was dry and the cookies were nice and buttery and Matt brought unique beers and a nice bottle of wine for me and ice-cream for the kids and it was a nice Monday night.Only we couldn’t offer up our bathroom because right snap out of the blue the plumbing decided to back up and so they dishes they still sit.
And the super strong stuff Rich bought to put down the drain that has worked for past plumbing problems seems to NOT be doing the trick this time around.When he gets home today from work he is going to crawl under the house and check a few things out.I’m happy I married a real handy man.If he can fix it we can save ourselves some money.Nine times out of ten he can.
And along with any good visit you learn things about the people you love and you also are maybe introduced to new things.Matt and I were talking about some good old music that I find to be timeless, well Led Zeppelin of course.So he says, do you like folksy type music?Well, of course!So have you heard Robert Plant sing with Alison Krauss?Actually…no.So here is a taste of the goodness.I like it lots. Learned something new and perhaps some of you readers out there know about this but me, I’m sort of sheltered it seems.
I hope the plumbing problem is resolved soon, I’m thankful I’m not hosting Thanksgiving cause of that, I can still make my dish and not worry about those dishes.It sort of reminds me when I hosted Christmas and half our electrical was out so we ran a big orange extension cord through the kitchen to get us what we needed, power to the fridge mainly and we just kept on going.And this is what we do.We just keep going even when things are not perfect, we just keep going.
Seek out the message you need to hear most today. Something that reminds you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and that it is enough. Note: Sometimes what we need to hear the most, we can stumble on (I love Divine intervention) other times we need to gently remind ourselves with handwritten affirmation. When you’re open to listening, you’ll get the message loud and clear. Tracey Clark
We are half way through the fall project and as it is half way through we are to pause, find a message we most need to hear. I thought this would be easy. I see words everywhere. I’m a word girl however in the busyness of my week I had a hard time pausing. I actually had to contact my partner in crime, Christina and ask for an extra day. When the extra day came and went, I asked for another couple of days and just hoped with all my heart that I would find a “message” in the desert. We had planned to visit our family in the desert and I thought I may find it there. I did. It was in my sister-n-laws bathroom window. The word FAITH. it was there. I snapped a real quick picture and wondered if I might find even more “messages”. The next day Sarah took us around a nearby desert town to see some sites. We parked and walked around, I saw someone had made a heart of rocks they collected. I stood inside the heart and thought about how I’m surrounded by LOVE in my life and how if I didn’t live by faith, the faith I have in Christ, I’m not sure where I would be? It all began to make sense. Faith and Love are the two words and actions I needed to hear this weekend. I needed to be reminded of my faith and to recognize that I’m loved. Deeply loved. We had a busy week but we had such a wonderful week. As Friday approached we had a big family dinner at our house, we ate, we laughed and we loved. We got up the next morning and met up with more family. We had breakfast out, we ate, we laughed and we loved. We drove out to the desert we hung out with even more family, we ate, we laughed and we loved. What is important in this life? For me it is my Faith and it is LOVE, love of family, friends and people. Loving God, Loving People. For me this is life, this is living. These are the messages that found me, I wonder what messages found Christina.
This week I’m participating in a week of gratitude with my friend Michelle. I’m not just grateful this one week out of the year, nor am I grateful just one month of the year. I have tried very hard to put this into my daily practice for a good handful of years now. It helps to live each day more positively. I’m pretty sure it’s a proven fact. And no it’s not easy to be thankful every day, sometimes it’s hard when friends are fighting cancer, or we have lost a loved one or we are worried about how we are going to pay our mortgage. Sometimes it’s hard, it’s really hard but I realized even in the midst of sadness, hardships and loss that finding a blessing or many in each day helps get me through. Just simply helps put a different spin on the day. For instance as I cleaned out my fridge this weekend, it had spoiled food I had to toss out, it had really grimy shelves to not just wipe out but take out and scrub hard. I thought to myself. We have food. We have never been starved. Others are not so fortunate. It sometimes has me feeling guilty that we have such blessings. While others do not. One time my dad wrote me a letter. He said “if I could just give you one bit of advice, it would be to live simply, do not complicate your life with things. The more things you have the more complicated life gets” I see this to be so true. I see people with little who have such a joy about them. I see people with so much who seem sad. Today as I got up earlier than normal because motorcycle man took today off and since he had the day off, I figure I should do the things he normally does. Make my own coffee and take second born to zero period. I felt like him today, up early, even warmed up my engine, like he always does, then I backed into our driveway, like he always does. When I got into my car to take littlest and only girl to school, I set my hot coffee on the dash, it steamed up the window. I will always draw a heart in dust, or steamy windows…most always. So I did and as I did I looked across the street. I smiled because I knew he was safe. God brought my first-born home safe last night. I’m thankful for that view, the little black car parked on the street.
“I have come to understand that anything I wish to become better at I must mindfully practice and gratitude is no exception. Even if we are good at it, we become better, more honed in on the multitude of gifts we are privileged to hold, be it a loved ones smile, or a pay raise, if we practice it daily. “My contemporary -Cathy Sly-
So you see even in brooms that smell like cinnamon and look kind of like they belong to a witch are things to take note of, their twists and turns and texture.All worth noticing. I read this quote from my friend Cathy this week. Such a really great quote and maybe not very relatable to this texture post per say, but I believe anything to do with practicing gratitude can even apply to gnarly brooms.
You know those brooms that smell like cinnamon?In the fall I have a hard time passing them up. They cost almost 5.00 a broom but the scent, it beacons me!Like spring when I bring bundles of daffodils in to watch open up, when it’s fall I bring that darn broom in the house.I hang it on our black hutch that sits in the corner of our dining room.It looks like a face and it smell like fall!
and below…do you see the face. The eyes the low mouth the wild hair? Yep it’s clearly a face.
Now you need to see Chrstina’s post on texture. Her twine…is devine. I’m a poet and I don’t even know it. I’m also delirious. It’s Friday and the week has been insane in the membrane. Okay I’ll stop.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
I’m very grateful for these hands. They mostly do very good things. Sometimes they do bad things. But still I’m grateful.
I hold his hand
I hold their hands
I write poems
I write words
I write letters
with these hands
I can create
with these hands
I push the shutter
with these hands
in these hands
I can touch the sand
with these hands
This week has been unusually busy. It has been filled to the brim and although I just desire rest right now, I’m still grateful for the opportunity to raise money for Containers of Hope and I’m hoping someone can take what I find to be special and beautiful and in turn give to these children. It all goes to them. Otherwise I have decided putting a price on what I love is something I don’t want to do. This will happen tomorrow at my friends shop in the town I grew up. I’m grateful I can try to help in some way. And this picture was prompted by a class I’m taking. What part of my body am I thankful for and appreciate? My hands but so much more than that. I hope your week is going well. Sending out love.