Saturday, June 22, 2013

Keep Going

What About Bob? is one of my favorite movies.  Bob (Bill Murray)  and Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss)play an extremely needy, obsessive-compulsive patient and psychiatrist. One day after leaving Dr. Marvin's office, Dr. Marvin gets on the elevator with Bob, and Bob begs for some wisdom from Dr. Marvin.  Dr. Marvin had just written a book called Baby Steps, so he shared those two words with Bob, "Baby steps, Bob." So Bob gets off the elevator repeating those two words over and over.  

This is basically how my life has gone, in baby steps.  When I tend to procrastinate, I tell myself, "Keep going." When I have not succeeded at something, I say, "Keep going."  Yes, it doesn't matter how far, just keep moving forward in tiny increments if that's the best I can do.  

I think those two words, "Keep going," apply to anything we are going through.  For instance, I believe grief as a part of life is inevitable. When it seems I can't go on due to a particular heartache and/or disappointment, I just keep going.  Sometimes it takes the greatest effort to even get up in the morning, but isn't that moving?  Often I've needed help, and faith, friends, medication, and my increasing passion for mixed-media art are tremendous resources that keep me going.  I strongly encourage anyone that reads this to find your inner and outer resources. Look for them. Search for them.  You will discover them.  In the meantime, let's just keep moving forward even if it is at a snail's pace.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Since I am in a blogging e-class and group, I need to blog a little about blogging.  It is such an interesting process.  The main question is,"What do I have to say?"  "Is there anything to share that will be the least bit interesting to anyone including myself?"  As a photographer, I believe there is so much more to see in life, in the day to day, yet I still struggle to really "see."

Yesterday while having breakfast outside in downtown Encinitas with a friend, three separate women came up to me, and were concerned about my purse getting wet from water seeping out of a large planter nearby. Three!  All were looking out for me in the sense that purses cost money, and they didn't want me to have to lose my purse due to the water.  This isn't a big life changing incident, yet I thought about it the rest of the day ~ three people cared enough about my purse to let me know they did.  By the time the third one came over, all I could do was think how kind these three were.  By the way, my purse didn't get wet.  It just looked like it was in the line of water seepage.  

Kindness is such a precious commodity.  I made a little sign out of scrabble letters that sits by my kitchen sink that says, "Be kind." Years ago a friend shared that being kind was what she and her husband held sacred in their marriage.  No matter what happened in their lives as a couple, they wanted to remember to treat each other with kindness.

I don't want to become so preoccupied with my life that I miss "seeing" the kindness of strangers like yesterday.  Each one is a reminder of something I've come to value above most everything, kindness.  How can I show kindness to those around me?  How can I speak in a way that affirms without breaking down someone?  Today, tomorrow, and always I want to be in a kindness state of mind.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Evolution of a Cowgirl

As a Critical Incident Counselor, I go into companies that have been robbed, experienced an unexpected death, or a downsizing. I love what I do, because I get to meet people at vulnerable times when there isn't pretense, just raw emotion.  The people I meet teach me so much, and my life is richer because of this real life education.  

Out of my heart to encourage others, I believe the cowgirl was born inside of me.  It feels as though that seed has been geminating for years, and now it's time for her to come forth out of the dark soil into the day light.  For a very long time, I have chosen to move toward my fears in order to learn, grow, and become stronger.  It is by far not easy, yet I still persevere.  That's what cowgirls do! 

Today, looking back at some of my first cowgirls, I am humbled.  They look pretty pitiful for the most part.  I didn't even put whites in their eyes, and instead left them skin tone.  Some faces looked like little ET's (Extraterrestrials).  For anyone on the receiving end of an inspiration card from Jessica Brogan's swap, I apologize for the way these cowgirls looked. 

Just as I am changing, so is my cowgirl.  There is more clarity in her face, the whites are in her eyes, and she appears gentle, yet strong. She has gotten braver in her evolution.  We can all have an inner "cowgirl" or "cowboy" if we surrender to the changes life brings.  This is what is happening to my cowgirls on paper, and to me.  Yeeehaaaaa!!!    

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Small, Yet Strong

A friend in the hospital needed cheering up, so I wanted to give her some encouragement to help her get through what she is going through.  This 3" x 3" mini canvas took about six hours to create.  I kept drawing/painting on her face, but was not satisfied with how she looked. Finally, I made a new face on a separate piece of paper, and glued it onto the canvas. With tips from Christy Tomlinson's online workshop, Behind the Art,  I came up with another brave cowgirl.  She may be small, but she is full of empowerment!

Whatever you are going through, I wish you a mustard seed of faith to build on.  Just because it's small doesn't mean it isn't strong.  Be brave and have hope as a new week begins. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hairballs, Skunks, & Yawns

Last night as I was getting ready to climb into bed, I noticed something very wrong on one of my decorative pillows - a hairball! Yes, my beloved cat, Oliver, left me a present.  

This morning a friend that was to come by my house to clean had an incident before leaving her home - a baby skunk in her garage.  When my friend entered my house, so did the pungent aroma of skunk.  Bless her heart, she touched nothing, yet the smell quickly permeated my downstairs and me.  She left, cleaned up, and came back this afternoon free of skunk.  

Last week I sat next to a young male employee at Verizon Wireless while he helped lower my bill.  He yawned a number of times. Finally, I said, "I must be really interesting."  He said, "I'm just tired."  Today I went back to Verizon Wireless for more help with my phone, and saw a different young man.  He preceded to yawn and yawn.  I had to say, "I must be so mesmerizing," and shared with him about last week's experience.  He said, "I have to work a lot." Ha-Ha!  I'm sure being tired was the reason these two separate people almost fell asleep while helping me.  Is it true, "There are no coincidences?"   

These are the kind of incidents that trigger my sense of humor. They trigger another thing though that I call "dying to self."  To me that means, I feel humbled, and realize that I'm not too hot. Being humbled is actually the very place I want to be.  Years ago, in my Webster's Dictionary, I read a quote by the poet, John Donne, "Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification."  Yes, this was in the definition of "humiliation." Whoa, Cowgirls and Cowboys!!!  As much as it hurts to feel humiliated some times more than others, I have learned that it is a very positive thing for my internal growth.  There is a deepening of my spirituality, and a sense of becoming a little more like my God. For this kind of maturity, I definitely know there are no coincidences.  

(Photographer unknown)

Friday, May 24, 2013

What Do You See?

Photography has been my passion for a long time.  With photography, I see such metaphors for life. Life is how we see it!  If I don't like what I see, I can change the angle, the lighting, and what I'm even looking at. Sometimes the view is blurry, so I have to adjust the lens for more clarity.  I do not intend to take blurry pictures.  I do not want to look at life through the blur of the lens of my eye.  As I look through the lens, I have to focus, focus, focus.

Sometimes a scene unfolds in front of us that is horrific or seems so at the time.  On a global level, we have been exposed to planes crashing, bombs blasted, buildings coming down, hurricanes and tornadoes destroying, school shootings, and on and on.  Life is filled with tragedies, losses, and grief. It seems nearly impossible to reframe circumstances such as these, yet I believe it is possible....eventually. Yes, it takes time, time for hearts to ache, and for hearts to heal. That time is necessary for reframing, refocusing, and being able to see any glimmer of hope.

As I sit here at my kitchen table, I'm looking at the bird feeder that welcomes a number of visitors throughout the day, palm trees swaying in the breeze, my cat enjoying another helping of breakfast, and roses in full bloom. My circumstances are what they are, yet I can still choose to look at what is in front of me which right now are some lovely gifts of nature.

Chase Jarvis says, "The best camera is the one that's with you." Grab any kind of camera, and go outside, look around, and snap some pictures of what you see.  Think about how these photos can apply to your life right now. If you don't have a camera, sit in one spot, look around, and capture what you see through your mind's eye. You might have to focus and refocus, but you will see more clearly even if it's a little bit. Give yourself the gift of time to see.

Be blessed and safe this Memorial Day weekend!

What do you see from up there, little bird?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thank You, Barbara Garcia!

Tragedy and fear have raised their heads again through a tornado in Oklahoma City, a city with more than it's share of heartache. This morning as reality set in even more to those directly involved, we as a nation and throughout the world grieve with them.  The losses are horrendous.  In the midst of the rubble stood Barbara Garcia, an older woman that lived alone with her dog.  In an interview with CBS news, she expressed that she was sitting on a stool holding her dog when the tornado hit.  Her plan had been to go into the bathroom.  Apparently, Barbara and her dog didn't get as far as the bathroom, because when she woke up she was lying in the rubble and saw light.  Barbara said she had prayed that she would be alright, and God answered.  All of a sudden, the journalist interviewing Barbara said, "The dog! The dog!  Hi, Puppy!" Barbara acknowledged that God had answered her second prayer, the safety of her dog.

I want to keep this video.  I want to remember Barbara, her faith, her plan, her light, and her dog.  She is a true inspiration of strength that I want to honor with gratitude.