Believe in Yourself

Each one of us has our own ability to bounce back from failure. Yet the struggles that we face cloud our judgment and cause us to doubt ourselves. When you lose faith and confidence in yourself, you overlook your true potential and forget who you really are. It has been that kind of year. I could make all types of excuses but in the end it does not matter. The truth is I stopped believing in me. Everything was going so wonderful but I got caught up in the doubts, and listened to the inner voice saying you are not relevant, no one sees or reads this, your pictures are mediocre and on, and on, and on.

But it dawns on me, I am not doing this for anyone but myself, so the only person I can let down is me. If I give up, fade away, stop trying, most people will not notice but I will,  so as I wrote my post cards for the Liberate your art mail out my quote to those who will receive my best of the year is ;

          Believe in yourself

          Encourage yourself

          Never doubt who you are

So I am back! Watch out world……………..

Feb-0210

Happy Birthday Kate

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Today is Kate’s birthday and I could not think of a better post then to share the images she has burnt in my heart these past two years. Having raised boy’s this little bundle of girl energy and fire is without a doubt one of the best things in my life. Happy Birthday Kate!!!

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This poem is just a glimpse of all I have in my heart for you;

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you

Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad

Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side

Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!

Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold

Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way

Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart

The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life

And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you

By Becky Netherland

 

A Random Act

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Color, Color, everywhere and since its Wednesday I had to share! There is just something liberating about a random post with no message, no point, and no purpose. There are days we should just sit back and enjoy the experience. So whatever you are doing as you move through today do something random and live to the fullest.

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Setting Out On New Adventures

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Sometimes I feel stuck, bored, frustrated. It’s not that I don’t like the life I live; it’s just sometimes I suspect there’s something more, some greater sense of meaning or excitement, new connections, new adventures, new possibilities. The truth is those possibilities are within my reach. I may not be able to quit my job or develop new skills while I sleep; but every day contains countless opportunities, all dictated by the choices I make. Some of those choices may seem inconsequential. They’re the little things, after all. Why not do it the way I always do it? Why not stay in my comfort zone when it’s just so comfortable here? I should do it for the possibility. The possibility of, if I make one minor change, I may set the stage for major fulfillment. Sometimes even the smallest shift in thinking or doing can create the biggest opportunity. So here is how I plan to get started:

I will challenge my beliefs about what I can and can’t do.

Look for opportunities in a tough situation. Avoid the victim mentality, and opt instead for a “ready for new beginnings” attitude.

Remove the things from my life that doesn’t serve me to make room for something better and new.

Commit to something I always say I’ll do but always fail to start

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Positive energy creates positive results.

Say yes to something I always talk myself out of.

So how will you open your world to new possibilities?

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“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”
Marianne Williamson

Liberate Your Art

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I running late as seems to be my norm these days, but there is something important I need to do. These past few years have been years of major change in my life and change is not always easy or comfortable but change is inevitable. One of the things which helped me work through the changes has been my love and now passion for photography. In many ways it forced me to get out and connect with the world. One of my new connections was a movement called “Liberate Your Art” I stumbled on this event and am so grateful I did. The participants choose 5 pieces of art work they have created and transform them into postcards. Kat Sloma organizes this event and collects all the postcards from the participants and swaps them out and mail them back out across the world.

This is my first of many years, to participate and the experience has been amazing. I will be honest in admitting I struggled tying to choose pictures I thought others would enjoy, but that was one more growing experience for me. I purposely only had one of each card made so I had to send it off alone to stand on its on merit in the world. Seeing my work in print was such a moment of joy. It gave me the affirmation, I am not just a weekend photographer, I am good. I have talent and skills and I see something in ordinary things others don’t.

Over a two week period the postcards from other began to arrive and then the connections started. I am so excited over the pieces I received, some very different from my art medium and some the same but each a small piece of someone else s heart and soul.

Here is a college of the postcards I received each am amazing piece of art

The first one top left is from Leslie A her website is leslieaphoto.com

Middle top is from Mary her work can be found at uncustomary.org

Top right is from Terri visit her at porterimages58.blogspot.com

Bottom left is from Stacie squirrellyduck.blogspot.com

Bottom center is from Adrienne toughcitywriter.blogspot

And lastly bottom right from Kat Sloma kateyestudio.com

Thank you to each of you for sharing a piece of your life with me and allowing me to not only “Liberate my Art but “ but also to liberate my self-confidence.

 

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What you need and what you want aren’t the same things

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I am trading out lunches for a protein shake this week, and editing pictures from an event last week which lead me to stop and ponder, Why do we always want the things which are the least healthy for us? I mean But in fact, we’re all obsessed with something: some of us may be obsessed with clothes, others with food and eating, still others with the way we look or with our work but we all want something we shouldn’t.

This shake is pretty good, packed with protein, no carbs, chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch yummy…but the minute I saw the pictures of these cupcakes and crackers all I could think about was all the things I wasn’t having for lunch.

This causes me to think even deeper, I cannot think of a day in my life I have not had everything I need, but in the end we all want things we shouldn’t. It is human nature and the key is recognizing and believing in yourself enough to know you can be happy with what you have the circumstances you find yourself in and the life you are living today.

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As I take another sip………………………………………………..

Spring Cleaning

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Seeing this picture I took of Kate the other day got me to thinking about how important it is to involve children at a young age in the daily routines of caring for their environment. So I am putting on my Child Development cap this morning as I share this moment in time.

It’s natural to think children might not be capable of helping out around the house but introducing household chores to children at a young age gives them a sense of responsibility. By starting young, your child will grow up understanding the importance of having a clean space and it does not happen magically. Allowing your child to be involved also serves as a bonding time. Children want to be with the ones they love actively engaged. Children learn what they live so by being positive, supportive and involving them in the day to day activities teaching can happen naturally and with joy.

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A March Tribute

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It is my mom’s birthday, the second one we have marked since she passed away last year and for her birthday I am going to post March’s tree.  It is not a full blown tree but a few branches. It is a promise of what is coming as the buds begin to swell and burst open.

                My mom was a creature of spring she was born in the spring and loved everything about it. The trees awakening, the anticipation of her hummingbirds returning, the flowers, buttercups, irises, hyacinths and crocuses, all brought her joy and delight. As I reflect on the life my mom lived and the lessons she taught me I can only hope to live my life as unselfishly as she did. Spring has arrived and with it the joy of my mom is reflected. I hope today you too are reminded life is beautiful and live with anticipation.

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IT’S SPRING YA’LL

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It is finally here! At least that is what the calendar is telling me! So as I wait for the weather to follow suit I am going to celebrate everything spring promises to bring…..

Warmer days

New growth

Beautiful Sunrises and

Spectacular Sunsets

Shorts

Skirts

Baby birds

Engagements

Weddings

Birthdays

And longer and longer days full of unlimited opportunities to get out and take pictures

Let the madness begin…………..HAPPY SPRING AND INTERNATIONAL HAPPINESS DAY

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For The Hate of Cancer

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Cancer, we cringe at the very word…. Run, cover our heads and cry…

So, can I write about this WORD, can I manage to convey the hate, fear, loathing, understanding, embracing, and acceptance? Probably not, After all I am becoming an expert… My mom lost her battle to Breast Cancer, my other mother is losing the battle to Hodgkin lymphoma, the mother of the man who makes me smile every day, lost his mom to Lung Cancer, and as I am writing this my dad has just finished his fourth round of chemotherapy with folfox for Colon Cancer and is doing surprisingly well. So it is on my dad I am focusing…….

                What my dad has taught me……

                                Today is all that matters

                                Never give up

                                Love and love hard

                                Family, it is what matters most

                                No matter what!!!! Move forward

                                Go outside every day and do something

                                Cabbage soup may not always be the answer

Today is what matters most, not yesterday, it is gone…..not tomorrow it is yet to be lived, but TODAY… we can control how we face today.

Most of all never lose you sense of humor or your ability to love and laugh.

I HATE cancer but I am learning every day to embrace the lessons it teaches us. Too many of us struggle and look for answers that are not there.  The best I can do for us cancer haters is say…..Love. Josephine Dyer Cogdell Woffered, William Lee Cogdell, Ingeborg  T.  Allan, Jorene Elizabeth Pryor Cogdell.

                Cancer did not win…. Our memories will live forever……..

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A Perfect Spring Excursion

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Spring is so close I could almost feel it, so I grabbed my camera and headed downtown to see how the crowds were celebrating this weekend weather. The day was perfect and the crowds filled with tourist out exploring Nashville. I must say I love this city and the ever changing face it presents. So nothing deep or profound just some spring cheer headed your way.

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The Beauty In The Little Things

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For Valentine’s Day I got Tulips this year. They were colorful and beautiful, in fact they took my breathe away. They also taught me an important lesson. I watched them as they stood tall and proud gracing my desk and then my kitchen table. I marveled at how long they lasted, slowly opening up and flaunting their petals, and then I got busy. One morning I walked into the kitchen and noticed those same petals scattered on the table and the floor and knew my time with these beautiful flowers were coming to an end.  Glancing at them I could not help but grab my camera for what I saw was not a dying flower but a graceful new creation.

Too often we look for meaning and beauty in the large things, those life changing events or the wow moments, in reality those are just the catalyst and true meaning and beauty comes in the small day to day acts of love, kindness, forgiveness, and living. Beauty is not simply being pleasing to the eye it is living a life full of grace and humility.

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Another Life Lesson Given By A Tree (FEB)

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It’s common knowledge that trees become bare during winter, but how do they keep themselves alive during the bitter cold. Trees go through a process similar to hibernation called dormancy, and that is what keeps them alive during the winter.

 Grief is like dormancy in that everything within slows down, energy, joy, ambition and so on. It is possible to force a tree to evade dormancy if you keep it inside and with a stable temperature and light pattern. However, this is usually bad for the tree. It’s natural for trees to go through dormancy cycles, and the lifespan of the plant is dramatically decreased if the tree is not allowed to go dormant for a few months. Trees have winter dormancy for a reason, and it’s best to just let them run their course as nature intended. That being said grief too is an important part of healing and being whole, to grieve is cleanse oneself for renewal. To prepare for new growth and embrace the beauty of the person you are becoming.

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Traveling on………………….

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I am tip toeing into this weekend, feeling a little bruised and battered. Today is February 22nd and there is a pit in my stomach knowing in four days I will wake up and know Tony has been gone 5 years. I am dreading it and stunned at how powerful his loss feels still. It’s funny how losing a child forever marks you and changes everything you think and feel about the world. Someone said recently “it must be getting easier “and I just stopped in shock at how wrong that statement was, No it is not easier, every day you still mourn even when you are smiling and happy you still feel the emptiness. There are so many things people never tell you about grief. About the way you’ll feel and act and think and live after you lose a child. What I have learned these past five years is to forgive myself, to love fiercely those around me, to worry less about what others think and focus more on enjoying the moment, to hide less and explore more. Grief has taught me to dance with life and embrace each and every day.

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Rule Breaker

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Sometimes it is so hard to be a Rule Breaker; I try so hard to follow the rules….. Rule of thirds, how to sort laundry, how do you learn to stay true to yourself and forget the rules? For me it means forgetting what anyone and everyone thinks , and just being me…….. Shoot and shoot often, shoot what makes me happy and forget about, is it correct, or salable, marketable JUST SHOOT

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Come with me to learn the secret life of trees.

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In setting goals for 2014, I struggled and beat myself up for all those I missed in 2013. 365 photo a day challenges I dropped out of, weekly post to this blog I stumbled over and the list goes on. In the end I asked what can I do, what do I do, and what do I want? The answer was simple I want to shoot and shoot often. I want to improve and I want to stretch myself.

Under every tree is a great root system, they have 3 main purposes support, storage and nutrient pick up. Roots are not deep most roots are found in the top 18 to 25 inches of soil. With these facts in mind I found myself thinking about trees. Like trees need oxygen to grow I need the joy taking pictures just for myself. I also need the support having a community such as this to motivate me.

So this year sprinkled among my ramblings will be 12 images, one taken each month of trees. Trees to ground me, inspire me, and stretch me. I hope this journey speaks to others also but if not, it is OK. This is for me.

This is my January tree. In the middle of the winter when we are often the coldest, the trees wait patiently for the sun and the warmth that comes year after year season after season…morning after night.

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On the Inside Looking Out

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I ended December and started January with grand plans. I was going to make time daily to get out and shoot, I was going to be more diligent about blogging my favorite shot of the week and I was going to find my passion again. Funny how that works out, I could blame the weather after all we had a Polar Vortex. I could blame so many things but the truth is much more personal and painful. I tried to explain it to someone last night and in doing so realized I did have a post.

I have a new cat “Nippers”. We have bonded quite well all things considered. Nipper’s was a stray not a true feral but we had been dancing around each other since early spring. Late October Nippers finally made the move to visit inside and a few weeks later she had settled in. She loves her new home and is without a doubt happy. I believe she would not change a thing. Even when she sits and stares for long periods of time out the window at the world she played, hunted, slept and belonged in. Sure she would love to be climbing that tree and stalking those birds but she is where she belongs.

That is my life right now too. I am grieving still for my mom, stuck as I walk through these last few weeks leading up to her being gone a year, Grieving for a son I miss dearly and a little surprised how quickly the years are flying by without him.  I am saddened watching the struggle my dad is going through and so amazed by how brave and funny and excepting he has been with the changes cancer brings to a body.  But I am happy, content, and at peace with my life. Yes I am looking out the window right now at the places I cannot go shoot and the light and shadows and compositions I am missing right now.  But like Nippers I am turning away from that window and finding new ways to construct my time and my days in this new role I find myself in. Nippers will always be a cat and I yes I will always be a photographer.

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Lets Play

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The world today seems to dismiss or look down on the idea of play for adults. Play is looked at as unproductive, petty, a guilty pleasure. The idea is once we reach adulthood, it’s time to put childish things away and focus on work. And between personal and professional responsibilities, there’s no time to play.

The reality is unless we take time to engage in creative playful moments we lose the ability to think outside the box. Play relieves stress, it stretches our brains and it makes us happier people. Some of the most important skills you will ever learn are learned while you engage in play. So this holiday season take a few minutes to play, to do something different, frivolous and outside of the box. Enjoy those moments of freedom and wonder. Be good to yourself and this will make it easier to be good to those around you.

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Dancing on Sunshine

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I was driving this morning, focused on my day ahead when in the corner of my eye I noticed the most wonderful sunrise occurring. My first thought was, keep driving you can’t be late. My second thought was how can I not stop and accept the gift this morning was offering? Being the crazy lady with the camera I am, I pulled of the road and ran back to where this spectacle first beckoned and snapped, in the cold, dressed for the office, oblivious to the honking, and gawking, and cars rushing by. For a moment I too was dancing on sunshine.  Why do we let moments like this escape us afraid to mess up our routines? I believe if I took more chances, enjoyed more moments and allowed the magic of life to surround me more, I just might, maybe, possible have everything in life there is to have. So I am off to dance.

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The Journey – ” Resilience”

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Every great personal story you have to tell involves overcoming adversity. If you shy away from adversity, you take away your ability to tell new stories. – Farrel Droke

I have heard often, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. So how do you define “strong”? For me, “stronger” means looking back at the person I was and comparing it to the person I have become today. To do this I have had to look at myself and realizing that the person I am today couldn’t exist if it weren’t for the things that have happened in the past or for the people that I have met. Everything that happens in our life happens for a reason and sometimes that means we must face heartaches in order to experience joy.

These past 3 posts have truly been for me a vehicle to clear my head and embrace everything which lies ahead. This journey called life built on memories, obstacles and resilience is an amazing journey. Every day is a gift and a treasure as this year creeps closer and closer to its inevitable end I intend to fully embrace each and every day and enjoy the ride.

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