Sunday, January 31, 2010

Round Table Discussion. Pt. 1

The above picture is listed in my friend Mich's shop. In all fairness, Mich's real name is Theresa, but when I first met her she had an etsy shop named Michigan Hemp. I've always known her as Mich. I am sure I always will. She has since closed that shop, and moved all over to The Happy Soul on etsy. Mich's blog can be found here. She is an amazing individual, a wonderful crafter, and my soul sister.

Mich left the following comment on my blog last week: "Fantastic! So that's the secret, huh? Giving yourself permission and then stating your wishes? That makes sense. I've never stated ALL of my intentions and wishes to anyone other than you. I think some of what's holding me back is that I'm scared they will think I'm crazy or foolish. I've had many dreams fall to the wayside due to the negative responses from others. It seems that as soon as someone plants that single seed of doubt in my mind, it grows to a fullflourished weed that I cannot get rid of. I'll definitely have to work on letting my dreams and intentions be known, and to also not let that seed of negativity stay planted in my mind."

That one comment led to the following conversation. A conversation between artists, between women, between sisters, and between friends.

Me: What I would mainly like to focus on is how others can crush our dreams, whether they mean to or not, and why we so readily allow that. I think that when we create, we expose a bit of our soul. We put ourselves out there, and show this part of us that most likely was never encouraged or protected when we were children. We completely expose ourselves when we create and this opens our soul up for attacks by people who have agendas (whether conscious or not) to break us down. Crazymakers can come in many forms. From a spouse who is uncomfortable with us "moving away from them" to a sibling or parent who was never encouraged either so they have no idea how to encourage.
So... how do we protect our inner artist from these attacks? Trust me, there is NO way to keep the attacks from occurring, short of putting an end to the creating.

Mich: I think that having the confidence in yourself and your work is vital. BELIEVING that who you are and what you create is worthy of exploration. If we have this confidence, it is easier to defuse the comments before they become seeds of doubt.

Me: But how? If you were never encouraged as a child, how do you get to that point where you believe?

Mich: think that some people actually never do, but for the ones that can accomplish it, maybe taking the risk and putting themselves out there? Finding a great support group to give you the honest feedback that you need?

Me: I think the support group is the most important personally. It helps us to nourish the inner artist, and they surround us with love, acceptance, ideas, and all of that acts as a cushion when the attacks come.

Mich: definitely! They also deflate any negative bubbles that may happen into our worlds. If that seed of doubt does get planted, they are the weed pullers!

Me: I've been very blessed to find some master gardeners! Not only do they pull the weeds, but they fertilize, help us turn the soil...

Mich: totally! me too! Some people aren't as lucky as we have been, though. We might need to offer suggestions as to where they can find the kind of support that they need.

Me: k... suggestions? I've often seen listings on craigslist for artists wanting to get together. Another idea that may interest some is a church related group.

Mich: hey could search the net for forums based on their interests, if they aren't a perfect fit, they certainly could form their own group with close friends... maybe a group of moms?

Me: I was in a mom to mom support group when my children were small. It was a complete lifesaver, I was a stay at home mom and it was my only outlet. I wish we had been crafty, but they served a wonderful purpose in my life. I certainly think that if you are a mom who creates then you should be able to find others!

Mich: totally agree! We often attract people with similar interests, or at least creative peeps tend to attract more create peeps. They don't all have to have the same creative interests, they could all do their own craft as long as they are getting together to support each other

We also need to understand that reward cannot come without risk.

Me: Right... reward can't come without risk. So we risk judgment, negativity, attacks each time we create. And if we don't cushion the blow, they keep us blocked. Their attacks stop us dead in our tracks. And we discussed some wonderful and amazing ways to cushion the blow, but let's backtrack a little. WHY do we let these weeds grow? Why do we let the attacks do their damage?

Mich: maybe because we don't know the way to pull the weeds by ourselves? maybe we don't have the right tools? not even sure what the tools would be besides self confidence, and then we're back to HOW do we get the confidence we need. Hmmmm...

Me: Personally speaking, with the support group, some close friends and family who can always be counted on to give their HONEST opinion (and who will help brainstorm to improve any issues), I have a pretty good barrier. However, there are times when the attacks blindside us. Like you were telling me the other day about an instance when someone close to you made a comment, totally out of the blue, and before you knew it, the damage had been done.

I am very well guarded against those crazymakers in my life, but when someone surprising lashes out, my guard is down, and BLAM. Damage done.

Mich: yup.. very often we can get blindsided... the first thing I did was run to you because I knew that you could defuse that negativity and pull that weed. I think we all need to have at least one person in our lives to whom we can run with anything. Knowing where to turn in an instant like that is imperative! If we turn to the wrong person, it could possibly get worse instead of better.

Me: Oh yes! I've had YEARS of turning to the wrong person! What a mess!

So... if we don't HAVE at least that one person, we need to find one. With support groups, forums, etc.

Mich: yes, and in the meantime, it's always a good idea to journal. I never did that much until you encouraged me, but I have learned alot about who I am and what I'm made of through my writing

Me: I think journaling is so important! Like you said, you learn so much about yourself! And really, if you are in a supportive community, you must know who you are so that you have plenty to "bring to the table" as it were

Mich: definitely..if we are lost in a cloud of confusion about who we are, we can't possibly expect to contribute anything worthy

Me: Totally agree! And back to your original comment on my blog about people planting seeds of doubt, then that snowballing into feeling crazy and foolish...

Journal! Get to know yourself. Find out WHY you want to do what you want to do.

Have a support group, with at least one person you can bare your soul to and who will HONOR you.

And always give the same honor and support to those around you. Let them strengthen you, as well as you strengthening them.

I think that these things will keep those weeds from growing.

Mich: Totally agree... it will also allow US to grow at the same time.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Online Vegas

So... I went bowling last night, for the first time in over 5 years. With the first ball, I pulled a muscle in my hip. I was in excruciating pain for the three games we bowled, and performed terribly. I am now nursing a pulled muscle, sitting on a heating pad with my laptop in my lap.

But I'm not bored! I discovered this site where I can play casino games just like the ones in Las Vegas! Here is a list of the games they offer. When trying to pick a favorite, I am torn between the classic slots and the roulette.

If you have ever been to Las Vegas, and enjoyed the casino activities there, you will not be disappointed in this site. You simply bring Vegas to you! If you'd like some background information on casino games, including many helpful how-to's, please see this site.

Online gambling is not without is complications, however. If you have an addiction to gambling, please take care with any sort of gambling. It being online does not make it harmless. If you think you may have a gambling addiction, please go here.

Now, you know what they say... what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Here's a preview for a hilarious movie that proves that point to be wrong. The movie is "What Happens in Vegas" with Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I am in an examinate mood today. I received a confirmation yesterday from a company who is giving me a shot at freelance writing! It's for a theater group, and I'd be writing for their magazine! I am way beyond thrilled at the prospect of this.

I was talking to a friend, telling him my news, and he said "but can you write?" I looked at him with awe. Writing has been my passion since I could remember. I've had poetry published, have had 2 novels in the works for uh... way too long. Then I thought about it. And how would he know that writing is my passion? I don't talk about it. I've not pursued publishing in at least 5 years.

Then it struck me. Until recently, I had not even granted MYSELF permission to seek freelance writing work. I had not even thought about my abilities in the money-making sense. And without even letting myself in on this big secret (that yes, I can write), of course I had not shared it with anyone else.

I know a lot of people who need to seek permission from those around them for every move they make. I am so glad to not be one of those people! Once I granted myself permission, all that was left was to state my intention and find the work. I have noticed in life, though, that if you state your intention loud enough, the work finds you.

I am onto a new thought process today. Today I am thinking about all the things I've secretly wished into my life... only to be let down. I never talked about it, I never pursued. I never stated my intentions.

I will have a peaceful, calm home. I will be a paid writer (long term). I will finish one of my 2 novels over the next year. I will display my photography at a minimum of6 venues this year (3 already in the works). I will not only give myself permission to do all of these things, but I will help others to learn how to give themselves permission!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Yesterday was a good day. After being *so* down the day before, I felt almost giddy yesterday, felt so light and carefree. Today I feel pretty good as well. Another side effect of me screwing around with my medications is that I've not been sleeping well lately. So, I'm tired. It will improve.

I have been scouring the internet to find freelance photography and/or writing jobs. I have a couple of good leads on jobs so far, and now I'm asking you. If any of you know of anything out there, please point me in the right direction.

By the way, there are only a few days left for my Buy One Photo, Get One Free sale in my shop. Simply put the free choice in your notes when you purchase!

I hope that you all are well and that you find what you are seeking today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to Self Care

I learned yesterday (again!) what an amazing support group I had. I discovered why I was being my own crazymaker... I had done a self-adjustment of the one med I take. Must've thought I was a doctor or something. But that adjustment was BAD. I hit the lowest of lows yesterday and was ready to cut off all ties with those closest to be just so they didn't need to suffer through my moods.

But like I said, I have an amazing support group. I have wonderful people in my life, and together, I think we can kinda do anything!

Looking back on yesterday... I don't think I gave much at all. I took and I took. I don't feel like my well has been filled because I didn't help anyone. Today I will make sure to give the advice when it's asked of me. I will respond to pleas. And I will continue to take my meds, and will now take a B-Complex a couple times a day till I completely bounce back.

Part of our journey, whatever our particular path may be, is to take good care of ourselves so that we have much to give. Sometimes I struggle with that. I don't get enough sleep, I make bad medication choices. I am now re-committing to getting back on that self-care path.

What self-care have you faltered with? How can I help?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sometimes I am my own Crazy Maker

A lot of discussion about crazymakers lately. I am in the thick of doing The Artist's Way again, and each time I do the program, so much is revealed to me. Crazymakers are those in your life who constantly spin out of control and make your life a living hell. I equate them to the Tazmanian Devil, spinning around, destroying all near them, or at least attempting to.

I have very good defenses against crazymakers. I journal, I have a good thought process and can identify them very quickly. But most importantly, I have an amazing support system. And the amazing supports in place generally negate all harm a crazymaker can do.

However, there are times (very seldom, thankfully, but it does happen) when I am my own crazymaker. Sometimes, that crazymaker is called PMS. Sometimes it's simply called jealousy, insecurity, exhaustion, or generally being fed up.

Yesterday was one of those times. I trudged onward, I did my work, I went through the motions. But on the inside... I completely felt like my head was going to spin around and I would shoot venom out of my face like in the exorcism movies. I let two people into my head yesterday. Only 2. Two people who I love and trust a great deal.

One of those people completely understood, the other couldn't even comprehend why I was feeling the way I was. But both were amazingly supportive. They both helped me to work through it.

I pride myself in being strong. In having almost impermeable walls. I have amazing self-protection skills, and can work through most things. But when the attacks come from within, it's time to pull from the strength of those around me.

As I re-read that last paragraph, I'm filled with awe. It wasn't too long ago (in the grand scheme of things) where I would have NEVER leaned on another for help with the crazymaker in my head. I would not have wanted to show my vulnerability. Would never have admitted weakness. But I have grown. Amazingly so. And with my new-found strength comes a knowledge that I am not strong on my own at all times.

Sometimes strength means drawing from others. Sometimes it means talking through issues, admitting your weaknesses. Or simply being held while you struggle.

I wish you all well on your journey. Don't forget to lean on those around you. It does not make you weak.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Roles

This week I am working on my attitude. I am a planner, and when plans get screwed, I have difficulties. Now, if I can understand why plans are not adhered to, I'm better. But my plans are getting tweaked for no reason.

So. I am putting my foot down. Stating my intentions, that this is the last time this particular plan will be changed. I will be mindful of the deadline coming up, and I will work towards it.

I remember in psychology, learning about group dynamics. In every group, there are the same roles. The 'knowing one' (or the cool one), the uncool one, the bully, etc. And when one person leaves that group, another member of the group will fill that role. I think that's part of why I've moved into this role. I used to be the complacent one, but that role has been taken. So I have to step up, may possibly have to move all the way into the bully role.

I should write a book from my experiences the past few years. It has been that interesting. And perhaps I will.

This week, I will start packing. I can see many trips to goodwill in my future. I'm just going to keep on swimming as Dory would say...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

To Hiatus or Not to Hiatus

This is a different angle of the barn. This was taken the same day as that other picture that I posted. I don't blog on the weekends. But last night I tossed and turned about this blogpost. Yesterday, I told my soul sister that I was thinking about going on hiatus from the blog. I like for my blog to be uplifting, to help people. And with the events currently going on in my life, I certainly don't feel uplifting.

However, she pointed out to me that I get as much from my blog as others do. And she was right. She knows my morning routine. I get up, shower, dress, meditate, blog, then do hair and makeup. However... I would never know what I blogged about if I didn't go back and read it. My blogs, for the most part, simply flow from my soul. They are not pre-planned. I occasionally have an idea for a topic, but it hardly ever goes in the direction that I had in mind.

So, as my divorce unfolds, I may take a day off here and there, if I'm moving, or for some other reasons... but I am not going on hiatus. I need to hear what I have to say as much as anyone else does. I apologize ahead of time if the quality is compromised for a week or two. I will be going through a difficult time, but I will happily travel through to the other side with my friends, loved ones, and readers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Support Group

I have made myself accountable to a few people online and off. I have stated my intentions to them. They encourage when they think they need to. They help me toss around ideas. And they weould all be ok if I just enjoyed taking photos. They would be alright if I kept listing them in my Etsy store. They would be ok if I put them on flickr to share. They would all be alright with all of that if I hadn't told them that I want more.

I push the evelope, I put myself out there, and I always state my intentions to my support group. They support each and every step and they cheer me on.

I guess my point is that your support group can only be supportive as you allow them to be. They can only give you the ideas and answers you are looking for if you ask. If you tell me your significant other is not supportive, I'm likely to ask if you've talked to that person about exactly what you want to accomplish. Have you stated your goals? Have you reasoned it out? Have you *asked* for advice, help, support?

Try it... stick your neck out there, be vulnerable, devise a plan, talk it through... state it to those important to you. I bet they will be a source of inspiration and encouragement.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I took this photo when I was visiting my dad last time in Utah. In Utah, all things are coal related. This was a piece of equipment in a coal mine equipment display. I loved that the manufacturer was Joy.

I think joy is something left out of many people's day. So many (especially these days) think they have no joy in their life whatsoever. I would challenge any one of them. Let me walk through your day with you and I guarantee that I can find joy. That doesn't mean that all in your life is good, but there will be something to be joyful about.

Knowing what I know about finding the tiniest rays of light in life despite all difficulty, knowing that makes it difficult for me to be around completely negative people. I start by pointing out the joy to them. But they don't want to see it. They refuse to acknowledge it. So, I must distance myself. I don't want my joy-sight to be blinded by their negativity.

You know... when that happens, and I separate myself from people like that... those people get very angry. They call names. They slander. They want their poisonous outlook to spread and it can't if we all don't remain concerned and close. Oh, they lash out... but I don't care. I'm partitioned off from them. I can't be touched.

I hope that you all look extra hard today to find the joy. You will find it. And when you do, share a ray of your sunshine with others.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


At the beginning of the year, many of my blogger friends chose a word to represent 2010 for them. Words such as Freedom, Trust, Faith.... and I just simply couldn't come up with one word for 2010. I felt that it would be limiting. But today, as I think about different aspects on my life, and my attitude about it, I realize that my word for 2010 is "forward".

I am no longer lamenting on the slow processes of life. As long as I am able to see/feel some sort of forward movement, I am ok. I'm sure you've seen me say before that I am not a patient person. It still applies, but I'm getting better. If I see a little forward progress, it helps me greatly. And if I see no forward progress, I make it happen.

This forward outlook is changing many of my relationships. If I see someone purposefully dragging their feet on a project (because of whatever reason, valid or not), if they are holding up progress, that gets addressed now. I used to hold all the anger and resentment in, yet them continue to hold up progress in my life. No longer. Now I *need* that forward progress, no matter how slow.

If you were to choose your word for 2010 what would it be? Tell me why.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nurture or Weed

I took this photo at work last week. This is the barn outside of our gate, visible from our office. It has been leaning for years, then last Wednesday the wind picked up and it blew over. Even in this stage, it is beautiful. As soon as I knew it had fallen, all I wanted to do was go take photos of it. Judging from the condition the barn has been in for years with no attention, I think the owners of the property (if they are even still around) will let it go back to the earth. I am looking forward to documenting that process as well.

The barn could have been saved. With a bit of basic care and maintenance. It wouldn't last forever, but it could have had many more years. We are like that... our relationships are like that. Me, on the cusp of divorce talking about how a relationship could have been saved with care and maintenance? Yep. My marriage is no exception. It certainly could have been saved. But that would not have been the best choice for either of us.

Bouncing around a bit here... good relationships deserve care and maintenance. Nurture them. Relationships that are innately against your grain need to be weeded out. If it is sucking you dry, and giving nothing back, changes need to be made. It's as simple as that. Now, whether you then maintain and care for them or weed them out is for your soul to decide. But all relationships deserve one or the other. Nurture or weed.

I have had a handful of good "girlfriends" in my life. The Air Force "weather wives" when I lived in Idaho... my friend Michelle in Alaska. Aside from that, I stick to myself. However, now, I have an amazing group of women friends online. My soul sister, a hemp artist who is branching out; A, the most amazing photographer I know; K, a baker with lots of hidden talents; so many more. And yesterday we were brainstorming. Tossing around ideas. Helping one another out. Filling one another's wells. It was amazing. Yesterday this group and I decided to nurture.

About weeding though... perhaps it's painful. But if your motives are pure and you are taking all into consideration, then by all means weed. That doesn't mean get a flame thrower out and destroy all in your path. It means gently remove the part (the person, group, etc) that isn't working. Be very careful to honor them at the same time. Do no harm. It is not easy, trust me I would know. I'm sure I'll write more about this topic as I move through it completely.

For today... just think about it as you run across people. Nurture or weed.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Riding the Wave

I've made many pledges to make 2010 a better year. So far, it has been wonderful. Not without it's ups and downs, but knowing the end is near for difficult situations really helps. So, I forge onward. I push through the difficulties.

I ride that wave. I've been moving in new directions, at times, it's like taking a machete and clearing the thick weeds so I can make a path... other times, it's completely smooth and effortless.

One of those paths has taken me to do portrait photography. My first sitting was amazing, I got so many good shots, very easily. So, I decided to take my boys out and take portraits of them. 3 teenage boys who didn't want their picture taken. I learned that if you try to force something, it's not real likely to work. So... back to taking photos of people who WANT their photos taken. And I'll practice with my boys in the meantime as well.

I plan to keep going, wherever this may take me. Yes... wherever this may take me... Because that's the thing with riding the wave. Either you are on or you are off, and while you can affect the direction somewhat, there is no steering wheel.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Push Your Limits

It has been a long, tumultuous week. The belt is tightening again at work, which just makes things a bit scary. However, at the same time, business picked up some, so perhaps things will be looking up.

My advice earlier in the week to seek out the positive has served me well this week. One day, I was very stressed and down. Seeking out the positive didn't totally pull me out of that, but it did help me to see the big picture.

This will be one of those weekends where I squeeze all I can out of it. Getting up early to get sunrise photos with my son, traveling a little ways to take pictures, squeezing in a favorite place to eat. By the time Monday rolls around, I will be exhausted. And it will be so worth it.

I urge you to push yourself a little. Squeeze the most out of your day, your weekend, your week. Make big plans, or a big goal. Amaze yourself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Collaborative Blog Post

I've been writing a lot lately about the time I spend online, meeting fascinating people. I have been touched by many. I recently met a fellow photographer named Evan Ashenhurst on twitter. Through our conversations, we discovered some similarities... a similar sense of humour, similar interests (photography, obviously), and similar things that drive us nuts! Evan's blog can be found at and he can be found on twitter here.

Evan and I recently collaborated on a blog post. It started with a conversation about the things people say to us at a craft show. It evolved into the following post: (Evan's answer's are in italic)

PLEASE NOTE: This is when we are talking to people that clearly have no idea what they are talking about when it s to photography. If you came up to me and said "I have a (insert camera type here) and i just got an awesome shot of (insert subject here) using my (insert techy lingo camera gear name here). Then we speak camera language to them

1. Did you take all of these photographs?

Nope, I downloaded them off the internet, aren't they GREAT??

Honestly i dont mind this one too much...normally I'm at a show and Melissa is there too and we both shoot. But when you're in my studio/gallery and i say "this wall is all my work and that wall is all Melissa's and you say "so you took that" i kinda feel like your either dumb or deaf

2. So you must have a really expensive camera huh?

Expensive is a relative term, how much did you buy that necklace for that you're wearing?

You idiot its not the camera its the photographer! The camera only helps a little bit. do you think you could just walk out and get `that` shot with my camera! there is more to it than that! there is practice there is time there is effort and there is waiting at the right place waiting for the right time to come along!

3. do you know Mr. X He's a photographer from the "area"?

by area they normaly mean 100 miles in any direction from where the show I'm at is...(i travel upto 4 hours for some shows meaning its like six hours from where i do business...and half the time i only get to the show because of GPS/Maps/Mapquest.

This is a *huge* area... that would be like being able to identify one kernel of corn in a bag of popcorn!

4. This *has* to be photoshopped, these colors are not natural.

Your Shirt had to be sewn with a sewing machine... thats just not a natural shape for fabric.

It was about my jellyfish photo. Completely unedited. Take that!

5. What kind of camera do you have?

I have three at home/with me.

A Kodak and an Olympus, what kind do you have?

6. What Camera Equipment do you have/use?

I have over thirty different pieces from tripods to cameras to lenses and other little pieces. (honestly if i say much more they get confused)

Cameras and tripods... then I see their 2-second attention waning.

7. This is a real photo (referring to their own photo), it hasn't been photoshopped.

So mine are fake because i have edited them slightly?/Ok explain to me how that photo is a fake.


8. Who does your printing?

Right im going to tell you who prints my photos so you can just look them up and see how much profit i make per piece right? Can i see your paystub please? Oh that's too personal? Well, so is my printer!

It's a trade secret. I had to find my own, if you'd like to be a photographer, do the work!

9. How has the show treated you? you make lots of cash yet?

So how's your job? How much do you make an hour? Oh, too much info? Take the hint!


10. How much money do you have sitting here between booth costs, inventory, travel costs and such?

How much did your nosejob cost? I realize that's a rude question, but once again, you're trying to figure out my profit margin. If you're doing the research to see if it's something you'd like to do, then go DO the research.

None of your business!/Enough/(only if there really nosey do they get what they will soon to believe the truth (" HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE" I guestimated the value if every piece of paper every photo/matte/frame right down to the last pen...(it was a dead show and after 20 minutes she wanted an answer...we came up with 2.2 million..and thats waaaaaay to much! but she wouldnt i just had fun with helped me do inventory anyway (she was counting sheets of paper and brochures and everything)

11. I have some photos that are just as good as these, maybe I should do a show.

Feel free to try it, but without the proper skill and research, you'll be throwing your money away!

Everyone can take a decent shot...but very few can take the perfect shot...I'm not saying mine are the perfect shot but unless you invested thousands of hours in those shots they probably won`t sell./

You cant just jump into it it takes careful planning to get all your ducks in a row...and i dont suggest putting all your eggs in one basket cuz if you're screwed!

12. How much did it cost you to be in this craft show?

None of your business!/Enough


13. How Much is your camer/gear worth?

None of your business!/Enough


14. Is this your final price?

Yes you cheap bastard! (My real response is something to the effect of "figure out everything you want and we will come to an agreement i dont mind making a deal If you are purchasing more then one piece" (better to make 20 bucks on three pieces then 30 on one right?))

Seriously?? This is not a flea market! I do not barter. My price is my price. But I will offer a deal if you purchase 3 or more prints.

15. How come you are always at the right place at the right time?

When you have 2 photographers standing infront of some tigers for 3 hours taking 750 pics each of the tigers you are bound to be there at the right time..eventually.(its always said about the below image thats blown up to 11X14 in a 16X20 matte/frame). To see what i ACTUALLY say go here!

One day of shooting yields thousands of shots, most are "off" for some reason. Most get trashed. But one or two usable shots in a day is good. I spend hours and days to make it look like I'm "always" in the right place at the right time!

Seek out The Positive

There are many places online I frequent during any given week. I read blogs, I find how-to sites, shopping sites, networking sites. And there are several that I lurk in during my work day.

I have been blessed with a wonderful group of online friends. Much love and encouragement has flowed towards me from that group of people. They are quick to offer support, advice, "shoulders", prayers, concern. And I am very quick to do the same for them. I love my online friends.

You know, I think in any social situation, things will happen, or we'll be around people who are not like minded, who are not encouraging, who are constant complainers, who seem to thrive on drama. I've known my fair share of these in real life, and I quickly recognize the personna online. Whether in real life or on line, these people want the spotlight on them alone. They want conversations to cease and turn towards them. They want to reel you in and make you feel concern, compassion, whatever, towards them. They want you to fill their well, but they don't want to fill anyone else's.

I find the negativity of this "social vampire" type to be completely draining. If I do "read, or listen" to this person, I get sucked in. And some things they say are extremely concerning. But so much has been said that I just don't have the time to filter out what's real.

Negativity. I understand having a little bit of negativity. Sometimes things go wrong. And, face it, not everything in life is just peachy. But if only negativity flows from you, people will stop even trying to fill your well. And we need well-fillers in our life. We need those who will encourage us when we are discouraged. We need those who are willing to listen. I also believe we *need* to be the well-filler at times, for our own emotional well-being.

There was a comment a while back, I believe it was from my friend Kari. Who said if she starts complaining to her mother about her day, her mom says "Now, tell me one thing positive that happened today." And Kari would have to do so before carrying on. I encourage you to do the same. If life seems to be knocking you down, seek out the positive, work hard at finding something good to dwell on. You will find it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Honour Your Dreams

I woke up this morning thinking about 2 things. A long to-do list, and that "Life is good". I feel, for the first time... ever, maybe... that Life is Good. I feel like I am not meant to spin my wheels forever. Like I will work and move forward with purpose.

I have not always felt that way. I have had huge periods of time in my life where I could see my dreams and goals but did nothing whatsoever to move towards them. However, I finally feel like I am moving forward, like I am headed in the right direction.

When I do inventory, I find that some of my dreams got tossed to the side of the road during my travels. They didn't make it to the point I'm now at. And that's ok, that just means that something more ME came along.

Today I will honour my dreams. I will journal about them, and possibly move towards them a bit more. I will acknowledge them and they will reveal more to me.

What are your dreams telling you?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photo Shoot

I had an amazing weekend. I went and checked out the warehouse space that the photography show will be in. I went to Powell's Books and got a new book, and I did my first ever photo shoot (with a person). The thought to expand into portraits is pretty new to me. I stated it for the first time Thursday night to a photographer friend in Canada. By Saturday morning, I was approached to take some portraits of my husband (and I had never told him that I'd like to try this).

Despite any misgivings, I decided I would fake my self-assuredness, and forge onward. "Tilt your head up a little, look towards that tree, shift your body" I heard these things coming out of me, and I just wanted to laugh. He of all people should have known that I had no clue of what I was doing! After the photo shoot, I uploaded the photos on the computer and showed him the images. We were both very impressed. Now, with some editing, I have about 30 usable images so far. My portfolio has been started!

Sunday I went out as well, and the 3 of us all had photos taken. I didn't think any of Sunday's would turn out very well because we didn't find scenery as nice and it was much colder, but again, I got usable images.

I completely learned this weekend that sometimes you just have to fake it til you make it. Of course, taking photos of my husband was a non-scary situation. Next, I will shoot a friend or a stranger... depending on who I get contacted by.

Put your intention out there, just as I did: I want to take portraits. And watch the opportunities roll in. Your job is to be receptive to them.

Some photos from my Saturday shoot:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sometimes A Lot of Help is Needed

Yesterday, I was feeling no motivation whatsoever. So I decided to hold myself accountable. I was online, on Etsy, talking to my friends. And I decided, I'd state what I was going to do "I'm going to contact this wine bar about hanging my work there", then as soon as I did it, I'd pop back in and report that.

It worked great. I still had no momentum, but I was checking things off my list, one by one. I submitted 4 photos for possible publishing, I sent query letters to a wine bar, a restaurant, a gallery, and a photography-only warehouse show (1 night). And guess what? shortly after I sent my query to the warehouse people, they had a meeting, and I am in!

I will be among about 40 photographers there. Also there will be gallery reps, photographer agents, newspaper reporters.... I'm thrilled and scared at the same time! That's my good news from yesterday... and I wonder what today will bring.

Without support and encouragement from my friends, this opportunity would have passed me by. I love that I have a group of people that I can lean on and always rely on. It's so important in life!

If you have goals... if you have anything you are striving towards, make sure you have your cheering section intact. Fill their wells and they will fill yours!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Crossing paths

I didn't sleep well, and my morning routine has been interrupted. Could be the start of a very bad day, right? Only if I allow it. If my entire day is ruined, it's because I choose for it to be. Time to take a deep breath and move beyond. Beyond being tired and irritated.

I have many plans for today. I plan to submit some of my work to be published. Being purposefully vague. And I plan to contact several businesses who are looking for art to hang in their establishments in 2010. Doing all I can to move forward.

I have been amazed lately at the people who I just "happen" to cross paths with. Each time I need something in my life, I come across someone who can steer me in the right direction. Last night I spoke with a fellow photographer who gave me some wonderful ideas. The information that he gave me answered questions that I'd not yet asked. Isn't that amazing?

Remember my morning? Tired, cranky, and askew? Now it's thankful and blessed. What shifts have you seen lately? Are you finding your dreams more attainable? Is information flowing your way? Still running into roadblocks?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Sailed in with a helpful spirit

After yesterday, let me assure you that there will be more posts coming about the different types of crazymakers we all deal with!

2010 sailed in with a spirit of helpfulness. Without even thinking about it, I have begun organizing in my life. I did not have a goal of cleaning out and organizing (and unsubscribing to tons of stuff!) my emails. However, I find myself doing it in idle moments. I did have a goal of getting rid of clutter, and in the past that was accomplished by force. But in 2010, I glide through.

What is different about 2010? Is it just the stage I'm at in life? I don't think so, because I've heard the intense spirit of hope from so many. We all had great expectations of 2010. And for the first time ever, I feel like I will not be let down. The change has occurred within.

I know that I've been doing the groundwork for years. To make the life that I desire. And I did so knowing that would not be possible without one core change. But I had to wait that change out. And now the time is upon me. I will be divorced next month, and my life will be mine. Absolutely mine.

I had surrendered years ago. I knew things would be done in the right time. I did not actively start working towards it or planning til last year, but in my soul I knew. For me, 2010 is a time to claim myself. To lead an absolutely authentic life. I'm glad 2010 sailed in with a helpful spirit.

What does 2010 mean to you? If you had to characterize the spirit of the year, what would yours be?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ahhhh the crazymakers!

There was a comment left on yesterday's post. About dealing with those who publically cheer you on, yet do all they can to cause you to fail. Ahhhhh, the crazymakers. Crazymakers have come in most every form in my life. I currently have one major one (for a little longer), but have some others ready to hop in and wreak havoc anytime they think my guard is down.

One way of dealing with crazymakers is to cut them out of your life altogether. Not always do-able. So, protection is the key. Don't let them in on your plans. The cheerleader crazy maker, I think would be very effective, because who doesn't want a cheerleader. So you share your achievements, you go to them with each accomplishment. They jump up and down with you, squealing with delight at the amazing turn of events. Then they undermine silently.

So... don't share. All you will be missing out on is some fake squealing and some jumping. Let's say the cheerleader is your little sister. You can't exclude her from your life. Not if you want to remain in the will (ha ha), all kidding aside, you love your little sister and want her in your life. So, tell her if you make a wonderful meal. Tell her about a date, or what your children did (whatever applies here). But protect your dreams and accomplishments. Don't give her reason to show her inner crazy maker. Your relationship does not have to be such a guarded one forever. You will get to where you tell her in no uncertain terms that such behavior will not be tolerated by you.

Until you do, though, you'll want to have protected yourself from them. In the past, I did just that. I had an intense cheerleader crazy maker. And I realized that though this person was jumping up and down with me, squealing with delight, many other areas were being attacked. I began feeling overworked and resentful. And I stopped working on my goals.

At one point, I cut off all ties. That made us both miserable. I didn't feel strong enough to just protect my goals, though, so I cut myself off. That lasted about a week before I was cornered. And I simply said "I don't like who I am around you". Perhaps I could've chosen better. But I'm very non-confrontational and being cornered shocked me. So, she went away very hurt and angry, and I felt guilty. Part of her crazymaking? Perhaps. But they don't always see what they are doing, so I'm sure she really was hurt.

I was able to (a few days later) approach her on my terms, explain what I meant, and start fresh on my terms. I did not want to exclude this person from my life altogether. So I showed her what I felt she was doing, and gave her the option to correct it or not.

And the ball was in her court. We are still friends, by the way.

What do you do to deal with crazymakers?

Monday, January 4, 2010

With a little help from my friends.

2010 blew in with a sense of purpose. I have been extremely focused and motivated. As a general rule, I am. I'm in a constant state of focus. In the beginning. When I discover an idea, when I start a project. Then I fizzle. I'm a wonderful thinker. A wonderful starter. Not such a great finisher.

However, I have been very careful this time to put some supports in place. I've been networking with some like minded people. I have stated my intention, and I have begun. Life is good!

2010 will be the year to shine. If you feel that to your core as I do, get started. State your purpose in a very public way and make sure others hold you accountable! It works!

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